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Forum: Story Discussion and Feedback

Covers

Switch Blayde

This is for all who read smut, porn, erotica, or whatever the word is today.

How important is it to have a sexy woman on the novel cover? Think about the thumbnail book covers on Amazon. Would you skip over a novel that doesn't have a sexy picture?

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

I'm probably in a minority here but I'd be more likely to skip over a novel fronted by a scantily-clad woman because it's so unoriginal; it suggests the author is trying to hide a weak plot.

FWIW, for the few I have read, the female on the cover tends to bear little resemblance to the main female protagonist.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Would you skip over a novel that doesn't have a sexy picture?


Not necessarily, I've bought erotic e-books on Amazon that had no cover art at all or Alpha male/sub female BDSM stories that had a beefcake picture of the male lead on the cover. That said, Cover art with a sexy woman on it does grab the attention.

For me, cover art might generate some attention, but the descriptive blurb, size and price of the story are more important. I refuse to pay mass market paperback prices ($4.99-$7.99) for short stories (anything under 40k words) any anything at the top of that range had better be over 80K words.

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

I'm probably in a minority here but I'd be more likely to skip over a novel fronted by a scantily-clad woman because it's so unoriginal; it suggests the author is trying to hide a weak plot.


I'm in 100% agreement with this statement.

It matters not what the story is about the cover should say something important about the story, and should represent an important aspect of the story. The cover should represent a direct scene, or an abstract of a scene, or a principle of the story.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
sunkuwan
Updated:

And get drowned into the other thousands of similar covers? There are not many examples that I can think of, that influenced my buying habit. A good and descriptive foreword or description is much more important.

If your book is about a special kink like ropeplay or whatever, you could theme your cover with ropes.

But 08/15 vanilla erotica?

Let's play a game. *SAW theme*

Design a cover picture for SOL's best known stories. Like AWLL, Arlene and Jeff, A New Past, Stupid Boy, Living next door to Heaven, A fresh start, OSL, Six times a day, Three square meals, Doing it all over, Runaway Train, etc.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@sunkuwan

Design a cover picture for SOL's best known stories. Like AWLL, Arlene and Jeff, A New Past, Stupid Boy, Living next door to Heaven, A fresh start, OSL, Six times a day, Three square meals, Doing it all over, Runaway Train, etc.


The Amazon thieves did just that and, guess what, they resorted to pictures of scantily clad women, even when inappropriate to the story :(

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Capt. Zapp

@Switch Blayde

Would you skip over a novel that doesn't have a sexy picture?


From what I have seen on the shelves at the bookstores, a sexy picture on the cover is nothing unusual for any genre.

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

The Amazon thieves did just that and, guess what, they resorted to pictures of scantily clad women, even when inappropriate to the story :(


As does Lubrican. And he's doing well on Amazon.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Switch Blayde

The authors on wattpad say you should spend the money (some up to $1,500 for an artist) for the book cover. They say it needs to be indistinguishable from the traditionally published book covers.

Many here say it's the description that attracts the reader. Those authors on wattpad say the potential buyer will never read the description if the cover doesn't stop them cold.

Switch Blayde

I'm leaning away from the sexy woman. My novel is erotica, not porn. There is a plot. I don't want it to look like porn.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

I'm leaning away from the sexy woman. My novel is erotica, not porn. There is a plot. I don't want it to look like porn.


Sexy woman is still okay for erotica as long as it's tasteful and artistic. More than a few straight up porn/stroke books have covers that border on obscene.

Think little red/black dress vs bra and panties.

Replies:   Joe Long
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Those authors on wattpad say the potential buyer will never read the description if the cover doesn't stop them cold.


Somehow I doubt any of those wattpad authors have actually considered the issue from a real reader perspective.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Somehow I doubt any of those wattpad authors have actually considered the issue from a real reader perspective.


They're looking at it as a business. They hire artists, cover designers, different types of editors, and they spend money on marketing. I have no interest in treating it like a business. I'm retired.

I actually like simple covers with mostly (if not all) text. But to do that, I would guess the author's name needs to be well known (e..g., Stephen King) or the character (e.g., Jack Reacher or Harry Potter).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

They're looking at it as a business. They hire artists, cover designers, different types of editors, and they spend money on marketing.


Just because they are looking at it as a business, that doesn't mean they are looking at it right. If they can't see the product from a real customer's perspective, then all that money will be wasted.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Just because they are looking at it as a business, that doesn't mean they are looking at it right.


True

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

As does Lubrican. And he's doing well on Amazon.


Good. He deserves his success.

AJ

REP

@Switch Blayde

My novel is erotica, not porn.


Unfortunately, most of the world does not differentiate between erotica and porn. If the story has a sexual theme even though the theme is secondary to the plot, they automatically classify the story as porn. :(

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@REP

Unfortunately, most of the world does not differentiate between erotica and porn.

