Guest Post: Joleene Naylor ~ Transforming Cover Art into a Wraparound

Today I’m turning the blog over to Joleene Naylor—Artist, Author, Photographer—she’s just got her hands in so many pots. 🙂 Welcome her as she simplifies cover art for us do it yourselfers.

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In December Reena hosted a blog about how to find an artist to create your book cover.  But, what if you later decide to move that ebook into a paper back?

A paperback book has to have a full, wraparound cover. In other words there has to be material for the front, spine and the back of the book. This might sound daunting, but don’t sweat it. Anyone can turn their ebook cover into a full-fledged wrap around

The easiest way to make your cover is to use the cover creator in your POD of choice. (Some have better directions than others, though the programs are essentially the same, so you can use the superior FAQ at LuLu- http://www.lulu.com/en/help/covers_faq.  ) Import the front cover into the cover creator and then you can create the back cover in the online program, or make a back cover as a single image (the same way you did the front cover), then place the images correctly and, voile! You’re all done. However, cover creators don’t allow you to import images for the spine. If you try to, it will simply place them on the front cover instead. This includes logos.

Before you jump into your back cover there are a few things to consider. For starters, it needs to match the front cover. You don’t want a purple back and a primarily yellow front.  Be careful of using full sized images, as well, because it’s usually hard to read words over the top of them, unless you understand opacities and layers in your art program.

But what exactly do you need to put on your back cover?

1-    The bar code. Most POD places will provide that for you.
2-    Your copyright information (example: © Publication year Your Name/ All Rights Reserved). Near the left hand corner is a good place.
3-    You may also want to include a link to your website. If you capitalize keywords it makes your URL easier to remember: prettypinkponies vs PrettyPinkPonies.
4-    Most important is your “description”. It can be a blurb, a small excerpt, a hook, the description you used on Amazon, whatever.  But, remember, it is the meat and potatoes of the back cover, and everything else is the gravy. You don’t want any of the design elements to interfere with the readability.

If you have space left over, you may wish to include an author bio, a photo, or even “other books by”.  Whichever you choose, don’t turn it into a long, laundry list. Only mention a couple of books that pertain to this one (eg the same genre) or that have sold the most copies.  The reader can always look inside the book for the list of your other titles.

Whether you’re adding that author photo, using a decorative image, or just making the whole thing and then uploading it, there are some things you need to remember:

1-    Make sure you have permission or a license for the image
2-    Don’t use blurry webcam type photos. They don’t print well.
3-    Make sure all your images are 300 DPI. Smaller images will print badly.

The most important thing to remember is this; book covers aren’t scary. They’re an extension of your book, and they should be as much fun to make as your book was to craft. If you find yourself frustrated, angry, or upset, then take a breather and come back to it later, or get some help.  If you hate the cover, everyone else will, too.

Have you done a paperback cover? What worked for you? What didn’t work?

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Joleene NaylorBio: Joleene Naylor is a freelance artist and author of the eBook How to Get a Cheap Book Cover and the Amaranthine vampire series. Her current projects include Ties of Blood, the third in the series, a collection of short stories titled Vampire Morsels, and The Terrible Turtle Conspiracy webcomic. In her free time she creates book covers for other authors, blogs and waits patiently to win the lottery. Learn more about her at her website: http://JoleeneNaylor.com

Memory Lane: Cover Art Take Two

I received quite a bit of feedback from my early cover art designs of Shadow Cat. Very helpful. I took them into consideration and got rid of the animated images which many said gave it an amateurish look.

If you don’t remember the first attempts, behold!

Shadow Cat Solid

When you’re done laughing, feel free to keep reading.

Originally I thought to replace the woman above with a photograph of a woman. Then I started to worry about sex appeal. I figured more women would be inclined to purchase Shadow Cat than men since it’d be listed under romance. So goodbye Lady. Hello, Mister.

I actually liked the one above… and I didn’t like it. Somewhere along the line I realized the importance of a background. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have more flesh. 🙂 And so the below cover art came to be.

