A Book Signing with Author Ransom Riggs

"Stay Peculiar"
When Ransom Riggs came to town, I knew I would have to go see him. And I wasn’t disappointed. Riggs is the author of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1 New York Times bestselling series; the fifth book in the series, The Conference of the Birds, just came out on January 14th.

Our Albuquerque Barnes & Noble hosted Riggs in grand style. While the “events” that were set up for ticket holders were presented mostly by Riggs’s traveling crew (our stop was the 9th on his whirlwind book tour in a van decorated with lively Conference of the Birds artwork), B & N employees helped, too. I’m not sure who provided the chocolates, cookies and sweet drinks, but it didn’t matter. In the hour before Riggs danced in, the guests, numbering approximately forty by my count, had a great time. One woman sitting in the front row, a gold ticket holder, even came dressed as a character from Riggs’s stories.

There was so much to do: tattoos stamped at the tattoo booth, photos taken by the participants themselves in front of a giant poster backdrop, and a mysterious event known only to gold ticket holders (my ticket was silver, which included a hardcover copy of The Conference of Birds). Three notebooks, signed by Ransom Riggs, were given away.

Riggs grew up in Florida. When he was twelve, he found old photographs with his grandmother at a collector’s store in town. His fascination grew and he soon became a collector himself, scouring old photos at swap meets and flea markets. He especially liked the photos that had writing on the back, such as an old photo of a young girl named Dorothy who, on the back, said that she had died of leukemia at his age. He’d never before thought that anyone his age would die. Photos then were ten cents a piece; later, as he grew more serious, he paid more.

He would find creepy stuff, such as a collection of men with blank eyes (these poor souls either had cataracts, were blind, or came from another world, not sure), which appears in The Conference of the Birds, war time photos, and Gothic photos, to name a few. He kept his photos into albums. No permission was necessary for these unclaimed photos (I had to ask). And then he came to a photo of a peculiar child. Hmm.

When he was thirteen, he joined a writer’s group called Inklings. He wrote Stephen King-like stories alongside old ladies writing their memoirs.

After a stint at film school, trying his hand at screenwriting, and other jobs, he was encouraged by the editor of a small publishing company to write a novel, and his novel of an island full of kids with strange abilities was born. He thought the novel wouldn’t get any attention, but it slowly gathered momentum, and was made into the movie, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. The ending of the novel was a cliff-hanger, and two more novels followed, a trilogy. The end. He thought. But now he is in the middle of another trilogy, writing the latest novel, half-way done and slated to come out in 2021, while on the road in his van, traveling on his book tour across America.

Riggs’s wife, Tahereh Mafi, is also a bestselling author, with six books in her New York Times and USA Today bestselling YA Shatter Me series, and her novels A Very Large Expanse of Sea, longlisted by the National Book Award for YA, and Furthermore, Gr 5-7. They share an office, write side-by-side, and he shared with his characteristic terrific sense of humor that she very kindly and gently reads his early drafts.

Riggs’s Wisdom
After Riggs blew in front of the crowd, seated by tickets, I was struck with his attitude. He thanked B & N for having him, expressed his gratitude that his readers have stuck with him through his six-odd year writing journey. He said knowing that his readers were waiting for this book was a big shot in the arm for him.

He began his talk by answering questions that are usually asked, which I thought was a big time-saver. This way he covered a lot of more territory than might have been missed by having to save time for a lengthy Q & A session, though he did allot some time for Q & A at the end.
  • He said writing is a great escape; channeling whatever feeling—sadness, joy, etc., into good fiction is a good way to get our feelings out.
  • In the beginning, he used his photos to inspire his characters, but now the story has its own momentum, and he goes with that.
  • He listens to music, not while writing necessarily, but music helps him to think up ideas.
  • Writer's Block strategies: Writer's block is a sign that the author is trying to force the character to do something that doesn’t come naturally, or the author is too attached to the plot. Any author suffering from writer's block needs to back up and think about what they’re trying to write.
  • The most important thing Riggs has learned? Writing faster doesn’t make it worse! Just write the book instead of all that other stuff!
I left elated and motivated to get back to work. Riggs put on an interesting, refreshing and highly invigorating talk. If he comes to your town, I recommend that you go see him. Before I attended Riggs's book signing, I was not familiar with his work. Now I can't wait to dig into his books, and his wife's, too.
Introductory photo: From Ransom Riggs's Facebook Pages

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter, and is working on several projects for children. Follow Linda on Facebook.

