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Low Content Books | Cover Design Process Fundamentals

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Ready to start designing your own book
cover but feel a little bit shaky when it comes to process and best practices. Stick around and I’m going to outline
the basic process that I use every time I design a new cover for one of my low
content books for the best low content publishing advice with a focus
on quality over quantity. Subscribe to my channel and don’t forget
to hit that bell so that you can be notified every time I put out one of
these videos, which is every Monday. All right, now I just want to start off by mentioning
that even though you absolutely do not have to be a professional designer
to create a beautiful professional looking book cover for
your low content books, you do have to have some
aptitude for design. You do have to have some basic sense of
what looks good and visually appealing and you have to be willing to learn and
you really do have to enjoy the design process. If none of that sounds like you, then I really recommend outsourcing
because as I’ve said before, your book cover is the first impression
that it’s going to give to the potential customer. And if it fails
at that stage of the game, the customer’s just going to move on and
they’re not even going to get to your description page. They’re not
going to look inside, none of it. So your book cover really, really
does have to shine. And again, you don’t have to be a professional, but you do have to have some basic skill
or inclination toward it in order to be able to create something that’s really
visually appealing and that’s going to work for you. Now, the first thing I really want you to do
is to get to know your target market. You’ve got to know exactly who
you’re trying to appeal for here, because there’s going to be some very
different visual styles that are going to work for very different target markets.
So something that you’re designing for, let’s say a teenage girl is probably
going to look vastly different than something that you’re going to
design for something. For, you know, maybe just a young woman that’s
even just five to 10 years older. So even though there’s not a
huge, huge age difference there, let’s say that young woman is
in a corporate job or something, looking for something more professional, obviously that’s going to
look a lot different than
something marketed towards a 15 year old girl. So you’ve really got to know exactly
who your target market is before you can start designing for them because that’s
really what you want to keep in mind. Here you are designing this
cover for a particular person. So you’ve got to keep
that end person in mind. So the second thing that you
need to do is to get inspired. So the more beautiful design
and cover art that you look at, the more that’s just going to collect
inside your memory banks and form a nice picture of what’s actually trending
right now. What’s popular, what isn’t. And this really ties
back to that first step, which is getting to know your audience. If you start looking at inspiration
online and some of the places that your target market hangs out, like maybe
Pinterest or some blogs or you know, we can head right back to Amazon and
see what’s popular and trending there as well. That’s also gonna really help you get
a sense of what your target market specifically is interested in.
And of course, like I said, the more and more of this type of design
that you consume it’s just going to act as inspiration for you and it’s going
to get your own creative juices flowing. So I always recommend looking at as
much of this stuff as you can. Now, one thing here obviously to remember
is don’t copy inspiration is completely different than copying someone.
It’s okay to, you know, find a book cover and you really
like, say it’s whimsical design. Maybe they’ve used a floral motif,
so you want to bring that you know, into a design that you’re
doing. That’s fine. What you don’t want to do obviously
is just take an exact copy or or even something that’s not an exact copy,
but something that’s just been heavily, heavily borrowed from you
don’t want to do that. It’s copyright infringement
and it’s just you know, it’s not a best practice. Someone puts people put a lot of time
and effort into their design work, so you definitely should do the same. And you’re not doing that
by copying someone else. So get inspired but don’t copy. Now the third thing I like to
do is to create thumbnails. Now I’m not talking about, you know, little images that you might see
on someone’s YouTube channel. I know that when we
say the word thumbnail, now that’s usually what
people are talking about. But what I’m talking about
goes back to, you know, all of my design schooling years ago when
we were to create any type of design, we would always start
by doing little tiny, maybe one or two inch
sketches on a sheet of paper. And what that allows you to do is first
off, get a little bit more creative. There’s just something about
having that pencil in your hand. That for me anyways, and I think for a lot of us just gets
those creative juices flowing a little bit better. But what it’s also helping you to do
is make very quick layout options for a book cover. So, you know, in this
case we are talking about book covers. So I might do five or 10 little rectangles
and think about what are the elements that I want to see on that book
cover. So it might be a main image, a title, a subtitle, and then I’ll just do a tiny little
sketch of what that might look like. And I will just quickly try out maybe
five or 10 different layout options. And that just helps me get a
sense of what my options are, where certain elements
on that cover might sit. And it’s just a lot quicker way of
doing it than if I was to just create 10 versions on my computer screen. I
can just get it done really quickly. Play around with a design hierarchy. So when I’m talking about hierarchy, what I’m talking about is what is going
to be the one element that stands out first on your page. And then, you
know, whatever that element is, all of the other elements should
sit back slightly from that. So if you’ve got a book where you’ve
got a really catchy phrase and you want that to be the main element, then
you’d want to make that bigger. And any supporting imagery that you use, you would probably want to make either
smaller or in a softer tone so that it sits back. So that’s basically what I’m talking
about when I’m talking about design hierarchy. And that’s something that you can play
around with by doing these thumbnails. Once I’ve completed my thumbnails and
I’ve got a pretty good idea of where I want all of the different
elements to sit on that page, then I’m going to open up my
design program. So at this point, it’s important that you, that
you’re using appropriate software. You can check out this video that I just
did I think maybe last week or I talked about the different design and
software options that you have. You know, it’s best to use a dedicated desktop
publishing design program if possible. If that’s not possible. Or if you’re just more comfortable
in a different program, that’s totally fine as well. Just use
whatever you’re most comfortable with. Now, most likely for your book cover,
you’re going to need either one, two or three of the following options. You’re going to need
a photo editor or and, or a vector editing program and, or a desktop publishing program. So again, if you’re unsure of which
programs those might be, you can check out the video I did about
what is the best software for your low content publishing. Now,
next for your imagery, you’re going to of course want to use
very high quality imagery that you download from an appropriate stock
site or preferably, you know, if you’ve got your own artwork that
is even better now. Like most of us, you’re not sitting there and creating
your own artwork for each cover. That’s totally fine, but make sure that you are
getting it from a reputable site. And whatever image you use, be very, very sure that you have read
and understood and adhere
to 100% the license that comes along with that image. Now if you’re using free imagery and
you’re unsure of how to attribute proper images properly, then you can check out this video
here where I talk about exactly that. Now also remember when you’re
using photographic imagery, you’ve got to use images that are 300 DPI. Anything less than that and you run the
risk of having a pixelated image print off in the final piece. So 300 is going to be the
minimum that you want. And keep in mind that it needs to be
