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I’ve compared author copies of my poetry chapbook, Fantastical for Real, and I’ve noticed something. Here, take a look…
Do you see it, too?
The color quality of the book cover on the left is more vivid than the color quality of the book cover on the right (which, to my eye, is dull in comparison).
If you, or someone you love, plans to create a book cover file in Adobe Photoshop, here is some insight into what I did that created these two different outcomes in color print quality…
Amazon KDP (the cover on the left)
The book cover on the left of the photo (the vivid one) was saved as a Photoshop PDF using the High Quality Print Adobe PDF Preset, and then it was printed through Amazon KDP.
When saving a Photoshop PDF, your computer should prompt you to choose which preset you’d like to use. (On my computer, the High Quality Print preset is the default.)
After receiving my first author copy of this paperback, I noticed that I needed to make some changes. I made those changes and then realized that KDP tells us to save the PDF using a Press Quality PDF Preset (not using a High Quality Print Preset as I’d used previously).
Well, this was news to me, so I figured that using the Press Quality PDF Preset would lead to even better color print quality. So, after making my revisions, I saved my new cover file under the Adobe Photoshop Press Quality Preset, uploaded it to KDP, and ordered another author copy.
The result? Dull colors in comparison.
As noted above, I love vivid colors, so I decided to break KDP’s “rules” and saved my official KDP book cover under the Adobe Photoshop PDF High Quality Print Preset.
If you order Fantastical for Real through Amazon, and KDP prints it, you will receive a vivid color paperback like you see in the left of the photo; however, sometimes a person might order Fantastical for Real (even through Amazon) and end up receiving a copy printed by IngramSpark / Lightning Source (because I also published Fantastical for Real through IngramSpark)…
IngramSpark (the cover on the right)
The book cover on the right of the photo (the dull one) was saved as a Photoshop PDF using the Adobe Preset required by IngramSpark: PDF/X-1a:2001 (or PDF/X-3: 2002).
Based on my research, this preset changes the color mode from RGP color mode (the color scheme associated with electronic displays, such as LCD monitors and digital cameras) to CYMK color mode (the color scheme used by printers using digital printing methods; the color scheme used for printing color on paper).
IngramSpark is “the” book distributor used by bookstores and libraries, so I wanted to try it out. In the future, when I publish longer written works, I do not plan to solely publish through Amazon KDP because bookstores and libraries generally do not order books through Amazon because Amazon is a competitor (and for other reasons, like discounts).
However, if IngramSpark proves to be of little value/use to me as an “unknown” author-publisher, then I’ll stick with Amazon KDP and save myself a lot of time, energy, and money.
Anyway, I followed Ingram’s rules and saved my book cover file in Photoshop using that preset they required. After all, if I didn’t follow their rules, they would probably reject my book cover. (Based on my experience so far, books to be published through Ingram go through a much longer, and more in-depth, approval process than books published through KDP.) Also, Ingram charges a fee for each revision, so I wanted to get it right the first time.
I’m not happy with the dull color of Ingram’s print book. It’s alright, I guess, but I prefer the more vivid colors on the KDP book. But the only reason the KDP book is vivid is because I didn’t follow their rules, either. I’m pretty sure that the Press Quality Preset that KDP suggests does the same thing as the preset that Ingram requires—they both change the color mode from RGP to CYMK.
As I move forward with cover design, I’ll be doing further investigation into color mode and color print quality. I’m hoping to print a color photo/poetry book sometime in the next year. If all goes as planned, this book will have equal parts photography and poetry, and I want it to look fabulous. It’s a good thing I love to learn!
A Note on Ease of Use
Amazon KDP’s book cover design template was much easier for me to use than the book cover design template provided by IngramSpark.
Ingram’s template had the bar code in an odd location–in the middle of the back cover. Their system said that I would be able to move the bar code, but I couldn’t. Given how much less user-friendly their platform is, I didn’t want to spend time asking questions (their help desk was offline whenever I was working on my cover). This means that I chose to edit the back cover design that I’d put together for KDP (yes, I used my KDP cover design in Ingram) to accommodate the weirdly-placed bar code on Ingram’s template.
