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Tips & Trends in Good Book Design

Behind the “Seens” with Book Designer George Stevens of G Sharp Design 

Even though George started with his design passion way back in high school and carried him through college, his journey to become a book designer was anything but straightforward. Being part of a publishing start-up out of college George got immediate exposure to client facing work. Nearly 12 years later he had grown into the “Creative Director” position with a staff larger than the entire company when he had started.

He started out on his own as a designer for branding, logos, posters and of course books. But his passion and attraction for book design led him to focus solely on becoming a book design shop, working primarily with self-publishing clients. 

George specifically does not call himself “creative director” now because he wanted to be back in the trenches, more involved creatively and less focused on the admin that had become too much a part of his job at the publishing company. He also has more nuggets of wisdom for designers who want to launch their own companies. 

How is book design different from general design?

What defines non-fiction book design is a balance of subjective and objective. 

Book design is not simply a cover or the pretty part of their book process. It is complex and holistic if done right. There are many pieces, steps and decisions to be made for the design of a book. 

The decision to hire a good book designer goes well beyond looking at a portfolio. 

A good book designer knows the practical application of how to do book design – and how to manage the book creation project. They become a project manager who understands how to work with their client and get the best book published.

What do authors need to know before working on their book design? Or here’s how George works: 

It’s helpful to have a thorough and robust process for creating the book design. 

It starts with an intake process of gathering information and goals for the book, and to learn about the author’s brand and audience. 

Ideally, the author, the designer and the market really LOVE the resulting project.

(And most clients “don’t want their book to look self-published”)

Then there are a few general concepts for review with the client. It’s an iterative process to get everything to the goals.

“Design is a process not a product.”

Book design “ is more than just a cover.”

What makes good book design is thinking about the book as a work of art beyond the cover – think layout, font, image presentation. Reflecting on the balance between subjective and objective, it has to be interesting and compelling – but it also has to work for UX – for the customer / reader experience. 

Also, don’t forget that there are big design differences between a printed book and an e-book. It’s a whole new layer of book design that requires thought, consideration and design. 

What makes great good book design? 

Book design is a speciality – and it is a process. It’s not a quick transaction. 

You need to expect to be involved in it. Being hands-on (in the right way) is key to successful book design. It’s a mindful collaboration. 

Great book design should be enduring. It’s going to look good for years. 

Non-fiction books are often a marketing asset that is part of your portfolio. They need to speak to the quality and caliber of who you are. Your book is a sum of who you are and what your expertise is – so it should reflect that. 

When so much goes into a manuscript, you should consider putting in the extra effort into the design. 

Remember that the cover is the doorway for people to enter into your book. Good formatting and design within your books will be the hallways that readers will travel. Good design is creating a great experience for the reader. 

Ideally, you should start working on your book design or with a book designer as early in the process as you can, but it is unique to each author and what his/ her book needs. As a baseline, however, when your title is defined is a great place to start!

How to connect with George on how to make self-publishing look better!

The best place to start is at his website.
Or connect with George in social media:

Interested in exploring where you are in your writer or author journey? Let’s chat! If you want to learn more about how to be seen, be found, be heard, please connect with me on the socials or let’s set up a call to chat.

Why You Need Brand Strategy

Behind the “Seens” with Michelle Garside, Brand Strategist at Soul Camp Creative

After going through the “brand breakthrough” process with Michelle earlier this year, I was so captivated with her approach that I really wanted her to share it with others. Listen to our conversation, where she explains the concept of branding – in an authentic way that makes sense – and is FUN!

Here are the highlights of our conversation:

After going through the “brand breakthrough” process with Michelle earlier this year, I was so captivated with her approach that I really wanted her to share it with others. Listen to our conversation, where she explains the concept of branding – in an authentic way that makes sense – and is FUN!

She started her first company in 2011 that has now evolved into Soul Camp Creative, her agency of 10+ professionals. 

