3 Tips to Help Launch your Writing Career

Your story begins with an idea, an idea that has come from one of your own experiences or someone’s experience that you’ve observed. 

To write your story, you first need to do your homework: read up on writing for children, read other authors’ books in your genre, take courses, go to conferences, join a critique group, etc. Write on a regular schedule and you will learn, through trial and error, what works and what doesn’t work on your road to publication.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? 

Oh, but there’s so much more. My own writing journey is a lot like a discovery I made when I became a Girl Scout leader. I went through the training, read the manual, and prepared myself to do whatever I could for the girls in my troop. 

What I didn’t realize until later was how much the Girl Scouts would do for me! I learned many crafts and how much work goes into making lasting, worthwhile crafts. Our troop spent a lot of time outdoors, and together we acquired a lifelong knowledge of skills and a love of nature. I could go on. The same happened when I started writing: becoming a writer has done so much for me I could fill volumes. 

Here in a nutshell, are the hallmarks of what I have learned.

Tip #1: Decide Where to Begin
When the urge to write takes hold of you, take some time to decide the direction you will take. 
  • Nonfiction is an excellent place to start. You can learn the ropes while finding an easier path to publication than fiction. Editors are always on the lookout for good, solid nonfiction articles.
  • Fiction is a world unto itself and much needs to be learned. Resources abound in your local area and online. Take advantage of them and soon you will be on your way.
  • Exploring your feelings and beliefs, I have found, goes hand-in-hand with your writing journey.

Tip #2: Decide What You Care About
Build your stories around the things you care about the most. You will be doing three things:
  • Bringing out what you’re interested in passing on to the next generation.
  • Giving yourself activities to share during school, library and organization visits.
  • Promoting what you stand for as a person.

Here is my list of what I care about most, and how I’ve strived to incorporate the topics on my list into my stories.
  • Family: Every children’s story is a family story—the type of family determined by you, the author.
  • Friendship: So important in childhood, my stories reflect what being a friend means.
  • Nature and the Outdoors: Much of the setting in my stories takes place outdoors. I strive to make this appear a natural, integral part without giving away my desire to spark an interest in my readers to get outside to play and explore.
  • Athletics and Staying Fit: Lots of running, biking, and sports are in my stories, showing some characters as fit, while showing others struggle who are not so good at athletics.
  • Music: A few references to music are made—really, snuck in.
  • Hobbies: Also shown as an integral part of my stories. Learning the importance of having a hobby is a gift I received from my dad, who had several serious hobbies. I would like to pass on the place a hobby can have in a person’s life.
  • These last two go without saying: Appearance and the Importance of Surrounding Oneself with Positive Friends, snuck in as part of the story.

Tip #3: Sure-Fire Ways to Become a Success
If anyone had told me how much goes into writing for children before I started, I wouldn’t have believed them. I have learned that there are certain qualities that will help you succeed:
  • Desire: Essential to keep going through the ups and downs of your writing journey. I let writing go for a few years to go back to teaching. As soon as I left teaching, BOING, up popped that writing desire, a part of me that I know now will never die.
  • Perseverance: An editor once told me she has observed that the way to succeed in writing is to persevere. The writers she knows who have stuck it out are the ones who get published.
  • Write for Yourself while Thinking of Others: Ask yourself what your reader wants: a good mystery, a story that reflects a need, an exciting adventure. Then write that story for him or her.
  • Above all: Have Fun! Have you ever heard that when you go to a party, if the hostess is having fun, the guests will have fun, too? The fun you have writing your story will electrify your readers and keep them coming back for more.

Image courtesy of: clipart-library.com/clipart/rcnrAGgLi.htm.

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she has completed her first book, a mystery/ghost story for children 7-11 years old, and is hard at work on Book Two in the series.  Follow Linda at www.lindawilsonauthor.com.

What is Writer’s Voice?

We often hear “writer’s voice” mentioned in writing craft books and courses, and are told to be true to it. However, I have found this notion confusing. What is my writer’s voice? How can I recognize it?  What do I do to use it in a consistent way? This post is for sharing with you what I’ve learned so far.

