Sunday, December 27, 2009


Sapphire Designs

This week I’d like you to meet the famous Jenn J owner and graphic artist of this wonderful company.

You all saw a few weeks ago the changes that were done to my blog page. This is the lady who made that change happen, and with that change, Jenn J of Sapphire Designs changed my life as an author. So, I’m devoting this week’s blog to young writers and published authors…who want to improve their sites and make publishers and agents notice them. To writers and authors who want to let the world know they are serious about their life in the publishing world.

They say the first impression is the only chance you get to impress…I believe that’s true. So why do some many of us writers and authors settle for the standard blog formatted page?

Being that most of us are starving artist…cost will be the first thing at the top of most of our lists. But did you know Sapphire Designs has a special price package for authors? Well, YES, they do!

Here, let’s just get it straight from Jenn J’s mouth. Her motto is “Sapphire Designs, your resource for professional graphic design for less. We maintain and create websites for hundreds less than most companies out on the market today. You can get professional design for less!

Jenn, can you tell us what special price packages you have for Authors?

Hi Hawk and first of all let me say a big thanks for having me here! Yes, we have special pricing for authors in both Website Packages and Blog Packages as well.

Oh, web as well -- I didn't know. Can you tell us about that?

My website packages start from $275.00 and up. Now, I understand that may sound a little steep but when compared to other designer sites, you will see they start at $695 and can run into the thousands very quickly at most other designers sites. That’s a big discount.

OMG, I'd say! That's a $420.00 savings!

As far as a blog set up, a simple header can start at $10.00 (depending on the look the client wants and how many pictures are required) and go up from there. Then, if the client wants to redesign their whole blog look, that can starts as low as $50.00 dollars for a simple package and go up from there as well.

Jenn, I have to say, in my opinion a fifty dollars starting price for a complete blog redesign is very reasonable.

Thank you, Hawk. I want to be fair to my clients and give them the professional look they want without breaking the bank.

Your packages deals are awesome, and by doing this you're allowing any author or start up writer to begin her journey on a very professional foot…presenting herself in the same light as your more well known clients like actress JANE SEYMOUR,

National Best Selling Author JO GOODMAN,

Night Owl Romance, Elizabeth Amber

Covers and signature card






J.M. Warwick as well as JULIE PALELLA just to name a few.

As a Graphics Designer can you tell us the impact one of your designed headers or footers can have on our career opposed to the standard format of the average blog’s header?

In promoting, it is all about image and how many ways you can grab your viewers. It is about getting them to hang on from the very first second they click on your page. You want to entice them to stay at your place instead of surfing off somewhere else. If you can draw their eyes from the first moment they see your page, you've got them. They will stay longer and read more about what your place has to offer.

This is so true. I noticed on the day we made my page change my hit counts went from 10 a day to over 100.

Ah, I'm happy to hear that Hawk. You always want your place to look better and be more inviting; especially to new visitors. You want them to feel like they have a place they will want to come back to visit over and over again. Good strong imagery helps you do just that.

I have to admit, I never thought to incorporate me into everything on my blog…When you put the HAWK into my header it tied me, the author, to that header…you created a theme that an Agent and Publisher would notice. By doing that you gave my readers an identifying hook to me.

I’m glad you liked that. I thought it would be a good creative way to show part of you in the actual graphic. After all that’s what you want your page to reflect the most is you and what your writing is all about. So, since you go by Hawk what better image to put on there but a beautiful Hawk soaring in the sky.

Ah, that's so sweet. I really love the connection.

I loved the Signature Cards you create. Can you tell us the importance of that for an author?

A signature card should, I think, personify the person using it. It should convey an image they want people to associate with them. For example, as soon as your followers see your signature card, they will immediately think – Hawk’s place!

Even if they didn’t see your name, they would see the feather and associate the two together. You want something there that says “This is what I like, this is me!”

Is the signature card as important as the logo design for an author?

In my opinion, the signature card does play an important role in keeping in line with the image you put out there. I feel that the combination of your banner, your signature card, how clean and organized your page is and easy and clear navigation on your page makes a very impressive and user friendly package.

