What colour combinations work best?

posted in: Design | 0

Little known fact, but Pantone choose a ‘Color for the Year‘ and for 2018 it is Ultra Violet. If you follow that link and scroll down you’ll also find the previous year’s colours.

What is great about this is they also suggest very useful colour combinations in their Tools for Designers, organised by mood. Allowing everyone to be ‘on trend’ this year.

Colours change with the seasons and also over the years to reflect fashion, global design influences and the idea of what feels ‘modern’ and ‘classic.

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How to setup internal page sizes to support bleed with KDP Print on Demand

Very technical question, but if on the pages of a book you want the image or the lines to extend to the end of the page (the trim) then you need to use something called bleed where you size the document larger than the trim size AND you images or lines extend past the trim size.

Short answer:

Format your PDF manuscript at 0.25” (6 mm) higher and 0.125” (3 mm) wider than your selected trim size in order to print the full bleed area.

There is some discussion about this topic here. One persons suggests it should also be 0.25” (6 mm), that is every edge (top, bottom, left, right) should extend by 0.125” (3 mm). E.g a 6×9 inch book for bleed needs a 6.25 x 9.25 inch file. But that seems to be counter to the official advice of:

If you want your images to bleed to the edges of your pages, extend them 0.125” (3 mm) beyond the normal trim size from the top, bottom, and outer edges for your manuscript, and on all edges for a cover. E.g. 6.125 x 9.25 inch file.

But it could be that having the extension of 0.125” (3 mm) on each edge to make 0.25” (6 mm) overall is just simply to control. E.g. a 6×9 inch book with bleed needs a file 6.25 x 9.25 inches.

And KDP’s Paperback Publishing guidelines are available here.


Also useful to note:

Line Width

If your book contains lines (i.e., a chart, table or graphic element), give the lines a minimum thickness/weight of 0.75 point or 0.01” (0.3 mm) to ensure they appear in print.

Grayscale Fill

If you‘ve selected black ink & white paper for a book containing gray backgrounds, we recommend a minimum grayscale ll of 10%.

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Introducing English to 8 year old children in school for the first time. A fun lesson plan about England and language.

These are talking points I used when I visited a class of 8 year olds in Finland who are just starting out with their first English lessons. The purpose is for them to ‘meet’ a real person from England and to get excited about learning English. That and some free candy should help them think English is a fun language to learn. Supporting objects: Union Jack flag, old school blazer, old school tie, bag of fudge/toffee (the most important thing).


There are lots of blank spacing lines in this article, so it can be revealed topic by topic on the classroom projector.




Up. Down


Yes. No


My name is …

(what is your name)






Let’s count numbers

How old are you?

I am …







I’m English

I’m from London.






This is my flag

The British flag or Union Jack represents the countries of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom.








Say them often and say them LOUD.







Children at school in England wear a uniform

Get 2 volunteers. One wears the blazer the other the tie.

Photo source: http://st-clementdanes.westminster.sch.uk

primary school blazer and tie uniform uk – Google Image Search







These countries speak English. Anyone know the names of these countries?

english speaking countries flags – Google Image Search

(and many more countries, like Jamaica etc)







Distance from Laitila (Finland) to London

distance from Laitila to London – Google Search

Suomi is called Finland in English. 1 and half days driving!







Let’s look at the weather here and in London








London Transport

Red bus. Double decker bus.






London Underground train. The Tube.

London Transport – Google Image Search







Big Ben

Parliament is a very similar word in Finnish. Big Ben is the bell at the top of the clock.

Big Ben – Google Image Search






What do English houses look like?

This is where my parents live.






English Breakfast

Bacon is a similar word in Finnish.

English Breakfast – Google Image Search






Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips – Google Image Search








Toffee – Google Image Search








Fudge – Google Image Search

Toffee is pronounced/said differently in Finland. Toffee is soft in Finland, but is generally hard and sticky in England. What Finnish people call toffee we call fudge. (this shows a little bit differences and highlights “Finnish way” of saying some English words). The Finnish Omar sweets are quite similar to fudge.

Let’s try some. Let’s eat some.


Thank you


Many thanks

Thank you very much






Days of the week

Say them often and say them LOUD.

Days of the week – Google Image Search






Months of the year

Say them often and say them LOUD.

Months of the year – Google Image Search


Any questions?




