Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tips for designing your own self-published romance novel cover

I thought it might be helpful to break down the cover to Cassandra Gannon's next novel, Wicked Ugly Bad to give you a look at the process behind its creation.  My hope is that it will allow other self-published authors to see they can design their own covers on Kindle or anywhere else, without having to pay hefty fees to graphic artists.

The cover began life as a trip to the grocery store, and a bag filled with different kinds of apple.  As I said in my last post on cover design, the most important thing is to have the picture you need.  Rather than searching the internet for public domain apple pictures, it was easier to just go out and find cool looking apples.  Cassandra arranged them in my light box until she got a layout she liked (the shot is actually from overhead, they only look like they're falling or stacked) and took the pic.  

From there it was simply a matter of carefully cutting around the edges of the apples in Photoshop and removing the background.  Once this was done, I usually blow the picture up to several times the scale of the published cover (I set it to 500% on this one) and clean up the edges.  Use the blur tool to fill in any tiny areas you took too much off of, and the eraser to get rid of extra bits.

Then I blurred the edged of the apples, simply because I think leaving them as stark lines makes the finished book choppy looking.  This image was then put on a black background at 96% opacity, layered over a seperate white background.  This allows 4% of the white background to show through the black one, and provides some contrast.  I added a drop shadow to the apples, put in the text, and was done. 


In total, the time spent on designing the cover was about an hour, not counting the time at the store or shooting the picture.  Still, with a custom cover design like this, and the unique photos it requires, cover designers online would probably charge in the $200+ range.  Now, I can't guarantee that mine is better than theirs, but I can say that I'm happier with the cover I designed and the $200 in my purse than I would be with any cover they could have done.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home