My name is Mark Dawson, and I’m the author of the million-selling John Milton series. I’m also the founder of the Self Publishing Formula, an online community designed to help aspiring writers get their words out into the world.  

One of the things that holds new authors back is the requirement that their books have a great cover. The old adage that we judge books by their covers is true, and if you saddle your masterpiece with a poor one, you’re not going to get the sales that you might otherwise deserve.  

My designer is Stuart Bache. He’s worked for some of the biggest publishers in the world and designed covers for Stephen King and John Le Carré, among many others. In the six years (and thirty covers) that we’ve worked together, I’ve gone from selling a trickle of books to hitting the USA Today bestseller list on multiple occasions.

It’s not a coincidence. My books are good, but I don’t fool myself – getting better covers was a game-changer for me.  

So, have you ever wanted to create your own book cover? Are you an author on a budget? Do you have some design experience but are unsure where to start? Stuart has put together an amazing course that is exactly what you need.  

The authors in our community have been asking me for help with book cover design for months, and Stuart was the only designer I considered for the job. This course is the product of weeks of work, and comes with the relentless focus on quality that has made our other courses so acclaimed. 

It’s full of tips and tricks garnered from over a decade of experience in the trenches; from understanding what works in your genre to working with typography and image to create the most effective design.  

Think of this course as your guide to creating a bestselling book cover.




The quality of your cover is important. Learn how to create the most effective design for your book.


Learn how to find the rules of your genre, and how to use them to get the most out of your own cover.


It’s often more effective to fit in than stand out. Learn how familiarity theory can boost the sales of your book.


Whether a Photoshop wiz or complete beginner, learn how to create a cover from scratch with our easy to follow tutorials.


From cutting out figures to working with textures, this course will show you how to turn a good cover into a professional one.


Maybe you want to work with a pro. Choosing the right designer is essential. We’ll advise on finding the best one for you, and how to work with them.

PLUS Purchasing the course provides you with immediate access to the students-only Facebook group for the course hosted by its creator, Stuart Bache. A fantastic resource in its own right, you'll be able to share tips and ideas with other authors looking to craft winning designs for their books.


Take a tour of the course with tutor Stuart Bache

“The course is brilliant. Stuart is unbelievably generous with his expertise - especially the little tips he's worked out over the years (such as the gradient map). I've followed his walkthroughs for the Thriller category and can't believe how nicely my covers turned out. I can't praise it highly enough!”

Kevin Partner - Author


Module 1: Course Overview Session 1 - Meet The Teacher Session 2 - Course Overview Session 3 - The Art of Making A Bestselling Book Session 4 - When Good Books Have Bad Covers  

Module 2: The Brief and First Research Session 1 - The Brief Session 2 - Research Session 3 - Designing Session 4 - Your Finished Cover, What Happens Next?  

Module 3: From Brief to Idea Session 1 - Setting Up Your Workspace Session 2 - Using Your Brief to Form an Idea Session 3 - Effective Picture Research Session 4 - How to Cut Out Images Session 5 - Choosing the Right Designer 

Module 4: Thrillers, Crime & Action Session 1 - What is a Thriller Cover? Session 2 - Action-Espionage-Detective Session 3 - Crime Session 4 - Psychological 

Module 5: Romance Session 1 - What is a Romance Cover? Session 2 - Contemporary Romance & Romantic Comedy Session 3 - New Adult  

Module 6: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Session 1 - What is a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Cover? Session 2 - Space Opera Session 3 - Traditional Fantasy  

Module 7: Canva Session 1 - Canva  

Module 8: The Final Output Session 1 - Creating Your Book 

When does the course start and finish? The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.

How long do I have access to the course? How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.

A Word from the Course Creator: Stuart Bache

“I’ve been designing book covers for well over a decade for many bestselling authors, and along the way I have discovered what works and what doesn’t. I want to share that knowledge with you, so you can give your book the best first impression possible.”

Your Course Payment Options:


standard price: $297.00



standard price: $29.00


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