eBook Cover to Print and Audio

From eBook Cover to Print and Audio with Free Tools

I’ve been going on and on about book covers for the better part of three years now, with good reason. Your book cover is the thing that grabs the attention of potential readers. It’s pretty important.

That’s why I always recommend that you have your cover done professionally. As I’ve said before, I started out as a DIY guy and that’s still something that runs very deep with me. If there’s a way to DIY it, I want to know how to do it. I like to be very hands-on in my business. I don’t just throw money at it.

A good chunk of my following also have that DIY mindset, so I share this type of content for you.

Prerequisite: A Professional eBook Cover DesigneBook Cover to Print and Audio

If you’ve been around here for any time at all, then you know I highly recommend the Fiverr provider, OliviaProDesign. She’s done covers for me, she’s done covers for all of the Book Rescue candidates, and she’s done covers for countless members of the SPwD community.

She charges $10 for an eBook cover. TEN DOLLARS!!! That’s a steal. She also has a deal where if you contact her before you order a gig, she’ll put together a custom deal for you to do all your covers: eBook, paperback, and audiobook for around $50. You won’t find a better value. You may be able to get a hardcover as well.

However, if you don’t have the discretionary funds for the whole shebang, all you have to come up with is 10 bucks.

Whoever designs your book cover, make sure you get source files! This will make your life easier in the long run should you want to make any changes to your cover or convert like I’m going to show you in this tutorial. Source files would be a PSD or layered PDF.

Once you have your eBook cover, you’re ready to get to work converting it for your other endeavors.

What Else You Need

You need a few other things. Some are obvious like an Internet connection, but you also need:

  • A print manuscript that’s ready to publish. Why? See below…
  • Page count of your print manuscript
  • What paper type your plan to use with your print book – You need these 3 pieces of information to get a template for your paperback and hardcover
  • Some patience. If you don’t have experience with image editing software, this will be all new to you
  • A high res version of your eBook cover – You can ask your designer to provide you with a 300dpi version of your cover, or you can upscale whatever file you have using this free online tool – https://imgupscaler.com/. Go for the 400% option.

Now, let’s go grab your print template from KDP – https://kdp.amazon.com/cover-calculatorkdp cover templates

You can see the data I used in the image to the right to generate my print and hard cover templates.

I chose what I thought would be most often used:

  • Black & white
  • Cream paper
  • Inches
  • 6×9

with a 250 page count which ensures we also have to create a spine.

Many books will be too thin to include your title and author on the spine. This is okay, don’t worry about it.

Once you have all of your information plugged in, click the yellow Calculate dimensions button and then Download Template.

I repeated the process for the hardcover template using the same specs.

You’ll receive a zip file containing a PNG and PDF of your print cover templates and detailed instructions on what to do with them. I am your Read Me file.

If you don’t know how to open zip files, you’ll want to download a free utility like 7Zip. This makes opening most compressed file types super easy. Just left-click and choose Extract here or you can extract to a folder with the same name as the zip file.


Here comes the fun part! Buckle up!

Editing Your Print Cover Templates

I recommend making a copy of your eBook cover file and work with that rather than your only original copy. A JPG is fine. I think I have a PNG to work with today which is also fine.

Importing Your eBook Cover Image as Your Front Cover

We’re going to be using Photopea which is a free online Photoshop alternative.

Step 1. Click the Open From Computer button and navigate to the PDF file of your cover template either for your paperback or hardcover. I’m going to be working with the paperback. Click Open.

photopea open

Step 2. Click File and select Open & Place from the drop-down menu. Select your eBook cover image and click Open.

open and place

Photopea will open and place your cover image over your template. It will also create a new layer for your cover image in the Layers panel to the right.

open and place

Step 3. The image is already selected. You can tell because the anchor points in the corners and along the edges are visible. Click and drag the image to left side of the template where your front cover is. Use the anchor points to stretch the cover to fit the area inside the pink box. If you need to be able to see the pink box beneath your cover image, you can adjust the opacity using the slider in the Layers panel to the right. Just click the down arrow to access the slider.

