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One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

 

One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

Good Monday morning, Seekerville! I (Carrie) am here to introduce today's guest for this month's 'One Thing That Works For Me' series. Please join me in welcoming author and professional cover designer Hannah Linder to share what works for her when narrowing down the elements for a book cover.

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Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover 

Ms. Example Author has just typed the end on her baby. Her book baby. She’s cried over the manuscript, prayed over it, worked through a thousand kinks—and she’s finally ready to deliver this infant into the world of publishing. This brings her to a crucial stage: the book cover design. What should go on the cover? Which themes, characters, settings, or struggles are vital enough that they should be represented in the design?

So, with enthusiasm and lots of squeals, Ms. Example Author hurries to her keyboard and types her designer this e-mail: “I would like my middle-aged, purple-haired, thin-faced heroine (who also walks with crutches and usually wears a leather jacket) standing outside of her yellow duplex with her curly-haired, next-door neighbor reaching for her hand, a tabby cat sitting in the window, and a red package sticking out of the tin mailbox. And oh yeah, can we add a graveyard in there too? That’s an important part of the story, so we must get that in there somewhere!"

As you might agree, this request already has our brains hurting. Just imagine smashing all this into a book cover! So, how do we proceed with this? How can you, as the designer or the author, help narrow down the basics to portray the most important aspects of your book without overloading the design?

Here’s a quick method that works for me. Let’s run through the questions!

  • What is the genre? A big determining factor on how much, or how little, should go on your cover should be decided after perusing other books in your genre. Nonfiction? Let’s go as simple as possible. Less is more. Historical fiction? We can probably establish the main character, setting, and emotion—and throw in some embellishments too. So do some research and determine what does or doesn’t align with your genre’s current trends.
One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

  • What is the theme? Surprisingly enough, this is a question for both nonfiction and fiction titles. Granted, it may be more important in deciding for a nonfiction book—because hey, if the recurring theme is beauty from brokenness, let’s throw in something like a flower growing from cracked pavement, right? But the theme of your novel can be helpful to evaluate too. For example, if your protagonist must learn to forgive his father, whose dog tags he wears about his neck, that gives us a starting place. Should said protagonist be on the cover? Should the dog tags, which we’ve now established are an important aspect of the story, be hanging about his neck? If nothing else, knowing your book’s theme will help you identify the emotion your book cover should illuminate. 

One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

  • What is most important? This can be a hard one because running back to our Ms. Example Author, she might argue that all the things she mentioned in her e-mail were an important part of the story. But let’s narrow it down. Who is the main character? What is the central plot of the story? What is the main setting? What scene or visual would best pull the viewer into your world—and how can you represent that scene or visual in the simplest way?
One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

  • What is the takeaway? When you present a potential reader with a book cover, you are giving them one glimpse into the world of your book. Sometimes you’ve only got a second before they scroll on, pass to the next shelf, or slide your book back into another stack. So, you need to determine now what the takeaway of your cover should be. Will it promise suspense? Romance? History? A great psychological truth? If you’re throwing too much at the viewer in one book cover, they’ll walk away feeling a little unsure and without that solid impression they need. Make sure the aura, the feel, of your story is going to come out strong in your cover. 

One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

In conclusion, I defer again to the saying, “Less is more.” Be consistent with your genre, stay in mood with your theme, highlight the most important aspect of your story, and make sure the end result is strong enough to lure readers into your pages and leave an impression. I hope you find this process helpful in deciding what should stay (or not stay) on your book cover. Good luck!  

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One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book Cover

Hannah Linder, represented by Books & Such Literary Management, is a Christian fiction author residing in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Her upcoming Regency romantic suspense novel, Beneath His Silence, will be releasing with Barbour Publishing in November of 2022. She is a two-time 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award finalist, and an ACFW member. Follow her journey at www.hannahlinderbooks.com.

Also, Hannah is a magna cum laude Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design with affordable prices. Having designed for both traditional publishing houses and award-winning authors, Hannah understands the importance of an attractive book cover and the trends of today’s industry. Her clients have included New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors. Find out more at www.hannahlinderdesigns.com.
 
Authors, what cover design questions do you have for Hannah Linder?
Readers, what attracts you to a book cover?

Increasing Productivity

Increasing Productivity

by Mindy Obenhaus

Lately I’ve been working on increasing my productivity as a writer. I’d come to a crossroads in my writing that called for a change. What I’ve been doing, the pace at which I’d been working just wasn’t sufficient anymore. So I was faced with a dilemma. Settle for the status quo or strive for something more?

I wanted more.

The big question, though, was “How?” I mean, I was already at my computer for hours each day. Granted, a good bit of that might have been spent staring at the ceiling as I struggled to write an entire scene each day. At least, a scene a day was the goal, though I rarely achieved it. Inevitably, I’d get bogged down in details. Setting, what is she wearing—

Of course, that led to an internet search and down a big old rabbit hole. And by the end of many a day, I hadn’t made much progress at all. At least, until it got down to crunch time. As that deadline approached, I buckled down and sailed through those scenes. I began to wonder why I wasn’t that disciplined all the time.

Obviously, it was time to change my approach to writing. It was right around that time Mary Connealy shared that she wrote a thousand words a day. Period. And if you’re familiar with Mary’s books, then you know just how quickly those thousand words can add up.

Hmph. “A thousand words a day,” I thought. That’s doable. So you know what I did? I tucked that little nugget into my memory and continued along the path I was on. Until I came to the afore mentioned crossroads. I did a little math. If I did a thousand words only five days a week that would be five thousand words a week. Twenty thousand words in a month.

So, I decided to make the change. I committed to those thousand words a day, five days a week. There were a couple of days I fell short, but I made them up the next day. And you know what? It worked. By the end of the month I’d written almost 24,000 words. Not only that, I found I was much more disciplined. I felt less pressure, too.

So if you’re looking to increase your productivity—

Set an achievable goal – Something that will work with your schedule. For me, a thousand words a day is maybe two-thirds to half a scene. Yet I often found that once I got going, I was more eager to finish it.

