Category: Ebook production

13
Sep

How to Publish Internationally – Author’s Tips

Nobody knows better how self-publishing works than our self-published authors. In our series, Self-Publishing Success Stories, we ask our authors about topics we believe they know best. In the first post, we talked about how to self-publish a cookbook with Kendall Harrison. Today, internationally acclaimed author Jean Joachim is sharing her tips and tricks with us about publishing internationally: she conquered the Italian and Spanish market. Do you agree with her about how to publish internationally? Did you have similar or different experiences? Share with us in the comments.

How did you decide to go on the Italian and Spanish market? Did you know in advance that you are going to be successful there?

One never knows in advance if he/she is going to be successful. Every new venture, big or small, is a risk. If the reward is big enough, then the risk becomes worth it.

Through the urgings of a Facebook friend, I had become curious about getting my books translated, but didn’t know where to begin. Italian translation fell into my lap. My former publisher, still a dear friend, had commissioned an Italian translation of one of her books. The translator requested other authors to work with and my friend recommended me. That’s how it began. The translator looked over my work and came to me with a request to translate one of my books.

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04
Sep

What’s an ebook? Beginner’s Guide to Ebook Reading, Creation and Distribution

It is the content that matters, not the format – while reading on e-ink readers, tablets and smartphones is an important part of millions’ lives, there are still other millions who wouldn’t ever consider downloading a book. Despite their increasing popularity, there are still several misconceptions about ebooks worldwide. This article aims to provide a beginner’s guide to those who still believe that the smell of ink and paper is an essential accessory of reading. What’s an ebook? Read on to learn more about epub.

The article has been updated on January 3, 2018 with changes.

Book and ebook reader

1. What’s an ebook?

This should be straightforward to answer, you would think. At first glance, we could say that an ebook is a book read on an electronic device (computer screen, tablet, smartphone or e-reader). But this description is somewhat vague and wide, including many things that are not an ebook. Therefore it is better to approach this question from the perspective of what is a difference between an epub, a word document and a PDF file.

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23
Aug

5 Things Everybody Gets Wrong About Interactive Books

The widespread of interactive books coincided with me getting into publishing studies and I couldn’t be any happier to live in this amazing age.
I still remember my disbelief in 2009, when I first heard about hypertext and interconnected books. My professor seemed to be telling an impossible tale about a future where all quotes, references and mentions will be easily searchable in all works of literature and where we can create our own story within the book, breaking up the linear order of reading.

Now we have all we could only dream of, and so many things we could have never imagined: but do we used it as we should? Do interactive books get all the awe and respect they deserve? And most importantly: are they the future? In the following I am debunking five misconceptions about interactive books and show everyone how amazing they are.

1. Interactive books are a new invention

Even if we don’t count colouring books, pop ups and all kinds of hands on books for kids, traditional printed books that allow the readers to interact or change the story some way or another have been around for awhile now. Do any of you remember the gamebooks that came with a dice and you had to decide where to go next, whom to fight and whom to avoid?
It was just a question of time that traditional linear storytelling gets combined with the reader’s desire to get involved and to get an enhanced story, that ‘steps off’ the pages. Although the first Kindles coming to the market didn’t look anything like the future (being heavy, black and very-very basic), interactive books conquered the market nevertheless.
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18
Aug

The Top 10 Most Useful Ebook Writing Software

The age of handwriting your ebook and typing it up later is long gone. While I am a lover of beautiful stationery, an ebook writing software can be much more useful.

In our selection, we review the best editing, writing and converting tools currently at the market. Some of them practically take you from the first idea to the virtual bookshelf, and others import your manuscript and transform it into a beautiful e-book. Of course, everyone knows Blurb, and we write a lot about Sigil, that being the favorite editor of our technical team, but people have different needs and there are many reasons why you would want to look for an alternative to these apps. What is more important to you: ease of use or number of options? Do you need somewhere to write and edit the text, or just import it from a doc file? Did we leave out your favorite? Drop us a comment, and we’ll do our best to write about it.

10 best ebook writing software

(The article was updated on December 1st, 2017.) Continue Reading…

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07
Jul

Do Not Get Caught Un-Quote

Do you remember the eighth commandment? Do not steal. Everybody knows that, and yet: sometimes we get caught off-guard, and even with the best intentions, we end up hearing the worst word a writer could ever hear: plagiarism.

