Tag Archives: Books

Why Authors Need to Understand Color Blindness

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When it comes to cover design and graphics the last thing most DIY authors will think to consider is color blindness. With almost 10% of the world having some form of color blindness, an amount nearly equal to the population of the United States, this affliction is something everyone should consider when it comes to graphic design. If you suffer from color blindness what comes next can help you create great designs too.

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Types of Color Blindness

It’s good to know the different types of color blindness in order to appreciate what your colorblind viewers will be seeing in your designs.

Color blindness doesn’t mean that you only see in black and white; that is one form of color blindness, although it is very rare.

Color blindness is most common in reds and greens and then less commonly in blues and yellows. This is where color blindness relates to the difficulty in distinguishing between certain shades of certain colors. Some colors tend to blend into one another.

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Some Rules for Designing

  1. Avoid the following color combinations: these color combinations are difficult for people with colorblindness: Green & Red; Green & Brown; Blue & Purple; Green & Blue; Light Green & Yellow; Blue & Grey; Green & Grey; Green & Black.
  2. Make it monochrome: Take the design you’ve made in your design platform and switch it to grayscale mode. When you are seeing it in only black and white and shades of gray, you can easily spot where colors may blend together for someone with colorblindness.
  3. Use high contrast: High contrast is something to consider in design because people affected by colorblindness can usually distinguish between colors when there is a high degree of contrast.
  4. Colors won’t signal emotion: color for most people symbols mood and evokes emotion, but it won’t for people who are color blind. Make sure you are adding good design elements beyond color to relate mood or stir emotion.
  5. Use texture instead: in maps and infographics you can try using texture in addition to color to differentiate between objects.

For designers’ it will help to see what a person who is colorblind might be seeing when they’re viewing their designs. Some of these links are also helpful to designers who suffer from colorblindness. If you are wanting to get it right, here are some links to help you do just that.

  • Colorblind Web Page Filter: here you can just type in a URL and choose which type of colorblind filter you’d like to apply. Now you can see your design in that form of colorblindness.
  • Coblis: another great colorblind simulation application.
  • Color Laboratory: this will help you choose which colors will work well together for a colorblind viewer.
  • Color Oracle: color blindness simulation for Windows, Mac and Linux users.
  • Color contrast visualizer: this will help any designer choose good color combinations.

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Design Help for the Colorblind

There is no reason why you can’t create great designs even if you’re colorblind. All you need to get started are some great color pallets. Below is a link to a site that will help you whether you are colorblind or not, to create pallets that will work in every single design you create.

Coolers: this sight will help you create beautiful color pallets that you can then use in your graphic design software.

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Are You Color Blind?

Many people have some form of color blindness and aren’t aware of it. Here’s a link to a test to find out if color blindness affects you:

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I want to thank my editor for reminding me that I hadn’t included this section in my cover design book! He’s the best! I recommend Dennis to all of my clients:

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Thanks Dennis!

 

 

Enter to Win: Free Book Cover Design May 1st, 2020

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Giving Makes Me Smile 🙂

I am excited to be getting the word out about the upcoming drawing I’ve scheduled for this May 1st, 2020.

I started this drawing as a way of giving back to the Indie Author Community: I consider myself blessed because I get to do what I love within the publishing industry and I just want to pay it forward.

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Everyone is welcome to enter for a prize of a free design package that includes: Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook cover, two 3D Covers, and a Book Teaser.

  • Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook Cover
  • Two 3D Covers
  • A Book Teaser

Winners also receive an invitation to be interviewed on this blog for their upcoming book release.

All winners will be announced and listed on the ‘Winning Authors’ page along with their new cover design and a link to the book’s point of sale.

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There are no hidden fees!


Enter today! This drawing takes place on May 1st, 2020 and the prizes can be claimed anytime.

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Send me an email telling me a little about yourself and your book to enter.

If your name is drawn as the winner, I’ll contact you via email with the happy news.


Enter To Win Below

Good Luck!

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It’s Easy to Design Your Own Graphics

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You really can design your own book covers and author graphics:

With a bit of training, you can start designing almost right away.

You can get the right software if you know what to look for.

From all my talks with indie authors I’ve had over the years, the biggest turnoff to designing for themselves is the software. Either they can’t find good software or it is too hard to learn.

I normally would tell people to leave the designing to the professionals, but not everyone has that in their budget.

