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Old 04-14-2011, 05:38 PM   #1
bhartman36
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Need Advice/Help on Cover Art

My avatar pretty much says it all. I'm clueless on graphic design for book covers. I actually write short stories, but I'd rather the covers didn't look like crap. Does anyone have any general advice/pointers, or know where I could get some help (preferably free, as I haven't really started generating money from my stories yet)?

Thanks for any advice anyone could give me.
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Old 04-14-2011, 06:15 PM   #2
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If you can find some public domain artwork you like, that will definitely help, but even a plain text cover can be more interesting.

I'm not a designer myself. But here's a quick text-only cover that I've just thrown together. The main changes from your cover:

* Toned down the blue background - 100% Blue is a bit bright and dark for a background.
* Removed the Red text colour - 100% Red (or whatever it is) doesn't work on 100% Blue.
* Made the text bigger, played with fonts and letter positions and sized.

Hopefully this'll be legible even in thumbnail, and no be so harsh on the eyes.

And with a bit of luck they'll be some people with actual graphic design experience along soon.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:20 PM   #3
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I did HNC Graphic Design years ago, the college was always looking for live briefs to let students loose on because real work always looked better in portfolios than pretend work.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:21 PM   #4
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If you want to do your own work and don't want to spend a lot of money on a graphics package, may I recommend Paint.net. My son did the cover seen on my avatar, using PhotoShop. I did the cover for SitRep Negative myself. I enjoy fooling around with graphics, but nothing takes the place of artistic talent. Still, I think you can teach yourself to turn out some pretty decent work. As always, the simplest approach is to look at other covers, find something that appeals to you, and then make it your own.
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:21 PM   #5
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My advice for getting a feel for cover art is to go to a book store (or Amazon or whatever) and just browse through and see what covers catch your eyes.

Often, they'll be things you might not be able to do yourself, like detailed illustrations. But there are many striking covers out there that use little more than text and a background.

Once you've got your eye in, there are many free programs you can use to make your covers, such as the ones mentioned above. If you don't mind a bit of a learning curve, I recommend GIMP, sort of a free version of Photoshop. It takes a while to get the hang of though if you're not used to working with that sort of program.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:56 PM   #6
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pdurrant: Thanks for the cover example. I've snagged it and I'm going to look at it and maybe change it up a little.

Thank you to everyone else for your suggestions. I've got GIMP on my machine, and I'm going to try and browse some covers on Amazon and see what styles appeal to me.

If anyone else has suggestions, keep 'em coming! I've got a lot of work to do.
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:53 AM   #7
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Here is a rough mock-up of what I would do (I would clean up the top of the photo so that it blends better with the background, and make some small alterations to the text and photo). I've only read your book description, so I'm not sure if the photo is appropriate. I'm a designer, if you have any questions, or would like me to finish this cover for you, please pm me (you buy the photos, and I'll finish up the covers for you, as long as I can use it in my portfolio and if anyone asks who designed them, please let them know... ).

The photo used was from istock here is a link to the photo used. You would of course, have to purchase the photo for your use, and I would also give them a quick call to make sure that the standard license is suitable for ebook publishing (they are very helpful and friendly, so it's not a PITA at all to talk with them). The cost for the photo is pretty low, and a good book cover should really help generate some interest for the book.



Here is an idea for your other book, the link to the image is here. Again, you would need to purchase the image, and check the license.



(reposted with smaller file size)

I hope this helps!

If anyone else wants a cover design pm me, and we'll work something out

[Graphic too large - MODERATOR]

Last edited by RoxyJ; 04-15-2011 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:22 AM   #8
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You could try here.
http://www.jotform.com/form/10981835139
The OP had the link over at NaNoWriMo and is a graphics designer looking to come up with some more samples of his work and is offering to do some covers for free. You just go to the link and insert the relevant info. and I assume he gets back to you. I did it on the 9th and am currently waiting so I can't say how good his work is as yet, but it's a possibility.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
You could try here.
http://www.jotform.com/form/10981835139
The OP had the link over at NaNoWriMo and is a graphics designer looking to come up with some more samples of his work and is offering to do some covers for free. You just go to the link and insert the relevant info. and I assume he gets back to you. I did it on the 9th and am currently waiting so I can't say how good his work is as yet, but it's a possibility.
Thanks! I'll look into that, too.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:17 PM   #10
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I've done a (very) little playing around with GIMP and different fonts and license-free clip art. You can see my results so far. Not great, but arguably a step up from what I had. I have to decide if I want to invest actual cash into the covers. I might save that for the short story collection, since I don't know if I'll be able to get the covers to pay for themselves, y'know?

I appreciate everyone's suggestions a lot! You've given me a lot to think about.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:30 PM   #11
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If you can find some free photos (ie., ones you took yourself, or public domain images) and you have permission to use them, or own them. I can replace the photos I used, and finish the covers for you. Here is a link to Wikipedia public domain images.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoxyJ View Post
If you can find some free photos (ie., ones you took yourself, or public domain images) and you have permission to use them, or own them. I can replace the photos I used, and finish the covers for you. Here is a link to Wikipedia public domain images.
Hi, Roxy.

The glass in my avatar is one of the ones I found on Google Images that was labeled for reuse. I can send you that one. I've been looking for an appropriate one in Google Images, and I'm going to be looking at the Wikipedia ones you linked to. Thanks for your assistance. I'll upload the ones I find asap.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:03 PM   #13
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Here is another link from Smashing Magazine that gives a bunch of links to websites that provide free photos for commercial use. I would encourage you to double-check the license agreement for use with ebooks. These photos are much more modern.

Last edited by RoxyJ; 04-15-2011 at 07:04 PM. Reason: forgot to as link ;P
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoxyJ View Post
Here is another link from Smashing Magazine that gives a bunch of links to websites that provide free photos for commercial use. I would encourage you to double-check the license agreement for use with ebooks. These photos are much more modern.
Thanks, Roxy!

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Old 04-15-2011, 08:41 PM   #15
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Here is another mock-up using images from stock.xchng. The link to the photos are here and here. Looks like licensing is free, but please double-check usage. Please let me know what you think?



Here is a new rough for first step. If you like the image, the photographer, Rakusu must be notified and credited when using the photo for any public work. So we would have to contact him, and include the credit for the photo on the cover page of your ebook. Here is a link to the image.


Last edited by RoxyJ; 04-16-2011 at 01:12 AM.
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