Tuesday, 2 September 2014

You Feel the Need to Design a 3D Cover Image for Your Boxed Set

Signs of a problem: 3D editing software open; eyesore on screen.

The symptoms: frustration followed by unwarranted pride.

You’ve now written three novels – look at you! Tired, and unsure when you’ll next have time to write, you realise that the easiest way to release another title is to create an eBook boxed set. You get to work trying to create a 3D mock-up of your box.

Don’t.

Most 3D mock-ups look dreadful, due to the average person’s lack of experience with 3D imaging. Secondly, there are no standard specifications for 3D boxed sets, meaning that if you put a number of boxed set images next to each other, they’ll all be displayed at different angles, which looks untidy. Thirdly, as mentioned before, book covers are often viewed in their thumbnail form. Thumbnails are so small that you need to capitalise on every pixel. If you use a 3D mock-up the cover will be even smaller than a flat image because much of your thumbnail will be taken up with background and spinal graphics. Some 3D mock-ups show the front cover at an angle, which makes most text illegible at many sizes.

If you wish to bundle three books together, it is far better to have one professional flat cover that brings together the essence of three original books than a bad 3D mock-up. Even many DVD manufacturers, who have physical 3D products, provide flat images for online stores. A three-stripe technique can be very effective, with each horizontal stripe depicting a different book from the set. Or you could have one cover containing a new graphic that encompasses elements of all three books.

The term ‘boxed set’ has been widely accepted as a term for a collection of eBooks, but also consider ‘trilogy’, ‘collection’ or ‘omnibus’. If the books are short stories rather than novels, ‘anthology’ might be more appropriate.

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