Writing Advice: GIMP


We’ve talked about where to write your stories, where to format your stories, and now we get into the fun part, where to create book covers or promotional materials for your stories.


There are some authors who say you have to hire a graphic artist to create your book covers so that your book can compete with traditionally published books. Other authors say that you can create a worthy cover by using programs such as Gimp, Photo Shop Pro, or Print Artist Pro. There are also programs such as Canva and Book Cover Pro that are said to be easy to use.


I am of the mind that if you put in the work and research to find worthy pictures and programs to manipulate the pictures into a cover, you can create a cover that is both beautiful and inexpensive. If you don’t have the time or ambition, or maybe you just want a cover that is really too technical for a novice to create, then find a great graphic artist and let them do the heavy lifting. You can still save money by using one of these programs to help create promotional materials for your book such as bookmarks, posters, etc.


If you are ready to take that plunge into creating your own cover, I would suggest starting with Gimp. It’s a free photo manipulation program that is really nice. It comes with a learning curve, but there are plenty of YouTube videos to get you up to speed. You can cut pictures out, apply backgrounds, and even change hair color or eye color of your cover models.


I like that Gimp is free, but offers quite a few features that its more expensive counterparts also offer. You can download Gimp for free and play around with it. If you don’t like it, just uninstall it and move on with your life.


A word of caution: if you do want to make your own covers, please make sure to purchase the rights of the photos you want to use. Do not just get them off an Internet search. You’ll get into copyright issues and a world of pain if you do this. There are plenty of companies that will sell you the photo and its rights so that you can use them on your book covers and such.


Next month we’re delving into the wonderful world of character building. Can’t wait to see you!