Self Publishing for Guitarist – Part 7 The Cover

By: James Martin

self publishing 1So by now your project is nearing completion. Content is all laid out and ready to go, audio files are recorded, it’s now just the formality of doing the cover, and how hard can that be?

Well, very, as it turns out. So much so that as I write this post, Zero Point Guitar and her sister volumes are all getting brand new covers as I take my own advice on such matters.

So what elements can make a successful cover – and by association, a successful book?

Something bright, simple and eye-catching is what you’re after.

I’m fortunate to have a father who’s a keen (and rather good) amateur photographer with an excellent selection of gear, and the result is a stunning set of high definition pictures in front of my handy white backdrop.

A dash of Photoshop results in something rather swish. I chose to use my main guitar (a heavily customised 1999 USA Fender Strat) in the pictures, which has the distinctive bluey-green Teal Green finish.

In order to maximise the impact of the title graphic, I went to the opposite end of the chromatic spectrum and opted for an orangey red shade.

This is a well-used trick, particularly popular amongst film producers who use the idea of diametrically opposed colours to enhance their vividness.

It’s worth checking out the chromatic spectrum to discover the perfect graphic “counterpoint” to your logo.

self publishing 2In keeping with the ideas of simplicity and homogenisation of fonts discussed in an earlier post, I kept the titles with the header font of Reprise Stamp.

I wanted a “rubber stamp” idea for the title, as I felt this kept with the idea of a no-nonsense, almost military approach to learning the instrument.

This involved a little bit of Photoshop trickery, too much to go into in detail here but suffice it to say that it pays to understand layers – worth taking the time to visit the onboard tutorials for whatever image manipulation software you use.

It’s also very important to make sure that your cover fits into the space provided for you by the publisher – if you have a self-publishing company in mind, check their rules and guidelines.

Most companies at least include a sizing and resolution (dots per inch or dpi) guide, or in some cases, a downloadable template.

Use the template (one hint for those who use – their guideline recommends a minimum of 300 dpi. Use 600dpi Trust me). Seriously, you have no idea how much time, stress and frustration it will save you.

Going back to the cover, I’ve also included the website logo and slogan – this is basic marketing 101 stuff.

You’re selling yourself and your teaching as a brand, and it’s important to maintain that brand identity across whatever products you’re selling as well as your internet and social media presence and offline promotional media (posters, cards, flyers for those of you who haven’t read Marketing for Dummies).

self publishing 3Even if the public doesn’t remember your name, they’ll recognise the logo and/or the colour scheme.

Keep this in mind as you put your cover together – your cover is the ambassador for your book, and not only will potential buyers judge you on it but so will any shops you’re trying to convince to stock it.

Your cover is the first point of contact. Do not, ever, underestimate the importance of getting it right.


Click to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5Part 6, and Part 8 of this self publishing for guitarists series.


This article has been independently supplied by the author and expresses the author’s own views and opinions; the article does not purport to represent RGT’s views or policies.

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