Book Cover Design Using iStockPhoto and BookCoverPro

This morning I designed a book cover using iStockPhoto and BookCoverPro. This is the third book cover I have done, and it was super easy. Yes, it is a very simple, basic book cover but I like simple and basic.

I took some photos of the Perigee Moon this past March, but I didn’t love any of them. I decided to search to see if I could find something I liked better. This is a very good site to check out if you are in the market to purchase photos, illustrations, audio or video files. People submit their work to iStockPhoto and if the work is accepted it can be purchased by anyone with a need. The owner of the work gets a percentage of each sale.

The purchaser can use the item for any purpose and there is no danger of copyright infringement. So my rule is, for a cover, I either use my own work, or make sure I get it from some place that can’t complain if I use it.

I bought the big one (more pixels) because I didn’t want to scrimp on the cover. If it were a blog or something, then it’s not such a big deal, but in this case, more is better.

This is the photo I downloaded from iStockPhoto:

I mirror-imaged the photo and cropped it so the moon would appear to be closer to the edge of the cover.  This can be done with any photo editing software. I used PhotoStudio which is a subset of PhotoShop.

I use a simple package called BookCoverPro. This software is not free but won’t put you into bankruptcy either. It’s maybe $100 or so. As long as the market trends towards eBooks, I wonder about the necessity of having a book cover professionally designed. If I were a New York Times Best Selling Author maybe, but if that were true, someone else would be doing the design of the cover who would be a lot better than I could ever hope to be at it.

I want simple. Straightforward. Contrast and maybe a little mood setting. This is actually a picture of a normal full moon but who’s to know? I thought it portrayed a certain feeling. This is the moon Luke looks at, the night of his great epiphany.

I recommend BookCoverPro, but I didn’t find the Customer Service all that great. It is simple enough to learn, so you don’t need Customer Service anyway, but trust me, in this case, “Service” is only a name.

Here are the simple steps I did to create this cover, which will be used for the print version of Perigee Moon.

Select the size. My book will be 6 X 9 so the size is 12 X 9. Six inches for the front and six inches for the back. Then the spine is sized, and this can be done by specifying the number of pages. That’s good because it’s difficult to size for a spine, and with this package it is done for you.

I selected a background color, black, because my picture is dark and even though there isn’t background to speak of, there could be a sliver where the photo doesn’t cover and I don’t want it to be white.

I then added my moon photo and stretched it a little to fit over the entire cover.

I then added the text fields: the title, the author name on the front and on the spine.

On the back of the book is a photo of the author, and some other text with other novels I have written. In addition, there is the back blurb which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago which I have yet to perfect so that part is Under Construction.

Now that I have this book cover created, the package will allow me to create a .pdf file of it, which is what gets uploaded to CreateSpace along with the formatted pages of the novel. They print both the cover and the pages, and assemble the book.

It would be very cool if you would comment and tell me what you think of this cover. Even if you don’t like it, or have suggestions, I would love to hear them. It’s very easy to change. I designed this cover in about three hours. The greatest amount of time was spent picking out the photo to use.

I’m sure there is someone out there who is thinking, you designed the cover in three hours? I can believe that, because it sucks, it’s amateurish and ugly.

I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while though, so maybe that counts for something.

9 thoughts on “Book Cover Design Using iStockPhoto and BookCoverPro

  1. What a helpful post! I’ve saved it to my favorites should I ever need to design my own book cover. And though I’m no artist or book cover designer, I am a reader, and I love the look of your cover. I’m with you–simplistic can be very powerful. Love the black and white, too. Really nice look.

  2. As soon as I saw it, my immediate reaction was “wow.” As you know, I’m already a fan of the title, and a prominent moon photo or illustration would be what I would look for. It’s perfect.

    And thanks for the info about the website–could come in handy someday.

  3. I like the cover, but I’m curious about why you used “by” on the spine, since I don’t believe it’s commonly added, at least not on traditionally published books. They usually have the author’s name on the spine in a different font and sometimes smaller than the title without using the word “by.”

    Also, the front cover may be just a tiny bit out of balance, visually. Can you create a second choice which moves the title on the front just a little bit lower and a little bit closer to the center. Not by very much. It should just be a refinement to what you have. Then you could compare the two to see which looked better balanced.

    • Lee, you are so right about the “by”. Not sure what I was thinking, but that is definitely gone. And after examining my bookshelves, I think the spine fonts and sizes need to be changed. Thanks for your input, it is so helpful!

  4. I think your cover looks very nice, Lynn! Keeping the design simple is the trend, and believe it or not, a monochromatic cover will capture more attention on the shelves, being that most covers are in full-color. Nice job.

    And I’m sorry about your experience with our customer service… We’ve gone through some growing pains lately while switching over to a new hosting service. If you ever need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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