Saturday, June 16, 2018

Internet Marketing Simplified for Writers

by Valerie Allen

Marketing is ongoing, using every means to bring attention to you and your books. “Persistent Perpetual Promotion,” is behind every best selling author.

One of the quickest, least costly and far-reaching marketing strategies is using the internet. Many writers find the electronic highway overwhelming, but there is an entire world of readers who use only social media to find, read and review books. An online presence is a must for writers in the age of social media.

Here are some basic suggestions for smart marketing using cyberspace.

1)    Your e-mail signature line should contain the title of your books. Everyone you email should see the name of your book(s). It should also have your contact information, at  least your email address and web site.

2)    At least once a month go to to see which libraries carry your books.

3)    Google your name every week and see where the internet leads people who are looking for you. Does it go to your web site? To your book on Amazon?

4)    Each week click on, and to see what is happening with your book(s) at those sites. Also for your ebooks on Kindle, Nook, etc.

5)    If you have a web page, consider mutual links to the sites of other authors, writer blogs and newsletters.

6)    Join with bloggers at writing sites to become known, offer suggestions, find good marketing ideas and writing tips.

7)    Create Facebook, Linked In, Google+ and Twitter accounts. Join writer's groups and groups related to your book content. Follow up in discussion groups, book clubs, offer tips, etc.

8)    Post a review online for every book you read.

9) has a lot to offer. Take advantage of these features:

    Use the Search Inside the Book feature.

    Add tags and keywords so those searching by topic will find your book.

    Look at the books that have been purchased by those who have purchased your
    book; contact those authors, study their web pages, view their tags and keywords   
    Make a Listmania and put your book titles on it.

    Create a profile and post a review for every book you read. Use your real name and book title in your signature line.

    Join Goodreads and post your books, books you've read, do book reviews and join in discussion groups.

Remember to do at least one thing every day to market you and your books. Make it a habit!

Valerie Allen writes fiction, nonfiction, short stories and children's books. ( She assists writers with marketing via Authors For Authors with two major annual events 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:  and


Items to Bring for Your In-Person Book Events
Importance of Email Signatures
SEO for Authors Part 5: Marketing Trends to be Aware Of

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Are You Too Busy?

We've all been there . . . being too busy.

But, is your busyness constructive?

Or, is your busyness, just busyness?

If you're trying to build a writing career, you've got to be busy on things that will move your career forward.

Do you want to become an author?

Well, you've got to decide which niche you'll write in. And, then you'll need to learn the ropes and write until you reach your goal.

Do you want to build a freelance writing career? 

Again, you've got to decide on the niche you'll write in. Learn as much as you can about it and then jump. 

Do you want to market you and/or your books?

Yep. You've got to put in the work.

No matter what it is you want to do, make your busyness constructive. Make it move you forward to achieve your goals.

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.


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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Career Development: 5 Ideas

No matter what your area, it's essential to stay on top of the latest news, information, and trends in your industry. People hire experts. So do everything you can to hone and improve your level of expertise.

Want to be the go-to in your field? Here are five places to look for information today to stay ahead of the pack.

1. Find 5 Blogs. If you are in writing or marketing, you already have one blog you like, so do a search and find a few more. Set your RSS feed or make a weekly - or twice weekly - appointment to visit these URLs and read what's happening.

2. Find 5 Podcasts. Podcasts are an excellent source of information. The best part is, you can listen while doing other things, such as running errands or commuting to work. Ask friend in your industry to recommend their favorite podcasts. Then, subscribe, so you get new episodes as soon as they are released.

3. Find 5 Groups. These can be local groups, online, or a combination of both. Whether it's an association directly related to your industry, or one, such as marketing, that can help you improve your business, find places with like-minded people where you can share - and receive - resources and recommendations.

4. Find 5 Events. Once you discover your groups, finding events will be a snap. These can be conferences, workshops, or continuing education. Some of these may also be all of the above. Btw, don't need to actually attend all of these, tho it's great if you can. Many organizations have e-learning options. Plus, some live events have Twitter feeds you can follow as the next best thing to being there.

5. Find 5 Books or Authors. You know the trendsetters in your industry. And if you don't, find them. Do a search. Then, follow them. Get their newsletters, connect on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. And regularly read what they have to say.

Look for places that offer the kind of information that will allow you to improve your level of knowledge, so you can excel. This will help you, as well as your clients, no matter what your field.

What do you do to stay on the top of your field? Please share in the comments.

For more on Career Development, drop by my Twitter chat #GoalChat tonight at 7pm PT to discus or read the recap on Write On Online.

* * *

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.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Writing with Focus

You have a wonderful idea for a story.

Maybe it’s a mystery novel, a children’s middle grade story, or a picture book. Maybe it’s a young adult. You know what you want to say. You know what you want the reader to ‘see.’ You start typing away.

This is the beginning of every story.

But, we should backtrack a moment and go back to the idea.

The idea: your protagonist has a problem or conflict. Delving a little deeper, you can see how each chapter or section will be worked out.

