A Workshop on School Visits with Caroline Starr Rose

Make sure all students are included.
Much helpful information on school visits can be found online from experienced children’s authors who so generously share their experiences and advice. But in my book, there’s nothing better than learning the ins and outs in person. Recently, I had the pleasure and privilege of attending a workshop, “Lasting Connections: Planning and Preparing School Visits,” offered by Carolyn Starr Rose, award-winning author of May B. and Blue Birds, both historical verse novels, Ride on Will Cody!, Jasper, The Riddle of Riley’s Mine, and Over in the Wetlands.

Caroline has taught social studies and English, which I think helped her create her terrific program for students and teachers. A browse-through of Teacher Resources on her website is an education in itself on how to reach children through the content of our books.

In this post, I would like to share the highlights of Caroline’s approach to conducting successful school visits, learned by trial and error, which hopefully will save those of us just starting out some of the challenges she has encountered.

Where to Begin?

  • Read articles by children’s author and guru of school visits, according to Caroline, Alexis O’Neill, in SCBWI bulletins.
  • Visit author’s websites and see how they handle school visits. We broke into groups, studied author’s websites, and jotted down what we liked or disliked, then shared our findings with the group. Our author-choices included: Kate Messner, Dan Gutman, and Don Tate, who includes a Core Curriculum State Standards guide.

Decide: What Do You Have to Offer?

  • Work/life
  • Personality strengths
  • Writing focus or knowledge: Caroline emphasized that above anything else, students want to learn about the writing process. Under the list of presentations that she offers is “The Writing Process, From Idea to Publication.” On slides that she shared at the workshop, she includes close-ups of drafts of her WIP, with cross-outs and editor’s comments, excellent for students to realize the work that goes into revision.

Choose: Content from Your Book to Present to Students

  • What subjects from your book would make good teaching material?
  • What grades is your content suitable for?
  • Learn what works best in small classrooms or large groups.
  • Create ways to capture and hold attention: Photos and images, props and activities.
  •  As a retired teacher myself, I recognized the activities Caroline shared at the workshop, as ones frequently used in the classroom. Note to self: to gather ideas, you could browse a teacher’s store and look for teaching ideas online and incorporate them into your own uses. 

Here are a few of Caroline’s ideas that she shared with us:

  • Mingle Game (from May B.): On card stock, write a Fun Fact from your content (Caroline wrote her facts on one side and put the cover from May B on the other, and laminated her cards. Cards are small, about 3" x 3", perfect size for small hands and I loved the size, too). Example: “Chores: Men’s chores included clearing fields, planting crops, constructing houses, caring for livestock, and hunting.
  • Class monitors pass a card to each student. Students break out into small groups of two or three, read the Fun Fact from their card, first silently to themselves, then to the others in their group. Then students go around the room and read their Fun Facts to each other. 
  • Teacher claps, sends students to their seats and asks What Did you Learn? Students can raise their hands and tell the class what they learned.
  • String activity: Have students measure out with brightly-colored string the size of the space a frontier family lived in, the typical dimensions of their beds, etc.
  • What Did you Learn? How does a person have privacy from the way they lived, etc.
  • Act it Out: Choose volunteers to act out parts of a story.

