Writing is where it all started for me! At various times in my life, I’ve been a magazine editor, magazine feature writer, copywriter and book author. Following are some of my favorite writing samples.

Design for Interaction: Sample Chapter

The following is a sample chapter from my 2000 book, Design for Interaction.

If talk is cheap, email is a steal. Hastily-written email messages can be fired out to hundreds of people with the click of a button. Instead of spending time writing messages by hand or printing typed letters to paper, email allows users to send messages almost as quickly as they are composed. As a result, nearly anyone will tell you that most of the email we get is junk“from advertising messages that flood the emailboxes of anyone whose email address they can get their hands on to business correspondence dashed off, replete with misspellings, fragmented sentences, and incomplete thoughts to idle chit-chat and recycled jokes. (more…)

Web Design That Works: Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from my 2001 book, Web Design that Works.

The launch of the Internet invoked an industry boom—pretty much anyone who considered himself an analyst was boldly predicting that the Web would squash brick-and-mortar retailers. If people didn’t have to leave home to do their shopping—if they were able to have absolutely anything they needed delivered to their home, how could traditional stores compete? (more…)

Less Is More – HOW Magazine, February 2005


See how 37SIGNALS scrapped web-design work to develop software that retools how designers create — and redefines the way business is done. (more…)

Rock Your Web Site – HOW Magazine February 2006

Read as a PDF

Simply having a website is no longer enough. It must be a dynamic destination that acts as a bold advocate on behalf of your business. Here’s how to take your existing site and make it into the ultimate self-promotion tool. (more…)

Album Art for the iPod Generation – HOW Magazine, June 2007

Download article as a PDF

Beck reacquaints fans with the physical CD by arming them with stickers and a blank canvas, then challenging them to design the cover for his newest release. (more…)

Putting a Fresh Face on Faith: HOW Magazine, November 2007

Christianity is the world’s largest religion—but often its design is lacking. Here are designers and firms who are reinventing the way design and marketing is used for the Christian audience. (more…)

Make Your Creativity Productive – HOW Magazine, June 2008

Read as PDF

It’s not enough to be creative. Without the ability to harness your ideas and see them through, your brilliant ideas will founder. Here’s how to bring your creative inspiration to life. (more…)

Design for Interaction: Introduction

The following is the introduction from my 2000 book, Design for Interaction.

“There are only two enterprises that refer to their customers as users and one of them is illegal.” Michael Hammer

It’s a given that Internet design is all about the user. What choice do Web designers have in a medium where lost links can warrant flaming emails from irate users and poor navigational structures result in lost sales, directly impacting the bottom line? Whether you view this warp-speed feedback process as a blessing or a curse, it means that Web sites are constantly evolving, trying out new approaches to stay competitive and respond to user needs. The Web is both flexible and fickle, and as the medium evolves and redefines itself, it will find new strategies to make users happy, and a few million ways to aggravate them along the way. (more…)

Family Values — HOW Magazine, May 2010


The Post Family isn’t some grandiose design collective. Rather, this group of seven Chicago designers operate more like a family, with support, collaboration, and their fair share of healthy debate. (more…)

What is with All the Lousy Author Web Sites?

Written for BookPromotion.com March 20, 2013

Every time I find a book I love (or even one that I don’t), the first thing I do is find the author’s site. After spending hours with the book, I often yearn to know more about the author and his or her background, to see what else they may have written.

Often, the sites are lacking. And that’s being charitable.

I may not be neutral on the subject—I’ve worked in both publishing and web design for more than 15 years. But authors can no longer rely upon traditional avenues alone to promote their work. And considering publishing’s bootstrapped state, you can’t count on your publisher to manage your online presence.

This article is an open letter to authors to seize control of their online presence. Use your sites to connect with readers, increase sales and propel your career forward. (more…)

Free Hosting vs. Self Hosting with WordPress

Written for BookPromotion.com April 9, 2013

The first step to creating a site is deciding how you will build it. The decision to use a content management system (CMS) is a no-brainer. A robust CMS will make it easy for you to modify everything from the site structure and navigation to styling, images, and content.

