Make Your Own Ebook Cover


When do authors make their own ebook covers? There are a lot of answers to this. The obvious first answer is finances: some authors simply cannot or *do not* want to invest in their book by paying for a professional, marketable cover. It happens. I myself started out making book covers by having to make my own, which bled into making book covers for other people through Smashwords.

Another answer is control. There are authors out there that feel like they must control simply everything regarding their baby. I have even had the odd client who – and I am not exaggerating here – would measure distances with a ruler on their monitor and ask me to make the most minute changes. Many times these authors feel they should make their own covers, too.

Another reason would be that the cover artists, as talented as they are, simply cannot achieve the vision in the author’s head for that perfect cover. The author then ends up doing it themselves out of personal necessity. This might have something to do with control, but it more lends itself to artistic vision.

At the risk of hurting business, I thought I would share a secret that many indie authors know about today. It’s an old article discussing how to use Word to make your own ebook cover. It will help you floundering creative minds that need an answer to your cover problem, especially if you don’t know how to use the programs I and my comrade use when we set to work for you. But I’m not going to share it without some warnings.

  1. If you have never made a book cover before or aren’t willing to at least spend hours (and I mean hours) studying how the professional book covers in the bookstore look, be prepared to make a terrible book cover. Be prepared for that book cover to chase potential readers away. (People really do judge a book by its cover.)
    1. Wanna see some terrible book covers to give you inspiration? Try Lousy Book Covers. They’re great at keeping up with the horrible end of the ebook spectrum.
  2. Try to understand how book covers for your particular book genre actually look. Yes, there are guidelines to it. These guidelines are in place so your potential reader can look at your cover and think, “Ah! It’s a romance!” etc etc. Please learn them. People really DO judge a book by its cover!
  3. Beware of copyright issues with the images you choose!!
  4. Do not be surprised if the cover you make is too small as per ebook aggregator (such as Smashwords) guidelines. Make sure things are big enough!
  5. And finally, be prepared to end up spending money on someone who knows what they’re doing sooner or later. There are a lot of authors who start out making their own cover only to come to us and ask for a new one.

Why, you may ask, am I willing to share this information, to help people to do things themselves, and to cut our business a bit?

Just like before, there are multiple answers to this. First of all, and the least obvious answers, is that I like it when people learn how to fly on their own. Independence is good.

Second of all, sometimes I and my partner end up too swamped to take clients. I’m not afraid to admit we’re very popular. Some of those clients don’t want to go to anyone else. Perhaps this information will help them.

The remaining reasons are less professional sounding answers, and they’re not important here. Except for one. There is one reason that’s not the biggest reason, but it’s a thing that will get you blacklisted around these here parts. It’s incredibly unprofessional for someone to come to us with a horrible book cover, agree to our price, and then tell us they can’t afford us after seeing the design only to go off and repeat that design themselves. Or, more commonly, have hired someone else at the same time and go with that other person’s design instead.

I feel that authors who play that game may not to do so if they know a little bit of what they’re doing in the first place. Therefore at the bottom of this article is a link to a very very good article to help people out. I know that the majority of authors genuinely can use this advice and truly deserve the help. And it will be good to see you guys fly on your own.

(As a shameless self-plug, I would like to also point out that we still run premadecovers4u.com, which has a lot of artwork by former partners that realized they just liked making premade covers. And they’re all waiting for you.)

Anyway, let’s see what magic you guys can create!

http://www.creativindie.com/how-to-make-your-own-free-ebook-cover-in-ms-word-that-will-blow-people-away/

 

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Chapter Headings and their Capitalization


Just found a very  nifty tool as, while formatting one of our latest requests, I decided to check spelling in the chapter header. This online tool will show you how to correctly capitalize your chapter heading according to the various formal styles.

Check it out.

https://headlinecapitalization.com/

Storycartel Experience


I know a lot of you authors out there are always on the lookout for ways to market your books. At least, I hope you’re always on the lookout.

One of the best ways to market your book is to get honest reviews from your readers. The more reviews you get, the better your chances with your book. There are a lot of ways to get these reviews: beg, borrow, hold a sign on street corners, etc. Enter Storycartel.

Storycartel is an online service in which you pay  money for them to list your book for free. They list it for about a month, give or take, and their members will download your book to read for free. In exchange for this free download, they will review your book at Amazon.

I thought what the heck. I have two clients who could use the reviews, so I paid good money for the service and waited. A couple of dozen people downloaded the books. Not a single review has been placed. Not one.

Curious, I decided to research up other people’s Storycartel experiences. I found one, only one, in which the author said they *guessed* it was worth the money they were paid because they got one single review. In my opinion, for the amount of money Storycartel takes from your wallet, that’s not really a success.

Still, I had some points left with them – enough for two more books. I thought I would try one more time. This time I listed my old book. Black Wolf Silver Fox, just to see what would happen.

No one is downloading it. No one is interested.

So on this end, if you’re looking for something to help you boost your book I can’t recommend Storycartel. It should be noted that if you don’t get any reviews, they say to tell them and they’ll refund you. I’ve told them twice in two surveys – which probably doesn’t count – and am thinking I won’t be spending any more money on them. There has to be other ways to get people to review your book in exchange for the free gift. Or to at least consider it.

