So you’ve had your book edited by a professional editor, read by a beta reader, and you’ve read it yourself multiple times… it’s time to hire a book designer.


What to do for DIYers

Ordering a Book Cover Design

Cover Images: Highest to Lowest Level

Good Book Cover Designers

Cover Art and File Specifications



What to do – for DIYers

If you want to typeset a book yourself but don’t have InDesign, then see this Amazon paperback formatting page. WATCH THEIR VIDEO.

If you have pictures, I would not advise using MS Word for typesetting. But people do and they get by… I don’t know how the images even come out when they are all in RGB. This is not correct by industry standards, as all images for print purposes should be in CMYK and 300 DPI (dots per inch). 

Adobe InDesign costs $29.99 per month (AU) if paying yearly, and has a steep learning curve. Don’t forget to Justify your body text and extend the hyphenation zone (see this helpful text alignment video). 



Ordering a Book Cover Design

Many authors feel it’s good to order their cover design early on, as this can be:

  • motivation for you, and
  • helpful for getting interaction and pick of choices among your online friends.

If you ensure the cover designer is accessible for the whole book design (or series), winner, you will have a CONSISTENT look to your books. If they do the inside and outside, this can also be more consistent, in typefaces and designs.

Advising a Cover Designer on Images

For a book cover design, you have a few different options. First, decide if you want to use real images (photographs) or illustrated artwork (which is created by the artist), or even a combination of both. For artwork, you either commission the work or purchase the rights directly from the artist — but with real photos there are a few different ways to do it.

Cover Images: Highest to Lowest Level

You can at the same time get your Author Portraits done as well. See our Marketing section for Author Head-shot Photographers.

For Book Imagery:


You can pay a photographer to take photos. This will give you the most creativity and ability to get exactly what you want, but will cost $199 on up.

For all kinds of photos:

See Zahrina Photography in Sydney. Specialist in branding.

Option 2

You can search online for photographers who may be willing to sell the rights of their image or the rights to use it.

If American or Canadian, use this site:

If Australian, use this site:

Option 3

Perhaps the most popular choice, you can buy the rights to use images via stock image sites (but often with stock images, you do not get exclusive rights; meaning someone else may use the same image on their cover). Stock image sites are:  istockphoto, 123rf, and

Stock Image supplier 123rf is quite affordable and they stock cartoons. 123rf can charge in AUD and have many kinds of imagery that suit all occasions, including Australian money. Buying the wrong size by mistake is okay, just contact their chat team (log in first) and they will be able to change your 2 credits for 4, for example. 

123rf: 10 images per month=$42 (AU) or buy a credit pack for about $70. I always buy the pack due to a longer expiry time.

Lowest stock photo prices in the market. Only at 123RF. (Referral link)

iStockPhoto is another stock photo choice with a range of small credit plans that don’t last long (from $36) or $85 for 10 images over the month (yearly), which is why 123rf is recommended.





 3D Realistic Book Imagery

Placeit offers this composition for US$8 (own book design)

Placeit offers good 3-D renderings of your book cover (once done) in any kind of three-dimensional setting… best for Ebook or Social Media sharing.

See their excellent Author post about Book Covers and Facebook Ads using book mockups. offer a free mock-up shot and then will try to sell you a package for US$60. You will laugh and be astounded as they place your single cover into all sorts of situations and videos!

If doing a LOT of social media posting and advertising, try the US$14.95 a month for Placeit subscription.


Good Book Cover Designers

Try to avoid FIVERR to find a print book cover designer. This is cheap but not productive — three covers later, you still have the wrong size, look and DPI. (Dots Per Inch, which must be 300 DPI for print).

You can however do your own photography, as long as resulting shot is at least 2000 pixels wide, which means high resolution, and if possible, converted to CMYK. (This is done in Photoshop, and it is okay to use a freelancer for conversions).

I used Heather Upchurch (US) for book covers for a children’s book, health tips book, and prenatal yoga handbook.

For Cover Designs with four mock-ups and revisions, see:

Heather UpChurch – Art & Design Studios (Subject: New Design Proposal)…

Special prices for Business Author Academy clients!

Covers….. around US$150. ($195 AUD)
Interiors for non-fiction….. around US$350

Heather can assist you with putting the design onto the template, if you let her know first who you are printing with.

Packages, including: print and ebook cover, basic interior layout, 3D cover, choice of mobi or ePub, and a social media promo graphic…. US$500.

Australian Book Designers: Recommended

NGirl Design – Gold Coast, led by Narelle Urban. – has designed 200+ book covers. … Her team is very busy, so waiting is normal.

Nonfiction cover design from $330 incl GST and many revisions. (This price may have changed).

NGirl Design book design packages start from AU$990 (simple, 200 pp) to $2,200 (complex, long) — including ebook, cover, interior layout, stock photos, unlimited proofs, usually a 3D cover as well.

Tel Narelle: 0403 018 407

Independent Ink/Post Pre-Press Group – Brisbane team led by Ann Wilson – Independent Ink AND 07 3395 2022

Graham Abraham — designer for history books. Uses InDesign and is extremely patient.

Studio: Kenmore, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
P: 07 3878 8840 Intl: 61 7 3878 8840
M: 0404 063705


Cover Art and File Artwork Specifications

Also at this stage, you may need to finalise your cover art files. This is done after the designer gives you the design. Or, they might be able to do it right on the template for you. Chances are, you will need to inform them.

Using IngramSpark and Need to get Final Artwork?

IngramSpark needs you to have 300 DPI and the file format PDFx1-2001 and ‘rich blacks’ on cover or illustration. This is the reason why newbies run away screaming! Never fear, good designers know how to get this done. A rich black is not 100% black but is a mix of the CMYK.

You can get a free barcode on your cover template if using IngramSpark. See


Using Amazon Yourself?

If using Amazon, their time-wasting calculator is in Excel, but if unable to open, work it out with their calculations on a piece of paper. Knowing the bleed — amount past the edge of the cover — is important as they require the .125″ bleed each side of any colour or design.

D-I-Y Designers, peruse Amazon’s file and cover setup guide:

eBook Creation – see the eBook section