This week I temporarily set aside the revisions on my WIP to focus on another aspect of my “self-publishing journey”— creating covers for the three completed novellas languishing on my hard drive. In other, more accurate, words, my life force has been sucked out of me by the heinous graphics software program InDesign because I’m too cheap to hire a cover designer.
My word, how I hate that program, which is entirely because I’m so ignorant about it. I had to use it at my last day job seven years ago, and then only in a very limited capacity. Seven years and who knows how many updates later, InDesign might as well be string theory, genome analysis, and astronomical map projections rolled into one. It is very complicated.
I decided to tackle it again because the revisions on my WIP have slowed to a crawl. I’ve looked at that manuscript so many times now that I’m not sure what I’m seeing. The last time I suggested to my critique partners that I cut a section because it was boring, they freaked, saying it was that scene that made the chapter. Really? Clearly I’ve lost perspective. Clearly I need to give the book a rest.
While I take a break from revising the WIP, there’s a lot of things I could do for my writing career: start a newsletter, post to FaceBook, figure out an ad campaign. But they say that the best marketing tool is a new book, and I have three novellas just sitting here. But my problem was, I didn’t want to spend $300 each for three little books that will never earn back the expense. At 99 cents per copy, of which my royalty is 35 percent, I’d have to sell almost 1,000 books of each novella just to break even.
Not gonna happen.
Enter InDesign. I’m not a book designer, much less a graphic artist, but I’ve worked on thousands of magazine covers, I used to be a typesetter, and I feel relatively confident about my ability to know what’s working.
Overconfident much? I downloaded the free trial version, which is good for a week. Then you either have to pay or they shut it down. InDesign is cheaper now that you can buy a monthly subscription, but $20 a month is still $20 a month. Free is better. And I didn’t want to get stuck in a credit card loop where they keep charging you because you forget to cancel or can’t figure out how to cancel.
So I’ve been hustling. The color bars nearly stumped me, and the outline feature did stump me, but two days later, I have two simple covers done. For one cover, I already had the cover image and it just needed placement and type treatment. The other cover I started from scratch (the image cost $4.09). One cover to go. If I decide to keep going, which right now is up in the air.
Two full days of this, for only two simple covers. Work a graphic artist could do probably in an hour. Still, it’s the satisfaction of the thing, right? And on the upside, I am so ready to get back to the WIP. So ready. (For a related discussion, check out the blog post by Kim Bullock, “Motivation: Make Writing Dessert Again.”)
How many of you are planning to self-publish (or already have)? And how much of the self do you plan to put into that journey?