What size stock photo do I need for my book cover?

Understanding what size picture you need can be like trying to decide if your cat wants to stay inside, or go out.

What are all these numbers? 72, 300, 360? And what is dpi? Is time a straight line? Do you want to go in, or out? Make up your mind my furry companion!

This picture below has dimensions of 9" x 6" and a resolution of 72dpi (dpi = dots per inch. Meaning, each inch has 72 dots PER INCH in it to make up the picture).

Notice how crisp the kitten is! The whiskers aren't fuzzy and there is no pixellation.

On a computer monitor, small (or low resolution) pictures like this, look fine.

But look what happens when we try to print it...

The picture has become fuzzy and pixellated. This is NOT GOOD for printing. I repeat, 72dpi is NOT good for printing.

This next picture is the same size as the first picture (9" x 6"), but it has a resolution of 300dpi (dots per inch).

Remember, 300dpi means that there are 300 dots per inch to make up the picture. More than 3 times as many as the first 72dpi picture!) It looks the same as the first picture.

Now, let's see what happens when we go to print it...

Hoorah! The cat is doesn't become fuzzy or pixellated!

Thank you 300dpi picture for having more information in the picture as that allows us to make great prints!

Here are some important numbers to remember when you are looking for stock images. Grab a pen and write these down (or bookmark this site!)

72dpi A good number for screen and web viewing

300dpi A good number for printing

9 The number of lives a cat has. They will use all 9 to annoy you! I still love them!

So, if you want a print version of your spectacular novel, make sure you can get your stock photo at a minimum of 300dpi and at 6.25" x 9.25" (that is the size of your front cover, with bleed). That way you can give your audience the best cover possible, and your story also deserves the best cover possible!

Now, off you go! Back to writing! We're waiting for your story!

P.s. I tried to keep this post as simple as possible because, I mean, we're all busy writing and creating, aren't we! But if you want to get into the nitty gritty of dpi, I recommend reading Scott Ellis' post here


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