For someone who is not a graphic designer, getting your front cover into the right format to be accepted on to KDP, and for it to not look totally crap, is a challenge. It put me fully outside my comfort zone and there was a lot of trial and error before I finally managed to wrestle it into some kind of an acceptable state. I’m now going to tell you in this post how I managed to do that.
‘You can’t judge a book by it’s cover’… but everyone does, so what a stupid phrase. If your cover looks completely amateur then the book will not sell. Simple. I think something like 80% of the sales decision is based on the cover in 3 seconds. Assume you spend 6 months writing and editing a novel, then just under 5 months worth of work is based on the cover in 3 seconds. So, it has to be right.
The design of your front cover is incredibly important and my blog post here tackles the ins and outs, thanks also to my man at Humble Nations. But it’s the quality of your cover which is the subliminal part. That’s the part that a customer picks up on immediately before their brain has even registered the image. If it’s pixelated, or grainy, then it tells them that the quality of the writing inside is equally as amateur.
I used Powerpoint for Mac, Preview on the iMac and Scrivener. I know that professionals would be using Photoshop etc but I’m not a designer. These are the tools I had in my box, so I used them. Also, I want to explain that I’m still not happy with the look of my cover but in the interest of time I had to go with what I had.
- In powerpoint. Change the Page Setup in the File menu. Size the page accordingly: Portrait, Width=39.7cm, Height=63.54cm. This is the exact dimensions of your cover required by Amazon. I make it large so that the image can be scaled up if needed and viewed better on eReaders eventually.
- Once your cover is finished make sure you group all objects and text boxes etc together so that your cover is one entity, then File/Save as Picture. Save it as a JPEG image.
- Open the JPEG from your file directory, mine opens in Preview.
- Trim the white line around the image by dragging the rectangle selector around the edges of your image and then cropping.
- Within Tools/Adjust Size; you should see the same width and height measurements in cm’s that you set the page as in Powerpoint. Then change the resolution to 300 pixels per inch making sure that ‘Scale Proportionally’ is ticked.
- You then end up with an image that is a big file (over 3 or 4 mb). This is the image that I use to insert in to Scrivener as the big front cover. Just drag it into the Front Matter/Front Cover section. (Point for Scrivener: you then need to update the Front Cover in the Compile facility so that it will use the right image) This is the image that readers will see on their eReaders.
- This is too big for KDP to accept so you need to go back into the image in Preview. Tools/Adjust Size. This time change the measurements to Pixels instead of cm’s. Amend the pixels of the width to 1563. You should find that if ‘Scale Proportionally’ is ticked the height will change to 2500. This is the exact size that KDP states is best quality for it’s website.
- You should notice that the file size then drops to under 1mb and then save as something different.
- Eventually upload into KDP. The preview did not update for a while when I did it so don’t worry. Also when it finally did show in the preview, the quality was awful but again this is not the finished quality so don’t worry.
That’s it. I’m upset that there’s only 9 steps now that I’ve looked back because the whole process took me about 4 hours to complete the first time. I hope this will help and tomorrow I will discuss what to include in the Front and Back Matter.