Your NaNo Guide: Covers are Apparently Important so Lets Make One

I got bored so I made a cover.
My NaNo book cover

If we believe NaNo’s website, (and at this point we should because they’ve suckered us into this impossible task), then making a cover for your book will make you more likely to win. I’ve made a pretty cover for my novel, now I’m going to show you how to do it too!

Its really quick, fairly painless, and doesn’t need any pricey software, I’m using a free internet site called picmonkey, which is great and you can do almost anything with it.

Disclaimer: This is just a cover for NaNo, its not meant to be used for publishing (although you could if you want), but if you decide to use this for publishing, be extra careful that you have permission to use the images. Go here for information about copy rights.


Appearing in this year's
Miko Fogarty as Clara.

Before we do anything else you want to grab a background image. My book is a Christmas themed novel, so I grabbed this pretty one. The next image is going to be your foreground, for me, its Claire with the Nutcracker. Now, this image needs to have good contrast, preferably dark background with a light foreground, or light background with dark foreground. If not this may not work.

  1.  Open PicMonkey by clicking this line, yep, its a link2
  2. Hover over ‘edit’ and select ‘from computer’ and chose to open your background image. For me this is the tree with lights. On the sidebar, scroll down to overlays, its between the ‘Tt’ and the frame and looks like a butterfly. Click that.3
  3. Chose ‘open your own’ and open your foreground image. For me its Claire and the Nutcracker. Its going to show up very tiny, with an extra box of options. Yippie! Options are fun!
  4. Go to the box, select ‘blend mode’ and scroll through that list, noting what each option does to your overlay. For me a light image on a black background, add, lighten, and screen work best. I’m only guessing, but for a dark item on a light background, darken might work best.
  5. I ended up settling on lighten, then I clicked and dragged the corners of my image to resize it. Make it the size you want.4
  6. Now we get into the really fun stuff. (you may want to merge your overlay to your background, I chose not to because I may want to move Claire later. You don’t have to make the same choice). Play with your options. I went down to themes, the cat on the very bottom, and used several things from the Winter Wonderland Theme pack: chill and snowfall.5
  7. Then I added my title and my name, and viola, I had a cover. Before you save, remember, most covers are rectangular. Crop it.
  8. Its nothing fancy, but it was a brain break. Now go write!!
  9. Link me to anything you make, I’d love to see. And let me know if you have questions!
This is what I just made!
This is what I just made!

If you need photos to use that are copyright free, I recommend going through this NaNo Forum and seeing the suggestions.

  1. Creative Commons: search by the licensing agreement
  2. Morgue File: Stock Photos!
  3. Devianart’s Stock Photos: For personal use only!!
  4. Free Images: Stock Photos
  5. List: A list of even more places to find images!

I’m certain there are others, and remember, even if its free for use, a credit certainly won’t hurt!

Lets Make A Cover!


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