The attribute of a writers' voice is as natural as their speaking voice. It is recognizable, authentic and gives flavor to your writing. Readers pick up your distinct personality, know you are real, and speak directly to them.

How can we develop our writer’s voice?

- Use your natural pattern of word choice for each sentence.
- Write the way you speak, then revise and edit for grammar problems.

You might value family, courage, and caring for others most or you might want to write about issues of poverty, crime, or loneliness. Give yourself the freedom to express the things important to you, in your own unique way.

A writer’s voice is not style. Your voice is your own; style is much broader than voice. A writing style can be long and complex, or sparse, simple and straightforward. Style might vary according to topic.

Writer’s voice is:

•    Our author fingerprint, it makes our writing authentic. Authenticity has a great impact on our readers sensing we are real and speaking to them.
•    It distinguishes our speech from others.
•    The way we string words together shows it is uniquely mine, or yours.
•    We are the only ones that can express our thoughts the way we do.

How do we know, how do we develop our voice? 

Write, write and write more. Then follow these tips:

•    It takes a writing practice. Write something every day. Create a workable schedule for longer projects with daily commitments of a certain number of words or for a specific amount of time.
•    Write what compels and intrigues you.
•    If you write to someone who knows you well, that you trust, you will write without pretenses.
•    Your natural voice comes through when you write something you care about deeply.

Deborah Lyn Stanley is a writer, artist, and editor.  She is a retired project manager who now devotes her time to writing, art and caring for mentally impaired seniors. Deborah writes articles, essays and stories.  Visit her web-blog: My Writer's Life Blog/  
      “Write your best, in your voice, your way!”

How to Use the Power of Asking

By W. Terry Whalin

Mega-promoter P.T. Barnum said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens. Nothing.” This statement is true for promotion and marketing but it is also true for almost every aspect of the publishing business. 

If you are not tapping into the power of asking, you are not having opportunities for your writing to be published and sold.

For example, if you want more reviews on Amazon for your books, are you consistently asking people if they are willing to read your book and write a review? 

It's been proven that a steady stream of reviews on Amazon (even if your book has been out a while) helps your book to sell even more copies. I understand it is important to get over 20 Amazon reviews (if possible) and 50 reviews is another benchmark. And when it comes to these reviews, I've often found willing people—but they haven't posted their review. 

Part of the process is to return to these individuals and make sure they have the book and remind them about the review. I get the challenges in this situation. There is a lot to read and write about since new books are being released into the market every day.

If you want to do more publishing in the world of print magazines, are you creating article ideas and pitching them to editors? I'm not talking about doing it once but over and over on a regular basis. 

You need to learn how to write a query letter then write your ideas and send them out to editors. I'd love for more editors to approach me with their ideas—but that is not my reality—even though I've written for over 50 magazines. Instead I have to ask editors to write for their publication.

If you want to get a literary agent, are you crafting your proposals then consistently pitching agents? Every agent receives numerous pitches every day and you have to be part of those pitches. 

As another strategy, are you going to conferences to meet agents and editors face to face and make your pitches? As editors (and a former literary agent), we work with people that we know, like and trust. Nothing happens if you sit back and do not actively pitch editors and agent.

Are you writing a book and need someone with a high profile to write the foreword for the book? Or does your book need some endorsements

Readers buy books every day because of endorsements and the foreword for the book—even if behind the scenes you had to write these endorsements. You will have to ask others for these endorsements, then probably give them a deadline, follow-up and even offer to write them a “draft” endorsement for it to happen. See how you have to be actively involved in this process and be asking for something to transpire?

While we depend on email, know that email can often not deliver—so make sure your pitch is reaching the right person and they are able to read it—even with a quick follow-up call or follow-up email to see if they got it.

If you don't have enough writing work or your books aren't selling, then I encourage you to become more active in asking others to buy your book or publish your work. Every writer (including me) would love to not have to ask others and have editors and agents clamor for their writing and work. In an extreme few cases, these writers exist—but for the bulk of us, we have to continue to pitch our work, promote our writing and get in front of new audiences.

How are you using the power of asking in your writing work? Let me know in the comments below.


