Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Evolution of A Book Cover

One of the most frustrating yet rewarding parts of independently writing and publishing your own book is creating the cover to the book. Now I'm sure there's a bunch of you who are regular wizards with Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, or a host of other programs and your covers would blow mine off the map. But I like how my cover turned out.

Now I promise this post isn't about glorifying how absolutely stunning my work on my ebook cover is. Nope. It's not. Instead, it's about the process I went through, how easy and painless it was, and hopefully to encourage anyone on the fence about making their own book covers to at least give it a shot.

Ok. Ready? I'm not! But as they say in Ratatouille "Let's do this thing!"

Daniel's e-book cover making timesaver finding #1: istockphoto is your FRIEND! I mean this. The website is brilliant and very easy and slick to use. For those who don't know, istockphoto is a site that sells stock pictures, vector images, movies, and other stuff for use in your own projects. I like it because it gives people who want to get their art (as I call it) out there, and lets those folks team up with folks like ME (the people who write weird stories) the chance to have access to artwork that they wouldn't otherwise be able to get, given their (or mine at least) lack of artistic expertise. There are also easy to understand rules about the copyright licenses, as well as information about purchasing an extended license if you need it. If you're an author, and you're fretting and wringing your hands over finding that perfect book cover, fret no more! Use the good ol' internet(s) and give istockphoto a visit. It's an indie's best friend.

Ok, so I went there, browsed around, and finally found an image I liked. I wanted something simple that got the theme of my story across. That's it. Here's what I eventually found:
(C) 2012 Chuwy. All Rights Reserved
I liked this picture for many reasons, but the thing I liked the most about it is its simplicity and sense of wonder if creates. It's beautiful, yet simple (side note, if you do decide to peruse the wares of istockphoto, PLEASE give this artist a look: Chuwy. This artist creates some of the most peaceful, yet beautiful art I have ever seen. I was more than happy to contribute to their beautiful work).

While I love this picture, I knew I'd have to tinker with it after I bought it. I mean, you've got to have a title right? So using my other best friend, the glorious free editing software Gimp. This is a great editing programs for newbies like myself, and is pretty darn intuitive. After messing around for a bit in Gimp, here's what I came up with:
Copyrighted material.
There, isn't that BEAU-TI-FUL? I thought so at first, but it was missing something. What? What was it missing? Sitting back and thinking about my title, I for whatever reason started thinking about the sun, and how when it rises I always feel happy and confident. I rubbed my chin, nodded, and went back to Gimp:
Copyrighted material.

Switching the font really helped, as did inverting the colors. But what I liked the most was the light manipulation on the side, mirroring the way the sun rises. Boom! Exactly what I was looking for!

There! This entire process probably took me an hour, and I ended up with a cover I'm really happy with. It's simple, but still says a lot. Ah, where would I be without istockophoto and Gimp?! Probably paying someone to make a super awesome cover, instead of trying to do it myself.

That's it for this post! Next up I'm gonna be throwing some themes from my story at you guys, sharing my thoughts, and hoping to hear yours!

God bless!