How Body Types can Help Shape your Characters

When I first read about constitutional psychology, breaking down the human physique and behavior by body type, a theory proposed by American psychologist Dr. William H. Sheldon in the 1940's, I thought I hit pay dirt. Better known as fitting people into three body types: endomorphs, mesomorphs and ectomorphs, Sheldon explained his views in two books, Varieties of Physique and Varieties of Temperament.

Sheldon's body type theory is discussed in a book I mentioned in my June 28th post, Child Behavior: The Classic Child Care Manual from the Gesell Institute of Human Development, by Frances L. Ilg, M.D., Louise Bates Ames, Ph.D., and Sidney M. Baker, M.D.,, which among other things, offers an interesting description of children's behavior at each age, from four weeks to ten years. The descriptions are general and offer guidelines to better understand children and for our purposes, offer incite into the characters in our stories. After the age of ten, Child Behavior launches into a discussion of individuality. That's where the body types fit in, neat and reassuring.

At least that's what I thought until I did some exploring. Though I barely scratched the surface, I found that constitutional psychology is a controversial theory. The Wikipedia article about it, which also categorizes it as, Somatotypes, another name for the body types, states that this school of thought was widely popular in the 1940's and '50s but is today discredited, partly due to the idea's tendency to promote cultural stereotypes. "One study found that endomorphs are likely to be perceived as slow, sloppy and lazy; mesomorphs . . . as popular and hardworking; . . . and ectomorphs are often viewed as intelligent but fearful and usually take part in long distance sports, such as marathon running . . . The principle criticism . . . was that it is not a theory at all but one general assumption . . ."

You would never know this by exploring the topic online. It appears that physical fitness organizations, such as,, and, have jumped on the band wagon, though there is a common disclaimer such as the first sentence in one of the sites, "Most people have a combination of the three body types." You can find all sorts of help in determining your body type, from examining your eating and training habits to taking a test to find out your body type, or even by using a "body type calculator."

Like the fitness websites, the authors of Child Behavior are careful to point out that each individual is made up of a combination of the characteristic body types; no one is strictly made up of only one.

What does this have to do with creating characters?
For a writer's purpose, taking a look at body type characteristics can simply offer another tool to help understand the characters in our stories, why they act the way they do and how other characters might relate to them; much as the two references books, The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, can do.

The following chart summarizes what the authors of Child Behavior noted as key points of the body types and what is considered their accompanying normal behavior:

                        Endomorphs                             Mesomorphs                                  Ectomorphs      

Characteristic Soft and spherical shape           Hard, firm, strong              Thin, fragile with long
                       Unkindly known as fat             Heavy muscles                    Slender arms and legs
                       Big bones
                       Well-developed heart
                       and circulatory system

Behavior        Relaxed, loves comfort            Vigorous and active             Restrained, shy, inhibited
                      Sociable, loves food                  Loves exercise, active         Oversensitive
                      Loves people, affectionate        Can be domineering            Desire concealment
                                                                                                                     Shrink from ordinary social

Sleeping       Enjoys sleep-goes to sleep and  Loves to wake up, active     Hates to sleep and wake up;
                     gets up easily                                                                          wants to keep dreaming
Eating          Seems to "live to eat"                Hearty eaters                        Eat very little and seem
                                                                                                                    never to gain weight, yet
                                                                                                                    are among healthiest of types
                                                                                                                    Might not notice missing a

Emotions    Open, warm, loving, friendly,   Naturally noisy, vigorous,   Normal: holds emotions
                    Responsive                                assertive and dominating    inside
                    Seems to express emotions       Laughs the loudest              Can be characterized by:
                    easily                                                                                     Stony silences
                                                                                                                  Shows little affection
                                                                                                                  Seems to lack warmth and

Along with posting photos of children on my bulletin board who look like the characters in my stories, and modeling my characters after children I have known; viewing my characters by body type, even with fuzzy boundaries knowing each type doesn't fit into any one neat category, has helped me get a clearer picture of who they are. I hope the suggestions in this post help bring your characters into sharper focus, too.

