How to Create a Book Cover on Kindle Direct Publishing

From Medium:

Below, I share how I created and formatted my book cover, with extra attention to detail on the nitty-gritty of formatting the book cover for a paperback versus an ebook.

1: Find an Artist

Why you should commission artwork for your book cover

Isn’t that expensive? Yes, it’s an investment: an investment to make sure your other investment — hours, months, and years spent brainstorming, researching, workshopping, editing, and writing your book — doesn’t go to waste.

One of the biggest drawbacks of traditional publishing is that you don’t have control over anything except what goes within the covers of the book (and sometimes barely that).

Naturally, then, one of the biggest advantages of self-publishing is complete control. Why not tailor a cover to your story?

Finding an artist

In my case, I scoured #PortfolioDay on Twitter, not just to scope out potential artists but, more importantly, to scope out different styles and get a sense of what I wanted. What would best convey the feel and theme of the book?

My story is a speculative Asian ghost story with culture and history at its core. I didn’t want straight-up anime but I knew I wanted an art style close to it. I saved images of wispy, hazy brushstrokes because I knew I wanted something ethereal to represent the magical elements of my story. I saved cartoon styles that were distinctly Korean — again, not quite anime, but close to it.

I then took screenshots of traditional Korean fan dance and drum dance, important elements of the story, to figure out how I wanted my main characters to be posing.

Towards the end of my research process, I cold-emailed two artists. One of them got back to me quicker.

Link to the rest at Medium

4 thoughts on “How to Create a Book Cover on Kindle Direct Publishing”

  1. While I applaud and congratulate the author on publishing her book, and also the step-by-step guide for creating her cover, I feel she shot herself in the foot by using KDP’s Cover Creator and not just having someone create the WHOLE cover including the textual elements. Then, she wouldn’t have to say things like “The cover art was so fantastic I wanted to cover as little as possible. This made me choose one of the bare-bones layouts…”

    And it shows. While the background art is quite striking, the overall design—design is the key word here—is very much falling below its full potential.

    • Actually, I feel that she shot herself in both feet long before she put the book up.

      First, not knowing that a book cover is not fine art – it is commercial art. (Now, I’m sure she got that notion from trad pub, but just a little bit of reading the many fine indie blogs would have disabused her of it.)

      Second, even at the low end of what an artist will charge you for a cover these days, she’ll have to sell close to 1,000 of them to even break even. Sales of the paperback at more than twenty cents a page? Those will be non-existent, in my opinion. Might as well not have bothered.

      Third, picking a title font that is perfectly appropriate – for a science fiction book? Sigh…

      (Please note that I am making no assertions about whether the writer has three legs, two, one, or none. One’s leggedness has no more relation to the quality of one’s writing than one’s epidermal melanin content. Again, in my opinion…)

      • Your answer triggered me to scroll up and see more of her problem… she keeps talking about “the artist.” Covers are not about art; they’re about marketing. And the best person to attack that is a Designer, not an Artist. She didn’t understand the Gestalt of the enterprise.

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