It doesn’t have to be perfect – The goal was to simply get the story out of my head. Part of my problem before, why I’d labor over each scene, was that I wanted it to be perfect. By giving myself the freedom to simply get the bones of the scene down, along with a good chunk of dialog, I was able to move on instead of getting bogged down in the details. Though often times, they still made it in there. Particularly if I had a good visual in my head.

Stick with it – This was not difficult once I saw how much progress I was making. It felt good to see that word count climb. Honestly, I’ve never really tracked my daily word count before, so that might have played a role. I’m goal oriented, so knowing I was aiming for a specific number was good for me. It was a more tangible goal than simply saying I wanted to write a scene.

Now, I’m sure many of you may be looking at this and thinking this is no big deal, that it’s what you do this all the time. In which case, I applaud you. But April 2022 was a pivotal month for this writer. And to think, I owe it all to Mary Connealy. Go figure.

Mary, I owe you a dinner. For the rest of you, give me your thoughts. Have you ever made one small change in your life that suddenly made a world of difference?

Oh, and before I go, I’ve got a brand-new cover to share with you. The Cowgirl’s Redemption is the first book in my new Hope Crossing series and releases on August 23rd. Here’s a bit about the story.

Increasing Productivity

She came home to make things right. Will she be given a second chance?

Gloriana Prescott has returned to her Texas hometown to make amends—even if the townsfolk she left behind aren’t ready to forgive. But when her mother’s ranch manager, Justin Broussard, is tasked with saving the struggling rodeo so his teen daughter can compete, Gloriana sees a chance to prove she’s really changed. But can she prove to Justin, and the town, that she’s trustworthy? 


Increasing Productivity

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

The Making of Many Book...Covers!




Erica Vetsch here with you today to talk about Book Covers! After “Where do you get your ideas?” and “How did you become a writer?” “Do you get to design your own book covers?” is one of the most popular questions authors are asked. And of course, the answer is an ambiguous “sometimes.”

Depending upon which publishing path you’re on, you can have exactly zero say all the way to designing the cover yourself. While I often had a bit of input when it comes to my book covers, I have never designed one in my whole entire life. Even the first book I penned (penciled) in 9th grade only had the title ‘erased’ into the blue notebook cover.

Our own Pam Hillman designs the covers for her indie books. Ruthy’s daughter Beth designs her Wishing Bridge covers, so I imagine Ruthy has a tremendous say in the finished product. For myself, my covers have always been designed by a publishing house. Sometimes they send me the finished product and tell me that's what they're going with, and at other times, I have the ability to chip in with my thoughts before it's called done. (I much prefer this option.)

The cover art design process with a traditional publishing house often starts with an Art Fact Sheet, though different publishers call it by different names. This is where the author tries to encapsulate their vision for the book cover, giving the designer an overview of the story, the themes, the moods, settings, time period, etc. Often the author is given the opportunity to insert photos of covers they like, pictures of who they envision their characters look like, and settings and scenes. 

From this, the designer begins work on the cover. And at this point, I have no idea what happens.




So, I asked an expert. I asked Hannah Mae Linder, (who is also an amazing author) the designer of my latest book cover, if she would walk us through her design process from original concept to finished product.

 
The beautiful and talented
Hannah Mae Linder!


Hannah, thank you so much for agreeing to sit still for this interview! :) First tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started in cover art design?

Hi, Erica! Happy to be here! The first cover I designed was for my first self-published book when I was twelve. Crazily enough, one of my first covers was square. Not sure how I thought that would fit a 5x8 book! But even though I had a lot to learn, the more covers I designed for my own books the more I loved the process. It swiftly became a dream to work for publishing houses designing book covers.

Can you tell us where you start with a book cover?

I always start with a form! Whether it’s the online form I send to individual authors, or the marketing questionnaire publishing houses send to me, that always gives me the starting place I need to begin the process.

What software do you use to create your covers?

Adobe Photoshop!

How many of the cover elements are provided for you by the publishing house? Fonts, images, logos, etc.

This usually depends on the project. In most cases, I use my own resources for images and fonts, but if the author or team has a specific image or image source in mind, they purchase the rights and send the photo my way. Or, in the case of working on a series where I didn’t design the first book(s), the fonts and logos would be provided to ensure consistency in design.

Where do the other bits and pieces come from?

Other bits and pieces—such as lighting effects, texture, background, etcetera—come from either Photoshop tools or stock photos. Adding in subtle effects is the fun part!

How much give and take is there between the publishing house, the author, and you as the designer?

After reviewing the first comp(s) I send, the publishing team sometimes has a few tweaks of their own before they shoot the cover to the author. In most cases, the author’s thoughts and input are heeded—and we then make adjustments, if needed, to make the end result align with the author’s vision. Every once in a while, a suggestion will be made that I feel would hinder the design (for example, a color clash or an added element that would clutter the design), so I usually pipe in with an alternative suggestion to help resolve the issue without injuring the design.

The Making of Many Book...Covers!

 Erica here: The Debutante's Code was not designed by Hannah, but by another designer at Kregel. However, when Hannah was contacted about creating covers for books 2 and 3 in the series (Squee!) she needed to work with what was going on in book one to make the series cohesive. I think she did a fantastic job!

Can you walk us through the creation of Millstone of Doubt?

Millstone of Doubt was such a fun cover. How could it not be when I’m a big fan of the author and the time period? (Erica is grinning bigtime here!) Here’s a little run-down on the design process:

· I reviewed the marketing questionnaire and native files that were sent of the first cover in the series.

· I set in place the logo, title, and author name so the layout would match book one, then started to work on the first comp.

· Three comps later, I shot them over in an email to Kregel and awaited feedback.

· The next step was a request to combine different elements of two of the designs. On to comp number four!

· Once the author and her agent reviewed the latest version, we had a few more revisions to work through. We waded through a few different hero models until we landed on Mr. Right Cover Model for The Book.
(Erica here again. One trend of cover art that I'm not crazy about is the 'headless hero/heroine.' The model who posed for the hero's body that was chosen wasn't quite right to play Daniel, so imagine our struggle er pleasure in perusing photos of handsome fellows until we found the perfect one.)  

· Just a few more tweaks after that to fine-tune the design and we had our final product. Bingo!

