Friday, 5 September 2014

Cover to Cover: Tips for creating a top-notch design

So as ever I am going to draw on my own experience to find a topic for my blog this week.
Just yesterday I received the proof for the new paperback version of Chasing Freedom. It was my second time creating a paperback and it wasn’t any easier than the first, but I got it done. Other than a tiny error with the edge of the front cover it’s looking pretty good.
But it got me to thinking – how important is your cover? And what kind of thing should you be doing to make your cover look as professional as possible?
So to the first question – how important is your cover? Well, despite the old adage, never judge a book by its cover, your cover is actually one of the most important things about your book. Of course you want it formatted properly and you want to make sure the writing and editing is top notch – but the sad fact is that if you have a bad cover none of that will matter because no one will see it.
Unfortunately there are a lot of Indie authors out there who assume, I think, that because their book will be digital the cover won’t matter. It does.
So there here are a few tips I can give to making your cover as professional as possible:
·         Obviously the most obvious answer is to have it designed by a professional cover designer. Your cover will look professional, but on the downside, it can cost a lot of money, and not all of us have the cash to spare. If you are willing to make that investment then definitely go for it.
If a professional is out of your price range, then try a few of the tips below to really get that edge you need for a great cover.
·         Quality is essential when it comes to the artwork – whatever you do, don’t skimp on it. It might be really tempting to pay a little less and get the lower resolution picture – and it might work to a point on the small scale thumbnail on Amazon, but if you want a print copy it will need to be at least 300dpi or it’s going to look bad.
·         If you are designing it on an Office programme (which is possible) avoid all the standard fonts. They have a habit of making a cover look homemade – there are lots of more exotic fonts out there, and you can often find great ones online to download. Search around a bit to find something that works.
·         Play with placement. You don’t have to stick with the title at the top and your name at the bottom – it’s the most standard, but playing with different placements can really make something stand out.
·         Get a second opinion. Make sure you have someone whose opinion you trust look at it. Get them to tell you what works and what doesn’t. And listen to them. You don’t HAVE to change something they don’t like, but normally if something jumps out at them in the wrong way it will be the same for other people.
·         But most important of all, take your time. This isn’t something that can be rushed. If you rush it, it will show. You want your cover to be as good as it can possibly be and that will take time and effort. But at the end of it you should have a cover that you can be proud of.
What about other Indie authors out there? Do you have any tips for great cover design? What works for you? Do you love or loathe making covers? Comments below!
Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, Nicola. Personally, I hate making covers. It might be fun at first, but in the end I am totally stressed. I think some of the most frustrating things for me are dealing with file formats, sizing, and all the technical stuff. I enjoy doing the art more, but it does take a long time, and it is never as good as what's in my head!