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ScribeLady
03-27-2011, 05:51 AM
I would love to publish short stories on Smashwords, Kindle, etc. But what about covers? Any way of doing it that won't break the bank?

Shanecom

FOTSGreg
03-27-2011, 11:19 PM
Sure. Get a good digital camera and take some photographs. Use those as your cover images. Use a program like Photoscape to edit them, resize them, and add text.

It's easy, but there's a learning curve involved and you have to have the camera handy when the cover image strikes you. You have to learn how to recognize good scenes for future covers as well.

Aside from that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of digital photos available online for free or for a few dollars. Seamy Kindle page for some examples. They're not great, but the last 3 are better because I've been relearning the process as well (I used to do 3D modeling and scene setting for a gaming product, but that was mainly for print and print is a whole different animal). All of those images were pulled from the web for little or no money

Summonere
03-28-2011, 03:59 AM
Barry Eisler has an interesting write-up of book packaging, including covers, over here:
http://www.barryeisler.com/writers_marketing4.php

He's talking novels, of course, and you're talking short stories, but the same principles pertain.

FOTSGreg has other good suggestions, in addition to which you could seek suitable artwork on sites like devaintart.com. Some artists will be happy to let you use their work with few, if any conditions. Still others will be happy to produce something for you on commission. You won't know till you have a look about and start asking.

Good luck, and have some fun with it.

Gillhoughly
04-28-2011, 03:52 AM
This friend of mine did 7 covers for short stories on the cheap. She got them all at iStockphotos, but used the smallest images that cost only 1-3 bucks each.

It's how she used them (http://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx/?set=a.10150168165066434.305070.679251433) that's clever. No need to buy a large file, when a small one can be used as in inset accent.

James D. Macdonald
04-28-2011, 04:17 AM
You can see my Smashwords short-story covers (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/doylemacdonald) here: Cost to me: $0.00.

Whether they're worth what I paid....

CheG
04-28-2011, 09:29 PM
Find an artist willing to practice for free *coughme* who will only charge for the stock art.

Try Deviant Art too! Lot's of art for hire :)

And you can always download your own stock art and add text in various programs.

TMarchini
04-28-2011, 09:35 PM
I used the same designer for my YA short story (http://www.amazon.com/Effie-At-The-Wedding-ebook/dp/B004UN57W4) that I did for my book, and figure that I have plenty of time to make back the investment.

EnitaMeadows
08-16-2011, 05:56 PM
You could do everything yourself from scratch, or commission someone to do it for you. Most cover designers (like myself) lower prices for short story writers and when designs are bought "in bulk."

indiewordsmith
09-22-2011, 07:11 PM
Sure. Get a good digital camera and take some photographs. Use those as your cover images. Use a program like Photoscape to edit them, resize them, and add text.

It's easy, but there's a learning curve involved and you have to have the camera handy when the cover image strikes you. You have to learn how to recognize good scenes for future covers as well.

Aside from that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of digital photos available online for free or for a few dollars. Seamy Kindle page for some examples. They're not great, but the last 3 are better because I've been relearning the process as well (I used to do 3D modeling and scene setting for a gaming product, but that was mainly for print and print is a whole different animal). All of those images were pulled from the web for little or no money

This is a great idea. Photographs are wonderful cover materials.
Or if you have friends who are graphic artists, you can approach them and make a friendly favor on doing your cover. Then you can treat them to dinner afterwards. I usually do this when doing some creative. :D

Book Graphics
09-22-2011, 08:29 PM
Affordable pre-made covers are your best option.

Not everyone has the knack for cover design. Besides, you want to spend your time writing, right?

I have a good many pre-made covers available on my site, please take a look around - http://bookgraphics.wordpress.com/pre-made-ebook-covers-2/

You will find that some of the very generic ones can be had for as little as $10.00 - and that includes insertion of your title and author name. Others are pkg. deals that include both a cover AND a matching website/blog banner/header (most of these are $35.00). All of them are eye-catching and none are expensive.

However, although I have a LOT of pre-mades in stock right now (I recently loaded around 25 new ones - check back often because this is a high traffic area for me and I add new covers often), there is always the chance that none of them is appropriate for your story. If that's the case, it's still possible that I might be able to help you:

1. At the bottom of that looooong page of pre-mades, there is a small response box titled: GOT A SUGGESTION? LET ME KNOW! I cannot tell you how many times I've gotten a suggestion, perhaps something to the effect of - "Gee, I wish you had more bloody pre-made covers for horror stories/books" - that jogs my visual memory to a particular piece of art or photo that I know I already have on my computer. When that happens, I make the cover and load it onto my pre-mades page then respond to the person who made the suggestion; and,

2. The cost of custom covers varies wildly. My prices are easily among the most reasonable around. To date, I have never charged more than $75.00 USD for a custom cover - and that was a pkg. deal for both a paperback and matching eBook cover that was a collage of many photos and took a lot of time. And, my prices also include the cost of whatever stock photos or illustrations I must purchase for the custom cover design. That's still probably more than you want to spend on a cover for a short, but talk to me - I'll work with you if it is at all possible. If it's something I can execute quickly, it's entirely possible that you'll get a great deal :) YOU WON'T KNOW IF YOU DON'T ASK! (Yes, I'm a total sucker for aspiring/debut authors.)

So, if you're not confident in your Photoshop/Illustrator skills, check me out. I can probably save you a LOT of time that's better spent on writing anyhow :)

Dana W
09-25-2011, 04:26 AM
Affordable pre-made covers are your best option.