The Making of Many Book...Covers!

 (I am absolutely enthralled by this cover! I love the atmospheric setting, the totally handsome dude, and how it pairs with book one in the series. You can for certain tell they go together!) 

Thank you so much for this insight into cover art creation, Hannah. I am an absolute FAN of your work, and I’m totally in love with the cover you’ve created for book two in the Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery Series. I can’t wait to see what you do with book three!

Thanks so much, Erica! Both you, your agent, and Kregel have been a delight to work with in bringing the Millstone of Doubt cover to life. I’m looking forward to book three as well!

Do you have a question for Hannah about cover art design? If so, pop it in the comments below. And let us know what you think of the cover art of Millstone of Doubt!


Hannah's bio: Hannah Linder, represented by Books & Such Literary Management, is a Christian fiction author residing in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Her upcoming Regency romantic suspense novel, Beneath His Silence, will be releasing with Barbour Publishing in November of 2022. She is a two-time 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award finalist, and an ACFW member. Follow her journey at www.hannahlinderbooks.com.

Also, Hannah is a magna cum laude Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design with affordable prices. Having designed for both traditional publishing houses and award-winning authors, Hannah understands the importance of an attractive book cover and the trends of today’s industry. Her clients have included New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors. Find out more at www.hannahlinderdesigns.com.

Erica's bio: Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/inspirationalregencyreaderswhere she spends way too much time!

AND!!!! Millstone of Doubt is now available for Pre-order! You can use the links below to take you to your preferred online retailer, or call your local indie store and get yours on order today!





Avoiding Sticky Book Cover Situations

 Avoiding Sticky Book Cover Situations

As queen bees of the JustRead hive (aka owners of JustRead Publicity Tours) and avid readers, we’ve learned a thing or two about sweet reads and sticky situations. We want to help you avoid common book cover blunders and ensure your readers aren’t confused or even deterred by a sticky situation. 

Generally, authors will either have DIY, outsourced, or a publisher-directed cover design process. While this article is written primarily with independently publishing (or hybrid) authors in mind, the concepts are important for all authors to consider. Whether you are creating your own cover or conveying your vision to others, the goal is for the heart of your story (or nonfiction content) to shine through the cover.

 Avoiding Sticky Book Cover Situations
Visual Vibes

Research book covers that are selling or trending in your book’s genre and subgenre, making note of images, design styles, fonts, and colors. Once you’ve identified design elements that work well for your genre, focus on reflecting the heart of your story within your author branding and genre trends. 

Stock Images

Even the pros utilize stock illustrations and images but check to see if your selections are already being used on another book cover. Layering multiple images is one way to create a more unique cover but make sure proportions and blending are natural.

Fonts

We love fonts but readability is key. Two different typefaces on a cover (sometimes three) are acceptable as long as the placement is mindful. Whimsical and script fonts are especially tricky but they pack a visual punch when used in moderation and/or paired with a simple clean font. 

 Avoiding Sticky Book Cover Situations
Good Sticky

Stick to your budget and timeline. Don’t wait too long to finalize your cover or make last-minute changes, delays could end up costing you more. Compromise is common during the cover design process but be willing to stick to it and keep the lines of communication open rather than settling for a cover that doesn’t fit.

Encouragement for DIYers

You can successfully create your own book cover with thorough research, more research, and the popper tools! Creating an appealing cover on Canva, Picmonkey, or other free or low-cost design platforms is possible. Many of these tools even provide book cover templates and it’s a great way to get the ball rolling for cover mock-ups and even final cover designs. Be sure to ask a few trusted and experienced confidantes for their opinion on your work but don’t stress over trying to please everyone.

Cover Design Pros

If your budget allows, we definitely recommend working with a cover designer. Choose a professional who has created covers you love. We love so many covers including those designed by Roseanna White, Teresa Tysinger, Hillary Lodge, Sarah Monzon, Emilie Hendryx, and more! Please feel free to give a shoutout to your favorite cover designers in the comments. Keep an eye out for a more in-depth post on working with a cover designer in the future.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” 

It’s a nice sentiment but the truth is that the cover is the first glimpse a reader has of the content within. Book covers set the stage just as words pull back the curtains on the wonderful experience we share through stories, devotionals, and nonfiction accounts. Readers are going to judge book covers so let’s embrace that and maximize their impact positively. 


Can you name some genre-specific design features? Does a certain cover style grab your attention? Carrie, Beth, and Rachel would love to chat about your favorite cover trends in the comments! 


 Avoiding Sticky Book Cover Situations
JustRead Publicity Tours, LLC is a full-service publicity tour company for published works in the Christian genre or books considered within the wholesome or clean reads genres. 

Check out their About page to meet the queen bees or jump right into the Authors & Publishers or Readers sections to learn more about JustRead campaigns.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)


By request, today's post focuses on how to use the programs and resources covered in Parts I, II, and III to create DIY book covers by merging two or more photos to create attractive covers.

First, it takes a professional graphics artist with high grade software to mash, smash, mix, and combine multiple photos of landscapes and people and make it all look as if it was all taken together. I'm not a professional. I'm a rank amateur and a DIY guru. The covers I've created aren't meant to look as if they were photos taken that way. But there are techniques to get around that obstacle.

So, let's get started...

The untouched photos of the woman and the landscape below were chosen to compliment each other. Ideally the photo of the woman would have had a bluer sky to make it easier to "merge" the two photos, but I decided to work with this one as is. I actually made this "mockup" cover a couple of months ago in preparation for this blog post, but realized I didn't have enough screenshots of the process to show you much of what I'd done. So I created another one yesterday, and decided to show both as they each employ some different techniques.

And, as I was going to "press", a friend shared a great FREE resource that you're going to love! I'll share it at the end.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
horsewoman-4001_1920.jpg


DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
utah-1802033_1920.jpg

As you can see from the photos above, neither look like they'd lend themselves to a book cover as in being the appropriate size, although the landscape would make a great wraparound cover for a print book. You'd just have to add more blue sky and clouds to the image.

