The cover

[Article previously published by fanwriter91 in Italian here. English translation made by Melissa Merzagora with the revision of JoSeBach and Evgenij.]

The cover is the first thing the reader sees, the showcase of the book.

The covers can be divided into various categories, which are more or less suitable depending on your needs. I divide them by order of difficulty in the making:

  • a lot of searching: a picture taken from pixabay or other copyright-free websites (unless otherwise warned). Free and as editable as you want. If you are lucky you will find the picture you are looking for; it can be either an image of an object (a house, a city, etc.) or a character (the latter, however, will be much more difficult to find).
    Please note: Do not use copyrighted pictures. I know that you will find beautiful fanart, but they are owned by the authors or those who commissioned them. If you want to use them, you must first have the permission of the owner;
  • a lot of searching and some fixing: similar to the first, but requires a bit of work; download a basic version of Photoshop to make small edits (color change and more);
  • more serious work: here you need a graphic designer with at least a little experience; images can be taken from pixabay or other sites, but with a fair amount of expertise it will be possible to give them prominence;
  • graphic designer: a graphic designer creates it from scratch or almost. This requires the involvement of a professional or an advanced apprentice.

The cover of a Wattpad book can also be from the first of these categories, since it is a no-profit site, but, if you aim higher, remember that you will have to offer works of higher quality. There are many people who are willing to make you a cover on Wattpad. The quality is very diverse, but some jobs are undeniably beautiful. Look at what they did for me:

Beautiful, isn’t it? Remember not to press your graphic maker, and above all do not be punctilious, if they are doing the work for free. Remember to read the rules of the graphics service well and respect them. A graphic designer could even take five hours to make a cover, and having their rules and their own work not respected does more damage than you may think. And if the graphic designer calls you back and points out in a polite way that you were wrong, APOLOGIZE AND BEHAVE LIKE CIVILIZED PEOPLE. So, please, if you request a work remember that they are the ones who are doing you a favor, not the other way around.

I add a detail suggested by a user:

“Covers stand out thanks to the text. It has often happened to see some covers with an illegible title because of the wrong font, or the wrong color or even title was split and placed on the sides. However, I would like to give some advice for those who are not familiar with it:

-YouTube has a lot of tutorials and you can start from there;

-the title has its default positions: top, bottom and center (never on the sides or too attached to the edges);

-the white color highlights your title on a very dark or colored photo (as long as it is bold or large);

I hope this is useful. Obviously, each narrative genre has its own style of graphics. Don’t stick a picture with a title so randomly mashed up. Put soul as you put it to write ;)” Having clarified this, I would like to point out the existence of Canva, a Wattpad free extension that can be used to create covers. Let’s be clear: you can hardly find anything at the level of the work of a professional, but difficult does not mean impossible.
Basically, Canva is free, while paid additions are marked with a symbol. You can’t go wrong.
How does that work? First, when you publish your story (or rehearse), click on the cover section and go to “create cover”. From there Canva opens  (or you can find it by searching on Google). Register with Google, Facebook or whatever you want. If you are uncomfortable, make yourself a second Facebook account, devoid of personal data, and log in with that. Once inside, you will find this screen:

Models: reference covers. You can change the title, edit them, etc.
Elements: small additions (leaves, flowers, etc.) for decorations.
Uploads: pictures uploaded by you (take them from pixabay).
Photos: preset pictures already on canva, taken from free websites.
Other: wallpapers and the like.

Now I’ll give you an example of a cover using Canva. Search some keywords and find something that inspires you.

Save the picture on your PC and make some edits: enlarge it, shrink it, and so on until you find the style you want. At that point upload it and add the title according to the fonts you like the most.

But maybe you don’t like the play of lights. With other edits you can change the brightness, making it lighter or darker depending on your needs.

Questions and answers:

  • Is it free?

Yes, if you do not deliberately start the fee-paying settings.

  • I want to save the picture but I don’t want to save it on the Internet, how do I do it?

Use “Snipping tool”.

  • What device do I edit the image from the PC with?

Paint or paint 3D.

  • I can’t find an image that inspires me.

Try on pixabay, if it is not written otherwise the pictures are free and can also be used for commercial purposes. Yes, if you want to self-publish a book you can make the cover with those, but always check that you are using a copyright-free picture and make sure that the rules have not changed.

Now it’s your turn!


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