Place the right edge of your cover image right up to the dotted line which indicates where your spine begins.

place cover image and resize

The pink area is a bleed area, so make sure no writing appears over the pink areas.

Once your image is placed, resized, and looks like mine above, you’re ready to set your opacity back to 100%.

Step 4. Click the down arrow next to Opacity in the Layers panel and slide back to 100%.

front cover complete

That’s starting to look amazing, right?

Creating Your Back Cover

Step 1. Add a new layer by clicking the New Layer icon on the Layers panel.

new layer

Photopea will add a new transparent layer on top of your eBook cover layer.

Step 2. Click and drag this new layer under your eBook cover layer in the Layers panel. This means that your eBook cover layer will always appear on top of this layer which is what we want.

drag and drop layer

Now, we’re going to add a solid color to the spine and back cover areas. I usually like to select a color directly from the front cover. This way, our cover will match nicely and blend together. I’m going to pick a dark color.

Step 3. Click the black color square in your toolbox and then click the area in your eBook cover image you want to sample the color from. The Color Picker box will appear showing the color you’ve selected. Click OK.

color picker

Step 4. Long-click the Gradiant Tool until the fly-out menu appears. Select the Paint Bucket Tool.

paint bucket tool

Step 5. Click in the back cover to change your transparent layer to the color you selected.

color back cover

Nice. Now, we’ll want to bring the opacity down a bit like we did for the front cover, so we can make sure we’re keeping our text inside the pink areas.

Get your back cover text ready. You can use your book description or you can craft exclusive copy. What it should not be is a synopsis of your book. Like your book description, you want it to hook the reader and make them want to read your book. Grab my free template from Brian Meeks over at https://bookrescueshow.com/meekstemplate

For this tutorial, I’m just using Lorem Ipsum dummy text.

Now…you can format your text with Photopea, but I actually found this to be clunky and hard to deal with. It pasted in my text super small and it was in two lines that ran off the page. When I got a reasonable font applied to it and changed the color to white, it was so close together that it was difficult to read. I suggest formatting your text in Canva and bringing it into Photopea as an image like we did with our eBook cover image.

This will cut back on the number of steps and potential obstacles you might encounter.

Step 10. Click the T in the Toolbox to select the Text Tool. Copy your text and paste it in your back cover. This will automatically create a new text layer and you will most likely need to drag and drop it above your back cover layer so it’s visible.

Sample a Color from Your eBook Cover Image

I’m going to use white text. You can sample another color from your eBook cover image to use instead of just plain white if you want. To do so, click the colored squares in the Toolbox in Photopea and click the area in your eBook cover image that you want to sample.

When you’re happy with the color, copy your # code from the Color Picker and paste it in notepad or write it down so you can use it in Canva.

grabbing a text color

Step 6. Go to Canva.com and either create an account or sign in. Canva is a free service with a Pro upgrade. The free account will suffice for this application and many other things.

Now, we know that our back cover is 6×9 inches, so we want to make a custom design in Canva.

Step 7. Click the Custom size button.

canva custom design

Step 8. Type in your dimensions and select in from the drop-down menu. Click the purpose Create new design button.


Now, we have a decision to make.

If you have a Canva Pro account, you can download your design with a transparent background which is what we would want for our layered print cover design. If you have a Canva Pro account, you can skip this little sidenote.

If you don’t have a Canva Pro account, let’s create a background in our Canva design that matches the background color of our back cover. Make sure your opacity for your back cover layer is 100%, and go in and sample the color just like we did for choosing this back cover color.  Here’s a refresher on how to do that.

Click Background in the left navigation of your Canva design.

canva design background

Click the color palette icon at the top of the navigation panel fly-out menu.
color palette icon
Click the Add a new color button.
add a new color button
Paste your # code in the box. Your background will now become the desired color.
canva background color

Step 9. Click Text in the navigation panel.

click text

Step 10.  Click Add a little bit of body text. Canva will add a text area to your design.

add body text

Step 11. Press Ctrl+V to paste in your back cover copy.

back cover copy

Canva will mostly likely paste in white text on a dark background or black text on a light background. You can choose a custom color by clicking the A icon with the rainbow beneath it in the toolbar above the design screen. If you selected a sample from your front cover design in Photopea, this would be where you want to paste the # code you saved.

