I hope you all had an awesome weekend. Well, as promised today is my interview with author Rachel Morgan. Her incredible new book, Guardian, launched last week to stellar reviews! Check out mine here.
Today, Rachel is going to tell us all how to create a ebook cover....
Take it away Rachel ...
Easy Steps To Creating An eBook Cover
When you’re a self-published author, cover design is something you have complete control over. Scary, but also fun! You can hire a professional designer to do it for you or, depending on what you want, it’s possible that YOU (the writer with minimal design skills) can do it yourself!
Here’s what I did:
Step 1: Purchase a royalty-free image
You may think this is the easy part, but I spent literally HOURS searching through images to find the perfect one. And the perfect image for your book won’t always be perfect exactly the way you buy it. Perhaps you’ll zoom in and only use the bottom right corner. Or just cut out something on one side. So remember when you’re searching that it may not be for a specific image, but for a specific element that you can cut out of whatever image it happens to be in.
(Some royalty-free image websites: Fotolia, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, iStock)
Step 2: Make relevant adjustments to the image (if needed)
In my case, I needed Vi’s eyes and some of her hair to be purple.
Adobe Photoshop is complicated! It’s also super darn expensive. I downloaded a free trial version of Photoshop (which only lasts 30 days—and no, you can’t reinstall it after that—so the pressure was ON for me to make as many of my covers as possible before those 30 days were up!) and then I Googled things like “How to change hair color in Photoshop CS 5”. I never would have figured it out on my own!
There are also free programs (with fewer features) that you can download, like Paint.net and Gimp.
Step 3: Create a new PowerPoint document
Now this may seem weird to you, but PowerPoint is the program I do all the rest of the work in. You may be thinking, “But that’s a program for making slideshows for presentations.” And yes, you’re correct, but you can also save the individual slides as images.
To get the slide to be the right size for a book cover, you can change it under “Page Setup” on the “Design” tab (in Office 2007). I decided I wanted my covers to be 1080 x 1600 pixels (Why? I can't remember!). So… I went to Google once more and searched for “convert pixels to cm” and got the numbers I should insert into the “Page Setup” section of PowerPoint. Width: 25.58 cm, and height: 42.33 cm (you would search inches if your program is in inches).
(Hint: if you’re uploading to Amazon for Kindle and you want the image to fit the Kindle screen exactly, your cover image must be exactly 600 x 800 pixels)
Step 4: Find a font that is free for commercial use
Yes, you should read the license stuff, or next thing you’ll find out that the awesome “free” font you found is actually only free for personal use, and now you’ve plastered it all over the internet with your name attached to it! I like the website Font Squirrel because you can search for fonts by style and read the license for each one. If in doubt, there’s usually an email address you can send an enquiry to just to make sure you’re allowed to use the font. Also, some fonts are not good quality when the size is increased (like they would need to be for a book title), so check that out.
Step 5: Put all the elements together
Insert your cover image into PowerPoint. You can use the crop tool to cut it to the right size, or cut out the part that you want. Insert textboxes for your title, series names, sub-title, author name, whatever. Move everything around until you're happy.
Step 6: Save the slide as a .jpg
Click “Save As”. Next to “Save as type”, click the dropdown menu and select JPEG (*.jpg). Give your file a name, click “Save”, and when the little window pops up, click “Current slide only.
- Simple is usually better for an ebook. Too many elements could be too distracting, and appear too small on a computer screen.
- Large, clear image. You need to be able to tell what the image is when it's shrunk down to the size it will be on an Amazon search page.
- Large text. If the title is too small to be read when the book cover is shrunk, make it bigger.
- Non-embellished text. The text may be large enough, but if it's so embellished that readers can't figure out what it says, that's no good.
The Evolution of a Cover
Cover reject 1: Way too many elements. Font for Creepy Hollow too embellished. Main image too small. Can you even see that that's a 1 in the top left corner? (The title was going to be in the blank, black space)
Cover reject 2: I now had a much larger, clearer image (yay!) but the curly bits at the top next to Creepy Hollow were a bit skinny, and the title font, while I absolutely loved it, just wasn't legible enough when the cover was shrunk.
Cover reject 3: Okay, fixed up the title font. Then I wanted something “magical” in the black part at the top. Those are meant to be stars or sparkles, but they just ended up looking like littel white spots.
Cover reject 4: This was actually my “final” cover that I revealed to the world, but after it'd been out there for a little while, I decided I didn't like the sparkles hanging around the right side of the word Guardian (I called them fruit flies; my boyfriend called them dandruff. Either way, they had to go!)
And wait! Before you go . . . There's a giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a fantasy land of her own making. These days, in between teaching mathematics to high school children, she writes fiction for young adults.
Thanks so much Rachel for show us just how easy it is to create an ebook cover.... I am sure many bloggers will find this quite helpful when they are ready to publish their new works.
Everyone don't forget to enter Rachel's giveaway AND have an amazing day!