September 10, 2019
Making social posts easy and getting great results

How to create a month’s worth of Instagram content in a couple of hours Everyone on Instagram knows that the key to visibility is creating consistent, quality content. Yeah? The more people that see your posts, the easier it is to grow your following (with REAL people). The bigger your following, the more new leads […]

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April 22, 2019
Case Study: How a comic strip uses repetition to make good design great

In case you missed it, we've been talking about repetition and how it's what actually gets a message across. I introduced you to the wonderfully weird comic strip, Robonk, created by my friend Brock Frazier, because I want to show you how subtle repeated elements can be while still being critical in the design process. […]

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April 8, 2019
Repeat after me: Repetition is critical in good design

Once upon a time, I was driving. Fascinating story so far, yeah? Don't worry, it's a short one. See, as I was getting off the freeway, I noticed a white Hyundai Sonata in front of me. Except I didn't. I noticed three white Sonatas. And then a fourth pulled up next to me, and a […]

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March 11, 2019
Why so many logos are a waste of time, money & effort (and what to do instead)

It happens so often. People just starting out in business, not sure yet how they're going to sell their thing or who their audience is, and what do they tell me? "I need a logo." But do you really? Is that actually what you need? Almost always, that's a no. What you need is clarity. […]

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March 4, 2019
How to use a mood board to help you build a great design

What's the deal with mood boards? In case you're not familiar with them, a mood board is "an arrangement of images, materials, pieces of text, etc. intended to evoke or project a particular style or concept." Basically, it's a collage that explores ways to evoke the feeling (or mood) you're after in a design I […]

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February 25, 2019
6 Things To Know That Help You Sell More of Anything - Part 2

If you haven't read part 1, go check it out. I'll wait. So you know what you're trying to do, who you're trying to reach, and how you define success. That is FREAKING AWESOME. Do you know how few people really think through all of that? Now you're in a great position to actually get […]

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February 18, 2019
6 Things To Know That Help You Sell More of Anything - Part 1

If you're not writing (or thinking about writing) a book, you might think my ebook 6 Things You Should Know Before You Self-Publish doesn't apply to you. You’d be wrong. These six things apply to any sales situation and make your offer sell better no matter what it is. Don’t believe me? Let’s walk through […]

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February 11, 2019
Should you experiment with different book cover designs? Maybe. Here’s why...

Let's talk about Elizabeth Gilbert for a minute. Some of you are probably thinking, "Do we have to?" Here's the thing, though: Elizabeth Gilbert has a very clear author brand. You may love her, you may hate her. You may not know who she is, but if you do, you're probably in one of the […]

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January 31, 2019

Besides simplicity, you know what else works? Starting. The other night I got home tired and cranky, head full of pressure, heart full of a powerful desire to curl up under a blanket, fire up some Netflix, and do my best impression of a bowl of jelly. Not gonna lie - there was a blanket. […]

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January 24, 2019
Not enough butter

Here's what I notice: When I feel like I have more than enough - time, money, energy -  I feel generous. It's delightful to give. I'm warm, welcoming, at ease. When I don't have enough - whatever that means to me -  not only do I have nothing to give, I feel stingy. I'm guarded […]

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January 21, 2019
Doing it bass-ackward

<nerd alert> Did I ever tell you I saw Serenity before ever seeing a single episode of Firefly? Really, it's true. What happened to Wash hurt a lot less that first time through - I hardly knew him. You non-Firefly people wondering who Wash is, did you know you can watch every episode on Facebook […]

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January 17, 2019
Poetry, design, and balsamic vinegar: it's all about the sauce.

In college, I never did quite manage to decide whether I was an artist or a writer. When I was focused on writing, I loved poetry best, because of the music of it, because of the intensity, because it cuts out every non-essential word and distills what's left down to the deepest truth, speaking directly […]

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January 14, 2019
Want a Cheap Book Cover Design? Think Again.

You know I'm all about the positive, but I'm going to go ahead and be snarky here. I can't help it, the material is just too good. I ran across a video on a site that offers self-publishing services (including book cover design). They were basically saying that $500 is the max you should ever […]

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January 10, 2019
Make it beautiful.