Citing your resources is incredibly easy, and in this article we are going to help you out. It is extremely important to mention the sources you were using when doing your research or who inspired you, especially if you are writing nonfiction (you don’t want to be sued for plagiarism, do you?). The article is roughly based on my favorite publication ever, Chicago Manual of Style , and the extremely useful The Punctuation Guide . Please note that the traditions differ by country (US English vs UK English) and all big publishers have their taste in referencing. When in doubt, please don’t question your editor.

Mentioning others’ works

Underline, italics or quotation marks

When mentioning someone’s work in your text, you should ask the following question: is this the title of a standalone work? If the answer is yes, use italics: for movies, series, books, websites.

correct: I was reading The Jungle Book, when my brother came in.

incorrect: I was reading ‘The Jungle Book’, when my brother came in.
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22
Jun

A Guide on Book Title Punctuation

For the trained eyes, there is nothing more annoying than looking at a book which is just one letter away from perfect. It is possible that you have made a capital mistake when not checking the rules of capitalization before publishing. It can be a tricky business, but nothing you cannot master by following a set of simple rules. In this article, we are writing about right capitalization and punctuation of titles (of your own books) on the cover and on the title page, with special regard to consistency.

Capitalization of your book title

This is probably common knowledge, but main titles in English are capitalized. (If you are not writing in English, follow the typesetting rules of your own language: anglicisms are generally frown upon.) Unfortunately for us, the rules of capitalization, commonly known as Title Case couldn’t be more complicated.

CapitalizeDon’t capitalize
 

The first and the last word of the sentence

The word after a colon

All meaningful words (verbs, nouns etc)

Subordinating conjunctions (as, because etc.)

 

Articles (a, an, the)

Coordinating conjunctions (but, and, or, if, nor etc.)

Prepositions under 5 letters (at, to, from, etc.)

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23
May

How to Publish a Book on iBooks

If you’re an author, you probably want to leverage multiple channels to increase your visibility and boost your ebook sales. You can definitely make some money by publishing your book with iBooks. In the following, you’ll learn about some Apple tools to make your life easier when publishing a book on iBooks.

iBooks Author

publishing with iBooks author app

iBooks Author is Apple’s book-creation app that helps you develop Multi-Touch books with interactive elements such as 3D video, embedded web widgets, interactive diagrams even Keynote presentations. These multimedia elements can be useful for non-fiction books like cookbooks, history guides, picture books, etc. iBooks files are a special Apple-only version of the epub standard, they can only be created using the app, and they can only be read by the iBooks app. The software supports EPUB and PDF formats. If you have used Apple’s Pages and Keynote before, you’ll be familiar with how iBooks Author works.

How does it work?

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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: book cover size in terms of 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)

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12
Feb

The Complete Guide to Choosing Your Book Cover Font with Examples

(This article was updated on 03.08.2017)

We already wrote about how important it is to get your book cover design right: first impressions count, as you might not get a second chance. In case you missed it, you can see some book cover examples and read more about 3D covers here. There is an important  detail that many people overlook when designing their book cover (or when deciding whether to accept a proposed book cover design): the typeface.

Don’t look puzzled: just because you are not likely to pay any 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 it’s cause? The font needs to match the genre and your style. It is easy to get it wrong but can be a great tool emphasizing your message. You can hire the best photographer or artist to create your book cover picture, but if you don’t get your typography right, your book is still going to look cheap or out of genre.

When bringing a book to 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 this article, we are going to guide you through the process of choosing the best font for your cover with great examples. Starting with general rules, we are going to analyze the trends of 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.

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

Placement

Book title font generator

Non-fiction book cover fonts

Horror book cover fonts

Comic book cover fonts

Romance book cover fonts

Sci-fi book cover fonts

Fantasy book cover fonts

Children’s books cover fonts

List of fonts

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, or pay for the one you really need. You definitely wouldn’t want somebody to just use your book however they like – 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 feature: you can use them on your computer, but cannot embed them into a pdf (and that is needed for your cover to look the same on every computer and even in print). 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 to clarify. There are a lot more variety in commercial fonts and sometimes you might have to purchase one, but you can find a list of nice 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. They work best between 6pt and 14pt (points). And some fonts are designed to look better while displaying a message, creating a certain feeling or impression. They draw attention. They work well when used in larger sizes. Many fonts available have both text and display variants: they look the same at first, but the important difference lies in the 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 seems much lighter.

Text, display and banner book font example(Source: fonts.com)

This is why it is advisable to, choose a display font, as you are aiming for a large font size on your book cover. Did we say large? Yes, when it comes to titles, size matters. You want your title to be legible even in a thumbnail. Don’t be afraid that it covers your carefully chosen book cover image (but you can play around that with a smart layout, which you’ll see in 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 to make it thumbnail size: around 100px.)

