Monday, September 22, 2014

Some of the CCR pre-designed book covers on SelfPub

I've loaded several covers to . They're not on my regular store, so no worries about them being used by more than one author.

One cool SelfPub feature is that, after an author customizes their cover online and purchases it, I can submit tweaks/changes (font placement, color, etc.) and they can use the suggestions or ignore them. That worked out well for Alan Norris's Fly the King's Colors, volume 2 in the Reluctant Warrior series. We were able to make it coordinate well with the volume 1 cover.

AND... SelfPub has featured three of my covers as their Cover of the Day on their Facebook page! Woohoo!

Here is a screen shot of some of the covers currently available on my SelfPub gallery. Once a cover is purchased, however, it is removed from the site (and never sold again).

ccr pre-designed premade book covers

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book title ideas

In the move from my own pre-made book cover store to, I'm deleting all old sample files that have long since been sold and become covers to actual books. I've been making up sample titles for my pre-designed book covers just so I didn't have to look at 'Your Title' or 'Book Title' a thousand times. It was one of the fun parts of making the covers and on rare occasions a writer would ask to keep the sample title for their book (which tickled me pink!)

As I was deleting old files, I found it hard to just erase some of these titles from memory so I'm putting them here. These are the ones that, to me, have a particularly poetic feel. Maybe someone will stumble upon this list and find the perfect title for their story. There is no rule about different books having the same title but I would do a search anyway just to make sure it hadn't been over-used.

Blind Man's Song
Book of Eden
Breath and Bone
Dust and Bone
A Dust of Dreams
If I Forget Thee
Jericho's Storm
Jessica, My Love
Last Road Home
Love and Other Deadly Things
Oceans Wild and Blue
Salvation Road

Most of these just popped in my head because of the look and feel of the cover I was working on. Sometimes I would browse old prose or song lyrics and see what word jumped out at me.

The only one that is an actual line from an old poem or song is If I Forget Thee from William Faulkner's poem, "If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem". Two other inspirations were Blackstone Cherry's song "Blind Man", and the movie "Book of Eli".

If you find one of these useful, feel free to give a shout out in the comments and link to your book. I'd love to see it and maybe someone else reading this will be curious about your book too.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Thriller pre-made book cover and Move to SelfPub

Last week I moved my pre-designed book covers to . I had been considering the move for a while. I was a little reluctant to give up playing with fonts and text effects. But the benefits to authors and cover designers wound up outweighing everything else.

The upside for authors...

Like it says in my side bar over there,
  • Authors get to customize covers online and try out different fonts, colors and placement.
  • When you're happy with it, you get to purchase it and download it right then. In fact, my very first cover sold on SelfPub was used by the author to list his book on Amazon as a pre-order right after he purchased the cover. That's pretty amazing. It's here in case you're curious.
  • You also have the option of purchasing just the design with no text so you can add the text using your own favorite software and fonts. Later title changes and tag line changes become no big deal.
  • It should go without saying that it is sold only once. When the sale is complete, it is removed from the site and never sold again.

The upside for cover designers...

Way more time to design more and more book covers because there is much less time following up on cover orders and fiddling with store maintenance. Free-lance cover designers have to be good at all aspects of a small business but out heart is in the design.

More and more book covers

My previous store had over 200 book covers most of which have sold. My gallery over at SelfPub is small right now but my goal is to hit that 200 again.

I just finished and uploaded this one this morning. It should be vetted by selfpub admin by Tuesday or Wednesday and then it will show up on the gallery:

A dramatic mystery thriller pre-designed book cover. An author will get to start with the image, add their title and details right there on the online creator, and move and change things up all they want. If it's not working out for them, they can ditch it and try a different cover. If they love it, they can purchase it and download it right then. has a handy video here that demonstrates how easy it is.

This is the stock image I used, just to demonstrate how different the final design winds up from where it started. I also used an eroded/grunge texture image for the wall behind the chessboard and painted the blood.

Check out my entire gallery here:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pre-made book cover... what kind of story?

Something haunting? A coming-of-age story? I don't know. I saw this neat stock image and wanted to do something cool with it. Can't wait to see what author finds it and thinks, "This is it!" for their book.

UPDATE: We have a match! I'll post the book link when it's published and available.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Heather's Custom Quickie book cover design

Heather Lin did a "custom quickie" book cover purchase on my store and sent me a link to this stock image. I took a bunch of the extra grass on the right side of the image, enlarged it, played with the color and worked it into the area closer around the girl. Plus a few other tweaks. I like the way it turned out.

UPDATE: She's published and available on Amazon! Westridge by Heather Lin

And now Book 2 also with a ccr custom quickie... Westridge: Rosa's Story by Heather Lin

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Post Apocalyptic, Stephen King-ish Book Cover

Five miles outside my small hometown in Texas is a small stretch of land with eight cars from the 1930's and '40's lined up at an angle near the fence line. They are rusted and dark with no trace of paint or interior. They seem to be sinking into the land.

I don't know what it is about rusty old vehicles but I wish I had a pickup like one of those sitting in my front yard. I'd plant flowers and vines overflowing from the truck bed. A soothing mix of desolation and charm.

My favorite pre-made book cover today is this post-apolcalyptic design:

I borrowed a sample title from William Faulkner.

Here are the stock images this one was made of, for those who are curious:

Here it is with the Rule of Thirds overlay, which I mostly ditched.

