Day 12: The Twelve Days of Author Goodies

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On the final day of Author Goodies, we’re talking design and layout advice…perfect if you need to format for e-book conversion or looking for tips when designing a cover.

E-book Formats and Formatting

Blog posts here at
The K.I.S.S. Principle

What is an e-book? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Working with Styles

Hidden Characters

Building a Table of Contents

Working with Images

Good articles by others:
A good high-level overview to e-book formats and approaches to making them from BubbleCow.

For those of you who are HTML and CSS savvy, here’s the guide from Guido Henkel.


Bitmap images

Vector images

Design Tips

By yours truly and featured earlier this year at Upgrade Your Story: 10 tips from a cover designer

The 6 Principles of Design from J6 Design in Australia.

From Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and Articles

Thank you so much for following The Twelve Days of Author Goodies!

If you’ve picked one thing that makes the business of writing easier for you, then I’m thrilled. I’d love to know what was most helpful to you, so please leave a comment below and let me know. Or did I miss something you were hoping to see here? What was it? I may feature it in an upcoming blog post.

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Day 11: The Twelve Days of Author Goodies

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On the eleventh day of Author Goodies, it’s all fonts, fonts, fonts.


Dafont is a huge repository of fonts with many licenses. Use the advanced search to search for fonts with commercial licenses.

Font Squirrel

Font Squirrel is a site for free fonts with commercial licenses, some very good for long copy layout.

Creative Bloq

The typography section of Creative Bloq features fonts (some are free) as well as typography related articles. A great resource!


Behance is one of those places where asset creative showcase their work. Here’s a Behance search for free commercial license fonts.

1001 Fonts

1001 fonts has a special category for commercial use fonts.


FontSpring offers some free fonts and some paid. A desktop license covers using the free fonts in covers and print books (embedded in a pdf) but not in e-books. Special licenses for e-book use can be purchased.

Google Fonts

If you are technically savvy, you can convert/download Google Fonts for desktop use. NOte: all these fonts are optimized for web use, so you should test your font before using in print.

Various Blog posts with links to free fonts

Design your way – A Collection Of 41 Fonts With Free For Commercial Use License

Creative Bloq – The Best Free Cursive Fonts

Practical Ecommerce has two blog posts with commercial use fonts: 20 Free Fonts for Commercial Projects and 20 New Free Commercial Fonts.

Confused about font licenses? Here’s a great article from DesignShack.

Some free font licenses are offered for a limited time only and may have changed. Verify the license before downloading and using the font. If you fall in love with a font with a personal use only license, contact the creator and negotiate usage terms. Most creators are open to this. Creating a good font is an art form and takes hundreds of hours. Please respect the hard work of these creators and confirm and follow the licensing terms.

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Day 10: The Twelve Days of Author Goodies

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On the tenth day of Author Goodies, it’s all about no cost and low cost images.

Here’s some no cost and low cost image options for your covers and marketing:

No Cost


MorgueFile is a great repository of high res images for personal and commercial use.


Freerange is a smaller no cost stock image site. Membership is required (but it’s free). Licensing covers personal and commercial use.

Free Images

Free Images (formerly Stock Xchng) is a free stock site with a mix of personal use and commercial use photography. Each image needs to be checked for allowed usage. A membership is needed (but it’s free).


PhotoGen allows for both personal and commercial use. No membership is required.

Creative Commons Search

Creative Commons Search is the place to search for creative commons assets, including photography.

Wikipedia’s Public Domain Search

A wiki page with a number of public domain search options.

Low Cost

Deposit Photos

Deposit Photos has more and more high quality professional photography. This site works on pre-paid credits that do not expire.


A very large mirco-stock site, Dreamstime has a great mix of images, with more and more high quality, professional photography. This site works on pre-paid credits which are good for one year. Subscriptions are also available.


CanStockPhoto, one of the first microstock sites, is based in the same city I am…Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can purchase images per image, with prepaid credits or by subscription. Canadian authors looking for specific Canadian backgrounds may have more luck with this site than any of the others.

Dollar Photo Club

Dollar Photo Club works differently than other sites. Membership has a cost (they offer monthly and yearly plans), but some you’ve pad for your membership, images are $1 each. If you need a lot of images in a short amount of time, this may be a good option.


Creative Market is a marketplace where you can source and buy handcrafted elements, textures, fonts, backgrounds…all beautiful. But get on their mailing list.They’ll send you a weekly email with downloads for free resources!

PSDCovers is a site where you can download Photoshop actions that will take flat artwork and create 3D mockups, including lots of book covers. It takes a bit of practice to master using these, but once you do, your marketing images of hard cover and soft cover books will look great!

