Sometimes plans don’t work out.

I got the proof copy of Kiss of The Fey today. I was excited… but then I wasn’t.

DSCN2869

You might not be able to tell, but the font looks bad up close. It looks even worse on the back, but there’s nothing I can do about it because the stock image I used for it was only so big. I can’t make it bigger to make the cover into a higher quality image. So I’m going back to the original candle stock image I had and am using that.

Sigh. Whatever. I want to to look good, even if it isn’t as flashy. I just want to get everything ready and formatted. I’m annoyed because I had at least twenty people who promised to read it and give me feedback and I’ve had one person read almost to the end of the first chapter and she basically said that she hated my main character’s name. I’m releasing it September 1st whether or not I get actual feedback on it, so if everyone says it sucks in reviews I’ll just make the changes and release a second edition, I guess. I don’t know. (Official cover is over on my author blog.)

I believe in you!

This is just a reminder that I believe in you, and you should believe in yourself! Whether it’s writing, figure skating, or whatever it is that you want to do, you can do it if you try hard enough.

While I’ve always known I was a writer, I still need encouragement to keep going. However, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about my journey in cover creation.

This was my first try.

candle - Copy1

I liked the picture, but I couldn’t make it work. I decided to try on a minimalist cover.

lala

But that didn’t work out either, so I went back to looking at stock images.

candlaas - Copy7

I figured this was as good as it was gonna get. I was pleased enough with it, but it seemed kinda dark for my topic. I didn’t know if it would draw readers in, though.

Finally, I was messing around with GIMP (free photoshop) and learned how to edit photos a bit more. Then, I found another stock image.

font

I still have time to change my mind, but I’m about 80% sure that I’ll use this cover. I might edit it a bit more or change my mind once I order my proof copy from Createspace, but still. I feel like my cover journey has gone a long way.

I’m still not an expert, but I feel like I can say that the practice for sure helped. So yeah. Go me. (And follow this blog for publishing updates.)

How to Self-Publish Your Novel

This is more of a checklist than a how to guide. I’m getting closer to publishing Kiss of The Fey so I’m getting more nervous about everything that needs to be done. I was going to just make a checklist for myself, but I thought sharing it could benefit a few of you who might be going through the same thing.

1. Write a novel. This is the easiest part.

2. Edit your novel. This could involve looking over it yourself, finding beta readers, hiring a professional editor, or having your English major friend from college look it over in exchange for a trip to the spa. Whatever you do, you have to get rid of the typos, spelling and grammar errors, sort our your plot so that it flows right and makes sense, make your your characters are likeable and written properly…. everything, basically. That novel has to be perfect.

3. Get people’s opinions. Use beta readers or friends and family. I’m having my mom read it and I’m going to ask for a few people from the Nanowrimo group to read it for me. If you’re reading this and you’re interested in reading it, tell me. I’ve also asked a co-worker to read it for me but I don’t know if she actually will because she sounded a bit put off by the idea when I asked her for a favor. I don’t really have friends, so this is actually a hard part in the process to get by. Others might have an easier time, especially anyone who belongs to a legit writing group or anything. You need to do this after you edit, but before you publish in case they all agree that your hero is terrible or your plot makes no sense.

4. Decide on a penname. This might not be applicable to you if you’re just going to use your own name, but if publishing in multiple genres or writing smutty stuff you don’t want under your own name (or any reason, really) then you’re going to have to think of something. Look at other popular authors in your genre for ideas. You don’t want your penname to be Alberta Lickenhymen if you’re writing Christian Romance. Also, Google it to make sure it isn’t already an author name or someone famous that would overshadow searches for your book. It has to be unique.

5. Decide how you’re going to publish. I honestly haven’t explored this at all because I plan to use Createspace to publish through Amazon. I might put my novel on Smashwords, too, but that would be later. I want people to be able to buy a print or digital copy of my book, and I’ve already used Createspace so I know how to do it. I have to set up an Amazon author page, actually get on there, and get all the payment information sorted out too once I actually get around to publishing.

6. Get a cover. This could be simple if you’re only doing digital copies and a tad bit more complicated if doing print, because you’ll need a back cover and your dimensions need to fit the actual dimensions of the book. The easy way out is to pay someone to make a cover for you (this place does fabulous work) but I just don’t have the money for that, so I have to make my own. This means finding stock images that are free to use and learning to use editing software. I use Gimp, it’s basically free Photoshop. My covers still have to be pretty basic because of my skill level. I know what image I want to use for Kiss of The Fey, but I’m stuck on fonts, of all things. I just need to get the font right or the title won’t stand out enough.

7. Promote your book. The entire reason I started this blog was to promote my book. I’ll be changing the blog up a little closer to publishing to make it more obvious that this is the website for my books, but it’s never going to look professional. If I end up being successful I’ll be able to get a real website and everything, but until then this is what I got. It’ll be even weirder with the penname. I have to think about whether I want to create a separate blog for my penname. Beyond that, I need to somehow reach people and get them interested about my book. I think how I’m going to do this is to use the people in the Nanowrimo group on Facebook to review a free copy of my novel to try to get good reviews and ratings so that it looks more appealing on Amazon. I might ask fellow bloggers to review my novel. I don’t really know what to do, beyond that.

8. Publish your book. Just put it out there and hope that people like it.

9. Cry a little. Freak out. Get drunk. Have a meltdown.

10. Celebrate your first sale. It doesn’t matter if you only make $0.60. You’re a published author, baby. Celebrate.

I just really wanted a list that had ten things. You don’t have to freak out or get drunk if you don’t want to. I hope to publish by the end of the summer but I don’t know if that will happen with the way things are going. I could rant about why my computer is now dead to the world, but instead I’ll just say that it is and that that is a HUGE inconvenience. I think I’m going to need another one and I don’t have the money. I’m using my mom’s right now. I’m lucky it didn’t die while I was at school.

Sometimes I forget how beautiful everything is

a beach

a beach

a dock

a dock

a path

a path

a bird

a bird

a wave

a wave

a seashell

a seashell

 

I took these up at Lake Erie the other day. I read so much sometimes that I come to appreciate the beautiful things that good authors have written down more than the actual beauties around me. I’ll read about the beautiful rainbow or the motley colors of court and forget that I’m really only looking at a black and white page, and then when I go outside and see how beautiful nature really is it’s like I’m seeing the colors for the first time.

In other news, I really love my camera. If only I happened to have a castle on hand, I could take pictures of the perfect cover art for my novel! I might still do that, just find whatever I decide to represent my novel on the cover and just take a million pictures of it until I’m satisfied. If it was a modern novel or some young adult romance I would have six amazing options to chose from already, but that’s not the case.

Here is the cover I think I’m going to go with:

snow 064

Covers

I’ve been fooling around making covers for my novel Woman of Fire, Man of Ice. I’m also considering changing the title. I’m not a very good cover-maker, in summary. Here are some attempts. (You can just ignore the dimensions, I’m ignoring that until I actually know what size I’m going to need it.)

Image

Image

Image

Image

ImageI think I like the last one least and the candle/shell one the most. However, the shell one makes no sense with my current title. Dunno what I’m going to do, but I’ve wasted an afternoon figuring out basic gimp tools.