But never fear. All I did was crop both photos until I got the look I wanted. I added a blue sky background behind the woman and then used a blue sky/cloud-looking swath across the middle to blend the two images. This created the perfect spot to add a title.

Now... you can still see a bit of white around the woman, but I liked the way it lended an airbrushed look, so, all in all, for a sample book cover, I was pleased with it.

I used Picmonkey to create this covers, and the Basic Graphics tool to create the faded edges and cloud effect on the cover below. I'm sorry that I didn't save more steps to show you how I did this. (That's why I created two covers for this project, so I could show you some of the specific steps.)

And... I notice I use the words "layers" and "flattened" a lot in this post. This might not be necessary to explain, but each piece (every photo, every grouping of words, every graphic) of a graphics arts piece is a different "layer", that is, until you "flatten" the pieces. Flattening in digital design software is kind of like ... covering something with scraps of cloth, paint, newsprint, letters, words, stamps, (whatever), then painting over everything with Mod Podge. lol You're welcome for the analogy!

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)

Now on to a cover I created for today's blog post called One Summer in Tuscany. When I realized I didn't have very much step-by-step screenshots to show how to create the above cover, I went to Unsplash and started looking for a landscape that I liked. Any landscape would do, since I didn't have a story idea slot to fill. My "mock" cover could be anything I wanted. If that seems backwards, it is. So, if you're thinking you need something VERY specific for the story you've already written, then read Part I of this blog series. In Part I, I cover how important it is to search for and save photo ideas for future projects. 

So, let's pretend I'm writing a book set in Tuscany. :)

First, I found the beautiful Tuscany landscape below and could just picture it was working for a book cover. Then I searched for couples, but didn't find anything that jumped out at me. Ideally, I was looking for a couple or a woman outdoors and with a muted background that would work well with the landscape. I found the blonde woman wearing the hat, but she didn't really work for the look I wanted, even though the muted background would make working with her image fairly easy. I kept looking and found the beautiful woman with dark hair. The background was going to be a bit harder to work with, but the look of the woman fit the Tuscany landscape SO much better, and I was excited to work on the project.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Unedited Photos Downloaded from Unsplash

Originally, I planned to create a cover on the same lines as the Western-style cover above (titled When Comes the Spring for lack of a more appropriate title): a landscape on the bottom with the woman on the top half, separated by a banner of some sort. But as soon as I uploaded the Tuscany landscape to PicMonkey, my plans changed. I could see that this cover idea could be so much more...
DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Screenshot #1

Screenshot #1, above, shows the landscape image uploaded to my book cover template (templates are covered in Part II of this blog series), cropped to the size I wanted for the cover, then FLATTENED. Flattened anchors or "glues" (like that mod podge we talked about) that image as the background. It's your first layer. You don't have to do this step, but it helps if you're pretty sure you've got that layer just as you want it.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Screenshot #2
Screenshot #2 shows where I uploaded the dark-haired woman before I had edited it at all. It's a new layer on top of the landscape layer. It's obviously way too big, but I wanted to leave it that way so that I could see enough to erase the parts I didn't want. The old eyes aren't what they used to be!

Also, I'm explaining ALL about erasing, but wait until the end when I share the cool new website I just learned after I did all this work. :)

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Screenshot #3

When you click on any layer/image in Picmonkey, a toolbox called IMAGE appears on the screen. To erase parts of the image, choose erase and adjust the parameters to fit your needs. I wanted to erase all the hard edges around the photo, as well as ALL of the background around her.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Screenshot #4

As a matter of fact, when I started, I planned to just keep her face, but she looked really funny with that hand on her chin. lol (And I liked her longer hair). Also, the "dangling" hand as well as her left arm with the wet shirt-sleeve looked totally out of place. Erase. Erase. I just slowly edited out until I hit just the right balance.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Screenshot #5

With a few more tweaks, I knew I was really close to a decent mix of these two photos that (to me) would make a gorgeous cover. Screenshot #5, above, is the landscape background and the cover model with NO filters applied to either.
DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Screenshot #6, "Tuscany Screen"

Now, let's play with filters. Sometimes, an author (or her editorial team), will decide to fade the model (or some other portion of a cover) for whatever reason. It might be a play on something in the novel... say, the heroine has amnesia and her memory is foggy. Or the title was something like "When Love Fades" or "Memories of You". You get the drift. To achieve these effects, use the Image Tool and play with the BLEND MODES. Screenshot #6 shows the results of using the SCREEN mode. Screen mode achieves a slightly different effect than just FADING, which is also an option on the Image tool. The more you play with Blend Modes, the more uses you'll find for each and learn the best times to employ them on different projects.


DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Screenshot #5 again. NO filters applied. I called this "Tuscany Normal"

At this point, I was very happy with Screenshot #5, aka "Tuscany Normal", and after I let the images settle, if I was truly ready to publish this book, with this title, I'd probably go with that nice, sharp image above. 

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
"Tuscany Faded"

But sometimes you have to play with the options to see what works and what doesn't. The photo of the girl above is faded just a tiny bit from Tuscany Normal. Just enough to let a tiny bit of the background to show through. If you look closely, you can see it in the duller look of her lips, and the way the horizon cuts through her hair toward her eyes. Using fade works in some situations and not in others. It's just a matter of preference.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Tuscany Screen

Here's Tuscany Screen again with the actual filter applied, which shows a LOT of blending of the model into the background. It's not a technique I'd use on a cover unless I had a really good reason. 

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Tuscany Smudge

To achieve Tuscany Smudge I used the Textures filter, which shows up on left of the screen. There are tons of options under this from Wood, Water, Marble, Papyrus, Ice, and on and on. Again, Tuscany Smudge is a bit over the top, not an option I'd chose, but it might work if the filter wasn't applied with such a heavy hand. Maybe just a tiny bit might be okay.

Oh, and BIG TIP. For Tuscany Smudge above, I FLATTENED both the landscape background and the cover model before I applied the Smudge filter. Otherwise, the filter would have only been applied to whichever image (layer) I'd selected. And, it's possible to apply different filters to different layers if you find you need to do that. Just know as you're working which layer you're working on and/or if the layers have been flattened first. (Sorry, that's getting a bit complicated, and I promised to keep it simple. :)

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
One Summer in Tuscany MOCK Cover


Tada! We have a cover. I used Tuscany Faded to create this cover, but again, if I really had a novel set in Tuscany, I'd probably go with the original no-filtered photo of the model.

