All the advice is to get professional help designing a book cover.
I am tempted to ignore the advice. I have seen so many awful professionally designed covers – covers that would put me off buying the book if I wasn’t already aware of its contents, covers that are hard to see at thumbnail size on distribution sites, covers that just don’t appeal to me. This applies to printed books and ebooks equally. And I know authors who have trouble with the art publishers insist on using.
I have spent quite a bit of time studying the requirements and thinking about designing my own covers. I love playing with images to make icons, banners, etc. and I have a huge stock of my own and my family’s photographs to choose from. I don’t even need to find anything on the copyright free sites. As you know if you follow this blog I enjoy manipulating photos – tweaking the brightness, re-sizing, adding text, etc. I’m usually pleased with the results.
So far as I can work out the main things are:
*make sure it can be read in thumbnail size
*make sure it says something about the content
*make sure it doesn’t have too much information; stick to title, author and perhaps genre
*make sure it’s the right size for upload
So how hard can it be?
The picture I’ve used as a sample, to illustrate this post, was made from the photograph below (by me) of a misericord in Chester cathedral. You can see I’ve manipulated the sample quite a bit, before adding text. Both pictures have been re-sized to suit the demands of WordPress but the sample cover is proportionate for a Smashwords book cover. I didn’t actually spend long on this but would take more care with one for epublishing.
I have designed the covers for the first three titles I intend to upload. I’m quite pleased with them and I think they stand comparison with so-called professional ones. I can tweak them – they need to be different sizes for Smashwords and Amazon.
When I actually upload I’ll display them here and hope for comments. Meanwhile, is there anything I’m missing?