Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hair Product Advertising Design

I recently completed this magazine ad design for a new client.

The bonus? I learned about a fabulous new product. Heheheh. The Serum from the Thermal Guard line (it's the red line) is fabulously lightweight and gives me feathery flat-ironed curls. Sorry for boring you with extra info but I had to give the plug. LOL.

Check out the ad design below.

Hair Product Ad Design by Diedre Callam

Friday, July 19, 2013

How to Thrive During a Workation (How to Work Remotely Successfully)

Working from home... or anywhere you choose sounds glamorous. Sometimes it even is. In the few months that I have formally started my business and been working from home, it has been rewarding. Best part of it (I thought) was that I would be travelling and can still take my work remotely while meeting or exceeding my obligations to my clients. I'm in Virginia in the USA now visiting family and it hasn't been so easy to work remotely on this workation. 

Here's why. 
  1. I cannot fully control my environment. Not everyone understands that you can't have the TV on while you work on this project which happens to be on deadline. Those around you may not understand that you need to work. 
  2. There are so many new things to see and do. Just knowing that there is something new outside is a distraction. I'm glancing at every leaf dropping on the deck and looking up at every sound of the dog moving. It sounds simple but just the pure difference in environment distracts me. 
  3. I don't always have my full connectivity to the internet or am not keeping track of my emails regularly when on the road and I am accustomed to always being accessible and always accessing my clients. I hate getting home to see that I've missed 5 emails and am behind in my work. I'll have more to say about this later.

Things don't have to be this bad, however. After struggling through the first few weeks of working from a different location, I have created several strategies for managing my workload in a new, foreign environment. 

Here is the remedy. 
  1. Plan your day and stick to the plan. Yes, even though I'm on workation, I still need to create a schedule where I work at certain times and going out to see everything this place has to offer is just not an option. I schedule play-time too. 
  2. Create an office space. Even if it means staying on the hotel room bed/floor or going to Starbucks for 2 hours, find a location where you will not be disturbed. I have finally set my work time and am working my butt off in order to get my set tasks complete on schedule.
  3. Check in frequently and use a scheduled action list. Set times to check your email. Follow up and create an action list of things that need to be done and when they should be done. This will allow you to keep on schedule and schedule your fun around your work. 
  4. Take breaks. Working non-stop when there is a wonderful world outside to explore can be frustrating. Set your fun between work times and utilise and alarm to let you know when to move from one phase to the next. 
  5. Stay focused. Avoid multitasking and stay on task. Be sure to complete a task before moving on to ensure that you are actually getting things done and achieving your tasks rather than just constantly doing stuff and getting nowhere.
  6. Communicate your needs. If you're travelling with friends or family, communicate your needs for quiet work time (I say as my mother requests that I turn on the television).
These tactics have made my last 24 hours be even more than even a regular day working from home. Try them if you're struggling to work remotely while away from home. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Subscribe for a Free Women's Magazine

Source –

The next issue of KiK will be out tomorrow Sunday, May 25 by noon.

Subscribe to the list to read it for free, HERE

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Spirited Book Launch of 50 Something Dates with 17 Mr. Wrongs

The author's book on display at the book launch.

The jury is still out on whether this book is yet another man-bashing title. Perhaps that is why Bookophilia bookstore on Hope Road was full and overflowing with both men and women for the Thursday night book launch of 50 Dates with 17 Mr. Wrongs: Lessons from a Dating Repository. The slightly ill disposed self-published author, Chénelle Taylor, was encouraged to document and share her stories in book form by a friend. She used the launch not only to share a few of her personal stories but also give voice to some of the men and women who freely shared their own dating tales and allowed everyone to ask some pressing and interesting questions.

Author, Chenelle Taylor at the launch of her new book, 50 Something Dates with 17 Mr. Wrongs

Chénelle may not be a certified dating expert but the many experiences and comments that were shared by attendees during the launch echoed her cries of disappointment. A number of stories were given of poor dating experiences and the crowd was not shy in cracking a few jokes at some of the storytellers or sharing their own dating advice. Nevertheless, Chénelle explained that 50 Dates with 17 Mr. Wrongs it is not your average dating book and is not meant to bash all men. It is really an anthology of the author’s factual dating experiences followed by lessons from the author at the end of the sections.

Excerpt being read by Attorney-at-law, Shannon Hendricks

Excerpts were read by Attorney-at law, Shannon Hendricks, Clinical Psychologist, Ava Smith and Technology Specialist, André Brown. No tips or lessons from the book were revealed. Ms. Sasha Solomon of Bookophilia led the evening’s proceedings. Not all of Chénelle’s stories surrounded horrible men. According to Chénelle, some of those men that could have been good options were just “not that into her.” The night rolled on with a discussion section where the audience shot questions at the author regarding her choices in the book such as why some men got a second date. Not all of the questions were answered but most answers were satisfying. Unlike the traditional book launch, the night didn’t end there.