You are sure you can bring your idea to full fruition—without the use of an outline. Okay, that’s fine. Many writers use the by-the-seat-of-your-pants (pantser) writing method.

So, off your mind and fingers fly . . . creating something from nothing . . . well, not exactly from nothing, from an idea.

You type a draft of your story. How long this process will take depends on how long your manuscript will be—whether a novel, short story, or children’s story. It also depends on your writing schedule and/or if you encounter any road blocks.

Take note though . . . even if your story is as short as a children’s picture book, you will need focus in your writing.

Writing Focus

Focus is the path from point A to point B. It’s the path from beginning to end that keeps the story together and wraps it neatly up.

An example might be an ice skater whose goal is to become good enough to get into the Olympics. His focus will be to train vigorously to accomplish his goal. Barring any injuries or other sidetracking, he's focused on and moves toward that end goal.

A better example might be that of a school bus on its route to pick up children and bring them to school.

The bus depot or shop is where the bus begins - this is point A.

It will end up at the school, point B.

But, between point A and point B, the bus must deviate from a direct path in order to pick up each child. If the bus doesn’t keep on schedule, if it doesn’t keep focused, if it deviates too much from its intended path, it will get the children to school late.

The same holds true for your story.

There is a path the story needs to follow to accomplish its goal. If you deviate too much from this path your story will become diluted or weak.

This is not to say you can't have subplots, it means everything needs to be tied together moving forward on the same path toward the same end.

Using an outline can often help with maintaining focus, even with a short story.

It’s kind of a writing GPS that guides you from point A to point B. It allows you to stray here and there with the comfort of knowing that you need to be at certain points throughout the manuscript. It’s a reminder to help keep you focused.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author. She runs a successful children’s ghostwriting and rewriting business and welcomes working with new clients.

For tips on writing for children OR if you need help with your project, contact her at Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

To get monthly writing and book marketing tips, sign up for The Writing World – it’s free!


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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Needing a Writer's Pick-Me-Up?

Have you ever been down about something and then something serendipitous happens and you’re like, wow, that’s the exact message I needed?

Isn’t it cool how life can happen like that? It’s as though some giant loving force is working in the universe. Whether you’re religious or not, these things happen to all of us and it’s pretty darn special when it does. Recently, I had a serendipitous thing happen to me and I'm so thankful. It changed my outlook completely.

You see, I have had a particularly rough time lately. I think it happens to every writer. We feel like our message isn’t being heard or that no one really cares and we want to just give up.

Us, writers, we’re a pretty insecure bunch on the whole. We sit alone writing and we absolutely love it, don’t we?! It feels so good as the words just come pouring out of us from the voices in our head or the passion in our heart. We think, ‘man, the world is going to love this!’

But, then, we have to get out there and actually sell this great masterpiece and that’s pretty hard for introverts. We love people, no doubt. But, talking to them, well, that can be intimidating. We might be better able to post our stuff all over the internet because that’s a little safer, but most of us feel like that’s a lot of stuck-up-ness when we do it. ‘Hey, look at me, my book is awesome, buy it!’

That doesn’t feel natural and well, it isn’t natural. Nothing about selling an intimate piece of art is. It’s like taking your heart out of your body and showing it to everyone in the world and saying, ‘hey, love this.’

So, after doing what is an incredibly unnatural thing for a while and not seeing the results we’d like (maybe we didn’t win the award, or make the sell, or land the book deal), we want to just give up.

That’s exactly how I had been feeling.

The questions swam in my head. ‘Why am I doing this?’ ‘Who am I doing this for?’ ‘What if I never succeed?’ ‘What if no one ever cares?’

Have you ever felt that way?

I’m sorry if you have. I’m truly sorry. No artist should ever have to question their art’s worth. You don’t create because you want to be great and famous and rich. Okay, all those things would be nice, but that’s not why an artist creates.

An artist creates because they can’t NOT create. 

And you know why? Because there’s a force at work inside each artist pushing them to express their unique message in a creative manner in order to touch other people’s lives on this planet and help them in some way—whether it is to entertain them, make them laugh, make them cry, inspire them, help them not feel alone, etc.

So, if today, you are feeling discouraged as I had been feeling, I want to encourage you to not give up! Stand firm in your gift. You are special and you have a unique voice that the world needs to hear. Don’t let anyone rob us from hearing what you have to say. Don’t let the lack of something, keep you from pouring your heart and soul into this world. Give your gift to the world anyway. We need YOU!

And today’s message is my serendipitous gift to you!

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 is a former National Pen Women of 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 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 and follow her on Facebook at

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Freedom of the Press Starting with Words

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

You may be wondering why The Frugal Book Promoter would be straying from topics like editing and book marketing to something like freedom of the press and the importance of words. Well, because without the former, a huge percentage of us would be out of work and others would be severely limited in the topics we choose to write about. And when our government starts limiting the words we may use in official documents, that is the beginning of censorship we writers should take very seriousl

And that is just what is happening.

