Evelyn Chartres Author

Selecting the Font

Dressing up the Cover – Part 1

This is Part 1 of the Dressing up the Cover tutorial. Font selection is vital in the successful creation of a cover. For example, the use of Comic Sans MS for a horror novel may come across as a poor fit. Unfortunately, navigating through the sheer volume of existing fonts can be an arduous task.

Fortunately, a fair amount of the leg work has been done for us. Creative Indie has a page entitled 300+ Fool-Proof Fonts to use for your Book Cover Design which outlines popular fonts based on specific genres. Still, there are aspects you should consider prior to selecting your fonts.

What Is the License?

Let us take a look at the font Moonlight Shadow to explain. This beautiful font suits multiple genres, including Fantasy and Gothic Horror. However, this font has license restrictions which requires licensing. The price for a license varies from $10 to $100 USD based on uses.

Note

As a general rule, if you download a font and there is no licensing information, then it is likely pirated.  Conduct a more thorough search online to confirm its license.

Sites like the Open Font Library can be useful to work around paid licensing. This site and others like it cater to free and open source fonts; albeit it at the cost of a reduced selection. Alternatively some fonts are available to you when you buy and install vendor software. An example of this is Trajan Pro, which is installed with Adobe Photoshop.

Some sites will offer up a free version of the paid font. These tend to be crippled in some way, such as limited character sets, styles, kerning and so forth. Even with these limitations, this is a great way to determine if a font is suitable before paying for it.

What Formats Are Available?

Microsoft Windows supports True Type Fonts and Open Type Fonts. These are the most common font formats found today. However, there are other formats out there which will not import. Keep that in mind when searching for fonts.

Note

Corel PaintShop Pro does not need to be restarted to see new fonts.  This can be a great timesaver when experimenting with new fonts!  All you need to do is open the Font Selection Drop-Down menu to access new fonts.

How Does It Look?

Selecting a font can be difficult when you are looking at a small sample set. I found it helpful to group favourites together on one image. That way they can be compared as a group, the following image showcases this.

00-Fonts-Play.jpg

I used the title of the novel above to see how it appears using that specific font. While most of these were selected because they were free or open source, there are some paid fonts included as well.

The reason this image was created using a red font over a black background was to see how these appeared at reduced resolutions. Red on black tends to degrade quickly when resolutions drop, which is a key feature to note since Amazon.com shrinks your covers down to 160px for thumbnails.

Next in Part 2, we will discuss Caveats and Workarounds.

Creating the Cheshire Cat’s Grin

Upon doing a review of Ethereal Nights, I decided to split the story into two chapters.   Part of Ethereal Nights was designed to precede the chapter, but at the time I felt it would ruin the surprise.

By moving the troublesome story to The Cheshire Cat’s Grin I hope it will be better placed within the overall work.  A review has been done on the remaining chapter elements to keep the surprise intact.

While the above links are for Google Docs, you may also access these chapters through Wattpad.

Enjoy!

Slow and Steady

For the past several months, I have been doing an initial review of The Grand.  It has been a long process, marred by delays as other projects and commitments crop up.  Tonight, I managed to complete my review of The Van Helsing Paradox, available on Wattpad and brings my overall review completion to 71% of the manuscript.

This chapter like the novel strays from the style used in The Portrait.  In my previous work chapters were small.  Designed to be quick reads, chapters within The Portrait are on average 3 pages of single-spaced writing.

The Van Helsing Paradox stands alone as 16% of the overall manuscript and is made up of over 10,000 words.  This chapter also features a lot of dialogue, which was not prevalent in The Portrait.

The review process has remained the same.   For now, I have 2907 separate corrections applied to the manuscript.  These vary in scope and includes single word changes, to spacing corrections and the addition of new paragraphs.

In other words, there are 41 modifications done for each percent or 1.5 pages.  This seems like a lot, but this improves dramatically when I do my second review, followed by a third and so on.  I follow an iterative review process then introduce a pause to gain a change in perspective.

Stay tuned!  There are still 3 chapters and a lexicon left.

The Hiding Behind Chainsaws Test

Recently came across a Geico commercial dealing with bad decision-making in horror movies.  While I have not had television for years, this commercial came across as both funny and insightful.

Horror movies and prose often have story-driven elements that push characters to do insane things.  Movies like The Cabin in the Woods weave these elements in with the main story to create a parody of the affair.

So how was this commercial insightful?  It points out how prevalent the types of decisions are in horror movies, even if we are not acutely aware of it.  Sometimes author’s need a proverbial slap in the face to see it for ourselves.

There are occasions where we write ourselves into a corner and due to time constraints, excuses or laziness we choose the path of least resistance.  This can lead to bad writing, a theme covered in detail in the novel Redshirts by John Scalzi.

When you re-reading your work(s), think about this commercial then consider how a viewer would see it.  If a scene seems as ridiculous as hiding behind chainsaws, then revisit that particular chapter.

Perhaps this logic condition should be referred to as the hiding behind chainsaws test.  Has a nice ring to it?

A Mild Dose of the ‘Eat Me’ Cake

Digital Alchemy – Part 12

This is Part 12 of the Digital Alchemy tutorial and previously we created an Ethereal Night.

The base resolution for this picture is barely within the guidelines set out by Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Obviously, we cannot create additional pixels where none exists. Modern programs have gotten far more effective at increasing image size without leading to a dramatic loss in quality, however there are limits and artefacts will be introduced.

Fortunately, the original shot was a painting and we have the option of using Corel PaintShop Pro to the image in brush strokes to simulate a painting. This will smooth out errors and leave us with a high-resolution image.

From the Image menu, select Resize.

From the Resize window, you can resize based on Pixels, Percentage, Print Size and Based on One Side. Select By Pixels, then set the Width to 9000 pixels.

When you switch to By Print Size, more options become available. Namely, you can set the Resolution (density) in pixels per inch (Pixels/Inch) also known as Dots Per Inch (DPI).

This measurement is important for printing an image and should be considered when self-publishing through CreateSpace or similar. We want to set the Resolution to 300, which is better than the 96 DPI used for screens.

Switching from one resize method to the other maintains settings; so set the Resolution then return to Pixels to find your selected pixel intact.

Note

This multiple section Resize window is new with Corel PaintShop Pro X8. Earlier versions had an all inclusive window instead. However, the capabilities is the same between versions.

Now we have a larger image than the original, flaws an all. From the Effects menu, select Art Media Effects then Brush Strokes.

Brush Strokes is powerful and yet slow effect, especially at high resolutions, so selecting the Preview on Image check-box is not recommended.

Select Factory Defaults from Settings then change the Color under Lighting to introduce purple with the brush strokes. To learn more about these settings, click on the Dice button to observe how changes play a role in the effect.

When satisfied with, you end up with an effect similar to the one shown below. To showcase the effect, a zoomed in portion of her head is shown to highlight the introduced purple plays a part in colouring her crown.

Lastly, this is a full version Lady Ethereal is shown below:

Instead of using Lady Shade, use the Soft Light blend on the Original version of the Lady. This version has more skin tone and is a better suited for some covers.