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Peter Rendell
This topic is about Peter Rendell
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II. Publishing & Marketing Tips > Book covers - Hints, Tips and Providers

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message 1: by Peter (new)

Peter Rendell (peterrendellauth) | 41 comments No the topic is not about me - it is about Book Covers. I am the initiator of this discussion.

I am a struggling author who, like many, is looking for the weak link in my book presentation. The book cover sells the book. The thumbnail is often the first picture to be seen. So where do you start? What rules do you work to? What attracts the eye on a thumbnail? What text colours do not work for poor eyesight. My writing is still a hobby that I am hoping will become a business.

I didn't believe that I could afford to pay for a professional artist to do my book covers, so I elected to do my own using DAZ 3D. I put a lot of money into that 3D design tool; it averages $20 for each design component. I have probably spent far more than I would have with a professional book cover designer.

I would ask the professionals to give us authors a better idea of what you have to offer. I would suggest that a minimum package would be - a square image for the profile picture of a Facebook book page, a banner for said page, an Ebook book cover for Goodreads, Kindle book cover, and a small gif for Twitter.

I might suggest that a cash payment is not the only way to go. How about 2% of the book price instead?

So, what content do you put on a book cover? The cover is supposed to represent the subject of the story. Most covers leave me uninterested. The market is becoming washed out; the traditional images are tepid. So we need a lot of new images. I would suggest we let this topic on book covers include discussions on images.

My own books are based on science with a few Fantasy extensions. So I have several problems for the book cover. My books are more 'Inner space' than 'Outer space', and no, I don't mean 'Fantastic Voyage', a great film; I mean genetic manipulation, cancer, people manipulation using hypnosis. All are subjects where symbology fails or does not attract the potential reader to the book. So all the dragons, swords, rockets and nebulas are all out.

For the stubborn few, like myself, what are the guidelines for a good cover; more important, what are the mistakes?


message 2: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2201 comments A book cover is the first thing a person sees so it needs to pop and be eye catching. One thing I see all too much is a poorly put together book cover. An author throws a generic title font on a regular picture that's uncropped, doesn't fit and worse the picture has nothing to do with the title. This doesn't have to be the case but happens all too much and I don't get why people don't invest in a professional looking cover and why these same people complain about not having sales or readers.

A book cover is a representation of your book, your brand and your genre so why wouldn't you go all out? I think many think that it costs too much but that's simply not true. You can find a reasonable cover artist, premade cover or even make your own using canva, Adobe, Pablo For Buffer, etc. Excellent covers sell books, poorly made ones turn people off, its time to invest in something that makes sense.


message 3: by Petra (new)

Petra Jacob | 29 comments I found this pretty intense to work out too. I tried playing with images and text, downloaded Gimp, but everything I came up with looked awful. I had ideas but no skills to make them look the way they did in my head. I think the details of design are something that needs to be learned. In the end I found a designer who had covers I liked, that looked professional (I found many more that looked amateurish to me) and only $120 for print and ebook.
I'd say what I've learned is: accept when you can't do something, have some trust that somebody else has the skills you don't, but then be as specific about what you want from that person as possible.
Googling for other similar book covers is useful too, so you can get a feel for the possibilities.


message 4: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 27 comments First of all, thank-you, Honeysuckle, for opening this thread. I can't wait to hear all the experiences and wisdom from others about their book-cover journeys. Justin and Petra have already given some very sound advice that I wholeheartedly agree with.

And in harmony with Honeysuckle, I too, find that the usual cover images are tepid. That's why I plan to replace the traditional buffed man on the romantic cover with my own signature.

I'm going to do a lot of overhauling concerning my covers. I hope to gain some input from those that wish to contribute. Thank-you, Honeysuckle. I hope your questions get answered.


message 5: by Lance (new)

Lance Charnes (lcharnes) | 327 comments First: unless you're an accomplished graphic artist with experience creating book covers, do not attempt to create your own cover -- it'll look like an author built it, with all that implies. I used to make a living as a digital artist for games, yet I still had enough sense not to try to DIY my own covers.

