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19
Apr

Book’n’Seek tool by PublishDrive to monitor your ebooks on sale

Introduced at the London Book Fair in 2017 PublishDrive’s brand new Book and Seek feature is a quality assurance management tool to help provide transparency and quality assurance in the publishing industry. It might sound obvious, but it is good to keep in mind that a book will only make you money, if it is out on sale. We found that working with more distribution partners at a time, keeping track of your books on sale in different stores can be chaotic and time-consuming.

On our Book’n’Seek platform you can simply use ISBN and later on your titles to search for you books and monitor the stores in which they are available for sale.

 

How does it work?

All you have to do is to go to our new platform to bookandseek.publishdrive.com and fill out the empty fields by providing the ’publisher or imprint’ name and the ISBNs of the books to check. Click on ’check my books’ and the system will show you right away the books you were looking for and the stores in which they are out on sale so you can see yourself which books are making you money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you’ll enjoy this feature and as always, happy publishing.

 

13
Apr

Complete Guide to Book Cover Sizes – Why Do They Matter?

In the first part of the series, we looked at some cover design services and tutorials to help you design the best cover possible and showed you how to 3D it. In the second part, we talked about typography and layout design. Today we are covering some less creative but just as important elements of cover design: dimension, file size, format and colour modes.

If converting a picture file gives you the heebie-jeebies, you are at the right place: let us guide you through this maze of guidelines and rules. We also have some good news: when you are done with this, you are good to go! Your book will attract readers and be accepted to the stores.

If you get it right on the first try, you save yourself all the pain and suffering that comes with being rejected from the stores and having to format and resize and save and upload all over again.

How large should my cover be? (Guide for dimensions)

We have terrifying news: there is no golden rule for cover dimensions. You as an ebook author, however, are in a fantastic position, because your cover dimensions don’t have to match the page proportion: you don’t have to think about your book being too thick or difficult to handle, since everyone is going to display it on a gadget.

You don’t need to worry about your cover looking odd on the screen for the same reason, as every reader or phone screen is a bit different. Currently the most popular e-readers have a screen size of 6 inches, but various resolutions: while the classic Kindle and the Nook Simple displays 600×800 pixels (giving you a ratio of 1:1.33), Nook GlowLight goes with 758×1024, resulting in a ratio of 1:1.35. IPads currently have a ratio of 1:1.33, and most android phones (independently from the size) have a ratio of 1:1.5.

It is impossible to follow, right? Don’t worry, you don’t have to.

Your cover won’t look silly on any reader; the phones and e-readers won’t resize it and display it disproportionately, but merely display it at the center.

If you are not only interested in ebooks but would like to design your cover with a future print edition in mind, you can still follow our guide below, as the process is very similar. For a detailed article by genres, see The Book Designer.

Ebook cover size differencesAs long as you stick to digital, the only thing you actually need to worry about is how your cover looks like. For most fiction genres, a 1:1.5 (6”x9”) or 1:1.6 (5”x8”) ratio works well. Although the shops won’t enforce an exact ratio, you are advised to go for something like this, so your book won’t look out of place (just like Helter Skelter does on Amazon) among all the other books. (Or the sides don’t get cut off by the store.)

If your genre is not fiction, go to your favourite webshop and check the top list for trends and inspiration. It is really easy to calculate ratio: just divide the longer side with the shorter one; then you can multiply the length of the shorter side of your cover with the number you got to get the length of the longer side. (The “It looks approximately the same” approach never works out well.)

The biggest stores (including Apple iBooks) currently require at least 1400 pixels or more for the shorter side; Kobo recommends 1600px, however, so better go with that. With a ratio of 1:1.5, this would mean 1400×2100 or 1600×2400 pixels. The good news are that you don’t need to remember this, because as the book market evolves (with new gadgets and shifting reading habits) these numbers constantly change as well. Obviously, we track the changes and keep you updated; and, luckily enough, PublishDrive is going to do all the adjusting for you based on the specific requirements.

How do I make it happen? (Guide to programs, online editors and getting feedback)

If you set out to design your cover by yourself, you can either use a picture editor software, like PhotoShop or its free alternative, Gimp, or go online and try a book cover designer app, like Canva. It has pre-set Kindle Cover samples with the dimensions of 1410×2250 pixels. They saves you most of the work but you lose out on customizing and fine tuning your cover.

If your cover is smaller than the recommended, let’s say 1000×1500, you are suggested to make it larger. It goes without saying that the same applies for your cover picture: if you are trying to fit a small picture onto a large cover, do not just drag the corners to make it bigger.

Sherprog.com offers you an excellent step-by-step guide for upscaling your image and turning lo-res into high without making your picture look pixelated. Our advice is that you only use a program like this if you know what you are doing.

Your book might be a masterpiece; don’t accidentally ruin your chances of making it a hit with an amateur cover.  If you artificially “enlarge” the cover, you could end up with a cheap-looking result. You want to avoid anything looking like this image, unless your book is about 80s video games.

On the note of feedback: if you don’t trust your spouse and are afraid of your Facebook friends, you can pay people to get a honest opinion.

There are several crowdsourcing websites: you ask your question and collect the answers from nice strangers.

My Book Cover

PickFu, for example, is specified for book covers: if you would like to know whether you are as good a designer as a writer, you just upload your cover to test it. They can also help you to decide between to competing titles.

Joining a writer’s group, however, might be a better choice not only for your wallet but also for your social connections. If you become part of a self-publishing community, you can both get help and advice from like-minded individuals and start building valuable connections you can use once your book is out.

How do I make it look nice when printed? (Guide for resolution)

Image propertiesAlthough your cover is likely to be viewed thumbnail size, on a black and white e-reader or on a smartphone screen (remember:LARGE TITLE!), aim for high resolution.  Resolution refers to the actual number of pixels when printed, and is nicely explained here. You can easily check resolution by right clicking the image, selecting “Properties” and then details.

Here you see dimensions (this can be measured in inches, centimeters or pixels), width and height and resolution measured in dpi (dots per inch). Thankfully, resolution is usually not defined in ebook publishing (as it is only the important in printing), but the web standard is 72dpi, so don’t go under it. While “the higher is the better”, having a 300dpi picture might unnecessarily increases the file size; and most shops don’t let you upload anything over 2MB.

DPI differences

(Image source)

You say TIFF, I say bless you (Guide for formats, colours and file sizes)

Most sites accept JPG, PNG or TIFF. If you don’t want to have several versions of your cover (which can get confusing), go for JPG, this being the most widely accepted. Make sure to keep the original high resolution, just in case you end up with a print version or you need to change something later. Since JPG is a compressed picture format, if you don’t want any loss (eg. your picture to look blurry), make sure you choose the “high quality” option (or something similar, depending on the illustrator program you are using).