Book Review: Write Smart Write Happy

Cheryl St. John is the author of Write Smart Write Happy, How to Become a More Productive, Resilient, and Successful Writer

Cheryl St. John’s book title intrigued me. And, when my accountability partner recommended it, I bought it—sure glad I did. As an award-winning published author of over fifty novels, Cheryl is qualified to coach writers as she shares her lessons-learned throughout the book. Her advice is compassionate, straightforward and encouraging. Write Smart Write Happy, has had a significant influence on my outlook as a writer. I kept a notebook to record the volume of important points that stood out to me in each chapter.

I particularly enjoyed fostering a positive view for my writing journey, creating a routine, counting all the good things, and defining action steps to improve self-confidence.

The Goal of the book is to impress writers with the importance of creating a productive writing practice that survives the vulnerability encased within writing. This book addresses career-planning goals, motivation, overcoming hurdles, holding onto who you are, conquering fear and managing priorities.

I whole-heartedly recommend this book. It is candid, it’s comprehensive, and it will motivate you no matter where you are in the writers' journey.

Thank you Cheryl St. John much appreciated!

I am working on my next post series. What writing craft topic would be most useful to you?  i.e. Crafting Essays, Time Management, Motivation. Please add your comment below.  

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 writer’s website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Check out her caregiver’s website at: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/ 
and a book for caregivers at: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/momandme/  
Facebook: Deborah Lyn Stanley, Writer    https://www.facebook.com/deborahlynwriter/?modal=admin_todo_tour

When Your Book Isn't Selling

By W. Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin)

I used to cringe when I saw the mail or email from one of my publishers. It probably contained a royalty statement and experience told me many of those numbers would begin with a minus (negative balance).  I’ve written for many different traditional publishers and have had this experience from a broad spectrum of types of books including how-to, self-help, biographies, gift books and children’s books.

When your book sales are off, it’s a natural tendency to want to blame someone. Maybe my editor has left and my book was orphaned inside the publisher with no champion or advocate. Maybe my publisher didn’t market the book to bookstores. Maybe they changed the title between what was printed in the catalog and what was published. Or _(fill in the blank). I’ve had all of these things happen to my published books. Good publishing involves a cooperative process and working with many different people. Much of this process is outside of the author’s control. I’ve also learned there are many pro-active steps authors can take to change their situation.

1. Take 100% responsibility for your own success. In The Success Principles, Jack Canfield makes this the first principle. Over ten years ago, I heard this principle and adopted it in my publishing efforts.
2. Be active in the promotion and marketing of your book.  As the author, you have the greatest passion for your book—way beyond anyone else including your publisher. The great promoter, PT Barnum said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens—nothing.” Consistent promotion of your book is important.
3. Be Generous with your book. Reviews sell books but many authors have few reviews for their book on Amazon or Goodreads or Barnes & Noble. Give books to people who are willing to write a review. If they’ve never written a review, give them a tool to help them like with this form.
4. Ask for others for help. In the New Testament, James 4:2-3 says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” If you need endorsements, ask but make it easy for them to say yes (offer to draft it). If you need social media promotion, ask but create possible posts. Here’s an example of a page, I created to help others help me spread the word on my latest book.
5.  Take the long view of publishing. Publishing and promoting a book is more like a marathon than a sprint. With the huge volume of published books, someone has to hear about your book seven to twelve times before they purchase it. What actions can you take every day to give your book this exposure? My Billy Graham book trailer has been seen over 11,500 times in the last five years. http://bit.ly/BGBookT
6. No matter what happens in your life, keep going. In Perennial SellerNew York Times bestselling author Ryan Holiday writes, “The hard part is not the dream or the idea, it’s the doing.” If there were a simple formula to create a bestseller, every book would be a bestseller. There are practical actions every author can take. Each part of the publishing process has challenges and as writers your persistence and consistency is critical. As #1 New York Times bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins wrote in the foreword of my book, 10 Publishing Myths, “Only one of a hundred writers literally make their deadlines.” If you meet deadlines with quality writing, it’s an easy way to stand out from the crowd. I wrote 10 Publishing Myths to give writers realistic expectations and practical steps every author can take to succeed. Today, you can get the 11th Publishing Myth as a free ebook.

