How to Make Your Own Cover

by | May 25, 2020 | Editing Corner, General, Writing Craft | 7 comments

Designing a cover for your masterpiece often involves a lot of hand wringing and angst or the exchange of hard-earned loot. I’m going to walk you through how I use open-source (i.e., Free) software to create a cover image file to send to your publisher.

A lot of people use a cover artist to create a cover, but you have to pay for the service, and sometimes if a book doesn’t sell, then you never get into the black. First, let’s talk about finances.

I’ve always created my covers but assume that a writer is going to spend somewhere between $50 – $300 per cover. You may pay more or less but adjust the numbers to match your unique situation. For the purpose of this explanation, let us assume a price of $50 for a cover. I would think that you are going to pay at least $50.

If your story is going to sell for $2.99 as that’s the lowest price you can charge and get a 70% commission on each sell. Three bucks means that every copy you sell will put about two dollars in your grubby hands

Complicated math tells us that you have to sell 25 copies of your story to pay for the $50 cover design fee. Twenty-five copies may mean that you’ll be working for the cover designer instead of yourself. For a new author, having to sell twenty-five copies may mean that you will never make a penny on a story, much less be able to buy that new vibrator you’ve had your eye on.

I’m going to attempt to create a cover with InkScape for my upcoming story, House Party 3, to show you how easy it is.

First, download the development copy of InkScape 1.1 at The current released version is 1.0 but go into the development section and download the latest version. You will also need to download 7zip if you don’t have it. 7Zip or another type of decompression program will open the file.

Unzip the file and place it on your computer. Using the Windows explorer look in the \bin folder and double-click on InkScape.exe. The development version doesn’t have an installer yet so you have to manually start it. What I did was create a link on my desktop to run the program.

I create simple covers with typically an image, a text box with my name, and a text box with the name of the story. So it’s three things mashed together.

  1. Double-clicking on InkScape.exe should start the program.
  2. Click on File | Document Properties.
  3. I always make my covers 1600 pixels wide x 2400 pixels high. If you use different size covers, enter the width and length as appropriate. Change the Display Units to Pixels (px).
  4. In the middle of the Page document properties, first change the Units to Pixels (px). Then enter a width of 1600 and a height of 2400. Your Document Properties should look like this.

    Then click on the X to close the window.
  5. After closing the Document Properties, you should see a wireframe and checking the rulers; the size should be 1600×2400.
  6. Using the Windows File Manager, find your cover image. Left click on the image and holding the left mouse button down, drag it over and drop it inside the frame. Just okay the default import options.
  7. The image will likely not fill the wireframe of the cover.
  8. Point in the middle of the picture and holding down the left button, drag the image until the top left corner snaps to the corner of the frame.

    Using one of the corner handles, drag the image until it fills the frame. I’m assuming that your image is the right ratio of width to height. If your image is not a 1:1.5 ratio, then you’ll need to open it with GIMP or PhotoShop and crop it. I’ll save that exercise for another time.
  9. At this point, our wireframe should have the background image fully filling the frame.
  10. Click on the A on the left hand tool box to creat a tex box. Click inside the background image and you should see a blinking vertical bar. Type in “House Party,” without the quotes. Select the pointer tool (the arrow at the left side, top). Then drag the handles until the text looks reasonable. As the background is dark, click the White square on the bottom, which will change the text to white and better contrast the letters against the background.
  11. Pointing in the middle of the text box, drag the words around until they look good. Remember you can drag the handles to change the size of the words.
  12. Using the same method, add a three on the dude’s shirt.
  13. Across the bottom, type in my name, Larry Archer. Our cover is complete!
  14. That wasn’t hard, was it? Now we just need to export the image. This is an area of InkScape that needs to be cleaned up, in my opinion. First, save your cover to the computer.
  15. Click on File | Export PNG Image. Set the Image Size DPI to 300. Then change the width and height to 1600 x 2400. Note that the DPI changes to 96 but ignore that for now.
  16. Click Advanced in the export section, then change pHYs to 300 DPI.
  17. Click the Export As button and select a file name and location.
  18. Then finally, click the Export button, and we are done.

