Thursday, September 28, 2006

E-book Challenge Update

Some of you have made or are thinking about making your own cover art for your e-book. It's not a challenge requirement, but a book cover is a nice perk for your reader and a creative opportunity for you.

Creating cover art need not be complicated. There's no law that says you have to depict any character or element from your story; the title and your by line against a plain or patterned background will serve very well.

I am certainly not the world's greatest cover art designer, but I try to have a good time with what I do. For the cover of my short story collection, Do or Die, I combined a cut-out filtered self-portrait and a neon-glow filtered image of a huge moth I'd found one day outside my apartment:

I added a title and byline text, and I had my cover:

Online art generators can help with composing elements and text involved in your cover art. Here's one I made with's customized magazine cover maker for our pup's digital photo album:

PBW & Buddy, March 2006 -- this should also dispell those rumors that I'm horribly disfigured

If you decide to make your own cover art, my advice is to start simple and build on that. One last trick -- I save multiple copies of my art at every stage of construction, in case I do something to mess it up or want to do comparison side-by-sides of two different looks.

You've got four weeks left until the challenge deadline, so there's still plenty of time to play. Have fun with it.

Some online generators* and freeware that may help you: can generate some interesting free text graphics for your title and byline.

Get mathematically graphic with the free trial download of Fractal Draw.

For interesting art you can make online, try the Jackson Pollock Online Art Generator and's Painting Generator. also has a very cool Photo Collage Generator that breaks down a digital photo into a collage of Polaroids.

Need image software but can't afford it? Get a free trial download of Adobe Photoshop.

Make cover backgrounds with the Random Texture Generator

Skip all the hard stuff and make your romantic cover with Glass Giant's Romance Novel Cover Generator.

The Perception Laboratory's Face Transformer can alter portrait photos and images in a variety of ways.

My post: Ten Things about Making Your Own Art

Zoner's page of free to try and freeware graphics dowloands.

*Most of the links found over at The Generator Blog.


  1. If you're using Paint Shop Pro you can save it as a PSP file and it will save all the layers so you can change/tweak as you like.

    Also Stock Exchange has free stock photography. Check the permission. Some photographers don't care; some want you to ask first--I got the header for one of my websites here and linked back to the photographer and he was happy to let me use the photo.

  2. Anonymous10:43 AM

    I'm hoping to hear back from my long lost friend who is an amazing artist. Hopefully he'll have some free time to make the most amazing cover ever. Then, all I have left to do is write the story.

  3. Maybe something by Jackson Pollock...

    But seriously, I need a good old fashioned playground slide. That will do the trick. You know the kind -- the metal deathtrap that's ten foot tall just waiting to dump a kid off the top and kill it. The kind anyone over thirty or forty who's reading this managed to survive just fine but nobody can let their kids anywhere near now.

  4. Anonymous4:43 PM

    Royalty-free images are also a great source of cover material. In the terms of service for most image sites, it lists whether or not you can use the pictures for book/magazine covers.

    For my last two books, I used images from Dreamstime that only cost $2 to download at a high print resolution.

    I've also used images from Big Stock Photo and iStockPhoto.

    The two e-books I offer on my site for free use royalty-free stock photography for the cover image, as well as the new e-book I'm posting for this challenge.

    At prices starting as low as $1/image, it's worth it to get the shot you want that really draws the reader to your book!

  5. Thanks, JM. I'll check those sites out. Those are reasonable prices for a good image.


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