We’re on Day 7 of our 25 Days to ePublishing, Marketing and Promotion. Today I will show you by example a sample ebook cover layout that you can download (JPG, PDF) to use as a guide.
In this example I will create a book cover titled “FireHawk.” I will use a photograph I took of a red-tailed hawk, and then play with the image until I have a design I like.
The photo is included in this tutorial for you to download at a lower resolution (200 dpi) (below). The photo isn’t very sharp, so rather than use a soft image, I applied an artistic filter to add interest to an otherwise dull image. This is the beauty of computer programs, the ability to easily modify images.
In the following demonstration, I will be using Photoshop, but you can use a variety of imaging programs including:
- GIMP http://www.gimp.org/
- Irfanview http://www.irfanview.com/
- Picnick.com http://www.picnik.com/
- Aviary Phoenix http://www.aviary.com/tools/image-editor
Set the Size and Resolution
The standard image size for an e-book varies (Kindle is 600 x 800 pixels). If you use a different proportion it may be re-sized to fit the e-reader device screen resulting in an image that may look slightly squished; try to maintain the exact pixel proportion you want for the device you are publishing to.
- Open a new page in your program
- Set the resolution to 300 dpi
- Set the page size to KINDLE: 600 x 800 pixels (see chart below for the exact size)
- Save the page
Screen sizes and proportions
|Device||Screen height (px)||Screen width (px)||Height/width ratio|
|iPhone 4 / iPod Touch||960||640||3:2|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1||1280||800||16:10|
|Nook Simple Touch||800||600||4:3|
|Kobo eReader Touch||800||600||4:3|
Import the Image into your editing program
Here I will be using one of my own photo images. Since I am working in Photoshop, I opened the photo image and then dragged it to my new document.
- Young Redtail Hawk
I have reduced the quality of this image to (200 dpi) for this example. Right click this image and “Save As” to you computer.
Edit the Image
This is where you can have some fun. First, you may need to adjust the image to fit the pixel size you want. In my example I will design a cover for the Kindle at 600 x 800 pixels area. Keep in mind the area for the title of the book, the subhead (if you have one) and the authors’ name. You don’t want the text the image competing for space.
- Adjust the image to fit the pixel area of the cover
- In my example, I flipped the image horizontally so the bird was facing to the right
- Apply artistic filters: I applied Filter > Brush Strokes > Accented Edges
- Adjust the Image: I applied Image > Adjustments > Vibrance until I liked the results
Add the Text
Your computer comes stocked with a variety of typefaces. While these may work, you can also find optional free and paid fonts online.
I chose the font “Handwriting-Dakota” for my title and “Optimum Regular” for the Author Name.
- Type the Title of your book only.
- Adjust the font, size and color. Choose 72 pt. size to start, and adjust larger if necessary.
- Maintain a contrast between image and text color (white on red, for example)
- Test it as flush left, flush right, and centered.
- Move it around on the page until you like the unity between image and text.
I place a book title that is highly visible (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the book area) but doesn’t obliterate the image; titles are commonly placed in the top half of the book cover. The title can be caps and case or all caps. You want the title to jump out, so test various typefaces, weights, and colors.
In my example, I chose to place the Title at the bottom. I also selected the red from the birds tail section after I applied the Vibrance adjustment.
Play around with your cover and see what you come up with.
Save for e-publishing
Once you have the cover the way you want, save the original file. Now you want to export the file as a JPG for your ebook. You will also want to export a higher resolution cover for the product display. The Product cover is the image that customers see on the digital store shelf.
A Kindle internal e-book cover is designed for higher resolution display, however too high of resolution is lost on most ereaders. I prefer 96 dpi and up to 127 KB. You want a reduced or compress the file size, but maintain image quality. Test and adjust until you have a cover you like.
The Kindle product page cover is for online viewing, so save your cover using the “Save to Web” feature at 72 dpi.
NOTE: KDP now has a feature where you upload the product image and indicate whether they should use that for the internal e-book cover as well. I have not tried that feature yet, but will keep you posted.
- Save your original file (ai, psd, etc) – you want to keep the original file for modifications or changes.
- Save to Web (cover-store.jpg)
- 127 K
- 72 dpi to 96 dpi
- Up to 5MB
*NOTE: too high of resolutions will get lost on most e-readers. I prefer to set the cover at 72 dpi to 96 dpi.
Below are the working files for the FireHawk cover.
Play around with the image, and share your “FireHawk” cover design in the comments below.