Thursday, October 26, 2017

From Print to eBook.

The availability of new improvements for digital books has made publishing of ebooks so much easier. 
As a book designer, what pleases me most is that the digital book comes closer to the richness of print layout than it has in the past.   

The 2012 print edition of Martha Libster's The Nurse Herbalist was too complex for an accurate conversion to ebook. The text and cover would have been easy to convert but the interior graphics, charts, paintings, and vector elements were too complex for a pleasing digital copy. However, today the process is much easier and accurate.

The photo above shows how a chapter looks in the print version (on the left) and how the conversion to Kindle looks much better (on the middle and right.) There is now color on the head of "Tess" the nature spirit. The Chapter names are also in color. Although the page layout had to be shifted to avoid overlapping text, it still looks smooth and easy to read. The print book is well over 400 pages and the ebook handles the length easily.

To get a better idea of the printed book, see my flipbook demo on my website here: The Nurse Herbalist You will see how many graphics are present in the printed book that had to be considered for the Kindle version. Some full page patterns couldn't be used but the rest are in full color on the ebook.  (If you have Flash installed, you can flip through the animated pages) 

For authors, this is a good sign of where the state of both paper and digital books are. Print and digital are finally existing nicely together.

Amazon: The Nurse-Herbalist: Integrative Insights for Holistic Practice Kindle Edition

Monday, August 1, 2016

$299 Covers For Your Book

Over the many years that I have designed books for authors, I make it a point of creating just the right cover artwork that fits the writer’s vision. For some authors, it is the first or second cover design that easily fits their vision. For others, it takes several designs to get the cover they want. Those cover designs that don’t make the final choice are filed away.

I have been saving my unused cover designs for several years and recently, I saw how unique and creative my collection is. In fact, these are so good that it seems a shame they aren’t being put to good use. With up to 60 covers, I began sorting them into categories of style and subject matter. I realized there are many new authors who want a professional cover but don’t have the funds to spend on a $600 custom design. Why not sell these previous designs at half the price ($299) and let the author update them with their own title and images!

Collecting all these cover designs, I placed each one in a genre that seemed appropriate; Lifestyle, Business, Spiritual, Novels, Poetry, and NonFiction. There were many crossover designs; some were in the Lifestyle category yet also fit in the Business category. Some Spiritual books could fit into the Novels category. It became clear that presenting these covers had to be part of a whole catalog, rather than individualized genres. I removed the titles, author names, subtitles and any descriptions to make them all generic. I left most of the original photos or illustrations but let a new author now exchange it with their own image if they wish. They can pick new colors or choose different fonts. 

You can see a few of these covers on this page but want to view the full catalog of $299 Book covers? Here is a free download link:

2016 cover catalog download 

A few things: 
• If you want to customize one of these covers beyond those choices (above), it can still be done for my hourly charge. As an example, some may want a custom back cover rather than a flat generic one. 
• In a few cases, the book cover will only show a placeholder photograph. You will need to supply a replacement for the generic photo -OR- you can purchase that image directly from one of the Photo Stock Houses it came from. I can give you more details on the images used in these designs. Email me.

Lastly, a high-resolution file and a PDF will be generated for your Book Printer or ePUB creator. Since it is important for an Author to have their book cover be unique to them, that cover will be blocked from the catalogue after purchase. What a deal!

Get in touch with Mark here:

Friday, November 27, 2015

2015 in Covers and Books

As the end of the year 2015 arrives, my book world has had some wonderful projects of all types. Looking back at these book projects, I have designed both covers and full books with interior layout, custom artwork, and typesetting. Here is this years library:

Necessary Bridges' cover symbolically represents public speaking for project managers. What could be a dry subject was designed as building stones piece-by-piece for those engineers who speak to audiences for the first time.

Coping with Life is part 2 of a three-part series on "Living Your Best Possible Life."  The third book on Perspective is also listed in this year's covers. The design takes an intelligent approach to life changes.

Stop the Conflict is a cover for a workshop program helping couples and individuals find and remove the conditions that destroy love and life. I wanted to present the subject matter with a sense of hope.

222 Book Types is one of a large series of ebooks that help businesses build their brand through specialized books. This is only one of the 25 different covers of a variety of colors and subject matter that I designed for the series over the year.

Part 3 of the Creator Speaks series is called The Creator Heals. This cover was illustrated and the book designed to reveal the cosmic energies that are coming to our planet and entering our body to heal and change ourselves.

Perspectives on Cultural Diplomacy is the first volume e-journal that promotes global dialog, understanding and respect for all cultural beliefs and practices.The subject of this edition is Nursing.

