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Frequently Asked Questions

 
 

Image Formatting FAQ

How important is the cover of a book?
Can Inspiring Voices give me any advice about covers?
What are the different cover design options available to me through Inspiring Voices?
How does the cover design process work?
Can I use an image that is not my picture or illustration?
What are CMYK and RGB color schemes?
If I design an image for the cover, should I design it in RGB or CMYK color mode?
What should I know about the difference between CMYK and RGB color modes?
How thick is the spine going to be?
Can I print text or pictures inside the cover?
Can people buy my book in hardcover?
Before I approve my cover, what do I need to review?
What are the causes of color variation in printing the cover?
What should I consider regarding the color of my cover proof?

 

How important is the cover of a book?

Never underestimate the importance of a book cover. Nearly 200,000 new titles are published each year, providing readers with an outstanding selection, but the large selection also leaves authors with a highly-competitive market. Even if you can successfully write the next literary legend, you still have to capture the reader's attention with a great cover, or they are likely to pass it by without a second glance.

A great cover captures the attention of a book buyer, but it also needs to do more; it must actually convince the reader to purchase your book. Consumers often gauge the value of the book on its visual appeal, so if it looks like a million bucks, they will be more willing to give up their hard-earned cash to purchase it. A professional-looking cover is also necessary in marketing, especially if you plan to promote your book or push to have it reviewed professionally. First impressions and opinions of your book are formed instantly from the cover and impact whether or not a reviewer, reader or consumer invests time or money in your book.

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Can Inspiring Voices give me any advice about covers?

With the advent of desktop publishing and digital printing, the design of your cover is only limited by the ability of the designer and the digital assets at hand, which is why we offer cover design services through Inspiring Voices. When you're ready to start brainstorming ideas about your cover, get started by doing some research. Spend some time at a local bookstore. Record the elements of books that catch your eye, as well as observing other customers. Identify the book's audience and genre – the cover should be designed to attract the people in your targeted audience. The design should fall within the norm of the book's genre, but stand out enough to draw attention and intrigue.

The main theme of the cover should incorporate metaphors that interrelate and unfold as the story progresses, taking on new meaning with each page. The cover's full meaning and value slowly becomes more apparent as the story is revealed to the reader and is only fully appreciated when the last page is turned.

Attaining equilibrium between simplicity of theme and detail of the overall design is key. Unnecessary elements decrease the overall efficiency and aesthetic appeal of a design. A simple design is often much more effective than a design with a lot of details that ultimately make the cover look "busy."

Color choices also make an impact. Consider the psychological affects of certain hues. Warm colors, such as red, orange and yellow, tend to be high-arousal colors that stimulate the senses, while cool colors, such as blue, green and purple cause feelings of relaxation, calmness and tranquility. The degree of saturation of a color, and the combination of colors also can convey specific ideas.

While the front cover is necessary to attract the attention of the reader, the back cover is extremely important to supply more details about the book and convince the reader to actually purchase the book. Most people spend twice as long reviewing the back cover than they do looking at the front cover. The back is a critical selling point for your book.

Overall, make sure that your cover reflects the content, style and mood of your book. You don't have to tell the entire story on the front cover, you just need to get a feeling or idea across in an appealing manner.

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What are the different cover design options available to me through Inspiring Voices Self-Publishing?

All books published via the Inspiring Voices black & white and color publishing packages receive custom-designed covers, produced in full color. Unlike most self-publishing companies, Inspiring Voices does not use basic template designs for books that will be distributed in the channel.

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How does the cover design process work?

This service is designed especially for authors who want to achieve commercial success.

Process:

1. Tell us about your cover design idea by answering a few design questions during and after the submission process.
2. An art director will ensure that your vision translates clearly into precise instructions to the designer, is appropriate for the target audience and meets book-industry standards.
3. Once the concept is finalized, a Inspiring Voices designer will create attractive and appropriate front and back covers for your book under the direct supervision of our art director. The front cover will include various colors, designs, photos and/or images depending on your vision. The back cover will typically be a solid color with text, but additional images (such as an author's photo) and colors can be purchased separately.
4. After the cover designs have been developed, you will have the option of accepting or rejecting the design. Although the art director and our expert design team are here to give you helpful guidance, at Inspiring Voices, the author is always in control.

