How To Create Great Cover Art

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is the saying, but let’s be honest, it is what we all do. At least if I’m honest, it is a big part of the decision to pick up a book or not, especially a tree book (physical book) but even an e-book could be dismissed if the cover looks like something a six year old would have come up with. Not bad if it’s a book aimed for that age group, but it’s not something you want if you are looking for the mature reader.

 

Cover Cranford Bad      Cover Cranford

Take the two covers above. To the right is the one by Penguin Classics and shows basically what the book is about with the right feel to it. Left is … Well, let’s say it’s a bit of a crowded picture and I don’t see what it has to do with the story behind the cover.

There’s a lot of things that can make or break your work but the very first thing, after you’ve written that masterpiece, you need to create a great cover for your book, and for that you must have a great picture. One that covers what the book is about and not just one you like.

There are many places to find good photos to use as cover art for your book. I always like to browse Flickr to find pictures to match the stories I write or create a cover for, and if you do an advanced search for pictures with a Creative commons license, chances are you can use the image for free. However, even if it’s under creative commons, you still have to make sure it’s available for commercial use and if you are allowed to alter it. Also remember that it’s always nice, and good manners to let the owner of the picture know you are going to use his–or her–picture and to what purpose. Most of the times the photographer will be pleased to hear their work will be published and might even help you with promotion once you publish.

I promised the owner of that beautiful Red Ridinghood photo–which I am using as the basis for my cover–a copy of the book and of course being mentioned as the photographer. It has resulted in a great working relation with Lee Turnbull and two great covers.
cover Red Gone Bad         a-menu-of-death-final-full-KLM
If you have money to spend and want a picture by a renowned photographer rather than support an upcoming great artist, you can always look for commercial content, sometimes those aren’t that expensive either. On sites like Istockphoto you can find pictures, not even that expensive. I’ve seen very nice ones for only $13 and high resolution, which you need if you want to be able to use it for a print too.There are many more sites with loads and loads of content to chose from, but these are the ones I prefer to browse.And then there’s ImageShack not a site to find pictures to use as cover, but certainly useful to upload your own pictures for safe keeping and sharing with others. They allow you to embed, or link to pictures on their site.
Now that you’ve found the perfect picture and the photographer has agreed for you to use and alter the photo for that cover the real work begins. Creating a cover is not as easy as you might think it is. Which font is the right one to use for the by line, the title, where to place those, do you need to add or remove anything from the picture?
The cover for Red Gone Bad for example started with the below picture. Great work of art, but too busy to use as a cover and however beautiful that lens flare is, it has no place on a book cover. So get rid of the ‘tossed salad’, the flare and to be able to place the title and by line in the right place the image was flipped.
Original RGB
The artist, Lee Turnbull, was very happy with the end result and up till this day we have a great contact, even developed a kind of friendship, and a working relation that serves us both, because I will depend on his great eye to shoot the cover for The Power Of Three too.
So, with the right picture you’re not there yet. You need to either learn how to use Photoshop, of Gimp which I prefer for the simple reason it is free software, easy to use and does everything Photoshop does too. There’s an abundance of tutorials on Gimp all over the interwebz, but I quite liked the Gimptalk forum.
How do you get your covers? Create them yourself? Buy them and get disappointed every now and then, or do you have friends helping you, like I have when I’m stuck and can’t see where to take the cover I’m working on.

Cover Contest 2013 Semi-Finals

book-contest-semi-finalist

 

Voting for the semi finalists is open and three of my covers are among them!

(click on the covers to zoom over to their page on the contest)

Cover HC site

Heaven’s Closed in the category Occult&Supernatural

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Red Gone Bad in the category Other

Cover bound bare back red small new

Bound in the category Erotica

If you have a few moments to spare and an opinion on book covers why not hop over to

AUTHORSDB

cast your vote by clicking on the stars below the covers.

Winners Announcement Giveaway A Menu of Death!

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Available at:

KOBO | AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | iTUNES

or

via my site (that way I get a very small extra percentage)

Thanks to all of the lovely readers who took the time to share the news of the release of

A Menu of Death

Rafflecopter has drawn the Winners of the giveaway.

If you entered in this giveaway click the link below and see if you won.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Free download on Smashwords

For those who haven’t a Kindle, or who have but haven’t gotten my books yet. As from today through June 5th 2013 both

Red Gone Bad

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and

Bound

Cover bound bare back red small new

will be available for free download by using the following coupon code

MK95J upon checkout when downloading Bound

or

TC66T to get your free copy of Red Gone Bad

Please leave a rating, or even a review after you’ve read it. All feedback will be appreciated. 🙂

Finally! Red Gone Bad Available for Download!

After writing the stories, having them edited–thoroughly and without a doubt near perfect–I first wanted to submit my stories to a paying market. Then my dear colleague and friend Kimberley Grenfell aka Devon Winterson put the idea in my head that self-publishing them was a possibility too. At first I thought, “Nah, that’s not for me. I don’t know where to start, what to do and …” Anyway, I had more of  those non-reasons holding me back from it. But she had me looking into the matter and soon enough I realised it gave me full control on the how, what, where, and when. Not such a bad idea after all!!

That meant making a choice. And I did. I chose to self-publish.

Now I needed a cover! Got Gimp, found a photo of Flickr and gotten the permission to use is from Nineteen68 (the photographer) and tried my hand at cover art. Failed at it, miserably and nearly gave up. Then I posted my own work up at Writer’s Beat and a member stepped up and helped me out with it. I am for ever in his dept. Thank you! I ended up with a beautiful cover I would never could have created myself. And we all know books are still judged by their cover. Even ebooks!

Now I needed formatting to be picture perfect. Struggled a bit, until I discovered that with Scrivener that is a near walk in the park, if you know how to use the program right. I learned and got it right!

So now, without further ado, I present to you

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I hope you’ll be interested enough to go take a look and read the sample, or even buy the book. A mere $0.99 buys you tales without a happy end in sight.

On Amazon

Or Smashwords