Friday, December 16, 2011

A "Glowing" Freelance Prediction for 2012

There is a lot of commotion going on out there about small business and which way
2012 will turn them. Many small business owners are securing the hatches by creating long term business plans and short term plans enabling them to be ready for any immediate changes.(that is, if you are dealing with venture capitalism)

On an even smaller scale, business success can vary with the economy of tomorrow. As long as owners are creative, savvy and willing to help others- where there is a will, there is a way.

Sited from Carol Tice's Top Ten Small Business Predictions for 2012
( ) this prediction has special meaning for me as a freelancer.

"Services head offshore. Service-sector businesses will be in demand overseas, Elance forecasts. This year, U.S.-based contractors exported their services to more than 140 countries through Elance's freelance portal."

Ideally I'd like to keep the work here in USA but the struggle is harder than ever and services have to reach far and wide to keep moving. Now a new prediction comes to mind: Freelancers must "Glow" in light of the economic situation and prove themselves even more. Maybe that's not a prediction but a fact of freelance business in any economic reality.

Kristine Sheehan Designs

Thursday, July 07, 2011

"Spiel" it Out to Make a Book Sale!

Authors were born to write not sell. I can relate, I'm a designer that was born to design. But if we want recognition, profit or fame we have to SELL our product or service. But how? You need a spiel.

A spiel is that catchy business tactic that your target market depends on to find you . For any author that is self publishing you know that Readers WILL buy books. All that the consuming reader needs is the place to find the topic they seek.

No matter if the subject is "in"style or not, know the genre of your book and have it placed in the correct category. That will ensure it to be placed where the reader can easily find the topic they seek on a store shelf or online search. (Don't forget to add the all important online search tags!)

Did you know that "40% of a book sales spiel depends on the title and cover design" of your work. Of course! Readers judge a book by it's cover! The title tells a secret while the design gives the potential reader a visual of it. That's a good reason to know a photoshop professional to design a cover for your work.

The back cover blurb is also a big part of the sales spiel. Once the reader is attracted to the book they usually pick it up and read the blurb on the back. See? It all begins with a tasty appetizer of what the book tale is about, the reader wants to read more and buys the book! Or....

Online interactive samples are another terrific way to "spiel" it out. By releasing One or two chapters of your work for free, a potential customer can click and read while being hooked into making the final move, a sale.

Like I said, "Spiel it Out to Make a Book Sale!

Kristine Sheehan Designs

Monday, June 06, 2011

"We're Not Dog People" hits the Kindle Shelves

I love going to the beach or out to lunch break with a good read. And this summer I recommend bringing your Kindle to download the short story single "We're not dog people." by Jim Breslin.

It's a feisty story about a frustrated man and wife trying to survive the bills, work and a rich neighbors dog that won't shut up. Download the story and read on to see how Breslin moves the characters to invoke true feelings all people face at one time or another.

You can find this Kindle Single on Amazon (.99 cent) here:

Jump in a read on! You'll be glad you did.

Cover Art by Designs
Authors: Email for more info on Cover Design.

Monday, April 11, 2011

SmashWords- Words to Publish By

Vast internet searches show that there are many ways to publish, get published and be published. I found an interesting publishing concept during my flights around twitter country and Facebook land called Smashwords. It keeps popping up in posts from authors and writers everywhere (and for GOOD reason).

Self publishing is not NEW per say but I can surmise that what Smashwords offers is an excellent deal. Smashwords arrived on the publishing scene in 2008. It publishes e-books and distributes them on a multi-format platform. For one, authors have total control over the publishing, sampling, pricing and marketing of their works. And with Smashwords the work can be published to be read on any e-reading device. It is FREE to publish and distribute works through Smashwords. "Smashwords distributes books to most of the major retailers, including the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store."

An even more impressive component to working with Smashwords is that
85% of net proceeds from book sales go directly to the publisher and author. Most authors know now that traditional publishing houses are shaking in their boots because the profit margin for works is greater with self publishing than with traditional routes. Traditional routes will only allow for 5-10% of the retail price to go to the author while the other 95% goes to retailers, printers, publishers and distributors.

The power of Social Media creates a nice setting for promoting self-published e-works but at the same time creates an undesirable place for Traditional Publisher sales. There are many challenges with this major over haul of the book publishing niche. For one a printed book is more expensive, shelf space is limited at the book shop and publishers have a difficult time predicting the demand for the work ( and how large a print run should be). Basically the life span of the book in a store depends on if it's a hit or not.

You know it's true that there is a lot of written crap out there being self -published but if an author has something worth reading, promoting and marketing, it will be the cream floating on top. And, Smashwords may just be the catalyst to get that book to float.

Kristine Sheehan Designs

Sunday, March 06, 2011

A Clear Diagnosis for Book Cover Art

"Sean Waller, a childhood cancer survivor, has created a moving tale about persevering through unforeseen obstacles.

Sean was diagnosed at age 12 with rhabdomyosarcoma. Sick Boy is a fictionally autobiographical account of his year and a half journey from diagnosis through treatment and on to recovery."

TheMerryBird Designs is proud to have worked with Sean. His story is inspirational to those suffering from cancer, as well as family and friends who walked in prayer for his journey to recovery.

Thank you Sean Waller for choosing TheMerryBird Designs to create the ever so important Book Cover imagery that sets the stage for your story Sick Boy.

