Old Dog, New Tricks In May

I’m back in the saddle with my KDP book projects, getting ready to publish my books again at Amazon. I spent the past month learning new publishing techniques that will help ease the burden of being an indie author who self-publishes their books.

First among the list was learning the latest Microsoft Word program after I replaced 2010 with 365. The learning curve was small on that, which carried me onto Amazon’s latest version of Kindle Create. Again, the curve wasn’t too difficult since I last used the program five years ago.

Next on my list was learning to use Inkscape so I can create my book covers for paperback books. I usually use MS Word and an old PhotoDeluxe program for that, but I wanted to learn something new. The curve on that is big, so I’ve been watching YouTube tutorials to ease the process. I have a college BA degree in graphic design that I received in 1990, so I’m a relic when it comes to all the gadgets and their bells and whistles in the digital age. Don’t let me get started on all my failures while using Photoshop twenty years ago. The program was Grand Canyon huge and clunkier than my grandfather’s Model A Ford back then, so I got rid of it and settled on its streamlined and swifter little brother, PhotoDeluxe. Inkscape doesn’t seem as difficult as Photoshop but has plenty of bells and whistles.

During all this excitement, I replaced my Win7 laptop with a Win10 one. I spent a weekend moving files and learning 10’s shortcuts. It was funny when the computer connected to my old 2007 Hotmail account and wanted to use it as my primary email. I’ve been using Gmail for a decade and I forgot all about my Hotmail account after I transferred all my contacts to Gmail ten years ago. It was funny and a little bewildering to see my face from 2007 on my computer’s sign-in screen. Ah, the old gray hair isn’t what it used to be.

In between writing, prepping my books for publication, and getting comfortable with Win10, MS Word 365, and Inkscape, I decided to dive into the deep end of the author pool by downloading Scrivener version 3. More tutorials at YouTube helped me with its steep learning curve and I enjoyed how easy it was to create ebooks and paperbacks ready to send to Amazon’s KDP.

As if I wasn’t busy enough, I created a new author logo.

I plan to use this on my book covers to give them a unique look. I’m tired of seeing plain fonts on covers, so the artist in me took over during one of my book cover design sessions. Although the one pictured is red, I can use any color.

As an experiment, I threw this cover together for the first ebook at my KDP website.

I made it with MS Word and PhotoDeluxe—my old standby method—but I’ll probably use a cover built on Inkscape when I actually publish the book.

So, there you have it, my busy month of May in less than 1000 words.

Have a great June and stay safe.

Peace and love!

7 thoughts on “Old Dog, New Tricks In May

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    I like the cover Steve. I can’t imagine how hard it is self publishing a book. I have a blogger friend Dave who has done it also. Sounds like you have revamped everything.
    I was briefly a graphic designer in the mid-nineties. With Photoshop and Illustrator I felt I could rule the world…

    Steve I wish you all the success possible with your book.

    1. Actually, self publishing an ebook is fairly easy with KDP and Smashwords around to do the heavy lifting. Even self publishing a paperback book is easier than ever. The hard part is making the story interesting and of good caliber, and having an eye-catching cover.
      I did revamp my computer’s OS. Microsoft stopped updating Win7 and some software companies removed it from their products’ availability, so I was forced to kick 7 to the curb and begin a brand-new relationship with 10.
      It has been a while in planning but I’m getting closer to republishing my old KDP catalogue. I wrote several books from 2013 to 2016 but removed them from KDP when they wouldn’t let me offer some of my books for free. It’s important for new authors to have at least one permanently free book to introduce themselves to the reading public. It’s like going to the public library and borrowing a book to see whether you like an author. But unlike the library, you get to keep the book if you do. The best I can do at KDP is price the books at their lowest price of 99 cents. This way Amazon still makes money.
      Thanks for the blessing. 😊 It’s going to be a fun and crazy next few years of publishing my books again!

    2. badfinger20 (Max)

      Yea I see why it would be good to give one away to draw attention to the others. I didn’t know it was that easy.

    3. The book market is flooded with new writers all the time. Retirees, moms and dads, college and high school students … Practically everyone it seems has published a book. You never know what the quality will be when you read a book by an unknown. That’s why free books are so important to readers. I wish Amazon understood that. As a reader, I look for free books all the time. If I find a first book by an unknown that holds up well to my standards then I’ll take a risk and pay for their other books. Of course, word of mouth works wonders for good authors, so I also browse book blogs and news sites that feature the genres I like to read.

  2. Photoshop. E-gads. It is a Leviathan. Always has been. I dabbled with it…once. That was enough. I was always more comfortable with PhotoSuite (bought out by Roxio), Photo Studio (Corel?) and my quick, free go-to, PhotoScape.

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