Thursday, April 12, 2012

Making a Cover Lesson 3

This is an old post and I'm making better covers now and selling them too if you need a cover contact me here or want to learn more join one of our groups. 

Hey there. We are going to talk today about making your own e-book cover. Most of the time for my e-books I start one side of my Create Space paperback template. A friend of mine suggested, also try and get high resolution images, rather than getting images that fit and are at a lower resolution.

Finding the perfect image can be the hardest step in making a cover. Especia
lly if you are going to use more than one image.

I always suggest to purchase your images for book covers. I don't mind using free images for book trailers and websites, but for covers, even e-book covers I always purchase my images. Be sure and go with a reputable site so you can feel safe, that the mode
l-release is in order. I normally buy from iStockphoto, BIGSTOCK, or Dreamstine. and now Depositphoto  They are the three best in my opinion.

Most of the time you can down load a free image, and see if you think it will work on your cover. There will be a logo on the picture, until you purchase the image. Sometimes it's hard to get a good grasp of what the cover will look like with the logo, but do the best you ca
n. Always remember this is a business and you need to stay within your budget.

For e-books dimensions and more detailed information go to Amazon's Guide

Amazon's Guide begins by saying . . .
Dimensions for the size of your cover art:
Minimum of 1000 pixels on the longest side
Ideal height/with ratio of 1.6
Jpeg, or .jpeg
Tiff, or .tif(f)
For better quality, we recommend that images be 2500 pixels on the longest side. (I think these have changed now in 2014 please check Amazon's Guide)

When you are ready to start, open your software, and if you have a Create Space template, find where you have saved your template then open that file. It will look like this below. I am using a free trial from adobe, check it out here. You won't need the whole template if you are only making an e-book.

Next pick an image. You open the two or three files you want, and drag them both onto the template file, it will look like this. We will be using the right side of the cover only since we are only talking about e-book covers. I have chosen three photo's at random. The first picture will be our first layer, the blue sky with the tree. Also when making an e-book cover only, the bleed area is not important. When we are done we will hide or delete the template and save the image to our computer.

Now you select the first layer, then drag in into the cover, and once you have stretched it to the size of the cover you chose select again. This is where the pixels come into play. The smaller you go the more distortion you get, and the less quality you have, but with e-books I find you can go pretty low and still have a nice picture. Check your amazon guide line to chose the correct size of your picture.

I have cut out the second layer by using the round marquee tab. I will now pull this layer over and place it in the spot I wish, this will be layer two. The picture of the guy will be layer three. Name and title layers four and five.

Now, I will add the title and my name, and for a shadowy effect I will add two layers of each of the pictures of the man and woman. I have taken the opacity down on both of the first images of the man and woman and saved them. Then I added a se
cond layer with a 100 percent opacity, of each of them and saved the image once again.
I know this is a fast lesson, and I hope to do this again with some video sometime. The best way to learn, is to start using your software, and learning all you can about layers. They can really make a cover look a lot better. Once you are done you go back to your layer tabs and hide or delete the layers you don't want. Then you save your image.
When you are done you get a nice looking image. I didn't do much with making sure lines were perfect and the font was just right. This was just a quick example of what you can do when a few nice pictures, and some very handy software.

Below is a look at my first book cover. I have five layers of Angel to get him just the way I wanted, with his arms crossed and that shadowy look behind him. I think when all was said and done there was about ten layers of Charlie (the redhead) and those red curls. But you would never know by looking. Thanks for joining me and check back with us Monday
to our next lesson on layers.
Samantha Fury

Monday, April 9, 2012

Making a cover lesson 2

I hope that everyone had a good weekend, and that you are rested and ready to work. My back decided to go out Saturday, which it does now and then so this post may be brief. There are so many things you can learn to do, in order to make a great book cover, and I'm learning myself as I watch more u tube videos and read more blogs.

So lets start with software. I know you're like me you want to jump in and make a cover but we need to talk about the tools of the business first. Some are free, some are complicated and some are very expensive. An author needs to wear many hats, and one of them is book keeper, and time manger.

You need to decide. Is it worth it to make my own covers. Do I want to spend the time necessary to do this, or would I rather be writing or spending time with my kids, or dogs. :) Do I have the time that it takes to make a good cover or should I just buy one. There are many nice places to buy covers and later. we'll spend some time on that topic.

The next question that the bookkeeper in us all needs to ask, is what can I afford. Am I making enough money from my books to buy software at this time? Maybe you already have software, if not, try looking for something free. Once you find out if you have the ability to make good covers, then you can decide how much money to spend.

I was blessed to have adobe Photoshop elements 2.0, (we got it with a camera we purchased years ago) it did everything I needed, until I did an upgrade and lost XP. Now I'm using three different kinds of software. I still have PS elements 2.0 but with 7, I have to use it in compatibility mode, and it's just not the same. I'm trying, with the free trial, Adobe Photo Shop 13. beta and Pixlr.

Pixlr is an online free service that allows you to set up an account and save your work online, or to your computer. It's a lot like adobe photo shop and I like it, but I prefer software to be on my computer, where I can feel a bit more safe, that no one can see, or steal my work. I'm loving the free trial of PS 13 from adobe, and more than likely will purchase this.

I do enjoy making my own covers, but may purchase a few, here and there, when I don't have the time to do the work myself. As Mr. Eastwood said in the movie, Magnum Force, 'A man needs to know his limitations.' Well we authors need to know ours also. So if you are not good at something, find someone that is.

If you don't like to, or can't figure out how to make a good cover, then check your budget and find out how much you can spend on a cover. It maybe that you don't want to spend the time learning, to make a cover. Making a good cover, can take time. I've been known to spend as much as two months searching for the right picture.

So I'm going to bring this little blog to a close, and I hope you will check out the Adobe Free trial. here If you have any questions please post them and we'll try to get to them asap. For now until my back gets back to normal I'll be blogging twice a week. Monday and Thursday.

Thanks for joining us today. Our next lesson will be on making a cover and we will try to touch on layers. Be sure and check out my book covers below.

Samantha Fury
Author of Street Justice Series
Book 1 Charlie's Angel Link
Book 2 Tidal WAve