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Creating a Cover for your eBook, Part 1

Updated on March 11, 2012

The Book Designer eBook Cover Award

Importance of an eBook cover

“You can’t tell a book by its cover,” goes the old saw.

That may have been true when shelves of weighty tomes filled the bookstore, each looking pretty much the same. With modern graphic design there are fewer limits to cover design and many competing covers are very creative and appealing. It has become an art form.

The cover should say something about the content. The tale of the underdog sports hero could yell “Pick me! Pick me!”. The romance novel could have a “Come Hither” allure or speak of passion and aventure. And so on.

Creating a cover is one aspect of self-publishing that deserves careful consideration. There is a lot of psychology, style and creativity that goes into a good cover. There is even an award for creative cover design. Above is the January winner for non-fiction.

If you’re going the traditional publishing route, they will have access to a graphic designer who will create a professional, if not highly creative, cover for your book. It is part of the package you pay for or the cut of sales that the publisher gets.

How hard can it be? Just take a graphics program. Pick a background color and a picture, arrange them in the center of the cover and voila. Unfortunately, when you are looking at a page of 20 thumbnails at Amazon or iBooks, this static design will not stand out and your sales will reflect that.

There are a variety of websites out there offering software, templates and cover design. The self-publisher needs to decide how much time effort and creativity they want to put into creating a book cover. Is it worth the time and effort to learn enough about Photoshop to create your cover? If you don’t already have the software, that is a bit of an investment. Are the cheaper alternatives for software really good enough?

If you’re ready to self-publish, have you taken time to consider a budget for launching you’re book. You’ll need to think about: the cost of a cover design, the cost of hiring someone to set up a website complete with shopping cart, hiring an editor/proof reader, marketing help, paying for advertising and many other considerations.

This becomes a question of confidence. If you go the cheap route, will you regret it? Does it project a lack of confidence? Do your publishing choices says “My book is not good enough to deserve a great cover, a professional looking website, etc.”

In the book Ready, Fire, Aim, Michael Masterson suggests that the best approach to success is to follow your dreams, taking reasonable risks, and learn from your mistakes.

Part 2 will conclude this exploration of cover design.


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