Are you using the power of asking? Get ideas here from a prolific writer and editor.  (ClickToTweet)


World of Print Magazines

Writing a Query Letter

Why Writers' Conferences are Important

Free list of Literary Agents

Crafting Your Proposal

Connect with Terry Whalin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/terrywhalin

W. Terry Whalin has been an acquisitions editor at three publishers and is a former literary agent. For the last five and half years, Terry has been acquiring books for Morgan James Publishing, a New York publisher doing about 150 books a year. His contact information is on the bottom of the second page. Terry has written for more than 50 print magazine and published more than 60 books including his classic Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. He has over 220,000 followers on Twitter and lives in Colorado.
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Internet Distraction

I heard a quote by author Jonathan Franzen today:

"It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction."

Do you agree?

I think it's a bit strong, but there's certainly truth behind his words.

I admit I can be prone to distraction and the internet is a huge one. I sometime use a computer program to block all websites for a certain amount of time to help me focus on writing.

If you're interested, I use Stay Focussed, a Google Chrome add-on. You can also use it to block only certain websites, to block everything but certain websites, or to give yourself only 5 or 10 minutes per day on time-suckers.

When I'm suffering from writer's block, I like to work on paper. Sometimes I'll send my current document to my Kindle, where I can read it for reference if I need to but can't edit. I have to do everything by hand and though it takes longer, it often gets me unstuck.

As for being influenced by other people, other ideas, other opinions...today's constant flood of input can dilute your own style and make you doubt what is your own idea and what is not, but you can also use it to gain inspiration and deeper understanding of the human race and the world we live in. Just try to be aware of which way you're using the information overload that is the internet.

I think the most important thing is to analyze how resistant you are to internet distraction and negative influence and plan accordingly.

Melinda Brasher's most recent sale is a twist on Rumpelstiltskin, appearing in Timeless Tales. You can also find her fiction in Nous, Electric Spec, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and others. If you're dreaming about traveling to Alaska, check out her guide book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; a Cruise and Port Guide. Visit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com

Practice Creating Strong Story Settings with Visual Writing Prompts

Setting plays a big part in any novel or short story.

And the best way to create a strong sense of setting is to "show" your readers where your characters are living out your story.

But how do you do this?

Well, it takes practice.

Generally, you will want to weave in details about your setting within the dialogue and action provided by your characters rather than include paragraph after paragraph of description.

To do this, you'll want to use strong sensory details that bring your setting—and your entire story—to life.

Here's a way to practice creating a strong setting.

Use each of these photos, below, as visual writing prompts and describe each setting using a variety of sensory details.

In other words, describe how each scene looks, the sounds you would hear there, the smells you would smell, what things you could feel there, and even the tastes you might experience there.

It might feel awkward at first to include details for each of the five senses, but, if you keep practicing this, it will get easier.

After you've created sensory details for each of the above photos (or settings), now create some characters to live in each setting.

Next, have these characters interact through dialogue.

Also, have them take action and move through the setting for some reason important to your storyline.

If nothing else, this little exercise should help you see and understand the importance of sensory details in setting.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is a full time freelance writer, the author of 35 published books (at last count) and a writing coach.

She lives and writes by the sea in Jensen Beach, Florida.

Learn more about her books and her coaching services at www.writebythesea.com and sign up for her free email, The Morning Nudge, with tips and resources for writers delivered to your mailbox every weekday morning.

Build a Successful Online Business: 5 Must-Know Steps

As an author / writer, you sell your books and/or services. This means you are in business.

You may not think of yourself as a business person or solopreneur, but you are.

So, now that you realize you are in business, how do you make your online business successful?

Below are the top 5 steps to building a successful online business.

1. You’ve got to plan your way there. And, you’ve got to have vision.

2. I’ve been talking about this one for years now. You’ve got to have a website.

3. You’ve got to build authority. People need to believe you’re the ‘go to’ person for information or engagement.

4. You’ve got to build social proof. Show others that other people see your value.

5. You need to be involved in social media.

6. Bonus Tip: Focus is key.

To read what’s involved in each step, go on over to my in-depth article at WOW! Women on Writing:

5 Steps to Building an Online Business

Please SHARE and comment when you’re there!

Self-Publishing - Main Tips and Worst Mistakes

Guest Post by Chris Mercer

What are the main tips and worst mistakes of self-publishing with no money?