Attendees enjoyed the entertaining and comedy-filled book launch 

Men and women were encouraged to use an open-discussion forum to ask questions of the other sex. One questioned why good men go after good girls to get “bad” things and a discussion ensued on how to handle a man who wants to take you on a date to KFC. Others questioned why men date mean girls and why women go after money instead of holding out for a decent man. The conversations were spirited and highly entertaining. Everyone was engaged and participation in the discussion section was passionate and, at times, simply loud though always respectful. Some of these discussions clearly pressed on a few hearts and a few corns.


Chénelle poses with her supportive family

Bookophilia Bookstore was full and overflowing.

Chénelle affirms that “writing 50 Something Dates with 17 Mr. Wrongs: Lessons from a Dating Repository was one of the best experiences of her life because it not only offered catharsis, but also an opportunity to connect with emotions.” After attending the launch, she has certainly urged others to do the same and given voice to young Jamaican women who are dating men in Jamaica and overseas. 

Find out more about the book at

Monday, May 20, 2013

Questions Writers Ask – The Cost to Publish a Book

"How much does it cost to publish a book?"  Naively, I responded, "I'm sorry. I don't understand the question. Could you repeat or explain in more detail what it is that you need to know?" She explained, "I have a book that I'd like to publish and want to know how much it will cost me." Working at a traditional publishing company, I have heard this question many times and my explanation is always the same.


Please allow me to explain a little about how traditional publishing works so that I can thoroughly answer your questions as briefly as possible. 

Typically, your book will either be a funded project (paid for by a company or rarely, by the author) or will be adopted by the publisher (at no cost to you, the writer). Traditional publishers will receive your pitch/application letter. You will usually need to fill out our author's questionnaire. This will allow us to get to know you and your book more in order to determine whether publishing your book is a lucrative project to undertake. The publisher has the full right to deny your book if they do not see an appropriate market or do not believe that they will be able to reach your target audience. If we like your book and want to publish it, we'll then sign a contract. If a contract is not signed, the author retains all writes to their work.

We (the publisher) will then manage and pay for just about everything related to the creation of the book. This includes the editing, proof-reading, layout design, printing and distribution. In return, you would receive a royalty payment as agreed in the contract. A royalty payment is the percentage of the profits from sales to which you, the author, would be entitled. This percentage is not fixed and varies between projects. 

I hope that this answered all of your questions. If you have any more questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. 

Happy writing,
Diedre Callam

Monday, April 1, 2013

Photography Tips for Non-Photographers | How to Photograph Someone Wearing Glasses


Are your family pictures always spoilt by your husband's glaring, reflective glasses? There's a way to easily fix that problem. Here are two tips for taking pictures of people who wear glasses without the reflection so that you will successfully capture the beautiful emotion in their eyes that are such an important part of your picture.

Tip 1
Play with angles. Let the person play with the light until it isn't reflecting off of their glasses. Turn to the left or to the right. Shift your head up. No? Try down. There is likely to be an angle that could just work. If there isn't, remove the glasses. It's better to see squinted eyes and a smile than no eyes at all. Check out the video below for a demonstration of Tip 1.

Tip 2
Avoid using the flash. The flash instantly creates a glaring reflection of light that is likely to totally hide your eyes. If the room is bright enough, skip the flash. Nobody really likes to see a flash of light in their eyes anyway. Right?

Friday, March 29, 2013

How to Instantly Increase Productivity

Are you constantly missing your deadlines... even when you set the deadline yourself? Perhaps you are writing your book on the secrets of winning Scrabble game but you can't ever seem to complete a chapter on time. I know the feeling. Now that I am working as an independent publishing and communications specialist primarily working from home, it's very easy for me to miss deadlines but, I've got it under control. You probably want to know what I needed to learn a few months ago.  How can you work faster and increase your productivity without increasing the number of hours you work in a day?

Here are my top five tips for instantly increasing productivity. 
  1. Stop taking so many darn breaks! Distractions like emails and random internet surfing can seriously cripple your productivity. Watching that one related 5-minute YouTube video that showed up in your Google search may seem harmless, but it's not. Check out the chart I found below on The Cost of Distractions and Interruptions. You can read the article here but the image below really tells it all.

  2. Create a Schedule and stick to it. Schedule your entire day. Yes, sometimes you will have to deviate from the schedule, but sticking as closely as possible to your schedule ensures that you are getting maximum returns on your time. And yes, you can schedule the fun stuff too. You can even schedule free time where you have nothing to do. I know it sounds crazy, but try it.  It works.  It is also important to keep a To-Do list and organise your tasks for each day.

