You’ve written an ebook, and now you want to publish. Well first things first, you’re going to need a cover. Sure you could hire one of the many talented and capable designers out there to create a cover for you. But if you’re like me, then you’ll want to try and do it yourself.
There are a few ways to go about creating a captivating and engaging cover. In the following blog posts, I will attempt to demystify the process and give you the tools to create just what your book needs: a simple, eye-catching and genre-appropriate cover.
The tips and lesson within can apply to all genres of books, but Romance and Erotica are just what we do around these parts.
Part 2: A Simple Erotica eBook Cover
Now we will go through the process of creating a simple, elegant and (hopefully) eye-catching cover for an erotica story. For this example we will be creating a cover for a fictional title Taking Him Raw by Joe Johnson.
Erotica Genre Conventions
When creating an erotica ebook cover you have to be mindful of what readers expect and also to represent what you are selling. In the erotic genre you want a stock image that exudes sex. So make sure you pick something that no only encapsulates your story but will get a reader hooked.
There are a few things to take into consideration though. Anything too graphic will get you banned or filtered on Amazon. There are a number of no-nos when it comes to creating erotica covers and you will find a good run-down here.
The idea for this erotica cover is to be big, bold and sexy.
Step 1: Photo Manipulation
Now the first step is to choose a stock photo that suits your needs. For this tutorial we will be using this photo from Dollar Photo Club. Make sure to always choose the highest resolution file as this will give you more flexibility with editing and cropping.
You are most likely not going to find the ideal model on a stock photo site, and if that’s the case try to choose someone that is sexy and that gives off the essence of the story you are telling.
Import the stock photo into your blank cover file created using the dimensions from Part One. I usually open the .JPG in Photoshop and just click and drag the photo using the Move Tool (M) to my blank file.
As you can see above the image is much bigger than the cover size we might like. So we’re going to resize it until more of that delicious man body is visible on the cover.
To resize the image we will use the transform function. This makes a resizable box appear around the layer you’re transforming. To Transform either go Edit > Transform or press CTRL + T (CMD + T on Mac). Find the edge of your layer, you might have to zoom out or move the layer it to find the corners. Then hold SHIFT and drag a corner in.
Holding SHIFT retains the proportions so your image doesn’t get warped when resizing. Holding down SHIFT can also be used to rotate at 15 degrees at a time, to draw straight lines with the line and many other things.
Now we have our layer in the right position and size. So it’s time to tweak the settings to make the model pop. Since this is an erotica cover we are aiming to emphasize the gleaming tight muscles of the model.
The stock photo chosen is actually pretty good to begin with. However with a few little tweaks and it can go from good to great. This first thing is to increase the contrast making the shadows more intense. You can do this by creating an Adjustment Layer.
We use adjustment layers instead of editing the layer directly for the very simple reason that it is easily reversible. Say later in the process you want to tweak the contrast back, editing an Adjustment Layer is much easier.
Here’s the final image after tweaking the contrast and the levels of the image.
Step 2: Author Name and Title
Adding the Author Name
Bebas Neue has a bold, simple and clean style which I think is important in an author name. You want it to be readable, but nothing too fancy. Save that for the title.
To resize the font you can enter in a point size at the top or by using the Transform tool we learned about in the previous step. I’m partial to using transform.
Above are all the different options you can play with when working with a type. Photoshop allows for a high level of granularity when dealing with type and you can do almost anything.
Click here to learn more about these settings and what you can do with them.
Above you can see the author name looks okay and if you want a flat aesthetic then you could just leave it as is. But I think that text deserves a little bit more care and attention.
So In order to make it look really good I use Blending Options to enhance the text, and make it really pop.
Blending options on layers are a great way to easily make text stand out. There are a lot of different things you can do, more than I could possibly list. But for this text I will add a gradient and a drop shadow.
You can see the settings for the gradient above and click here to see the drop shadow settings.
It’s up to you to experiment with what you like, and what you think works.
After the author name it’s time to add the title text. For this you can have a little more fun in choosing your font. Ideally you want something complimentary, easy-to-read and that stands out. For this I chose Helsinki which is a bold, comic-style font.
Font selection can be difficult, and unless you really know what you are doing I would stick to simpler fonts. Make sure you use something for headings though and not a standard system font like Times New Roman as that will look amateur and lazy.
I’ve added the title on two different layers as you can see below:
To make the text stand out I used Blending Options again. I find that the easiest way to make text pop against a model is to add a drop shadow. Some people don’t like the style it produces, but I do.
For slimmer text you might want to go with a more diffuse drop shadow, something a bit more subtle. But for bold text, you might as well go big. As you can tell also changed the type color to add more contrast.
Step 3: Finishing Touches
As you can see we are nearly finished with our simple erotica ebook cover. But before we output a .jpg for upload there are just a few more tweaks to be done to make it stand out.
I always have things I want to change, and if you can I recommend at this stage of the process to go and have a cup of tea and take some time away. When you return you can look at your cover with fresh eyes.
For instance in this case I noticed that the author name was a little hard to see. In order to make the text pop, I added a new layer under the text layers and above the image. Using the Gradient Tool (G) you click and drag from the edges (holding SHIFT for a straight line) to create the fade from black to transparent.
Below you can see what this looks like on a white background:
Then I repositioned the title text when I was informed that it was covering the best part of the image, the model’s abs. These are only subtle changes but I think improve the overall quality of the cover
Below is the final version of the Simple Erotica Ebook Cover.