Monday, December 8, 2014

Morrison House book launch

Yesterday (Dec 7th) was the official launch of Morrison House Changed a Community, you may remember me talking about and posting photos of the layout late last year.

Unfortunately issues arose and Morison House closed down soon after the book was published and the book launch was pushed aside. Luckily the books were saved and given to the Mount Evelyn History Group, who organised a fantastic event to launch the book, celebrate what Morrison House achieved and reunited many past students, teachers and employees.

Below are a few photos from the launch.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Stretcher Bearer's War book launch

At the end of a hectic three weeks the newest RSL book A Stretcher Bearer's War has been designed and printed and ready for its launch on August 16. All the launch details are below.

Friday, July 11, 2014

CreativeLive Summer Sale

In my last newsletter the Useful Link I shared was for CreativeLive a website with great online courses. If you watch them live you can watch for free, or you can pay to have access to them at any time and be able to watch them when you want, at your own pace.

I've been watching a number of courses and have found them really useful, even if I've known the basics of what a course is about I'll always come away learning more.

Anyway, the reason for writing this is normally, if you want to purchase a course you can do so before or during the live recording with a 40% discount, afterward the live session they go up to the full price. But CreativeLive are holding a Summer Sale* where all courses have 40% off until July 20.

So if you've been thinking about purchasing one of their courses, I recommend taking advantage of their sale.

*On the other side of the world we can call it a mid-year sale, or just after mid-year sale, or Winter Sale, which is better really as there's less incentive to be outside when it's cold and raining. Also, it's an affiliate link

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Getting books printed online and overseas

Another option for getting your book printed is checking out overseas printing companies and online printing services (which generally mean overseas printing for us here in Australia).

Overseas Printing Companies
Printing companies in places like China work the same way as going to a local printer but are sometimes cheaper, and although I've never tried myself, I've heard mixed reviews of them, with some people saying the outcome was fairly average, and others saying they got exactly what they wanted with no problems.

Online Printing Services
There are also many online printing websites, like Blurb or CreateSpace (owned by Amazon), that allow you to design your book within their software then print on demand. They also give you the option to sell through their websites.

But there are two things you do need to know before you go ahead with an overseas print, and it's got nothing to do with which printer or the quality. It's all about delivery.

If you order from another country you, and the printing company don't have any control of when you get your books, this includes any samples and the final print. You also have to take into account the possibility your book will be delayed in customs. If you are planning a launch for your book I suggest not organising the launch date until you have the books sitting in your livingroom/office ready to be sold.

The second thing you need to do is research import taxes. If you are receiving more than AU$1000 of goods (using the conversion rate on the date of export) you will need to pay duty on the book cost, and then GST on the 'VoTI' which is the price of the books, duty and postage. This sometimes makes the cost of your books the same as or more than having them printed locally.
You can find out more about import taxes, and example calculations, at:

The benefit of using an online printing service is you don't need to order hundreds or thousands at a time. You can order as little as one and as many as you would like. Most online printing services also have an online store or are connected to Amazon where you can list your book for sale and they look after the printing/distribution. Which means if people are ordering from a country other than Australia the postage is often quicker and cheaper for them as well.

If you see the benefits of printing your book both in Australia for the Australian market, and online for international orders then definitely do both!

*this article has affiliate links

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Choosing a printer - Part 2: Meeting printers and getting quotes

Depending on whether you're doing the layout of your book yourself and going directly to the printer or working with a layout/typesetter it's good to get quotes from a few different printers.

If you're working with a layout/typesetter they will be able to talk to you through what you need to know and get quotes for you, but if you're working directly with a printer here are a few tips to get an accurate quote and start building a good relationship.

First it's a good idea to meet with some printers and get quotes before you start on the layout of your book. You will probably have a rough idea what you want your book to look like, what size it will be, whether you want colour inside or greyscale and approximately how many pages it will have. So write that all down and take it with you.

If you have a book at home that you want your book to look similar to (in relation to size and paper quality) take that with you.

Various book shapes and sizes (L-R: A4 portrait, square, A4 landscape, A5 portrait).

