Category Archives: Book Cover Design

Enter to Win: Free Book Cover Design May 1st, 2020

MCDD copy

Giving Makes Me Smile 🙂

I am excited to be getting the word out about the upcoming drawing I’ve scheduled for this May 1st, 2020.

I started this drawing as a way of giving back to the Indie Author Community: I consider myself blessed because I get to do what I love within the publishing industry and I just want to pay it forward.

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Everyone is welcome to enter for a prize of a free design package that includes: Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook cover, two 3D Covers, and a Book Teaser.

  • Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook Cover
  • Two 3D Covers
  • A Book Teaser

Winners also receive an invitation to be interviewed on this blog for their upcoming book release.

All winners will be announced and listed on the ‘Winning Authors’ page along with their new cover design and a link to the book’s point of sale.

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There are no hidden fees!


Enter today! This drawing takes place on May 1st, 2020 and the prizes can be claimed anytime.

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Send me an email telling me a little about yourself and your book to enter.

If your name is drawn as the winner, I’ll contact you via email with the happy news.


Enter To Win Below

Good Luck!

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It’s Easy to Design Your Own Graphics

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You really can design your own book covers and author graphics:

With a bit of training, you can start designing almost right away.

You can get the right software if you know what to look for.

From all my talks with indie authors I’ve had over the years, the biggest turnoff to designing for themselves is the software. Either they can’t find good software or it is too hard to learn.

I normally would tell people to leave the designing to the professionals, but not everyone has that in their budget.

Here are some basic design principles you should know:

Before you go purchase software, let me introduce you to some basic design principles. This way you can see that you will be capable enough to give it a go.

Balance

Most of us can tell what looks well balanced and what doesn’t. What you may not know is that there are different forms of balance.

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  • The visual weight of your design elements can be evenly distributed on either side of the design in order to be symmetrical.
  • Asymmetrical balance is the balance achieved through color, scale, and contrast to achieve flow. Most of your designs will be asymmetrical.

Start looking at book covers and graphic designs and point out the flow. Notice how design elements are chosen for their color, scale, and contrast. How each element works with the others to draw the eye to focal points. The design flow will draw your eyes through the elements of the design and to those focal points.

In a matter of seconds, you can decern the mood, the genre, and the theme of the design, hear its message visually. In those few seconds, a reader will decide whether or not you’ve piqued their interest.

Proximity

Proximity creates a relationship between similar or related elements. These elements are visually connected by way of font, color, size, etc. Basically, the things that are related should be nearer to each other.

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Proximity can create relationships between the visual elements in a composition. It can create relevance, hierarchy, organization, and structure. Or, there can also be no relationship between elements, by breaking organization and structure.

Alignment

You will want to be sure that the elements of your design are in alignment. You might center all the text to the centerfold of the design. You might zigzag the flow by centering the top and bottom text, but then staggering a blurb that you want to stand out. You can align elements across a design or diagonally. Watch for different types of alignment and what appeals to you.

Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is important because it can help lead the viewer through the message of the design. The viewer’s eye will follow this visual hierarchy.

Each element of your design will carry more or less visual weight. More important elements are given extra visual weight to move them up the hierarchy. You can use larger or bolder fonts to highlight the title, etc. What color you use can determine hierarchy. Large to small, bold to soft, bright to dark, top to bottom, left to right, etc., these all are part of a visual hierarchy.

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Repetition

A large part of graphic design is branding. As an author, you will be developing your own visual brand too. Repetition in design is fundamental, but essential when it comes to branding.

Repetition creates a rhythm, it ties together the consistent elements and strengthens the overall design. There are certain elements that will make viewers instantly recognize your brand. These design elements include your color palette, fonts, and your logo.

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Contrast

The contrast will guide the viewer to key design elements. Two opposing design elements create contrast:

  • dark vs. light
  • contemporary vs. old-fashioned
  • large vs. small, etc.

Organization and a hierarchy can be established with contrast. Using contrast is useful in creating visual interest too.

