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I wondered how long it would be before we would see this kind of service offered. As there are no words on a Vella image - as I understand they are just square images - what are you offering exactly? Is it artwork, photo manipulation, or just stock images?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wondered how long it would be before we would see this kind of service offered. As there are no words on a Vella image - as I understand they are just square images - what are you offering exactly? Is it artwork, photo manipulation, or just stock images?
Hi, Kathy Dee!

Thank you for your question! I'm offering photo montage and photo manipulation.

Yes, you need a square image to upload - but it will be shown inside a circular frame. Which means it needs to look good as a round image. Well, and just because there are (usually) no words on Vella covers doesn't mean it's super easy. I would argue it's actually harder, because the images have to stand on their own strength.

For one, the different size means that most of the tricks you learned to draw the eye to the right spots on a regular sized book cover don't work here. On a regular sized book cover, the eye first goes to the upper third, then secondly down near the bottom, which any good cover artist takes into consideration. Vella images are presented in a circular frame, which means the eye moves to the center first and foremost. If you placed the important part in the upper third, it would look strange and unbalanced on a Vella image.

Secondly, regular book covers are usually busier than Vella images should be. Kindle Vella is intended mainly for phones so your cover needs to look great in a tiny thumbnail. This makes it even more important to choose the right image - you can't make up for a just-okay or bland image with a snazzy font and cool title. You can't overload the image either, because if there are twenty components none of them will stand out and the potential customer's eye will just slide off it and move on to the next image.

I have long experience with not only book covers, but with icon making too. I've been making user icons, book covers, advertising banners and images for close to twenty years - starting with tiny square icons on Livejournal. Round, square, rectangular, tiny, large, medium, busy, clean, with text and without, I've done it all. The last few years I've been doing round discord user icons.

To be honest, when I first read Amazon's requirements for Kindle Vella cover images, my reaction was to shout "Yes!", because it fits in so well with my skills and preferences.
 

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Hi all!

My name is Annie and I'm offering custom cover images for Amazon's new Kindle Vella format.

You can find me over at Fiverr!
So, it sounds like a photo jpg will make it difficult to specify genre. I'll be watching to see how that turns out. Any way you can give us some samples?
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
So, it sounds like a photo jpg will make it difficult to specify genre. I'll be watching to see how that turns out. Any way you can give us some samples?
You raise an interesting point! Yes, genre conventions haven't been set for Vella yet. Some of it can of course be extrapolated from regular ebook cover trends, but many specifics will only crystalize in the first few months after Vella opens to readers. Things like "Niche A uses Font 1, 2 or 3" won't translate, but I expect we'll be seeing some overlap at least.

Sure! I've posted three Vella cover image examples on Fiverr, and here are a few covers for regular ebooks I've made recently (with placeholder Titles and Author Names).
1.png 2.png 3.png 4.png 5.png 6.png 7.png 8.png

Edit: Shared four designs with my writer's group this morning, three were snapped up, this one didn't quite fit any of the stories.
split circle.png
 

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Would it not work with titles and images to get nearer the genre?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Would it not work with titles?
Thank you for your question!

Not really! There are several reasons why I would advise against putting text on your Kindle Vella images.

The first is that it's unnecessary - in the app, the title and pen name appear right below it. Amazon advises against it too, though it's not prohibited. This means that most covers will be without text, so yours will stand out - and there's no guarantee that it'll stand out in a good way!

Secondly, readers won't be looking at one image on a big computer screen. They'll be scrolling quickly through the app on a phone. Your images look quite different in that context (try it yourself, put your images and some of mine into a fast slideshow and watch that on your phone! You'll see the difference).

Which brings me to the third point - the human eye and brain tend to look at different shapes in different ways. Regular book covers have a shape that invites the eye to the upper third, which is why the title is often placed there. There are many ways to guide the eye in specific directions, of course, but that's where it naturally goes. Vella images, however, are presented as circles. Where does the eye move when presented with a circle? Almost universally to the center. Bullseye.

What does this mean for your example images? The first thing the eye encounters is a green or yellow blob, which at closer scrutiny turns out to be the word "The". That isn't exactly ideal. When your potential readers scroll through the app, most won't pause to look at your image closely unless you give them a reason to - unless you grab their attention right away. The word "The" isn't the most catchy, especially when it's so small that you have to take a second look to read it. Some titles could work on Vella images, if centered properly, but not "The Property Virgin", since the word "virgin" is the most important part. The most important clue needs to be dead center.


Edit: I'm not sure what your edit means? Of course you use images that fit your genre. Though I expect genre conventions to shake out a little differently in Vella, since genre-specific fonts will be less of a thing and some of the genres with busier covers (like Paranormal Romance) will necessarily have to be less busy. You cannot fit 15 components into one small image and expect that to work. You can't put a girl, and a wolf, and a manchest, and a dragon, and sparkles, and feathers, and a city, and a full moon, and and and all into one small round image that is supposed to be viewed on a phone screen.

I wouldn't use fluffy bunnies on a pink background for a horror serial or anything absurd like that, but if you've always wanted to try something a little different for your covers... now's your chance. For the first few months, until Vella Cover Genre Conventions solidify, you have a lot more freedom than usual. Your ideas might even be the ones everyone in your niche imitates. Who knows? I for one am looking forwards to seeing where things will go. I predict there'll be at least one sub-genre that'll go somewhere completely unexpected, and in a year's time we'll all be scratching our heads and wondering how THAT (whatever that turns out to be) ever became the norm.
 
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