All of this because someone asked, “Why should I ask you to do the cover if I have to provide my own artwork?”
Long answer: Sure. I’ll be your Cover Girl. I’ll contend with the font placement, color, size, and effects for the title, sub-title, author name, and tease. I’ll format the spine to include your name, title of the book, and your logo if you have one. I’ll place your picture and a brief bio on a coordinating back cover along with any endorsements, blurbs, or book description as space allows. Nothing of importance will be chopped off or covered up by CreateSpace when they trim the book and place the bar code on the back.
Now, a couple of questions (and a little commentary).
How long did it take you to name your characters? Did you name your hero after someone you admire, pine for, or long to be? And your bad guy? Does his name evoke someone you despise?
I bet you’ve followed these guys around for years. You’ve written down everything they’ve had to say and know every move they’ve made. You know their idiosyncrasies, their hang-outs and hang-ups. You know their monikers, their good-luck charms, their thoughts. You’ve given them a voice and with it they’ve made you laugh, they’ve made you cry, and if you’ve done them justice, they’ve made you laugh and cry at the same time.
And I wonder if somewhere along the way you tried to talk one of them into an altercation, apology, or attraction they couldn’t or wouldn’t abide by. It’s your own fault, you know. You’ve given them morals.
Where do they live? Are they nestled in comfort amidst the rolling hills or secluded beaches of Virginia? Maybe comfort isn’t an option as they roam the ghettos of New York City, or the hills of Appalachia.
When do they live? Are they witnessing the birth of civilization, the birth of a nation, or the end of an era?
What do they live in? A two-story colonial, a cave beneath the sea, a cardboard box, or a crater on the moon?
There are so many places, personalities, and predicaments that affect your plot. Can you narrow it down, or sum it up with one picture? Is that picture in color, black and white, or sepia? Is it a photograph, a water color, a pen and ink? Realistic or abstract?
I’ll format your cover. One cover is all you need. The ebooks will use the front only. The POD will have a coordinating spine and back. But I won’t choose the art. And here’s why:
I’m going to format this manuscript for you.
I’ll see the chapter heading, indents, centered text and italics. (Please, no underlined words. And when you use bold you’re just yelling at the reader. Most people I know tend to avoid people that yell at them.)
In your POD manuscript I’ll be adding proper indents, headers, footers, front matter, Table of Contents (in some cases), page breaks, widow and orphan settings, along with font styles and sizes.
In your eBook file I’ll be taking out tables, tabs, and text the size of Texas. Page numbers will be eliminated along with any footnotes or headers.
There is a chance I’ll see a name repeated and think to myself (-; this might be the main character! But I won’t get an image of him. I won’t know his or her ideals, hopes, dreams, or dilemmas. I doubt I’ll discover where they live, or how they live. But I’ll know the indents are .3 or less.
People judge a book by its cover (at least that’s where they start). Do you want that cover art to be chosen by someone that has never had the opportunity, or pleasure, of reading your book?
I didn’t think so.
Don’t have a camera? Or maybe you do, but the mermaid won’t stay above water long enough for you to get a decent picture. The gravity, or lack of, on your planet affects your shutter speed. The Anasazi are no longer available for a photo op. It’s cold outside and you don’t want to change from your pajamas to a snowsuit, and if you live in North Dakota there are only three days of the year when it’s warm enough to venture outside without said snowsuit.
There are options!
Search stock photo sites. There are a lot of them out there and you should be able to find just the right picture for that book you’ve worked so hard to complete. Be sure to read their information about exclusive use, non-exclusive use, royalty free, and any restrictions on use. No snowsuit required.
Short answer: You provided the text for me to do the formatting.
I should get back to writing. At this point, if someone tried to make me eat my own words I’d starve to death!
Wish I had some chicken wings from Yuk Yuks and Joe’s! (An Eastville, Virginia Gem!)
Happy photo op,