Category Archives: Book Covers

Creative Fun

Creating A Cover For Your Book

Once you’ve written your book, edited it to perfection and decided that you can do no more, it’s time to think about the cover. You only have to Google ‘book covers’ to see the many companies offering their services. A lot of authors prefer to have a professional create their cover to be assured their book will look its best. But you can create your own if you have the tools and maybe a little experience of photo editing with Photoshop or GIMP.

I thought some may find it interesting to see the process I used for A Red Waterproof Jacket. I chose this book because the book has a wide spine and my other two paperbacks don’t. Books with very narrow spines don’t have enough space for any writing.

I published with CreateSpace who provide templates of different sizes. There are plenty of trim sizes to choose from. For this book I chose 5.25 x 8 inches. Here is the template I downloaded for my cover:

Above you can see how the entire cover, back, front and spine need to fit on the template. Note the width of the spine has already been worked out by CreateSpace, based on the number of pages in the book and the type of paper (cream). You can also see where they will put the book’s bar code, so you need to make sure that there’s nothing in that space that you don’t want covered up.

I looked at lots of paperbacks to see how the well-known authors have had their covers set up, and noticed a lot are done as a ‘wrap-around’. Basically they’re using a picture that covers the whole template, as opposed to separate pictures for the back, front, and spine. Your picture needs to be good quality – 300 dpi is required for printing. My photograph was 3563 x 2475 pixels.

This is the original picture I chose for the cover. I took it in Blois on a visit there a few years ago.

I loved the picture but the trouble was I wanted the steps on the front of the book, so I needed to horizontally flip the image.

Then there were the two people on the steps who needed to be removed. The photo also needed some improvement – a white balance, some sharpening, and a bit of extra light to give a stronger impact.

Next I wanted the figure in the red waterproof jacket on that top step. I wanted to try and add a touch of mystery – a figure waiting. I had a good photo taken some winters back.

He needed cutting out of this photo, shrinking, turning around, and placing on the top step.

Now the back cover was going to be exceedingly dark which I didn’t want. So leaving the area for the spine dark I lightened the back cover. This meant I could use black font for the back cover blurb. I notice I’ve still got a couple of small red markers, top and bottom, to show me where the spine finishes and the front cover starts.

Next I needed to decide on fonts for the author name and title. It wasn’t easy and I hummed and hawed and pondered and changed my mind many times. In the end after I’d eventually reduced my choice down to two I sent my choices to a friend for a second opinion and she agreed with me. (A Google search will throw up all sorts of sites with free fonts available to download). I put in the title and author for the spine first. And also my logo.

Next the title – but I needed to put the red word in separately .

Then the ‘Red’ and the author name.

Lastly the back cover blurb – to tell a prospective reader what the book is about. Notice the space left for the bar code with the ISBN.

I hope this post might be a help to anyone thinking about creating their own cover. I’m not an expert but if you have any questions that I may be able to help with then please feel free to get in touch.

Two Days Page Numbering – Arrgh!

For the last week to ten days I’ve been focused on getting The Mouse and the Microlight set up for self-publishing in paperback with Createspace. I thought I was doing really well, and had got as far as the cover design which actually wasn’t that difficult. I decided to use the same design as I used for the e-book. The main difference with a paperback is that you also have to create the back cover and the spine – and do it all in one go on a template. I was really pleased at how well it worked and sat back in my chair feeling a sense of relief that I was now nearly at the end of the journey.

There was just one more thing to do, put the page numbers in the manuscript. Surely this wouldn’t take a minute? It took two days and my hubby nearly divorced me! To start with I needed to number the pages as in a book, so they need to be alternating for left and right pages. That took a day to figure out! I’ve only ever made minimal use of a word processor so new things take far longer than expected, and sometimes I don’t even understand the terminology. It really was a hair tearing out process. But I did it! Great! Ah … but hang on, I’ve suddenly realised that I don’t want page numbers on the introductory pages, I want numbers to start at chapter one. Back to the drawing board. It took another whole day and most of the evening going around in ever decreasing circles before, having lost even more hair, I managed  it. Talk about a sigh of relief.

I have learned something through all this – patience! I like things to work, and work now, and getting annoyed and and frustrated doesn’t help at all. It was a case of trying things over and over again between constant searches on LibreOffice sites on Google. Around and around and around I went like someone lost in a maze, often ending up right back where I started, utterly brain-fogged and despondent. But I did get there, and the book is finally prepared and ready to upload to Createspace.  I may do it today!

In the meantime I decided I’d like my own logo to go on all my books, and after much doodling I ended up with this …

I’ve always doodled mice, and two of my books are about Mouse Formidable, plus there’s a mouse who plays an important part in The Sleighriders. So a mouse it had to be.

The Sleighriders

Back in 2011 I published a fantasy novel called The Elf Girl’s Dream and at the time for some reason I liked the idea of using a pen-name; I’m really not sure now why I did that. As was my way I published on Amazon Kindle and then did absolutely no promotion, so just a few friends bought the book, and since then it’s grown cobwebs in the annals of the Amazon’s Kindle store.

With my new surge of enthusiasm and determination to do something about my work I decided Elf Girl needed a real facelift. First I did a complete edit, not to the story, just punctuation and a bit of tweaking here and there. Next I had to create a Table of Content which for some reason hadn’t worked on the first publishing. I don’t know why I didn’t fix that at the time. This turned into a nightmare and it took three attempts to get it all working, each time checking it in Amazon’s previewer which lets you see how your book will be seen on Kindle.

I wanted my own name on my book this time too so the pen name was binned. The next thing was the title which I’d never been entirely happy with. It kept coming across as possibly a gentle, dreamy book, which it definitely isn’t. I wanted a title that spoke of ‘movement’, of adventure, and danger, and so I eventually decided on The Sleighriders. With that in mind I created a brand new cover. It’s been quite a few weeks of work to bring the book back to life, but it’s been worth it. It also makes me realize yet again that what I love so much about writing is the creation process.

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final-e

The Sleighriders can be found on Amazon under Kindle Books.