I’m too cheap sometimes to invest even in my own career, especially when it’s for something I believe I can do myself. Now sometimes you have to go to a pro, and sometimes you don’t. I suppose you have to trust your own instincts or trust that your friends will tell you when that is the case. So far no one has said to me, “Cat, you ever think of hiring a cover artist?” so I’m going to make the assumption I’m doing at least okay on my own. The tool I use to create banners out of the bookcovers done for me by the talented cover artists paid by my publishers, as well as the actual covers I create myself for my self-pubbed titles is Photoshop. Here are 2 banners I created from my Samhain bookcovers.
I will be totally honest, when I first purchased Photoshop it was an exercise in frustration. I was totally lost. Even now I know the program is capable of doing so much more and I am barely scratching the service with my incredibly basic, novice skills. What I do know how to do I learned thanks to an old video author Mandy Roth made which walks the viewer through how to use Photoshop to make banner ads. A huge thanks to Mandy because through her I learned how to use so many of the valuable tools in Photoshop, including the blur button and the eraser.
I still wander around lost in the Photoshop program, but with it I have managed to create things I’m proud of. My favorite cover is for Crossing the Line. I used 2 separate images I purchased at a stockart site. The “ship” photo and the “couple” photo. With enough fading, blending, erasing and blurring, and thanks to the similar color stories of the 2 separate photos, it came together into one cohesive image.
In Photoshop, I’ve also done designs for Romance Trading Cards to order direct from the printer. That saved me a bunch of money. I’ve done designs for other promo as well, including banners, notepads, bumper stickers and buttons. The program has paid for itself many times over and it gives me the freedom to be a control freak and handle things myself.