I already covered researching a cozy mystery cover and gave the example of changes I made to The Murders in the Reed Moore Library. Now I'll go through the steps I follow to create a brand new cover for my C. Auguste Dupin novel, The Task of Auntie Dido.
I'm using Adobe Illustrator CC for this project, but this isn't going to turn into an Illustrator tutorial. You could use any program that allows you to use text and images together and export the result to a suitable image format for your ebook.
I'll also start out focusing on the Amazon Kindle guidelines and compare those to guidelines on other sites.
For Kindle, the recommended image size is 2,560 x 1,600 pixels. I'll use those dimensions and save it as a preset in Illustrator for future projects. This ensures that I get the dimensions right for my project. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) offers extensive help for details on each stage of the project.
I want to use the same fonts that I used for the first story. I'll open that file and copy over the text to my new project. That way I have everything the same for the new project, lending to a consistent sort of branding for the new title.
So here's the interesting thing: I hadn't made sure that the cover image for the previous ebook was the recommended image size! When I copied and pasted the text it was much too small! That meant spending more time adjusting the typography to get the sizes right. With the CC library I can save elements, which is another way to move artwork, colors, or other items between projects.
I used black, white, and red in the last cover. I'd like to keep some of those, but I want to try out other colors for some of the elements in the book. A cozy mystery cover tends to feature bright colors. I have some ideas for colors to try out.
In my Illustrator document I have the text on one layer and a background layer with a filled rectangle set to black. I've locked both and created a layer in between that I will use for the illustration. I'm going to start with another filled rectangle to test out colors.
I considered different possible colors and ended up with an orange color that I like. I add a gradient effect so the color becomes lighter near the top of the book.
With the previous title, I used a simple silhouette of a cat in front of a book to capture key elements of the story. For this title I want to do something similar, except I think that I want silhouettes of an older woman and a cat on the cover. The quickest way to do that would be to purchase the artwork. In this case, I'd like to take a stab at it myself and see what I can come up with on my own. I'll share that next time!
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Writer, librarian and illustrator, Ryan M. Williams, author of more than twenty novels, writes across a range of genres including fantasy, science fiction, romance, paranormal, and mystery. He earned an M.A. in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and an M.L.I.S. from San Jose University. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Pocket Books, WMG Publishing, and in On Spec Magazine.