Incoming Rant Alert: AI and book covers and do NOT create your covers with it!

(My latest print covers, for Many Blessings and Lost Bird from the Coffeeshop Coven series. Created from start to finish by yours truly.)

So I know I’m not the world’s best cover artist. I’m self-taught and using Adobe Photoshop, and stock art from Depositphotos. But I also know I’m far from the world’s worst cover artist.

AND I DIDN’T USE AI TO MAKE THEM.

If there’s ever a question, I can provide the proof of where I obtained the stock art (legally).

Do I wish I could afford to pay someone to make my covers for me and use custom, exclusive cover models? Well, duh, of course I do. There are extremely talented photographers out there who have gorgeous cover models.

That, however, is not in my budget. (It is on my wishlist, however.)

If someone like me, who is NOT an artist, can put together a not-bad book cover with legal stock art and legal software, there’s no excuse to not make your own covers. I’ve also used Pixelmator (Mac software, inexpensive) and there’s free software like GIMP out there that can also be used, so you don’t have the excuse of not being able to afford an Adobe subscription. There are also websites like Canva which have LEGAL stock art and templates you can use.

AND, there are cover artists who make pre-made covers you can buy (as long as you know they can provide provenance for the files they use) at a very reasonable price if you can’t afford to buy customized photos that will be exclusively used on your cover.

There are LOTS of tutorials out there on how to create various effects in software. Half my time of making a cover in the beginning was spent Googling, “How to do _____ in Photoshop…”

And I spent time looking at other covers on Amazon and elsewhere in my particular genre to get a feel for what worked (to me) and what didn’t. Because while everyone has an opinion, it’s MY book and I need to be happy with the cover. So my covers are ones that, ultimately, make me happy. I look at typography and fonts.

In a world where DIY book cover creation is becoming increasingly accessible, leveraging technology to streamline the writing process is another avenue worth exploring. Platforms like https://www.youbooks.com utilize AI to produce writing that is both eloquent and well-researched, with a meticulous structure. By utilizing advanced algorithms, writers can generate content tailored to their specific needs, whether it’s crafting compelling book descriptions or fine-tuning plot elements.

This innovative approach not only saves time and resources but also empowers authors to focus on honing their storytelling craft without being bogged down by tedious tasks. With the convenience of AI-driven writing assistance, aspiring authors can embark on their literary endeavors with confidence, knowing that they have a powerful ally in their quest for literary excellence.

Sometimes (rarely) I luck out and find ONE stock picture that will work with very little modification needed. But even that will look like crap if the font type, placement, etc. isn’t right.

Don’t give in to the AI temptation. You CAN make your own cover.

Because if _I_ can do it, self-taught and NOT an artist, then YOU can do it, I promise.

Here’s the thing–feeding your existing covers (or being a douchebag and feeding in other authors’ covers) into AI engines to “create” covers is like uploading books onto pirate sites. You’re basically handing that over to the world without proper credit or compensation to the original artist/authors.

AND, it’s already case law that images produced by AI are NOT protected by copyright.

Amazon is already requiring some authors to cough up proof that the covers they’re uploading are original artwork, or that you can provide the information where you legally obtained the artwork.

I’ve seen some people “advising” authors they should load their work into the AI chatbots to get help “evaluating” their work.

*head/desk/facepalm*

No. Just… NO. DO NOT DO THIS!

Obviously there are scammers jumping aboard the AI train and flooding marketplaces with AI “written” work. (That’s a problematic word, too, because in my not-so-humble opinion it’s scraped and complied, NOT “written.”)

If you are an author, you also need to start inserting sections into your copyright front matter prohibiting AI learning engines from using your works (including the cover/images) for their training.

So back to my original point–don’t use the excuse that “it’s hard” or “it’s expensive” to create your own covers. Because in the long run, do you REALLY want to get sued by an artist because you illegally used their artwork in an AI-generated cover? Because the excuse, “Well the AI gave it to me, it’s liable!” will NOT fly with a judge. And that “cheap” cover you thought you’d snag with AI suddenly isn’t so cheap, is it?

Side rant while we’re at it: friendly reminder that yes, legally purchased stock art is just that, and it’s NOT exclusive. So the same model/image might appear on more than one cover. Don’t go attacking an author for a duplicate image. HOWEVER, if someone basically takes another author’s cover and alters it so they put their own text on it and do nothing else? THAT is theft. But there are PLENTY of covers out there, especially romance books, where the same model is on the cover.

Look familiar? When I went on Depositphotos.com and typed in “handsome guy” into the search box, LITERALLY this is the first image that popped up:

(By the way, the watermarks mean it’s a free “comp” image from the site, so you can download and test the image in your project to see if it’ll suit your needs before you buy the real image.)

This dude has graced the covers of countless romance books. And he’s also in other pictures on the site because there are several from this same series where he’s in different poses.

Literally ANYONE can buy this picture from Depositphotos and use it on their book cover. (And they have and do. LOL)

This is a screen capture from when I clicked on his image in the search box. You can see he’s there… a bunch.

Why do I veer into this particular spleen ventage? Because I’ve seen fellow authors get slammed by people accusing them of “stealing” a cover when the truth is it was JUST A STOCK PHOTO. So before someone makes an ass out of themselves by getting indignant over STOCK ART, learn what it is and why it’s so common.

Because it’s AFFORDABLE, duh.

And thus ends my spleenage. LOL

Want to help me pay my bills? Please buy my books! Or, if you’ve ever snagged one of my free books, I wouldn’t mind a little spare change tossed into my Ko-Fi account, if you can spare it. Thanks!

Incoming Rant Alert: AI and book covers and do NOT create your covers with it!
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