Should You Use a Book Cover Template?

POSTED ON Oct 18, 2023

Shannon Clark

Written by Shannon Clark

Home > Blog > Cover Design > Should You Use a Book Cover Template?

A book’s cover is the beginning of your story. No matter how great the book is on the inside, if a potential reader doesn’t like the cover, chances are, they won’t open the book. Then you’ve lost a sale and missed an opportunity to share your amazing content. 

There are several ways to approach book cover design. In this article, we’ll focus on book cover templates—the pros and cons, how to find the best ones, and how to use them. 

What are Book Cover Templates?

In this article, I’m grouping book cover templates and premade covers into the same category.

A book cover template is a pre-designed book cover that can be customized to be used multiple times by the same person or different people. This is not to be confused with book cover templates that printers offer in specific sizes and specs to ensure that your book cover prints properly. Those are also called book cover templates but are used for different purposes.

Customizable book cover templates are available for ebooks and print books and can be either customized by the author or by the person or company selling the design. They are a quick way to get a great design, in less time and for less money than a traditionally-designed book cover. 

What are the Reasons for Using a Book Cover Template?

Small or Tight Budget

When you are self-publishing, how you budget your project matters, and while book cover design should be prioritized, spending close to a thousand dollars or more on a book cover is not in everyone’s budget. And if this is your first book, you may want to test the waters a bit before splurging the big $$ for a custom design. 

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Short on Time

Custom-designed book covers take time and with good reason. When working with an experienced book cover designer, they’ll walk you through the process of creating a design that is uniquely your own—one that represents your book and your genre well.

Depending on what you are looking for, the designer’s schedule, and how many revisions are requested, it’s always a good idea to have some padding in your turnaround expectations. With a book cover template, the design is already set, you just have to decide on the best way to tweak it for your book.

Limited Design Skills

Creative types (authors I’m talking to you!) are often DIY’ers. We’ll try anything once to see if we can do it. If you’re interested in designing your own book cover but you’re a novice, starting with a premade cover or template is a good segue into designing covers. There’s very little risk because you already know the outcome, and there’s enough flexibility built in for you to add your own flavor to the design. 

Not Sure What You Want

Sometimes cover design ideas escape you. You know you want something that represents your story well, but you’re unsure what will work. If trial and error are not in your game plan, then a book cover template could be the answer. There are so many different designs available that something is sure to spark your creativity. 

Where Can I Find Book Cover Templates?

The following websites offer book cover templates for both ebooks and print books at prices that fit all budgets.  As with all purchase decisions, do your research to make sure that whoever you select is the best fit for you and your book.

What are Book Cover Template Limitations? 

Look-Alike Covers

If you find a template or premade cover that you like, expect others to like it, too. Templates are generally more customizable, while premade covers have more limitations to what can be changed. 

There’s always a risk of finding your twin cover on Amazon. The good news is that some websites will tell you how many times a design has been downloaded. If it has been downloaded too many times, consider other options. Other websites may list a design as “one-time use” only. You may pay more, but if you get a unique design with a quick turnaround that you can tweak to make your own, the extra investment may be worth it. 

A “Template” Look 

All book cover templates are not created equal. If you are not selective, you may end up with one that looks homemade, which is never a good thing. To combat this, take a close look at the bestseller covers on Amazon in your genre. What makes them stand out? Is it the imagery, background, typography, fonts—all of the above? Use your research as a guide for selecting the perfect book cover design for your book. 

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Licensing, Licensing, Licensing

Unless an image is a part of the Creative Commons license or in the public domain, licensing may be required for one or more of the design elements used on the cover.

Before you pay money for the perfect cover design, look at the fine print to make sure that once you purchase the design, it is yours to publish. If the cover designer uses artwork or images that require a licensing agreement, you want to make sure that the license is transferable with the end product. 

Depending on how you use the cover design, you may need an extended license rather than the standard one provided. It’s critical that you get this information upfront to avoid headaches later. 

What’s the Final Verdict?

A book cover template is a convenient way for authors to get a great book cover design fast. Just make sure that the design is unique enough, and customizable enough (or not downloaded too many times) before buying it. Your story is unique, so you don’t want your book cover to be a replica of someone else’s cover. 

As always, do your research. Read reviews. Get recommendations and trust your gut. If it sounds too good to be true, then you probably need to read the fine print of the Terms of Agreement again. If terms of use are not provided, run!

Shannon Clark

Written by
Shannon Clark

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