The cover image for an ebook is important to its success, but it's also a rather difficult skill to master. Not everyone has the artistic skills to design a good cover, but in the not too distant future that will no longer be a problem.
There's been no announcement from Amazon, but I have just learned that they are working on a new tool that will help self-pub authors make book covers cheaply, cleanly, and well.
A reader sent me this screen shot earlier today:
He took the screenshot while using KDP, and as you can see from the title bar Amazon is offering a "Kindle Cover Creator". The service is still in beta, and I have not seen it myself. But I have been told that the covers shown above were automatically generated by Amazon.
I'm told they can be edited by the author and that the text can be moved and the background image can be edited. Amazon also offers a gallery of royalty-free stock photos that can be used as the background of a cover image. Users can also upload their own images.
These are some pretty decent covers. They're not quite as good as the work of an experienced cover designer, but on the other hand they are better than the covers of some books published by legacy publishers (example).
They're also free, which is a plus.
I've been wanting to see someone offer a simple tool like this for some time now. While I don't think the average author has the artistic skill to create a book cover from scratch, I do think that they will manage to make a decent cover with this tool.
I have used similar tools to design my business cards, after a couple ugly designs I finally started making decent cards. They're not flashy but they are professional looking and do the job.
Amazon isn't the first to offer an automated cover generator, but they are the first of the major self-pub services to do so. They've beaten Smashwords, B&N, and Kobo to the punch.
Update: Readers have informed me that Lulu and Createspace (an Amazon sub) have had similar cover creators for some time now, so my claim up above is incorrect. At least a couple of the smaller self-pub services also offer a cover generator.
The screenshot at right shows a part of a KDP menu. Amazon isn't offering this option to everyone, but if you can see the second button then you should be able to experiment with this new tool.
Edit: If you don't see the option then you can learn more about the tool here.
Has anyone tried it? I would like to read your opinion.