UPDATED POST 12/2013 (originally posted Dec 2011)
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 screen resolution and size varies depending on the device. However, I prefer to use a standard paperback size of 6″ x 9″ (or at least 2500 pixels on the long side). Even if you do not plan to print your book, you are guaranteed the best display quality for your cover. And should you decide to print later on down the road, then you will not have to “recreate” the cover to the higher resolution.
- Open a new page in your design program
- Set the resolution to 300 dpi
- Set the page size to 6 x 9 ” (or at least 2500 pixels on the long side)
- Save the file
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.
NOTE: the example image is 200 dpi. If enlarged, the quality will diminish, so this image is for tutorial purposes only.
Edit the Image
This is where you can have some fun. 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, if necessary. Every font is different and 72 pt in another typeface may overpower the cover layout.
- 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.
Book titles need to be visible (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the book area) but shouldn’t obliterate the image; titles are commonly placed in the top half of the book cover but that is not a requirement. 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 filter.
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 save it to a JPG file at the highest resolution possible.
DO NOT COMPRESS your image when saving to JPG. The Kindle publishing system automatically applies compression to all images, so applying it yourself can make images look blurry or pixelated.
If you created your cover too small, do not stretch it to make it larger. That will result in a blurry image. It is better to recreate the image at the correct size and quality.
NOTE: KDP automatically inserts your cover INTO your ebook based on the Product image you upload.
- Save your original file (ai, psd, etc) – you want to keep the original file for modifications or changes.
- Save to JPG using “Save As” Feature. (besure it is at least 1000 pixels on the long side)
- Upload to KDP product image area.
- Design your cover to 6 ” x 9″ or at least 2500 pixels on the long side
- Use 300 dpi high resolution*
- Do not compress your image for uploading
- You do not need to include the cover “inside” your ebook – Kindle will insert it for you.
*According to Amazon, you should save your file at 72 ppi (pixels per inch). (See: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A3UPL1JFRLJ2II)
Below are the working files for the FireHawk cover.