Guest Post: Fun You Could Be Having NOW.

First up, congratulations to Mary P, the winner of Sarah McCoy’s THE BAKER’S DAUGHTER, as chosen by I hope you love the book as much as I did!

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And now, I have a treat for you all today: a wonderful guest post by my super talented, super fun, super creative friend Nikki. She’s a member of my online writing group and has recently signed with a fantastic agent. Be sure to check out her website!

* * *

Recently, I came across this article on using visual content to market your book or blog. It led me to this site on designing images. Which then lead me to straight-up bliss.

Are you the type of writer who also matches her clothes in her spare time? Do you pin scraps of wrapping paper to your walls as art, whipping your friends into a semi-rabid state as they beg you to Do Their Hair, Design Their Kids’ Halloween Costumes, and Look at Their Color Swatches (just, you know, to See What You Think.)

I am not one of those writers.

So obviously, I’m no professional at design, and this article isn’t a How-To. It’s a To-Do. Put on your list of fun you could be having right now!

Copy of S H A T T E R

I threw together this mock-up of a cover for my YA mystery in like two hours. TWO HOURS.

(For comparison: I have a brand new version of that same manuscript waiting on my brand new agent’s desk and who knooooows when or if an editor will get to it, let alone a cover-designer. Waiting–waiting is how writing goes.)

So my point is, writing has led me to overestimate the skill and time-commitment I need to surpass Lame-O in other areas, like design.

My other point is that designs and images make your blog or marketing better and it’s worth two hours now and again to make that happen. I base this claim on having read other people’s claims. I think those other people are really on to something.

For example, here I could babble about my blog, which centers lately on writing with diversity, or show you an image.

Soooo much cooler.

Want two more?


Images do a lot of your writing for you. I follow Canva’s little design formulas, which force me to shut the heck up–um, I mean, trim my word-count. An image that uses, say, 10 words, can do as much or more than the paragraph of 100 words I’d need otherwise. Also, these images are digested as informative, rather than pleading or pushy.


PLUS, you can design little reminder signs for children, like I did at my latest backyard party–a Mexican Fiesta with sombreros I wanted to save for next year. Isn’t it adorable?

Okay, that’s my plug for Go! Design! Enjoy!

You deserve it!

Nikki is a mom of “a gaggle of children,” and occasionally escapes them by diving into a YA world of sleuthing and snarking. She blogs at


6 thoughts on “Guest Post: Fun You Could Be Having NOW.

  1. Yay!! This was so fun to see! I’m telling you Canva is like butter on toast. That simile seems to not work on any level, but I like Canva and I like butter, and especially butter on toast, so I’m sticking with it.

    • Thanks again for the post! I was so glad to feature it on the blog!

      Also – rye toast and butter is pretty much the best, so I happen to love your simile! :)

  2. Okay you may as well forward that Shatter cover to your agent RIGHT NOW because it’s making me want to solve some mysteries. AWESOME. ps butter is the best part of toast.

    • Haha, I’m so proud of it!! But I think I’ll let the professionals do their job. That pic is free on Canva and though AWESOME will probably not be the smartest idea for a cover. :)
      Butter and toast rocks. Have you read any Mercy Watson picture books all about toast? You definitely should.

  3. I just turn graphic design over to someone on Elance. They can do better than I can! I freelance write for a living through jobs I get on Elance, so I can spend that time writing and make the money to pay for it!!! I’m artistically challenged, though.

  4. I can’t believe I missed this post the first time around! I just discovered Canva yesterday when a different friend recommended it, and I’m completely in love! It was perfect for making my blog header. They have templates for Facebook and Twitter headers, too, so I’m already thinking about those. Maybe Google Plus as well. Can’t remember. I can finally make all my headers match. AFTER revisions. (Right? Right. Revisions first.)

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