After my novel, "Legend of the Mystic Knights" was published; it now needed a way to promote the book. Safkhet Publishing is my publisher and like many small publishers, they rely on the author to help promote their own novels. This is not unusual for a small publisher, and is now becoming the standard for the publishing world.
One of the ways an author, either self-published or one who has a small size publisher, to get their book noticed is the use of illustrations. It is natural for people to respond to a greater degree to visual stimuli. They can make a connection better by seeing the product then simply hearing or reading about it; this is vital in terms of advertising.
If you can afford to hire a professional artist to do your illustrations, thanks for visiting my blog and good-bye, no need to read any further. However, if you are like me and just want to put some modest illustrations about your novel or project and don’t want to spend a lot of money on it, then here are some easy tricks you can try.
This is an ongoing project of mine, and is not yet completed. Keeping this in mind, I will describe to you in generic terms what I have done; you will need to adopt this concept to your project and also to the photo software you might be using.
1. Pick up a photo software program.
You may wish to start out with a simple program like Microsoft Paint, but this is very limited, and so your finished product will reflect this also.
Most photo software will do the basic functions; adjust the color or brightness of your photos, but there are other utilities you want your software to do.
I would choose photo software which helps you isolate and select a section of a photo. It should also allow you to merge photos.
Another good point is to get photo software that turns your color photos into black and white or can modify them to look like paintings or charcoal drawings. This will become apparent in the next edition of this blog.
2. Pick a topic or scene.
Picking a topic may be more difficult than you think. You may initially wish to do a whole section or scene from your book; however, I recommend starting out small, try doing a character or location first. See if you have the skill to create your illustrations first before you tackle something as large as a whole scene. Furthermore, doing a smaller illustration will allow you to gain skills that you can use later for larger projects.
My first project was to show the different medieval creatures and monsters I used in my novel. So I went through my novel and pulled the sections where I described the monsters in detail.
3. Decide on the rough design of the illustrations
Take a pencil and do a simple drawing of your illustrations. Even if you are not a great artist (like I am not) if you do an uncomplicated drawing of your illustrations will help you break it down into sections. This will become more important in later steps.
4. Find some free websites. You will need to search the web for sites where you can download free photos. (Or find some of your own)
IMPORTANT: Read the legal rights for you to use, change or modify the original images. There are certain types of copyright laws, and they vary for each jurisdiction. Again, make sure you can download, change and modify these images legally.
5. Pick the pictures which match sections of your drawings.
Remember when I said it was important to do a drawing and break it down into sections, now it is time to use it.
Find pictures, which may match your concept of your illustrations. You may need to adjust your view of your illustration to adopt what is available in photos. Download the photos into your hard drive. To make this easier so you do not lose track, create a new file, such as illustration1, this way you will not confuse different photos that you want to use for each illustration.
6. Cut the photos. Remove the subject item from the photo.
This will be a difficult task, and will depend on the photo software you are using. After you have selected your photos, you will need to remove the erroneous parts which you do not want.
Some photo software will help you in this process. If not, you will need to take time to cut the unwanted sections from your photo using the cursor of your mouse to isolate the desired section.
For example, you want an illustration of a house which sits in the middle of a swamp. You searched the web, but you cannot find that specific photo anywhere on the web. You can find a photo of a swamp, and one of a house you like, but this house is sitting in a field.
Take the house photo and carefully remove the surround field. Now you have your house that you needed. This may be a painstaking process, but the more accurate you are at this point; the less work will be involved later.
This is a good place to stop for now. I will continue with how to do inexpensive illustrations on the next edition of my blog.
Nest time: We continue with the Illustrations Process