Graphic Design For Authors

Graphic Design For Authors

Graphic design for authors is easy with Canva.  

Canva, which was founded in Australia, is an amazing online graphic design tool that you can easily learn to create and design anything you want.

From an author’s point of view, Canva must be one of the most important inventions of our time.

Many authors say that they just want to write.  These days, however, it doesn’t matter whether you publish with a traditional publisher or publish independently, you need to invest as much effort into marketing as you do in actually writing the book.

Authors that self-publish are not only responsible for creating wonderful books but they are responsible for their own marketing.

Creating graphics

As promoters of their books, authors need to be able to create their own graphic images to market on social media. They need to make book covers,  design “sell sheets” or promotional flyers, make social media banners, Youtube thumbnails, or anything that is requiring graphics.

Canva makes creating graphic design easy and it is user-friendly with its drag-and-drop interface, a library of stock images, and an endless array of templates.

Canva graphic

Gone are the days of having to hire a graphic designer. Outsourcing your graphic design work is a thing of the past.

With the Canva software, you the author, become the graphic designer and you can create a vast array of graphics with unequalled professionalism.

Authors can use Canva to create:

  • book covers
  • book launch invitations
  • flyers
  • social media posts
  • logos
  • Illustrations for your book’s interior, and
  • much more.

I love Canva

Personally, I love Canva. With Canva I create my own book covers, my social media posts, and illustrations for my book interiors.  I can have fun creating my own book marketing images which look as if they’ve been done by a true professional.


I’m excited by Canva’s unlimited creative marketing possibilities. For instance, I can take a quote from one of my books, add an image, customise a template, and share it on platforms like Pinterest or other social media platforms. 

Being able to create a flyer for my new book by selecting an appropriate template and adding a “buy now” button and putting it on my website or Facebook page is so liberating.

Free version

When starting out with Canva register for the free version. This has plenty of uses and things it can do which never fail to disappoint. Become familiar with the software and then as you become more experienced you may consider upgrading to Canva Pro which is the paid plan.

Canva Pro gives you additional functionality and premium templates and design elements. It takes you to a whole new level of professional design. 

Become the professional designer you always dreamed about without having to learn and negotiate complex and expensive editing tools.

What do you think? Are you ready to give Canva a try? If so click the link below.

Book Now

Marji Hill

Author and Coach


Join Facebook Group: Fast Self-Publishing Online

Speed Up Research

Speed Up Research


Speed up research

Putting together the metadata for your book’s listing on Amazon can be time-consuming but you can speed up research by using special software.

When publishing on Amazon the idea is to enter metadata that will increase the discoverability of your book to get more sales.

Research into categories

Putting together your metadata involves research into categories and keywords. This research can be done manually and is time-consuming.

My personal experience when researching the best ten (10) categories for a book is that it can take hours and hours of time.

But don’t sweat. There is an excellent software tool that can help you speed up research.

This software is called Publisher Rocket, an excellent tool that helps you:

  • save time
  • saves you the frustration of keyword research
  • helps with selecting categories
  • provides data on what customers are typing into the Amazon search bar
  • discover your competitors
  • find best-selling book categories
  • identify profitable keywords for Amazon Ads

What I really love about Publisher Rocket it is the way it can help with research into categories. When listing your book on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) ie. Amazon’s publishing platform you are asked to select two categories.

But did you know that you can actually put your book into 10 categories? You may wonder how you do this when you are only asked to select two.

As soon as your book is published you can contact Amazon and ask them to put your book into 10 categories.

This means doing a lot of research into categories and as I mentioned before it can take hours and hours of research.

Speed up research

With Publisher Rocket you can speed up research.

Market research

Another great benefit is that Publisher Rocket helps with market research and assists with validating your idea. Even before you start writing your book you can research categories to find out which ones would be suitable – categories that could help your book become a best seller. You are able to discover a profitable niche but one that is not too competitive.

Keyword research

In addition, Publisher Rocket helps with keyword research. It helps to discover keywords that customers are typing into the Amazon search bar.