Now, for the cool new software that I just found out about. And, it's FREE! While babysitting two of my grands just today (well, yesterday by the time you read this), my daughter-in-law's mom came by and we started talking about fun projects. She enjoys creating all the stuff you can do with a Cricut: mugs, t-shirts, etc. She told me about this cool site that removes the background of a photo and you can save your photo with a transparent background. While I manually edited out the backgrounds of both of my models for today's projects, there are lots of times I could have used this site. So I definitely plan to add it to my toolbox for later. Pretty cool, huh?

>>>>> www.remove.bg <<<<<

"Download" is free. "Download HD" will accrue a charge. I used Download for the following image.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
Tuscany model with background removed using remove.bg


Okay, I think I've covered everything, and since it's nearly midnight and I'm out of time, we're going LIVE! Hope y'all enjoyed today's post and learned more tricks and techniques to create amazing graphics, whether for book covers, memes, or even t-shirts for your next family reunion.


DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)
CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of. www.pamhillman.com

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Fonts, Titles, Series Logos (Part Three)


In Part I of this series of DIY graphics design tutorials, we reviewed the need to find photos that will work for your projects as well as saving the links to those photos somewhere that you can find them later. Click here to review Part I, In Part II, we went over the basics of planning a series and choosing photos, cropping, the use of filters and planning for a series of covers, so click here to review Part II.

Today we’re going to concentrate on creating titles, series “logos”, taglines, etc. In other words, all the WORDS you see on the book cover.

First, a few simple rules to follow. Sure, you can break them, but if you do, make sure you know you’re breaking them for the better good.

A goofy example highlighting contrast

1) Contrast. Fonts need to STAND out and the best way for that to happen is to have sharp, clear fonts that contrast with the background. This doesn't mean that you have to ALWAYS use white against a black background, or black font against a light background, but if you narrow the gap between dark/light too much, it might make your title hard to read. Make sure you view thumbnails of your project before you get too far along in the process.

Another goofy example. But it is pretty cool. lol

2) Generally, don’t "fade out" or make cover fonts transparent. While It looks really cool while you’re working on it, when your readers view the thumbnail cover, it might be hard to read the words. Again, there are exceptions. A BIG, BOLD title with HIGH CONTRAST can work well with a bit of transparency. Again, just be aware of what it looks like on a thumbnail, which is what the bulk of our readers see these days. In the example above, the fading works and makes this fake title pop. I used two fonts and two colors, but both stand out great against the black background.

3) Don’t use too many fonts on your cover. TWO styles are fine. In some cases, you might use one font for your title (or a combination of fonts that create the look you want like the Black is the Night above), a different font for a series logo, and a different font for your author name.

4) Titles can work well as ALL UPPER CASE or lower case, depending on the font you choose. My examples above are all upper case. There's no hard and fast rule here. Readability is job #1, followed quickly by catching the reader's eye.

5) Generally, the author’s name on the cover will be ALL UPPER CASE. This isn’t a RULE, but it truly does help your name stand out better. Well known authors tend to have their last name really BIG, bold, and uppercase (KOONTZ). And some authors have a “trademark” style for their name that’s printed on the cover of all their books. Again, there’s not a rule of thumb on this, but just be aware that sometimes lowercase names are harder to see on thumbnails, and depending on the font you choose, you might even opt to make your name bold.

Now, let’s move on to the actual programs I use to create the words that go on my covers.

I use Picmonkey (I talked about this program more in Part II of this series), to design my book covers, but if I can’t quite find the right font, I’ll open Word Swag on my phone and play around. Picmonkey has added more bells and whistles over the years where you can curve fonts, but it still takes a bit of time, and each step is a conscious effort to click and decide how to turn this, how to adjust that. I just haven’t felt the love for design for TITLES and SERIES TITLES in Picmonkey yet. 

Enter Word Swag.

Word Swag is an app. Word Swag is available for IOS and Android (I think), but if it’s available for desktop/laptop, I haven’t found it, but since I don’t really need it on my desktop, I haven’t searched hard for it. I’ve had the app for a while, but I think it costs $4.99. That’s a one time fee, and I seriously love it. I’ve definitely got my money’s worth.

WordSwag is a simple, on the go type app. It’s not something you have a lot of control over as in being able to go back to it and keep working later. But it’s so easy and quick that you can recreate a title or meme if you didn’t quite like what you’ve previously created. Quick redo, then AirDrop it to your laptop.

Oh, AirDrop. STOP THE PRESSES: I just realized that I use an Apple iPhone and an Apple MacBook Air, so I can easily share between both using AirDrop (love it!). I'm not sure if Android users and Windows users have things this easy between platforms. I searched and there is such a thing as “Nearby Share” for Android users, but that's as far as I delved into that realm.

Okay, back to Word Swag. In a nutshell, Word Swag is just what it says … WORD SWAG. Perfect name for this little app. You can start with a photo or background and add a quote to make a meme, or just use the transparent background if you’re creating titles, series logos, etc. So, for titles, the transparent background is your go-to, because when you create your lovely title, you’ll want a transparent background so you can add it to your gorgeous cover in Picmonkey (or Publisher, Canvas, or BookBrush, etc.) I suppose someone could create an entire cover in Word Swag. I haven't tried that yet. Hmmm... :)

When you open Word Swag, it looks like screen #1 above. It’s pretty intuitive, but LIBRARY goes to the photos on your device, FREE PHOTOS takes you to a world of free photos from Unsplash and Pixabay. Use the search feature and have some fun making memes and all kinds of PR. HOWEVER, for today’s tutorial, we want to make a cool title for our book. As you can see on screen #2 above, you need to choose TRANSPARENT BACKGROUND. And of course, #3 shows what a transparent background looks like. The light/darker gray checkerboard lets you know that this is a transparent background.

