Evelyn Chartres Author

A Silver Lining

I occasionally check Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads for new ratings and statistics, although I do avoid making it a habit. Yesterday, I was looking on Amazon and noticed that my rankings had improved. How? I have no clue, but its never been better!

Ranking on Amazon as of 15 Oct 17

There was also a positive review waiting for me, which is always nice. Perhaps I am generating some interest? Not bad since I cannot spend much time advertising my work.

Review made on Amazon on 14 Oct 17

This should help offset the bad review I got a month or so back. Perhaps in time the positives will outweigh the negatives!

The Grand – One Week Later

The Grand has been officially out for about a week now. I posted the announcement was on my social networking accounts along with a few groups. This release also enabled me to dabble with some advertising campaigns on Amazon, Facebook and Fiverr, to gain some insight with the tools.

Since The Grand has been officially out, almost 400 copies of the book have been downloaded on both Smashwords and Amazon! The book is seeing much more traffic than The Portrait, which I expected since this is a new release.

Of note, 100 copies of the book were downloaded before the official release. The Grand has been available for almost a month of certain sites, enabling me to widen availability and make it free on every site before release. Despite there being no involvement on my part, the book was being downloaded regularly on sites where the book was free.

Another interesting anomaly The Grand was ranked at 7,861 (266 for Horror) on Amazon the day after it was released. Currently it is ranked at 16,518 (435 for Horror) even with a noticeable spike generated by an ad campaign setup through Fiverr. There seems to be no real correlation between ranking and downloads.

I’m also a bit curious as to why it is ranked under Gothic and Fantasy Romance on Amazon. Although I have a feeling the answer would blow my mind!

The Grand is Out! Time to Celebrate?

Even things that go bump in the night need a place to unwind

The Grand is officially out and available on multiple platforms, formats and even in print! From Amazon to Smashwords the eBook is freely available for your delight. So time to celebrate? At least get to enjoy the doughnut!

The Grand shown in multiple formats, including print

Now for a little something about the Grand.

Nestled atop a cliff overlooking a cursed valley and surrounded by foreboding mountains you will find The Grand. At this ritzy French palatial-style hotel where things tend to go terribly wrong for some. This hotel is not only for the rich and famous but a favoured destination for things that go bump in the night.

Available free on:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Indigo
Kobo
Smashwords
Scribd

Available in print on:
CreateSpace
Amazon.com

The Grand is a collection of Gothic horror stories that revolve around a town prosecutor who accidentally discovers a series of grizzly case files. Individual stories incorporate supernatural themes based in the Roaring Twenties to create a rich historical, linguistic and cultural backdrop.

Centred on victims of the Grand, each story brings a different point of view related to the hotel, their staff and esteemed guests.

goodreads_inversed

The Portrait of a Woman Is Dead… Long Live the Portrait!

“A vision from the past becomes a writer’s deadly obsession.”

The Portrait's Cover

The Portrait is available for free on:
Barnes and Noble
Indigo
Kobo
Scribd
Smashwords

The Portrait of a Woman was released over a year ago through Kindle Direct Publishing.  The novel never did gain much traction, so I decided it was time to breathe some life into it.

Enter The Portrait, featuring a shorter title, a fresh cover and minor changes to the storyline.  I had someone review the novel to touch-up the formatting and grammar here and there.  Overall this release is superior to the original release.

This time I used Smashwords, which also distributes through popular sites like Barnes and NobleChapters-Indigo, iBooks, Kobo and Scribd.  Additionally, this book is available at no cost, since I feel that it’s more important to get this story out there!

While you can get it from Amazon, the book is not available for free. Please tell them about a lower price so Kindle users can get the book free of charge from Amazon directly!

The Portrait’s Synopsis

The Portrait is a Gothic horror about Victoria Frost, an author who develops an unhealthy obsession for her character. As events unfold, her obsession begins to turn on her and leads the author to question her sanity. Is this simply her slipping deeper into madness or are there other factors in play?

The Portrait is a mixture of contemporary and historical scenes with the latter revolving around her muse.  In this novel, the author will revisit an iconic scene using both prose and art yielding new pieces to the puzzle with every pass.

Creating a Cover Swatch

Dressing up the Cover – Part 7

I discovered through trial-and-error that dropping a series of images into a gallery then asking users to comment was inefficient. Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Users tend to ignore titles and will comment on the first, or third image. Unfortunately some sites will vary the order;
  • Users have a hard time comparing covers which are very similar in design. This requires them to look back and forth, which makes comparisons more difficult.
  • Images dropped into a gallery may not exist or be accessible later. The first time I created a sample gallery to compare against, the images became unavailable and was unable to address the issue. This particular behaviour is showcased below:

52-Post-Error.pngTo mitigate the above points, I created a swatch containing all of the images. This permits me to provide titles, a consistent order and can throw in thumbnails to compare how covers will appear at smaller dimensions. That single image will mean users need only click-once to get a view of all versions, which increases the chance of getting meaningful commentary.

