Posts Tagged Amazon’s Cover Creator

Cover Reveal for ‘House Guests’

Let’s have a drum roll … followed by a few oohs and aahs from the audience. Here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the cover reveal for my third e-collection of short stories!

Put your hands together for the cover of House Guests and Other Stories!

House Guests and Other Stories

There are four different ways of obtaining an e-book cover:

  1. Design and create it yourself. Unless you’re a whizz at graphic design this can be very time-consuming. I give some advice on DIY (based on my own experience) in this guest post for the Writers’ Bureau.
  2. Use Amazon’s Kindle Cover Creator. This is very easy but the covers can’t be used on other e-book sales platforms and there’s a danger of them looking formulaic. I’ve written about this here.
  3. Use one of the cover designers on Fiverr.com. All services on Fiverr.com cost $5 plus a 50c processing fee (currently around £3.62). I’ve done this several times.
  4. Use a ‘proper’ bespoke cover designer. This will probably give you the best result but will also be significantly more expensive than the other options – meaning it will take longer to make a profit from e-books sales.

The cover for House Guests and Other Stories is from pro_ebookcovers, a designer on Fiverr.com. This designer worked differently to the others that I’ve used previously from the site. She asked for links to two e-books on Amazon with cover designs in a similar style to what I wanted (so I looked at short story collections that seemed to be selling well and had covers with a warm and friendly style). Then she asked me to choose a cover image from http://depositphotos.com (or I could’ve supplied my own). I chose something that I felt was vaguely applicable to the title story. The designer then downloaded the image and did the necessary fiddling to get it to the right dimensions and added the lettering.
I felt this way of working made things easier for both parties. I didn’t have to struggle to explain the type of image I wanted and the designer didn’t have to struggle to interpret my brief or spend time finding a suitable picture.
I recommend pro_ebookcovers and will use her again in the future.

So, back to House Guests and Other Stories. It’s a collection of fifteen short stories, many with a twist and most have appeared in either The Weekly News, My Weekly or People’s Friend. There’s also a couple of competition successes in there plus a special guest story by a prize-winning author!

I’ll reveal the guest author in a later post when I launch pre-orders for the book. I’ve never used pre-orders before and I’ve never had a guest author before so it’s exciting – watch this space!

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A First Birthday

One year ago this week I published my first short story collection, One Day For Me, on Amazon Kindle.One Day For Me

The book has amassed some great reviews on Amazon and Lee Ashford of Readers’ Favorite said, “Sally Jenkins knows how to build a story. She takes the mundane, and makes it intriguing. She hooks the reader, and reels him in. She proves her talent in each of these eight short stories, making this collection one you will be glad you read.”

Since publication lots of things have happened in my life including a health scare (early stage breast cancer – make sure you go for those mammograms, ladies!) and a complete upheaval in my day job (I was transferred from one company to another under TUPE legislation – don’t ask, it’s complicated!).

I’ve also learned a few things during the past twelve months, such as a book of short stories, all written by the same person is a collection. But a book of short stories, all written by different people is an anthology.
Am I the only person who didn’t know that?

I’ve discovered that I’m not much good at book cover design and also that writing stories is much easier than marketing them! But over the last few months Amazon KDP have introduced a couple of features that make both of these difficult tasks a little bit easier:

  • Amazon Cover Creator, which I’ve talked about previously here, makes it very easy for anyone to create an eye-catching cover for a Kindle book
  • Kindle Countdown Deals which allow authors to discount the price of books for a limited period

So, to celebrate the first birthday of One Day For Me, it will be half-price (99p) from now until Saturday 25th January.

And those of you in the US can buy One Day For Me for only 99c until 12pm (PST) on Wednesday 22nd January and then at $1.99 until Saturday 25th January.

I hope you enjoy it!

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Amazon’s Kindle Cover Creator

In preparation for my next e-book release, I’ve been playing with Amazon’s Cover Creator.

This can be found within the Kindle Direct Publishing process, at the point where you would normally upload a cover that you’ve created elsewhere.

Designing with Cover Creator is far, far easier than trying to do it with GIMP or any other such design software (unless you happen to be an expert – which I am definitely not!).

There are only three steps:

  1. Choose Design – select an image from those available within Cover Creator or upload an image of your own.
    There is a reasonable selection of images available and they are split into sections such as Animals, People, Architecture, Food and Drink etc. I found a picture which I felt was a reasonable likeness to the heroine in my tale.
  2. Style and Edit – select the layout, colour scheme and font.
    There are a limited number of each of these. The layout dictates whereabouts on the cover the title, subtitle and author name will appear. Colour scheme and font are self-explanatory.
  3. Preview – see how your design will look in the Amazon store.
    This is the only part of the process that caused me problems. When I tried to Preview I kept getting the message, ‘Cover Creator has encountered an error. We recommend you refresh your browser.’ So I contacted Amazon. They suggested that I use Firefox as my browser instead of Internet Explorer. This worked but first I had to delete everything I’d already done in Internet Explorer and start again.

At any point in  the Cover Creator design process you can save the cover and come back to finish it later. And you can design in Cover Creator before your book is ready to be uploaded.

Inevitably there are some disadvantages to Cover Creator, the principle two being:

  • The limited number of variables available (i.e. images, layouts, colour schemes etc.) However, I would guess that Cover Creator would become much more difficult to use were there to be an infinite choice. Just be prepared for someone to have a similar cover to yours!
  • Covers created within Cover Creator cannot be used outside of Amazon. So if you intend selling on other platforms, source your cover elsewhere. Initially, my next book will be exclusive to Amazon so I’m not going to worry about this at the moment.

Here is a sneak preview of my proposed cover design. Any comments gratefully received!

Maxine's Story

To put my design in context – this book is intended to be the first in a series of stories (each around 8,000 words long), all of which will be set in The Museum of Fractured Lives. Each e-book will feature a different donor to the museum and tell the story of the object they are donating. Maxine is the heroine of the first book.

It was loosely inspired by The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb which I told you about here. However, I should emphasise that everything in the book is totally fictional. I have never visited the museum.

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