Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Covers

 I'm in the throes of trying to design a book cover for my novel that I'll self-publish before long. I've already self-published a collection of short stories, Battles and other stories. I like the cover. The problem is that the image isn't large enough to qualify it for Smashwords premium catalogue. I downloaded the image from a free stock photo site. I have no idea how to increase the size of the image, or if it's even possible. Add to that the fact that I know nothing about Photoshop, or any other image processing system.

I have now designed a cover for the novel I will self-publish pretty soon. However, I put it up for evaluation at AgentQueryConnect (see image below) and received some negative opinions of it. Again, part of the problem is that the image seems to be too small, and not enticing to people to look further into the book. (I just noticed that volumn is spelled wrong. It should be volume.)

I've been playing around with designing my own covers with the limited tools I have to work with, and this is what I've come up with.

I'm trying to create something that is unified and would be my signature style.

I have to admit the plain versions with no pictures are not very interesting. They give no hint of what the books are about. I really prefer having pictures.

What do you think?


Ann Best said...

I like the plain covers, Richard. I like them very much. But, I think more people are drawn to pictures, sadly. I'm more interested in content. But....

I did discover that you can decrease the size of a stock image, but you can't increase it. And as you probably know, 5 x 8 pixels is the minimum required. Do I know about pixels?! Nope. And like you, I know also NOTHING about Photoshop. I have tried and tried, and just can't do it. I found a wonderful young woman in our neighborhood who does knows how to do it. She wouldn't have charged me for my covers, but I insisted as she's a newly divorced single mother and needs the money.

If you could find someone .... Unfortunately, a cover IS very important.

Glad to hear that your first volume is almost ready to be published. And I like the title Only the Lonely. And The Peaceville Saga makes it sounds even more intriguing!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Misha Gericke said...

I think that it's better to have pictures, but look for something that ties all of your books together, like a certain style, or a certain group of colors...

That's what I would do in your situation.

Tanya Reimer said...

OMGosh. I love the cover with the tree. (absolutely hate the plain one-sorry)I felt the essence of the book in that tree. Of course, I think it's perfect!

I asked hubby what he thought and he said it didn't draw him in. Helpful, I know, but the question is who is your target audience? He was thinking that it just needs one more element, like a soldier walking off in the distance or an old rifle leaning against the tree, even a tombstone instead of a wagon... just ideas we tossed around that might be helpful. One element, no more, but SOMETHING symbolic.

I'm playing around with a cover too for a short story collection I was thinking about self-publishing. So if you need help changing the format of the pictures you can always email it to me to see if anything I tried worked. Never know, I like to fool around with them, and I have access to 5 different computers with all sorts of programs.

I had no idea there were free pics out there we could use, (the problem might be in how you download them too). I think I'm going to use one of my own pictures in the end, since I found a magical one, but I can't get the photo with the words (in a word doc) to stick. Under what do you save it so smashwords accepts it as a photo page? I'm clearly missing a step.

have fun!!!

John Doe said...

I agree with Tanya I do not like the plain ones. I also like the simplicity of the tree but it is missing something symbolic. The background needs some drama too...maybe to colors instead of all white. If you subscribe to one of the free photo sites you have access to many more images and sizes. It is not that expensive to subscribe. Also if you use one of the photos for a commercial venture such as a book cover they may come after you. A guy was threatening me for using one on my blog. Try to find an artsy friend who might help you for free or for very little.

Richard said...

I love all your comments; they're better than I expected. I agree, the tree pic needs something else.
I'll look thru my files or take a few cemetary pics or something else to see what I can come up with.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

I love the picture with the tree. It's so evocative.