Second: educate yourself about the kinds of covers that go on your legacy-published competitors. For all their failings, the legacy publishers have far more marketing data than any of us ever will, and they know what sells a title. There's a reason books in a certain genre have a limited range of cover designs -- it's because that's what readers are looking for.

When you start to look for a cover artist, go to Joel Friedlander's The Book Designer website. Not only will you learn a lot about book design (both inside and outside), but he also runs a monthly e-book cover contest. There you'll get to see dozens of covers in multiple genres created by different artists. You'll probably find some artists who interest you.

Book covers are their own art form. It's not about pasting a few words on a picture. A good cover lures the reader with an image that represents some part of the story. When you select a cover artist, make sure s/he has actually done some number of book covers and understands their language. Just because an artist can do a soap-box label or a still life doesn't mean s/he knows how to put a cover together. Do you really want to finance someone else's learning curve?

When you publish, the very last thing you want to scrimp on is your cover. As Justin said, it's the way it presents itself to potential readers. A bad cover isn't merely ugly or stupid; it says something about your product. If you can't be bothered to put a decent cover on it, what else did you cut corners on? If you can't afford a good cover now, wait until you can. It's an investment, not an expense.


message 6: by Peter (new)

Peter Rendell (peterrendellauth) | 41 comments Petra wrote: "I found this pretty intense to work out too. I tried playing with images and text, downloaded Gimp, but everything I came up with looked awful. I had ideas but no skills to make them look the way t..."
The deal price sounds good. How about giving them some free publicity? They earned it.

Care to explain how you Googled similar pictures?


message 7: by Petra (new)

Petra Jacob | 29 comments Honeysuckle wrote: "Petra wrote: "I found this pretty intense to work out too. I tried playing with images and text, downloaded Gimp, but everything I came up with looked awful. I had ideas but no skills to make them ..."

I'd certainly love to give her publicity, I wasn't sure it was allowed. She's working under the name Vila Design. She has some examples of covers she's done on her site. Although having looked back at my records, I paid $154, so I think that's the ebook and print version price.

I Googled similar covers by searching 'book cover psychological thrillers'. and 'book cover literary fiction'.


message 8: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 27 comments In harmony with what's been stated here, I would agree and say if you don't have a natural talent for creating your own book covers, then you should hire a professional. There are a lot of good ones here on Goodreads. The internet is filled with them.

But if you have the desire and talent to put in the work to create your own, then by all means do it. It's fun, and it gets your creative juices flowing. There are some wonderful sites where you can design your own covers that are just as eye-catching and professional looking.

I'm still learning, I have a few covers I'm going to change. But I'm enjoying doing it myself. You can't please everyone. So whether a professional or a DIY project, there's going to be critics.


message 9: by Effie (new)

Effie Kammenou (effiekammenou) | 720 comments I agree with everything Lance said. My daughter is a graphic designer. She worked for Real Simple magazine and now she works for a major cosmetic company, designing ads, emails and P.O.P. for store counters. She refused to do my cover. She said it's a specialized skill and one she has no experience with. Sure, she could design the graphic, but there is so much more that goes into it, depending on book size and other factors.
A good designer will ask for a detailed summary of your book and give you several options as a starting point. With my first book, this is what we did. I had some ideas on what I might want and she came up with others. After a few adjustments, we agreed on a cover that I was completely happy with. For the second book in the saga, I knew exactly what I wanted. I wasn't going to get it with a cover photo so I hired a photographer to shoot a series of photos. I just did the same with the third book and revealed the cover for the first time today. I would highly recommend my designer. She is also my inside formatter. She just announced she'd pregnant and would be cutting back for a while once the baby was born. she scheduled all her clients in advance. But she's been creating gorgeous remade covers for very little money and posting them on her facebook group - tugboat design group. I would look at them if you want a nice cover for a small amount of money. She's posted fantasy, romance, mystery, young adult, sci-fi covers.
Just another note. There are many promotional sites that are extremely picky with who they accept on their site. Many will state their criteria, aside from reviews, is a professional cover, format and a good blurb.


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