To accommodate the bar code’s odd location in the template, I shortened the lines that note who did the cover art and design. I did what I could live with, fully aware that I would not be happy with it if the bar code ended up in the sensible location in the end. See below (KDP on the left; Ingram on the right)…
Then, when I received my review copy, the bar code was *not* where Ingram’s template said it would be. Instead, it was in the same place as KDP’s bar code—the sensible location. This means that I had not only wasted my time, but I created a less-desirable back cover design for Ingram when I didn’t need to. (I much prefer the appearance of KDP’s back cover on the left.)
The reader won’t care about the minor edit that I made on the back cover of the IngramSpark paperback, of course, but the artist in me wants it to look as beautiful as the KDP cover does. After all, aesthetics are important.
So far, I have sold no copies of my paperback through IngramSpark. Unless a bookstore really wants to stock my book (*chuckles*), nobody will have the less-desirable back cover. And I’m stubborn–I refuse to pay a fee to upload a new (edited) cover because Ingram’s template was misleading in the first place.
Yes, I had to pay their upload fee prior to seeing what my cover officially looked like in their system. I’m still learning their system, so it might have been free for me to revert the cover to what I wanted when I was at the review stage, but I didn’t want to take the risk of losing another $25 to a revision fee. At the moment, I’m uncertain whether I would have been charged for a revision while still at the review stage.
If you’ve designed a book cover, or otherwise have experience with both Amazon KDP and IngramSpark in terms of cover files/printing, I’d love to hear your thoughts related to what I’ve shared here today. Feel free to share in the comments below!
Dreams are coming true. My first publication, Fantastical for Real, is now available on Amazon, Kobo, and Apple Books! This chapbook was an exercise in creativity, and I thoroughly enjoyed putting it together.
The cover art was created from a photograph of daisies and other flowers. I took a handful of flowers out of a bouquet, laid them on a black foam board out on the pavement just before sunset, and took a bunch of photos. Then, I found a photo that I suspected would work well for my cover and processed it to create the vivid (fantastical) color effects you see in the background.
The “i” in Fantastical also was a daisy (of course), which I had lain down on that same black foam board. I pulled the petals forward and bent the neck so that it “looked” at me while I took pictures. Adobe Photoshop allowed me to remove the black background and place everything on the cover just the way I wanted it.
I love my cover. And I love the words inside it. To fellow creatives: remember to be true to you. River Blossoms Press and Fantastical for Real exist because I exist. My brain did this, and I’m proud of that fact. Strive to create what your brain wishes to create. You never know what beautiful things might exist just because you did.
So, here it is. Fantastical for Real…
Fantastical for Real
Chapbook – prose poetry
Fantastical for Real invites you to escape adulthood, think outside life’s box, and join Ann Garcia on a (self) love journey via her unique brand of prose poetry. Inspired by a metaphysical connection that resulted in significant inner growth, Fantastical for Real weaves appreciation for nature into Ann’s concept of the creative’s self, the creative’s soul mate, and the potential found inside where hopes and disappointments play tug-of-war while the soul plans its triumph.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING…
“What a lovely book!
I thoroughly connected with, and enjoyed Ann’s words of love, nature and self.
The cover is beautifully designed as well. It would look amazing on any coffee table.”
Amazon Review – Verified Purchase
“Ann Garcia’s poetry is special, it tugs at your heart. It awakens the child within us. It reaches places in us we may not wish to acknowledge as grown ups. It speaks of a connection that few of us ever get to experience. We have been given the key to an enchanted forest accessed by poetry. Led by words, down a path of dreams, with nature’s child leading the way. Being lost is part of the attraction, in this secret world we can access whenever we choose.”
I have a dream that, someday, I will invite other writers to submit for publication through River Blossoms Press. As noted in a previous blog post, whether my publishing house will move beyond strict self-publishing is an uncertainty right now; it is likely to depend on how much outside interest this creative endeavor obtains. Well, guess what.
Outside interest has been expressed.
As I consider how to move forward with a submission process, I can’t help but come back to a single thought: No artist should let themselves feel rejected.
