I recently read an interesting discussion in one of my online forums about book cover design, and some of the authors were talking about how easy and convenient it was to use stock photos for their book covers.
The biggest problem with using a stock photo is you don’t buy exclusive rights to it. This means other people can use it too, including other authors for their book covers.
Having been a professional graphic designer for many years, I can certainly attest that designing a good book cover requires a good eye and a certain amount of skill. It’s no easy task, and even I get stumped at times.
My advice to any author is don’t skimp on your cover. It doesn’t matter how well your book is written and edited, a poorly done cover will make readers pass it by.
I honestly can’t comment on cover design templates, such as those offered by Createspace, because as a professional designer I don’t use them. My best suggestion would be to hire a professional designer. However, if your budget won’t allow it, then consider hiring a graphic design student. Virtually every community college offers courses in graphic design, so you should be able to find someone who can create a book cover for a reasonable price.
I’ve posted a few of the covers I’ve created for some of my authors. Each includes original photos or illustrations.