Wednesday, May 20, 2015

26 Reasons a Writer Should Blog - Part 2

Do you really need to blog?

We're looking at 26 reasons why the answer to that question is a resounding


There's nothing worse than facing a blank screen with a deadline. 

"The post is due up in one hour's time and I have no idea what to write about!" 

Ever been there? I have. Often. 

Hopefully, never again. I've learned to plan in advance. Let's move on to our next four reasons for writers to blog so you can learn this too. 

4.      D is for Decision

  • Decide on a theme for a series of blog posts. Decide how often you will post. This allows you to plan ahead. This also teaches you to look forward to what comes next in your writing journey. 
  • Decide on ways to make your posts multitaskUse your posts in other ways. For example, are you a devotional writer? I am responsible for the Friday Devotional slot on the International Christian Fiction Writers (ICFW). I also send out a devotional email, Closer Walk with God, to all who sign up for a weekly message of encouragement. After writing the series of 26 posts for the Out of Africa Blogging Challenge, I was able to produce 20 devotional messages from the contents of the blog posts in record time. These are already scheduled for both the above markets. Are you writing a novel? Decide how you can make your blog "work for you" as you explore your locations* or get to know your characters. 
  • Decide on whether you can first explore a topic via a blog. Perhaps you want to write a book or an article on the topic. By first writing a series of blog posts, you will see how much material you have, how well your ideas work out, and what potential the material has for further use.   

5.      E is for Enthusiasm

  • Remember when writing was fun? It can be fun again. I’ll be honest, my blog have been sorely neglected. There is always something more urgent demanding my attention. Do I hear an Amen? Once you have a clear goal in mind and you've decided what you're going to write about, you will find yourself growing in enthusiasm.
  • Let your mind play with ideas. While working on the A to Z theme for of Out of Africa, I found myself constantly thinking over what I could say for the different letters. Should O be about the Ostrich or the Okavango? (Ostrich won!) P? Should that be Penguin or Port Elizabeth? (Port Elizabeth it was.) When you allow your mind to play, your regular posting will rekindle your enthusiasm for writing for the sheer joy of being able to express yourself in words.
  • Let your fingers do the talking! Forget about editing. Ignore grammar rules. Don't worry about spelling. Just get those words down. Be enthusiastic about what you want to say. After you've finished, time to call in the grammar police and the rest of the gang. Edit your work and make it fit for human consumption. 

6.     F is for Free

  • It costs you nothing to blog apart from your time. Various sites offer you free blogging facilities. Writers on the Move is hosted on which is totally free and offers bloggers a wide variety of resources. Not only is blogging free for the writer, it is also free for the reader. 
  • You are free to choose your topic. Thinking of writing a book? Try it out by drafting some chapter summaries, one per post. How about adding some personal anecdotes? Are you planning to start a new novel? How about blogging about your characters? for example, Marion Ueckermann's character, Adam Carter from Helsinki Sunrise, is interviewed by another author, Heidi McCahan on her blog. This offered free promotion to the book to Heidi McCahan's readers*, as well as a link to Marion's own blog. 
  • Readers are free to share their thoughts. End each post with a question that encourages them to respond to what you have written. If you're planning on using the material in some other way, their input may prove invaluable. This also helps them to identify with your material.

7.     G is for Google 

  • Google search engines start to find you when you blog regularly. They will share your material with the world. Your ranking will go up and more people will come and visit. As a writer, your name will become better known, as will your books.
  • Visitors will be drawn into other topics on your blog or website. My blog is built in such a way that every post I publish is also filed under whichever categories I want it to appear. Where blog posts tend to disappear into the archives, mine are always available to readers who look under the relevant topic. If you don't have this facility, you can add links down the side of your blog (see this site as an example).   
  • It’s easy to attract visitors to other articles on your blog through linking to articles in your archives. Use sub-headers and optimization to attract Google. (More on these topics later.) The more readers come across your name, the more interested they will become in you and your work. 

Can you think of ways you can use your blog material in other ways? Share them in a comment below. 


26 Reasons to blog - part 1: A - C
* Read the interview of Adam Carter, hero of Marion Ueckermann's Helsinki Sunrise
* Explore Finland, location of Marion Ueckermann's Helsinki Sunrise, in this blog post written for a blogging challenge.
Write More Often - Blog Faster

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband, Rob. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer, has brought encouragement and inspiration to a multitude of friends and contacts across the world.

Visit Shirley through where she encourages writers, or at where she encourages those in the cancer valley. You can also meet with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Sign up to receive a short devotional message from Shirley in your inbox once a week. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Writing Abundance!

So much written about the fact there are only 7 stories or themes for writers to work with.

1. Man against man
2. Man against nature
3. Man against himself
4. Man against God
5. Man against society
6. Man caught in the middle
7. Man and woman
                        Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

While there may only be 7 stories or themes, there is an abundance of ways to tell your story.

1. Characters: Create full-bodied characters. This means that while they may be handsome or pretty they could also have a mean streak. Or perhaps they are plain and have a deep reservoir of knowledge or compassion that makes them beautiful. Are they missing a limb, a moral high ground, or an education?

