FotoJet, an Online Collage Maker, Graphic Designer, and Photo Editor

Visuals are an important aspect of building platforms. Think about it. What is more likely to catch your eye on Twitter or Facebook? A few words and maybe a link, or a strong image that conveys a message?

There’s a reason for the idiom, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

With that in mind, I recently had the chance to try out a new graphics platform, called FotoJet. The folks at FotoJet were kind enough to give me a premium account so I could test out all their features. As a side note, you can sign up for a free account and use most of the features. But if you do choose to upgrade to the Plus account, for $4.99 per month, you get access to more editing tools and more content (templates, fonts, etc.).

I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first thing I heard about FotoJet was that I could use it to make posters. And that’s possible. It’s also possible to create collages, invitations, flyers, cards, and magazine covers, which you can download and print on your own. But it turns out to be a very useful tool for creating social media graphics.

What I ended up doing was creating an image for I Know Dino’s Instagram. Here’s the final result:

Continue reading


Photos, Stickers, Animation, and More : A Collection of Visuals for Authors

By davitydave from San Francisco, CA, USA (Wedding Cake  Uploaded by Mindmatrix) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By davitydave from San Francisco, CA, USA (Wedding Cake Uploaded by Mindmatrix) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to marketing, visuals are all important–both online and off.


Photos are great for blogs as well as for books. Make sure you have the rights to use those photos. That’s where stock images come in handy.


Just for fun, you can reverse GIFs with this handy tool.

You can also make stories out of GIFs. BoingBoing talks about novels that are comprised entirely of GIFs, and The Verge shows examples of James Kerr’s GIFs that repurpose Renaissance paintings.


For icons, animations, fonts, and more, check out Pixel Buddha.

For fonts, see “Not Sure What Font Looks Best for Web?” on Design School.

For fun dongers (unicode characters that form an emoticon), see Donger List.

Interesting Visuals

As Wired reported, even screenshots play an important role for people. Here’s a list of examples of visuals that have made an impact:

How Tos and Tools

To turn photos into line art:

To remove borders on a video:

To create your own animations:

To make your own stickers:

Indie Authors: What’s in a Book Cover?

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.29.56 PM

It’s well known that a good book cover is a key component of selling a book (aside from having a great story, of course). But with so many books out there for readers to choose from (especially now that indie authors as well as traditional publishers are now making high quality book covers of similar caliber, according to Publishing Perspectives) what can make your cover stand out? Continue reading

Ebook Formatting Options for Indie Authors

By Per Palmkvist Knudsen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Per Palmkvist Knudsen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

For indie authors, one great way to save money when it comes to publishing your books is to learn how to make your own ebooks. Personally, when it comes to creating ebooks, I recommend using Sigil, and I teach an online course on Udemy on how to use Sigil and other free tools to create your own beautiful ebooks.

But there are a myriad of other options. Below are some examples: Continue reading

A Look at Interactive Ebooks

Interactive, multimedia ebooks are starting to gain some traction. In addition to embedding audio and video, some ebook creators are experimenting with game elements, using GPS, and adding activities. Continue reading

Indie Authors: Digital Comics

Novels, children picture books, and even cookbooks are often discussed in the digital publishing realm, but another type of book is gaining more prominence: comic books. Continue reading

Indie Authors: High Quality Book Covers

When it comes to selling books, having an eye-catching cover is high on the list of getting more readers and buyers.

But there’s a lot to consider. Should you make the cover yourself? Hire a designer? Use stock photos?  Continue reading

Indie Authors: Using 99 Designs to Crowdsource a Cover

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Last year, I published the first book in my series for beginners on how to make ebooks (currently working on the second, which will focus on fixed format, or children’s books). It was my second book, and I had learned a few lessons from when I published my first book.

This time around, I did everything right. Or so I thought. I had beta readers, a strong book description, a pretty credible author bio, at least some semblance of a marketing plan (I’m still learning), and I even ended up creating a companion online course that I could use for cross promotion. As an ebook developer and blogger, I even had the occasional person emailing me asking questions about ebooks. I was set.

Until one reviewer asked, why is the cover so perfunctory? Continue reading

iBooks Author Templates

Ebooks come in a few different formats. I write a lot about EPUB and MOBI/KF8 on this site, which are the formats used by pretty much everyone (Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google, Sony, etc.). But there is another format: iBooks (iba).

Apple sells EPUB, but the company also developed their own proprietary format in early 2012. If you have a Mac, you can download the iBooks Author program for free and design and publish ebooks to the iTunes store. iBooks are different from EPUB and MOBI in that you can create interactive elements with a drag and drop interface. iBooks also tend to look best with very visual books.

At first, I wasn’t too impressed with iBooks Author (read my post, “iAuthor“). But since it  launched, iBooks produced using the program have gotten more and more impressive. New services that cater to iBooks have also made the process of creating these ebooks much easier.

One site that stands out is iBooks Author Templates. Founded by Jess Barkell, the site offers 49 elegant templates. Jess kindly answered some of my questions about iBooks Author Templates. Continue reading

Indie Authors: Formatting Books in InDesign

Adobe’s InDesign is a wonderful tool. The software is expensive, though if you are a student or teacher you can get a slight discount, but if you have access to it I highly recommend using it.

InDesign can be used to layout a book PDF, as well as be the starting point for an ebook. Print books in particular require certain elements to make it look professional, such as page numbers and headers with the name of the title and author. However, inputting this information can be tedious, unless you take advantage of InDesign’s master pages feature.  Continue reading