I’m just about ready to put my first story up on Amazon’s Kindle site. So, I not only needed a book cover, I needed a cover prototype. You see, I’m uploading and selling a chapter at a time. (The first chapter has 16 full color illustrations and is a self contained story. So, it works, I think.)
Ultimately they will be compiled into a complete book named Katie’s Dreams of Nursoda. So, first I needed a prototype cover for the final book.
All the images were staged in Poser, and rendered in LuxRender through the Pose2Lux plugin for Poser, giving me great images. (Poser Debut costs around $50. Luxrender and Pose2Lux are free.)However, each image was a very large PNG file (one of many formats for pictures). And, my final cover design contained a number of these images at various sizes layered on one another.
In addition, color and contrast needed tweaking for most of the images. Finally, I needed a powerful layout program that would make it easy to quickly alter the cover for each story, but end up with the same visual feel for the complete book.
So, in addition to the above, I broke out the GIMP image manipulation program and the Scribus layout program, both powerful, and best of all, absolutely FREE!
Once I had the images, I corrected them for color, contrast and brightness, sized them appropriately, layered the images together, created a graphic mask to give the montage some structure (think digital stencil) and exported the main graphic as a single, much smaller, JPG file (another image format), all in GIMP.
Then I opened Scribus and laid out my cover, pulled in the montage I created in GIMP, tweaked the image and text for size and placement, and, voila, had the prototype cover for the book.
Once that was in place, it took less than 10 minutes to grab one of the images from the individual story, drop it in the prototype, and adject the text, and create my second cover.
Here are the results: