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  • Writer's pictureKate Alexander

A Picture is Worth... About 1,140 Minutes

Yes, you read that right. One picture is worth over a thousand minutes. How can a picture be worth minutes you ask? Well let me explain...

When you write your first book there are these lovely dreams of how much fun it is going to be. The idea of creating characters that you love and telling their story becomes the first focus of becoming a writer. While it took me a couple months to write the story, more time was invested learning all the stuff that comes with self-publishing. I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything that I should, and not missing important steps. The one part that I was looking forward to was creating my cover. Actually, looking forward is too gentle of a term. I was more like an eight-year-old who was just told they were going to Disney World. Let's just say things did not go as planned. It ended up more like getting to Disney and finding out it was closed. Queue the angry temper tantrums and tears.

At first, I wanted to take the pictures and create the cover art from my own photography. I had an apron that was inspired from Zoey's bakery and used wire to make it stand up. I then spent time learning photoshop and green screen technology. That was days and days of maddening trial and error. Finally, I finished the cover and the more I looked at it... the more I hated it. Of course, friends and family were all supportive and said it looked good. But in all reality it was melt in your mouth, ooey gooey cheesy. Not sexy at all. This horrible picture is now buried in some random folder somewhere on my laptop.

After mourning the loss of my time and energy on cover attempt number one, I decided to go with a graphic designer. This is the best decisions as an author, that I have ever made. These people know what they are doing and don't have to watch a million YouTube videos to figure out how to do one little thing. I didn't want to leave it in the designer's hands to choose who represented my couple, so that part was still up to me. During the course of writing and research, I had made friends with other self-published authors who gave great advise about how to find the photograph you want. Having recovered from the catastrophic attempt number one, I thought that this was now going to be one of the highlights of publishing my book. I can fully admit that I was wrong... again.

Thanks referrals from other authors, I found that there are several good sites to get stock photos for your book covers such as DepositPhotos, Shutterstock, iStock and others. Where these sites need improvement, is a good way to search for a matching photo to your character. I spent over nineteen hours searching these sites for the perfect Zoey and Tyler. For about five days after work I searched and searched using a number of different search keywords that described my adorable couple. Oh, and if you try a search for romantic or sexy couple and all kinds of goodies pop up. Make sure you are alone, unless you want to be teased about looking at porn. Anyway, I digress. The first couple hours were fun, but after some time your eyes go fuzzy and your brain turns to mush. I found the couple I wanted to use for book two before I found the image for book one. When I finally did find the couple that I felt captured the sweetness of Zoey and Tyler I almost cried. No, seriously... I almost cried because I was near the edge. My fingers were twitchy and I was nearly at the stage of buying a whole French Silk pie and eating it in one sitting. And here is a little public service announcement for everyone... if I have gotten to this stage, don't try to take it away from me. I get a little stabby.

Today was the cover reveal today for book two, Images of Devotion, and I couldn't be happier with how it looks. The next book in the series is about one-third of the way completed. When I have had writer's block for it, I have taken small breaks and searched for a picture for that matches the new couple. If I finish this book and haven't found the matching photo, someone may need to send a care package, or at least check in with my husband that I haven't completely lost my mind.

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