Over the past 10 years she has helped fitness instructors, coaches, wellness professionals and authors with their brands – building confidence, growing clients and ultimately working for Gabby Bernstein and Teri Cole many other well-known influencers in the health and wellness space. 

Why do people need brand strategies too? 

Everyone needs a brand strategy to differentiate themselves, their messages and set the tone for lives they are building. Michelle helps them build the container to hold everything. If done well, people will get a feeling from your brand about who you are and how you operate in the world. 

Creating a brand where people understand you immediately and identify where you fit into others’ lives. Ideally, they are sold into your brand, not just your products. 

When do you know you need help with your brand?
1. Ready to go from 1:1 to one to many; building a bigger impact
2. Brand no longer fits the current or future situation – looking for a different container to hold the message.

Branding is the foundational component that does not change! It’s about: 

  • Who you are.
  • Who you’re for.
  • Why that matters. 

What is a brand breakthrough? 

A “brand breakthrough” is where you create the foundation of the brand – where you get the blueprint and footprint that can bring to life your marketing and your business.

It has evolved to a two-hour session – a magical process – where Michelle dives deep with you to figure out what your real true and authentic brand is. The deliverable is 6-7 page document that you can bring to life for your marketing. It will inform any designer, photographer, social media support or whoever is helping you with your marketing. 

This work isn’t about a pretty logo. Names, taglines, messaging and brand vernacular and vocabularies are Michelle’s personal jam!
Without a thoughtful and authentic brand strategy that includes this work, you are going to fall flat, and you’ll be inconsistent and often it won’t resonate with your ideal audience.

How to connect with Michelle?

Interested in exploring where you are in your writer or author journey? Let’s chat! If you want to learn more about how to be seen, be found, be heard, please connect with me on the socials or let’s set up a call to chat.

How to Create Your Own Publishing Company

Behind the “Seens” with Kayleigh O’Keefe, Founder and CEO of Soul Excellence Publishing

Interested in learning how to take an initial step into the world of book publishing? Kayleigh O’Keefe has some answers. She generously shares her personal experience (and now career focus) in multi-author book publishing. Listen and learn how this approach might just be the next best step on your journey to becoming an author.

Here are the highlights of our conversation:

How she started her publishing company
How a third-grade passion brought Kayleigh back to writing and publishing.
Working 14 years in corporate and start-ups helped her create her entrepreneurial approach.
Seeking a change and direction in her own life, she had the opportunity to become a published author without producing her own book.
It was a simple invitation for her to share her story which really opened her eyes.
She had the “a-ha” moment that “publishing was the path” for her to help people share their own stories with this new model of publishing of leadership and multi-author books.
Kayleigh knew she could hold the vision of her company and build the community, but she sought out the right team to support her in the actual book publishing tasks: editing, formatting, book design, etc.

How to be an author without your own book
An easy way to break into getting published is for people to participate in a multi-author book.
It’s less time, less commitment.
It gives you a taste of writing on a topic that is deeply touching and allows you to get your message out.
Once you have the confidence, you can see the path to your own book.
It also builds community.

How does the multi-author book process work?
Do the participating writers have to be perfect writers?
The most important thing in deciding who makes the cut into these books is their vulnerability or willingness to share.
Deciding if you are going to participate or be invited to participate is most often a “gut yes or no”
In addition to Kayleigh’s company, Soul Excellence, where are or how do you find these multi-author book opportunities? Look for communities and collectives that are aligned with your passions.

Kayleigh’s first book published was Leading Through The Pandemic: Unconventional Wisdom from Heartfelt Leaders
Wanted to find out how leaders had to change, move forward and grow?
Evolved out of Kayleigh’s passion for wanting to learn more on this subject.
Includes the message of 24 leaders from around the world and hit best-seller status on Amazon in several countries.
The time frame for the book was September to December 2020 and published January 2021.
With multi-author books you are able to capitalize on the momentum of the moment and get it done.

Kayleigh started recruiting for next book before she had even published the first one.

