ePublishing Step Three: Get creative … within reason

Hello, everyone. Today I’m continuing my brief little series on ePublishing. In previous posts, I’ve talked about how to make sure you have something worth publishing (step one) and how to make sure you know how to format your book (step two). Today, we’re going to talk about covers!

The third step to ePublishing:
Get creative … within reason

Would you like an example of a nice cover image for an eBook? Take a look at mine!

Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Amazon Kindle Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Other eReaders
(on Smashwords)

You have myriad options for covers. You can make one yourself, which is great if you have access to an image editing program and a little bit of knowledge about graphic design. You can access one of the online eBook cover making services; some charge and others don’t. Or you can hire a graphic designer to make your cover for you.

For my little short story, I decided I would go ahead and design a cover myself. I had an idea about what I wanted, and I went on a search for stock photography.

The internet is full of stock images you can purchase for use. If you’re going to design your own cover, though, and you purchase a stock image, make sure you understand the rights and permissions behind using that image.

I like istockphoto.com because they offer a TON of images at reasonable rates without royalties. So that’s where I recommend you start. Take your time as you browse their massive library of images. Try different keywords. Look for an image that really captures what your book is about.

When you find an image you want to buy (on istockphoto.com), you have the option to select images in different sizes. Obviously, larger images cost more. So remember to check the size your cover image needs to be for Smashwords or Amazon and purchase a image that will work for both.

I made this mistake with my cover and purchased a small image, assuming that the cover image sizes would be the same with Smashwords and Amazon. Guess what? They’re not. So check. And buy the larger image … because you can always reduce it in size.

Then, if you have access to a graphic design program like Photoshop, put your title and name on it. But try to be strategic about it. Again, if you don’t have any experience in type setting or graphic design, you really might want to consider hiring someone to design your cover for you. I know enough to be dangerous, which is why I decided to do it myself.

Even if you have background in graphic design, it’s still a good idea to ask a real designer for help. A professional looking cover makes all the difference in the world. I’m pleased enough with mine, but I still may see if I can get a professionally designed cover for it at some point.

I’ll give you a spoiler about my book.

Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Amazon Kindle Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Other eReaders
(on Smashwords)

Dandelions play a role in my story. Not a large role, but a significant enough role that I thought they would look nice on the cover. Besides … how often do you see dandelions on the cover of a book? They’re weeds! But they signify something in my story. So I thought it was appropriate.

My thought was since dandelions are symbolic in two senses (the negative sense in normal thought and the positive sense in my story), why not have them on the cover? Because if I saw a book with dandelions dolled up sitting in a nice little jar, I’d be curious as to why anyone would take the time to pretty up a weed like that.

It’s good to be creative when it comes to your covers. Creativity is awesome! But remember that if you’re too abstract, people may not get it. And if you’re too boring, people will be – well – bored. So be creative about designing your cover … but don’t go overboard.

Once you’re done with that, save it and upload it.

But there’s a whole host of other things you need besides just a cover image for your eBook. Have you thought about an author photo?

I don’t have one. I think part of it was a conscious decision. The other part of it was sheer laziness. I need to get one, but I abhor having my photograph taken. So we’ll see. But what you really do need to have is an Author Bio.

Now that people have read your book, they’re going to want to know something about you. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out or complicated. Just a brief statement about who you are, where you came from, what you like, etc. etc. etc.

You can read mine on Amazon, if you want.

And you’re done! … Right? … Ha.

Next time we’ll tackle Step Four: Getting the word out (a.k.a. How to increase sales by standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign)

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