"Writing is easy, living is hard" is a variation on a famous quote attributed to Hemingway. If he was a self-published author he might have changed it to say "book covers are hard." I just posted my experience with creating covers for my books at martinlrenaud.blogspot.com. I have used photoshop in the past but recently switched to the free program "GIMP." I tend to be DIY about most things but was wondering what other writers do about their book covers. What software do you use, services etc?
I'm DIY too, and it's mostly for my own book covers. I buy my images for approximately $10 at Dreamstime, size them how I want in Picture Manager or Paint.NET, and upload them to PowerPoint where I add text, effects, etc. I'm not a graphic designer, but I think my covers are sufficient.
I just checked out your blog post. Your covers look good. I've heard of GIMP. I should give it a try.
It's not too hard to use - no harder than photoshop, I guess. You'll probably find it a lot more flexible than picture manager and paint.
I used formattingexperts.com for both my formatting and my cover and I'll be using them again. They were really good and very professional. When I sent them my introductory email, they immediately wrote back and assured me that I wouldn't have to pay a dime until I was 100 percent satisfied. Quite frankly, I didn't put too much stock in what they said, especially when I found out the company was in Poland. I sent them a short blurb on my book, they had a cover ready for my review within a day or so - which I wasn't too keen on - so I told them what I didn't like about it and what I did. I sent them a few photos in order to better get a feel for what I wanted. I expected them to "rehash" their previous design but what they sent me two days later was a custom design which I was thrillled with. I give more details about this company as well as a picture of my cover on my blog at http://martatandori.blogspot.ca.
If you have the skills to do your own cover, then by all means, more power to you. However, for people with limited - and I do mean limited - computer skills like me, formattingexperts.com is certainly the ticket!
Thanks for posting. I had not heard of formattingexperts.com before so I am very grateful for raising our awareness of this option. I am glad that you found a group that puts service first, and profits second. It sounds like this might be a great option for some people. The fact that it's in Poland is cool too - the world really is getting smaller in some ways.
I hire an actual professionally trained artist. Being the cheapskate that I am, I begrudge the expense, but it's worth it. Most of the time, when writers who are not professional artists try to create their own book covers, the results are dreadful, and I have no reason to think I'd fare any better.
Actually, it doesn't cost me all that much because an artist friend cuts me a deal. Those who lack such a person to exploit might want to look for hungry art students at the local college.
I have a designer who does the work for me on those. He's exceptional at what he does.
I am also a recent convert to GIMP - I came to it from Serif when I switched from Windows to Linux. It's good - I recommend it.
I'm a recent convert also to self-publishing and DIY covers. I did two in the space of a few weeks for my new novel and a reissue of my earlier one. I the light of that experience I would definitely recommend at least having a go at doing your own covers, but from the beginning of writing a novel do have in mind that you'll be doing that. And build up a big folio of pics fro which to make up a cover. In down-times from writing, instead of cyberskiving, play around with the software so that when the time comes you have a fair bit of expertise with software.
You can see my two offerings at Smashwords or on my blog (http://snigsfoot.blogspot.com) - two covers in very much the same style.
Hi Robert - I agree with you that authors might want to try Gimp to conceptualize their covers. It's free, and not too hard to use. It can even be useful for people who choose to hire a pro: it gives them something to show to a professional artist as an example of what they want.
Not mine, but some guidelines that seem apt:
Top Ten Tips for a Great Book Cover « Savvy Writers & e-Books online http://bit.ly/TaXSAT
Darryl, the link that you provided leads to a Facebook security warning page, not to a page about book covers.