Creating Your Cover

If you haven’t already checked out the design process page, I encourage you to do so, as it presents much of this information in a different way.

Exploration Stage

The first thing I’ll need to produce the best possible cover from you is information about the project:

1) Start with a brief description of the book, just a paragraph or two. I don’t need a plot description, but what the essence of the book is.

2) What elements would you like to see on the cover? This can be either individual elements or a scene description. Do you envision something photographic or illustrated? Grim or flirty? Colorful or subdued? If you want to search for images at istockphoto.com that represent what you have in mind, feel free to do so.

3) Give me five or six individual words that express the thoughts or feelings you’d like someone to have when they look at the cover. Emotions are good, like sadness, fear, or love. This can really help make sure I hit the right tones with the design concepts.

4) It’s also important to get an idea of your budget, as that will guide the concepts I create.

I may ask some questions at this point or send some images your way to make sure I understand what you have in mind.

My target image size is 800 x 600 pixels. This produces a slightly wider image than is sometimes used, but allows for more visible image in those tiny 100 x 100 Amazon thumbnails. If you prefer a different size, let me know at this stage. Keep in mind that minimum width to publish on Kindle is 500 and maximum height is 1280.

Concept Stage

At this point, what I will do is come up with at least two concept ideas. These will be VERY rough. I don’t purchase any images until later, so everything will be low resolution and have watermarks. Any image compositing will be crude. If there is text at this point, it will be flat and unfinished.

The goal here is to settle on a design you like and make sure I’m headed down the right path before I start spending money on images and spending hours on finish work. If I’ve gotten the right info and asked the right questions, then hopefully you love one of the concepts and we can proceed from there. If not, this is the point to finalize what you want the cover to be, going back to the exploration stage if needed. Major changes made after this point will result in additional costs, and potential frustration, which neither of us wants.

Once a final design is agreed upon, payment of 50% is required prior to production of the final cover. This payment signifies approval of the design, serves as compensation for my time spent on the project up to this point, and provides funds for purchasing of artwork that will be used.

Finishing Stage

This is the point where all of the visual magic happens, taking your cover design from a rough concept to a finished product you’re going to love. I may send interim updates or ask questions about finalizing small details, but there shouldn’t need to be any major changes at this point.

When your cover is finished, I will email it to you in JPEG format. If you need other formats, let me know.

About Purchased Art

Once a design is finalized, I will purchase art on your behalf for use on your cover. By maintaing a database of purchased images, I am able to selectively reuse parts of images for other projects, helping to keep costs down. For instance, I might use part of an image as a texture on a different project

Licenses to use artwork do not include reproduction rights on prints, posters, calendars, mugs, mousepads, t-shirts, games, or other items for resale. Those rights are available at a much higher cost. Please see istockphoto.com for more details.

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