For file size, unfortunately you will have to stay under 2MB for being accepted at most stores. If your file is too big, you can try and reduce dimensions but keeping the original ratio (but still staying over 1400 pixels). If it is still too big, reduce dpi to 72. If for some reason your file would still be too large, reduce quality at JPG compression (but this really should never happen).

For the colour settings, choose RGB. RGB is designed for the web, other colour modes (like CMYK) might don’t get recognized and your cover won’t get displayed properly. You can check the colour mode of your picture at the properties, like you did with resolution. If you don’t know how to change it, follow this step-by-step guide for Photoshop.

How do I make it appear on the shelf ? (Guide for metadata)

In order to your cover appearing on the virtual shelf of the e-reader, you have to make sure that you set your image as “cover” in the metadata of your book. For this, you need to open the ebook editor you are using, like Sigil or Calibre, and set the image as cover. You have to do this even if you have previously added the cover image as the first page of the book. If you are using Calibre, you just have to right click your book, “Edit metadata” and select the image. For Sigil, we already have a guide. The image you are using here cannot be larger than 4 million pixels (so a 1600×2400 size works just fine). It should go without saying, but the title written on your cover, the title at the metadata and on the first page of the book should match, otherwise it is likely that stores won’t accept it. (Just use normal title capitalization for metadata, even if you use all uppercase or lowercase on the cover.)

Same goes for the author’s name. You could try to be fancy and not put your name and the title on the cover, but unfortunately it is compulsory; the only exceptions from the rule are albums, where you can get away with a picture only.

Metadata editor

As always, please share your questions in the comments and we do our best to answer them.
Happy publishing!

11
Apr

ONIX import at PublishDrive

We introduced ONIX import as a new feature of PublishDrive at the London Book Fair. ONIX lets you enrich detailed metadata about titles from contributor types till different pricing. Manually importing metadata can eat up a lot of time and to avoid incorrect metadata we made PublishDrive’s book upload system more advanced to give you the best tool to help with book metadata management.

So far at PublishDrive you were able to use bulk import but only from Excel sheets. From now on the source of data for this import can also be ONIX. Now, that we are accepting ONIX files all you have to do is to upload your file and your metadata will be automatically uploaded into our platform.

 

Check out our new feature in your PublishDrive account and happy publishing.

05
Apr

Ebook Marketing Tips That Work – 6 Strategies You Can Follow

We are going to give you some bulletproof ideas to get your book out there and spread the word (and hopefully get some readers) without becoming that guy you had to block on Facebook because he kept bombing you with messages and inviting you to like his page.

It is a thin line, but basic common sense is your greatest friend. (We already have a post concentrating solely on social media and an other with ten great ebook marketing tips.)

1. You are not only selling a product, but you are also selling yourself.

Regardless of whether you are an enthusiastic beginner self-publisher or an established member of the writers’ society publishing at one of the biggies, nobody is going to build your image for you. (Unless you hire a publicist, of course; but we are not talking about paid solutions today.)

Building the right author brand helps you to distinguish yourself from similar authors and to establish a connection with your readers even before your book is out. Remember that everything you post on social media can be used for or against you: your political opinion, your favourite books and the frequency of baby animal videos are all points based on which your potential readers are going to judge you.

Since people are going to judge you anyway, it is the best if you take matters into your hand. It’s to create a writer’s page as early as possible (and keep your personal profile private) so that you don’t alienate anyone based on whatever you post (unless you are as amazing as J.K. Rowling). And you don’t drive your friends nuts by constantly bragging about your new book. (Which you should do, btw., as having written a book is a great achievement.)

Don’t restrict yourself to only talk about your book on your book page: you are a complex person with several interests. It helps if you portray yourself as going on a journey while writing your book: you as an author have a starting point, have to overcome obstacles to reach your goals. When you are selling yourself, you are selling this story: it helps your readers to build a connection with you.Long-way-to-success

2. There is no such thing as “too early”.

Ebook marketing doesn’t start when your book is in the stores. It doesn’t even have to start after you’ve written a book. You can (and are recommended to) start promoting once you started writing (friendly reminder: just make sure you finish it. Otherwise you end up with hordes of disappointed potential readers!).

You can only write while listening to a particular playlist? Share it. You have drafts and doodles? Instagram them. There is nobody who wouldn’t like to see some “behind the scenes”. Generate anticipation and raise interest: it will all pay back later, once your book is out.

3. Create a website and decide on your branding

You can’t expect people to find and remember you if you use different nicknames and pictures everywhere. Set up a Facebook page, buy a unique domain name (you can get one for really cheap), create your logos and banners. It is important that you use the same images everywhere; you can ask your designer to come up with a package or design one for yourself. If you create any content (like pictures with your quotes on it), write your domain name on the bottom or as a watermark.ebook-marketing-tips-quote

Ebook Marketing Tip #4. – Launching a book: time to party!

Everyone likes a party, so do your readers. Your book launch is the time to reach out to the people you met on your way to writing and producing your book, all those lovely people who showed some interest in you and your book and invite them over.

This is the time to use your carefully built email list: just invite everyone you can. Make sure to have your merchandise ready, if you have any. You can also team up with other writers and use your book launch as an excuse for an open mic or a reading night. They in turn also bring their audience who get to know you. Win-win for everyone.

If you live on a remote island or a tiny Romanian village, you probably can’t get all your supporters there in person. Thankfully, Facebook party is a thing, and it comes with the great advantage of not having to clean up afterward. This article explains to you what an FB party is and how to organize one.FB-Party-Confetti

5. Know your audience

You are most likely not required to descend into underground tunnels and promote your book to the selected few. But you NEED to research the people who are the key audience of your book. It is impossible to address everyone, and while you are aiming for as many potential readers as possible, the best way to start is to imagine an ideal reader.

Are you writing a guide for lovers of 8-hours-long strategic board games? Is it a zero sugar cookbook? Or you are a YA writer, targeting fans of pre-Twilight vampire stories? Either case you have to address different people, talk to them differently and reach them at different places.

In the world of marketing, we are creating personas: this is the fancy name for ideal customers or readers. Think of them as characters in a novel: contemplate who they are, how can you easily reach them, what do they like. Every time you write something, every time you create a piece of marketing material, imagine you are talking to them. And when I say every time, I mean every time. I also have personas in my mind while writing this article.

You also have to keep in mind that different audiences prefer different communication channels and can be found at various areas of the web. Go out and find your audience. Have you written a cookbook? Check out recipe sites and recipe blogs. Is it general fiction? Go to Goodreads.com. Are you writing for teens? Twitter or Facebook may not be your best choice. Forget the law of large numbers and target your audience directly.