It gives you monthly earnings for books with appropriate keywords, it estimates how many books are competing for a keyword and you can find out low competition keywords that can be allocated to your book. With the competitive score Publisher Rocket tells you whether or not its a good keyword for your book.

So in summary Publisher Rocket helps you to:

  • do research
  • get quick results
  • saves time
  • get ideas
  • validate ideas.

Speed up research

Important note: Publisher Rocket applies to the United States marketplace. It also has the capacity to switch to the UK or German markets. While it does not cater for the Australian marketplace it is an indispensable piece of software. After all, if you promote your book in Australia, at the same time you’ll want to market it in the United States as well.

If you’d like to learn more about Publisher Rocket or would like to purchase the software for a one-off payment (under US$100) press the button below for my affiliate link. This means I do get a commission on any purchases.

Book Now

Marji Hill

Author and Coach


Join Facebook Group: Fast Self-Publishing Online




What No One Told You

What No One Told You



A new series of books that explores Australia’s hidden past has been released.

Telling the truth about what went on in Australia’s past brings to light the colonial conflict and near dispossession of First Nations people.

Not only what happened to the First Nations people, but the Chinese presence on the goldfields also gave birth to racist, and anti-Chinese sentiment resulting in race-based migration restrictions and the White Australia policy.

Many in Australian society today don’t understand the facts of our history.

It’s only by acknowledging the truth of our past that we can heal the wounds. Only then can we move forward together into a better future.

The series

All five (5) books in the series were written by myself.  The five books in Gold! Hidden Stories of Australia’s Past are:

Truth-telling themes


  • FIND OUT how in the lead-up to the discovery of gold with the trailblazing of the British into Victoria and beyond the lives of First Nations people were irrevocably changed.
  • LEARN about the Chinese presence on the goldfields, and whose migration to Australia gave birth to racist, anti-Chinese sentiment resulting in race-based migration restrictions and the White Australia policy.
  • DISCOVER how Australia became like a whirlpool of molten gold sucking in men and women from all over the world creating a population explosion with diverse communities and religions, different races, and different ideologies.
  • EXPLORE the seeds of the Australian uprising and how the Eureka Stockade on the goldfields in 1854 was a battle inspired by political purpose, a fight for democratic rights that cemented the nature and direction of relationships between citizens and governments in Australia forever.
  • UNCOVER a legendary past of bushrangers, whose memories had to do with their daring exploits, their amazing horsemanship, their ability to survive and hide in the bush, and their challenge to colonial authorities.

The books are available in both paperback and eBook formats – the  Kindle eBook being available on for a very limited time at a special launch price.

You will also find these books on Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, Book Depository, eBay and other big online retailers.

If you want to find out how to write and publish your own books you may find it useful to be part of my Facebook group: Fast Self-Publishing Online.

Marji Hill

Author and Coach



How To Promote Your Book

How To Promote Your Book


Book launch

If you have a book ready to publish or you’ve already published a book you need to know how to promote your book.

And by the way, congratulations on reaching this point.

It doesn’t matter where readers buy your book whether it be on Amazon, from IngramSpark, Booktopia or your online store. Marketing your book is about letting readers know about your book and where they can buy it.

There are an endless array of options for promoting your book and the question is how can you cut through the noise. As a novice use at least one or two methods that work for you.

Email list

An email list would have to be the most important asset any author could have. I think it should lie at the heart of any author’s marketing campaign.

Before the advent of the internet and the concept of email marketing, we used to talk about the Names List. If you were in sales and marketing you’d be asked, “How big is your Names List?.”

The old concept of the Names List has evolved into the online space of the email list. This is your database. This marketing tool is a method for letting people know about your book.


Become A Self-Published Author


As your email list starts to grow you will want to automate it. Automation involves having an autoresponder.

There are many autoresponders from which to choose. They range from free ones to help get you started like Mailchimp and MailerLite. Get Response also starts with a free option. Then there is Aweber and top-of-the-range autoresponders like Infusionsoft and Keap.

