Making Seedlings: A Short Story Collection

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By now, you have probably known what Seedlings: A Short Story Collection is all about, but I haven’t shared much yet about making it.


Prior to deciding and taking a trip abroad, I was already producing and making a layout for a book, but it was not Seedlings at all. Then when I decided to stay longer during this trip, I was pretty sure I won’t be able to continue working on it as my files are in the Philippines.

Because I wanted to be productive and answer the call of writing and illustrating a book this quarter of 2017, I decided to finally try my hand at self-publishing a book of short stories and prose.

Gathering

I gathered all the tiny stories and prose I wrote since 2009 from my old blogs and Instagram account. It took a while for me to collect and arrange them into their corresponding chapters and order.

When I had the chapters I want, what they stand for, and the stories, I filtered what was needed to be in this collection.

Afterwards, I proofread them, changed some things, deleted some lines, added more hope and positive thoughts, especially to the stories that were too sad.

Making the Layout

I love Adobe InDesign! I started using it during college years. We took one class where we learned it, but most of my experience in using it was rooted in the four years I worked in the student publication.

I had to place the texts first into the pages in InDesign, so I can get an idea about the orientation and placement of the illustrations that will accompany each story.

Designing

Ever since my student publication years, I always opted to hand-letter titles. Since I wanted to be original too in Seedlings, these are some of what I came up with for the title. I used Prang watercolor for it.

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I chose the fifth one!

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I also made visual elements that signified growth and plants which will be placed in pages like the Foreword, Author’s Note, and Acknowledgement.

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I wanted each title of the story to be written too to give that unique look which will accompany the pencil drawings well.

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Illustrating

After the text and title were done, it was time to do my favorite part: drawing!

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I had to borrow a mechanical pencil from my Aunt, so I could get the lines and texture that I wanted (Thank you, Tita Mila!)

While I conceptualized what I should draw, I read each story to give me a clearer picture of what would be appropriate and best to convey the message and lesson.

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With the permission and help from my cousin Ouel, I was able to scan all I did at a crisp and clear 600 dpi with their scanner (Thank you, O!)

Enhancing

With Adobe Photoshop, I cropped and enhanced the hand-lettering of the title and the illustrations, making them sharper and distinguished on white.

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I cleaned each drawing by erasing stray lines and guidelines too.

After enhancing everything, it was time to place the drawings into the pages in InDesign.

Proofreading

Of course, one cannot produce, finalize, and print/publish without proofreading – I cannot stress enough how critical this is. One would not want to launch her first book with a typographical error in one of the passages!

I read each page carefully, not letting any improper use of words or errors escape me. If I’m not mistaken, I probably edited the whole book in two passes.

After I exported a PDF from InDesign and uploaded it to my Gumroad account and started creating marketing collaterals though, I decided to proofread one more time, and I saw nine or ten that I overlooked! I hurriedly opened the file in Adobe Acrobat and input the changes needed. Finally, I uploaded the PDF again to my Gumroad account.

Eyes can play tricks on us, when we’ve saturated our vision with so many words. One tip I can give is to let yourself and your eyes rest for a few hours to a day before copyreading again. That’s both good for eye health and efficiency. When you get back to work, you have fresh eyes to spot more mistakes or to find space for improvement.

Marketing

Thanks to my 3-year experience in marketing and designing in my first job after graduation and my bosses, mentors, and colleagues there, I was able to apply my earned knowledge in marketing Seedlings.

After uploading to Gumroad, I allotted two weeks for marketing. I used my Facebook Page, Instagram, and personal Facebook account to market the e-book.

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Seedlings 2_Coming 9.01.17

Tomorrow is the day

Reveal of Seedlings

I scheduled these images throughout the two weeks to keep the audience in anticipation and excitement without giving too much information away to inspire curiosity.

Seedlings is out now Poster

All in all, the production transpired in a week, and the marketing for two weeks. Note that I had to work on it hour after hour in a day, taking short breaks in between.

This journey was nothing short of humbling and enjoyable for me. I was truly in a happy state producing this, and I was excited for the people who would be reading the stories. Self-publishing can be scary at first, but one will never know how it will go if one does not try.

Please let me have this opportunity to thank dear family, friends, and good people for purchasing and reading Seedlings: A Short Story Collection.

Thank you. I cannot wait to create more stories and share them with you! 🙂

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If you would like to give a review or feedback on the e-book, please email me at mariacarlizza@gmail.com. I’d be glad to share your review on my website and Facebook Page! I am happy to read your thoughts and what you think can be improved too on my skills in writing and illustrating. Thank you!


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You may read more about Seedlings here, and you may buy a copy at www.gum.co/seedlings.

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