HOT TIP: Many times, you will need to create WHITE TEXT on a transparent background. You’ll be able to see your white text when you save it to your photos, but if you crop this image, it goes wonky. I just always save this on my computer so that I know exactly what it is, and that it’s white text on a transparent background. ie GYPSY_WHITE FONT TRANSPARENT

Deciding on Colors for your Title

What makes Word Swag so cool is that it offers some unusual fonts. When you type in your title, you can quickly play with the styles by rolling the dice (yes, literally… well, not LITERALLY, but by clicking a button) and trying various color options. When I was playing with The Gypsy Bride title, I thought a blue title would look good (bringing out the blue in the sky and the blue on the sleeves of the red dress), but turns out I needed white for contrast, so I had to go back and redo it. I tried white by itself and it looked washed out. Then I add a black shadow and ended up with just what I wanted.

I’m sure Picmonkey (or Canvas, Publisher, Book Brush, etc.) can and does create lovely titles, but if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, try Word Swag. I just like the idea of a REALLY COOL title treatment for a book. Maybe that’s just me. lol

Here's a short video of how I made the Seekerville heading at the very top of this blog. Fingers crossed that the video plays correctly. There is no sound, except some clicking when I'm typing, I think. It's a Screen recording on my phone.


Last, here are two more resources that I have not really tried out yet. Fontmeme has some really, REALLY cool fonts, but I haven’t researched the site enough to know if the quality is sufficient for book covers. The jury’s still out, but if the quality is good enough, the options would be wonderful.

And, I haven’t researched Heritage Type Co. either, but I LOVE their fonts. I’m tempted to just buy it for a late Christmas present to myself. My mom gave me some money for Christmas, so I really, really should! But after I research some more. I'll need to make sure the fonts work with the software I'm using. :)

Next month, I'll talk more about designing split covers and pairing title treatments with the cover design. Let's talk. If you have questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

Also, I'll be out of pocket some today, but I'll stop by as often as I can.

Ready for Part Four of this series? Click below...

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four) 

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)

In Part I of this series of DIY graphics design tutorials, we reviewed the need to find photos that will work for your projects, and saving the links to those photos somewhere that you can find them later. Click here to review DIY Graphics Design Tutorial Part I.

Also, in Part I we dipped our toes into editing your photos so that they are the perfect background for your book cover. Today, let’s take that a step further. And, one other thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned… for simplicity’s sake, we’ll be designing ebook covers only in this series of posts, not wraparound print covers. However, if you plan to publish your book as ebook and print, think about designing the cover for both from the get-go.

I’ll be using the paid version of Picmonkey Pro as my main design software in this series of how-to’s, so there will be a few filters that are only available in the pro package. Regardless of which design software you choose, many of the terms and techniques are interchangeable, and I've found that I learn from articles and workshops regardless of which software is being used.

Picmonkey Pro costs $120.00 a year. There is a free version of Picmonkey, but I discovered years ago that I use the paid program enough to get my money’s worth. As mentioned in the previous post, whichever design software you’re using is perfect for YOU. Sure, Photoshop, Canva, CorelDraw, etc. might have more/better bells-n-whistles than a competitor, but the learning curve is sometimes too steep to jump off the cliff. And finally, one last word about the multitude of different design softwares available. A quick search revealed that the yearly price range is comparable for most of what I’d call the “poor man’s design software”. If you’re new to design software, play around with a few and see what feels right for you.

Now, let’s have some fun. :)

Just like an artist decides on the background color for his painting before he starts painting, the photo(s) you chose becomes the “background” for your book cover.

In Part I of this series, I showed a photo of a girl in a red dress that I really liked, and that I dubbed The Gypsy Bride, even though I don’t have a gypsy bride story… yet! I cropped the photo so that the style and placement would (or should) complement the cover of The Evergreen Bride, the first book in my Mississippi Piney Woods Novella collection. So, let’s see how this pans out.

If you’re doing a series, you want to use the same basic layout from cover to cover, but use different photos and color schemes so that readers don’t skip over your cover, thinking they’ve read the book before. You want similar, but different enough to catch the eye. A good example are the covers from my Natchez Trace Novel series that the amazing team at Tyndale designed, and the first two releases in my Calico Trails Novella Series that I designed.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)

Back to the Mississippi Piney Woods Novella “template”. We want the cover we're about to create for The Gypsy Bride to end up complementing The Evergreen Bride in theme, layout, and style. What do you think? Can we take the photo on the right and come up with a cover that works well with the one on the left? Let's see...

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)

Step One: Create a template in your design software for your future ebook covers. Open your software (again, I'm using Picmonkey), create NEW, then BLANK CANVAS, and enter the dimensions.Dimensions for a KDP cover should be 1600 x 2560 pixels. (1583 x 2500 works as well). You don't HAVE to use these dimensions, but they do work. The key is that your height/width ratio be correct. To read more about this topic, check out this article.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)

Step Two: Duplicate or Save a Copy of your new ebook cover template. You'll see at the top of the screenshot below that it says "Gypsy Bride". This step isn’t necessary, but if you do this, you’ll have a blank template every time you get ready to create a new cover. :)

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)
Step Three Screenshot

Step Three: With your saved and renamed template open, click “Add Image” (in the top left part of the screen) from wherever you have it stored. This might be your computer, Dropbox, the cloud, or even your Picmonkey hub if you’ve already uploaded it to the software. In the screenshot above, I added the entire photo of the couple. As you can see, it's almost perfect for the size of the cover (that's the thin blue-line box around the couple), but since I'm not going that route, that's immaterial.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)
Full photo before
expanding/enlarging

Step Four: If you only want to use part of the image, enlarge it, making sure to retain the aspect ratio. I want to focus on the dress and crop out the girl’s face, leaving her features to the reader’s imagination. Use the little "circles" in the corners of your photo to enlarge it up to (and even BEYOND) the size of the template you're working on. Once you get it to the size you want, you have two options: you can either crop out the excess part of the photo that you won’t be using, OR you can just use the LAYERS tool to FLATTEN the layers. Basically, that locks (or flattens) your photo image to the 1600 x 2560 size you started with.