I don't think such a stringent view is still prevalent.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

It seems to be prevalent in the UK :(

AJ

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

It seems to be prevalent in the UK :(

Like bad weather, tasteless food, and warm beer.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Joe Long

@Dominions Son

Sexy woman is still okay for erotica as long as it's tasteful and artistic. More than a few straight up porn/stroke books have covers that border on obscene.


For quite a long time I was thinking of the young woman on the cover, appearing desirable but at the same time sad or melancholy.

I liked a pic of Kaitlin Dever in a chair wearing short, with her leg propped up showing a lot of thigh. Very tasteful but it grabbed me.

Another of Haley Pullos walking with her head down.

Then one of Kylie Quinn that I absolutely loved. Suggestive and hot while still sad looking. I want to suggest that she goes through a lot in the story and it may not be a happy ending.

I liked Quinn's pic even more in black & white. I cropped it a bit and sent it to a friend. I asked her what she thought and the response was "Pedo!" even though I said back "She's 19!"

Recently I've reworked the opening chapter to better show the MC's personality and life situation, including how he's growing up in a "dingy, dirty, dying steel town, one of many similar in the valleys near Pittsburgh." This week I saw a pic on Twitter of a railroad bridge over a river with the town and hillside behind. I think it was West Virginia but just as easily could have been from my hometown where my story is set. I thought of a guy hugging the shorter girl to his chest, far enough away to not see a lot of detail, with the mills, houses and hillside behind them that gives the feeling of the town.

Then I thought the the movie poster for All the Right Moves may be similar so I looked it up - but while Googling realized that there was a shot of Tom Cruise & Leah Thompson that was similar to what I was visualizing.

A variation of that last link, even though I'm still ticked at Leah Thompson for ignoring me during the filming.

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

tasteless food


I haven't visited everywhere in the world, but my understanding is that the UK has appropriated more food from around the world than probably any other country.

And don't complain about the native food being tasteless - allegedly we nicked fish and chips from the French! ;)

AJ

Replies:   robberhands  sejintenej
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

And don't complain about the native food being tasteless

To be honest, I don't like original German food any better than yours. The warm beer though, that's an atrocity!

Switch Blayde

@robberhands

The warm beer though, that's an atrocity!


Not only beer. I remember being served a not cold Coke. I asked for ice and they put in ONE ice cube.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

I don't like original German food any better than yours


I have to admit that I don't know of any German restaurants in the UK, but all supermarkets stock some German foods - I've tried some of your many types of sausage, for example.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

You were lucky. Normally they ask whether you want ice first. If yes, they fill the glass half full with ice then top up with coke.

I see UK TV is re-showing the Coca-Cola Christmas advert where the town switches on the Christmas lights and waves good riddance after the convoy of Coca-Cola trucks drives through without stopping.

AJ

Switch Blayde

I followed Amazon KDP's advice on my first two covers and made them

1563 x 2500

Some people on the KDP Community blog said it should be

1200 x 1800

saying: "Works across all retailers and is an easy multiple of 6x9 inches print edition."

Opinions?

helmut_meukel

@robberhands

To be honest, I don't like original German food any better than yours.


Hmm, Labskaus comes to mind and it's english variant Scouse.
Don't forget Saumagen or Pinkel.

HM.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@helmut_meukel

Hmm, Labskaus comes to mind and it's english variant Scouse.
Don't forget Saumagen or Pinkel.

I didn't forget it at all, which is the reason I stated that I don't like original German food.

Replies:   sunkuwan  richardshagrin
Bondi Beach

@Ernest Bywater

The cover should represent a direct scene, or an abstract of a scene, or a principle of the story.


Much more leeway in displaying a principle (AKA theme) of the story than limiting itself to a scene.

bb

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


The authors on wattpad say you should spend the money (some up to $1,500 for an artist) for the book cover. They say it needs to be indistinguishable from the traditionally published book covers.


I'm not quite sure what "indistinguishable" in this context means, but if they're saying it needs to be in the genre of the book (thriller, romance, erotica, etc., etc.) I'd say they're right.

What matters is how good the art is, i.e., is it one more cutie spilling out of her bra or one more hunk ripped? Boring. Slightly abstract, better drawing, or like like, and cutie and hunk are great.

Unless the cover is extraordinarily well done I'm more likely to pick a cover with a human figure on it not matter what the genre or how explicit the book is. The figure can be clothed or nude, no matter.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sunkuwan

@robberhands

Those are just one of the many different dishes.

you should try Senfeier, Königsberger Klopse, Kohlroulade,

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

The authors on wattpad say you should spend the money (some up to $1,500 for an artist) for the book cover. They say it needs to be indistinguishable from the traditionally published book covers.

Many here say it's the description that attracts the reader. Those authors on wattpad say the potential buyer will never read the description if the cover doesn't stop them cold.

I've said it before many times:
1. The whole purpose of an interesting title is to get readers to pull a book from a shelf (or to click on a link).
2. The whole purpose of an attractive cover is go get the reader to turn the book over and read the story description.
3. The whole point of the story description is to get the reader to read the first sentence.
4. The whole point of the first sentence is to get the reader to read the first page.
5. The whole point of the first page is to convince the reader that you know WTF you're doing!

