Category Archives: Author Branding

My Latest Project – A Writer’s Guide

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My Most Recent Project

A Writer’s Guide – Volume One

Working as an author consultant puts me in the position of helping many writers discover their author brand. It is typically the first exercise we address because knowing your brand enables you to create a comprehensive author platform that will work for you – a good platform will serve as your base where all of your efforts begin. It will successfully promote your talent and product. An author’s platform must be developed first – before the details of the packaging- before the creation of the content – before the writing of the book. An author’s platform is ann essential key to their success.

Defining your brand is the first step for any author or writer.

Setting up your author platform properly is crucial, and understanding your brand helps you do it right.

I follow the same process every time I approach author branding, and it works!

I am creating this guide to make the process of branding easy and fun.The results will be awesome for creating or improving your platform and growing your network.

Completing this workbook will help you to:

  1. Improve your platform or begin creating a brand-new one.
  2. Grow your network.
  3. Create exciting new content.
  4. Effectively market your books.
  5. And … set some new writing goals.

Who Needs This Workbook?

This workbook is for all writers who are ready to start their blog or website and it has tons to offer those who have already established their platforms.

  • The exercises in this writer’s manual are simple to follow. When you’re done with them all, you will have a refined view of your brand and all that it has to offer.
  • When you’re done with them all, you will have a refined view of your brand and all that it has to offer.
  • You will also have crucial information that can help you rapidly grow your network and market your books or products.

I Need Your Help!

  • I am looking for some people to join my launch team. There will be some awesome prizes!
  • I am hoping for some early reviewers that can help me make sure this workbook is perfect!
  • I would like to organize a blog tour. I will be contacting some of you in the near future, or you can contact me if you’re interested in hosting the tour – I’m launching the last week of July! I’m also happy to accept guest posts on my blog if you’re interested.
  • Any input or feedback you have to offer would be much appreciated.

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I am so thankful for anyone who’s willing to participate in whatever way they can. So please, contact me if you’re interested.

If you have any tips or advice for me at all, I’d love to hear that too! 🙂

Thank You!

Why You Need a Book Poster

By Jessica Kane

Independent authors are faced with many unique challenges, and one of the most daunting is promotion.

Seeing your book in print for the first time is a special moment that soon gives way to the sobering reality that now you must market it properly.

One of the most effective ways to do this is with a book poster.

There are a few reasons why you need a book poster copy

  • A poster is a highly-portable and visual way to draw attention to your book that can be used in variety of methods and places.
  • Aside from book blogging, which is a great method of promotion for independent authors, a book poster that is professionally designed lends a certain amount of credibility to your status as an author.
  • While the number of self-published authors has grown in recent years, there is still something of a stigma attached to independent publishing. Many readers have a perception that the writing of an independent author cannot be as good as that of an author with a big publishing contract. This is patently false, of course, but it is still something you must overcome. One way to do that is to mimic the promotion methods used by mainstream publishing houses, and the book poster has long been used to generate a buzz for new releases. Just check the window of your local bookstore the next time you visit.

The thing is, any old poster won’t do. Too many independent authors make the mistake of trying to design their own or of using a cheap online printing service. A poorly designed poster can actually hurt your chances for sales rather than improve them. If you are going to use a poster, having it professionally designed offers significant advantages. A designer can bring their creative skills into play in order to capture the essence of your book in a way that others cannot.

Think about it. If you are an independent author, writing is what you do. It is far more efficient to spend your time book blogging than to spend it designing a poster or banner. The money you spend on hiring someone to design a poster for you is well-spent because it frees you up to do what you do best–write.

Getting a book poster designed is actually one of the most cost-effective methods of book promotion because a poster has a wide variety of applications.

  • Posters can be bundled with pre-order offers to enhance the chances that people will make a purchase. Be honest. How many times have you purchased a book because you liked the cover art? You’re not alone. The importance of graphic presentation is something the big publishers have always understood. If you sign some posters and include them with a pre-order, there is a chance that you will make more sales.
  • If you are promoting your book with signings at local book retailers, using posters to promote the event and having some on hand to sign is a plus. Once again, the quality of the poster is all important. You only have one chance to make a good impression with it.
  • Posters are an integral part of the press kit that you should assemble and send to media outlets and reviewers in advance of your book’s publication. Critics are just like anyone else. They, too, can be swayed by slick presentation. If you include a poster with your marketing materials you are sending a message that you are a serious player. The absence of nice graphics in the form of a poster or banner will often sound the death knell for an independent author. If a reviewer takes your book out of the envelope and it looks like a self-published work, expect it to be shuffled to the bottom of the heap where it may or may not get a review.

