Thursday, August 15, 2013

How powerful is GIMP?

Since GIMP is free software, I've been asked how powerful it really is. I figure the easiest way to answer that is to show you some of what I've done with it. I'm going to put in the original photos I started with then the final covers I got from these photos.

These two pictures became the cover for THE WIDOWER'S FOLLY.

Note that for the cover her dress changes, his suit changes, the chandelier, electric lights, etc. are gone. 
Kindle           Nook 
 More dramatic even that that was how these two pictures below became the cover for THE RECKLESS WAGER.

Notice that the face changes, the dress changes, her hair changes and that in the original, the background stops at the top of her head and the back cover is from the part of the photo not used on the front cover so the effect is a wrap around.

 The good thing about GIMP is that the more one uses it, the more one discovers it's possible to do with it. There are also youtube videos online that explain how to do things--though it didn't always seem to work quite the same for me. But for free software, GIMP is amazing.


Thursday, August 08, 2013

Createspace--more lessons in humility...

So my Book in a Week Workbook was up in paperback. Woohoo! I had this thing nailed--right? I could go ahead and put up one of my Regencies in paperback. Piece of cake!

Picture me shaking my head. I should sooooo not ever say that!

What I learned from putting up 2 of my Regencies in paperback through Createspace--one in large print:

1) Remember to right justify the text.

2) Remember to put a carriage return on the last line of each chapter so it doesn't right justify a few words at the end of the paragraph of that last page of the chapter.

3) Headers. Things have changed since the last time I put headers in a file in a previous version of Word. THIS version insists I use "fields."

4) DOUBLE CHECK the file by saving as pdf before uploading the Word file to Createspace. The fields in the header worked fine for DANGEROUS MASQUERADE but somehow screwed up when I did it for THE RECKLESS WAGER.

5) Createspace offers templates for each size trim one might want to use.

6) The templates don't work all that well. I need to expect to experiment with margins.

7)  Different fonts are different sizes for the same pt setting.

8) Large print books need at least 16 pt font. That means lots of pages.

9) The cover template that allows one to upload one's own covers works pretty well.

10) Don't even try to create the cover until you're sure about the trim size. Resizing a cover meant for 6x9 to one for 7 x 10 does NOT always produces usable results and I had to redo it completely.

11)  Going from a 6 x9 with moderate size font to 7 x 10 in large print with lots more pages meant I could not use the same margins from one for the other. More experimenting.

12) Covers that work for an ebook do not necessarily work for a paperback. (See below for the two versions each of DANGEROUS MASQUERADE and THE RECKLESS WAGER.

13) Almost forgot--page numbers should be on opposite sides for opposite facing pages. Headers need to alternate.

14) Make sure to set the headers so that the first page is different which means headers won't show up on the first pages of chapters. (This is what you want--no headers for those pages.)

15) Changing the font size means double checking that one doesn't have a page with only one or two words on it at the end of any chapter. If there is such a page, maybe see if somewhere a tiny change can be made so those words fit at the end of a full page. This helps keep down the cost of the book.

16) Even when the book goes first to Createspace and then Createspace sends one over to Amazon Kindle, the two versions of the book are not necessarily automatically linked. One may have to email support to have it done manually. (Note: The support staff is wonderful!)

I'm sure I will learn more with my next efforts at using Createspace. That won't, however, be for a little while. First I want to see how the two different paperback sizes do. If there's more demand for, say, large print, then that's what I'll bring out in the future with my other books. If readers prefer the more ordinary size type, I want to know that.

It's a whole new world out there. I'm just glad my older books can be available again.

Now, as promised, the two versions of the two book covers:


Kindle    Nook