Remember: no hard sale on social media. Go out and interact, offer your help, answer and ask questions, keep it personal and simple. Make friends. You can include the title of your book or your website’s address on your profile or in your signature line.Get-reviews-Twitter-bird

6. Get reviews

Nobody can sell your book as successfully as a satisfied reader. If your book is great (good is not sufficient, you have to go for great, fantastic, terrific!) your book will eventually be selling itself. Find influential bloggers in your niche and ask them if they would be kind enough to review your book. It is helpful if you make a “review package” with a short description of your book, an author bio (with photo) and an invitation to the book launch. Don’t just send it to everyone, hoping that somebody might likes it!

If you started building your relationships in time, by the time your book is ready to be published, you would know who is likely to read it and write about it. If they say yes, you can send them a free copy of your book.

Give them some time to read it, before you start bombing them with follow-up emails. Don’t forget that most of the book bloggers have a day job and they are doing you a favour by writing a review. Finally, don’t forget to thank the reviews; it is a small gesture but goes a long way.

You have additional thoughts on the topic? Share with us in the comments.

30
Mar

Coverage of London Book Fair 2017

Book fairs play a vital role in publishing and allow publishers, authors, industry professionals from all around the world to meet and do business in a fun way. The London Book Fair is no exception to that. The 3-day event (14th-16th March, 2017) was held at Olympia with more than 25,000 visitors. There were two floors in two main halls filled with around 1,500 exhibitors from more than 60 countries. This year the market focus was on Poland with a big Polish pavilion highlighting the country’s dynamic publishing industry and to increase awareness of its literary traditions.

Book fairs like this are always the best opportunities for networking as the publishing world gathers in one place. No matter whether you’re a successful author or a small publisher if you are somehow connected to the publishing industry there is no question that you should attend these events. Besides the exhibitors, you can find many other hubs for networking and interaction such as the Author HQ where successfully published authors share their stories; you can grab a seat at the Children’s Hub, one of the most colorful areas of the Fair or visit the Tech Theatre to find out about all the new ways in which content can be treated. Taking part in these panel discussions are always beneficial and it is good to have an idea about the latest trends in the publishing industry.

Depending on what you want to achieve at the Fair you can simply just plan to attend seminars, different kind of events, panel discussions or just walk around and jump into conversations with exhibitors. However, in some cases, it is better to have pre-arranged meetings where you can have your partner’s full attention and easily present your business proposal. That is what we did with PublishDrive.

Regarding PublishDrive, five members of our team attended the London Book Fair this year. This was actually the very first time for us working with Zsofia Macho on the field who is our content marketer, blogger based in London, UK. It was an intense but amazing 3 days full of great experiences for all of us and we are working hard on closing business deals from the fair. It was lovely to be able to meet new publishers current partners, bloggers and industry professionals face to face from the UK, USA, Israel, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Arab countries, India, Turkey and China. We were able to meet and understand the people, not just the names in emails.

You can see how easily publishing can be global by having all of these nationalities in one place – we are looking forward to getting to know each culture better by our amazing partners. See you next year London, we’ll be there!

07
Mar

Five Reasons to Self-Publish

When I started writing fiction, I assumed that there is not a single writer out there who doesn’t want to get published by Penguin Random House. Apparently, the numbers show otherwise: indie publishers are trending, and not without a cause. Let’s see five major reasons why many writers choose to self-publish. (In a follow-up article we are going to analyse the cases when finding a publisher is a better idea.)

1. Because it has the biggest market share and is growing the fastest

According to the charts published on Authorearnings.com analysing Amazon sales data from the last 27 months until May 2016, self-published books have an almost 45% share of the market (growing from 27% since February 2014), while the Big Five has fallen from 39% to 23%. It’s a numbers game: like it or not, independent publishing already gives almost half the ebook unit sales of the market and seems unstoppable.

2. Because what you write is unique

Agents keep turning you down, insisting that nobody is interested in reading about pink fluffy unicorns. Guess what: they are wrong. Independent publishers can reach the audience you are writing for. If a big publisher thinks your book is going to be read by ‘only’ several thousand people, they won’t bother putting the effort in editing and marketing it – but you should. There are people out there who want to read your novel or cookbook, and if you keep it in your drawer, they never will.

3. Because it is about pushing boundaries

There is a certain tendency in books selected for Literary Nobel or the Booker Prize; educated guesses of winners are usually correct. The Folio Prize, however – created after an announcement by the Booker’s judges in 2011, stating that they prefer “readability” when selecting the winner –, is open to any authors writing in English and is accepting self-published books: this way they can cover works in uncommon topics or forms. The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) won’t stop until self-published books can enter any competition.

4. Because you want to get the most out of it

Being read is not all that counts. It is possible to earn a living as a writer, especially as an indie: in average roughly 42% of the dollars earned goes to the author, in contrary to the Big Five, who are providing less than a quarter of their proceeds. Depending on the pricing method you choose and in which country your book is sold, at PublishDrive you can even get 60% as royalty.

5. Because you want to take control

You move the strings when it comes to decisions regarding your book. If you hire your own editor and designer, your book cannot get published with a cover or plot changes you don’t completely agree with. You make your marketing and pricing decisions; or you hire experts to do it for you. Either way, your book’s rights stay with you. Enjoy your freedom.

03
Mar

Pitfalls of Ebook Licensing Agreements

Signing a contract and finding the right deal could be difficult if you are a newcomer in the publishing industry. Retailers and aggregators aim to be as profitable as they can, this often resulting in publishers receiving disadvantageous financial or legal terms. And once you signed the agreement on a bad deal, there is no way back correct it.

Many say that there is no way to negotiate an ebook licensing agreement, but this is not true. If you have quality content, you can always negotiate, or even choose a better partner. You are the copyright holder, the creative mind in the process; without you, there is no content to be read and sold. Do not underestimate the power of content creation.

So far, we negotiated more than 200 B2B contracts in various countries worldwide: with retailers, ebook conversion services, marketing agencies and publishers. Several times, we were faced with unrealistic or dominating terms, but we decided to always represent the publishers’ interest; even if we had to refuse to sign the deal!

In this article, we are sharing with you some of the ebook licensing agreement pitfalls you can easily avoid by reading between the lines, so you can fight for better deals for you or your company in the future. To make the “business talk” easier to digest, we incorporated some simple dos and don’ts you can follow. There are five main parts of a contract that you have to read very carefully and several times:

  1. Royalties structure

  2. Payment terms

  3. Grant of rights

  4. Sales reporting and invoicing

  5. Termination

In the following, we are going to guide you through these five parts, show you the common mistakes some people may make and offer some advice.

  1. ROYALTIES STRUCTURE

Do not only look at nominal value.

It is not uncommon to only scan for numbers when reading a contract: you check nominal values, they look nice, so it is good to go. However, the wording can change everything: if you do not read the agreement thoroughly, you might not receive what you expected.