To format our text, we are going to use the text formatting tools across the top of the design screen, but first, we want to drag and drop our text box anchors, so we know they fit inside the pink area of our template in Photopea.

Since we don’t have the aid of our template in Canva, you’re going to have to eyeball it in comparison with your back cover area in Photopea. Don’t worry if you don’t get it exactly right, we can adjust the size of the image in Photopea to ensure it fits inside the designated print area.

placing text

Now, format. You’ll have to play around with the different tools to make your text look the way you want. Here’s what I did:

  • I didn’t want it centered, so I justified it.
    NOTE: When you’re working with your text as a whole, press Ctrl+A to select it all. When it’s selected, it will be highlighted.
  • I wanted a serif font, so I chose Bookmania.
  • I adjusted my font size.
  • I adjusted the letter and line spacing. Since I justified my text, I had some lines that were stretched with large gaps between the words. Adjusting the letter spacing fixed this.

Here’s what I ended up with:

formatting back cover text

This is a little large, but if I need to adjust it in Photopea, it will allow for that. Also, your copy may be longer than mine and using like a 12pt font will look nice. You have to spend time on it and get it looking good to your eye. Also, make sure you leave plenty of room in the bottom left corner for your barcode.

Once you’re satisfied, you’re ready to download the image from Canva.

Step 12. Click Share in the top right corner of your screen and select Download from the drop-down menu. Canva will default to PNG and that’s fine. Click the purple Download button.

download your design

Step 13. Back in Photopea, click File and select Open & place from the drop-down menu.

open and place

Step 14. Select your text image, and click Open. Photopea will place your new text image into your workspace and create a new layer just like before.

new text layer

Go ahead and drag and drop the text to where you want it on your back cover. You can dial back the opacity on both layers so you can see your template and avoid that pink area.

If you downloaded your text graphic from Canva with a background, it may cover the pink area. That’s okay. It’s only text and barcodes that we don’t want to in the pink areas. Solid colors and image edges are fair game.

text placed

About That Barcode

Let’s go ahead and talk about where to get your barcode at this point.

Amazon will place a barcode on your cover automatically if you so choose during the publishing process. You can also place this yourself. Go here and input your information, download the barcode image, and open and place it in the designated area on your back cover the exact same way we placed your eBook cover image and your text image.

Your barcode should fit in the yellow area specified in the template, so resize and place accordingly.

NOTE: If you want your barcode to have a transparent background, download as a PNG. If you want it on a white background (recommended), select JPG from the drop-down menu in the barcode generator at Kindlepreneur linked above.

Creating Your Spine

Step 1. In Photopea, click the T in the Toolbox to select the Text Tool and then click in your workspace to create a new text layer.

text tool

Step 2. Type the title of your book, put in a few spaces, and then type your author name.

book spine text

Step 3. Click Edit, select Transform from the drop-down menu, and then select the first Rotate 90 from the fly-out menu. This will rotate your text horizontally to fit your spine.

rotate text

Step 4. Click the Move Tool and drag and drop your spine text in your spine. The same rules apply here. You must stay out of the pink area.

move tool spine text

NOTE: Some books won’t be thick enough to include text on the spine. I’m not sure what the minimum page count is, but if the area of the spine is all pink in your template or there is only a thin white area, don’t even try to add text. Amazon will kick an error on your cover. It’s better to have no text than to have text that is too miniscule to read.

Step 5. If you need to adjust your font size, color, etc., you can use the toolbar across the top of your workspace when your text is highlighted. Also, click between your title and author name and insert a few more spaces until your spine looks nicely spaced.

completed book spine

That’s it. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might insert a logo or author picture with a link to your website or email list sign up if you have some extra space like I do on my cover next to my barcode. You would simply place these elements using the knowledge you’ve gained about inserting images and text with Photopea from this tutorial.

