Category Archives: Publishing

How to Make a Print Cover for Your Book — Post by Mary C. Findley

7 31 2015 chasing print cover

I recently helped an author friend make a print version of an ebook cover at CreateSpace.  He asked me to give some instructions for the next time. This post assumes you have an image manipulation program and know how to use it fairly well. I won’t be explaining details about tools and techniques. I assume you know them, or else, not to be unkind, you can’t do this.

I also post this caution. I am a cover designer and people pay me to do this for them because it is not easy.  Print covers are especially difficult. I am not saying I don’t like to help do-it-yourselfers, but I am giving you fair warning that it is hard.

So here it is, as simple as I can make it. Anyone who has any questions, please feel free to email me mjmcfindley@gmail.com This post is only about making a print cover, and from a finished ebook cover, and nothing about the book’s interior. If anyone would like to know my process for that, please let me know at the email address above.

When making a print cover, CreateSpace  gives three options. Most of us choose not to take the professional design services option because of cost. That leaves two more choices: 1. use the cover designer or 2. upload your own print-ready pdf.

The first option is one that many of my author friends have used with success. CreateSpace offers different background designs and layouts. Authors can use their own images if they fit correctly into the spaces. This is where some authors have not been so successful. This was the case with the friend I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

I made his ebook cover so I took a personal interest in trying to help him make it work. He relayed to me the error messages he got as his cover was rejected by the cover designer program. I changed the size of the front cover, created a back cover panel — nothing seemed to work, including re-making the size to their specifications.

I didn’t deal directly with CreateSpace so I’m not sure of everything that happened. I just know my author friend’s  frustration level was rising.  I wanted to help.

  1. I told him I would download a CreateSpace template of my own. This is step one, by the way, of my how-to instructions. Go to this link:   https://www.createspace.com/Help/Book/Artwork.do Choose your color (black & white is most common. If you have a color interior, chose that. Plug in the trim size (his was 6 x 9) and the page count.  They create a zipped file containing two items: a pdf and a png file. You download that file, open it, and upload the png file into your image program. Photoshop, Corel, or whatever one you use. You will see a blank template marked with some of the instructions needed to create the cover with trim edges and spine marked.
  2. Unfortunately, in my program, PhotoImpact, it doesn’t handle that file as a png. For those with the same problem, this is an extra step if the template doesn’t have that layer with the pink lines separate from the white background. All you need to do is create a blank image the same size as (or slightly larger than) the template, copy and paste the template into it, center it, and use the magic erase tool or whatever it is called in your program to wipe out the white areas inside and around the pink template.
  3. Create a background that complements your ebook cover. That could be a simple solid color, but I like to use at least a textured background, like stone or fabric. You can get free textures at this link: http://webtreats.mysitemyway.com/ These are tileable, meaning you can fill the background with a smooth, even image. Choose a photo background instead if you wish. Make sure, again, that the background complements and doesn’t distract from your main front cover image.
  4. Lay out your ebook cover centered in the front cover area of the template. Getting an exact fit may require resizing. Don’t expect a perfect fit against the spine. When the book is completed it’s rare that the printers make an exact fold in the same place every time. I soften and fade the edges so that there’s no need to worry about an exact fit. The alternative is to try to exactly match whatever your ebook background is. That’s difficult if you didn’t make it yourself. If you did, that makes it easier.
  5. The hardest part for me is the back cover text. I suggest you lay it out a paragraph at a time. Small amounts of text are easier to manage. Pick an easily-readable contrasting text color and font. If necessary, use a screen behind the text to add contrast, and/or a thin outline, and/or a drop shadow.  Choose whether you will center it, block it, or just make normal paragraphs. This text, by the way, is your book blurb. It can be exactly what you made for your ebook upload page, or different. Up to you. Just make sure it is a comfortable fit. You can also have an author bio and image if you like. Just be aware of the space you must leave open for the barcode CreateSpace will add. It’s part of the template.
  6. The spine text is pretty simple. Type or copy and paste it in — I put the author (last name only) first and then the title and any publisher name if you use it. Then just rotate the  text 90 degrees so the head of the test faces toward the front cover. Make as sure as you can that the text fits within the pink borders. CreateSpace often says this is where you have a problem but often they just fix it and it works out fine. Make sure you delete the template, flatten or merge all parts, and save as a pdf.
  7. Remember, all images are required to be 300 DPI. Everything has to fit well within the pink lines.  Err on the side of caution. CreateSpace may still say the dimensions are off, but in every case I have let them adjust and had good results.
  8. Go through the review process, make adjustments if it doesn’t pass, and just keep at it until it does pass. “Your files are printable” is the message you are looking for.
  9. Please, please, please order a proof. Look for text too close to the spine or edge, readability, and good image quality.  Different printers produce different quality. If you can’t live with what you get, CreateSpace is good about fixing what they can. Contact them, but remember that they have what they call, paraphrasing because I don’t remember the exact wording, “acceptable variations” and there’s only so much you can do.