Typical wording differences:

  • Net sales vs. Net RRP/SRP:
    • Net sales is calculated based on the real price on which your book is sold. This is fair and simple: your readers pay a certain amount for your book and the retailers calculate your share. Usually, you are better off going for this.
    • Net RRP/SRP (recommended/suggested retail price) is based on the price you gave to the retailer. If they have to raise the price to match it to the price tier, you still get your share based on the RRP, and might miss out on extra money. However, if the price drops for whatever reason (e.g. for sale), you still get paid based on the RRP and have no losses. Depending on your business strategy, this can work as well. (You can read a lot more about this in our post about pricing strategies here.)
  • Retail price vs. Net retail price:
    • Some retailers like to play with sales tax or VAT, but always go for the net sales price, since VAT/sales tax may differ by country or state. It is non-transparent to calculate your royalties based on that.
  • Excluding vs. Including all the fees and commissions paid to retailers:
    • Including all the fees and commissions paid to retailers means that with a 60% publishers’ royalty you will receive 6 USD after a book sold on 10 USD net price. Clean and simple.
    • Excluding commissions paid to retailers can result in a worse deal if you sell through an aggregator or a mobile app dealer, since they do not include the fees and commissions in the royalty share. Using the previous example, they will only calculate your 60%, once the other retailers, such as Apple or Google took their share for micro purchases within the app. So if your book is sold for 10 USD, take 30% off for Apple iOS fee, and calculate the 60% royalty from that: you will receive 10×(1−0,3)×0,6 = 4,2 USD. This is significantly less than the 6 USD you could earn with an “including retailer fees” contract. Note, that this calculation is also non-transparent, since you cannot see the exact contracts between the aggregator and the retailers.
  1. PAYMENT TERMS

Look out for “when we receive the fund”.

There is a fine line between “it sounds too good to be true” and being untrue. Always check in the contract how payment is going to be made.

  • Based on earnings reports vs. Based on receiving the funds from retailers:
    • Earnings reports list all your sales within the month and set a payment date. You have to receive your money by this date independently from whether the retailers have been paid or not.
    • On receiving the funds: you will receive your money only after (and if) the aggregator was paid. It does not sound too bad, but remember that you cannot track when a partner receives funds from the retailers. Since you do not know when your partner receives the fund, you cannot know when you will be paid either. This can be very frustrating if you are waiting for your first check. Try to go for services who pay you based on earnings reports, not based on whether they received the fund.
    • Typical wording may include the followings: “we will pay you after the retailers paid us” or “we have no obligation to pay your royalties in the event of a failure of any online bookstore to pay royalties to us”.
  • Higher threshold vs. Transaction fees:
    • Lower payment thresholds can be tempting, as you get paid more often. But don’t forget that more often means paying more transaction fees – and some services, like PayPal get the receiver to cover the expenses of the transfer (their fee structure is explained here). If you have a lower threshold with more transactions, you end up paying more. It is a bit like the famous marshmallow-paradigm: you are better off, if you wait.
  • Exact numbers for payment terms:
    • Many companies do not include exact reporting or payment terms, just use undefined expressions such as “usually between 30-60 days”. Do not let anyone use blurry terms when it is about money; fight for exact numbers.
  1. GRANT OF RIGHTS

Keep the rights of your intellectual property (IP).

Non-exclusive contracts what you have to search for when choosing a partner to sell your ebooks. Non-exclusivity means that you can sell your books in other stores/platforms legally. On the contrary, exclusivity means you cannot sell your books anywhere else. Don’t tie yourself to any of the partners early on – most of the partners you can trust on the long term will give you the non-exclusive term anyway, so if you want you are able to sell the same book on other stores too.

Give only the necessary rights for the partnership and do everything you can to protect your IP.

You have to make sure that no one but you can change your IP.

You can grant rights to

  • resell or
  • make small technical changes if necessary for conversion.

But never give rights to anyone to

  • change the title,
  • change the author’s name,
  • add own branding,
  • change the content
  • or add watermarks with the retailer’s links (because it may end up with confrontation to competitor websites).

Just think about Amazon Kindle links in a book uploaded to iBooks! Take control of your own content and metadata and be conscious about them on the long term.

  1. SALES REPORTING and INVOICING

Define the periodical sales reporting period.

In case of any business transaction, money cannot be transferred without some invoice or written document, so look at who is sending the invoice and when. Is your invoicing monthly or quarterly? Choose a partner with a self-billing service if possible to avoid any administrative burdens but still receive your money in time.

Also look for discrepancies between reporting and invoicing. If you get quarterly reports, look at when you will receive those reports and how invoicing is connected to it. You might see the following: quarterly payments are reported until the end of the next calendar month, and the invoice is sent four weeks after the end of the invoicing period. This means that Q1 earnings will be reported until the end of April and will be invoiced until end of May. And we have not even talked about the payment term!

  1. TERMINATION

Make sure you get your content back.

Termination is a divorce in the business world: a painful process. Before you take any action, look at what happens with your IP afterwards and how long will it take to say goodbye.

Your content should be deleted from the servers of your partner and their third parties’ platforms. Your content should be withdrawn immediately (within a reasonable timeframe for making the technical changes) and it should not be longer than the termination deadline.

Unfortunately, we saw so many bad stories from publishers not being paid or simply tied to another service with bad terms and no long term thinking. Everyone starts a business relationship trusting the other player and believing that mutual cooperation will result in a mutually beneficial way – however, that might not be the case all the time. You have to find the right partner who treats you and your business as equals to have the chance to make intelligent long term decisions. You can probably save yourself from a lot of headache if you let us search for the right terms with the right players and let go of anything else not needed.

12
Feb

The Complete Guide to Choosing Your Book Cover Font

We already wrote about how important is to get your book cover right: first impressions count, as you might not get a second chance. In case you missed it, you can read it here. There is a tiny detail that many people overlook when designing their book cover (or when deciding whether to accept a proposed design): the typeface.

Don’t look puzzled: just because you are likely not to pay any specific attention to them, fonts still do matter. Have you ever felt when looking at a piece of advertisement that there is something wrong with it, but you cannot tell what? The font needs to match your genre and your style. It is easy to get wrong but can be a great tool emphasizing your message. You can hire the best photographer or artist to create your cover picture if you don’t get your typography right, your book is still going to look cheap or ugly.

When getting a book on the market, you want people to think that you put a lot of effort into publishing it. If it looks cheap, they will think you don’t care enough.

In the following, we are going to guide you through the process of choosing the best font for your cover. Starting with general rules, we are going to analyze the trends in the most popular genres to give you the best advice possible. If you think we missed something, or have some nice covers to show off, please do not hesitate to leave a comment.

