NOTE: This article refers to covers for free-to-read serialisation on sites such as Wattpad.
It turns out having a cover is really important. I didn’t have one to begin with, which wasn’t so bad on WordPress but when I expanded onto Wattpad it became problematic. My early covers weren’t too great but I’m incredibly lucky that the very talented @Simpson_Romance loved Victorian Mistress so much she made me a cover when she came across a suitable picture. I changed the cover on Wattpad and in the space of a day gained fifty views. I made the cover for the second book myself, with advice from @Simpson_Romance I hasten to add, and despite not being a graphic artist it turned out okay.
My first mistake with my original covers was trying to use my own photography, this only applies to Victorian Mistress because I had no suitable images others might. Images of trees, which a lot of my photography is, simply didn’t fit the story. Here’s where stock images appear there are plenty of sites that offer free images, Pixabay and Pexels are popular choices. Arguably there’s more variety if we pay for images which is a perfectly acceptable choice if you have the money to pay for images but if not there’s a lot of nice images on these sites. It’s important to remember that free images are listed under creative commons which means the artist has given their permission for these images to be used without royalties or credit on condition that the image is not sold as another person’s work where the image itself is the marketable part. This means that it’s acceptable to use the image for a cover or attached to a blog post because the marketable element is the story/post. An image listed as copyrighted cannot be used without the permission, these will either say copyright or often have a note from the creator saying you can’t replicate it without their permission.
It can take a while to find the right image, if took me several attempts to find the right one for Nine Shillings. Once we have images we don’t need expensive software to create a cover there are basic free-to-use software or sites, Canva is a popular one. In the case of Canva there’s a basic version that’s free-to-use or a paid for version with more features. Canva can be particularly useful because it’s relatively easy to use and includes an option for Wattpad covers with the correct dimensions. There’s also a selection of free-to-use templates to help create a cover and a little playing around can produce some really nice results without requiring a lot of technical skills.
Our covers don’t have to be technical feats something simple that reflects the story somehow is just as good. Having something in the little cover box on Wattpad can really help our readership grow because it draws the eye and interest the reader.
NOTE: Each article series comes in five parts published between Monday and Friday. Check back tomorrow for the next part.