5 Steps to Make a Cover Image

In a previous post, Rohi suggested I share the steps I took to make the cover image for Ladoo Dog. I thought this was great idea and that it would be an easy post to write. I can’t believe that although it’s been barely 3 weeks since I created the cover image, I had difficulty recalling the exact steps I took. Nevertheless, I’ve written out a rough guide for this post. So, here goes:

Step 1 – The Requirements

The Style Guide I downloaded from the Smashwords site has a whole section on creating the cover image. In simple terms, what’s required is this:

  • The Image file must have the file extension .JPEG
  • The cover image must be vertical.
  • It must include the book title and author’s name.
  • It should be at least 500 pixels wide by 800 pixels tall.
  • Book covers cannot contain nudity, a price or a web address.
  • Your name and title must match what’s listed inside the book.
  • Make the text big enough so that when it’s made into a thumbnail, you can still read it.
  • The image must be in RGB colour. CYMK is for printing purposes.

Step 2 – Preparing the image.

As I had drawn the pictures of Ladoo, a friend scanned them for me. Then, he sent me an email and attached each scanned picture as a .JPEG file. I accessed the software that came with the computer from the ‘Accessories’ folder (I think it’s called ‘Paint’) and cropped these pictures. I also used the ‘eraser’ button to clean up the white space in the file.

Step 3 – Adding the border around the picture of Ladoo

Since I was familiar with the design for The Banana Leaf Men, I thought it best to follow that. The plan, therefore, was to have the picture in the middle, a coloured frame around it, the title on top and my name at the bottom.

cover for ladoo dog1
I opened the .JPEG file in ‘Paint’ and pasted the scanned picture into a blank file. Initially, I kept the whole picture of Ladoo. When I was done, I sent the file to Rohi and my parents. They used difference words, but the meaning was clear: the whole thing looked a little unfinished because there was still an empty space on the left hand top corner of the border (as in the picture).

So, I started again. This time, I increased the size of the file and ‘cut’ Ladoo’s body. So her face became more pronounced and there were no empty spaces on the left hand corner when I created the border. I sent this file to my parents and Rohi. This time, everyone liked it. I saved the file and called it ladooborder.JPEG.

Step 4 – Software

The Style Guide also provides the link to a website where you can download a free application. It’s called Paint.NET (www.getpaint.net). I downloaded this software and installed it. It seemed easy to use. However, I found that there were things I could not understand. So, I alternated between using ‘Paint’ and ‘Paint.NET’.

Step 5 – Creating the file

box in paintnetAfter I opened Paint.NET, I then clicked on File, then New. The box (in the picture) will appear. Fill in the details (500 pixels wide by 800 pixels tall) as per the requirements in the Style Guide (as in Step 1). Then click OK.

A new blank page will open up.

I copied the ladooborder.JPEG into this space. Then, I used the text box and added the title and my name on the top. I used Verdana, size 24 and Bold. I guessed the colour here as I could not find the exact code for it. Then, I saved the file as ladoocover.JPEG.

When the time came, I uploaded ladoocover.JPEG to the Smashwords website.

That’s it. I am sure there are far better ways to do this. But I wanted something simple that I could manage and afford. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can do this better next time round?

By Aneeta Sundararaj

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