Hell yes they will! I hate to say it, but we all do it. Every day we see things and immediately know if it is pleasing or makes us feel good, bad, ugly…whatever. You don’t want to brush over the cover design and if you have someone helping or doing the cover for you – be sure to communicate as much as possible with them.
I did a lot of thinking first with my cover. That sounds kind of silly but I just thought about what kind of elements I want on the cover. Do I want an image? What kind of image? Random person? Typical sky or book scene? What colors or fonts do I want? Hmmm…there is infinite options which is kind of scary. I looked on my bookshelves and searched through similar books on Amazon and just did some good old fashioned brainstorming. I often refer people to www.istockphoto.com and have them put some key words relating to their book in the search box. You can get some great ideas doing that too.
I have a background in design so I did the layout myself. I graduated from Art School in 2002 so this was right before more fancy programs came out like Adobe InDesign. I just used Illustrator – probably about 4 versions old – but it got the job done. If at all possible, DO NOT use Word to layout the cover and definitely do not use clip art. If you learn anything from my blog, let that be it!
First things first – what is the right trim size (height and width of finished book)? Well, most books are perfect bound so they will require a spine. The spine is that little piece connecting the front and back. This is what people will see when the book is sitting on a shelf. The spine size is figured with number of pages and type of paper. Click here for a spine width calc: http://dev.mirasmart.com/spinecalc/. You also want to add bleed to the cover as well when doing the layout. Most printers will require 1/8″ of bleed. What is bleed you say? It is extending the cover outside of the trim mark so the images or color goes to the edge of the page. My book size if 5.5 x 8.5 so my cover layout will be:
.125 (bleed) + 5.5 (back) + .10 (spine) + 5.5 (front) + .125(bleed) = 11.35″ wide
.125 (bleed) + 8.5 (height) + .125 (bleed) = 8.75″ high
It is a good idea to set guides where the bleed is and where the spine is. That way you know the exact space you are working within with placing images/text on the front or back cover. This is pretty confusing for most people – especially if they are unfamiliar with design layout. So I hope this shed some light.
RESOLUTION! You know when you are looking at an image and you can see a bunch of dots – that means the resolution of that image sucked. NEVER pull an image off of the web. A) you do not own it and can get in big trouble. Imagine becoming a super famous author and someone coming back to sue you for some little image? B) the resolution of images on the web are 72 dpi normally. This is so they can load quickly on your computer. They are not for printing. It is ideal to have an image at 300 dpi to scale. So for instance, if you take a picture with your camera and put it on your computer – you want to keep it at that size or maybe just a little larger. If you go and blow it up to a poster size, all those pixels or bits of color get stretched out and now the picture isn’t crisp and clear, it is fuzzy and sucky. I could talk all day about resolution but I think you get the point.
FONTS – stick to what you have on the interior. Like I said with the manuscript blog – too many fonts, too confusing. That is all I have to say about that.
Speaking of manuscript blog – be sure and look to your right under ‘recent posts’. Check out the last couple if you haven’t already.
As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.
…in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.