I’ve decided to transfer all my free fiction – short stories and flash – to Wattpad. I like how the site displays the stories and I like that they are available to anyone. I started with The Answer is Yes.
This is a complimentary story to my novel Almost Adept, but you don’t need to read the novel to enjoy this story.
To find her true love, Leyale travels along a torturous path, through sacrifice, bewilderment, and betrayal.
You can read it here.
To prepare for the transfer, I needed to:
• Revise all the stories. Most were written years ago and benefited from mild editing.
• Create a cover for each story.
This last activity, unusual for me, presented multiple challenges. First – I’m not an artist. I can’t draw, either digitally or on paper, if my life depended on it. The only things I can do are copy and paste images, resize and crop images, and add text to images – practically the limit of the functionality available through Windows Paint and MS Office Picture Manager. So it had to be ready images. And here comes the second challenge: I wanted free images and I didn’t want to infringe on copyright.
My solution: I scoured the internet. All the classical imagery – paintings and sculpture created in the 19th century and earlier – is in public domain. Lots of it is available on the net, but you have to know what to look for, what text to type into the Google search box. Ideally, it would be the names of the artists, but I didn’t know whose paintings I wanted. It took me days to find the right images for the seven stories I’m transferring to Wattpad.
For example, for my story The Answer is Yes, I started with the search for mother and child classical painting. I got lots of results but none was exactly what I was looking for, so I continued, narrowing the search in different directions, checking out different artists and themes. I also looked on Pinterest – a treasure trove of images. I love the site.
Happily for me, the theme of mother and child was covered extensively in the past. As my story is fantasy, set in some European-sort-of medieval place, I found several pictures I liked. But then, some of them were poor quality. Others were too small – a cover should be at least 400 x 600 pixels. And the image needed to have space for the title that would be easily visible. That is the next step – cover design, which is as hard for me as the creating of the actual image.
I used Windows Paint to write the title and author’s name and again encountered small problems. The selection of fonts in Paint is limited. The colors for the text also have limitations, especially for someone as artistically handicapped as I.
The resulting covers are amateurish; I’ll be the first to admit it. But they are free. And they gave me a rare insight into the book cover designer’s job. I’ll never attempt to create a cover for a novel I want to sell commercially, but for free fiction on Wattpad, I think my covers are better than the default Wattpad blank box with the title and author’s name.
I’ll talk about other possibilities in creating free covers in the next post.