Create Kindle eBook Covers with PowerPoint takes the mystery away from designing and producing a virtual cover for a Kindle eBook. It is important to have a cover image, or "catalogue cover" as this is what prospective purchasers will see. To make your book stand out you need a graphical image that can be read when squished into a thumbnail size on the Kindle store, and this course will show you how using software you may already have.
The course is split into sections covering setting up PowerPoint, adding and editing images, searching for royalty-free and stock images and putting it all together. There is a bonus walkthrough video at the end for consolidating all the material covered in the course.
The course comprises video lectures, PowerPoint template files and PDF documents and should take between 3 and 5 hours to complete.
PowerPoint has been included with every version of Microsoft Office for years. I have chosen it because it will be familiar to most people and is very easy to learn. If you use Microsoft Windows you probably already have it installed on your computer. If not, you can pick up a copy very cheaply for Windows computers.
N.B.This course is unsuitable for the Mac OS as the interface is different.
In this first video we look at the PowerPoint interface and discover how the panes can be customized. We change the default slide type to suit a book cover and change the size to the one recommended by the Kindle Direct Publishing guidelines. Finally, we turn the page round so that it is ready for the next stage - adding drawing guides - before we begin to create the virtual eBook cover.
If you want your eBook cover to look professional - and who doesn't - you must make sure any objects like text boxes, shapes and graphics are aligned correctly. PowerPoint has a great feature that is rarely used - drawing guides - that make this a breeze, and this second tutorial explains how to add them, where to put them and how to duplicate them.
We also cover zooming in to magnify your view of the fledgling eBook cover.
Inserting objects on to the page is one of the core skills in PowerPoint. In this tutorial we look at the Insert Tab and insert a simple shape from it. The new contextual tab that appears is introduced, and we have a first look at the Format ribbon attached to it. Word Art is also mentioned with reference to converting standard text in a future tutorial.
When more than one object appears on a page in PowerPoint you need a way of positioning them so that the one you want appears in front of the others. This is known as their "Stacking Order" and is essential to get right when you are positioning text along with graphics on the same page. In this tutorial we also look at the Selection Pane in PowerPoint which lets you see all the objects, even if they are hidden beneath something else.
In this fifth video we look at adding text to the page in two ways. First, we use a shape and add text to it, then we use a textbox to highlight the differences between the two approaches. There is more on the subject of textboxes versus shapes in the next tutorial, but in addition to adding text we also edit both the text and the shape it resides in. We look at shape handles,the rotation handle and how entering and leaving Edit mode can affect the way a textbox behaves.
In this video we look a bit more closely at the alternative methods of adding text to your cover image. Text boxes and shapes appear interchangeable to many people, but there are distinct differences and this video highlights when and why you would use a shape in preference to a text box.
After the page has been set up for the Kindle cover it can be very useful to save it as a template so that it can be used again. In fact, PowerPoint allows you to save more than one design as a template so you could have several available for different genres of book. This video walks you through the process step by step, and the templates themselves are in a downloadable Zip file below this lecture.
In this video we examine the process of inserting graphical objects into the page. This demonstration uses a simple piece of clip art just to highlight the process, but in reality we would never use this type of image for a book cover. When the image has been inserted, the text box is placed in front of it and we make use of the selection pane to locate the flash banner before cropping to the correct size.
In Lecture 9 we begin to actually create the eBook cover that will eventually be our "shop window" on the Kindle Store. We look at preparing for this by gathering together the assets we will use in advance. These include images, including any backgrounds, and any text that will make up the book's title and author's name. It is much better to have these files saved somewhere you can easily access them before you start inserting them in PowerPoint. We also look at the superb graphical capabilities featured in later versions of PowerPoint and discover a few neat tricks for using them.
The process of designing the cover continues with adding another graphical element as a background and formatting it to complement the first image. A strap-line is then added, and both the text and the placeholder are modified, before the book's author name is inserted. Word Art is used to give a smart typographical effect with just a couple of clicks.
In this final video the book cover is completed. New placeholders are added and formatted and the title text converted to WordArt. The whole image is then grouped before being saved in one of the acceptable formats ready for uploading to Amazon. The cover is then opened outside of PowerPoint to demonstrate that it is actually an image file.
