How to Design a Company Logo

How to Design a Company Logo

Your Logo is a symbol of your relationship with your customer, expressed in a geometric metaphor. Make it simple, memorable, stylish, versatile, and abstractly symbolic of your business.

A talented logo designer will imagine ways to tickle customers’ interests in subtle ways, and sometimes, with a gentle sense of humor, which can be very effective in marketing. Your logo should look stylish and compatible wherever it appears.

A truly inspired logo design requires an understanding of the business plan. You can update your logo any time you want, but every time you do, you start over teaching customers to recognize it. Ideally, you stick with your logo for many years. It is important that a logo looks just as crisp and visible at 1/4 inch high or 3 feet tall.

Color is important. Yellow logos are barely visible on a white background. You might want to use gold instead. Electric Pink has a different company message than Sandy Brown. Match your color to your company culture, but make sure the logo works in gray scale too. You might want two colors. Do they both look good on a dark or light background. Each color you add will increase your complexities. But sometimes, one color isn’t enough.

Very often, the client brings some ground rules that might seem to stifle the design. The designer should be able to overcome that and still make a versatile design. Very few “tall” logos work out well. Square, circular, or horizontal logos are much more versatile.

Logo design is a geometric invention. It takes a particular talent to do it well.

What is Local SEO? The Village is Your Cradle

What is Local SEO? The Village is Your Cradle

When I was a boy, there was a local newspaper in almost every town, actually printed on newsprint, a very thin paper that was easily recycled. It contained news about the neighbors and the world, comics, puzzles, editorials, reviews, advertisements, business listings, classified ads, wedding announcements, epitaphs, gossip columns, astrological reports, church events, weather reports, just about everything you could imagine for information that would unite a town and give that town a feeling like they know their neighbors and they know what is going on around them. We could see the seeds of every good thing that was about to blossom in town. We could always find a job when we wanted to work. New businesses found new customers because everyone read everything in the local newspaper.

Today, most news is regional or global and it is all scattered around the Internet. The local newspapers are almost all gone. Everybody’s business seems like it is global from the start. This is not a bad thing, but it has come at a cost. We are forgetting that we have neighbors and neighborhood businesses, and that feeling at home means knowing the people around you in more depth than we do. Our community is on the web. We track our friends through FaceBook, and they help us connect with other people who are most likely living far from us. Our global network grows, but our local network suffers from lack of attention.

Ironically, marketing on the Internet still follows a similar natural system. To become successful globally, it is still important to be successful locally. We are still village creatures who thrive on a sense of community. The search engines place very high importance upon your location. Whether you realize it or not, so do customers and friends. Most customers will hire a local company over a distant one if the local can handle the job. They want the human contact, the sense of community. And when someone searches for a plumber on a search engine, the search engine knows and will show you plumbers in your region or town.

So…it is very important that you make it clear to the search engines where you are and that you are proud of where you are and will serve local customers as you would have your neighbors serve you.

If you want to build a customer base with your website, think local first. Build out from there. Get listed in Google Business Listings. Put yourself on the map…the Gmap. Write about where you live in your blog. I live in Maine. I am proud of that. Maine is beautiful.

Video | Best Medium for Marketing in 2017

Video | Best Medium for Marketing in 2017

Everything starts with a professional website design. Everyone will eventually land there, and that is where you hope to close the deal. The next question is “how do I attract people to visit my website?” The best answer in 2017 is to create video marketing content…on a regular basis.

At AquaJazz, we’re expanding our video production for our own marketing and for clients. I believe this is the most important marketing strategy I will adopt this year. I certainly hope that over the years people do not forget how to read. But the fact is, most internet users, including me, look for videos to answer their questions. My brother uses them to remodel his jeep. I use them to learn software. A client is using one of our videos to sell architectural house plans on his website. Large companies spend as much as 30% of their marketing budget just to produce video content for a wide variety of venues. The statistics support this trend as a smart decision for any sized business. Here are some good reasons why.

