I'm a romance novelist, a co-founder of NA Alley, and the owner of Forward Authority | Design Services. You can find my Mark of Nexus series (NA paranormal romance) at major e-retailers. :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

5 Tips to Keep Your Designer Happy

Whew! You guys really got into the discussion last week. I love how much thought you put into your comments. Like most of you, I think a link would be interesting, but I don't necessarily believe there's a definitive one. Right now, it seems to be more of a visibility thing.

Anyhoo, on to this week's topic! 

Dealing with a fellow creative can be awkward, especially when you're outsourcing something near and dear to you. That's why I'm pulling back the curtain. Here are five things they might not feel comfortable telling you... 


You will always have final say, but do you want to know when I think something will hurt your marketability? What if I have an alternate vision of your concept? Letting me know how much leash I have to work with helps me better serve you.


It's understandable that you're not sure on the size yet, but I do need to know what you plan on using the design for. Graphics aren't one size fits all. A logo made for the signature on your blog will pixelate when stretched for print on a t-shirt. 

If you want to do both, just give me a heads-up. Let me worry about when we need 300 dpi CMYK v. 72 ppi RGB. ;)


Designers are often juggling dozens of projects for their clients. As soon as you have enough details to start a project, it's a good idea to get something in the books. Give the artist enough time to let a concept marinate. You'll get better results (and avoid rush/PITA fees).


It doesn't matter if you're representing a large group (like an organization chapter) or yourself (where you seek approval from your street team, family, FB fans, etc.). When you put a design out there for feedback, you're going to end up more confused than when you started. Seriously. You can have your designer create alternatives to appease a vocal few, but you will never reach a perfect consensus.

Remember: Just like writing, the visual arts are subjective. You will not please everyone. 

If you're not comfortable making the decision by yourself, why not create a small focus group? Try bringing in a dedicated reader of the genre, an industry professional with a good eye, and a trusted friend who knows what you like.


You'd think this would go without saying, but a surprising number of writers can't describe their vision for a project. (Side note: It's totally okay if you don't have one—that's what consults are for!) For those of you who struggle, it may help to take notes whenever something strikes you while you're writing, i.e. colors you associate with the overall story, images you've come across with similar vibes, details about the front character, etc. It'll save us time and  you money, if we don't have to do trial-and-error.

Question of the Week:
Any tips for dealing with fellow creatives in a business capacity?
Monday, August 25, 2014 Posted by Carrie Butler 14

Monday, August 18, 2014

Creativity: Gift or Curse?

In the wake of Robin Williams' tragic death, many have been reevaluating the correlation between creativity and mental illness. We actually discussed this on Thursday night during #NALitChat, sharing our stories and offering support—let's just say, the prevalence of depression and anxiety there was eye-opening. 

Of course, there have been studies proving and disproving this link. They're sprinkled all over the Internet. But since I'm not a scientist, I don't care about exploring every facet of every argument. I'm just going to share the parts I found interesting. Take Nancy Andreason, for example:

Other Links:

     •     February Grace discusses how certain medications, aimed at helping mental well being, actually hinder creativity (writer's block).

     •     Psychcentral.com warns against the romanticism of mental illness.

     •    The Daily Beast examines the relationship between creative types and mental illness:

Question of the Week:
What do you think? Is there a link?
(Rhyme unintentional.)
Monday, August 18, 2014 Posted by Carrie Butler 28