Adventures in Cover Design

It’s been a rough few weeks. Work has been crazy and, to complicate matters further, I’m in the middle of switching jobs, which means lots of paperwork and general stress. Not ideal conditions for completing one’s novel. Thankfully today was a federal holiday; I finished chapter fifteen and designed a cover image for Blue Karma.

Cover design is a notoriously sticky matter for self-published authors. An eye-catching image is essential to grab the attention of potential readers, like a colorful candy wrapper promising treats inside. But many writers (like me) don’t want to spend a fortune getting their indie novel on the market. Since I have some graphic design experience, I wanted to take a stab at it myself before calling in a professional.

I had a general idea of how I wanted the cover to look, so I found free-use public images on Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay. A free program called Pixlr Editor does a good Photoshop impersonation right in the browser, and let me manipulate the images. The text feature, however, proved limiting. So I created the title with a free online banner generator called Cooltext and incorporated it into the image as a new layer. Some special effects and some mild cursing later resulted in a cover that came close to what I’d envisioned.

Blue Karma cover

What do you think? I love the blended landscapes of mud cracks and icebergs, but the font might need some tweaking. A reflection effect would look cool for the title text, too. Further experimentation with the tools is required; still, not bad for a few hours of graphical fiddling!

If you saw this book displayed at your local store, would you pick it up and read the back? How can I make it better? If you have an idea for Blue Karma’s  cover, share it with me–you might end up in the design credits!

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