Friday, April 1, 2016

How to Make Your Manuscript Into a Kindle E-Book on Amazon - Part 3 - Get Your E-Book Covers Here! (Not All Free)

I hope you're making progress on your Kindle e-book after the previous two how-to posts. But even if you have your e-book written and formatted, you're going to need a cover for your e-book.

So in this Part 3 of the series about making your own Kindle e-book, we're going to explore making your own cover for your Kindle book as well as where you can find covers to purchase or hire someone to make one for you.

In Part 1 of this series in February, we covered how to format your Microsoft Word document to make it into a Kindle e-book. Last month in Part 2, we talked about saving yourself time and work by creating your own Templates for your Front Matter and Back Matter. This way whenever you create a new e-book, you not only can simply copy and paste your Front and End Matter into your new e-book, but you can also easily update all your existing e-books by updating your End Matter once -- including your "More Books by You" section -- and then copying that into all your existing book documents and re-uploading them to Kindle. This updates your End Matter in each of your books and lets your readers know of your new book coming out, as well as all your other books. It's called cross promoting, it's wonderful, and you should always look for opportunities to be doing this.

Oh but wait. We haven't uploaded your first e-book yet because we need a book cover.

There are several ways you can get a cover for your e-book. (Tweet that!)

I have both had covers made for my Kindle books and made covers for some myself. I've also done a lot of research on where to get Kindle e-book covers. So I'll share what I know with you here. (Please Tweet that!) There are probably many more ways but as always I share what I've learned to help you get started and you can take it from there and run with it.

My first book,
Dear America, was
published in print by
Ampelos Press in  March
2002. I made it a Kindle
e-book in March 2012.

1. Use the cover from your existing books (No additional cost since you already have it)


My second book, Deliver
Me, I published in print in
April 2011. I made it an
e-book in 2013.
Obviously you can use the cover image you already have for your printed books. For the first two e-books I created I used the cover I already had because these were first printed books.

This was many years ago and I got help from friends to create the front cover only (without the spine or back cover). From there, it was easy to upload that file to Kindle.

(Available on Dianne's Amazon pageClick the yellow Follow button to be alerted when I release a new e-book!)

2. Create your cover on Kindle (Free)


For some of you, it might be easiest to use the cover Creator on the Kindle site. Go to your account at KDP.com and look at the top of the Bookshelf page. The second item in the New Title Checklist has a link to their Cover Creator.

I did play around with the Cover Creator for short time and I felt the covers I was coming up with were not as good as I could get elsewhere so I haven't used Kindle's Cover Creator. And that was a few years ago too, so it might be better now. 

If you're really good at creating artistic projects, yours might turn out better than mine did. So don't neglect trying Kindle's built-in Cover Creator.


3. Use Fiverr.com (Not Free)


When I decided to create a line of at least twelve e-books for writers, I went to Fiverr.com. If you're not familiar with Fiverr.com, it is a site where people are willing to do many tasks for you for five dollars. Their gigs, as they call them, always start with, "For five dollars I will…". On Fiverr you can also purchase upgrades for an additional fee, so I ended up paying another five dollars for an upgraded image for each of my covers. But I still felt that was a good deal to get my e-book covers for ten dollars each.

It was my goal to have each of my e-books earn back the ten dollars I spent on its cover. Everything I earn from my e-book after that is pure profit, except for the time I invested in creating them. However, as it turned out, within the first couple months my first e-book earned back as much as I paid for all twelve covers! (Tweet that!) So they are all paid for.

If you have seen my e-books for writers in my "Getting Published" series, these are the e-book covers I had made at Fiverr.com. I'll insert the covers of the books that are out so far below so you can see them. I asked my e-book cover designer on Fiverr.com to make all twelve covers look like a series. So she inserted the "Getting Published" bar with the circle and book inside so they would all look alike. I thought she did a great job. And I think the covers I got for ten dollars each are well worth their money.

     

(All available on Dianne's Amazon page
Click the yellow Follow button to be alerted when I release a new e-book!)

Oh, and by the way, I did ask my cover designer if she would offer a discount since I was having her make twelve covers. She did, and I basically got two covers free or all twelve for the price of ten.

So while you need to shop around on Fiverr.com, I think you can get a very good cover for a very good price there. You can shop around by using the search box to search for e-book covers. You should see many gigs from people who will create your e-book covers.

Then you can investigate each one. Their profile will tell you what country the person offering the gig is from, if they speak English, etc.. They often display several examples of e-book covers they have created. Some of them talk to you in a video that will show you more. You can also read reviews of the service from people who have purchased that gig. You can see how many gigs they have in their queue and so that will tell you how long it may take for them to get to your project. I've had a lot of fun looking through all of the different offers and people who create e-books on Fiver.com so you might set aside some time to enjoy exploring the possibilities there.

4. Create your cover on Canva.com (Free)


When it came time to create covers for the three e-books I wanted to create from my Bible Prophecies Fulfilled blog, I already had images that I wanted to use. For my first e-book I wanted to use a picture I took myself of the eclipsed reddish moon called a "Blood Moon." I had also already created an image of a harvest to represent the Shemitah and I wanted to use that for my book cover. For the third book in the series I already had an image from Morguefile.com of a Jewish priest holding the Torah which I had used on my blog. Because I already knew that I could use the image from Morguefile, I wanted to use that on my e-book cover well.