When you point a finger at others because your book is not selling, just remember: when you extend your pointer finger, four more fingers are bent back toward you. Take action today. Let me know in the comments below what actions you are taking on a regular basis and we can learn from each other.


W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Straight Talk From the Editor. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Literary Magazines with Themes--On the Premises

If you're looking for a short story contest with no entry free and quite good pay, try On the Premises.

As indicated by the title, this e-zine always has themes.  The current contest, running until March 6, is "More Than One."

"For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words in which one or more characters face this problem:  there is more than one of something that there should absolutely, positively be only one of."

Sounds fun!

Guidelines:  https://onthepremises.com/

They also have mini contests between regular contests.  The mini contests require VERY short prose, and the themes are often quite interesting.  For example, in the fall I entered one about purposely bad world-building.  The results were quite fun.  You can read them here (including my winning entry):  https://onthepremises.com/minis/mini_43/ 

Melinda Brasher's fiction and travel writing appear most recently in Hippocampus, Deep Magic, and Twenty-Two Twenty-Eight.  Her newest non-fiction book, Hiking Alaska from Cruise Ports is available on Amazon.    

She loves hiking and taking photographs of nature's small miracles.  

Visit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com

How to Write Faster & Work Smarter

If you're a freelance writer you probably have a variety of projects going at any one time.

And sometimes it seems that every project you accept takes much more time than you would like.

In fact, if you are a successful freelance writer, the projects you accept can start to eat up all of your time.
Here's how can you write faster and work smarter, so you'll have more free time for other things:

1. Focus on one project at a time.

If you're constantly thinking about all the things you need to accomplish each day, your mind never settles down to the writing project at hand.

Let everything else go when you sit down to write.

Just write.

Don't answer the phone.

Don't check your email.

Don't try to multitask when you write.

In fact, I find it helpful to block out a apecific amount of time for each writing project.

Then, when it's time to work on one project, it's much easier to stop thinking about everything else because I know I have blocked out time for all those other projects, too.

2. When writing nonfiction, it helps to come up with a structure for your article, topic, paragraph, etc. before you sit down to write.

Start with a jazzy title for your article, then create the lead sentence.

Next, figure out how you will structure the article by coming up with a few subtopic headings.

Once you have all those things in place, all you'll need to do is fill in the information under each of the subtopic headings.

3. When writing fiction, chunk the action out into scenes.

When you sit down to write, tell yourself you are going to write only a certain number of scenes that day.

Outline the scenes ahead of time, then when it's time to sit down and write out the scenes, you are good to go!

4. Every day when you get ready to finish that day's writing session, be sure you KNOW what you will start writing the next day.

That way, you won't have to sit down and stare at a blank computer screen tomorrow.

You'll be able to get to work immediately because you'll know where to start.

5. If you find you're spending hours at the computer with nothing to show for it, stop.

Get up and do something else.

Take a walk, take a bath, do some stretches, go out for a cup of coffee.

Your subconscious will still be working on the writing project that is giving you trouble.

Come back to it in an hour or so and you'll probably start to make some progress.

Follow these tips and you'll not only be working faster, you'll be working smarter, too!

And you will have more free time for other things you love to do.

Try it!

For more writing tips, be sure to visit writebythesea.com and get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge. Once you're a subscriber, you'll also have access to a Private Resource Library for Writers.

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

Creating Conflict in Your Story

Your story has a great beginning—a great hook that will capture the reader instantly. You have an interesting, funny, or mischievous protagonist who will keep the reader engaged. But will it be enough to keep the reader turning the pages to end? Is there something missing?

Children’s stories aren’t what they use to be. Granted many stories of years ago did have conflict, they would not cut it in today’s children’s market.

