You’ve written your novel, now it's time to create an ebook cover that will grab attention, jump off the screen and sum up your story at a glance.
As an indie author your cover is a priority. Vibrant, eye-catching, intriguing. Easy to do? Well …
We would all like a cover like Joanne Harris’s “Five Quarters of the Orange” with all its intricate detail that is a pleasure to study (it was only on my third look that I noticed the hand-grenade!).
But, sorry, my fellow independent authors, we can't have intricate designs. We are not selling in a shop, we are selling on the web, where most of the time, our cover will be thumb size. But how do we Wow! a prospective reader with a picture that’s as big as a postage stamp?
Keep it simple
Don’t clutter. One image against a plain background is very effective. Of course, there are historical romance covers that need background - a castle, for instance - which informs a prospective reader when the story was set, but for the most of us, it's best to keep it simple.
Colour is the key
Remember: The human brain will reject bland, under-stimulating information. At the other extreme, is a visual experience that is so overdone, so chaotic that the viewer can’t stand to look at it. Therefore, you need to create colour harmony, which delivers visual interest and a sense of harmony.
As an artist I know something about colour. Did you know that certain colour duos when put together make each other more vibrant? Look at a basic colour wheel then pair up the colours opposite each other - for example, violet + yellow. See how one colour makes the other colour more intense and bright?
A tip to help you remember basic complementary colours: blue/orange, violet/yellow, green/red.
Take a look at ‘The Dinner’ by Herman Koch. No background clutter. One image. Complementary colours of Blue + Orange. White lettering against blue. It works, don’t you think?
Take a look at ‘The Help’. No background clutter. With complementary colours of Violet + Yellow. It works, too.
Black + white is effective. This combo gives a sophisticated feel. (See ‘Noah, Noah’ by Paul Wilson).
How will your reader react?
Blue: This is the colour of clear communication. Also, it is a known fact that people generally like this colour. There are so many shades: turquoise, cornflower, and teal. White lettering on teal really does the job! See my forthcoming novel: ‘The Double’. See how the letters jump out?
Red: Physical. Energy. Strength. Masculinity. Pure red is stimulating and lively but at the same time it can be perceived as demanding and aggressive.
Yellow: Emotional. Optimism.Friendly. The right yellow will lift our spirits, but too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones, can cause anxiety.
Green: Balance. Harmony. Restful. Environmental awareness. Being in the centre of the colour spectrum, it is the colour of balance. It can also be bland if used in excess. Choose a light pastel green and team it up with red.
Pink: Femininity. Love. Sexuality. Too much pink is physically draining to the eye.
White: Clarity. Purity. Sophistication. Visually, white gives a heightened perception of space.
Orange: Sensuality Passion. Fun. Too much orange gives a suggestion of frivolity.
Grey: Dampness. Lack of Energy. Pure grey has a virtual absence of colour, which is depressing.
Black: Glamor. Sophistication. Works well with white. Too much portrays a sense of menace.
Brown: Warmth. Nature. Earthiness. It is a solid reliable colour that most people find quietly supportive.
Remember: Colours are fun to play with! There are so many exciting shades to discover. See: www.paletton.com.
Now, go back and look at The Five Quarters of the Orange. Don't you think the orange jumps out at you? That's because it's against a background of its complementary colour, blue.
My next blog will be about How to Choose the Right Image, Designing Tips, and When do you use a professional designer?