What are indie authors still getting wrong with book cover design? Plus color theory, when to rebrand if your book has been out a while, intellectual property considerations with design, and more with book cover designer, Stuart Bache.
In the intro, I mention Mike Shatzkin's article on imprint consolidation and why traditional publishing is embracing audience-centric models with lower fixed costs. [Idealog]
Plus, changing heads when writing multiple series, why writing for voice is so important. “In the beginning was the Word, not the Scroll.” [The Atlantic]
Limited time useful things:
- NaNoWriMo Bundle for writers: Includes books on structuring, writing through critical voice, writing fast, Heinlein’s rules, editing and polishing, bundling and co-writing, plus mindset, health, success and more. Available for a limited time: storybundle.com/nano
- Learn strategies that are working for Amazon Ads right now. Free webinar with Mark Dawson. Thurs 15 Nov at 3pm US Eastern / 8pm UK. Click here to register.
Today's show is sponsored by Draft2Digital, where you can get free ebook formatting, free distribution to multiple stores, and a host of other benefits. Get your free Author Marketing Guide at www.draft2digital.com/penn
Stuart Bache has worked as a professional book cover designer for over a decade working with publishers like Hodder, Puffin and HarperCollins, and authors like Steven King and Lionel Shriver. He is now the founder and art director of Books Covered, designing market-leading book covers.
- Stuart’s start in design and shifting to working with indie authors
- Mistakes authors make with their covers
- The two important elements of colour in book design
- When to replace dated book covers
- Considerations for Intellectual Property rights when working with a cover designer
- Options for free and inexpensive book cover design.
- Stuart has a course on Book Cover Design here.
- Tips on using book covers effectively in ads
You can find Stuart Bache at BooksCovered.co.uk and on Twitter @stuartbache @bookscovered
You can find my list of recommended book cover designers here (which, of course, includes Stuart!)
Transcript of Interview with Stuart Bache
Joanna: Hi, everyone. I'm Joanna Penn from TheCreativePenn.com. And today, I'm here with Stuart Bache. Hi, Stuart.
Stuart: Hey, how are you doing?
Joanna: I'm good. So, just a little introduction.
Stuart has worked as a professional book cover designer for over a decade working with publishers like Hodder, Puffin and HarperCollins, and authors like Steven King and Lionel Shriver. He is now the founder and art director of Books Covered designing market-leading book covers.
His latest book, which I have right here, is The Author's Guide to Cover Design, which, of course, has a nice cover.
Stuart: Yeah. Well, I try!
Tell us a bit more about how you got into the publishing world and into book cover design.
Stuart: It was a fairly long process, actually. I've been in cover design for over a decade now, but beforehand, once I graduated in design, I moved around a few different jobs. I did a little of branding, that kind of thing, but I never really found it very interesting.
I was writing a little bit and I punctuated my jobs with big spaces of traveling. I went traveling all the time, and wrote, and designed, and all sorts of different things. And then I was in a job in London and I saw there was a job opening at Hodder & Stoughton for an art worker.
I applied for the job but I didn't get it because art working is, well, I mean, it is now, but at the time, it was very hard, it's very intensive, labor intensive and I didn't have enough experience for that.
But they offered me a junior position so I sort of took that. And that was the beginning of the process, really. I started from a junior and sort of worked my way up at Hodder & Stoughton.
And then I moved from there. I became a senior at Puffin, so it's Penguin in the Pearson building on The Strand. And then I became a freelancer for a while and then I got a job as a managing designer at HarperCollins. And then became out director at Oneworld.
So, it was only over a short period of time. It was about six, seven years but I loved it. I've always been a designer, I've always been interested in art, but going from sort of designing branding type stuff to finally finding something I really enjoyed, which is working on one piece, just sort of working with the type and the images and understanding genres and how they're all different.
It's a huge amount to think about and they all have to look different, but they all have to relate as well. I was meant to do it, I think. I don't really believe in those sorts of things, but if there was a job meant for me, this is it.
Joanna: It's so interesting because, of course, you are talking now about some of the biggest publishing companies in the world.
