Marketing

Complete DIY Self-Publishing Pt. 4: The Cover

This is the third part of a series about self-publishing a short e-book as a completely DIY project. Part 1 introduced why you should consider trying to self-publish on your own at least once. Part 2 dealt with some of the tools you will need to gather at some point to accomplish the project. Part 3 addressed the importance of formatting and using the tool of a style guide.

ToolboxVisual Affect and the Cover

The cover of a book may be one of the most important elements in the digital world. A weak cover can dull sales. However, with a smaller project the cover presents some difficulty since the project may not have the budget for a top-end cover. It’s at this point you may consider spending some money on a photo which you can use to develop into a cover. Personally, I went with a photo from iStockPhoto.com but I’ve also written about more sites too (this post was about using free photos for blog posts but these sites should have terms for buying photos for re-use as a cover).

Making the Cover

Once you’ve chosen a suitable photo as the basis of your cover, you’re ready to being working it. Here’s how my process went for The Black Bag.

1. I got in my toolbox and pulled out PowerPoint and created a slide with the photo.

2. Next I create text boxes and added my Title, by-line and additional information.

3. Save the file as a PowerPoint file (.pptx file extension).

4. Next re-save it with “Save As” and choose the .jpg (IMPORTANT: when prompt whether to save all slides or just the current one, choose just the current one).

That’s it for the basic cover.

HammerThe Final Touch

At this point, I had cover ready. However, my original was the incorrect size to up load so it needed some work. This required some photo editing to change the size of the photo. To handle this job, I went to another tool to handle the photo-editing: Gimp. I’m not an expert on this task so this article better explains how to re-size a photo using Gimp. It’s not a very hard process and when you’ve completed this your cover is ready unless you need to make some changes to the cover such as text size (make sure you can see this in thumbnail view of the file on your computer).

More Cover Resources

Need a little more information about covers before tackling this part of the project?

Rayne Hall discusses best practices with covers in her book: Why Does My Book Not Sell?

Here’s an article that shows in detail the process of using PowerPoint to create a cover.

Don’t have PowerPoint and want to use only free software for making your cover? This article shows how to use Gimp exclusively.

Not interested in using Gimp? Try free online Photoshop and watch this video.

My own cover is just below.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Have you tried making your own cover? Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added anew sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed on 11/10/14 so take a look.

Thanks for reading.

P. H. Solomon

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

8 Ways Scrivener Aids My Writing

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

When I originally gave Scrivener a whirl earlier this year I didn’t know how the software worked. But I read several articles and posts about how other writers put this writing tool to use. I took my time working through the provided tutorial after which I began using it with increasing regularity.

Over the last few months, I’ve begun using Scrivener for almost all of my writing. I’m so impressed with it’s usefulness, I’ve begun writing about this software to share my ideas. I’m getting lots of mileage out of blogging with it and I’ve begun using it for my newsletter and other email templates.

Here are 8 ways Scrivener boosts my efforts as a writer:

1. I’m better organized from the beginning of projects. Because Scrivener is an organizational tool, I’m able to develop structure from the beginning of the project.

2. I can easily make changes to structure. Even though I’m structuring my projects well at the beginning, if I find I need to make structural changes I can do so quickly and easily using the binder.

3. I can turn out short projects at a faster rate. As I’ve written, I’m using this software for blogging, newsletters and email templates.

4. I can use different media to assist my efforts. I can copy pictures, links, video and other forms of media into a project. This is very effective for visualizing aspects of a project like characters or locations. I place these in a sub-folder within the Research folder.

5. Since I’m more organized and faster with short projects I have more time for longer projects. It becomes a real time-saver so from this efficiency I can spend more time on my longer projects which have a higher importance over the long haul.

Scivener Binder6. In relation to number 5, I don’t waste time staring at a blank screen since all the preliminaries are out of the way. As a writer, it’s not a good thing to sit staring at you screen. For me, beginning with organizing the project and working with development tasks means my ideas are so developed that I’m more than ready to write the project when the time comes.

7. In relation to number 2, I can edit more effectively which is a plus for a novel. I don’t have the whole manuscript staring at me, just a piece that is manageable. I’ve found that trying to manage a whole manuscript in a single file structure means that I bog down with the entirety of editing. With Scrivener, the book is already segmented and ready for editing.

8. It’s my multi-function tool. As I’ve written in earlier posts, the software is so flexible I can use it for any type of work that I’m doing as a writer. And because it is so powerful a tool I can plan a project like a blog series with growth potential and conversion into a different format as a book – and let’s face it, bloggers like the idea of transforming their blog posts into an e-book.

Bonus Info: Here are links to some helpful templates:

Scrivener template designed for a year of blogs from AllIndieWriters.

Another template for blogging from Thaddeus Hunt.

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Upcoming News: Next week, I’m planning a post about Scrivener for another use.

If you use Scrivener, how has it improved your writing? If you haven’t started using Scrivener, what’s stopping you? What other usages can you share? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed yesterday so take a look.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

Getting Creative: Secondary Uses for Scrivener

Scrivener is fast becoming a mainstay of my writing. I’ve written about this software several times now but for those who are not familiar with it, Scrivener is for developing writing projects. It’s a powerful tool that allows for a great deal of flexibility for any kind of writing project. I’m even using it for this post but especially a series of blogs.

Having An IdeaA Whole New Use

I recently started a newsletter for my blog which I send out to email followers. As part of this process I use Mailchimp to send the messages. I’ll be working on the upcoming edition for next week over several days but it hit me as I started thinking about it – write the newsletter in Scrivener.

My Newsletter Plan

I’m sure other people are doing this already but I haven’t seen anyone actually write about it. Here’s how I plan to use Scrivener.

1. Create a project for the year (since I just started the newsletter the one for 2014 will be short).

2. Use the Binder to create each newsletter volume in separate sub-folders so the project will grow throughout the year.

3. Use the Research folder to create separate sub-folders for each volume where I can put ideas, links, pictures, etc. that I want to use for that volume. When I start writing the volume I’ll have all my information ready to go.

4. Transfer the text to the template in Mailchimp when ready.

Other Related Ideas

Since I plan to use Scrivener for developing my newsletter I also realized there are other similar uses too:

  • I can use it to write my book-related email campaigns.
  • Other email templates such as those used for greetings, thank-you’s and giveaways
  • Goodreads templates for those who friend me
  • It can even be used to compose social media communications that may be used repetitively. Since you can copy all kinds of files into Scrivener, I imagine I can even use it for adding pictures to post on Pinterest such as upcoming cover reveals or additional artwork to be released at a particular time.

The Bow of DestinyAs you can see, the uses for Scrivener are many and varied. Have you tried Scrivener yet? If you have, what are other ways you use it? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed on 11/10/14 so take a look.

Thanks for reading. I’m off to start my newsletter project in Scrivener!

P. H. Solomon

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

The Bow of Destiny cover art licensed by commission from Christopher Rawlins