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.

Contest winners (2013)

Sometime yesterday my faulty hard drive crashed, so for the past 24 hours I’ve been reinstalling, rebooting, and restoring files – thankfully I recently signed up for an online backup service (BackBlaze), otherwise the loss of data would be devastating. As it is, I’m kind of on a forced leave of absence (I can’t do much “real work” until I …

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5 common book cover design myths most indie authors believe

I’ve been designing covers for a few years, and I often have to confront cover design myths perpetuated by indie-publishing gurus and thought leaders. There’s a lot of advice out there for indie authors, and some of it is contradictory, which has the unfortunate effect of allowing indie authors to accept the advice they like and agree with, and ignore …

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Diagnosing Dickinson: Epilepsy or Migraine? (How headaches inspire artists and writers)

I wrote this paper a few years ago and plan to publish it, but since it’s just sitting on my computer, I thought I’d share. I’m a frequent migraine sufferer and early episodes (including symptoms I interpreted as paranormal, like hearing voices and seeing flashing lights) were formative of my creative identity. Understanding these relatively common symptoms of migraine (which …

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8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying books

cover design secrets by publishers

Indie publishers are slowly coming to realize the importance of an amazing book cover. Since many self-publishing authors are starting out on a very small budget however, homemade, DIY book covers are still a popular choice. But be forewarned: although book cover designs come in a wide variety, publishers consistently use reliable, time-tested techniques and guidelines to catch your attention …

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What authors need to know about conversion, split testing and lead generation

Most authors don’t know enough about business. While some savvy non-fiction authors succeed through grit, willpower and constant bullhorning, the majority of authors are making a mess of their book marketing and promotion, using decade-old techniques and advice, which will move few books off shelves and even worse, can be detrimental to an author’s professional reputation. So I’d like to …

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Highlight and Share WordPress Plugin, for Indie Authors (and anyone else who wants more traffic)

It’s tough to get savvy readers to share your content. Give your visitors some extra motivation with this stylish and simple plugin. Highlighting any text prompts a customizable pop-up to quickly share that text on Twitter or Facebook. Share buttons at the top or bottom of your WordPress post are common. There are a variety of plugins to make sharing …

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How to beat cripping insecurity, doubt and failure: lessons from Steven Pressfield

If you’re an artist, author or entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard of Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art and more recently, Do The Work. His books have become manifestos for creatives because they rephrase the artistic life in terms of battle and violence, and help people overcome their fears, doubts and worries. According to Steven, resistance is an “intelligent, …

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The Cult of Failure: How screwing everything up became the new ideal, and why that may not be a good thing

I’ve been noticing a trend for awhile. I’ve commented on it before. At first it was subtle. It began with the explosion of “Lifestyle Businesses” – a few guys quit their jobs and told everybody else, “Hey, you guys should quit your jobs too, it’s awesome!” They set themselves up as “Lifestyle Coaches” or wrote books or offered services or …

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