Tag Archives: cover

Can you pick the difference?

Back in this post, I asked for your feedback on the cover for the new Innerscape Omnibus. To my huge surprise, almost all of you chose version 3:

Of the three, this one was the one I liked least, from a purely aesthetic point of view. Plus it was obvious that the less nerdy amongst you didn’t know that the big square lump in the middle was meant to be the chip on the circuit board. So…

First I came up with this:

I really liked the new parts of the new design, but now some of the older parts of the circuit board looked messy. And that lump was still too big. So…

The differences are subtle, but to me they make the whole thing more aesthetically pleasing. Yes? No? Maybe?

Would love to get your reaction, and please don’t hesitate to point out things that don’t work. You guys really, really surprised me last time, but I had to admit that you were absolutely right. So… what do you think?

-on tenterhooks-

Meeks

 


Cover feedback please!

Back in January, many of my Aussie writer friends joined together to produce an anthology of short stories and poetry, with the proceeds going to bushfire relief. I didn’t join in because I’m not very good at short stories, but I’ve wanted to do something ever since. And now there’s this damn virus…

Anyway, to do my bit, I’ve poured all three books of Innerscape into one omnibus, and I’m going to be offering the omnibus for a limited time – basically the 90 days Amazon requires in order to give readers 5 free days. After the 5 free days are done, the omnibus will revert to 0.99 cents. I wish I could offer the whole 90 days for free, but Amazon won’t let me.

So…I’ve done the formatting and the omnibus is ready to go, but I need to settle on a cover. These are the three I knocked up yesterday:

Version 1

The version 1 cover at thumbnail size

I quite like this one as the white squares can be either shoji screens or the ‘catacombs’, both of which feature in the story. But…the image will only have meaning for those who have already read the whole story. I fear that it will do nothing for potential new readers.

Version 2

The version 2 cover at thumbnail size

This is the one I prefer, aesthetically, plus it’s more consistent with the individual covers, but will the contrast between the ideal beach and the circuitry intrigue readers enough to give the story a go? No idea.

Version 3

Okay, this is the one I like the least, but it may well be the one that most closely fits the scifi/thriller genre of the story. As my Indies Unlimited buddy, Lynne Cantwell wrote in her post about covers:

‘My cover was terrible. Oh, it’s pretty enough. But I’d been marketing the book as urban fantasy, and the cover screamed women’s fiction. The image was all wrong. The font was all wrong. Even the title was all wrong. There was nothing there to entice a reader of urban fantasy to click through and buy my book.’

How to Match Your Cover to Your Genre : https://indiesunlimited.com/2020/03/10/how-to-match-your-cover-to-your-genre/

I know my covers are never going to match either genre exactly because the typical sci-fi cover has stars and space ships, while many thrillers include images of weapons. Still, I’d like the cover of the omnibus to convey something of the two genres, and the simple circuit board of version 3 may just be it.

I would really love your feedback on the three versions, or if none of them appeal, suggestions as to how I could make the look and feel of the cover better.

Thanks in advance,

Meeks


Reviewing your book & cover

Click here to display the Table of Contents

After both your manuscript and book cover have been submitted successfully, KDP generates a digital version of the book which you can review onscreen.

Note: you will have the option of requesting a printed proof of the book before giving your final approval.

Review your book

To review your book, click the Launch Previewer button located near the bottom of the Paperback Content tab:

Next, KDP displays the Print Preview screen: 

Preview errors

On the left of the screen is a notification area. If there are any technical problems with the book, KDP will detail them here, under the heading of ‘PLEASE CHECK’. Any problems identified by KDP must be fixed or the book may be rejected.

A checklist of 8 common problems can be found on the KDP web page:

https://KDP.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/GYEKAVKMSE23PFTM

To fix any problems, click the Exit Print Previewer button near the bottom of the screen.    

Edit the original manuscript [or cover file], upload the edited file, and review the book file again.

Thumbnails and the interior of the book

In the middle of the Print Previewer screen is the display area. It is set to ‘Two Page View’ by default, and displays the front, back and spine of your book.

To view the interior of your book, click the Thumbnail View option located at the bottom of the screen:   

You should now be looking at a thumbnail spread of the cover and interior pages of your book:

While in Thumbnail View, you can scroll through the pages for an overview of the layout, or you can zoom in on individual pages by clicking the relevant thumbnail. When you click a thumbnail, the display returns to a full-sized, two-page view of the pages.

Approve your book

If the review finds no problems with your book, and you are happy with both the interior and the cover, click the Approve button located on the bottom right of the Previewer screen.

KDP will save your book and return you to Paperback Contents.

Summary Details

After approving your book, KDP displays the Summary details. These include the settings for the interior, bleed, cover finish, trim size,  page count, and how much it will cost to print your book: 

In the example shown, the print cost is in US dollars for Amazon.com.

