Self-Publishing: How to Promote Your Book With One Easy Photoshop Technique

Self-Publishing: How to Promote Your Book With One Easy Photoshop Technique

Are you looking for eye-catching images you can use on social media, in newsletters, and elsewhere online to market your self-published books?

Do you also have Adobe Photoshop on your computer?

Then you’re in luck!

Photoshop mockups are Photoshop files that use smart objects to allow you to easily insert your book cover into the photo. In the end, they’ll turn out like this:

Crystal Frost Series

Beautiful, isn’t it? Let’s start by finding some free and premium mockups, and then we’ll take a look at how to use them to help market your book.

Free Photoshop mockups

If you don’t want to put a lot of money into your marketing images, have no fear. The following resources provide free images you can use again and again.

  1. Covervault: Covervault is a website by Mark Monciardini featuring more than 40 free mockups, with more being added frequently. Discover a range of designs, including paperback, hardcover, eBook, iPhone, and box sets, all with beautiful backgrounds.
  2. Adazing Design: Adazing Design features seven realistic mockups in its “It’s a Real Book” package, and they’re completely free!
  3. Freepik: Freepik offers hundreds of Photoshop mockups, including those for books, posters, and billboards. You can use the images for free with attribution or sign up for $10 per month to download images without attribution. You can use all the images you download within your month-long term for life, even if you cancel your subscription.
  4. DealJumbo: DealJumbo has a “freebie” mockup section with a couple of good ones for book covers.

Premium Photoshop mockups

If you’re looking for more options, perhaps try premium mockups. Start with these suggestions:

  1. Graphic River: Graphic River, part of the Envato Market, should be the first site you check out if you’re looking for premium Photoshop mockups. Most packages start around $10, and there’s a wide selection of realistic-looking images.
  2. Behance: Although you’ll notice some of the same mockups from Graphic River advertised on Behance, you’ll find others in Behance’s range of more than 100 photo-realistic book mockup packages, some of which are free.
  3. Creative Market: Creative Market is packed with product mockups. Book-cover packages featuring multiple images run around the $10 mark.
  4. Zippy Pixels – Zippy Pixels offers a couple of $15-range mockup packages for books.

Be sure to double check the license you’re purchasing, since some only allow one-time use on mockups. Others require an extended license if you plan to use the content on printed materials, such as t-shirts.

How to use Photoshop mockups

Now that you’ve downloaded your mockup files, you can insert your book cover into the image. You’ll need Photoshop on your computer, which costs as little as $9.99 per month.

  1. Open the Photoshop file you downloaded. In your “Layers” window, find the smart object that correlates with the location where you want to place your book cover. Designers make this easy by labeling each layer.


  1. Double click on the smart layer, and a new window will open.

new window

  1. Now, place your book cover file onto this canvas. Resize if necessary, and then go to File > Save. (Make sure to click Save, not Save As.) The original image will now update.


  1. If your mockup has more than one smart object, continue working until you’ve modified them all. Then, simply click File > Save As, and save your new image. In the case of the example above, here’s what the final image looks like.

Paperback and iPhone

You can always move elements around, add text, or remove the background and save your image as a PNG file for transparency.

I use mockups like this for cover reveals, teasers, and other social media and blog post images.

You can also use them on swag, in newsletters, for Facebook and Twitter banners, and for other marketing purposes. Just be sure to check the license you’re getting before distributing your images.

Will you be using Photoshop mockups to create images for marketing your book? Let us know what you think of this process in the comments.

Traveler and blogger Chris Guillebeau

Featured resource

Unconventional Guide to Publishing

Chris Guillebeau introduces the plan you need to finally share your book with the world. Make this your year of becoming an author.