Articles tagged "cover design"

How do you judge a book? By its cover, of course.

The following is a guest post courtesy of Ron Miller, see the author’s information below.

Making sure your book has a good cover is like making sure you are neatly dressed and well groomed when going on a job interview.

Although everyone says you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, this really doesn’t apply to books themselves. In fact, the cover is one of the most important parts of a book. It’s the first thing anyone will ever see and for that reason it needs to make a good impression. If a cover is unreadable, looks amateurish or misrepresents a book, the potential reader may give it a pass and move on to the next book in a catalog or bookshelf.

There are no hard and fast rules in book cover design. Just take a look at some of the superb covers displayed here . They are all creative, effective and no two look alike. Yet, they all follow the same basic guidelines. Even if you are not an artist or designer, you can still make a cover that – while perhaps not as artistic or inventive as some of these covers – can still be attractive and effective. Here are some basic rules of thumb to keep in mind:

  • The most important thing on a bookcover is the book’s title.
  • Keep things simple typographically. You may own a thousand fonts, but there is no need to feel compelled to use them all. Especially avoid really fancy, decorative fonts or using a lot of Photoshop effects on the title. If no one can read the title of your book, you may as well not have it on the cover at all.
  • Likewise, keep your artwork simple. Try to limit yourself to just one image that best represents the book’s genre or what it is about. Avoid the temptation to create a “kitchen sink” cover, where you try to cram in everything you think is important.
  • Another reason for simplicity is that a cover needs to work at all sizes—and even in B&W. Most people will first see your cover as a thumbnail image on a webpage. Therefore, it needs to be as readable at postage stamp size as it is on the actual printed book.

Having read these suggestions, go back to the Indie Cover page and see how many of those covers reflect these ideas.

About the Author:

In addition to the books he has published with Lulu, Ron Miller is the author/illustrator of more than fifty commercially published books. These have received numerous commendations and awards, including a Hugo, the IAF Manuscript Award, the Booklist Editor’s Award and the American Institute of Physics Award of Excellence. Several of his books have been Book-of-the-Month Club feature selections. In addition to the artwork he does for his own books, Miller provides illustrations for magazines such as Scientific American, Astronomy and Discover. Specializing in science fiction and fantasy, he has also created several hundred book covers for publishers such as Tor, Baen, Berkley/Ace, Warner, Easton Press, Subterranean Press and many others.

Black Cat Studios

You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover. But….

We’ve all heard the old idiom, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” And that’s totally right — judging something based on a first glance often leads to false impressions and close-mindedness. However, covers, even in the age of eBooks, are still an incredibly important part of the browsing experience, and are often the first interaction a prospective reader has with a book. A cover should be artful, interesting, and represent some essence of the book. Often, it’s the only actual image a reader will receive to spark their imagining of the world of the novel.

But, sometimes, especially with first-time authors, or authors whose art is solely the written word, covers can bring you the wrong kind of attention. For instance, you don’t want to show up on Nathan Shumate’s Lousy Book Covers Tumblr. While his site has caught a lot of flack, and unfairly ridicules artistic endeavors, he does offer some wise words in a Huffington Post article for authors when it comes to book design:

“Print design is a mode of communication all its own, and there is at least as much study and experience involved in gaining a competence in design skills as there is to becoming a credible wordsmith…a book’s author is not automatically qualified to design her own cover.”

It’s true that there are tons of authors out there who are also insanely capable and skilled artists, but sometimes, we writers tend to overreach. We think, because we have just finished a book, why not just knock off the cover art right there? It’s best to take a step back and think about different artistic skill sets. The last thing an author wants to do is put off a potential reader because of an unattractive cover.

Like everything else an independent author does, getting a nice cover for your book is a mix of networking and savvy. One idea is to take the whole cover design project and to make it into a promotion for your book. Post a sample chapter of your book and ask readers to use it to come up with ideas for a cover. Have a design contest, with the winner getting a free copy of the book they helped design. It gets the word out about your book before it’s published and can help you reach out to readers and fans. Another option is to use one of Lulu’s Book Cover Design services. A great way to avoid the “lousy cover” trap is to put the job in the hands of a professional artist.

And even though they are important, don’t fret too hard over the cover. As prominent book cover artist Chip Kidd reminds us in an Esquire article titled How to Make People Buy Books: “There are so many factors that go into whether somebody buys a book — the jacket’s just one of them.”

And, to end on a high note, we have plenty of noteworthy examples of exemplary book covers by independent authors. You can peruse them in our Pinterest Indie Cover of the Day Album.

 

Author Interview: Troy M. Cusson

What are your books about & what message are you trying to share through your children’s books?
Dawn The Deer & Dawn The Deer Enjoys The Fall are glimpses into what a quiet, peaceful little doe experiences in her day in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate NY. Colors, creatures, sights, sounds and smells are all around her, and she stops to enjoy them all. If I could convey any message with my children’s books it would be to do as our friend Dawn does: to stop, if only for a moment, and enjoy your day. Take in all the wonderful things around you. The way the sky looks at the moment the sun hits the horizon during a sunset, the way wet leaves smell on a wooded trail in October, the crunch of fresh fallen snow under your feet in the winter. There is so much to enjoy in every new day.

