Adventures in Self-Publishing, Part Two

So today, I hit the “publish” button for “Once Upon a Gas Tank” at three sites – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. The book is already available at Smashwords, will start appearing at Amazon and B&N in the next two days, and at Kobo, iBooks, Sony, and Deisel Ebooks in about a week.

I took my time getting this story ready, mostly because I didn’t have much time to devote to it. Everything took a long time–I began this process in January–but the cover took the most time of all. For fun, I thought I’d post my covers, so you can see the evolution.

(image source)

My problem here was the picture size. The largest just wasn’t large enough. And I just wasn’t happy with it.

(image source)

Loved this version, but the original pic wasn’t big enough. Also, I discovered that slanted lines look bad when shrunken.

(image source – large!)

This image was plenty big enough, but it just didn’t work for me.

(image source)

I liked this one, but then I got the idea of taking my own picture.

I woke up with this idea and went to a great deal of trouble to obtain this picture. I drove all over town trying to find a metal funnel (available only at Ace Hardware–all others were plastic), and I took a gazillion pictures, and I had to learn new software–Inkscape–in order to get the curving text.

And then I realized it looked dreadful when shrunken. The whole thing just looked like a mistake. You couldn’t even tell it was a gas tank that the funnel was stuck into.

One word–yuck. I went way overboard on the color manipulation.

My final, after lots of tweaks, and after designing the series name in Microsoft Publisher and importing it into the image.

I learned lots. Probably the most valuable lesson was to work with the image while it is zoomed way out, so you will know if it looks good small.

The second book in the series is already written, waiting for a cover (and formatting). I hope it don’t take three months this time!