Author Resouce: (Free) Mock Up Covers For Marketing with Placeit 📚

Book mockups are an effective marketing tool for your book promo campaign. Placeit offers over 60,000 ready-to-use templates, designs and mockup tools. We will be focusing on the book mockup options they have on offer.

What Kind of Marketing Solutions Does Placeit Provide?

  • Create lead magnets and promo material for social media.
  • The other options available at Placeit allow you to design stationery, mugs, animations, t-shirts and templates. It’s pretty exhaustive.

How to Create Book Covers on Placeit with Free Templates – It’s Easy!

Creating book cover mockups is really simple with this tool- there are 30+ free options. First, you decide if you want your book to be presented as a hardcover or soft cover and against any specific background (wooden table in the instance below). Then click on the image of your choice and upload the front cover of your book from your device or import the image.

screengrab of template of Placeitmockup template featuring hard cover book placed on wooden table
Moving On by Jaya Jha

There is also an option to add text and logo to the image (the image below is slightly altered from the original). The final image is a high-resolution watermark-free one

Screengrab of placeit template of girl holding a book while sitting down on a wooden floor
Moving On by Jaya Jha- A Romantic Read

Placeit- Recommended or not?

Worth trying. This tool is free and the image created is commercially usable.


Looking for a professional cover for your book? Check out our cover design services.

Author Resource: Canva- The Ultimate in (Free) DIY Design✏️

Canva, everyone’s DIY design tool, is an Australian online design platform. It is designed for anyone, designer or not.  The seamless design opportunity is made possible with an extensive image library, readymade templates, photo filters and a huge number of fonts. You can also share your work with your team or post it directly on social media.

There are two versions- free and paid if you opt for Canva’s Magic Resize tool.

Seven Ways in which Canva Benefits Authors

  • If you are struggling with design, you may want to consider a more easy-to-use design platform.
  • When you are stuck at various points in the design process, be it sourcing images, resizing an existing design, sourcing a variety of free fonts, Canva provides a variety of options.
  • Is the pricing of design options freaking you out? Even if you don’t hire a designer, you can use Canva on your own and instantly design posters, book covers, presentations and social media headers.
  • The templates available help you to create effective visual aids for marketing campaigns.
  •  If you are in a hurry to get a book cover out or hiring a designer is out of your budget at the moment, Canva provides a variety of free book cover options.
  • There are a variety of illustrations you can access for free on Canva.
  • You can even design a quick website content to promote your book using the website templates available at Canva.

How to Use it- It’s Easy!

  • Sign up.
  • Scroll through the design templates on offer. You can also custom size the design.
  • In case of book covers there are many options including book covers for cookbooks,art journals, business books, Wattpad books, children’s books and many others.
  • The template box opens and you can choose the design, change the background, upload images, use existing images (free or paid) and shapes from the left-hand side. There are additional options to add music, emojis, maps and QR codes.
  • Once the design is ready, you can share or download the design in different formats.
screengrab of book cover designed at canva
A book cover designed at Canva

Canva: Recommended or Not?

Highly recommended.

Interview with Hema Saramma Varghese, Freelance Book Cover Designer and Illustrator

We conducted an interview with Hema Saramma Varghese, the Freelance Book Cover Designer and Illustrator who works with us at and has been designing covers with us for around nine years. She has done her  MCA  from  MK University, Tamil Nadu. She lives in Trivandrum, Kerala, with her husband and daughter. Her passions include photography, visiting art exhibitions and experimenting with new handmade craftworks. She loves to watch old classic movies.  You can check out her FB feed here:

Describe the cover creation process in brief. What are the parameters you look at before starting and how do you go about it?

Most authors either call me up or maybe send me a short synopsis of the book they have written. They even send me their ideas of what they expect their cover to look like. If the idea is pretty complicated, then sometimes I need to step into their shoes and imagine what they are visualizing. Perspective is one parameter that I look into before I start with any complicated cover design work.

Sometimes the thoughts of an author can go pretty much overboard. They conceptualize a lot of stuff on their cover which don’t make a good fir aesthetically speaking. A bold and a specific theme that goes along with their writing is another parameter that I look into while creating cover design.

The last but not  least parameter includes the colors which give an overall feel of the book for a specific genre. But then sometimes, in the end, the colors are always left to the author’s discretion.

How many revisions does a cover typically go through?

A maximum of 3 revisions.

Why is cover design important? Your message to writers and potential cover creators.

Recently I read in a magazine that a cover design is like a 3-second ad and every writer needs a design that can catch the attention of the readers.

Well, I am a lover of art. When I was a young child, I had a library full of books published by Ladybird (A London-based publisher, now a part of Penguin publishers). There was one book that I read and I never liked its story. But I never gave the book to anyone because I loved its cover design.  Everytime I held the book, I spent more time looking at the design. After many years I realized that cover design is a unique art.