See the Layer tool in the image below? Then below that, the "Background/Convert to layer" instructions, and then the small "stacked layers" icon with the arrow pointing down. That's the "Flatten Layers" icon. Once I got the RED DRESS just like I wanted it, I clicked that little "stacked layers" icon, locking in my background. I can un-flatten and resize it if I change my mind, but it's locked in for now.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)
Photo expanded to fit the 1600x2560,
leaving the part I wanted on the cover.

Step Five: At this point, you might be ready to play with shades, textures, and shadows on the background if you have a particular filter that you just know will make your image perfect. But maybe the background in the photo above is just right as it is. Who knows until you try, right? I do know that I want that red dress to pop. It's a stretch to use a red dress on a bride book, but for a gypsy bride, I think it works. Since I wasn't sure if any distressing, antiquing, or textured layers will fade the dress out too much, I went ahead and added the title, series tagline, and my name to get a starting point for the cover. (We’re starting to move into fonts, so I’ll talk briefly about those at the end of today’s post, but reserve the tutorial on creating each of those layers for another day.) With no filters or edits (other than cropping), we’ve ended up with Version 1. I like it. Seriously, I could go with this cover just as it is. But, what if we play around a bit...

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)
The Gypsy Bride, v1
No filters on the background

Step Five: Play with shades, textures, and shadows. With all the other layers added, you need to click on the background layer (the red dress), and edit it. I ended up with several versions. Will one of these end up being THE one? Maybe. Maybe not.

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)
The Gypsy Bride, v2


DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)
The Gypsy Bride, v3

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)
The Gypsy Bride, v4

Okay, I'll be honest. I'm having a hard time picking one of these over the other. And they are TRULY close in style. The filter on V3 is the only one that really "dulled" the red dress much. But since I knew I needed that dress to stay a nice bright red, I couldn't use too many filters. But I do like the extra texture that the filter gave to the dress in V3.

Questions? More on background aspects of covers, like split covers that I'm using for the Calico Trails Novellas? Or move on to the fonts and title treatment?

DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)
The Gypsy Bride, v3. Maybe???


At the last minute, I created VERSION 5. I duplicated the RED DRESS background, and added Picmonkey's red smudge filter, made the title just a tad smaller, more in keeping with The Evergreen Bride title. I like the way this doesn't change the dress too much, but darkens the sky and also gives it the look of a painting like brush strokes. This might be the one I choose. :)


DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)
v5... I am SO conflicted!!! lol

Okay, that's the end of today's lesson. Let's chat. Are y'all interested in seeing more about the background photos, like how to do SPLIT covers like I did for below for my Calico Trails Romance novels, Destination Christmas and Castaway with the Cowboy? If we go this route, you'll see that you will probably use filters on the abstract parts of a cover more than you can (or probably should) on a photo. But, again, that's according to taste and genre and the photo, I suppose.

Or would you prefer that we move on to fonts with the next installment in this DIY blog series? I use fonts from Picmonkey and Wordswag, and I found a new cool website for fonts that I want to play with to create unique titles. Then there's deciding when to use color in your titles, and when and if they need drop shadows, etc.

So, should we discuss split covers next or fonts?

Click here for Part III 

 DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Fonts, Titles, Series Logos (Part Three) 


And last, don't forget my Kindle Countdown deal for Destination Christmas ends in THREE days!! Buy, share a meme, read the excerpt. Toss a penny in my tin cup. Ha! :)


DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)
DESTINATION CHRISTMAS sale ends Dec. 12th.

Every Reader is a Cover Judge

by Beth Erin

Every Reader is a Cover Judge

We've all heard the saying:
"Don't judge a book by its cover."
Well, we all do it, I'm judging, they're judging, and even if you think you aren't, you're judging too! Thank you to Heidi for suggesting today's topic by the way, it is much appreciated. Covers are so important (even if you're in judging denial, you must admit this)!

Some of the many possible objectives for a cover are to capture the reader's attention, reveal the setting, character(s), mood or genre, and basically nudge them to at least learn more about the story. Let's take a look at a few observations and chat about why and to whom they appeal.

Natural Beauties

Since one of the tasks covers can have is revealing the setting, taking advantage of a beautiful landscape or intriguing angle of man's ingenuity is a great way to draw readers in. Many of these covers are pretty enough to hang on your wall (even if you aren't the author).

Every Reader is a Cover Judge

Color Punch

I love seeing bright or contrasting colors and elements that pop right off the cover, not only does this catch the eye but bright and cheerful colors make me smile too (okay, most books make me smile anyway but don't try to distract me with trivial facts)!

Every Reader is a Cover Judge

Emotion Evoking

Here's a reader confession for y'all (I know y'all love it when I hop on here and spill my guts, we're all friends here), I'm a big ol' reader scaredy cat. Thrillers, gothic novels, murder mysteries... not my idea of fun. Covers that hint to whether I'm going to laugh, cry, or sleep with the lights on are appreciated!

Every Reader is a Cover Judge

Split Scenes

"A picture is worth a thousand words," or so the saying goes but books I read are much more than one thousand words... I believe this warrants tasteful split scenes! Character and landscape seems to be the most popular combination but as you'll see below, two characters or even two settings can share cover real estate.

Every Reader is a Cover Judge

Darling Doodles

The illustrated cover trend seems to have exploded recently and since y'all know how much I enjoy bright, happy colors, I don't have to tell you how happy this makes me (but I will anyway because it's late and I spent a way too long assembling all the covers and they make me very happy, I love all the colors).

Every Reader is a Cover Judge

Creative Edge

Ah, here are the brave, bold covers. The ones who we think of as the first to take the leap into something new, breaking the mold, combining cover trends (for example, Karen Barnett's Vintage National Park series recreates natural wonders with illustrations), or highlighting a unique story element.

Every Reader is a Cover Judge


As in nearly all things readerly, cover appeal is subjective. I want bearded men, maybe you want a barefoot Amish widow, it all boils down to knowing your readers and connecting them to your story from the first moment.

If you’re fishing for new readers, the cover is the hook but not if they don’t take the bait. In my humble reader opinion, a professionally designed cover is a second priority only to an experienced editor. Readers will not only be more likely to pick up a book with a beautiful cover, but they'll also be willing to spend more on it.