And remember, when a reader finishes with your post, the last thing they see will be your signature card, because hopefully they are reading your comments and posting their own. You want that last image you send them to be a memorable one.

I can’t agree with you more. Can you tell us a wee bit about Sapphire Designs? Obviously, you’ve been in business a long time to get the clients you have….or was it the fabulous designs you make that made your company an OVERNIGHT success?

It’s a very funny story actually and very improbably how it started. I have always loved drawing and painting and I’ve done so since I can remember. When I learned how to make graphics and paintings digitally it was like a whole new world was opened up for me. There were so many things I could do and put together so much faster and easier than I could on regular paper and canvas.

Also, I could work with photos of my favorite people and celebrities. So, I started making desktop wallpapers and screensavers of my favorite movie and tv stars and shows etc. just for my own personal use. I eventually thought I would share a few with my friends so I posted some that I had up on my personal website.
Then one day...I received an email one day from the webmaster at Friends of Jane (Jane Seymour’s site) about several of my Dr. Quinn and Jane wallpapers that I had done and had on my site. She absolutely loved them and wanted to know if they could put them on their site. I was beyond thrilled needless to say but then I was totally blown away when she asked if I would like to design the cover for Jane’s Calendar that they would be offering on the FOJ site that year. I said a hearty and resounding yes and that was the start of my designing career. I learned more about Html and took some classes and then I opened up Sapphire Designs. I have since been very blessed to work with so many talented and wonderful people. Some of whom I am a big fan of so it’s been a total blast go get to work with them.

Kind of funny but yes, its true Jane Seymour started my career! LOL. She’s a very sweet and very beautiful woman. I’ve had the great privilege of meeting her twice now. She is so personable and genuine she is a true lady in every sense of the word.

So see, let that be a lesson to you, being a big fan can pay off big time when you least expect it. Shoot for those dreams because you never know when they will come calling!

That's an awesome story Jenn! I've always been a fan of Jane's too! She's such a beautiful woman.

Tell me now, to do my footer and header you combined several photos, does that cost more to do than if you were to use a single image shot? (I don’t know this answer because Cecile gave me the header, footer, signature card and me avatar image as a Christmas gift…so I have to ask for my readers.)

It does cost a little more than just a single image shot because I used several stock images to create this one. I get my stock images from various places on the web that I have subscriptions with. Most of the images for regular Web are very affordable and when combined together they can really make some stunning pictures.

There are actually four different photos in this one that I did for your blog header, and I combined them along with some digital painting to make them all mesh together nicely. I think it turned out pretty well.

OMG - it turned out better than “Pretty well” It turned out AWESOMELY WELL!

So there had to be five pictures used in the footer you did for me, right?

The way you and I worked; I gathered several type of pictures I thought represented me as an author, so you’d have an idea of what I wanted for my header and footer. As well, I sent you pictures of colors and images of people in positions I liked. From those few shots you were able to “FEEL” me and know exactly what I wanted and needed as a professional. You immediately got an idea of what I wanted and created my header and footer and signature card, as well as my button (avatar image) to match. Is this how you always work with your clients?

Most of the time yes it’s exactly like that. Some come to me with a very clear image of what they are wanting right from the start. However, most clients haven’t really decided exactly what they want just yet. So I ask them to send me some photos if they have them or tell me what they would like to see for their site. I also ask their favorite colors and what they want others to feel and see when they come to their site or blog, and we go from there.
I try to use their descriptions and images if they send them to get a feel for the direction that they want to go in. And then I make up some drafts for them to take a look at and once we nail down what kind of image they want to go for then I start to work on getting their final graphics ready for them.

I can not stress enough the importance of communication with my client. I want them to walk away completely satisfied with their design.

I know you’re in high demand, but authors usually need to have things done fast, will your busy schedule allow you to take on more clients at this time?

I always try my best to get back with each and everyone that contacts me within 48 hours no matter what. (Most of the time I am able to answer them within 24 but not always; so I say 48 to be safe.) Then depending on my schedule - I can start work most of the time within a week of their contacting me, if not sooner. I always try to be very punctual in getting back to everyone.

