Coverart

Complete DIY Self-Publishing Pt. 4: The Cover

This is the fourth 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. Sign up for my Archer’s Aim Digest mailing list to receive the forthcoming edition of my newsletter with announcements about upcoming releases and events (and there’s some big news this month). Want to be listed in The Bow of Destiny credits? Join the Street Team to share upcoming links. Either way, you’ll be the first to have news about my books, especially some free offers this summer related to the upcoming release of The Bow of Destiny, the first novel of The Bow of Hart Saga. You’ll also receive a free coupon to download my e-book short story, The Black Bag, as well as July’s free e-book: Recommended Reading for Authors!

Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

Scrivener Tips Pt. 1: Tracking Progress

I’ve recently written about Scrivener templates and different types of content that could be developed using this software. In fact, I’m using it as I write this blog. But for new users, finding information and tracking projects can be confusing. Here’s a short post with a tip to help other new users track their content.

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Where Is Everything?

Learning robust software like Scrivener can appear daunting when you first start using it. You jump right in and start creating folders and text containers. The binder isn’t too hard to master and writing is writing.

But how much did you write? How do you set goals and track them? Fortunately, there are tools available in Scrivener that meet these needs.

Words written appear in the bottom bar of Scrivener. This count and amount cover just the container in which you are writing. That’s simple enough. But what if you need more specifics?

The Projects Menu – Project Targets

The answer is the built into Scrivener. Click the Projects menu and then choose Project Targets.

Project Menu 1

Want to set and track goals? Use these Project settings.

Project Menu 2

You’ll note that I’ve set this goal to 500 hundreds and my session target to 500 hundred words. If I were writing more later in this same container (for example, if this were a long scene in a book/chapter), I would have another session goal later. By checking my current session I know if I’ve reached my daily goal if that’s important. So that’s an easy way to know how much I’ve done already and what my goal is.

The Projects Menu – Project Stats

But what about seeing more about my project statistics? On the Projects menu select Project Statistics and this is what’s displayed:

Project Menu 3

You’ll see what the whole project statistics in words and pages. In my example what is showing is my whole Blog 2015 project which is quite new. But if this were a book that total would be more meaningful. For my current purposes I would be concerned with the second displayed section – Selection. This indicates how many words I have in my current blog. At this point, it’s actually several hundred more words than this screenshot but you get the point.

Want to change some of what is displayed? Click the Options tab:

Project Menu 4

The Projects Menu – Text Statistics

Need more information about what you’re writing? Just click the Projects menu again and choose Text Statistics. Click the arrow beside Word Frequency. This displays information about the your word usage which is very handy to see how often you are repeating words.

Project Menu 5

So there are a few tips on viewing and managing your goals and content. Want to read more of my Scrivener-related posts. Check some of my recent posts or click the Scrivener category near the end of this page. And yes, I did meet – and surpassed – my set goal for this post!

The Black Bag by P H SolomonGot any Scrivener tips of your own to 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 recently so take a look.

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Scrivener screenshots from my 2015 blog project.

Cover art for The Black Bag licensed from iStockPhoto.

End to End DIY Self-Publishing: 4 Reasons to Give It a Try

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

Self-publishing is DIY by definition, however, there are different levels of this when presenting a book to the world. There are those people who write and then pay for the editing, the cover and formatting in order to release it into the wide world. Then there those writers who do most if not all of the work themselves.

Before I go further, let me address the issue of editing. Unless your work is short you should get another set of eyes on your manuscript regardless – even if you pay for it. I know I am with my upcoming epic fantasy novel, The Bow of Destiny. Novels and full-length non-fiction are just too large to get into solid condition for readers without some professional help. For shorter works, some input from fellow writers may help you get the project in good shape. Usually, you can’t pay for someone to edit a short story or other short books so it becomes DIY unless you know someone willing to take a look at the grammar.

What are the benefits to publishing as a DIY project? Here are my 4 reasons to give it a try – at least on a shorter project:

1. It’s inexpensive – you can publish a short book without spending lots of money on a cover, formatting and editing

2. You learn something from the experience – I know with my own efforts with The Black Bag I learned how to make a simple cover that was usable on Amazon and Smashwords. Also, I learned that formatting is not that scary with a short writing project.

3. You learn what to expect – by the time I uploaded The Black Bag I had gained a great deal of insight on actually publishing. When I am ready with my next book, I will have an idea of what I am doing and how it links with promotion.

4. Some exposure – you may not gain tons of readers from a short project but you do gain some exposure which helps in building your writer platform.

Series links:

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

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

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

These are some of my reasons for attempting a complete DIY self-published project. In future posts for this series, I’ll discuss my experience with the various aspects of my effort as well as share the tools that helped me. Have your tried this for yourself? Is formatting a scary subject for you? If you have experiences and ideas of your own please share them 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!

Thanks for reading!

PHS

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Cover art image licensed from iStockPhoto.com

Clip art licensed via Microsoft Office