In today’s children’s writing world, writing must be tight and focused. And, you need conflict. The conflict is an obstacle or roadblock in the road from point A to point B. The protagonist must figure out a way over, around, under it, or through it.

Examples You Can Use to Create and Beef up the Conflict:

Tommy wants more than anything to play baseball, but he’s not very good. The other boys never willingly choose him for their team. How will Tommy overcome this problem?

What if Tommy gets the best bat and glove on the market—will this make him a better ball player?

Kristen’s friends all have new bikes, but she has her older sister’s hand-me-down. Kristen needs to figure out a way to get a new bike.

What if Kristen finally gets a new bike and leaves it unattended at the park. It gets stolen. She’s afraid to tell her parents, so keeps this little bit of information to herself. But, how long can she keep this up.

What if Billy has a run in with the school bully and ever since he’s harassed every day. How can Billy get out of this mess?

So, the way to create and build conflict is to use “how” and “what if” to generate conflict and get your story off the ground and flying.

In the article “What to Aim For When Writing,” Margot Finke advises, “A slow buildup of tension gives good pace. Dropping hints and clues builds tension, which in turn moves your story along. Short, punchy sentences give better pace than longwinded lines."

For chapter books, middle grade, and young adult, Finke advises to keep the reader engaged by ending each paragraph with a kind of cliff-hanger. This doesn’t mean you need a life and death scenario, just something that entices the reader to move onto the next chapter to find out what happens. In addition, to increase your story’s pace in certain sections, use shorter chapters. Chapters with 5-7 pages creates the sense of a quicker pace.

This article was originally posted at:

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and successful children’s ghostwriter/rewriter. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move and as well as an 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.

And, you can follow Karen at:
LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter  http://twitter.com/KarenCV

Writing Possibilities Abound - If You Persevere

The Importance of Believing in Yourself

Making Your Book Reviews Into Workhorses

Writing Fiction for Children - 4 Simple Tips

5 Places to Keep Goals ... and 2 Places you Shouldn't

Where to Keep Your Goals
The beginning of the year is without a doubt the most popular time to set new goals. Whether you are working toward a career change, want to build a business, or have a content project that you are determined to complete, the odds of achieving your goals increase greatly when you look at them on a regular basis.

But where should those goals to reside ...

Here are 5 places to keep your goals ... and 2 places to avoid.

1. KEEP: On Your Mobile Phone. Create a graphic with your top goals to use as your cellphone wallpaper.

2. KEEP: On Your Computer. If you don't want to post a graphic of your goals on your computer background - and announce them to all who walk by your desk - create a goals document with a shortcut on your computer's desktop. Open the doc and review your goals at least once a day.

3. AVOID: Your Head. You can think about your goals all you want. That's actually encouraged. But you must do more than that. If you can't "see" your goals, unless you close your eyes, then you are missing something.

4. KEEP: In Your Office. Be creative. Post your goals somewhere inconspicuous - perhaps in the corner of a framed photo or written on a desk "toy" - but in your line of sight.

5. KEEP. In Your Wallet. Type up your goals, print it out small, and keep it in your wallet. Then whenever you go to open it, you can see your goals.

6. AVOID: The Bottom of a Drawer. Don't hide your goals. The point isn't to make wishes and hope something comes to fruition. You need to know your goals, since it will increase the possibility of turning them into reality.

7. KEEP: In Your Favorite Place. Where is your power zone? Do you have a special place you like to go to write? A man cave or a she shed? If you love to cook, maybe that place is your kitchen. Fan of yoga? Attach your goals to the corner of your mat. Hang your goals in a place of honor in the location that is most inside your comfort zone.

The clean slate that goes with January 1 makes it the perfect opportunity to re-examine what you want, re-evaluate your mission, and set your priorities. Just keep those goals where you can see them. It greatly increases your chance of success.

* * *

Where do you keep your goals? Please share in the comments.

* * *
Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. A writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of the D*E*B METHOD and Write On Online, Deb works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

How to Use Multimedia Fiction to Market Your Book

Contributed by Silvia Li Sam

Authors must adapt to new technologies and trends to reach their audiences in today's ever-changing world. With the internet, there are so many new and innovative ways to reach potential readers. One of the many new trends in storytelling has been multimedia fiction.