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What size paperbacks can you produce with KPD Print on Demand

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

The quick answer:


5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
5.06″ x 7.81″ (12.85 x 19.84 cm)
5.25″ x 8″ (13.34 x 20.32 cm)
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm) Typical large paperback size, so called most popular
6.14″ x 9.21″ (15.6 x 23.39 cm)
6.69″ x 9.61″ (16.99 x 24.4 cm)
7″ x 10″ (17.78 x 25.4 cm)
7.44″ x 9.69″ (18.9 x 24.61 cm)
7.5″ x 9.25″ (19.05 x 23.5 cm) My favourite larger size
8″ x 10″ (20.32 x 25.4 cm) Very commonly used by other book producers on Amazon for large items
8.5″ x 11″ (21.59 x 27.94 cm) Nearly A4 (A4 is 21.0 x 29.7cm, 8.27 x 11.69 inches)
8.25″ x 6″ (20.96 x 15.24 cm) Short spine and wide pages
8.25″ x 8.25″ (20.96 x 20.96 cm) My preferred square format.
8.5″ x 8.5″ (21.59 x 21.59 cm)


But, also possible:

If you want a different trim size, click “Select a different size” from the “Print Options” section and choose from Standard and Non-standard Trim sizes.

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Where can you get a list of HTML codes for using in KDP book descriptions?

The quick link to KDP is:


The ones I commonly use are:

<br> to create line break. I usually use 2 of them <br><br> to create a line break AND a blank line.

<strong></strong> for bolding text.

<i></i> for italic text.

<hr> creates a horizontal line across the page. I don’t currently use this but may in the future.

<ul> Creates a bulleted list from enclosed items, each of which is identified by a <li> tag. So that would be

<ul><li>my bullet</li></ul>

How to use these is explained reasonably well here:

How To Use HTML To Format KDP Kindle Book Descriptions


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Ways to Display Tweets on Your WordPress site

So the question is: ways to display Tweets on your WordPress site.

Ways to display Tweets on your WordPress site - Adrian Colin Doyle

Twitter itself provides you with a free and effective way of displaying your Tweets on your WordPress site. They just keep it a bit hidden from you.

  1. Click on you profile image (circle top right hand corner in your Twitter window)
  2. Click Settings and privacy
  3. On the left hand menu, cluck Widgets
  4. Click Create new button and choose Profile
  5. When prompted for ‘what would you like to embed’ give your Twitter handle, like @newbookcentral
  6. Choose Embedded Timeline for display options
  7. Instantly Twitter will produce a line of HTML code that you can copy and then paste to your WordPress webpage, using your normal page editor, but make sure you are editing in TEXT mode.

For WordPress plugins I’m still researching this, but for now the possibles are:

  • Rotating Tweets (Twitter widget and shortcake) – useful for putting a latest tweets rotating section at the foot of each blog post or article.
  • Feed Them Social – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Pinterest, etc by SlickRemix – my possible goto solution. But be aware that many of its features require the Premium version costing you approx $40.
  • Easy Twitter Feed Widget Plugin – WARNING seems to no longer work, included only because a lot of google search results seem to suggest the plugin, but they are out of date.

And to automatically post to Twitter from your WordPress:

  • WP to Twitter – I have yet to test this.


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How to Setup Contact Form 7 for WordPress

posted in: WordPress | 0

I’ll keep this short and to the point about how to setup Contact Form 7 for WordPress.

How to setup Contact Form 7 in WordPress - Adrian Colin Doyle

First of all install and activate the plugin.

On the left hand side of your WordPress admin screen / console a new menu has been added called Contact. You’ll find it below Comments.

After installation you’ll have ‘Contact form 1’ already created for you, and it comes with a shortcode that you can copy and use later on the page where you want to display the form, i.e. on your contact page. The shortcode will look something like this: contact-form-7 id=”18″ title=”Contact form 1″ and be surrounded by [ ] brackets.

Click edit on the Contact form 1 entry. You’ll be able to see some tabs called:

  • Form
  • Mail
  • Messages
  • Additional Settings

You can change these all later, but just check that the Mail tabs is showing ‘To:’ email address that you recognise.

Now go and create a new page called contact and include in that page the shortcode for Contact Form 7 that includes the square brackets, such as this example: [contact-form-7 id=”18″ title=”Contact form 1″]

Publish that page and test it by sending a message as user would. Then check in your email account that the image was received. Job done.

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Useful Websites for Finding Photographs for Blogs

posted in: Blogging, Photography | 0

What use is a website, blog or social media post without images to illustrate it? Colour or black and white, vector graphic or photograph, simple flat design or an awe-inspiring picture quote at times we need one or all of these. Luckily here is a short list of Useful Websites for Finding Photographs for Blogs. Vector graphics and picture quotes will have to wait for another day.

Useful Websites for Finding Images for Blogs - Adrian Colin Doyle
When you need photographs. A Camera with female.



Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What kind of photo do you need? My favourite goto source for photographs is pixabay.com. Their images can be used for free, for any purpose and the range and quality of their images always amazes me.