Image: "Autumn Abstract" courtesy of Simon Howden at

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, recently completed two of Joyce Sweeney's online courses, on fiction and writing picture books. She has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is currently developing several works for children. Follow Linda on Facebook.

The Benefits of Reading Blogs

I used to think I didn't have the time to read blogs. 

I thought:
  •  I would get distracted spending too much time reading instead of writing. 
  •  It would be shallow to subscribe or like/comment on blogs for the  purpose  of getting my name out there to build my own platform.
  •  I would inadvertently copy someone else's thoughts or get stuck with "why  didn't I think of  that?
Then I realized the value. 

Variety breaks up monotony. Subscribe to blogs that spark your interest, even if it's not in your genre. I have chosen no more than 5 since I need to limit my reading time. As I've taken the time to read, it's helped me grow as a writer. A cooking blog showing a picture of a tasty, winter soup makes you remember Sunday dinner at grandma's, adding the next chapter to your book.

Perspective can get stale. It's easy to get locked into one way of thinking about things. Let the perspective of others help you grow but don't lose your voice in the process. I am thankful for the black-and-white thinkers out there who keep me focused on my goals. But I'm also thankful for the writers who think there is more than one way to reach a goal. 

Community is good for us. We're wired for it. Some of us need interaction more than others, but even if you prefer less, you still need it! The exchange of ideas and support keeps us going. But don't forget to give it, too. This is how relationships are built. Be thoughtful about your comments on blogs. Don't just comment or "like" just to get noticed. 

Do you read blogs? What kind? Please share how it has helped your writing in the comment section below.

Photo credit: TheGiantVermin / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND


  After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts

Blogging with Purpose

blog graphic from
from collections at

Does your blog have a purpose?
And do you always remember it when you post?

If you're trying to raise your author/marketing profile you may think publicizing yourself as a writer is enough. After all, you mention your website or blog URL in your bio box whenever you post or guest post. People can find you, right?

We all know that great content will attract and keep readers but wonderful writing is not enough. Remember the disappointment when the article you labored over and polished to perfection had no readers, shares, or comments at all?  Visitors only return to a blog regularly when it appears regularly and provides helpful information they need.

The best marketers sell by providing valuable information and reports free for some time before they start promoting their own products. The secret of success seems to lie in the communication between author and readers. The most successful guest posts on my blog--and they're read again and again, year after year--are those written by authors teaching or discussing some aspect of writing for publication. If I don't pay attention to that, I'm losing readers and all ability to increase traffic.

The Mobile Revolution
I'm a new convert to checking out emails swiftly on my mobile phone. But if a site takes ages to load, I delete the email and I'm not the only one. In this week's Boost Blog Traffic , Greg Hickman pointed out that for the first time this year, more mobile devices than desktop PCs were accessing the Internet. My teenage students don't have e-readers, they read on their phones. My older friends read on their tablets.

It's worth checking out how well and how fast your site loads on a mobile device and also how easy it is to read. Anyone who finds you must be able to find your email opt-in box and fill it in easily.

For those of us running sites on a budget, ListWire is a free autoresponder with a good reputation so I shall be trying it out this month and reviewing it in October. So far, I have worked out how to make some jolly little boxes but not how to insert it into my Blogger blog where I have a dynamic views template. I'm trying out one of these flying hover-boxes which once appeared momentarily in a dazzling shade of blue (my mistake) but was never seen again (probably my mistake again. Still pondering that.)

Breaking News
 An email in my inbox this week announced the disappointing news that the Muse Online Writing Conference is not taking place this year but that all registrations will be carried forward to the 2015 Conference.

I have not managed to verify this as yet but am flagging it up as I see people still wondering about how to register. If anyone has any news please post it in the comments.

 You can of course follow my Write a Novella for Publication course in October instead--if I ever manage to get the course ready in time--of course I shall--and if I ever manage to fly in opt-in boxes that work. Not so sure about that--all still in the air.