What is multimedia fiction? It's a visual short story that adds images, pictures, or even audio to the written word. Websites like Commaful that are dedicated specifically to multimedia fiction have become incredibly popular, and attract more readers every day.

Is it possible to use multimedia fiction to help market your book? 

Not only is it possible, but it might also even be the boost you need to actually reach the public you've been aiming for.

Extend your novel's universe

Short multimedia stories are ideal for today's fast-paced world. People tend to have a short attention span, and so offering them shorter options to sink their teeth into is a great way of catching their interest. This is especially true for young adult audiences.

Sharing short stories in a multimedia format can both attract new readers to your books and build excitement amongst existing fans. The wait between books can be a long one and short multimedia stories can be a huge boost in excitement and fan engagement.

This can be true even after a novel’s series is over. JK Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, for example, releases short stories occasionally on the site Pottermore. She has also released multimedia versions of the previous novels, filled with illustrations and interactive elements. 

Multimedia fiction can also help you expand your character's background stories or create new paths and possibilities. Perhaps it could open the chance to write a new book series, if the first one turns out to be a success, focusing on other characters or even new adventures or mysteries altogether. Disney has clearly done well with that with all the spinoff stories and movies they have.

Because many sites that offer micro-stories and multimedia stories are also hotbeds for fanfiction, this is also a great way to get fans to interact with your universe and build fandom around your books. For example, Commaful has a fanfiction page that is dedicated to all types of fanworks around books, movies, and more.

Don't be afraid of trying a new type of storytelling to expand your novel's universe.

Offer snippets from your books

You may also use the material you've already written to promote your books.

Offering potential readers and influencers a sample of your writing can boost your book's sales. This is especially true if you sell an online version since you can add a link directly to the website that offers the full text.

It's essential to select extracts that can immediately catch the audience's attention and make them wonder what will come next. Also, try and use all the multimedia format's benefits to your advantage.

Add eye-catching pictures or photographs, play with the formatting, and make it as attractive as possible. Offering portions of your book with new and engaging short stories can make the potential readers feel a connection to your characters and have them aching for more.

Think carefully about how to integrate multimedia

To really take advantage of the format, aim the pictures you select at the right target audience and genre.

If you write horror novels, then utilize bone-chilling photos and images, to keep the reader on edge.  If it's a romance book, then try and find pictures that will fit your character's appearances and the general tone of the story.

Multimedia fiction is more than just the text people read. It's also about visual and audio elements that make the story a whole new experience than traditional literature.
Examine the audience's reactions.

Don’t be afraid to experiment! If a particular attempt doesn't work out as you hoped, try new ideas and see what happens.

Sharing multimedia fiction is a great way to get quick feedback as the stories are short and fun to view. If you have some followers already, this is a really quick way to test out an idea. This will allow you to adapt and improve your style according to what your core audience enjoys the most.

It's free market research, and it will help you both improve your writing skills and discover what people enjoy and dislike about your style.

So, what are you waiting for? There are readers out there waiting! If you like trying new things, multimedia fiction might be precisely what your book needs to become a huge success.

About the Author

Silvia Li Sam is a storyteller, blogger, writer, and social media expert. You can connect with her on her LinkedIn.


Writing Fiction for Children - 4 Simple Tips

Agented Authors Share Tips on Finding an Agent

Platform, Brand and You

Everyone Starts Small So Get Started

Getting the Forever-Review Nudge Your Book Needs

Your Sales Rankings, Your Reviews

The Magical Review-Getting Nudge

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Excerpted in part from the third book in Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career.

You need only a few essentials in your Amazon toolbox to build the traffic crucial for your reviews to be seen—the reviews that will convince readers to buy your book. I believe reviews are the most important tool available—even more important than search engine-friendly keywords across the web. After all, you must have a “convincer” once readers are looking right at your beautiful book cover.

My book—the third in my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers—How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career  helps you get the reviews that influence Amazon’s sales ranking, That ranking influences Amazon’s other logarithms that affect sales across their site!

