Monday, August 2, 2010

And we ate the props!

MY CAMERA As I've mentioned before, last year I bought myself a new camera, a Canon Rebel EOS XS.  I love it!  Naturally, most of what I take are grab shots, but I'm actually using it professionally now, too. 

My first "professional" shot with this camera now appears on my web site banner.  (And I blogged about it here.)  And when I needed a photo of antifreeze for my recent book trailer, I figured -- why pay $3 to iStock for it when I could take it myself? (Haven't seen the trailer for Chapter & Hearse?  Click here.)

All I needed was a roll of white "butcher" paper, my camera, picnic table, and a sunny day.  Voila!  Practically professional photography. (Boy, how I wish I had a real set up with professional lights--umbrellas, the works.  I wrote about that in a still-unpublished Jeff Resnick novel ... it might be uploaded to Kindle / Nook one day . . . if Cheated by Death finds true success.  Hey, make it happen.  Order the sucker now, will  ya?  (Hee hee!)

Original Uncle Albert Ahem . . . but, as usual, I digress.

My short story We're So Sorry, Uncle Albert has not been selling well.  When I got the rights back from Amazon Shorts, I uploaded it to Kindle with a cover similar to what they had.  Needless to say, the sales have not been spectacular.  So I decided to change the cover.

One aspect of the story has to do with chocolates.  Bingo!  Who doesn't like chocolates?  I thought about it for a while and decided to do a shot with a box of Russell Stover's creams.  But that would cost me about $10.  Instead, I bought a $1.49 tiny box of Whitman's Sampler and waited TWO LONG WEEKS for the temperature to drop (and the rain to stop falling) so I could use my outdoor studio.

Finally, this was the week.  The temps were only in the high 70s and it was time to take the shot.  Out came the butcher paper, the tape, and the watering can.  (I taped the paper to the can and the picnic table.)  First I shot the box.  Then the four chocolates.  Then Hubby and I took a bite of three of the chocolates and took a bunch of pictures.  I rearranged the candies over and over again taking 26 shots.  Then, we quickly at the props before they melted away.  (Yum.)

Uncle_Albert_small Next, we downloaded them onto the computer and pulled them into Photoshop.  We weeded out the best shot (#23) and Hubby made it a vector graphic (stripped out the background).  Next up -- the cover.  We played with it for a while.  Green background (uh-uh), yellow title (nope), pink author name (definitely NOT!).  Here's the finished cover.

Question.  Do you like this cover better than the original and would it make you want to buy the story?

Meanwhile, I can't wait for other opportunities to use my camera.  I love it!