For sale: New week, slightly used


Here’s a final bit of information about Abode’s Photoshop Elements 8. Over the weekend I put together a bookmark file for my first novel, “The Big Bend”. I’m a new hand at the business of writing – bookmarks, business cards, tax filings and so on, and from what little I know about printing, I’m a bit put off at the expense of ordering a few thousand bookmarks from a printer just to get the cost per bookmark down to where I can afford to give them away (don’t you worry, the customer pays for everything in the end).

So I called up Photoshop and built a bookmark:


It’s 2” wide by 7” tall. I kept the font styles and colors to a minimum to prevent any  eye strain or confusion, and copy/pasted three images from the cover art for the novel. It has all the information I want or a reader might need: The title of the novel, my Tag line, “Murder and Mayhem in Florida”, a photo of the cover art, two quotes from happy readers, the Kindle option, my email address and my web site address.

Altogether, getting the images placed correctly took about an hour, since each one had to be copied out of the cover art and then resized to fit the restrictions of the bookmark, and placed into its own Layer to make it easy to move it around independent of the other elements on the canvas.

The text actually took a bit longer than the images, since you have to provide a hard carriage return BEFORE you type off the edge of the canvas. Selecting fonts and colors was a snap.

Then with the bookmark completed and saved as a *.PSD, *.PNG and *.JPG, I trotted down to the local big box office supply store and ordered a bunch of bookmarks (well, 50, just to see what it looked like). That cost me $30.00. I darn near wet my pants. I paid it, but I was no longer a happy patron of that store. I’ll buy supplies there, but I’ll never order any printing done there.

I know they have expenses to cover, but that’s a bit ridiculous. I’m not going to charge anyone for a bookmark, but I can’t afford to give them away. Not at those prices.

So, I made up a sheet of bookmarks:

BookmarkSheet02Aug It’s not as easy as you might think. Set up the canvas size to match the photo paper, in my case 8.5” x 11”. That becomes your Base Layer. Then in the View menu in Photoshop select to show the gridlines. Create a new Layer and title it Layer 1 (that’s pretty clever, huh?). Save the project with a unique name. Then open the bookmark project. Make sure the image is properly oriented to match the canvas orientation in your new project. Select the bookmark image and copy/paste it into the new layer on the canvas.

Photoshop has a “Snap to Grid” option in the View menu. Use it to make sure each image you paste in is correctly aligned on the grid. Zoom in with ‘CTRL + =’ keys to verify that each of your images is correctly positioned on the grid lines before you past in the next image, and be sure to give yourself sufficient room between each image on the canvas so you can separate them after printing. If you fail to do that you will hate yourself later when you try to cut the bookmarks out of the printed page…

The biggest problem I had with this project was with my printer. The leading edge of the photo paper never entered the printer infeed rollers at the same point, so the first bookmark image was a waste of ink on three of the five sheets I printed out.

Once you have the project complete and you’ve done all of your fine-tuning by printing a few test pages and making your corrections, be sure to save the project in at least two places OFF your hard drive…

I’ll be back at work on my third novel, “Twisted Key” in just a little bit. I have about 100 pages written and the last edits from my editors to go over. Then I get to go back to the fun part of this job – actually writing new stuff. Well, research is the real fun part of this job. Writing is fun too, I guess, at least until my editors ask me what idiot wrote the crap I just emailed him…


About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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