Monday, October 31, 2011

A Ghostwriter: 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business Part1

This is a pretty long article, so I'm dividing it into two parts. Here's Part 1 of:

A Ghostwriter: 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business

A ghostwriter provides services for different types of people, marketers, and businesses, and on a number of topics. She works silently, behind the scenes and creates whitepapers, newsletters, e-books, informational products, articles, posts, stories, and other forms of content for a business or marketer seeking to:

•    Create and/or build your company’s platform visibility
•    Generate and increase website traffic
•    Provide instruction/information for employees or clients/customers
•    Offer an informational gift as an ‘ethical bribe’ to subscribe to your company’s mailing list
•    Create landing pages for your company or products
•    Create product descriptions and guides

The list goes on and on. But, let’s breakdown some of the uses of a ghostwriter, and her benefit to businesses.

A Ghostwriter is a Must-Have Tool

According to tracking by the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce grew 17.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011. Within those first three months, Americans spent $43 billion online. And, the projection for 2012 is that e-commerce will increase another 11.3 percent.

Based on trends and statistics, this growing e-commerce market will continue to grow.

1. Building Your Brand and Visibility with a Ghostwriter

So, it’s easy to see that with e-commerce rapidly growing a ghostwriter is a must-have business tool for marketers or business owners who need to provide regularly updated content on their site/s and in their newsletters or informational emails. This marketing strategy is known as inbound marketing. It helps build your platform, creates and increases traffic to your site, and will help increase your mailing list.

Creating content for businesses is actually a busy area for ghostwriters. Marketers are very aware of the importance of having effective and fresh content on the sites they are managing. Businesses hire a writer to write a set number of post/articles per week or month for a certain amount of money per article. Some businesses may want one to two articles per day; others may want one a week.

If you are hiring a ghostwriter for this capacity, be sure she knows about keywords and SEO. The point of hiring someone to create valuable content for your site/s is to have that content picked up in the search engines, which in turn will help searchers (potential customers/clients) find your site/s.

And, if the work involves rewriting articles, the ghostwriter must know the source article’s duplicate content score. Search engines frown upon duplicate content, so it’s the writer’s job to make the article different enough so it is perceived as new.

Maintaining and increasing visibility is essential to authors, writers, and businesses. Keeping up with blog posts and guest article writing is an important marketing tool for all, well at least for those who are trying to sell their products or services.

Read Part 2 Here:
A Ghostwriter: 5 Features that Can Help You Build Your Business Part 2




Professional, Reliable, and Experienced Writing Services



Ghostwriting – Content Rewriting
7 Steps to Freelance Writing Success Through Positive Thinking
Freelance Writing Work: The Possibilities


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Review of Trouble on Earth Day

Title: Trouble on Earth Day
Author: Kathy Stemke
Illustrator: Kurt Wilchen
Published by Wild Plains Press
ISBN: 978-1-936021-36-9
Reviewed by: Karen Cioffi

As a supporter of conservation and the environment, I love children’s books that approach this topic in an engaging and entertaining format. Trouble on Earth Day by Kathy Stemke does just that.

The story begins with the main character, Shelby the squirrel, winning the Earth Day poster contest; the young reader is quickly brought into the focus of the story, our environment. Shelby’s poster has “Rethink, Reuse, and Recycle” boldly and colorfully written on it.

As the story progresses, Shelby and her parents discuss the different ways individuals and families can conserve, such as using old clothing for a quilt.

It also delves into the effects of deforestation. When Shelby hears the cries of a “little bird,” she searches until she finds it, then asks the bird what’s wrong. The bird explains, “The workman cut down my tree and my nest. I found a new tree, but I can only find twigs to make a new home.”

Using ingenuity and what she learned from her parents, Shelby helps the bird build a new nest using recyclable items from her home. Trouble on Earth Day will quickly heave children asking about the environment and looking around their homes for items that can be recycled.

Adding to the invitingness of this delightful story are amazing full page illustrations by Kurt Wilchen. Each page has vivid and bold illustrations that will surely grab and hold a young reader’s attention. Along with all this, Stemke includes pages and pages of activities, and additional information about conservation and the environment, all to help children better understand the story’s theme. It even includes a song titled “The Fuzzy Squirrel” that children can sing to with the music from “I’m a Little Teapot.”

