Author Archives: Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book designer with a Ph.D. in Literature. He's been featured on CNN and spoken at dozens of writing conferences around the world. These days he mostly writes young adult fantasy and science fiction, while helping authors build profitable publishing platforms. Find me

Why I don’t ship my pants or anything else until I’m ready

In most regards, I think authors and artists have a lot to learn from the young entrepreneur crowd chilling in San Francisco and Silicon valley. They are reckless overachievers and productivity chasers with their eyes on the end goal. They are developing “minimal viable products” to test out the market and then “hustling” and “being scrappy” until they “get shit ... Read More »

Mark Coker’s tips for ebook publishing success: anti-marketing tricks that work!

I stayed up late to watch the Alliance of Independent Authors’s Self-Publishing Advice Event with Mark Coker (founder of Smashwords). His advice for ebook publishing success resonated with me, because so little of it was about marketing your book. Indie authors perversely focus on marketing, social media, and “getting the word out” about their book because they are loathe to ... Read More »

Why entrepreneurs are so obsessed with “productivity hacking”

Caffeine is my drug of choice. While I highly recommend substances like mushrooms, Ayahuasca and marijuana every once in a while, as a radical rediscovery of your life’s purpose, most days all I want is to get more done. I drink a lot of green tea. I’d love to take more Modafinil but it gives me tension headaches. I’m experimenting ... Read More »

Why Buddhists are poor: are your beliefs about money keeping it from you?

When I was younger I was obsessed with personal enlightenment. I studied philosophy. I wanted to understand Everything. Mostly, being a highly emotional and overly sensitive person, I needed to process my emotional ups and downs, my broken hearts, and my metaphysical experiences (I’ll save those for another post). I studied theology and philosophy. I wrote poetry and painted. More ... Read More »

The ugly truth about creativity, inspiration and artistic production that nobody else is talking about

I’ve been reading a lot of books about creativity. All of them deal with the struggle of the creative life: art is WAR. Creativity takes effort. We have to fight through it. REAL art is about emotion, struggle, anxiety. Real art is about passion, True experience. Real art is Creating Something New – it’s a type of violence. It’s a ... Read More »

How to stay productive during a typhoon (and other days you don’t feel like working): productivity tips you can count on

Given my decade of living overseas and moving around pretty regularly, I didn’t think relocating to Tainan (Taiwan), a city I’ve already lived in for many years, would eat up too much of my productivity time. It only took a day to find an apartment, another day to pick out and order furniture. What I didn’t count on was the ... Read More »

Why Portland needs to get a job, and how “follow your passion” is terrible advice

Growing up near Portland, Oregon, son of ex-hippies with New Age beliefs, I was raised to believe in following my passion. I read The Alchemist and Jonathan Livingston Seagull and the Celestine Prophecy. Way before The Secret brought positive intention and manifesting desires to everyone, I stewed in the Northwestern liberalism that demanded I stay true to my passions, no matter ... Read More »

The easiest way to create content for your blog: and why you should never do it.

Your blog thrives on content. If you have an online business of any kind (including promoting your art or writing), you need fresh content so that Google, and potential fans, can find you. But writing it all yourself is tiresome and you have to think of new ideas and catchy headlines, and hiring someone to write articles for you doesn’t ... Read More »

The two types of self-publishing websites for indie authors: those that support you, and those that screw you

Websites for self-publishing authors can be divided into two camps. 1) Those offering authors services They write posts to get you to buy their book formatting, book conversion, book covers, author websites, book marketing, etc. 2) Blogs run by indie authors themselves These are full of tips and tricks and useful content. They teach you how to do things, inspire ... Read More »

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