tinsleys heroesby Bob Tinsley

When last we talked I had the “shooting script” in hand and was ready to publish an ebook with it.

Well, not quite ready. What I had was the body of the book. What I didn’t have was what is called the “front matter”. This stuff is usually taken care of by the publisher without the author having to worry too much about it. Guess what? YOU’RE the publisher. You’ll see this again.

Take a look at a book, either dead-tree or ebook, doesn’t matter. I’ll start with an overview, then take each element individually.

Starting from the outside you have the cover. The cover has a picture and some text. Then there’s the title page which has, you guessed it, the title of the book and the author’s name as a minimum. Most times the title page also has the publisher’s name. We’ll get back to that later.

Following that you have the copyright page with whatever disclaimers and lawyerly weasel words the publisher wants on there. Then there’s the dedication, preface, introduction, glossary and any other stuff that you feel might be interesting to the reader.

Then you have to make sure the manuscript is in the right format for Kindle or Nook conversion. This will require its own post. Later.

Unlike screenplays (attractive covers verboten) a book needs a cover. And not just any cover. The cover needs to be attractive and well layed out. The more it resembles the cover on the latest NYT best seller, the better. The Big Six (now Five) publishers have graphic designers on staff that do that sort of thing all day every day.

Congratulations! You are now a graphic designer. Unless you have a real graphic designer in the family or have enough disposable income to hire one, you will be designing the cover of your ebook.

Don’t get all freaked. If I can do this, you can.

The first thing to do is find a photo or illustration. There are some killer photos out there in the public domain, but the safest option is to go to a stock photo site and spend a couple of bucks for one you know you can use without getting into a rights hassle. I use Most of the photos I use cost less than two dollars apiece. Read the purchase agreement under Approved Uses. If it says “book covers”, you’re golden.

Now you need to put text on the cover, the title and your name as a minimum. If you have Photoshop, you’re good. If not, use GIMP. It’s basically the freeware (free!) Photoshop. With a little experimentation putting text on your photo is pretty easy. There’s a large selection of fonts to use, and you can change color and size easily. Realistically it will take you a couple of hours to learn how to do this with ease.

We’ll continue this stroll through the minefield of indie publishing in the next post.

Meanwhile, should you wish to see my first pass at ebooking an audio script, HEROES, is now available on Kindle.

I say first pass, because if I don’t like something, I can go back and change it. Typically the changes are made within 12 hours. Your mistakes aren’t there for eternity.

The formatting translated pretty well, though I may want to tweak it for readability. Or not. I’ll have to think on it a bit. Or – you could give me your opinion in a review on Amazon or in the comments here. Or both.