 And all tips for increasing visitors to my blogs will be gratefully received in the comments below.

 Anne Duguid is a freelance content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and she passes on helpful writing,editing and publishing tips from time to time at Slow and Steady Writers 

Writing Retreat Part Two

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about planning a writing retreat. Last Saturday, the writing retreat was held. Several members of the writers group I belong to attended.

It was very simple. Time was spent writing and researching. We met for breakfast and lunch at a restaurant in the designated retreat area and then dispersed. Some worked in groups, some worked alone. The weather was nice, except for a mid-afternoon thunderstorm. As the hostess, I waited it out, in case anyone else arrived. Everyone else in the group had gone home before the storm hit.

The location was convenient. We were able to move about on foot, enjoying the weather and people watching. Work areas were abundant, but most used the public library and a restaurant as places to write and or research. I spent some time on a bench outside, watching a family play in a water fountain. I also went for a walk.

The retreat lasted for several hours. Perhaps next time it will be longer. Dinner might be an option. Maybe dinner and a movie, as there is a theater nearby. It could be shorter, but mid-afternoon might be a nice ending time.

What goals did we accomplish? Everyone was able to get something done and all felt it was a great way to get away from the responsibilities of home and work and concentrate on writing. We agreed to do this again.

I did not keep track of how much time I wrote. Everyone spent time outside and inside writing, talking and eating. There were no rules, other than to try to avoid social media, email and phone calls.

As far as social activities, we spent time talking in small groups. This occurred at breakfast and lunch. It was a great way to discuss whatever topic we wanted to talk about.

Some people brought laptops, others had paper and pens. I placed three notebooks and a book on the craft of writing in a tote bag. I wanted to be computer free for the day. I did not miss my laptop or my e-reader!

Everyone dressed casually and for comfort. Some wore jogging suits, although I don’t think anyone did any jogging! I wore one of my writing-themed t shirts. I often get compliments and funny comments from others when I wear them.

The day went well, except for the thunderstorm, but the sunshine, blue skies and comfortable temperature made up for it. The time our writers group spent together and individually was productive and planning the event was worth the effort. We look forward to our next writing retreat.

Have you attended a writing retreat? What did you find to be the most helpful? If you have yet to attend one, I hope you are able to do so in the near future.

Happy writing!

Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is working on her first children’s book.




Never too Old to Learn New Tricks to Help Your Writing Soar

I am a great believer that we as writers are never too old to learn new tricks to make our writing and our careers soar. That being said I am also aware that some of those "new" tricks may be more difficult for some.

Those same skills that are a must for promoting our work can be absolutely maddening for writers who rather write than do any more techie things needed to connect to outsiders, yet those outsiders are our audience and buy our writing.

I have struggled myself with many fears about the techie world... some days it is a challenge to just open a Google document or sign a contract with an E-signature. I recognize that I needed some added encouragement and instruction so I am taking a course with Julie Foster Hedlund on How to Make Money as a Writer which I am hoping will ease some of my fears about the technical word of promotion and maybe my also fear of success. I need to continue to learn.

Here are  easy tips to get over the fear of technology and get on with the business of writing.

  • Educate yourself on the phases of promotion and production that you are most unfamiliar with. Take classes, on-line courses, read books on the matter, and practice.
  • Practice. This may seem elementary but if you only post to your blog once a month or to your website infrequently then it may take some time to remember how to do it. Guilty as charged. My website takes me a minute every time I go there because I let it go thinking I have nothing new to promote. Wrong. We always have something we can say at least once a week to reach our audience. Getting onto that site more frequently and taking notes helps to make adding content easier.
  • Set Goals. Setting goals will help you to be productive without the frustration. Make the goals for what you need to do or learn reasonable, for instance work on adding images or posting regularly first then go on to adding video etc,
  • Get feed back. Ask others to view what you have done to your site and give you honest feedback on how your technical additions work. Do your pages flow smoothly and are they easy to manage? Can your audience go from the home page on your site to the other pages you offer online? If not, they won't return. Ask for help if you can't get your site to do what you want. Consider paying someone more experienced to do your changes if you don't have time. And if it is E-publishing that you want, find sources that make the process run well and can take some of the pressure off of you- the writer. Many writers handle the start to finish of every e-book they write and others don't want to be bothered with some of the formatting and such. Know your limits and find others who excel in what you need assistance with.
  • Keep going. Never give up even if you feel lost in the techie world. Writing is the first and most important step to success, and the technical stuff will follow either by yourself with learning or by finding another to help.
Social media and all the technical online expectations of an author increase everyday as the audience needs to continually be entertained and engaged. Now is the time to get on board and add more spark to your self promotion and your presentation of your work. Education and practice will give your work just the boost it needs. Remember we are never too old to learn new tricks to make our writing soar.