You can lose readers if ANY of the above aren't strong, each only edges a skeptical reader a little closer. In the end, the writing will convince the reader, but ONLY if they actually READ the story!

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I'm leaning away from the sexy woman. My novel is erotica, not porn. There is a plot. I don't want it to look like porn.

Switch, I just sent you the cover of my next book (almost ready to be published in time for Christmas). I believe that you've already seen it before (the books been sitting on the shelf for some time), but it illustrates which types of 'naked ladies' work and which don't.

I'd have included it here, but it's difficult to include images on the SOL forum.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

It seems to be prevalent in the UK

Then again, have you seen UK television? They put naked tits on everything!

Replies:   awnlee_jawking
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

I followed Amazon KDP's advice on my first two covers and made them

1563 x 2500

Some people on the KDP Community blog said it should be

1200 x 1800

saying: "Works across all retailers and is an easy multiple of 6x9 inches print edition."

Opinions?


My default cover art is 1800 x 2700 at 600 dpi, however, I've found that the best result for an e-pub is an image of 1450 x 2175 at 600 dpi. While 300 dpi will also work well I prefer the higher resolution.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I followed Amazon KDP's advice on my first two covers and made them

1563 x 2500

Some people on the KDP Community blog said it should be

1200 x 1800

saying: "Works across all retailers and is an easy multiple of 6x9 inches print edition."

Opinions?

1200 x 1800 is a basic 6" x 9" book cover rendered at 300 dpi. Amazon, for their own reasons, decided to use a non-standard cover size (it doesn't even fit the same aspect ratio of the others).

If you publish to Amazon, publish according to their standards. If you publish elsewhere, then use their standards. For SOL, I'm now using a standard 702x1053 size, which looks good at 300dpi but is only a couple inches across. Since SOL doesn't allow full-size images, it gets the ideal resolution across without eating throughput.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

1. The whole purpose of an interesting title is to get readers to pull a book from a shelf (or to click on a link).


In the many bookshops I've been in it's rare for anything except the books being pushed to be set on display with the actual cover being shown, most have the spine being shown.

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

Unless the cover is extraordinarily well done I'm more likely to pick a cover with a human figure on it not matter what the genre or how explicit the book is. The figure can be clothed or nude, no matter.

Oversized faces are more popular now than full-sized human figures (with or without clothing). The eyes will typically sell it, and the facial expression can fit the overall mood of the story (desperate, pleading, winsome, panicked, etc.) With that and a clever title and you're home free.

There are also multiple 'choose your cover' sites, where they display several pages of ready-made covers and you purchase the exclusive use of the image for YOUR book. If you can find a cover that matches, they're wonderful. If they don't, they ain't worth shit. :(

Still, it's worth looking.

Replies:   Joe Long  Bondi Beach
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Oversized faces are more popular now than full-sized human figures (with or without clothing). The eyes will typically sell it, and the facial expression can fit the overall mood of the story (desperate, pleading, winsome, panicked, etc.) With that and a clever title and you're home free.


Sounds like the Kylie Quinn pic I linked above.

richardshagrin

@robberhands

German food

Some of the best German food is Austrian. Wiener Schnitzel is named for Vienna. Most of the time I ordered it it was made with pork rather than veal. And of course the frankfurter is also the Vienna sausage.

"Originally called weinerwurst, the wiener was brought by German Americans. The term is German for Vienna sausage which was eventually shortened to wiener. It is usually used interchangeably with hot dog or frankfurter. Just like Vienna sausage, wieners got their name from Vienna, a city in Austria."

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

My default cover art is 1800 x 2700 at 600 dpi, however, I've found that the best result for an e-pub is an image of 1450 x 2175 at 600 dpi. While 300 dpi will also work well I prefer the higher resolution.


DPI has no effect on the resolution of an image on an electronic display. To the extent that image display software pays attention to it, it only effects the size that the image displays at. The resolution for electronic purposes is x pixels by y pixels period.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Amazon, for their own reasons


Possibly due to the display aspect of a Kindle e-reader which is about this size of a US mass market paper back.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

DPI has no effect on the resolution of an image on an electronic display. To the extent that image display software pays attention to it, it only effects the size that the image displays at. The resolution for electronic purposes is x pixels by y pixels period.


I know, however, I've default settings for the print book version and it shows as dpi, although most electronic images will display 600 dots per inch as 600 pixels per inch.

I create the cover art in GIMP and set the base as 1800 x 2700 at 600 ppi/dpi then convert the finished image to a jpg. For embedding the cover in an e-pub I've found the 1450 x 2175 displays better - don't know why.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I've default settings for the print book version and it shows as dpi, although most electronic images will display 600 dots per inch as 600 pixels per inch.


No, most image display software will ignore the dpi and size the image to fit the available space in the window/monitor.