My message to all potential writers and all  writers who have not seen a breakthrough with all their writings is to Never separate creativity and writing. Both need each other just like a soul needs a heart and a heart needs a soul. Your creative idea for your cover design can speak more volumes than all the words you may have written in your book.

And to all potential cover creators, learn to respect the author’s ideas. Learn to implement it and learn to give. Ultimately this will help you to grow not only professionally but even on a personal level.

How did you get into cover designing?

After completing my Masters in Computer Applications from MK University, I got married and settled in Bangalore. I didn’t find any life in programming and instead I enjoyed doodling a lot. I created a portfolio of  art works and then mailed it to all the well-known advertising agencies in Bangalore. My works were noticed and thus I got a job as as a junior graphic designer in a graphic design firm. My first book cover design work was a handbook about a school festival from a reputed school in Bangalore.

That’s how I got into cover designing.

Who is your inspiration when it comes to art/cover design?

I pick up inspiration from  books, newspapers, film posters and even art exhibitions. Even nature is a great inspiration for me to do a cover design project.

Which cover that you have designed are you the proudest of? 

The Legend of Amarapali by Anurag Anand – a woman oriented historical fiction book.

You also create infographics and comics at InstaScribe. Tell us about the experience.

As a graphic designer, I love comics more than Infographics. On a professional level, learning to create comics is a challenging experience, especially when I need to create comics as per other people’s ideas. But then this helps me a lot in my visualization and illustration skills.

Some links to Infographics and Illustrations Sara has worked on at InstaScribe here:

World Book Tour- Japan

How to write a Romance Novel

The Secret Life of the Writer’s Cat

You’re a freelance cover designer based in Trivandrum. Tell us what you do when you don’t design covers and create graphic art.

Other than doing my usual household chores, I keep updating myself with new graphic design trends or participate in workshops where new handmade craft works are taught.

Do you have any advice for cover designers who are starting out- any software they should know or courses they should be doing?

Listen and learn about the author’s ideas and give as per the author’s requirement. Adobe Photoshop or any other image editing softwares will be the best software to start out with.

Thanks Sara! Was a pleasure talking to you.



Designing Cover and Understanding Images

The most frequent reason why book submissions do not go through in one go at is because cover is not submitted in a print ready format. The bad news is that it needs some technical understanding to get your cover right. The good news is that it is not too difficult to understand. You only need to spend a few minutes of your time. Let’s do it right now.

Parts of the Cover

First, let’s understand the different parts of the cover.

  1. Front Cover: Should be self explanatory.
  2. Back Cover: Should be self explanatory.
  3. Spine: This is the part that covers the thickness of the book.
  4. Bleed: Bleed is not a part of the final cover, but needs to be present in the print ready cover file. This is extension of the background of the cover a bit beyond the actual size. The book is printed and bound, usually on the paper of size bigger than the final intended size. After the binding is done, the book is trimmed to the final size. This ensures that all the pages are trimmed evenly and the book looks good. Now, even the best trimming processes will not be completely accurate. There will always be a margin of error in the size to which the book is trimmed. If the cover is printed in exactly the final size, then a slight error in trimming could result in a white line on the sides. To avoid this the background is extended a bit. The part you see in the image below outside of dotted lines on all four sides is the bleed.


Next thing to understand is the position of the different parts of the cover on the print ready file.

  • Cover is printed on a single page. So, a print ready cover will have front and back covers as well as spine on a single page in a single file. You may initially design front and back covers separately, but finally they have to be put together on a single page.
  • To understand the correct position of the various parts on that single page, open any book you have and then look at the cover. For most of the Indian languages and English, which are written left to right, the binding is done on the left side of the book. So, if you are looking at the cover of an open book, back cover will be on the left side, spine in the middle and front cover on the right side. This is exactly how the print ready cover should have these parts positioned. For Urdu and other Right to Left languages, the position of front and back cover would be switched. In either case, bleed goes around the entire cover. Never design separate front cover, back cover and spine with bleed on all sides. Bleed goes only around the entire cover, not around the individual parts! I know I am being repetitive here, but that’s intentional.

Size of the Cover

Now, let’s come to the size of the cover. Dimensions will be a bit different for a hard cover book. To keep things simple, let’s talk about perfect bound (normal soft cover books) and saddle stitched (center stapled) books.

