I received a question from Shannon O'Donnell and Sara McClung. Both asked if I designed the covers for the WIP's you see to the left and if so, how I did it. The answer: yes, I designed them and here's how:
If you don't already have a Photoshop-like program, I know of one you can download for free. It's called GIMP. If you click that link it'll take you to the website. It took me a little while to understand what all the tools did but it wasn't that hard and it was fun experimenting. This is what it looks like when you open the program:
If you go to file and open, you can select a picture from your files. The picture you select can be one you've taken or one that you've used from the Internet. Watch out for copyright laws. From what I understand, you can use a picture of someone else's as long as you give them some credit (like a mention in a blog or in tiny print at the bottom of the photo) and only use it for your own use (don't sell it or anything) However, I think it's much more fun to take the pictures yourself and see what you can come up with, hopefully something that can work with your WIP's ideas and themes.
The picture you take, should automatically be the right size for the book. it's easier to take a vertical shot, but if you don't, you can add a background color. (It takes a while to explain how that works, but if you want to know, email me and I'll be happy to show you: email@example.com)
Okay, so we have the picture and now it's time to have some fun. I personally like to darken my photos, so I'm going to use the dodge/burn tool to do that. (it's the one that looks like a black ball and stick in the toolbox) Dodge makes the pic lighter and burn makes it darker, you can select which one in the 2nd half of the "toolbox" box. You can also change how dark/light you want it to go with one "stroke" of your mouse. So, once you get it how you like it, it will look something like this:
(hint: save as you go. If you do something you don't like you can use the undo button (hit ctrl z) but, you could accidentally undo something you liked. It's in your best interest to save as you go and then delete the extras once you're finished.)
Now, you can add some stuff to it from other pictures you have taken. I'm going to use 2 pics I found on the web. Open the first pic and use the "free select tool"(one that looks like a lasso) to select the image you want. Copy and Paste it onto the original and adjust the size and direction. Play with it and add more until you're satisfied. I'm going to add a few more in a different color. See this next picture..
Now, I'm going to add some sparkles/fairy dust because what's not wonderfully magical about butterflies?? To do that I'm going to use the paintbrush and adjust the size of the brush in the 2nd half to the tool box. I also darkened the picture a bit more so the sparkles stand out. Here's the finished product: All that remains is to add the title, your name and credit the website.
So, since this is a sample, I'm going to make up a title and put my name on it. (I kinda wish I had a book to fit this to now. Who know's maybe I will eventually. :) Adjust the font style and size to compliment the picture. Again, just play around until you find the one that fits for you. Here's what I came up with for the final look:
If you want your book synopsis and an excerpt to come up when someone clicks on the picture....add your picture as one of the gadgets and you'll see a box that says link on the Blogger Customize page.
Go to Google Docs and create a free account. You can use this program like Word. Once you write it all down, find the button on the right top that says SHARE. Click it and select "get the link to share." A box will pop up with the link. Paste that link into the box on the gadget that says link and you are good to go. (don't forget to tell your followers to click on the picture in the picture comment box) Sign out of everything. Go to your blog, view your awesome pick and click it, your synopsis and query should pop up. Now, you're done.
Let me know if you try it. I want to see what everyone else can come up with!