It's time to vote for your favourite story and author in this year's clitoridesawards. [ X Dismiss ]
Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

Decent canned book covers

Crumbly Writer

I recently responded negatively to a suggestion online about purchasing book covers from various sites which offers a series of customizable covers: 10 Websites Where Authors Can Get Quality Ebook Covers. However, delving into the sites, they offer a variety of covers, customize the title and author, and remove the book once it's purchased, all for around $50 per cover.

That's not a bad deal, as most of the covers are excellent quality and fit a wide variety of books (many feature closeups of people's faces, or distant shots of spacecraft flying through space (for sci-fi stories)).

Note: Not all of the listed companies offer the same quality in covers/prices. Some I liked, others I wouldn't choose if you paid me.

Crumbly Writer

Update: Having wasted the morning wandering through all ten sites, I can honestly say I only like one of them, Cover Shot Creations. Most focus on a particular type of cover, and that one features more sci-fi covers than the others. Other feature romance or mystery covers. The prices are also all over the place, from $45 to $189 for preset covers, all the way to $3000 for a custom cover (whew!).

The downside, of course, is that all offer simple jpg files, so you'll have to resize to fit different formats (Amazon, lulu, createspace, smashwords, etc.) You also don't get the original source file (.psd or .tif) for do-it-yourself modifications.

Frankly, I prefer Cover Shot Creations taste and appreciate their professionalism and quality covers for a reasonable price (for all 3 of us who publish our own books!)

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

CW,

I just had a quick look at the sites, and found many of the covers they display as just ugly and others as very hard to read due to the text blending into the image way too much. Also, I recognise some of the images used as ones I've seen else where for either a dollar or two or being free to use. Thanks for the links, but I see nothing there I'd care to use.

edit to add: I also don't like the idea of forking out that sort of money and not getting the source file so I can adjust it for a sequel and the like.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

very hard to read due to the text blending into the image way too much


The covers authors on wattpad like do that. I hate it. I believe the title catches the person's attention and if you can't read the title, well...

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I just had a quick look at the sites, and found many of the covers they display as just ugly and others as very hard to read due to the text blending into the image way too much. Also, I recognise some of the images used as ones I've seen else where for either a dollar or two or being free to use. Thanks for the links, but I see nothing there I'd care to use.

That's why I said I only liked the one site, which also had the most professional images with some of the lowest prices. As for not having the sources, I've worked with that before. You basically take the image they give you (without the titles) and create your own source file with it (though that means you have to purchase the fonts they use.

In the one book I'm looking to have them do (because I've been unhappy with the images I've found myself), I'd use my own fonts anyway, since it's a sequel to an existing series.

I haven't yet talked to the site's owner, but I asked him how he'd prefer to handle different aspects (like passing me the source file, my passing him my own fonts, or his simply giving me the source image and my editing the file myself). I see what he says.

Still, for those without a background in the graphic arts, it's a reasonable solution, and much better than the traditional $500 most people charge.

That said, I know an author who augments her income by designing book covers. She does a decent job and only charges $25 + expenses (cost of the image, etc.). I can always give you her number if you're interested.

I still prefer my own images, but when you can't quite find the perfect image, this is a nice alternative.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I still prefer my own images, but when you can't quite find the perfect image, this is a nice alternative.


To date, I've always found a number of perfect images and acceptable images. The hard part, for me, has been restricting myself to images I can use for free due to them being covered by Creative Commons or Public Domain rules. In doing so I've had to reject some images I felt were better than what I went with, but still end up with a cover I really like a lot.

Mind you, I'm not into those psychedelic type covers a lot are pushing today, anyway, so I wouldn't use them at all. Nor do I like the very busy covers many push at you. Many of the cover images on those sites are a montage of four or five images laid on top of each other, while I prefer to go with only one or two, and max out at three because anything mroe becomes too busy for the eye to track well.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

I believe the title catches the person's attention and if you can't read the title, well...


Exactly, and the artwork has to compliment the title, not detract from it. I try hard to have my cover art say something about the story and have the title fit in as a part of it. I regard the cover art for Star Performance as my best example, and the cover art for Play Ball as the second best.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Mind you, I'm not into those psychedelic type covers a lot are pushing today, anyway, so I wouldn't use them at all. Nor do I like the very busy covers many push at you. Many of the cover images on those sites are a montage of four or five images laid on top of each other, while I prefer to go with only one or two, and max out at three because anything mroe becomes too busy for the eye to track well.

I used to merge multiple images myself, by hand, in order to get 'the right' image, but have since moved to more professional images (from Adobe's stock image company) because, as you say, they look better overall, though they are busier than you and Switch traditionally like.

However, in the end, you're basically left with the research, which pretty clearly identifies which covers readers prefer (i.e. which covers sell the most books, rather than which individual authors prefer).

If someone never looks beyond the cover (i.e. if it doesn't grab their attention), then the reader will never even notice your book in the first place. Covers are supposed to grab the readers' attention, getting them to examine the book. Books which look 'neat', but don't generate interest are mostly pointless.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer


If someone never looks beyond the cover (i.e. if it doesn't grab their attention), then the reader will never even notice your book in the first place.


There's a difference between a cover grabbing your attention and saying I should be read and one that grabs your attention while saying keep away, if they chose this crap to put on the cover, then worse is inside.

A crowded crappy cover screams Keep away then the print media and cover design people love Hunger Games and Twilight - which makes me wonder about their sanity.

The worst aspect of the covers I looked at on the websites is the bulk of the images are baseline public domain ones that the designers get to make you pay simply because they layered them - but they stuff in too much to justify their overcharging.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The worst aspect of the covers I looked at on the websites is the bulk of the images are baseline public domain ones that the designers get to make you pay simply because they layered them - but they stuff in too much to justify their overcharging.

How many times have I already stated that I dislike 90% of the sites as producing inferior or overpriced products. I only found a single site I'd consider, and even then, there were only a couple covers I considered decent, so quit focusing on the rejects.

I offered this as an alternative for newbie authors newly interested in Independent publishing. If they don't have a background in graphic design, then purchasing a ready made product is probably the best way to go. I've got a history with graphic design, and that's the way I've gone, as I now grab whole images rather than designing my own based on combining multiple images.

If you're happy with your current products, then by all means, keep doing what you're doing. However, there are times when I can't get satisfying results on my own. In those cases, I'm open to picking alternatives. This was simply one of those instances. I mentioned it here, despite knowing few authors here publish independently, just so they'd know the options exist. I never expected any widespread usage of the results. I simply offered it for your consideration. That's it.

Replies:   Bondi Beach  Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

If you're happy with your current products, then by all means, keep doing what you're doing. However, there are times when I can't get satisfying results on my own. In those cases, I'm open to picking alternatives.


Joel Friedlander's blog, The Book Designer, has a ton of suggestions on putting together your own cover, from fonts to cover design to just about everything else.

I find Derek Murphy better in small doses, but his DIY Book Covers page has a lot of good ideas and examples.

bb

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Almost forgot, more on the traditional rule of thirds and some great examples from the Cover Design Studio here.

bb

awnlee jawking

@Bondi Beach

I find Derek Murphy better in small doses, but his DIY Book Covers page


I don't think that link points where you intended.

Book covers came up at my last Writers' Group meeting as a subject to be discussed in the New Year, so I have taken the liberty of snaffling your links and sharing them.

Many thanks,

AJ

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@awnlee jawking

I don't think that link points where you intended.


Oops. Thanks. I like Friedlander's blog, but that was unintended. Murphy's Creative Indie site is here.

I hope you'll share the additional ideas your group comes up with.

bb

Back to Top