Thursday, 7 July 2011

Outside My Comfort Zone by Lynne Garner

Before I begin I'll admit I feel a bit of a fraud as I've still not managed to publish a book on Kindle. This time last month I was all set to launch my new book. However things never go to plan and I am in the process of totally re-structuring the book before it goes to my proofreader. In the middle of restructuring the book I remembered I had two magazines features to write, some one-to-one coaching to do and a front cover to design.

Obviously when having a book traditionally published the publisher or packagers take care of cover design. I may get a chance to see a few mock-ups, perhaps ever say which cover I prefer but I've never had to design one. I have taught kitchen and produce design but with cover design I was working outside of my comfort zone. I therefore started where I would suggest my student's start, by researching covers with similar titles. I'll be honest that wasn't much help. They either looked dated, I knew there was no way I could achieve a similar result or I just didn't like them. Noticing some covers featured picture book characters I had a go at drawing my own. The following is one of the results of this experiment. The problem was as soon as I'd pressed save I knew I wouldn't be using them.

I researched further and noticed a few covers comprised just of words, so I gave this a try. The sample below is perhaps the best of a bad bunch:

I then remembered some photographs I'd taken years ago for another project, which never came to fruition. So I searched my archived files and there they were, photographs of a pad and pencil. In Photoshop I started to add text and a thin black border (as suggested on the Kindle forum). I began to like what I saw, but it wasn't quite there. Although I'm getting to grips with Photoshop everything I know has come from reading 'The Missing Manual' or by accident. It was by accident I discovered how to twist the text. I was getting:

But I decided I needed to take some new shots, this time with different coloured backgrounds and a small rubber duck (something that features in the book). Soon I was uploading a new set of images and 'playing' with fonts and layout. I ended up with four slightly different layouts . The sample below I think is the possible cover for my new book:

I'm more than aware that by the time my book is published on Kindle I could have had a complete change of heart and spent another day trying to create a front cover. However I now feel I'm one step nearer to my goal of becoming a published Kindle author and actually found I have enjoyed the experience of working outside my comfort zone. And you never know by the time it comes for me to blog here again my book will be up and with fingers crossed selling.


Debbie said...

Looks great. But I think the duck might look better viewed from above? Or maybe you've tried that. Also bear in mind that for the kindle market, the covers have to work at thumbnail size and your name will disappear! Have you thought about putting your name on the notepad itself in a bigger font?

Dan Holloway said...

I'm incredibly lucky to have worked with some amazing artists and cover designers on my books and ebooks. I find it one of the most exciting parts of the process of getting a book out there - I've found it a really surprising part of the ebook process though. One of the reasons many of the people I know were so excited about ebooks is the potential to get away form the hideboundness of the paper market - the me-too covers and need to find your pigeon-hole. And yet the ebook market (for the time being) works even *more* on fitting into an existent niche, having a cover that stands out but is immediately recognisable for its genre. It'll be fascinating seeing how this changes - at a time when McSweeney's and a host of others are leading a wholesale revival of magnificent paper covers, it'll be great to see where their e-equivalents push things.

Agree with Deb about the duck, by the way - but the layout's great

Philip van Wulven said...

Kindles and many other ereaders don't have colour screens, just black and white. So your cover has to look good in grayscale at thumbnail size.

Lynne Garner said...

Thanks for the feed back - as I said in my post I was well aware my final version would not be my final version.