It’s a challenge to learn something entirely new. Something you’re not familiar with and have nothing to relate it to. But each new task gets easier the more familiar it becomes. It really does.
Knowledge is learned. Skills can be learned and practiced. If you pursue them enough, the tasks that you do with this knowledge and these skills become easier because the knowledge and skills become more familiar. With the acquired knowledge and skill, you gain an understanding of the task at hand. There’s that “Ah-hah” moment when things click into place and you get it.
A year ago, I was pursuing being traditionally published. I had no desire to be self published. No way was I going to hassle with that! I had no idea that in a few short months, I would decide to ignore my fear and learn how to self publish on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing.
There was a learning curve. There’s a great deal of information that must be navigated. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has very thorough directions on its website. There are also numerous tutorials on YouTube on how to publish on Amazon with KDP. There is also a myriad of information on the internet that’s posted by not only KDP, but other people and companies advising the reader how to publish through KDP. With perseverance, I was able to navigate through this. I started with video tutorials that were put on YouTube by KDP. Then as I used KDP to publish, when I got stuck, I “Googled” my question. My searches brought many, many responses. I chose the items that were from KDP.
The tutorials gave me a good foundation and then I learned as I went along. It gets easier as you go, as you get more familiar with the process. On March 26, 2021, I published my sixth book in Kindle format to Amazon through KDP. I sailed through Kindle Create and my book turned out looking just the way I wanted it to look. Kindle Create formats your manuscript for Kindle. I also learned to use KDP’s Cover Create, which assists authors in designing their book covers. Again, following tutorials, I learned how to format my manuscripts in Word and publish my books as paperbacks on Amazon.
It took time, but I did it. These are skills; skills can be learned and practiced.
Early on in this endeavor, I decided to register my writing with the Copyright Office. Again I used tutorials on YoutTube. I used the tutorials that the Copyright Office has on YouTube, although tutorials that people not affiliated with the Copyright Office are there as well, both on YouTube and in written format on the internet.
The last thing I wanted was a website. Initially, I was going to pay someone to design one for me. I’d had a book on WordPress for beginners for some time, but had put it aside. Fear that I couldn’t do it had gotten the best of me. But, then I thought, “I learned how to use KDP and I learned how to copyright my writing. Maybe I can learn how to create my own website. So despite my apprehension, I did it. In less than a week, I had a website that I had created.
As I pursued it and played around with the website, the more I learned and understood.
And then I arrived at the point where I wanted more flexibility in creating my book covers than what I was able to do in Kindle Cover Create. Make no mistake, Cover Create is an excellent tool. I was able to create beautiful covers in this functionality. It gave me a good foundation in creating my own covers and the desire to be able to do more. But, KDP gives you templates, you are limited in what you can do. Although you have the choice whether to use their images or upload your own images, you are limited to certain places where you can put the text on your front cover. So you have to keep that in mind when choosing an image for the front cover. You don’t want the title c covering or blocking anything you don’t want covered or blocked.
In a workshop on self publishing, I found out about the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). Like Photoshop, it is a photo editing program; unlike Photoshop, it is free. Even though the workshop instructor told me there was a “steep learning curve,” I was convinced I could do it. “After all,” I told her, “I read a book and learned how to build my own website in WordPress.”
To which she replied, “WordPress is so much easier than GIMP.
After the workshop was over for that day, I promptly downloaded GIMP. I quickly found out there was a steep learning curve, even with the tutorials I found on the internet. So many times during the first few days that I was struggling to learn this program I wanted to give up. But the more I pursued it, the more invested I became in it and the less willing I was to give up.
After a week, I’d created an eBook cover. Then I was able to create a paperback cover, although I didn’t quite remember what steps I’d taken after it was done. But I kept persevering. I’d come too far to give up.
At the two-week point, I had created three book covers and a greeting card. It’s finally fallen into place for me. I have a good, basic understanding that will allow me to do what I want to do with this program – create book covers.
There is still a great deal more that can be done with GIMP that I don’t know yet. I still make mistakes and have to “play around” with each project to get it to be the way I want it to be. But now that I’m familiar with the program and the terminology it uses, I can look up what I need to do in the help function and also on the internet.
I am amazed at how much I accomplished between September 2020 and June 2021. I never thought I could be so focused and self directed.
I firmly believe that we are all capable of much more than we realize – until we challenge ourselves.