General rules for book cover fonts

How to get fonts and what (not) to do with them

Legal bits

We thought it is best to get the nasty part out of the way: make sure your font is free to use. You definitely wouldn’t want somebody just to use your book however they want it – neither want typographers. So make sure you read the small print and check if the font is free to use for commercial purposes. Most typefaces come with a built-in theft check: you can use them on your computer, but cannot embed them into a pdf (and without that your cover won’t look the same on every computer). If you are not sure, you can easily find out who owns the font (it can be the designer or a company) and ask them. If you purchase a font, it makes you stand out of the crowd of people who go for the free ones. You can find a list of free to use font collections at the end of this article.

Aim big

There are two different categories of typefaces: text or display. Some fonts are designed for several blocks of written text, and they must be both aesthetic and legible, without being noticed. They work best between 6pt and 14pt (points). And some fonts are designed to be shown off: display a message, create a certain feeling or impression. They want to draw attention. They work well when used in large size. Many of the fonts available have both text and display variants: they look the same at first, but the important difference lies in small details. The fonts.com website brings a perfect example of a font which has a text, a display and a banner variation. The display version is much lighter.

Book font sizes

Therefore, choose a display font, as you are aiming for a large font size. Did we say large? Yes, when it comes to titles, size matters. You want your title to be legible even as a thumbnail. Don’t be afraid that it covers your carefully chosen cover image (but you can play around that with a smart layout, see the next chapter).

Once you are confident that it looks good, stand up from the computer, take a couple of steps back and check it from a distance. It gives you a perspective of how your potential readers are likely to see it. (Or just zoom out of it to make it thumbnail size: around 100px.)
(Source of the picture)

Treat your typeface with care

There is a last core rule: do not play with the typefaces. Do not stretch them or try to change them in any other way. These fonts are carefully designed to look perfect (as a text or as a block), so if you disorientate them, the results are likely to look bad. (Little tricks are allowed, though, especially if your primary language of publication is not English: we all know of missing ő-s and ű-s, or other tricky letters which can be easily created with InDesign – I’ll share the trick another time.) Most fonts come with different weights, more than just a simple bold or italic; if your font can’t do what you want from it, use a different one.
There is an area, though, where you are likely to have to manipulate your font: the kerning. The spacing between the letters is not only important for aesthetical reasons but because poor kerning can cause letters or even words grow together in a way it wasn’t intended.

Placement

And now the fun part. As it is with everything in the book industry, no hard rules are defining your cover layout. We can give you one advice though: sometimes less is more.

Try playing around with different versions of the same font for author and title: bold for the title and roman for the author (roman is the proper term for a non-bold, non-italic typeface). On The Light Between Oceans, the same font is used for the author’s name as for the title. Small, weightless words, like “the” could be well played with, as you see it being cursive and differently cased. They also played with colors: the title is yellow as light. The Kawasaki cover is also simple: one typeface, two main colors, some italic.

Note that the designer here plays with space: the emptiness creates the illusion of lightness for the origami butterfly. The added review pieces could also bring extra attention if you keep them subtle enough. Us and Look Who’s Back are perfect examples of how a well-placed title can be the fundamental element of a cover.

Well placed book titles
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different alignments. As you already see from the examples above, no strict rules are defining the placement of author and title. The author’s name can be at the top or the bottom, the title can be at the top, center or bottom.

Don’t forget: the most important is to get it in line with your cover image, your genre, and your style. For inspiration, check your favorite books, go to a bookstore or just search “beautiful covers” (as you most certainly already did). The best advice we can give you on this topic is the following: use the main tropes of your genre to guide your readers and help them discover you. Based on the cover, they have to be able to guess what to expect when opening your book. And then hook them up with something that is special and makes you stand out from the thousands of other books on your submarket.

Book title font generator

Book title font generators could be an easy and great way to try out many different fonts and settings without actually having to download and install the fonts on your computer. (Which can be a bit of a pain if we are talking about hundreds of fonts you might want to try.) The only bad thing is that we didn’t come across one we would be happy to use. Most of them bring out my childhood memories of WordArt: if you are too young to remember, the built-in Word function enabled people to quickly turn their text into fancy, colourful, 3D logos. Do not use them. Do not use any effect either. If you want your title to be written in style of Stranger Things, there are websites to do the trick, but it is inelegant and likely to be illegal. So far, the only website we think worth mentioning is the 1001 fonts: this is not a generator per se, but it lets you use your own text when previewing the fonts, which is rather useful.

Stranger Things Font Biscuit Muncher

Book cover fonts by genre

The hard job of selecting and compiling hundreds of fonts into genre themed pictures has been beautifully done by Derek Murphy and is perfect as it is. He doesn’t say anything about his selection criteria, however, which is pretty significant if you set out to find your own cover font. We do. (Please bear in mind that we mostly monitor the English and US market. The trends can be different in other countries.)

Non-fiction book cover fonts

At least here we can give a simple rule: use sans-serif. Most non-fiction authors do. Sans-serif fonts suggest modernity, honesty (well, at least for me they do, but there must be a reason why they are so popular). They look straightforward and professional – and this is exactly how you would like to look like when publishing a non-fiction. Cookbooks, self-help books and academic anthologies all work well with sans-serif. A handwritten title looks very well on biographies, if balanced out with a sans-serif author’s name and if the title is still legible. (If you can’t read the title of the Lauren Graham biography, you are not alone. I keep reading “as I ow”, which doesn’t mean anything. Here is where good kerning comes into picture.)

Non-Fiction Book Covers uses sans serif font

The current tendency is to use bright colours and a light background. All of the above examples have a balanced, symmetrical layout (I really like the diagonal cut of the Graham book), with center-aligned titles. All titles are capitalized entirely. The designer of the Stalin book chose a “communist looking” font to emphasize the theme and sets the function words (“and the”) a couple of points smaller.

The first font we tried out is Route 159, which is free for commercial use. The package contains a light, regular, bold, heavy and italic version and a combination of these; we used heavy. A font like this works very well even if used as inverse, putting a pattern behind them on a blank cover.

Widolte light is not free, you can only see the demo version. We used this simple type to show a bad example of placement: if your title resembles a humming top, change something.

Book Cover Examples

Horror book cover fonts

Look away now, if horror is not your genre because the following images might be disturbing. Blood, ghosts, bones, and Victorian dolls: all well-used elements of the horror book market. When it comes to typefaces, a bit of fading, some blood drops or fangs can add some spookiness to your cover. Don’t overdo it, though: if the font has some letters with additional drawing, it only looks good if the letter doesn’t repeat within the title (for this, see examples below). Depending on which age your horror is set in, goth fonts can work very well; or the simplest sans-serif for a modern setting.

Cocaine Sans Last Turn
I used the font called Cocaine Sans for this text: it is a great font, free to use, but notice how silly the two T-s look next to each other. A font like this only works if your title is made up of all different letters. On this note, I definitely would not pay $60 for a cover like the Hellhole below, straight from The Book Cover Designer website. They don’t specify the font, but it would work much better if only one of the L-s would be fancy.

