Cover Art for eBooks

10/03/11 9:00 AM

Here’s the cover art for my novel.

One of the pros of self-publishing is you have control over the cover art process. One of the cons of self-publishing is you have control over the covert art process. 🙂

It’s mostly a pro, I think. I use the folks at 1106 Design out in Arizona. I’ve been reading up on cover art for eBooks and worshipping at the altar of Joe Konrath who is kinda like the Jesus of self-publishing. He has strong opinions about cover art, but also good insight (here’s an eBook cover he loves).

Creating eBook cover art is a bit different than creating cover art that appears only on books you’d find in brick and mortar stores, although many of the basic principles still apply, of course. (And since almost all books in bookstores are also sold online, designers need to consider how their designs translate to digital covers.)

All covers need to communicate a story and fit with the title and genre. People judge books by their covers all the time, and this still holds true for eBooks.The biggest difference is that eBook covers need to reduce well and still “pop” in thumbnail size. No easy feat.

I think the best cover out of my short stories is for “The Object,” which, interestingly enough is my least favorite piece.

That probably sounds weird, I’m sure, but whether people are willing to admit it or not, I imagine most writers have favorites when it comes to their own work. My issue with “The Object” isn’t the story; it’s that it’s flash fiction. I’m finding so many people are wary of short stories. To throw flash into the mix, well — it truly is a niche (and not for everyone).

One of my favorite bloggers, Ghenet, had this great post on YA covers — she includes images from some of her faves, and they’re all brilliant. She makes a good point in her post — she doesn’t like covers that show faces because she likes to decide what the character looks like and is irked when the cover art doesn’t match the image in her mind. I was VERY aware of this issue (even before I read Ghenet’s post) when working on this cover with my design team. I’m hoping I give just enough face — green eyes and red hair are relevant to this story and mentioned a bunch of times — without ruining the imagining part for the reader. We’ll see.

(Although as I write this post, it’s funny to note that I violate the face rule with “The Object” and a couple of my other short stories…for some reason, the issue feels more urgent to me with the novel.)

I also opt to keep my name small. Unless I’m Jodi-Picoult huge, my name isn’t going to carry much weight — the title and the image have to do all the work, for now.

How ’bout you? Can you think of some recent covers that dazzled you? Did the book live up to the cover’s promise? Or have you encountered a great story with a mediocre cover? Share in the comments — include links if you want.

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Posted by Robyn | in eBook cover art, eBooks | 5 Comments »

5 Comments on “Cover Art for eBooks”

  1. Steve T Says:

    I love the retro pulp covers from Hard Case crime. They’re the only paperbacks I still buy, only because most titles are not available as e-books.

    http://www.hardcasecrime.com/books_bios.cgi

  2. Robyn Says:

    @Steve — ah, yes! I can see why. Those covers rock it. 🙂

  3. Ghenet Says:

    Thanks for the shout out! 🙂 I like the two covers you posted here. The one for FORGOTTEN APRIL is pretty – I like the fact that you only see half her face. The colors, flowers and font grab my attention. The one for THE OBJECT is cool because I want to know why he has tape over his mouth.

    I generally don’t like covers with people, but I think that’s because a lot of YA covers with people are cheesy. You know the ones I’m talking about – a guy and a girl looking at each other. That type of thing. There are exceptions though – it all just depends on the cover!

    I’m impressed that you do your own covers and I think they came out great!

  4. Mike Says:

    That’s a gorgeous cover. I love it.

  5. Phil Says:

    I’ve become obsessed with cover art. How does it look normal sized? Does it still draw the eye when shrunk to miniature? Are the colors striking, is the design overly complex, does the image project the nature of the novel? Great work on your own covers, btw!