To view the print costs for the other Amazon marketplaces, click the Show other marketplaces link directly below the print cost.

KDP will display a drop down list of print costs in the currencies of the other standard distribution centres – i.e. in Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Canada.

KDP Print Cost

The KDP print cost is made up of three components:

  • a fixed cost
  • a price-per-page cost which varies according to type of paper chosen and whether the print is in Black and White or Colour
  • the total number of pages in the book

You can find more detailed information on KDP print costs here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834340

Note: the print cost is only one element in the final sale price of the book.

To progress to the last tab – ‘Paperback Rights & Pricing’ – click the Save and Continue button which is located at the bottom of the screen, just below the print cost.

Click here to display the Table of Contents


Preparing the Cover of Your Book

Click here to display the Table of Contents

When it comes to the cover of your book, KDP offers two tools:

  1. A template builder that specifies cover dimensions for use with a dedicated graphics package such as InDesign,
  2. A free, online Cover Creator app. developed for KDP

Using the Cover Template Builder

The Cover Template Builder generates a template that is exactly the right size for your cover and its spine. These dimensions are based on your chosen trim size and the total number of pages in your book.

To use the template builder, type the following web address into the address bar of your browser:

https://KDP.amazon.com/en_US/cover-templates

Note: you do not need to register in order to use the template builder.

You should now be looking at the template builder:

To enter the trim size, click Select an option. This will display a pop-up menu of available trim sizes. Make sure you select the same trim size for the cover as for the interior of your book.

For Number of Pages, type the total page count of your book – i.e. including front matter, chapters and back matter.

To select the Paper Color, click the button labelled ‘White’. This will display the three paper options: White, Cream, and Color.

Select the paper type and click the Download Cover Template button.

You will now be prompted to save the download file to your computer.

Important: your anti-virus software should be up-to-date and turned on before opening any files from the internet.

Click OK to save the download file.

Once the download file has been saved to your computer, you will need to ‘extract’ the two graphics templates it contains.

How to extract the template files

Later versions of Windows include a utility to unzip files. The following instructions are for the Windows unzip utility.

The first step is to locate the template file on your computer.

Once you have found the template file in My Computer or Windows Explorer, Right click the name of the file.

This will cause a context sensitive menu to be displayed.

From the menu select ‘Extract All’ as shown.

Depending on what software you are using to unzip the file, you should see something like this:

Select the location to which you wish to extract the template files and click the Extract button.

Using the template files

The cover template files come in two formats: PNG and PDF. Both formats include detailed instructions and precise measurements based on the information entered into the cover template builder.

The template format you choose will depend upon the graphics software you, or your graphic designer, use. How you use the templates is up to you, but the dimensions of the cover must be exact.

Note: even a small deviation from the correct size can result in an error message when KDP checks the file.

The PNG file looks like this:

If you plan to include an image or large amounts of text on the back cover, it’s important to allow enough space for the barcode  [shown as the bright yellow rectangle above].

Note: KDP will generate the barcode for free using the ISBN you provide during the setup process.

When the cover matches the template, convert the graphics file into a PDF. It is this PDF file that you will upload to KDP.

KDP Cover Creator app

As you must be signed in to KDP to use the Cover Creator app., please see PART 2, Using the KDP Cover Creator [optional], for detailed instructions on how to use the app.

In Part II we will begin the process of setting your book up with KDP.

Click here to display the Table of Contents


IngramSpark cover template builder

Just a very quick post about the covers for IngramSpark.

First, you can find the template builder on the IngramSpark website here:

https://myaccount.ingramspark.com/Portal/Tools/CoverTemplateGenerator

You won’t have to register with IngramSpark to use the cover generator, but you will have to type in an ISBN for the book plus other details like total page count etc:

IngramSpark will send you an email so you can download the template [two choices InDesign or PDF].

The template will look like this:

The cover has to fit over the entire coloured area, with particular attention to the text that goes on the spine. Then the WHOLE template plus cover image has to be saved as one, converted to whatever [for me it’s PDF] and that is sent off as the cover file.

Hope that makes sense.

Night all,

Meeks


I’m going to hit that deadline…yes!

I have until July 31 to submit ‘How to Print Your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing’ to IngramSpark. Missing that deadline means having to pay $53 AUD for the setup fee, not something Scrouge McFlory wants to do, no, no, no…

Yesterday, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it coz the Word index was playing up. If any of you have used the Word index function, you’ll know that it creates a Continuous section break all by itself. That’s normal, but yesterday Word added a Next Page break just before the index. No, it wasn’t me. Anyway, headers and page numbers suddenly went crazy and the more I tried to fix things the worse it all became.

To cut a long story short, I bit the bullet this morning and stripped out all the section breaks, saved under a new filename [just because i was paranoid], redid all the breaks, headers and page numbers and…voila! It works.

