I’ve been thinking of changing the book cover of The Things We Do for a long time. But it was a case where I didn’t have decent enough skills/knew what I was doing. When I first created the original image (the second one), I kinda knew that it wasn’t the best, but it was the best I could do at the time. Now I can do better and I did. The first image is what I’ve come up with.
I completed the seventh draft of my short story The Witch’s Room and I decided that it was ready to be released into the world wide web with my name attached to it. It is currently under review on Amazon and should be up within 72 hours. At the moment I am only putting it on KDP select as a means of trying to get as many people to read it. If all goes well in a few months I’ll put it up on Smashwords 🙂
This story started with the visuals of a character entering the Witch’s Room. I thought that the scene was awesome and I shouldn’t/couldn’t let it go. So I had to work out what needed to happen for this scene to occur in a story. So I wrote it down on my work notepad and when I got home I began working on it.
Looking back on the dates of my word documents, I had the first draft completed just before 5pm on the 15th of February. That’s less than a month ago! Since then I have drafted every 2-5 days. It only took me a few hours every time to draft because of how short it is (I was also working on other stories).
I think the most challenging thing about this process was picking the book cover image. I wanted to have a stone sculpture of a woman to portray the scene in the Witch’s Room. But I was very nitpicky about it. It had to be aged and not too ornate. But I couldn’t seem to find one that fit everything because a lot of stone sculptures of women from the past were of the Virgin Mary or Angels and had religious themes to it. You can see that I found an image as close as possible to what I wanted. It’s not how the statute looks in the story, but it’s the closest.
I just created the book cover I’m going to use for my short story. I’m trying to put forward a particular scene and when I was looking for female statues I keep getting only religious-themed ones. And I wasn’t looking for that. I just wanted a statue that was not too ornate and of a female from a medieval time period.
The image I found for this novella was already sitting in one of my many iStock photo boards 🙂 I like the simplicity a lot (you know because I not much of a photo editor). But I think this book might be near completion by the end of this year or early next year 🙂
The cover was also easy to make. I just bought the image for a credit on iStock.com and using Pixlr.com put the text over it and made it the same yellow in the image. I then went into layer styles and picked outer glow. I made it black, chose a size that was like the other black lines and then merged all the layers down to one image. I then sized it to Smashwords book cover dimensions and voila!
As a character trait, I’m more than frugal, I’m a bit cheap. This bleeds over into my writing. I try to do as much as possible myself. Writing, editing, book covers.
So I’m going to write about my techniques for creating my book covers. While I have a creative flair for storytelling, it doesn’t necessarily cross over to design. I have practically zero graphic design training. Red flags when creating my own book cover right? Well, I employ the KISS method.
Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Most times, before I even finish the first draft of my story, I’m on iStock looking at potential images to use. Things that I look for is that it is a representation of a theme or idea. This means I am not limiting the interpretation of my book. I can have anywhere from 20 images to over 200. The more I have in a folder, the more likely I haven’t found something I like yet.
I keep things simple because like I said before I don’t have much experience in graphic design. The program I’ve always used has been Pixlr.com. It’s a simple photoshop website. I’m sure there are more advanced features of the site, but I only how to use the simple things. I think eventually I might have to employ someone, but not until it is absolutely necessary.
Here are the book covers I have created myself in Pixlr.com.
It’s just been put up and it’s a light read at 98 pages. I remember the most difficult thing about this setup was creating the book cover. The one I had set up for the individual book cover wasn’t big enough in terms of PDI. So I ended up using the unaltered image I got from iStock. It spreads over the back page as well.
I went and finally created the cover image for Save One. I had this particular image in the back of my head for such a long time now. I experimented with other images, but my mind kept going back to this one. I really think that it’s a decent representation of my story.
The main character is a black teenager and given that the story is a dystopian set in a military state, I didn’t really find any images that embodied that environment. So naturally, I went and found something that I think represents the main character. And since I know almost nothing about image manipulation I kept it simple 🙂
I was only browsing through some images on iStock last night for a book cover of another book when I suddenly came across this one image. And WOW that is what I should have used for my first book.
How on earth did I not found it until now? But thankfully I can do things like go back and re-design my book covers because I self-publish 🙂
So I did a little mock-up and sent it to only a few people and asked what they thought. I got good feedback and now this morning I went and downloaded it.
Here is what it looks like.
Since self-publishing that book two years ago (holy f*ck!), I’ve come a long way in terms of craft. And my image spotting, that’s what I’m calling it, has improved a lot. I only recently I came across someone who gave some good pointers on what was needed for a book cover. Having a central item to look at like a person is one of those things 🙂 This definitely hits the mark. I also think that this will attract a lot more readers too.
Here is my old cover for comparison.
Yesterday I completed the first draft of my prequel novella Jump Start. It is around 20,000 words and today I’ve made up a cover image for it.
I just completed the first draft of The Things We Do. At just under 25,000 words as well. I hope to have this book done by the end of the year 🙂 I’m going to wait a few days and then begin to edit this one. I’ve got another story I want to edit and one I want to finish. Hopefully this year will be my mos productive.