Overall, book posters are a wise investment. They should be a part of your marketing budget for their ability to increase exposure in a way that is effective and economical when weighed against other methods of promotion.

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unnamedJessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in graphic design, marketing, and printing. She currently writes for 777 Sign, her go to place for banner signs, custom flags and custom signs printing.

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A Guide To Book Cover Design

Let’s be honest, we all judge a book by its cover most of the time (and there are legions of blogs dedicated to the pastime).

Books with good graphics, and eye-catching font are good quality covers that sell more copies – simple fact.

Book cover design is booming and even have their own awards.

The Internet has also enabled fast and effective circulation and exchange of documents, ideas and feedback which is commonplace among designers and authors, sharing book cover designs for feedback before they go to publishing.

But whether you choose to design your cover yourself, or will be working with a professional designer, there are a few things that will help you from start to finish.

Designing A Concept

Before you get started on creating a brief for a cover design, or before starting to design one yourself, you need to decide on the message you want to send.

  • Ask yourself: What is the book’s single-minded value proposition? What is the target audience of readers looking for – Inspiration and Aspiration, Success and Achievement, Knowledge and Power, Romance and Passion, Murder and Revenge?
  • Boiling it down to the motivation, incentive and emotion will help you generate tons of ideas or visual metaphors that determine the imagery, choice of color palette, typography, and layout that help you capture what the book is all about.

If you want to design your own book cover or if you’ve just hired a cover designer, here’s a list of useful tips and tricks to consider for your project. Good luck!

Book Cover Design Tips

Generate excitement. Grab attention. The main goal of every book cover is to generate excitement. The cover is one of the best tools in your marketing arsenal. That’s why you should create something that will stop people in their tracks and evoke interest.

The book cover is the hook that will help you to promote your book. It is not a specific scene from your book featuring your main character. If it is, you should be ready to look for a general type of character in your imagery, or just a back view or partial view of them. The partial views generate more excitement. Coming up with a specific scene from the book may confuse the viewer or clutter up your cover. Better to stick with ideas generated from the points listed above for a clean and powerful cover design.

 

The book’s genre is important

Announce its genre
Clearly, many book buyers search for books by category, niche, or genre, so this instant identification with where your book belongs is a critical task. The book cover should show what genre the book is. Look at these book covers. It is an easy task to understand what kind of books are in front of you, right? A really good book cover “talks” to its readers through choice of typography, imagery and metaphor.

 

Telegraph its tone
Although more subtle, it’s also important to imply the tone of a work, especially fiction. Is it a brash, over-the-top page turner, or a subtle character study?

Explain its scope
More common to nonfiction, readers need to know what’s included in your book and what’s not—in terms of subject matter, time periods, geography, skill levels, or any other guide that will give potential buyers this information.

Generate excitement
Effective book covers have a “hook”—something that intrigues, grabs you by the throat, makes a promise—something that will attract and hold a reader’s attention and make them want to know more.

Establish a market position
Your book cover can help browsers by letting them know where your book fits in with other, similar books they are already familiar with. More encyclopedic? With vampires? And tons of resources?

Minimalism: Less is more!

Minimal style is timeless. It helps to focus on the book’s title and authors name.


How to do it wrong

It is good practice to look at bad design examples too. In fact crap, trashy book covers has become a meme in itself, whether it’s the romance genre or the aptly titled ‘funny as shit book covers’ board on Pinterest. Unfortunately there are so many bad cover designs.

Overwrought and over-thought typography is the main offender but using stock imagery can also destroy a book’s visual credibility. Be careful with fonts and stock images. Or seek out a professional cover designer.