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Oversized faces are more popular now than full-sized human figures (with or without clothing).


Not oversized, but I sure like her expression. And the rest of her. BTW, found a mainstream novel or compilation, can't remember which but it wasn't erotica, with the same image in our local library the other day.

Classic images can't be beat. (And there's no copyright, despite the attempts by some museums to assert a copyright over their capture of the painting or sculpture.)

bb

John Demille

@Ernest Bywater

My default cover art is 1800 x 2700 at 600 dpi, however, I've found that the best result for an e-pub is an image of 1450 x 2175 at 600 dpi. While 300 dpi will also work well I prefer the higher resolution.


For physical printing, printing presses go by line screen. Normal halftone screens are 133 lpi, hi-res is 150 lpi (line per inch). For something like this, usually the max is 300ppi. Anything over 300 ppi (pixel per inch) is overkill and actually discarded by the printing process. For 6x9 that makes for 1800 x 2700 for the highest quality possible. Normal quality is 1600 x 2400 (133 lpi). Anything over that is wasted bits. So your default is good if you're printing hardcover, archival quality printing.

For on-screen resolution, anything with more pixels than the highest screen is overkill. Actually, on phone screens most things are overkill. The iPhone X has screen resolution of 458ppi. The human eye can't distinguish anything higher than 267 ppi at a distance of 12 inches (typical viewing distance for a phone). So if we suppose that the largest phone currently available is 6.5" diagonal, like the Note 8, its screen height is roughly 5.5" and if you multiply that by 267 you get 1468, round it up and you get 1500pixels. That's the maximum size that anybody is going to benefit from for an EPUB file. Anything more than this is a waste. So for EPUB files 1500 x 960 is more than enough for any display.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

DPI has no effect on the resolution of an image on an electronic display. To the extent that image display software pays attention to it, it only effects the size that the image displays at. The resolution for electronic purposes is x pixels by y pixels period.

Yes, it's true that electronic display don't literally display dots, but most of the newer 'retinal' displays are equipped to display 300dpi 6"x9" images with no trouble, which means they can display the full image with remarkable precision without drawing the individual dots.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

No, most image display software will ignore the dpi and size the image to fit the available space in the window/monitor.


What the majority of the software does is to proportionally shrink the the image to suit the device, so if the device can only take 900 x 1350 then it will display it as such but the resolution quality will stay the same.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

No, most image display software will ignore the dpi and size the image to fit the available space in the window/monitor.

They do, but regardless of the size, the total pixels is the best they'll display. Thus the only limit are small screen sizes. Essentially, it's the best for authors to include the most detail available, as it'll produce the best display for each device. What's more, readers are now demanding the increased detailed images.

Ernest Bywater

@John Demille

So your default is good if you're printing hardcover, archival quality printing.


Which is what i create for. However, I know the electronic devices will shrink to suit their needs, but I'm too lazy to create extra images with different resolutions.

The e-pub image size is what I've found Calibre creates when I point it at my 1800 x 2700 and it then goes and creates it's own version of the image for the e-pub. That image is 1450 x 2175. So if I want to embed a cover image in an e-pub I now make it that size.

The only fault I've found with Calibre is if I have embedded images in the e-pub it seems to want to use the cover art for the first image. So if the story has images Alpha, Beta, and Gamma what gets displayed in the e-pub are Cover for Alpha's spot, Alpha for Beta's spot, and Beta for Gamma's spot. However, if I embed a 1450 x 2175 cover image at the front of the file the other 3 image are embedded properly. Now when i have embedded images I also embed the cover image in front of the title page.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

What's more, readers are now demanding the increased detailed images.


That's true, and it's why Lazeez asked me to supply better resolution images for my stories after he changed the acceptable image size. He used to have small low resolution limits on the images, but when he increased his bandwidth and focused more on the mobile devices he upped the limitations because the old limits gave poor images, while the new ones are much better.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

total pixels is the best they'll display. Thus the only limit are small screen sizes.


True, but but DPI settings have squat all to do with it. The size it comes out at full resolution is controlled by the physical pixel resolution of the display

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

If you publish to Amazon, publish according to their standards. If you publish elsewhere, then use their standards.


1563 x 2500 isn't an Amazon standard. It's their guideline for ebook cover formatting. The 1200 x 1800 was recommended on the KDP forum. One user brought it up and others agreed.

I'm interested in 1200 x 1800 because it's a little wider so you can get more into it. With 1563 x 2500, I'd have to crop out part of the girl in the pic I'm thinking of using. Not a problem, but I might prefer not to do that or have more non-girl on the other side. And I'd like more room for text.

I never did print, but I also like the fact the cover will be the same as the front cover of a 6x9 paperback.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

I create the cover art in GIMP and set the base as 1800 x 2700 at 600 ppi/dpi then convert the finished image to a jpg.


I'm trying to learn GIMP. I had Photoshop Elements on my PC, but not on my Mac. I may be asking you questions. If I do, I'll start another thread.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

I never got my answer. I actually got other ratios which confuses it.

