Let’s be honest: we all judge books by their covers! And that means creating a good cover for your self-published novel should be taken seriously.
If you’ve been following our series on self-publishing a novel with Kindle Direct Publishing (from Amazon), you’ll eventually run into their cover creator program. While there are more intuitive options for design and art (Adobe Photoshop, for example), this tailor-made application is a godsend for anyone ready to see their work in print!
So let’s get right into it.
How to use the Kindle Direct Publishing cover creator
Part 1: Getting There
Enter the Kindle Direct Publishing website, create a new book, and run through the preliminary information to get to: “Kindle ebook Content” or “Paperback Content”. For demonstration, we’ve created a novel subtly named, “Softonic Test.” Ah, a classic.
Scroll down until you arrive at the section “Book Cover”, or “Kindle eBook Cover”. If you’re one of the lucky few with a fully designed cover, now’s the time to select the lower option and upload your file. For the rest of us…
Click “Launch Cover Creator”, and you’re in! Here, you’ll find an overview of the next steps:
Part 2: Selecting an Image
Before selecting a design, there are a few options for image selection:
The image gallery contains tons of pictures that are readily available for public use! Of course, when you search through, the obvious downsides become readily apparent: there aren’t many options in each category and they may not be related to your novel.
Still, it’s an option! You might find the perfect picture in there somewhere, so it’s worth giving a try.
From my computer
We recommend this! From My Computer blends the benefits of a fully-formed cover page with the ease of selecting an image from KDP’s files. All you really need is a good-looking graphic to start.
If you don’t know how to find one, there are innumerable options, from difficult to simple: hire a graphic designer, take a stab at amateur photography, put your art skills to the test, or maybe even visit a website database of public-domain images.
Whatever you choose, make sure you own the copyright or sufficiently give credit to the artist, based on the image’s license!
Skip this step
When worse comes to worse, you can use a design from Amazon. Slap your title on the front and put the author information on the back.
It’s an option!
Step 3: Choosing Your Layout
Once you have an image, you can choose a layout. The selection screen looks something like this:
Hopefully, one of the designs pops out. For this project, we preferred the upper middle option for “Softonic Test”: it brings out most of our selected picture, and displays the title with few bells or whistles.
Of course, if you don’t trust your eye for detail, ask a design-savvy friend for some advice!
Step 4: The Rest
You have your image, title, subtitle, and name in place. You’ve graduated to the “Style and Edit” menu after selecting a layout.
A few things need to be completed:
1. Author info. Take a picture, create a bio. Ask yourself the question: how do you want to be seen as an author? Use the answer to find an appropriate picture and craft a good description. NOTE: there should be absolutely no typos here.
2. Book synopsis. The most difficult, simple thing you’ll ever do: encapsulate your whole novel in a quick, informative paragraph that hooks the reader. ALSO: no typos here either.
After that, you can still tweak a number of things:
1. Outline positioning. Like many of the best online programs, KDP’s cover creator allows you to drag, drop, and resize with just a click.
2. Text options. They have ’em! Select any line of text and the font, size, orientation options, and more become available:
3. Color Menu. A few of the KDP layouts contain bars and outlines across the design. To find this, check the bottom left side of the screen:
Within the color menu, you can alter the Primary Color, Secondary Color, and Alt Text Color (seen below) separately, or use one of the provided options:
4. Secondary Layout Menu. Next to the Color Menu, there’s an option to change the positioning of your title, subtitle, author info, book description, and more. If you like your base layout but need a little something extra, you may find it right here:
5. Font Presets. If you’re having a hard time finding the perfect blend of fonts for your title and subtitle, this menu helps change both simultaneously with simple, tested presets. Check ’em out!
Step 5: Save, Preview, and Submit
Take some time to finagle with the system and perfect your creation, because the next step will be done in a jiffy! Head to the bottom of the page, save your cover, and select Preview. The button may be gray if there are still issues with the document. Otherwise, you’ll go to the preview screen:
We hope your cover looks great, we’re pretty happy with ours even though it’s only a test document! You’ve completed yet another important step on the road to self-publishing a quality work of literature. Well done!