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

How to promote your book
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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.

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Bio: Alicia Rades is a professional writer and blogger by day and a fiction author by night. Learn more about her writing services at, or explore her books at .

Website | @aliciarades

Alicia Rades
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.


  1. This information is incredibly useful. Thank you so much!

  2. Thanks Alicia.

    Fantastic suggestions and free to boot. Will be trying this out with my next book release.

  3. Great article, Alicia. Photoshop seems daunting, but your great step-by-step tips and illustrations help to demystify it. Thanks so much!

  4. Does this only work with Photoshop? I have Corel PaintShop Pro…

    I downloaded one of the templates but when I double click on the selected layer nothing happens like what’s in the instructions.

    • I’m not sure. I’m not familiar with Corel PaintShop Pro.

    • I just pulled a mock-up off of Graphic Burger: (I looked at the freebies the article recommends, but they all want you to sign up first. My inbox is too full already.) My old PhotoShop 5.0 LE whined and griped that this and that was missing and didn’t load anything I could work with. Gimp 2 opened it with no complaints.

      I haven’t used Corel products in years, but I used to have WordPerfect Suite, and the graphics editor in that package was considerably more limited than other graphics programs of the day.

  5. You don’t need to be draining $10 (or more) a month for the privilege of having a decent photo editor on your machine. Older versions can be had for $50-200 (depending on version)–that’s less than a two-year subscription to their Cloud version, and you can use them off-line. There’s also Gimp, which doesn’t cost you anything (Unless you buy it as a CD off eBay, then it’ll cost you a few bucks).

  6. Oh my gosh Alicia, this is a rabbit hole I didn’t know I could go down. Thanks for losing me an afternoon’s work playing with Photoshop! 🙂

    And congrats on your novels, by the way! I just snagged the first one.

  7. Excellent article! I’ve always been leery of Photoshop, etc. This is some great information- thank you!

    Reblogged on Illuminite Caliginosus.

  8. This is a Sea of information! Quite useful too. Thanks for sharing.

  9. thanks Alicia I tried to understand photoshop could not make heads and legs and it really wounded my ego because I used to think that I can understand computer quite a bit on my own 🙁

    • Lew Abahazy says:

      Try going to your local library to borrow a photoshop tutorial or better yet, Photoshop for Dummies. Don’t be put of by the demeaning title. The dummy series are well written and sometimes include a cd light version.

  10. Hi Alicia,

    You are doing a great job. Thanks for the info and the links you provided. I have a main question for you:
    Can you self publish and still look for a traditional publisher through an agent. I have some books on Amazon. The sale is struggling. I’m contemplating pulling it down. But do I still keep it while I continue searching for an agent ? Thanks

    • I would not suggest looking for an agent to represent a currently self-published title. If you have other self-published titles and are looking to pitch a new, unpublished book to an agent, then go for it. But most won’t repent self-published books unless the sales are doing exceptional.

  11. Photoshop seems daunting, but your great step-by-step tips and illustrations help to demystify it.

  12. Thanks for the idea and links. I love the step by step instructions. Do they work for GIMP as well? I’ve figured out some of the most basic buttons on GIMP but I’m still working on layers. Thanks again.

  13. It really is fantastic. Good site
    Thank you for publishing this article

  14. I like your Article. Thank you very much.


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