Here are some basic design principles you should know:

Before you go purchase software, let me introduce you to some basic design principles. This way you can see that you will be capable enough to give it a go.

Balance

Most of us can tell what looks well balanced and what doesn’t. What you may not know is that there are different forms of balance.

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  • The visual weight of your design elements can be evenly distributed on either side of the design in order to be symmetrical.
  • Asymmetrical balance is the balance achieved through color, scale, and contrast to achieve flow. Most of your designs will be asymmetrical.

Start looking at book covers and graphic designs and point out the flow. Notice how design elements are chosen for their color, scale, and contrast. How each element works with the others to draw the eye to focal points. The design flow will draw your eyes through the elements of the design and to those focal points.

In a matter of seconds, you can decern the mood, the genre, and the theme of the design, hear its message visually. In those few seconds, a reader will decide whether or not you’ve piqued their interest.

Proximity

Proximity creates a relationship between similar or related elements. These elements are visually connected by way of font, color, size, etc. Basically, the things that are related should be nearer to each other.

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Proximity can create relationships between the visual elements in a composition. It can create relevance, hierarchy, organization, and structure. Or, there can also be no relationship between elements, by breaking organization and structure.

Alignment

You will want to be sure that the elements of your design are in alignment. You might center all the text to the centerfold of the design. You might zigzag the flow by centering the top and bottom text, but then staggering a blurb that you want to stand out. You can align elements across a design or diagonally. Watch for different types of alignment and what appeals to you.

Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is important because it can help lead the viewer through the message of the design. The viewer’s eye will follow this visual hierarchy.

Each element of your design will carry more or less visual weight. More important elements are given extra visual weight to move them up the hierarchy. You can use larger or bolder fonts to highlight the title, etc. What color you use can determine hierarchy. Large to small, bold to soft, bright to dark, top to bottom, left to right, etc., these all are part of a visual hierarchy.

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Repetition

A large part of graphic design is branding. As an author, you will be developing your own visual brand too. Repetition in design is fundamental, but essential when it comes to branding.

Repetition creates a rhythm, it ties together the consistent elements and strengthens the overall design. There are certain elements that will make viewers instantly recognize your brand. These design elements include your color palette, fonts, and your logo.

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Contrast

The contrast will guide the viewer to key design elements. Two opposing design elements create contrast:

  • dark vs. light
  • contemporary vs. old-fashioned
  • large vs. small, etc.

Organization and a hierarchy can be established with contrast. Using contrast is useful in creating visual interest too.

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Color

Color is basic in design and is also used within other principles of design. Color expresses mood so what palette you choose is very important. As a graphic designer, it’s always helpful to have a basic knowledge of color theory, take the time to do a little research. This will pay off hugely in the long run. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a color wheel for easy reference.

Amazon.com: Cox 133343 Color Wheel 9-1/4"-

Negative Space

The space that is left blank in your design is called negative space. And just like dark matter in space, it’s an area that contains nothing flashy, or no design elements. No design elements except for maybe some background color. If used creatively, negative space can help create a shape and highlight the important components of your design.

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by Brian Caldwell

Typography

Typography is a key element in graphic design. It can speak volumes. Typography can set the mood, establish it’s own hierarchy, and even express genre. It’s important not to use overly used fonts in graphic design. Overly used fonts are most of the font’s that come with your common word software. You are better off purchasing your fonts.

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Rules

The only real rule in graphic design is to not use true black or white in your designs, they won’t transfer correctly in printing or on the web. Other than that you are free to design in your own style, whatever that may be.

These principles are your guide to creating great graphics and building a solid brand.

Now to get your software:

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Before you continue to the next section, you should know that I am NOT affiliated with the software listed below. I won’t earn anything if you purchase one of them from any of the links posted.

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Here are the top graphic design platforms:

Affinity Designer: You can get this platform for a one-time payment of $24.99. (2020)

This is awesome software for the price. It will give you all the tools you need to create great graphics and is easy to learn. This platform is smaller in size than others and won’t bog down your computer. You will have access to free updates and Affinity Designer also runs very smoothly and quickly, even on older machines. Here is the link to the tutorials.