Caroline’s Helpful Tips 

  • Find out who to speak to and what the school’s policy is on author visits, and where to go when you first arrive.
  • Be professional: draw up a one-page contract stating what you’ve agreed to do and what the school has agreed to do and have it signed by you and your school contact. Be gracious to your contact, teacher/librarian. Have contact name memorized.
  • Have materials prepared to send to your contact and include your request to have the students read your book and send you their written questions ahead of time. Find out what other books children are reading.
  • Ask that the teacher stay in the classroom and participate. Clearly state in the contract that teachers stay to be engaged and to redirect distracting behavior.
  • Find out if school will provide technical equipment, such as a projector and screen. (Caroline uses her own equipment to avoid problems, including taking an extension cord).
  • Arrive fifteen minutes early, come prepared and be flexible (go with the flow). Keep in mind that there are often glitches with every visit. Organize props and materials ahead of time. Give yourself time to set up.
  • Connect to curriculum.
  • Practice your presentation—normally it takes longer than it seems.
  • Keep visit simple and easy. Do a quick introduction. Establish rules ahead of time. Use school’s quiet signal and practice it together. Remind students to listen and save questions for the end.
  • Talk to booksellers, teachers and librarians. Follow teachers on social media and share information. Check what SCBWI has to offer. Caroline has invited a bookseller to come along to sell books.
  • Is a business license required? Find out.
  • You can offer a special reward: a "Meet the Author" lunch and book signing session with students chosen by your contact.
  • Should you get paid? Yes! But you can start by offering a limited number of short visits at no charge. Skype visits can be offered at no charge.
  • As a thank you to the school, volunteer for Battle of the Books, Literacy Night, etc.

Remember: there will be good and bad visits. Take it all in stride.

Photo: By Linda Wilson
Visit Caroline at https://carolinestarrrose.com 

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.

Write for Magazine Publication - #3


Writing for Magazine Publication is a great way to monetize your writing and test topic marketability.
Let’s talk about Structure today. 

This series offers tips and ideas for magazine publishing: a list of genres or categories and where we find ideas (posted 5.25.18), research tips (posted 6.25.18), standard templates for essay and article pieces (7.25.18), query letters, formatting for submittal, and copyright definitions.

What’s the difference between an essay and an article?
  • The essay is all about the writer, but an article is all about the reader.
  • An essay is an opinion piece: an analytical or interpretative composition with a limited point of view.
  • An article is non-fiction prose that is information or knowledge based.
Templates for composing an Article or an Essay:
The recommended template for Articles follows:
  • The opening paragraph, is the introduction, and should be to the point and tightly written.
  • Transition – getting into the subject
  • Steps – describe the process in steps
  • Tips – offer tips for success
  • Conclusion

The standard Essay template follows:
  • Introduction Paragraph – Capture interest, move from the general to the specific and write a thesis statement as the final sentence of this paragraph.
  • Body of the Essay – Three Supporting Paragraphs
  • Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence, and then present evidence to support your ideas, anticipate push back – refute it, and finish the paragraph with a smooth transition to the next supporting point.
  • Conclusion – One Paragraph
    • Restate your thesis in a similar way
    • Summarize your first, second, and third supporting points
    • Confirm the validity of your ideas
    • End the conclusion with a call-to-action or an emotional appeal

Resources of interest:
For Articles -- Eva Shaw’s The Successful Writer’s Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles--Amazon:


For Essays:


Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts. Visit her web-blog:
Deborah Lyn Stanley : MyWriter's Life .
“Write your best, in your voice, your way!

Where To Find Writing Ideas

By W. Terry Whalin

Often writers wonder, “Where do you find good ideas?”
The operative word in this sentence is “good.” Years ago, Guideposts contributing editor Elizabeth Sherrill told me, “Writers are swimming in a sea of ideas.” 

One of the best places to find good ideas is through focused reading. You can read magazine articles or books or the newspaper. Through the reading process, you can just absorb information and not come up with a single idea for your writing.

Or you can take a more focused approach and ask questions like:

—Where would you like for your writing to appear? 

—Who is the audience that reads that type of writing?

—Can I write what this audience is wanting to read?

With some answers to these questions, your reading can be more productive. I would encourage you to keep a notebook with your ideas.

As you read newspaper articles and think about what you want to write, cut out the clippings and tuck them into your notebook. It will only take a minute but these clippings can stir your writing.
Your writing can go in a million different directions. If you need some ideas in this area, check out the first chapter in my Jumpstart Your Publishing DreamsThe chapter is FREE so use this link.

Now that you have a list of ideas, what are you doing to take action on them? 

—Are you creating book ideas into a proposal format and properly pitching them to agents or editors? 

—Are you writing short query letters and getting them out to magazine editors and getting assignments?

—Are you writing full length magazine articles and sending them to editors on speculation that they will be a perfect fit for the magazine and get published?

