Making a Book Cover for “Nickel Stream”

I will be making “Nickel Stream” available as a short-story eBook, and am in the process of getting things formatted. One of the things needed is a cover. So I’m giving this one a try using GIMP 2.0 for some of the effects on picture parts (it’s free and I think it’s up to 2.8 now), Microsoft PowerPoint for the majority of formatting and lettering, and Microsoft Picture Manager for cropping and sizing. The images are purchased at reasonable cost from Dollar Photo Club and Dreamstime.(The 3D effect is just for fun, and I used the utility at Online 3DPackage.)

I’ve made about a half dozen covers so far and I haven’t decided which one to use. These four are the top contenders in my mind at the moment.

Nickel Stream Covers

They each have their merit. I would love to put together a cover that doesn’t look amateurish, and I haven’t decided yet whether I’ve accomplished that. I’m open to suggestions, tips and comments, private or public. At the moment, I’m leaning toward the cover on the far right for its simplicity. But maybe it’s too simple.

There are a lot of great book cover artists out there, and for a novel, I think I will continue to turn to the professionals. But it’s hard to justify the expense for a short story (until you add up the time it takes away from writing… hmm… maybe not such a great idea after all). It’s certainly fun to play with these tools. But if anything, my respect for real book cover artists (whom I hold in high regard already) has grown.

“Nickel Stream” was first published last year at Perihelion Science Fiction–a terrific online publication that every science fiction fan should check out.

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2 Responses to Making a Book Cover for “Nickel Stream”

  1. I like all four of these covers. I don’t think I could pick a favorite, so I have no recommendation. I’ll bet it was fun doing them. I haven’t tried that yet, but I can see how it would be a huge time suck. Don’t know how much time you spent, but you did a great job.

    • J. C. Conway says:

      Thank you. It probably took about three or four hours to gather the images and put these covers together, including the many draft covers that don’t show here. Of itself, that isn’t too much time, I don’t think. But then there are countless hours picking up the skills that make it possible, and there are the future countless hours picking up more skills and learning more nuances of the programs. Projects like this definitely lead down those kinds of paths.

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