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Color

Color is basic in design and is also used within other principles of design. Color expresses mood so what palette you choose is very important. As a graphic designer, it’s always helpful to have a basic knowledge of color theory, take the time to do a little research. This will pay off hugely in the long run. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a color wheel for easy reference.

Amazon.com: Cox 133343 Color Wheel 9-1/4"-

Negative Space

The space that is left blank in your design is called negative space. And just like dark matter in space, it’s an area that contains nothing flashy, or no design elements. No design elements except for maybe some background color. If used creatively, negative space can help create a shape and highlight the important components of your design.

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by Brian Caldwell

Typography

Typography is a key element in graphic design. It can speak volumes. Typography can set the mood, establish it’s own hierarchy, and even express genre. It’s important not to use overly used fonts in graphic design. Overly used fonts are most of the font’s that come with your common word software. You are better off purchasing your fonts.

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Rules

The only real rule in graphic design is to not use true black or white in your designs, they won’t transfer correctly in printing or on the web. Other than that you are free to design in your own style, whatever that may be.

These principles are your guide to creating great graphics and building a solid brand.

Now to get your software:

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Before you continue to the next section, you should know that I am NOT affiliated with the software listed below. I won’t earn anything if you purchase one of them from any of the links posted.

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Here are the top graphic design platforms:

Affinity Designer: You can get this platform for a one-time payment of $24.99. (2020)

This is awesome software for the price. It will give you all the tools you need to create great graphics and is easy to learn. This platform is smaller in size than others and won’t bog down your computer. You will have access to free updates and Affinity Designer also runs very smoothly and quickly, even on older machines. Here is the link to the tutorials.

Adobe Photoshop: You can get this platform for $20.99 per month. (2020)

I use Photoshop, I like that you can use it for photo editing and compositing, digital painting, and graphic design. It works for all of my design needs when it comes to creating book covers. Photoshop is an excellent program used for creating images, photo editing, and graphics design or to add special effects to images. Vector graphics are not used in photoshop because it is pixel-based software. Here’s the link to their tutorials.

Gravit Designer: This platform is a free full-featured vector graphic design app.

With this platform, you can design from anywhere on any machine. You won’t have the versatility of Affinity or Adobe, but you can make graphics on the fly for blogposts. Gravit is mostly vector-based software, but has image manipulation and editing, and is a good cheap alternative to Affinity. Here is the link to their tutorials. This would be the software I would use if I couldn’t afford Photoshop and Adobe Suites.

Inkscape: This software is free and is a great substitute for Photoshop.

Inkscape is a free open source vector-based software because it does not take the resources of RAM nevertheless you are under MS Windows or Linux Distribution like Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, OpenSUSE, RedHat, etc. Inkscape is better because it has own plugins for bevel and emboss, image manipulations, some times it behaves like photoshop. Here is the link to Inkscapes tutorials.

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These basics will get you started and headed in the right direction. Just remember that learning how to create great designs is a process. You will improve over time. But there’s no reason you can’t create some pretty great graphics right out of the gate.

Good Luck!

 

 

New Cover Design and Free Book

Here’s a fun cover design I did for author Lee Earlywine. He sadly passed away last year from cancer. Lee was a Vietnam Veteran and had so many friends, and friends from all walks of life, all who loved him. He made an impact on the world around him, and an impact on me. 

He became a good friend even though we never had the chance to meet in person. His writing was fantastic, he just blew me away with his talent. He wrote this novel and a second in this series.

I had just started to redesign his book covers before he passed, and this is the first time the new cover for this first book is being shared.

I feel compelled to share his work as long as it’s still available. I think everyone should have the chance to appreciate Lee’s art of writing.

Let me know your thoughts. I appreciate the feedback!

If you’re into this genre – dystopian future – you will LOVE this book! This is one amazing author. Check out the link to Amazon below and you can read this one for free!

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WINTERING OF EVIL AMAZON

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Come see me for your custom cover design with unlimited changes!

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How to Create a Book Cover Concept

Every author wants the perfect cover for their book.

A cover that will sell copies!

And that’s the frame of mind you need to have when it comes to your book cover design concept.

What is a concept in graphic design?