Self-publishing has become a huge business, with it having grown by about 400% between 2010 and 2015 alone. Some even manage to make it big.

According to a story in the New York Times from 2016 there are 40 authors who have sold a million copies on Amazon.

Okay, that’s not a lot, particularly considering that in the same year 700,000 books were self-published. But it does mean it’s possible.

And besides, to begin with, we don’t have to publish a million books.

Most of us are happy with selling some multiple of a thousand (okay, a high multiple of a thousand). That fortunately, is far more achievable.

But to do so, you do have to do a few things and avoid doing some others.

Below are a couple of DON'Ts and a couple of DOs

Don’t think that when you’ve published your book you’re done.

Yes, writing that book was incredibly hard. It took a lot out of you. And really, you’d like to move on to the next one now that it’s finished.

The truth is, however, that you’ve barely gotten started.

Now that you’ve written the book what you need to do next is market it. And that is just as much work as actually getting to that last page.

In fact, it’s probably more work because if you’re anything like me, the writing is what you enjoyed and the marketing is something you really don’t want to do.

But if you don’t do it, your book will never climb the rankings. Your book won't sell.

There are just too many books out there and most of us use the shorthand that we only buy books we’ve heard about and we’ve heard good things about.

Very few people go through the dark corners of the self-published books to decide on what book they’ll buy.

Don’t use one of the self-publishing companies

Most of these companies make their money off the money you pay to publish your book. That’s their main source of income.

While some of them, like hybrid publishing companies, do make money if they sell copies of your book, the truth is most self-published books don’t sell. And so, on average they won’t recoup the money they invested in publishing your book.

In fact, often self-publishing companies have a conflict of interest.

These companies make their money from you. And to boost their profits, they may also be looking to cut corners.

They may not hire the best editors or illustrators, or other workers.

The less they spend on making your book look good, the more of your investment they have left over. So, what you want and what they want are at odds. Hence why I mentioned the conflict of interests.

My suggestion is to research book designers, book publishers, and distributors carefully.

It might be wiser to hire individuals or separate companies to work on the different elements of production.

Build a following

The best way to be successful as a self-published author is to already have people who you can sell your product to.

To do that, you should build a following.

After all, you don’t have money and you do have words, so use the words to push your product, be it a book, an AMA citation generator, or anything else.

You might be tempted to write the book first and then push up your platform. That’s fine if you’re alright with waiting a few years with your sales.

If you would like to start getting some sales immediately, however, then you should definitely start building up that following now.

Build a page. Share some excerpts, insights and ideas from your book.

Build a following on social media and push it relentlessly.

Yes, again, it will be a lot of work.

There is one big advantage of doing it this way, though. Once you’ve got that following you don’t just get to push the first book, you also get to push everything else you’re going to write in the future as well. In fact, each new book builds on the success of the last.

Keep at it

You hear about people who get famous in a day all the time.

But the truth is, most people get famous over a lifetime (yes, even those people who get famous in a day have often been building towards that for decades).

So keep going. Don’t get discouraged if that first book doesn’t sell immediately (or ever) it is still your property.

What’s more, you’ve learned some vital lessons writing it, which you can apply to the next one and the one after, building a reputation all the while.

Another thing to remember is that while it might seem like famous people walked a road that led straight from being unknown to being famous, they didn’t know they were on it when they weren’t famous yet. They, just like you, didn’t know where their big break would come from (or if it would come).

So keep at it. The biggest difference between those who make it and those who don’t is that the ones who do didn’t quit. 



Chris Mercer, pro writer, developer and founder of Citatior, a powerful academic formatting tool for the students.


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Your Networking Challenge

Last month, I challenged you to try a new marketing initiative. Now, I have a networking challenge for you. This networking blitz is a great way to expand your network, find prospects, and gain new business.

Here are five days of options. However, you don't need to do everything. Pick two or three things to do regularly, and choose the day that works best for each task.

1. Message. You may be connected with lots of peers and friends on social media, but when was the last time you had a one-on-one communication? Send a Facebook or LinkedIn message to three people you haven’t heard from in a while. These should be simple, “Hi. How are you?” notes, and see where the conversation leads.

