Thinking About Ebook Design: Self Publishing Case Study

Last month I outlined some of the self-publishing mistakes I’d made which I plan to avoid this time. And today’s the day I’m starting. First of all, I want to get a great cover design for my book. Alison Duncan gives some great tips on getting the cover right for your self published book and it’s a good idea to read those. Since I’ve helped to produce magazines in the past, I know the value of a great image for capturing your readers’ attention. It’s probably no surprise that my most successful ebook to date has been the one about blogging which features the Blogger license plate on the cover. The image links to the topic, which is great for readers.

Ebook Design Advice

One place where I found great advice on ebook design was the Sticky Ebooks site. Pamela Wilson’s guest post on DIY ebook design is a good start, but I wanted more, which is why I sprang for a copy of Ebook Evolution a few months ago. As part of the package, I got  the Ebook Evolution Cover Recipe Book, which shows you how to create memorable ebook covers using open source software. The authors recommend using Open Office and have even thrown in a couple of starter templates to use with the software. However, since I’m a confirmed Microsoft Word user, I decided to read the 26 page book and see what I could apply with the software I already had. The basic information on setting up your page, changing margins and applying color can be used in many programs, in my opinion.

Sample Ebook Designs

The beauty of this ebook is in the 20 sample covers it shows, along with instructions for how to achieve them. It may sound simple to say you should include a background image, a bar of color and your title and sub-title (that’s just one of the examples), but it’s only when you see how it looks that you get the idea. So here’s how I plan to use the inspiration this book provides.

Next Steps in Ebook Creation

  • I’ll look at the covers at different times and see which ones appeal to me most. I’ll pick the top three for further consideration.
  • I’ll use an online font checker to experiment with different fonts I can use.
  • I’ll select an image that is appropriate for my ebook. There are lots of image resources out there, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one. However, this is the most important part of the process, so I’ll take as much time over it as I need to.
  • I’ll follow the step by step instructions for creating the covers, adapting where necessary for the program I’m using.
  • I’ll ask some trusted friends for their opinion so I can choose the best one.

The good news is, I already have a head start, as I know the title and sub-title I want for my ebook. I’ll just do a little bit of research to see if I need to optimize the title and then I’ll be good to go.

Your Turn.

What resources have you used to design book covers? I’d love to hear of anything that could make the job easier or lead to some snazzy designs.

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Sharon Hurley Hall

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About Sharon.H

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website or Google+.

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10 Responses to “Thinking About Ebook Design: Self Publishing Case Study”

  1. Very interesting.. I will surely try to apply to Ebooks.. Thanks for the share!
    Sally Thompson recently posted..walmart oil changeMy Profile

  2. It is very cheap to have a simple title of a book but multi color title is costly.

  3. Thanks Sharon – it can be costly to pay for a book cover, especially if you’re just putting out a 99 cent short story or something free, so this is a great way to trim some cost and come up with something great.

    • Ya, I just thought of that. Cover design CAN be very expensive sometimes. And like you said, is that a goo investment when your book is 99c?
      Ivin Viljoen recently posted..$150 Blog Contest Reminder.My Profile

      • Thanks, Renee. Ivin, I think that investing in good cover design will help you make money from the book. After all, the cover is what makes the reader look further. For a 99c book, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money, but bearing in mind some of the principles from the Sticky Ebooks site (even if you don’t spring for the resource, the blog is useful) you can get a head start.

  4. Just took a look at that article: yes, you’re right, these are very relevant considerations, including for a book cover!

    Thanks!
    Claude Nougat recently posted..AUTHOR INTERVIEW: ELIZABETH JENNINGS, writer and founder of the best writers conference in ItalyMy Profile

    • Great recommendations, I’ve never seen the sticky ebooks site. I’m currently formatting a book that’s being launched for print and ebook so there seems to be some conflicting formatting issues between the two mediums!

  5. Useful advice, Sharon, thanks! Yes, it comes right on time as I’m about to publish Book 2 in my Fear of the Past Trilogy and I’m seriously thinking of publishing parts of my blog in book form: one on the Euro Crisis, another collecting my short stories and a third my cooking recipes. Yes, I know, very different stuff! But I can’t help it, I guess I have a multiple personality syndrome!!

    Given that syndrome, I haven’t got much time to delve into the niceties of publishing. So it’s nice to get good advice, and you’re so right, the right book cover is essential: everything needs to be put to work to transmit a SYMBOL OF WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT: and that means the content of the image, the style chosen (photo or drawing), and above all (in my humble opinion, but then I’m a painter) the COLORS! They matter enormously! Yellow is tops to attract attention and red too! I’d love to have your opinion on this matter of colors!
    Claude Nougat recently posted..AUTHOR INTERVIEW: ELIZABETH JENNINGS, writer and founder of the best writers conference in ItalyMy Profile

    • Thanks, Claude. I came across something on colors and getting attention a few months back, but can’t find it now. However there are some good tips about colors and websites in this article, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t apply to book covers too!

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