What made you move into working with indie authors?
Stuart: So, I did a little bit here and there, and my first time when I was freelancing, Twitter was quite new, Facebook was quite new. It was that long ago. And I met Mark Dawson, I think he put a tweet out or something like that saying, ‘I need someone to design my covers.'
He was one of the first indie authors I worked with. And then from then on, either through Mark or through Me Marketing, my freelance business, which it wasn't Books Covered back then, and a few people just sort of started to come along.
I think it actually made my career in some ways because working with authors directly meant that I understood them more. I understood how to talk to them about briefing and it allowed me to see them as a mirror for myself as well, so I was able to understand the process more from just…because, usually in-house, you receive a brief, you look at the brief, and you interpret it, and that's it. There's no talking about it really.
And then it goes through a process that you weren't really a part of and then you get your feedback and then you move on from there.
I found working with lots of indie authors, that I gained a huge amount of experience and I was able to talk to editors, and sales teams, and authors as well when I went back in-house at a completely different level.
When I set up Books Covered with my wife, who is an editor, it was a no-brainer, really. We positioned pretty much straight out indie because by that point I was still friends with Mark, I was still designing Mark's covers secretly. I wasn't supposed to because I was working in-house, but still working with lots of indies and stuff and I just knew.
I could see it was growing and as a sort of positivity about indie publishing that you don't really get all the time in in-house because there's a lot of tradition there and it's sort of immovable sometimes.
Whereas this sort of…I don't know, there's just a feeling of moving forward with indie. So that's why we positioned ourselves that way and we've never looked back. Matter of fact, we haven't asked for work in the entire time that we started the company, we've just moved on and we're always booked up. So, it's pretty cool.
Joanna: I think people who are listening as well would be like,' Wow.' So, it's interesting to get an insight into the traditional publishing process.
And what I would love to know, I mean, there's lots of I want to get into, but I do think now that indie authors should, those people listening should understand the importance of a professional book cover design. So, you know, we're going to assume that everyone's doing that.
Even with that awareness in the market, what are the top mistakes that you see authors still making with their covers?
Stuart: I think typography is a big thing because it's hard and most people wouldn't be aware of what typefaces are. You have 'em on your computers, they're there and you can go through them. So, I think typeface is a big thing.
It's very hard to understand for a lot of people, which is understandable. And the simple way around that is to use what I call familiarity theory, which I talk about in the book and everything is that you look at what works in your genre, and that's the simplest way.
If you don't understand what a typeface is, there's a website out there called WhatTheFont, which allows you to use the image that you've got. You can crop an image, you can crop the title or the author phone or whatever it is and put it through that system.
It usually picks it up, and if it doesn't find something similar. Obviously, those are fonts that you pay for. But Google fonts are free and available to use and you can just download them from their site. You can go through all of those. They've got very, very similar ones to the ones that you can buy and the ones I use all the time.
So, I'd say typography is a big thing. I think people just think it just has to be typed out and as long as it looks similar, it's fine. But I think from a professional's point of view type a really matters.
Comic Sans, Comic Book Sans, that kind of thing. People do use those things even though they're told not to. I would say that the best tip is if your local church uses it for their poster, it's probably not a good one.
Joanna: That's so funny. I was going to say I keep seeing that Papyrus font. It's just like, come on, I thought Papyrus went in the way of Comics Sans.
Stuart: It did. And Papyrus, there's loads of them, Mistral, which were massive in the '80s and the early '90s and everyone used them.
If your boss uses it in a PowerPoint presentation, it's probably not a good one to use on the book cover.
It's the best way to think about it.
I think there's often not enough research into the genre. I think sometimes people will just say, ‘This is really pretty,' or, ‘This is really beautiful,' or, ‘This is a nice illustration,' and it doesn't relate in any way.
I'm a big advocate of trying to fit in, try, and it's like I say, familiarity theory is about fitting in rather than standing out. And the only reason I say that is because, especially if you're a new author, that people tend to buy things that they're used to and that's familiar to them.
