Thursday, 15 August 2013

How to create a book cover in 5 easy steps

Writers are masters of language. Illustrators are masters of images. Publishers have always kept the two  masteries separate because writing and illustrating require separate skills, and probably because we never played well together, who knows.

Writing on it's own has a certain power. Images on their own have a certain power. Together they can help a reader really fall in love with a book.

Readers associate fantasy with illustrations vs photos, dark colours vs light, mythical creatures. vs real humans (though not always). Readers associate romance with flowers, bright colours, human couples. Readers now associate YA paranormal romance with a girl in a gown.

So many writers these days are doing both writing and illustration as part of the publishing and marketing program. Self-published authors who can't afford to hire a creative artist have to create their own book cover. Authors who can't afford a publicity company have to create their own images for marketing, which includes banners on websites, flyers for book stores, promotional material, logos, images for press releases etc.

I needed to create a book cover recently when I compiled short stories for my anthology Fear of Falling. I checked the web for software, and there were dozens of types. I downloaded a few and got as far as opening the software only to promptly close it again. I had no idea how to use the software and no time to learn (or inclination, let's face it I barely have time to write much less learn new tricks).

Through further research, I came across a really easy way to create book covers and other images, thanks to William King (read his post here). I won't go as in depth as William does, so if you want more detail check out his post. And his covers are awesome. Here, I'm assuming you know a bit about PowerPoint and the version I use is Windows 7, I can't remember what the old PP has in the way of effects, but possibly not as much as version 7. I find this the easiest for me to use as I'm pretty good on Windows applications and now I use PP for all my images.

The easiest way I know how to make an ebook cover...

1. Open PowerPoint
  • make sure slide orientation is portrait (under Design tab in Windows Version 7)
2. Insert image
  • If you download an image without paying for it, you will probably need to alter the image, otherwise it could infringe copyright. Or you can purchase an image through a range of online sources
  • Set the background to any colour you like, though I chose black to match the image and the tone of the book



























3. Alter the image
    You can do this through the Format Picture tab under Brightness, Recolor, Contrast. Have a play and find something that suits.
  • You can also add Image effects such as Shadow, Glow, Reflection etc
  • I set my image to Transparency under the Recolor tab, and Glow under Picture effects
  •  


 4. Next, add the text by using Insert Text box


  •  Play with the text. I made my name Reflection and the title Glow under Text Effects
5. Save the PowerPoint file as a Picture file. In Windows 7 this is done by selecting File > Save > Other Formats > Dropdown > JPEG.
  • It will prompt you with a box asking you whether you want to save all slides or current slide. Choose current slide only
You now have a JPEG images that will upload as an image to websites, blogs, Smashwords etc.
     
  • To create a size large enough for Smashwords, you'll need to Edit Pictures > Resize > and resize according to the specifications provided. The same goes for FB and blogs that prefer smaller sizes. Just Edit Pictures > Compress to a more user-friendly size.


This technique can be used to create logos, banners, printed bookmarks, as well as images for websites. You just need to adjust the page orientation to suit for a book cover or a banner. Sometimes you'll need to crop the image. The below is a header image I created for my website's home page www.dlrichardson.com using PowerPoint and the image is cropped so only Ethan's head appears and I added text on top.


So there you have it. How to create a book cover or any other image in 5 EASY STEPS. Is that easy or what?

Have fun. And if you do get stuck and wanna ask me some questions, just email me at dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com.

Thanks for stopping by!
D L Richardson




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.


Contact information

Email                   dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com 
Blog           www.dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com
Website          www.dlrichardson.com
Facebook      http://goo.gl/560JXl  
Twitter              www.twitter.com/#!/DLRichardson1

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for all the tips, I love PowerPoint and use it all the time for my business (virtual design boards). Can't wait to try some of these out!

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  2. If you get stuck Marie, just let me know. I'm a whizz at PowerPoint and the go to person at my day job for all Windows questions. I'm sooo glad I can use a product I know.

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