Lana Percherczyk is from Western Australia. She self publishes, does her own marketing / PR, and designs her own covers.

Your cover is your first message to readers. What message do you want to send them? What is in it for me? 

  • Entertain me 
  • I want to escape 
  • Tell me a story 

Do these well, and they will buy your story 

Elements of graphic design 

  • A picture is worth a thousand words 
  • Can convey a message 
  • A mood 
  • Provoke an emotion 

Types of pictures  

  • Photographs (good quality) 
  • Illustrations (Vector based – for logos etc) 
  • Animated gif 
  • Memes 
  • Video 

Memes 

  • Can use banner across the bottom with book name and release date 
  • Hope it goes viral 
  • Social media posts boosts engagement (metrics, algorithms) 
  • If people like and share one image, platform will boost next one more  
  • Meme makers are online 
  • Make your own 

Animated gifts 

  • Quick video loop 
  • Can use on a cover of a book 
  • Eg LAN’s book Playing God 
  • That uses an app from plotograph.com 

Stock images & licensing 

  • istock 
  • Shutterstock 
  • Adobe stock 
  • High quality images 
  • Get a licence for a certain number of uses 
  • Types of licenses:  Creative Commons, standard, extended 
  • Standard generally uses hundreds of thousands in reproductions (but check licence) 
  • May not cover merchandise 
  • Be careful of stock site subscriptions. Sign up for newsletter, get credit deals 

Images 

  • DPI – dots per inch (screen) – resolution 
  • PPI – pixels per inch (print)  
  • For print, minimum 30 dpi for high res 

File types 

Web: 

  • Png (Transparent background) 
  • Jpg 
  • Gif 

For print 

  • Pdf 
  • Eps 

Different genres use key images for quick recognition. For example:

  • couple in a clinch (contemporary),  
  • bare torso (erotic romance) 
  • grey background with single image like mask (Erotic bdsm) 
  • Vampire or werewolf (paranormal) 
  • Typography  
  • Different fonts for different genres 
  • Using the wrong font is the quest way to make your design look amateur 
  • Use apps like What the Font to find out what sort of font you see on a book cover or other design 
  • When in doubt, go simple. Sans-serif font for web and a serif font for print 

Layout 

  • How you place things on the page in a pleasing way 
  • Use golden ratio 
  • Rule of thirds (grid) – put important information where the grid lines meet 

Colours 

  • Reference colour wheel 
  • Complimentary 
  • Harmony 
  • Opposite 

Ways authors can use graphics to sell books  

  1. Cover reveals (eg Anna Hackett) 
  2. Teaser graphics (eg Kate Morton, Nalini Singh – same graphic with different quotes) 
  3. New release countdown (eg Nalini Singh – how many weeks) 
  4. Share reviews 
  5. Social media banners – can have several, a campaign 

Author campaign kit 

  • 3D book covers 
  • Character photos 
  • Backgrounds (blurred landscape, one colour flat block etc) – keep with branding 
  • Flat lay stock image – drop png cover image into a stock image photo 
  • Coverssellbooks.com 

Author: Philippa

I make arty mixed-media things, & write fantastical things (with kissing), & do musical & dancing things, & play gaming things, & do weightlifting things, & organise fabulous event things. But mostly I wrangle cats. Renaissance woman.

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