Derek Murphy

Hey there! I'm a philosophy dropout and book cover designer with a PhD in Literature. After spending a decade as a starving artist, I vowed to create the life of freedom my restless spirit demands. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write young adult fantasy novels and do a few editorial critiques to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles. FREE GUIDE: Book Marketing is Dead.

How to win Nanowrimo (plotting cheatsheets & preptober workbook)

Nanowrimo is just around the corner: here’s a brief getting started video with links to my best writing and publishing resources. Start with this: It’s a “Defense of #amwriting” and explanation of my #amwriting tattoo. Basically, Nanowrimo is worth doing for experience; writing quickly and writing a lot is the best way to actually improve. It’s important to get your …

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The difference between a main plot, side plot and subplot – (how to write satisfying fiction)

I’ve put a lot of effort into plot outlines and templates for writing fiction, but the deeper stuff is sometimes trickier to convey. After all, you can have a brilliant outline that still fails to generate any interest. Intrigue is about delayed gratification which means, information management: not giving away important reveals too earlier; or glossing them over in the …

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Is it too late to publish your first book?

I saw a post online recently from a 23-year old author who was already worried that they were somehow “too late” to publish or get a publishing deal. I also received a lovely email from a 73-year old who is finally seeing some progress and success. I wanted to share it with you, hence this post. “I got my first …

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How to get reliable feedback on your writing (is your writing good enough?)

Today on Reddit I saw a post from a young author who felt unsupported. He was seeking someone to edit his book for free, or give feedback or commentary. I’m sharing my response because I truly sympathize: writing can be hard and isolating. And getting real feedback from a developmental editor is expensive. I charge $5K+ for editing and rarely take on new projects, and it’s frustrating …

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The Best Writing Coaches to Hire for your Book

I started this article ages ago but only recently decides to finish it: in the past I’ve been skeptical of writing coaches in general, and even made a two hour rant against one that was charging high rates. So let me start with that: most books won’t earn money, because most books aren’t written to be enjoyable. I focus on …

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Cover design for indie vs traditional published authors (why most books fail)

I haven’t talked specifically about cover design in awhile, and I usually ignore those raging Facebook diatribes where everybody has loud opinions and gives bad advice, but I got involved in one tonight that is important enough to share. The reason authors get their covers wrong is not just an educational gap. They’ve never designed a cover before, or studies design …

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