300 at the size you’re using it at. So if you’ve got maybe an image that’s
about an inch or two high and you want to put that on, say an eight by 10 cover and
it’s 300 DPI at two inches. Once you blow that up, you’re
going to be losing resolution. So it’s got to be 300 DPI at the
size that you want to use it. It’s totally fine to scale it down. I
would just recommend not scaling it up. Now vector images on the other
hand, they are not made with pixels, so they’re scalable. It
doesn’t matter what size are, you can just scale them up
down. It really doesn’t matter. So if you’re unsure of where to get
high quality images, personally, over the last few years I’ve been using
deposit photos and then quite recently I’ve been using Creative Fabrica,
which I really, really love. They, in my opinion, have the best licensing
options for what we’re doing here, creating low content books. So you can check out my video here on
the review I did for them a couple of weeks ago, I think. And
you can check that out. The next thing to do is to be
thoughtful with your font choices. Now choosing fonts can be really, really tricky if you’re not
a professional designer. So I think this is where non-designers
are probably going to struggle with the most, but it is still doable. So when in doubt, I would really recommend using
classic time honored font. So if you’re not sure
of what those might be, you can just do a quick Google of classic
fonts and you’ll get a nice list of, you know, the old standbys. There’s so many of them out there that
are just high quality time tested fonts that you really can’t go wrong with. So I’d spend some time searching those
out and getting to know exactly which fonts they are. Just so you’ve got a nice little library
of something you can come back to and you know, feel assured that
you’re using a high quality font. Now again, think exactly about
who you’re trying to target here. You don’t want a font that’s going to
look really, really traditional. If, again, you’re targeting someone that’s
a little bit younger and you know, vice versa, you know, if you’re
targeting a professional, you might want to do something a little
bit more modern and streamlined or maybe something a little bit more traditional.
I mean, it just depends. But again, think about who that target customer is
that you’re trying to target and market to and think about what
might appeal to them. Now, one of the trickiest parts about working
with fonts is combining them in ways that actually look good. So there are a few rules of thumb to
keep in mind when combining fonts. And firstly again, you can just look up classic font
pairings and take a look at again, some of the classic
fonts that I, you know, that I was talking about a second ago
and you can see which ones look good together and why. So there’s
lots of resources on the, on the web out there and it’s a good
idea to just spend a little bit of time taking a look just so you can kind of
get a sense for, for what looks good. But as I just mentioned, there are a few general rules of thumb
that you can keep in mind when combining fonts. So the first one is combine serif
fonts with a sans serif font. Now this kind of falls under a
larger umbrella rule of thumb here, which is to choose fonts that
contrast each other well. And one of the ways that you can do that
is by contrasting a sans serif with a serif font. Another way that you can use contrast
is by using a lightweight font with a heavier or bold weight font. So it’s important to try and have
good contrast between those two fonts. If you don’t, and the fonts look a little bit too
similar and there’s not enough contrast, you’re going to create something
that looks disharmonious. The eye’s going to see them both and
they’re going to see that they look similar, but they’re not quite the same. So they just create a little
bit of tension between one
another and it makes for a less less appealing combination. Now if you think font pairing is just
a little bit too tricky altogether, then you can go ahead and just stick to
fonts that are within the same family. Now obviously a family of fonts comes
in all sorts of different weights. There’s an italic version, bold, they might be all caps, but all the fonts within a family
are meant to work together. So if you want to choose a couple of
different fonts but you’re a little bit unsure about what the best way to pair
them with or the best font to pair them with is then you can just choose two
fonts from within the same family. And generally they will
tend to work together. But even when you’re working
within a font family, try and keep that contrast in
mind. For example, you might want, might not want to use a regular weighted
font with a medium weighted font in the same family, even though they’re
in the same family. And you know, technically they do work together. There’s not really enough contrast
there to create anything interesting. So if you wanted to use, let’s say, a bold with a lighter version of the
font or regular in the same family, that might be a little bit
more of a better choice. Now, the last thing I’m
going to leave you with, with the pairing of fonts is
to consider a visual hierarchy, which we already talked about. When I was talking to you about general
design and how I do my thumbnails, but you want to think about what you
want the viewer to see first on the page. So that’s probably going
to be your main title. And then if you’ve got a subtitle, you’re going to want that to
sit back from the main title. You want someone to read the title
first and the subtitle afterward. So in order to do that, you’re going to want to make the subtitle
a smaller size where you might want to make it a lighter weight. So
just think about that hierarchy. What do you want the person to see first? And then choose your font styling
accordingly. Whether that’s, like I said, making that
subtitle a lighter weight
or bringing it down in size. Just think about that hierarchy and how
you can differentiate the two and keep them separate so that a person is
reading the main element first. And then the secondary element. Second. Now I mentioned Creative Fabrica already, but I’ll mention them quickly again here
they’ve got thousands of thousands of great fonts, so that is a wonderful resource where
you can get fonts at a very reasonable price. Now the final tip I’m going to leave
you with here is to print your cover at home if possible. I know not everybody
has a printer at home, but if you do, it’s really important to print that out
first so that you can actually get a real sense of what that cover is
going to look like in its final form, which is, you know, the printed page. It’s really hard when you’re designing
on screen to get a really accurate sense of how big typography is or you
know, how an image is going to print. So there’s going to be quite a big
discrepancy between what you see on the screen versus what actually comes
out of the printer on the other end. Now I know your printer at home is going
to be a lot different than what Amazon is going to be printing
on and that’s fine. But basically what you’re looking for
here is just to make sure that the size of your typography works properly. It’s not too big or too small and
that your image prints properly. So if you can print it at
the correct size, obviously you know, most home printers should be able to
accommodate up to an eight and a half by 11, so you shouldn’t really
have any issues there. Just print it off the size you intend for
it to be printed and make sure there’s no glaring errors. Make sure that the type is the the size
that you want it and that the image is printed out the way that you want it. So now you know the basic design
fundamentals that are going to help you to create visually appealing professional
looking covers for your low content books. But what about
the rest of the process? If you’re just starting out and you
need some more information on how to get going with this whole low
content publishing thing, be sure to download my guide three steps
to publishing your first low content book in less than a day by clicking on
the link in the description below. Also, if you’d like to join a like-minded
community of fellow low content publishers who are all on the same journey
toward generating passive income, then you can join my free
Facebook group. And again, that link is also in
the description below. Check out these videos next for some
more low content book and design related tutorials. And if you like this video,
don’t forget to hit the like button. Be sure to subscribe and share
this video with your friends. Thanks for watching.