I wish you all the best. And I’m ready to help anyone who needs it.

Image Credit: Print cover for one of my books, made using the ebook version as described in this post. Design by Mary C. Findley. Texture from Webtreats, Images from Depositphotos.com

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Will you be my Valentine? I mean Free Reader?

valentine-free-books

Whether you’re a Valentine’s Day lover or hater, we hope you’re a free book lover! There are lots to choose from, including nine from Findley Family Video Publications. Come pay a visit to our facebook event page and see all the free books! Some are free only certain days so be sure to check throughout the three day event!

http://bit.ly/2lEM6Ds

Or come straight to the Christian Women Writers’ website to see what’s there! Whoa! A free Kindle giveaway!

http://cwwriters.com/readers/valentines-day-event-plus-kindle-fire-giveaway/

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Even I Can Use Instagram — Post by Mary C. Findley

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I haven’t written an actual “writing” post for awhile. As I posted not too long ago, it’s been a year of upheavals and little or no writing for me. Still, I have picked up a few ideas for writers in my stumbling, fuddy-duddy way, that might help. I tend to discover things other people have known and used for a long time, and one of those is Instagram.

Unfortunately, I discovered it after I dunked and destroyed my first and only smart phone. I’m back to a regular old keyboard phone for now. I joined a group of authors on a lovely new blog called Candidly Christian (see my first post here)  http://candidlychristian.com/life-lessons/ .

The moderator asked us to join Instagram to help promote. I did that, on my laptop. I discovered that I could join, follow, and like (or heart) posts, but I couldn’t post anything myself from my computer. I kept getting messages in my email to download the app, tormenting me with the memory of my dear departed smartphone. So I figured I was doomed to never know the joys of true Instagram participation. I flashed back to the days I started using Twitter and didn’t have any tweets. https://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/curiouser-and-curiouser-an-authors-adventures-in-twitterland/

Or so I thought. I do know that in the world of devices there is usually some kind of workaround. It didn’t take long to discover that there is indeed a Chrome extension for Instagram that works on laptops and desktops. The picture at the top of the article, which is Ruth, daughter’s “hearing-aid” cat, referred to in my first Candidly Christian post, is also my very first Instagram post. I know, I know. In the future I will crop and clean up images better. But I like to share my struggles as well as my successes with struggling fellow writers.

When you set up your Instagram profile, you might fetch up against the daunting task of including your self-description. Describe yourself and your reason for being there in 140 characters. Not easy. I based my profile description on my Amazon author page. Here’s the highly distilled, Instagram version:

Cover artist ❤ pets cross-genre author w/never-say-die heroes crazy smart husband 3 kids 18-wheeler shotgun Proverbs 16:3 Book midwife elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com

Here’s a link for a Chrome Instagram Extension. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/instagram-for-chrome/opnbmdkdflhjiclaoiiifmheknpccalb?hl=en-US

Here’s my Instagram profile. https://www.instagram.com/marycampagnafindley/ It’s lonely over there, and I’d appreciate follows and whatever else you do on Instagram. (still figuring that out.) And pointers.

