Thursday, January 26, 2012

Covering The Book

The Craic Project -Episode Two
A book is judged by its cover.

Book covers - The most important starting point for a reader, getting their attention! I set about reading up on them. What does a Book Cover need?

1. A strong choice of colours to have the book stand out.
2. An arresting image.
3. A clear font choice.
4. The ability to retain all these elements when reduced to thumbnail size. 
This is important because all the marketing of the book is on screen and book covers are reduced to thumbnail size...Check out Amazon and scroll through the average list of books in your genre. Focus on the books that grab your eye.

What colour palettes are being used in your genre? 
Opinion is divided on midgrade covers, from bubblegum cartoon to photo realism. I took myself to the book shops and stood back in front of the midgrade section to see what stood out. Very little. This is because the mid grade book cover is being influenced by the Young Adult cover. The Young Adult book cover is leaning towards paranormal and steampunk colour palettes...that’s browns, blacks and sepias and contrast white. This is what is being published now...bear in mind that books accepted now will take one -two years to come out so styles will change. I checked out what others were saying. Bookseller opinions were that they were over the muted colour tones.

After I finished rereading Craic for the umpteenth time I had several strong images and colours in my mind that represented the main themes of the book.
You know how it is when you have a vague idea of what you want but not a specific. I decided to look at a stock photo site just doodling around to see what was there.

Stock photo sites are a serious time many cool images. Along with the photos, many artists have uploaded designs as well.
I found two images that represented almost exactly what was in my head and more importantly the colours were strong. The purple image I thought may have been designed just for Craic (I fell in love. If you have read Craic you will know what I mean...If not, what are you waiting for...heheheh. )
Were they too strong? Go to target audience...What do they think...which one...or combination of them... Combination won out.

The cost of the image depends on how popular the image is, the size that you want and the type of license you need. You want a large image for clarity, especially if you are going to be using that image in a variety of media, print, screen, video...(altho not always, see below on book covers) 
So I quickly had to work out a budget. (I had a limited budget however the Book Cover is hugely important so invest money here.)

I had to figure out what licenses I needed and how to buy them.  I made one mistake, getting a more extensive license for the purple image, which means I can print it on teeshirts and sell it if I never know I may just want to do that...hehehe.

Once I selected the images, bought and downloaded them then I had to figure out a way of combining them and find a title font.

Fonts...a serious timesuck, so many wonderful fonts.... I went with a Celtic theme because Craic is an Irish Gaelic word...and just happened to find a font called Dumbldor. How could I resist?

For the price of a couple of dinners, a friend played around in Photoshop and combined the images for me. Then back to the target audience for reaction and tweaking.

While I was checking out images... I was checking out books from the library on making YouTube videos. They all agreed that a good YouTube video was storyboarded and had a matching musical soundtrack...More research required.

Next week... What I learned about Book Trailers.

For those of you who have skipped down to the Main Event...The Link roundup.
What has been talked about in the blogosphere this week?

Apple’s announcement of iBooks and iAuthor iPad App software and the way they have used the EULA (End User Licence Agreement) After you have downloaded the free software then you find out that Apple will take a 30% cut of your work if you sell it. And you can only sell it on iTunes. There are lots of fors and againsts about this move. Check out Writer Beware and read the comments to get a good handle on this one. (my 2c is they don’t own your content and you are free to take that content and drop it into any other software to make an Enhanced Book App with. Latest numbers out... last year 32 million iPads sold.)

Staying with this theme The Digital Book World Conference is on at the moment.
Bob Mayer recaps his thoughts on what’s been talked about so far and his participation on the self publishers panel...Yes even Mr Mayer can be outclassed!

Angela Ackerman AKA The BookshelfMuse has written a timely post about pulling back on social media. This resonated with a large amount of people who commented with links and advice to help focus on the task at hand.

Jeff Vandermeer has a blog post on Literary Estates and what it means for an anthologist to try to deal with them. TIP Even if you have only one piece published, have a literary executor...Jeff tells you why!

School starts next week and I’m about to start the mammoth job of covering books!


Craic (8-12 yrs) is available on Kindle and Smashwords (2.99US)
Check out for more information.


Sarah Billington said...

Great, interesting post, Maureen. It's a fascinating process, looking into cover design, what works and what doesn't work and how to stand out in the marketplace.

Congrats on releasing Craic. I'm looking forward to reading it. :)

Maureen said...

Hi Sarah,
I can see why you design covers for other people...Very cool...and I wasn't kidding about the time sucks...just browsing fonts i lost a couple of hours...and that was nothing compared to photo and image browsing...Add in music which i did for the book trailer and I did no work for a week..:)

Philippa Werry said...

Hi Maureen

Yay well done!! What an exciting project and a fabulous looking outcome. (Love the purple.) It's great to see you putting all your hard-won research into operation, and thanks for being so generous in sharing your findings.

Maureen said...

Hi Pippa,
I've had an interesting time over the last couple of months and it is continuing.....hehehehe

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