Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book editor turned 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 write and publish bestselling books. FREE GUIDE: Sell your work without selling out.

A new reflection on image copyrights and legal issues with book cover design

Today I saw this post about Richard Prince taking other people’s Instagram photos without permission or warning and selling them in a New York art gallery for $90,000 each. It’s not his first offence: he’s previously taken photos from magazines or from other photographers and changed them just a little bit (like cutting out and swapping them figures). He’s been …

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Content or Keywords? How to write a book subtitle or tagline that grabs readers by the throat

The title of this post is a little too violent, but it exemplifies the purpose of this post: your subtitles and taglines need to engage readers. Firstly: a subtitle is usually what goes on a non-fiction book, and non-fiction book readers are mostly looking for information and content, so you need to focus on keywords (sort of, more on that later). A …

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AuthorHouse’s Tips on Cover Design Demonstrates their Terrible Covers

I’m finishing up a Udemy course on book cover design and uploading some videos to YouTube. My videos aren’t very professional or well done, and I don’t have a lot of followers, but at least my cover designs don’t suck. This video from AuthorHouse, on the other hand, uses dozens of very ugly, unprofessional book cover designs as examples of “Good” …

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This is why your self-published book looks unprofessional (and how to fix it)

  Indie authors have gotten much better at understanding the importance of a professionally designed book, and many of them are hiring quality designers to help make their book look just as good as any other in the bookstore. To differentiate their books from the self-published horde, however, traditional publishers have increasingly been using specialty printing options unavailable to indie …

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7 things about writing I learned from Jonathan Franzen

I spent the day at the Budapest Book Fair listening to Jonathan Franzen talk about birds and writing, and making jokes that nobody laughed at because they were waiting for the translation to come through their headphones. I jotted down a few pearls of wisdom that should be useful to writers everywhere. #1. Writing is an experience, not a performance This …

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