Not everyone has the knack for cover design. Besides, you want to spend your time writing, right?

I have a good many pre-made covers available on my site, please take a look around - http://bookgraphics.wordpress.com/pre-made-ebook-covers-2/

You will find that some of the very generic ones can be had for as little as $10.00 - and that includes insertion of your title and author name. Others are pkg. deals that include both a cover AND a matching website/blog banner/header (most of these are $35.00). All of them are eye-catching and none are expensive.

However, although I have a LOT of pre-mades in stock right now (I recently loaded around 25 new ones - check back often because this is a high traffic area for me and I add new covers often), there is always the chance that none of them is appropriate for your story. If that's the case, it's still possible that I might be able to help you:

1. At the bottom of that looooong page of pre-mades, there is a small response box titled: GOT A SUGGESTION? LET ME KNOW! I cannot tell you how many times I've gotten a suggestion, perhaps something to the effect of - "Gee, I wish you had more bloody pre-made covers for horror stories/books" - that jogs my visual memory to a particular piece of art or photo that I know I already have on my computer. When that happens, I make the cover and load it onto my pre-mades page then respond to the person who made the suggestion; and,

2. The cost of custom covers varies wildly. My prices are easily among the most reasonable around. To date, I have never charged more than $75.00 USD for a custom cover - and that was a pkg. deal for both a paperback and matching eBook cover that was a collage of many photos and took a lot of time. And, my prices also include the cost of whatever stock photos or illustrations I must purchase for the custom cover design. That's still probably more than you want to spend on a cover for a short, but talk to me - I'll work with you if it is at all possible. If it's something I can execute quickly, it's entirely possible that you'll get a great deal :) YOU WON'T KNOW IF YOU DON'T ASK! (Yes, I'm a total sucker for aspiring/debut authors.)

So, if you're not confident in your Photoshop/Illustrator skills, check me out. I can probably save you a LOT of time that's better spent on writing anyhow :)


Lovely covers. Are the generic ones for $10.00 sold once only? Otherwise, I'm visualising many different books with the same cover. :-)

Book Graphics
09-25-2011, 04:29 AM
YES, once only - I remove them from the site as soon as they are sold.

profen4
09-25-2011, 09:02 PM
my two cents - short story or not, the covers should be professional quality. I don't know where you can get covers on the cheep, but I do buy short stories from time to time, but if the author isn't someone I know I scroll right on by until a cover catches my attention.

VoireyLinger
09-25-2011, 09:41 PM
If you have friends who can use a program like Gimp or Photoshop, recruit them. My graphics and covers have all been done as part of an exchange of favors with friends. The only think I paid for was stock art.

FOTSGreg
09-25-2011, 10:23 PM
VL, I use Photoscape, a free GUI much like Gimp, to edit my photos and cover images. I did better work, actually, with PhotoImpact for quite awhile, but like I said I'm kind of out of practice (but getting better).

My cover for HATCHINGS was a work-for-hire piece by Ronnell Porter. Worth every dollar of the $100 I paid fir it.

Uncle Jim, your covers are great! You've been in the biz long enough to know what a cover should look like, of course, and it shows. Maybe you should consider a thread regarding the creation of covers like your "Learn Writing..." thread.

One of these days when I have more time I'll likely go back and try to improve all of my cover designs. There are several I don't really like a lot and more than one that could be improved a lot. That's one of the nice things about digital publishing - you can always fix mistakes.

uscgbyron
10-04-2011, 08:01 PM
I'm very fortunate to have found my cover designer. Before she started doing my covers, I was going to do the "60's Penguin" route of a generic, simple cover. I hadn't decided whether to do photo insets or just little tweaks for individual stories beyond the titles. However, I think that it would work, especially if you're prolific enough. People keep seeing similar things everywhere, they're going to start taking second looks... just might take a while to get the ball rolling... but that gives you more time to write.

Quiggs1982
10-10-2011, 09:47 AM
It's not that hard to make your own. Just take your own pictures or buy some from a stock photo place. Sites like iStockphoto and Fotolia aren't that expensive. By using Photoshop or Gimp (a free program that is a lot like Photoshop), you can create your own.

I designed both of my covers. Partially to save money, and partially for the fun of it.

Otherwise, you can find cover designers for pretty cheap if you ask around on here.

nitaworm
10-10-2011, 04:05 PM
I used picnik to do our short story cover. It was completely free. Got the photo for free on istockphoto

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/88363

Dani
10-10-2011, 07:30 PM
I used picnik to do our short story cover. It was completely free. Got the photo for free on istockphoto

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/88363

Your cover is gorgeous btw, but I was a little taken aback by where you got your images/fonts.

Istock has free photos? I know their sister site sxc.hu has free photos, but Istock?

Also, you should be aware that fonts used on picnik are subject to their TOS which includes copyright from the individuals who upload their fonts. Most of them do not allow for commercial use. (I know because I researched it for a font that I loved on there and ended up buying the commercial license). YOu can read more about that here:

http://www.google.com/support/picnik/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=182423

You can read more about font licenses here:
http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=UNESCO_Font_Lic

Many people assume incorrectly that fonts cannot be copyrighted. If you use the software to create the text, then there is a copyright issue. If you trace or create the same exact font, as I understand it, then under US law that's fine.

It's weird and ambiguous, but meh, yeah, well, there it is.