If you right-click on the exported image, it should be 1600×2400 pixels and ready to ship off to your publisher. Pat yourself on the back for saving money and you’ll be able to pocket all that loot rather than sending it off to the cover designer.

What is nice about object software such as InkScape, everything is an object, which can be moved, resized, or deleted easily. Once you have a starting cover, save it as a template. By opening a template, all of the setup steps are already done for you to minimize the amount of work to create a cover.

Until next month, this is Larry Archer, signing off and reminding you that National Masturbation Month is almost over, so keep practicing. If your credit card is burning a hole in your pocket, grab a dirty story to read from Larry Archer. Some of my stories are on Kindle Unlimited and can be read for free. Check out my blog at:

Larry Archer

Larry Archer is an author of explicit erotica stories, primarily stroke material but with a plot (I'd like to think). I write about swingers, girl-on-girl, cuckold/Hotwife couples, strip clubs, some BDSM, and everything bareback in a light-hearted humorous style. I've been writing smut for a little over five years and think I have a decent aptitude for it. Wifey and I are in "The Lifestyle" and use our adventures as a basis for a lot of the stories I have written. My motto is "Erotica from the dirty mind of Larry Archer," which pretty much says it all. I enjoy writing dirty smut stories, which are full of people doing things to each other that are probably against the law somewhere. My audience also includes a lot of women, which has always surprised me as I consider my porn more for guys. But it seems that a lot of women like stories about consensual no strings attached (NSA) sex, which are always HEA. My erotica is basically written in a realistic escapism style, which allows you to fantasize about scenes, which most people will never experience. While somewhat extreme at times, the storyline is never so far-fetched that you can't imagine it actually happening, especially with people we know. A lot of my stories revolve around a swinger couple, who owns a strip club in Vegas and sound suspiciously like us! While the choice to write ourselves into our stories, was probably a poor decision at the time, I initially started out writing about our life experiences and our alter egos, Foxy and Larry, took on a life of their own. I typically write Novellas or stories in the 20 to 60,000-word category. My writing style is like that of Stephen King, where I turn the characters lose between my ears and just write down what they do, as the story plays out in my mind. I'm just a scribe who stands in the background and copies everything down that the perverts say and do while trying not to get anything splashed on my keyboard. Probably different from a lot of writers, I do not have an English or Literature background. My training is in engineering and computer programming, which if you know engineers you realize that we struggle with proper English. But I'd like to think that my stories are reasonably well put together and readable. I've published 20 stories to date, which have all been typically 4-5 star rated. I self-publish and do all my own covers, so I'm a one-stop shop, with nobody to blame but myself. I publish on Amazon, SmashWords, Excessica, Apple, B&N, Kobo, Excitica, as well as a number of others. Visit me at to contact me or learn more about my stories here


  1. Lisabet Sarai

    Short, sweet and very useful, Larry.

    Just a reminder that you really do need to save your cover as high resolution (300 dpi) or it will look absolutely awful when it’s scaled down.

    I always make my covers 2000×3000. But it’s really the aspect ratio (ratio of width to height) that publishers and online stores care about. 1600×2400 is also 2/3 ration, so that’s good.

    • larry archer

      My thinking is that if I make the cover 1600×2400 then it’s an easy scale down to 200×300 for a thumbnail. You’re 100% on the money about high resolution. Exporting to high rez from InkScape has been an issue that I had problems until I discovered the one advanced setting that would fix the resolution at 300 dpi.

  2. Jean Roberta

    This looks very useful. I’ve always relied on others to make my covers.

    • larryarcher


      Just start by making the covers simple and work up from there.

  3. steve

    Hi i have failed at the first hurdle – where on earth is the 1.1 version to download??? I’ve gone to the develop tab but can’t find it and it’s talking about coding and things I don’t understand :/

    Can you link directly to the page or something please

    • steve

      Well I just ended up downloading the 1.0 version, unzipped it but the Inkscape.exe doesn’t seem to open? Why is it always me lol

  4. steve

    OK managed to open – when you say Using the Windows File Manager, find your cover image,

    What images do you use? I assume I can’t just find one off google as they are copyright? So how do you get you inital images and where from before you make them into covers, or does copyright not matter??

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