GIMP, Book Covers, & Beta Reading!

July 30, 2013

Let there be Photoshop!  At least that’s what I thought when I was up until 2 am on Friday installing the GNU Image Manipulation Program, GIMP for short. This program has been the biggest part of my problems the last four days. I’ve read Brian Jackson’s the book about book covers and how to make them using this program. This book is an annoying must read. It goes through all the things you want to take into consideration when designing your book cover. The program on the other hand is a lot like the Photoshop I’m use to, but I assure you that it isn’t.


Figuring out the layers and cropping is harder than I expected, this program doesn't work the same way Photoshop does even though it looks the same. I've been trying to work with the layers separately and so far the only thing I've been doing is fighting with the selection tools. The program is outstanding and impressive for something that is free, however at the moment because my knowledge of this software is shitty I’m getting shitty results in return. GIMP is a Free Software application covered by the General Public License (GPL license). The GPL provides users with the freedom to access and alter the source code that makes up computer programs. For more information on GIMP or to download it yourself the link is:, for the manual click on this:


As far as book cover ideas I have three for my book cover and I want to execute them well because this is a huge deal. The cover is the first thing a potential reader is going to see, that said the pressure is getting to me. I’ve been you tubing how to make this program work, as well as doing my usual click around and explore method. So far this has not produced any success. Today I’m going deeper into my research and giving the program manual a good read through.


Saturday morning after 3 hours of maybe getting somewhere my computer mouse crapped out on me. Leaving me in a short brief state of depression as I lay on my bed looking at the ceiling and listening to my dog chew on her rubber bone.  I did this for all of ten minutes before I decided to pop in a movie and distract myself for a while. The result was that I took off running on a new story idea for my fan-fiction site. Now I have two stories I’m working on aside from the book project.


On Sunday morning I was surprised when signed into my Fan-fiction account to post a new chapter for Getting Rid of Steven Rodgers and found an e-mail from one of my readers. They wanted me to help them with a story, they asked specifically if I would be there Beta reader. For those of you who don’t know what a Beta reader is, the Wikipedia version is a beta reader, “is a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described as a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public."


So what did I say? Sure, why not? The way I see it I’m working on stuff and my mind doesn’t get many breaks but a shift in focus is always a good thing. This means for I can put aside all my problems for an hour or two and I can read this person’s work, do some simple editing, have some one on ones, and hopefully begin a networking relationship with a fellow writer. This is great for many reasons, I get to see someone else in the writing process, I get to talk to someone who is doing the same thing I’m doing and if I’m good at it I could get another request to beta read.


All this leads to experience, these things are things I’ve never done before and they keep me productive. On Monday evening I finally got a wired mouse and keyboard attached to my computer and just like that I’m back in business. I feel good about all this so far, there are times when I’m pulling my hair out and there are times when I’m leaned back sipping a beer and realizing how great life is.


Payday is tomorrow and it’s going to be an exciting one, my financials are cleaning up post Student Loan consolidation.  Now I just have to fix it so I have money in my account, these negative charges are killing me. I think I only have $320 dollars this paycheck which isn’t enough for my half of the rent and my car payment. That said I will be broke this month as well as depending on miracle when it comes time to do groceries next month. 


Times like this I really hope this book does some good, I also keep in mind that I should probably be out there getting a second job to make ends meet. Maybe this book is a waste of time, maybe I’m dreaming a little to big for this reality I’m a part of. This year has been hard, I don’t know if next year will be any better. I do know that I’m not going to give up and let it be an excuse anymore. I’m tired of excuses, I’m tired of hearing people tell me what I should be doing with my life, and listening to what they expected me to do with my talent.


Truth is, it might not look like it but I’m having the time of my life.


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