Once you have an autoresponder you will need to learn the protocols for list building and maintaining good hygiene for your email list.

Growing your list

To grow your list you will need a website or a landing page with a lead magnet. This is the place where new contacts subscribe to your email list.

Once a subscriber enters their name and email into the lead magnet form that information goes into your autoresponder which you use to manage your database.

As your email list grows you will send blog posts or newsletters to people on your list. You will do this regularly.

Over time as your growing email list grows, you will develop relationships with members of your list as they become your followers.

Your own audience 

The email list is about establishing your audience. Over time this audience gets to know you and individuals on the list will decide if they like you and trust you.

They will want to hear from you and learn from you so they will be happy to receive your emails.

Their permission was given to you so that you can legally connect with them.

If your subscribers don’t want to hear from you they will unsubscribe but as your email list grows you are building a following that is pleased to read your email content.

Just imagine building a list of 5,000 or 10,000 people. If you have nurtured this audience and these people have become your followers isn’t there every chance that many of these people will want to purchase your book?

Many on your email will want to buy your book.


I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “The money is in the list”. As an author, you want to be able to sell your book/s. You’ve put so much love, sweat and tears into it so wouldn’t it be wonderful to be renumerated for the effort that you’ve made?

So don’t put off building your email list!

Marji Hill

Author and Coach


Join Facebook Group: Fast Self-Publishing Online

5 Books in 8 Months

5 Books in 8 Months



I have just finished writing 5 books in 8 months. Let me tell you how I did this.


In my career as an author, I explore themes to do with Australian history: Black/white relations, reconciliation, Eureka, the landscape, and gold. Not only have I written about these themes, but they have also been central to my art. 


My plan was to write and publish a series.  When I wrote for commercial publishers like Macmillan Education and Heinemann I created sets of books which were published as a series. I was used to creating series; they were in my psyche.

I brainstormed the possible content for a series with a friend who had been in the book industry for many years. We spent an afternoon nutting out ideas and then I had to decide if these ideas would be viable for a series of books.

The series Gold! Hidden Stories of Australia’s Past was the outcome.


The next thing I did was to come up with the titles and sub-titles for each of the 5 books.

  1. Gates of Gold: The Discovery of Gold, its Legacy and its Contribution to Australian Identity
  2. Shadows of Gold: Eureka and the Birth of Australian Democracy
  3. Gold and the Chinese: Racism, Riots and Protest on the Australian Goldfields
  4. Ghosts of Gold: The Life and Times of Jupiter Mosman
  5. Blood Gold: Native Police, Bushrangers, and Law and Order on the Goldfields

I then outlined the chapter headings and did a rough outline of the content for each book. 

My goal was to have these books published by September 2022.  Each book was to be 10,000-12,000 words and was to include some of my artwork and graphics which I would create myself.

The writing

Once the planning had been done I started to write. This first draft was very, very rough and the process involved doing the research as well (although a lot of research had already been done). I documented the sources and got a lot of raw content written.

When I got the content pretty much worked out I seriously got into the writing. 

I did a number of drafts for each of the stand-alone books – usually four or five drafts during which I refined the writing. 

Time management

My goal was to complete a book each month. Surprisingly, I stayed on track and produced a manuscript ready for publication each month.

I worked on the manuscripts every morning seven days a week. I only took an occasional break here and there.  Each writing session was 3 hours and I did this each day before breakfast. 

It is simply amazing how if you consistently do a quota of writing each day, how you can move forward exponentially. My daily word goal was approximately 1500 words.

That meant I was able to create a draft for a 10000-12000 word manuscript in approximately 7 to 10 days.

By maintaining a strict schedule I then had time each month for the rewriting and reworking of the manuscripts. By the time each manuscript was finalised and ready for publishing the manuscripts had undergone several drafts.

Not only did I refine the writing but I had to create the graphics and illustrate the books. The illustrations consisted either of my own paintings that I had made in the past or else I created new works of art specially designed for this series of books.