And, oh, dear, I hear there’s something called Snapchat! eeps!

 

 

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A Children’s Book I Illustrated — Archibald and the Fiery Furnace — now 99 cents!

archibald ad

A couple of years ago I took the plunge into children’s book illustrating and here is my first effort. This is a fantasy frame tale for children involves a “runt of the litter” kitty named Archibald who helps teach lessons of loyalty and the search for belonging. He travels through Bible history seeking his “forever home,” meeting true heroes of the faith. This first one is about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. You’ve never heard the fiery furnace from a cat’s point of view, have you?

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Archie is an odd cat who hates fish, but children will enjoy searching through the story for a hidden fish on each page. The book includes full-color illustrations and at the end there are devotional lessons that make for great snuggle-time teaching moments for anyone who loves teaching kids the Word of God.

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Archie visits the throne room of Nebuchadnezzar but even a cat who has experienced the special love and care of God can’t seem to save his new friends from this king’s wrath.

 

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Maybe the angels who sang Archie to sleep as a kitten will charge in to the rescue?

 

not afraid

Things certainly don’t look good for his friends, and there’s nothing Archie can do but pray!

Archibald and the fiery Furnace is only 99 cents right now, so come to Christian Book Finds and have a look! http://christianfictionebooks.blogspot.com/

archie baby golden light tree bird

Enjoy the story of Archibald the abandoned kitty’s journey into a better understanding of God and how He works through His Word. — post by Mary C. Findley

 

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What’s Free or 99 cents at Findley Family Video Publications?

free books

The following books are free as first in a series, prequel, or introduce a series. Click on the cover to go to the book’s page.

  new ephron cover 25     latest pain ebook new fonts 25     Disestablish 25      Great thirst 1 prepared the edge 25     anti 1 estab 2 4 2014 25    sojourner ebook 25     OT NT MS history student excerpts 25

empire 1 ebook 25

99cent books

These books are either on sale or permanently 99 cents. Choose from historical, fantasy, SciFi, and nonfiction. Everything from current issues to romance to adventure to homeschool helps to relationships to writers’ and readers’ tools.

baron ebook 25

good bad ugly 25

25

king of glory 25

chasing 9 6 2015 25

what i sec hum new 25

hope cover 25

student

teacher

what is science ebook new 25

fifty shades one final tagline the edge 25

4 4 2014 part 4 results 25

send a white rose 9 6 2015 ebook 25

acolyte new 25

new anti ebook cover 25

City on a hill ebook 25

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Interview with Cynthia Carlisle Fields about Indie Writing and The Temecula Valley Indie Christian Writers Conference

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Elk Jerky for the Soul: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Cynthia Carlisle Fields (CCF): I am an author/screenwriter from San Diego, CA. and a graduate of San Diego State University. I am a mother of 1 son, a recent Law School Graduate. I have published 2 books and I am currently working on my first novel. I also host/publish 2 websites; The Derek Morgan Chronicles (www.thederekmorganchronicles) and Writers Stew (www.writersstew.com).

My Feelings on Indie…

I’m proud to say that I am an Indie writer. It gives me the freedom to be as creative and as aggressive as I want to be in marketing my work and myself. For years there has been a stigma against indie writers and many believe that our work or our method of publishing somehow is inferior to traditional methods. That can’t be further from the truth. Indie simply means that we have accepted full responsibility for publishing and marketing our work. In fact, most of books that you see on bookshelves today are authored by indie writers.

I am confident in my gifts as a writer and I don’t feel that it is necessary to wait for a few publishing houses with a limited staff to validate me as an author. I prefer to eliminate the wait and cut the middleman. While traditional publishers have their merits, when they handle the cost of publishing and marketing it could take up to 2 years or more for your book to reach the retailer.