Some of the activities and information include in Educator’s Edition:

•    Reading comprehension activities
•    Original topic related lyrics that children can sing to the melody of classic favorites
•    Discussion topics, such as Why Trees are Important and What Things Can be Reused
•    Games, including the Going Green Game
•    Recycling activities, such as making napkin rings using recycled toilet paper rolls, recycling old CDs to make ornaments, and how to recycle old crayons
•    Dolch Sight Word activity page

My favorite information page in Trouble on Earth Day briefly explains what went on before the first Earth Day in April 1970, what the focus of Earth day is, and why it’s so important.

Learning how each of us can take steps to protect our environment is important for children and adults alike. It will take all our efforts to help improve the environment for a healthier tomorrow. Trouble on Earth Day is a great start for children.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Keep Your Writing Goals Front and Center

As a writer, you have to move forward to keep up with the onslaught of books and authors in the book publishing arena. And, you especially need to be sure you're keeping in alignment with your writing goals. This means every now and then you need to stop to evaluate what your core goals are and if you’re actually heading in that direction.

Every marketer will tell you that the beginning of each year you need to create a list of core or major goals. It's important to make your goals realistic and obtainable, and not to burden yourself with too many goals.

Three is a good number of writing goals, not too few, not too many. Then under each goal you can list a few tasks that you will do on a daily or weekly basis to help you reach your objectives.

In addition to creating and typing your goals down in a document, they need to be printed and kept visible. It's important to put them somewhere you'll be sure to notice on a daily basis. You might put your list on your computer, inside your laptop case, on top of your daily planner, on the inside of a kitchen cabinet you open everyday.

You get the idea, your writing goals need to be visible each and every day. Not just visible though, they need to be read each and every day.

Why is it important to keep your writing goals front and center?

Here's another question to help answer that question: Did you ever hear the expression, ‘Out of sight, out of mind?’

That's the answer.

On January 1st of 'any year,' you may tell yourself, and maybe even write it down, that you will:

1. Write a minimum of five pages of your new book each week
2. Effectively market your published books
3. Submit articles to three paying magazines on a monthly basis

Okay, that's great, but suppose it's now July and you haven't even written 10 pages of your new book, and you haven't gone past the very basics of promoting your published books.

What happened to your writing goals?

Easy. You didn’t keep your goals list front and center, so you got sidetracked.

While you may have had the best of intentions on January 1st, without keeping those writing goals visible, it’s difficult to stay on course.

Maybe you decided to add the writing of unrelated e-books to your workload. Maybe you decided to do book reviews and started a critique group of your own. Maybe you devoted too much time to social networking and your online groups.

These additions may not necessarily be a bad thing, but before you continue on, ask yourself three questions:

1. Are these additions to your workload moving you in the direction of your major writing goals?
2. Are they actually keeping you from attaining your goals?
3. Are they providing some kind of income?

If your answers to these questions are NO, YES, NO, then you need to step back, redirect your steps, and get back on track. If you keep your writing goals front and center, you’ll be amazed at how you automatically work toward achieving them.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Writers and Authors: The Ongoing Process of Evolving

As every writer knows, creating and increasing visibility is an essential part of the business. Whether you're writing and promoting books or you're a freelance writer, you need to be out there . . . it's never ending.

As we progress on our writing path, we gain insight into what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong. At least hopefully we learn. Sometimes, if we're lucky enough to have the guidance of a writing coach or mentor, we're actually told what might be amiss, or what steps we can take to work more effectively and profitability.

But, no matter how you come to the realization of certain steps you need to take, the most important thing is to actually take those steps.

This is something I've been working on lately. As with a lot of writers, I spin my wheels trying to be everywhere and do everything, but it's not an effective use of time or an effective way of accomplishing what you want to, and it's just plain tiring.

Fortunately, I've been reminded of what I need to do by my writing coach Suzanne Lieurance. I've worked with Suzanne in a couple of different clubs since 2008, and she knows her stuff.

