Book Cover, Try 4

I have to admit, I had a moment last night after my last post where I thought maybe I shouldn’t be blogging about this. Because let’s be honest, my first few attempts at doing a book cover didn’t go so well, and they didn’t prove I should be the one to tell you what to do. But I did try again this afternoon, and with a little patience, I am proud of what I came up with:


I’m actually going to keep this one around because I do think I’ll end up using it. I love how all the colors blend together. The woman looks like my female MC, the guy is cute (some of those guys in the stock photos are NOT all that cute, LOL), and it looks more like a traditionally published book cover would look. I wish maybe the path would have had some people running on it–that would have tied in the title to the story a little better, but that’s okay. I tried to look for one, had even thought through all my searches that I had found one but didn’t bookmark it. I’ll look for it some more.

Anyway, how I did it was I started with a “base” of a texture that I found off Pixabay. I searched blue dots, and found something I liked:


But I realized the colors were too bright, so in the picture tools, I made them grey and white which meshed with the people better. I still needed text boxes to put the couple, the trees, and then the title and my name. I fiddled around with the placement of all three until I was satisfied. I don’t know if a person can be 100% satisfied. It’s rather like reading your work over and over again and noting all the things that you would change.

I don’t mind posting my struggles on here because I want you to know that 1) I don’t know what I’m doing, but I still don’t have to pay someone to help me, which, maybe it shouldn’t be, but is a huge pride thing for me, and 2) NEVER publish your first attempt. I went from this:


To this:  blog-book-cover-post

And the difference is incredible. I didn’t ask for any extra help, I didn’t look on any blogs for extra tips (though I strongly encourage you to do whatever you need to do to create a pleasing cover). It was just me, some stubbornness, and some impatience, or patience, however you want to look at it.

I know I said this story takes place in the fall, and it does. It goes from October until February, so using a winter theme for the cover is okay. I could easily go with an autumn theme too, but the cover you end up with can vary greatly with the photos you find and can pay for.

I’ve been doing a little digging around with templates, so now that I’m satisfied, I’ll write about those next. I promise.

Thanks for reading!

Book Cover 3: Another Try

I couldn’t get it out of my head that I had a sucky cover for Running to Love. I can’t let things go, and I wanted to try again. I went through a few combinations of photos, thought more about what the book was about, and realized, again, what I realized with 1700–you can’t put your whole book on the cover.

Running to Love has certain elements: both of the characters run, hence the name. It takes place in the fall. They fall in love. They are outside a lot . . . running. Okay, you get the idea. I tried the “running” aspect of the book and it didn’t go that well, I just couldn’t find pictures that would work, or my level of expertise is such that I couldn’t make them work. So I tried the “in love” part and the “fall/autumn” part, and this is what I came up with:


It entirely misses the “running” aspect, but we’ve got the love part in there. I would need to be more careful with the photo since I just realized that woman is a brunette and my main female character is a blonde.

But this is quite an improvement over the others that I posted before. In fact, I looked up contemporary romance covers and found something similar on the covers of Bella Andre’s books, and at wits’ end, copied hers. Which, if you are running out of ideas and are going to pull your hair out at any minute, isn’t a bad idea. Especially since Bella Andre is a best-selling author, she, or her team, obviously know what they are doing. Why not learn from the best?

The only thing I could think of to do at this point, if I didn’t like this well enough, would be to maybe think of a different title. The title of the book, what the book is about, and the cover, all go together. I can’t change what the book is about, that would be silly, but I could do more to make the cover and title mesh.

Another idea I just had was to add something to the back that would depict the story was about running, say a pair of tennis shoes, or a couple running down an autumn trail. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on pictures, and on Can Stock, the photos for this cover would have cost 14 dollars. But you do have options.

Anyway, besides having to scrap the top photo because the coloring of the woman is wrong, I would maybe go with this. Perhaps I would make the bottom photo a bit smaller, make the top photo a bit bigger. Maybe make the title pop more. Play with the fonts because these are standard in Word, and maybe you want something more original.

