Tips: How to make a decent book cover?
Think of a book cover as the bait on the end of your fishing rod. It’s what draws the attention, then your description/blurb, prologue, or even story title can often work as a good hook.
You want your book cover to serve a few very important purposes. You want it to be eye-capturing. You want people to see this cover and for it to draw interest or attention toward your story—of course, keep in mind that everyone in the world has different taste. Not everyone will think you have the prettiest cover, so that’s where you come in. The most important thing is to make sure that this story both; interoperates your story (shows something about it, whether it be a character, a hint, or even the tiniest detail), and shows a piece of you. If you like your cover, that’s certainly a bonus, for that can often lead to inspiration.
More than often, before I start a story, I create the cover off the general idea. Then I use this cover as motivation/inspiration for the novel itself. I’ll put on some inspiring music, then listen to that music while visualising my story and daydreaming toward the cover. It must look awfully weird, but it helps.
And be sure to write down any ideas that come to mind, for you never know when that idea will come in handy!
Now, keeping in mind that copyright laws come into this—and I’m not one hundred percent on what those laws are, as they vary from state to state, but I think the general rule stands. You cannot make money off someone else’s image, or you can get sued.
Nevertheless, here are some tips that might be useful.
1.) Get your picture/cover-art.
There are many different ways to get pictures, but here’s a few that I know of.
* Search on DeviantArt (but don’t forget to message the artist and ask for permission first!). Sure, anyone can steal an image, but I personally think it’s not only about copyright laws but respect. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if someone stole your story?
Note: just email the user, letting them know that the image is only for commercial use (so you will not be profiting from it whatsoever). More than often, they are willing to let you use their image just for promotional work. So maybe put a link to their website, or put their name above the picture/cover you made.
* Talk/ask on DeviantArt forums. More than often, people are willing to make you a book cover in exchange for publicity (to get their name out there), or sometimes they are willing to work really, really cheap. So it’s definitely worth the query.
* Talk/ask on the Wattpad cover club. So many people go on these Wattpad club forums to communicate about covers, and so many Wattpaders are willing to help. So it never hurts to ask, just leave a thread about “needing cover-artist” or something along those lines. But remember; always try to give back at least 5% of what you get. It’s just common courtesy, so maybe check out their story or suggest it in the “share your story” club forum. You catch more flies with honey then with vinegar.
* Facebook. Now this might sound silly, but there are SO MANY people on Facebook, it’s insane. So you’re bound to find your very own character-look-alike somewhere on there. And then, when you find someone who looks similar to your characters—message them, asking if they’d be interested in modelling for you book. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a model? The good thing about this is that if you succeed, you’ll have your very own model. Just, try not to get too stalker-ish in the process…maybe start by looking through your friends list.
* Ask your friends. Honestly, these days, with our technology, it’s easy to take an image and morph it into whatever we want. For example, your friend doesn’t even need to look like your character, just alone similar lines. It’s all about lighting and angles. Have fun with it.
* Basic cover. Honestly, covers are much like make-up, too much isn’t pretty! Sometimes, given the right story, a basic cover can be just what the doctor ordered. Just pick an element from your story. Maybe there’s a candle somehow involved, or a sacred tree, or a flower..? It could be anything! So get creative. You don’t need to spend hours upon hours just to have a pretty cover. I mean, take Stephanie Meyer for example, everybody knows her name and her covers are pretty basic. Less is more!
2.) Choose your editing program.
This is where things get a little bit trickier, for so many programs do different things. The best programs, in my opinion, are Photoshop, Gimp (which is similar to Photoshop, only free), and Paint.net—but these programs are strongly suggested for advanced users.
Then again, in saying that. I’m not the best with technology, but I use the programs mentioned above to make my covers. These programs can be quite fiddly, but there are many “how to use…” tutorials on Youtube.
Other programs I suggest are:
And you can even use an online editing program (though it is more basic) on the Photoshop website.
3.) Create multiple copies.
This might not seem important, but so many times I’ve lost my progress due to recklessly not saving my projects. Or I’ve made something I thought I hated, then changed my mind later, and wished I had of saved it.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry…
So save as you go. And don’t forget to keep a copy of the original picture!
Share your creation on Wattpad.
It’s always a good to throw back and forth ideas, or even to have some feedback on your ideas—especially when you’re as indecisive as I am!
So share your covers on the Wattpad facebook page:
The ‘book covers’ club on Wattpad.
(This is also helpful for promoting your work, as some people might see your cover, think it’s interesting, then want to read your work. So be sure to keep a blurb hand and a link to your profile/story in the description.)