A key to writing success is to have your major writing goals in place and to be focused. What tends to happen though is we forget what out actual goals are - we get sidetracked, or we keep adding more and more goals to our list. This doesn't work.

My three major goals for the new year are:

1. Working on children's books for publication
2. Growing my ghostwriting business
3. Growing my content marketing and inbound marketing strategies and services

What tasks will I need to undertake to direct focus back on my major goals?

1. I'll be revamping and organizing my websites for clarity and distinction.

2. Eliminate non-productive and non-money-making jobs, and other extraneous goals that are diluting my major goals.

3. Absolutely make time to write children's books - my current WIP is a sequel to Walking Through Walls.

4. Possibly reduce the posts here to two times a week,  rather than three times a week. But, that's still up in the air.

5. This is the most important - print out my Goals and keep them visible.

These are some of the steps I'll be taking to put my three major goals in the forefront, work toward them and write with focus.

The reason I'm taking the time to share this with you is because there are many of you out there who are struggling with the same problems, hopefully my steps will help you take a look at what may be preventing you from reaching your major goals. Or, what you may be doing to cause unnecessary work for yourself.

Until next time,
Karen Cioffi

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Finding Children's Story Ideas: The Ongoing Quest

All children's writers have looked for story ideas, just like writers of other genres. Today I have a guest post by Deb Hockenberry that sheds some light on how to find story ideas for children's books.

The Ongoing Quest

by Deb Hockenberry

There’s an ongoing quest happening all around us and all the time. What is that quest you ask? It’s writers looking for children’s story ideas. Actually, this isn’t that hard since there are a treasure trove of ideas everywhere you look!

See the maple tree in your backyard with it’s leaves changing colors? It just doesn’t mean that you have to go outside to blow the leaves and acorns away. Oh, no. It could mean a children’s story idea about a family raking a big pile of leaves together and jumping in them. Maybe it could turn into a children’s story about Halloween and trick – or - treating. Maybe you can have the main character in your book try to make his/her own costume which turns out all wrong! Or maybe your character thinks he’s too big to go trick – or – treating. You can get so many kinds of children’s story ideas at this time of year!

Halloween leads into Thanksgiving. Maybe you could write a children’s story about the time everybody in the family showed up for Thanksgiving dinner. There wasn’t enough room at the table. Remember? Or how about the time the dog jumped up at Mom’s perfectly set Thankgiving table, got his collar caught on the tablecloth and pulled over all her good china! This is a good story idea for children too. You know what Thanksgiving leads into, right? The biggest day in kid – dom…Christmas!

Christmas holds so many children’s story ideas in itself. There’s the Christmas parades in your own hometown with the entrance of Santa Claus. There’s the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping not to mention decorating for the holiday. Then you have the baking and decorating of Christmas cookies or the making of hot chocolate. What about the different ways you tried to drop a hint in order to get that Christmas present you really, really wanted! You can’t forget watching the night sky for sounds of jingle bells and the sight of Rudolph’s nose.

So, where do you get story ideas for children who don’t celebrate Christmas? Write about Kwanzaa and explain what all the symbols mean. You’ll surprise your young readers when you tell them that Kwanzaa has it’s own answer to Santa Claus! You can get also get story ideas for children about Hanakuh.  Remember the time Jake and Betty played the driedel game with Mom and Dad? That game seemed to go on forever. This would be a good story idea for children. Actually, any holiday is good fodder for children’s story ideas!

Story ideas for children are everywhere! All you have to do is look around you. You can even get children’s story ideas at rummage or garage sales and even flea markets. Watch the kids as they help their mothers sell things. I went to a flea market where I bought a couple of children’s books from a mother and her son. The little boy, who was no more than ten – years – old, took my money and gave me the books. While doing this, he puffed out his chest and got the proudest look on his face as he raised it to me.

Yes, ideas for children’s stories are everywhere. Especially, at this time of the year! Actually, they’re everywhere at anytime of the year. All you have to do is look around!


Friday, October 14, 2011

River Marked Reveiwed by Margaret Fieland

Today I have a guest book review by author Margaret Fieland.

