Paying it Forward – Cheap or Free and VERY Easy Graphic Options for Authors & Bloggers

I’ve wanted to write this blog post for a while now.

See, almost four years into this writing gig and I’ve learned some things… okay, a LOT of things, I’ve made mistakes – who hasn’t – and I cringe at what I’ve done in the early days in regards to graphics, but I wanted to share with writers – new and old – what I have learned about graphics, teasers, FB ads and the like. And I’m all about sharing what I’ve learned and paying it forward. Because let’s face it, we all started somewhere. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve sold tem books or a million, we all started at the same place.

So let’s get started 🙂

This was one of my early teaser attempts posted on Facebook 4 years ago;

See what I mean! It looks like it was made in MS Word aka 2007.

Firstly, let’s get a disclaimer out of the way. I am in no way an expert. I make mistakes as much as the next guy… or girl. This industry is trial and error. Marketing, promotion, what works and what doesn’t, we all learn my TRYING, but also by sharing what we’ve learned. What I hope you get from this post is that there are so many free – yes I said FREE – applications and websites out there that can be used to make cheap – or FREE — promotional material for your books.
Look, I get – and fully support the fact – that everyone has their own way of doing things and I’m a huge believer in being unique, staying your own path, and doing your own thing. People love things that are different (okay, maybe they do still like billionaires and bears but… yeah, let’s leave it at that,) but please keep reading for some useful websites I have found for graphics, teasers, free design stuff and the like.

So this is my FAVORITE site at the moment – https://app.designfeed.io/

You put in a quote, you put in the name of the book and the author name, you can also upload a stock photo you’ve purchased to use then you push ‘create it’ and it does! You’re taken to a screen with lots of different suggested fonts, placements, designs.

The best thing about this site is that once you’re done, it gives you the graphic in the major social media sizes. All that’s left to do is download and you’re done!

Two examples I have made are these two beauties;

http://www.picmonkey.com

This website is awesome for people with some design knowledge but who don’t have Photoshop or Illustrator etc. They also have overlays you can add to your image, frames to wrap around your graphics, and you can also add your own overlays to designs too. Another bonus is the big selection of fonts that can be used OR it allows you to access your own fonts from your computer.

Here is one graphic I made on the site;

– For free fonts, graphics, templates, mock ups etc., make sure you subscribe to Creative Market
https://creativemarket.com. Every week they have six new free goodies that you can download.

– Lastly, https://www.canva.com is an amazing website with both free and paid features. Most useful is their predesigned – and pre-sized – templates for all the different social media specifications and sites.

Here’s an example of a Canva design I’ve made.

Now, if all else fails and you’re still needing help, there are a number of designers you can pay to make teasers for you – and they won’t cost an arm and a leg and the promise of your first born, I promise!

Tease Me Designs – https://www.facebook.com/TeaseMeDesigns
IndieSage PR – https://www.facebook.com/indiesagepr

Other websites to check out;
http://www.hungryjpeg.com – awesome font bundles
http://www.appsumo.com – watch out for their once a year DepositPhotos deal to stock up on stock photos
http://www.canstockphoto.com – cheap stock photos available for purchase.

I hope this helps someone – even just one person – and you go on to make amazingly beautiful graphics to promote your work. If you have any other sites that you’ve find useful, please comment below.

P.S. Number one rule – always, always use stock photos you have purchased.

P.P.S. Sarah Robinson has an awesome blog post series going on right now featuring Indie authors and mistake they’ve made along the way. It’s well worth checking out HERE

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Crave’s Brand New Cover & 99c Sale

Title: Crave
Author: BJ Harvey
Genre: Romantic Suspense Standalone
Cover Designed by: Najla Qamber Designs
Back Cover Image Photography: K Keeton Designs
Back Cover Models: Storm Bailey and Cameo Hopper

AVAILABLE NOW – ON SALE $0.99

“BJ Harvey is an author that creates stories that are easy to fall in love with.” – Goodreads Reviewer


