Thursday, July 28, 2011

Got it Covered? I thought I did…

I really like my cover. I designed it myself with a Shutter stock image on PowerPoint. It worked great for digital. For print, it did not. (Read about my cover design, here.)
Being an ambitious DIYer, I determined I could handle the print cover. Just like my digital to print manuscript experience, my digital to print cover experience was plagued with issues. It was complete trial and error and error and error.
Like any good indie, I did my research. I got a cover template. I did my best to absorb info about spines (so Greek to the mathematically impaired girl). I spent a couple of hours laying out my cover and I uploaded to Createspace.

I thought I did a pretty good job until CS kicked it back to me:
Files for THE HALO CHRONICLES: T..., require your attention
The cover file does not meet our submission requirements for the reason(s) listed below.

The cover file contains live elements that may be trimmed during the production process. Please make sure that all text appears .375" away from the outer edges. Additionally, all elements you wish to appear on the cover, such as text and graphics, need to appear within the live graphics area. Only background that can be cut off should extend through the bleed area.

The spine text is too large for the page count. We recommend reducing the font size and centering the spine text so there is at least .0625" of room on either side. Otherwise, the spine text may wrap to the front or back cover.

Additionally, we have noted the concerns listed below. You may choose to move forward with the below issues as-is; however, we wanted to bring them to your attention.

The cover file contains transparency  which will be manually flattened during our processing and may cause a color shift.

The cover file contains images that range from 70 to 93 DPI, which may appear blurry and pixelated in print. For optimal printing, we recommend all images be at least 300 DPI.

So I tried again. I Googled how to flatten the file. I downloaded higher res images. I tweaked my layout, said a prayer, and uploaded.
Files for THE HALO CHRONICLES: T..., require your attention

The cover file contains images at 92 DPI, which may appear blurry and pixelated in print. For optimal printing, we recommend all images be at least 300 DPI.

Better but I still had image issues. It was one of those moments where I grudgingly admitted, “This is why people don’t do cover design on PowerPoint.” I’d spent a lot of time on my cover and still wasn’t getting the results I needed. I was behind schedule, out of my design depth and knew that I needed a professional. Problematic, since I had no budget.
One of my chapter mates, Jennette Marie Powell, is going indie in August with Time’s Enemy, a time travel romance. When she showed me her great cover, she’d mentioned her design background.

So, I approached her for help. I might have begged and pleaded a bit. Now’s the part where I give Jennette my UNDYING THANKS! She quickly fixed my resolution issues and I finally had a cover that CS accepted.
Here’s the digital eBook (my) version:

Here’s the professional print version (Jennette had to make some minor tweaks, mostly in font):

Again a HUGE THANKS to Jennette for rescuing my cover!
Jennette Marie Powell
Author of Time's Enemy, American time-travel romance, coming in August, 2011 | TwitterFacebook
Conclusion: My most important take-away is even if I want to design my own cover, I need to collaborate with a design expert for set up. For the next book, I will not hesitate to work with a professional.

Also, I appreciated CreateSpace rejecting what would be a substandard cover with very specific feedback –for free. J

Mood: Grateful
Related topics: A Cover is a Promise
Next steps: Working on revisions for DOON
Your turn: Do you like to design your own covers?


Jenn Stark said...

Jennette did a fabulous job! Congratulations on your "renewed" cover!!

tonya kappes said...

I've always loved your cover and Jennette did a GREAT job! It can be a bugger, and I didn't have the time to do my covers or desires. As an Indie there are just some things I don't do and hire out, that being one. I love my cover artist and she sends me the flat and front in two seperate attachments and we plug it into Creatspace and done. When is it out in paperback? I have the e-book, but I want a paperback with a signature;))

Bev Pettersen said...

When I saw your first print cover, I thought it looked good. Then looked at the second one--quite a difference! Thanks for sharing your experiences, Carey. And yay to helpful friends.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

The paperback cover looks great now, Carey. All your hard work paid off, even if you did need help. Me, I wouldn't even know where to start with designing a book cover. Luckily my daughter does!

Carey_Corp said...

@Jenn - thanks for stopping by! I can't wait to see what S&S does with your cover.

@Tonya - I really like your cover artist, too. I'll have print copies at the August meeting.

@Bev - Welcome. I second your comment: "Yay for helpful friends!"

@Helen - Welcome! How fortunate you are to have a tech saavy daughter. thanks for stopping by.

Jennette Marie Powell said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Carey! It really does help to have several years' experience in graphic design for doing this work. I'm impressed with what you did for the digital cover - and that you knew when to call in help. There are a lot of challenges and requirements specific to printing that someone who hasn't worked in that arena before simply wouldn't know. Congrats and good luck with your print release!

Carey_Corp said...

@ Jennette - Thanks again for saving me! You did an outstanding job.

Michele said...

Both great covers! Cary, Jennette definitely made a difference in yours. Good to begin with, but better after she worked on it.

Yes, I help design my covers. I tell my publisher what I want, she sends me samples and we go back and forth until I'm happy. My favorite is my Mr. Right's Baby cover.

Carey_Corp said...

@Michelle Mr. Right's Baby is a good cover. Thanks for stopping by.

Becke Davis said...

Hi Carey - and Jennette, too! So sorry I'm late with this comment. Both of your covers look great - I hope you'll both be bringing copies to the September meeting of OVRWA. I want autographed print copies!

I can really relate to your technical difficulties. Sometimes it's a challenge for me just figuring out how to post widgets on my blogs!