Monday, 17 March 2014

Ebook Cover Design: I made it myself, using Microsoft Word and PowerPoint!

I received a lovely message on Facebook by a person who liked my Ebook cover, a writer who wanted to know who or where I got my book cover design from, and asked if I wouldn't mind sharing the designer's details.

Sorry, but I didn't hire someone to create it for me: I made it all myself, using, as impossible as it might sound, just Microsoft Word and PowerPoint!

I have a few Ebooks projects planned for helping jobseekers - some started, some waiting for me to finish existing projects before exploring the idea further - and because of this, I wanted to create a couple of common elements within my book cover designs so that when readers see the book covers they will be able to tell that the Ebook is by me, just like publishers do for authors who write book series.

(Go have a look at the Harry Potter book covers and you'll see that the covers, even with their different titles and images, still have a consistent look to them - both the children's book releases and the adult covers). The common element for my Ebooks will be how I've stylised my name as well as its positioning on a solid, pastel colour.

At some Ebook cover design places I found on the internet charging over $500 as a starting point, I simply could not justify hiring a book cover designer, which would significantly negatively affect the pricing of the resources I intend creating, when I have some excellent computer and word processing skills. So, I decided to give designing my own book cover a try and visited and carried out a few different book searches to learn what I liked and disliked about the differing cover designs from the thumbnail view on the search result pages from books that were both fiction and non-fiction in nature.  My observation led me to work out that there are two very distinct types of Kindle book covers: professionally designed looking ones that enticed me to want to read more about the title (and sometimes distracted me away from what I had gone on to the site to do), and some very amateurish looking ones that looked cheap and did nothing to entice me to want to 'look inside' the Ebook to see if the book was right for me.

From this research, I decided that I wanted my cover to look as professionally designed as I could possibly make it and noticed that all the Ebooks published by a traditional publisher that I looked at had both the title and the author name readable even at thumbnail size (whereas, many of the self-published titles didn't), so this greatly influenced my design.

Now because I am a writer and have aspired to be a published author for many years, and as well as having an interest in using great presentation within my documents, I long ago learned of a neat little trick called a Swipe File.  This is where, when you see a design or design element that you like, you keep a copy of it and store it in your Swipe file - the file can be hard copy or electronic. I've previously done this when creating templates for business clients as a Typist. You don't infringe upon someone else's copyrighted material at all, but you use what is in your Swipe File to help you come up with ideas and explore element placement.

I took screenshots of different book titles that I liked - it could have been how the designer had created the title, or how they had angled an element instead of placing it 'squared on', and I happened to see in a Food & Recipe book a pink and white stripe background which gave the feeling of pink candy, which nicely tied in with the book being about sweet treats, so I started out just by playing around with using different coloured stripes.

As you can see, my Ebook cover idea grew from there. I had soon 'stepped' my 'fence' and added 'signage' to the fence posts - which just happened to fit each letter of the word 'resume' nicely on top. As my design started coming together as I was building it in the word document, I knew I wanted (and needed, now) to find and use the image of a construction worker - preferably a female one. I didn't have to look very far. Microsoft Word's Clip Art had just the image I had in mind!

I didn't want to use the background details, and this is where using Microsoft PowerPoint came in: because it allows you to alter existing clip art that is a .wmf image.

I converted the clip art into an image I could alter (a Microsoft Office drawing object), which then allowed me to 'Ungroup' all the images various parts and then add, remove and alter to create the image I wanted.  As you will see between the original image and the final result, I removed the background, added the girl to wearing jewellery, gave her a 'V' neckline and added some pinstripes to her trousers.
I also added the word 'resume' to the plans she is reading, and added the 'yellow screws' that she used to bolt the signs to the fence posts and the name plaques to the fencing and wall.

She was positioned to be level with the bottom of the fence posts so that nothing fell into the area where my name would eventually go, and I added the light blue slanted rectangle Shape (the shape called, Flowchart: Manual Input).

The word 'D.I.Y.' is a Text box in which I have reformatted to remove the line border.

Because I liked the colour my construction worker was wearing and felt that it didn't clash against my use of pastels, so I kept the original colour of her top.

When I had finished and was happy with my design, I 'shrunk' my word document in Preview mode, so that I could see the entire page and then took a screenshot which I pasted into PowerPoint, and then cropped out all extra background so that I could create the thumbnail images used in this blog post.

All up, it took me about four hours to create my Ebook cover design. And, I am very happy with how it turned out!

Thank you to the reader who messaged me to ask where and who I got my Ebook cover design from, it pleases me no end that you thought I used a professional service to create it for me. It means I have succeeded in my goal to create a cover that doesn't look home made! Thank you.

Did you enjoy this article?  Please feel free to share it with interested family and friends.

If you are a jobseeker, before you leave this site, why not check out some of my articles related to what this site is all about. Hopefully you might pick up some tips to help you gain work quickly and easily.

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