Self-publishing Part 2: GIMP
Last week, I shared my struggles with formatting. This week, I'm sharing my experience with making a temporary cover. Keeping with the theme of using free software, I downloaded a photo editing software called GIMP and tried to use it. I have no experience with photo editing software at all, so this was a bit of a learning curve for me. I had a premade cover for the front, so all I needed to do was add the spine and back. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has templates you can download to help guide people with creating covers, which is very helpful. I opened the template, copied my pre-made cover in, and started working. I wanted to get the spine and back to be one solid colour. It sounded so simple, but it took me a long time to figure out what I had to create a new image of just solid, and then copy it into the cover's file.
The next issue I had, was at one point, the image I was working on covered the dashed lines on the template that denoted the spine, and I didn't know enough about the software to see where the lines were. So I made an educated guess.
Another annoying that the program did, was whenever I wanted to edit text that was rotated, I had to un-rotate it, edit the text, then rotate it again. Maybe there was a better way to do things. If I ever use GIMP again, I should probably do a short tutorial.
Then came the time to upload the file to KDP. This is when file type occurred to me. GIMP didn't seem to have any file extensions that I recognized, and I started thinking maybe KDP wouldn't be able to read the file I'd made. So after spending a few hours over three days, I decided to check out KDP's cover creator. And let me tell you, their tool is very easy to use. It took me maybe 20 minutes to create a better cover than the one I'd spend hours on.
The moral of the story is, I don't know how to use photo editing software, and Amazon (who owns KDP) has great tools for self-publishing.
As of writing this post, I have ordered the proof copy, but it hasn't arrived yet. I plan to write a post about receiving it when it finally does come.
(Disclaimer: The cover I created is great for my proof copy; I don't plan on using it for my published book.)