Great Photo Books Holiday Schedule–There’s Still Time

Great Photo Books Holiday Schedule–There’s Still Time

Just did a quick check on the delivery dates for Blurb, Lulu and Shutterfly for photo books and calendars.  

Good news: There’s still time to publish your photo book or calendar.

Bad news: Drop dead dates are fast approaching!

Give the gift of a great photo book...yours!

Blurb Holiday Schedule

December 11, 2014* is Blurb’s date for books (less than 30) delivered via USPS in U.S.the target date to order and take advantage of standard shipping in order to have your book order delivered in time. Blurb is offering discounts of bulk orders until December 9, 2014.
Check the Blurb holiday page for all the details.

Lulu Holiday Schedule

December 11, 2014 is the order date for paper back books and December 10, 2014* for hard cover and calendars shipped via mail with estimated delivery before the 25th. (I don’t see a discount promotion, check your email, if you’re on their list.)
Check the Lulu holiday page for all the details.

Shutterfly Holiday Schedule

For December 24, 2014* Economy delivery of photo books and calendars, you must order by December 17th. Last day to order is December 19th.
Check the Shutterfly holiday page for all the details.

*Options for Priority Mail, Expedited and Express options are available.
I have a client last year come to me the first week of December with her sketches and copy with the goal of turning it into a holiday gift for your family. We made it!

I can help you make your book a reality. Drop me an email or give me call to discuss your project.

Pitch Decks Publications Pumpkins Oh My

The trade show and fall meeting schedules are as abundant as the pumpkins in the patch.

  • When was the last time you stepped back to REALLY look at your current presentation and supporting collateral?
  • Are these key marketing tools outdated? 
  • Lacking the solid connection to your current messaging?
  • Has your visual branding evolved?

Pumpkin Chunkin’ Round 1 

Slapping your logo on a stock template your assistant may have download for mere dollars is NOT the best path to creating brand awareness. The CEO of a point-of-sale technology and services company contacted me after viewing my pitch decks on He shared with me the current state of his presentation, frustrated that it lacked any connection to his company. The content needed to be tweaked and a template created for an upcoming sales webinar in a few days. Digging deep into the company’s website and other supporting material, I created initial composite designs for the client’s approval and went to work importing the content. The CEO would edit accordingly. The custom template included images, color palette and fonts which complimented the current branding. Also suggested that the CEO consider a customer-centric design for each of the three major market segments served. 

Pumpkin Chunkin’ Round 2 

Another client was invited to present his company to a high-profile industry event, the catch NO POWERPOINT. The CEO of this technology services company, in the oil & gas industry, was confident in his ability to make the presentation without the slides, but wanted a “leave behind” (aka fact sheet) to highlight the investment appeals. We extracted key slides from the existing pitch deck, tweaked copy, updated data and designed an attract single page sell sheet. This high impact piece will serve as an extension of the speech…simple and elegant.

Whether it’s an upcoming online webinar or in-person presentation, take a hard look at your materials and ask yourself how these will serve your goals. I offer a Free Consultation to review your pitch deck and assess how we can align it with your task-at-hand.

Self Publish a “Look Book” for a Competitive Edge

Creative Services for the Self Publisher

Presenting samples of your work is an important and making your portfolio stand-out can give you an edge in today’s highly competitive (freelance) marketplace.

After viewing a short video about how a NYC photographer still uses traditional prints and cut sheets in the presentation cases or boxes because he had tremendous success getting a face-to-face meeting. Plus, the large format glossy prints SHINE. 

This got me thinking… could I take the best of a traditional portfolio and update using today’s technology to produce a book (or magazine) that can be given to a client? 

YES, most certainly.

Ideal for architects & related, designers, photographers, illustrator and more. Self publish a book or magazine, customize content and self publish in hardcopy and digital formats. 

Tell Your Story

Have a vision of the end product? Good. Let’s step back to begin with the big picture. Storyboard your book, focusing the message you want your client or prospective client to remember. Build to a crescendo–but leave them wanting more. 

Think About Format

A magazine format is excellent for case studies. Complete with descriptive copy to dig deeper into your approach to the project. Where were the core directive of the creative brief? Unexpected challenges and outcomes? The magazine could be produced on a quarterly or semi-annual basis and made available digitally (ideal for tablet!) and print-on-demand for small quantities.

A traditional coffee table-style book would the option when larger format images need to be used. Wouldn’t this make a great gift to a VIP client? Or, a new product to add to your shop. 

Give New Life to Your Archives :: Self Publishing

Deep in the back of big walk-in bedroom closet are three (maybe four) large Rubbermaid storage tubs filled with my family’s photo archive; dating back over 100 years. Old sepia-toned and yellowing prints, envelopes of negatives, newspaper clippings, letters, and more. After my parents passed, my siblings concurred that I would be the best steward of this precious archive by nature of my profession and also married to photographer.

Organizing the “stuff” can be a challenge. What do I keep? What can be tossed? How do I scan it? How should I organize it, chronologically?

Since my niece has been doing a bang-up job working on the genealogy including images on our Ancestry account aids her research. (Recently, a distant relative on my mother’s side reach out to me and after sharing a picture of my grandfather we discovered that his grandfather was my great uncle.)