Title: River Marked
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace Books; 1st edition (March 1, 2011)
ISBN: 10: 9780441019731
Reviewed by: Margaret Fieland

For years I told myself I didn't like vampire books. Then I started reading Laurell K. Hamilton and got hooked on the idea of vampires, werewolves, and the like with legal rights. Then I read a couple of other authors. Soon, instead of automatically avoiding the urban fantasy novels at my local library, I was picking them up and reading them. So when I came across Patricia Briggs' "Silver Borne" I checked it out and read it. And I fell in love with Mercy Thompson.

But I needed to know more, specifically, all of the back story that I would find out  by reading the series from the beginning, so late one night I downloaded the free Kindle app to my laptop and bought the first book in the series in ebook format from Amazon, mostly because I couldn't bear to wait to read it. By morning I'd finished it, but fortunately the library and the bookstore were now open. I quickly blasted through the rest of the series, and was thrilled to learn that the newest book in the series, "River Marked," was only days from release. I managed to wait until the weekend to buy it in hard copy at my local Borders, alas, soon to be no more.

Mercy, in case you don't know, lives in a world where vampires, fairies, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures are real. Fairies have been "out" for a goodly number of year. Werewolves go public in book four, I think, and vampires are still in the closet. Mercy is a Native American shape changer called a Walker, and she shifts into a coyote. In book six, "River Marked," she and her mate, alpha werewolf Adam, are on their honeymoon, camping on the banks of the Columbia River. They are camping in a super-duper souped up camper on loan from the fae, and it comes with strings attached. Something is killing the tourists, something evil, and Mercy and the other walkers she meets have to get rid of it.

This is the first book in the series to really go into any detail about walkers, about Mercy's father or, indeed, any of her relatives. This one does. I loved this book, but I loved it partly because it filled in the background that was missing about Mercy's heritage  .. and, hey, I was interested enough in all the details to go back and read the series from the beginning. Yes, it's possible to pick up this book and read it as a stand-alone novel. It's probably more self-contained than a lot of the others, since many of the continuing characters in the series have only minor roles in this one. And that's the good news and the bad news. I did miss seeing more about the characters I've learned to care about in the previous books, most especially Samuel, who figured very prominently in "Silver Borne." Still, this one is just a un-put-downable as the other books in the series, just as readable, and Mercy is just as contrary as ever.

So should you buy this book? If you're a fan already, I'm preaching to the choir. Run out and buy it. If not, run out and buy the whole series. You won't be sorry.

About the reviewer:

Born and raised in Manhattan, Margaret Fieland has lived in the Boston area since just after the blizzard of 1976, thus missing the opportunity to abandon her car in a snowbank and walk home.    In spite of earning her living as a computer software engineer, she turned to one of her sons to put up the first version of her website, a clear illustration of the computer generation gap. An accomplished flute and piccolo player, she can also write backwards and wiggle her ears. Thanks to her father's relentless hounding, she can still recite the rules for pronoun agreement in both English and French. Her articles, poem, and stories have appeared in anthologies and journals such as Melusine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved. Her book, "The Angry Little Boy," will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website,

Other Reviews You May Enjoy:

Walking Through Walls Reviewed by Margo Dill


Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Marketing: Choose a Website Domain Name

The first rung on your book marketing ladder is to create a quality product, in the case of an author, that would be a book. You need to create an engaging story, be part of a critique group, make sure the manuscript gets edited, and have a knock-out cover.

Creating the book might be considered Research and Development under the Marketing umbrella, and the foundation of a marketing strategy.

The second step or rung on the book marketing ladder is the actual book promotion: creating a platform and brand for you and your book. This is accomplished through visibility. A platform is a means to let readers know what your area of expertise is.

You may be shaking your head and thinking you don’t have an area of expertise, well the very first step to establish yourself as an expert is to create a website or blog.

Choosing the Domain Name

Choose a domain name carefully and think ahead. Marketing experts always advise using ‘your name’ for your domain name. While you can have multiple sites, your name should be your main or central site.

On the other hand, if you write in a specific genre, you should include that in your website domain name. If you’re a children’s writer, maybe: Children’s Books by Your Name, or Picture Books by Your Name. The more specific you make your domain name the more likely those searching online for that genre will find you.