Statistics About Video Marketing

  • Video in an email leads to 300% increase in click through rates.
  • Video on a landing page increases can increase conversion by 80%.
  • Videos make customers 64% more likely to make a purchase.
  • 65% of executives always visit your website to learn about your business.
  • 39% of executives contact a business after viewing a good video.
  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others.
  • 1/3 of all online activity is spent watching videos.
  • 80% of users recall a video ad viewed in the past 30 days.
  • A web user is exposed to an average of 32 videos per month.
  • Mid sized business usually devotes 32% of a marketing budget to video.
  • 5% of viewers will stop watching a video after 1 minute.
  • 60% of viewers will stop watching a video after 2 minutes.
  • 75% of YouTube users watch YouTube while watching TV.
  • Visual content is 40X more likely to be shared on social media.
  • Articles with imagery get twice as much social sharing.
  • YouTube accounts for 2/3rds of video watched across devices.
  • 48% of emails are opened on a smartphone.

Intentional Design of Video Marketing

Video Marketing

One Year Trends for Video Marketing

Sure, you can publish selfies all week, but that won’t bring too many customers. An effective video will be designed and planned ahead to some degree, then some professional time spent editing and giving the video a storyline and a message. Viewers want to be entertained or well informed or both. Then they will buy what you are selling.

A video does not have to be very long to be effective. 60 percent of viewers say that after 2 minutes, they tend to move on. Two minutes can be plenty of information if the video is well planned and produced to focus on your objective.

A video can be structured as an interview, then embellished with graphics that support the message. A video might animate some statistical information to stimulate the viewer and persuade them toward your point of view. Some videos just portray more visual details of physical product, like video of interiors for real estate listings.

Video production does not have to be complicated or expensive to make a difference in your business, but it does require thought and intentional messaging. We often outline a video with a storyboard, or by writing a script. During production, we deviate and get creative, but we knew our goal from the beginning, and that makes a better video.

Self Publishing Strategy in 2016

Self Publishing Strategy in 2016

You might be surprised to learn that Amazon is not the only way that an indie author can distribute a book to the world.

There are several options, and several distributors, each with its own set of complications and advantages. I spent months gathering all the possibilities, studying the online interfaces, reading their documentation, reading opinions by other writer/publishers, listing advantages and pitfalls. I also published some books for other writers using their strategies.

Finally, I decided upon my favorite strategy. You might do the same research and arrive at a different conclusion. You might also have a different goal. I will share with you what I believe is the best approach for a self publisher, like myself, who wants to make a living writing books.

Preparation & Marketing

Have you written a book that is ready to publish? Perhaps you would rather not wait for rejection letters, or share profits with a publisher. Self publishing could be just right for you.

If your book is submitted and accepted by a traditional publishing company, you assume that they will do the marketing for you. Well, if your books is lucky enough to strike a sweet chord in the market, they will spend more time on marketing that book. If not, your book will just become part of another catalog. In that case, you will end up doing most of the marketing yourself anyway, if you want to succeed.

Self publishing makes you available to readers, but it does not let them know you exist. To gain visibility in the marketplace, polish your work, and build an audience, you’ll need additional skills. I work with an editor. I am skilled at word processing, book layout design and cover design, and I know how to do contemporary marketing. I can handle the preparation for submission, and I will proactively do marketing and networking to sell books. You might want to hire someone with experience to help you with these tasks.

Publishing Formats

Today, I can publish a book in any of three formats: Printed, Ebook, Audiobook. It is worth the effort to produce and release my book in all three formats. Printed books are still extremely popular, ebooks have a huge and growing market, and audiobook sales grew by 21 percent last year. Since I plan to put a lot of effort into marketing, and the goal is to make a living as a writer, I want to be available everywhere in all formats.

There are many distribution platforms and online book stores available to me for self publishing my book in any format. You may know a few, such as iBooks by Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Baker & Taylor, Google Play, Amazon. The primary distribution outlets for audio books include Audio Republic from Great Britain, and Audible, owned by Amazon. Audiobooks are a separate market with different outlets and aggregators. For now, let’s just talk about printed books and ebooks.

