Here it is, Thursday, and by this time next week people around the world will be writing their little fingers off–though I’m certain a few will be screaming at their computers, or on Facebook, yelling, “Why am I doing this? Why? WHY??” Don’t worry if you fall into that later group; it’s really easy to play Throw Writer From the Train. Let me look for some tall grass to cushion your fall . . .
Last night I was updating my NaNo Novel information on the NaNoWriMo site, and saw the information about uploading a cover for you novel. I’ve done a cover before, and I thought, “Hey, why not do another cover?” I mean, it’s not one I’d use if I sell the novel, or even if I self publish, it’s only going to be there for the duration of NaNo. So I was on the Creative Commons Flickr, looking for something I could use. I may look through for a few more things, but there are thousands of pictures out there, and that becomes something of a huge endeavor when you’re searching for the right image.
It’s the era of digital publishing, of self-publishing. It’s not just enough to know how to write these days: you are require to be able to edit and come up with ideas for promotion, and even do a cover or two when the need arises. It’s not easy; even though I know a little about photo manipulation, creating a cover that makes your happy is hard as hell.
But it’s something that you have to know these days. You have to.
I do my own editing. I’ve had people ask me why, and it’s an easy answer: I can’t afford to pay someone to edit my manuscripts. I write novels, and we’re talking about two hundred, three hundred–or, for one of my series, around nine hundred pages. Even at the cheep price of $2/page, you can see how I’m going to find myself deep in the checkbook if I pay to have someone go over my work. It’s not that I wouldn’t like that, but . . . I’m just a poor, starving artist, and until I’m rolling about cash, I’ll have to be self sufficient.
Same with book covers. It’s time consuming to find a picture you can use, and using software to create or manipulate an image, to get it formatted correctly . . . and then remember that the size of a cover for use on Smashwords is different that the size you’ll use for Amazon Kindle, and can become a bit of a headache.
Gone are the days when all a writer need worry about were their trusty typewriter, ribbons pens or pencils paper, and a fifth of Bushmills. You gotta know how to use software, how to format an ebook, how to use social media for more than poking people, how to make covers, how to edit the hell out of your work . . . you gotta do it all.
You gotta be all the people in the band. This is your Who Came First, and if you can’t step up and do the work, someone’s gonna beat you to the sales counter. ”I can’t do that” isn’t a valid argument these days, not when there’s so much open source software out there, and online tutorials showing you how to do things like re-size an image.
Yeah, it’s a tough old world, but writers are a tenacious bunch, and if anyone is going to figure out the whole mess, it’s us. Or you could sit around and make bunny dresses, then tell the world how things are so hard. It’s your choice–
I mean, it’s not like anyone made you put words on a page, right?