“This is not our normal BJ Harvey read, this is more suspenseful and a little darker but we still have that trademark BJ Harvey heat. This book was full of suspense and intrigue, secrets and forgiveness. A book full of plot twists that will have your mouth gaping and heart palpitating. A fair few OMG moments and a few tears but most of all a rollercoaster ride that I just couldn’t put down.” – The Romance Cover


I have a craving.
A dark urge I’ve failed to resist despite years of trying to do that very thing. 
I’ve forced myself to hide behind a mask, a perfect orchestration to hide my true self. 
After I met her, my wants and needs, my inner most desires changed. 
She encouraged me to embrace who I truly am, and she was willing to do anything and everything I wanted, giving herself to satisfy my most carnal appetite. 

Then everything in my carefully managed world came crashing down around me. A moment in time, a loss of control, and the very thing I cherish was nearly taken from me. 

My fate now lies in her hands. 
The very life I’ve built for myself…everything I’ve ever done now waits in purgatory, all caused by a lack of focus at a time when my most concentrated attention was needed. 
The very thing I crave may now be the end of me.
“How do you do it?”
“Do what?” She trails off as my face moves in closer, my body putting aside any misgivings I may have had.
“Make me want this. Make me want you.” I sound drunk.
The effect this woman has on me intensifies the closer we get. “Do you need your arm twisted?” I decide then and there to just go with it. Follow my instincts and see how she reacts to the real Callum Alexander. “When it comes to you, I’m a done deal.”
“Prove it.”
“Luce . . .” I say her name, loving the way it rolls off my tongue. The way her eyes soften and the corner of her mouth curls upward are an added bonus.
“Yeah, Cal.”
“Shut up and kiss me.”
“Why don’t you shut up and kiss me?”
So I do, lowering my head and dragging my tongue along the seam of her lipstick-covered lips. I rake my hands through her hair, tugging just to the point of pain before plunging my tongue into her mouth, tasting and taking, touching every part of her from shoulders to hips. I push forward and feel her body jolt as she hits the wall.
Then it’s no holds barred. The kiss turns from wild to rabid in the blink of an eye. Her hands snake under my shirt, her fingernails biting into my chest as I press my body hard against hers. My cock is incessant in its protest, and every tilt of her hips against mine increases the need to take her right there in my hallway.
Minutes pass, but it feels like seconds because we’re too lost in each other to care. I wrench my lips from her mouth and lean my forehead against hers, my breath coming hard and fast, matching hers as we try to recover.
“I think it’s time for dinner,” I murmur between breaths, amazed that I’m still able to think coherently after a welcome like that.
“You’re a great date, Mr. Alexander,” she says with a grin as we move apart.
“All part of the service,”
BJ Harvey is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Bliss Series. She also regards herself as a smut peddler, suspense conjurer and a funny romance thinker upper. 

An avid music fan, you will always find her singing some hit song badly but loving every minute of it. 

She’s a wife, a mom to two beautiful girls, and hails from what she considers as the best country in the world—New Zealand.

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Game Saver (Game #3) is LIVE #DoctorHottie is ready to see you now

From the USA Today bestselling author of the Bliss series comes book three in a hot new spin off series featuring your favorite Bliss series characters who are yet to meet their match. This time it’s the turn of the hot doctor, Cade Carsen (from Temporary Bliss and Game Player fame) and Abi Cook (from Game Maker.)
How do you know when fake turns real?
Abi Cook lives her life by her own rules. She works hard, plays hard, and knows who she is and where she wants to be. 
Following a repeat one-night stand with the dashing Dr. Cade Carsen, Cade asks Abi for a favor: be the fake girlfriend on his arm for the duration of his father’s mayoral campaign.

Never one to turn down a challenge, she doesn’t hesitate. I mean, who would when all that’s involved is a little fake girlfriending with a side of hot sex, and with Doctor Hottie no less? 

But like any Game, there are always twists and turns, unexpected players, villains, heroes and ultimately, winners and losers. 
Game Saver is the story of what happens when two happily single people try for something less, but end up with something so much more.