What inspired you to write?
I guess you could say it was Dawn herself. Everyday my family and I would see her out and about in our neighborhood and on one particularly beautiful July morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee on my porch with my wife, I said,”Ya know, that deer is around so much we should probably name her.” My wife then said, “I’ve been calling her Dawn as I always see her around in the morning.” I said, “Dawn The Deer, that sounds like a perfect name for a children’s book!” After a few more minutes of watching her it hit me, . . . I could write a children’s book about all of the things that Dawn sees or does in any given summer day. From there, the story pretty much wrote itself as I just put to rhyme all that I saw her experiencing. The birds, the squirrels, the children playing nearby, the ravens, all of them were going about their day and Dawn was taking it all in.


What have been the challenges you’ve faced with writing / self-publishing?
My first challenge was finding the right artist to illustrate my stories. In an effort to keep it simple I tried modifying photos I had taken in PhotoShop but was not able to get them dialed in. I asked a friend who had done some cartoons in the past if he would be interested but he wasn’t able to get me what I wanted either. It was then I thought about approaching the art department at the college I work at to see if maybe there was a student who was proficient in watercolor artwork who needed a project to work on for classwork. The director of our art department put me in contact with Crystal Cochell,

Author Success Story: Lucia Cascioli

When Lucia Cascioli first finished her novella, Struck, she thought she’d try her hand at traditional publishing, an experience that didn’t pan out as she’d hoped.

“It was frustrating to say the least, especially after one publishing house lost my manuscript,” explains Lucia. The long wait to hear back, coupled with the less-than-stellar royalty and advance rates typically given to authors without a track record, didn’t exactly make Lucia want to continue struggling down the big publisher road.

Then she discovered Lulu, which changed the way she thought about getting her book into the hands of readers.

“Lulu is my one-stop-shop that meets all my needs: professional staff, great editors and cover designers, and the ability to have my books sold in print and online. My project manager explained the process to me and coordinated the services in each of my packages, hassle free.”

To publish Struck, as well as

Customize Your Way to a Published Success

When I was in school, nothing stressed me out more than having to edit and format those 10 to 15 page term papers, so I can’t even imagine how much pressure authors must feel when tackling those massive 300 page manuscripts. Now, Lulu authors have it easy! Lulu Services has whipped up some exciting new offerings to better meet everyone’s needs and ease a little of that pre-publishing anxiety.

Introducing (drum roll, please)…Customizable Publishing Packs!

The standard Publishing Pack is PERFECT for anyone who is feeling a little overwhelmed about putting the finishing touches on their work, because this service bundle has industry professionals take care of pre-publishing needs like editorial work and custom cover design.

Wait…it gets better! Now, anyone interested in the pack can choose to customize their bundle with one of Lulu’s four formatting services. These offerings range from a basic service for text-only manuscripts to a custom service for longer books with an unlimited number of images.

If you’re looking for a way to move your project to the next level, a Lulu publishing pack will take you there and beyond!

Tips and Tricks: Cover Design

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but most people do

How many times have you picked up a book because it looked interesting?

Make sure your creation makes a lasting impression with an attractive, well-designed cover. It’s a great way to attract and pique the viewer’s interest and make your book stand out from the crowd.

With these helpfl guidelines, design the cover that will showcase your book in an extraordinary way.

Before designing you cover you should:

  • Identify the target audience: Consider their interests, reading levels, background.
  • Determine the purpose of your message you want to present and plan your cover layout around it.
  • Select appropriate typefaces and organize the text and graphics.

::Audience::

Remember that you are not designing for yourself; you are designing to communicate to others. Take the audiences needs, skills, and abilities, into account when developing your design.

::Layout::

Decide what you want the reader to see or read first and position it accordingly, then decide what you want the reader to read or see next.

Make the most important element you want your readers to see the largest and the least important element the smallest. A few ways to do that is to:

  • Establish a hierarchy of type sizes for headlines, subheads, etc.
  • Be consistent with formatting.
  • Use lines to organize information.
  • Outline a photo or separate it from other elements. The use of space (negative space), is very important as it gives the eye a visual rest, makes a layout easy to follow and can drown attention.

Color on a book-cover can convey moods, create images, attract attention, and identify objects, among other things. When you choose colors – think about the following:

  • Highlighting important elements such as headlines and subheads.
  • Attracting the eye.
  • Creating a mood.
  • Provoking thought or emotion.

Red – Energy, Passion, Power, Excitement Orange – Happy, Confident, Creative, Adventurous

Yellow – Wisdom, Playful, Satisfying, Optimistic Green – Health, Contentment, Harmony

Blue – Honesty, Integrity, Trustworthiness Violet – Mystic, Beauty, Inspiration

Brown – Easiness, Passivity Black - Finality, Transitional Color

:: Typography::

Key tips: Choose a font that embodies the personality of your book or theme. Aggressive, Violent, Peaceful, Confusion……..You should use two typefaces but make sure they are very different. If you decide to use only one font, choose one that has different variations.

::Images and Graphics::

Your Cover: the first impression on your readers. Once you have decided what type of feeling you want to create, choose an image. Don’t forget, unusual shapes can be used to attract attention. There are basically three types of shapes: Geometric shapes (a triangle), natural shapes (a being, plant, pet etc.) and abstract shapes (an illustration)

If you don’t have your own image and you are looking for one, check out public domain, royalty free graphics web sites or subscription graphics online services that charge a membership fee for unlimited graphics downloads….

Here are some helpful links:

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

http://www.freefoto.com/browse/04-00-0?ffid=04-00-0

http://www.pdphoto.org/

http://search.creativecommons.org/

http://www.clipart.com/en/

Lulu’s Services Marketplace:

If you would like the help of an expert, visit Lulu At Your Service: a Services Marketplace and find a designer near you.