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Can I use an image on my cover that is a photo I did not take, or an illustration I did not create?

You can only use an image that you did not personally create if you have permission to use it from the U.S. Copyright holder. Any image that you found on the Internet, in a book, magazine, newspaper or was taken by a professional photographer is most likely U.S. Copyright protected. Please see the FAQ selection about U.S. Copyright laws or visit www.copyright.gov.

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What are CMYK and RGB color schemes?

These are two different color schemes or modes that describe how colors are created. RGB stands for red, green and blue. This category of color uses light to produce color: the more illuminated light involved, the lighter the image. RGB produces the widest range of color. RGB colors are typically used on computer monitors, digital cameras and televisions – any device that uses light to produce an image.

CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. This category of color uses the combination of ink pigments to produce color. The less ink used, the lighter the image; the more ink used, the darker the image. Printing projects typically use the CMYK color category.

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If I design an image for the cover, should I design it in RGB or CMYK color mode?

Set up your cover design in CMYK color mode, not RGB. Although we are able to convert a cover file from RGB to CMYK, the colors will not look as close as they should to the original file you submit. In order to have the best control over the end product of your cover, use CMYK color mode because it is the mode used by our printer.

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What should I know about the difference between CMYK and RGB color modes?

The difference is important if you are designing your own cover and also should be kept in mind when approving the cover proof.

There is a difference in the "gamut," of CMYK and RGB. The gamut, or range, is the specific complete subset of colors within the entire color spectrum. Although large areas of the RGB and CMYK gamut overlap, there are other areas that do not. For this reason, it is common to create colors on a computer screen in RGB that cannot be reproduced when printed out in CMYK, so the colors are lost in transition.

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How thick is the spine going to be?

The width of the spine will be determined by the number of pages in your book. We will calculate and adjust the spine width for you.

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Can I print text or pictures inside the cover?

No, our printer does not allow any text or pictures printed inside the cover.

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Can people buy my book in hardcover?

Yes, if you opted for any of the packages that include a hardcover format. The hardcover book features a durable cloth binding, an embossed spine, and a full-color dust jacket. The additional space provided by the interior of the dust jacket allows us to print descriptive copy about your book and your author biography on the inside flaps, while the back cover may include, for example, excerpts of reviews or endorsements.

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Before I approve my cover, what do I need to review?

By approving your cover, you are verifying that the downloaded proof copy is exactly as you wish for it to appear in the published version of your book. This includes all aspects of the design, formatting and content for the cover, such as: the text on the front, back and spine (including grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.); layout and design; font style and size, illustrations, images and captions, paragraph spacing, justification and indents; and title and pen name.

It is possible for some color variation to occur from the version approved online, and the color can vary from print to print due to the method of printing in individual print runs.

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What are the causes of color variation in printing the cover?

While it seems unsettling that color variation can occur and we cannot guarantee a 100 percent color match, this is actually very common. In fact, it is true for any image viewed on a screen or when printed. There are a number of factors that affect how a color looks from printer to printer and monitor to monitor. The image you see on the screen will never look exactly the same as it does in print for a variety of reasons.

Every monitor is different. The mechanics and construction of monitors differs based on and brand. Also, there are adjustable settings through which you can alter the color settings, brightness and contrast on your monitor. Both these factors play into the inconsistency of colors.

Colors displayed on a monitor appear differently when they are printed. This is because monitors create color using light, while a printer creates color using ink. Other factors also play a role, like the difference in a monitor and printer’s mechanics and range of colors it can accommodate.

Individual devices do not speak the same language. A camera, scanner, monitor and printer all “talk” about color differently, using different ink formulas and values. They do not necessary use the same values or measures to record or describe a color.

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What should I consider regarding the color of my cover proof?

Do not completely rely on one source when viewing an image. Try a variety of printers and screens to get an idea of the possible variations.

Our printer prints in CMYK color. Therefore it's best to print and view your images or cover in CMYK, not RGB to get a better idea about what the finished version will look like. Extremely bright reds, yellow or blues, will appear slightly more subdued because they are not included in the CMYK gamut.

Additionally, since we use print-on-demand technology, which enables any number of books to be printed at any time, covers and images in the book can vary from book to book, print to print. A variety of factors can affect the colors slightly, such as toner levels, variations in the mechanics of the printing press that day, and variations in paper.

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