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!