Automagically Remove Backgrounds

From the Department of AI is Coming for Your Job: an algorithm that does a pretty fair job of separating a human in an image from its background. I uploaded the image of the woman at left, and downloaded the result at right, all in a few seconds. Check it out here. The free version works at limited resolution. There is a paid version (naturally) that works at much higher resolution. The underlying technology is pretty impressive.

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Author Testimonial #8 — Cover Design

The books came today....they look lovely. Thank you for helping with this project and for arranging the printing as well. It’s a very nice thing to see the cartoons so well presented, and for some reason, more satisfying than on the website....maybe because you can’t turn a book off! You’ve been very helpful and obliging....many thanks for that, and hopefully I will be back for Book 2 in due course.
— Carolyn McMurtrie

Introducing the Illustrations of Pawel Nowacki

Pawel has illustrated several books with us now, with a range of subject matter. He has adapted well to every request and produces illustrations with personality and energy. Here's an introduction from Pawel:

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"My name is Pawel (the Polish cognate  of Paul) and I’m a freelance illustrator based in Poznań, Poland. When I was a small boy, my father showed me a ballpen-made portrait — I've been drawing ever since. Being self-taught, I barely ever leave my pencil behind, wanting to be a better artist. Working almost my entire life in IT business has given me an interesting perspective on art, and at the same time equipped me with some skills that are helping me out with my art work. Coming from two such distant worlds is both advantage and a challenge which I take happily, having a great motivation from my family, especially from my beautiful wife Joanna.

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I really enjoy black and white drawings. Book illustrations, comics and graphic novels were always something special for me. Being able to actually create book illustrations is like fulfilling my childhood dreams. This is also why I really enjoy working with Luke, for he is a professional, honest and friendly person, giving me the opportunity to do what I really love:)

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If you are a book author and want to decorate your book with any kind of illustration I'm more than happy to help you. I always like to research the subject of the illustration to fit it best for authors idea. I usually do hand-drawn, pencil to paper sketches then scan and add some processing work on the computer with use of a graphic tablet. I always like to leave a hand-drawn feeling to the final effect. I can create book illustrations, portraits, caricatures, etc. but I stay open for any kind of drawing / art idea you might have!

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You can have a look at some of my previous works on my portfolio archive at pawel-nowacki.tumblr.com/archive and also on my Instagram account: www.instagram.com/nowacki_pawel,  (user: nowacki_pawel)"

Independent Publishing Promotional Options

We asked author Roger Mendelson, author of Eliyahu's Mistress, to jot down a few thoughts re. promoting his book in the age of social media:

"The days of publishers promoting novels are over, unless you are a high profile author. If you want to promote your book, you have to do it yourself. I am on this journey and despite my novel, Eliyahu’s Mistress winning the IPPY 2018 Bronze Award for best Australian/NZ fiction, am finding it difficult to gain momentum. There is no magic bullet. If you believe in your novel, you require more persistence with promoting it than writing it.I say this as someone with considerable business experience, so I can only imagine the frustration most authors must feel.

 Traditional media is fast dying, so if you have a very low budget, social media is really the only option. For this to be effective, you need to define who your readership is likely to be and target this group. It needs to be very specific. Eg middle-aged country people, single older women, retired couples, young single men. I am not an effective Facebook user but I can see that with a very low budget, this really has to be the major medium to use."

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