2. Meet. Do a different IRL (in real life) outreach each week. Meet an old colleague for lunch, go to a networking event, have dinner out with a friend, attend an event where you know no one … except for perhaps a friend who is acting as wing-man/wing-woman. You won't meet new people unless you put yourself in a position to do so.

3. Post. Share an update on LinkedIn. It could be your own image and link, letting people know what you have been up to, or a link to a resource your network might find valuable. Be sure to add a comment to anything you post, in order to personalize it. The idea is to show up in the news feed of others, and remind them of you and your business.

4. Comment. Another way to show up in the feed on LinkedIn is to comment on the posts and milestones of friends. This is another opportunity to reconnect with someone with whom you've lost touch.

5. Plan. I know I said you can move these dates around, but Friday is a great day for planning. You can also consider it as a day off of networking for good behavior. Go through your friends’ list on Facebook and LinkedIn, and target who to reach out to the next week. When you do the prep-work, it makes options 1 through 4 much easier.

Use this networking experiment to shake things up, reconnect with old friends, and meet new people,. Then see what comes from it, because you never know ... Good luck and remember to have fun!

What is your favorite way to network, either in person or online? Please share what works for you in the comments.

* * *

Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the Guided Goals Podcast and the #GoalChat Twitter Chat. Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

How To Be A Success At A Book Event

Have you ever done an in-person event and felt like it flopped? Don’t worry. This happens to all of us. I have done several different types of in-person events from Craft Fairs to School Visits to Book Fairs. My first attempts were flops, but eventually I got the hang of it. And you will too with a few simple tips.

When I first started out, I used to sit behind my table and hope someone would come over and talk to me. I had my children’s book, a “For Sale” Sign, and some crafts for kids to make. Since my first events were at Craft Fairs, people just assumed I was offering a free craft. Sometimes they would pick up a book and realize I was the author.

You guessed it, it was a flop.

Learning the ropes.

Then, I went to a Book Fair and was seated beside two dynamic authors. I learned very quickly that you had to stand up and engage everyone that walked by.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t like when people are too aggressive or assertive when I’m at events as a shopper. So, I wasn’t too sure about this method. But, they sold WAY more books than I did. Yes, I flopped again. But, I learned to stand up and engage with people who came to my table.

For my next craft fair, I made a sign to hang at the back of my tent that said, “Meet the Author and Book Signing” to make it more obvious who I was and what I was doing there. Then, I started engaging people as they walked by asking them if their child wanted to make a craft.

It was easy to ask and kids always wanted to make something, so that got the parent over to my table. I would talk to them about my book and usually the child would like it and the parent would make a purchase. Much better, but I was missing the people who were there but didn’t have their kids with them.

So, I started engaging people not too aggressively, but with a “Hi,” or “I like your shirt,” kind of interaction. Sometimes people would come over and I could talk to them more about my books and I had to just let it go when people didn’t come over.

If they had a child with them, I would offer to let them make a craft, but I would engage the adult. This produced a lot of sales and I no longer flopped at events.

If you are shy, like me, it can be hard to learn the skills necessary to make a sale. But, here are 4 tips that should definitely help you.

Tip #1 stand-up. This puts you at eye level and people are more likely to interact with you.

Tip #2 talk to people as they walk by. It doesn’t have to be overly aggressive, but just a nice “hello” will do as if you are making a friend for the first time.

Tip #3 introduce yourself, tell them you are the author of these books, and begin telling them about your books. More often than not, people will listen politely. If the books pique their interest, great, and if not, that’s okay. You’ve done your best to connect with them. Who knows? They may know someone who would be interested in your books and tell them about you.

Tip #4 always stay positive. This is hard to do, but believe in yourself and your books. You love your book, otherwise you wouldn’t have put all the time and effort into writing it and publishing it.

Go on out there to an in-person event and by following these simple tips, you’ll be a success and not a flop!

Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wluthman.

Interview with Author Sarah Elliston

Below is an interview I had the pleasure of doing with author Sarah Elliston.

1. Give a brief synopsis of your book, Lessons From a Difficult Person?

Sarah Elliston never realized she was "a difficult person." She wasn't intentionally mean-spirited. She was just trying to do what she thought was RIGHT!