2. Word Choice: Surprise your reader each page. Work to use a little known or used word. Engage your readers. Word choice is the perfect way in which to do that. I find that reading my work out loud showcases the monotony of words and also the monotony of sounds used. Play with language and create something that stands out among the rest. As Ernest Hemingway said, "Use vigorous English."

3. Setting: Create your setting as you would a character. Give it depth. Give it a major role in the story. Work to incorporate your setting over and over again so that your reader never forgets where they are. Keep them grounded. As with all things in life, we each perceive a setting differently. The Wyoming mountains can be majestic or intimidating. The prairie vast or empty. Let your reader know how your character views their landscape in a way that opens your reader's eyes to a new way of thinking.

4.  Sentence structure: Find ways to use sentence structure to enhance your story. Vary lengths - long and short sentences. Vary paragraph length too. Use sentences in a way that they bind the reader to the story. Short sentences can increase anxiety - showcase action. Long sentences can create deep feelings.

Tell a story so that your reader never wants to leave it. Tell a story that engages, wraps your reader's emotions into a ball, pulls them inside out and makes them feel something - anger, fear, strength, love, hope, or promise.

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Serieswas written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole, and Perception.The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at

You can also follower her at or on Facebook.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Find the Missing Pieces to Your Freelance Writing Career Puzzle

by Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach

Creating a successful freelance writing career is a lot like putting together a puzzle. Unfortunately, many writers just never figure out all the pieces to that puzzle!

An appropriate business model is one of the BIGGEST pieces to any freelance writing career.

Have you included a specific business model in your career puzzle?

Or are you still trying to create your career by offering to write anything and everything for anyone and everyone?

Without a model to follow, you have no real focus for your business. Plus, you'll never establish yourself as a real expert in any one or two areas. You'll be known as a generalist instead of a specialist. And I don't know about you, but when I need help with something important, I don't look for a generalist. I search for a specialist! I'll bet most publishers and business owners who need writers do, too!

Choosing a Business Model

So how do you choose a business model that's right for you?

Well, first you list the types of writing you really LOVE to do.

Don't decide to follow a model for building a resume writing business, for example, if you just hate writing resumes!

Once you've made a list of the types of writing you love to do, then get some career training in the model that appeals to you.

If you like to blog, for example, find out how you can become a professional blogger!

If you want to use your writing skills to sell affiliate products, then learn how to do that.

If you want to become a children's writer, then take some courses in children's writing.

Include ALL the pieces needed for a successful freelance writing career if you hope to solve the entire puzzle.

Try it!
Suzanne Lieurance is an author, freelance writer, certified professional life coach and writing coach, speaker and workshop presenter. She has written over two dozen published books and hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines, and other publications. She coaches people who love to write build freelance writing careers through her Quick Start Freelance Writing program.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May Blogging Prompts

Happy Mother's Day! Whether you are a Mom, Mom-like, or a Dad who plays both roles, kudos to everyone who takes an active role in guiding others.

Speaking of guidance ...

While you may tend toward sharing wisdom from Mothers in May and Fathers in June, advice roundups on your blog can be done anytime of year.  

Just reach out to your favorite people in a profession (writers, marketers, business owners) or category (foodies, sports enthusiasts, entertainment lovers), and ask for a few lines to put in a round-up as an answer to a question. The topic, of course, should relate to your expertise.

For example:

  • What your favorite tip for writers block? 
  • What's the most important marketing platform and why?
  • What tool should all business owners use?
  • What's your favorite food/restaurant/recipe?
  • What's the best sport to watch? To play?
  • What can you learn from a (book/film/tv) series that you can apply to real life?

Once you get the response, choose the best ones to edit and compile into a blog post, along with your intro and conclusion. Be sure to like back to the blogs of the people you quote and tag them when you share on social channels.

What to stick with seasonal content, here are few more things you can blog about in May.


May Holidays: In addition to Mother's Day, May is Date Your Mate Month, National Bike Month and National Photograph Month. May 12 is Limerick Day, May 22 is Buy a Musical Instrument Day, May 25 is Tap Dance Day, May 27 is Sun Screen Day, and May 30 is Water a Flower Day.

May Food Holidays: May is National Barbecue Month, National Hamburger Month, and National Salad Month. May 11 is Eat What You Want Day, May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, May 19 is World Baking Day, May 25 is National Brown-Bag-It Day, and May 27 is National Grape Popsicle Day.

Bonus: Fiction writers, take your characters out on a picnic. Write a scene where your characters are enjoying a meal, in nature and away from technology, and see what they have to say. Extra points if you write this scene while you are sitting outside ... and having a picnic of your own.


Debra Eckerling is the author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. She's a writer, editor and project manager/goal coach, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. She is an editor at Social Media Examiner. Debra is also a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting and social media.

Friday, May 8, 2015

How Much Emphasis Should We Use?

Isn’t it frustrating, when you’re writing, to figure out how to emphasize a word or a phrase? When you were starting out, did you (like I did) put words in ALL CAPS or in bold or underlined, or maybe all of the above? Oh yes, and let’s not forget the exclamation point!!!! The more, the better, right?