I spent years querying literary agents, and I received a long list of rejections. Because I wished for my novel to be published, those rejections hurt, and, through that pain, I let myself believe that my writing was inadequate and that my story wasn’t good enough. But those words, ‘inadequate’ and ‘not good enough’, are exactly why the foundation underlying River Blossoms Press is so critical…
River Blossoms Press is a publishing house founded for artistic expression.
Now that I’m on a new path, I’ve allowed myself to submit some of my poetry for publication elsewhere. I had avoided this while querying my novel due to never wanting to feel hurt over my poetry. Well…if you’ve checked out my Author page, you see that some editors like my poetry well enough to publish it! I’m happy I was brave enough to try!
To all artists and writers who feel trapped, unwanted, or hurt through rejections from the publishing industry, always remember that your art is your art. Nobody can take that away from you. Love what you create; it exists because you exist, and that’s precious.
So, here are my thoughts about acceptance:
If, someday, I open River Blossoms Press for submissions, I will accept writing that 1) I love and 2) fits the theme of the project I’m putting together. If a writer’s work is accepted, it meets those two requirements. If a writer’s work is not accepted, it means nothing.
It means nothing.
After all, there are many works of art, music, and writing, that I do not especially love, but other people adore them!
Artists and writers, remember to be true to you. Keep strengthening your craft. Keep learning. And keep in mind that making money off your art is never as important as making your art.
When I woke this morning, I had no intention of revealing my first book cover, but Fantastical for Real doesn’t want to wait any longer!
I am likely to do some minor editing of this cover, but this is pretty much it!
Fantastical for Real is my debut poetry chapbook for which I’ve selected prose poems inspired by a metaphysical connection between a soul mate and I–a fantastical (for real) experience that resulted in significant inner growth. The poems within Fantastical for Real weave appreciation for nature into my concept of the creative’s self and the creative’s soul mate. – Ann Garcia
Fantastical for Real is scheduled for release on June 8, 2021. – River Blossoms Press
“artistry and individuality within poetry & prose”
The impetus behind this tagline is a love story I’d written years ago. That love story, loosely categorized as a work of romantic women’s fiction (if it must be categorized), is unusual. It’s so different that several beta readers told me they’d never read a story like it. Additionally, those beta readers told me that my writing style was somewhere outside the commercial-fiction box. And this got me thinking.
Maybe my story is “too different”. Maybe my prose is “too poetic”. Maybe these are reasons why the traditional publishing path resulted in a dead end for me.
But not really.
To me, dead ends are signs to try another path, so, when I decided to establish River Blossoms Press, I committed to being true to myself as an artist. My publishing house will publish writing that I love—stories and poems that are as unique as their creator.
I value artistry. Words are like music notes—best linked with care.
I value individuality. River Blossoms Press is a creative endeavor without any desire to prove itself. If book sales are low, it doesn’t mean that the book isn’t treasured by those who bought it. Maybe that book is simply different. And that’s okay because individuality is precious.
With this thought in mind, I want to share a poem I recently posted on Instagram. It is about intuition, individuality, and strength.
Always sitting left of my navel. Gnawing on seeds. Spitting chances. Throwing fear a bone.
Was it easier to not do the things? To hide behind I don’t matter. I shouldn’t bother.
I sit left of the box. Always have. That container
where the masses, bruised from “belonging”, stuff themselves into corners, faces crammed against their individuality
on the other side of the wall. Begging. Here I am. Get me.
Here am I, left of the box, eating up chances spat from that place left of my navel in this headspace where I’m supposed to be.
Dear readers, I hope you always embrace your individuality. If you haven’t, remember that it’s never too late to do so!
I am thrilled that River Blossoms Press soon will release its first publication, Fantastical for Real—a poetry chapbook! Over the past month, several people have told me they’re unfamiliar with chapbooks, so I thought I’d explain what they are and why I’ve chosen to publish them.
What is a chapbook?
A chapbook is a short book focused on a specific theme. Traditional chapbooks are saddle-stitched, like a pamphlet or magazine, and they typically range from 20 to 40 pages. Often, they are composed of a small collection of poetry, but some chapbooks include short stories or other types of writing. Chapbooks published by River Blossoms Press will be available as ebooks and paperbacks.
Why publish chapbooks?