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11 thoughts on “Low Content Books | Cover Design Process Fundamentals”

  1. Rachel Harrison-Sund says:

    Do you follow a specific process when sitting down to create your low-content book covers and interiors? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for watching!

  2. Shahidus - شاهد أس says:

    Thank you

  3. Trevor Burford-Reade says:

    Hi Rachel. Good advice (yet again). I'm just starting out on low content, but I'm trying to automate pretty much everything using Excel & Word (I produce my graphics in Inkspace). In my day job I used to utilise a lot of automation within MS Office using VBA, and Im trying to lever these skills to save me time without compromising on quality. So, my process is to make covers using graphics I already have (from a kids' colouring book I recently published) by storing all the cover data in an Excel table. Then, background code loops through this data and creates the PDF covers via a link to Word templates. I'm also currently looking at automating the uploads to KDP, which certainly appears feasible. My rationale is to create a decent number of titles consistently and quickly with high quality. Time will tell if it works.

  4. SAMIR says:

    i love what you share !!

  5. Stephanie Hill says:

    Cover design is where I struggle. There are a lot of great tips here for me to put to practice, but my favorite is the thumbnail sketch technique. You always have great information!

  6. Loko Boombai says:

    I use Creative Fabrica and Vecteezy both based on your other videos. Thanks so much for all the great advice. Noted the 300dpi rule. Thanks. 😊

  7. Ania Ż says:

    Thank you for the video. Very informative ☺️What fonts would you recommend for the children activity book both cover and interior?

  8. El Balili Said says:

    Thanks alot Rachel, great upload as usual, Regards

  9. Manu MB says:

    Hello Rachel and thanks for your video:

    I have a Issue with software KDP. It is showing no sense result. I am scared to work hard to create a LCB based in its results and finally see that was no market in there because KDP Numbers was wrong. (Sometimes amazon searches are +5000 and 1 day later <100). What should I do to avoid this frustration? That paralizes me

    THANKS!!!

  10. Ace Hardy says:

    📙💯

  11. Chris Raymont says:

    Have just read ingram is cracking down on low content books – do you think this will mean the same for KDP?

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