These questions are not mutually exclusive. You can take the same idea and write a magazine article and a book pitch from it. There are several keys: focus on a particular market and audience. You need to understand the potential reader and write with that reader in mind. Then move on your ideas and pitch them to a specific professional.

Here's the wrong way to begin your pitch—and I recently received one of these pitches:

“To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing in regards to gaining information and feedback on my story. At this point, I am not an established writer, or even a writer for that matter. I simply have an amazing life story to tell.”

Yes, I've actually quoted this email—but what followed was pages and pages of cathartic rambling writing—not for any target—just a cry for help. I don't know how many of these emails this author fired into her email (maybe a few or maybe many of them). I expect most people hit the button to throw it into the trash without giving it a second thought. Many of my editor and agent friends receive hundreds of these pitches each day. 

I could have ignored this email too—but I did not. I wrote the author and asked who was the target audience and was it a magazine article or a book pitch or what—and encouraged the author with several free resources that I've created to help answer those questions. The email in my view was a cry for help. Unfortunately many people are floundering in this situation.

This writer claims not to be a writer. If that is the case, this person needs to reach out into the marketplace and find someone to help her. Maybe go to a writer's forum (there are hundreds of them) and ask for help. There is not one path but many different paths (and this is confusing to many people. Each path involves taking specific action.

Many people feel overwhelmed with publishing and like they have few opportunities—yet if you look closely at what they are doing, they are not taking action and trying different possibilities. 

What steps are you taking today to make your reading more focused and targeted? How are you capturing your ideas and taking specific steps to move forward and get those ideas into the marketplace? Let me know in the comments below. 


Ideas are everywhere. How to you find good ones? Get help here. (Click to Tweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  One of his books for writers is Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success.  He lives in Colorado and has over 205,000 twitter followers.

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A Space Travel Guide for Science Fiction Writers

If you or any of your friends write science fiction set in space, check out this great resource: Intergalactic Travel Bureau Vacation Guide to the Solar System, by Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich.

It's a lot of accesible real science about realistic space travel and how things work on the moon and the planets in our solar system. Mixed in with this science is a lot of great speculation about what tourism would look like in a more space-faring future.

It's already inspired ideas for a couple of short stories, and I'm going to read through a lot of the first chapter again and take notes on what space travel would really be like.

It's also simply a fun and interesting book, beautiful with its helpful illustrations and retro-chic travel posters for outer space.

Check it out from your library or get the Vacation Guide to the Solar System on Amazon. I recommend the actual paper version to appreciate the full aesthetics.

You can read (and listen to) Melinda Brasher's most recent short story sale at Pseudopod.  It's a tale of a man who doesn't believe in superstition...until he has to.  You can also find her fiction in Ember, Timeless Tales, 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

Creating Character Names - Ol’Whatshisname!

by Valerie Allen

When naming your characters it’s tempting to give your friends, family, or coworkers a chance for their 15 minutes of fame. Before indulging in the name game consider the the following implications that names reveal about characters.

1. Names have implications such as: status, education, religion, place of birth, heritage, culture,  sex, age, etc..

2. Short names with hard sounds such as Max, Kurt, Nick, and Zena are often used for the bad guys (or gals).

3. Two syllable names and two part names are typically used for children or to portray child like qualities: Bobby, Cathy, Jimmy, Lulu; Sally-Jean, Bobbi-Jo, Jimmy-Ray

4. Single names, multiple names, hyphenated names, and initials imply importance: Cher, Madonna, John Philip Sousa, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gertrude Hart-Taylor, Charles Miller-Wright, FDR, JFK, MLK

5. Names can indicate ethnicity:  Maria, Juan, Collin, Eileen, Anthony, Lisa, Nigel, Gretchen, Vijay, or Abdul

6. The spelling of a name can imply age or character traits: Smith vs Smyth, Elizabeth vs Lizabeth, Rose Ann vs Rosanne, Lisa vs Liza vs Lissa, Carl vs Karl

7. Names must fit the theme or time period of your story, such as, biblical, Civil War era, Native American, science fiction, European, aristocratic, etc.