If something's working in terms of font and image in a genre, then that's what you should sort of try and emulate. If you want to stand out, that's great, but you will potentially lose sales, I think, because you might stand out against books, but people don't shop like that.
They don't shop about what's standing out, they shop about what they know they like. And we all do it with boxes of soap powder or our favorite chocolates or whatever, they're all branded in a particular way that makes you go, ‘Oh, I know what that is,' or, ‘I've got an idea what that would taste like or how that will be, or that will work.'
That's exactly how we shop for books. I think some people go very esoteric and they think, ‘I really love this, and it's really quirky and really cool,' but that doesn't mean it's going to sell.
And from my perspective, as someone who has worked in branding as well, and in sales, that I would rather sell my book.
As a designer, I love designing literary book covers and they look beautiful and you can work with great illustrators and everything, but they don't sell very well.
As an author, especially if you're an indie author and this is your business and that's the thing that you really wanna focus on is people don't spend very long on book covers. It's seconds. So, you need to be able to grab their attention, tell them what genre is, tell them what the title is, who you are, like that.
Then they'll read the blurb and then that's when they buy it. So, if you can't grab them at that second when they're browsing through on Amazon or in a bookshop, then you've lost them.
Joanna: I was going to ask about that because it's interesting.
About browsing, you do have a great chapter on color theory, which I think does set your book out apart from quite a few other books on book cover design because I love this color theory. I think it's fascinating.
Your book cover has some very nice colors on and it's interesting because I have my nonfiction, which is behind me here on the video, is white with colored things in big type on, and you've obviously got big type on the nonfiction.
But also, color theory is interesting because I went to shop on the Kindle and I have a black and white Paperwhite so I don't even see color.
And I haven't actually looked at yours on black and white Kindle but I can see that it might have more of an issue because…or the type will be large but I might not be able to see the color gradient.
I wonder if you could talk a bit about color theory and also potentially the cultural components of color, because I think they're so different between the cultures and yet we use the same book cover.
Stuart: Absolutely. Color is two things from my perspective.
You have the design perspective and then you have the motive. From a design perspective, some colors work better than others together.
You have your color wheel, which is set up with your primary colors, so there's three of those, red, yellow and blue. And then you can have your secondary colors, which is a mixture of those. You have your oranges and your violets and your green, obviously.
And then you have your tertiary colors, which are all a mixture of those two together. So, they're your shades, so you have like red-orange and yellow-orange, so you have your sort of shades of them.
And now, so your color wheel…you can Google this. Your color wheel is a great thing to use when you're designing because from a design perspective, you get to see things like so what colors work together. So you have your analogous colors, which are colors that are similar, so things like your yellows into your greens and how they work together and it's really sort of harmonious, so you might use those in the sort of romantic comedy, that kind of thing.
It's not too in your face, or you have your monochromatic colors, which are sort of shades of the same, so you know, shades of gray, obviously, so black to white.
But then you have a purple, so you got lighter purples and darker purples and you get to use more monochromatic and things like true crime and espionage, things about espionage, spy novels, that kind of thing tend to be monochromatic.
And then you have your complimentary. Now, these are used…and I've used complementary colors. These actually, it's the opposite. They're called complimentary but they're the opposite. So, it's what on your color wheel are opposite each other. So, oranges and reds are the opposites of blues and greens, so they actually cause a jarring effect, which makes them stand out more.
You see this on lots of thrillers as well. And you see this so even on in romantic comedies as well, when it's fiction, that sort of thing where you've got a completely separate color, like a yellow, a strong bright yellow illustration on a sort of bright blue background will really sort of jar things like oranges and archive use red and blue that really stands out.
Now, you're absolutely right that in black and white, that red will disappear into the blue and so that's why I've made sure that the type is an opposite color. So even though the image will disappear, well, it won't completely disappear, but as the image sort of turns into a very monochromatic variation of a gray scale, basically, there will be parts that will stand out. And the important parts will start to stand out, so you have to be aware of things like that.