Sources For Ideas

Think you’ve learned enough to create a stunning book cover design? Slow down! To get really inspired you need to immerse yourself amongst book cover design lovers. Look no further than Pinterest to find minimalist, bold, graphic-driven book cover boards that will make you swoon.

But it doesn’t stop there. Head to Flickr and the Book Cover Archive for more visual treats!

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 Source: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2014/06/book-cover-success-and-failure-explained/

Discovering Your Brand

Discovering Your Brand

Creating an author platform is vital for a new author’s success, and creating a brand is the basis for the platform. You need to know what you are creating before you start!

Branding is simpler than it sounds. You have already done the hard part by branding yourself for your author bios creation. You discovered all of the aspects of you that make up your brand. Use these as a resource for content creation on your blog and across your social networks. Sharing things that are relative to the You brand will gain the interest of people who are attracted to that type of content and they will want to connect with you.

Now all that is left are the finishing touches to make your brand complete. It is important to complete the branding process because your entire platforms success rests on the power behind your brand.

Review of what you covered in the All About You portion of the last chapter:

1. What is your gender and your age?
2. How do others see you?
3. How do you want others to see you?
4. What do you read?
5. What do you write?
6. What attracts you to other people?
7. What attracts people to you?
8. What is your best feature?
9. What do you find most interesting?
10. What inspires you?
11. What do you care about and put effort into?
12. Who would you like to be in three years?
13. What are your dreams?
14. What is the book you have always wanted to write?
15. What is the book you are scared to write?

These questions will reveal what makes you unique; I’m sure you can come up with many of your own questions too. What’s important is that you have this very basic list to begin with. The answers to these questions should give you a sense of direction when it comes to creating content for your blog, writing your books, and marketing yourself. Now make a new list of themes you see developing from your list, there are a few ideas for your first blog posts. You are a writer, an individual with a precious and continually growing gift that can now be shared with the world in confidence.

It’s time to make another list. Be sure to maintain a positive outlook and mention what matters:

1. Who are you, what descriptions best suit your personality?
2. What’s your best feature, what’s the first thing people notice about you?
3. What makes you likable, even lovable?
4. What do you think is fun?
5. What makes you different or what makes you the same as others?
6. What do people remember about you, what stands out?
7. What do you write about?
8. What do you want to write about?
9. What is your product?
10. What are your interests?
11. How do you view the world or the world you create?
12. What are your hopes, dreams, and aspirations?
13. Who are you influenced by, you may be similar to them?
14. Where have you been and where are you going?
15. Do you have any awards or have you won or entered any competitions?
16. Are there any media mentions of you?
17. Do you have recommendations from notable people?
18. Do you have any special achievements that relate to your brand?
19. Do you volunteer?
20. Do you have a special hobby?
21. Do you belong to any special groups?
22. Do you belong to any organizations or associations?
23. What are some exciting things that have happened to you?
24. Were you inspired by a famous relative?

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Also, reveal some details about your writing by answering the following questions:

  1. How do you want to be known?

Try to imagine how you would like to be known by the public, what image are you wanting to portray to your fans. You don’t want to be someone you’re not, but some aspects of yourself aren’t meant to be shared. It’s important that no matter what image you wish to portray, that you stay true to yourself and that you maintain an air of professionalism.

  1. What words do you want people to associate with you?

Do a short brainstorming session and write down words that are associated with the way you would like to be known by the public. This is a fun exercise where you may come up with some new ideas that are related to your brand. Admit it, you love descriptive words, round up a bunch that relate to your desired author image and write them down. Try things like – vivacious, sassy, inspiring, hungry, boisterous, – these are great words that you can use when creating graphics for your platform and marketing purposes. These are also words to remember in order to brand your writing, words that describe who you are and flavor your writing style. These words will become, if they are not already, part of your voice when writing.

  1. What are your goals for the next 3 years?

It’s always a good idea to have a plan of action. Just like a start-up, your business of writing is going places, where would you like it to go? This is something you can map out. You could start by writing out your goal at three years, then split that into three and write down a goal for year one and year two. Next you could break these years into quarters, like seasons, imagine obtainable goals on your way to your yearly goals which will get you to your final goal. You could dissect this further, break those seasons into months and imagine even smaller, more obtainable goals month to month that will get you to your seasonal goals. Now you have a plan of action, a direction to focus your efforts. This is where you should dream big, don’t be afraid to write down a three year goal that is desirable even if it appears to be unobtainable today in your real world. Maybe you’d like to be on a television program as a guest in three years, it may seem impossible, but it’s a reachable goal just like any other. Dream big and take the small steps to get you there. What you believe can be.

