Sunday, May 31, 2009

VBT - Writers on the Move June 1st Tour Schedule

VBT - Writers on the Move is happy to add some new members to the June 1st Schedule:

Harry Gilleland is hosting Linda Asato
Karen Cioffi is hosting Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Kathy Stemke is hosting Liana Metal
Lea Schizas is hosting Helena Harper
Nancy Famalari is hosting Crystalee Calderwood
Vivian Zabel is hosting Joyce Anthony
Margaret Fieland is hosting Mayra Calvani
Crystalee Calderwood is hosting Dorothy Massey
Joyce Anthony is hosting Marvin Wilson
Helena Harper is hosting Gayle Trent
Dorothy Massey is hosting Anita Yasuda
Liana Metal is hosting Harry Gilleland
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is hosting Kathy Stemke
Virginia S. Grenier is hosting Karen Cioffi
Gayle Trent is hosting Lea Schizas
Mayra Calvani is hosting Nancy Famalari
Marvin Wilson is hosting Vivian Zabel
Anita Yasuda is hosting Margaret (Peggy) Fieland
Linda Asato is hosting Virginia S. Grenier

Be part of our new Mystery Site Give-Away and have a chance to win a prize. This month the prize is a book. Sorry, can't tell you the title, it's a secret. Just visit the hosts' sites and leave a comment. YOU MAY WIN!

If you'd like to learn more about our marketing and promotional group, just contact Karen at: karenrcfv@yahoo.com

Saturday, May 30, 2009

How Many Are Visiting Your Blog and Web Site

This is a reprint from a how-to article for writers that appeared in my Sharing with Writers newsletter. Writers who seek information on promoting their writing careers and the craft of writing may sign at www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Look in the left column for a signup window. The newsletter even includes a tips for poets each week.

Some people are infatuated with figures.

I'm really not. I'm a big-picture girl. I don't believe that if a blog draws "only" 50 or 500 it's of no value. Where is the cutoff number anyway? Ask instead, how does that blog work with the other promotions you're doing? It's how things work together--mostly--that makes a difference.

Still, it's sometimes nice to measure what we're doing—especially if we remember not to let low numbers (or what we perceive as low numbers) discourage us but instead use them as prompts to do something to get them up there. So, here's how I set up and use Google Analytics the super-fast and super-easy way.

1. You probably already have a Google account. If not, get one. Go to Google.com to do it. They may ask you to set up a Google gmail account. Don't worry. You can use it or ignore it.

2. Set up your profile. Find the "Add New Profile" and click. It works about like profiles everywhere--from Amazon to Facebook. You'll be lead through the steps. And having it will make it easy to comment on blogger or blogspot blogs.

3. Find your "Google Analytics" link. Click. There you will get some code that you copy and paste (the fancy name is HTML code) at the end of the Web pages you'd like to track. You can also add some code to your blogs. You'll want separate code for each place you want to track.

4. Add the analytics codes to places you want to track at your leisure. This is not a marathon. Give some thought to what figures will be most indicative of your success and add them one at a time.

5. Go back to your Google Analytics every so often. Not every day. Not every 10 minutes! You want to have time to write, not analyze numbers! Nose around the links you find there. One gives you a pie chart of where your visitors are coming from (direct, links or whatever). Another tells you what country your visitors are coming from. It's like a mini geography lesson!

Happy tracking!
------
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Testing --

Just making sure I can post here -- after the trouble I'm having right now with my own blog (can't create new posts) I'm just a mite paranoid ...

but if I've learned anything about computers, it's that paranoia, when it comes to possible software/hardware malfunctions, pays off ...

Mystery Site Give-Away

Wow, VBT - Writers on the Move now has a monthly Mystery Site Give-Away!

Each month a group member's site will be the Mystery Site for the virtual book tour. If you visit that site and leave a comment on one of the posts for that tour, you may be the one to win the prize!

The owner of the site will determine which commenter wins. The prize may be an ebook, book, or other great item the site owner decides upon. Each month we will let you know what type of prize will be given away, but we will not reveal any details such as a book title.

Make sure you stop by our members' sites on the first or for their second post of the tour. Just leave a comment and you can be a winner!

Members of VBT - Writers on the Move are not eligible to win the prizes.

This month's give-away is a book! Just leave a comment, you may be the winner.

See you in blog world,
Karen

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane


Here is this week's VBT - Writers on the Move's Kid Pick Review.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulaine – A Kid’s Pick Review

Reviewed by Esther (4th grader)

Title: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Written by: Date DiCamillo
Illustrator: Bagram Ibatoulline

I would like to review a book called The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulaine. This book is by Kate DiCamillo. It is about a stuffed bunny who has a gold pocket watch and he lives on Eygyt Street. He even has a maid! I think he is very spoiled and he doesn’t care about anyone at all. He got lost in the sea at a cruise. Each day he gets a little nicer.

