How to make your erotica or erotic romance book advert shine!

I wrote before about how to make an erotic romance book advert in GIMP for Twitter. That article covered the basics, and this one builds on what I explained in the other article. This tutorial is a bit more advanced, so make sure you’re confident with making a simple advert before following this tutorial.

Click here to learn how to make a basic advert. That tutorial was written with the best sizes for a Twitter ad, but I find those sizes work well for Google Plus, too.

In this more advanced tutorial, I’m going to use the same advert I made in the first tutorial to show you how to make the text stand out so it’s more readable, then I’m going to show you how to filter your background picture so your book cover stands out! There are many other things you can do with picture editing to make pictures work together, but these are the easiest tweaks that will make your advert look more professional.

Part 1: How to make a text outline:

1. Go to one of the text layers and click on it to make sure it’s selected. Over the blue highlight, right click, then from that menu, select “alpha to selection.”
GIMP alpha to selection how to make book advert Katie Douglas

2. Your text will now have a weird blurry line around the edge:
GIMP alpha to selection how to make book advert Katie Douglas

3. Go to the menu at the top of the screen, click “select” then “grow”:
GIMP select grow how to make book advert Katie Douglas

4. You will get a menu like this. Choosing one or two pixels is enough on an advert of this size:

GIMP select grow pixels GIMP select grow how to make book advert Katie Douglas

5. Now that wavy border around the text has moved outwards in every direction by two pixels:

GIMP select grow how to make book advert Katie Douglas

6. Next, make a new layer. An option screen will come up. Just hit “OK” and it will make the right layer.

7. Get the bucket fill tool and make sure the main color is black (if your writing is white) or white (if your writing is black). You can play around with the colors but it’s tricky to get them to match the advert, so stick with black or white for now.

8. Make sure you’re working in the new layer you just created, not the text layer, or this will go weird. Click inside the wavy line surrounding your text. Everything inside the wavy line should go black, just like in the following picture. Click and drag your new layer so it’s listed below the text layer in the list of layers:

When the layer is in the correct place, your picture will look like this:

10. Go to “select” then click “none” to get rid of the wavy line around your writing.

GIMP select none how to unselect book advert katie douglas

Here is what the lettering should now look like:

11. Congratulations, you just made a text border! Now do it again to any other text on the page, and your advert text will be clear and professional-looking! Don’t forget to save and export your picture!

12. Here’s a before and after so you can see the difference this has made to the overall feel of the advert:

Before.
After.

Part 2: How to filter the background image:

Now let’s sort out that background. It’s mostly fine, but if you want to perfect your advert a little more, the background is definitely drawing attention away from the message and the book cover.

1. Make a new layer between the background picture and the layer with your book cover on it:

2. Next, select the layer with your book cover on it. Go to the color picker and select a dark-ish color from your book cover’s background:

3. Now go to the bucket fill tool. Change the opacity (how see-through the color is) until it’s very low, somewhere between 20 and 30% will be perfect:

4. Select the layer between the book cover and the background image, and click your bucket fill on it. The background should subtly change color like this:

And Finally…

To make the book cover stand out even more, you can put an outline around the book cover exactly the same way you made an outline around your text, so you get something like this:

Here’s a before and after for how the advert looked after following the first tutorial, and how this advert looked after following this more advanced tutorial:

Before.
After.

And voila, a shinier book advert you can use on Twitter, Google+ and other social media platforms!

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

Other articles in this series:
Spanking writing prompts
Erotic romance: Where should the story begin?
The main spanking scenarios for spanking erotic romance writers
Erotica words for spanking and anal sex writers in BDSM erotic romance
Naming the characters in your BDSM erotic romance
How to make a Twitter advert for erotic romance authors

How to make a Twitter advert for erotic romance authors

Posting an eye-catching image on Twitter to advertise your erotic romance novel or erotica story is a great way to get people interested in your book. But how do you do that?! In October, I took a graphic design course to learn all about the mysteries of making adverts. Here’s a step-by-step checklist to help you create a Twitter ad:

  1. Get some picture editing software. I recommend GIMP because it is free (another option is PhotoShop, but I don’t use that because it’s expensive). One huge advantage of using GIMP (rather than Krita or Corel, for example) is that there are loads of videos on YouTube with tutorials about how to do everything. Just Google, “how to make bubble text in GIMP” and you’ll see what I mean. You can download GIMP for free here.
  2. When you open GIMP, go to “file” then click “new…”
    GIMP how to open a new image
  3. It will show a popup like this. Where I’ve put “500” (twice) put the size of your image (see step 4).
    GIMP new image dialog
  4. Pictures are measured in pixels. Your Twitter ad needs to be 500×500 (1:1 ratio) or 440×220 (2:1 ratio) pixels in size. This guide always has up-to-date measurements for all social media pictures.
  5. Go online and search for a nice background. Whatever you search for, type “CC BY” or “CC 0” after your search, because your pictures need to be a special type of copyright-free licence so you don’t get in trouble for accidentally using someone else’s protected work. When you find a nice picture, it should say on the webpage what you’re allowed to use the picture for. You probably want “commercial and non-commercial use” because even though you’re not selling your advert, it’s going to help you sell books, which is a commercial use.
  6. Copy your picture, then paste it into your GIMP image and hit the “new layer” button to anchor your picture to a layer (so you can use it properly).
    new layer her daddy and her master 99p sale katie douglas how to make book ad
  7. If the background picture is too big, it might look strange, so go to “layer” and “scale layer” and change the layer’s size to the same size as your overall picture size (you don’t have to do this if the background picture looks okay, even if it’s too big, because when you export, only the visible part of the picture will be kept).
    GIMP scale layer her daddy and her master 99p sale katie douglas how to make book ad
    Here’s where to find the “scale layer” option:
    GIMP layer too big scale layer2 her daddy and her master 99p sale katie douglas how to make book ad
    And here’s where to change the size:
    GIMP layer too big scale layer3 her daddy and her master 99p sale katie douglas how to make book ad
    Now you should have a background like this:
    GIMP before after scale layer her daddy and her master 99p sale katie douglas how to make book adGIMP after scale layer her daddy and her master 99p sale katie douglas how to make book ad
  8. Get the book cover file that you should have from your publisher. Stormy Night Publications nearly always sends the final version to me shortly after the books are published, but I’m not sure about what other publishers do. Open that file in either Paint or GIMP and, on your computer keyboard, hold down CTRL and tap “a” at the same time. This will “select all.” Copy the image (edit/copy, or right click, “copy” or CTRL and “c”), and paste it into your GIMP book advert (edit/paste, right click, “paste” or CTRL and “v”). It might look like it’s gone wrong because the cover will be HUGE!
    GIMP cover too big her daddy and her master 99p sale katie douglas how to make book ad
  9. Hit “new layer” so you can work with the picture you just pasted, and it will stop saying “floating layer” in your layer dialog (the tab at the bottom right).
    GIMP cover too big new layer
  10. Repeat step 7 to scale the book cover down so it looks less scary. 200×300 is a good size for the book cover on a Twitter ad.
    GIMP cover too big scale layer1

    GIMP cover too big scale layer2
    The picture of the chain keeps the length and height ratio, so the picture doesn’t go a weird shape when you change its size. Only change the width, and when you click in the box next to height, it should automatically change it for you.
  11. To move your book cover, click “move” (and make sure the bottom option is checked: “Move the active layer”) and slide your book cover into position, until it’s where you want it. You can always do this to move it again, later, so don’t worry too much about whether it’s exactly where it needs to be at this stage.

    GIMP how to move layer cover1
    Once those options are selected you can click and drag the cover to where you want it.
  12. Now click on the “text” tool (big letter A in the toolbox on the left) and click and drag your mouse to draw a box where you want to write something. Put your words in the box.
    GIMP text tool how to make great book advert twitter katie douglas
  13. Highlight your text and select font, size, color etc until it’s how you want it (this works in a similar way to Microsoft Word).
  14. If the text won’t change color or size, it’s because there’s two options and for some strange reason, GIMP sometimes forgets it has two options and refuses to change one of them. Try the other one (see picture) and see if that makes it work.
    GIMP text edit can't change font color text not working
  15. To make your picture usable online, you need to export it (GIMP calls the process of turning all those layers into one picture “exporting” instead of “saving”, and when you hit save, it doesn’t make a picture you can use online). Go to “file” then “export as” and you have lots of options for file type; .png and .jpg are the best options for the Internet. If GIMP comes up with anything complicated while you’re trying to export, just hit “export” and it should go away and turn your work into a saved, exported picture.

  16. Once you have your picture, go to Twitter, write a nice tweet, add some hashtags and upload your image!

    GIMP finished pic use ruler
    Extra tip: The ruler at the top and to the left can help you line up each of your layers so they align properly with the rest of your picture.

Don’t forget to put a link to your book when you write your Tweet, and follow me on Twitter to get regular updates with content like this!

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

Other articles in this series:
Spanking writing prompts
Erotic romance: Where should the story begin?
The main spanking scenarios for spanking erotic romance writers
Erotica words for spanking and anal sex writers in BDSM erotic romance
Naming the characters in your BDSM erotic romance
How to make your erotica or erotic romance advert shine! (this is part 2 of the tutorial you’re reading now)

 

10 Things Littles Can Do On Long Car Rides

As a little, I know we’re not always patient creatures. I want everything to happen YESTERDAY and that’s especially true when it comes to anything I’m particularly excited about! Car rides, then, are a hotbed of frustration, boredom and over-excitement, not to mention over-tiredness, and the environment of a dull journey with an exciting destination is a breeding ground for temper tantrums.