Yes. I did it. In a period of 8 months, I am happy to say that I created the manuscripts for a series of five books on the theme of Gold! Hidden Stories of Australia’s Past.

Marji Hill

Author and Coach


Join Facebook Group: Fast Self-Publishing Online

Fast Self-Publishing Mastery

Fast Self-Publishing Mastery


Become A Self-Published Author


Do you want to develop fast self-publishing mastery? If so, you will need to develop and practise the appropriate skills.

If your game plan is to publish just one book you will not get the practice. To become good at something you need to repeat the actions over and over again.

But the question is how to go about it. How do you get to become good at publishing?

I’m going to tell you how I developed my publishing skills and got the practice.

Low-content books

Some years ago I discovered the concept of publishing low-content books.

A low-content book has little or no content on its interior pages. These pages are generally repetitive and are designed to be filled in by the user.

Common examples of low-content books include notebooks, planners, journals, prompt books, step-by-step guides, password books, diaries, sketchbooks, log books, and guest books. They are any type of book that has no text or just a little text.

Just one?

The most dangerous number in business is 1 (one) and this applies to the book business. Never depend on “1” of anything in business.

One “1” is a dangerous number.

If you only self-publish one book you will never develop the skills needed for self-publishing.

To practise self-publishing you need to publish multiple books.

You need the practice of doing it over and over again. By publishing multiple low-content books you will quickly develop the appropriate skills.


When starting out as an Indie author I published a batch of notebooks. Notebooks are fast to create and you can use the Amazon platform to publish them.

They are in fact activity books. The end-user can write on the pages or make drawings.  To make the interior a little more interesting the pages of ruled lines could be broken up with quotes or even some illustrations.

The advantage of publishing notebooks is that they are fast to make.

To successfully sell notebooks the idea behind them is to research a profitable niche, apply appropriate keywords, and then design an eye-catching cover.

When I started my apprenticeship in publishing I made about twenty of these notebooks. It was an experiment and I used them as Christmas gifts for my young nieces and nephews.

The benefit


The great benefit of this experiment was that I learnt a lot about how to

  • research and identify a profitable niche,
  • create book covers that sell,
  • identify a target audience, 
  • optimise the listing of these books on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) 
  • do keyword research
  • make titles and sub-titles, 
  • understand categories, and 
  • write book descriptions.

To my surprise about half of these notebooks actually sold.

As a result of this experiment, I learned the value of getting a lot of practice at becoming an Indie author. It was an exercise in publishing a lot of books fast and generating multiple sales opportunities.

By publishing a lot of low-content books I learned the fundamentals of self-publishing and quickly mastered the skills.

Once you set up your KDP account on Amazon there are no limits to how many books you can create.

How To Become a Self-Published Author

If you’d like step-by-step guidance on becoming a published author then join my membership program How To Become a Self-Published Author. This gives you weekly lessons on how to make it happen.

Click the link below and get started.


By joining today you get your first month for free.

Marji Hill

Author and Coach


Join Facebook Group: Fast Self-Publishing Online

New Book Release

New Book Release



A new book release Gates of Gold is the first in the series – Gold! Hidden Stories of Australia’s Past.

“Around 16% of all the gold on the planet is buried under our red Aussie earth” and it’s in times of uncertainty when investors flock to and cling to gold. 

Gates of Gold


Gates of Gold tells about the discovery of gold and the legacy it left that changed the face of Australia defining and shaping its identity. Learn about:

  • how, in the lead up to the discovery of gold with the trailblazing of the British into Victoria and beyond the lives of First Nations people were irrevocably changed.
  • The catastrophic impact on First Nations people and how they found ways to survive even when the odds were pitched so much against them.
  • How Australia became like a whirlpool of molten gold sucking in men and women from all over the world creating a population explosion with diverse communities and religions, different races, and different ideologies.
anti-Chinese Roll Up banner

Anti-Chinese Roll Up banner

  • The coming of the Chinese, who contributed greatly to the Australian story, but whose migration to the goldfields gave birth to racist, anti-Chinese sentiment. 
  • The seeds of the Australian uprising and how the Eureka Stockade on the goldfields in 1854 was a battle inspired by political purpose. 
  • A landscape transformed, a country upset, turned upside down, and a once pristine environment redesigned.
  • How the prevailing attitudes of the Europeans in the nineteenth century justified their actions prior to the discovery of gold and its aftermath.