I think this book gets a 4-Star reward! This book also deserves a two-thumbs up! It is so good that The Daily News rated this! Edward misses his owner so badly until when she is an adult they finally found each other. I think that is a happy ending all right! So, I beg you to read this book! I am sure you will love it!

Remember to introduce your child, or a little one you know, into the world of reading and writing by having him or her do their own book review for VBT - Writers on the Move.

See you in blog world,
Karen

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Helena Harper: Family and More - Enemies or Friends?


I recently read Helena Harper's Family and More - Enemies or Friends? and am pleased to post my review on VBT - Writers on the Move. Helena is a member of our merry band!

Family and More – Enemies or Friends? is more than a collection of poems, it is a story I enjoyed and learned from. As you read this book it becomes clear that the author put a great deal of time and effort into the choice of every word used. Each poem has a melodic flow that moves smoothly into the next.

Family and More enlightens the reader to the conflicts and confusion that exist in a family divided by war. Being the child of a German mother and English father in the aftermath of WWII, the author delves into her family’s history by examining the lives of several family members as well as other personal relationships. Each poem is an intertwined life. With descriptive imagery these people come alive; you see their struggles and triumphs.

This wonderful poetic story goes beyond a family history; it depicts the futility, frustration and hardship of war, along with the frailties and strengths of the people that make up each of our families.

Family and More – Enemies or Friends? is a beautifully written book. I highly recommend it.

You can contact Helena at: webmaster@helenaharper.com

To learn more you can visit Helena at:

Author's website: http://www.helenaharper.com

Authorsden website: http://www.authorsden.com/helenaharper

Author's blog: http://helenaharpersblog.blogspot.com

You can also follow Helena on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/helenaharper

Karen Cioffi

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Art of Science by Ransom Noble


It's my pleasure to present Ransom Noble and her newest book, The Art of Science. This is an exciting time for Ransom, with her new baby and new book! Okay, let's get right to it.

A little about Ransom Noble:

An early love of reading and the sciences led Ransom into writing and a career in mechanical engineering. Believing determination can help one attain any goal, she constantly sets new goals for herself and encourages others in their quests for knowledge. Ransom can often be found with her husband and their friends listening to music or playing games (every kind).

Her work includes:

"Qui's Contract," a short story that appeared in Ruins Metropolis, June 2008

The Art of Science, April 2009 by 4RV Publishing.

Now for a synopsis of The Art of Science:

Janie Hunter begins seventh grade looking forward to doing activities that she enjoys. Her mother has other ideas, she thinks it's time for Janie to start preparing for college and Art club isn't a part of that plan. When Janie qualifies to get into Argonauts, a special after school science club she has to find a way to make her mom happy and do the things she loves.

When Janie’s dropping grades and her first dance come to her mother’s attention, Mom intends to steer her in the ‘right’ direction.

To make matters worse, a boy at school threatens to make her miserable, though his motives aren't clear. Janie just wants everyone to get along, but even her friends can’t manage that.

As an added bonus, here's an excerpt from the book:

Sophia met Janie outside the school. “Mom says we’re to be home right away, Janie.”
“I’m on my way.”
“I’m driving us. Get in the car.”
Janie grimaced. “I’ll walk.”
Sophia rolled her eyes. “Don’t be difficult.”
“I’m not difficult.” Janie got in the car with her sister. “You don’t have to rub it in all the time. You got your license last month.”
“I don’t mean it that way, Janie. I’m just wondering why Mom wanted us home so fast.”
“Wait …” Janie paused, completely shocked for a moment.
“Doesn’t Mom have to work?”
Sophia shook her head. “I guess not. She just called the school to tell me to pick you up. We’re supposed to go directly home. I don’t know what’s going on either.”
Janie’s fingers traced the raised patterns on the cover of the book sitting in her lap. What could this be about? She and Sophia didn’t speak again on the drive. When Sophia pulled the car in the driveway, Janie realized she was missing the first Art Club meeting. Too late now; she hoped the teacher would allow her to join next time.
Sophia and Janie walked in the house, dropping their book bags by the door. “Mom? Dad?” Sophia called.
“We’re in the dining room,” her mother called back. “Please join us, girls.”
Four wineglasses sat on the table, filled with white grape juice, Mom’s favorite family celebration drink. Janie and Sophia sat in their usual seats. “What’s the big deal, Mom? Did you get a promotion?”asked Janie.
“No, guess again.” Mom’s smile was bursting with happiness.
Janie didn’t remember the last time she smiled like that.
“What?”
“You.”
Janie’s heart pounded. “What did I do?” It had to be something good, or Mom wouldn’t be smiling, right?
“You got into Argonauts at school.” Mom’s smile grew larger.
“I’m so proud of you, honey.”
“What?” Janie hadn’t heard of such a thing before.
Mom explained, “It’s a special program at school. On Wednesdays, you’ll stay after school for two hours with some other very smart children, and you get to do exciting science stuff. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Let me remember: They said you’ll be studying chemistry, physics, electronics and robotics. It will prepare you for the future.”
Janie didn’t say anything. Why did everything have to be working toward the future? At thirteen, college seemed far away to Janie.
“Wow. Congratulations, Janie,” Sophia said quietly.
“Yes, congratulations, Janie,” her dad added.
“You’ll get all the information about it tomorrow.”
“But volleyball meets on Wednesdays!”
Her mother continued like she never heard her. Most likely, she didn’t. “And Dad will be able to pick you up afterwards. Isn’t this wonderful?” Mom smiled down at Janie.
“But what if I don’t want to quit volleyball?”
“This is going to help you get into college, Janie. This is important. You can play volleyball on the weekends or next summer.”
Janie gulped down some grape juice.
“And we’re going out to dinner to celebrate.”
Janie sat quietly the rest of the evening. The decision had been made. She thought her dad must not have mentioned Art Club yet, since her mother didn’t add that to the lecture.