Should I stay with 1563 x 2500?

If I do, what will that mean if I ever want it for the front cover of a 6x9 paperback.

Or should I go with 1200 x 1800?

Is there a reason not to?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

Two images I'm considering. The story is about a private investigator who's a combination of Jack Reacher and Dirty Harry.

Of course I will have to crop the photos to fit a book cover. The problem with the second on is it's actually a woman pointing the gun (according to the image title). It may be more clearer in the high resolution bought copy.

https://us.fotolia.com/search?k=162207429&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aall%5D=1&search-submit=Search

https://us.fotolia.com/search?k=132968385&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aall%5D=1&search-submit=Search

Switch Blayde

I was wrong about the Amazon KDP recommended. It's actually:
1600 x 2560.

This is from the KDP site:

The ideal size of your eBook cover art is a height/width ratio of 1.6:1. This means that for every 1,000 pixels in width, the image should be 1,600 pixels in height. To ensure the best quality for your image, particularly on high definition devices, the height of the image should be at least 2,500 pixels. Ideal dimensions for cover files are 2,560 x 1,600 pixels


From https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200645690 (you have to expand the "dimensions" heading).

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

I'm trying to learn GIMP. I had Photoshop Elements on my PC, but not on my Mac. I may be asking you questions. If I do, I'll start another thread.


That's OK, I'll help when I can. I switched to GIMP when my Photoshop 5 wouldn't run on the newer version of MS Windows I had back then. I tried a few other programs, but didn't need to do much for a few years, so didn't do any. And when I needed to do some work I'd switched to Linux and I found GIMP to be as easy to use at Photoshop 5 was, although I did have to learn a few different menu positions.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

If I do, what will that mean if I ever want it for the front cover of a 6x9 paperback.


Many publishers push 1800 x 2700 at 300 dpi or 300 ppi for a 6 x 9 inch book cover since that gives an exact fit for a good resolution. However, for many publishers you have to 1838 x 2775 at 300 for the image with nothing important outside the 1800 x 2700 because the rest goes into the bleed for the actual cover of 1800 x 2700. - the 1200 x 1800 you mention easily blows up to the 1800 x 2700 by going up 150%.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Two images I'm considering. The story is about a private investigator who's a combination of Jack Reacher and Dirty Harry.


following those links I don't get an image at all, just a generic home page.

edit to ad: There's a large pop-up by adobe wanting me to sign up for that I can't get past. Which makes me wonder where the pop-up send me, because that behaviour is typical of my blocking third party redirects.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I saw the images.

Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

Two images I'm considering. The story is about a private investigator who's a combination of Jack Reacher and Dirty Harry.


I like the second.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

I like the second.


So do I. But I was saving it for a future one in the series (assuming there will be a series).

The protagonist is fighting a gang forcing women into prostitution. Hence the tied up woman. And the policewoman in the story has flaming red hair. So does the woman in the image. I thought it was a good fit for this story.

Replies:   Joe Long  Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

True, but but DPI settings have squat all to do with it. The size it comes out at full resolution is controlled by the physical pixel resolution of the display

Again, you're picking nits. We all realize that how many dots are printed per square inch don't matter, but when you create the files using graphic processing software, you create files with specific dpi settings (which then produce specific pixel resolutions). For most of us, the settings are one and the same and we don't differentiate, as dpi is easier to comprehend in terms of image quality, as opposed to number of pixels which only describes how big the overall image is.

In our case, we're specifically creating 6"x9" images for our print books first, and then modifying them for the different distribution sites (Amazon, Calibre and others all have their own specified sizes).

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

At the bottom of the pop-up, there's a link saying 'return to fotolia'. That took me to the image.

HTH.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
awnlee_jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Then again, have you seen UK television?


Apparently not.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

1563 x 2500 isn't an Amazon standard. It's their guideline for ebook cover formatting. The 1200 x 1800 was recommended on the KDP forum. One user brought it up and others agreed.

I'm not sure about he 1,200 x 1,800 size (as it seems too small for most uses), but 1800 by 2700 is standard for a 6"x9" book, so that's what most authors/indie-publishers think in terms of. While many sites (like Amazon and lulu) display lower resolution images on their sites, they store the more detailed images in the file itself, so when you open the file you often have a more detailed image than you get on their website.

What's make's Amazon's numbers so bizarre is that it doesn't use the normal horizon/vertical ratio that most other sites do (though lulu insists on an even uglier squarish design which complete squashes most covers, forcing you to introduce unneeded blank white space around your covers). Amazon's numbers work because it's not difficult to stretch the 6x9 image to fit without unduly distorting the image.

I'm trying to learn GIMP. I had Photoshop Elements on my PC, but not on my Mac. I may be asking you questions. If I do, I'll start another thread.