The following is a look at the pros and cons WordPress.com—the free version of the popular CMS and WordPress.org—the self-hosted version of the same platform. Although are many of other free and paid content management options available (Blogger and Squarespace, to name two), in my opinion, these two are the best in each class for authors. (more…)

Email Newsletter Tips for Authors

Written for BookPromotion.com, April 12, 2013

I’m often asked by my author clients if they should include email newsletters as part of their self-promotion strategy. The answer is always an emphatic yes—if done the right way. Below, I identify tips to help you choose the right platform, build your list, and send out emails that will engage your readers—and never annoy them. (more…)

How to Get Great Work from Your Designer

Written for BookPromotion.com, April 29, 2013

Pretty much anyone involved in publishing—authors, marketing, publicity, sales— is going to be working with a designer at some point. Whether you’re talking book covers, promotional materials or Web sites, eventually words must assume a visual form.

When creatives from two different disciplines converge, there can often be a communication breakdown. I’m a designer who works frequently with authors. Allow me to help demystify this Venus vs. Mars relationship and help you get the best work from your designers—saving you time and money along the way. (more…)

How Users Read Online

Written for BookPromotion.com, May 3, 2013

It’s a tough pill for many writers to swallow—people don’t read the same way online that they do in print. Book authors usually favor long-form writing to short blocks of content. But if you write for the Web the same way you write for print, you may not be connecting with your audience. Studies find that readers scan pages for content rather than digesting large blocks of content. (There’s a reason it’s called “web browsing.”) As painful as it may be to rewrite copy for—let’s face it—a pretty lazy audience, with some knowledge about how information is consumed online and tips for crafting content, you can optimize your message for the Web. (more…)

Finding Time for Social Media

Written for BookPromotion.com: May 17, 2013

There’s no question: networking with readers and media via social media is an essential piece of modern self-promotion. But it is also time-consuming. Many clients tell me that they feel completely overwhelmed (and turned off) by the different platforms to master, the time involved, not to mention the sustained (and earnest) communication with total strangers.

When you break it down by platform, and make it a habit, the entire process is much more palatable. There are a lot of articles available with tips for how to grow your audience and following via social media. This article tells you how to keep them with your content.

Designing for Social Media

Written for BookPromotion.com, March 23, 2013

A common complaint I hear from authors and other clients regarding social media is the lack of options available to customize that design. That it’s hard to stand out from the crowd on Twitter and Facebook, particularly.

I respectfully disagree. Look at what a yardsale MySpace became by allowing its users to go nuts with animations, fonts, color, and more. From the start, the two most important social networking properties—Twitter and Facebook—have been very deliberate in the options they offer users in terms of design. But what you do with those options can help you stand out and promote your work. (more…)

How Not to Be an E-Hole: An Online Etiquette Refresher

Written for BookPromotion.com, June 14, 2013

You know that saying that if you can’t find the asshole in the room, that it’s probably you? Well, the same logic applies to e-Holes. E-Holes are people who misuse, abuse, or annoy people through social media. And unfortunately, being an e-Hole is really easy to do. You may not even know if you’re being one.

In this article for BookPromotion.com, I interviewed Sarah Browne regarding the necessity of honing your online etiquette.

An Interview with Timber Buckeye of Buddhist Boot Camp

Before Buddhist Boot Camp was a best-seller, it was a series of personal emails on life lessons from Timber Hawkeye to his friends. When they started sharing his emails with their friends, Timber posted them all on a blog. The author then self-published the content in paperback. That’s when it caught the eye of HarperCollins Publishers, who published what is now a best-selling, compact hardcover book on mindfulness and inspiration.

“The response has been unbelievable,” says Timber. “People were relating to what I had to say, and wanted to hear more. We instinctually have this reluctance to be honest. But when I shared my story about what I went through, people started to share their own stories.”

