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.