Why is it so important to have your name in your central site’s title?

The answer is for those searching by your name to find you. Maybe Reader A doesn’t know the name of your book, but does remember your author name.

Why if you write in a specific genre is it important to include that in your site’s title?

Simply put: If you sell shoes and your website domain name is John Smith, how will those searching online for shoes ever find you?

Using Keywords in Your Domain Name

The idea is to make multiple avenues of search that lead to your site. In other words, you need multiple keywords that are relevant to your site - keywords that will allow the search engines to index your site and allow readers doing online searches to find your site. Again, the more specific the better.

And, be sure to use appropriate keywords in the subtitle of your site. For example, if your book is a children’s fantasy adventure, be sure to include those keywords in your subtitle. The keywords will let the search engines know what your site is about.

As mentioned, you can create multiple sites. You might have ‘’ as your central site and then create other sites for your individual books, or possibly for a particular niche or genre you write in.

For example, I have a blogsite specifically for my each of my books: Walking Through Walls (, and another specifically for Day’s End Lullaby (http://daysendlullaby). These sites offer information related to the books only.

When creating a site specifically for your book/s, you should include these pages:

•    Home – for updates and possibly articles related to the book topic, time period, etc.
•    Description and/or Synopsis
•    Excerpts - be sure to ask your publisher how much is acceptable
•    Illustrations - be sure to ask your publisher which ones can be used
•    Reviews - obviously, it’s your site so only post the favorable reviews
•    Author Interviews – post interviews and links to podcasts and blog talk radio shows you’ve done
•    Purchasing Information – this is one of the most important pages; be sure to have clickable links that work

With the number of ‘free’ websites and blogsites available, you can have a site that’s unique for each of your books and/or niches that you write in.

Related Articles:

Book Promotion – 20 Strategies That Will Broaden Your Reach
Is Your Manuscript Ready for Submission?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Editing a Book - 10 Tips Checklist for Children’s Writers Part2

Editing a Book: 10 Tips Checklist for Children’s Writers Part 2

We're back with tips 5 through 10 of Editing a Book: 10 Tips Checklist for Children’s Writers. If you haven't read Part 1, click on the link:

Editing a Book: 10 Tips Checklist for Children’s Writers Part1

Now, off to Part 2 

5. Editing a Book - Use spell-check

Make sure you write with spell-check on or use your word processor’s spell-check when you’re finished with your manuscript. I like writing with it on.

Just be careful here because while spell-check will catch misspelled words it won’t catch words that are spelled correct, but are the incorrect word in regard to meaning.

Example: He was to tired.
Correct: He was too tired.

These words are called homonyms and spell-check will not catch them.

A homonym is a word that sounds like another word, but is spelled different and has a different meaning. Examples of homonyms are: hare/here/hair; bare/bear/; stationary/stationery; peek/peak; principle/principal; capital/capitol; compliments/complements; cite/site/sight.

6. Editing a Book - Use your Find function on your word processor

This is a great tool to check for “ly” words, “ing” words, weak verbs, and over used words such as “was.”

7. Editing a Book - Watch for redundancy

Check the story for repeated phrasing and even paragraph beginnings. You don’t want several paragraphs in a row beginning with “the” or other repetitive wording. When editing your manuscript use the Find function in your word program and look for overused words.

Another aspect of redundancy is using unnecessary words.

Example: Sit down on the chair.
The word ‘down’ is redundant; ‘sit’ implies down.

Example: She whispered quietly.
The word ‘whispered’ is redundant.

8. Editing a Book - Check for tight writing

In today’s market, tight writing is important—readers have a shorter attention span. So, get rid of unnecessary words and text.

Example: Joe had a really hard time lifting the very heavy and big trunk.
Alternative: Joe struggled to lift the huge trunk.

Also, watch for words such as “began” and “started.”

Example: He began to lift the trunk.
Alternative: He lifted the trunk.

9. Editing a Book - Check for punctuation and grammar

There are a number of great books and even online articles that will help you learn proper punctuation and grammar. Two books that I use are: The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard Johnson and The Great Grammar Book by Marsha Sramek.

You can also do a Google search.