Read more on BookPromotion.com

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your WordPress Site

Written for BookPromotion.com

It’s safe to say that I am a huge WordPress fan—I’ve built more than 70 sites using this platform. And suffice to say that there are a variety of other platforms that I can name that I am emphatically not a fan of. (But that’s fodder for another column.)

My clients also tend to love WordPress as well. Usually within an hour or two, I can train them to update most of the elements on their site with minimal stress. Even some of my most tech-adverse clients have told me that they feel comfortable adding and editing content on their sites—something that gives them a great deal of power when it comes to owning their brand. And it seems that it isn’t just my clients who feel this way. WordPress accounts for nearly one in five sites currently online.

So, what’s the problem? WordPress is a Web-based platform (rather than an application which is downloaded and stored locally). This means that with the correct username and password, anyone with a Web connection can access your site. Also, plug-ins can go a long way towards extending the functionality of a site. But if not maintained and secured, they can provide backdoor ways for hackers to infiltrate your site.

You needn’t abandon WordPress, you just need to be smart about how you use it. Here are some tips for how to keep your site secure. (more…)

Make it Easy to Get Your Books Reviewed

Written for BookPromotion.com

A few years ago, book reviews in print media like newspapers and magazines could make a best-seller. While a great (or awful) book review in a major publication can have tremendous impact on a book’s sales, influential book reviews also appear in blogs, in online bookstores, and social media. The easier you make it for reviewers to access information about your books and you as an author, the more likely it is that your book will be reviewed. Here are some tips to get your book into the hands of people who can help you promote it. (more…)

Why You Should Join Amazon Author Central

Written for BookPromotion.com

The first thing I do when I sit down to my computer each morning—before I check email or even Facebook—is check my site’s Web stats. Knowing who is visiting my site—and what they’re reading while they’re there isn’t just a way to indulge my voyeuristic side. Here, I uncover valuable information about which of my services are generating the most interest, how people are finding me, and who they are. You can also use the information you find in your stats to help discover what your visitors are most interested in and help them find what they’re looking for. (more…)

Using Analytics to Optimize Your Site

Written for BookPromotion.com

The first thing I do when I sit down to my computer each morning—before I check email or even Facebook—is check my site’s Web stats. Knowing who is visiting my site—and what they’re reading while they’re there isn’t just a way to indulge my voyeuristic side. Here, I uncover valuable information about which of my services are generating the most interest, how people are finding me, and who they are. You can also use the information you find in your stats to help discover what your visitors are most interested in and help them find what they’re looking for. (more…)

StoryFront: Amazon’s New Short-Story Imprint

Story FrontMy article on Amazon Publishing’s new short story imprint went up on BookPromotion.com today. Short story writers and readers, check it out!

Historically, readers are accustomed to buying short stories as part of an anthology. Amazon Publishing is changing that with the launch of StoryFront, a new imprint focused on publishing short fiction—story by story. There are 43 stories included at launch, many available for as little as $.99. StoryFront will also be home to Day One, a Kindle-based weekly literary journal introduced earlier this year that is dedicated to new writers and poets. Day One costs $1.59/month or $1.99 per issue.

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Setting Goals in Google Analytics

My latest article for BookPromotion.com is up. Read it all here!

The new year is a great time to set yourself up for success not only personally, but professionally. Experts prove that quantifying your goals can greatly improve your chances of achieving them. Using Google Analytics’ goals tool, you can quantify the effectiveness of how users interact with your site, and then use that information to improve how you serve information. (You are already using Analytics on your site, right? If not, here’s why I think you should be.)

BROKEN: Navigating the Ups and Downs of the Circus Called Work

Cover-design-of-BROKENThe eBook I edited: BROKEN: Navigating the Ups and Downs of the Circus Called Work is now available. I’ve worked for months with the authors–Nate Burgos and Stephanie Di Biase on this project. A great read for anyone who has struggled with work dynamics–especially in a creative capacity–the book is both a shoulder to lean on and a tool to make things better.





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