I went on a long car ride last weekend, and another one the weekend before, while we visited assorted relatives over Easter, and I was SO BORED because we’ve done these journeys, like, 1000 times. Because I like researching stuff, I pulled together a list of things to do during future car rides, and hopefully there’s something here that can keep you occupied when you are going on a long car trip too!

10 things littles can do on long car rides BDSM ageplay adult little girl
10 things littles can do on long car rides. Image/background image: Katie Douglas.

1. I spy. This is the most obvious game you can play on long car rides if you and your grown-up are alone in a car together. The person whose turn it is says “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…” then they say the first letter of the thing they can see. The other person has to guess what it is. You HAVE to be able to see the thing when you say it (and if your grownup/little has autism/aspergers/another thing affecting their ability to perspective-take, make double sure THEY can see it too)!

2. Sing along CDs. This one didn’t occur to me until I found one of my Disney Princess CDs in the car on a recent car trip. You can do this when you’re driving, too (of course, that’s if you’re grown-up enough to drive).

3. Coloring. This one requires advance planning, because you’ll need some paper or a coloring book, and some pencils or crayons to color with.

4. Counting games. Think of something you keep seeing (or don’t see many of), for example, post boxes, telephone boxes or yellow cars. The person who spots the most telephone boxes (for example) wins. What do you win? That’s between you and your grown-up!!

5. Place names. Someone picks a place-name, and the other person has to say another place-name that starts with the same letter that was the last letter of the previous place-name. E.g. “Edinburgh” “Hartford” “Dartmouth.” If you get stuck, there’s usually helpful signposts outside the car window (or you can look at the map if you’re not driving).

6. Telling a story. You say half a sentence to start a story, and the other person has to say another half of a sentence to continue the story, and you keep going as a story starts to grow. You’re not allowed to use your turn to undo someone else’s half-sentence, though!

7. If you want to do something educational, you could have a spelling bee. This is where one person says a word and the other person has to spell it out loud! How many of us depend on spellcheck in our everyday lives? I like to practice my American words because there’s quite a few differences between UK English and American English. The only problem with this game is that you need a grown-up who is good at spelling. Unfortunately, because I really, really, adore words, I’m better at spelling than my grown-up (he is the first person to say this, which is fine because maths is his thing, whereas I’m barely numerate), and so we don’t play this game as often as I’d like.

8. Have a puppet show. If you are in the car alone together, you could take some toy puppets with you, and you can make up a story with them that your grown-up can listen to (although he/she should probably keep their eyes on the road). If you’re driving, obviously your grown-up can do the puppeteering, but you could still voice one of the characters, or you could maybe ask your grown-up to make up a story for you, using the puppets. It’s like an audiobook but WITH PUPPETS IN YOUR CAR!!

9. Word association. This one can also be a fun way to get to know each other better. One person says a word and the other person has to say the first thing that comes into their head, then the first person has to say whatever come into their head, and so on.

10. A twist on word association that I like to play with a couple of my friends who share my sense of humor and love of words is word disassociation. With this game, someone says a word, and you have to say something that’s nothing to do with it. This one really gets you thinking (and you aren’t allowed to hesitate or the other person wins).

Do you have any other games that you like to play in the car with your grown-up/little? Let me know in the comments!!

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

Spanking Writing Prompts

A writing prompt is something that helps you get started with writing something. There are a lot of them on the internet, and magazines often do them as well. They’re great if you are stuck for ideas when you want to write something, and they’re supposed to fire up the imagination so you can write something based on the prompt.

I’m part of a writing club that occasionally posts writing prompts on Facebook. They have nothing to do with spanking and they have no idea I’m a published author let alone what sort of things I write! I like the club, but I find the prompts they produce are not very… prompty. They’re aimed at people who want to write something edgy and super-modern (which is no bad thing, I just don’t write like that).

After reading their most recent set of prompts, it struck me that I’d never seen any prompts for spanking fiction. So, I thought I’d make up some (semi-serious) prompts to help people get ideas for spanking stories. After all, the more the merrier, right? I’ve tried to design them all so you can imagine what happened before, or next, or give them any context you want. Complete the sentence or write 500 words… they’re your prompts now.

  1. “Before I spank you, young lady, I expect you to…”
  2. Mabel was standing on the top rung of the ladder, trying to reach a…
  3. When she was pulled over, she was driving at 80 because…
  4. The experiment was a great success…
  5. “But I only brought eight kittens home…”
  6. The most humiliating way to spank someone in the entire universe…
  7. She had never wanted to find out whether birch or willow was worse.
  8. “Daddy, I have something to tell you…”
  9. A long, thin package arrived in the mail…
  10. How do you spank a naughty superhero?…

Have fun!

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

Articles in this series:
Spanking writing prompts
Erotic romance: Where should the story begin?
The main spanking scenarios for spanking erotic romance writers
Erotica words for spanking and anal sex writers in BDSM erotic romance
Naming the characters in your BDSM erotic romance
How to make a Twitter advert for erotic romance authors