Amazon sales rankings are dandy little aids for evaluating how your book is selling. Not that you should fixate on that, but having an indicator that your book might need a little sales boost is nice. And—when those ratings are nurtured—they prod Amazon’s algorithms to lead people who read books similar to yours to your Amazon buy page.

The problem is that most authors and publishers know little if anything about how those rankings come about. That isn’t their fault because I doubt if Jeff Bezos, the brains behind the entire Amazon model, knows exactly what his algorithms measure. If they’re anything like the rest of the Amazon site, they change from day to day anyway. You don’t need to know the magic behind them; you do need to know what they are and how to prod them a little:

1. Find your sales ranking (or rankings) on your book’s buy page under “product details.” Often called “metadata,” these details are the specifics for your book like ISBN, publisher, number of pages, etc. Scroll down a bit to find this section on your page.

2. If you have a ranking of 24,800, that means that 24,799 books listed in your category are selling better than your book and that up to millions of books in your book’s category are selling less well.

3. The lower your sales ranking number for your book the better. Sales rankings for your Kindle (your ebook) page will not be the same as the one on your paperback page.

Note: When the pages for your paper book and ebook are digitally connected properly, your reviews and the other sales tools Amazon offers may be the same on both pages. (There should be a link on each page pointing to the other—you may have three, paperback, hardcover, and ebook. But don’t count on it, check!)

4. If you market and promote, your efforts may lower those rankings (lower is good!). If so, celebrate because this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the marketing you are doing does not improve your rating much or at all, though it should contribute to your overall branding effort.

5. Don’t try to translate a better ratings to the number of books sold. Algorithms are a lot more complicated than that.

6. Sales rankings fluctuate (sometimes wildly) during the day, so don’t hurry to celebrate or panic unnecessarily.

Warning: Do not spend a lot of time checking your ratings. They should be used as indicators. It’s best not to obsess, but if you can’t avoid it, Bookbuzzr.com and others provide services available for pinging ratings to you in your email box.

So, now you know the basics about sales rankings and have an inkling about how important reviews are, here’s your nudge! Learn as much as you can about getting reviews ethically (and free!) using my Great Book Reviews book. It’s fat, but MSNBC has a saying, “the more you know.” When considering the health of your book, that would be rewritten “the more you know about reviews, the better your sales, the better your career-building efforts.” 

To get started today, go to your Author Central feature and start poking around. 

·       Install your author page or author profile if you haven’t already.
Use the build-your list -feature. If you have only one book, that’s OK. Add it.

·       If you have first and second editions of a book, contact the Amazon Elves with the contact feature (email or phone) and have them install a widget that points readers from the first edition to the second so they get your best, up-to-date work.

·       Now go to your KDP account and find the place that lets you add reviews yourself. Yes, yourself. Choose your best, most prestigious one of under 4,000 words and post it.

·       While you are there, note that this feature lets you post more than one review yourself.

·       You’ll also see there are other self-post features. You can even add a note from you directly to your prospective reader. You can add a synopsis or pitch from the back cover or flyleaf. You can add endorsements or blurbs (your copy of , How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career will help you do a professional job of getting these by excerpting from everything from your fan email to your reviews.)

And, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically will also help you keep getting reviews for as long as you want to keep your book alive. That goes for all online reviews including the ones your readers post on your Amazon page, use for their blogs and Goodreads and on and on. I call them “forever reviews.” Forever reviews can be your frugal path to making your book a classic.


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 series includes The Frugal Book Promoter, now published in its third edition by Modern History Press, and her The Frugal Editor.

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.

The author loves to travel. She has visited nearly 100 countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Find her Amazon Author Page mentioned above at http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.

Happy New Year

Wishing You and Your Family a Healthy, Safe, 
and Prosperous NEW YEAR!

As a thank you for being a loyal reader of our blog and to start the New Year off right, here are three gifts:


A Simple System to Achieve Your Goals

Top Ten Blogging Mistakes

And, here's a great article on steps to help you break bad habits:

Writing - 4 Powerful Steps to Breaking Bad Habits

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...