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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Cover Art for Epubs

   
Author Topic: Cover Art for Epubs
enigmaticuser
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Looking into the coverart side of epubing and thought this article might be helpful to others.

http://www.natashafondren.com/writing/kindle-formatting/ebook-cover-design-and-optimum-size-specifications-for-amazon-kindle-bn-nook-ibookstore-and-ipad-formats/

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MartinV
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Looks like a very good guide. Of course now I'm back to thinking I can't do covers alone...
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Jeff Ambrose
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That's the WORST article I've ever read about ebook covers. Makes the entire thing way too complicated.

Look, I've made all of my ebook covers myself. Go and look. . I'm not saying they're the kind of covers you'll get from a NY publisher, but most of them I think are pretty damn good.

And how did I do it?

In PowerPoint.

I get a royalty free picture -- either from Dreamstimes, MorgueFile, or Stock.XCHNG.

I put the picture in PowerPoint, set to 9 inches high, 6 inches wide.

I take an easy to read font -- Optima, Times, Stone something or other -- and make sure the title and my name are nice and easy to read, using the minimal text art (shadows, glow, and lines around the letters, only when necessary), and that's it.

I upload to Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords, and have never had a problem with any of it.

Now here's the thing about Indie Writers and Indie Publishing. As a whole, these writers all spend too much time focusing on the WRONG things -- promotion, formatting, covers. Not a one of them talk about the necessity of becoming a damn good writer. Not. A. One.

So, write your butt off.

Get the Smashwords formatting guide and format your manuscript accordingly.

Save said MS as an HTML for both the Kindle and Nook.

Make a cover using PowerPoint and/or Numbers (for Mac).

Write a blurb.

Upload.

Get back to writing.

It's that simple.

Finally, one last thing -- just like writing, the more covers you make and the more blurbs your write, the better you get. Changing covers and blurbs is so easy, don't let perfectionism get the best of you.

Just do it, learn, have fun, and get on with it.

Sorry for the rant ... but if I listened to crap like the post linked to above, I would've shriveled up and forgotten the entire thing.

Remember, the key for good cover art are the following:

1. A good picture/illustration -- which can be found for free our bought for a few bucks at the sites I mentioned above.

2. 9 inche high, 6 inches wide.

3. Title and name in big letters easy to read.

Yes, there is a leraning curve. My first covers took me a long time ... but now I can put a good-looking cover together in a matter of mintues.

My most recent title -- the cover of which you can see here -- cost me $5 for the art and took about 15 minutes to design.

And if I didn't tell you it was a self-published cover made in PowerPoint, would you be able to tell yourself?

And no, I don't have ANY background in graphic design. Just a lot of practice making covers, studying covers I liked, imitating other folks covers, discarding those that don't work. In short, learning by doing.

Go, and do likewise.

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pdblake
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I create some of mine in Poser (I used to create and sell 3D content), but also use PD artwork.

There are some examples on my site. Tales From Under The Bridge was done in Poser and the rest are PD art/partly Poser. Titles are all done in PSP.

Size is 900x600 to upload but I reduce thumbs for the website to 300x200.

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MartinV
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Ambrose:
My most recent title -- the cover of which you can see here -- cost me $5 for the art and took about 15 minutes to design.

Nice cover, Jeff. How many different pics did you use to make it?

I have a decent idea about the cover for my upcoming story but it's missing a particular something and I'm not sure I'll be able to find it and add it in.

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Jeff Ambrose
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One. I found it on Dreamstime, bought it, and used it.
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MAP
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Nice covers Jeff.
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Owasm
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I do my own covers. I use Photoshop and it works. Although I wouldn't claim mine look absolutely professional, they are adequate for now. Jeff is right about how easy it is the change. I generally take a photo off the web and significantly change it. My latest cover for an as-yet unpubbed novel took four photos and, admittedly, a lot of hand work.

In reading mostly e-pubs, you can see covers change on books all the time. Always for the better.

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LDWriter2
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Looks like I'm going to have to check out Dreamstime a couple of like sites I checked out where charging $35 or more.

I think I can do my own covers for stories but for novels I think I will leave to a pro. They charge more but for a novel it might be worth it.

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Robert Nowall
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I dunno...I checked out Jeff Ambrose's covers, and I think I'd prefer some genuine artwork on a book of mine. I suppose, if I ever finish another novel, I might try self-publishing it---the idea is certainly tempting---and I'd have to seek out an artist and commission something.

Right now the closest experience I've had with anything like this was just a couple days ago, assembling artwork for a Christmas-card-slash-audio-CD I sent around to a few friends and relatives. I scanned some artwork from a well-known Christmas special DVD, edited the picture slightly, and pasted it in a file to print up as label inserts.

This would not work for an eBook, even I know that...

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MartinV
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I find the most troublesome thing about creating my own cover finding the right picture. I looked through Dreamstime and others but I don't know under what keywords I should look to find what I need.

Anybody else has that problem?

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Lloyd Tackitt
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I am in the middle of having my first epub cover designed at a total cost of $125. There is no way I could make a cover half this good and it isn't finished yet.