There are a few things your printer will want to know to give you a quote:
  • What size will the finished book be
  • How many pages will it have (pages are in multiples of 4, or 2 if it's going to be spiral bound), this can be an approximate for now
  • How it will be bound (stapled, spiral bound, glued, etc)
  • What thickness will the cover be
  • What thickness will the inner pages be
  • What finish will the cover have (matt, gloss, silk etc)
  • Will the cover be colour or greyscale
  • Will the inside pages be colour or greyscale
  • How many copies do you want
If you don't know what you prefer or don't understand what some of these terms are the printer will be able to show you samples so you understand and can figure out which you like better.
I'll also be going in to all these things in later posts.

You can ask for multiple quotes to get an idea how much the price will change. For example you may ask for two quotes, the book details exactly the same, but 500 copies in one quote and 1000 copies in another.

So what do you need to know from the printer?
  • Do they create proofs. Some printers will give you a proof copy to sign off on, others you will have to ask to provide this as they may not automatically create one for you. A proof allows you to double check the layout and make sure the images you've provided are good quality before they print hundreds and you realise there is an issue.
  • How long does it take for your book to be ready. This is especially useful if you're running to a launch deadline as it will help you work out when you need to give them the layout by.
  • Find out if they print or outsource. Some businesses will say they can print your book, but they actually outsource it. While there is nothing wrong with this you should be aware it will put a bit extra on the cost (for their time), and it may make the process a bit longer than normal as files, proofs and final copies have to go through them.
These days self publishing is quite common and most printers are happy to meet and explain the process, help you choose paper and show you samples to help make your decision. I may be annoying a few printers here, but if a printer isn't willing to take the time to talk to you then I would be considering someone else to print your book. Working with a printer that is happy to explain things will make it less stressful for you and get you the final product that you want.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Choosing a printer - Part 1: Traditional or Digital Print

Quick note: This post focuses on finding a local printer, I won't be covering online or office supply businesses.

There are two types of printers that print books, traditional printing (also called offset printing) and digital printing. Depending on the quantity you want printed you will find a large difference in quote price. You may also find, depending on the physical size of your book, some printers won't be able to print it.

Traditional printing is done by a huge press, like the type you see printing newspapers. It can print larger books but has a longer set up time so smaller quantities will be quite expensive per book. Generally they won't print less than 500 copies on a traditional press, and it becomes more cost effective once you print 1000 or more.

Digital printing is done with a large computerised printer. It's slightly more limited in the physical size it can print, for example an A4 size book bound on the short side; so it is A4 size but landscape orientated; is too wide to print, however A4 size bound on the long side; making it A4 portrait; is fine (I'll go into more detail of this in a later blog post). As digital printers don't have a long setup like traditional press, it's a lot cheaper per book if you want a smaller quantity printed. They should also be happy to quote if you want less than 500, including, 20 50, 100, 200 etc.

Digital Printer
A lot of people assume that digital printing is a desktop printed connected to a computer, but as you can see in the photos below, they're a lot larger than that!

This may vary depending which country or state you're in, but here are some things I've found when getting quotes.
- Digital printing is generally cheaper per book until you get to about 2000-3000 copies, then it evens out to be roughly the same.
- A lot of traditional printers also have digital printing capabilities, and will quote you based on which system can print your book at the most cost effective price.

Thank you to M4Media whose photos I've used, and Razer Graphix who let us take photos of their digital press.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

{ Inspiration List } Newsletter ideas

I haven't made an inspiration list for a while so following on from some conversations I had after my last newsletter (click here if you would like to read it) I thought I'd put together an inspiration list for when you next need some newsletter ideas!
  • If you have video on your website or a YouTube channel, put a screenshot of your latest video and link to it
  • Focus on photos rather than text
  • A list of tips or ideas related to one of your products
  • Take subscribers behind the scenes of your business
  • Let people know where they can find you offline (markets, retailers, exhibitions etc)
  • Spotlight a retail outlet that sells your product
  • Highlight an ingredient in your product and outline its benefits
  • Introduce a staff member
  • Show or link to any press or blog mentions you've had
  • Include a testimonial
  • A saying or fact that relates to your product
  • Talk about a charity or group you're supporting
  • Photo of a work in progress

Do you have any other ideas that might give people ideas for their next newsletter? Feel free to comment them below.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why write a newsletter?