Adobe Photoshop: You can get this platform for $20.99 per month. (2020)

I use Photoshop, I like that you can use it for photo editing and compositing, digital painting, and graphic design. It works for all of my design needs when it comes to creating book covers. Photoshop is an excellent program used for creating images, photo editing, and graphics design or to add special effects to images. Vector graphics are not used in photoshop because it is pixel-based software. Here’s the link to their tutorials.

Gravit Designer: This platform is a free full-featured vector graphic design app.

With this platform, you can design from anywhere on any machine. You won’t have the versatility of Affinity or Adobe, but you can make graphics on the fly for blogposts. Gravit is mostly vector-based software, but has image manipulation and editing, and is a good cheap alternative to Affinity. Here is the link to their tutorials. This would be the software I would use if I couldn’t afford Photoshop and Adobe Suites.

Inkscape: This software is free and is a great substitute for Photoshop.

Inkscape is a free open source vector-based software because it does not take the resources of RAM nevertheless you are under MS Windows or Linux Distribution like Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, OpenSUSE, RedHat, etc. Inkscape is better because it has own plugins for bevel and emboss, image manipulations, some times it behaves like photoshop. Here is the link to Inkscapes tutorials.

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These basics will get you started and headed in the right direction. Just remember that learning how to create great designs is a process. You will improve over time. But there’s no reason you can’t create some pretty great graphics right out of the gate.

Good Luck!

 

 

Author Chat with Chiara Talluto

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I recently had the opportunity to meet and work with author Chiara Talluto, a genuinely warm-hearted person, and gifted storyteller. I fell in love with her new book Petrella, the Gillian Princess and am honored to have the opportunity to share her book launch with you. I invited her to an Author Chat so you could have the chance to meet her too.

Check Out Our Chat Below


But First….the Book Launch!

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From November 23rd, 2016 until December 7th, 2016 get a discounted price of the Petrella, the Gillian Princess in paperback format only at Createspace!

Order your copy today!

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Petrella, the Gillian Princess is a fairy tale about a courageous young princess who defies rank and authority to follow her heart.


“In a world filled with chaos and destruction, true love can exist. Love always prevails over evil.”


patrella-5-5x8-5The year is 2041 A.D. Yemell, the new world, is divided by land and sea and governed by kings; separated into kingdoms with strict laws in place to help maintain order. There are humans on land and a newly evolved ocean-bound species, the Gillians.

Princess Petrella is a gentle Gillian female. An admirer of all sea creatures, she is enchanted by romance, and longs to fall deeply in love with that special Gillian male. Instead, she becomes smitten with a Human named Finerd. Relations with humans are forbidden on Yemell.

Her father, Hermas, the Gillian King of the Anglon Kingdom, has ruled his kingdom with an iron fist for over thirty years. Alas, Anglon is in dire straits. Rebels are overthrowing neighboring kingdoms and the king’s health is quickly failing. Hermas has no living male heir. To remain powerful, King Hermas must ensure that his only child, Princess Petrella, marries a wealthier Gillian prince from another kingdom. But, the young princess can’t tame her feelings, and neither can Finerd.

Will Petrella pursue this dangerous affair, defying her father’s mandate and put their kingdom at risk?


Available at a Special Discounted Price, and for a Limited Time Only, Through Createspace

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Also Available Below, In Paperback and Ebook Format, Through Amazon!

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Chiara Talluto is an avid reader, philanthropist, conservative, and energetic outdoors-type who dreams of owning a Harley and one day riding across the country feeling the wind whip across her face and tangling all of her brown hair. But until then, she is content on being a stay-at-home mom raising her two active young daughters and practicing wife to her wonderful and supportive husband.

The thing I love best about Chiara’s new book is that her talented daughters had a hand in its making. If you get the paperback version, you’ll find a collection of their drawings that playfully illustrate the story, located in the back. These illustrations are absolutely adorable and are perfectly suited for coloring.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Surrendering to the opportunity to write something for my young daughters, who are eight and six. They have been my number one motivational force. I wanted them involved in my writing process—giving me key points to include and expand upon.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

This unique fairy tale interweaves themes similar to The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Tangled, Sleeping Beauty, and Noah’s Ark. It is meant to be enjoyed by all readers young at heart, but especially those children who read middle-grade fiction—ages 8-13 years old.

Petrella, the Gillian Princess can be used as a discussion piece on the importance of making solid, moral decision, and understanding the consequences that result from those decisions, as well as an effective teaching tool to help explain all the elements that go into making a story…a story.

