1. MsScribble
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    MsScribble Member

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    ebook covers

    Discussion in 'Electronic Publishing' started by MsScribble, Sep 27, 2013.

    Does anyone who has made their own ebook covers have any suggestions for sourcing pictures? I've been looking for some time but I'm completely lost. I have no money (I live on disability) am almost computer illiterate and I'm actually quite stupid, so any suggies would be helpful. There's quite a few tutorials on how to make a cover, but first I have to find an image, and then try to follow the directions. I've looked on various sites but don't really understand any of it. Having said that, I have discovered a lot of very talented artists! Am eating my own hair through jealousy.
     
  2. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    There's nothing to stop you making your own. Start with photos. I'd recommend Morgue File - they're free and copyright free (read the licence) so you can use them. Then down load a photo editing program - my fave would be photoscape (again free) because its powerful and relatively easy to use. A lot of people swear by GIMP as well and it does seem to be more powerful with more effects but it's also much more complicated. Then have a play.

    When you're ready you can post it here and ask for feedback.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  3. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    If you just want a stock photo or illustration, there are sites selling them for as little as $2 a time. One site had a deal last week to buy credits for 100 pictures for $100, but that's expired.

    Another option is to look for public domain images, but that's fraught with problems because you have to be sure they're really public domain before you can use them. I'd rather pay the $2 and have someone else to blame if it turns out there are copyright problems.
     
  4. PaulGresham
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    PaulGresham Member

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    I looked at the idea of using a stock image or image from the public domain for a book cover but decided against it because of the potential copyright issues.
    Instead, I went to a scene which features prominently in the novel and took a few photos., with a view to using one of them in the book cover.
    I'm researching the whole idea of designing my own book cover, which font to use etc.
    Apparently it pays to hire a professional for this, no idea how true that is.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    The idea of hiring a professional cover designer is due to the fact that they know the difference between a good picture/nice fonts and a cover that will actually help sell the book.
     
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  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Absolutely. This is an art unto itself. Balance, color, font that grabs and reads well, content that intrigues or evokes, etc.
     
  7. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Any legitimate stock image site should have done due diligence for copyright; that's not a guarantee of no problems, but it's unlikely.

    A professional designer is almost certainly going to produce a better cover than most writers can. However, I've seen some ebooks with professionally-made covers that would look good in print, but become a meaningless splodge at thumbnail size, which is how you're most likely to see it on the Internet. A good e-book cover isn't necessarily a good print cover, and vice-versa.
     
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  8. PaulGresham
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    PaulGresham Member

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    I visited Amazon UK and looked at the book covers for their best sellers.
    My reasoning was, these would have been designed by a professional.
    I downloaded a page of them and looked at them with a view to seeing what was special about them.
    I didn't see anything that I couldn't replicate artistically, including the choice of fonts.
    I realise that choosing a font is quite an art, I went on a website and found out which are fashionable, etc.
    I've designed my book cover, quite enjoyed doing it, it doesn't seem to be noticeably amateurish, i.e. no worse than the professionally designed ones that I've seen.
    Can we publish them here and get them critiqued?
    Might be an interesting forum or sub forum.
     
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  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    While this is true, they also can misunderstand your story and get certain elements wrong. I recommend avoiding characters on the cover unless the artist is on the same page with you imagining what they look like. I think it's best to let the reader imagine the characters. I've left some key descriptors out on purpose because there is racial discrimination in my story and I want the reader to fill in the race of the oppressed in their own mind. I made it clear it wasn't blacks, then left it open.
     
  10. S.Chou
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    S.Chou Member

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    I agree - and it seems like the majority of the worst e-book covers feature characters that have been Photoshopped badly by an amateur (presumably either by the writer themselves who have no knowledge of design or someone helping them out for free).

    I made a thread on another writing forum about this earlier, which was locked because it seems that they think it's best to completely ignore the idea that a lot of e-book covers are pretty bad. It doesn't make sense to me that they think it's fine to be as critical as you want about someone's writing, but that you can never suggest that the general standard of e-book covers is bad. A bad cover certainly influences sales (or lack of) anyway.
     
  11. S.Chou
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    S.Chou Member

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    I would enjoy something like this. It definitely makes sense to get feedback on that if people are willing to ask for feedback on every other aspect of their writing and publishing.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    In my opinion, the smartest thing you can do is go simple. I don't understand why every self-pub author has to put a model on the front with a backdrop of a not-so-pretty landscape. Seriously, in my opinion, if you don't have either the artistic skills to design a cover, nor, and this is esp important, the photoshop skills to make it look professional - then for goodness' sake, do something SIMPLE!

    Now you ask what "simple" might entail. For example, Unfinished Tales by Tolkien or here, the DVD cover of The Return of the Kings. Or here's Of Mist and Bees and Catching Fire.

    All you need is a pretty 2D shape, which can't go far wrong, on a dark background. It's simple, it's classic, and it's beautiful. And most of all, it does not require extensive Photoshop skills! :D
     
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  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This is an excellent idea.
     