But from an emotive point of view, that's also a cultural thing. You can use colors to give impact or to give you a feeling or an emotion. So, obviously, red, in the West tend and to see that as being things like fear, and blood, and that kind of thing.
But it can also mean lust, it can be sexual in some ways. In the East or in Asia, it's luck as well. So, red can be luck, and it can also mean a communism so it could work well with a spy novel, or whatever, say in a cold war, or all those such things.
Using one color, if you use it in the right way, can just give you a feeling or sort of place or time, all sorts of things like that.
And then you will see that in books, especially true crime where they will use a red on usually a monochromatic black and white background. They'll use a strong red and that obviously tells you it's fear-based, it's got blood, that kind of thing.
And some purples and pastel tones, they're the more analogous colors, they're very similar to one another and they can be really good for literary fiction, and they can be really good for children's fiction and that sort of thing because they're calming and lots of violets and blues all the way through the spectrum can be really nice.
Doing a bit of research and seeing what works in your genre is really good, but you will notice that each genre will use a color in a specific way to show you or to give you a feeling. But it's a very complex area; it's a rabbit hole, you can go really deep into it.
But on the whole, from a design perspective, it's really important to try and not just use pretty colors or colors that you think work well together.
Google a color wheel and look at your color wheel and just get an idea of what you think will work well together and just try a few things. That's important.
Joanna: This is why I like working with professional designers because although I'm fascinated by this, I absolutely know how much detail you can get into.
It's like when you mentioned the topography, it's again, it's something that I've got a few books on typography, I love looking at them, but I know the rabbit hole is just huge. So, you have to pick your interests, don't you?
I love that you're into cover design, and so many others. If people listening are going, ‘Oh my goodness, that sounds like so much work,' and you're not interested. Well, I think it's just being aware of your genre, isn't it?
And what's so interesting is how things change. So this is what I want to ask about next. So, many authors coming into the indie space now are getting their rights back from publishers, so lots and lots of people coming in, some of whom were published a long time ago before the e-book contracts. So, let's say over 10 years ago.
Their books may have been published in the early 2000s, maybe even the '90s. These are people who when they had covers back then, they would have been quite different.
How long does it take for a cover to date and when should people think about re-covering books?
Stuart: I think it's not something to worry too much about if it's within the last few years, but if it's a decade or more, maybe six years or more, I think that's when you should really think about it.
I think thrillers and things like that tend to stay similar. They go back and forth and they use like big type with bright colors on, you know, the most recent…who was it recently? The most recentIan Rankin has gone back to a version of a guy walking with big type and stuff, and that's very, very relevant and that always will be.
But there are certain genres, horror, for example, if you look at the early Stephen King's they are almost illustrated. And then my Stephen King's, when I worked on it, were visual, they were photographic, and they sat within the commercial market at the time and now they're sort of going back to more-illustrated sort of things.
It just changes all the time. And, I mean, it's different with Stephen King's because they can constantly change.
Joanna: Do whatever they like.
Stuart: Yeah. Or whenever they like. They will always sell a book.
But in terms of things women's fiction, that changes all the time. And one of the reasons why that changes, I think, is because of things like what's fashionable in color, that changes every year. At the moment, mustards are really, really big in furniture to clothing, mustard jackets. I've seen people wearing mustard jackets all over the place in Shrewsbury where I live.
And I know from the designers who work on that sort of thing that they think about things like that. So, those sorts of things change almost on a yearly basis. So, it's not that I'm saying that you should change your cover every year because that's not what I'm saying, but there are genres that you need to think about.
If you've got the rights back to something that hasn't had a cover for the last six years, then maybe you should think about refreshing it. Either change it, keeping it in the same image and refreshing it, if you have the image, if you are to have it yourself from a publisher. I don't always do that.
But if you wanted to a do yourself a whole new cover, actually, I would personally recommend doing that because that is you standing out and saying, ‘I'm out there myself now, I'm trying this myself, and this is my cover. And it's working right now.' Because that's something that is important.
Joanna: And just talking about getting the rights back because this is interesting and I get a lot of emails from authors who get their rights back and they always say, ‘Can I use the cover?' And I tend to say, ‘Probably not.'