About the author

Marji Hill in the Gates of Gold explores themes to do with the First Nations, the Chinese in Australia, Australia’s multicultural melting pot, Australian identity, Democratic rights, and law and order.

She is the author of more than 70 books.  Marji is a highly respected international author as well as a seasoned business executive, researcher, coach and visual artist. She is passionate about promoting understanding between Australia’s first people and other Australians.


“Gates of Gold is an important addition to the historical record. Gold is pivotal in the nation’s history. It features in its defining moments and its discovery is engraved into the Australian story and its destiny. In addition, Marji Hill refers to the hidden stories relating to First Nations people. the Chinese question, the fight for democratic rights, and the tensions between law and order.”    John Foley, Barrister

Looking down a mine shaft

Gold series

The other 4 books in the Gold series are

  • Shadows of Gold:  Eureka and the Birth of Australian Democracy
  • Gold and the Chinese:  Racism, Riots and Protest on the Australian Goldfields
  • Ghosts of Gold: The Life and Times of Jupiter Mosman
  • Blood Gold:  Native Police, Bushrangers & Lawlessness on the Australian Goldfields

The Gold series is beautifully illustrated with Marji Hill’s own artwork.

Anyone who relishes uncovering hidden stories, iconic episodes or truth-telling to do with Australia’s past, will delight in this book and the forthcoming ones in this series.

Gates of Gold is available at a discounted price on



Chu, Brian “Five Strategic Gold Plays for Your Long-Term Portfolio”


Marji Hill

Author and Coach


Join Facebook Group: Fast Self-Publishing Online

Sell to Bookstores

Sell to Bookstores



sell to bookstores


Do you want to sell to bookstores? Perhaps this is your dream, and just imagine how you would feel when you see your book displayed in shop windows.

It wasn’t easy in the past to get a bookstore to buy your self-published book. There used to be a stigma associated with such books because the stereotype was that self-published books meant poor content or poor quality. 

The self-publishing landscape has changed. Indie authors have upped their game.

Today, indie authors compete with authors who have published their books through traditional publishing channels.

How to do it?


How do you go about selling your book to independent bookstores?

You might be very successful in publishing on the Amazon platform. I certainly recommend Amazon when starting out. Learn this platform and how to market your books within that ecosystem.

Even if your book sells very well on Amazon this won’t guarantee that your book will be taken up by an independent bookseller.


Amazon is a bookstore’s competitor. Remember this.


  1. Amazon is a bookstore’s biggest competitor.
  2. Amazon doesn’t give the bookshops a trade discount
  3. Amazon doesn’t have a returns policy  
  4. Amazon sells direct to the consumer – there is no middle person.



sell to bookstores

If you want to get your book into bookstores use the IngramSpark platform.  

IngramSpark is set up to promote to bookstores. If you have published a print book using the IngramSpark platform you will already be in the IngramSpark database.

With IngramSpark you can organise a generous trade discount for booksellers. In addition, you can agree to have a returns policy.

Being able to offer attractive terms booksellers are more likely to buy your book.

IngramSpark has been in the book industry for a long time and it is well respected. It’s a reliable resource for booksellers when they want to acquire books.

Using a reputable distributor like IngramSpark is convenient to bookstores. The easier,  you make it for them to buy your books the more likely they be willing to give your book a try.

Your book can be available in bookstores.

However, you’ll still have to do the hard yards, the leg work, the cold calling, the email marketing and other promotions to let bookstores know about your book.



Marji Hill

Author and Coach


Join Facebook Group: Fast Self-Publishing Online

Powerful Marketing Tool

Powerful Marketing Tool


Back cover book blurb


The next time you visit a book shop pick up a book and you’ll automatically look at the front cover and then you’ll peruse the back cover. Not only the front cover but the back cover is a powerful marketing tool.

