Making a decent eBook cover is one of the hardest self-publishing obstacles to overcome.
When I published my first ebook, I didn’t want a 3D eBook cover. All I wanted was a flat image with big writing on the top, like the copies of print book covers you see on Amazon and all the booksellers’ sites. After Googling and downloading some free software (nothing more than 3D boxes most of them) and lots of experimentation, trial and error, I made my eBook cover image on Word. I featured one of my own photographs and used Word Art graphics to make the titles. It was completely free and my eBook has taken its place in the Amazon digital charts without disgracing itself. Since then I’ve made eBook covers in several ways, all of them completely free. Here’s a step by step guide to making your own eBook covers:
1. VERY SIMPLE EBOOK COVER
Photograph or image with title and author name underneath.
Advantages: Clear, unfussy and does the job. Once you’ve sourced your eBook cover image this takes just minutes to make. Sample link given at bottom of this article.
a) First find your eBook cover image. If you have no suitable photographs you’ve taken (or can take) yourself, there are plenty of royalty-free photography sites. If you’d rather have artwork, find an image you like on one of the artists’ central sales sites (eg saatchi-gallery) and ask the artist’s permission to use their work in return for a credit on the inside page. They may well be delighted to get the extra (free) publicity for their work. You don’t need a high quality resolution: low quality, low pixel-count images work better on the web. A cut and paste image from their website (once you’ve got written permission) will work fine.
b) Transfer the image from your photo files (or web source once you’ve obtained permission) to your desktop. Open a blank WORD document. Click INSERT > PICTURE and upload your eBook cover image.
c) Size it appropriately and type your title and author name underneath.
d) You now have a Word document cover. In order for it to be accepted by the computer as an IMAGE, take a screenshot of your eBook cover.
TO MAKE A THUMBNAIL EBOOK COVER FOR THE SALES SITES:
Press COMMAND + SHIFT + 4 all at the same time. Your cursor turns into a cross. Place that at top left corner of your eBook cover image and drag it to bottom right. Release the buttons. You’ll now find an image file on your desktop. Make sure it’s labelled.jpg (this is very important, without the dot and the jpg label the image won’t load). To re-label click on the description box until it goes blank & type in a title eg budgie.jpg). Your eBook cover thumbnail is now ready to upload to sales sites.
2. EBOOK COVER WITH WORDS OVER IMAGES
If you’d rather imitate a print book cover and have your titles OVER the images it’s a little more complicated. You’ll have to spend time fiddling about until it looks exactly right, but you can do it. Warning: it’s quite addictive, prepare to spend hours until you’ve got it exactly right.
The simplest way to do this is to use a great, free website tool called Picnik.
You could also make your cover on Word.
a) Get your image onto a WORD document page as before.
b) Click Word Art.
c) Once you’ve clicked Word Art and got the box up on your screen, click the 2nd window in on the ‘Edit’ box (Format Word Art). The window looks like a rectangle with 3 colors next to a square.
Then a new box will appear.
d) Click Layout and a series of window images will appear with a dog image and lines.
e) Select ‘Wrapping Style, In front of Text’, the dog on the far right.
f) Experiment with fonts but don’t be tempted to mix them. Stick to one and leave font-mixing to the professionals.
Remember what you have is a ‘document’ not a ‘picture’. To turn it into an image that is recognised as an image which can be downloaded onto websites, Amazon Digital etc, take a screenshot of your eBook cover (instructions above).
3. EBOOK COVERS USING WORD TABLES
If you don’t want any images but an eBook cover that consists of text and graphic blocks of color, you can simply use the table option in Word. I used this method for my second eBook cover.
a) Put up a blank Word document.
b) Click Table > Insert > Table
c) Choose the number of columns, rows. I selected Number of Columns: 1 Number of Rows: 3. Sample link given at end of article.
d) Place cursor inside each of your three rows and hit ENTER key until the spacing is as you desire.
e) Use the COLOUR and FILL options from the basic Word Toolbar to make your design and type in your text.
IMPORTANT: Tables aren’t “recognised” by the eBook downloading systems on Amazon, Smashwords etc. If you are placing this eBook cover on the first page of your eBook document, you must transfer it into an IMAGE by taking a screen-shot and re-inserting.
I hope this article has been of use. Good luck!