8. Names often reflect popular public figures or famous families during specific time periods: Franklin or Eleanor, Elvis, Shirley (Temple), Douglas (MacArthur), Amy (Carter), Chelsea (Clinton).

9. Nicknames are typically used for extroverted characters: Barb, Liz, Bill, Joe, Rick. They can also be used to reveal characterization:  Shorty, Babe, Honey, Slim, Hot Stuff, Tex.

10. Use only one common name (Jim Jones) and only one exotic name (Theodora Ginasia-Peacock) per story.

11. Use unique names for each character, not: Jack, Jim, Jon, or John in the same story, nor Mary, Marie, Maria, Marla, Maureen.

12. Last names follow the same rule, do not have: Jamison, Johnson, Jenson, Jepson in the same story.

13. Use caution with names that have special significance such as, grandfather/father/son, Sr./Jr., The III, use of family names as a first name (Fulbright, Hathaway), unisex names (Taylor, Parker, Madison), flowers (Azalea, Buttercup, Lily), gems(Ruby, Pearl),  and nature (Summer, River, Plum)

Helpful resources for character names are The World of Baby Names, Character Naming Sourcebook, and the US Census of Common Names.

Readers make associations with names based on their unique experiences, however, stereotyping is alive and well. Who do you picture when you hear the name Bertha?

Valerie Allen writes fiction, nonfiction, short stories and children's books. (https://Amazon.com/author/valerieallen) She assists writers with marketing via Authors For Authors  in warm and sunny Florida. Meet the Authors Book Fair in the Fall and the Writers' Conference: Write, Publish, Sell! in the Spring. Vendor tables and presentations encourage networking and marketing to increase book sales. Book Display options are available for authors throughout the USA. Valerie loves to hear from readers and writers! Contact her at: VAllenWriter@gmail.com and http://AuthorsForAuthors.com


The Lazy Way to Be a Great Writer

Developing Dialogue

Avoid These Common Mistakes in Creating Characters for Your Story

A Few of My Favorite Ways to Make at Least $100 a Day as a Writer

When I tell people they can make real money as a writer, I'm not talking about a mere $100 a day!

But you've got to start somewhere!

So today I'd like to list some of my favorite ways to make at least $100 a day as a writer.

Once you're earning $100 a day as a writer, there'll be no stopping you!

You can go on to earn the income you've always dreamed of earning as a writer.

But again, the key is to just get started!

Too many writers wait for something that will have them instantly earning thousands of dollars a day.

But that isn't the way it usually works.

Writing isn't a get-rich-quick scheme.

It's a skill and a business that takes time to develop, just like any other skill and business.

Okay, so here goes. Let's get started!

1. Search the online job boards and locate at least one assignment that pays $100 and that can be done quickly - in a few hours.

Apply for the assignment, get it, finish it, invoice the client for it.

Do this on a regular basis.

Each morning, get up and search for assignments that pay at least $100.

If you start doing this on a regular basis, after awhile you'll also stumble into some bigger, better paying gigs, too!

They key is to simply get started and do this consistently - day in and day out!

You'll build your confidence and your skills as you build your income!

2. Create information products and sell them online.

It doesn't take many of these products to earn $100 a day.

It just takes a few that sell well.

An information product can be an e-book, an e-course, a special report, etc.

Pick a target market and find out what they WANT to know.

Then package this information so they can easily purchase it online from you.

Another option would be to create information products for others - ghostwrite these products.

3. Develop a teleclass and charge for the class.

If you develop weekly teleclasses, you can charge a weekly or monthly membership fee that will give you regular income.

What do you know a lot about?

It doesn't need to be about writing.

Are you an expert about traveling with kids?

Do you know a lot about fishing?

Do people admire the way you decorate your house without spending a fortune?

Turn your expertise into cash!

4. Promote/sell affiliate products in an ezine and at a website or blog.

Simply monetize your site by offering affiliate products that appeal to your target market.

Many writers make big money doing this.