You may not be the type of person that would dream in that direction, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Write down some other desire as a writing goal and map your way to that one. The point is you will have a roadmap to get you there when you are done, and that sometimes can make all the difference in the world when it comes to personal success.

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  1. What words are associated with that?

Another fun activity! Get out a fresh piece of blank paper and write down all the words that are associated with your three year goal and the smaller goals you’ve outlined that will get will get you to that ultimate goal. When you’re done you should have some key action words that will help you hone your brand and steer it toward your goal. These word will help to keep you focused and can drive the content of your writing in the direction you are aiming for. Try words like – speaking engagements, influencer, book signing, television appearances, podcasting, interviewing, volunteering, – you are the creator of your own reality and these words will help you to shape your reality over the next three years.

  1. Will your books be in a particular genre?

The genre of a book is defined by its broad subject, its language, the age level of its readers, whether it is fiction or non-fiction and/or its subject.

Some examples of genres are:  romance, historical romance, erotica, spiritual, transformational, western, thriller, fantasy, horror, adventure, mystery, science fiction, dark fiction, guides, textbooks, biographies, autobiographies, children’s, young adult, memoirs, poetry, chapter, and scholarly books.

To determine your ideal readers, do an internet search on your genre along with the words “readers” and “demographics”.

  • Who is your reader?
  • How old are they?
  • Man or woman?
  • Children or none?
  • Grandchildren?
  • Occupation?
  • Activities?
  • Where do they live?
  • What is their ethnicity?

Examine all of the traits of your target reader and note any trends. These trends describe your ideal reader. These trends are part of your brand and will help you when creating content for your blog and in your marketing endeavors.

  1. What is the premise of your book?

One effective trick for defining your premise is to write a one-sentence logline that will become the foundation of your story. The Logline is a tool used primarily by screenwriters, but it can be very helpful if you’re writing a novel or a short story.

  1. What are the themes in your book?

Themes are central ideas in a piece of writing. Anything that relates to the theme or plot of your books is included in your brand. Your themes in your book can drive your content. Themes can branch out to include many topics and will attract the kind of people who would be interested in your book. The content you create can be related to a topic or theme that’s even loosely woven throughout your book.

  1. What types of characters are in your book

The characters in your book have traits and can be branded just like you branded yourself in the previous chapter. This would be considered a branching off point had you mapped your brand in the tree fashion. You can use all of this information about your characters to come up with relative content for your blog and to attract readers that would find your characters interesting or that they can relate to. This is also a great way to figure out what groups or types of people you should be connecting with after your platform is set-up.

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  1. What images do you want associated with your brand?

It’s time to start thinking of your look. Do you want to appear playful, concise, creative, or colorful? Start imagining images that you will use to include in your blog posts, what type will they be? Will you use info-graphics, cartoons, text, abstract, dark, bright, purchased images that reflect aspects of your brand? What trends will your images follow? The imagery you use plays a major role in defining who you are and what you have to offer to your audience.

The three major images that will speak the loudest to the public are your website banner, your head-shot, and your book cover. These three images give a visual testament to what you have to offer with your platform, they are the face of your brand and a major selling point. The other most important imagery is the imagery you will use in your social networking shares, such as book teasers and quotes. This imagery all reflects upon who you are and what your readers can find in your work.

All of the things that you have associated to be a part of your brand should be taken into consideration when developing your imagery. Your imagery can be as powerful as the words you have to share and they speak volumes. I highly recommend that you hire a professional designer to work with you as you create content for your platform, set up your website and blog, and create the covers for your books.

If you insist on doing this on your own then it will seriously benefit you to buy a subscription to Adobe Photoshop through the Adobe website. Photoshop is relatively inexpensive and can handle all of the demands a designer requires. You can find plenty of video tutorials on the adobe website that will teach you how to use the program and there are endless amounts of tutorials on the web as well. I will go further into creating your own imagery, finding free imagery, or purchasing your imagery in a future chapter.