How long does something like this take?

For your blog I actually finished it all in one night. I can get a lot done in just an hour even on graphics. So for most blogs, I can get a lot done in a day or two at the most once I get started.

Are you willing to work with authors and do a little at a time? Like one month do a header and then the following month their footer, and two months later they can come back and do a signature card? Or does it all have to be done at once?

I’m very flexible and very willing to work with the client however and whenever is best for them. My family and I live on a budget, so I know what it’s like to have to watch what and how you spend your money. I try to work with my client to fit what their needs are within their own budgets.

Together, we can stretch it out as long as they need to get what they are wanting done. So, if they want their header done now, we can do that. Then come back later to do a signature and avatar etc. that’s more than fine with me. I’m happy to give them whatever they need. My goal is make my client completely happy with all the services I provide, no matter the time frame.

This is nice to hear. In today’s world it is not always easy to find a company who will make their clients a PRIORITY.

If an author chooses to do it all at once do you have a reasonable price package deal for that?

Yes, I have different packages available; however, I don’t like to set everything in stone because no job is the same. Every client is going to want different things; everyone’s design needs are going to be different and will vary from the set “packages” most of the time.

Plus, I don’t want to limit what someone wants if they want to mix and match stuff up. Say they want a header and a promotional banner but they really like their signature the way it is and don’t really need an avatar. I want to make sure I get them what they want and that I’m not making them feel like they have to get another signature and pay for that when they really don’t want or need it. That’s just a waste and I want to make sure that everyone that I work for is ultimately happy in every way – with not only their design but the experience in getting that design as well.

Can you tell me the other services Sapphire Designs offer?

• Book covers as you see above and at the start of this interview.

Magazine like this one.

CD and DVD cover design, Illustration

• Logo design
• Product Packaging design
• Web page design and setup
• Business card design
• Image retouching and finishing
• Tech support
• Assistance with hosting and domain setups
And much more...

You name it and I’ve done it with Graphic Design or Art. I have done a lot of portrait drawings
and different kinds of paintings, I’ve worked on everything from personalized family wallpapers/desktops and screensavers,

to children’s book illustration to wedding websites and scrapbooks. I have even worked on a few product packaging jobs and done numerous Books,

and websites of all shape and sizes and I’ve even designed a tattoo or two in my time, lol. So nothing is too large or small.

And if you want to personalize your Avatar I can do that too...just like I did for you Hawk.

Client satisfaction is my highest priority. I want all of my clients to be completely satisfied with their designs. Because it’s not only their look it reflects on me as well and I want to make sure that every design that is done is one we can both be proud of.
For those who are interested in showing a more professional side, a side to help sell you as a writer and author, contact SAPPIRE DESIGNS and ask for Jenn J.

Thank you all for coming to visit this week. I hope I’ve given you a guiding light on a path for a more professional image for you as a writer/author and your blogs. As you can see, it’s an investment that’s as important to make, as making sure you’ve got a perfect manuscript to send before you mail it out…well, your blog is the next thing that speaks for you as a writer or author…let it speak volumes…you’ll never get a second chance to impress! ;-)

Jenn, thank you for coming by and answering all our questions…if anyone wants to comment, will you be willing to drop in and answer any questions they might have?

Thank you for having me Hawk it was a true pleasure being here! I had a lot of fun. And absolutely I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions anyone has!