Successful Self Publishing: Family Archives

Here at Creative Aces, we have the resources to work with your photo archive to produce a book or series of magazines that could be a treasure – something that will be coveted by family and friends.

These also make excellent gifts!

Collaborate. Create. Publish.

Structure & Clarity Rocket Your Presentation

My faith in a well-structured presentation has been restored when a client recently asked:

“Does the flow of the presentation cover all the key points for an investor pitch?”

Referencing my “Universal Pitch Deck–The Ultimate 12-Slide Structure for Any Presentation” it was easy diagnose the client’s presentation:
  1. Overview/Intro
  2. The Problem
  3. The Solution
  4. Opportunity & Market
  5. Technology
  6. Competitive Advantage (USP)
  7. Competitive Landscape
  8. Market Strategy
  9. Financial Roadmap
  10. Management Team
  11. Current Status
  12. Summary

The Competitive Advantage is the pinnacle of the presentation, we lead the audience to crescendo. You’ve got their attention, now guide them to the closing (the ASK).

Interestingly, this presentation replaced text heavy and clip-art slided with well-designed illustrations for the Solution, Opportunity & Market and Technology.

45 Slides in 30 Minutes?

Today, I received a 45-slide deck for review and recommendation. This well-designed draft is currently suited for a tradeshow or business conference not an investor and analyst audience.

The core message is hidden behind complex Photoshop’d backgrounds and overuse of ‘expert’ quotes and illegible charts.

The first step will be the “big picture” view via the Slide Sorter and begin to pull irrelevant slides, shift and combine slides into an articulate story structure focused on the core message for the intended audience.

Structure and clarity should be your creative strategy to stay focused on core message. I firmly believe that your audience will be more responsive. I was just discussing with my client (same PPT) the value he places on ample Q&A time to dig deeper into content and audience engagement.

Celebrate and be safe, happy 4h of July.

New Technology + Existing Market = New Pitch Deck

The past two months have been a whirlwind of activity, pushing my monthly newsletter to the back burner.  As a marketer, we all know this is a bad habit. However, focusing on successful results for client projects is a good thing.

Since early April, I’ve been immersed in several publishing projects: annual reports (2), software user’s manual, pitch decks (2 or 3), conference program, marketing brochures and simple webpages.

Today, I’d like to share a success story.
New energy technology start-up, GasTechno Energy and Fuels, hit the road in May to meet with prospective investors. Then, immediately back at the airport for an oil/gas industry event. Both required presentations and at a minimum a fact sheet.

After years of “start-up” mode, GasTechno was ready to take a more aggressive lead with its marketing. Conversations with the CEO, as the private placement was nearing completion, were about a fresh/modern design to wrap around the key message(s).

Despite the 30-slide deck, the client was rigorous with copy editing; choosing words/phrases carefully, even whittling the amount of data being presented. The use of infographics and strong visuals supported the core message.

The result was a deck that has proven itself to be great companion to the overall presentation, a successful first round of investments.

Immediately thereafter, the CEO headed to a gas/energy conference for meetings with a different audience (energy company analysts and engineers). We pulled several slides from the investor deck and updated slides from an existing presentation. A thorough “going over” to ensure overall design consistency was needed…all under very tight deadline.

The result for this hybrid deck was highly receptive. Contracts [close to being] signed and GasTechno has been awarded funds from new technology grants on state and national levels.

Congratulations to GasTechno Energy and Fuels, especially Walt and the opportunity to part of the company’s new launch this year. Much continued success!

“Anana” Presentation Template ~ Free

Chicago’s extreme cold temperatures the past few days, which BTW were preceded by several inches of snow. Where ever you are…stay warm and dry.

My family and I have been relocated to a hotel while our apartment/condo is rehabbed following a burst steam heating pipe burst in our neighbor’s unit (on New Year’s Day (about 3:00 a.m.!).

This month’s free Powerpoint template was inspired by Anana the polar bear who resides at Lincoln Park Zoo. I live across the street the from the zoo. Anana is one of my stops whenever I’m strolling through the zoo. Anana had to be taken inside during the recent arctic blast since she doesn’t have the underlying layers to keep her body protected from the extreme cold. 

I look forward to seeing Anana in the when I get to go back to my condo.

Secrets of Self-Publishing Presentation December 19th

Are you an aspiring author looking for a publisher? 

Look no further than the closest mirror! 

I will be leading a class and discuss to help you simplify the self-publishing system, whether you’re excited about e-books or hard-nosed about hard copies. 

You’ll learn about a wide variety of author services, DIY tools and creative platforms while deciding which method of print and distribution fits your circulation aspirations. And the best part is, you’ll love who you’re working with: yourself!

This free class will be held at one of the community classrooms at Next Door Cafe in Chicago. We’ll begin at 6:30p and I’m planning on leaving enough time for Q&A. Next Door Cafe is located at 659 West Diversey. 

In case you can’t make this live event, I have prepared an, Self Publishing: Navigating the Process; loaded with description of service providers, tools and pages of resources. 

Available for viewing/downloading via Slideshare.