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lvcabbie
October 22nd, 2016, 01:00 PM
One thing that has always given me problems is creating covers for my various works. I don't have Photoshop and a lot of the free software is too complicated for me. However, I recently came across GoogleDocs that includes GoogleDraw. That turns out to be a simple way to create cover art but one needs to figure out how to send it to your hard drive where you can find it!

And then, I discovered yet another tool - right there in my PC all the time. I've had OpenOffice for several years but have become very fond of LibreOffice, a free program that includes a word processor and data base. But, it was only a week or so ago that I discovered it also includes Draw Drawing. It turns out to be a very simple program to use with just about every imaginable tool to make reasonable covers. The only problem I discovered it that it creates works that end up in an odg format. But, that too is easy to overcome as there is a FREE online sites that converts odg to jpg or jpeg formats. With that in mind, here's the cover I just created for my latest short story.


15801

aj47
October 22nd, 2016, 01:36 PM
With all due respect, the free software isn't any harder to use than Photoshop. There's also a saying that a poor workman blames his tools.

I don't want to come down hard on you when you've obviously made some kind of effort. But really, the reason people charge money to do this is that it is a skill. Yes, you can acquire the skill, but it's a little more involved than putting images and text together on the same screen and turning it into a .JPG.

Ptolemy
October 22nd, 2016, 04:39 PM
With all due respect, the free software isn't any harder to use than Photoshop. There's also a saying that a poor workman blames his tools.

I don't want to come down hard on you when you've obviously made some kind of effort. But really, the reason people charge money to do this is that it is a skill. Yes, you can acquire the skill, but it's a little more involved than putting images and text together on the same screen and turning it into a .JPG.

Exactly, I will be a little harsher than astroannie here because it's an honest criticism. I seriously wouldn't buy that book based on that cover, I know you put some effort into it but really is not very good. People do judge books based on the cover all the time, heck I do it. Covers are your first impression you give the reader on how good your book could be. Your book may be a best seller, it may be an American classic, but no one will buy it because the cover is just a mess.

The main reason why it's not very good is because it looks cheap, again effort was put into it, but on the outside it looks like you took 5 minutes in Draw Drawing, took a solid turquoise background, pasted two wilderness photos, and used Arial Black as the title font. The cover has no artistic value to it at all, It has no meaning to the book, it really has no value to your book other than to degrade it.

A cover needs to add value to the book, that's what a cover is for, to again show the reader the value of the book. To me a cheap cover = a cheap book, and I don't want your book to be portrayed that way.


https://s12.postimg.org/wxqhj1o4t/the_brief_history_of_the_dead.jpg

Take The Brief History of the Dead for example. This cover is a great a high quality edited image, harmonizing colors, a good font choice and it adds value to the overall meaning of the book. One of the things wrong with your cover is that this cover nails that is the The Valley of the Bears such a conflict of senses. The turquoise background is just a single shade of color that just conflicts with your pictures and theme. When I think of turquoise; bears, valleys, and wilderness are the last things on my mind. The cover above, however, has great color compliment. The picture harmonizes with the font causing the white font to pop off the cover. The turquoise dulls the black font, it makes it look lifeless, it doesn't have the 'pow' that this cover has.

Also there is actual editing in cover above, while I realize you can't really do this properly without Photoshop, it still makes the cover look high end and adds some decent quality to the title, it makes you want to open the book and read it.

My suggestions for your cover is to do some research on color palettes, do some research on complimenting color palettes that go with nature.
Here's an example of a nature color palette:

https://s10.postimg.org/5b71mbfsl/Colors_of_Summer_01.jpg

Also choose a better font, limit it to two (which you did) and choose between sans serifs or serif

San Serif fonts: Helvetica, Microsoft Sans, Arial, Futura, Myriad, Geneva, Verdana, Gill Sans, Franklin Gothic, Tw Century, Calibri, Simplified Arabic




Serif fonts:
Bodoni, Baskerville, Garamond, Palatino, Times, Lucida Bright, Cambria, Minion, Didot, Book Antiqua, Georgia

I believe you used Arial Black and some sort of Serif font for the subtitle, while it isn't a cardinal sin, if your going to use two different types of font save the serif for your name.

Also get one big photo like the cover above instead of that horrid turquoise background, it really bad. Get one high quality picture of a bear or the wilderness so I don't devote only 20% of my attention to the pictures. Also if you want a good cover, pay a professional artist for one. They can go for as low as $30 and that's for a decent cover.

Overall it just needs a lot of tweaks and changes for it to be considered good, again I'm not ripping on you, I'm ripping on the composition of the cover.

aj47
October 22nd, 2016, 04:59 PM
pixabay.com has free images. colourlovers.com has palettes. if you don't like GIMP try krita.org. dafont.com has fonts. There are other sites, too. If you like a tool but can't afford it google free <toolname> equivalents.

lvcabbie
October 23rd, 2016, 12:36 AM
Well, I appreciate the feedback. Will do some more work.

who me?
May 2nd, 2017, 09:03 PM
With all due respect, the free software isn't any harder to use than Photoshop. There's also a saying that a poor workman blames his tools.

I don't want to come down hard on you when you've obviously made some kind of effort. But really, the reason people charge money to do this is that it is a skill. Yes, you can acquire the skill, but it's a little more involved than putting images and text together on the same screen and turning it into a .JPG.

anyone smart enough to write a book is smart enough to diy their own cover

covers are to sell books not win art awards

most so called professional cover artistes are no better than you are and cost hundreds to thousands of dollars for nothing useful

who me?
May 2nd, 2017, 09:05 PM
One thing that has always given me problems is creating covers for my various works. I don't have Photoshop and a lot of the free software is too complicated for me. However, I recently came across GoogleDocs that includes GoogleDraw. That turns out to be a simple way to create cover art but one needs to figure out how to send it to your hard drive where you can find it!

And then, I discovered yet another tool - right there in my PC all the time. I've had OpenOffice for several years but have become very fond of LibreOffice, a free program that includes a word processor and data base. But, it was only a week or so ago that I discovered it also includes Draw Drawing. It turns out to be a very simple program to use with just about every imaginable tool to make reasonable covers. The only problem I discovered it that it creates works that end up in an odg format. But, that too is easy to overcome as there is a FREE online sites that converts odg to jpg or jpeg formats. With that in mind, here's the cover I just created for my latest short story.


15801


covers should be simple and legible at amazon thumbnail size

they are meant to sell not win artist awards

imho dump the top picture
make the bottom one much larger
increase the font size to make it easier to read

add a sales blurb if possible
and make the back cover all sales oriented

aj47
May 2nd, 2017, 09:12 PM
anyone smart enough to write a book is smart enough to diy their own cover

covers are to sell books not win art awards

most so called professional cover artistes are no better than you are and cost hundreds to thousands of dollars for nothing useful

I paid <$100 for my covers. It's not about art it's about design and layout. Professionals know this stuff. Sure, you can learn it. But don't teach yourself to draw digital imagery, teach yourself commercial design. Because that's the skillset you need. Making pretties is a nice skill to have, but it won't translate into good book covers.

lvcabbie
May 20th, 2017, 08:42 PM
I paid <$100 for my covers. It's not about art it's about design and layout. Professionals know this stuff. Sure, you can learn it. But don't teach yourself to draw digital imagery, teach yourself commercial design. Because that's the skillset you need. Making pretties is a nice skill to have, but it won't translate into good book covers.

At this point, I would gladly pay to have new covers for my three novels. Just don't know who to contact and, if they want to, how to pay them. I do have a Pay Pal account but don't know how to transfer $ from my bank account to it and then to the artist.

Help appreciated.