Your best bet on the Mac is "Affinity Photo", as it's basically a full Photoshop for only $39. While it's not free, it offers better functionality than most cheaper photographic programs (basic one-for-one Photoshop functionality).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Of course I will have to crop the photos to fit a book cover. The problem with the second on is it's actually a woman pointing the gun (according to the image title). It may be more clearer in the high resolution bought copy.

That's a standard problem with most stock image sites, as they offer horizontal images (useful for websites) while publishers are interested in vertical images for book covers. Your best choice is to search for images which can be cut to the right size from a high enough resolution to still be useable.

Unfortunately, for the image you selected, that's not really an option. (You normally need the fotolia XL image to convert it to a vertical image without losing the necessary resolution.)

For your gunman image, the following images might be easier to work with:

https://us.fotolia.com/id/79458382

https://us.fotolia.com/id/43600953

though I've always like this one: https://us.fotolia.com/id/123155581 (it's a bit grittier, which seems to be what you're going for).

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Many publishers push 1800 x 2700 at 300 dpi or 300 ppi for a 6 x 9 inch book cover since that gives an exact fit for a good resolution. However, for many publishers you have to 1838 x 2775 at 300 for the image with nothing important outside the 1800 x 2700 because the rest goes into the bleed for the actual cover of 1800 x 2700. - the 1200 x 1800 you mention easily blows up to the 1800 x 2700 by going up 150%.

I've found that if you start (or expand to) a 6.33"x9.5" image, you typically have plenty of crop room for most printers. With wraparound covers, you've got to be more precise so all three cover images fit precisely.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

At the bottom of the pop-up, there's a link saying 'return to fotolia'. That took me to the image.


I tried that, but into wouldn't work. However, I suspect my security settings which block third party redirection may be what's causing the issue there. It wasn't important enough for me to play around with. But it does re-emphasis that not everyone has the same level of anti-crap attack security settings on their systems.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I've found that if you start (or expand to) a 6.33"x9.5" image, you typically have plenty of crop room for most printers. With wraparound covers, you've got to be more precise so all three cover images fit precisely.


True, which is why i don't place any important parts of the image or text near the edges of the image, that way if any gets cut for bleed it doesn't matter.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Unfortunately, for the image you selected, that's not really an option. (You normally need the fotolia XL image to convert it to a vertical image without losing the necessary resolution.)


I didn't know that. Thanks.

For your gunman image, the following images might be easier to work with:


I don't want to show what the protagonist looks like. Also, the first one looks like a gang member, not a hero.

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

But it does re-emphasis that not everyone has the same level of anti-crap attack security settings on their systems.


I'm not convinced they're doing an effective job if they allow pop-ups like that. No doubt someone can explain why pop-up blockers "can't" stop them, but I find them highly annoying.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

What's make's Amazon's numbers so bizarre is that it doesn't use the normal horizon/vertical ratio that most other sites do


Because, it's sized for a Kindle not a trade paperback.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

The protagonist is fighting a gang forcing women into prostitution. Hence the tied up woman. And the policewoman in the story has flaming red hair.


That makes sense and makes the pic a good fit.

Any thoughts on my links, whether you like the brooding girl by herself, or the couple framed by the town?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

I'm not convinced they're doing an effective job if they allow pop-ups like that. No doubt someone can explain why pop-up blockers "can't" stop them, but I find them highly annoying.


Blocking 3rd party links is a browser setting and not part of the anti-virus program. The majority of crap blocking third party links and cookies stops is advertisements which would be allowed through most anti-virus software due to them not having an actual virus.

I didn't look at the source code, but I have seen this sort of behaviour before.

Site A (widgets.com) is part of the corporation of Site B (int_man.com). widgets.com has code to call a file from their own server called widget_pop which displays a pop-up promoting their head company but a link on the pop-up calls a file from int_man.com - - because I went to widgets.com it allows the pop-up, then disallows the int_man.com link because that's a third party link.

In the above situation the pop-up code is allowed to work, but none of the hot-links in it work.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Joe Long


Any thoughts on my links, whether you like the brooding girl by herself, or the couple framed by the town?


I liked the two women. They wouldn't be legal to use.

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

I liked the two women. They wouldn't be legal to use.


I'm confused.

Wouldn't be legal to use the exact photo? Yes, without permission, but I was working on concept. Maybe pay someone to paint a pic that is is similar to the photo, or even take a photo myself (such as the outdoor shot)

And I didn't have one of two women, unless you meant two photos that each had one woman (but there were three...)

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

And I didn't have one of two women, unless you meant two photos that each had one woman (but there were three...)


Yes, I liked the Kaitlin Dever and Kylie Quinn pictures. that's what I meant by "I liked the two women").

Replies:   Joe Long
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Because, it's sized for a Kindle not a trade paperback.

Except, not ALL Kindle readers are the same size. The PaperWhite is that size, but that's pretty old now. I suspect most people, like me, use the Kindle App, which adjusts to the size of the display, either on my phone, my iPad Pro, or on my desktop, in which case an oddly shaped cover doesn't serve any purpose. What's more, including the cover allows a richer display INSIDE the app, rather than what they use for their website display, which DOES affect the look on the Kindle App on all of those devices.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

Yes, I liked the Kaitlin Dever and Kylie Quinn pictures.