But they learn all the "tricks of the trade" to make the big money.

Still, you can make $100 a day without knowing everything there is to know about affiliate marketing.

Again, just get started, and be consistent at it.

Write reviews and other information about affiliate products on a regular basis.

5. Write for magazines or other publications on a regular basis.

First, you need to break in with a few publications, of course.

But once you do, keep submitting ideas to the editors.

Even if they don't use your ideas, they may continue to hire you to write articles they need writers for.

It takes a while to break in with major magazines.

But, once you do, you'll earn significant money this way if you write for these publications on a regular basis.

6. Create a live workshop or course and charge for it.

Do this on a regular basis to supplement your writing income.

You can offer the workshop at a local coffeeshop, community center, or even a bookstore or restaurant - or, in good weather, at the park.

7. Create a product, service, or training program for businesses, then promote regularly to these businesses to make regular sales.

Do a little research to determine what writing services, products, or training programs local businesses need.

Then submit a proposal to a few businesses offering your services, products, or programs.

Once you sell your products and services to a few of these businesses, gather some testimonials that will help you sell to other businesses.

8. Write books for publishers who need authors for upcoming titles.

Many freelance writers write several books a year this way.

After awhile, they have ongoing royalties from many, many books and these royalties add up to a nice income.

9. Develop a few services that you love to provide for clients, and focus on acquiring many clients for just these services.

For example, if you're good at writing press releases/media releases and you enjoy this type of writing, make this your speciality and promote it big time!

You can easily earn $100 for a single press release.

And you can write a press release in just a few hours at the most.

You'll have a thriving business if you write just a few press releases every day!

You can spend the rest of each day working on your novel or something else to earn even more money!

Those are just a few of my favorite ways for earning at least $100 a day.

Now..it's your turn.

What's your favorite way to earn at least $100 a day as a writer?

Share your way here in a comment.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over 35 published books and a writing coach.

Visit her website at www.writebythesea.com for more articles and resources about writing.

And, for more money making tips for writers, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge at www.morningnudge.com.

Writing Fun 101

When was the last time you wrote something because you wanted to? Usually on the priority scale, things tend to get done because it's deadline or time-sensitive, client work, a long-delayed project you had to wrap up, and in some cases all of the above. 

If you don't know the answer off the top of your head, then it has been way too long.

It summertime! And, while there is always work to be done, that shouldn't stop you from having fun ... both in real life and with your writing.

So, here is your assignment. Pick one of the following:

1. Have an adventure and write about it. It can be as simple as people watching or a fun afternoon out.
2. Start a new journal. How awesome is book full of fresh paper just waiting for you to fill it with words?
3. Write a pitch, essay, poem, song, or quick article.
4. Start a new long-form project, such as a book, novel, or screenplay.
5. Do anything you want. Haven't you been paying attention? This is your project. Your decision.

Now comes the fun part...

After you finish reading this article, stop what you are doing, set a timer for 15 minutes, and start writing one of the above. If you can't freeze time right now, that's fine. You may do it later today ... or if necessary within the next 24 hours. Then schedule at least two 15-minute appointments each week to work on it. 

The point is this. You will always have things to do, deadlines, and other responsibilities. Yet, on most days 15 minutes is totally doable. Take time for yourself and your passion projects, in small increments of time. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you prioritize the things you enjoy. Oh, and bonus: you will likely be happier too!

What fun thing will you write today or this week? Please share in the comments.

* * *

Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and 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 #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.

5 Etiquette Tips to Make You a Rock Star at Your Next Book Event

Have you ever been to a book fair and your table mate or book neighbor (author at the table next to you) did something that really irked you?

Yea, well, you’re not alone. Sometimes people don’t realize how their actions affect their book neighbors at a book event. Everyone has shelled out money to be there and is eager to connect with new readers.

So, here to help you be a rock star with your neighbors at your next book event are 5 etiquette tips.

Usually the organizers request authors to come 1-2 hours to get set up before the event. When you do that, you have ample time to set up and follow these tips!

