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

Starting over with nothing at 32: Thoughts on the creative life, independence and retirement

For the last week I’ve been avoiding my work: the pressures and responsibilities and deadlines have been building up, and like a turtle I react by disappearing, into junk food and catching up on popular TV series. But today I’m catching up – starting with a fancy breakfast of icecream strawberry waffles at a nearby café. The background music is ... Read More »

The Book Cover Wars: What to Do When Someone Copies Your Book Cover Design; and How to Avoid Copying Others

Note: this post caused some very angry comments and discussions, but since the topic is so important and relevant to indie authors, I’m leaving it up. I hope – if any effect on them at all – that it helps the authors mentioned sell more books. Both authors have been remarkably patient, understanding and magnanimous. Today my book cover design ... Read More »

Follow your bliss, end up with blisters. How and when to use your “passion” as decision-breaker

I never wanted to grow up. And I was pretty certain I’d never have to. Not having a plan, following my dreams and desires, pursuing my goals with reckless abandon, refusing to “be practical” and “think about the future” – those were some of the things that made my life fun and exciting. “Follow Your Bliss” can be a great ... Read More »

My Super Simple Ebook Formatting and Conversion Process for the New Kindle, Smashwords and Epub Rules

I’ve been meaning to learn ebook formatting and conversion for over 2 years. Sadly, every time I got started, the sheer enormity of the process scared me away. Multiple formats? Lots of Code and HTML? Yuck. But I’ve been giving the work away for too long, and I know it’s something I’m going to need a lot of, so this ... Read More »

Becoming DaVinci – how to retire in Tuscany and become an art restoration expert

Today I’m honored to host an interview with an author who’s doing amazing things in art and literature. I met David Clarke while working on his book cover for Rare Traits, a fascinating novel that makes use of David’s interest in art history. Then I found out he’s in Tuscany studying art restoration. Wow – who wouldn’t love to be ... Read More »

How not to be a hopelessly tragic romantically poor artist (why you should buy art, the value of art and how to sell your art)

Today I got an email message from the site Nurturing Creativity. It’s a beautiful site with a good message, and I support Denise’s main aim of nurturing creative entrepreneurs. But something about this message struck me wrong. Rather than an inspiration to artists, it’s a confirmation of some very bad messages about what art is. It’s rooted in the fundamental ... Read More »

Where to find royalty-free stock images for your book cover (and how to avoid choosing the same one as everybody else).

If you’re indie publishing, you probably can’t afford a photo shoot. Fortunately (or unfortunately), these days major publishing houses can’t either, which means everybody is using stock photography. Stock photos are royalty-free images you pay to download, that you can use for book cover designs or other projects. There are lots of websites, and I’ll walk you through my favorites, ... Read More »

How much information do you need to collect from visitors/shoppers on your mailing list form – and is it worth losing sales?

So I’ve just bought an information product to (hopefully) help me improve my ebook formatting skills. I’m a pretty liberal online buyer. I’ll buy something pretty quickly if it looks decent, has good reviews, and costs under $100. If it’ll save me 5 hours of work, it’s worth it. But on this particular website, after I clicked the “Buy Now” ... Read More »

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