Cecile… Thank you for the guiding light you gave me as an author…you opened a whole new world to me and I now see just how important the look of my blog is to my career! Xoxox

~~~From Cecile, Hawk you are more than welcome. You and I are such kinder spirits… Birds of a feather, flock together… We shall see your site soar my friend!!! XOXO! Cecile~~~

Hugs to all…now go get busy and make that call to Sapphire Designs…why not start at the top and kick your career into gear….get her done! You’ll be surprised at the hits the new looking blog will get!

Testimonial #1: I absolutely love the website that you designed for my new business. I never would have thought...
-- Tracee DeShields
Testimonial #2: I just wanted to tell you how pleased I am with my website. I couldn’t have asked...
-- Julie Palella
Testimonial #3: I gave Jennifer an idea of what I wanted, and in less than an hour she had...
-- Katherine Warwick
Testimonial #4: We are extremely please in our working relationship with Jennifer. The graphics...
-- Barry Mcgee Gemstones-Jewelry "


Blodeuedd said...

Interesting post, she has sure done a lot and she did an amazing job on your page :D

Jes' Mysictal Treasures said...

Just a drop by...will drop in later to comment...just adding a link.


Houston A.W. Knight said...


Hey sweetie! Oh, I'm thrilled with the's amazing, the day I changed my header my hit count went up!

I'm happy with the more professional look to my blog...Jenn grabbed the inner me and put it on cyber space so Agents and Publishers can see I'm serious about my work as a writer.

I couldn't be was the best gift ever from me sweet Cecile...and JennJ knows her business!
Well, I think the interview and her work speaks for itself, don't you?


Houston A.W. Knight said...


Big cyber know I adore you!


M.V.Freeman said...

All I have to say is, I certainly want to Hire Jenn J to re-do my wesite when the time arrives.

It's affordable and lovely! I am impressed, I love the colors and how it flows. Plus, how there is an instinctual understanding of each and every author/personality she designs for, that is a true gift.

Thank you for all the info, and I am gathering my pennies together...

Eliza March said...

Great interview and your blog looks fantastic, Hawk.

Wonderful work, Jenn J!

Eliza M.

Vicki said...

Wow, I knew Jenn did amazing work just from seeing your blog, but had no idea what all she's done.

Great interview and although you already know, I love the new look. It totally ROCKS!!

Julianna Sage said...

I am duly impressed! Beautiful site work, Jenn J. I love Hawk's great new look!

Cecile said...

**waving to both of you ~ JennJ & Hawk**
You know I think the place rocks, lol!!!
Great interview ladies!!!!
I hope everyone had a great weeked!

JennJ said...

Hi Everyone! I wanted to say a big thank you to you all for your kind words on my work. It's always nice to hear that people like what I've done. Though Hawk I'm not sure how famous I am LOL, but you are too sweet for thinking that. :)

And a big thank Hawk again for having me here. It was a lot of fun and you are a true sweetheart it was a pleasure working with you!

JennJ said...

Hi M.V.! You just let me know hon whenever you are ready. I would love to work with you. :) And I'll do my best to make your dreams for your site come true. :)

JennJ said...

Cecile girl you are too sweet thanks so much again, and BIG Hugs to you!!!!!! Hope you had a great weekend too

Houston A.W. Knight said...


Thank you for the complement on my new face...Jenn does do amazing work, doesn't she. Just awesome!
And so affordable too! I couldn't believe you could get all this done for so little.

Oh and what a pleasure to work with her...she was so easy to talk to. A very "IN TUNE" lady!

OH! M.V. you have a new photo as your button! Very nice...I like it.

I hope you had a great holiday! And May your New Year be the best!

Cyber HUGS!

Houston A.W. Knight said...


Hey Hon...woohoo, so glad you dropped by! Jenn is awesome isn't she...and you wouldn't belive how my hit counts jumped up after the changes! It's AMAZING!

Happy New Year to you Sweetie!

Houston A.W. Knight said...


I think Jenn's work speaks for's an amazing job she did...and not just for me. To see her work ~ shows she does it for all her people.


Houston A.W. Knight said...


It's beautiful work I agree...but the result of that work to the writer is I was telling's just as Jenn said in the article "if you create a blog people like to look at, they'll be back..." That's what happened to me blog! The results show in my hit counter. Remember the last time we met what my number was...and after the change...look at it now. My mouth hits the floor every mornin'....and all from a little change.

