Figment Hacks: Make Better Book Covers

Welcome to our new series: Figment Hacks! In these posts, we’re going to show you how to get the most out of Figment. Want to learn how to get more followers? How to start a group that gets a ton of activity? You’ve come to the right place.

In our first post, we’re giving you step-by-step instructions on how to create an amazing, eye-catching cover. (Hint hint: a stunning image might help get your story featured on our homepage …)

Have a suggestion for a topic we should cover in the future? Leave it in the comments!

1. Draw, capture, or find an image.

Nasa Nebula

How do you choose an image? Figment user Vincent Nicandro says, “Choose a dynamic picture that draws the eye to it. But it shouldn’t be overly active, or else it’ll look cluttered.”

Think about what color font you’re going to use–a cover with a lot of colors might be eye-catching, but it’s going to be hard to make the title pop if parts of the text blend into the background image. Scrutinize the book covers you’re drawn to in the store: are they busy or simple? Bright or dark? Modern or retro?

And remember! If you’re working with an image that you didn’t create yourself, it’s up to you to make sure you have permission to use it. Public Domain Sherpa is a great, easy-to-understand place to get answers about images and copyright. Some good places to look for usable images are Wikimedia CommonsCreative Commons Search, and Public-Domain-Image.com.

This image is by NASA and is reproduced from Wikimedia under a public domain license.

2. Crop and resize.

Nasa Nebula Blue

Book covers on Figment are 160 pixels by 200 pixels. Anything with a 4:5 ratio will look good, though, and our system automatically resizes those covers. Violet C. advises resizing a photo to 400 by 500 while you work to see the cover in highest detail.

3. Edit however you’d like.

Nasa Nebula Retro

We recommend free editing sites like Picmonkey.com for beginners, Canva for Intermediates and Pixlr.com for more advanced photomanipulators. Here, we used the Picmonkey effect “Tranquil” to soften the image and fade the blacks to blue. Figment user Lauren Fletcher advises that “simple colour changes can do a lot to a cover, as they really set the mood. Also consider using a desaturated (grey scale) effect.”

While Picmonkey is very easy to use (some of the one-click effects can make any photograph look professional), for heavy editing or combining multiple photos, programs like Pixlr or Photoshop are going to be better.

4. Add the title and byline.

Figment Book Cover

If you want fancy fonts, add your text with whatever photo-editing program you’re using, then upload the whole image to Figment. How do you choose a font? Jaime Chase advises using a color that’s already in your background to make sure that text and image complement one another. He also adds, “Never do more than two different fonts.” Readability is key, so the simpler your font is, the smaller you can make it. Aea Varifs-van Warmelo says, “For font, I usually go for something simple. It needs to be easy to read, and if it’s very flowery, I avoid using it for more than one letter.”

Think about where you want place your title, as well. Says Magnum, “Remember composition. You probably don’t want the words off-center on your MC’s [main character‘s] forehead. If you have dark lettering, for example, don’t put the title in the middle of the night sky.”

You also have the option of adding a title on Figment, after you upload. Make sure to save the final image to your computer as a .jpg or .png.

5. Upload.

Log in and head to to “My Writing.” Click “Edit” on the book you want to add the cover to, or “Create Something New.” Hit the tab “Cover Design” and the button that says “Choose File.” Then, select the cover you’ve made! Don’t forget to hit “Save.”

Hint: If the upload fails, your cover is probably too big (or it’s a text file or something like that, silly!). Go back to step 2 and make it smaller.

Want more advanced tips and techniques? Check out what Figment users had to say about making covers.

20 thoughts on “Figment Hacks: Make Better Book Covers

  1. Your next hack should be about how to get your writing noticed (on figment). Or how to get more group members/ activity.
    Loved this one!

  2. I actually use MS Paint and PowerPoint to make my covers… But I haven’t ever really needed one of my fancier covers; most of my stories just have pictures from Google Images.

    PowerPoint 2010 has some cool effects; you can fade one picture into another and change the brightness/concentration/gradiant of the image, you can make your text glow and/or turn it sideways, etc.. Then you can just screencap the cover once you’re done designing it and crop it down to the image you want. Unfortunately, you cannot save your edits on the pictures while on PowerPoint, but that’s why you copy and paste your edited picture onto MS Paint before trying to save it. :3

  3. Mine doesn’t show the “cover design” tab. I don’t understand why, because my friend add his cover just fine on his iPad :/ any idea what’s gone wrong, figment?

  4. Your hack should probably contain a more professional looking cover, not a two-bit jpg image with an ugly text splatter *grumble grumble where has real cover making gone*

  5. Also, you can’t forget text color and font. You can’t just put bright lime green on red. There’s a lot more to cover-making then just getting a good image and making minor changes and slapping text on it.
    I know people who’ve spent at least an hour on a single cover. You can’t just make a beautiful, perfect cover in minutes.

  6. Please help me! I used your tip about the resizing and I double checked that my cover is saved as a JPEG but whenever I upload it, the cover just looks white and blank. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong.

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