How I Create Front Covers For Kindle Ebooks - Lynne Garner

A few months ago I volunteered (still not sure why I must have been enjoying a particularly good hot chocolate at the time) to design the front cover for the Authors Electric new anthology of short stories. When I volunteered I had a few requests asking for a step-by-step on how I create my front covers. As I'm a little behind on my newest work in progress (which I was going to post about this month) I decided I would answer those requests and create the following post.

Before I start I'd like to point out I'm self taught. So if you know an easier way or as you read this groan, "does she really do that?" please do share your expertise in the comments box below. I'm always eager to learn new things (well most of the time, it does depend on what that new thing is.)

So here goes:

Step one:

Open Photoshop then click on 'file' then 'new' and give your file a name. Click on the 'preset' and make it 'custom.' Set the pixel sizes at 2486 (width) and 3483 (height). Finally make the 'background contents' transparent. Finally press 'OK.'

Step Two:

Now I open my first picture, this will become my first layer. To do this I go to 'File' then 'Open' and find the image I want. Once opened 'arrange documents'  and picked two screens.

Step three: 

I then highlight the move tool (the little cross in the left hand column) and click on the image I want to place on my blank template and drag and drop. Notice I now have two layers showing up in the lower right hand column.  I then close my right hand picture as I'm now done with this.

Note: For demonstrations purposes I've not lined up the picture on the left hand side.

Step four:

Now I play with the image to make it fit the blank background by using the 'free transform' which is found under the 'edit' button. Once I'm happy with the resizing of the image I click on the little cross in the top left hand corner and it will ask if I want to apply the transformation, so tick 'apply.'

Step five:

With this front cover I wanted to add another layer. So I opened a new file (image of a pen in this case) and then removed the background by using the 'magic wand' tool. To make this easier I clicked on the layer name (bottom right hand) and changed to layer 0. Then clicked on the white background with the 'magic wand' tool and pressed delete.

Step six:

I opened 'arrange documents' at the top and picked two screens again - as in step two. Then dragged and dropped the pen over the lightning bolt. Ensuring I was still on layer three (notice layer three is blue in the bottom right hand corner) I decided I wanted to change the colour of the pen slightly. To do this I clicked on 'image' then 'adjustments' then 'hue/saturation.'

Step seven:

I then adjusted the 'hue' by sliding the little arrow along until I found a colour I liked. Once I'd click OK I then clicked on the 'free transform' (see step four) to resize the pen and place it where I wanted it.     


Step eight:

My next step was to highlight layer two and using the clone tool removed a little of the lightning in the bottom right hand corner.

Step nine:

Now for some text, which is added by clicking on the 'T' in the left hand bar. I created a text box in the top right hand corner and typed in the title. This is where I then played with font size, position in the box (left, middle or right) and font style. I repeated the process to add the wording 'Short stories from Authors Electric.'   

Step ten:

I saved as a .psd file (just in case I want to tweak at a later date). 

Step eleven:

Lastly I flattened the image by going to 'layer' scrolled down to bottom and click on 'flatten image' then saved as a .jpeg file (however if you prefer you can save as a .tiff file). 

Note: The file size must be less than 50MB and saved with 72 dots per inch (dpi) using RGB colour mode. 

Last but not least if you need more info about Amazon's cover requirements and uploading information then click on this link.

I hope this has been helpful and I hope your cover designing goes well.


P.S. Please don't pose any questions relating to more technical Photoshop stuff. I simply don't have the time to respond and if I've not covered it in this post then I'm very unlikely to know the answer.    

P.P.S. And yes when I have the time I do take commissions to design covers.

My books:
Anansi The Trickster Spider - 8 traditional tales retold (volumme one): ebook format
Anansi the Trickster Spider - 8 traditional tales retold (volume two): ebook format
Anansi the Trickster Spider volumes one and two: paperback
Brer Rabbit - 8 traditional tales retold: ebook format


Wendy H. Jones said…
Thanks for tis fascinating look at designing book covers. Really helpful
Mari Biella said…
This is really helpful, Lynne - thank you. I'm not sure I'd be able to do it myself, but I might be emboldened to try!
Bill Kirton said…
Thanks, Lynne. I use Paintshop Pro which does all the same things but seems to take ages - probably because I often load enough layers to make a millefeuille. I'll try adapting your techniques.
Chris Longmuir said…
I'm still trying to learn Photoshop, but it's the cut down version I'm using - Photoshop elements 10. I think by the look of the screens you are using the full version. Oh, and I love the book cover image you created, my attempts are much more amateurish.
madwippitt said…
Thanks for the post Lynne - and for taking the time to create the fab cover!
Lydia Bennet said…
Very helpful and useful post, Lynne!
Steph H. Barker said…
This is such a great how to guide. You've really simplified things for me.
Lynne Garner said…
So pleased this was of help.

Yes Chris it is the full version (one of the benefits of teaching as I get an education discount from Apple). However most of what I do on the full I understand you can do on the cut down version.

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