Welcome message

Welcome, friends old and new, to my blog. This is the place where I can share my scribblings and thoughts on loving life. I hope you enjoy them, make suggestions and come back to read more.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Late: a ghostly tale gets a makeover

Me and my big mouth...


As usual, I've gone off half-cocked and failed to think things through properly before doing them- (insert own typical Taurean bull-in-a-china-shop metaphor here)- although, I must say, impulsive decisions do seem to work out quite well for me, and my fragile heart has been truly touched by the support from my friends and family, yet again.

As you know, I've been getting ready to release Strange Ideas: Death, Destiny and Decisions (six weeks to go! Squeee!) and, as it's my first "proper" book, I've been getting a little nervous about the fine details. So it seemed like a good idea to have a trial run. You know, test the process, see how long it takes to receive proofs- that kind of thing. Encouraged by the marvellous Tori and afforded the luxury of time by LCC, off I tootled to give it a whirl.
It all went well, aside from a few hiccups uploading the interior, but the process was easy on the whole, and I was pleased with the result. I used the original cover because that's what I had to hand; it wasn't the greatest IMHO but it would do for now. It was only a test run, after all.
My test-run
As an experiment, it was a success, and that was good enough for me. I didn't expect anyone would buy it but, as that wasn't the point of doing it, I didn't mind too much. If anyone did, it would be a bit of a bonus, that's all. The main thing was that I was now comfortable with the process, and could backtrack to work out a rough timeline so I would be ready for Monday 27th May.
Full of my own cleverness, I posted a link on Facebook, with a message saying I'd made it available in paperback for those who preferred that format or didn't have a Kindle. I'll be honest: I was hoping for a few likes and maybe some Kindle sales. I wasn't prepared for what happened next.
Messages started popping up all over the place. "I just bought your book!" I was stunned. It wasn't what I had expected at all.
I was pleased, obviously, but the perfectionist in me started to jiggle her leg nervously. It was decent, but it wasn't great- I was happy with the story but the cover had been a "make-do", not a conscious effort to portray the book in the best light and give it "shelf appeal". It looked home-made (which it was) and had I been seriously releasing it, I would have put more effort into the cover.
I was reassured that the cover was fine, but I knew in my heart of hearts that I wouldn't pick that book up from a shelf in a bookstore on the strength of it. My friends were kind, and excited for me, but I'd have to do better to make it successful beyond my social circle.
So I got busy.


I'm about to reveal a little of my magic ; )

I bought an image that matched what I had in my head and set to work playing with it.
Here's the original. He looks a bit sad, but that's what I wanted. (Searching for "blond boy sad" made me a little nervous at what I'd find- good job it was a reputable site. Don't ever Google for images of sad children...)
First I added piercing blue eyes, like in the book:
Then I added an effect to make it seem like he was wet (also in the book):
Next, I shaded out the left side of his face, so the focus would be on his eye:
Finally, I cropped him, ready for the finished cover.
Easy peasy, and much better than the original, which added nothing to the story and was a bit "blah".
The interesting side-effect of my cock-up is that those people who bought the original version (and the winner of my Goodreads giveaway) now own a very limited edition first copy, which may one day be worth a lot of money (ha! I can dream... and I do) Well done to them. As far as I can make out, only fifteen copies with the original cover were printed before I pulled it so, in the wise words of Gandalf, "Keep it secret; keep it safe."
And enjoy it, of course x


  1. Well done on doing your own cover, you're very clever and it looks really good :-)

    1. Thanks! Any more thoughts on publishing yours in paperback?


This is the part where you get to join in! What did you think of today's post? Leave me a message and let me know what you think. I love reading your comments!