10. Editing a Book - Children’s writers: Take illustrations into account

When writing a picture book you need to allow for illustrations. Picture books are a marriage between content and illustrations—a 50/50 deal. So, watch for text that an illustration can handle. With picture books your content doesn’t have to describe every little detail—the illustrations will embellish the story.

Well, this completes the 10 tips, but please know that self-editing is a tricky business and this is not an all inclusive list. Even knowing all the obstacles to watch out for, self-editing is still tricky. It's almost impossible for us writers to catch all our own errors; we're much too close to our work. We know every nook and cranny of the story and that makes it difficult to read it in a fresh manner. Even if we think we're reading every word, our mind is way ahead of us, that's why it's advisable to look into hiring an editor. 

To check out the first 4 tips, click on on the link:

Editing a Book – 10 Tips Checklist for Children’s Writers Part 1

Other Writing Articles:

Children’s Writing and Publishing Process – The Traditional Path
Writing Elements Mix – Is There a Right Balance?


I can help. Check out: Karen Cioffi Writing for Children

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Frugal Book Promoter, Second Edition

Today, Wednesday, October 5th, is Carolyn Howard-Johnson's launch for The Frugal Book Promoter, Second Edition. Being a huge fan of Carolyn's books, I'm thrilled to include my blog in it's promotion.

So, without further ado, here it is:

Here's the book you writers have been looking for!

The second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter is an updated version of the multi award-winning first edition. It has been expanded to include simple ways to promote books using newer technology--always considering promotion and marketing techniques that are easy on the pocketbook and frugal of time. It also includes a multitude of ways for authors and publishers to promote the so-called hard-to-promote genres. The award-winning author of poetry and fiction draws on a lifetime of experience in journalism, public relations, retailing, marketing, and the marketing of her own books to give authors the basics they need for do-it-yourself promotion and fun, effective approaches that haven't been stirred and warmed over, techniques that will help rocket their books to bestselling lists. You'll also l earn to write media releases, query letters and a knock 'em dead media kit--all tools that help an author find a publisher and sell their book once it's in print.

When you buy the book today, you'll receive more than a dozen great bonuses for writers 

Click here to Buy the Book!

And, here's an article from the book, just to whet your appetite:

New Math Adds Up To FREE Publicity

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

(An excerpt from the updated and expanded second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or partnering with your publisher)

The new math for free publicity is: E-book + E-gift = Promotion. Oops. Error. Make the answer FREE promotion!

There are three magical concepts to this e-book formula

1. Accidental
2. Free
3. E-book.

My best promotion ever, a free e-book called COOKING BY THE BOOK, accidentally fell into my lap and it uses all three of that formula. I’ll share more about these three promotional potions a bit later.

COOKING BY THE BOOK began when more than two dozen authors from several countries contributed to a book that would be given away free to anyone—as a gift of appreciation to the support teams it takes to write and market a book and to the legions of readers who cook but were probably never exposed to our books. Each invited author had written at least one kitchen scene in his book. Each segment of the cookbook begins with an excerpt from that scene, the recipe comes next and that is followed by a short blurb about the author.

This cookbook e-tool is a cross-pollinator. Each contributing author was to publicize it any way he or she chose. Participants promised to promote it and not to charge for it. That way each contributor benefited from the efforts, the lists, and the contacts of the other authors. We had some superior promoters among us:

§  Most of us set up a page on our websites. 

§  Contributor Peggy Hazelwood promoted it in her newsletter for book lovers.

§  Mary Emma Allen featured it in the columns she writers for New Hampshire dailies, The Citizen and The Union Leader.

§  David Leonhardt, ( ) author of CLIMB YOUR STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, incorporated the cookbook into a Happiness Game Show he uses in his presentations.

§  We gave away coupons for this book at our signings. Because it cost nothing, it could be given to everyone, not just those who purchase a book.

§  I used the e-copies as thank yous to people who visit my site.

§  Some included information on these freebies on the back of  business cards and bookmarks.

§  I queried site editors whenever I ran across another place that seems as if our CB Book would interest their audience.

Reviewer JayCe Crawford ( said, “For a foodie-cum-fiction-freak like me, this cookbook is a dream come true.” That review has popped up in places we didn’t know existed.

