So you wrote a book, now what: Covers
Finally we have arrived at the part where I tell you all about covers. I know I break all the rules because “you shouldn’t design your own covers”. But, I also know my covers are pretty. I say you CAN design your own covers if you want. If you do not want to that is OK too!
Unfortunately, I cannot really teach you HOW to make a great cover. In fact, I’m not a very good teacher at all when it comes to art. What I can do is show you the tools I use. I can point you to some great articles on fonts. I can give you a starting point.
Besides editing, your cover is another aspect of your book that you should take very seriously and pay for if need be. I’m not talking about paying somebody 500 dollars for some pasted together stock photos either. I’m talking about you contacting a reasonably priced professional. For instance I have a friend named Kriss. You can find her contact info over here http://cabingoddess.com/contact-cabin-goddess/. I know she does excellent work and is reasonably priced for what she offers.
However, if you want to give book design a try on your own I think you should check out this course another friend of mine put together. https://www.udemy.com/book-covers-made-easy-using-free-canva-and-gimp-software/learn/v4/overview. Her tutorial shows you how to use Canva and Gimp, both free, to create your own original book covers. https://www.gimp.org/ https://www.canva.com/
I also found somebody else point out a website called Pixlr. https://pixlr.com/desktop. It looks like a pretty interesting program to grab for free or for about 15 dollars a year you can get premium access.
Now, for me, I am not into stock photos. I know some people can work magic with them, but I have seen too many covers with the same image out there. I have also read articles where some artists sold almost the same cover to several authors for thousands of dollars! And let us not even get into licensing fine print. UGH. This is why I prefer to create my own images in a program you can get free at http://daz3d.com/. It is true that I also use Adobe Photoshop CS6 as well as Poser Pro 2014, which are not free, for my designs. I also shop at http://www.mightydeals.com/ for many of my Adobe add-ons, fonts, brushes, and styles.
Gimp can be a powerful tool if you do not have Photoshop and a lot of people have made brushes and other add-ons much like what you can get for Photoshop. There are even tutorials for Gimp readily available. When I looked at it, Pixlr seemed like a decent program with some fun effects. Canva was fun, but I didn’t understand a lot of the licensing mumbo jumbo. More of that stock photo legalese.
As far as fonts, I love this article http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/08/5-great-fonts-for-book-covers/ and it points you to several places where you can get free, legal to use fonts.
The main fact I want to stress is that many consumers DO judge a book by its cover. The cover is what makes someone stop and look. Sometimes, books sell for other reasons, but generally in a sea of many possibilities you need something that will grab the floating consumer and anchor them to your book. That something is usually your cover.
Stay tuned for the next articles in the series!