All the self-help books on the subject of Create Space and Kindle publishing seem to agree on one thing. DO NOT DESIGN YOUR OWN COVER.
Unfortunately, they fail to mention what you should give up so that you can afford the four hundred pounds a designer will charge. The winter fuel allowance? Christmas presents for the grandchildren? A new tyre for the Beemer?
I looked through Amazon and there were a number of cover designs where the writer had decided that new tyres were a better investment, and it showed. Possibly because they had heard somewhere that using eight fonts is better than two. So what they ended up with looked like the playbill for an 1898 music hall.
I gave this some thought and decided that I would go ahead and do my own, but using the templates offered by Create Space as they took care of such awkward things as sorting out the spine width and getting all the various components in the right place.
First step was a background colour. I wanted white. I’m writing science-fiction and all books within the genre seem to come with a black cover. Maybe it’s supposed to represent space, I don’t know. Whatever, that made me even more sure I wanted white.
There is no Create Space all white template. But there was one where it was possible to change the colour of the body of the cover, and the panel in which you put your images, to white. So effectively, I had a white cover.
Not that everybody necessarily wants a white cover, or even a green one, but with a little playing around it is possible to concoct something like what it is you want. I seem to recall that there were at least a dozen basic designs, all of which had a degree of flexibility, so there will be one you can knock into shape.
Then I could start looking at what to put on the cover. The template I had chosen loaded the title and my name on the spine. It gave me a space to put on the back cover blurb, where our imaginations can run riot on the joys to be found within. Which left the front cover.
The thing about Amazon pages is that they show a thumbnail of the front cover. What might be an excellent image when it’s full book size, may be reduced to just an indecipherable blob when shown on Amazon. So, I applied the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) rule. What did I need?
The title, of course. My name, for what it’s worth at this stage. And something that covers the contents in a small image.
Well, that was easy enough. There had to be an image that includes a reference to trans-planar travelers coming through a thing called a ‘rabbit-hole’ and lots of references to Alice in Wonderland even though Lewis Carroll never existed in the universe in which my story is set.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t.
I got to drawing up all sorts of overly complicated designs that could not be presented in a professional way. Well, not by me leastwise. I just didn’t have the software, knowledge or talent to do so, and even if I had they disappeared into a blob when reduced.
Playing around with clip art on word I discovered that I could make a reasonable ellipse, which is technically, results from the intersection of a cone by a plane. I call it an oval. Four of them, getting progressively smaller and shaded slightly differently made an acceptable rabbit punch. John Tenniel’s original drawing of the white rabbit – now out of copyright – made a starting point for my Alice character. With a little experimentation I flipped the image to face the other way and removed the background foliage.
This may not be going to win any graphic design awards, but it was a reasonably easy fix, managed on Word rather than any fancy design software and it does a reasonable job.
Unfortunately, I have yet to crack either hyperlinks or adding photographs yet, so the only way to decide for yourself is to go to Amazon and type in Jabberwock Anomaly. The other stuff I will get the hang of and I have a few thoughts on blogs as well.