First, though, please take a moment to shift your gaze slightly to the right. There it is—shining out into the world in all of its glory. Isn’t it beautiful?*
Technically, the cover image is a widget. Widgets are normally easy to use on WordPress. As with every rule, there are exceptions. The image widget is one of them. Here’s why. Upon opening the image template, I found a box requesting a URL for my cover image. I immediately said to myself, oh no. I may have used harsher language, but it was so long ago I can’t remember.
I tried to imagine the JPG of my cover art floating on a URL somewhere out in cyberspace. How, I wondered, can I get my image up on a URL?
I tried creating a blog post featuring the cover art all by its lonesome. Didn’t work. I tried creating an interior blog page. Also didn’t work. I made many other attempts, each with the same result: total despair. Fate had sentenced my cover art to live in obscurity in the back pages of my blog. It would never be allowed to take up permanent residence in a prominent place on the front page.
It would have been so easy if the software engineers had designed the image widget with a box and a button to upload cover art. Let the software create the damn URL, not me. That job is way above my pay grade.
As I fumed about the situation for the hundredth time, an idea bulb went off in my head. (I know idea bulb is a cliché. My head hurts too much from trying to solve this mystery to come up with an original metaphor.)
Try using the media library in your dashboard to find the URL, my brain told me.
Okay, I replied.
In my media library, I found several URL’s for my cover art. I tried each of them. The widget template stubbornly refused to accept every one I entered. In a rage, I smashed my head several times on the wooden Starbucks bench and nearly strangled the person next to me. This is why my head hurts. No kidding.
Maybe the image you are using is too heavy, my brain suggested. Try using an image with less than 1.55 megabytes; dummy.
Right, good thinking.
I followed my brain’s advice. Finally, one of the URL’s worked. I can’t describe the ecstasy that came over me. I had finally done it. I had achieved one of the basic steps towards marketing a book online.
To put it mildly, writing a novel and self-publishing it is a long and interesting journey. The fun really starts, however, when it comes time to go out into the world to sell your book. Though I’ve just begun this process, I feel the urge coming on to write a blog about marketing. Stay tuned.
*By clicking on the cover image, you can go to my Amazon page. I’m not suggesting you try this. I just wanted to mention it in passing.