Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ebook Covers

I am editing my first ebook and wondered what to do about the cover. I tried making a simple cover by taking a photograph, bringing it up in Microsoft Paint, adding my book title and saving as a .jpg file. The problem is that when I made a tiny thumbprint of the cover or exploded it, the letters of my title were not readable. I read whatever I could find on the subject and realized that I need to use a graphic program based on vectors rather than pixels.

The ebook publishers, like Amazon, include requirements for ebook covers, such as the size should be 800 pixes in height and 600 pixels in width.

I searched for free graphic and file converting programs. I took Photoshop classes years ago but thought it too complicated for me at this point. I have little experience in the graphic arts but am a bit persistent. I am however, not at all artistic.

I tried a few programs and quickly realized that it would be easier for me to take another picture than play around with the graphic programs. I decided the less I have to rely on any program the better.

I reduced the size of my photograph and cropped it using Faststone. I saved it as a .png and brought it up in Inkscape where I added my title words. I saw the similarity of Inkscape to Photoshop per layering. After having to name my layers a few times, layering became routine. I added text words, the title of my ebook  to the photograph using Inkscape and saved the file as a .png. I then put the .png product back into Faststone to create a .jpg for the ebook vendors. I double checked my final .jpg file size per publisher requirements.

Inkscape does not have the bells and whistles or the precision of Photoshop but if you are starting with a graphic and need only to add the title of your book, you can create an acceptable cover in a few minutes. After about 5 covers, I created one that my husband likes. He is my most difficult critic. I don't know how to use either program very well, but think I assembled an acceptable cover in a few hours.

If I hire a graphic artist to make a better looking cover, at least I have an idea of what may be involved in the process. I still  have a "homemade" website!

If anyone has any great free programs for making an ebook cover for Amazon, Smashwords or any other ebook publisher, please respond to this post or send me an email at and I will be glad to add to this blog.

One of my favorite "how to author" blogs to date is Copple's Writing and Coffee Blog. If  you are interested in ebook publishing. I highly recommend Copple. His blog is the best kept secret in the blogsphere of ebook creation. I tried many graphic programs in trying to make an ebook cover today, as well as several file converters. Copple's suggestions work and I ended up with what I think is more than an acceptable, free, ebook cover!

Please stay tuned as I will be posting more about my journey into ebook publishing live, as it happens!

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