Working with covers
Covers! Let’s say you aren’t working with a cover artist. Or maybe you are, and you have purchased the work and been given full rights to it, to do with it as you please. Or maybe your work is not selling, and you are looking to make your own cover or covers (perhaps with a unified theme). Not to worry.
Making Your Own Covers (10 rules)
You might find that this is the way to go. This can be an option if you are a decent photographer or cannot afford a cover artist. But seriously consider a cover artist just the same. Try Fiverr if you’re really stuck!
But let’s say you are bound and determined to create your own cover art.
- Do yourself a favor, and use a program designed for this purpose. This means Adobe Photoshop or Adobe InDesign, or Gimp. Please don’t use Paint. You just won’t have the options you would with these other programs I’ve listed.
- Go simple. Busy covers look terrible online, and they usually don’t look so good in bookstores, either. Consider a main element from your story and go with that as your image. The Twilight novels use this to stunning effect.
Use the right images
- Use images which you have permission to use, always! Just because you can right-click on an image does not mean you’re allowed to use it! Here are three ways to assure you have permission to use an image:
- Take the picture yourself.
- Buy it from someone! And don’t forget to have a written agreement with them for usage.
- Get it from a friend or relative who has taken it. And again: don’t forget to have a written agreement with them for usage.
- Don’t use a model unless you get a model release.
Working with images
- Make the image big! Scaling it down is possible. Scaling it up will result in a loss of quality.
- Consider what the image will look like if it is cut off anywhere. This is another argument in favor of simplicity.
- Consider what the image will look like on mobile devices.
- Never, ever use the word ‘by‘ unless you are referring to an ‘edited by‘ line. Otherwise, just use your name as the author name.
Fonts and verbiage
- If the title is in serif font, use sans-serif for your name, and vice versa, unless you are using the exact same font. E. g. don’t use two different serif fonts. They’ll look mismatched.
- Make sure your verbiage (title and author name) is readable! This means size and color, and sometimes outlining. Usually it helps if your image is more or less all one color or at least one color tint, tone, or shade. That, is make it all bright or all pastel or all muted, as that will make it easier for the verbiage to stand out and be readable.
Last, but not least: practice! You aren’t going to turn out a great cover without knowing your program well.
You can do it!