A kind boss brought her problem to her attention with great compassion and strength. This began a transformation journey towards the woman teaching others how to deal with difficult people. The book describes her experience and offers readers an opportunity to explore their relationship with a difficult person. She offers exercises in how to awaken the challenging personality and improve the relationship.

2. What got you into writing?

I have always loved to write and did well in school and in my professional reports. I have always journaled and when all else fails, I find writing clears my mind.

3. What genres do you like to read?

My favorite books are about fictional crime solving, and mysteries. I like historical fiction and I enjoy poetry. I find poetry challenging to write but I love to read something where the exact word paints a picture for the senses.

4. What made you decide to write this particular book?

I wrote this particular book because I was teaching workshops on Dealing with Difficult People and wanted to share my concepts of healing with more people. Participants wanted a level two workshop and I thought having the book would help them remember the concepts as well as take time to really do the suggested exercises.

5. How much time and effort do you put into marketing?

Not very much. I like talking about the content but I find it difficult to just throw it out at people.

6. Do you have any works in mind that you've not yet written?

If so, what are they? Well, one title is "Everything I needed to know about relationships I learned by being a volunteer coordinator." And the other one is another Lessons From a Difficult Person book, it is about how people change, how I changed, and again, what others can do to help us change.

7. If there is one thing that stands out about your writing, what is it?

I am willing to be vulnerable, to share my personal thoughts, feelings, and experience. My writing is literal and concrete. I explain things well and I always throw in some humor. People aren't usually confused about what I am saying.

8. What inspired you to write your book?

I went to a weekend workshop where I was told I could write a book in 4 days. I got so involved in it that I couldn't stop. I am very personally invested in the content.

9. Where can potential readers find your work?

My website, http://www.SarahElliston.com 

10. Where can readers connect with you socially online?

Yes, I have a Facebook author page, Sarah Elliston Author and my twitter handle is @mainesam (because I went to school there) and I am on LinkedIn as Sarah H. Elliston. The best way to contact me is through the website.

Linda Barnett-Johnson is a Virtual Assistant for authors and enjoys writing poetry, short stories, articles about writing and making up quotes. Many of her articles and poetry have been published. She’s a former editor, former assistant editor of Long Story Short ezine, former administrative director of Long Story Short School of Writing. You can locate her website here: www.lindabarnett-johnson.com She also posts new books, writing articles and author interviews on her blog: http://lindabarnett-johnson.blogspot.com/ Always looking for guest bloggers that would post writing tips, articles and anything to do with writing.

Aim for Writing Success

Writing success can mean different things to different writers.

Some writers may simply want to get a book or article published; others may want to be on the New York Times Best Sellers List; still others may want to make a living writing; and there are those who may be seeking wealth and fame.

The key here is to dig down and really know what your perception of writing success is.

Once you are certain what you’re aiming for, take the necessary steps to become the writing success you dream of.

Sounds easy, right? Well, we all know it’s not, if it were, there would be no struggling writers.

The first problem you may run into is actually realizing how you perceive success, or what you want from your writing efforts.

According to Jack Canfield, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul, the number one reason for being stuck and not realizing your potential or goals is the lack of clarity.

So, how do you fix this problem?

Step One: You Must Define Your Goals and Your Perception of Success

It’s not sufficient to state you want to be a published writer; you need to proclaim the specifics.

You want to be a self-help nonfiction author of published books and magazine articles earning an income of $100,000 per year. You can even get much more specific than that—the more specific your goals and intentions are the more likely you will attain them.

Step Two: Prepare a Plan

When you finally have a break through and know exactly what you want from your writing efforts, you need to prepare a detailed plan. Your plan, just like your goals, needs to be very specific.

Think of a recipe: You plan on baking a cake, but you’ll need more than just the ingredients, you’ll need the exact amount of each ingredient, the proper procedure for mixing them together, the baking temperature, how long to bake it, how long to cool it before removing it from the pan . . . you get the idea.

Now you’re on your way . . . you have specific goals . . . a detailed plan . . . but . . . you’re still not achieving success.

Step Three: Take Action

Think of the first two steps as the foundation of your house. To move forward toward success, you need to build the house.

