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Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: Instant Kindle and E-Cover Creator

Today I'm reviewing a new product from John Pearce and Alex Nulsen, currently on special offer at The Warrior Forum.

I know many self-publishing authors struggle to create cover images for their e-books, so I was keen to see what Instant Kindle & E-Cover Creator was all about. John was kind enough to send me a review copy.

Despite what you might think from the name, what you get is NOT a dedicated e-book cover creation program. Rather, you receive a package of items, at the heart of which are five Kindle cover templates, along with videos explaining how to customize them using either Adobe Photoshop or open-source alternative The Gimp. The templates are provided in both PhotoShop and Gimp format.

All five templates are quite similar, but they have been designed in 'layers' to be easily editable. The videos take you through the steps involved. Not being much of (well, any sort of) a graphics person, I didn't have either of the two programs required, so I decided to download the free option, The Gimp.

And - lo and behold - by following the advice in the main 15-minute instructional video, in under an hour I managed to create the e-cover below for a compelling title I have yet to write...

The image of the cat came from FreeDigitalPhotos.net, by the way (see credit below). I used the advice in the video to insert the cat image in place of the default image provided, and obviously made various changes to the text as well.

It's pretty basic, but for a first attempt I'm happy with it. If I didn't want to spend any money commissioning a professional cover image, I think something like this would do the job. You can see more examples of covers created from the templates using this method (generally better looking than mine!) in the promotional video below...

If you are receiving this blog post by email or RSS, you may need to visit my blog to see the video.

As well as the templates and instructional videos, you also get a number of bonuses. Most importantly, these include a complete set of PhotoShop instructional videos and another set of Gimp instructional videos. I haven't gone through all of these yet, but they appear to represent great value in their own right.

Another nice bonus is a set of high-end fonts for use with the templates.

The only 'bonus' I have slight reservations about is the claim to show where you can download the latest version of PhotoShop (CS6) in Beta free of charge. That's true as far as it goes, but one thing they don't say is that the Beta will expire after a certain period of time (currently unspecified, but probably when the product goes on sale).

If you don't plan to buy PhotoShop at some stage - and while it's the Rolls Royce of graphics programs, it's also very expensive - you might prefer to stick with The Gimp rather than risk being left high and dry.

Instant Kindle & E-Cover Creator also has templates and software recommendations to help you create 3D e-book covers. Amazon won't accept such images for its store, but if you're promoting an e-book on a platform such as ClickBank (as discussed in my course The 10-Day E-Book) this could be a useful option to have.

Overall, if you're looking for a low-cost (under $8 at the time of writing) method for creating e-book covers, and you're not already a graphics wizard, Instant Kindle & E-Cover Creator is worth a look.

The covers you create from the templates are unlikely to be cutting edge, but they should at least look neat and uncluttered. And if you're anything like me, the opportunity to learn the basics of using a graphics program is not to be sniffed at either!

If you have any comments or questions about Instant Kindle & E-Cover Creator, please feel free to leave them below.

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Instant Kindle & E-Cover Creator. In addition, the links in this review include my affiliate code, so if you click through and make a purchase, a proportion of the fee will go to me. This has not influenced my review in any way, but you should of course complete your own due diligence and read the sales page (and this review) carefully to determine whether this product will be relevant to your needs.

Image: bk images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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11 Comments:

Blogger J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks for sharing this. I'll have a look.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

You're welcome :-)

I should add that the offer includes PLR, so if you wanted to you could set yourself up creating e-book covers for other writers, maybe using sites such as Fiverr.com.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Toby Neal said...

Interesting product, Nick! I still worry that without a professional designer's eye for putting togther both images and graphics, covers that look amateurish will demote books that may not be amateurish. Spending more for a professional job yields better sales in the long run, INMO.
ALoha
Toby Neal

7:43 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks, Toby. You may well be right, but of course professionally designed covers don't come cheap. This product wouldn't be right for everyone, but it could work well for people who are producing multiple niche non-fiction books, or maybe series of short stories or novellas. In such cases it may be hard to justify spending many hundreds of dollars on cover designs for all your titles. This product could provide a quick, cheap and serviceable alternative. And ultimately, if a particular book does well, there would be nothing to stop the author getting a better cover designed for it.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

On reflection, I'd say that this product would be fine to create an e-cover for most non-fiction books.

For a novel, where (I'd argue) e-cover design is more important, you might want something snazzier.

In that case getting something professionally designed might be preferable. Even so, the examples in the video show that using the templates as a starting point, it's possible (with a bit of time and effort) to produce something quite professional looking.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous P A Wilson said...

It looks like a great product, but when I followed the link to the information I wasn't impressed.
It reads like a scam page and doesn't make me feel very comfortable that the product will be helpful in selling my books.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks for your comment. The sales page copy is pretty typical of the Warrior Forum - it's a forum that's aimed fair and square at internet marketers, so you will inevitably get a certain degree of hype there.

For around $8 I feel it is value for money, especially when you take into account the extras as well. I would certainly consider using the templates to create a cover for a non-fiction e-book, though maybe not for a novel.

In any event, if it's not for you, that's fine. I'd only say, don't be put off by the sales page copy if this is genuinely something you could make use of. Read my review and the feedback on the forum from others who have bought it, and then decide.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Philip Voice said...

I've purchased the Instant Kindle & E-Cover Creator in good faith.

I purchased through Paypal but when I clicked on the link all I got was a 404 error.

Emails to Alex Nulsen - support@instantecovertemplates.com have not been replied to.

It may only be around $10.00 but I'm feeling rather let down.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Sorry to hear that, Philip. After placing your order, you should also have received an email with download details for your purchase. It would be worth checking your spam/junk email folder, as sometimes these emails are wrongly diverted there. The same may apply with Alex's reply, of course.

I will try to contact Alex and let him know about your problem. I'm sure one way or another it will be possible to get your purchase to you - it's only a technical glitch, after all. If you could send me your email address using the Contact Me link on my blog (top right), that will help a lot.

Many thanks!

Nick

10:35 AM  
Anonymous John Pearce said...

Hi Philip John Pearce here - really sorry we missed your email. the 404 was due to a temporary problem we have now fixed and I am also emailing you back.

Once again, apologies and all the best,

John

8:01 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thank you to John for rectifying the problem so promptly when it was brought to his attention.

9:26 PM  

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