Friday, June 22, 2012

Creating a Cover ... at no cost at all

Your document is ready ... almost

But how about a last check?

You might want to bring up show/hide to check that you have removed all manual formatting except for the "new paragraph" sign that shows where you have hit enter. Otherwise there will be dots to show spacing between words, which should be single.

And clever you, you have used style-sheets to format the title page, chapter headings, section breaks, and quotes. It's a very good idea to check that these all worked properly ... and do another stint of proof-reading, just in case your style-sheets have removed a few necessary letters, quotation marks, or spaces.

There are a couple of additional wrinkles that might or might not interest you.

In traditional print publishing, as you may have noticed, the first line of every chapter is not indented. Whether you want to follow this style or not is up to you; personally, I don't think it makes a tad of difference. However, if you do want to try it, just click the first letter of the first word of the first sentence of the chapter, and go up to "paragraph." Then go to "Special" and change the box to "none."

Hit OK, and presto, your first line won't be indented any more, but the rest will be indented the way you want it.

Do this for every chapter.

Secondly, when a sentence trails off with three dots ... or ends abruptly with -- on Kindle the dots or the long dash can leak over to the next line, which looks odd. If you wish to be particular, go through your document and close up the gap between the last letter of the word and the dots... or the dash-- This fixes the problem.

And that's it. In the meantime, close your document, keeping it in .doc or .docx We will adapt it for publishing later.


Now for the COVER
I found a really nifty website with a revolutionary and miraculous method for creating a jacket with powerpoint, created by William King and called "Creating your own eBook cover, step by step, with pictures." So I recommend you read it, as my method is much the same, with a few extra tips (and different pictures). The method, apart from being incredibly easy, also has the huge advantage that throughout the process of creating your cover you can see a thumbnail to the left. On Amazon, only thumbnails are shown, remember, so you have a very good idea of what the finished product it like.

So let's do it.

Open powerpoint.

Hit the "home" tab, and then hit "new slide" and in the layout (immediately to the right) choose "blank."

Now you must change the page setup.

Go to the tab in the ribbon that says "design" and hit it.

Now, at the far left of the new ribbon, you will see "page setup."

Hit it, and you will get this screen:

First of all, click "portrait" beside both letters A.

On the lefthand side, choose "custom" for slide use. The width and height are more complicated. As King says, the ratio should be 3:4 My powerpoint is set up for metric, so I have a height of about 20 and a width of about 15. If you have inches on your screen, follow King's advice, and have a height of 8 inches and a width of 6.

Now, you insert the image you have very carefully chosen for your cover. In my case, I sorted through Ron's huge collection of maritime photographs, ending up with exactly what I wanted, the tiny silhouette of a ship sailing into a hugely dramatic sunset.

And remember, INSERT it. Don't paste: it won't work. Hit the "insert" tab in the top ribbon of powerpoint, then click "picture" (NOT "photo album), and browse for the image that you have saved in your pictures library.

Now you add the author's name and the title of the book, with the insert tab again.

Go up to the top ribbon, hit insert, and then hit "text box." Then click on the slide in the place where you want the words to start. The shape of a box will form. Type in the words. I chose to put the author's name at the top, and the title near the bottom, because there was good contrast with the dark sea.

Then you play with fonts and effects. I chose Baskerville Oldface for the author's name, and the more romantic Brush Script MT for the title. Adjust the size so that it looks bold, keeping your eye on the thumbnail to check readability. I chose 60 pts for the author's name, and 54 for the title.

I chose to keep the lettering plain white for good contrast, but you can have fun with effects, such as beveling, or putting a glow around the words. Highlight your words, and "format" will come up in the ribbon. Hit this, and find "text effects."

Hit this, and a drop down menu with all sorts of choices will arrive. Experiment as much as you like, but keep an eye on that thumbnail in the lefthand screen, to make sure that you are not blurring the words beyond recognition.

Save your cover, making sure you save it as jpeg (not as powerpoint).

Go to the button at the top lefthand corner of your powerpoint page, and click "save as." In the screen that comes up select the place where you want to save it in your pictures library, put YourBookCover in the "file name" box and then run down the options in the "save as type" box until you come to "Jpeg file interchange format."

Click to save. When a box comes up saying "Do you want to export every slide or only the current slide," click "current slide only."

Keep on going back to it -- to the powerpoint slide, NOT the picture in your jpeg file, as the jpeg will degrade every time you do something to it. Tinker, tinker, and revise, until you are absolutely happy with it. Save it anew each time, either overwriting the original jpeg or giving it a different title. Then, when you are absolutely sure this is the cover for you, bring it up in Microsoft Picture Manager. Click "edit pictures" in the top ribbon. When the menu arrives, click "resize."

Kindle have new rules: the longest side of your cover must be at least 1000 pixels. So you have to adjust the figures to match. I coped by making the smaller ratio -- the width -- 1000, and the program specified the height to suit.

So it was 1327 x 1000, which was a little larger than the usual Amazon thumbnail but seemed to work very well.

Save, and your cover is ready.

Next step, the blurb. Hit THIS LINK to get there.

Inter alia. I adapted King's method for making the screen shots used throughout these little tutorials. I went into document, brought up the screens I was talking about, then hit ALT + "Print Screen" -- which is a key at the top right of my keyboard, but might be somewhere else on yours.

Then I opened powerpoint, created a blank slide, and pasted the screenshot onto the slide by hitting CTRL + v Hitting "format" in the top ribbon of the powerpoint screen allowed me to crop and resize the image as necessary. Then, by right-clicking on the image, I brought up a menu, hit "save picture" and saved it as a jpeg in my picture file.

Thus it was ready to use in my blog.



  1. Thanks to share the important guideline regarding cost free cover creating ins nice to describe any way kindle allows you to create; format and publishing kindle books to the live marketplace all within one central control panel. No need to learn weird coding, or risk losing files, or waste days going back and forth with the Kindle approval team. In fact, you don’t even need MS Word to create your books anymore! With kindle direct publishing you can easily publish your books and reach millions of readers while maintaining complete one central control panel.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Kindle is not accepting my cover. Says something about the pixels. I thought (I know by now to say, "I thought") I was following your instructions thoroughly. I've done it three times today without success. Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

  4. Hello - sorry about the delay. Blogger was throwing a wobbly and wouldn't allow me to comment on my own blog! But your problem is easily fixed. I assume your cover is an image -- a jpg file. Open it in picture manager. Go to the top ribbon and click "edit pictures". On the drop down menu, click "resize" and then go to "percentage of original width and height." Hit the up arrow repeatedly, keeping an eye on "new size" at the bottom. When both width and height are over 1000 pixels, hit OK and then save your image. Check that it still looks OK -- it will look bigger, and you might want to hit "autocorrect" to make sure it is fine. Then KDP should accept it. Good luck!

  5. Thank you. I'll give it my best! You certainly do! I am grateful for your help!