This takes action; it actually takes more than just action, it takes ongoing action and perseverance to carry you through to completion.

Step Four: Projection

You have the other steps down pat, now picture yourself attaining your goals.

According to motivational speakers, you will have a much greater chance of making it happen by projecting success. This step encompasses a number of strategies such as envisioning, projection, projection boards, and affirmations.

Take aim . . . shoot.

Originally published at: 

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter/ rewriter. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move and author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

If you’d like more writing tips or help with your children’s story, check out: Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

If you need help with your author platform, check out Karen's e-class through WOW!:


Writing: Getting past the first blank page
Finding Writing Ideas
Plot or Character?

SEO for Authors Part4 - LSI Keywords

We're on to Part 4 of the SEO for Authors Series. This part goes a bit deeper into using keywords.

Okay, I can hear you mumbling, "What the heck is LSI keywords? Aren't regular keywords enough?"

Before you start to bite your nails, LSI keywords sounds complicated but it’s NOT at all.

We’ll get to that in a second though.

First, let’s discuss why you’re blogging.

If you’re a blogger or content writer, who are you writing for?

If you answered the reader. You get the jackpot.

But, even if you think you’re writing for the reader, in the back of your mind you know you need to please the search engines also.

So, which is it?

Should you be writing for the reader of the search engines?

You’ve got to write for both, because if the search engines can’t quickly find, understand, and index your content they won’t be able to use it in their search results. This means the reader won’t get a chance to see your article.

Okay, this does create a bit of a dilemma, right?

Well, not really.

You can write powerful content that’s helpful to your reader while being search engine friendly. It’s a simple matter of using basic SEO techniques.

I’m guessing most of you reading this article know about keywords. And, you know they’re an important element that allows the search engines to find and index your content. It’s keywords that online searchers use for their search queries.

While your reader is your number one concern, appeasing Google comes in a close second.

But, there’s another little problem: 

Google doesn’t like you using the same keywords throughout your content. If you do this, Google will assume you’re doing it for ranking.

This doesn’t work. In fact, you could get a ‘slap on the hand’ for unethical SEO practices.

Instead, the power-blogger uses LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords.

Yep, another marketing acronym.

LSI keywords are simply synonyms for keywords. They can also be other words or phrases that are closely related to your ‘original’ keyword.

According to Web CEO, “LSI keywords are words and phrases that are semantically related to each other. They include not only synonyms or keywords with similar meanings. They are often keywords that are commonly found together.” (1)

Suppose your keyword is “book marketing.”

There are a number of topics that may fall under that keyword, such as:

- Author platform
- Book promotion
- Selling books
- Author website
- Book reviews
- Book signings

It’s the LSI keywords in your article that will allow Google to scan your content and better understand what it’s about. This in turn makes it easier for Google to index the content and use it as the results of a relevant search query . . .  as long as Google believes your content is quality.

An example of this strategy in action is my article:
Shaun the Sheep and Marketing with Animation

Shaun the Sheep is an animated kids’ movie with no words. I used it as the basis for an article on animation and marketing. While the title might be catchy to readers, it may have been a bit confusing for search engines.

But, the article itself has lots of LSI and other terminology that is search engine friendly and gives them the information they need to know exactly what the article is about and which search queries it’s relevant to.

Next time you’re writing a blog post or web copy, think of the LSI keywords you can use.

To find LSI keywords related to your primary keyword, check out this free tool:
LSI Graph

Along with finding those LSI words, your blog posts should be easy to read, understandable, and helpful for your audience.



(1) https://www.webceo.com/blog/long-tail-vs-lsi-keywords-which-do-you-need-to-increase-website-traffic/

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. She is also an author/writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

If you need help getting your author platform off the ground or want to get it soaring, check out Karen’s 4-week, interactive, eclass through WOW! Women on Writing: Build Your Author/Writer Business


SEO for Authors Series Part1: The Basics

Keywords and Search Engines (What Every Author Should Know)

5 Good Reasons to Secure Your Site

Authors Need to be Realistic

By Terry Whalin  @terrywhalin Over the years, I’ve met many passionate writers. One brand new writer told me, “My book is going to be a best...