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 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 to grow together in a way it wasn’t intended.

Placement

Moving on to 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. Yes, you want your book cover to stand out and to be unique, but sometimes the simplest typeface will do the trick. In the following, we show you great book cover examples where the uniqueness lies not in the selection per se, but in other typographic solutions.

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 novel 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 which resembles light. The Kawasaki cover is also simple: one typeface, two main colors, some italic. (But note that the rules are different for non-fiction book covers; more on this with examples later.)

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 and original typography can be the fundamental (or the only!) element of a cover.

Well-placed title and original typography on a book cover

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 the author and title. The author’s name can be at the top or the bottom, the title can either be at the top, center or bottom.

Don’t forget: the most important is to get it to harmonize with your cover image, your genre, and your style. For inspiration and good examples, 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, or it shoud be tempting enough to be interested in it. 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 test 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 the hundreds of fonts you might want to try.) The only downfall 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. It’s best not to use them. Do not use any effect either. If you want your title to be written in style of Stranger Things, there are websites that can 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 used as a book cover

 

Book cover fonts by genre

The daunting task of curating 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 method, 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 completely different in other countries.) In the following, we help you to find the most beautiful book cover fonts by genre with great examples..

Non-fiction book cover fonts

The least we can give is a simple rule: use sans-serif. Most designers of the best non-fiction book covers 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 be perceived 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 the author’s name in sans-serif and the title being 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. Do you remember what we said about the importance of kerning?)

Non-fiction book cover font examples

The current trend is the extreme use of 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 feel” font to emphasize the theme and set 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 light, regular, bold, heavy and italic versions and a combination of these; we chose heavy. A font like this works very well even if used in inverse, putting a pattern under them on a blank cover.

Book cover with inverse font and patterned background

 

Widolte light is not free, therefore 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.

Horror book cover fonts

Look away now, if horror is not your genre because the following images might be disturbing for some. 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 font with the words 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 contains different letters only. 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 font with the words Out of Coffee

 

Nightmare 5 is such a great font that we were happy to use it for spelling out our biggest nightmare. It fades and has a grunge quality, but is still easy to read, and has a bit of Scooby-Doo-y playfulness. It is free for private use, but must purchase for commercial use.

Horror book cover font good examples

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 in all capitals (it is ok for horrors, but not advisable every genre) and sans-serif, combined with the author’s nem in serif.

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 used font is subtle, it could come preinstalled on anyone’s computer. (But it doesn’t.)

Horror covers usually use dark backgrounds and “spiky” decorations, 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, graphic novels, 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 cover font good examples

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 are 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 regarding 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 to appear in print. The author’s name is almost unreadable due to 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 before “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 the 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 to sell a product, which is hated by enough people for the BBC to  write about it.

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, each used with different effect.

Romance book cover font good examples

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 font with ligatures

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

Lavenda handwritten font example

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

LT Chickenhawk, a font example for younger generations

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”).

Women’s fiction versus chick lit style books

(Source of the picture: wow-womenonwriting.com)

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 examples, 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 cover font good examples

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; it 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.

Cold Waters font book cover 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.)

Among stars book cover 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.

Fantasy book cover fonts

Great fantasy books (luckily for us, readers) always come in series. A well chosen font and placement will make your book recognizable from far away: your fans will instantly spot your book anywhere. Some examples below include the great urban fantasy series of Ben Aaronovitch and everyone’s favourite epos by George R. R. Martin. I’m sure you get the idea.

Ben Aaronovitch fantasy book series covers

George R.R. Martin fantasy book series covers

These authors succeeded in building an brand for the author, because the book covers follow a theme, a structure: same typeface, similar alignment, different colour scheme. (Which is great if you spot somebody reading them on the underground.) Even if you are not planning to write a series of books, it helps if your fantasy book covers share some design elements.

For a fantasy book, your cover has to convey the mood of the book. It also helps if your cover image orients the reader: when and where in the fictional world are we? Is it hot or cold? Is there magic? But remember to never disclose too much, don’t ruin your readers’ surprise and journey of discovery.

Optimus Princeps (left) is a great serif, all caps font. It is ideal for all your fantasy needs from Middle Earth to Gilead.

Optimus Princeps fantasy book cover font Oranienbaum fantay book cover font

 

 

 

 

 

Oranienbaum (right) is a well balanced, light and modern serif font which would look great on any urban fantasy or anything set after an imaginary 19. century.

