Pushbullet and Mighty Text to the Rescue

They might sound like geek superheroes, but these two services offer some interesting communication capabilities. Mighty Text allows users to send and receive texts from their PC (as long as their mobile phone is nearby). The comfort of using a normal sized keyboard to send a text is liberating. Texts suddenly become far more expansive than the usual telegraphic efforts forced on users by tiny screens. A plugin also allows users to send texts from within gmail — only for Chrome browser users.

Pushbullet pushes links, attachments, messages and notifications instantly between any computer and phone that you add and verify, essentially bridging otherwise balkanised platforms. Works with all of the major browsers (see the image below).

Consider a Publicist

Self-published authors typically operate on a very tight budget. Short run digital printing, print on demand and ebooks have made the economics of self-publishing more viable, but rarely do authors have much left over for the promotion of their work. Some authors have a natural talent for self-promotion and the confidence and energy to implement an effective campaign. Many, however, do not, and either avoid confronting the issue or cultivate the vague idea that their book will somehow be 'discovered' and 'go viral'.

In truth, the vast majority of books instantly sink almost without trace. They are very visible to the author, and to the author's friends and family, but beyond that, a great void. The book is invisible to everyone else. In a crowded marketplace of ideas and creative 'product' a book needs a champion, someone to present it to potential audiences, to tell a story about it and make it into a viable commercial entity. If you as an author have a lot of faith in your latest work and believe it will have a sizeable potential audience, perhaps consider the services of a publicist.

In recent times we have had several authors mention the quality of publicity work carried out by Scott Eathorne of Quikmark Media. If we hear positive things about other writer and small-publisher oriented publicists, we will post it on this blog. Those interested in a purely ebook promotional tactics, please see our post here for some useful tips.

Morning Routines for the Upwardly Mobile

The Interweb is saturated with advice on attaining success, be it financial, professional or spiritual (or all three). Lucrative careers are built around nudging and pep-talking people towards lucrative careers. The habits and utterances of Zuck or Steve Jobs or Richard Branson (Sir) are examined minutely and lessons drawn, as if it is possible to bottle their lightning (and luck). My Morning Routine is a modest variation on this theme, focused on the morning habits of often scarily disciplined people. Breakfast or no breakfast, meditation, juice, email answering and exercise — you decide which mix works on your upward path.

Legal Deposit Wants You

Self-published authors may be unaware that they are obligated to supply one copy of their book to the National Library of Australia. One imagines a vast warehouse somewhere in Canberra containing the literary effusions of an entire nation. Besides an author's Federal obligations, each state usually has its own Legal Deposit scheme. Public-spirited authors will therefore need to save for two lots of postage stamps.

Depicting Hope

Our client's book dealt with her long and ultimately successful struggle with an eating disorder, and she wanted the cover design to reflect a sense of optimism and potential change. We used a contemplative photograph and a fairly quiet type arrangement, with colours pulled from the underlying image. The author commented that "the great cover that you designed for my memoir ebook version receives lots of praise. The image you have created portrays the essence of looking ahead, remaining hopeful, and visualising new horizons. Also, I greatly appreciate your creativity in incorporating a picture of my favourite walking place, on the Bellarine Peninsula, into the cover design. Best wishes, June."
See also the author's website here.

What to Pay an Illustrator

Imagining a world where illustrators are paid fairly for their work, this page sets out suggested rates for various tasks and situations. In an increasingly borderless design world competing with much lower wage regions, those kind of rates may be difficult for many illustrators to achieve. The site hosting this page is a time portal back to the earliest days of eye-wateringly bad web design.