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Saturday
Jul142012

eBook Cover Creation - Part 1 - General Questions

Please note that this is an amateur's guide to creating ebook covers. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to make note. Otherwise, this guide is intended for authors with little-to-no previous image editing experience (such as myself).

There are several concerns to address when creating an ebook cover;

  • Dimensions - what size should it be?
  • Storage - what file size should it be?
  • Format - what file format should it be?
  • Design - what the heck should be on it anyway??

 Let's start with the easy ones to answers.

 

Dimensions

If you do a search you will find many sites with many answers, and very few are the same. Fortunately at this point, this isn't too much of an issue.

The cover for my first ebook, Daedalian Muse, is somewhat atypical of my others as I followed a different guideline of dimensions.

Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) suggests a minimum of 1,000 pixels on the longest side (height). Their average is 1000 x 1600 pixels - a 6:1 aspect ratio.

Smashwords suggests an average of 500 x 800 pixels, with a minimum of 600 pixels in height.

I suggest going with KDP's average of 1000 x 1600, however I like to start with a larger image (in the 6:1 aspect ratio) and 'shrink' it down to 1000 x 1600 afterwards when it is completed.

 

Storage

When starting with a large image you will have a large file size. When it's complete and saved into a common file type (jpg, png), an average of 600 to 700 KB is acceptable.

 

Format

While building your cover you'll keep it in the file format associated with the image program. Since I'm using GIMP, all unfinished programs will be in xcf format, which is associated to GIMP. Once completed, it should be saved as either a JPG or PNG. JPG's are more commonly used.

 

Design

Well this is the tough one. It helps to have an idea in mind. I have plenty of visual ideas, but my lack of image editing experience quite limits my capabilities. As a result, I limited myself to the images I acquired from a stock photography site.

Don't be too ambitious if you are a complete novice, however don't limit yourself too much!

The next part will give some advice on cover image selection, assuming you do not yet have one at the ready.  Check it out, even if you do!

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