Creating a Swatch is straightforward; create a canvas large enough to fit the desired versions. Since Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing lists covers should be least 625 x 1000 pixels, all featured variants meet the minimum.

Using larger covers in the swatch can make it too large to upload at many sites. Additionally, the swatch would take more time to view and require users to zoom-in and out frequently. Hence sticking to the minimum provides avoids a whole slew of issues.

Cutting Down to Size

Before we begin, we need to create usable variations. The files we created contain Layers and Styles which react differently at lower resolutions. Additionally, we want to preserve these originals, so use the Save as Copy feature to avoid modifying the source files.

Open up your Bravo Paint Shop Pro project file then from the File menu click on Save Copy As.

41-Save-Copy-As.pngThis feature permits you to save a copy of the image without modifying the working image.  Select either JPG or PNG formats then click on Save.

Note

Ensure that your save path and file name are correct prior to completing this operation.

42-Save-Copy-As-Window.pngYou will be presented with a warning about losing Layers and Styles through a Merger. This is precisely what we want, since the image is to be resized later. Click on Yes, then open this newly created image.

43-Save-Copy-As-Warning.pngFrom the Image menu click on Resize.

44-Resize.pngA new window will pop-up. Resize to 625 x 1000 pixels or settings that allows you to meet the requirements. Since our examples made use of increments of the minimum size, so the window appears as follows:

45-Resize-Window.pngOnce satisfied, click on the OK button.

Repeat the above steps for each variant;  in this tutorial we did the same for Hotel and India.

Creating the Canvas

Since we are dealing with three variants (Bravo, Hotel and India) we need to create a swatch that permits fitting in all three. We also need to include a buffer since thumbnails will be added as well. So we create a canvas that is:

  • Width — 2500 pixels.
  • Height — 1400 pixels.
  • Resolution — 300 dpi.

From the File menu click on New. This will bring up a new window, replicate the options shown below:

40-Swatch-Create.pngThe colour of your background should be something neutral. This provides a separation between the covers and will not distract the viewer. For the above example, we used a variant of grey.

Once satisfied click on OK and a new image with the appropriate dimensions will be created.

Dropping in the Variants

Now drop in copies of the variations onto the canvas. Click on your copy of Bravo then select the Background Layer. Now from Edit menu, click on Copy or use the CTRL-C keyboard combination.

46-Copy.pngThis will place a copy into your clipboard.  Switch to your Swatch then from the Edit menu click on Paste As New Layer.

47-Paste-As-New-Selection.pngThis will drop-in Bravo, which can be moved anywhere onto the canvas.  Since this is our first entry, place it near the edge on the left and leave a bit of spacing.

48-Selection-Dropped-In.pngNow add-in the thumbnails for Bravo.  Switch to your Copy of Bravo and shrink down the image to a maximum 160×160 pixels.  Repeat the Copy-and-Paste operation done previously then drop-in the thumbnail.

48-Thumbnail-Dropped-In.pngNow we can compare the full-sized cover to the thumbnail.  This permits us to see how the image appears on Amazon.com.  Now we lack a method of seeing how it appears on a black and white display like the Kindle Paperwhite.

Drop-in another thumbnail then from the Effects menu, select Photo Effects then Black and White Film.

49-Black-and-White.pngA new window will appear, I found that Default is sufficient for this step.

50-Black-and-White-Film.pngWhen satisfied, click on OK.

To add in a label, from the Tools Bar, select the Text Tool.  For this example, Arial Black at 28 points set all Black was used.  Adjust as necessary to end up with a result that looks like the following:

51-Text-Tool.pngNow you have the following on your swatch:

  • Main image;
  • Thumbnail;
  • Black and white thumbnail; and
  • Label.

Repeat as necessary for the other variants.

Final Touches

Once finished, crop the Image to remove any unused space.  You should end up with an end-result that resembles the following:

Swatch.jpgNow you have one image that gives you an overview the three covers.  It’s easy to compare one against another and allows you to see how they hold up at lower dimensions and on black and white displays.

Hotel does not display well as a thumbnail or in black and white.  That alone should steer you away from that design.

Create these whenever you wish to compare a sample set of covers.