Terri Forehand and her husband live in the hills of Brown County Indiana where they own a quilt shop. She writes for children and adults, is the author of The Cancer Prayer Book and has begun designing her own patterns with stories to match with the goal of making her writing soar. Her website is or visit her blog at

5 Tips to Writing Your Author's Bio

Writing your first novel is an endeavor that takes perseverance, but writing your author’s bio can cause the most loquacious of authors to freeze. What should you include? What can be left out? And most important of all, what do your readers want to know and that will encourage them to buy your book?

Here are 5 tips to writing your author’s bio.

1. Write your bio in the third person. While writing your novel you probably struggled here and there with the invisible critic that seems to be ever close. That critic rears up again when the time comes to write your bio, which is why it’s best to write your bio in the third person. This will create some distance and you may find it easier to talk yourself up.

2. Figure out what facts are relevant to your story. Where you were born or raised is probably only important if you are writing about that particular area. Telling about your previous or current career will also only be important if it ties somehow to what you have written. Degrees and education should be dealt with in a similar fashion. If they lend you credibility for your writing mention them, if not, leave that information out.

3. Always be sure to mention any awards, contests, or achievements related to your writing you have acquired. No matter how insignificant you may feel they are, they will show you are serious about your craft.

4. Are your characters quirky? Is that what brings them to life, if so use that same quirkiness when writing your bio. If you have a sense of humor that comes through your writing, find a way to share something humorous.

5. Your bio should be accompanied by your author’s photo. Give your photo some careful thought. For many of your readers, your photo will come to represent your brand. Do you want to be perceived as knowledgeable? Thoughtful? Funny? Brave? You may want to consider hiring a professional photographer and discussing the impression you wish your photo to give to your readers before you sit for your picture.

You will need two or three bios: a short one for queries and such, a longer one for your book cover, and sometimes just a one or two liner.  Read the bios of other authors before you begin and see what stands out to you about each. Which ones compel you to check out their work? Then write several versions and share them with other authors who can also help give you feedback. And remember, just like a resume, your bio should be updated regularly.

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and the co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Series was written with co-author, 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: Perception, Rocky's Mountains, and Fire in the Hole. 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:

You can also follower her at or find her on Facebook.

Bring Your Characters to Life with Character Dictionaries

by Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach

Before you start writing your first or next novel, take some time to create a character dictionary for each of your characters. You can add to these dictionaries as you’re writing your first draft of the story. These dictionaries will help you bring each of your characters to life.

What is a Character Dictionary?

A character dictionary is a list of words and phrases that reveals how your character uses language. These words will help you make your characters as authentic within their identities and worlds as possible. For example, let’s suppose you’re writing a book about a 10-year-old boy growing up among the surfing community in southern California. This boy’s vocabulary would probably be much different from a 10-year-old boy growing up at a prep school in New England. Here are some words that might be included in the dictionary for your surfer character:

• Dawn patrol
• Leash or Leggy
• Foamies
• Going Off
• Locked In
• A-Frame
• Getting Worked

Just imagine how these terms used in your character’s dialogue could help set him apart from other characters in your story and bring him to life for readers.

