Stepping up to a 3D Book Cover

Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where to Sell Your Work - book imageToday I took the next step in the full-publication process of my latest book. That step being to produce a PDF version that I can sell on my web site. Most people who buy and read PDF books are accustomed to seeing snazzy, 3D book cover images that look like a photo of a real book. So the flat 2D image that I’ve been using in the bookstores isn’t going to be quite good enough if I want to look “professional” as an author of PDF books. But, I can’t spend $700 on Photoshop (the most popular software for doing this) nor do I have the time to learn it even if I could afford it.  So I went looking for alternatives.

I found a bunch.  Several were plugins for Photoshop to make setting that up easier – no good if you don’t have Photoshop. {Gong} They’re disqualified. 

Some were stand-alone pieces of software that did the same sort of thing, but did just this one task.   All claimed to be the very best, none offered a “tutorial” or “test run” to see how hard they were to use or how good the results were. They sold for between $30 and $80. I put a couple of them in my bookmarks file for future reference.  If the PDF books sell, this would be a good investment.

Then I found this one service that did the whole thing on-line and for free.   A good learning exercise if nothing else. I used that to produce the image you see above: not perfect, but not bad.

I had to design and make a spine image to match the front cover using Corel Draw, and the service would add a back cover as well if I wanted it.   I don’t.  The viewer would let you spin the book around to see the whole thing.   It was pretty cool!  I could not find any way to download the completed image, so I simply took a screen shot of the image, then used Paint to crop it to the final size and shape.

With this much done, I am one step closer to being able to produce a paperback book. The one big hurdle in my way was to design the full cover image. This is one big picture that is front cover, spine and back cover all in one. Of course it has to be sized just right – and that includes making the spine image the exact width for the number of printed pages and weight of paper used in the book.   I cover this in the book.  This project gave me the motivation to go ahead and design a back cover.   Now all I need do is to crunch some numbers to get the required spine width and I’ll be ready to dive into POD paperback production through Createspace or Lightning Source.

One quick note about cover design as I see it.  Despite what  “They” say, people DO judge a book by it’s cover.  I decided to take on designing the cover for this book (despite a serious shortage of artistic talent) because it is a Trade Book.  Non-fiction.  Instructive.  For this type of book, a fairly simple cover design seems not only adequate, but desirable.  However were it a more literary piece of non-fiction or a fiction novel, then the cover artwork would have a tremendous impact on it’s ability to sell well.  When my first Sci-Fi novel (Tale of the Draggon – in rewrite now) is ready to face the gauntlet of publication, I *will* be hiring an artist to do a proper cover for it.

I’m starting to get some results from my marketing efforts. I’ve been interviewed several times, been invited to guest post on a few book-centered web sites, have made some sales on Amazon, and am seeing myself popping up all over Google. I still need a few more reviews.

It’s about time to call this one a day. Thanks for reading!

15 thoughts on “Stepping up to a 3D Book Cover”

  1. Thanks for sharing that Allan! It looks very schmick!
    I’ll store that one away and hope the 3D generator is still available and still free when I finally get organised enough to finish my non-fiction book.

  2. Looks great! I need to do that one day for my ebook that …well is on the back shelf for awhile. I heard about the stamp but haven’t tried to use it. Great info! The cover looks awesome.

    1. Thanks Melinda, I appreciate the encouragement. I have yet to get the Stamper to run with WordPress. Even have a Script-Guy working on it; says he’s not sure why it won’t run either. At this rate I’ll have to sell my OTHER kidney to pay for this project. 🙁

  3. Great work Allan! This is the kind of info people need to know about when the time comes.

    I’ve seen people offering this service on as well, but you do have to be vigilant on that site regarding the quality you will get.

    Of course, FREE is better than a fiver any day though, right?

    When you get ready for that proper cover hit me up. I’m not sure if I’m exactly the style you’re looking for but I’m sure we could work something out. All the best with this new venture!

    1. Thanks John. I have seen some of those Fiver ads. And I know a couple of people who tried them. One was happy, the other tried four or five artists before he got one he liked. Still, $25 bucks as opposed to $200… I suppose it would depend a lot on what one was looking for: how hard it is to create. I know nothing about that fancy photo manipulation stuff.

      I’ll definitely keep the cover help offer in mind, your creativity would be an asset for sure. I’ve got several books in the WIP pipe – I just need to stay off the blogs and Twitter and finish writing the flippetygibet books!

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