For now it is important to start thinking about the imagery you will use as a design package that will represent you. The pictures you use are your visual voice.

Combining all of this information into a chart will give you a visual reference to the substance of your brand. Post it where you write and use it for inspiration when developing content. Your brand is as unique as your voice. By researching what has been outlined regarding you and your brand you have created your platform brand and now should have plenty of resources for what to blog about or share on your social networks. Congratulations, you have created your brand!

Writing Your Author Bio

Writing Your Bios

by M.R. Goodhew

Your bio serves the purpose of driving traffic and links to your website and creating interest in your brand. Who you are is a huge part of your author brand. You’re not just selling your writing—you have to promote who you are as an author as well. Later in this book, we’ll take an in-depth look at creating your author bio, or revisiting its structure, to focus your efforts on your uniqueness and authentic selling points.

You should have at least three separate bios written for different social sites, your website, amazon profile, and for your press/media kit. These bios should be saturated with your brand identity to let people know what you are all about. Make sure to create them with a professional feel. You are presenting yourself to the world and you should be viewed as a professional writer who creates books that reach a certain standard. You don’t want to come off as too personal or lack professionalism, because it could reflect on your work and give the impression of a substandard product. You are a professional author with quality books and writing – your bios should reflect this. At the same time, you don’t want to come off as stiff and unapproachable. Keep your personality reflected in your work with your author voice, focusing on relevant yet personable details about yourself.

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Some people find this part of branding the most difficult. Figuring out how to see yourself as a brand can seem hard to grasp at first, but it’s actually really easy. You are a fascinating person with all kinds of interesting, unique aspects of yourself that can be added into your author brand. What you look like, what you wear, how you pose for pictures, these all can be inviting portions of your brand. Are you fun, are you approachable, and are your interests interesting? What you read makes up part of what inspires you to write, so that is also a portion of who you are and should be included in your brand. This doesn’t mean you should list the books and articles you’ve read, it means the themes and content of those things are major interests to you and a major influence to your writing.

What do you always for on the internet? What are your questions or concerns about being an author? What are your passions? What do you most want out of your career as an author, and what do you believe you have to offer?

Your Voice:

Your personality shines through your writing. Who you are in your writing will be how you connect emotionally to the public. Be authentic—allow yourself to grow as a writer and project your personality through your writing. Your voice will capture your public and bring them back for more of who you are when you write.

Your Look:

How you portray yourself through your graphics and especially through your headshot speaks volumes to your growing network. How do you want to be seen? Be sure that whatever fashion you choose still reflects some form of professionalism. How you look reflects on what you have to offer. It’s worth the extra money to have a professional headshot taken that reflects how you would like to be perceived and possibly gives a clue to your unique voice. When it comes to graphics, a picture tells a thousand words, and a professional graphic artist usually speaks that language best. Hire one.

What You Read:

What you soak up as a reader is absorbed and morphs into a part of what makes you, you. It influences the way you write and what you write about, and those concepts and themes become a major portion of your brand.

Your Ideology:

Your beliefs and ideals will come through in your writing. People will recognize these core values and many may be drawn by them, or even put off by them. Beliefs can inspire or repulse. Choose what you wish to share wisely, as it will have an impact on your audience.

Your Personal Passion:

Your passion for what you write will speak volumes. Your dreams, desires, and faith in what you share will be heard loud and clear. Speak from your heart with authenticity and your words will move people. In general, people are attracted to what has the ability to move them emotionally in a positive manner.

Your Content:

Your content is your catch; this is how you bait your readers into following your blog and investing in your writing. The content you choose to write about should be relative to who you are and what you are selling.

Your Communication:

How you communicate with others throughout your network is a trait that will attract and keep dedicated followers who will cross promote you. What you say and how you say it creates a personal relationship between you and the people in your network. This is the public’s opportunity to see how you interact with people, and they are given the chance to become emotionally invested in you and your brand. What you have to say matters and will reflect on what you have to sell.

