In this episode, Terrance and I talk about five things you need to know about creating your own book covers. Since I’ve been doing design work for years, I give a good bit of the technical advice, including specifications for creating high quality print book covers. Don’t let the tech talk overwhelm you, though. The notes below summarize the highlights of the discussion.
1. Quality – Make sure you know the specifications for the kind of cover you’re creating.
For Print Covers:
- Download the appropriate template for your print book product. Both CreateSpace and IngramSpark will let you generate cover templates based on your book’s desired dimensions and page count.
- Use CMYK colorspace. Most graphics software will default to RGB. In Photoshop, you go to Image > Mode > CMYK color.
- Areas with a lot of black should use RICH BLACK rather than the default black. In addition to images with a lot of black, you’ll also use Rich Black for text above 30 px font size. (The code I use for a CMYK Rich Black is 40, 30, 30, 100.)
- Total ink in any area of the image(s) on your cover should not exceed 270%. The way you check is this: In Photoshop, in your Info panel choose 3×3 selection and change the options so the second readout shows Total Ink. Next, check your Levels (Ctrl+L) by moving the dropper over the darkest areas of the image. Look at the info panel and that second readout number should not exceed 270%. If it does, go to Levels and adjust the darkness down and/or the brightness up until those areas are within the correct range.
For E-book Covers:
- If you’re already doing a print book, you can simply crop out just the front cover to use as your e-book cover image. If you’re only doing an e-book, you might want to consider going to Canva.com to build your cover. They have a free tool that can make it super easy.
2. Your cover should be easy to read, even when it’s a thumbnail. Listen to the episode for tips on how to ensure that it is.
A couple of font resources I recommend are:
3. Consider your Genre
Make sure your book cover is an accurate reflection of the genre and tone of your book.
4. Layout text in InDesign, if possible, rather than Photoshop. I explain why in the show.
5. Get to know the tools of the trade.
You’ll be amazed at what you can learn from YouTube videos and online tutorials.
Adobe Software is now available on a monthly basis:
- Photoshop – Software for working with any kind of graphics, but especially photos.
- Illustrator – Software for working with line art and vector (easily scalable) graphics.
- InDesign – Software for page layout. Ideal for doing book interiors, as well as laying out text on a book cover.
These website are worth bookmarking: