Today’s the day, folks! Today I get to finally reveal the cover to The God Queen. You excited? Cause I as sure as hell am. But instead of just doing just a cover reveal, I am also going to give you some step by step tips you need if you also want to work on your own cover.
Now I going to preface this by stating that while I designed my cover, I am not a professional designer – my sister is. I have gone to her for advice and feedback and without her I would have had a shit cover. I have also used my peeps over at Indie Author Central, YouTube superstar Meg LaTorre, as well as the Facebook group: Indie Cover Project for further feedback. Just saying. Having a good cover is essential. I know we say “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, the truth is….we do. Alot. Sorry but not sorry. You put a lot of work into your book – wouldn’t you want to give it its best shot? That includes making sure it looks good!
1. Look for other book cover ideas
Your best place to do this is either on Amazon.com or through Pinterest. Whether you do your own cover or hire a professional – you need to do this step. You have to have an idea of where you want this design to go. But you also need to stick to what your genre dictates. Sorry, folks – I know you may want you cover to look a certain way, but if it doesn’t fit the genre – you may accidentally market to the wrong crowd. Yikes!
As you can see in the image below – my space opera should have something to do with space. So….stars…planets – something that lets the potential reader know something about the book – in my case IT TAKES PLACE IN SPACE!!!!!!!
2. DIY or Professional
So here’s the moment where you decide whether or not you want to do it yourself or hire a professional. Honestly, if you have the money – hire the professional. They have the training and the eye to make something truly beautiful. Even though I did it myself – I have even more respect for designers. What took me forever to come up with would have taken them moments. If you find a good one, they will be worth their weight in gold. But if you are determined:
Canva – I am a huge fan of Canva. They have a large variety of templates that you can play around with (especially for sci fi – they have some gorgeous backgrounds). If you’re on a budget – they are a great start.
Photoshop – I have used Adobe photoshop in the past with my computer in college but I lost the license when it crashed and I didn’t want to spend the money for their yearly subscription. So I went with Corel and I love it. It is very similar to Adobe but with a one time fee. I don’t always need the newest version so it works having one for a few years before needing to upgrade. Anyway, I have used this with conjunction of my iPad and Apple pencil for the finished product.
If you have decided to go the professional route. Here are a list of companies I recommend:
IAC – Indie Author Central (I am an advocate of this group and I can’t recommend their resources enough.
Ebook Cover Design
3. Book Dimensions
Whether you are doing an ebook or paperback book cover – you need to know how big the images have to be before you start. If you want to maintain your photo’s quality, this needs to be done first as resizing may make the image look crappy. You don’t want that.
File Format Cover Size Recommended Cover Size Requirements (for ebooks):
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing – JPEG or TIFF 2,560 x 1,600 pixels | Ideal ratio of 1.6:1 between 1,000 x 625 pixels and 10,000 x 10,000 pixels – one side must be at least 1,000
Apple iBooks – JPG or PNG 1400 x 1873 or 1600 x 2400 pixels at least 1400 pixels wide
Barnes & Noble – JPG or PNG Rectangle height & width at least 1400 pixels minimum of 750 pixels for height and width
Kobo Books – JPG or PNG 1600 x 2400 pixels minimum of 1400 pixels wide
Smashwords – JPG or PNG 1600 x 2400 pixels minimum of 1400 pixels wide
Draft2Digital – JPEG 1600 x 2400 pixels must be a tall rectangle
As for the paperback/hardback cover dimensions – you need to have the book finished and properly formatted first so you know the dimensions you’ll need (because the size of the spine is dependent on the number of pages.)
4. Design that book!
So now you are ready to design that cover! But there are a few things you should focus on:
Your title is your logo and if you are writing a series – you need to make sure the font you pick is one you like….cause you’re stuck with it for the duration of the series. If you’re not sure where you want to begin….check out CreativIndie’s post on the right font for the right genre. It’ll get you started. Then once you have an idea – I suggest going over to 1001 Free Fonts or DaFont to start finding the actual one you want. Not all are free – but I suggest narrowing your search to those that are. You don’t wanna get sued over this. But keep in mind – keep it simple and keep it legible. You have a few seconds to catch a potential reader’s eye – making sure they know what the hell your book is called is half the battle.