Step 6. Set all layers back to 100% opacity. At this point, click File and select Save as PSD from the drop-down. This will preserve all of your work that you’ve done thus far including your template.

save as a psd

Step 7. Delete all template layers from the Layers panel leaving the layers you’ve created. Click the first template layer, hold the Shift key, and click the last one to select them all at once. Right-click and select Delete. This will leave you with just 3 or 4 layers in your Layers panel. You should still see you entire book cover. If you delete something by mistake, press Ctrl+Z and try again.

delete template layers

Step 8. Click Image, select Mode, and click CMYK.



Step 9. Click Image, select Image Size, set the DPI to 300, and click OK.


Step 10. Click File, select Export as and select PDF.

save as pdf

That’s it. You now have a paperback cover that is ready to upload.

I recommend saving again as a PSD here just in case you need to tweak the cover. If Amazon kicks an error, they will tell you the problem and you can fix it. Just open the PSD in Photopea and make the necessary adjustment.

If you have any issues with Photopea, it’s fairly well documented and you should be able to find instructions on whatever you need online.

Creating a Hard Back Cover

The steps are the exact same for your hard back cover. The sizing and adjustments are just a little different. Open the template in Photopea to see what you’re working with. It’s so similar, that going through the entire tutorial again would be kind of a waste of time. Refer to what you’ve learned thus far and go through the previous steps again as your work on your hard cover.

Save copies and the final just as we did with the paperback version.

Creating an Audiobook Cover

Step 1. Open Canva and create a custom design with 3200×3200 pixels. Click the purple Create new design button.

audiobook design canva

Step 2. Click Uploads in the left navigation and upload your eBook cover image to Canva.

canva uploads

Step 3. Click your cover to add it to your design.

add cover to design

Step 4. Resize your image by dragging the anchor points.

Resize cover

Step 5. Click Share and select Download from the drop-down menu in the top-right of your screen to download your image as a PNG and JPG from Canva.

The nature of my cover is such that not much data was lost by just increasing the size to fit the width of the audiobook cover and adding in my author name again that got cut off in the process.

You may not have the same luck with your cover. There may be many details that are lost if you do it this way. Hopefully, you received a source file when you had your cover designed like a PSD file. In this case, you can use Photopea again and resize and move elements around to fit.

Got to Photopea.com and click New Project.
open photopea
Set the size to 3200×3200 pixels and click Create.
Open your eBook cover PSD in Photopea by click File and select Open. Navigate to your cover file and click Open.
photopea open file
Your PSD will open in a new tab inside Photopea. You can then select all of the layers and drag them into your audiobook cover file and resize them and place them as needed. Switch between the different elements in the Layers panel. Click each layer to work with it individually. Here’s a great video showing how to work with layers.

There are many great tutorials and tips on YouTube if you want to learn more about using Photopea. It’s a great skill to have and if you ever decide to upgrade to Photoshop, you’ll already have an idea how it works.

Once you have everything where you want it, save your file as a PSD so you have an editable copy. Then export it as a PNG or a JPG.

If you just have basic elements like colored shapes and thick fonts, sometimes you can just resize the image to the new square shape. It might squish your fonts, but it may not look too bad. If your cover has a solid background color, you can make the background of your audiobook cover that same color and just put your eBook cover image over it and the color will blend in with the surrounding one.

Did This Help You?

My brain is jello. This tutorial was a massive undertaking and something I shy away from most of the time because software and tools change all the time and leave your tutorials looking dated. It’s much easier to film a video and then just update the video.

I hope you find it helpful, and I’d love to hear from you. This is something I might consider doing more of if it’s helpful. Otherwise, it’s just a huge time-suck with no benefit.

If you went out and bought yourself a $10 book cover and you were able to transform it yourself without eating into your bottom line, leave me a comment below for my hard work! If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me!

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