I’m glad I can calm down now. This was bugging me because I knew I could do better. Now that I have a better feel for what I want, I’ll have better luck tinkering with it.

Okay, I’ll do cover templates another time.

Thanks for reading!

Book Cover part 2 of Infinity (because really, you could do this forever)

Probably I’m not going to go into too much more of the front cover. It’s all personal taste anyway and a lot of trial and and error. I couldn’t resist trying again, and this is what I came up with:


I used a gradient for the background, I searched Pixabay it and luckily came up with the colors that I needed. I softened the photo again and added the text boxes for the title and my name. I did a separate text box for Running to and Love because the Love was spaced too far below Running for it to look good. I’m not 100% sure I would use this either, in fact, I would maybe look for a different photo. But anyway, the gradient looks nice. Play around with the fonts and sizes. Maybe add a tag line.

The how-to blog post from Joanna Penn that I referenced in my last blog post uses textures as a background filler. I tried to look for something similar here, but I couldn’t come up with anything except the color. But I only used one photo instead of mashing up three or four like she does, so that didn’t help.

Here is a list of websites I use for pictures and textures:









You’ll have to double check what the terms and conditions are of the photos and textures on these sites, but I think they are okay. Dreamstime looks like it might be a bit spendy, but even if you publish one book a year, shelling out a little bit of money isn’t too much of a big deal, especially since you’re doing the design yourself.

Maybe I’ll try one more time with a different picture. Remember, if this seems like a crap idea, you can still use the CS Cover Creator. After messing around with a cover for hours and hours it might not seem like a bad idea after a while.

Oh, hey, my next blog post will be about cover templates. I’ll look into it for ya.


Until next time!

Front Cover

Creating a book cover can be intimidating, and if I didn’t dish out for my ISBN numbers, I might very well hire this out. Though there is some sort of satisfaction of having done the front cover and back cover and everything in between on your own. But the ultimate goal is selling books, and people WILL judge a book by its cover, no matter what people say. If you can do a great (or even semi-decent) cover on your own, do it! Practice makes perfect, and as you can see from my two covers of 1700, you learn a little something new every day.

In keeping with the theme from previous posts, I’ll make the front cover for Running to Love. This can’t be a Word tutorial, I can only show you what I do with the pictures, so if you really don’t know anything about Word, I suggest you find a different way to make your covers. I don’t know all that Word can do either, and I find a new trick every time I go in and play around.

We’ll need to start with the template: Remember the spine is dependent on the number of pages in your book. If you have added pages or edited some more and taken some away, you’ll need to calculate the spine width again.

Choosing the photo is the most important and frustrating part. There are so many choices!

I found this one:


I didn’t pay for it, so it still has the watermarks on it. I liked the colors because I can use them for font or background color to tie it all in.

One of the frustrating things is getting it to fit. See, the picture is wider than the template. I had a hard time with figuring this out, and the thing I do is crop it so that it is as wide as the text box. If you don’t, this is what happens: click on the placement menu (the rainbow thing on the right side of the picture) and choose “in front of text” to move it around.



But moving it doesn’t help much, and neither does manipulating it to fit because it distorts the image:


They are all stretchy, and this is what I did to my first cover couple. Sadness.  My son equated this with trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and it looks terrible. I use the Snipping Tool to crop it and actually make it the same shape as the template:



That looks better, but it’s boring. Maybe we don’t have the right picture, and you would have to decide if you like it enough. Liking pictures online and liking what they would look like on the cover of a book are completely different. I’m going to play around and see what happens.


I don’t like the title, I don’t think it’s using the space the way it could. But I like the color theme I have going and it could easily keep going on to the spine and the back cover. How I did it was I had to put three text boxes in the template text box. One at the top which I filled with her shirt color then I softened the edges, the middle text box for the picture, and the bottom text box for the color which I filled with his shirt color and I also softened the edges. Choose no outline for the text boxes so the boxes don’t show up.

