E-book Covers and Colour Adjust Discoveries

Friday May 10, 2013.

I just spent the past 5 hours (11 PM to 4 AM) trying to figure out how to create an ebook cover and adjust colour on an image. Okay, some of you might be going “duah”. Thing is, I’m not a graphic artist and I don’t draw. Illustrator and Photoshop are alien to me. Needless to say the image wouldn’t open in Photoshop. And now you’re wondering, from someone who makes videos, WHY am I trying to create an e-book cover. Simple, so I can sell my own e-books on my website. I did mention I had a series of short stories I wanted to self-publish. What I found was that I can do all this with Powerpoint and Adobe ImageReady. Let me share with you what I discovered.

So there’s no need to go into the whole complicated process of paying someone to design stuff or going through an external company to format an e-book if you’re simply looking to self-publish and sell on your website. If you want to mass market and you have money, go right ahead, but I found how to save money doing this.

Macs have a nice little option when in Word and you select Print, Save as PDF. PayPal has a nice little option to help you create your “sell” buttons, price your products, etc. I urge you all to explore PayPal if you don’t already know this. It’s a wonderful tool.

E-book cover? I found a link to a blog where a guy, William King, who publishes e-books regularly explains how to use Powerpoint to create your e-book cover. Point by point (no pun intended): You can find images on websites that sell them at a nice low cost, adjust the image to make it a bit different so that it’s not exactly the same (in case your neighbour’s using the same image, type thing). Create a Powerpoint document, select a background colour, insert the image and adjust it, insert text boxes for your title, author area, anything you want to put on there, play around with font and styles and voilà. I suggest you visit the blog where Mr. King explains in full details how to do this (it was very helpful for me and didn’t consume too much time).

So I needed to change the colour of the dress of the character in the image. With limited tools and limited knowledge I searched a while for this. I landed on Adobe ImageReady CS, which I was surprised I had. Then again, I keep discovering things on my new Mac I never knew I had. So ImageReady can’t exactly change the colour in one go. This is what took so long. I had to select sections of it at a time (it’s the first tool on the upper left called Rectangle Marquee Tool) and this is only in rectangles and squares. So I’d adjust the size of rectangle I needed, go in Image – Adjustments… There’s no Change Colour option and if your image opens in Photoshop and you know a bit about Photoshop, use that, but if like me, it won’t open, then select Variations. You have several options to choose from, in Adjustments, levels, RGB, saturation. For what I needed, it was quicker with Variations. You begin with the original image, which you can revert back to anytime, and you can select lighter, darker, more red, green, magenta, cyan, blue, yellow, pink. I wanted to make a white/beige dress lilac, so I selected Midtones, determined an intensity, chose cyan first, then magenta, then lighter and clicked ok. Now square by square I did this. I seriously envy those who can open up Photoshop, because I believe the Eyedropper tool is supposed to help us select the colour within the large area selected that we wish to change, if I’m not mistaken. If you look closely, you can see that it’s not perfect. But what are you selling? The story within. And from far, it’s not so bad.

See below the original with the white/beige dress and then my version with the lilac dress.

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