How a Complete Graphics Newbie Can Make Money Selling Ecover Art

Q: How can I make money online when all I have is a bunch of software on my computer, but I really don’t have any talents?

I get asked a lot of questions like that. Part of being a teacher and speaker means having the responsibility to help others with their businesses or better yet, help turn a hobby into a business!

In answer to that question, I would ask them what software they have on their PC. If Photoshop is the answer, then I would tell them that they are sitting on top of a business that could make them roughly $1000 per hour if they get enough clients.

Clients are not hard to find, because many of today’s small businesses are surrounding us and we don’t even know it. I was moving into a new apartment and the landlord told me that 6 of his tenants run online businesses! That is outstanding, when in a little Florida town like Beverly Hills 6 of this landlord’s tenants are completely self employed online!

So that means that a carefully worded advertisement in your local paper or any of the online classified sites (even Craigs List – as long as you advertise in a local section for your city) you can offer to make graphics locally to businesses who need book covers, DVD covers, spiral notebooks, even binders for reports done professionally can end up getting you a lot of clients at $25 to $100 per job.

Using Photoshop to make ecovers is a challenge to learn, but once you know how to do it, you can write your own paycheck, in fact, you can make a really nice looking paycheck right in Photoshop… Just kidding.

“But how do I learn how to do that when I don’t know much about Photoshop to begin with?” Ok, I can see this is frustrating you, but take a moment and think about how powerful Photoshop is to use. Over the years, one of the best features of Photoshop is the ability to record actions and play them back for repetitive tasks.

One of my friends has created action scripts for Photoshop that make it really easy to make professional looking covers, binders, books, notebooks and even an ipod with the client’s product in the window! These 40 scripts are so professional looking that you have to look twice to make sure it isn’t a photograph of a real cover!

But this isn’t a commercial for Ben’s scripts, this is how to make money using Photoshop, so you can find some cheaper scripts out there that won’t look as good as his, but will still do the trick for your needs as an eCover designer. Make sure the scripts allow you to make the template page first, so that you can fill in the sections that you are going to be modifying on the covers to make them unique.

You take any pictures that your client may have requested (making sure that none of them are copyrighted – to avoid lawsuits) and include the title of the product, the author and any sub titles. Choose easy to read fonts, avoid Serif fonts as they can become harder to read when they are twisted or warped by the scripts. In most scripts, you have to flatten the layers back to the original ones created by the template.

Flattening layers can be done by selecting only the layers that show up in the section you are working with (like side cover or box top or whatever the name of the original layers were). You can select non-consecutive layers at the same time by holding the ctrl key. Then you go to the layers menu and select flatten layers.

Unfortunately, Photoshop will name the layer anything but the name you want it to have, so you need to rename the layer using the Layer Options menu when you right click on it and rename it in the little box to the original layer name (box top or front cover), taking care to name it exactly as it was (capitalization counts). Do this for each section and then run the second part of the script to take your artwork and turn it into a work of art!

Get your scripts before you start finding clients and practice doing this for your own sample products to have something to show new clients, to give yourself a chance to become familiar with the scripts and what they can and can’t do. If you take a few days, and invest a little bit in yourself, you can find yourself making a good living helping others make their products sell better!