This is the cover image I created for Becoming Stardust. For the longest time I didn’t know what to use. I had over 200 images saved in my iStock folder and I just kept adding more. Eventually I was like, don’t overthink it! Just pick something with a bit of action in it that has a major sci-fi element and involves space and space travel.
So not four hours ago I went on an image bing and found this one. I thought about it for a while and experimented with in on Pixlr and decided that this would be the one I choose.
So I bought it for one credit and put it together. I had a few issues when downloading the final produce because for some reason my computer is automatically formatting the 300 dpi image to 96 dpi. But when I open it up there seems nothing wrong with it 🙂
So here is my cover for my free prequel short story. I have also written up the synopsis for you guys.
Before Ilona took on the identity of a dead girl, she was a hunted girl. Her mother and she had known nothing but running until the bounty hunters finally caught them. Wounded and orphaned, Ilona sneaks her way onto a smuggling ship. Subsequently becoming part of the crew. This appears to be the break that finally gives her a safe upbringing. However, it is just the beginning.
For those who’ve been following Feet or Fins from the beginning, you know that I barely have any graphic design knowledge but at the same time, I was too broke to afford to hire someone. I pretty much went and did the most I could do with what I had. I picked an image that I thought represented the story and only fiddled with a few things while adding text.
For the longest time it was good enough for me and then I changed my mind. I created a second book cover and then, later on, reverted back to the old one. But I still knew that it wasn’t the best I could do, but I moved on to other things.
Today as I was looking through a few websites that featured pre-made book covers I began to wonder again if I could do better. I spent a few more hours looking on iStock to see what I could find. And voila! I found something interesting. So I fiddled around a bit and created this 🙂
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.
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.
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.
I just uploaded my second book – My Cousin Megan. Amazon seems to have accepted the book cover image I submitted but Smashwords did not. So I had to go back and make a second one that wasn’t as good as the first one. It was the pixel issue. The image I used was a medium-sized one I got from iStock.com, but the sizing was out of whack I guess. You can’t tell really. So I downloaded the large size, which made all the fonts in Pixlr seem too small, even after I changed the image sizing down the the 2400 pix wide they require.
This the final image I wanted to use.
And here is the second I had to make up on the fly 😦 It’s not as good.
Damn you smashwords, why you so difficult sometimes?
But I seemed to have had a smaple download within the first minute. So the image is luring people in I think 🙂
I went on iStockphoto.com looking for some inspiration for writing and then (after a few hours, is it really 8pm?) I found three images that are perfect for my Young Adult trilogy – Laidley Letters. That was after I remembered I had already written the first book. So it will be easier to get back into that world. According to Microsoft I last modified it on the 22nd of Dec 2014! How could I go so long? Well anyway I’ve got my image inspiration and I’m going to start editing the first book.