Make sure to hop back over to yesterday's post by Jolina Petersheim if you missed it!

Let's chat! Share some of the elements you most love seeing on book covers.
Let me know if you find yourself leaning towards any of the categories above.
What else do you expect a cover to tell you about a story? 


Join me tomorrow as I spotlight 10+ of my favorite covers on Faithfully Bookish! Susan May Warren will be sponsoring a two winner giveaway of her new release, Knox, to celebrate.

I feel obligated to leave this here, just in case...
Every Reader is a Cover Judge
Beth Erin is a Christian fiction enthusiast, book reviewer, and blogger. She strives to edify and connect with readers and authors at Faithfully Bookish and on social media. 

Beth also contributes to the Seekerville, Christian Fiction Readers RetreatHoarding Books, and Diversity Between the Pages blogs. She is passionate about promoting authors and their entertaining, encouraging, and redemptive stories.

Book Covers - They can make or break a book

by Leslie Ann Sartor

When I decided that the indie publishing route was the path for me, I realized immediately that I would need to find a cover designer. Lucky for me, one of my writing buddies was designing covers for other authors and offered to do my first cover at no charge. 

I was filled with ideas and had the image of what I wanted firmly planted in my mind. Then I tried to describe it to her, I even had artwork for her to use. And bless her heart, she did a great job. A few months later, I realized my first cover wasn’t saying anything about the story and we needed to change it.  She again got my vision and we created the new cover. 

Book Covers - They can make or break a book

But there were many moments that frustrated me, and I know she was on edge a bit too, because my vision was hard to translate to words and colors were different on her computer than mine...endless little adjustments of all sorts were needed. After cover number 3, I realized that if I wanted the book cover to completely encompass my vision, I had to do it myself.

Two weeks ago, I launched my 7th book Prince Of Granola and my 5thcover (I redid one of the earlier ones if you’re doing the math 😊)

Book Covers - They can make or break a book

I love this cover. In fact, I believe it’s one of my best. Why? Because it tells the reader so much with a single glance.

·      While I don’t like to see the complete faces of my characters, I prefer my readers to imagine the characters from my description, I’m finding fewer stock images to draw from that I like. So here I give you profiles.

·         The cover shows you the setting immediately

·        It gives you a visual clue to a scene, and when you read it, hopefully you’re immediately seeing the cover in your mind and feel you’ve uncovered a little secret.

·        And it tells you what the genre is.

How do I know where to start when creating a cover? I usually have the sense of my character’s physicality. I look through several image companies; AdobeStock, RF123, and DepositPhotos are some of my favorites, and I book mark or lightbox tons of images from them. BTW, you can download watermarked photos to try and do I a lot of this.

Once I’ve narrowed my characters down, I find a background that will work for that image andthe story. More photos to try, but that’s the only way to see what will work before you buy.

Then I spend a huge amount of time adding to the original images. For instance, I added the waterfall to the left because the title got lost in the rocks. I blend and subtract and add.  There wasn’t any water around my stock couple so I added it to make it look like they were in the water, not on top.

Book Covers - They can make or break a book
I find the font that I want to use and keep it for the entire series.  My name is always in a specific font, not related to the book but to me. Not necessary, but I like that consistency. 

Lastly, at least for this post, remember that you must own the images and the font. There are a variety of commercial licenses, so you need to read the licensing carefully. No pulling random images off the internet-ever!!

On my website (http://lesliesartor.com/writers-tools) I have two pdf’s that you can download that show you how to create a cover using Photoshop Elements.  I use Photoshop CC, but the steps are very similar.

If you want to try it and have questions, you can email me at Leslie@Lesliesartor.com and I’ll do my best to help.

I’m happy to give away an ecopy of Prince Of Granola to someone randomly chosen from the comments.

Hugs to all, L.A.


Book Covers - They can make or break a book
I started writing as a child, really. A few things happened on the way to becoming a published author … a junior high school teacher who told me I couldn’t write because I didn’t want to study … urk … grammar. I went to college, moved a few times, came home and found the love of my life (that is another novel worthy story, but for later), and got married.

I have always been a voracious reader and one night after throwing a particularly bad book at the wall (even putting a small ding in said wall), I realized that I could do better.  I told my husband, and he said go for it. I called Mom and she revealed the junior high teacher story and she told I’d been writing all the time up to that point.

That blew me away. I didn’t remember any of it.  But I started writing again, nearly the next day, pen and paper, learning, making mistakes, winning contests, then moving away from novel writing to screenwriting, getting a contract for a script and doing really well in screenwriting contests. But I wasn’t really making a career from any of this.

My husband told me repeatedly that independent publishing was becoming a valid way to publish a novel and people were making big dollars.  I didn’t believe him even after he showed me several Wall Street Journal articles. I thought indie meant vanity press.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I started pursuing this direction seriously, hit the keyboard, learned a litany of new things and published my first novel. My second book became a bestseller, and while I’m not rolling in dough, I’m absolutely on the right course in my life. Prince Of Granola is my 7th book.

Please come visit me at www.lasartor.com, see my books, find my social media links, some screenplays and sign up for my mailing list. I have a gift I’ve specifically created for my new email subscribers. And remember, you can email me at Leslie@LeslieSartor.com


Buy Links:

Amazon    
iBooks     
Nook      
Kobo   


Website         http://www.lasartor.com
Blog                http://www.anindieadventure.blogspot.com
Twitter            http://www.twitter.com/@lesannsartor
Amazon Author Page           http://amzn.to/1e10fkd
Bookbub        http://bit.ly/2kdhjkM

One Thing That Works for Me with guest Hannah Linder: Narrowing Down What Should (Or Should Not) Stay on a Book CoverIncreasing ProductivityThe Making of Many Book...Covers!  Avoiding Sticky Book Cover SituationsDIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Blending Photos to Create Book Covers (Part Four)DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: Fonts, Titles, Series Logos (Part Three)DIY Graphics Design Tutorial: PHOTO EDITING USING PICMONKEY (Part Two)Every Reader is a Cover JudgeBook Covers - They can make or break a book

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