Although the answer to this question may seem pretty straight forward, it’s not. Your cover design concept is how you show the world what they can expect from your book. What you need is a plan that integrates images, fonts, content, and context. Content is the value your readers will derive from the book. Context is the circumstances of your book, its environment, and its genre.

What won’t sell copies?

There are a lot of things a designer will tell you that you shouldn’t do in concept design. But the three following things will get you by to start.

A scene from your book:

Although it can be seriously tempting to want to use a great scene from your book as the cover design, it will not translate to the viewer. You want to communicate through your design what the reader will get out of the book. Your cover should express your genre and what the book delivers.

Too much information:

You might think that in order to communicate your story to the reader, you will need several different images put together in one busy design. Bad idea! Too much for the eyes and mind to absorb in a flash of a second is distracting. You want to keep it simple.

A lack of cohesion:

Fonts matter. Don’t use common fonts that come with Word. That’s a design no-no. Go get some custom fonts. Use the same font and size for your author name on every book and place your name in the same spot on every book. Don’t use more than three fonts. Make sure the first and second fonts don’t clash. They should be in the same family of fonts. And it goes without question that you shouldn’t use custom fonts that will clash with your genre. If you are working on a series of books, you should follow a common theme and use the same fonts on all of them. Until you’re famous, you may want to steer clear of unique cover designs and instead go with the feel of your genre.

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Where to start?

The best place to start is on Amazon. Go research books in your genre that are selling and see what the popular cover styles are.

  • What do they have in common?
  • What mood do they convey?
  • Can you clearly discern the genre of the books?
  • What types of fonts are they using?
  • What is the focal point of these designs? (a person, an object, etc.)
  • What is the design layout?
  • What are the color pallets? (notice that no covers will use pure black or pure white)
  • How do the covers make use of light and shadow?
  • What does all of the above tell you about each book?

This might seem like cheating, and no one wants to look like everyone else out there. However, your cover is the first chance you get to sell your book. Your first chance to capture the readers’ attention. If the cover catches their eye and the blurb is good, it’s a sale.

Now get busy!

So, for those just starting out in their publishing careers, go with what’s working for others. Your cover will still maintain its own uniqueness but will be clearly recognizable in its genre.

Make sure your cover has a 1/8-inch bleed.

Don’t buy any images until you are happy with one of your concepts. Just right click on stock photos and save them with the watermark. These will work fine for the concept. Just remember where you found them.

When you’re ready to put together the final designs, purchase your images and fonts. Keep a word file with thumbnails of your images and paste the copyright information below them. You’ll need all that copyright info from your images and fonts to show on the copyright page of your book.

Keep your original images and use copies for designing in case you screw up.

Make sure you save your final design in CYMK so the colors remain true when printed.

CMYK stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow and Black. It is a term most often used in printing as these colors are mixed in the printing process to create the colors of a document. RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue. Both RGB and CMYK are modes for mixing color in graphic design. As a quick reference, the RGB color model is best for digital work, while CMYK is used for print products.

Good luck and have fun!

If you liked this post please leave me a note in the comments below!

Enter to Win: Free Book Cover Design May 1st, 2020

MCDD copy

Giving Makes Me Smile 🙂

I am excited to be getting the word out about the upcoming drawing I’ve scheduled for this May 1st, 2020.

I started this drawing as a way of giving back to the Indie Author Community: I consider myself blessed because I get to do what I love within the publishing industry and I just want to pay it forward.

CDc copy

Everyone is welcome to enter for a prize of a free design package that includes: Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook cover, two 3D Covers, and a Book Teaser.

  • Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook Cover
  • Two 3D Covers
  • A Book Teaser

Winners also receive an invitation to be interviewed on this blog for their upcoming book release.

All winners will be announced and listed on the ‘Winning Authors’ page along with their new cover design and a link to the book’s point of sale.

line orange

There are no hidden fees!


Enter today! This drawing takes place on May 1st, 2020 and the prizes can be claimed anytime.

line orange

Send me an email telling me a little about yourself and your book to enter.

If your name is drawn as the winner, I’ll contact you via email with the happy news.


Enter To Win Below

Good Luck!

mrg-copy