  • Front Cover and Back Cover should be a no brainer. You want the front and back cover in the same size as the trim size you have decided for the book. So, for a book of 5″x8″ size, the front and back cover should be of 5″x8″ size
  • Spine is the tricky part because its width will obviously vary with the number of pages. It is important to work with your printer to ensure that your spine thickness is right. Else, everything on front and back cover will be placed wrongly and all your design will go down the drain. Offset printers may sometimes ask you for front, back and spine in separate files in an editable format (photoshop, illustrator, indesign or coreldraw typically) so that they can adjust the spine width if needed. This model is not feasible for most Print on Demand (POD) vendors. They would, generally, provide clear formula on spine width as a function of number of pages. Use the formula and stick to it strictly. Because of the spine width part, the cover design can be finalized only after the interior is formatted and we know the final number of pages. Unless you are comfortable with graphic design or have a designer at your disposal to keep making adjustments, you may not want to start cover design before interior formatting in final.
  • Saddle stitched books will not need a spine, although the number of pages for which you can do saddle stitching is usually limited.
  • Bleed should be added to the entire cover. Typically POD printers will specify the bleed you should put in your design. If your printer has asked for the front, back and spine as separate files (mostly in case of offset printer), add the bleed only on the relevant side of each part. Assuming Left to Right language for the book
    • Front Cover: Top, right and bottom should have the bleed, left should NOT
    • Back Cover: Top, left and bottom should have the bleed, right should NOT
    • Spine: Top and bottom should have the bleed, left and right should NOT
  • Typically the cover design specifications would tell you the total size of the cover and also the sizes of individual parts in it (WIDTH: bleed+trim width (back cover) + spine width + trim width (front cover) + bleed; HEIGHT: bleed + trim height + bleed) . It is extremely IMPORTANT to stick to both parts of the specification. Common mistakes people make are
    • Having correct overall size for the cover, but random sizes for individual parts (front cover, spine and/or back cover)
    • Having correct size for front and back cover, but putting in spine of a random width
  • Be careful of such mistakes, as you may hate the book that comes in your hand even if the design and production quality was the best otherwise.

Reoslution of the Cover

Finally a very important part about a concept called resolution. In the world of computers, the measure of length is in pixels. Pixels have no equivalent in physical world. So, you can not say something like 1 inch = N pixels. It is always decided by the device displaying the image as to how many pixels are displayed in inch. This measure is called pixels per inch or PPI. DPI is a term more commonly used for PPI, even though its not the correct usage. Without getting into details, let’s say that DPI and PPI are interchangeable terms for our discussion. Since DPI is the word more commonly used, we will also use DPI here. So, when you are trying to create an image of certain width and height in inches on the computer, you also need to know at what DPI you have to create it at. Typically for on-screen display (on monitor) 72 or 96 DPI is good. But for print the image must be at 300 DPI. Anything lower than that would result in bad print even if it appears good on screen.

To make this concept clear, let’s take a simple example. Suppose you have to design a cover for a book of 5″x7″ size. The spine width, given the number of pages, is 0.35 inch and you are required to put in 0.2 inches of bleed on all sides. Then

  • Total size of the cover in inches is
    • Width: 0.2 (bleed) + 5 (back cover) + 0.35 (spine) + 5 (front cover) + 0.2 (bleed) = 10.75
    • Height: 0.2 (bleed) + 7 (cover) + 0.2 = 7.4
  • This cover has to be designed at 300 DPI
  • So, the size in pixels would be
    • Width: 10.75 x 300 = 3225
    • Height: 7.4 x 300 = 2220

In most modern image editors, you should be able to specify the width and height in inches/mm and the DPI. So, you do not need to worry about the pixels. But it is important that you specify the DPI correctly.

In Photoshop, when you create a new image, you will see a dialog like this. You can specify PPI/DPI in Resolution field.

In Gimp (a free and open source alternative to Photoshop) the default dialog will be the following and you would have to click on the “Advanced Options” to get the DPI setting

Clicking on “Advanced Options” will show the place to specify DPI (X resolution and Y resolution).

So, now you know all about the image sizes and how to get the right size of your cover.

If you need to prepare a cover for publishing on, you may check out the following options

Book Design for different distribution mediums

Gone are the days when there was one and only one tried and tested way of distributing your book. Life has more choices and complications now. You can choose between the form in which to distribute the book. e.g. e-book or print book. You can choose the distribution medium for the book, which could be online or offline. Certain book design decisions will depend on which of these choices have you made.

We will specifically talk about distribution of print books through online mediums vs. offline mediums. Let us first look at some characteristics of online and offline mediums.

  • Search vs. Browse: This refers to whether a potential reader has reached your book by searching (for specific content) or by browsing (through all kinds of content). In general browsing will be more common way a reader will find your book in the offline store (especially the modern format retails where they encourage browsing), whereas search will be the dominant one in online mediums.
  • Distraction opportunities and options to engage the reader: Online stores will typically have a book page, which will, at the minimum, give information about the book. Information about the author, publisher, other contributors can also be typically made available. Then editorial and user generated reviews might be there. Overall, once a reader has reached the book page, there are ample opportunities to increase the engagement for that particular book without the actual book coming into picture. In the offline world, this opportunity will be missing. The books will mostly be kept next to each other and quickly passing on to the next book is easy.Online world has its own challenges for you as an author trying to sell the book. In an offline store, the physical book is immediately there in the hands of the reader. Quickly flipping through the book and reading a few paragraphs is easier for the reader and creates good engagement with the book. Even with features like preview or search inside, the effect of actually holding the book is not quite replicated in the online world.

