Book Cover Art & Design for Self-Publishers.
Create Book Cover Art in a Design that Sells! An Author’s Biggest Challenge is often a Great Design Book Cover
Book cover art is often one of the biggest challenges for authors. Photographers can use one of their photos, and artists will naturally use one of their artworks. Chefs can use a photograph of one of their recipes photos. Self-publishers of children’s books can use an illustration on their cover. But, if you don’t fall into one of these categories, you may need to get creative. Here are some tips about creating professional looking, original book covers.
Self-publishers can always hire a designer for their book cover art, or use one of the book creator tools online. But, if you are reading this article, it is more likely that you want to create it yourself, your are on a budget, or you are interested in learning about book cover art and design. There are also those who are creating just an ebook.
Book Cover Art and Specs
If you don’t have photos or images to use on your book cover, what can you do? You can buy stock photos or images to use on the cover. There are different licenses for the use of images for sale on most stock photography sites. Read the fine print, or you may end paying royalties to the creator. Be sure to buy the correct size for the dimensions of your book cover.
If the cover will bleed or extend beyond the final dimensions of the book, get the dimensions and spine width from the services provider. We give authors the measurements in millimeters.
Place the image on the cover, and add the title and any subtitle to the book…
Try not to use the preloaded typefaces that come with your computer or device. Invest a few dollars in a classic typeface, and make sure it is a font from a reputable type foundry. Don’t make the title too small, so that it is hard to read if viewed on a small thumbnail image. When deciding about the use of color, first decide on the image. Then use the eyedropper tool to select color for the type that comes directly from the image. This is what we did in the photo above.
The book cover art is how you are presenting your book to the world. It is no time for amateurs. If you can pull of a design that is great, then you won’t need a pro to design the book cover art. Be honest with yourself, as the number of books sold may depend on it.
Yes, initially, a book is judged by the cover.
The back cover is the perfect place for a brief synopsis of the book, or a little about the author, along with his or her photo. If you have quotes about the book, the back cover is a good place to place these. But, don’t use all these ideas, and don’t make the type too small. Think of the back cover as an invitation to buy your book. If it has too much clutter and is hard to read, it will be passed over.
Simplicity sells the book. Don’t be afraid of white space. Focus on your message, or ‘sales pitch’.
Be sure to add the barcode
It belongs in the lower right corner of the back cover. Don’t put it too close to the spine, or it may fall in the hinge area. This would make it difficult to scan. Likewise, don’t put the title of a print book too close to the spine.
If you are creating an ebook and a book to print — whether it is print on-demand or printing on press — you need two ISBNs; one for the print version and one for the ebook. If you are printing a hardcover, soft cover, and publishing an ebook, you must buy three ISBNs. A word of caution; buy your own ISBN. If you use an ISBN that is given to you by a service provider, they become the publisher of your book. Then, you will receive only royalties.
From the technical point of view of creating a cover design, we suggest using Adobe InDesign which is what we use for book cover art and book design.
The color mode for printed books is CMYK: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. CMYK is the color mode used for process color printing on press.
Ebook Sizes and Specs
Instead of talking about book dimensions in inches, millimeters, or picas, we talk about ebook covers in pixels. Check with your service provider, because there is not one standard. The minimum width is usually 1,400 pixels, and for print on-demand books, the orientation must be vertical. An ebook cover that is 1,600 pixels wide by 2,400 pixels is a good size to use. If you want to go with horizontal orientation, then you will need to print the book, on press, and hopefully with Star Print Brokers!
Ebooks do not need a barcode, as they will not need to scan. However, all books need an ISBN. The color mode for ebooks or the is RGB: red, green, and blue. RGB is the color mode used for monitors. Ebooks still need great book cover art!