Book Distribution

A Book Distribution Aggregator is a company who will, when I follow their procedures, accept my manuscript and cover design, turn it into a printed book and an ebook, then enter it in nearly all major book catalogs and online distribution outlets in the world. When someone buys my book from any of these catalogs, the aggregator will print it, and deliver it to the customer, collect all the royalties and pass them along directly to my own bank account. I will enjoy having only one managing account and one revenue stream covering many distribution outlets, and I do not share royalties with any middle man, like a publisher. I am the publisher.

Founded in 2011, has a comprehensive aggregator service that will submit my book to all the major outlets. In 1997, a service owned by Ingram called Lightning Source became the prefered online catalog for business to business relationships between publishers and bookstores, but it was not available directly to authors. Last year, 2015, the same company launched a service called IngramSpark that will compete directly with BookBaby, also serving self publishers with a fairly well designed online interface for book submission, and a lower cost for submission than BookBaby.

BookBaby, for a fee, will edit, cover design, and convert my book to ebook formats. IngramSpark expects me to have hired someone to do all this before I submit my book to IngramSpark. In either case, unless I do it all myself, I can expect to spend between $1,000 and $3,000 for the professional preparation chores. The price will depend upon how long my book is, the level of quality I expect, and how much work my manuscript really needs.

If I have completed all the preparation, I can publish a book on Ingram in print and ebook format for about $75, including the ISBN. At BookBaby, it is a minimum of about $425, and the price goes up depending upon how much preparation I already did myself. The best idea is to submit my book in PDF for print versions, and EPUB for ebooks and Amazon/Createspace. Ingram includes my book on nearly all the same distribution venues as BookBaby. BookBaby will put me on the Ingram catalog too.

Amazon/Createspace is not an aggregator. They sell printed books and ebooks directly from The consensus is that if I want my book to be warmly welcomed at brick and mortar bookstores, I may want to avoid publishing it in print form on Amazon/Createspace. Most bookstores hold Amazon responsible for damaging their business, and even when there is a wholesale discount, they will not order from Amazon. Bookstores, such as Powell’s in Oregon, will order from Ingram because they have had a relationship for several years through Ingram’s Lightning Source.

However, if I skip Amazon, I am missing out on an enormous online marketplace. If my book is available on Ingram, and it is selling fairly well overall, I am hoping that the bookstores will want it anyway, since they stand to benefit from stocking the book. It is a risk I will take because sales at bookstores is certainly not the bulk of where books are bought by readers. Readers worldwide mostly buy online these days. Getting into a bookstore is more of a source of pride and an additional source of physical promotion through book signings and getting on shelves.

I have read a lot about pricing and royalty and shipping comparisons between BookBaby, Ingram and Amazon. Each are only slightly different and the comparisons are not particularly useful to making a decision. Since it became clear that the royalties are very similar in all three platforms, and I need to simplify my business operations, I decided that comprehensive distribution objectives are more important than the financial minutia. I need to sell in high numbers to make any appreciable revenue.

BookBaby and IngramSparks and Amazon become the print-on-demand (POD) printers and ship the orders directly to readers and bookstores. Their ongoing profit is built into the printing cost. Amazon/CreateSpace also prints and ships their own titles too, but when you add Amazon to your aggregator list, the aggregator will be the printer and shipper.


I am going to wait until I have a printed copy of my book to send to the copyright office at the Library of Congress before I apply for my official copyright. My rights are sufficiently protected after a copy is printed and bound with the copyright message on page one. Copyright submission in 2016 costs about $87. The copyright office website has a thorough tutorial for submission, but it is a big chore. If I wish, I can use Bowker’s copyright application service that makes the job easier, but will cost closer to $135 for a submission. Here are the links to both choices.