Sometimes there isn't much motivation to write newsletters, social media is much quicker and easier!
But there are many benefits to writing a newsletter over social media posts.

You may have many followers on social media, but they won't always see your posts
On any social media platform most people are following a lot of others, covering people they know and businesses. To be seen and have an impact your followers need to absolutely love you and make sure they see all your posts, otherwise your posts can get lost in the noise of other posts, or in the case of Facebook, may not be seen by many of your fans because of the tweaking Facebook often do to newsfeeds.
Sending a newsletter gives you permission to access your subscribers directly. They've signed up and want to hear from you, your email is always available to them, even if they can't pay attention to it for a few hours or a day. It's sitting in their inbox for when they have time to read it.

You know you have real fans
Signing up to your newsletter is a conscious decision, subscribers want to hear what you have to say. Social media is a mixed bag, some of your fans will love you, others may like you because they like some of your tips and photos or they've entered a competition you've run. Not all your followers like you because they are interested in your products or services.
I've always found I get more response when I send out a newsletter. Not necessarily with clickthroughs, but with phone calls and direct email replies (I believe his is because I'm a service based business not a product based business).

Subscribers are always available to you
Yes, there's always that chance that social media platforms will close down, a new platform will come out that people swap over to (meaning you need to work to get fans back on the new platform) and the one we all hate to think about, Facebook can block or ban us for not following a rule when posting or running a competition (always re-read the rules when running a competition!).
Your subscribers on the other hand are always available to you. You own your subscriber list, and even if the platform you use to send out your newsletters closes down you can easily export your list and import it into another platform and continue on.

You can mix it up a bit

Social media platforms are fairly static in what you can do. Twitter only allow short posts, YouTube is video only, Facebook is more adaptable but has a lot of rules that are always changing.
Your newsletters allow you to contact people and share what you want how you want. You can utilise your layout to benefit your branding, you can share long or short articles, competition details, blog post links, large or small photos, personalise them with subscriber names, or even segment them into products/services that your subscribers like.

If you would like to subscribe to the FeralArt newsletter, where you can get information that I don't post on social media or on my blog, plus links to useful websites, fill out the signup form below.
I send out a newsletter every three weeks and never share your email address with any other person or business.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Monash Militia Camp and Mock Battle photo gallery

Below are photos I took at both the Monash Militia Camp plaque and sign unveiling as well as the Coldstream 'Battle at Mount Mary' sign unveiling.

Monash Militia Camp sign
Lilydale Lake

Anthony McAleer, author and historian

Michael Bennett - Great Grandson of Sir John Monash

Hon Ted Baillieu - Chair of the Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee

Pipes and Drums 5th/6th RVR

Australian Great War Association

Australian Great War Association

Australian Great War Association

Australian Great War Association

Pipes and Drums 5th/6th RVR

Australian Great War Association

Australian Great War Association

Captain Bell - Adjutant 5th/6th RVR

Pipes and Drums 5th/6th RVR

Battle at Mount Mary sign
Maroondah Hwy service rd, Coldstream (opposite Broadies Rd)

Anthony McAleer, author and historian

Piper, Ian Townsley

Flag bearers - Healesville RSL

Ken Crompton, Former CEO of the General Sir John Monash Foundation.

Australian Great War Association

Unveiling of the sign by Former President of Lilydale Rotary Mari Sank, Deputy Mayor Maria McCarthy and Hon Ted Baillieu - Chair of the Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee

Bugler, Tom Steele

Guard of Honour

Guard of Honour

Piper, Ian Townsley

Guard of Honour

Hon Ted Baillieu - Chair of the Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee

Blake Hadlow (on behalf of Tony Smith MP), Casey Anzac Centenary Committee

Former President of Lilydale Rotary Mari Sank

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monash Militia Camp - Lilydale Sign


100 years ago (Sir) John Monash and 3000 soldiers headed out to Lilydale and camped where the lake is now. They were out there for about a week and on the 13th they held a mock battle at Mount Mary.

To remember the event, yesterday a plaque and sign was unveiled at the hill above Lilydale Lake with information about the event. There was also a military band, guard of honour and volley salute to celebrate the unveiling. Afterwards a book with all the details of the week events and key people was launched at the Lilydale Lake community room.