Then I was looking at those "points of impact" (the four spots where the lines cross) and thought that one below the pikcup would be a good place for a half-buried skull.

P.S. If I ever get a pickup like that in my front yard, I'm going to paint cracked, faded letters on the side that say "Butts McCracken Plumbing". Dang, I am truly inspired now.

Update: We have a match! Travis Hill's "It's Better This Way"

What it's about:
   "Twenty-three years ago, the 'bulls' appeared in orbit and destroyed Earth's infrastructure in less than ten seconds. These days, the alien invaders aren't as much of a problem as the surviving humans are.
   Evan Greggs learns that things aren't always as bad as they seem, but sometimes the choices to be made are as murky as they are difficult when it comes to living on The Farm, a community of survivors near the Cascade Mountains in central Oregon.
   When a detachment of the old United States Army arrives with new information about the invaders, the citizens of The Farm are tasked with making another hard choice.
24,000 word novella. LGBT Friendly"

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Build your own book cover on CreateSpace

This is a step-by-step tutorial for authors who want to use their ebook cover to "Build Your Own Cover" on CreateSpace. With this, you can select a color for the back and spine that coordinates with your front/ebook cover as well as enter your back matter right there on-screen. This is a great way to get your print-on-demand book going without the expense of hiring someone to design the entire wrap-around cover.

A note about your ebook cover size: Hopefully most premade cover designers are delivering ebook covers at size 6x9" (1800 x 2700 pixels), 300 dpi. That size will meet specs for kindle upload, smashwords upload, the 6x9 print cover, and the 5x8 print cover with a little nudging (you'll see what I mean in the steps below). It can also be easily adjusted to meet kobo and nook specs.

This tutorial skips the details of entering your title, authors, and uploading your interior document file - they really do walk you through it simply, step by step - and goes straight to the book cover design section. So work your way through the Title Information, ISBN, and Interior sections.

When you get to the Cover section, follow these steps to use your ebook cover file for your print book:

  • Click "Cover" in the onscreen menu.
  • In Step 1. You'll select your preference of glossy or matte cover finish. In this example I've selected the Matte finish.
  • In step 2, on the same page, select "Build Your Own Cover Online".
  • The "Launch Cover Creator" button then appears; click it.

  • When the cover creator loads, click "Next Page", at the bottom, until you get to page 5 of 5.
  • Select "The Spruce" and click OK.

  • When you get to this point, you'll see each step lined up on the left in those blue bars.
  • First select a "Theme". The different themes just change the font used for the back matter and spine, as well as the shape of the photo box (you can ditch the photo box in a later step if you prefer). Take a look at them and pick the best one for your genre. I've selected "New Dawn" for our sample.
  • Click Next.
  • This takes you to the Title box on the spine. It is probably already filled in from when you entered your book details earlier but you can to take a look here and change anything that needs changing.
Books with fewer than 100 pages will
not have a section for text on the spine.
  • Click Next.
  • This takes you to the Author box on the spine. Again, probably already filled out. If you have 2 or 3 contributing authors you could take this opportunity to just list their last names if you want. Or uncheck the "Visible" box to leave the author name off the spine completely.
  • Click Next.

  • Now we get to upload our cover.
  • Click "Upload", find your cover's .jpg file (you do not need a .pdf here) and double-click it. It'll take a few seconds while it uploads. I tend to design ebook covers with the text pretty close to the edges, so if CreateSpace gives you any smack for the text, email me and say "Hey Cheryl, can you adjust that text for my print cover, it's too dang close to the edge." I'll say "Sure man, no prob." (and no extra charge).
  • The red around the edge will not appear on your actual book; they're just showing you the no-fly-zone where image is good but text is not allowed. You can see the text doesn't look quite centered but just imagine your image extending all the way through the red border and you'll see it winds up centered after all.
  • Then you see where you can nudge it in different directions but it should already be centered and ready to:
  • Click Next.

  • Now you're at the author photo. You could upload your author photo, or uncheck the "visible" box to make it go away: OR if you have a person/people on your cover, crop the image all the way down to their faces (1.5x1.5 at 300 dpi - holler if you need help), save it and upload it in the Author Photo section. Now you've got a cool cover feature on the back.
  • Click Next.
  • This takes you to the Back Cover Text.
  • Remove the sample text they've inserted in the text box, highlight it all and hit delete.
  • Copy your blurb from wherever you typed it up and paste it into the text box. Or type it up right there in the text box.
  • Click Next.

  • Now for the fun part - Background Color.
  • Click that gray box and you'll get a drop-down box full of lots of colors to choose from.
  • Test any colors you think would coordinate with the main colors of your cover. I tried a few greens for our sample but wound up going with the "pale goldenrod" predominant in the sky.
  • We'll fix the font colors in the next step.
  • Click Next.

  • In the Font Color section, you have a white box to click and get another drop-down box full of color choices for your text. I chose the darkest green for our sample.
  • And NOW you're ready to click Submit Cover. Woohoo!

If all went well, you're back at the first screen shot, from the beginning of the cover process.
Click "Full Size Preview" and there's your cover.

If there were any problems (for instance, text too close to the edge, like we discussed earlier), they'll give you a little alert that there's a problem to fix. Make the suggested fix and move on. Happy happy.

  • Click "Complete Cover" and you'll see Upload Complete in the same area. You'll also notice a "Change Cover" button in case you want to make some adjustments or, you know, change the cover.