My books look and feel just like any other publisher’s, they meet all industry standards for publishing and when you walk in the bookstore they represent me like any other book represents its author. Indie authors are enjoying impressive sales at the counter of retailers worldwide and I encourage writers to consider the Indie market.

As an Indie writer I have learned to be aggressive in my pursuit of my craft, because of the pursuit and God’s blessings, I am so excited to see that my work is being accepted throughout the industry and I have even sold a script for a feature film that will begin production in 2016.

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Elk Jerky: When is this conference? And what kind of conference is it? Who is it tailored to?

CCF: The Temecula Valley Indie Christian Writers Conference will be held March 18-20, 2016. This is a conference for writers or those with a desire to become writers. It is designed to assist Indie writers by sharing information and tools that will help assist in finding publishing opportunities, exposure for their work and to take their careers as writers to the next level. The conference is tailored to the Indie Christian writer however, the workshops, networking opportunities and publishing information can be used by any and all writers regardless of genre.

Elk Jerky: What made you decide to coordinate an indie writers’ conference?

CCF: Navigating the mysterious waters of publishing and careers in writing can be scary, murky and often the doors are not only closed but they are invisible for the indie writer. When you add being a Christian writer it can be even more daunting in pursuing a career as a writer. The number of indie writers is growing by leaps and bounds and with traditional publishing houses publishing fewer and fewer new authors each year, writers need an alternative to ways of publishing and working in the ever-changing field of writing. Ginger and I, both indie writers wanted to provide a way to help writers because knowledge is power!

Temecula_City_Hall

Elk Jerky: Why did you choose Temecula as a host city?

CCF: Why not Temecula? When conferences and opportunities present themselves, it’s often in larger well-known parts of the country. Temecula, which is a part of Riverside County, is ripe with talented writers. I’m from San Diego but I spend most of my time in Temecula and I am impressed by all of the writers and those wanting to write that I’ve met here over the last few years. Plus, we are only an hour from Orange County and Los Angeles, so we are hoping to attract writers from those areas as well. The fact that we are in the heart of Temecula’s amazing wine country with almost 80 wineries, along with some of the finest restaurants and eateries in the country and a hopping nightlife in Old Town, Temecula is the perfect location for our conference.

Elk Jerky: What kind of workshops are available?

CCF: We will have workshops on: Publishing, Editing, Dialogue, Effective use of Social Media, Screenwriting, How to get an agent, Writing for Worship, How to Write a Query letter, Humor, Poetry and more. We will also have a full day of workshops for young writers grades 6-12.

Elk Jerky: Who are some of the workshop instructors?

CCF: Some of our instructors include: Author Sharon Elliot; Farrell J. Foreman, Professor and Award winning Playwright, Actor and Poet; and Nikia Chaney, Professor, Editor, Award winning Poet and Cave Canum Fellow, to name a few.

Elk Jerky: Who is the keynote speaker? Could you share a little bit about her?

cheri fuller

CCF: We are excited to announce that Cheri Fuller, the author of 42 books, will be our keynote speaker!

Cheri Fuller is a gifted, inspiring communicator who speaks nationally and internationally. From the east coast to the west coast and as far away as South Africa, Brazil, Switzerland, and Singapore, Cheri presents encouraging programs that impact people. Through her engaging storytelling style and practical wisdom, audiences leave inspired and challenged to face life’s struggles with hope and purpose. She keynotes at women’s retreats and conferences, writers’ conferences, Christmas events, and national parenting seminars.

Cheri is an award-winning author of forty two books including her newest, Mother-Daughter Duet and The One Year Women’s Friendship Devotional.

A former Oklahoma Mother of the Year, Cheri has been a frequent media guest on Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, NBC Radio News, Moody Broadcasting, and other national radio and TV programs. Her articles have appeared in Family Circle, ParentLife, Guideposts, Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, Better Homes & Gardens Faith & Spirit, and other publications.