Over the past few months I worked with Lilydale Rotary on designing the signage and Mt Evelyn RSL on designing the book layout. There will be a second sign unveiled on Thursday at Coldstream near where the Battle of Mount Mary was conducted.

I've done a few historic books in the past two years, but this is the first important piece of signage I've been involved in, so it was a great honour.

Below is a photo of myself, Dave Monks (signwriter) and Anthony McAleer (author and historian).

Photos by Greg Carrick

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Death to Stock Photo review

We all love great looking photos on our website and social media posts. But it's often hard to find ones you can use knowing you're not breaking copyright. Just picking images up off Google or another website could mean you're using someones photo or illustration without their permission, and as they own it they can contact you to take it down or charge you for it, and it can get messy (check out this recent post about a blogger who had used images found on Google and other social sharing sites without permission Blogger Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Photos You Don't Own on Your Blog).

There are a few websites that have free images available, SXC and morgueFile. iStockPhoto also have one photo available for free each week.

But at the end of last year Death to the Stock Photo popped up.
Once you sign up (just submit your email) Death to the Stock Photo email you 10 high resolution lifestyle photos at the start of every month that you can use on your website, social media and print. They also have a paid version where you get an extra 10 photos each month.

Usually free photos can mean a bit of work scrolling through the bad and the good but Death to the Stock Photo really have focused on quality in photo style and usability.

Each month a new photographer is featured (the above photo is from the February 2014 featured photographer Simone Anne), so there is the possibility that some months you will receive photos that don't suit your business or its style, but other months you will love and be able to use them all. The bonus is the usability quality of the image, each photo is high resolution so you are able to use them in brochures and other printed products as well as on your website and social media.

If you're after more photos you can use without copyright issues it's definitely worth checking out.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Make a profit in your business - The Business Bakery Kitchen program review

Over the past few months I've been taking part in The Business Bakery's Kitchen Cookalong* as part of setting up my new business Tig's Garden.

The Kitchen Cookalong is a paid course designed for smaller businesses to really sit down and figure out their pricing so they know how much they want to make, how much they are making, what their costs are and how to improve their overall income.

I've looked into pricing a lot when talking to various businesses (service and product related), and even in my own service-based business made changes based on what is and isn't working financially. As we all know, we can't keep running a business if we're not making a profit. But the Cookalong really gets down into the nitty-gritty of where your money is going.

Now while the sessions do dig deep into the details it is quite light on the work overall. Each cookalong generally takes 20-30mins, you get two Cookalongs via email a week, and a week off to catch up each month, which is great for anyone who needs to work on their business but doesn't always have a lot of time. And it doesn't matter if you still fall behind, Julia is always there to answer any questions you may have and there's a Facebook group for brainstorming with fellow Cookalong participants.

The Kitchen Cookalong is a great program for small businesses who are wanting to know how much of a profit they're actually making, or want to be able to pay themselves more.

For more information about the Kitchen Cookalong visit The Business Bakery website.

*this article has affiliate links

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Connecting Adobe Contribute to your website

This is a quick, no image walk through for setting up Adobe Contribute. Depending which version you are using there may be a step or two different, but it is basically the same, and it is a fairly logical setup.

Adobe Contribute allows you to connect to your website to make changes and updates. If you would like to know more about Adobe Contribute, or download the trial version visit this website:

To set up Contribute (This only needs to be done once per website):

Click the Website Connection icon

Click Next

Type in your website address (you only need to put, you don’t need the page names eg.

Click Next

Choose FTP from the Drop Down menu, which will bring up some fields to fill in.

Type in your FTP details (You will have received (or will need to get) these from whoever is hosting your website)

Click Next, this will attempt to connect to your website to make sure the FTP details are correct. Note that it may take a little while to complete this step.

(This step may or may not appear depending on the version) To find out what folder on the server you need to select click on
Select the appropriate folder (Most likely public_html or your domain name, but if you are unsure you should have, or be able to get, this information from your host)

Click Next

You may be asked about Subversion Connection, this is optional (and may or may not appear depending on the version).

Click Next

Enter your name and email address.

Setup is complete!

Now every time you open Contribute, your website will appear as an icon on the starting page which you can just click on to open.