As I progress toward publication of my first book, I’m learning all sorts of new things that are part of the process. Today’s lesson:

I am NOT a graphic designer.

In order to publish on Kindle Direct Publishing for sale on Amazon, you have to have some kind of cover for your book. Realizing this, I started researching ways to get a cover designed quickly and cheaply.

I watched a video tutorial on Ernie Dempsey’s site about how he designs his own book covers using a free utility called Gimp. It lets you edit and manipulate photos, add text, and insert all kinds of cool visual effects.

I thought that sounded great – especially since I’m trying to keep costs down, and the production schedule… well, on schedule. This would allow me to come up with my own design based on my own photography, and I could do it without a PhD or a bottomless expense account.

So, I downloaded Gimp and started playing around with it.

It seemed pretty cool – I even managed to create a basic design using an old picture of my son, looking angry at the camera, and even added the title and byline text to it.

Sadly, it just wasn’t doing it for me.

This is supposed to be a humorous book, and the picture in question showed my son in anything but good humor. Not wanting to portray an otherwise sweet kid in such a poor light, I thought that doing some sort of cartoon caricature of a screaming kid would fit the bill. Luckily, Gimp allows you to draw your own, so…

Here’s my attempt at drawing my own cover, using Gimp to draw on my track pad:jetscreamerdrawing


Looks more like a drawing OF a gimp, done on a track pad; or maybe a drawing BY a gimp, drawn on a launch pad – while a departing rocket lit his hair on fire.

Go ahead and say it – I already know.

That thing is just plain awful.

This is just proof that sometimes you’re better off leaving certain things to the professionals – or even to a really talented amateur.

So as of today, I’m still without a cover for my upcoming book.

On the positive side, however, I did learn where NOT to look for one. My artistic rendering of a zombie-stick-person in hysterics is hardly the cover I’m looking for – but since that’s obviously the worst drawing on the internet ever, I now have my starting point, and nowhere to go but up.

So, the search for a good cover begins…

While I stick to writing.