Next book up for is Significant Women: Leaders Reveal What Matters Most
It’s about how women define success on their own terms. How do these accomplished leaders make decisions, what guides their paths, and what’s most important to them.
It is coming out April 16, 2021

And now she is already building and recruiting for her next book, School’s Canceled: How Working Parents Fought For Their Children’s Education During the Pandemic. Education is a personal passion and she wants to hear and learn from parents who made it work over this past year.

How Kayleigh decides what her next book will be about? It’s two-fold: a response to what’s going on in the world and who she wants to meet and who she wants to learn from.

Favorite line:
Publishing isn’t the end game. It’s this beautiful way to create community and to collaborate on something tangible in the real world.

How to connect with Kayleigh?

Interested in exploring where you are in your writer or author journey? Let’s chat! If you want to learn more about how to be seen, be found, be heard, please connect with me on the socials or let’s set up a call to chat.

Key Reasons and Steps to Raise Your Visibility Online with LinkedIn

Behind the Seens with Marietta Crawford, Personal Brand Strategist

It was such fun to geek out and be nerdy about all things LinkedIn and personal branding with Marietta Crawford of MariBrands4You. We were dropping all kinds of good advice and wisdom about the power of raising your online profile.

Here are some of the highlights of our conversation: 

How we came to be in the roles we are now – especially loving LinkedIn.

How Marietta as an intrapreneur found LinkedIn as a great resource not only for job opportunities but also as a great resource for finding her voice and point of view.

The same strategies that helped her engage on LinkedIn to help her start her business are the strategies that she now helps her clients with.

Why it’s not OK to “set it and forget it” with your LinkedIn profile.

When Google loves a good LinkedIn profile why wouldn’t you optimize yours to be found for all the best of what you do?  It’s free online real estate. 

Why do we have a love-hate relationship with the idea of “personal brand”? Regardless, it’s important because how else will people get to “know, like and trust” you before they meet you or possibly work with you. Also, it’s an opportunity for people to craft their story and bring together all of the parts of the work they do as well as the passions they have.

Using LinkedIn (and other social media profiles) can help you raise your “halo of mini-celebrity” that can help your path to guest writing, book deals, and speaking opportunities. In other words, your goal should be to look as successful online as you are in real life.

Video still seems to be the “content darling” on LinkedIn and many are taking advantage of the LIVE video on LinkedIn. But it’s still important to have to have quality content.

Publishing on LinkedIn vs long form posts? We are all still trying to figure out how “Algorithm Oz” so there is no definitive answer. However, the LinkedIn newsletter seems to be bringing more engagement these days.

At the end of the day, it’s important to focus on reaching that one person who is transformed or wants to take action!

If you are interested in getting help on LinkedIn, connect with Marietta in the following ways:

Website + FREE LinkedIn Guide

If you want to learn more about how to be seen, be found, be heard, please connect with me on the socials or let’s set up a call to chat.

Ready to Take the Stage with Your Big Talk?

Behind the “Seens” with Tricia Brouk

What a treat this conversation was! International award-winning director, executive producer, podcaster and general queen of the stage, Tricia Brouk took time to share her wisdom about how, why and when you are ready to take the stage and give your big talk.

Here are some of the highlights of our conversation: 

The world has changed and people are realizing we are all connected and we have a mission to tell our stories even if only for the one person who needs to hear it. 

How do you know you are ready to give a talk? 

Are you clear on your Purpose, Values and Mission?

When you are clear who you are as a communicator, then your message will resonate: captivatingly (yes, it’s a word!); powerfully and impactfully to help you get your message to the people who are meant to hear it. 

What comes first – the idea for the talk or the desire to give a talk?

How do you know if your talk idea is good – or if you’re ready?

What’s more important? Message or Delivery?

Ready to get help with your Big Talk? Check out The Art of the Big Talk Masterclass with Tricia and follow her on all the socials. 

Want to connect with Tricia?

If you want to learn more about how to be seen, be found, be heard, please connect with me on the socials or let’s set up a call to chat.