Does this cover tempt you to want Shadow Cat for your very own? Why or why not? Inquiring minds want to know. Okay. I just want to know.

All of these examples I did in Photoshop Elements 7. If you’re interested in my review of the product, hop on over to the post.

Guest Post: Lindsay Buroker on Cover Art

How I Found Affordable Custom Cover Art for My Ebooks

Lindsay Buroker

You know that old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” Well, nobody pays attention to it. Especially when they’re shopping for ebooks!

I know it seems silly (why should an electronic book even need a cover?), but it’s important for us to have professional images to represent our books. You want potential buyers scrolling through the lists at Amazon/iBookstore/Smashwords/etc to be more attracted to your cover than the ones surrounding it. You want them to say, “Oh, that looks spiffy,” and click through to read the blurb for your book. (Bonus points for you if they use the actual word ‘spiffy’.)

Good-looking custom artwork is a great way to stand out, especially next to other indie ebooks. But it costs a fortune, right?

Well… maybe not as much as you’d expect. When I started looking around, hoping to have a couple covers done, I ran into professionals charging $500 and up for custom artwork. I’m sure their prices were very reasonable, considering the work that must go into crafting such a piece, but that’s more than a lot of indie authors can afford.

I headed over to the Deviant Art website and starting browsing the galleries of various members of the community. There’s some brilliant work up there, and I came across more than a few artists who I knew would be perfect for what I had in mind. I made an account so I could send them messages…and never heard back. After checking my virtual armpits for cyber odors that might have driven them away, I decided they were probably just busy and didn’t check in that often.

Then I stumbled upon the Job Offers Forum. There were lots of posts with folks asking for character art, comic graphics, and, yes, book covers!

I made my own post (you have to have an account on Deviant Art to post, but it’s free to create one) and explained what I was looking for. I also stated exactly how much I could spend, since I didn’t want to get excited over offerings from folks who would make me the cover of my dreams…for $700.

Within hours, I’d received several offers, and they kept rolling in over the next week. I was able to browse through the galleries and find someone whose style meshed with my needs. I did see quite the gamut. You want realistic paintings of scantily clad heroes and heroines? It’s there. Gorgeous battle scenes for your epic fantasy novel? They’re there too. Cartoon artwork to appeal to young readers (hand raise), you got it.

A word of warning: artists from all over the world belong to Deviant Art, so English isn’t going to be the first language for many of those who contact you. If you have very specific ideas in mind, make sure to pick someone who communicates well.

I ended up with two artists doing covers for different ebooks, one my Goblin Brothers stories (for middle grade readers) and one a more realistic style for a fantasy novel I’ll be publishing soon. Neither cost me more than $200. Though I thought the artists did a good job, and I would have loved to give more, I’ve got to start making some money first!

Good luck with your own ebook covers, and let us know if you find someone who does a good job.

Bio:

Lindsay is a professional blogger by day and a fantasy writer by night. She writes about her Ebook Endeavors on her blog. Please stop by to chime in on the discussion!

Goblin Brothers Adventures is available at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || Kobo || iTunes || Smashwords

NaNoWriMo – Update 2

Yesterday started the second week of NaNoWriMo. I have to admit, I’m quite pleased with my progress thus far. My original goal was to write 2300 words a day, five days a week, and leave the weekends for other things.

I kept my 2300 words/day goal, though at times it was a struggle. On top of that, I deviated from my weekend plans and decided to do the 1667 goal set by NaNo. Technically I did my 1667+ words over the weekend, but the NaNo folks must not have been hip to the end of Daylight Savings cause I ended Sunday short and started ahead on Monday.

Oh well, everything’ll be back on schedule today, and my words will have evened out. So, how many words did I get the first week? According to my count, my Sunday ended with a total of 16042 words. Not bad. 🙂

On top of that, I managed to finish polishing a couple of chapters of Shadow Cat. Still waiting for the beta feedback though.

This week, I plan to continue my awesome progress with my NaNo novel (Alley Cat) and incorporate the feedback I received on chapter 10 and 11 of Shadow Cat. What say you about the cover art for Alley Cat?