Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Amazon Can ReReprice Anything

Apparently you need to change your prices elsewhere and let them go through because we don't see what the Zonbot sees.

I got confirmation from KDP that changes will be made within a few days.  Okay, great.  On to a future crisis--some reader complaining "the font looks like a typewriter".

Here's the new cover for Tim Powers' hardcover book that came to me in an Amazon mailing this morning.  I think this is instructive for us so let's talk about it.

This is effective and simple.  I can't tell who the guy is on the right side, I think you could do without it.  What it really breaks down to is the black castle--trust me you can find a castle in public domain that you can turn black easily and a darkened sky.  This is about 5 minutes worth of work in Photoshop.

Background layer is the sky.

Place the black castle on top.  (You will have to mask out its background and turn it into a PNG file.)

Layer title on top.  Choose the lightest color of clouds.  Or go a little lighter.  It's not white.  Notice the title is placed on the lightest part of the image.  It could have been moved down to the bottom where it's the darkest but I think the center is more dramatic.

Layer author's name next.  Not as large a font as the title.  Many people will advise to make the author huge.  I don't necessarily agree and neither did this designer.  The color is an interesting choice.  Mustard yellow or something.  I'm not crazy about it but it doesn't detract from the design so I'm okay with it.  It is in all caps.  I think it's a good idea to have one or the other in caps but not both.  The title and author are both serif fonts--sorry I can't tell with my eyesight if it's the same font, if not, very close.  The title font looks a little distressed but that could be an issue of resolution.

Layer--bats.  Sure you'll find a Photoshop brush of bats.  You may have to hit that a couple times to make them dark enough against the dark sky.

There are some kind of blurbs I can't read, one by Peter Straub.  Well he's famous so who cares what he said, it was good or it wouldn't be there.

Then there's something under Tim Powers probably saying how famous and accomplished he is but I can't read it and you sure can't read it in thumbnail.

A novel.  Do we need that layer?  Don't we know it's a novel?   Does it show up?  Not really.

I'm a minimalist.  I want the least amount that conveys the most.  I don't want less than I need but I sure don't want more.  I don't want to clutter up my design with lots of stuff going on.  I wouldn't do the blurb, I wouldn't do how famous Tim is (he's famous, that's established).  But I'm a photographer.  I'm visual.  I'm not a marketer.  I want the image to do the selling, not a bunch of words.  If the image works, the thing works.  Words don't help and may hurt.  That's my philosophy.  I'm not a graphic designer so I could be very wrong.

So what I will tell you is that these are very simple design elements you can do for yourself and leave off the blurbs unless you're doing this in CreateSpace, too, because you can't read them online.  No I'm not telling you to copy it!  I'm showing you what's possible and yet exceedingly simple.

This looks like about 3 or 4 hours worth of work to me.  Lovely, effective, eye-catching.

This is basically the Blue Raja cover.

I found a castle (from a postcard in PD), tweaked it.  I found a sky, tweaked it.  Added the title and my name.  And stars.  And lights in the castle.  No bats.

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