All of these methods are red flags that point to an inexperienced writer. I’ve had editors tell me no more than four exclamation points in the entire manuscript. When you submit a manuscript, agents and publishers do not want to see all caps, bold, or excessive exclamation points.

Here is some sage advice from pros
“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.” Terry Pratchett

“We only live once, but once is enough if we do it right. Live your life with class, dignity, and style so that an exclamation, rather than a question mark signifies it!Gary Ryan Blair

When can you use an exclamation mark? 
“Fire!” Jane screamed. “Get out!” Fire is a good reason for emphasis, right? Well, maybe this is a little more than needed (two exclamation points plus "screamed.")

It’s better to show emphasis with action and dialogue. “I’ve had just about enough of this.” Maryann narrowed her eyes and turned to leave. (You can tell she’s not happy with the situation without adding any emphasis.)

You can emphasize a word with italics. But, use this method sparingly. Just like with exclamation marks, you don’t want to overload your manuscript. 

It used to be that editors wanted words underlined that were to be type-set in italic, but nowadays with computers, most accept and prefer italicized words. If you are submitting a manuscript, check your agent/publisher guidelines to see if they specify what they want.

So, for emphasis, challenge yourself to “show” the emotion you want to portray and try not to rely on the easy way out.

Anyone have any other ideas for emphasis?

A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, the sequel, Follow the Dream,  won the national WILLA Award, and Dare to Dream rounds out the trilogy. In addition a non-fiction book, Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women has just been released. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of the Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing, edits, and blogs. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Nitty Gritty Hard Work of Selling your Book - 2 Steps Toward Success

By Deb Toor

                           "...The grass is greenest where it is watered.”

                                       -- Robert Fulghum

How do most successful authors generate book sales? Are they just lucky?  More talented?


But as Albert Einstein said “Genius is 1% talent and 99% Hard Work." Most successful authors toil and sweat to sell their books.

Ready to get some results? It's time to roll up your sleeves and plunge into the nitty gritty hard work of selling your book. This blog focuses on two actions that will help you connect with your potential customers: Collecting endorsements and participating in or staging a community event.

1. How to find endorsements for your book:

Featuring the expertise of Carolyn Howard-Johnson, promo guru and author of The Frugal Book Marketer,

Quality endorsements, testimonials and reviews will show your niche audience how your book can help them to reach their goals. Carolyn suggests the following steps:

First, identify the professionals who are connected with your book’s theme, such as teachers, people in your field of expertise, associations, and fellow authors you know.

Next, send letters requesting their testimonials. What to include:

      - why you are asking for their endorsements, why you value their testimonials

      - why they are a good fit, explain the connection

      - a synopsis about your book

      - how they will benefit (such as community recognition)

      - a sample of an endorsement with the assurance that they are welcome to use their own words

Be prepared to send a copy of your book to interested contacts.

Carolyn recommends that you include endorsements in the following:

       -  media kit, teasers in mini-biographies

       -  e-mail signature lines

       -  query letters or the footer of stationary

       -  promotional postcards, business cards, bookmarks

       -  above the book cover art

       -  signs, posters, banners for trade shows and book fairs

Be sure to keep track of your correspondence records.

For more of Carolyn’s tips on gathering endorsements and other promotional nuggets, check out her book How to Do it Frugally.

2. How to link your book to a Community Event:

Featuring the expertise of Deborah Riley-Magnus, Author & Success Coach,

Deborah advises authors to connect their book to an appropriate charity. For example, if your book is about a pet, or cancer, or drug abuse, just identify a charity to support.

   Plan to attend an event held by your selected charity or create your own. At the event, you can sign and sell your books. To make it more appealing, Deborah suggests holding a raffle and awarding the winners with fun prizes. Donate a portion of your sales to the charity.

My own suggestion: How about a fun trivia contest based on your book? If your book is nonfiction, trivia questions could focus on facts presented in your book. If your book is fiction, trivia questions could focus on a character, the plot, etc.

Make sure to keep your book separate from the charity. "The key is to create connections with an audience that relates to your book. THAT’S how to create book sales,” she says.

Find out how promote your connection to your selected charity:


Additional resources:
This blog offers a free service to authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like more exposure, and readers who want to praise books they've read.
Named in "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this blog provides a forum for readers and writers.

Deb Toor  is a nonfiction writer and freelance blogger.  She is the author of Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures, a suspense-adventure story for grades 4 to 6 that is based on peer-reviewed science. She is also a ghostwriter for a health blog.

Check out Deb's book at: Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What Online Marketing Terms Do You Want to Know About?

I'm writing a report on some of the basic online marketing terms and came up with 22 so far.

 I'd like to know if you have any terms that you're not quite sure about - that you'd like to know what they mean.

If you do, please put them in the comments below.

I'll reply to the comments with the explanations and if I don't already have a term in my report, I'll add it.

I guess this is a blog post survey.

Some of the ones I already have are:

  • SEO
  • SERP
  • Anchor text
  • Deep linking
  • Backlinks
  • Landing pages
  • Lead generation
  • Conversion
  • Search engine ranking

I'd sure appreciate your input!