Category: Ebook production

30
Apr

How to Create a Book Cover for Free

While everybody agrees that creating a beautiful book cover should be the work of an artist, hiring a cover designer could be very expensive. What happens if you can’t afford a designer? Can you still sell your book on Amazon or upload it to Wattpad? Yes. It is possible to create a book cover for free: you just need to learn the business very well to make one that looks professional.

In this article, we’ll explore the main steps of creating a book cover; what are some free online apps to use to design your own book cover; and what tools are required. Self-publishing a book is never easy, and an amazing cover can help you get it right.

To read more about ebook covers, check out our other articles in this topic:

(Article was updated with more information on May 22, 2018.)

What you’ll need to create a book cover for free (checklist)

Before we start looking for the best app, let’s have a look at what you might need. (You can use the links to jump to the correct position within the article.)

1Your title and your author name. There is no need to put anything on the cover other than the author’s name, the title and the subtitle.
2A suitable image or images. These will be used as the main part of your cover. It is uncommon to create completely typographic covers unless the book is literary fiction.
3A genre-specific font. Serif or sans-serif?
4An editing app. You can use an online service or get a professional photo editing software.
5A feedback group. Just as you wouldn’t publish a book without getting somebody to read it first, you can’t publish a book without getting feedback on your cover either.

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06
Feb

Amazon CreateSpace Stops Offering Author Services: What are the options?

Not long after Macmillan closed Pronoun, another publishing giant decided to step down. Amazon company CreateSpace will stop offering paid author services. CreateSpace has long been home of many self-published authors and its presence will be missed. Amazon itself has already taken over the distribution of print-on-demand paperbacks and even started offering author proof copies. The author services department, however, will be closed completely by March 15, leaving many aspiring authors looking for a new option.

What services did CreateSpace offer?

CreateSpace was a sort of marketplace for authors to purchase paid services suitable for their needs. The main difference between services like CreateSpace and vanity presses is that companies offering legitimate authoring services are very clear about what is included and what is not; and authors can choose only the services they need.

Paid authoring services often include editing, proofreading, cover design and professional, manual ebook conversion. Companies offering paid authoring services have a pool of qualified editors and designers to cater for the authors’ need. They might employ professionals on a freelance basis, or – as CreateSpace did – full time.

author services
Photo by Galymzhan Abdugalimov

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02
Feb

Bulk Import 3.0: Upload and import many books at once

We are happy to announce that our publishers can now import many books in one step. The new bulk import works via sftp and also via a graphic interface. Watch the video for details or read on.

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28
Jan

The Best Illustrators for Your Children’s Picture Book: How To Find Them?

Darcy PattisonIt is a long lingering myth that children’s books don’t sell well in an ebook form. Who would know this better than Darcy PattisonShe writes and markets her own books and has agreed to write us a guest post about finding the best illustrators to work with. Darcy identified 10 things she looks for when selecting the illustrators she wants to work with; and also created an infographic with her results. (You can find it on the bottom of this page.)

About the author

Writing teacher and picture book author Darcy Pattison founded Mims House in 2008. She teaches about writing picture books annually at the Highlights Foundation and online at MimsHouse.Teachable.com. Her new book, Clang! is getting released in March 2018.

The Best Illustrators for Your Children’s Picture Book: How To Find Them?

You’ve heard it ad nauseum: get a professional cover. The cover sells the book.

Likewise, for children’s picture books, the art sells the book.

I’ve been traditionally published (Penguin, Harpercollins, Harcourt, Arbordale), and now I have my own indie publishing company, Mims House. The biggest thing I took away from my experience in the trad-world was a commitment and passion for good art.

What Makes for Good Art for a Children’s Picture Book?

Quality. Of course, your aesthetic values will be different from everyone else’s. That is, show ten people a piece of art, and they won’t be able to agree if they like it or not. However, even when I don’t like a drawing, I can still recognize quality. The artist has taken great care to create the piece, and it reflects a distinctive world view. I ask myself, “Could this art hang in a gallery?”

I hear you scoff. Children’s books don’t need museum quality art. Oh, yes they do! Children’s librarians are fond of quoting Walter de la Mare, British poet and children’s book author, who said, “Only the rarest kind of best is good enough for children.” I firmly agree that you should get the best art you possibly can for your picture book.

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02
Jan

Prepare manuscript for ebook conversion: The ultimate guide

Introduction

While there are several great ebook writing and conversion apps available—from free to hundreds of dollars for every platform—most people still prefer writing in a traditional text editor. I can’t imagine writing in anything else than Google Docs (and not only because of the voice typing), but many writers use Microsoft Word, Scrivener or other word processor. Most self-published authors today decide to convert their own ebooks; only to realise many hours into the project that it might not be as easy as they have imagined. This article is helping you to prepare your manuscript for ebook conversion, regardless of whether you decide to convert your book yourself or hire somebody. The advice we give can be followed from the start of writing or applied to a manuscript that is already done.

The Top 10 Ebook Writing Software

prepare manuscript for ebook conversion

Prepare manuscript: why is it important?

Text editors and ebook converters might look similar on the outside, but they have very different purposes. Word processors help users to work with the text: write it, edit it, share it with your editors, betas and grandmother. Word processors have built-in spell check, most of them follow user changes and support different note-taking and highlight options.

Ebook editors, on the other hand, come into the picture once your book is ready: they are designed to create an epub that is difficult to change by the user and displays according to the publisher’s intents on many different devices, may it be a computer, a Kindle or a smartphone. Since the idea behind ebooks and word documents is so different, it is not surprising that they only look similar on the surface.

What’s an ebook? Get started!

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12
Dec

Ebook Templates – A Waste of Money?

Many people argue that ebooks don’t have to be beautiful: the ebook readers or apps will ‘strip’ their formatting anyway, letting the user set their preferred font and line space. But, on the other hand: why shouldn’t ebooks be beautiful? A book that is not only written well but also visually appealing to the reader has a better chance of enchanting customers and get them to come back. We are not even thinking about bad formatting.

There are many steps between a book that provides bad user experience (has, for example, forced line breaks, or is unreadable) and a book that is beautiful. Creating beautiful ebooks, however, can be easier if you have an ebook template. It can also come handy when you are a beginner in ebook formatting and would like to check your book against a ‘professional’ example. When to use an ebook template? What are the common formats? Is using a template for everyone? Read on.

Too cool for school? Download our valid epub sample made using Sigil and use it as a template.

This article lists some ebook templates you should never use, and a few that formatting beginners can use in order to produce valid epubs. To use the templates we provide below we recommend that you download and install Sigil, the free to use professional ebook editor. Many freely available or low cost ebook templates will require to use Adobe InDesign.

What is an ebook template?

Ebook templates are ebook layouts filled with ‘dummy’ text (like lorem ipsum) and stock photos or free to use photos. To use an ebook template, just download it, open it, click ‘Save as’ and name it as your book. Then change the text and the images: delete the old text and add your own. Most cases, you can simply copy and paste your book from Word chapter by chapter.

Remember to change the metadata as well: check the language code, date of publication, contributors and the title. Once you have changed everything, don’t forget to update the table of contents.
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