To celebrate, I jumped on Corel and began playing with some images I’d downloaded from freeimages.com. These are what I started with:

I wanted to indicate visually that the book referred to KDP but wasn’t an ebook. As sometimes happens, the answer was ridiculously simple. This is just the visual image I came up with:

Now I just have to fiddle with the title and backcover stuff and it’ll be done.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Meeks


Vokhtah – cover reveal and an excerpt

First and foremost, the cover!

The blurb on the back cover hasn’t scaled properly, but that’s okay as the image used for the actual print cover will be the right size. The width of the spine will be adjusted as well, once I’ve got the trim size/page count finalised. Other than those small changes, the cover is done. 🙂

Oddly enough, the thing that gave me the most trouble with the cover was the red dwarf sun. Even as a binary, it will never look that big, but I had to take liberties with the size in order to make the image tell a graphical ‘story’. Getting the colour and ‘haze’ to look okay was hard too. Overall though, I am really, really pleased. I wanted something that looked more obviously sci-fi, and I think I got it. I also wanted the figure to be ‘brooding’ without giving too much away. The one thing I will say is that the figure is not wearing a cloak. 😀

And now for that excerpt. I rarely post excerpts because they rarely work well divorced from their context, but…well, I really like this scene. -shrug- To provide a little bit of context, the Yellow is the most powerful Healer in the Guild of Healers, and it’s also one of the bad guys. 🙂

The Yellow

“Forgiveness Honoured,” the young healer said as it skidded to a halt a respectful distance from the Yellow Councillor. “Traders confirming Messenger looking like Blue leaving with last caravan two circuits ago.”

The stocky, powerfully built iVokh standing over by the table continued studying the deep blue gem in its hand for a moment longer before turning to face the young healer.

“And Junior of Needlepoint?”

The question sounded casual, almost to the point of disinterest, however the young healer knew its master too well to ever mistake self-control for indifference.

“Junior being too… mmm…sick to leave with caravan,” it said carefully. “Triad estimating not being fit to travel for five, maybe six more circuits.”

* * *

The Yellow’s expression did not change, however there was a slight jerkiness to its movements as it dropped the gem, and its chain, into a pouch. It pulled the drawstring tight with a vicious snap of its wrists.

It had known the Master’s ridiculous story had to be true from the moment it had seen the Blue’s gem, lying abandoned on the table. But still, it had hoped. Now that hope was gone.

The Blue had made fools of them all by doing the unthinkable, and by now it had a two day head start. However it would soon discover that it was not the only one capable of doing the unexpected.

Turning towards the Master Timekeeper, who stood silently wringing its hands by the wall, the Yellow flicked its fingers in dismissal and waited in stony silence as the Master shuffled out backwards. The fool would have to be given a suitable reward for its incompetence, but for now it could wait; there were more pressing matters to deal with.

Throwing the pouch at the feet of the young healer, the Yellow said, “Taking that to Blue faction and then returning to Traders. Informing Quartermaster that Council needing special escort for Junior. Caravan must leaving at first-light on the morrow.”

“But Honoured—” the young healer began. Its cilia locked shut a moment after the words were out, but of course by then the damage was done.

“S’so?” the Yellow asked, its voice deceptively mild.

“N-nothing, Honoured…”

“Perhaps thinking needing authorisation, mmm?” the Yellow asked, knowing full well that was not what its assistant had been thinking at all.

The young healer blanched, making the finger-length scar beneath its left eye stand out even more. Nevertheless, its shoulders remained straight as it gave a silent nod.

The Yellow narrowed its eyes as it dropped a small yellow shard onto the sand at its feet. Authorisation. And a lesson in humility.

The young healer bent and slowly reached for the gem. The tips of its fingers were just curling around the shard when the Yellow’s foot descended on its hand.

“Being grateful for reminder,” the Yellow said in a genial tone as it ground the healer’s hand into the sand.

* * *

Crouched at the Yellow’s feet, the young healer knew better than to move, or make a sound, however it could not stop the sheen of sweat that suddenly broke out all over its body.

Only after the Yellow finally raised its foot and strode from the cavern, did the young healer release the keen of pain it had been holding back.

As it rose, cradling its bruised fingers against its chest, it spat on the ground where the Yellow’s feet had been. Then it fumbled the gem shard into the tiny bag it wore around its neck, gathered up the pouch and left at a quick trot.

