Reply To: Week 19 Check-in

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Good Monday Morning to you, Cheryl and everyone, although it may be afternoon already for you.

I met my goal of spending minimum 3 hours on writing-related activities last week and averaged 4 and a half hours a day. Activities I worked on included editing story number 5 in my collection of historical short stories. These stories need a log of work before they’re ready for publication.

Other activities were the FTHRW’s Backstory workshop and a workshop on self publishing sponsored by RWA’s Contemporary Romance Writers online chapter. Everyone says you can make more money self publishing, but that’s offset by the things you need to pay for up front – such as editing, cover desing and copyrighting. Also, for those who don’t want to format their own manuscripts, that costs money, too. Then there’s marketing, which can run into money, too. But I’d still rather self publish because you have more control over your work and the end product.

In this workshop, I learned about a photo editing program you can use to design your own covers and it’s free. It’s called GIMP and the workshop leader says it’s like a free version of Photoshop. She also says there’s a steep learning curve with it. She said Photoshop Elements is easier to use. A Facebook friend of mine uses Photoshop Elements are beautiful – so professional – and she uses Photoshop Elements to design hers.

If you design your own covers, that can save you money.

For this workshop, we had a Zoom class yesterday morning and the instructor used a photo and the book cover I’d designed for one of my books that I haven’t published yet (I used KDP’s Cover Create to design it). She used them to demonstrate to the class how to design a book cover (she uses GIMP). She was very complimentary of my cover and then modified what I’d done to show how she would have done it if I had come to her to design the cover. She changed the fonts and moved the photo around withing the guidelines a bit. She did a very nice job and said, “If I had designed the cover for you, this is what I would have done.” I thanked her because learned a lot from this, but this really brought home a point to me. When you have someone else do it for you, there’s the very real possibility they’ll do what she or he thinks is best from her or his point of view. Although what she did was very nice, it was what she thought it should be and not what I wanted. I didn’t care for the fonts she used (I liked the ones I used better) and I didn’t like the photo shifted to the left the way she did. I liked it more centered so the entire Victorian home is on the cover (the story takes place in an old Victorian home that’s been turned into an inn).

I will continue to design my own covers and probably will end up learning eith GIMP or Photoshop Essentials.

My other writing-related activities included updating my website and writing new content for it and researching historical photos in the Hawaii State Archives’ website and the Library of Congress’s website. I’ve been finding historical photos of downtown Honolulu (locations and buildings that are near where I live) and then taking photos of what they look like today from a similar angle to the ones in the Archives’ photographs and then posting them with some commentary to the “A Glimpse of Hawaii” page in my website. This page is succeeding in bringing a fair amount of traffic to my website. Now, if the increased traffic would result in increased sales for my books, I’d be really happy.

I’m also thinking about ideas for new stories I could write. I’m thinking about a historical story¬† with a woman doing what was generally thought of as a man’s job (but not a doctor, because that’s been done a lot).

Well, that’s about it for this time. I think I’ll take a break now and go out to Walmart. There’s one within walking distance from where I live.

Take care everyone and have a great week.




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