Well, a couple of months ago the White House issued a list of words the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shouldn’t use. It bothered me then and it bothers me even more now that we just experienced a near epidemic of flu in this country! (My husband and I are both part of that epidemic. Neither of us has had the flu or a cold for over 40 years and this one has been a doozy!)

TheLA Times(Tuesday, Jan 16, page B2) used this as a lead for the story:
“’It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.’ George Orwell writes in the fifth chapter of his dystopian novel, 1985.”

I love the novel the Times chose to quote, but I have always been too optimistic to give its dystopian theme much credence. But here we are with four public health experts from Emory University in Atlanta saying that if the CDC actually obeys the recent White House order to avoid certain words and phrases it would “squander [the agency’s] limited resources.” Other agencies were also “forbidden” to use words like “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science based.” In some cases, the administration’s budget office suggested alternative terms.  And only yesterday I read that the word “abortion” is next. Can you imagine how many words might be needed for that if we didn’t have that one?  Can you imagine how much more disinformation might swirl around the topic is we can’t use we (or our government) can use the word?

Then in a recent Sierra Club magazine (sources docount for us writers!), I learn that the US climate office was told not to use the terms “climate change,” “emissions reduction,” or “Paris agreement.” Seems someone is trying to control what we write about. Or just make it hard for us to do our jobs.

We should be as concerned about limiting the words we can use as we are about the books we can read or about copyright issues.

These commandments from the Trump administration sound like a violation of both freedom of speech and freedom of the press (the government does publish tons and tons of stuff!) to me. Times also reported that gagging like this also violates The Plain Writing Act of 2010 that requires all federal agencies “improve the effectiveness and accountability to the public by promoting clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.”

We writers should be thankful for that “plain writing” encouragement! Still, too few in the government are paying attention to it. Luckily, the CDC seems to be ignoring these new guidelines limiting the words our agencies can use for now. But as writers, we should all be worried—even on the lookout—for anything that limits our use of words.

As an example, we’ve been encouraged to use only Merry Christmas as a holiday greeting for decades. I’d hate to lose alternative greetings. As a courtesy, I’ve always reserved Merry Christmas for people I know to be Christian, Happy Hanukkah for those I know to be Jewish. Have a great Kwanzaa for the black people I know celebrate it. Ramadan? Well, I’ve never had occasion to use it (sorry!), but if I did I would be equally careful to abide by the traditions of the person involved.W

There are others, but generally, “Happy holidays,” is a polite way to be inclusive when we don’t know the situations or do know that in a diverse population I may be addressing a few people who are members of each group with a few atheists to boot. That is a very small example of how important words are, and how important it is we have access to all the ones we find in a dictionary (and some we don’t). For clarity. So that we can. . . ahem, obey the Plain Writing Act. Now there’s a government proclamation I can get my teeth, molars, and incisors into! Before you get too blasé, be sure to revisit the date that it was written! 2010! 

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. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

SEO and the Author P8 – Images and Website Speed

In a previous SEO and the Author series post (see the link below in More to Read), I talked about how to optimize your website images. However, I didn’t touch on what the size of the image files can do to your site.

For the average author website, most use JPGs or PNGs for their images. The problem that may arise is the size of the file. The larger the file the slower the website.

So, why should you care about your website speed?

Because of Google, of course.

When your website takes a long time to load, and we’re talking just an extra few seconds, it affects your website speed.

One of the things Google looks at when they decide to list your site in a search result is the speed of your website. A factos that effects how quickly or slowly your site will load is the size of the images you use. 

If your site is slow to load, people who land on it won’t bother waiting – they’ll just leave. This is considered a bounce.

Google monitors your bounce rate. If a lot of visitors bounce (leaves your site before it loads or leaves very quickly for other reasons), Google will note that you have a high bounce rate which means poor performance.

According to MOZ, “A poor performing website results in a poor user experience, and sites with poor user experiences deserve less promotion in search results.” (1)

Okay, that was a bit of a sidetrack, but I wanted you to understand the importance of speed and your website.

Back to Images

Going back to images, the longer an image or images take to load, the slower your website will be. So, when deciding whether to use a JPG or PNG, go for the JPG.

If you’re wondering why, it’s because PNG files are much larger than JPG files, sometimes double the size for the same image.

This means that PNG images take longer to load.

According to Thrive Themes, “Even on a fast connection, large image files can take several seconds to load. And when it comes to website speed and conversion rates, you don't have several seconds to spare [. . .] Loading several, large, uncompressed images can slow your pages down to an absolute crawl and that will send your bounce rate through the roof.” (2)

Why would anyone use PNG images?
While in most cases, the JPG and PNG images may look similar, the PNG files are clearer, crisper. For some sites this difference makes a difference. But for most of your uses, it’s not worth the extra load time and space taken on your computer.

For a more comprehensive look at images types and sizes, read:

(1) How Website Speed Actually Impact Search Ranking 

(2) Image Type and Size for Fast Websites


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-classes through WOW:


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