Nightmare 5 Out of Coffee

Nightmare 5 is such a great font that we were happy to use it for spelling out our biggest nightmare. It is faded and has a damaged quality, but is still easy to read, and has a bit of Scooby-Doo-y playfulness. It is free for private use, but not for commercial.

Horror Book Covers
The Kevin Brockmeier book is an excellent example of the typeface being unnoticeable. The placement draws your attention to the middle of the picture, so at first, you might not even notice what is so spooky about this cover. The title is all capitals (it is allowed for horrors, but not for every genre) and sans-serif, combined with a serif author’s name.
The amazing covers of the Vintage series are well known for everyone. When reprinting a classic, it is extremely common to use a serif font. Since the author is world famous, they can afford to “hide” him in the corner, with his first name left out. The font used is subtle, it could come preinstalled on anyone’s computer. (But it doesn’t.)

Horror covers usually use dark backgrounds and “spiky” looking, tall fonts, just like on the cover of the Palahniuk book. This cover is a fantastic example of how a good font supports the cover picture. You might have to hire a professional for a cover like that unless you have a very talented friend whom you can bribe with chocolate.

Comic book cover fonts

The rules are much less specific when it comes to comic books, as it is more of a medium than a genre: there are horror comic books, romantic comic books, non-fiction comic books, classic superhero comics, manga and so many more. The designer has to place the book not only within the medium, but also the different subgenre; not to forget the difficult choice regarding the fonts (a different one for main text, one for non-human sounds, several for signage) within the book. What we said about style, is even more relevant for comics.
Pick the craziest fonts for the cover, bright colors, usually all caps, title almost exclusively on the top or in the upper middle part (so it is easy to flip through them in a comic book store). For this, we can’t recommend a font, but provide a selection of our favorite comic book covers.

Comic Book Covers

Yes, we know that these covers go against everything we stated so far. Neil Gaiman’s name is written vertically, which would be a big NO! for most genres. On the next cover, at least two different types are used, and both serif. This violates the first rule of typography: do not use two conflicting fonts. On a comic book, it works. Persepolis is a great example of how the simplest font can show off on the cover if it matches the image in style. The title of the Atwood comic has a yellow shadow to make it pop out of the picture; while it would not work for most genres and is widely resented, it is not the same for comic books.

Romance book cover fonts

Let’s change the pattern and start with some terrible examples. We need to warn you: these are all real books available on Amazon that came out recently.
The first book is an excellent example of an ugly cover made by a traditional publishing house and having appeared in print. The author’s name is almost unreadable because of the small spacing – it would have worked better in a smaller size but with decently spaced letters. A bulletproof solution would have been to use the author’s initials: Jacqueline H. Butler, J. H. Butler, J. Harmon Butler all fit nicely on the cover with a more rounded type. (We don’t dare to assume that they pushed the font together, so it fits.) The red used for the name is a surprising choice since it stands out of the image’s main color scheme; unless there are vampires in the story (which we doubt). The way they broke the title is non-aesthetic, the function word “to” sits oddly in front of “Paris.”
We now have to repeat the obvious: make your title BIG. Even on the real sized cover, we can hardly read the title and author of the second book. Please drop Comic Sans and don’t use black on a dark background. Same goes for the third book: drop Comic Sans. It is silly to use a font hated by enough people for the BBC to write about it to sell a product.

The fourth book might be appealing to the German audience, but the use of four different fonts is distracting. There is also too much information on the cover: five lines, all different colors, and different effect.

Romance Book Covers
This out of the way, let’s talk about tendencies. Warm colors, ornamental, serif fonts are a must. Handwritten, calligraphic fonts could also work, if you make sure that it is still readable.
The most perplexing font we came across is the Calissa Words (free for personal use) which gives you a set of words with ligatures, but no letters. You get the words assigned to the letters of the keyboard. It is odd, but the type is indeed beautiful. This is what I get when I type my name (6 letters) in:

Calissa Words Font Example

I like Lavenda (free for private use) for no apparent reason. It is a simple, lovely and easy to read handwritten font.

Levenda Font Example

For a younger audience, teen romance, LT Chickenhawk is a perfect choice. The genre also calls for no capitalization.

LT Chickenhawk Font Example

It is best if we just stop here for a second. The WOW! (Women on Writing) has published a compelling article about how covers are the main tool in dividing the market into women’s fiction (“serious literature”) and chick lit (“easy read”).

The Woman's Fiction vs Chick Lit Debate

(Source of the picture)
You can use this opposition for your own advantage by designing your cover bearing in mind what you want people to think of it and where on the market would you like to be positioned.

Sci-fi book cover fonts

Okay, this is an easy one again: there are tons of futuristic, light, sans-serif fonts on the market. Sci-fi books usually come with a dark cover and light title, using pastel colors. If you want to see some horrible ones, there is a whole website dedicated to them (also includes fantasy books, but usually showing vintage editions), but we are only going to show nice ones.

Sci-Fi Book Covers
The rounded, thick sans-serif fonts and all capitals for both the author’s name and the title make these covers similar. The layout of the cover is not strictly set.

The last of these covers is strikingly different: it would very well fit among the above-mentioned “Women Fiction.”

It is purposefully deceptive; makes you expect something from the 1800s: a serif font, traditional author – title placement, ornamental pattern under the title. The readers it aims to reach are not the “traditional” sci-fi audience, but whoever would take the Memoirs of a Geisha off the shelves.

Cerna Font Example
Cerena is an excellent sci-fi font, free for private use, but we wouldn’t choose it without knowing how to use InDesign. Can you see the gap between the A and T in the first picture? It is a straight cut line between the two letters. This bad kerning didn’t happen because the designers didn’t know what they were doing, but because MsWord is a text editor, not a publishing tool. Just use the font in InDesign, and the gap is gone, without us having to change anything. (The font comes with capitals only.)

Not Just Groovy Font Example

Not Just Groovy (free for personal use) is my favorite of all fonts listed in this article, and I can’t think of a book on which it wouldn’t look good. The use of all lowercase is also common for sci-fi.
List of fonts
If you are still with us, you deserve that we share the list of free or easy to buy font collections we came across. Thanks for reading and please use the comments section to share everything we don’t know about. Happy publishing!

MyFonts – A collection of the best-known typefaces globally. The fonts are free to try but come with a charge if you want to use them.
Behance Free Fonts – Amazing fonts shared by the design giant Adobe
1001 Fonts and Dafont – Huge collections of fonts with straightforward signage of licensing and direct link to the designers. Bonus points for the Donate! button.
Font Squirrel – A beautiful selection of free-for-commercial-use fonts. Motto: who has time to pick from thousands?
CreativeBloq – With descriptions as specified as “high-contrast serif display fonts,” this website has something for everyone.