Readers: Details regarding where you can purchase Sick Boy will follow can be found here:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

TAX TIME!!! 20 Tax Deductions Not to Miss for Home-Based Businesses

Found this article by Manny Davis to be helpful for taxes and small business.
Read on!

Home-based businesses seem to be the new trend, and if you have switched to working from home, you may be entitled to certain tax deductions. Whether you telecommute, work as a freelancer, or own a business that you run from your home, you have a cost to running your business, and the IRS recognizes many of these costs. Before preparing and filing your tax return you will want to take a close look at possible deductions to find out which ones apply to you. Here is a look at some of the most common deductions for home based businesses.

Below are 20 expenses that may be deductible if you run a home based business:

Rent Payments: If you rent the place where you live and you have a dedicated room that is used specifically for your office, you may be able to take this deduction. If however, you have a desk set up in your kids play room, you won't qualify for the deduction. Additionally, you must show proof that your home office is the primary place you conduct your business. There are many methodologies to take this deduction, typically you take the square footage of your work area and divide by the square footage of your home.

Mortgage Payments: If you own, you may be able to take your mortgage payments as a deduction. You must meet the same qualifications as mentioned above for taking rent payments as a deduction.

Renters/Homeowners Insurance: If you qualify for the home office deduction then you are allowed to deduct the equivalent percentage that your home office is to your entire home.

Electricity: Electricity is an indirect expense that is shared between your home and your office. You are allowed to deduct the equivalent percentage that your home office is to your entire home.
Water: Like electricity, this is an indirect home expense and can be deducted in the same manner as electricity.

Gas: If you use gas to heat your home, this is considered an indirect expense and can be deducted in the same manner as electricity is deducted.

Home Repairs: If the repairs that are done are to the portion of your home that is solely dedicated to your home business you can take the entire amount as a deduction. If the home repairs are indirect to the home office it is a possibility that you can deduct the percentage that represents the portion the home office makes up of your home.

Phone Charges: If you have a dedicated phone in your home or a dedicated cell phone just for business purposes, all charges can be deducted. If you use your regular home phone or cell phone for business related calls, you can deduct a portion of your bill.

Office Supplies: Any supplies you use for your business like paper, pens, ink cartridges, etc are all a deductible, just be sure to hold onto the receipts.

Furniture: If you have to purchase furniture like a desk, filing cabinet, etc. you can deduct the cost of these items if they are used in your office. Again, be sure to keep receipts.

Equipment: Items needed to run your business like computers, laptops, fax and copy machines and more are all tax deductible as business expenses. Be sure to check with your accountant about depreciation rules on these items since many can't be entirely deducted they year they were purchased. It is a possibility to take the full deduction the year the purchase was made if the asset qualifies for section 179 deduction.

Cleaning Services: If you have your entire home cleaned, including your home office area, this amount can be deducted by using the equivalent percentage that your home office is to your entire home. If you only get your home office area cleaned, then the entire amount can be deducted.

Home Security System: If you qualify for the home office deduction, this expense is considered an indirect expense to your home office and a percentage of the expense can be deducted. You can deduct a percentage of the initial installation as well as a percentage of the monthly security monitoring fees that are incurred.
Computer Software: Any software you need to help run your business in a tax deduction.

Internet: Most home businesses today require the use of the internet. You can deduct the percentage of your bill used for your business.

Professional Subscriptions: If you pay for any industry related subscriptions, you can deduct the cost paid.

Education and Training: You can deduct some education and training expenses.
Car Expenses: If you own and exclusively use a separate vehicle for your business, then you can write off that vehicle. If you use your personal vehicle you can deduct mileage. If you plan to deduct mileage, you will want to do so with extra care. Keep a notebook in your car and document everything from the miles you drive to where you were going, tolls paid, etc.

Travel and Meals: If you need to travel for your home business you can deduct some travel expenses including airfare, rental cars, meals and lodging.

Insurance Premiums: If you are self employed and paying your own insurance premiums this is another deductible cost.

If you are a home business owner, you can see that there are numerous potential deductions you can claim on your tax return. If you have any questions on whether or not you qualify for a particular deduction or how to claim any of the above listed deductions be sure to check with a tax professional.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wedding Hot List - TheMerryBird 2011 Wedding Moment

wedding websites

The Merry Bird...pen, ink and design is Named to the 2011 Wedding Professional Hot List

13 Jan, 2011 -, one of the worlds leading wedding websites, has just announced that The Merry Bird...pen, ink and design has been selected for the 2011 Wedding Professional Hot List.

The annual Wedding Professional Hot List recognizes excellence within the wedding industry, as determined by reviews from tens of thousands of brides and grooms. The Merry Bird...pen, ink and design was among the best reviewed vendors in their area in the past year.

"The Wedding Professional Hot List recognizes best of class wedding professionals." said Geoff Evason, MomentVille's CEO. "Highlighting the success of the top wedding professionals is an exciting way to spread the word and help newly engaged couples find the right professionals for their own weddings."

About The Merry Bird...pen, ink and design now DesignsUnique hand drawn and graphically designed motifs for invitation/card design for your wedding or special event.

About MomentVille offers engaged couples and wedding enthusiasts a one stop place for planning and sharing a wedding. Offering personal wedding websites, wedding planning tools, a gorgeous gallery of wedding pictures, a searchable list of reviewed wedding vendors, and lots of helpful and inspiring wedding content, MomentVille helps newlyweds with all aspects of their wedding. For more information contact