In fact, very unlikely that you have rights to the cover if you've been traditionally published.
I wonder if you could talk about the intellectual property rights consideration around using a professional cover designer and the various images involved and what people should look out for in a contract so that they basically are able to use that cover.
Stuart: Copyright is a little bit opaque, it's not clear, and it also depends on what country you're in.
For example, in the U.S., if you are a commissioning someone to design something, you must put into the contract, if you are creating a contract, ‘Work made for hire,' that is a legal stipulation in the U.S., which means that that final cover is yours. That final product that I've commissioned belongs to the client as copyright does.
In the U.K., it's a little simpler. You can have a well-worded email to make sure that well, you know, ‘This belongs to me.' No one really talks about it. I think most designers don't really know about it.
I researched it quite heavily when I started freelancing years ago because I suddenly was having to do everything. Working in-house, you have a picture researcher who deals with all of the rights of everything, just all the picture research for you based on the brief. You talk to them, you discuss what you want, they do it for you, they do all those things.
I realized that I didn't know enough about that area. So, I researched a lot and it's actually quite complicated in some ways. A simple view is if you are commissioning something for the cover, whether it's the illustration or the cover itself, as the client, you own the copyright, that's the simple view and that's what most people would think.
However, it's not strictly true and you are better off putting it in writing in some way, it doesn't have to be a contract, but I'd be better if it was a small, short contract just to say that you do own the copyright to that.
Just in case…it's never happened to me, ever. But if there's any issues along the line where a designer's decided that they're going to sell that copy or that design onto someone else as well, all those sorts of things.
As a designer, we have rights and photographers, whatever they take as a photo, they own the copyright. They took that photo unless it's been commissioned.
Same with illustrators, an illustrator will design something for themselves, it's theirs but actually, it's more complicated with an illustration. If they sell that, it's still theirs unless you explicitly say, ‘I am buying the rights of this.' Now, is this as clear as mud?
Joanna: Let's just be clear. When people commission a cover, it includes some typography, it includes some kind of image, it includes some words, and maybe some graphics. And so, when people commissioner a cover, the work for hire is for a finished cover, but the designer often may use an image that belongs to a stock website.
This is where, I think, many authors get upset. They're like, ‘Oh, but you've used the same image that's on this other book cover.' And it's like, ‘Yeah,' because that image is not your copyright. It's the finished product.
Stuart: That's absolutely right. Fundamentally, the design, the final design and how that looks, and how that composition looks belongs to the client, to the author for their use.
You do get a lot of people saying, ‘Can I have the layered files because I'd like to do my own advertising or would like to tweak it a lot at some point.' Technically, you can't have that because I, as the designer, have bought those images, those separate images to use. So, I have the right to use those.
But as soon as I send that file to you with those images in it, I am breaking the terms of the contract I have with, say, Shutterstock. If you then decide that you want to use those images elsewhere that's nothing to do with the book, or maybe you've decided you want to create a new cover for some other book and you take some of those images from it.
‘I like that character, I'll use it on this one,' then I'm the person you would get…if that was ever found out, which you probably wouldn't be, but if it ever was, then I'm the person who would get done to that because I've shared that image.
Joanna: And the reason this is so important, and I just want everyone to realize, is it's respect for the designer as a professional, it's respect for the people who did the images as we want people to respect our words.
And just for people who are getting their rights back, the interior layout is also copyrighted for a designer within house, so if you get your rights back, you're only getting your rights back to the words in the manuscript in that order not with any kind of design.
Stuart: That's interesting because I think in that very specific case as well for a book cover, that cover doesn't even belong to the designer, it belongs to, say, if it's HarperCollins, it belongs to HarperCollins.
If you want to try and get back something from HarperCollins, it's just not going to happen, because they have bought those images and the whole copyright belongs to them, it doesn't even belong to you for that cover.
You're not buying the book cover from HarperCollins, they're doing it for you. That whole package is their package and that copyright is theirs. So, they bought the images, they've designed it, and they're selling it.