So what font did I go with? CGF Locust Resistance. A lot of sci fi/space opera titles usually go for sans serif type font because they are bold and modern and simplistic. So I chose one that fit this criteria.
Try to stick to 2-3 colors when you are designing your cover. You want them to contrast so it catches the reader’s eye. The color should evoke an emotional reaction from your potential buyer. So what colors should you go for?
Red Energy, enthusiasm, emotion, power
Dark Red Passion, depth, dominance, prestige
Orange Positive, dynamic, optimistic, confident
Pale Yellow Friendly, approachable, warm
Bold Yellow Ambition, motivation, creativity, cutting edge
Green Nature, vitality, environment, health
Blue Dependability, trust, thoughtfulness, calm
Dark Blue Deep sincerity, intuition, truth
Light Purple prosperity, spirituality, creativity, harmony
Dark Purple Depth, wealth, mystery, fantasy
Grey Sophistication, knowledge, prestige, wisdom
Pink Youth, playfulness, emotion, innocence
White Clean, straightforward, self-sufficient, simple
Black Authority, power, control, mystery, suspense
Brown Natural, of the earth, comfortable, organic
So colors did I go for? Pink, Dark Blue, and Light Purple. My story tells the tale a young spiritual woman who discovers the truth about her identity and now has to contend with it. While it can be a very serious subject, I LOVE witty banter and I like adding a little humor in my story. So what do you think? Do those colors match what I want to convey?
Despite what you think – keep it simple. For sci fi, I like the small black silhouette against the image of space. But be careful with the silhouette route – just putting one on there may not be the right fit. You will most likely not find the silhouette that matches what you want. I wanted a woman in an attack stance, holding a bladed staff in one hand, and lightning in the other.
Where the hell am I going to find that? I didn’t. I did have to make her myself by literally playing Dr. Frankenstein and taking pieces from numerous silhouettes and piecing her together. Again, I know how to use photoshop (and when I didn’t, I asked my sister and she gave me tips) so making what I wanted ended up not being too difficult. Then I had to make sure I added at least one weird looking planet to remind my readers that my book IS SET IN SPACE!!!!!
Don’t forget – if you have a series in mind. Make sure you keep an ongoing theme that stays the same through the series. Some readers are super weird (like me) and want their collection to look the same. We demand it!
Last but certainly not least – once you’ve designed your cover on your computer. Stand up and move away from the computer. You have to see how your image holds up once it’s small….thumbnail-size (see what I did there?). A lot of people nowadays will shop for their books online and all they’ll have is a thumbnail. This is a big reason why you want to keep your cover simple – that busy cover will look like crap once it’s small. It’ll be a big turnoff if your potential reader can’t figure out what the book is about from a small image. It really does make a difference!
5. Test Groups
Once you’ve finished designing, you need to get feedback. Talk to your betas, your writing group, or even host a poll through PickFu or – if you have the stomach for it – sign up for Indie Cover Project on Facebook. Make sure you are getting the reaction you need to sell your book. If not, go back to step 4.
Once you finally have everything, everything, EVERYTHING squared away, you’ll need a 3D mockup to use in advertising. I am a huge fan of DIYBookCovers.com. They have a super easy generator that gives you a ton of varieties of mockups in seconds!
So there you have it! Now you have the tools to go out there and make a smashing book cover!
Wait! Still unsatisfied? That’s right – I also promised my book cover reveal. Are you ready for it? Scroll down….
There you have it folks! That is my cover for The God Queen. What do you guys think? I am totally in love with it! If you sign up for my June newsletter, you’ll get a sneak peek of my design process and see all the book cover rejects I came up with! I promise you – they are rather terrible.
In the meantime, if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook – you probably already know this. My novel is a space opera called The God Queen. It’s currently with its editor – but in the months leading up to its release, I plan on giving you guys little peeks… If you want a behind the scenes peek, then sign up for my newsletter! Just click the subscribe button below!