book cover design, giveaways

Free POC book covers for Vella

I’ve seen a lot of great stock, renders and book cover design resources with POC (people of color) protagonists, but premade covers with these models aren’t popular. I started designing some mockups for book cover tutorials, thinking of giving them away to my group (the alliance of young adult authors) and then Amazon announced Vella: it’s new serialized fiction platform.


UPDATE: these covers are no longer available, but check out for some cover design templates.

The cool thing about Vella, is that it uses a round thumbnail, so you need to upload a 1600×1600 piece of art, without text. I made 33 covers and am giving them away for free: because why not? Hopefully this encourages authors to write diverse stories. And I think it would be kind of awesome if, when Vella launches, the top stories have a lot of representation.

I’m going to make this a “writing contest” to keep things real simple, but there’s no time limit, covers will go to the first decent entry (I’ll be a little picky, but not super picky – these covers need a home, and Vella is launching this summer). All you need to do is submit a sample, less than 1000 words, for the cover of your choosing.


I’ll put ALL the covers below in a slideshow so you can see them.

FAQ (please read!)

  1. These aren’t perfectly polished covers, they’re quick photoshop mockups. But they should look great anyway, even if the details aren’t perfect.
  2. These are designed for Vella specifically, with one main character filling most of the space and strong genre identification. How it works: upload 3 “episodes” readers get for free; then they’ll pay for each extra episode. I recommend writing FULL series and publishing them all under the same cover, but that’s up to you.
  3. These use stock images and renders; so it’s *possible* you’ll see the same model or background on other books or covers. I have been careful to use royalty-free stock and resources only (that I purchased). If you win, you have the right to use the art as a Vella cover, and for promotion of your story, but not as a Kindle or paperback book cover.
  4. I made “full character” covers rather than “close-up face” covers, because communicating genre is important: your story title will need to do a lot of the work of communicating the right genre so make sure you choose wisely and hit some genre keywords.
  5. If you like these images, or know an author who might be interested in this project (free POC Vella covers), please share link to this page. Open to everyone.

    If you end up winning, you can link to my main site or my cover design site.

    PS. I’d love to have some successful authors win some of these, to normalize POC covers in bestselling books. I’d also love to get some brand-new, fresh voices without a platform (Vella is, the easiest way for a new writer to get started, no fancy publishing stuff, just upload a cover and your writing).

    This offer is not a publishing deal or anything like that. It’s a super simple writing contest, where you tell me a story that matches one of the covers, and I give you the cover so you can finish your story. If you win, I’ll send the art, no strings, good luck! If you don’t win, I hope you write that story anyway.

    We will feature all the stories and link to them from this site.

Commitments: NONE. I get it, you’ve already got a lot of projects and don’t need a knew one. But if you think you might be interested, see if you can publish at least 3 free episodes on Vella this summer, as a way to reach new readers. After that, you can continue your story at your own pace.

Which cover do you like the best?

Let me know in the comments! I hope these covers will inspire fresh stories! If you want to share your stories and link back to your own site, you can post them in the comments also – I’ve enabled a “like” feature so people can upvote your stories.


  • Free POC book covers for Vella

    I’ve seen a lot of great stock, renders and book cover design resources with POC (people of color) protagonists, but premade ...
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  • Free POC book covers for Vella

    I’ve seen a lot of great stock, renders and book cover design resources with POC (people of color) protagonists, but premade ...
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