One of the most important aspects of making your eBook cover convert browsers into buyers is the appeal of the image you use. There are many thousands of images available, some free and some that you have to pay for, but how do you decide which is safe? And where do you look for them? In this short video we highlight some of the free resources and point out the features you should look for before making your choice.
You must be very careful if using images that you have not created yourself. This document spells out the types of license you may come across and how to protect yourself from infringing copyright accidentally.
This report attempts to clear up the controversy over which is the best format for uploading your eBook and cover image to Kindle and some other popular platforms. The playing field is certainly not level, as each one has its own recommendations, and it is constantly changing as technology improves, so this guide will give you the best options at the present time.
Pixabay is a really excellent site for finding very high quality images. They feature stock photography from Shutterstock in addition to free images, so it is important to understand the difference. Sometimes the subject matter may be only marginally represented, so depending on what you are looking for, Pixabay may not be the best choice. The quality is, however, superb and highly recommended.
Europeana is a large repository for digitized media that has a huge number of images, many of them scanned from historical originals. The Mona Lisa is actually listed here! Searching this site can unearth some hidden gems, many of which are public domain and so completely free of copyright. However, some are not. It is important as ever to check the license before you download and use images from sites like Europeana.
Dreamstime (also found under"free stock photography") is a stock photography site that allows photographers to upload images and earn commission whenever someone downloads them. The site has categories, which makes searching really easy, and it does have a lot of images, many of which are offered under their "free" category. You should check carefully to see if their usage rights allow free use. Many will have a restriction on the number of copies you are allowed to sell before charges become payable.
Flickr is one of the most popular photo sharing sites on the Internet and has hundreds of thousands of photographs available for downloading. These are often uploaded by the general public, so the quality can differ enormously, but Flickr has useful filters that let you narrow the search down. In the video I search only for images released under a CC license that allows commercial use, and come up with some stunning shots!
We continue the search for free images with one of the best landscape photography sites I know of - Fotopedia. Some of the other image types may offer a very limited selection, but for landscapes this site is great. Fotopedia is a portal for images - a sort of search engine - so the content you find here will probably be listed on another site as well.
It is very tempting to just search in Google or Bing for images, but in this video I show you haw to limit your search to only those images that are free to modify or use commercially in Google. Bing does not have this feature, however, so if you find an image listed there that you want to use, exercise extreme caution!
Wikimedia Commons is a sort of repository for all kinds of image files that are listed somewhere online. It has a number of filters that can be applied, and because of its size you would certainly want to use them to find a specific subject. The licensing rules are very clear; in pretty much all cases you will need to give an attribution in order to use the image freely. Do be aware of the limitations of size though - what can appear to be a huge image on your computer monitor may turn out to be a bit smaller than our recommended minimum size.
Some people will prefer to use professional photographs that have to be purchased for their eBook covers. This final lecture in the section explains the "rules of engagement" when using stock photographs and gives you some suggestions for finding them. Types of license are covered, and a downloadable document below this video has links to all the sites mentioned.
The final video is a recap of everything we have covered in this course, except that for this I am using PowerPoint 2013 instead of 2010. A growing number of people I come into contact with have upgraded to this new version, and as there are a few differences I felt it would be worthwhile to include this tutorial. The techniques I have used throughout this series are geared towards the KDP platform, but can be used on other eBook formats with a bit of adjustment for size.
The recommended size is also large enough for a print cover for physical books made at CreateSpace but owing to the reduced resolution of PowerPoint I would not advise this use. Printed items need 300 dpi, whereas PowerPoint can only produce 96 dpi.
I was born and brought up in Liverpool, England and moved to the south of the country in the 1970’s. I am a published photographer with my images appearing in publications in both the USA and Australia and the author of several books on Amazon Kindle store.
I have qualifications in Computing and Software Engineering and a Post-Compulsory Education degree. After becoming a Microsoft Master Instructor in the 1980’s I was granted Microsoft Certified Trainer status in 2009.
As a former college lecturer I spent years in the classroom teaching people how to use software packages. . I still train several software packages, including the Microsoft Office suite, Visio, Project and Adobe Photoshop and am a big fan of open-source software. I use and train WordPress and Camtasia Studio.
I am still based in the United Kingdom where I live with my family.