Reply To: Week 21 Check-in 🏜

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Yikes – one of the rules is never open with weather and one of my short stories opened in a snow storm. Oh, well, it’s published now.

Although I didn’t do any new writing (new stories) and I did very little editing on my current short stories, I put in many writing-related hours this week. I’m still grappling with GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), which is a free photo-image editing program that’s like Photoshop. It’s been a real tough one because it’s something I’m totally unfamiliar with. I watched and read many tutorials. Many of the tutorials lost me during it because I think the people who made them assumed some level of familiarity with the program and I had none. In the video I watched the most to learn how to create a paperback cover, the guy doing it would say things like “click up here,” and he’d click at the top of his screen, but the icons were so small, I couldn’t seen what he was clicking on.

And I finally – only yesterday after two weeks of pursuing this noticed that there are tiny icons at the bottom right of the screen that can be used instead of going to the drop-down menus at the top of the screen. And I just noticed that you can use two of those icons to change the order of your “layers” – move them up or down in the order. And the order of the layers matters.

I am keeping notes and screen shots in those notes and plan to write an instructional book for authors/writers who would like to design their own book covers and who don’t have any background in Photoshop or this free program.

I think things are finally falling into place with this afternoon’s breakthrough (the arrow icons to move the layers up and down and realize layers matter). Getting the text (back-cover blurb and author information) to show on the back cover of the book cover had me stumped and the YouTube Tutorial didn’t spell out that the order of the layers affects whether they show or not. If they layers are too far down, then ever though they’re there, the’re in the “background” so to speak.

I want to do some more practice making paperback book covers before I start writing this book. But I can relax some now and don’t feel that I have to push quite so hard. I averaged 7 hours and 15 minutes every day last week.

For some reason, even though it was a huge challenge I was really driven to learn how to use this program. I kept telling myself that if I failed, at least it’s a free program and it would have been worse if I’d spent money on Photoshop and then failed. But now, I’m glad I stuck to it. I can make my own book covers without using KDP’s Cover Create.

Cover Create is very good and I did some really nice covers in Cover Create, but it’s not flexible. KDP gives you templates and even if you use your own photographs instead of their stock photos, there are limited choices of where you can put the text.

I hope everyone is well and safe and had a nice Memorial Day!




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