1. When you have finished setting up your table, take a moment to introduce yourself to your table mate/book neighbor. Offer to take a picture of them at their table. Often authors come to events without a helper and that makes it difficult to take pictures of themselves. This will earn you good points with your book neighbor.

2. Once you have networked with the authors around you, you will know about their genre. Help your neighbor once the event begins by suggesting their books to a customer who doesn’t fit your genre. This will win you huge points with your book neighbor.

3. If you are chatting with your table mate/book neighbor and a customer walks up to their table, quickly stop the conversation so they can attend to the customer. Do not keep talking to them and cause them to lose a potential customer. This is rude and will lose you points with your neighbor. You may even say something before the event like, “If a customer comes up while we’re talking, I’ll stop talking so you can talk to them and then we can pick up where we left off afterwards.” This helps your neighbor know that you care about them and are not being rude when you cut off your conversation with them.

4. If your table mate/book neighbor has a customer at their table, do not start talking to that customer unless you are telling them how great that author’s book is. It is rude to talk to a customer at another author’s table and pull them away from their table to yours. You can speak to the customer after they have made their decision to purchase or not from that author. One thing you can do is offer to take a picture of the customer holding the book with the author. This will also earn you huge points with your neighbor because they may not have thought to do that or have no one who could do that for them.

5. Lastly, offer to cover your neighbor’s table if they need to use the restroom or need to purchase food or drink. It’s usually a long day at these events and most authors don’t have a helper to cover their table. After listening to them talk to their customers, you will know what to say to someone who comes to their table. If you make a sale for them, you will truly be a rock star!

Overall, bring your best, most positive energy to these events. This helps with your connection with potential readers as well as your neighbors.

I hope you have learned something from today’s post and will think about how you can be a good neighbor at your next event.

If someone doesn’t follow this tips at an event, feel free to print this off and give it to them. Most likely, they just didn’t know.

I would also love to hear any other tips you may have discovered from your events.

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). A former National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral. She belongs to the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 23 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.

Q&As and How To Take Control of Your Own Submissions

Upping Your Chances for Publication In MY Newsletter—and Most Everywhere Else!

I have been publishing SWW (SharingwithWriters) newsletter since 2003, and though it’s sporadic (it must take a back seat to the traveling I do!), it is long and full of tons of tips and resources. I also encourage subscriber participation through several of its features including one of my favorite formats, the Q&A.

When I was a young staff writer at The Salt Lake Tribuneback—well, way too long ago to mention—I was sometimes assigned the job of making Ann Landers ground-breaking self-help columns fit into the allotted editorial space once the advertising department had set up all the stuff a paper needs to survive—that would be stuff people and businesses pay a newspaper to publish. I became addicted both personally and as a nonfiction writer.

Q&As are easy ways for people to learn new information and to apply it to real lives, maybe even their own. Below is one of my favorites from my newsletter. Q&As a la Ann Landers solve a problem for me. They make it easier for me to handle submissions and allowing me to continue to offer my newsletter free—or to offer it at all!

QUESTION: Thank you for your offer to run an announcement of my newest “Author Success.” Please just extract what you need from the press release I attached.

ANSWER: I would love to run your success, Annie.  But here’s the thing. I don’t like to work this way.

I live in fear that I'll make a mistake or leave something out and it is very timing consuming to extract from a release when you can tell your own story much better and faster.

Dan Poynter used to always make the point of saying submissions to him should be ready for him to cut-and-paste.  His heart was always with us.  He wanted to help but could help more of his contributors if he could get them to make it easy on him! 

There is another aspect to my being so picky!  I don't know if you have a copy of my The Frugal Book Promoter, but because I wrote it to help authors get more free media exposure, I consider it my job to set an example for my authors and readers.  In this case--specifically—to encourage you to submit the way you 'd like to see your information in print while taking in consideration the editor's submission guidelines to the style of the journal etc.  Doing so gives you an edge for promotion because editors are busy. 

