Cover design

People do judge books by their covers, especially if they don’t know the author. The cover of your print book is obviously vitally important and may make the difference between someone buying your book or not. The cover of your ebook is also important, for rather different reasons.

Received wisdom says do not try to create your own cover unless you are a graphic designer. There are plenty of designers out there who can do the job for you professionally and effectively without it costing you a fortune. Before you hire someone however you need to have some idea of what you are looking for, so :

Print

  • Have a look at books in your local bookshop and make a note of the kind of cover you want to go for. (It’s better to look at the physical thing rather than its reproduction on the web.)
  • The aim is to create something that stands out yet doesn’t confuse. So if you’re writing chick lit for instance and you hate pink you may need to put your prejudices to one side.
  • Once you’ve found your designer it’s a good idea to send him or her an example of a cover you would like to emulate (as opposed to rip off). Also give thought to whether you want the tagline to go with the title; if you want the title bigger than the author name (which is usual, unless you are famous); whether you want to use a photo – provided by yourself or accessed from the web, for free or with copyright paid – or a picture as background.
  • Check out www.fixabook.com for dos and don’ts of cover design (and blurbs).
  • Having done all that leave the rest to the designer; professionals will prefer to use their own experience and creativity once they have an idea what you have in mind.
  • CreateSpace will insert their own ISBN onto the finished cover.

There are diy options, if you are good at playing with template images, at www.myecovermaker.com. ($14.95  month), or using Amazon’s own Cover Creator (okay for ebooks possibly but not for print).

Ebooks

  • Readers may not notice the cover of an ebook they are actually reading, but what is important is how your cover looks on Amazon’s – and others’ – websites. It is important to use a clear font for your title (and the rest), and a clear image. Something that looks great on your print cover may not show up properly as a thumbnail image for your ebook.
  • If you are intending to produce both an ebook and print version of your book bear in mind you will want to use a recognisably similar, if not identical, design.

Recommended designers:

  • Michelle Lovi, Odyssey Books, Australia. She designed the cover for the print version of Worst Country, quickly, efficiently and at a very reasonable price. She was also very helpful and well-informed on how CreateSpace works – I found her on their forum – which is extremely useful.
  • Tamsin Carter at Pynto.com, based in the west country. Pynto do a range of things from designing websites, book covers, book interiors etc. They are lovely people to work with.
  • Karri Klawiter at http://artbykarri.com (US). Recommended by Alan Wilkinson and Linda Acaster.
  • Philip Carpenter at http://www.site-hosts.co.uk (UK). He produced the covers for both my ebooks. He is not a designer himself but if you tell him exactly what you want he will be able to put it together in the correct format.

Other recommendations to follow as soon as I receive them!

Otherwise the Kindle community forum has lists of designers. It doesn’t matter if they live in a different country as your negotiations will probably be happening online.

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