So I had the images I wanted, I just needed a program to help me create my e-book covers. As I was doing other projects I noticed on Canva.com that there is an option for creating an e-book cover. (Tweet that!) So I checked that out, and that template already had the correct size Kindle requires so it was easy for me to use that template to create my e-book covers.

Also, because I wanted all three to look similar because they are series, I created a bar that says "Bible Prophecies Fulfilled Blog Series." I put my name as author on the cover. From that point it was easy to just change the image and change the title and the bar with the type and my author name remained the same, all lined up, same font and text color and size, so all my covers go together as in a series.

I have to admit that I'm not completely satisfied with the e-book covers I created on Canva.com. I don't like the way the titles don't really pop. I've tried making the text thicker, bolder, whiter. But nothing I've done so far really makes the words stand out. The titles are hard to read, especially when in the smaller thumbnail. So I think I need to work on these covers some more,

    

(All available on Dianne's Amazon page
Click the yellow Follow button to be alerted when I release a new e-book!)

Please note that when using Canva.com you are creating a cover for an e-book only. So if you want to also make your book available in print you won't have the spine and the back cover to go with it.

If you do want to make your book available both in print and as an e-book, you will need the spine and the back cover for your print book. In all my travels around the Internet and research on looking for covers for my books I found several articles and sites where you can get covers made for both e-books and print books. I'll share those below.

More places to get your e-book (and/or print) cover  (Not Free)


5. Multiple sources in this article 

I came across this article with an abundance of opportunities where you can get your e-book cover made.  (Tweet that!)

6. The Book Cover Designer 

Here you can purchase pre-made book covers or have one custom made. Costs start at about $40 and go up from there. For an additional cost, you can also purchase the cover for your print book (meaning it also includes the spine and back cover).

What I found especially fun on this site is that you can choose one artist and see all of his or her covers. So when you see a style that especially catches your attention, that artist might be the special one you're looking for. (Tweet that!)

7. Cover Design Studio 

This site claims that, using their templates, you can create a do-it-yourself book cover for Create Space (that's the print arm of Amazon) and Kindle in under one hour. I haven't done that and I'm pretty sure it would take me more than an hour! They have templates you can purchase starting at $19. (Tweet that!)

8. Self Pub Book Covers 

This site offers self publishers or independent publishers book cover design, and there are lots to choose from. You can purchase a cover and then edit the text. (Tweet that!) Costs start at $69.

9. Cover Vault 

Finally, if you know how to use Photoshop and if you own that program, you may be interested in this site. I'm not sure that it actually makes e-book covers, however the site owner offers many free templates for promoting your e-books. (Tweet that!)

I don't own Photoshop, so I didn't get very far using it. I'm wondering if Gimp.org (a free software that claims to do the same as the expensive Photoshop) would work, but I haven't taken the time to play with that. At any rate, if you're interested here is that site.

Where you can get images for your e-book cover  (Free)

If you're going to create your own e-book cover you will need an image to go on the cover. Be careful that you get an image where you either own the rights or have the rights to use on your e-book cover. There are many stock photo websites where you can get images, but make sure you're allowed to use it on your e-book without any restrictions.

Of course if you take the photo yourself you can use it without restrictions as long as you don't have people or property in it that you haven't received permission to use on your e-book cover.

I love Morguefile.com because we can freely use those images without restrictions. You can also alter those images if you want to and Morguefile doesn't mind. By alter I mean you can put text over the image and make other alterations.


I did find this article which I thought had a lot of good sites for free images that I'd like to check out. (Tweet that!) I haven't had the time to check them out yet, but you can have fun doing that.




My best advice for a book cover

Whether you decide to make your own book cover or hire someone to make it for you I want to share the best advice I've ever received about making a book cover. This advice came from my cover designer for my book Deliver Me, Jo Hardesty. Jo told me that the cover of your book needs to tell a story. That's why I love the cover image I found for Deliver Me. I really feel that image tells a story. (Tweet that!)

So as you design your book cover for your new Kindle e-book keep that in mind. What image can you find that tells the story of your e-book?


Next month I'll give you the tips I've learned about uploading my e-books on Kindle. 

There's plenty of instruction out there if you don't want to wait, or if you want to upload your e-book for pre-sale in the mean time. One Caution: Just be sure your e-book is ready or at least nearly ready before you set it up for pre-sale on Kindle, because once you do that you can un-do it! 

Notes:


  • My next e-book in the "Getting Published" series is available for pre-order now. I expect this e-book to release next month, in May 2016. Get it as soon as it releases! Pre-order now here:



Includes my formula for writing query letters PLUS 9 of my actual query letters for you to follow as examples. Only $3.95. Order today!

  • I'm currently offering a new document titled "Which Rights Are the Right Rights for a Writer to Sell?" for free to subscribers to my newsletter, If you've already subscribed, I'll include a link to the document in the April 2016 issue. If you'd like to sign up, you can do that here: Subscribe to Dianne's Newsletter 


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