Thank You For Ten Update: Got It Covered….Almost

I’m getting closer and closer to self-publishing me short story collection, “Thank You For Ten: Short Fiction About a Little Theater”. I mentioned in previous entries that I want to have it up and ready for purchase by June, and that I have done everything i know how to do in regards to formatting. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to test my formatting without uploading the document, but I feel that I have got it. I will of course double check a few times between now and the official zero hour. (And if you know of anyway to check my formatting for e-publishing before I actually publish, please let me know.)

As for content, I plan to do another proofreading pass over each of the ten stories sometime this week, though that feels fairly tight at this point.

That means my attention lately has now turned mostly towards the non-writing aspect of this collection.

I won’t beat around the bush about this, my friends; I don’t have a lot of money. That means I can’t afford to invest in some or even most of the publication assistance that many self-publishers avail themselves of. I’m not saying I am cutting corners in regards to quality, but I have to be frugal. Resourceful. Willing to accept solid over fancy at times when it comes to issues outside of my actual writing. Nowhere is that truer than with cover art.

No doubt it’s a crucial decision. One could argue a cover design is even more vital for ebooks than it is for standard books. I’m inclined to agree, and I’m giving the decision due diligence. But I don’t want to hold up everything else forever as i try to decide the cover. As I’ve blogged before, there are various options.

To begin with, there are many tutorials about how to design ones own cover. As I’ve mentioned before, I will probably give them a cursory look without actually committing to that extra labor. I have friends who have done it successfully despite not being trained in graphic design, but such friends have a more artistic eye than I have in general. So that means turning to a professional.

A custom design is tempting, and if I had the funds, I’d explore it. Truth be told I will almost certainly take that route for my novel. But for this first foray into self-publishing, I have been researching pre-made, one-of-a-kind templates. I’ve already seen several that would work nicely for my collection and are in my price range. None of them scream “perfect match”, but even with a customized cover designed by a professional I hire, perfect matches are no guarantee. In regards to something I myself have little control over other than “yes” and “no”, I don’t want the perfect to be the enemy of the good. Several of the templates would work, and I’m not too proud to use them.

But which one? I’m looking at stylized covers, with art but no images. Those will fit with just about any book I imagine. I’m also looking at a few with images of buildings that could perhaps pass as the setting of my book, even though there are very clear differences between said images and my setting as described. I wonder if that matters? Much like a trailer that doesn’t match the movie tone exactly, can an image on a cover differ from the content of the book?

Same goes with one cover that features a fancy light that looks like it could be in the lobby of an old time theater. Then there’s one with an image of a wooden floor. Originally, stages were constructed of wooden planks and to this day being on stage is sometimes still referred to as “walking the boards”. The theater in my collection isn’t built like that, but again, on the cover perhaps a symbolic representation works. Any of you have opinions on that?

The most important things about a cover of course are to stand out visually while still setting the tone for the piece they cover. I can pick a good-looking cover that stands out, but picking something that reflects the tone of the collection may be more of a challenge.

Ideally one would have a picture of a small stage, but I was surprised to find no such covers so far. I will keep looking but again, I don’t want to obsess. Obsession over detail is the modus operandi of many authors, especially independent ones, and that’s fine. But for me, I don’t think it’s a prerequisite to success. Vigilance and attention to quality, yes. But I can attain those without getting twitchy about every single thing that doesn’t go 100% ideal.

Nor do I wish to rush this important decision. The biggest complaint about those who self-publish is that they rush things into production. I’m working to not do that. I’m taking my time with these decisions. I will give myself a week, and maybe two to pick this cover. I want to investigate some more options. But if right now I were limited only to the options I have seen this week, I’d be satisfied.

Next up, pricing, marketing, and launch date declaration.

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