Life is busy and, when I sit down to enjoy a book, I’m on limited time. If I sit down to read a novel, I’m lucky if I make it through a chapter before I must put the book down due to interruptions (demands of family) or exhaustion (demands of life). If you’re like me, you must read in small doses; a poetry chapbook in a small dose easily consumed in one sitting (or maybe two).
In addition to presenting a complete collection of poetry or fiction in a small dose, chapbooks focus on a specific theme. This means that each chapbook published by River Blossoms Press will have its own flavor and feel. For example, my first chapbook, Fantastical for Real, is a small collection of prose poems inspired by a metaphysical connection between a soul mate and I—a fantastical (for real) experience that resulted in significant inner growth.
Fantastical for Real will appeal to readers who enjoy lyrical prose poetry with fantastical elements, but this chapbook will not appeal to everyone (of course). In hopes of offering a diverse set of books, over time, River Blossoms Press has plans for chapbooks of other styles (e.g., formal verse, short fiction) and other topics (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder, nature, ekphrastic poetry).
When will Fantastical for Real be released?
River Blossoms Press is my greatest creative endeavor, and I fit it into my life between my full-time obligations as a parent/wife/professional. The release of my first chapbook is taking a little longer than planned, but that’s okay. Beautiful things come to those who wait.
If you have any questions or thoughts for me, please comment below!
I am in the process of polishing my first book cover, which I’ve created for my first poetry chapbook, FANTASTICAL FOR REAL. I’m excited to reveal it in the coming weeks, and I hope you’ll stop by to check it out when the time comes! Today, I want to share resources that helped me design it.
If you follow my @riverblossomspress page on Instagram, you may have read my post about using Canva for book cover design. I use Canva to create slides for my accounts on Instagram. It is intuitive, easy-to-use, and, much of it can be used for free. But that aspect of it—free—gave me pause when it came to using Canva to create a book cover. Why? Because I’ll be selling my book.
I know that elements and photos within Canva do not belong to me. They’re property of Canva, and so anyone using Canva must follow their Terms and Conditions and License Agreements if they choose to use Canva’s elements, photos, or fonts in their cover design. I’ll be selling books with my book cover, so I’d rather keep things as simple as possible for myself.
I’ve chosen to use Adobe Photoshop to create my book cover for two reasons: 1) I want only one set of Terms and Conditions that I need to follow and 2) because Adobe Photoshop allows me greater control over cover design and typography.
I’m a novice, and I’m sure there are even better tutorials and blog articles out there, but here are some that I found helpful in creating the cover design that I’ll be revealing later this month. If you’re planning to try your hand at cover design, here are some helpful resources I uncovered while working to make sure that what I create is not only legal but looks great, too!
As a serious hobby photographer, I do not plan to use stock photos in books published by River Blossoms Press, but I will need to use fonts and applications created by others in order to create my books. Here is some helpful information about ownership, use, and copyright:
Fonts. I must have permission to use them, so I chose the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan. It is affordable and meets my current creative needs. Visit adobe.com for information.
Of course, the typeface I choose must look its best, so how do I do that? Via learning:
After I learned what makes a beautiful book cover, I needed to try to create it. I found a helpful video about how to create a reusable KDP cover template in photoshop, and then I started playing on my computer:
Adobe Photoshop has a rather steep learning curve, so I spent many hours searching for information about how to use the program. I will not be sharing that information here because it is specific, and I feel it is best for a designer to look up what they need when they need it (like I did). I will share, however, that I quickly learned through free online resources and my own trial-and-error, so I’m confident that any tenacious do-it-yourselfer can make a beautiful cover in Adobe Photoshop.
So, now I’m curious about you. Have you ever designed a book cover or something similar? If so, which program(s) did you use and would you recommend them? Do you have any suggestions for me to consider as I learn and grow as a do-it-yourself designer?
Trisomy, first published by blood moon POETRY, relates to the inner growth I experienced after giving birth to my youngest child, who has Down syndrome (Trisomy 21).
When I was pregnant for this special child, my maternal-fetal specialist told me that, if more people made our choice to let our baby live (not abort), our communities would enjoy the love of many more people with Down syndrome.