My wish is that those parents/guardians/fairy tale enthusiasts will read this book with their children, or the child can read it to themselves.

What kinds of writing do you do?

I have a passion for writing about people who struggle with decisions and conflicts that arise in their lives. I like real-life stories, and have been drawn to writings that have a biblical theme, are motivational, and encouraging. I admire writers like of Mitch Albom, Richard Evans Park, Billy Coffey, Mathew Kelly, Hans Christian Andersen, Jodi Picoult, etc.

What other books have you written?

loves-perfect-surrender-cover-only11My debut novel, Love’s Perfect Surrender, was published in 2014. It is a “grown-up” Christian Romance about a troubled married couple with flawed expectations and an imperfect, beautiful child who teaches them to surrender their expectations in order to mend their broken union.

Get Your Copy Below

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Where did your love of books come from?

I began writing poems and keeping a journal at the age of eleven. My love for the written word was sparked by reading the Nancy Drew series and Hardy Boys books. It wasn’t until my late teens that I discovered Danielle Steele novels and began my hand at short stories. I continued writing longer prose as much as I could during a prosperous career as a Human Resources Recruiter, and then as an Instructional Designer. I received many awards and accolades for my accomplishments, and my work responsibilities grew, but there was something missing. I began to devote less and less time to my joy of writing. And soon, my creativity began to suffer. It wasn’t until after much soul-searching and some tough decision-making that I finally left the corporate world to start writing full-time.

What inspires you? Why did you choose to write in your genres and how do you balance them?

I write for the euphoric desire and need to transfer spiraling thoughts into words that move people emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I love taking everyday life situations and circumstances that people encounter, struggle and conquer, and turn it into creative storylines.

I’ve never written children/juvenile fiction or anything with what I call a “youthful” tone. This experience has allowed me to exercise my imagination on a different writing level, and go beyond my comfort zone.

I balance my writing by doing one project at a time. That is, completing that “one” particular project. I can be writing, reading, editing many things at the same time, but once I know what I’m going to do with a writing project, I set a goal to complete it to the end.

How do you find or make time to write?

I am a mom first, so I write during the wee-hours of the night when my children are asleep. It is also my most creative time of the day. It’s quiet, and I can have conversations with my characters in my head without disruptions. The interesting point is that I have always associated night with writing, and day with editing. Go figure…

What do your plans for future projects include?

I have two projects on the back-burner. A short-story, a Dystopian-type tale that I had written back in 2007 which I want to resurrect. And, a Woman’s fiction novel in which I am currently working through the edits.

What would be useful to anyone writing in your genre’s?

Petrella, the Gillian Princess is my very first children/middle-grade fiction. I really thought it would have been easy to write. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

There is a certain writing style that goes along when writing for a juvenile audience. There needs to be more visual descriptions and language that is not childish but on the cusp of helping the reader transition to Young Adult books, which are more complex in sub-plots.

Whatever you write, you have to research. I know that’s not exciting for some, me included. You can’t just sit down and write and be done with it. All those advice blogs and writing forums that talk about knowing your audience, and seeing yourself as a business person too, besides a writer, well, are correct.

And, if anything, you better know how to manage your time to the minute. There are lots of distractions on the internet that will suck you into cyberspace.

Has your writing journey been worth it?

Yes. There were a number of roadblocks and hills I’ve had to climb to indie publish this little story. The problems are not of importance, but I think I learned to overcome the conflicts by keeping the purpose of the producing this gem in the forefront of my mind at all times. My goal was to write and publish this for my daughters; to tell an honest and compelling story, show them what it takes to work hard and persevere, and never give up for the right cause. I hope I have pleased my kids in doing so.

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petrella_author_pic-2Chicago-born, a full-time mother and author, Chiara Talluto, is known as the Master Storyteller in her household. She has a passion for writing about people who struggle with decisions and conflicts that arise in their lives. Enchanted and inspired by many of Disney’s fairy tales, this is her very first middle-grade story. Chiara Talluto’s desire…Changing people’s hearts to better themselves. Her goal…Leave nothing unfinished.


For all that’s been said, let it be done.


Check Out Chiara’s Website at www.chiaratalluto.com.

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You Should See Our BookPorn!

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A mosaic of select pics from around the web featuring the most lovely book images that lit up my screen.

SELECT IMAGES TO ENLARGE