In Search of Perspective  is part 3 of the series on "Living Your Best Possible Life."  As with the companion book, Coping With Life (above), this cover takes an intelligent approach to life changes. Each book uses an initial letter of the title as a graphic symbol to reflect the nature of the content.

Flying Abstract: Escaping Invisibility is the last book I have been designing this year. A work in progress, this novel reflects the the sensitive nature of family abuse and the freedom that comes from healing and finding one's true self through spirit and destiny.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Too Many Cooks

Creating a book for the public is a step-by-step process involving the author, editor, and the designer. I’ve found that a bond exists in the process and the communication flows easily and naturally. I’ve also seen how it can become disjointed and misdirected if there are outside influences that are not part of the author’s team. Other's opinions of the writing or of the artistic direction that the author has taken can cause disruption and confusion. Even opinions about the cover design can lead to revises and restarts from an otherwise good direction.

Last summer, I was asked to design a cover by an author who had a solid idea and direction for what she wanted. The author had a specific color selection, a style, and a strong visual subject for the cover to represent the title of her book, Living The Leap. She felt the cover should show the process a person takes as they discover their individuality and spirituality; to take courageous steps toward fulfilling their passion in life. She wanted the cover to show a hesitant person stepping off a cliff, then sprouting wings and finally flying with confidence. I thought it was a great idea and went to work. 

I did these three variations on that theme and the author was delighted by the cover sketches:

As part of her writing process, she joined a weekend Writers Workshop and was excited to share the cover designs to the group. The men liked the blue cover, women like the purples, others felt the covers were too New Agey, and some felt that the cliff-jumping metaphor could be construed as suicide. The opinions were wide and varied causing doubt where there once had been excitement. As she and I discussed these many opinions, the confusion of so many viewpoints basically stopped the design process. 

By this point, even the demographic of the book was now in question. The author changed the title and I attempted one more concept that I hoped would be more suitable to the changing views. It had no cliff, no new-age coloring, used modern fonts and hopefully, would inspire any reader to be attracted to the book.

While it was a good attempt, the author felt she must find a new direction and audience for her book. In retrospect, she began the project being direct and clear but ended with uncertainty and questioning her market. This process may have been needed but it also was a difficult shift for an aspiring author. 

Getting feedback from trusted friends and professionals who understand what the author is conveying is a good thing. But there is also knowing when there are “too many cooks in the kitchen.” I fully trust this author will sort out her book’s audience and thus find the right tone of her book. This in turn will also lead to a great cover. While I am sharing this particular story, over the past years a few other projects similar to this one have occurred where the opinions of others have led to decision problems. From a design standpoint, this uncertainty can lead to an ambiguous cover if one is not careful. Ultimately, it certainly helps an author to follow their own intuition with the advice of trusted friends, but also to avoid too many other cooks.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Welcome to my blog for Transformational Authors. 

Here I will present recent projects, talk about book design, and give my thoughts on successful self-publishing. I will also show aspects of book creation that I find amusing or simply interesting. Lastly, I will present those book projects that are "different" from the standard books I do.

I've been passionate about art all my life and have followed that passion towards producing beautiful results for all my creations. With books, I’m fascinated by how Type and Letters affect the readers experience to take it beyond a great cover design. It is seeing the whole book that matters. My passion for book art has been enhanced by my own personal journey and my long time dedication towards a fulfilling life in body, mind, emotion, and spirit. 

I consider Transformational Books as writings by authors who follow their own self-awareness and have used their growth and learning to pass on to others. It may be in matters of health & lifestyle, personal growth, business integrity, or spiritual inspiration that transform the reader towards a better life. As a designer, my goal is to create visual impact to those meaningful words and messages through an eye-catching cover and consideration to the books interior text and illustrations.

I live and work in Sedona, Arizona with my wife Rhea Maceris, CHt , and our son, Forrest. I came here in 2000 but getting here was an evolution of my 30 years of city life from Houston to Denver to Philadelphia. With my own personal transformations, I traded in my high-rise office and freeways for pine trees, blue skies, and hiking paths. 

I understand that the process of evolving the written word is the same as evolving one's life, it takes patience and attention to detail. Your writing must unite itself with a professionalism to be a successful book and reach a wide audience. As an author, your written word is dependent on the look of your book to be as professional as any major publishing house. I can help achieve that much-needed look.

To see my professional history please visit my LinkedIn page .You can follow my path from art school to art director. From using an airbrush to using Photoshop. And from my days with hand typesetting to using Adobe InDesign now.            

Oh, and be sure to read my interview with Lisa Tener on creating a successful book cover. You will find tips and ideas on what makes a cover attract attention and to stand out above the crowd that will help in your project.