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Lady of the Land
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Learning how to Format and Make Covers


This has moved up from "nice to have" to "must learn as fast as possible" now.

So far, I know I'll try Jutoh for ebooks, GIMP for the ebook covers, but I am completely scared about creating print files for CreateSpace.

I'll let you know how it goes. emoticon

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


When the time comes for a book cover I think I'll be hiring an SF Illustrator. I do have elements I'll want to see on it but do not have the artistic ability to do the work myself. That could change and I do have the ability to use elements from my "inspirational pics" to do adverts...

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


Does Jutoh have a free version?

A book on self-publishing suggested both Gimp & Scribus. Gimp for images, and Scribus for creating the covers. And also Scribus for formatting the book/ebook. I don't recall if they suggested a program for converting the doc into an ebook version.

Susa has her board for playing around with Gimp: [sign in to see URL] If you'd like to share what you've learned there, or have questions anyone might know the answer to.





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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


What's wrong with using ]Sigil?

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


I'm just learning Jutoh, but it's supposed to create cleaner files than Sigil and Calibre. It also offers templates in the full version (which I'll probably buy once I learn the ropes) which make creating series much easier.

Jutoh can export to all kinds of ebook files, both mobi and epub (and there are different versions of epub because nobody has managed to agree on specs, which is why Amazon has mobi).

Basically, ebooks are created with html and CSS, like websites. I still have to see an ebook file in an editor, but I think it'll be fun.

Last edited by Firlefanz, 1/4/2017, 6:34 am


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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


Working my way through a Jutoh tutorial that's utterly boring up to now. Need to keep working with that.

And I started on my first ever serious cover creation project, which shows me how minuscule my knowledge of GIMP is.

This is what I have now. emoticon

--Log in or sign up to see linked image content--

I need to learn how to add texture to text.
I want to blurr that unholy mass of twigs above my author name and add two people there, my MCs.
I need to find pics that actually represent them...

Argh. emoticon

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


I think that is a really nice start for the front cover. I don't use GIMP so I can't help with it. Now if you were using PhotoFiltre7 I could help out...

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


The leaves stick out. I was thinking you might want to lower your name so none are hidden/covered, and brighten them somehow.

Susa plays with Gimp quite a lot. Mostly with layers for her siggys and emoticons.

Have you checked out their manual?

[sign in to see URL] or [sign in to see URL]

I've got links to Gimp Users/Chat sites in this thread:

[sign in to see URL]




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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


It's getting better!

I learned about the clone tool and removed that white garbage back just above the F of Finderlohn. In addition, I want to give the letters some texture, especially to let the n of Finderlohn pop out from the tree trunk.

I also plan to blur out the leaves and twigs above my name and insert my hero's face (once I find him on one of the picture sites), as well as a building or two of the town where the novel takes place. So that area will get a different use.

And depending on how it turns out, I'll put my name on the top again.

This is part of the learning curve. Yesterday, I did watch a basic tutorial that wasn't boring and instead was quite helpful. It had the right amount of information, and gave me the incentive to play some more.

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I'm seeing a box-ish shape at the base of the left tree. Just in case it's not suppose to be there. I use to play with Photoshop years ago, not sure where the tutorials got to...

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


Yeah, that shape is the garbage can... I'm not sure if I should take it out, it's so hard to see. I probably could...

Still haven't done more with this, hopefully this weekend.

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


After all my planned buddy sessions were cancelled yesterday, I found the strength to tackle GIMP once more.

After spending hours online, I had finally found a model that could repesent my hero, and tried to put the bust / head into the part above my author name.

I learned how to make a background transparent. I learned how to use the eraser and blur tool. And nothing I did made that head look good on that background.

*insert hair-pulling smilie*

Then my FB friend suggested going with a slightly different part of my background pic and shift the text somewhat. Such a simple solution! So I played with that, added a dropshadow to the text, and came up with this.

If I manage to write a powerful blurb / description, it should sell. I hope.

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


Did you use layers to add the other image/s? I've not yet learned how to create/use layers, but I think that's the secret to adding other images to a background image.






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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


Oh, yes. That image has at least seven layers.

In GIMP, some layers are created automatically, for example if you add text. The drop shadows each have their own layer. Each layer moves independently of the others, but you can "link" them to move them together, definitely helpful to move text and drop shadow together.

You can also create a new layer and then anchor an imported pic to it. That's very important if you want to be able to move it around. Fortunately, I've been familiar with the concept of layers for years. Makes it much easier.

(I fixed that annoying white spot just below the subtitle.)

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


I really need to learn how to layer ... or, the proper way to layer ... before I start working on covers/jackets.





 

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There is nothing difficult about layers. Don't let them scare you.

It simply means that each element of a picture has its own layer, or container. And that's where you work when you want to change anything about that element. It keeps everything separate and managable. And there is always a window where you can choose in which layer you want to work. Simple.