What does all this mean in terms of design decisions?

  • Cover Design is extremely important in the offline world. It does not mean that you should have a bad cover if you are selling purely online, but in offline stores, the difference between a catchy and a non-catchy cover can be a lot. Word to note here is ‘catchy‘. Yes – the cover has to be beautiful and suitable for the book, but it also has to stand out and get the attention. A beautiful cover, if not catchy enough, would fail to ensure that the book gets picked up. Hence while designing the cover, a fine line between being catchy and being suitable has to be treaded. In trying to make the cover catchy, you can not make it too loud for its subject or target audience.In search oriented discovery, the cover design may not be that crucial. You still need to have a good and suitable cover. But you can relax a bit on the catchiness aspect.
  • Sub-title and back cover text must be used cleverly in offline world. In the offline stores, there is no equivalent of a “book page” from the online world. So, there is no separate place for you to put in engaging information about the book. All you have is the physical book, title, sub-title and back cover text.
    • You need a short, catchy and suitable title. Short because people may not read a long title in the short attention span they have. Catchy because once people read the title, they should be tempted to pick up the book. Suitable because if kids are getting attracted by the title of the book which was meant for techies, it would not result in the final sale.
    • If the title is catchy, but too symbolic, sub-title is the place to explain what the book is about. If the reader can’t quickly make up her mind about whether or not the book is interesting to her, she may be distracted easily.
    • After the book is picked up and title+sub-title encouraged the reader enough, in most of the cases she would either flip through the pages, look at the back cover or do both in no particular order. Here, the back cover text becomes very important and the space must be used properly. Typical text that can go on the back cover includes
      • About the author
      • A synopsis of the book
      • Excerpts from the Reviews of the book

      What works best depends on the genre of the book, popularity of the author etc. If it is a fiction by a new author, then a gripping synopsis or reviews will work better than the detailed author’s bio. If the fiction is by a well known author, then reference to author’s earlier work will definitely work to an advantage. If the book is a non-fiction and author’s professional life can show her to be an expert in the area, then author’s bio with details of her professional achievements will work well. There is no universally correct practice about what should go in the back cover text. Depending on the genre and the author, suitable text to attract the readers should be placed. Feel free to get creative, but remember that creativity should entice the reader, not confuse them!

    • Last, but not the least, the interior design comes in to picture. As mentioned, reader will tend to flip through the pages of the book before deciding to buy. Two things about interior design that are important would be
      • Looks of the interior: The interior should not be ugly. It should follow the good practices for headers, body text, separators, fonts, text-justification etc. The book should not be over-designed either. Unless it is a colorful children’s book or a coffee table book, where the design is the main part, the interior design should be such that it is not noticed! It should facilitate reading content, not hamper it. So, to repeat – not ugly, not over designed.
      • Readability of text: As the reader is flipping through the book, she wants to be able to read some parts from the book. If a readable font is not used or if the text is too dense, this gets hampered. Hence, the fonts and line spacing should be chosen carefully.

    In the online world, the information provided on the book page assumes similar importance. The content on the book page should be guided by the same overarching question of ‘What will make the reader want to pick the book up’.

Overall, the conclusion is that the design of the book, especially the cover, matters a lot in the offline world. It does not mean that if you are selling your book online, you should throw a bad design at your readers. What it means is that you have to be extra careful on the design aspects if you are planning to sell through offline store. Because small and subtle things may decide the fate of your book irrespective of its content. The design of the book has to ensure that it gets picked up by the target audience in an environment full of distraction.

[Self Publishing Guide] Self Publishing your Book – Step 2: Design the Book

This post is an excerpt from our Self Publishing Guide for Indian Market. If you have not, you may want to read the following post in this series before starting on this one

The book design is in two parts – the interior of the book and the cover.

Book interior. The layout, fonts, size, etc of the book needs to be designed according to the target audience. For instance, a children’s book will have more illustrations with larger, well spaced out fonts and an overall endearing look. On the other hand, a thriller will have a denser text with an easy-to-read font. Technical books are likely to have more diagrams and tables.

Book cover. Unfortunately, most people do judge a book by its cover. So, design an eye-popping cover for your prized work.

Suggestions for an attractive, effective book cover:

  • Do include the author’s photograph somewhere. This gives the author behind the book a personality and helps readers connect better.
  • Use the back cover to show positive reviews of the book and a gripping synopsis of its content.
  • The design of the front cover, title and subtitle should arouse the reader’s curiosity.
  • The book title and the author’s name should be printed on the spine for better visibility on a bookshelf. (This may not be possible for thinner books.)