Design your own Book Cover in Microsoft Word

I am writing a book. It needs to be promoted or I need to find a publisher. It needs a press kit.

So can I without any credible designs skills and without spending money create a temporary book cover to help the project gather momentum ?

Template of Inspirations

The first thing I did was to look at Canva. This growing Australian company is great for producing a quick book cover based on pre made templates. Looking at everything they had I was inspired by a simple template with a single full page image.

As mine is a non-fiction business book I also found some great example templates but they looked a touch too American for my British tastes plus this is a business book for India. The key is to find an example template that matches the genre you are targeting but also attracts the specific audience you are targeting. In my case young people who probably never read business books.

Choose your Image

Canva have lots of great images provided by artists across the globe. I was worried that I would accidentally pick one that was already very popular I remembered that I had an image from my own collection of photography. I often use and publish images on Flickr under a creative commons licence which allows us all to share our work. Like a giant homework swap.

At this point I could have uploaded my image to Canva and created the template but I wasn’t sure if then everyone else could use my image. Probably unwarranted ego getting in the way. More lazily I had to find my credit card to pay the very reasonable one dollar download rate.

Use Word

So I turned to word. Following Derek Murphy suggestions I created a 6inch by 9inch page template. On my version of Word on Mac this was hidden away under;

File > Page Setup >

Page Sizes drop down select choose Custom Paper Size.

These were the values I ended up using.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 5.04.09 pm

Then I dropped in my image. By right clicking the image we can tell Word to make the image a background and have all the text sit on top. On Mac my copy of Word annoyingly kept moving the image around when I flicked between applications. To fix this I ended up cropping the image outside word to make it fit and stop jumping around.

Find a Font

Next I had to add some text which meant picking a font. Do not use anything you can find in word so Derek Murphy tells us. I really liked creativeindie’s epic list of fonts. However they didn’t actually have any suggestions for a business book.  Joel Friedlander suggests 5 fonts and I chose League Gothic.

The font had to be downloaded, installed and the machine rebooted.

Do a Screen Grab

To get an image I simply did a screen grab. The image was ready to publish on this blog.

Put It All Together

I wasn’t expecting this exercise to turn out as well as it in did. In two hours I had a cover for my book which I was happy to publish and get back to very hard job of writing the book. Obviously I first stopped for tea.kabi kushi

Update 12 Oct 2015 – Spellcheck

Ok. This was a super fast exercise and you can see comparing the image above to the final image on the Book page that the entire copy especially my totally incorrect Hindi title has been updated. However that is what is so wonderful about doing self publishing. The control to republish.

2nd Update 4th Nov 2015  – Amazon Cover

Today I decided to stop procrastinating and publish through Amazon for the Kindle. I found that they require the image to be JPEG or TIFF, a minimum of 1000 pixels on the longest side and various other things. Which means the image I had need to be converted and resized. After some trial and error I used Preview application that comes free with the Mac. By opening the screen grab image and resizing based on pixels and then saving as a Jpeg I was able to move forward. Having said that I am not terribly happy with final result so I shall experiment and will let you know via twitter how it goes.  If you get there before me then please let me know.

 

Make a Book – with a needle and thread

Don’t just write one. Make one. In the quest to make code sometimes it is good to diversify and do something non tech. Cook. Garden. Make books ?

After all books are the lifeblood of development. When I was small I needed magazines and books for copying little bits of assembler codes. Now google has the answers. Last year when I learnt Ruby I didn’t go near a book. It was some delight that the Arduino hack day this month had books littered around.

The book making class jcn and I attended was part of Selfridges Words Words Words campaign.  Continue reading “Make a Book – with a needle and thread”