How to Find Words and Phrases for Your Character Dictionaries

So how do you find words and phrases to add to your character dictionaries if you’re creating characters who are very different from yourself?

Well, you do a little research, of course. And it can be fun!

Read books by other authors whose characters match yours in some ways.

Go online and google terms that apply. For example, when I googled “surfing terms” all sorts of online surfing dictionaries popped up.

Rent movies that include characters like yours and make notes about the words and phrases the characters use.

Visit online forums that apply and read comments in these forums and jot down specific terms and use of language you find there.

Find “meetup” groups in your area that your character would most likely join. For example, if your character is an artist, attending a local meetup group for artists will help you learn some of the terminology artists are using these days. You can find all sorts of meetup groups by visiting

Sit in the park or go to a coffee shop and listen to the way people speak. Parks are perfect if you need to get a feel for how moms today speak to their kids or how kids speak to each other. Coffee shops will help you learn what teens, young adults, and business professionals (who often do business in coffee shops) are saying these days.

Character dictionaries can be especially helpful if you wish to write in the voice of a character from a race and ethnicity different from your own. Your character dictionaries should include:

• Individual use of diction (word choice) and syntax (sentence structure)
• Vocabulary
• Metaphoric language
• Idioms, sayings, and dialogue tags

For more tips and information about creating powerful character dictionaries, read Manuscript Makeover, Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore by Elizabeth Lyon.

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 publishes The Morning Nudge, a free e-mail for writers delivered every weekday morning.

Story Ideas Are Tiny Treasures

I was 12 when my grandmother died, and when my dad and I went through her photo albums, he casually mentioned, “Your grandma rode steers in rodeos, and she competed with Marie Gibson (a world-champion bronc rider from Montana in the 1920s and ’30s).”

That was a surprise to me, although I knew she loved riding the range and preferred the back of a horse to a dustmop any day. But I thought that was pretty cool, to have a rodeo-riding grandmother.

I stored that tidbit of information away in the back of my mind for many years. I went on to a career in journalism (when I figured if I ever wrote a book it would be non-fiction), several years as a freelancer, and a non-creative 13 years as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. When I hungered for creativity in my life again, I took a class in writing for children, just to see if I still liked to write. I did.

The instructor told us that biographies were great for kids, and they didn’t need to be about famous people. My cowgirl grandmother immediately came to mind. But the idea still needed several more years to gel.

When I was ready to try my hand at writing a book, I tried writing vignettes for a straight biography. But it wasn’t working. Grandma hadn’t become a world-champion bronc or bull rider, and my characterization was coming off too flat. I was too close to the subject.

When I gave myself permission to write her story as fiction, it came alive. I was able to fill in the gaps, create emotion and conflict, and write a character that was well-rounded, likeable and active. The result has been a trilogy: Cowgirl Dreams, Follow the Dream, and Dare to Dream.

After all the research I did for my three novels, based on my grandmother’s life, I had enough information to try my hand at that non-fiction book. Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women has just been released.

From a casual conversation and one tiny bit of family history has come four published books!

You never know what treasure an idea will become. Where have some of your book ideas come from?


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.

7 Ways to Educate and Motivate Your Muse

"7 Ways to Educate and Motivate Your Muse” by Joan Y. Edwards

What can you do after you've submitted a manuscript to a publisher or agent?
What can you do when you're not working on marketing your work?

I believe this is the time to educate and motivate the muse within you. Here are 7 ways to educate and motivate your muse:

1. Experience Life, attend workshops, take courses.

a. Bake cakes.
b. Go on a tour of an Historic house.
c. Attend a weekend workshop.
d. Volunteer at a homeless shelter for children.
e. Take a writing course at a community college or other learning institution.

