A book’s cover (and title) go a long way to ‘selling’ your book. There is a really interesting article on the topic on Indie Author News, and if you’re planning on using internal pictures, take a look at this Amazon help page.
I’d recommend a smart but simple cover, nothing too dull (so it looks as if you haven’t tried) but nothing too flash so the text isn’t clear or it’s too complicated. The thing to remember is that online it will appear about the size of two large postage stamps (four standard size) so you have to be able to read it and get the gist of what it’s about (where the title comes in). I’d recommend looking at existing covers before you starting putting yours together and below are some great covers…
Below are some of mine as examples…
If you don’t have photographs already then I recommend http://morguefile.com. You can search by topic / subject, although the more random subject you put in (e.g. man) the more results you’ll get. There are over 9 million photographs and illustrations to choose from, thousands of which are free (and you don’t have to attribute them to anyone), just remember to select ‘free photos’, although even their paid ones they say are cheap (I’ve never had to pay for one, I’ve always found what I’ve needed in their free section… so far).
For creating your cover, I’d then recommend Picasa (http://picasa.google.co.uk) where, without too much difficulty (it’s fun playing with the options). From this…
you can do this…
The four eShort book covers shown above were especially easy. In Picasa’s collage option I added a photograph (slanted it in ‘Feeding the Father’) then added the text (there are loads of different fonts to choose from). ‘April’s Fool’ was the trickiest of those four; I designed it by taking a photograph of a calendar, fading the background, copying one of the months to the front then using the text option on Picasa to add the text. Some trial and error but fun getting there.
You’ve all held a book, you know that they are portrait but what size do they need to be? Amazon’s only requirement is that the longest side (the height) is at least 2,500 pixels whereas Smashwords want a minimum of 1,400 pixels width. Proportion: there’s a great article listing Smashwords requirements here, which explains that “most good-looking covers have heights that are around 1.3 to 1.65 times greater than the width”. This means that if you have 1,400 pixels wide, Smashwords’ minimum, you should have a height of between 1,820 to 2,310 pixels. Both those latter two figures are too small for Amazon so unless you’re only going with Smashwords, make sure that they fit both, e.g. minimum of 2,000 pixels wide by 2,600 to 3,300 pixels high.
Just in case that’s as clear as proverbial mud, here’s a table to help you…
|WIDTH @1.3x||HEIGHT @1.3x||WIDTH @1.65x||HEIGHT @1.65x|
|500 pixels||650 pixels||500 pixels||825 pixels|
|750 pixels||975 pixels||750 pixels||1237 pixels|
|1000 pixels||1300 pixels||1000 pixels||1650 pixels|
|1250 pixels||3750 pixels||1250 pixels||2062 pixels|
|1500 pixels||1950 pixels||1500 pixels||2475 pixels|
|1750 pixels||2275 pixels||1750 pixels||2887 pixels|
|2000 pixels||2600 pixels||2000 pixels||3300 pixels|
|2250 pixels||2925 pixels||2250 pixels||3712 pixels|
|2500 pixels||3250 pixels||2500 pixels||4125 pixels|
|2750 pixels||3575 pixels||2750 pixels||4537 pixels|
|3000 pixels||3900 pixels||3000 pixels||4950 pixels|
You won’t need a back cover for an eBook so that’s one less job to do.
Have fun and do let me know how you get on (or if you get stuck).