10
Feb

How Self-Publishing works in India

There’s a lot of innovation and experimentation happening in the Indian book publishing industry. In this article, you will learn how the book market and the self-publishing industry works in India. Which is expected to explode very soon! The book industry is worth over 7 billion dollar approximately and growing at around 20% every year.

Indian book sanctuary - self-publishing in India

The Indian book market overview

The Indian book market can be described in one word: complex.

As the 6th biggest market in the world by GDP, the economy is thriving. There are higher literacy levels, and the book market is getting ready for ebooks. Behind the US and UK, India ranks 3rd in the world in English language publishing. In fact, it is one of the very few markets globally that is still increasing in both print and digital publishing. The market in India is extremely fragmented, demographically.

There are 22 official languages, English is one of them, but Hindi is the most common one. There are 122 major languages and close to 1600 additional ones. Languages are thriving in India, for instance, you can expect a renewed interest in buying and reading Hindi books.

Marathi, Malyalam, Bengali, Telugu and Tamil languages also have a strong culture of reading. The fragmented nature of publishing comes from the diverse social and economic levels across the country and from the fact that a few large retail chains are dominating the market while there are hundreds of small, independent bookstores and unorganized retailers. There’s not much publishing data coming in from the Indian market, which makes it harder to represent the market and create a full study on the subject. However, Nielsen has a report about the Indian book market that tries to quantify a complex market. There are still issues though such as the fact that a large number of publishers, especially in Indian languages do not use ISBNs. Another problem is that the market is still fragmented and lacks marketing and distribution support for self-publishers. However, a consolidation has already started thanks to the government that allows a 100% foreign direct investment resulting in the involvement of foreign multinationals. Amazon’s purchase of Westland, which is one of the top publishing houses in India, is a great example of this consolidation process.

The growing population of the youth, who is becoming literate and educated, brings a tremendous opportunity for market growth in the publishing industry, especially in the educational sector. No surprise that educational books dominate the overall Indian book market with 70%. The other 30% of books published are trade books. However, in monetary terms,  academic books account for 40% of sales, trade books account for 30% and the remaining are children books. About 50,000 publishers publish a volume of 120,000 books each year, nearly half of the titles are in Hindi and English. This puts India at the 7th rank globally in terms of the number of books published.

The biggest players on the market are Amazon and Flipkart. The business model of Amazon in India differs from the one in the US. While in America Amazon has two business models: ecommerce and it is a marketplace for third party sellers. In India however, Amazon.in needed to develop multiple business models because of the characteristics of the market. Flipkart’s ebooks catalogue was bought by Rakuten (Kobo) in 2015, so there should be exciting strategic developments in the future.

The internet penetration is growing fast; the online market is globally among the fastest growing ones in India which manifest in more content consuming online and through devices, especially mobile phones.

When it comes to accessing the internet, India is a mobile-first country with 900 million users of whom 42% have already purchased digital content. Thus ebook sales are driven by smartphones, tablets and mobile commerce. As the Indian ebook market gets more and more mature, e-reader devices are picking up slowly but surely.

Although they have not been particularly popular so far which has to do a lot with the significant presence of the younger generation that prefers tablets and smartphones over ebook readers. Therefore, content publishing startups like Pratilipi, Matrubharti or Juggernaut have a significant advantage. Another reason to consume content from these app-based platforms is that a lot of Indian language books are not available as ebooks, so there’s no need to buy an e-reader.

Digital publishing

The Indian ebook segment is an arising market with lots of potential. It is projected to be an 85 million dollar industry in 2016 and is expected to grow 3 to 5 times in the next three years.
Ebooks in Indian languages are slowly increasing due to the technological challenges. There’s a lack of support for Indic scripts by the reading devices. However, free content is a key element of adopting ebooks in India. 62% of the publishers are currently publishing ebooks, and the biggest market for ebooks right now is the higher education sector. Although, ebooks at the moment have less than 10% market share in India, according to the projections by 2020 this number is going to be 25%.

Self-publishing in India

In terms of self-publishing, we can distinguish two markets in India:  books in English and books written in native languages. Kindle has a strong presence in India, and it supports content from Indian languages such as Hindi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Tamil or Marathi. Kobo has a store. However there’s been not much activity happening from Kobo in India. Lately, it is more known for its e-reader than its ebooks.

As a self-publisher, there are plenty of options to choose if you want to self-publish a book to the Indian market. The question is, who to approach and what the costs are. Below we collected two services you can choose from to self-publish your ebook:

 

  • Pothi: a self-publishing and print on demand company in India. They offer editing and cover design services for ebooks which can be submitted as PDF or MS Word or as an EPUB file. Your books will be sold through Pothi.com store only, and your royalty is 75% of the MRP (Maximum Retail Price, described below)
  • Cinnamonteal: offers ebook conversion (PDF, EPUB, MOBI formats) and worldwide distribution services (Apple, Amazon, B&N etc.). You can also include video and audio clips into your ebooks and create audiobooks as well.

 

For regional languages the biggest players on the market are Dailyhunt and MatrubhartiDailyhunt is India’s largest local language ebook store that provides books in multiple Indian languages. It offers 20-25% royalties for independent authors and 35-40% royalties for publishers. Matrubharti is a self-publishing startup platform for regional language writers. It uses subscription service for generating revenues and has developed an author community to translate the content from English to Indian languages in exchange for commissions.

If you want your books to be ready for the Indian market as a non-Indian author, you should consider the following aspects before you publish:

  • Content: if your book is written in English, how do you get that translated?
  • Technology: Converting your book to an electronic format will affect your script and fonts
  • Marketing: you have to invest in marketing, know your readers and reach out to them

One of the most successful self-publishers in India, Rasana Atreya. 

Her bestseller novel Tell A Thousand Lies was shortlisted for an award in 2012. Rasana left her job to follow her dreams to be a writer. She turned down an offer by a leading Indian publishing company and decided to self-publish her books. She wanted to keep digital rights, royalties and the entire publishing process in her hands. And it turned out to be the best decision she could have ever done. As she says:

„Self-publishing your book might seem overwhelming and scary, but it ends up being the right choice for many writers.”

According to her, if you want to self-publish your book, you need to devote an enormous amount of time for research and preparation to understand the self-publishing process. She also had her books edited, formatted and designed professionally. Rasana’s books based on social issues that affect rural India with a hint of tragedy and comedy elements. She writes about topics that are close to her heart. She also points out the importance of marketing your ebook. She is active on her social media channels, operates a blog page and often asks fellow authors and critics to review her books which can boost her sales.

Which genres perform well in India?

There’s a high demand for contemporary Indian writing in English. It is easier to sell a nonfiction book in India. As for fiction, it’s a very niche market with an overall rate of 10-12%. The hot topics are social media and startups while self-help and leadership books are evergreen categories. If your plan is to write a book for the Indian market start with ebooks, don’t try to get into the print market. Paperbacks in India are not that profitable because most of them are relatively cheap.