2. Read three books about the craft of writing.

a. Darcy Pattison: Novel Metamorphosis
b. Donald Maass: Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook
c. James N. Frey How to Write a Damn Good Novel
d. James N. Frey The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth
e. Karl Iglesias: Writing for Emotional Impact
f. Margaret Lucke: Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories

3. Read three best-selling books in your favorite genre.

4. Watch three movies in the genre you write.

5. Study the websites of three best-selling authors.

Here is a list of many to choose from or search for your favorite online.
Best-Selling Authors for Children
James Patterson 
Rick Riordan
Jeff Kinney 
Victoria Kann
Jane O’Connor
Suzanne Collins
J. K. Rowling
Best-Selling Authors for Adults
John Grisham
George R. R. Martin
Catherine Coulter
Janet Evanovich

6. Study and find three matching three publishers and agents for your manuscripts:

a. Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2011: Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over! by Jeff Herman 
b. Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide
c. Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market, Writer’s Digest Books
d. Writer’s Market by Writer’s Digest Books
c. Visit the Preditors & Editors website to check out the editors and agents you’ve chosen. It’ll tell you if they are legitimate or warn you about them.
f. Check the submission guidelines of the websites of the publishers and agents of three of your favorite books.

7. Write.

Pub Subbers from my website will recognize these as activities for Week 4. I hope these ideas lead you to the right experiences to educate and motivate the creative muse in you. Believe in you. I do.
Please leave a comment with other ideas to activate the creativity within you.
Celebrate you now.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

Flip Flap Floodle, the Never Give Up duck.

Joan’s Elder Care Guide, Release Early 2015 by 4RV Publishing

For more articles to inspire you and help you market your writing, read Joan's Never Give Up Blog

Midwest Review's Selected Titles for Writers

Midwest Review’s Top Books for Writers
In a recent article in his newsletter, Jim Cox, founding guru of the Midwest Review, includes his suggested titles for writers and I'm flattered (and glad to be one of them). I thought the readers of this Writers On The Move blog might want to select one or two for the betterment of their careers in 2014.
Jim said, "There are a lot of excellent how to instruction manuals and guides available to the novice publisher and the newly self-published author on what has been termed 'guerilla marketing' strategies offering a wealth of tips, tricks, techniques, and strategies for those of limited financial means. You will find them reviewed and listed at:

"There you will find such informative and "every author/publisher should read this" titles like:

"1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer
52 Ways To Sell More Books! by Penny C. Sansevieri
The Author's Guide To Publishing And Marketing by Tim Ward & John Hunt
Book Marketing De-Mystified by Bruce Batchelor
Book Promotion Made Easy by Eric Gelb
Brilliant PR by Cathy Bussey
The Complete Guide To Book Publicity by Jodee Blanco
The Economical Guide To Self-Publishing by Linda F. Radke
The Frugal Book Promoter: 2nd Edition, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Grass Roots Book Marketing by Rusty Fischer
Grassroots Marketing For Authors And Publishers by Shel Horowitz
Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World by Shel Horowitz
Grumpy's Guide To Global Marketing For Books by Carolyn Mordecai
Maverick Marketing by Lisa Messenger & Mel Carswell
Maximum Exposure Marketing System by Tami DePalma & Kim Dushinski
Mosquito Marketing for Authors by Michelle Dunn
Musings Of An Online Bookseller by John Landahl
Online Book Marketing by Lorraine Phillips
Publicize Your Book! by Jacqueline Deval
Publishing For Profit by Thomas Woll
Red Hot Internet Publicity by Penny C. Sansevieri
Sell More Books! by J. Steve Miller & Cherie K. Miller
Sell Your Book Like Wildfire by Rob Eager
Selling Books as Premiums & Incentives by Marilyn & Tom Ross
The Selling Of An Author by Bruce E. Mowday
Simple Guide to Marketing Your Book, by Mark Ortman
The Step-by-Step Guide to Self-Publishing for Profit! by C. Pinherio & Nick Russell
Why, When, Where, & How To Write, Publish, Market, & Sell Your Book by Bill Thurwanger
Write, Publish & Market Your Book by Patrika Vaughn
You Can Market Your Book by Carmen Leal

"There are a lot more titles where these came from. I take a justifiable pride in the Midwest Book Review web site as having the largest writing/publishing bibliography data bases in all the world!"

