Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Talk About Covers

It occurred to me that yesterday there were probably some who said "Yeah, easy for you to say, you have Photoshop!"

There's nothing easy about Photoshop as everyone well knows who's been here since the blog's inception.  But yes, if you don't have a copy and cannot for the life of you figure out how to get a copy, here are a couple suggestions.  GIMP is a freeware graphics program that will make it possible for you to build a cover.  For a smallish amount of money, compared to Photoshop, Corel Draw is excellent and is quite sympathetic to newbie users.  Shop around for a legacy version and you'll be very pleased.

Once  you know a couple common techniques, using these programs will enable you to create the same kind of covers you see on traditionally published books.  I do advise you to learn the whole layer thing.  You might not know what that is now, but once you start learning the program, you will be confronted with it  Layers are your friends.  They will isolate potential mistakes and make changes simple.

Cover images for ebooks are still in their infancy.  I expect that over the next year they will become far more sophisticated and designed more for the thumbnail view.  Tradpub books are designed for bookstores.  That they are displayed at BN or Amazon, is an afterthought.  This will change.  So you do want to be aware that anything you design must be understood in a quite small size.

I think I probably failed that test with Virgin Warrior.  There's an awful lot of detail in the image and the text is fairly small in thumbnail size.  But it was a trade off because in the large size, it all looks swell.  Like anything, it was an artistic choice as well as time and energy investment.  If it was a book, I probably would have done it differently but since it's one story, I was willing to do halfway there.


Nicole MacDonald said...

GIMP works really well and it's not just photoshop that counts! You have to have an eye for design. I fail at this but my awesome blog buddy Keary doesn't and she created my beautiful cover. It's the simplicity of the design that does it for me. I'm in awe of you graphically gifted people :)

The Arrival, only .99c on Amazon

Shelia A. Huggins said...

I think Nicole hit the nail on the head with that comment. You have to have an eye for design. You could have access to every piece of design software there is and guess what, that could make matters worse if you don't know what you're doing.