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  • JL Rothstein

Book Covers Oh My

I had mentioned in an earlier post I would discuss my experience with cover art. The first thing I did when I finished my manuscript was to use a website called Reedsy to find an Editor. They have this section called Marketplace, where you can read profiles & reviews and request quotes from up to 5 professionals in any subject matter relating to book publishing. They cover all the basics including, editing, developmental editing, copy editing etc. They have designers, marketing professionals and website professionals. It’s a great site, you should check it out if you need help with your book or publishing it.

Once the editing was done…..and that was hard….the second thing I did was consider hiring a professional artist to create my cover art. Back to Reedsy I went and was able to view artist’s websites and past designs to find one that matched my taste & style. If it speaks to you, that’s who you generally want to choose, but obviously beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Before selecting an artist, I dragged my husband Alan off to the Barnes & Noble. It’s one of our favorite stores to peruse anyway so it wasn’t difficult. We went down most of the fiction aisles, spending a lot of time in the fantasy genre, but we were surprised by how many covers were just ok. Walking up and down the aisles we became consciously aware of the world of cover art. I think for most people, us included, we had never really stopped to consider what drew us to a book. Now looking back on it, cover art, was part of the allure. Those in marketing already know this, it’s why they tell you to invest in it, but it floored us how many people didn’t do that.

During our visit, we remarked that even some Best-selling books didn’t have much in the way of cover art, some looked like it could have been stock art off a website. The fantasy aisle by far had the most covers with artwork that drew your eyes immediately. Most were in bold colors and displayed artwork that did a good job intimating what the book was about. I went home determined to find an artist and did. I hired Jeff Brown to do my cover art and could not have been happier with the result. I have received numerous accolades for the cover and have done my best to bring it back to Jeff. After all, I can’t even draw stick figures.

Couple of things to note if you are hiring an artist, be up front on what you are looking for. Hire an artist whose past works you really like. You don’t just have to look at this artwork when it’s finished, chances are it’s going to be all around you. You’re going to have it online, books will be all around your house, you may even turn some of it into promotional material. If you dislike the art, how can you expect yourself to be able to promote with it?!

Once you have found something you love, remember to ask for copies with and without the text. This way you can use it on social media. Ask for certain assets, like the font type or certain pieces of it so you can use it later in other areas like your website and it looks cohesive. Finally, be prepared that when self-publishing you understand that the color of the pages you select, cream vs. white, affects the sizing on the artwork. Also, the page count affects the sizing. You’ll need to have both of those pieces of information for your artist to get the correct file for upload. There are templates on Amazon to help you with your cover art. You can use Adobe to turn it into a Print Ready PDF to upload on KDP. If your art is off only slightly, you can use sites like BeFunky to help overlay the artwork on top of the template so you can line it up and then save it as a Print Ready file. I would only recommend that if you did the art yourself and are now struggling to match it up. If you need to re-size or crop, just be aware that your image will distort, yet another reason to trust a professional with the cover.

Check out Reedsy, use Adobe & BeFunky if you need it. Overall, be sure you love the cover, that it speaks to the genre, that it tells the story you want told. And remember, picture yourself walking down the aisle of your favorite bookstore, does your cover scream, STOP, LOOK AT ME…. If you wouldn’t stop, why would anyone else?

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