Like I said, it's well worth the investment to impress your boss! Let them know, you're a pro and you're ready to go when they publish you. It all goes back to Image.


Houston A.W. Knight said...


Ah...the girl I own this wonderful change to! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

I can't thank you enough! You're something else, darlin' - you've opened me eyes to so much in just the short time we've known each other! (((((HUGS)))))

OH...I so love the changes to your button! I like you name being on it, way cool!
And the last I was at your site I saw some changes there too...Girl's go take a peek!'re an amazingly awesome woman! I adore you!


Houston A.W. Knight said...


Hon - I could rave about you for eternity and're work is that GREAT!

Babe, don't you know...your reaction to fame is normal... those that are famous usually don't see themselves as famous. LOL, but take me word...ya' are! Every body whose any body knows that!

I have to tell you I really enjoyed working with you. I loved the connection we made and I know we'll continue to have an awesome friendship. I adore you too hon!

Cyber hugs

Leontine said...

Jenn, I am drolling at some of the things you did, ab-fab stuff hon and loved to get an in-depth view of how you got to do this work, I already know HOW you work *grin*

HAWK's banner was one fo the first things I noticed and kept staring at, such a dynamic header and so very HAWK. It got me to contact you with my own request for an avatar. Thanks for doing this interview HAWK, I loved every question of it!

Leontine said...

*sigh* drolling??? Come on, I know it is monday but drolling? I meant drooling! And fo = of...

I really hope my new keyboard (which I'm going to buy today) is going to reduce typo's...I so really do not like them!

Houston A.W. Knight said...


First I love your new button! It's so cute!

LOL, Leontine....Drolling on this site is allowed! Heck, it's my site and I'm still drolling! Honestly, I come back during the day just to look at it - it's so beautiful!

Like you, I was amazed at Jenn's talents.

Oh, my banner! Jenn just got ME as a person when she did that. It's ME all the way. The mystery of me, the guiding path of me, the color of me, the secret of romance in my soul and me flight of spirit. It's all me.

I honestly can't tell you how she "KNOWS" me so well from the little I sent her...but she does.

OMG! You contacted Jenn already? AWESOME!!! OH, an avatar? Is Jenn creating one or is she doing a personalized pic of you? As you can see, Jenn did both a creation of one for me and a personalized one too. I love them both!

Ah, you're very welcome. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview. When Cecile did this for eyes were opened to the need for this on every writer's and reviewer's blog's a must for those who want to stand out and above everyone else in a very competitive business like ours.

Now you have to show off that new avatar when you get it!

Hugs Sweetie!

Pixie said...

Terrific interview, Hawk and Jenn J. You already know how wonderful I think your site is. It's amazing the things that can be done with computer's and Jenn J. sure has some mad skills in that department.

Good job ladies.


Houston A.W. Knight said...


Hey Sweetie! Glad you stopped in! Thanks for the nice words about my new look...and I agree with you - Jenn is awesome person who does fab work!


M.V.Freeman said...

Jenn J...
I am so looking forward to it! If I ever get a book deal, I am coming to you immediately!!!!!!!!!!!

Glad you like the pict, I'm always changing! LOL
And I am SO glad you told us about Jenn, in tune, is a gift! I hope your New Year is gracious and lovely....

You are the catalyst to bringing this wonderful talent in to focus, so I am thanking you too. :-)

Hugs to all, back to my writing....(procrastinating...LOL)

Houston A.W. Knight said...


In your pic - You look so different! BUT I LIKE IT - I like the new look!

(((I am so looking forward to it! If I ever get a book deal, I am coming to you immediately!!!!!))))

Consider how it might also help you get a book sold. Image is important in this biz.

((((Hawk,I am SO glad you told us about Jenn, in tune, is a gift!)))

Ah...honey...that's so sweet of you to say. But I have to give credit to Cecile...if she hadn't gifted the change to me I wouldn't have known...I mean I've always loved Jenn's button...I drooled every time I saw it...really, but I would have never dreamed I could have had such a header and sig card and all that...So, I pass that beautiful THANK YOU on to Cecile!
(((HUGS Baby Cecile)))

(((I hope your New Year is gracious and lovely....)))

Thank you M.V. and I send me thoughts and wishes to you as well...have FUN tonight!


elaing8 said...

great post.Jenn is very talented.

Happy New Year!!!