Well, that about raps it up for now, below is the Facts Sheet:

Title: The Art of Science
Author: Ransom Noble
Illustrator: Stephen Macquignon
Category: Young Adult
ISBN 10: 0-9818685-4-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-9818685-4-7
Pub Date: April 2009
Price: $12.99
Pages: 87
Publisher: 4RV Publishing, LLC
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
Web sites:
Find Ransom Noble at http://ransomnoble.wordpress.com
Find Stephen Macquignon at http://scketch2color.multiply.com
Visit 4RV Publishing at http://4rvpublishingllc.com
Media Contact:
Ransom Noble
noble.ransom@gmail.com

It's been a pleasure hosting you today, Ransom. I hope The Art of Science is a HUGE success!

See you in blog world,
Karen

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sideways Stories From Wayside School - A Kid's Pick Review


VBT - Writers on the Move presents another Kid's Pick Review

Reviewed by Samia (4th grader)

Title: Sideways Stories From Wayside School
Author: Louis Sachar

The fascinating book I read was Sideways Stories From Wayside School. The wonderful author is Louis Sachar. The book is a mystery book. It was mainly about a weird school and the crazy activities they would do in the school.

The school was built sideways. It was suppose to be one floor with 30 classrooms. But, it was built with 30 floors and one classroom on each. The builders said they were sorry.

Wayside school was shut down. They hired Louis. Louis was the gym teacher. Kids would pass by the school all the time. They all had sad faces when they walked by. Louis would hide when the children came.

Be sure to come back next week for more with VBT - Writers on the Move Kid's Pick Reviews.

If you know a child who would like to contribute to this wonderful feature which helps children to expand on reading, just leave a comment here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Princess Academy - A Kid's Pick Review


VBT - Writers on the Move presents another Kid's Pick Review

Reviewed by Esther (4th grader)

Title: Princess Academy
Written by: Shannon Hale

When they got to the academy, their first rule was not to speak out of turn. The they learned their first lesson. You have to always sit up straight. Also, if you disobey a command or rule, the punishment will be harsh.

For example, a girl named Girty, spoke out of turn. So, as her punishment, Ms. Olana locked her in a dark closet. Then, Ms. Olana said that if they learn their lessons fast everyday they will be able to go home and visit their relatives. Mirri was relieved when she heard that. Then, she went to sleep peacefully.

Stayed tuned for Thursday, May 21st, for another Kid's Pick Review.

If you know a child who would like to contribute to this wonderful feature which helps children to expand on reading, just leave a comment here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Email Marketing, Hmmm...

What is Email Marketing, Anyway?

Simply put: Email Marketing is a means of getting the email addresses from potential customers and using those addresses to inform them of what you're offering. It is also what I am currently researching.

Can you do it yourself?

Well, if you have a new business or one that doesn't have too many subscribers, and you don't expect your business to boom overnight, I'd say, yes.

To read the rest of the article go to:

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Boxcar Children: The Seattle Puzzle - A Kid's Pick Review


Reviewed by Samia (4th grader)

Title: The Boxcar Children: The Seattle Puzzle
By: Gertrude Chandler Warner

The fantastic book I read was The Boxcar Children: The Seattle Puzzle. The creative author was Gertrude Chandler Warner. The Boxcar Children were orphans. They had run away and found an old box car in the woods. Soon, their grandfather found them.

The Boxcar Children are taking a vacation to Seattle. They solve a mystery by finding notes everywhere they went. They could have to solve the riddle to find out what is going on. They figure out that the grandfather is in the plan.