Camera lens and prints - Adrian Colin Doyle
Camera lens and prints. The black and white experience.


Manipulating Images

I’m a big fan of cropping images, turning them into black and white or sepia images. Another ‘trick’ I like is fading the colour saturation 20% or so to set a certain ‘mood’ for a blog article. When used across many images in the same blog or article that can unify the images and yet leave the ‘visual’ focus on the text.


Male Photographer - Adrian Colin Doyle
Male Photographer with background blurred / focus on foreground.


I also like to set the focus on one part of an image (such as the eyes) and blur the rest of the image. In the photo above I haven’t done any editing on the image, the photographer himself se the focus on the lens in the foreground. One of these days I may write another article about how I do image manipulation.


Choosing the appropriate image

Photographer with legs - Adrian Colin Doyle
Got your attention? Female photographer with legs that go on and on.


A picture paints a thousand words is often quoted and we can extend that by saying the appropriate image will gain attention and an inappropriate image may impact you negatively.

All the images in this article were chosen from pixabay.com. I selected only 4 from a list of over 100 images. I could imagine using them for:

  • a blog article thumbnail / featured image
  • a magazine article about photography
  • in material to support a training course on photography
  • a book cover for a YA romance novel

Why os these photographs do you like best and why?

I’ve just realised that this article on Useful Websites for Finding Photographs for Blogs has only included one website. So here’s another: unsplash.com which rightly describes itself as containing beautiful, free photos, gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers. If you want coffee-table book style photographs to inspire then that’s the site for you.

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Blog Content Ideas for 2017

posted in: Journal, Life | 0

So what am I going to write about? Well here is my un-planned and off-the-cuff list of blog content ideas for 2017. I may or may not write about these, and no doubt there will be additions and resets to this list.

Blog Content Ideas for 2017


You may or may not know this, but this site (like many, many others) use WordPress to do lots of things. I write the posts in WordPress, which is a bit like on online word processor or very similar to any web based email client.

How you setup WordPress is super important. The default installation looks kind of boring, has some old-fashioned defaults for things like the URL/web addresses (permalinks in WordPress) that get created when you create a new blog post. There are quite a few ‘need to knows’ when setting up a WordPress blog.

Then there are themes which control how the site looks. In a second you can make your site look very 1990s, ultra modern, up with the latest styles, functional, wacky or just good old useful. With so may themes out there it really is a case of making a choice between the good the bad and the ugly. This site uses a theme, my other sites use themes which may or may not be the same. Themes can be free or paid (premium). Its useful to know where to get useful themes and what to think about when choosing one.

Next are plugins. These extend basic WordPress and add some clever functionally that helps the reader, the blog writer or the site administrator.

There are thousands or hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes and plugins. Am I boring you already? Probably. But there are a few technical things a blogger needs to know or be aware of, so I might blog about that. Helps me at least as then I can look something up again in the future when I need those details again.

Business Failures

Okay failures is a strong word. But there are plenty of lessons that can be learned by looking back at what didn’t work for me. Experience is a collection of failures and success viewed through the prism of time, so I think it is a topic worth writing about.

Camera - Adrian Colin Doyle

Memories and Past Experience

Confession time: as I write this I’m forty-five years (45) old. I’m not one hundred percent sure how that actually happened and feel I should demand a recount. But as a child of the 70s there are things I lived through that have stuck in my mind and might be worth remembering for prosperity. Diary style. Maybe.


Again this could be age related. But I’m thinking I can probably write a little about the music and songs I like or have enjoyed. The kind you hum in the shower, or ones that fire the imagination or bring nostalgic memories of the world at that time.

Business Ideas

Writing about the now and business ideas or approaches for the future

Affiliate Marketing

What? Well its the fuel that makes many a web entrepreneurs wheels spin around. Not so exciting, but can be useful to some readers

Kindle Publishing

I love working as a book producer. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a book you have worked or collaborated on hit the shelves. Well there is something better and that is seeing the paperback version available, but that is another story. Concepts, plots, writing, editing, layout, book cover design, descriptions, promotion: its not all drinking Starbucks and book signings!

Youtube Video Production

This is a new topic for me. As part of my simplybetterenglish.com site I’ve been exploring and learning how to produce home studio videos. Think lighting, sound, camera, production editing etc.


Like memories this probably touches on diary style. I don’t like to broadcast my life on social media and I’m very private about my family’s right to privacy. So I’m thinking here more about semi philosophical points, observations on life and those ideas that are (maybe) worth sharing.

What Else?

Let me know in the comments what you’d like me to write about (but please no adverts for pharmacies, hair products etc ;)). Thanks.


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