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Friday, February 13, 2015

Cover Art and Interior Design

What to say about covers that hasn't already been said?

Although you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, authors only get one first impression. And that's your cover. You want to make sure it grabs the reader's attention. It should leave an emotional impression on them. That cover should make them want to flip the book over and read the blurb.

A lot of self-publishers don't have the money to hire a professional cover artist. They'll open their art program, paste on a stock photo and add their title and name. The problem with this is most of the time it looks like that's what they did.

Covers require finesse. Let me give you an example.

I purchased the cover for Fade Into Me from SelfPubBookCovers. They had the perfect image. All I had to do was choose the font and color and place my title and name. I used what they suggested. It looked good, but something was slightly off. My wonderful editor is also a cover designer. Even though I wasn't paying her for a cover she made a suggestion about the font color. It was one little change that made everything "feel" right. I never would have figured it out.

Covers don't have to cost a fortune.

Here are a few places you can find great covers. Some will give you more control over the final cover, others are pre-made sites where you only get to add your information.

You can find covers as low as $69 here. Once you purchase the cover it's taken off the site so no one else can buy it. It's easy to use too.

Steven Novak (He designed the cover for The Magic Wakes!)

My prices for book covers are pretty straightforward:
$80 ebook
$140 ebook and print
That's it. Those are flat fees. If it takes two days or two weeks to settle on a design you never pay more. No money upfront. I invoice at the jobs completion and Paypal is the preferred method of payment.

Logo work is a slightly different animal and requires a bit more work upfront. Because of that, the cost would be $100.

Zak Whittington (He designed the cover for Stellar Cloud)
You can check out his portfolio HERE and on his Deviant Art page.
Really, go check out the variety of his skills. He can probably match almost any look you're going for between his photography, digital designs and illustrations.

His rates are $45/hour plus the cost of artwork if he has to buy stock photos.

And, Amie McCracken does it all.
Price dependent on project type and size.

Since I already purchased the front for Fade Into Me, she only charged $25 to design the whole jacket cover for the print copy. That might have been part of the package deal for editing and typesetting. Which brings us to the next topic for today...

Typesetting or the interior design of your book.

I'll be honest, before The Magic Wakes was published, I had no idea that you did special things to make the inside of the book look like a book. I mean, don't you just paste your document in and voila! Done!

Sadly, that's not the case. Although you can do that, and Amazon has some decent help pages to teach you, it requires a little more than saving your document as a pdf. A little know how and software! I decided it would be cheaper to just pay someone who already has the software to design the interior. Plus, it saved me valuable time learning how to use that software.

Let's look at some examples.

This first two photos are from Stellar Cloud. I spent countless hours going back and forth between word, the pdf file, and the reviewer on Createspace. I read all the help pages and followed them to a T. The result is not bad, but it doesn't "feel" like a traditionally published book. It's not even something I can put my finger on, but it's there. I couldn't figure out how to have individual pages NOT contain certain design elements that were through the entire book. And it was a major headache. Think a week of going back and forth and not knowing why my document didn't translate to Createspace correctly.

 I tried to make cute scene dividers, but every time I loaded them into Createspace they came across as broken images. So I went back to asterisks. Blah!

The next two photos are the inside of Fade Into Me. Also self-published, but this time I paid Amie McCracken to use her software and make it look oh so much better!
 Look, nice fonts for chapter headings. The first page of the chapter is different in design from the other pages as well, setting it apart even more. 
And pretty scene break elements!

These little photos might not do justice to the difference between the books. However, when you hold both of them in your hand and flip pages you notice it. They are slight, because I think I did a pretty good job myself with what I had to work with, but they are there. 

Interior design isn't a deal breaker with whether or not I buy or enjoy a book. Neither is the cover art. But lover's of books, those of us who still enjoy holding a physical paper and ink book, understand that it's all a part of the experience. The visual enjoyment is just as important as that disappearing book smell. (You can't smell a kindle!) *sigh*

I've rambled on and don't even know if I covered what you need to know. So, ask!

What are your thoughts about cover art?
Share your favorite cover artists, editors and typesetters with us!

Join us at noon for the cover reveal of One Good Catch by Heather M. Gardner!


Liz A. said...

I like a good cover. I find that many books tend to reuse the same stock image, and after a while that gets distracting. One should take a look at similar books in one's genre to make sure that a stock image that one is using isn't being overused.

Carrie-Anne said...

Without naming names, I'm always so embarrassed for writers i know through the blogosphere who have their covers used by someone else. I'll be at a new blog, or see a book being reviewed or promoted, and recognize the cover from a book I'm already familiar with, or from a book which used the same image with a slight tweak. I wish more people would embrace old-fashioned hand illustrations, or a mix of hand-drawn and computer illustration. Digital design doesn't evoke my imagination nearly so much.

Kabir said...

Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again

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