Bowker Copyright |
Copyright Office |


My book will need an ISBN number. BookBaby and Ingram and Amazon all offer to acquire an ISBN for me during the submission process. All have an agreement with the one company who issues ISBN numbers in the United States. This company is Bowker. When I acquire my ISBN through Ingram, BookBaby or Amazon, then these companies are listed as the publisher of record in the ISBN. That won’t matter if I stick with these services indefinitely. If I want to be the publisher on the ISBN, I would have to buy the ISBN directly from Bowker, then enter the ISBN in the submission form for the aggregator. It is critical to be careful that I do not create two separate ISBN numbers for the same book. That is the kiss of death in the catalogs.

Bowker ISBN |


I will publish using IngramSparks. It will cost a little less, bookstores might be more inclined to order my book, it will be available on all the major distribution platforms, and I can handle the level of expertise it requires to complete the preparation, submission and marketing.

Becoming a successful self published writer is a lot of work, even after the manuscript is complete. Companies like IngramSpark and BookBaby are trying to make self publishing easier and more consolidated. Perhaps my strategy will work for you.

Printing & Distributing a Self-Published Book

Printing & Distributing a Self-Published Book

Print & Distribution Platforms


The 2 most advantageous platforms for self-publishing and distributing paperback books are Amazon, and Ingram.


Amazon / CreateSpace

Amazon is a ginormous, global, online bookstore. They own a company called CreateSpace, which is where we go to publish a book that will be stocked in Amazon. Amazon receives orders from all over the world, prints them on demand, then ships them to the customers. Brick and mortar bookstores do not order books from Amazon, nor will they order them from you.


Ingram / IngramSpark

Ingram has a book catalog and order fulfillment service that is used by a large percentage of brick and mortar bookstores all over the world to stock their stores. Store owners can’t afford to manage tens of thousands of small accounts with little publishers like you, so they use the Ingram catalog to order books. If we want our book to be stocked at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland Oregon, we have to submit the manuscript to IngramSpark.


Ebook Publication

Once we have formatted your book for paperback publication, we can modify the manuscript for ebook publication and create an ebook cover derived from the paperback cover. Then we submit the book again separately to Ingram and Amazon/KDP to become an ebook on both platforms.


Administrative Steps


ISBN & Barcode

You need an ISBN Number and Barcode for each book you publish. When Amazon supplies the ISBN, you should not publish that book with that ISBN anywhere else. If you want to other choices of where to distribute your book, then you should acquire your own ISBN through the Bowker company, just like a professional publisher would. You then use that ISBN everywhere you submit the book for distribution.


If you have several books to publish soon, you should buy a bundle of 10 ISBNs, along with their BarCodes. The ISBN number and the Barcode are two separate items. The ISBN number is to distinguish your book from any other. The Barcode is managing inventory with a digital barcode scanner.


When it comes time to submit a manuscript to CreateSpace, or IngramSpark, or Nook Press, you will be asked for your ISBN number during the process of submission. The ISBN Number and BarCode is also a graphic you must include on the bottom right of your back cover design graphic.



You do not need a copyright to self-publish a book, and you do not need to publish a book to acquire a copyright. Your book is legally copyright protected the moment you put the following on your manuscript:


Copyright © 2016   Author or Publisher Name


The purpose of applying for a copyright from the Library of Congress (LofC) is to store a dated, public record that proves that you have owned the manuscript since that date. The quickest way to prove ownership in a court of law is with a copyright from the LofC. Without this step, the only proof you will have is the dated digital file on your hard drive, or a hard copy you may have mailed to yourself without breaking the seal.


Publisher Benefits

As the writer and publisher, you will be able to order copies of your book directly from Amazon or Ingram at wholesale prices. For example, a 100 page paperback book wholesale from Amazon/CreateSpace would only cost you, the writer, about $2 per copy.

Marketing Your Self-Published Book

Marketing Your Self-Published Book



ISBN & Barcode

You need an ISBN Number and Barcode for each book you publish. If you want choices of where to distribute your book, then you should acquire your own ISBN through the Bowker company, just like a professional publisher would. You then use that ISBN everywhere we submit the book for distribution.