This was a great book and I recommend it to anybody who knows how to read.

Rating: 5 Stars

VBT - Writers on the Move will be featuring Kid's Pick Reviews every Tuesdays and Thursdays. Get your little ones involved in our Review Segment. Children love the idea of having their book reports/reviews posted online. Please be assured we will never use last names, school names, or any reference to locations. Get children involved in reading and writing about what they've read - it can open a whole new world to them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"The Secret" to Great Book Promotion



This is from my Sharing with Writers newsletter. I thought it was worth a repeat for those of you who don't get that newsletter with its tons of writing and promotion tips in your e-mail box. (-:

Question:

The Secret [by Rhonda Byrne] says that one reason people's dreams don't come true is that they give up just before they are about to succeed. I am ready to give up. Just call me Peggy, WannaBeWriter

Answer:

I believe that people do give up too soon, especially when it comes to promotion. It's one reason I talk about persistence so much. And The Secret also talks about positive energy. That's what promotion is. It's your best shot being put out into the universe and that sometimes (not always) takes time.

That's not to say that at times it's not natural to feel like giving up. Putting aside having a well-written book that hits the market at the right time, the speed of an author's success is usually strongly influenced by its genre. That's one of the reasons I shared all the stuff I learned when I was promoting my first novel, This Is the Place, by writing my first how-to book, The Frugal Book Promoter. Fiction--especially nonspeculative fiction--is one of the hardest genres of all to promote and I wanted others to know it could be done.

This Is the Place won its publisher's Mille Award for marketing and sales the first year it was published but only after it almost failed for lack of promotion by the publisher and by me! And not until after I lost a really big wad of money hiring a publicist who didn't understand using the themes and other elements in a novel to promote it!

This Is the Place is a literary novel published in 2001 (though it's still available in the new and used book section on Amazon for about $1). I think I sold about 2,000 and even that relatively small number was probably sold because it was set in Salt Lake City and was released just before the Winter Olympics in that city.

But that fortuitous timing wouldn't have helped had I not figured out that I needed to promote it and that I was the only one with the passion to do it right. The Secret also talks about passion--only they call it bliss or joy. Once I got started I even got my novel into a couple of airport book stores.

In fact, one of the reasons that The Frugal Book Promoter sells well is that it isn't general. It's personal and passionate. It's full of ideas based on my personal experience selling the hardest of all genres--poetry, short story collections, and literary fiction. I could add memoir (my next book) to that list.

The point here is that none of the three was a huge success by publishing standards. But they were by my standards. They sold well enough, I learned from writing them and promoting them, and I really relished the little successes when they came. When I couldn't trace great results from the promotion I was doing, I kept doing it and kept adding more ways to do it.

What if I'd given up on one of those dark days when nothing seemed to be working? My world--not just my writing world but my entire world--would be a different place. Am I bragging? Damn tootin’. I knew The Secret long before it was written. And I'm still practicing it.

I hope you will, too.
CHJ

-----
The blogger today is Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dairy of a Wimpy Kid - A Kid's Pick Review


A Review by Karina (4th grader)

Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
By: Jeff Kinney

What I loved about the book is the beginning. He was telling us that it was a journal, not a diary. He also said, “His mom had bought it for him.” He also said, “I am not going to write Dear Diary this and Dear Diary that!”

Also, I like that they have funny little comics. So, I recommend this book to ages 7 and up. It would make you laugh so hard. I would also recommend the next books. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Rodrick Rules. Also, Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Last Straw.

Stay tuned for Thursday, May 14th, we'll have another Kid's Pick Review.

Karen

Sunday, May 10, 2009

VBT - Writers on the Move now on TWITTER

In our never ending quest to reach new heights, we now have a Twitter account!

To keep up with our group and its members please be sure to follow at:

http://twitter.com/VBTWritersonthe/

There wasn't enough room for the whole name so we had to make due.

Karen

Oh, That Amazon!

VBT – Writers on the Move has a new feature to its marketing campaign – Viewpoint.

Today begins this new feature and Carolyn Howard-Johnson is launching the new segment at her site: www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

The title of Carolyn’s article is:
Amazon, Reviews, Free Speech and More. C'mon, Let's Rant!

So, what’s going on? Well, Amazon has decided to restrict the use of promotion on their site. Authors have always posted reviews of other authors' books on Amazon. They always included a link to their Amazon book page as part of their usual signature. Amazon, in a questionable decision, has disallowed this practice. When signing your review, you can only put your name – nothing else.

Does Amazon have a right to do this? Is this a fair practice?

Go over to Sharing with Writers and read the original article by John Kremer and then Carolyn’s response. Let us know what you think about this!


Karen