So you are on a budget, but you want an awesome cover.
Your Photoshop skills are nonexistent or so-so, and you have little time to master Photoshop. What do you do?
You create a clean cover design focused on manipulating fonts and one image. In my series over the next couple weeks I will talk about: fonts, white space, and themes.
I will showcase my own journey with designing my cover.
As a new adult fantasy romance / paranormal romance writer, I found the steps I had to take after finishing my novel harder than the ones I had to take while writing. I designed like 10 covers before I finally found one I could agree with. Those covers will be revealed in the process.
I utilized Indesign for layout. This allowed me to move fonts and pictures around so much easier than Photoshop. It helped me to create this.
Your aim is not to oddly blend contrasting images the eye knows do not belong together.
Your goal is to create a clean, crisp poster look almost. Think E.L. James and Twilight. Something when we look at it, we might not go WOW!, but definitely will not go EEEEWWWW.
Nothing may not turn off readers more than published rough drafts, but a gaudy cover design will surely do you in for good.
Here are some good tips.
Use readable fonts, meaning stay away from cursive or grunge unless these fonts can be made big.
Try not to use more than 3 fonts on a cover.
Use san-serifs for headlines such as your title, and serifs for your subtitles.
Find a good balance between the white space and the objects on the page.
Stick to a central theme – when you are not using advanced techniques, you do not want to go in mixing several pictures together trying to create a collage.
If you want to set your cover apart, find a symbol that can truly represent your novel.
Serif fonts are fonts such as Times New Roman, and are further explained in this nice article on Wikipedia.
Blending multiple photographs in an image is an advanced technique, something we often forget because we want to achieve what the big dogs do.
My motto: always go with the black dress with pearls if one is out of ideas. In other words simplicity always wins the day.
I will help you achieve this simplicity over the next few weeks. Hopefully, it will help you achieve a clean cover that will lead to more sales. In the meantime, start cover shopping in your book genre. Find designs you think you can actually achieve. Do not be afraid to be inspired. Meaning, do not go and steal, but let it guide you in your process for designing your own cover.
If you are starting research early, then you have time to visit Lynda.com and watch a Photoshop series to learn how to create a cover.
Also if you would like to help others grow in this process, post links to covers you found and think can inspire others.