Cheri’s passion is encouraging women and inspiring and equipping people of all ages to connect with God in their busy life and impact their world through prayer, as they live life to the fullest, focus on what really matters, and build loving connections with family and friends no matter what their circumstances.

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Elk Jerky: Are there any other events taking place at this conference? (prizes, drawings, contests, book fair, etc.)

CCF: Friday night will feature a spoken word showcase and Saturday night will showcase the work created during our Young Writers workshops. The winners of our monologue contest will also have an opportunity to demonstrate their work on Saturday evening. We will also have a community book fair all day Saturday featuring the works of local and national authors including conference instructors and attendees. Sunday, we will close the conference with a morning worship service lead by one of our local pastors!

We are running contests throughout our registration period. Currently we are sponsoring a Monologue contest and an Anthology contest in which writers are invited to enter, poetry, and short stories in all genres. The winner will be featured in our Conference Anthology publication.

Elk Jerky: At most writers’ conferences writers would love the chance of meeting industry professionals. Will there be agents, publishers, and editors available for consultations?

CCF: Yes, attendees will have an opportunity to network with industry professionals. A special meet-and-greet will be hosted by Ink and Keys on Thursday evening before the official opening of the conference. Attendees are encouraged to register early for the conference and take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Space is limited but attendees will have a chance to meet and talk to conference instructors and industry professionals over dinner at one of Temecula’s finest eateries.

Elk Jerky: Are there scholarships available?

CCF: Yes! Ink and Keys is offering a limited number of scholarships that will be awarded on a needs basis. We are also encouraging individuals, businesses and churches to consider sponsoring an attendee(s) through our sponsorship opportunity. More information can be found on our website at: www.inkandkeys.org.

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Elk Jerky: What do you hope the people attending will come away with?

CCF: I’m hoping that people will walk away with the courage to pursue their dreams of writing. With the tools and exposure that attendees will receive it is my hope that they will return home and begin writing, and believing that they have what it takes to write, to publish, to see their words come alive. The dream of becoming a writer is very possible and the only limits are those we put on ourselves.

Ink and Keys is proud and excited to bring to the Temecula Valley this amazing, timely and necessary event to the writers in the Inland Empire and surrounding areas. We pray that writers, and industry professionals will take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn and network amongst each other as we work to open doors to the Indie Christian writer.

For more information visit our website at: www.inkandkeys.org.

cynthia fields

CYNTHIA CARLISLE FIELDS BIOGRAPHY

Author** Screenwriter** Actor**Producer

Co-Creator/Host- Temecula Valley Indie Christian Writers Conference: 3/18-20, 2016: 3 day conference and book fair will offer opportunities for writers/authors to network with industry leaders in all writing genres. One-on-one meetings, workshops and breakout sessions to discuss, publishing, marketing, enhancing writing skills, mastering social networking and other tools to help take their writing careers to the next level.

Restored Me Feature Film & Soundtrack: 2/14- Present: Worked as independent contractor assisting the Executive Producers in casting background/extras; Worked with project Marketing and Public Relations Director by writing the Production Notes.

Night of Life Issues: 2/14-Lead actor in role of Lady #1-“At the Kitchen Table”. “Night of Life Issues” is a stage play that explores the many life altering issues facing women of all ages. The evening begins with several teen girls sharing their struggles with family, peer pressure and drug and alcohol abuse. At the Kitchen Table, finds five women who have been friends since childhood reconnecting one evening at the kitchen table. During the evening, secrets are revealed that will both challenge their faith and their friendship.

The Glenn Ford Story: 9/14-Present: Author & Screenwriter. In 1983, Glenn Ford was tried, convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Isadore Rozeman. Wrongly convicted, Ford served 30 years on death row making him Louisiana’s longest-serving prisoner on death row. Approaching the first anniversary of his freedom, Ford finds himself battling cancer that was originally diagnosed while in prison but was not treated due to his death-row status.