Up and Coming Audiobook


I know that a lot of you follow this blog for the pretty pictures – and there are a lot of you that follow this blog for news on up and coming book releases. (Which is awesome. I never thought this blog would have the amount of followers it has.)

So here’s something about an audiobook in production, in case any of you are interested in that sort of thing. Enjoy!

Sadly WordPress won’t let me embed the widget… you’ll have to click the link. -_-

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spearcarrier/only-the-innocent-audiobook/widget/video.html

Yes, you CAN publish your comic with Smashwords – and have it look good, too.


Something I know I’ve mentioned here before: I’ve been putting comics up on Smashwords for years. Since the very beginning, as a matter of fact. There have been hurdles, and trials. There have been times I took my comics down from Smashwords because their platform wasn’t very friendly to it just then. And I’ve been inundating them – INUNDATING them – with feedback on the matter for years. YEARS. Mark Coker must want to have me assassinated by now.

Well, he can try. I’ve a personal team of ninjas that are very thankful for my efforts, albeit small and often ignored, that will lay down their lives to protect me. Come at me, Herr Coker. Fie!

Lately I’ve been doing my occasional research to catch up with the indie-publishing world because I’d fallen a bit out of track. I’m also Up To Something ™. These actions will always lead me back to comics, my personal ground zero. Then I read articles, submission guidelines, and shake my head. I am often confused, when I meet an aspiring comic creator at a convention who has a real good comic, why they never go digital. As of a few minutes ago I think I see part of why.

There’s apparently this broadly-spread idea that the only way to put your comics up digitally is to go through an ebook aggregator that specializes in comics. One article I just found mentions Comixology and the now defunct Graphicly as possible resources only to go on to say that places like Smashwords do not do comics.

Graphicly apparently pulled in something like 2 million with their idea that started a year after I began to publicly suggest that someone should make a comic aggregator. 🐱 Then they were bought by Amazon I believe… correct me if I’m wrong… and now they are no more. Coincidence? I dunno. You decide.

Comixology had (or has) an exclusive arrangement with two of the comic book big guys, Marvel and DC. So if you want to use them as your aggregator, you have to go through their submission process. Your book could get rejected. The Heavenly Bride was rejected – although I admit it was rejected two years ago because I found their submission process to be a big pain in the behind with too many items that I felt were utter BS, so I never went back to correct my submission. I’m indie because I hate the submission process. Intensely.

So now I read that if Comixology, the only real comic aggregator left standing, rejects you you’re pretty much SOL. (Insert silence. Insert crickets chirping.) Wut. (Silence) Okay okay. No. Please review what I’ve been telling you. I can wait.

The problem is that some of the people who choose places like Smashwords to publish their comic book have no idea how to make it look good. I even formatted one comic that used Word as the base upload platform. I tried to tell the creator that this would hurt the look of their comic, but they weren’t listening. The end result is their book looked terrible.

Here are some tips on how to publish your comic through Smashwords (and possibly other places as well).

  1. Don’t use Word. For the love of GOD. When it comes to the ebook comic book making process, I use Word for one thing and one thing only. To make an epub.
  2. Use an epub. Please. Smashwords accepts epubs, as do most of everyone else. I’ve explored a lot of aggregators in the past few days. My Heavenly Bride Book 1 epub has uploaded without a hitch to almost everyone – except one who had a ridiculously low file size limit. Catch up with the rest of us, China. No. Really.
  3. When creating your comic you want your pages to look crisp, clean and be of good quality. This means the pages are probably going to be sized a wee bit bigger than your standard ereader screen. So there’s a trick to getting your epub to resize across the ereader board. The key to this is the word “resize”. Basically I took what little CSS I know (trust me, it’s not a lot) and I created a code for pages that resizes my pages the way I wanted them too. In the case of ereaders with wide but short screens the pictures might distort a wee bit if I get it wrong. (I don’t have one. I don’t know.) But in the case of my android phone, My Nook Touch, Nook Color, Kindle Gen1, Kindle Fire, and Kobo Reader the book always looks great.
  4. Once you have an epub that has your code in place, you can use it as a template to make further comics. How neat is that?
  5. When it comes to your pages, you don’t want to put them at 300 dpi. I put my page resolution at about 150 dpi. That does the trick and my file sizes aren’t usually too terribly large. I just uploaded a four chapter comic book to Smashwords, for crying out loud. Now this is mostly thanks to Smashwords raising their file size limit because I couldn’t do that before. Still.
  6. Amazon has a free comic creator program that you can use to make comics for their indie platform. This is great if you only use Amazon (which I don’t recommend). However, once you make that epub, you can use their Kindle Previewer to convert it to mobi and keep most of the functionality. The only thing is, Amazon being Amazon, you’ll need to watch that carefully and always test on a real Kindle. Amazon is always changing things, and the more they change the the more they step away from being compatible with *anyone*. Smooth move, Amazon.

I have other tips I can think of, but really it’s common sense. You CAN put your book out there. Just don’t use Word, use epub. And learn! You don’t have to become a CSS master to do this. I do quite well. You will however have to be willing to keep up with things enough to keep building and able to add things as you go. That’s the only real challenge, at least for me.

(As a side note, yes I can create your Smashwords ready epub for you.)

Well, I hope that helped. As for me, now that I know the comic aggregator position once again needs to be filled I might just open my own business. :-p