 

“Are you at work already?” I ask, having a brilliant idea of swinging by her place for a quickie.
“Yeah, I’m sitting in my office.”

There goes that plan then.

“Is the door closed?” I ask, a rather nice image of Abi taking care of herself in her chair and describing it to me in vivid detail flashing through my mind.

“Cade . . .” she warns, but her tone is not cutting. There’s a vein of amusement and a raspy undertone running through it.

I chuckle. “Okay, okay. I’ll behave.”

“Good, because after last night’s efforts, I can still feel where you’ve been and that’s had me at level five all day. You instigating phone sex in my office when I can’t do anything about it for eight hours is just cruel.”

My mouth goes dry, and my groin tightens. “You can still feel me?” I ask gruffly, thinking phone sex is another fucking fantastic idea as I scan for the next exit.

“Cade, my vagina has had more of a workout in the past week than it’s had in the ten months between visits.”

That grabs my attention. “Ten months?”

“Shit,” she mutters. “Forget I said that.”

“There’s no way I’m letting you out of this one. Are you saying you didn’t sleep with anyone else after me?” Why the hell do I like that so. fucking. much?

“I was busy! Doesn’t mean I didn’t give my toy chest a good workout.”

“Yes. The toy chest. Guess what just got scratched onto our to-do list?”

“You mean the to-do-me-with list?” she says with a giggle.

“That too.”


BJ Harvey is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Bliss Series. She also regards herself as a smut peddler, suspense conjurer and a funny romance thinker upper.


An avid music fan, you will always find her singing some hit song badly but loving every minute of it.


She’s a wife, a mom to two beautiful girls, and hails from what she considers as the best country in the world—New Zealand.

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Game Maker (Game #2) is LIVE!!


Title: Game Maker
Series: Game Series #2
Author: BJ Harvey
Genre: Romantic Comedy with Heat
Release Date: May 26, 2016
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs
Photography by Lindee Robinson
Photography Models: Victoria Morin & Chad Demchick

From the USA Today bestselling author of the Bliss series comes a new spin off series featuring your favorite Bliss series characters who are yet to meet their match. This time it is Zach and Danika’s turn.

I’m a gamer by nature and by profession. I’m all about strategy, performance, and coming out on top.

Five months ago I threw caution to the wind, and in the first miscalculated step of my twenty-one-year life, I made a move on my brother’s best friend.

The first mistake we made was keeping our relationship secret. The next was going off half-cocked when a train wreck of epic proportions hit us.

Now our secret is secret no more. As I struggle to deal with all of the swirling emotions, conflicted feelings, and the multitude of burned bridges that I need to mend, the one person who can help me through it all is the same man I need space from.

To fix it I’ll have to pull on my big-girl panties, focus on what I truly want in life, and put everything I have into winning the most important game I’ll ever play.

Life is a game, and it is what you make it.

Coming out unscathed is a whole other matter.

Buy Game Maker on iBooks HERE



A loud knock at the door interrupts me. My eyes widen, and Abi quirks a brow. Turning to look through the peephole, she spins back around with a huge grin on her face. “Well, well, well . . . I do believe you might have a late night gentleman caller, Ms. Roberts. Should I let him in or make him sweat?”
My heart has palpitations at the thought of Zach coming back to me—for me. What on earth could he want at midnight on a Sunday after leaving me pent up and speechless just twenty minutes ago?
Then the three shots of tequila kick in and feisty, take-no-prisoners Dani comes out to play.
“Leave him out there,” I tell her.
Abi clutches her heart with one hand and wipes away a non-existent tear with the other. “I’m so proud right now,” she says.
“Yeah, yeah . . .” I sweep my hand toward the door. “Don’t you have a job and a penis to get back to?”
“Say penis again. It makes me hot when you go all grown-up on me.”
“P. E. N. I. S,” I spell out, enunciating every letter.
He knocks again, and the look of absolute delight on Abi’s face has me biting my lip to stifle my laughter.
“You’re going to have to put him out of his misery, Dan. I’ll let him in, you can make him work hard for it, and kick him out and make him work for it all over again,” she says with an amused glint in her eye.
“You’re evil, you know that?”
“You wouldn’t have me any other way, and besides, you can’t make it too easy. He did the crime; he needs to do the time.”
“I know.”
“He’s on my shit list right now for making you cry.”
“He didn’t make me cry as such . . .”
“Almost.”
“Almost is different from actually doing it.”