On a different, but related note, you might be interested in this amazing article about Iron Age jewellery:

http://www.blog.poppyporter.co.uk/wordpress/2018/05/08/the-celtic-torc-how-iconic-iron-age-treasure-is-beginning-to-weave-its-magic-into-my-jewellery/

[My thanks to Dawn of Dawn Gill Designs for the link to that amazing article]

Even if you don’t have time to read the whole article, have a look at this:

Electrum torc with ornamented terminals. The torc is made from just over a kilogram of gold mixed with silver. It is made from sixty-four threads. Each thread is 1.9mm wide. Eight threads were twisted together at a time to make 8 separate ropes of metal. These were then twisted around each to make the final torc. The ends of the torc were cast in moulds. The hollow ends were then welded onto the ropes. The terminals are ornamented with embossed ridges, contrasting with areas filled by chased 'basket-work'.

That, my friends, is the Snettisham Great Torc, and it was made about 2000 years ago! Just goes to show what so-called primitive people can achieve. It also confirms that it would be possible for the iVokh, despite their low level of technology, to craft the kind of jewellery I’ve written into the story.

That may sound like nit-picking, but I believe that authenticity in the little things makes the big things easier to believe. And let’s face, I’m asking people to believe in flying, psychopathic aliens that happen to be hermaphrodites! lol I need all the help I can get. 😀

cheers

Meeks


They. Have. Arrived….

Not ten minutes ago, the doorbell rang, the animals scarpered, and I took possession of a small cardboard box with my name on it. I knew what it must be, but…it was almost a week early!

And there they were, the print proofs of the Innerscape books. Real at last:

Sorry for the poor quality of the pics. I took them with my mobile phone so you can’t see the rich deep colour or the way the light reflects off the gloss covers. What you can see, however, is that the Godsend cover didn’t work. This is a close-up:

The bit inside the red rectangle is the background image that’s meant to represent the Innerscape containment units. Instead of being a subtle hint, the image is as good as invisible. 😦

I know I’m not a professional cover designer, so I have to learn from my mistakes, but I feel as if I should have expected this one. You see in the print preview of the Godsend cover, the image did appear much darker than the image I was working on. But…I assumed it was just something to do with the print preview function. Wrong.

The Godsend cover won’t be hard to fix, but I’ll have to ‘guess’ at the finished product because I won’t be able to request a second proof [not because CreateSpace won’t allow it, but because the postage is so ridiculously expensive].

Another thing I’m going to have to guess at is the width of the Miira spine. For some reason, the actual spine is wider that the dimension I was working with in Corel. But this is both an annoying thing and a very, very good thing because I was worried ‘Miira’ would end up being ridiculously ‘thin’. Instead, it looks and feels like a normal, albeit ‘slim’ book so I’m thrilled by that. I’m also thrilled by the back covers. They look great, they’re very readable and they are beautifully consistent throughout the three books. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for that. 🙂

The Offspring and I are going to celebrate tonight with a tender Rack of Lamb, roast potatoes and a salad of homegrown lettuce, followed by a movie. I hope your weekend starts as well as mine. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 


Miira cover – in 3D

Just finished the Miira cover, version nth [honestly? I’ve lost track], so I thought I’d celebrate by playing around with a 3D version. I think it turned out okay. 🙂

The new blurb for the back is:

In 2101, the average person can expect to reach one hundred and ten. Miira Tahn, last Lady of Dhurai, is dying at just fifty-two. Faced with a slow, agonizing death, her only hope is a virtual paradise called Innerscape. There, the Residents inhabit beautiful, digital bodies indistinguishable from the real thing.

Or so the brochures say. But even Eden had a snake, and once inducted, the Residents of Innerscape can never return to the real world. If anything goes wrong, they will be lost in the dark forever.

Yet for Miira Tahn, even a tenuous hope is better than the fate that awaits her.

‘…sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump…’

And finally, underneath the blurb will be this:

‘Miira’ is the first book of the Innerscape cyle and corresponds to Episode 1 of the original series.

After way too much angst, I finally decided to bite the bullet and redo the ebooks as well. Once I’m finished, both print and digital versions will comprise just three books:

  • Miira, book 1 = Episode 1 of Innerscape
  • The Godsend, book 2 = Episodes 2 and 3 of Innerscape, and
  • Nabatea, book 3 = Episodes 4 and 5 of Innerscape.

It’s not an ideal solution, but it’s the only one I can think of that will translate a five-part serial into three, organic story arcs. And as an added bonus, the new splits will allow me to make book 1 permafree…once I persuade Amazon that it’s necessary.

But those are long range plans. For now I’d just like to thank everyone who commented on version 1 of the covers. You’ll never know how valuable your feedback was. Massive hugs all round! Now I’m off to make a pretty toy out of books 2 and 3. 😀

love

Meeks

 


The Godsend – Innerscape, book 2 cover

Just a quick update to show you what I’ve been obsessing about while I should have been writing blog posts. 🙂

This is just a mockup as the ‘spine’ will be wider in the final – I haven’t worked out the total pages in book 2 yet but it will be a lot wider than the one for book 1.

Okay, that’s it. No comments on this one.

cheers

Meeks


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