I made a cover! or: Making an ebook cover using Pages on a Mac

Dragons of Arethia: Tesa's Journey
Dragons of Arethia: Tesa’s Journey

People have all kinds of goals that they want to accomplish before their baby arrives. A lot of my fellow preggers people seem to be decorating nurseries, amassing furniture and supplies, and just generally getting their houses ready. Meanwhile, my goal over here has been to publish my novel before the baby comes. Why? I hope to finish its sequel during my maternity leave. I am going to tie my sleeping baby to me with a Moby Wrap and write for as many minutes as my tired body can handle, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes.

Now, there have been a lot of roadblocks to publishing this novel. One of the biggest has been just the general fear of putting something I made out there into the world for people to see. I can tell you, I want to write, and I’ve always wanted to be a published author, but the thought of people actually reading what I’ve written is still totally terrifying. But I’ve done a lot of terrifying things in my life that later turned out to not be so bad. This will be another one.

One of the real, practical roadblocks has been my inability to make a nice cover! I told myself these and many more things:

  • Stock photo sites are not going to have the kind of image I need for a fantasy story
  • I can’t afford to pay anyone to create nice art for my novel
  • I don’t know how to use Photoshop or any other software to make a cover
  • It has to be perfect and I can’t make it perfect yet

I finally started chipping away at my own objections, one by one. I spent a morning at our local Dunn Bros coffee shop searching through images on Shutterstock. I downloaded their iPad app and had quite a fun experience browsing for photos and creating some lightboxes, or collections of photos that might fit the bill. I found some that I liked enough, and told myself that I can always change the cover later, when I have more skill and/or money to hire a graphic designer whose work I admire.

Chris pointed out that, while I do not know how to use any specialized software for making covers, I do know how to use Pages, the word processing program that comes on Macs. They intended for it to be a desktop publishing tool as well,┬áso that’s what I used it for.

I started by pasting my stock photo into a regular blank document and enlarging it until it filled the whole page. Then I played around with font colors and placement of my title and my name. But it looked kind of weird. A Google search revealed Michael Canfield’s helpful blog post about making a cover using Pages, and I followed his advice to create a new document size that was 6″ X 9″. When I was all done, I exported the file as a PDF. Then I opened it in Preview, and from there I saved it as a JPG, and added that to my Scrivener file for my novel.

So. That is my cover. It is pretty simple, but I’m happy with it for now. The book itself will be published in next Sunday’s blog post.