  14. Sylvia G.
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    Sylvia G. Member

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    It probably depends what kind of book you have. But maybe you could try starting with one of your own photographs. Even a good one taken with a mobile (cell) phone could work if it's sharp. Then add font. You could use photo-editing software to do this. I use Photoscape, and it's free. But there are others which are also very good.
     
  15. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    This isn't an ad, but I use Istock photo, (do a search) and you search everything and if you find one or two you like, you can buy it. I usually look at several because price matters to me too, but you can also narrow the search for only inexpensive photos. Then there's the text to add. Lots of ways to skin that cat. I did my own on my 5 ebooks and I'm pleased with the result and have gotten positive feedback. I am rather adept at Photoshop, though. As I have posted elsewhere, I can offer some help if someone will help me by reading a rather long (30 pages) excerpt from my current project to tell me if they find it interesting or not. Good luck in any case.
     
  16. Thom
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    Thom Member

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    So, I have finished the first two of a three or four book series. But I need a cover.
    I have one as a demo that I found about ten years ago, but I'm sure it is copy-written.
    It is from Magna Carta, and is the character Calintz.

    Here's the original,
    [​IMG]

    And the changed I made to better match my main character.
    [​IMG]

    The changes are slight, in just hair and eye color and the inclusion of a brand on her cheek.
    What I love so much about the picture is that it is her. I couldn't have done it better even if I
    had transferred the image in my head straight onto paper!

    But though I would love to use it, I know I can't!

    So I need a cover, but I want something as close to this as possible.

    What my question is if anyone knows of an artist whose style is close to this, or who
    can do something, if not similar, then better?

    Thom
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Just an FYI, the adjective is "copyrighted", not "copy-written". The noun is "copyright".
     
  18. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    You can request submissions for artwork here, I suspect there are plenty of others: http://www.designcrowd.com/

    What you have looks like it would be copyrighted. Plenty of folks could give you something similar for a price, probably pretty reasonable. Lots of Cyber Coolies looking for work. I'm dabbling in it myself, though I can not draw, sadly.
     
  19. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    First off sorry your right the changes are too slight, plus its has a two fold attack. Sony own the game of the character, then above that the artist (even if its nothing connected commercially to the game) also has rights. If you want an artist that might do it inexpensively you might want to try "deviant art". There are some of the best artists I have ever seen there who do it for the love more than money.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You can also look for art clearly in the public domain due to age. Amazon has a cover creator in KDP. They are not as good as those by paid professionals but better than alot. You can also Google "Get to writing." There is a site with a name like that that sells premade covers (they'll add your text) for 30 bucks, and some of them are pretty good. The last two I made were in GIMP with public domain art. They're pretty simple designs. I'm hiring an artist for the next one because what I want to do is well beyond my ability.
     
  21. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    For stock photography I use fotolia (they run in uk and usa) and are very cheap. You would normally have to buy the Royalty free image which is expensive. But it gives you a very high image to use both print and screen. But if you are willing to place the photographers credit in your manuscript, normally at the from publishing page along with fotolias website, you can bypass the royalty issue (there are iinstructions on what to do). So you have a choice of image size, ranging from small to large (price rises accordingly). Now the rule of thumb is that print needs 300dpi (dot per inch) to make a clear image BUT screen needs only 72 dpi. So if you go for the small to medium size with a 72dpi ratio it will be dramatically cheaper and still retain the image quality. (to be fair not sure how kindle resolution will effect it as its a hole new ball game). And you have saved monies :D

    As a graphic designer I do it all the time.
     
  22. violinguy
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    violinguy Member

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    There are dozens of public-domain photo sites out there as well as many free image editing programs. There are also free fonts for download all over the place - but read the release notes because many of them are for noncommercial use only.

    I stumbled across a list of "best ebook covers" on Amazon today and IMO most of them sucked out loud. The list was also 5 years old, but...
    For me, I would design my own since I have some skills, own photoshop, and happen to be an amateur photographer. I personally hate the cookie cutter covers available for free on the web.

    Different sites also have publishing guidelines like the image guidelines that SuperVenom mentions above. I would think Amazon has its own guidelines for image size to have it appear correctly on most Kindles.

    At this point, I refuse to look deeply into self-designing my book cover until I've finished the book. If I already have a cover designed/picked out, I might not put the effort into finishing a book correctly.

    VG:p
     
  23. Thom
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    Thom Member

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    I think for the next one I will look into Deviant. They have some great artists there.
    For the one I'm done with now though, I bought a premade from here,
    http://thebookcoverdesigner.com/product-category/premade-book-covers/

    It is a lot different from what I had above, but I'm okay with that for now.
    [​IMG]
     
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  24. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    Very nice cover, IMO
     
  25. Thom
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    Thom Member

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    Thank you.
    Is there anyplace on the board, specifically, for announcing a new publication, or is that forbidden?
    It's just that I've finally got it done and out and would like to let people know where it's available.
    Thom.
     

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