Why This Book Cover Software ROCKS

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It was back in 1998 when I officially started designing books. I was freelancing for a medium-sized book publisher who needed cover designs pumped out at almost factory-style speed.

At the time, I was a Zombie Mom; a "Mombie" if you will—awake 24 hours a day with a high-energy toddler boy and a newborn who had her days and nights confused—so the idea of flexible hours was appealing during my Walk With The Dead.

My 3 a.m. quality time with Miss Nightlife often took place in a dark basement office. But my one-handed typing skills were on-point, so there was that.

About a year later, with 200+ cover designs under my belt and countless cups of strong coffee, I decided to break away from the craziness and launch my own niche design business online. For several years I tooled along happily, me and my trusty Photoshop 4.0.

But with this new self-publishing era came the Do-It-Yourselfers who wanted an easy way to create and submit their own high-quality covers, confidently and cost effectively. I wanted to find a way to help this budget-minded group design covers that still looked like they spent $$$ on professional design.

So, I got busy! I wire-framed an idea for software that contained all the tools available to create professional-quality book covers, without the need for artistic skill.

With this concept, my developers and I spent about a year in beta-testing to launch a comprehensive, downloadable cover design program that can set the specs like size, spine, trim, resolution, and mode; with a toolbar for customizing text, images, embellishments, colors, ISBN barcode, and ebook conversion. 

A few months later I launched our templates gallery with some nice, fully-editable, plug+go designs to provide a jumpstart for layout and position.

Since 2007, this program has helped thousands of indie authors create their own amazing covers.

And the best part about it? I provide a FREE assessment of my customer's covers. Just shoot me over your finished design and I will give you a professional Creative Critique+Tweak for optimum sell.  

I mean, who else does that? ;)
Check out my Design, Editing, & Marketing Services - just for indie authors.

10 Cover Design Secrets from a Pro

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As a book designer and consultant for 20 years, I’m forever curious about which book covers get the most attention. In a $29 billion business, book publishing values cover design in the highest importance: In addition to being the “face” of the book, it also represents a window into the story; setting the mood and style; engaging the reader on a deeper level; and finally, enticing them to buy.

So, without further ado, here are my 10 favorite trade secrets for creating a book cover that sells:

1.      Say no to cover clutter. Keep it simple and focused. Book browsers are ADD by nature—it has to grab their attention NOW. In a world full of graphic pollution, less is more. If your front cover is full of photos, text, or fancy fonts, it will be too much information to compute and it won't get noticed.

2.     Think in terms of billboards to drivers. Your book cover needs to be visually understood in 6 seconds or less, and absolutely clear reduced down to thumbnail size. The viewer will see either your spine or front cover first, then, if they like what they see, they will flip it over and read the back. The rules are the same for the back, but relaxed slightly. Keep your back page copy down to 3 paragraphs.

3.     Keep your title short and large. A good rule of thumb is a two-to-three words; with an optional smaller one-line sub-title. Your title should be legible reduced down to Amazon thumbnail size. Avoid fancy script fonts. The best fonts to use are san-seriffed or semi-seriffed fonts. Your spine should be readable five feet away.

4.     Avoid pure white backgrounds when displaying on a website. These will blend into the background too much, and look strange. If you insist on white, consider a colored border for definition. On the flip side, avoid going crazy with colored backgrounds. Your best bet: One flat color.

5.     Simplify your color scheme. Imagine designing a book cover like you would paint a home: A base color, trim color, and embellishment color. The colors should complement each other and work with the image.

*Tip: Go for contrast. A black background with white text is dramatic & mysterious. The bolder the color, the more it grabs the eye.

6.     Research book covers in your genre. Go to Amazon, Kobo, & Barnes & Noble and peruse the top-selling books. Put yourself in the buyer’s perspective: What grabs your attention? What qualities do the bestsellers in your own genre share?

7.     Big name mentions. If you can obtain a foreword or blurb by a famous person or popular trade magazine, give it a prominent place on your front cover - but truncate it if it's too long. This is instant credibility and has an immediate positive effect.

8.    Flaps matter. For book jackets, don't overlook the selling potential of the flaps. Consumers typically read the front, spine, back, then open up to the flaps for more information. Here is a great place for your bio, other books you've written, website, etc.

9.     Critique yourself. Print out your cover on a full color printer to gain perspective on what the consumer will see. Set it 5-10 feet away. Is it legible? Clean? Does it grab attention out of the corner of your eye?

10.    Friends & family. Give your cover to your most scrupulous circle, and get their honest opinion. Would they buy this book based on the cover alone? What are their suggestions?

I hope this has been helpful as you create that FABULOUS cover. If you want a professional's opinion, just email me your design and I'll take a peek! I will outline the areas of improvement and offer my suggestions. :)

To beautiful books,

Gia

Color "Cheat" Chart

Did you know that the color of your cover can have a huge impact on first impressions?

As humans, we are conditioned to have subliminal reactions -- feelings -- to certain colors.

Feel free to download and share our free color chart that can be used as a guideline to help determine what dominant color would work best for your book - and give you an instant edge. ;)

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