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12 Tips for Creating a Simple E-Book Cover

March 8th, 2013

There is no doubt that a professionally designed e-book cover looks better than one produced by the DIY method. But is there anything those of us with a publishing budget of zero can do to improve our chances of producing an effective cover?

I’ve recently launched two e-anthologies on Amazon Kindle. Being an absolute novice at the e-publishing business, I asked the readers of my blog for their opinion on my first cover design before I published. They were very generous with their thoughts and advice.

Sally Jenkins PictureI’ve summarised their tips below plus some other bits and pieces I’ve picked up along the way:

Look at other books in the same genre. Don’t copy their covers but try to make yours look broadly similar.

Stick to an easily readable clear font. Fancy fonts may not be legible on a thumbnail image and can look amateurish.

Be careful where you place the lettering. Don’t obscure important parts of the image, such as someone’s face.

Make sure the cover isn’t too ‘busy’ – remember that thumbnail image which appears on Amazon.

Use a different font for the title and the author’s name and don’t use the word ‘by’.

Use smaller lettering for the author’s name than that used for the title.

Make sure that the image you choose reflects the content of the book thus creating the right expectation in the reader. You don’t want a disappointed reader to leave a bad review because they thought they were buying chick-lit but it turned out to be a thriller!

Don’t be afraid of experimenting with different images and lettering, use your creative writing techniques.

There are lots of wonderful pictures available for free from websites such as http://www.stockfreeimages.com/, http://www.freeimages.co.uk/ and http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/.

Do read the terms and conditions when you down load a photo – most require that you include a credit for the photographer/website at the front of your book.

Make life easier for yourself by choosing an image that is ‘book cover’ shaped i.e. portrait rather than landscape or square – unless you’re already an expert at image manipulation. Amazon recommends a height/width ratio of 1.6, with the best quality covers having 1563 pixels along the shorter side and 2500 on the longer side.

There are a number of image manipulation software packages for adding lettering and other touches to your chosen image. GIMP was recommended to me. It is free to download and it’s easy to find solutions to any problems you have when using it by typing a question into a search engine.

My first ill-fated cover attempt can still be seen on my blog post along with the design I finally published. I learned a lot from my mistakes and am grateful to everyone who took the time to point out my errors!

Details of Sally’s e-books can be found at http://sallyjenkins.wordpress.com/books/.

Sally blogs about writing and related subjects at http://sallyjenkins.wordpress.com.

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