  3. Check emails only a few times a day. Every time you check your email, you are getting distracted and you already know the cost of distractions. My Blackberry (yes, I'm a "BB" girl), goes off about once every 5-15 minutes. I put it on vibrate and glance at it only once in a while. Even then, I don't always open an email or text if I don't think it is necessary until my designated email reading time.
  4. Close the browsers and chat windows. This may not apply to you, but it probably does if you are honest with yourself. Unnecessary Internet surfing and online chatting is one of the biggest problems that companies are facing today. Their employees are using the internet to source useful information, but also wasting much time on unnecessary browsing and chatting. Close the browsers if you are not using them and sign out of chat sessions. It is an unnecessary temptation and simply wastes your time.
  5. Just Start. Starting a project can be the hardest part of a job. Whether you are overwhelmed or intimidated by a particular project, you'll never get anywhere unless you start. Make a plan. If the plan-making isn't working, simply begin. It doesn't matter if you have to take a few steps back, because then, at least you're moving and in the race. 
You may have noticed that points 1, 3 and 4 have to do with eliminating distractions. Focus on that first and you will be well on your way. Good luck and don't forget to sign up to the email list here for special offers and publishing and communications news. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kingston Book Festival 2013 Book Fair

Kingston Book Festival 2013 is on. Don't miss the the big Book Fair on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

About the Book Fair  (open to the public & FREE)

When: Saturday, March 9, 2013

From: 10:00am-6:00pm:
At: South Lawn, Devon House

What: Booths and exhibits from publishers, self-publishers, booksellers, trade associations. Drama, dance, music, art activities.

1:00pm-2:00pm Pitch Me a Story
(Authors pitch book ideas to publishers)
Registration Required. Email:

2:15pm-6:00pm: Readings and Book Launches
Featuring Roland Watson Grant, Diana McCaulay, Dennis Chung, Raymond Mair, Sandra Ottey, Adziko Simba, Karen Carpenter, Alverston Bailey Tanya Shirley, Yendi Phillips.

6:30pm-8:30pm: Arts Fusion!
Mixer forging collaborations between the literary, visual, cinematic and performing arts
Coordinated by BIAJ and Visual and Performing Arts Jamaica
By invitation only
Bin 26 Wine Bar, Devon House.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Cost of eBooks - Who Benefits and What is Fair?

This post will deal with two issues. The first has to do with why large companies still charge high prices for digital books. The second is concerned with whether the self-publisher or the publishing house receives more financial benefits from ePublishing. For this article, I will use ePublishing and digital publishing interchangeably.

Here is the bottom line – It is more costly to print books on paper than to create digital files. This, however, is a superficial view of publishing that many people have. Printing books isn't all that publishing is about... but that is for the next blog post.  I won't name any names, so just consider Company A to be a big-time publisher and Self-Pub Man to be a self-publisher. Now see my thoughts on each and how they relate to print and digital publishing.

Company A
  • They are big with huge costs.
  • They acquire much better printing rates (volume discounts) than small companies so they keep their costs low.
  • If they print in-house, they have even lower costs because they do not factor in shipping.
  • They have lots of staff who want good pay.
  • Their overheads are high.
Pub Man
  • He is a self-publisher who has few or no overheads and no real staff.
  • He doesn't get volume discounts on printing so print costs are high.
  • He probably does all his marketing himself which he has to charge in his time.
  • Except the possible cost of hiring a designer, he has few costs associated with digital publishing and is likely to try to design his book on his own if he thinks he believes that he can master the online tutorials. 
  • His major upfront costs are likely to be print-related.

Both  Company A and Pub Man may end up making a similar investment to create a book. It's just that one may be paying staff and overheads while the other spends all his investment on printing. Ultimately, the cost by way of overheads is much higher for Company A than Pub man and as such, Company A's high digital book prices can be considered somewhat justified. Still, who is to say that Pub Man's time isn't equally valuable?

In terms of profit, however, Pub Man benefits most from ePublishing. Printing cost would have been his main cost if her were not doing an ebook. Digital books do not attract a printing cost and hence, the self-publisher who does not have to pay staff and overheads etc. stands to make a lot more from the sale of his book. His main cost is eradicated and he is mostly investing his time. Of course, he may have paid a freelance editor (if he was smart) and designer but ultimately, his costs are likely to be lower.

Are the costs of ebooks justified if there is no printing involved? I say yes. Leave your comments and let me know how wrong or right I might be. I always love a healthy debate. I hope to hear from my BookBlogette readers on this one.