Cover Making

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"Don't judge a book by its cover." 

        We've all heard it. And don't lie. We've all ignored it too. The thing is, no matter how many times that we tell ourselves that we don't care about the cover, the truth is, we actually really do. Now maybe once you've read the book with the hideous cover, it's your favourite, but what are the chances that you would even pick it up in the first place? Very slim. 

        That is why I have this chapter. When you're scrolling through Wattpad or browsing a bookstore, bored, you are going to take a look at the book with the beautiful cover, or the intriguing one, rather than some blurry picture that you don't have a clue what it is supposed to portray, right? Right. So, yes, your cover is very important and there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when creating one.

1. Relevance

It needs to be related to the plot of your story. You can't write about a girl struggling to survive in the desert and have a cover of a beach by the Pacific Ocean and have two happy toddlers running around with buckets and toy shovels. A more appropriate cover would be of an actual desert or even of a bright sun glaring into the camera. Also make sure that it matches your genre. A book about horror should be dark or creepy. A mystery should have an intriguing cover, or perhaps a secluded house or something, if that is directly related to the plot. Often, the cover of a mystery is in direct relation with the title. Keep these things in mind.

2. A Title

I can't even say how many times I have been going page to page on Wattpad and seen stories that don't have the actual title on the cover. It's just embarrassing when you don't have one. Either people will think that you forgot about it and didn't care to fix it later or you'll look just plain lazy. Like it or not, but people don't generally open books with no words on the front. I don't know what it is, but you need to have one. Don't be a slob, period. A tip would also be to make the font clear and fit for your story. Just choose what feels right.

3. Clear Images or Patterns

So you've finally found the perfect image for your story cover and you are ready to edit/photoshop (depending) it. In your excitement you put on ten filters, pasted two other cropped images of fake flames or something and created a massive font for the title. When it's finally done, you look at it with pride over your hard work and post it on Wattpad. But you realize something's wrong when you get no views on your amazing story. Usually you have lots of views, but now you have no more than three. You search desperately for what's wrong and ask your friend Susie why no one is reading your story. She takes one look at your cover and says, "What's that supposed to be?"

        Ouch. All that hard work and you hadn't realized that after all of your editing, your beautiful picture is practically indiscernible. Disappointed, you take away most of the filters, make your font smaller and remove your badly photoshopped images. Once your new cover is posted, you find that you have lots more views! The moral at the end of this is that you need to have a clear cover. It doesn't need to be vibrant. I hardly expect you to have a bright pink cover for your horror story. Just make sure that your images are easy to distinguish.

4. Sizing

Wattpad suggests that your cover be 256 x 400. The truth is, if you want a nice, proportionate and clear image, there's really no "suggestion". You either go 256 x 400 or not at all. Of course, not all of us are tech savvy and know how to accomplish resizing the image successfully. Luckily, technology includes many magical things. You can find editing apps or online programs for free that allow you to do this. I always use PicMonkey on my laptop. It's a free website and you can add a variety of filters, resize or crop your image, and use all sorts of helpful features. I highly suggest it for those who panic at the mention of "editing" or "photoshop". 

If you've read all of that and you still have a headache, never fear! There are lots of users on Wattpad who would be more than happy to make an amazing cover for you. Don't be shy and ask people for help! Ways that you can do this is search up tags relating to cover-making, if there are any, or you can join a club and start a thread. Keep your eyes open for people offering their services in their bio or comments. Please be aware that some people may ask for something in return, like reading their story and commenting/liking. 

        Also remember that if you are taking a photo off the internet or from someone else's blog/page, it isn't yours. If that person didn't give you permission to use that photo and they see that you took it, they might be angry. Chances are, they'll never find out that you have it, and getting permission can be a long process in some cases. If you are paranoid about getting in trouble, contact them before you use it for your cover. If you don't, recognize the rare chance that they may find out. If they do, remove your cover and apologize. Adding in your description that the photo belongs to so-and-so might be a helpful touch.

        Whether you decide to brave the roads to making your own cover, or ask someone else to do it for you, I wish you luck in your success!

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