The front cover influences your interest. Then within only a few seconds the back cover, if it is intriguing enough, will help you to make a buying decision – to purchase or not purchase the book.

How to create a successful back cover blurb

Creating the back cover blurb is crucial to your marketing strategy and it can be what turns your book into a bestseller.

The back cover entices you to buy the book. It is in effect a sales page highlighting to the reader the benefits of reading the book but at the same time not giving too much away.

Rather than being a synopsis the blurb on the back communicates to the reader what is in it for them. 

Its main purpose is to highlight the reasons someone should be reading your book right now.

Make the back cover part of the overall cover design. Factor in the front cover design as well as that of the spine.

Components of blurb 

The back cover blurb should include

  1. the book’s description – approximately 150 words
  2. information about you the author, together with a photograph, and
  3. if possible, a testimonial about the book if you can get one.

The purpose of the back cover blurb is to create interest and to sell the book. The author’s bio refers to the author’s credibility and demonstrates to the reader that the author is the best person to write this particular book.


Commence the back cover blurb with an attention-grabbing headline or a statement that grabs the reader’s attention. This could be a quote, a review, a question or a statement.

Nailing it in the opening sentence is crucial otherwise you’ll quickly lose the reader’s interest and attention.

Bullet points

Next, you should list five to seven bullet points which describe and highlight the book’s promises and benefits.

Finally, you may want to conclude your blurb with some kind of call to action. This could be a website address or reassertion that this book is for you, the reader.

Back cover book blurb


On the bottom right allow enough space for the ISBN and barcode. This is put there either by Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or IngramSpark depending on which platform you are using.

Your back cover then consists of:

  • an attention-grabbing headline with the bullet points
  • author bio, and if possible,
  • a testimonial, and
  • space for a barcode

The words you choose for your back cover make for a powerful marketing tool and this can influence a reader to buy or not to buy your book.

Marji Hill

Author and Coach


Join Facebook Group: Fast Self-Publishing Online

How To Revise Your Book

How To Revise Your Book


how to revise your book

In the past, if publishing with a traditional publisher it wasn’t possible to revise your book after it had been published.

With the new, alternative way to publish it is possible to revise your book.

When you self-publish your first book and become a published author it is a very exciting time.

Horror! You cringe! Your book has just been published and you’ve discovered some errors in your new publication!

As a self-published author, you feel embarrassed that people are buying your book with typos and mistakes.

Unfortunately, errors and mistakes may have crept into the manuscript and often this does happen even if the manuscript has been professionally edited.

A new author needs to understand how to rectify these annoying occurrences.

Don’t dismay. Errors are easily fixed.

How to fix mistakes


No matter how good your editor, or how many times you go through the manuscript, there will always be the odd typo or grammatical mistake that you’ll discover. It is unlikely that your publication will ever be perfect.

You may want to update something that you’ve already published. It may make sense to go back to your manuscript and make some changes.

One of the advantages of publishing on Amazon’s platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), is that it is easy to make revisions to your book. And this applies both to eBooks and to print books.


how to revise your book

Log in to your KDP dashboard


Log in to your KDP dashboard and go to Bookshelf. Select the title you want to edit. Next to your title click the ellipsis button, that is, the three dots. 

Click edit your eBook or Paperback details. From here you can edit the content of your manuscript and fix any errors.

Once you upload the corrected manuscript file this replaces the old file. 

You then upload the corrected manuscript, then Save and Continue to the end of the Pricing page and click Publish.

Your mistakes are now fixed.

Significant changes


If the changes you make are significant and if the page count changes by more than 10% KDP considers it a new edition. This means it should be published as a new book. 

You would need to create a new title in your KDP Bookshelf and assign a new ISBN to your book.

One of the great benefits of KDP is the simple revision process when it comes to correcting mistakes in your published book.

Marji Hill

Author and Coach


Join Facebook Group: Fast Self-Publishing Online

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