Module 11. Creating a Custom E-Book Cover
Creating a custom cover for your e-book can make it more appealling to readers. This module will guide you in making a simple e-book cover.
There are a variety of tools (many of which are free) that can be used to create your e-book cover. Some of the most popular tools that you can use for this purpose include:
- Google Docs Presentation
- Microsoft PowerPoint (must be purchased)
- Google Docs Drawing
- Adobe Fireworks (must be purchased)
- Adobe Photoshop (must be purchased)
Explore your options and choose a tool that you feel confident using or learning for this purpose. This module will utilize Google Docs Presentation, but similar steps may be used for other tools.
Like a computer monitor, e-book readers use points of light to represent text and images. Each of these points of light is called a pixel, and an image or e-book cover is made up of thousands of pixels in a grid format (e.g., an image 4 pixels wide and 8 pixels tall would have 32 pixels total, and its dimensions would be 4x8). The most common pixel dimensions of an e-book cover are 600x800 pixels. When creating an e-book cover you should either create an image that is 600 x 800 pixels or that maintains this same ratio but with more pixels (e.g., 768 x 1024).
In your selected tool, create a new document, and set the document size to 600 x 800 pixels. In a Google Presentation, do this by clicking on "File > Page setup", selecting "Custom", selecting "Pixels", and entering "600" and "800" in the fields. Click "OK". You should now have a portrait-type document to work with (i.e. the page's height is greater than its width).
Add a Background
Most covers utilize a background image or a collection of shapes to add color to the cover. For inspiration, browse popular books on a site like Amazon or Smashwords. You can add a background image or background color to your Google Presentation cover by clicking "Slide > Change background". You may then upload an image or include an image by URL. When selecting an image, remember that you will need to place readable text somewhere on the image, so you should use an image that has space for the title and author's name. If you use an image by someone else, be sure that it is in the public domain or has a copyleft license.
Example Covers with Public Domain Background Images
If you use a copyleft image in your cover, be sure to properly attribute it in the text of your e-book.
Add Title and Author
Add the title and author's name to your e-book cover. When you do so, be sure to adjust the size and color of the text to complement your background. In general, the title of the e-book is more important than the author's name. This means that the title should be larger than the author's name and/or utilize a bolder or more visible font. You may use any font on your cover.
In your Google Docs Presentation cover, enter the title of the e-book into the Title textbox and the author's name in the Subtitle textbox. Move and adjust the textbox locations, sizes, and colors as needed.
Most background images have details and use a variety of colors that make reading text on top of them difficult. You can improve the contrast and readability of your text by adding background shapes behind it. In your Google Docs Presentation, click "Insert > Shape > Shapes > [Rectangle]". Right-click on the rectangle, and click "Order > Send to back" to place it behind your text. Adjust the size, location, and color of these shapes as needed to support your text.
In order to include your cover in your e-book, it must be exported into a common image format.
Common image formats include:
- .jpg (or .jpeg)
Other formats like .tif or .gif might also be acceptable, but .jpg and .png are the standards.
To export your Google Docs Presentation cover as a .jpg or .png file, click "File > Download as > PNG Image (.png)".