When I began this foray into indie publishing via ebooks, I thought I had a pretty good handle on some basic tenements of desktop publishing. I’ve created quite a few graphic design things for folks: posters, web graphics, brochures, etc. because I had plenty of Photoshop skills. I figured book covers would be easy.
Easy like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel and about as safe a landing.
Book cover art has certain things that make it stand out from the usual desktop published graphic. And there are five things I wish I’d considered before jumping to upload my cover art.
1. It needs to be a certain ratio. I discovered exactly WHAT the ratio was only after I’d done up my four covers and posted them all over the interweb. Sheesh. Can you spell ninny? (novels and nonfic have different ratios)
2. While the typical graphic has a max of 3 fonts, a book’s cover (I discovered) has 2 max. Wish I’d known that one.
3. You need a cover that speaks to the genre. I was trying to go for impact (which is important—critical, actually) but it also needs to inform the viewer visually what the genre is. Duh. Again: can you spell ninny?
4. Your cover needs to look great and be readable as a thumbnail. If it doesn’t then you need to rework it.
5. It should still look good in B/W as it’ll be that shade on a Kindle reader.
There are some really great links on cover art for books and ebooks. I shouldn’t really try to write an article about it, as I’m no expert, but I can point you in the direction of some folks who know.
Meantime, Here’s a pic of my first cover for Secret Language of Crows which evolved to the second, which is evolving into the final based on comments from a cover art review blog that really opened my eyes. You tell me which you like best. In fact, feel free to make any comment at all or feel free to post a link to your own cover art at my facebook page.
And as I draw closer to completing this final evolution, I plan to give away a free copy of SLOC. To enter to win, just write a comment that says, “Pick Me!” Or some such foolishness. Comments on the covers will be automatically entered. grin.
One last thought: In the end, the most recent cover I created using all the things I’ve learned is my favorite.
Formed of Clay now has what I think is a decent design that I think grabs the eye. It’s simple and uses some great art that I bought from fotolia.com and put together with some nice text choices.
So: my pearl of wisdom: create the cover long before you publish. Make sure it’s what you want, that it has impact, that it inspires a reader to buy. Don’t just throw it together or you could end up messing with it on the fly over and over again.
BTW: don’t forget to leave a comment if you’d like to be entered to win a FREE copy of SLOC. I’ll draw the winner and send them a coupon through Smashwords. Thanks for visiting today.