He knocks again. “I can hear you, you know.”

BJ Harvey is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Bliss Series. She also regards herself as a smut peddler, suspense conjurer and a funny romance thinker upper.


An avid music fan, you will always find her singing some hit song badly but loving every minute of it.


She’s a wife, a mom to two beautiful girls, and hails from what she considers as the best country in the world—New Zealand.

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Read the Game Maker (Game #2) Prologue Here

Danika

“Yes,” I moan, grinding down against him.

“Fucking beautiful,” he says gruffly against my skin, his lips brushing my neck. His breath comes hard and fast in time with the upward thrusts of his cock, and I feel my orgasm barreling toward me.

“Feels so good,” I pant. His hand tightens around my back and his fingers zero in on my wonder button, stroking with expert precision and making my pussy clench around him. My body contorting as if it’s possessed.

“Jesus. Fuck,” Zach growls, planting his feet on the bed and thrusting up one last time before following me over the edge as he pours himself inside of me.

We collapse backwards, my legs falling limp on the way down, and together we lie there, chests heaving, bodies stuck together, struggling to catch our breaths.

“Every time is better than the last,” he murmurs in my ear, sucking my earlobe into his mouth afterwards. I whimper and my muscles spasm as aftershocks course through me. Shifting sideways, I stay draped over him, my fingers drawing mindless circles in the smattering of hair on his damp chest.

“What’s on the agenda today?” he asks, his hand running through my hair, roots to ends.

“Team meeting at eleven, lunchtime conference call with the west coast programmers at one, then I get to go play.”

“Such a geek.” He chuckles. I jerk my head up and I narrow my eyes at him. He just smirks, and my twitching lips give away how uncommitted I am to the death stare aimed his way.

“Your geek.”

“You better fucking believe it,” he replies with conviction, his arm hooked around my waist, giving a meaningful squeeze.

“I know it, firebug.”

Now he out-and-out grins. “Never going to live it down, am I?”

I push up with one hand on the bed so that my head hovers over his, our lips just an inch apart. “Never,” I whisper. “But that’s okay. I still love you.”

His entire body goes still and my eyes go wide as realization hits me. Way to go, Dani. Freak him out why don’t you.

My brain catches up with my body and flight mode kicks in. I move quickly, rolling backwards and scrambling off the bed. Making a smash-and-grab attempt, I scoop up my clothes scattered over his bedroom floor, but the first step toward escape is hampered by an arm wrapping around my waist.

I fall back and slam into his naked chest, my entire body going still at the contact.

“Wait a minute, Dani. You can’t say something like that then fly out of here like a bat out of hell.”

“Bats like hell. They live there.”

“They live in caves. Stop trying to change the subject.”

Deciding that redirecting this inevitable conversation is the best plan of attack, I continue. “I really have to go, Zach. I’ve still gotta go home, shower, get dressed, and then get to work.”

“It’s only six, and you just told me your first meeting isn’t till eleven.”

“I’ve got a lot of stuff to do before then.”

“I’ll drive you home and to the office if it means you’ll turn around. I wanna look in your eyes when I tell you I love you back.”

For the second time in as many minutes, my heart stutters to a halt. There’s no way in hell I’m in flight mode now.

Seven years ago, I fell in teenage girl love with Zach Cooper, my older brother’s roommate and best friend.

Five months ago, I fell into adult insta-lust with him the night I told him what I wanted. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t imagined what it would be like to hear him say those three little words.

What I didn’t know was that just a few days after one of the best moments in my life—one of those ones you know you’ll remember forever—everything would be turned upside down.

And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.

***You can Pre-Order Game Maker now:**

GAME PLAYER (GAME #1) IS ONE SALE – 99c

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