How to price your book for the Indian market?

Pricing a book right is probably the biggest question every author has come across. Pricing an English book particularly for the Indian market can be an issue. However, what you can do is to use the thumb rule which is usually one rupee (Indian currency) per page for paperback and 60% of it for ebooks. There’s an index called MRP (Maximum Retail Price) for that which is calculated by the type of the print book (Paperback/Hardcover), size of the book and the number of pages. Make sure to actually price your book for the indian market not just convert your local currency price into rupees.

Traditional publishers in India offer discounts on the selling price (50-60%), so regarding independent authors, who are trying to adjust their pricing strategy, the MRP index might not be the most profitable solution. In this case, the focus should be more on targeted marketing, finding who your readers are and invest more in that.

As you could see, interesting dynamics have been going on in the Indian publishing industry. Self-publishing is becoming bigger and bigger due to the many self-publishing services that have been launched recently, but it still has a long way to go. More and more authors are starting to realize the potential of DIY publishing in India, but there are still issues for publishers to overcome such as book discovery, finding the right price, piracy and investing in strengthening their marketing efforts online.

However, the popularity of ebooks is rising in the country, and the increasing number of self-publishing platforms that support authors to write, proves that India is going to be a major player on the publishing market that no one should ignore.

PublishDrive is selling ebooks to the Indian market through Google Play, Scribd, Kobo and Amazon. Besides the big retailers, via PublishDrive your books can be published directly to Indian stores such as to Rockstand, one of the largest ebook stores in India. More stores are coming soon!

Do you have an interesting story or fact about the unique book market of India? Share it in the comments!

Special thanks to Amar Vyas, host of MyKitaab Podcast who was a major help putting this article together. Check out his podcasts here.

 

 

05
Jan

A Complete Guide to 3D Book Covers

You can’t judge a book by its cover. Still, people do it all the time.

Some authors on the market could sell a book with only their name printed on a black cover, but let’s be honest: we are not there yet. For mere mortals, covers are just as important in marketing as the catchy title and interesting blurb. You can try and design it for yourself or pay a pro to do it for you. Here are the pros and cons of 3D and 2D book covers, and some of the most popular cover design websites.

Advantages and disadvantages of 3D book covers

A 3D cover is an excellent thing to have: makes your book look “real”. With the help of the right software, you can easily create images that look like photos of printed books. If you would like to use your cover for marketing purposes, a 3D rendering of your 2D cover is necessary.

However, you cannot use 3D covers in most online shops: they would not only look silly, but they are forbidden in most shops. The iTunes guide explicitly says (12.9): “The art can’t be a setup shot, three-quarter image, or a 3D representation of the book. Don’t use photographs of the book’s physical cover as cover art.”

So impressive as they look, you shouldn’t use 3D covers anywhere else than on your website and social media.

Hire a professional

I consider myself fairly creative: I’m a person of words. When it comes to design, however, I can’t tell good from bad.

Thankfully, it is not difficult to find a professional designer. If you don’t have a friend who is a pro in InDesign or PhotoShop, pick one of the following websites to do the job for you. (If your favourite website is not on the list, please tell us about it in the comments.)

3d book covers - A Wall for teeth and stingers - Blacktip Island - The deep within

Ebooklaunch.com offers a full service. You can select a package consisting of either an ebook cover or both ebook and print cover, then share your ideas about what you would like to see (they also help you out, if you have absolutely no idea), pay by Paypal and receive your cover by email within 14 days. If you are not satisfied, they change it for you or give a full refund. The ebook only package costs $349, and it even includes a 3D cover for marketing purposes. Still not convinced? Check out the full portfolio here. (We’re not affiliated with them in any way, just really like the service.)

3d book covers -The Wayfaring Swan - House of Tears - Chained

If you are looking for something more affordable, Vila Design can do pretty much the same thing, but for a fraction of the price. Starting at $45 and increasing with the number of stock images used and photo manipulation required, their covers are beautiful and available for everyone.

They also offer a 3D cover service and can design a whole marketing package including Facebook banners and bookmarks.

3D book covers - Achilles vs. Mecha-Hector - Willows of Fate - They Call Me Alexandra Gastone

Fiona Jayde Media provides plot help, layout design (page setting), cover design (with the possibility of a photoshoot with a professional photographer!) and a video trailer (yes, book trailers are on and trending). The options are endless: for $50, she generates 3D books from your cover, for $100 extra she gives you the banners and avatars necessary for your branding. Pick the package that is right for you or ask her for a quote.

Make it for yourself

If you are at least a bit more visual than I am, you can set out making your own book cover. There is nobody to know your book and your ideas better than you anyway. On Canva, you can design your own book cover for free. With a simple Google or Facebook login, you can use it either online or on your iPad.

I spent a good 25 minutes playing with it and creating the design below: it is quite simple to use and offers tons of free or cheap pictures, fonts and layouts. You can also upload your own pictures (just make sure that you’re only using loyalty free pictures on your cover).

Some pictures appear to be free at first glance, but if you are planning on selling your book, that counts as commercial use. Make sure that you don’t get yourself in any trouble: take your own photos or pay for a license.

Once you are done, you can also share your cover or simply embed it into your website (like I did now with the cover of this imaginary book I could’ve written). There is also a “Share this link” mode, where you can invite your friends or coworkers not only to see, but to edit your cover. The only downside of it is that it doesn’t offer 3D covers – you can easily transform them though. I’ll tell you how in the next chapter.

Interestingly enough, there are no set standards regarding cover size, but all big retailers and publishers have their own preferences. A detailed list of these can be found here.

Rendering 3D images

Rendered 3D books

If you find PhotoShop complicated, purpose-built software, like Boxshot 4 can do the job for you. Starting from $79 is a bit on the expensive side (but with a free demo version); it can’t only design book covers but groceries, magazines, and other 3D objects. They also operate a free online service: you just upload your front and side, set lighting and reflexions and render.

The BossEye 3D Box Shot Maker can do considerably less, but it is free. You just set the side and front image, and it gives you the 3D book cover. You can even set a shadow!3D book cover with shadow

If you would like something which looks more like a book and less like a box, Adazing.com works simply from the browser. You pick your style, upload your image, enter your email address and are happy with the result: the picture above was made using Adazing.com, and I can hardly believe that this book has never been written.

If you are good with PhotoShop, or at least not afraid of it, there are plenty of guides and templates out there to teach you the how to. If you feel like spending around 30 minutes creating your 3D cover, you can follow this guide. They show you how you can create your 2D cover from nothing and how to simply 3D it.

So, go and grab your mouse or wallet and get yourself noticed by the cover.

Also, feel free to share your own book cover in the comments.

Happy publishing!