Thank you, Mr. Friedlander

Award-winning book designer, blogger, and author Joel Friedlander passed away on May 7, 2021. Mr. Friedlander was a guiding light for self-published authors, and he was a great friend to Indies Unlimited. His popular website reposted scores of blogs that were first published on Indies Unlimited, graciously opening up our article writers to a whole new audience.

In his memory, we’d like to recall some moments that we’re thankful for.

I was teaching a one-day self-pubbing seminar several years ago. I was doing the whole day solo, and I was nervous as hell. I got to the venue early and on my phone, I checked out whether any of the blogs I’d submitted had been accepted to Joel’s Book Designer website. As many of you know, it’s a super popular blog for indie authors. My blog was featured that day. Joel Friedlander to the rescue. Just in case I needed any extra credibility, I was able to brag myself up to the students in my class by showing them what a big deal I was on the Book Designer site. I’m so thankful for all the information I learned from that site over the years and any time I had a question, Joel was always available to shoot me an answer back. Thank you for all that you did for the self-publishing industry, Joel. You made a difference.
– Martin Crosbie, Author

While I never personally knew Joel Friedlander, his site was like a good friend. It provided a font of information, and I found myself often harkening back to it in order to reference so many of the tidbits he shared. The copyright page samples, while so simple, were the type of nitty gritty, just-in-time data that was not glitzy but necessary for authors to know. When creating layouts for my print and ebooks, I referenced the Book Designer site often, glad to have the information handy and easily accessible. Joel’s willingness to share and collate so much information on his site and ask nothing in return is evidence of his kindness and giving spirit. While those who knew and loved him best will miss him most, the indie publishing community has also lost an important and impactful voice.
– RJ Crayton, Author

I think the thing I most appreciated about Joel is that he didn’t discount indie authors. He believed that we could create books that looked just as good, or even better, than those sold by traditional publishers. He will be sorely missed in the indie community. Plus Joel was the very first person to agree to a LynneQuisition interview, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
– Lynn Cantwell, Author

I’m greatly saddened by this news. Joel was very generous, not just with authors, but also with sharing his site with others, like IU. It was an honor and a pleasure being on top resource lists next to The Book Designer. Joel was always classy and that was one of the things that made him special. The Book Designer was a finalist in the Indies Unlimited Excellence Awards a number of times, and it was well deserved. Whenever I teach self-publishing, I always list The Book Designer as a resource site for my students. The industry has lost a leader and an advocate. Rest in peace, Mr. Friedlander.
– K.S. Brooks, Author & Executive Director of Indies Unlimited

Online relationships are tricky. Sometimes you get a false sense of who someone is. With Joel, this was never the case. He wouldn’t hesitate to give advice, but always tempered it with encouragement. We were honored to be associated with him. On behalf of Indies Unlimited and self-published authors everywhere, thank you, Mr. Friedlander.

LynneQuisition with Joel Friedlander

This week, we’re beginning a new feature called LynneQuisition. Once a month or so, I’ll be grilling – er, asking questions of – some of the big names in our nascent industry.

My first guest is Joel Friedlander, a.k.a. the Book Designer – a great site with tons of terrific info for indies. (The fact that he picked up my IU post about formatting books for CreateSpace has in no way influenced my opinion of his expertise.) Continue reading “LynneQuisition with Joel Friedlander”

This One Time, In the Shower …

It started one morning while YA author Imogen Rose was in a hot, steaming shower … But Indies Unlimited has a strict policy about posts being suitable for work. I don’t want to risk my gruel rations getting cut as punishment, so let’s fade to black for a bit while I ramble. We’ll return to the shower momentarily.

There are a plethora of places for budding indie authors to gather information about the path they’ve taken. You’ve can check several websites with ideas and hints to help you on your way. I’m partial to a place called Indies Unlimited. Another good one is Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer. There are internet forums where you can ask questions and get a bunch of answers, possibly contradictory. Many authors swear by the “Writer’s Café” forum on Kboards.

There are blogs that talk about Indie publishing. My go to blog is The Passive Voice where Passive Guy curates and aggregates stories from all over the web about the publishing world with an eye towards helping Indie authors stay abreast of the business world they’re operating in. Passive Guy’s background working for tech companies and as an intellectual property attorney as well as living with Mrs PG, an indie author, gives him a unique perspective, which he’ll sometimes add as story commentary. Continue reading “This One Time, In the Shower …”

Be Your Own Graphics Designer

This is an ongoing, basic course in graphic design for writers.

The complete resume of my education and credentials in graphic design can be expressed in one word: Nada.

And that’s why it might be worth listening to me. You’re a writer, possibly a small publisher. Like me. You probably don’t have art talent, can’t afford expensive programs, don’t have the time to study books or school courses aimed at producing designers and artists. Like me. And, like me, you have very specific needs: book covers, logos, banners, website graphics.

And speaking as a non-designer who has done pretty well in creating those things, I am telling you that you can do it. Using free or cheap programs, without a lot of didactic learning. Using ingenuity rather than money or talent. And having fun. Continue reading “Be Your Own Graphics Designer”