So, yes, it's your book and you have a sale on it, but any of the copyright doesn't belong to you. So, buying the rights back, you are literally just buying the rights but to your story, or to your nonfiction, or whatever. Anything apart of that, you'll have to buy yourself.
Now, if there are ways around it. And I'm not sure if this would work in-house for somebody like HarperCollins, but if you were working with me, for example, and you said, ‘You know, I want to do adverts but I don't have any money to do adverts, could I please have the layered files?'
You can do two things. You can tell them, ‘These are the images I've used.' You can buy those images fairly cheaply from Shutterstock if you want. It can cost between 25 quid to 50 quid. You can buy those images.
Once you've bought those images, you therefore have the right to be able to use the layered files. Or, I can do a version of a layered file. So, a layered file, for anyone who doesn't know, in Photoshop is where all the components are.
So you have your images, and your effects, and your typography, and all that sort of thing. I can partially flatten things so that it isn't officially anymore those original images. You will never be able to edit those individual images. You'll have a background and some type and ability to move and adapt a little bit, but legally, to see any loophole that I can really get through to help people out in that respect.
But when it comes to working with HarperCollins or someone like that, it's gonna be difficult because, you know, that…well, I mean, it depends. If it's through Shutterstock, that's fine. Maybe they could work something out. But when I worked in-house, we were buying images that were…one image would be 250 pounds.
Joanna: Yeah. Like never use Getty.
Stuart: Yes. Exactly.
Joanna: I know some people who've unintentionally used the Getty image and then had to seriously pay for it. I think these are all really important considerations.
Now, hiring a professional cover designer is an investment and that's the way we like to see it because you need a professional book cover design, but many authors are just starting out and I think that the possibilities for free or cheaper covers are probably better than ever before.
For example, I have a short story and it's only a few thousand words. Should I really invest in a full-on, book cover design and I may never earn back that amount of money?
What are some options for free or cheap book cover designs, especially for e-books because they're only the one thing?
Stuart: I would say that pre-mades; there's lots of great sites out there that do pre-mades. And you can get some really good ones and they're usually anything between $99 to maximum $140, something like that. It's probably your best bet.
We have got our own course and we've done the book as well, you can actually do things yourself to a certain degree, especially, I think, it's good in that circumstance to learn the process or learn some of the process.
It's relatively cheap as well because you'd only do the course once and you'll learn a lot. I've got a lot of people on the course, the course I've done, and it's taught by me. And I go through about four or five, no, probably six different genres. But each one has a Photoshop tutorial and I talk through the genres and what works and what doesn't. I talk through what fonts work, and where you can find them, free fonts, that kind of thing.
I think that's quite important early on in your career if you don't have the money then I would rather that you try and create something that is good so you either find a pre-made or learn something to do yourself, or you can go to somewhere like Canva.
We'll do a little tutorial on Canva as well actually because it doesn't do a lot of things, but there are some great images in there for free.
Once again, I go back to familiarity theory, which is as long as you're emulating what works in your genre as close as you can, in the early days, put something together and try. Once you've made a little bit more money then you can invest in a designer to keep going.
The courses that I do and the book that I've written is not to take the money out the hands of the pros and actually, in actual fact, I always talk about how important it is to use and how different it is using a pro designer.
But, at the same time, you have to have options and I think the indie world is the first time I've ever come across actually in any industry are the only ones that are really exploring things themselves. We're marketing things ourselves, better in most cases than most publishers do, and it's growing; editors, more and more editors, more and more designers.
I bet also people who are doing things themselves and learning how to do things themselves. And that's what's so important, I think, and so amazing about the indie community, is that they are learning and talking to one another and sharing. I've got a Facebook group for my course where they show their covers and we discuss them, we critique them and I'm amazed at what they've produced.
And they produced it themselves and they've learned the process. And some of them say that, ‘I didn't have Photoshop or anything like that until I started the course.' And they're producing fantastic covers.