I never get mad at people for saying that my job is to "make it pretty". But it does make my skin crawl a little bit. See, "pretty" isn't enough for me. Pretty is skin deep. Pretty is decorating the surface without diving in to the full experience. Pretty is fleeting and shallow. Beauty is […]

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January 7, 2019
8 essentials for the interior design of your next book (with real-world examples)

Every time I hear the interior design of a book referred to as "book formatting", it's like this: It's the commonly-used term, so I'm pretty much just going to have to suck it up and get used to it, but still...ech. Book Formatting vs. Book Interior Design To me, book formatting is about the technicalities […]

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December 31, 2018
Business Parable or Inspirational Fiction? Make sure your cover tells the right story

Ready for another book cover takedown? Today we’re looking at The Secret Watch by Lisa Robbin Young. Here we have a great example of a book cover design that looks pretty and really, really doesn't do the job. At first glance, without reading the subtitle, what kind of book would you guess this is? I'm […]

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December 24, 2018
Your book cover HAS to set the right mood - Young Adult Fantasy cover makeover

It's been a strange week, filled with reminders of how fragile life and health can be. Due to all of that, and more, I'm feeling a little bit dark - in a true romantic kind of way (Ah! We suffer so beautifully!) and a lot nostalgic. The nostalgia piece is probably what prompted me to […]

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December 17, 2018
5 Common Typography Mistakes That Can Kill Your Book Sales

If there’s one thing that drives a designer completely freaking insane, it’s awful fonts. Well, okay, it’s not so much the fonts themselves, it’s how they’re styled. So often, you can spot a DIY book cover design because of wonky looking typography. So let me save you some heartache (and keep your readers from wanting […]

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December 10, 2018
Want to sell more books? Don’t copy Stephen King!

You've probably seen this piece of crap advice floating through the interwebs: "If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you'll achieve the same results." Total B.S. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Recently, Shenee Howard was sharing her […]

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December 3, 2018
Is it worth it to hire a professional to design your book cover if you self-publish? Yup. Here’s why…

The other day I stumbled across this article about getting your book cover done on the cheap, part of a series called "Self-Publishing on a Shoestring". The first part is great, well-written and smart, and it's awesome to see someone who is NOT a designer talking about how essential a great cover design really is. […]

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November 24, 2018
DIY Bad Book Cover Makeover: Adventure Fiction

Images are faster than thought - something either catches your attention and gets you curious to learn more, or it doesn't. When it comes to a strong-selling book cover design, your image matters. While most of the authors I work with are entrepreneurs using non-fiction books to grow their reach, I'm having fun with some […]

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August 19, 2018
Book Cover Makeover: Money Can Buy Happiness

I've been scouring Amazon, looking at book covers, and I decided to make one over just for kicks. Let me be super clear, because I hate misleading content: Dr. Patty Ann is not a client. She didn't ask me to do this, and this makeover is not official or connected with her in any way. […]

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June 23, 2018
How the Mirror Universe (or the Dark Side) can help define your brand

If you’re a Trekkie like me, you probably already know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, well . . . <sigh> . . . I love you anyway, so let me explain: My all-time favorite episode of TOS* is Mirror, Mirror. A landing party has beamed down to a planet to negotiate for dilithium […]

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January 14, 2018
Color of the year, and other design trends

Pantone's color of the year: Ultra Violet. I love this one. It's the first that has appealed to me since Radiant Orchid in 2014. It's gorgeous, it's a color I can wear (unlike last year's vibrant Greenery), and I love the philosophy outlined in this image from Pantone's website. So how do you incorporate things […]

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December 16, 2017
Diluting your message just makes it suck.

(or "what I really wanted to do with my life") You probably didn't know this about me, but I didn't always want to be a designer. When I was a little girl, what I wanted to be more than anything was one of the Heritage Singers. Now, that's pretty specific to the subculture I grew […]

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November 28, 2017
How to get feedback you can USE

In a Facebook group exclusively made up of designers, I recently saw someone post variations on her own logo & ask, “Which one do you like?” I see this kind of feedback request ALL THE TIME, and it drives me nuts. After several comments came in about various designers’ personal preferences, the original poster finally […]

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