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Guest post by Kerri Williams – DIY covers and Contracted designers.

12/5/2012

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

Well, I’ll confess that in the times of e-books, I am definitely guilty of that. There are literally thousands of books out there on Amazon alone and it’s so easy to flick down the screen and pick a book by the cover that stands out and grabs your attention.

Whether you are designing it yourself or having a designer do it for you, you still want to be able to have an idea of what you want and what the reader will buy.

For many this may be a half-naked man, (yes please) for some it may be a child holding a scraggly toy rabbit or maybe it’s artistic and animated. Every ones tastes are different, but I do think that before you go out there and design your cover you should do some research first and make sure it is applicable to the genre your write.

It’s no good to have a cute young couple holding hands on the front of a book like a YA novel which is actually about a farmer in his thirties who finds a three boobed alien in his corn field. No, your readers will definitely be disappointed, if not, a little freaked out. But once you have that down, it’s much easier to shop for your pictures. Yes I said‘shop’ for your
pictures because you can’t just go google image surfing and use whatever you like.

Now, I used a fantastic company called Okay Creations. I already had an idea of what I wanted my cover to portray and any good designer will have questions so he or she will get this just right for you (hopefully the first time round.) This part is important because you don’t want to be wasting your time and definitely not theirs because they have a life too and some may even charge you extra to meet your indecisive needs and when you’re an Indie author, you really don’t want to be forking money out needlessly.

If you are doing it yourself and have Photoshop on your computer and actually know how to use it, you may be able to design your own cover. Sadly, I’m not one of those lucky or intelligent bastards.

There are many sites out there like photobucket and other such copyright free photo sites you can use and they aren’t too badly priced either. Some are actually free. I bought three photos for my covers in The Moore Justice Trilogy; all are the same model in different looks so I could grab the appearance of her maturing as the series went along. All three cost me $60.

You can download awesome fonts for free, but make sure they are from a legal site and can be embedded into your host site (amazon, etc) you can check this by trying to save your file as a pdf. If it doesn’t save, it won’t work. Sometimes, it still won’t work. It all depends on how much you want a fancy font in your book.

But don’t be thinking that’s all there is to it. You have to get the measurement and pixels right for it to load correctly on Kindle, B&N, Smashwords etc. And then there is the full jacket cover. You need to know your page count once it’s
loaded on to your host site to make sure you get the cover size right. There are many variables, so research your ass off so you aren’t stuck mid-load having an anxiety attack and reaching for a brown paper bag before you pass out.

Okay, so I may have scared the pants off you and you have decided you are going to pay a professional, please don’t feel that way because I know when you use CreateSpace, they have cover templates and instructions so you can get through it without a sick bag.

But for those who do choose to use a professional like I did, make sure you can afford it. Make sure you can make your money back or what’s the point. There are many and I mean many sites out there that offer the service, but some are quite expensive. I, myself wouldn’t go there. This is another research necessity. Ask around, don’t be afraid of forums. You don’t need to comment, just read.

There is also another option which is cheap and EASY! (I have your attention now, right) Pre-made covers. My cover for NEVER GOODBYE was actually a pre-made cover. CHEAP!!! I saw it one day on facebook and I was writing the novel and knew right then and there it was perfect. I was actually freaking out that I’d miss out on purchasing it.

I have a good friend who had used this method for two of her novels and they are fantastic and…CHEAP! Did I say that
already?

So there are a few options for you, but please remember cheaper isn’t always better. Remember you want your reader’s
attention.

I used Okay Creations for HUNGER FOR JUSTICE, HEART FOR JUSTICE & BLOOD FOR JUSTICE. (The Moore Justice Trilogy)

I used Once Upon A Time for NEVER GOODBYE and my blog banner and author facebook banner is from Boo Savage
who also does fantastic covers.

So there is no reason for a drab cover peeps. Go for it; don’t be afraid to ask questions and importantly, do your
RESEARCH!

I hope that helps some and if you have any questions I promise I’ll try to help. If they have anything to do with Photoshop, which I own and have tried many times to play with and epically failed, then rack off and go find some other fool to help you. LOL. Although, I am getting better 😉

Here is where you can find me, stalk me, love me. You get the picture:

Facebook,
Twitter, Blog/web

Hunger For Justice- the first novel in The Moore Justice Trilogy

Kez

Hunger for Justice - Kerri Williams - CoverAvailable now!

Heart for Justice - Kerri Williams - Cover
Heart for Justice will be out 22nd December 2012

 

Comments

kerri williams
12/5/2012 03:26:03 pm

thanks for having me, Mon.
Sorry I’m late to the blog everyone, I was stuck at the dreaded day job.
kez

Kez
12/5/2012 06:04:14 pm

Great post Kerri. Thanks for the advice – I’m looking into this for next year so this will be very useful.

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