If you have several books to publish soon, you should buy a bundle of 10 ISBNs, along with their BarCodes. The ISBN number and the Barcode are two separate items. The ISBN number is to distinguish your book from any other. The Barcode is managing inventory with a digital barcode scanner.

The following is another place affiliated with Bowker where you can buy an ISBN and Barcode.


You do not need a copyright to self-publish a book, and you do not need to publish a book to acquire a copyright. Your book is legally copyright protected the moment you put the following on your manuscript:

Copyright © 2016   Author or Publisher Name

The purpose of applying for a copyright from the Library of Congress (LofC) is to store a dated, public record that proves that you have owned the manuscript since that date. The quickest way to prove ownership in a court of law is with a copyright from the LofC. Without this step, the only proof you will have is the dated digital file on your hard drive, or a hard copy you may have mailed to yourself without breaking the seal. This is a separate procedure from publication that the author will need to conduct.


Book Marketing

Marketing is separate project from Print & Distribution. AquaJazz can design and produce your marketing materials for you, such as a Logo, a Website, a Calling Card, or Posters. You will need a PressKit. We create those too.

The Website

You need a website, and you need to use that website, not just let it sit there. Your website will present the profile of you, as a writer, and a company, with a page devoted to each book you publish including a link to the outlets where your book can be bought and shipped. Your website will also have a Journal where you will answer questions and write short articles about your writing career and your life to share with readers. They want to know you better and want to know where to find you. Really!


Everyone you have ever known is your network. If you can reach them, you must tell them where to buy your book. You can use email, or paper mail, FaceBook, Twitter, or a phone call. Tell everyone you meet. Hand them a calling card with your website address or the title of the book on there. This is your marketing network and the most important marketing resource you have.

Book Stores

When you want a brick and mortar bookstore to carry your book on their shelves, it is a good idea to send them a free copy, along with the information they request in their submission protocol. As long as your book is listed in the Ingram Catalog, or an outlet of their choice, they will eventually review your book. If they like it, they will stock it in their store.

YouTube & Vimeo

The most potent and effective promotion you can do on the Internet is to produce a video and properly publish it on YouTube and Vimeo. The video can be either a creative Book Trailer, or an audio-visual narration of an excerpt of the book. Write a script. If you don’t know how, AquaJazz can do this for you. Embed your video into your website, put a link to your website in your video, tweet about it, post it on your FaceBook wall, email it to your contacts, then you have done everything you can with your video. Be patient for a while. There is a good chance you will benefit from this video promotion. Videos are very effective marketing.

Book Signing Events

Professional Publishers have traditionally encouraged writers to attend book signing events all over the country to promote a new book. Travel is an expensive activity for a writer and self publisher. It is best to begin in your neighborhood. Befriend your local bookstore owners and book clubs. You will be helping yourself and your bookstore by putting on a good face and making readers happy to meet you. The word will get around, and you will be asked to attend other book signings farther away. Then, you know you are succeeding. It will be worth the trip.


If you enjoy talking to groups and you think you could be entertaining or informative, you could offer to give a talk before a local book club. If they like your book, they will pass the word around. Tell your story. Have a sense of humor. Inspire readers to read and you will make progress here.

Crowd Funding

One terrific way to get connected to new fans is to seek Crowd Funding for your book. You offer rewards and a copy of your book in exchange for an investment by members. On Publishizer, the investors are often Publishers interested in contracting your book. If you want to be your own publisher, you can still choose autonomy and self marketing. This builds your network of readers before you even launch. AquaJazz will help you set up your pitch presentation.

Press Release

A press release is a traditional method for announcing the arrival of something new and newsworthy. An effective press release follows a pretty strict traditional template that has been proven over many years, however, new media possibilities have expanded the creative possibilities for press releases using video or sound or images too. It is important that your press release is distributed to the right targets. You may as well use the industry leader to distribute your press release.

There are many more good venues for marketing your book. Hire AquaJazz, and I will show you all of them.


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