This is a tutorial from my upcoming eBook
“Self Publishing When You’re Broke”
How to Design Your Book Cover
Designing your book cover can become a challenging task, especially if you do not know where to begin, a place where I was just over a few years ago. When beginning your book cover questions rush in. Where do I begin? What program is the better one? Where can I get a template? These questions without the right tools can take a very long time to answer, which is why I feel as a self-published author that this tutorial needed to be included on my blog.
Before we start you must know that your cover is number two on the list of very important things for your book, it is often that people buy your book because of the cover. Presentation, images, even scene, can mean everything when it comes to sales, so you must put a lot of thought into this aspect of your self-published book. Since it is a very important part of your book why should you have to spend so much time researching where to find all the things you need, just to design it in the first place.
I choose Adobe Photoshop; it has so many options for editing the perfect cover. If you can not afford Photoshop there is a download link for a freeware app in my sidebar. Be aware that it is not a complete program, so help desk will not work, nor will plugins for the program, however you can use it effectively, and save your cover to your liking.
The next thing is where to get your template, Lulu.com has a few templates that you can download and, if savvy with word templates you can use the guidelines to make a good base to begin your cover, for spine width most self-publishing websites have a spine calculator that will help you decide the measurement of your spine. The spine is based on the number of pages you have in your book and divided by the PPI (Pages per inch). There are many other resources out there to decide your PPI and book spine, so if you choose to google search it as I did, here are my results. Book Spine Calculator.
If creating a cover from scratch, I suggest checking out the Templates that you can easily download from collages.net. This way is my favorite,the margins are all set for you all you have to do is adjust them to your measurements and begin copy and pasting your ideas within the document, once complete, save it as a PDF or JPG, and upload it to where ever you choose to publish your book.
There are other ways of designing your book cover, if you do not have access to using the Photoshop program. Word , PowerPoint, and some other programs can be used as well, once you are finished it needs be converted to PDF or JPG for uploading to POD Publish on demand sites. which in Word, Publisher and Photoshop you can save as and convert the document to a PDF file.
Images are the next question where do I get images? and what can I do without stealing someone’s copy written image?
First thing is if you plan to use someone else’s image make sure you get their permission, written permission is the best way to go. If you plan on using your own pictures, you can do that as well which is even better if it is your stuff, you do not have to get anyone’s permission to use it, however there are some websites out there that have free royalty images, you just have to do a little research, a good suggestion to me was Dreamstime.com. There are also many websites that allow you to download royalty free images, you may have to join and pay a monthly fee to be part of the sites, but the images are free to use as long as you notate or acknowledge the person who took the image in your book.
If you find that this is just not what you had in mind, Lulu and Createspace allow you to use their cover designer platforms, just remember that the artwork on the cover does not belong to you, if you use their cover designers, you only own the content inside the book and actual pictures that you used if they belong to you or a friend etc. The rest of your cover belongs to Lulu or Createspace.
Another more advanced way to create a cover is Adobe InDesign, something that I have yet to try, but the directions below, are what I found when I Googled how to use InDesign for a book cover.
1. Create a new file
2. Make the width of the document size =trim size(back) + spine size + trim size(front).
3. Set columns to 2.
4. Column size should equal spine thickness (here, .5″)
5. Set margins. I like to use .25″ for the bottom elements (logos, barcode, etc.)
6. Left and right margins should be one-half the trim size (e.g. a 5.5″ trim width, set margins to 2.75″)
7. Set bleed.
File should now have guides for spine, and the center marks for both front and back covers.
A great place to further the set up using InDesign is to visit selfpub.info, where there are many tutorials on how to set up the template for a book cover.
Once again your book cover is one of the most important tasks when publishing a book, so be creative, and use your imagination, anything is possible if you try, however you want to also make sure it’s not to over the top or to glamorous as readers buy online they do judge a book by its cover. If you have any thoughts on this post please add them, any extra info is helpful. I am also reachable by phone if you want to pick my brain.