When I decided that the indie publishing route was the path for me, I realized immediately that I would need to find a cover designer. Lucky for me, one of my writing buddies was designing covers for other authors and offered to do my first cover at no charge.
I was filled with ideas and had the image of what I wanted firmly planted in my mind. Then I tried to describe it to her, I even had artwork for her to use. And bless her heart, she did a great job. A few months later, I realized my first cover wasn’t saying anything about the story and we needed to change it. She again got my vision and we created the new cover.
But there were many moments that frustrated me, and I know she was on edge a bit too, because my vision was hard to translate to words and colors were different on her computer than mine...endless little adjustments of all sorts were needed. After cover number 3, I realized that if I wanted the book cover to completely encompass my vision, I had to do it myself.
Two weeks ago, I launched my 7th book Prince Of Granola and my 5th cover (I redid one of the earlier ones if you’re doing the math 😊)
I love this cover. In fact, I believe it’s one of my best. Why? Because it tells the reader so much with a single glance.
· While I don’t like to see the complete faces of my characters, I prefer my readers to imagine the characters from my description, I’m finding fewer stock images to draw from that I like. So here I give you profiles.
· The cover shows you the setting immediately
· It gives you a visual clue to a scene, and when you read it, hopefully you’re immediately seeing the cover in your mind and feel you’ve uncovered a little secret.
· And it tells you what the genre is.
How do I know where to start when creating a cover? I usually have the sense of my character’s physicality. I look through several image companies; AdobeStock, RF123, and DepositPhotos are some of my favorites, and I book mark or lightbox tons of images from them. BTW, you can download watermarked photos to try and do I a lot of this.
Once I’ve narrowed my characters down, I find a background that will work for that image and the story. More photos to try, but that’s the only way to see what will work before you buy.
Then I spend a huge amount of time adding to the original images. For instance, I added the waterfall to the left because the title got lost in the rocks. I blend and subtract and add. There wasn’t any water around my stock couple so I added it to make it look like they were in the water, not on top.
I find the font that I want to use and keep it for the entire series. My name is always in a specific font, not related to the book but to me. Not necessary, but I like that consistency.
Lastly, at least for this post, remember that you must own the images and the font. There are a variety of commercial licenses, so you need to read the licensing carefully. No pulling random images off the internet-ever!!
On my website (http://lesliesartor.com/writers-tools) I have two pdf’s that you can download that show you how to create a cover using Photoshop Elements. I use Photoshop CC, but the steps are very similar.
If you want to try it and have questions, you can email me at Leslie@Lesliesartor.com and I’ll do my best to help.
I’m happy to give away an ecopy of Prince Of Granola to someone randomly chosen from the comments.
Hugs to all, L.A.
I started writing as a child, really. A few things happened on the way to becoming a published author … a junior high school teacher who told me I couldn’t write because I didn’t want to study … urk … grammar. I went to college, moved a few times, came home and found the love of my life (that is another novel worthy story, but for later), and got married.
I have always been a voracious reader and one night after throwing a particularly bad book at the wall (even putting a small ding in said wall), I realized that I could do better. I told my husband, and he said go for it. I called Mom and she revealed the junior high teacher story and she told I’d been writing all the time up to that point.
That blew me away. I didn’t remember any of it. But I started writing again, nearly the next day, pen and paper, learning, making mistakes, winning contests, then moving away from novel writing to screenwriting, getting a contract for a script and doing really well in screenwriting contests. But I wasn’t really making a career from any of this.
My husband told me repeatedly that independent publishing was becoming a valid way to publish a novel and people were making big dollars. I didn’t believe him even after he showed me several Wall Street Journal articles. I thought indie meant vanity press.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I started pursuing this direction seriously, hit the keyboard, learned a litany of new things and published my first novel. My second book became a bestseller, and while I’m not rolling in dough, I’m absolutely on the right course in my life. Prince Of Granola is my 7th book.
Please come visit me at www.lasartor.com, see my books, find my social media links, some screenplays and sign up for my mailing list. I have a gift I’ve specifically created for my new email subscribers. And remember, you can email me at Leslie@LeslieSartor.com
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