Paid Cover Design Services
The original covers for my first few Lasniniar titles were designed by Robin Ludwig Design using paid, royalty-free images from Dreamstime. Robin is fantastic to work with, and I’ve always gotten my final covers within a week of contacting her for a project. (Even during Christmas!)
DIY Cover Design
Eventually, I started creating my cover art myself, although this isn’t necessarily for everyone. (I have an art/design background, and I love playing in Photoshop.) I also did a reboot of my previous Lasniniar covers to give my books an overall sense of author branding.
I have used a combination of free, royalty-free images and fonts, and paid, royalty-free stock images from Dreamstime for my covers in the past. (I’ve recently rebooted all my covers using paid images from Dreamstime.)
If you’re interested in learning more about designing your own ebook cover art for free, I wrote a blog post on it a while back. (Please note: Minimum cover image size requirements have increased since this post was written. You can check out the current sizing standards on Amazon/Smashwords/etc. where you are uploading your cover image.)
I design the maps for my books by drawing them on paper, scanning them onto my computer and dressing them up with Photoshop.
If you’re interested in doing the same, but don’t have a copy of Photoshop, Gimp is a free image manipulation tool. There are also some map generating software tools out there worth looking at. I’ve listed a few of them in this blog post.