For events all around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced gatherings to be in one of two states: cancelled, or virtual. Balticon 54 was no exception to this. For the past decade, Memorial Day weekend has been spoken for on my calendar because of this convention, and this year was no different, thanks to a lot of hard work from a lot of volunteers. I was again an invited guest, and Zoomed my way through different online events, which will all, at some point, be available to view on YouTube.
However, one of them simply didn’t have enough allotted time for me to get out all of the information I’d prepared to present. It’s an enormous topic, but folks were really interested in what we offered, and so I decided to compile a blog post to share the notes I’d originally intended to deliver verbally. But what was planned to be done with that singular panel, I’ll be breaking up into a few different posts, because… well, it’s A LOT of stuff, and the whole goal was to offer good advice and resources for people seeking information from those who’ve been doing this for a while.
When Balticon decided to go virtual, the planners dove in full force. I’d signed up to participate on a handful of panels when it was in-person, so I wasn’t sure what, if anything, I’d be involved in for the virtual con (turned out to be six total, if you’re curious). The only item I was directly emailed and asked about was a solo presentation on how to make books look good inside and out, but there was a little problem there.
I don’t do interior layout, and that’s more important than people think. There’s more technical stuff involved with it, which is why I don’t do it myself. There’s some visual artistry involved, but not enough that it has lasting appeal to my bird-like-ooo-shiny! brain.
And so, I batted my lashes a little and asked the person who’s laid out almost all of my book interiors to join me so we could offer a full crash course on this topic. Being a good sport about these things, my husband hesitantly agreed, then proceeded to throw himself into putting together a full PowerPoint deck and downloadable resource document for attendees.
He doesn’t do things in half measures, which is part of his charm. LOL
Anyway, he breezed through his portion (which I may ask him to post or give me to share later), and then handed the panel off to me. I should’ve really known beforehand there was NO WAY I was going to get through everything I had in the maybe 25 minutes remaining, but I always think it’s better to have more information than not enough, so I had way more content than I could have delivered within those limits. Next year, I think perhaps I’ll suggest splitting that one panel into two, or even three, so we can give more in-depth info and actually have time for audience questions. I think it was my anxiety over not getting to everything that caused my delivery to be a lot less smooth than I’d have liked, but sharing the information in blog post format will alleviate a lot of the bumpiness and give you the full shotgun-blast-to-the-face of information I have for you.
So what am I going to cover in these posts? Well, let me just give you a little outline. As the posts go live, I’ll update this page with linkage to make for easier navigation if there’s a topic you missed or want to skip to.
- Beginning Steps for DIY Covers
- Stock Imagery
- Building the Cover (ebook)
- Building the Cover (print)
- When DIY Isn’t an Option
- Marketing Images
With all of these topics, the goal is NOT to walk you through it with a demo, but to give you a jumping off point to explore further on your own. I’ll go over important things you may not know, or didn’t know you needed to think about, give a few tips, and provide links to resources I use or have used or am at least familiar enough with to present as options. In the original outline, I was trying to keep stuff as minimal as I could, but blog posts allow me the freedom to be more thorough, so there may be additional links and resources I point to that aren’t included in the original PDF resource document.
If folks have questions about any of these topics, I encourage you to leave comments on the posts, or if you want more in-depth conversation, I’m available on various social media platforms for any discussions. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. While my graphics come with a price tag, my advice is free. Just be prepared for possibly brutal honesty if you ask for my professional opinion on a piece of art.
So, welcome to the series. Let’s learn some stuff!