Author Archives: Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me

How to make a lot of money in indie publishing (and how to go broke).

This past month I’ve been thinking big and buying up online platforms related to publishing and book design. My little blog gets some traffic, and my book cover design business is doing fine – I just want to be a bigger player. A couple weeks ago I found a little blog network for indie authors – it had a website ... Read More »

Everything you think you know about your author website is wrong

I was listening to a session of the Non-Fiction Writers Conference today and the question came up: “How do people find your website?” The answer involved using Google keywords to find out what people are searching for, and then rewrite your content to use more of those search terms. For example, if my book is about is about book marketing, ... Read More »

The Grit Test: a simple quiz to see whether you’ll make it as a creative professional

Psychologist Angela Duckworth is making news by claiming “Grit” is as important to success as background, education or IQ. The funny thing about Grit is that it’s a personality trait, and not likely to be something you just picked up along the way. Grit is something you’re born with. If you need to take a “Grit Test” because you’re unsure ... Read More »

Createspace’s Cover Generator is Totally Broken

According to Createspace’s submission requirements, To calculate the spine width of your book, White paper: multiply page count by 0.002252 Cream paper: multiply page count by 0.0025 So, for the 230 page cream book I’m working on, my calculator says the spine width should be 0.575″. That’s also what Createspace is telling the author, as it rejects the cover I ... Read More »

The Disappointments of Kindle Formatting (why is Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature so broken?)

In my books and with my clients, I routinely stress to keep ebooks very simple. Nothing fancy. No embedded fonts or images. Because it’s unlikely to look good on all different platforms and ebook readers. But that’s so boring. I ignore my own advice, because for me, style and design are as important as content. Today however I’ve proved myself ... Read More »

Do you want to be exceptional, and dead? (Drugs, creativity, manic energy and suicide)

I had no idea what Black Box was about when I started watching, but was soon delighted with it – a brain scientist with psychological issues recounts her last near death manic episode to her psychologist. While I’m writing about drugs and creativity, she makes the opposite point – sometimes we normalize our episodes with drugs. Needing to revamp her ... Read More »

An advertising hack for getting your business in front of the right readers

I don’t do a lot of advertising, but this year I’m planning on attending some writing and author-related conferences to build my platform (I’m even speaking at one). Attendance usually costs a few hundred dollars (plus travel), but necessitates that you actually talk to people, otherwise those valuable face-to-face meetings are wasted. If you’ve built up relationships before hand, meeting ... Read More »

An experiment in radical book marketing – 10 slots available, guaranteed results

SOLD OUT I’m all set but I may try this again, we’ll see how the first round goes. —————– For the past year I’ve been experimenting with book cover design and design-based marketing, and have seen some big results with my own projects and those of my clients. I’ve been networking much more and am an active member of numerous ... Read More »

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