My son is beautiful, has taught me much, and I cherish how I’ve grown because of knowing him. Every life has its challenges, and it’s not always easy, but I cannot imagine my soul journeying down any other path. I’m blessed to be right here…
I swallowed the moon
on the night you were born
so reflections of you
would guide my way, Son.
I was afraid,
so afraid, but,
for love of you,
I embraced my tears
in my world gone dark
by stereotypical fears,
the senseless kind that bound me.
Your eyes untied me.
Your voice unwound me.
While I lay with you at my breast, Son, the moon shone bright.
Now I ponder my light
as it shimmers in my wake. Beautiful,
so beautiful beneath a blanket of stars.
You brought me here, Son,
to this place where I radiate love.
Do you love someone who has Down syndrome? Or do you love someone who is extra special in a different way? If so, I’d love to hear some happy words about your experience. I’ve turned off like buttons because I prefer positive interaction, so feel free to comment below!
Happy World Down Syndrome Day and World Poetry Day!
I am a poet with a small, loving following on Instagram (IG) for which I’m grateful. On that account, I combine photography, graphic design, and poetry to create what some have told me is a uniquely aesthetic page. But here’s a little-known fact:
My current IG poetry account, @solaceinraindrops, which I started on September 5, 2020, was not my first.
My first experience with IG was in March 2020, just after our first COVID-19 stay-at-home order went into effect. After spending a few years on Twitter, because that’s what fiction writers are supposed to do, I decided to start an account on IG in order to see how it worked.
I instantly fell in love with the visuals and the sense of community I felt within the writing community on IG. Twitter had always felt like an ever-buzzing hub of passing thoughts that didn’t mean much most of the time, but might go viral for reasons that never made sense to me.
But on IG, writers shared posts with intention, with heart. Poets took time to prepare gems. Writers connected and supported writers—not just to become popular, but because they cared. Within a week, I was hooked, and my time on Twitter, which had dwindled in the months prior because it always felt like I was riding a bicycle on a freeway, all but ended.
Joining IG in March 2020 marked the beginning of finding myself as an artist and founding River Blossoms Press.
I’ve always been achievement-driven and stubborn, a combination of characteristics that has helped me accomplish much over the years. After I learned that beautiful photos are what makes IG so appealing, I started studying photography and exploring ways to compose a beautiful page containing only my content (no stock photos). I wanted my IG to be all mine. But it wasn’t.
I had joined IG as a writer of fiction, just like I’d been on Twitter. I used the same pseudonym and promoted myself as a writer of romantic women’s fiction, but this posed a problem. Writing fiction under a pseudonym no longer fit me. I was changing.
I discovered that I loved taking photographs—a hobby that I’d always wanted to explore but hadn’t. More importantly, I discovered that I loved writing poetry more than I enjoyed writing fiction—a truth that I’d denied myself due to being brainwashed by the traditional publishing beast.
After all, if I wanted to be considered a “real” writer, I needed to get a literary agent and a reputable publisher. To do that, I needed to have fiction publishing credits, win awards, win contests, have a following, and have more books in my head, ready to be written (or in progress already).
I realized I was unhappy.
It was too much pressure for my now. I have a demanding life as a psychologist and mother. Putting all my spare moments into the demands of becoming a “real” writer was never what I wanted. I simply wanted to share my words with people who might like to read them. That’s all.
IG taught me my truth and reminded me that I’m happiest when I’m creating. For me, this is not about becoming famous or being a “real” writer. It’s about self-love.
The moment I decided to break free from the life I’d built as a sometimes-writer of fiction who didn’t want to live the writer’s life, I started up @solaceinraindrops.
Raindrops are my tears fed by sadness, by joy, and by my appreciation for being me. And owning my truth brings me solace.
So, here I am, Ann Garcia, poet and sometimes-writer of fiction. I link words into poetry and prose, and I plan to share them with anyone who might like to read them—even if it’s only two people plus me.
Thank you for spending time with me today. If you’re a creative, I’m wondering if experience with social media has prompted you to change paths or otherwise assisted you in elevating something within yourself.
I never expected social media to help me find myself as a creative; as a writer, prior to IG, I often felt social media was a chore. If you have thoughts on this, I’d love you to leave a comment below!