Make a list of all of these aspects, and you have the portion of your brand that is you. It will be an impressive list when it comes to dreaming up new content for your blog. You are your best resource for ideas, and you will find that you are also your most successful marketing aspect.

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Your author bio is a first point of sale, a statement used to hook the reader and leave them wanting more. Your bio should have the power to convert readers into followers and purchasers of your product. This is your place to truly shine, to grab attention and gain fans. Writing your bio is a serious matter, but it’s really fun to create. You really want a good bio, so it’s worth taking some extra time to explore who you are, how you want to be seen, and what you have to offer. After the last section, you should have some pretty clear answers to those questions, which you can now creatively piece together to form your bios.

It’s time to make another list. Be sure to maintain a positive outlook and mention what matters:

  1. Who are you, what descriptions best suit your personality?
  2. What’s your best feature, what’s the first thing people notice about you?
  3. What makes you likable, even lovable?
  4. What do you think is fun?
  5. What makes you different or what makes you the same as others?
  6. What do people remember about you, what stands out?
  7. What do you write about?
  8. What do you want to write about?
  9. What is your product?
  10. What are your interests?
  11. How do you view the world or the world you create?
  12. What are your hopes, dreams, and aspirations?
  13. Who are you influenced by (you may share similarities)?
  14. Where have you been and where are you going?
  15. Do you have any awards or have you won or entered any competitions?
  16. Are there any media mentions of you?
  17. Do you have recommendations from notable people?
  18. Do you have any special achievements that relate to your brand?
  19. Do you volunteer?
  20. Do you have a special hobby?
  21. Do you belong to any special groups?
  22. Do you belong to any organizations or associations?
  23. What are some exciting things that have happened to you?
  24. Were you inspired by a famous relative?

Mention them if they are somehow relevant. Use these things to promote who you are. There may be other things you want to add or should add that I haven’t listed here and that’s fine—add them. If you can’t use it as a selling point, keep it anyway. When you get into the process of putting your bios together you may be surprised at how you can use them to attract a growing network.

It’s probably best to leave out information about your religion, political preferences, or prejudices. They most likely have nothing to do with your product or brand and how other people receive them. Controversial subject matter should be avoided unless it is part of your content. Write down the answers to all of these questions and look them over a few times.

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Your bios should creatively entertain while introducing you and what you have to offer. Think positive, sell yourself, sell your style, and sell your brand. Be confident but be honest. Define what you have to offer with flare. What makes you special, what makes you shine? You may be amazed by what you discover when writing your bios. Bring emotion to your bio and grip your audience with your description of who you are and what you bring to share with them. Spruce it up descriptively as shown in the second example below.

Your bio can go one of two ways as seen here. Example one is descriptive but dry. Example two is powerful and possibly a little over-the-top, but more closely related to what you are aiming for with your bio.

            “Jane has always dreamt of being a writer. Jane Doe is a volunteer through ABC Org and has traveled extensively to help children. “Bla Bla Bla,” her first novel, is available on amazon now. Pick up your copy today.”

…or…

            “Famous author John Doe once offered Jane Doe the opportunity to write with him, but only now has Jane found the courage to bring her stories forward. A real-life hero, as seen in the Seattle times, Jane Doe now volunteers her time to less fortunate children. While bravely traveling the back-roads of the world all alone, she offered all she could along the way to those who needed her. Tune in each week to be inspired by Jane’s story-crafting of her experience through the act of selflessness. Jane’s resistance to failure, sheer will, and determination will empower you as you laugh and cry with her. See how she copes with the realities she faces and makes the world a better place, one small action at a time. Jane is a blessing to read and a joy to laugh with. You don’t want to miss these beautiful journeys with Jane. Be sure to pick up your copy of her latest book “Bla Bla Bla,” which will leave you breathless.”

Practice your sentence structure to incorporate the right tones of emotion and to generate excitement. Like a television announcer introducing the latest movie release, get excited about introducing yourself to the world. There’s no need to be embarrassed, and being shy won’t serve you here, either. You must realize that everyone is unique and has special qualities. Now is the time to take what you’ve learned about yourself and present it in a few paragraphs with confidence. Use your skills as a writer and show the world just how creative you can be while sticking to the truth of who you are.

Book Cover Design