Children’s book cover fonts

We already wrote about self-publishing a children’s book, but didn’t talk about cover fonts in that article. No wonder: this is such a huge cathegory, it includes books from toddlers to pre-teens.

However, there are a couple of guidelines. Children’s books, similar to fantasy books, are likely to come in series. Aim for a unique style, a brand you can keep and which mums and kids easily recognise. You can use bold colours and creative, handwritten-style fonts.

Harry Potter book cover children's book font example

Surfing Capital is an amazing, brush-like font in all caps. I can easily imagine it used on a book for a toddler or pre-schooler. The letters are easy to read, which can also be important.

Surfing capital brush like font

(Source: sellfy.com)

Bakery is an amazing free for personal use script with great ligatures and a wide range of possible usages. It is not as easy to read as the previous one, but kids from 8-9 years old will likely be able to tackle with it.

 

Bakery font, ideal for books for 8-9 year olds

(Source: stereo-type.fr)

List of fonts

All in all: try to find the balance in book cover design. Try out different typefaces and layouts, until your book is great to look at (and your title is legible in thumbnail size). There is obviously no one-size-fits-all solution for your typography problems, but trained eyes will easily notice if something is about to go terribly off.

If you are still with us, you deserve to check our 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.

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05
Jan

A Complete Guide to 3D Book Covers and Bundle Covers

(A complete guide to 3D book covers was updated on 17/01/2018)

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 2D and 3D 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” – and you feel like a real writer! 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.

Your 3D book cover then can be used in your author email signature, share it on social media platforms and websites, and create amazing looking banners.

3D book covers work well with any genre: authors from all over the sprectum, including fiction and non-fiction use them.

However, you cannot use 3D covers in most online shops: they would not only look out of place on a virtual bookshelf, but are forbidden. 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 of your stand alone books anywhere else than on your website and social media.

3D book covers for bundles

Everybody loves a bargain. Bundling ebooks together is much better than bundle selling traditional books. Carrying the 40$ Harry Potter paperback boxset home with you could result in long-lasting and unwanted health-related consequences. (Mostly back-pain. Or divorce.)

harry potter bundle boxset 3D cover

Bundle-selling ebooks, however, is a great way for readers to save some money and an even better way for authors to get their readers read the whole story. If 2,000 people read the first book in your series, and 1,000 buy the second, chances are that only 500 people will buy the third. It is not because your writing got worse; people simply loose interest over time. If you can get them to buy all book sin the series at once, it is more likely that they will eventually finish it. (Nobody likes wasting their money on books they never read. Oh wait, there is even a Japanese word for it.)

For bundles and collections, authors often create 3D book covers but they are not accepted in all stores. Google Play or Amazon accept 3D covers for bundles, but iTunes does not. Seasoned authors, like Britney King (see the example below) already know that and prepare both 3D and 2D covers of their bundles.

Which one looks better? It is only a question of preference. 2D bundle covers are more widely accepted, but 3D bundle covers are also very popular.

The Bedrock Series: Books 1-3

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 for designing a 3D cover. 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 book cover generator 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 also 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.

This guide is specifically focused on designing 3D book covers, but we already have articles on book cover fonts, book cover sizes and book title punctuation:

Try 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 share your cover on social media or embed it into your website. 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 book cover generator – you can easily transform them though. I’ll tell you how in the next chapter.

3d book covers

3D book cover generators: make your own

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. 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. Pick your style, upload your image, enter your email address and be happy with the result. The picture above was made using Adazing.com, and I can hardly believe that this book has never been written. The only backside is the spine: normally you would have the title and author there, but Adazing keeps it black.

Creating your 3D book cover: a step-by-step guide

The aforementioned 3D book cover generators are all amazing, but they offer limited customization options. If you would like to have something very special, you can also have a go and do it yourself.

You will need:

  • your book cover in good resolution,
  • a 3D book cover template (you can get one easily from any stock photo database),
  • your spine in a separate image (if you are using a template with spine),
  • a photo editor, like PhotoShop, Gimp or Pixlr,
  • and a lot of time.

The spine is extremely simple to make: you just need to write the author’s name and the title vertically upwards (on downwards, if you are American) in front of a white background or the background colour of your book cover. If your color is a picture, you could pretend that the picture continues on the spine, like here:

3D book cover generator

In case 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.

Since not everyone can afford PhotoShop, you can also use Gimp and Pixlr. Pixlr is also great if you don’t have acces to a desktop computer or prefer to work online. If you are using Pixlr, just open the file with the cover template, insert your cover and drag the corners until they match. You can do the same with your spine.

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!

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