One of my favourite things to do—and one of my favourite ways to procrastinate from actually writing—is to create “mock covers” for my WIPs. This has been the case for pretty much as long as I’ve been writing, from the very first “book” I ever wrote, to the new mock cover for my fantasy novel Blood of Old that I blogged about in August. Since I’m still in a cover-making mood, today I’ve decided to share the process I use when crafting my “mock covers”! Do you make covers for your WIPs??
Step 1 – Choose cover art
Cover art is the photo or illustration that adorns the front cover of a book. Now I know they say “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but most of us do—after all, it’s only natural for the eye to be drawn to something pretty. In my opinion as a reader who shamelessly selects books with attractive covers, the artwork is the cover’s most important feature, which is why I always choose it first when creating my mock covers.
Option A – Licence from a stock image site
Stock image sites are places where photographers and artists upload their work so others can download and use them for a fee. There are SO many incredible pieces on these sites, and almost as many different plans and payment options. Some examples of stock image sites are:
Option B – Download from a free image site
Free image sites provide an array of photographs and illustrations free of charge. Many of them don’t require you to attribute the images you download and use, though the artists always appreciate it if you do! Some examples of free image sites are:
Option C – Create your own imagery
Of course, if you are an artist / photographer / designer, there’s always the option to create your own covert art! Or maybe you have a family member or friend who’d be willing to help you out? If not, don’t worry—Options A and B are still available to you!
Step 2 – Choose a program
Option A – Graphic design program
Once you have your cover art ready to go, you need to select a program with which to put together your “mock cover”. The option that will give you the most freedom, but is also the most challenging, is to use a graphic design program. Some examples of graphic design programs are:
Option B – Online design tool
If you don’t want to go all out with a specialised design program, then an online design tool might be for you! These websites usually require you to make an account, which unlocks a variety of free templates and fonts that you can add to if you want to pay. Some examples of online design tools are:
Option C – Inbuilt program
Finally, if neither of the above options appeal to you, your computer will definitely have a number of inbuilt programs that will allow you to design a “mock cover”. I’m not familiar with Mac software, but if you have a Windows device, any of the following programs are sufficient for creating your cover:
Step 3 – Choose layout
Now that you’ve opened up your cover art in your program of choice, it’s time to make decisions about the ultimate layout of the “mock cover”. This may include, but is CERTAINLY not limited to, the following key elements:
- Size: Select appropriate dimensions and resolution for your book cover. For example, a Kindle cover and a Wattpad cover have different requirements—so make sure you do your research!
- Image placement: The chances of your cover art fitting perfectly into the required dimensions are pretty much 0%, unless you’ve designed it yourself. You will therefore need to “fit” the image into the cover as best you can.
- Positioning of text: A title and author name are must haves, of course, but you may also have a tagline or short quote you want to include on the cover. You need to carefully choose the placement of these and ensure your text size and colour make the writing clear.
- Series logo: If your WIP is a part of a series, you might also want to include a “series logo” on your cover. This could be as simple as a subtitle including the series name and book number, or as complex as an independently designed graphic!
Step 4 – Choose fonts
This step may or may not be done in conjunction with Step 3, but selecting appropriate fonts for your “mock cover” is also vitally important. Font choice can say a lot about the genre and mood of the story—for example, a fancy handwriting-type font might not be appropriate for a thriller, but could be perfect for a contemporary piece. You can access different fonts in two key ways.
Option A – Inbuilt fonts
Whatever platform you’re using to compile your “mock cover” will have inbuilt fonts available for you to use. If you are using a piece of software installed on your computer it will normally make available the fonts you already have installed, whereas online tools likely have their own unique fonts available.
Option B – Download fonts
If you don’t like any of the fonts built in to your computer or the tool you’re using, you can download more from the internet. Do a quick search and you’ll find dozens of font websites, several of which you need to pay to download from, but many of which you don’t. Some examples of free font download websites are:
Do you create “mock covers” for your WIPs? How do you go about making them? Post a link to your example(s) and I’ll check it out!