A story that is not as good may get the exposure while your media release or submission gets ignored or lost. Another may get preference over yours because the editor or other gatekeeper is so short on time.  The author who submits according to a gatekeeper’s guidelines benefits by having more control over what is said. The author has more control of the details selected for the story when he or she doesn’t expect the feature editor, newsletter editor, business editor, or other gatekeeper to do all the work.

So, here are my SWW guidelines:

1.     Send your information in the body of an e-mail. You’ll find all the reasons why this is important for almost all gatekeepers including the biggies like large media organizations and academic institutions in The Frugal Book Promoter!

2.     Put clear, concise information in the subject line: “Author Success [or tip or letter-to-the-editor] for Sharing with Writers.

3.     For Author Successes, give me one paragraph that includes author name, title, short pitch for the book, link, and an image of your book cover in jpeg.

4.     For other features like “Opportunities,” read a past issue or two and submit information similar to what you see there. You have probably seen literary review journals give you the same advice. There is no point in submitting poetry to them if they only publish short stories, or experimental fiction if they only publish another genre. Generally speaking, I try to make each story useful to my audience (as do most media folks!) and my audience is mostly writers like you.

5.     Be prepared. I will probably just copy and paste but may edit for style or space.

6.     In your media kit include a media release, a first-person essay, a related article, and an interview that includes a note that the author gives permission for it to be reprinted and that the author (or publicist) may be contacted for other articles, blog posts, essays, etc.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoterand The Frugal Editorwon awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethicallyis the newest book in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.
You can find all Howard-Johnson's books at: http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com/


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SEO for Authors Part9 – Duplicate Content

Some bloggers (book marketers) are under the misconception that having their article reprinted on another website is a problem. They fear Google will penalize them.

This is NOT true. And, this comes from expert advice.

But, first let’s understand what duplicate content is. It’s when the identical or near-duplicate content appears on more than one webpage.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s on your own website or whether you have a guest post on another website, or whether a scraper site steals your article and posts it.

Scraped content is when a site takes your content and posts it on their own site without permission. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this, but you don’t have to worry about being penalized for it.

Allowing Reprints or Syndication of Your Blog Posts

According to Moz, Google understands syndication. What will possibly happen is the duplicate content (reprint) “will be filtered out of search results.”

I use guest posts on my site because it adds value to my readers. It brings a wider perspective and hopefully more information on a topic. So, I’m not concerned about it being in search results for the content.

On the flipside, I allow my articles to be reprinted because it broadens my visibility. The hosting site has its own readers and visitors who will possibly see my content for the first time.

This is a win-win for me and the hosting site. I broaden my marketing reach and the hosting site gets fresh content that will hopefully help its readers.

To further emphasis the myth of duplicate content, Neil Patel says:

Googlebot visits most sites every day. If it finds a copied version of something a week later on another site, it knows where the original appeared. Googlebot doesn’t get angry and penalize. It moves on. That’s pretty much all you need to know.

A huge percentage of the internet is duplicate content. Google knows this. They’ve been separating originals from copies since 1997, long before the phrase “duplicate content” became a buzzword in 2005.

Playing It Safe and Being Ethical

Syndication can be a valuable marketing tool and it’s definitely a legitimate strategy, but to play it safe and give credit where it’s due (for Google’s sake), always reference the original content link.

You might be saying, “But, I allow the author a tag or bio that links back to their website.”

While this may be true, it has nothing to do with Google.

You want to let Google know that the content you're reprinting originated from another webpage. Again, your blog post may not be put in the search results, but you’ll be playing the game right.

I try to always reference the original URL of a guest post I use. I say “try” because sometimes I’m in a rush and forget to do it even though it’s something that shouldn’t be forgotten. I do have to try harder.

What Google Says on the Matter

Did you know that Google has a page just about duplicate content. Below is what it says about allowing reprints or syndication of your content:

If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you'd prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to use the noindex meta tag to prevent search engines from indexing their version of the content.

If you have a question related to this post, just enter it in the comments. I’ll try my best to answer it.

To read the previous articles in this SEO for Authors series, go to:

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 need help with your author platform, check out Karen's e-classes through WOW:


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