Thanks, that's what I was looking for. So did I.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The PaperWhite is that size, but that's pretty old now.


The paperwhite has been updated several times since it was first released and is still available for purchase new.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

The protagonist is fighting a gang forcing women into prostitution. Hence the tied up woman. And the policewoman in the story has flaming red hair. So does the woman in the image. I thought it was a good fit for this story.

Just a thought, but if you cut the image, showing only part of the woman, not only would it fit a vertical cover, but it would provide a more striking image while showing more of the woman than you'd get otherwise.

The problem with the image, though, is that there's NO white space at the top of the image to display your title, which means you'll have to fudge it and create the concrete wall above her head by patching the existing wall over the existing image (something I've had to do multiple times). Let me know if you need some help doing so. However, the small size of the horizontal image doesn't leave much room to play with it.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

Just a note, Switch. It's also fairly easy, using either Photoshop or the cheaper Affinity photo, to change the hair color realistically in a photo. That would increase the available images you could choose from.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Just a thought, but if you cut the image, showing only part of the woman, not only would it fit a vertical cover, but it would provide a more striking image while showing more of the woman than you'd get otherwise.


That's what I was planning. In fact, I thought I'd cut off part of her back so she would be coming out from the right edge and leave a little wall on the left side.

The problem with the image, though, is that there's NO white space at the top of the image to display your title, which means you'll have to fudge it and create the concrete wall above her head by patching the existing wall over the existing image


I thought the words would go over the picture. Another option is to have a solid background on the top part of the cover and put the title on it. Then the picture would be sized to fit the space from the bottom of that area to the bottom of the cover.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Unfortunately, for the image you selected, that's not really an option. (You normally need the fotolia XL image to convert it to a vertical image without losing the necessary resolution.)


When I hovered the mouse over the picture of the blurred woman pointing a gun at you, it said "Licenses XS - XL/X." Is that the XL you're talking about?

When I clicked on "Description" it said "up to 4,500 x 2,500 px 300 DPI."

I plan to make my cover 1600 x 2560. That's a little bigger than the height of 2,500 px the say "up to." Is that a problem?

This isn't for print. Ebook only.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

When I hovered the mouse over the picture of the blurred woman pointing a gun at you, it said "Licenses XS - XL/X." Is that the XL you're talking about?

When I clicked on "Description" it said "up to 4,500 x 2,500 px 300 DPI."

I plan to make my cover 1600 x 2560. That's a little bigger than the height of 2,500 px the say "up to." Is that a problem?

This isn't for print. Ebook only.

I typically use 1800 by 2700 pt images, but CreateSpace insists on submitting 6.333"x9.5" images at 1900x2850. Increasing the resolution by that small of an amount (only 60pt in your instance) is minimal, assuming you use a reliable image manipulation like Photoshop or Affinity Photo (I don't know how reliably the freeware tools resize images).

So yeah, you generally want to aim for the XL images, or the V images if you're looking at illustrations. The "V" stands for "vector illustrations", which mean they can be accurately resizes to any size with no loss of image quality, so it's worth spending the extra half-a-credit for the better images.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


but CreateSpace insists on


I'm talking ebook only.

So would that image work if I cropped it with an aspect ratio (in pixels) of 1600 (width) x 2560 (height)?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I'm talking ebook only.

So would that image work if I cropped it with an aspect ratio (in pixels) of 1600 (width) x 2560 (height)?

I only provided the CS data to illustrate that a much larger adjustment made little difference (i.e. your minor adjustment shouldn't make much difference).

You'll have to decide whether the extra data is worth the half a credit difference, but a larger image gives you more room to play with.

As for the white space needed for the book title, I'll send you the cover of my "Speaking With Your Demons", where I had to extend the cover vertically to create sufficient white space for the title. Concrete walls are a bit irregular, not it shouldn't be that major of an adjustment (the grays are only different shades, not complete patterns in different colors).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


As for the white space needed for the book title,


I don't need white space. I made a quick cover using the low res photo from fotolia. I made the title of the novel in bold white above the gun. At the bottom, where the fingers are, I put more text in white — "an erotic thriller by" in italics and below it my pen name.

So my words are layered on top of the picture.

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Fotolia lists their prices in credits. Around how much actual money are we talking here?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

Fotolia lists their prices in credits. Around how much actual money are we talking here?

It depends. Some are available relatively cheaply ($10 or $20) while others cost over $100. I used it so much, that I signed up for a monthly subscription service, where I get five free images a month for only $5 per image (though I've NEVER used my full allotment of downloads).

However, for most authors, Fotolia offers a 'sign-up' bonus where you get 10 free images simply for trying out the service (which is what Switch originally used). Once that runs out, Adobe has a competing service (the one that keeps flashing up when you access fotolia), which offers the same deal. That's ten full high-def images for free, spread out over time. You can visit the site for free, so pick out which images you'd like and grab the best images for each free trial.

Since I signed up with fotolia, I went from spending around $50 to $100 for each cover, now only around $20 now (including the cover image, multiple images on the back cover as well as chapter header and section break images, as well as custom fonts), so for me, it's well worth the subscription fee, even if I don't use it all.

(By the way, if you want to view the price per image, when you access the image there are various tabs above the listed price. One is the subscription fee ("Monthly pack", which doesn't change), one is the price in credits ("On demand purchase"). The cheapest package of credits is 10 credits for $14.00. The other tab lists the credits necessary when publishing the work (helpful when formatting your final product).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

10 free images simply for trying out the service (which is what Switch originally used).


I never did that. That's what I'm going to do now once I find 10 images. I got my "Last Kiss" image from you when your credits were expiring. But then you told me the license isn't transferable so that will be one of the 10 free images just to keep me legal.

There are fonts on fotolia? How do you search them?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@awnlee jawking

tasteless food

I haven't visited everywhere in the world, but my understanding is that the UK has appropriated more food from around the world than probably any other country.

And don't complain about the native food being tasteless - allegedly we nicked fish and chips from the French! ;)

Appropriated is one thing - we make it better. The first Chinese three Michelin star restaurant is in London. Many of our chefs are foreign (if you can call the Roux family foreign - they have become a staple here) and British wines win at Paris blind tastings.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

There are fonts on fotolia? How do you search them?

No, the fonts were part of my total outlay for each book I produce. As many of your know, I use graphic chapter titles in my book, using transparent images of the title in a specific font (so I don't have to pay the royalties for embedding fonts in my document).

For fonts, I frequent dafont.com. Many of their fonts are 'free to use', but not always free to publish with. I always check their terms, but even then, the prices that independent font designers charge is much less than sources like Adobe ($14 vs. several hundred).

It's an extravagance on my part, but one I feel is justified by the higher prices I charge for my books. Essentially, my readers pay more, but they also get more value with each book too.

awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

The first Chinese three Michelin star restaurant is in London.


I equate multiple Michelin stars to the Oscars or the Booker Prize or the Turner prize - pretentious tosh that you wouldn't touch with a barge pole if you actually wanted to enjoy a nutritious and filling meal.

Britain is excellent for growing wine grapes because of the taste imparted by the chalk downlands: English wines were prized throughout the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, global cooling meant that grape-growing all but died out, mostly restricted to the South Coast regions. New varieties of hardier grapes plus the current spell of global warming means English grape-growing is slowly making inroads inland.

AJ

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


The first Chinese three Michelin star restaurant is in London.

I equate multiple Michelin stars to the Oscars or the Booker Prize or the Turner prize - pretentious tosh that you wouldn't touch with a barge pole if you actually wanted to enjoy a nutritious and filling meal.


Yers, I agree to that accusation. However when a Singapore Chinese businessman took us to Lee Ho Fuk in Soho it was simply excellent food, presented in a speedy but controlled manner without all the fa-di-la of modern would-be top restaurants.

A recent two star restaurant has concentrated on the quality of the food in a moderate number of courses (none of these 15 course affairs) and without the prettiness. Noted as a good change.

Incidentally, a top French chef has publicly stated that due to changes in their law, the quality of food in top French restaurants is to become worse and that Britain will overcome on quality of food. Changes in working hours mean that restaurants will be forced to buy in prepared food instead of choosing the best even before preparation and then preparing in house.

Switch Blayde

Well, I took the advice offered in this thread. I did not go with a sexy image for my latest novel. I ended up using the image with the gun pointing. If you're curious how it came out, it's here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078VQXHNJ

So what do you think? Did I make a mistake for a novel classified as erotica?

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

So what do you think? Did I make a mistake for a novel classified as erotica?


I like it. It's attention grabbing, and being so different to the scantily dressed females it'll stand out from the crowd.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

scantily dressed females

Its a naked gun.

moredrowsy

A very nice cover will get my attention. But that attention only extends to reading the story description and the story's rating/reviews. Good cover does not equal good story.

Switch Blayde

@moredrowsy

and the story's rating/reviews.


Reviews are hard to come by.

Ernest Bywater

@moredrowsy

and the story's rating/reviews


I may be odd, but I never look at them.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

So what do you think? Did I make a mistake for a novel classified as erotica?

Sorry for coming to the discussion (the latest iteration, at least) late, but ...

While I like the overall design, I'd ditch the plain-Jane font and the yellow banner on the bottom. The first marks it as an amateur attempt, while the second takes readers eyes away from the actual cover.

Instead of the yellow banner, I'd go with either while letter (to stand out from the dark background) or black letter with a while 'glow' surrounding them. I'll have to look for a decent (and cheap) font that would fit.

By the way, I also like your "Sexual Awakening" cover. There, the plain background really works for the image.

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