I have recently signed an agreement with Mr. Ford and his family to tell his life story and I am currently in pre-production on the film entitled, “Thirty Years of Tears.”

The Derek Morgan Chronicles: Creator & Writer: The Derek Morgan Chronicles is a Collection of Fan Fiction Stories based on the CBS Procedural Crime Drama, Criminal Minds. The stories feature the show’s original character, Derek Morgan. Nicknamed, “Fan Fiction on Steroids,” these stories explore the mind and life of the characters while interjecting new characters to create amazing and thought-provoking drama. Originally written as a blog, the chronicles is now a full-blown website that has found new life and a growing following on the Internet with nearly 150,000 views to date. (See links below).

http://thederekmorganchronicles.com
https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5113402/ddgorgeous

Writers Stew: Creator & Writer: Writers Stew is a website filled with inspirational, motivating and creative writings. The main purpose is to share my work and encourage emerging writers to pursue their passion for writing.

Priscilla Jones Shares It All: Creator/Writer. Priscilla Jones is a successful advice columnist who finds herself suddenly divorced after thirty years of marriage. Now alone she suddenly realizes that she must take the advice that she has so willingly given others as she embarks on her own quest for love and happiness (Pilot script complete and registered with WGA-West).

Cold Day: Writer. Cold day is a screenplay written for a feature film. The comedy looks into Hell on the one day that it actually freezes over! The words, “It’ll be a cold day in hell before I…” is a phrase that has been spoken with great conviction by many. Cold Day looks into the lives of three such people as Satan himself witnesses their lives from the discomfort of his frosty digs on a particularly cold day in Hell. (Pilot script is complete and registered with WGA-West.). Tentatively scheduled for pre-production, Dec. 2015.

In My Mother’s Shoes, published in March 2007 is a collection of poetry, short stories and psalms which pay tribute to my mother; it’s a book that virtually every reader can connect with as they reflect upon their mother or the person who filled the role as a mother in their lives.

Tribute to Mother, published in March 2009 is a follow up to my first book, “In My Mother’s Shoes.” This book is a collection of poetry, short stories and testimonials written by men, women and youth and original writings of mine that again pay tribute to mothers. The collection is an emotional journey through the eyes of so many who wanted to take a moment to say thank you, mother.

Recent Writing Awards:
2014 Profiler Choice Awards: Awards given for writing excellence in Fan Fiction for Criminal Minds.

*Winner, Best JJ/Morgan Story (Left Behind)
*Runner Up Best New Author
*Runner Up Best Drama (Family Reunion)

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Premade Cover Sale! — Guest post by Jen Gentry

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Some of the most talented cover designers I have the privilege to know have come together for a great cause. They have donated several glorious pre-made book covers to help create scholarship money to assist aspiring indie authors to attend the upcoming Christian Indie Authors Conference. This is an excellent opportunity for Indie Authors to score a professional book cover at a very good cost and help a fellow Indie Author at the same time.


The sale is going on right now and ends on July 4th. The organizer Samantha Fury says they will be adding new covers daily until the sale is over.


I personally have enjoyed just looking through the wonderful selection of interesting, breathtaking, and artistic works on display. Anyone who purchases will be working directly with the designer to personalize each piece.


If you are looking for a cover for your own next masterpiece be sure to check out this book cover extravaganza.  Here is the link for the facebook event. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1594999634107302/

To learn more about the #CIAN2015 Conference please visit their website here
www.christianindieauthors.com/cia-conference.html

Original post from: http://jengentrysbooks.weebly.com/gems-from-jen/book-covers-supporting-a-good-cause-for-indie-authors

site.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1594999634107302/

To learn more about the #CIAN2015 Conference please visit their website here
www.christianindieauthors.com/cia-conference.html

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