Blog Tour & Contest: Ebook Indie Covers

Secrets of a Cover Designer

Hi Melody – for how long have you been designing book covers?

I’ve been doing freelance graphic design for the past six years, and designed book covers also during that time, but I finally opened my own ebook cover site last year – 2012 – in June. I started off as a young girl in a special high school for Art, Ballet and Music, so I have always had an artistic streak.

What would you say is the secret to good romance and erotica covers?

To me there are three basic very, very important points:

1. The cover must fit in with its genre and theme. Check ebook stores and type in a search term for the type of novel you are writing: “erotic romance shapeshifter” for example. These are some of the covers that will appear in that search:

Your cover should fit in with its genre, so that regular readers of that genre will easily be able to identify your book if they are looking for more of the type of books they love.

The erotic romance shapeshifter books all mostly have a male image, a couple image, a darkish mysterious background and often some type of animal. You will notice the titles that look the best are large, often in a special script font and shiny. All this may be obvious to someone who has been publishing for a while, but many new authors that write to me have never even looked at other books in their genre or really paid any conscious attention to the cover patterns. Also try to make your cover a little different – in the above example the panther books are too alike.

You will also notice I check covers against white backgrounds. Black website backgrounds look lovely and dramatic and can enhance a cover’s appeal – but in the ebook stores you are up against white! So do check a cover against white if you are purchasing one from a site where it is displayed against black.

2. Make sure it looks good in a small size. This point has been emphasised repeatedly. Ebook covers are seen in a small size in ebook stores most of the time. How many people zoom in to look at a big cover? They just view the smaller size. Actually when I design a cover I often sit way back (this is very comfortable too as a side-benefit) and design the layout. Once it looks good in a small size I zoom in and focus on smaller details. This does not mean that EVERYTHING on the cover must be super-large. It simply means the cover should attract attention in a small size. A clear image or good contrast or lighting often help to accomplish this.

3. Do check the top books and try not to use the exact same images in the exact same way. This has happened quite often – an author picks up a great image from a stock site and uses it AS IS on a cover. A few months later he or she is disgruntled because they found the same image on five other covers. Be aware that the various stock image sites all have the basic same stock, and that both Indie authors and traditional publishers use those stock images. At this point there is a general consensus that there is a shortage of images for certain genres, but if you combine and alter images you can attain a unique cover. Here are some very creative varieties of the same male model image that I have come across in the ebook stores:

I do try to steer away from images that have been used too often, and I always search around for new image resources.

What gives a cover the “professional” look?

Usually a cover looks professional when it fits into the genre and when images are combined so that it doesn’t look artificial. The background must merge with or compliment the images. Hues and colour tones must match or form a balanced contrast. Do avoid a few things like those huge glows around titles on black backgrounds or stretching an image or fonts out of proportion.

What is a “premade cover”?

A premade cover is a cover designed by the cover artist without any specific order from an author. It is not a template that is used repeatedly. It is a unique creation that is only sold once. Several cover designers have galleries of premade covers on their sites, and many of these covers are far better than some custom-made ones. I love doing premade covers as I can use my imagination fully and design what I feel inspired to design. Premade covers are very useful if you are looking for a cheaper price and if you have no idea what cover you would like to have you may find inspiration in a premade cover. Some authors buy premade covers simply because they like them and later write the books to go with them! They are useful in emergencies and for short stories too.

Do you have assistants that help you do the covers?

Oh no! I’m a mother of two kids and this is my home business. My husband cannot even open an image in Photoshop! But my son is aspiring to become a graphic artist and he sure has the talent. No – I’m a single person designing covers and doing book trailers. So far I can cope with all my orders, but maybe if I get too many customers I’d have to increase my price a little or limit the custom designs that I accept. Presently I charge only $70 for a custom order, which is probably a third of what graphic designers normally charge. I also like to keep good personal relationships with all the authors I work with. I am happy that so far I am designing for a wonderful variety of authors in different genres – that keeps it interesting.

What about erotica covers?

There are often lots of questions about these. I do design for different relationships from M/M, M/F, F/F to tentacles…but I am not fond of violence or BDSM beyond maybe some little rope tying…

On a last note:

Thank you for hosting me today! Readers please do take part in my Rafflecopter…I am offering a choice of one of three items: any premade cover from my site, a custom design or a $25 Amazon gift card.

