Humanitarian Aid - How I Made The Cover
Because a couple of you asked about how I made the cover, I'll share my secrets.
First, I don't have Photoshop. My son does, but he's at college. And I'm too cheap to buy it for something like this unless I decide to start doing all my own covers, which is still unlikely (and wait till you see Judy Bullard's cover for the next Derek Stillwater novella - love it!).
So, first. I bought a photograph from a stock photography place. I used iStock, but there are plenty of them out there. Google "stock photos" or "royalty free art" and you'll get a bunch. My search words, in this case were "spaceships" and "outer space" and "planets" although I tried "space battles" as well. When I finally found the one I liked, I paid $19 to download it to my computer. I went with the "large" format, which seemed to work. People who know more about graphic design would know more details about pixels, etc.
I'm a Mac user, so I have iWork, but I imagine you can do the same thing on Microsoft Word (which I have, too).
Anyway, in Pages, which is Apple's iWork version of Word, I pulled up a blank page. Then, under the File menu I went to Page Setup ...> Paper Size.
In the dropdown menu I clicked on "Manage Custom Sizes." I set it for wide 6 inches and height 9 inches and then named it "Book Cover Ratio." I left all the other fields alone.
Then I dragged my stock photo into the open document and resized it by clicking on it and dragging the pic's corners to where they needed to be. Then I went to the Arrange menu and clicked on "Lock" to lock the artwork down.
Then, I used Insert and chose Text. This gave me a Text box, which I positioned at the top. I screwed around with this for a while, because what I had in this case was a white box with black print, which looked like crap. Eventually I got it so the box was black and the text was white for the title. I messed around with centering it and looked at 20 different fonts (I believe this one is Impact) until I liked the one I got.
I used another text box for the print at the bottom, messed around with using a box for each one, but found it was easier with just one, sized it, got the font I wanted, and saved it.
Pages doesn't allow you to save as a .JPG, but you can safe it as a PDF, which I did. Then I opened the .PDF in Adobe Acrobat and saved it as an image in a .JPG format, and voila, I had my cover art. Took $19 and maybe an hour or hour and a half. (I'm told you can also use iPhoto for this, but I didn't figure out how to do it).
If you don' t have Pages, I imagine you could do something very similar with Word (which I do have, and which I use far more than Pages, actually).
This is quick and dirty and I didn't do any image layering, which may be more complicated, but for a straightforward image with some text, then saving it eventually to a .JPG, this was pretty easy.