Well I was going to attach it, but I can't figure out how to...dang it. ltackitt2001@yahoo.com

Lloyd's Stories

[ December 30, 2011, 09:43 AM: Message edited by: Lloyd Tackitt ]

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Crank
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My first attempt at my own cover turned out almost exactly as I envisioned it. I'm even (supposedly) doing a photo shoot later this morning for my latest cover. But, for some of my future works, my design concepts are beyond my current artistic abilities, so that will be the point where I will fork over the bucks to have it done right. Never imagined that the search for a good artist match would be nearly as drawn out as the search for an agent...

S!

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LDWriter2
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Martin with my short story I have problems trying to find the right image too. One that doesn't cost a lot. I should have posted that story three months ago but finding exactly what I want that's cheap isn't easy.

But for my novel or three (haven't quiet decided yet on two of them) I think I will use a pro even if it costs a hundred to two hundred. That way I can get what I want done well. Even though surprisingly I don't know which scene I want on the cover of two of them.


I could try taking my own pics especially if I get that new camera but where do I find starships battling it out? [Smile]

I could probably take pics for my western stories and I might, be cheaper and more satisfying that way. Thanks for the idea Crank.

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Meredith
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I've actually been playing around with designing my own for the last couple of days. You can see an unfinished version in my latest blog post.

The original inspiration comes from a very old engraving. (Old enough not to have to worry about copyright.)

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LDWriter2
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Not bad Meredith. But it's good it's unfinished. [Smile]

I think the wolf looks more like a dog and the dragon besides biting it's own tail seems to be turning into ice or from ice.

But overall it is has all you need, looks right and is easy to make out when small. Nice colors too.

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EVOC
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I play a little with Graphic Art. Getting the right image that won't get you in trouble for Copyright can be difficult. Thanks to Jeff for posting those sites he uses to get those images. Read carefully because some sites will let you use the images but not for commercial gain.

I think cover art is something that is only as complicated as you make it. And, for some works a more original cover is needed.

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by LDWriter2:
Not bad Meredith. But it's good it's unfinished. [Smile]

I think the wolf looks more like a dog and the dragon besides biting it's own tail seems to be turning into ice or from ice.

But overall it is has all you need, looks right and is easy to make out when small. Nice colors too.

It's advanced some since then. I've fixed the wolf's eyes, for one thing. No longer looks like she's been hit with a cattle prod. Wolves and some breeds of dog look very similar, not much I can do about that at this resolution, unless I'd used the image of the snarling wolf. But I like this one better. Besides, the teeth would have been a bitch at this resolution.

All the color is in now. But I need one more warm-colored figure to make a diagonal and break up those static horizontal lines. I've got a couple of things to try for that.

Might tweak a few colors, like the eyes. Smooth things out a little.

And, of course, the title and my name.

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MartinV
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125$ is a bit too much for me at the moment. And I wish to do the actual work by myself. I've been disappointed by the shape of my published books before.
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LDWriter2
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Martin I don't blame you for saying that. I said "Yikes" when I saw how much it could be. I would have to borrow from my special savings (originally for a workshop but doesn't look like I will have the okay to take off for a week or more and most are so far away the transportation costs could triple the cost) but I would do it once and take the chance that some day I would make it back. It could take three + years but that's one of the good things about E-publishing. There is no running out of a print run. It's always up for sell. But then again it could take only a year.

But if you can do a good cover by yourself very good. That's better yet.

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InarticulateBabbler
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I've been getting commissions to do e-covers, also. I'm toying around with a digital painter...
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enigmaticuser
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I'm with you. If I had the money to spare, I wouldn't mind a pro-job, but it's not in the budget. Maybe after I've sold some (but then maybe it won't matter because the imperfect will be the reference point).

I've been blessed enough to have some friends in visual arts who are just starting out or only amateurly inclined, and hey if I'm a unpublished but skilled writer I should be willing to believe there are non-pro skilled wantabes.

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LDWriter2
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I wouldn't mind using an amateur artist for my e-stories. I have even asked a couple I know but so far no takers.

For my novels it would depend on how good they are and how much experience they had. I would be more picky with a novel, not that I would take just anything for my stories.

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MartinV
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Sorry for reanimating an old post. It was either this or creating a new one for a single question.

I'm going through the Stock photo sites (Dreamstime, Shutterstock etc.) and they all have offers for me to download 10 pictures a day or something similar.

I need to download one, three at most if I shop for my second WIP.

Is there a different way to shop for pictures other than paying 40$ to get something I don't need?

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enigmaticuser
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I went through shutterstock and only had to buy one photo. I think it was 7-15, can't remember. There should be an option for one download somewhere in there.
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LDWriter2
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Some nice self done covers here. I'm still looking for one for my story that takes place on a space station though.

But I found this site today Covers . They seemed reasonable for the pricing and the time. That's another matter how long does t take to find a free pic and do everything you need to do? Part of that would depend on how long it takes to find the pic. It could happen immediately or take hours as in my case. Of course I haven't looked on every pic site I keep getting distracted with writing. [Smile]

I have a story about sports fans I thought about E-publishing and I believe I can take my own picture, just need a borrow different balls. But a space station picture would be harder to take. But again a pic of a cowboy riding up a mountain trail for a western story might be easier to find.

Then again these are stories not novels. Covers for my novels would be harder to find. Unless I go with one that doesn't have a pic. It's possible I could find a design in that case.

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