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Day 9: The Twelve Days of Author Goodies

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On the ninth day of Author Goodies, here’s some handy brushes for Photoshop, Illustrator and Gimp.

Brushes are an easy way to decorate your designs without needing the ability to draw or paint. Instant design elements. Another amazing time saver! Here’s some great sources for brushes:


Brusheezy is a community that provides a place for artists to create and exchange Photoshop Brushes, Photoshop Patterns, Textures, Actions, Shapes and other design resources related to Photoshop. You can search by asset type or by version of Photoshop (very handy).

Similar to Brusheezy, is a community that exchanges more that just Photoshop brushes, but other Photoshop resources as well.

Brush Lovers

Yet another source for Photoshop resources, BrushLovers has a a large collection of high-quality Photoshop brushes, gradients and styles. is a collection of high quality free Photoshop Brushes, Illustrator Brushes, Photoshop Patterns and Textures from around the net.

Noupe’s List of 50 Photoshop Brush Packs

Noupe has a list of lots of great brush packs here, including grunge, bokeh and flourishes.

CreativeBloq’s List of 56 Best Free Photoshop Brushes

CreativeBloq has compiled a list of what they feel are the 56 best free Photoshop Brush packs.

Tuts+ Huge Compilation of Illustrator Brushes

Tuts+ has put together a list of 60+ Illustrator brushes, listed by type, including line art, watercolor, floral and borders.

40 Awesome sets of Free Illustrator Brushes

Vandelay Design has put together a list of 40 Illustrator brushes, geared toward those you use Illustrator to illustrate.

Noupe’s List of 1000 Gimp Brushes

Noupe has done the work to find 1000+ Gimp brush resources.

How to install brushes in Photoshop.

How to install brushes in Illustrator.

How to install brushes in Gimp.

Also, here’s how to create your own custom brushes in Photoshop.

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Day 8: The Twelve Days of Author Goodies

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On the eighth day of Author Goodies, here’s some handy Photoshop actions.

What’s an action? Well, it’s a saved progression of steps that can run with the press of a button. Cool, right? I use actions to speed up my Photoshop work, whether using ones I’ve created or ones I’ve downloaded.

Actions are editable, so when I find an action I like, but it flattens the image, I look at the steps and delete the “merge layers” steps, so I can adjust as I need.

Here are some great Photoshop actions that might come in handy when creating your covers or marketing materials:
Photo Coloring 11 by iconmaker91

HDR Action on

Faux HDR Action on

10 Retro Actions from Spoon Graphic’s Blog. Also includes good instructions on how to run an action in Photoshop.

Lithprint Action by rawimage

Portrait Action by provity

Skin Glow Enhancement Action by iScarlett

Colorfull Action (sic) by IGotTheLook

Outer Space Action by Emanuele Feronato

Note: some of the actions on are .rar archive files. If your operating system doesn’t support expanding these files, you’ll need to search for and download an app to open them.

Looking for GIMP actions? GIMP refers to these as scripts. A quick google search of GIMP Scripts free will yield you lots of results.

Don’t know how to load a Photoshop Action? Here’s a link to good, step-by-step instructions.

Want to learn to create your own Photoshop actions? Here’s a good set of instructions.

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Day 7: The Twelve Days of Author Goodies

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Happy New Year! On the seventh day of Author Goodies…free training, just in time for those New Year’s resolutions.

Creative Live

Creative Live started as a photography training site, but has branched out into other areas, like art and design and creative business courses. Creative Live offers live streaming of their courses for free. Anytime access to courses are for a fee.

Alison Courses

Alison Courses is a huge repository of diploma and non diploma courses in a range of topics including entrepreneurial skills, ebusiness and marketing, web development, Adobe software courses and personal development and soft skills.


Coursera offers post secondary level classes in multiple disciplines and languages. While they don’t offer author specific courses, there are many that could come in handy for research.


Tutvid is a youtube channel full of great Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator and other short tutorials. Need to learn how to do a particular design thing? Search for it here.

Jeff Witchel is an Adobe Certified Instructor and creates short video tutorials for Illustrator and InDesign.


Codecademy is a site where you can learn to code for free.

Not free, but: Canadian women looking to learn to code and feel they need an in-person experience should check out They occasionally offer online courses as well.


Youtube is my go to place for short tutorials on specific effects or processes. Whether you need GIMP, Photoshop, InDesign, Word or other tutorials, they are a search away. Here’s a beginner’s Photoshop search link for you.


Plearn offers both paid and free Photoshop tutorials as well as resources.


Not free, but: has some amazing beginning tutorials for Adobe software like InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, called “Essentials”. A free trial period might be available. If you feel you need a basics course in something, sign up one of the one month packages. For $25 or $37.50 USD for a one month membership, it’s a good deal.

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