Naturally, I thought I'd pass his suggestions on to you. I always say, "One book on the writing and marketing of books is never enough."

Subscribe to Jim's newsletter at
You'll also find my personal list of helpful books for writers in the Appendix of The Frugal Editor, 2nd Edition, (presently only as an e-book).
Blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. She has a large section of Resources for writers on her Web site at

Finding Appropriate Literary Magazines For Your Stories

If you’re submitting short stories to literary magazines, doubtless you’ve read in submission guidelines things like this:  “To get a feel for our editorial style, read several issues of the magazine before submitting.”

This is excellent advice, not only for finding good fits for your stories.  Reading many good short stories from different literary magazines will also help your craft.  However, it’s extremely time consuming if you do it in a scattershot, luck-be-with-me sort of way, finding a magazine at random, reading back issues, and only then deciding it’s not a great fit.

Instead, narrow your search first.  One way to do this is to buy or check out recent short story collections that pull from various literary magazines.  Two good ones are The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize; Best of the Small Presses.  If you’re a genre writer, you may find similar anthologies in your field, like The Year’s Best Science Fiction.  These anthologies generally list which magazines the stories first appeared in. When you find a story you like, and feel it might fit with your writing, put that magazine on your short list.  Research your short-list magazines to make sure your first impressions were right.  Then, of course, submit exactly how the magazine wants, according to their guidelines.  Then submit again.  And again.

*     *     *     *     *

Melinda Brasher has sold short stories to several magazines, including Ellipsis Literature and Art and Intergalactic Medicine Show.  You can read her most recently published story, "Passcodes," free at The Future Fire.  She's currently living in the Czech Republic and loving the nature (and the wild blueberries and raspberries for dessert during her hikes).  Visit her online at

Blogging Smart

By Karen Cioffi

It’s a give-in that you need to blog to make connections, to gain readers, to increase visibility, to increase your authority, to increase ranking, and to become the go-to person in your niche.

But, did you know that as of early September 2015, there are 1 BILLION websites online. That's a lot of noise . . . and competition. So, blogging smart is even more important than ever.

But, how do you blog effectively and smart? What does that mean?

To blog smart, you want to ‘prove’ to your visitors and subscribers that what you’re writing about or doing actually works.

How do you do this?

Simple. Show them.

For example:

A blog post at Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing (site has since been deleted) on email marketing and spam got over 3700 views in just a couple of days. 

This is blogging smart.

The image below is a screen-shot of that particular post's views in less than 24 hours - a couple of days later it was over 3700. A little after that it was at 3841. I haven't checked since then to see how far it has gone.

Okay, I’ll admit that sometimes it’s the ‘luck of the draw’ or the ‘right content at the right time,’ but if you’re not blogging smart to start, it’s unlikely you’ll get that far.

So, some things you should be including in your posts are:

•    Screenshots to aid in comprehension and prove what you’re saying
•    Links to relevant content bringing the reader deeper into your web pages, further demonstrating your knowledge in the niche
•    Links to other useful information that will further benefit the reader
•    Tips on what you should and shouldn’t do and why
•    Strategies that work for you and proof
•    Problems you’ve overcome and how
•    Doable step-by-step guides
•    Personality (a bit of personal tidbits)
•    Videos
•    Audio
•    Images
•    Call-to-action (CTA)

These are the elements you should be including in your blog posts, obviously not all at the same time - mix it up. This is blogging effectively and blogging smart. And, this strategy will motivate the reader to model your processes. This is one of the best compliments.

Even more important, it will motivate the visitor/reader to say YES to your CTA and SHARE your content.

Note: Images and CTAs should be included in everyone of your blog posts.  And, in regard to images, at least one image should be at the top of the content. It's this image sites like Pinterest will pick up when you share the post.

Another part of blogging smart is to optimize your blog posts. Part of this includes using:

  • Grabbing titles
  • Keywords
  • Tags
  • Categories
  • Descriptions
  • Sharing your posts to your social media networks
Get started today and watch your website traffic increase.


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