Thank you also to Candlelight Promotions for this opportunity. I will be working with them and occasionally hosting others on my website too. In support of Indie authors I also hold a Monthly Indie eBook Cover Awards Event and all self-pubbed authors are invited to enter their covers.

Contact information:



After six years of freelance graphic design work – designing CD covers, book covers, pamphlets, banners and editing videos – Melody Simmons decided to start a website dedicated to her passion – ebook covers. Ebookindiecovers has been running since June 2012 and since this is a fairly new site, the prices are very low for the high quality offered. As the name of the website indicates – the site is meant to especially cater for independent authors. She wants all Indie authors to be able to have the same quality book covers that traditional publishers have, or even better!


The focus is on ebook covers but Melody also offers a few other services to ensure all needs are covered: matching paperback covers – especially for those publishing through Createspace – are available. Facebook banners, 3-D book images and book trailers are also in her repertoire. She does digital manipulation with stock images. Almost all genres are included: romance, erotica, fantasy, SciFi, mystery, thriller, YA, literary fiction, children’s and non-fiction. There are several well-stocked premade cover galleries at her website, and custom covers are designed for very reasonable prices.


“Melody Simmons brought my covers to life with her unique and competitive designs. She was fast, responsive, and a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend her!”
– PJ Sharon, YA Author

I have used Melody’s services for all my ebook and paperback book covers. Her ability to capture the mood of the characters and settings has positively affected the sales of my books. She is fast, honest, and dependable. She often makes suggestions, gives me examples of the covers based on my ideas, and answers any questions I have in a timely manner. I would highly recommend using her services for your publishing needs.
~S. E. Smith, Author, Florida, United States~

Examples of work:


One pre-made cover, one custom cover, OR $25 GC to Amazon

Dates: Feb 3rd thru Feb 17th

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Make sure you have filled out the contest entry form:

5. To be eligible to enter contests on Book Reviews and More by Kathy you MUST fill out the contest entry form (found HERE). This form only needs to be filled out ONCE. Your privacy is important to me, and I will not share your information.

And don’t forget to:

6. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Contest ends February 17th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Filed under Blog Tour, Contest, Ebook Indie Covers, Interview

13 Responses to Blog Tour & Contest: Ebook Indie Covers

  1. laurie g

    thanks for the wonderful interview. i enjoyed reading it

  2. Eileen

    What a very interesting post. I always have a thing for covers because they add so much to the story itself. Thanks for all your hard work.

  3. Way to go Melody! I’m terribly biased, but I think you do terrific work! And Kathy I wasn’t aware of your site, but I am now. Thanks ladies!

  4. Beautiful covers. I wish I had the art to make something like that! A book with a bland cover does not attract the ‘mind’ as a romantic/sexy/passionate cover would. Thanks for sharing so many lovely covers!!

    taina1959 at yahoo dot com

  5. CatFire

    I know they say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Your first impression of a book or the thing that draws you to it is the cover. The cover design and how it ties into the story definitely has an impact on your sales. Eye-catching covers will draw my interest enough to read the blurb or find out more about the story.

  6. Lots of nice things to look at. I am totally envious of your talent 🙂 But maybe I’ll win and I’ll get to at least share in it! Thanks for the contest and good look with your tour!

  7. Thank you for all the kind words and encouragement. It is highly appreciated! And yes – Kathy’s site is great!

    Melody Simmons

    • Book Reviews & More by Kathy

      Thank you, Melody. Your covers are gorgeous works of art! Good luck on your tour.

  8. Jess1

    I enjoyed your posting and like the different covers that you’ve created, which are not cookie cutter.

  9. Nancy S

    Lovely covers, hope you get lots of business.

  10. Timitra

    Great post!

  11. Jen B.

    I am a big pain about stock images being used over and over. I hate it when I keep finding book after book with the exact same image. In your example I like that each cover had a slightly different look. But honestly, that dude has appeared in that pose on way too many covers. What I love is when the cover really fits a part of the story.

  12. Book Reviews & More by Kathy

    And the winner is….. Georgene Harkness! You will be contacted by Ebook Indie covers about you prize.