Also, you keep the layers until you're either absolutely sure you're finished - or even forever. Because you don't actually use the original picture for anything other than playing with it.

For all other purposes, you export to another file format, jpg, png or gif. That automatically eliminates layers. Again, very simple.

 emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Good to know. Thanks.

And yeah. I used to open Gimp and then close it again. I did that for years, and then one day I opened it up and started playing with it and it seemed so much easier than it had all the times in the past when I opened it up.

I should do that with layers too. Just start playing.







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Looks good, Firle! emoticon

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Thanks, trying! emoticon

So yesterday I finally managed to create my first .mobi file. Before I could do that, I had to install KindleGen, a program that Amazon provides for generating Kindle .mobi files.

I think I got everything right. At least Jutoh didn't complain.

However, I also installed the Kindle Previewer which I will use to proof the file before uploading.

I'm creating a template for the little bits and pieces: Acknowledgments, asking for a review, linking to my website, listing my other books... because that'll be practically the same for everything I release, and it can be a simple c/p in the long run.

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


I think I have the ebook formatting down okay. I'm learning, however, that italics can get lost in transfer and must be checked. Thoroughly.

*sigh*

The print formatting process is something else entirely.

The idea is this:

1) Use OpenOffice / LibreOffice to create the print interior exactly as it is supposed to look like.
(Not Word. That is important.)

The print interior includes a dedicated title page, copyright page, thanks and acknowledgements, table of contents, different left and right pages, headers, page numbers, first chapter pages, chapter paragraphs (with or without indentation), justification and so on, all the way to the final pages asking for reviews and peddling more books.

CreateSpace offers templates for all their many trim sizes, but at a closer look, they are simply a Word document (.doc) with styles to define all these things. You're supposed to plonk in your text chapter by chapter. Unfortunately, that "template" only has ten chapters.

And it doesn't really work in Libre Office because the styles don't convert very well.

Which is bad, because the next step is supposed to be:

2) Turn that file into a PDF with embedded fonts

Which you can do by pushing a button in LibreOffice. Very simple. But impossible without completing step 1 first.

Without a working template, I cannot complete step 1.

And you do NOT want to use Word for that step. Of course, you can, but you must be aware that Word is adding its own language and styles and commands without telling you. Those files are bloated and can easily create havoc. Word is bad and expensive.


In other news, I might look at Scribus, which is a free, open-source desktop publishing program, which people compare to InDesign. I'm honestly not keen on the learning curve, but I may be forced to use it.

*feeling exhausted*

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I have Scribus [sign in to see URL] on my computer. I have never played with it and don't know why I installed it but it sounds like one of those things I will need in the near future. emoticon

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


Right now, I'm about to start working with another template a friend found on the web, including tutorials.

In the long run, I'll probably create my own. *sigh*

Or work with Scribus. I just dread adding another learning curve to my already busy system...

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


The other template worked, and it's much simpler than the CreateSpace one.

I finished putting my entire German novel into it, and it looks really good. Came out to ~ 250 words. Of course, I haven't really tested it by uploading it to CreateSpace just yet.

Next step is to create the wrap-around cover to CS specs. I dread that step.

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Yay for the new Template!

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


So yesterday, I sat down and formatted "Dorelle's Journey". In fact, I did the print and ebook versions in tandem, which worked out very, very well.

I fixed a typo or two, and changed a word or two. The print book came out to 100 pages, which is rather nice. The old version only has 70+. With a bit of luck, I can now promote it better.

It was amazingly easy.

Now, I haven't uploaded a print file yet - I really hope LO creates good PDFs - and that'll be the ultimate test. I think I'll do that tomorrow, and then see how it goes. The new covers are practically ready as well.

The Cloud Lands Saga Month is about to commence! emoticon

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Re: Learning how to Format and Make Covers


I uploaded the files for the ebook of "Dorelle's Journey" on Thursday afternoon my time. When I went to bed, it was "live" on the bookshelf.

It still hasn't updated in the Amazon stores. *grumbles*

This morning, I finished the formatting of "Kraken War". It came out to 165 print pages. Which is noticably more than the 120+ that it has now. In addition, I found out that it's very easy to toggle back and forth between Jutoh projects, which enabled me to easily copy the backmatter from "Dorelle's Journey" into "Kraken War" (things like the author page, begging for reviews, that kind of stuff).

Now on to "Dragon Court".

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Could the larger page count be your font choices? I know I had to be very specific to get what I wanted from BH.

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Both font size - I used TNR 12pt, and BHC used something smaller which I personally find less easy to read - and a wider gutter.

I had a bit of a panic attack after creating the PDF, and then had to switch the font back to Times New Roman from a much more beautiful but unsupported LO font. TNR was the only font that kept the spacing the same.

I'm not entirely happy with how everything is turning out.

And let me tell you: Quotes are a menace. A severe, bloodthirsty menace.

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