I’m good at writing. I practice a lot. I don’t feel that I’m great at summarizing my writing, whether with teasers or blurbs or even a face-to-face description. I don’t feel that I’m great at designing covers, either, and although I know there are other people willing to do both those things for me (in exchange for compensation, as is appropriate for any art/work), I have a strong inclination to equate greatness with practice.

A few years ago, I went bowling with a group of friends from work. Some of them are great bowlers; others, like me, hadn’t bowled since the candlepin birthday parties we’d attended as children. When someone asked me, “Are you any good at bowling?” I said, “No, but I will be by the end of the night.” I joined a team and bowled for hours, and by the time we left my friend said, “Wow, you weren’t kidding.”

I didn’t leave with mad bowling skills, but I’d improved from “unable to get the ball all the way down the lane” to “looks like someone who has practiced bowling for hours.” I feel pretty confident that if I’d continued to bowl, weekly or even monthly, I would now be significantly better at it than I was then.

I have the same expectation when it comes to the parts of self-publishing I’m not great at yet. I’m good at writing. I’m probably great at writing. With practice, I expect to become good at blurbs and cover art too.

Which leads me to my next project: in an effort to increase the amount of practice I get with all aspects of self-publishing, I’m publishing my next story in serial format. It will be five episodes long, with the “season” collected into a single book once the story concludes. This will require me to make at least five covers and write at least five descriptions over the course of the story.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • I had this idea as well, regarding working up some cover skills by putting out a series of short/ kind of short stories with an episodic feel, having the same main character. I have the first of two different lines written, ideas for more, but after that first cover… I realize I have no idea how to create a title (well, one anything like the thing I imagine.) And the art got stuck somewhere between a simple flat image on a colored background and a digitally painted image of some main elements from the story. I think I’ll be getting a good amount of practice just to get this first one right enough to show people, let alone expect them to lay down money for something behind that cover.
    I also bowl, about once every other year, at an annual Grange event. I have a definite curve where my skill rises, peaks, then I tire and the numbers fall off again over the course of the day.

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