I did something to the title font, which I do not care for, and I do not think it would print well either. I like the rest, though, so let’s play around with the title.


That really isn’t too bad. I like how the colors blend together. If the spine is thick enough, I may split the picture in two and have her on the spine and him on the back cover. You can flip the pictures so they are mirror images of themselves, so they aren’t exactly the same.

In terms of changing the photo, I used the criss-cross etching in the photo effects and I softened the edges. Both of those options show up under Picture Tools when the text box containing the photo is selected. It looks a little cheesy, I’ll give you that, but you’re not going to get the same kind of covers you’re going to find at the bookstore. CreateSpace won’t emboss the title or your name, and you can’t get the cheap cardboard feel. Which is good for quality, bad for making your book stand out as an indie.

I do need to watch out though since I used the soft edges technique for 1700 and I don’t want all my books to look the same. Joanna Penn from @thecreativepenn has some great ideas when it comes to book covers, and I’ll leave you with the link to her blog post here.

I’ll post a little more about front covers soon, and maybe have another go at the front. I wouldn’t publish Running to Love with that cover, but you’ll go through a few covers before you hit the right combination of fonts, effects, and pictures. There’s no shame in trying–it’s the only way you’ll see what you like and what you don’t.

Talk soon!


Gimp is a photo manipulation software that is free and can be found here. You don’t need to know how to use all the features for it to be of use to you. I suggest you download it, even if you’ve never heard of it before. There are tutorials online, and they can help you figure out how to change the photos for your book cover, website, and blog posts. I don’t know my way around it very well, but I use it to change dpi/ppi of a photo then do the rest in Word.

Once you have it downloaded, look at what you can do with it. Play around with the filters. I’m more comfortable in Word. Admittedly, GIMP can do more, so if you plan on publishing frequently, it might be worth taking some time to watch the tutorials.


Even if you pay for a photo, chances are someone has used it first or will use it in the future. Incidentally, after I changed my cover for 1700, I found someone on Twitter who used the same picture I had:


I am really glad I changed the cover! It’s a nice cover, but looks waaaaayyyyy too much like the one I used to have. Anyway, so manipulating the photo as much as you can, and/or using it with other photos, will lessen the chance you’ll have the same cover as someone else.

I use GIMP mainly to change the dpi/ppi, or dots per inch/pixels per inch. Look at this sexy guy–well, he’s sexy behind the menu. His dpi is only 72. You can see that in the X and Y resolution. I got there by clicking on the Image tab in the menu between View and Layer. Change them to 300 and click Scale. CreateSpace wants your images at 300 dpi/ppi. I read somewhere that going higher won’t do anything miraculous, so I haven’t bothered.



Now you need to save it. Go into File and click Export As (about 3/4 down the menu). This will save your photo as the JPG you need to use in your Word document for your front or back cover. (Hi, sexy guy! We can see you now!)



Click Export and it will save to wherever your computer saves your pictures.

That will save you some issues with photos. Sometimes you can buy them or download them at 300 dpi/ppi from the start, but it’s always a good idea to load the picture into GIMP and check to be sure. As I know, it certainly sucks to go through all that work on your cover only for CS to tell you in an email your photos aren’t up to snuff. How disappointing when you were hoping to order your proof! Publishing is hard enough as it is without making mistakes with things you could avoid. Too bad we don’t know what we don’t know until we need to know it.

Anyway, play around with the filters, have fun making your pictures different. Just for fun, I gave my man a sepia tone with the Colors, then coffee stains with the Decor under the Filters tab in the menu. As always, keep a copy of your picture just in case you do something you regret and you need to start over. 

(Thanks to Pinterest for the picture.)

Next time I’ll get to the cover! Thanks for reading!