Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Funeral Food Giveaway!

Just a few days ago my Mom received her latest CafePress order complete with a Funeral Food t-shirt, magnets and note cards. A plan was hatched soon afterward to raffle off some author and cover artist signed schwag. Register below for the raffle to win a Funeral Food magnet and note card signed by the author and cover artist.

It is easy to enter:
1. You must be a registered Blogger user.
3. You must post a comment below to enter. Tell us where you heard about this raffle.
4. Three lucky winners will be picked out of a hat on Wednesday, August 3, 2011.
5. One signed magnet and note card (and envelope) will be mailed to the winners.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wedding Present

I have had to keep this under wraps (literally, it was wrapped) but now that it has been opened I can show it off to the world. 

I designed a poster commemorating my brother and now sister-in-law's wedding. This will be the only one of these produced but I am working on the new "public" version which will have Haystack Rock printed in the space of Cannon and Beach and "Cannon Beach, OR" printed across the bottom where the date is now printed.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Design Suggestions

In my other life I am a beer writer.  I try to write about all facets of beer from beer reviews to beer industry to breweriana.  Most recently, except for my weekly beer blog, I proposed a book about beer and food pairings.  It was an interesting writing exercise and something I hadn't done before. The proposal contained a chapter list, proposed chapter setups, two sample chapters and a market survey. I haven't heard back about that proposal, but when I do I will be sure to let you know.

One of the more interesting proposal topics I had to address was how can I help market the book.  This got me brainstorming and I started considering shelf markers.  Shelf markers are the small cards you see in wine and beer stores that rate the wine/beer.  This card and its score is how many people choose a specific beverage.  Well I decided to use that idea but make it my own.

My shelf markers won't rate the beer, if my marker is on the beer then you know it is a good beer.  However, I want improve the drinker's experience by suggesting a food pairing that will take that beer to a whole new level.

Design Considerations:

  • I wanted the card to be easy to read.
  • I wanted the card to be easily recognized.
  • The card had to be easy to use so a store manager could easily print, cut and tape to a beer.

The finalist: 

Design Notes:
  • I have cleaned up the extra text and removed the wording “food.pairing” as it is quite obvious that these are food-pairing suggestions.
  • Just incase it isn’t obvious I have made a larger cooler (as in refrigerator) marker that could be taped to the cooler window that would briefly explain the “food.pairing” cards.  Design coming soon.
  • While I liked the key hole cut-out design from the first round, I began to realize that virtually no one would take the time to hand cut each card.  The design wouldn’t look as good with white paper surrounding the top and so it had to go.
  • By removing “food.pairing” out of the “key hole” I was able to eliminate extra text and make the beer’s name more prominent.
  • I got over my need to have the HOP dominate the design but I couldn’t eliminate it totally. 
  • I am trying to brand the place setting to be synonymous with “food.pairings” so I incorporated the HOP design into the silverware.

Special thanks to my wife, who at  5:30 am this morning after I had posted a different set in three different places (that will teach me to post designs before I show them to her ) said "Have you considered removing the spoon and "x-ing" the fork and knife?".  Genius!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Freelance e-Book Cover Designer

As many of you know I have started designing e-book covers for my mother, Kathleen Taylor.  You can see two of the finished covers below.  There will be four more e-covers by the time I am done with this series.


I am designing these covers for the "exposure" -which you probably know doesn't pay well- and to build my portfolio. I am certainly not complaining as I knew there WOULD be lots of exposure from this project. 

What kind of exposure? Well, besides these murder mysteries, my mom has written umpteen knitting books and maintains a blog that just topped 500,000 hits. Most -like 99.99% - of these people would never visit my blog since my writing and illustrating genres are so different from my mother's. 

Well the exposure angle worked this time.  After completing the first two covers my Mom's agency was interested in adding me to a list of freelance cover-art illustrators.  Wahoo!  This was great news but it left me with a new dilemma.  How much should I charge for this service? I had no idea so I started at the low end of the agency's norm. I still haven't found the wording for a satisfaction guaranteed clause, or any of the other legalese additions yet. These are likely to change as I get feedback, legal consulting and/or work but for now these are my contract terms:

Option #1
  • $200 
  • I keep the rights to the image 
  • An additional $100 if a spine and back cover are needed
  • The front cover/spine/back cover will be formatted for an 11"x17" poster and can be scaled down to any size needed.
  • Author may use the cover art for any promotion of your book.
  • I will set up a section in my e-store where merchandise (business cards, post cards, phone covers, etc) with the covers can be purchased.
  • These products are done through a third party and my modest commission on those items is 10%.
  • I will display the covers on my website with links back to your website as well as to any e-book venue where your book can be purchased.

Option #2  
  • $500
  • You purchase all the rights and own the front cover/spine/back cover.  
  • You will get unlimited use of the art work and may make prints/posters for purchase or sell the image on merchandise.
  • I will only use the cover for self-promotion and as a piece in my portfolio
  • I will display the covers on my website with links back to your website as well as to any e-book venue where your book can be purchased.

Discount for multiple covers

  • 5% discount for 2 - 3 covers
  • 10% discount for 4-6 covers


  • All payments will be made to me via PayPal.
  • First 1/2 of contracted price due at signing. 
  • Preliminary sketches and design work will be submitted and mutually agreed upon before the final cover design is completed.
  • Author will have at least two preliminary designs to choose from.
  • All preliminary sketches and designs will have an "obnoxious watermark" and/or low resolution to deter use of images before final payment.
  • Last half of contracted price due before shipment of final cover art design.