Wednesday, July 18, 2012
#Writerly Wednesday- I'm #Dreaming of an Awesome Book Cover
As a writer, it's sort of my birthright to dream and dream big, but I also dream vivid, at night, while I sleep, too.
You see, yesterday I spent a good portion of my afternoon just scrolling through image after image on a couple of those stock photo sites, trying to get ideas for book covers, perhaps find models who resemble what my characters look like in my mind, or themes that might make good background layers for book covers.
Then last night I dreamed I was designing covers and they were great, just cover after cover and even some I did were so good they impressed publishers. One in particular had a young woman's face, cast in dark shadows, her skin shimmering with perspiration or rain, with a title like "Overwhelmed" and the young woman looked, well- overwhelmed, tears rolling down her face, from her bright blue eyes, as though I had captured exactly what was needed to grab the reader's attention.
Of course, it was just a dream, but it was vivid and inspiring and that's the little burst of air I need under my wings.
Now, years ago, I used to piddle around with Paint Shop Pro, making signature tags and cutesy banners for my computer desktop and for a Mommies forum I belonged to. In fact, that's where I cut my teeth on graphic design, making cute images with my children's pictures on it to put in my signature when I was chatting on the forums with other moms. Or making tags for them, as well. Of course, I'm by no means a professional, but I can manipulate images, crop, layer, adjust the opacity, etc.
When I started writing, I stop designing cutesy sig tags and I started searching online for images of actors and actresses who fit my characters...I made tags with them for my own personal use, sort of like putting them up on an idea story board, but using them as the desktop backgrounds, so I could see the characters while I was on the computer, which helped me with the descriptions. Eventually I made my own "faux" book covers for each story I wrote, just to give myself "inspiration."
As I've mentioned before, I am giving serious consideration to self-publishing, but I'm one of those people who like to get my ducks in a row, take my time about researching and discovering the ins and outs of things. I'm kind of riding the fence on the to self-pub or not to self-pub, but I'm liking the idea the more I read about how to format novels and I kind of like the idea of having more control over what goes on with my books and so since I'm considering self-pubbing, I'm also considering cover design, too.
In my youth, the idea of self-publishing was something I once knocked because back in the day it was more about vanity publishing and paying hundreds of dollars to someone to put everything together for you. I couldn't image spending all that time writing and polishing and preparing a story and then not getting that validation from a big house. And then spending unimaginable amounts of money I couldn't afford to have it published myself. Nowadays though, I think I'd rather get my validation from readers who enjoy what I write. I write because I love the stories and want to share them. Being a best-seller would be great, but it's not a requirement for me regarding how I value my career success.
Self-publishing is not vanity publishing. The author puts in a lot of time and works hard to see that they put out a good product. It is not vanity publishing, as I'd say the majority of what's "spent" is time and hard work rather than a lot of moolah. Sure there are a few fees (editors, formatters, cover art, etc) unless you are able to do those things yourself, but it's not the same as forking over a lot of money like back in the day.
I mean, after all, I also once doubted the viability of digital books because I wanted to cling tight to my paper books. I love the smell, weight and feel of a real book and shopping for a real book in a brick and mortar store, but I'm coming around and I now see the logic and viability- and the mobility of eBooks. I actually love my Kindle Touch, so it can't be all bad, right?
But as for covers, if I find I just can't hack it with designing covers, I'll hire someone, but first I want to see if I still have the graphic chops to do a few myself and I'm eager to learn more, so if you know of websites that are great for amateur cover artists, sites that offer great stock images that don't hurt the pocketbook, or other things that you've found work well with design, let me know. I'd love all the help I can get and it would definitely be appreciated more than you know.