I've seen some covers today, in fact, that are basically like Amanda Sue Heller or Martina Cole. They are Martina Cole standard and these people are not designers, they're authors. So, I think there's so many different opportunities out there.
I think you can, like I say, go on Canva, create something nice and easy or buy pre-made or learn a few skills and try it yourself. But that's the best…that's where I'd start.
Joanna: We're almost out of time, but I did want to ask you about images in advertising because, I mean, you've mentioned ads a little bit. I just had a book launch yesterday.
Joanna: My book is called ‘Valley of Dry Bones' and my Facebook ads have been blocked with an alcohol-related warning, I presume because of the word dry, I don't know, and it's so funny because I tried really hard to get less than 20% text on it, and the reality is that a book cover is not often the right size for an ad, like the Facebook ads are kind of longer width wise.
Pinterest, it kind of fits, but often you want different things. Instagram has all kinds of different things and often not just a book cover slammed on it. So, we always have to take the book cover and take it further.
What are some of your thoughts on how we can do effective ads with book covers?
Stuart: I've just designed all sorts of different things, I've done things through Type Art, obviously, there's the 20% rule, which are not so strict on anymore, but it still affects things.
For example, Mark Dawson's ads, I use the character so I don't really change much. It's basically without the type, don't have the type on it. It's basically the section in the middle, where the guy character is walking away.
I tend to use that with no text. That works really well. When I design ads for people, I try and do a few different ones to see what works and what doesn't and it's hard for me to know what's working because I don't get the feedback whereas you guys do.
You use them and you see what works and what doesn't work. And recently, I've had a lot of feedback to say the ones that seem to be working the best at the moment are the images within Kindles on backgrounds.
Joanna: Oh, okay.
Stuart: That's actually a much easier way of using your cover because you are adapting your full cover without having to worry about too much about removing the time or taking aspects from it and being able to fit it into a stock image.
A lot of them tend to be tables with a book on or I've done them before where you've got the Kindle and then there's a gun next to it with a few bullets on the table and that sort of thing for thrillers.
Or actually having the book itself as a pack shot works really, really well. And once again, you're not having to worry too much about stripping the cover itself.
And these things you can do; there are free sites out there that you can put your JPG in of your e-book and it will adapt it into different things. So those are the ones I find are working really, really well at the moment, but you can ask your designer if they can give you a JPEG of your cover without the type. That will really help.
And then when you are using it in something like Facebook, especially, you can crop it in the right dimension so that it works with Facebook.
Animated ads are getting big now as well and I've taught myself after effects and I've been asked more and more for those recently, and apparently, I know that movies and things tend to do a little bit better at grabbing people's attention.
So, really simple ones that people that I've seen are just general GIFs of the book with maybe some smoke going around there or something like that, but that's really grabbing people's attention at the moment. So, that's what's working as far as I can see at the moment.
Joanna: And just so you people know, you can use Canva, again, to resize things to the right images. And as someone who doesn't do any Photoshop or anything, I just go into Canva, select Facebook ad and then stick the image in there.
This has been so fascinating.
Tell people where they can find you, and your book, and everything you do online.
Stuart: Well, there's a few places. I am selling the books through Amazon, so it's right around the world worldwide. I have a personal portfolio, if you're interested in what work I've done over the years, and that's my name, so at stuartbache.co.uk.
My business is bookscovered.co.uk. And the book has its own website as well.
We have a little blog, which it's the name of the book without the ‘the,' so it's authorsguidetocoverdesign.com just because I thought ‘the' might be a bit too much in that very long website. So, authosguidetocoverdesign.
And my course, if you're interested or would be interested in learning a bit more even about how to work better with your cover design, your own cover designers, and understanding briefing process, that sort of thing, it's selfpublishingformula.com/coverdesign, I think.
And that's a webinar as well, so you'll be able to actually see a little bit about what the course is and how I design. So, it's should be really interesting. I found it interesting anyway.
Joanna: Fantastic. Well, thanks so much for your time, Stuart. That was great.
Stuart: Brilliant. Thank you.
[Computer image courtesy NordWood Themes and Unsplash.]