Our most startling success came from sources we had no connection to. It was featured in Joan Stewart’s The Publicity Hound, in Writer’s Weekly, on, in the iUniverse newsletter and more. I had the highest rate of interest I’d ever had when I queried radio stations for interviews and that was in competition with a pitch for my novel THIS IS THE PLACE just before the 2002 games in Salt Lake City and an intolerance angle on the same novel right after 9/11.

Wait, we're not through yet. Mother's Day is coming. It is always an occasion for us repeat our publicity blitzes every year, because--if you haven’t noticed--mothers tend to do lots of cooking. This book was so successful I collaborated with Sarah Mankowski on a similar one called SEASONED GREETINGS for holiday promotional blitzes.

Back to those three magic words:

1.                        Accidental: I don’t take credit for knowing a good thing when I saw it. What I learned from this experience is to never dismiss something that is placed on your desk without careful consideration--even if it seems vaguely hokey. I nearly did just that. It seemed like a lot of work to give away free. Now I do that kind of thing all the time.

2.                        Free: This charmed word convinced editors to offer our cookbook as a freebie to their readers. Usually the contributing author who pitched it was privileged with their own promotional site’s URL being used as a link but when some editors chose to place the entire cookbook download on their own sites, we all benefited just the same.

3.                        E-book: An e-book is easy for readers to obtain. The author need not budget for postage or processing expenses. In the invitations, queries, and releases I sent out, I emphasized a no strings attached attack: I assured everyone that they would not be expected to register to the site, sign up for a newsletter nor purchase a thing. The E-book concept is also important because—though it may not be new to you and me—the media is still infatuated with it.

Here is a fourth magic word. Cookbook. It has universal appeal. You might find something else that works better for you. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar utilizing the subject of genealogy because my novel is based on the stories of my own ancestors--four generations of them. It is not necessary that the freebie be knitted to your primary title; you may benefit by a theme that reaches out, draws in those who might not otherwise be exposed to your work. Your idea may appeal to a narrower audience but niche markets work, too. Everyone loves something that is FREE.

COOKING BY THE BOOK and my other e-books are like hospitality gifts. Only better. That's because they promote not only my work, but that of others.


When you buy the book today, you'll receive more than a dozen great bonuses for writers 

Click here to Buy the Book!


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the award-winning This is the Place, Harkening, and Tracings. She is also the author of  the How To Do It Frugally series including The Frugal Book Promoter which won the winner of USA Book News' Best Professional Book and the Irwin Award and the The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Instructor for the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program

Author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books:

The Frugal Book Promoter
The Frugal Editor
The Great First Impression Book Proposal
Great Little Last-Minute Edits

Web site:

Carolyn, Best Wishes for an out-of-the-ballpark book launch!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Editing a Book - 10 Tips Checklist for Children’s Writers Part1

You’ve been working on your story for a while now and you think it’s just about done. It’s been critiqued numerous times and you revised it numerous times. Now, it’s time for ‘editing a book;’ this entails proofreading and self-editing. You don’t want to short-change yourself on the last stretch, so get ready to put the final layers of polish on your manuscript.

While this ‘editing a book’ article is geared toward children’s writers, it has information for just about all writers.

Here are 10 tips to you can use to help fine-tune your children’s manuscript:

1. Editing a Book: Check for Clarity

Check each sentence for clarity. It’s important to remember that you may know what you intend to convey, but your readers may not. It’d be a good idea to have someone else read the manuscript for you. This is where a good critique group comes in handy.

2. Editing a Book: Check for “Telling” and Lackluster Sentences

Check each sentence for telling. While you will need some effective telling, you want to have more showing.

Example: Joe hit his head and was dazed.
Alternative: Joe banged his head against the tree. He wobbled a moment and fell to the ground.

Show, don’t tell. Use your imagination and picture your character going through motions—maybe he’s turning his lip up, or he’s cocking his head. Try to visualize it; this will help in showing rather than telling.

A good way to add more showing is to add more sensory details. Use the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) to create a living character; this will help breathe life into your story.

Example: Joe felt cold.
Alternative: A chill ran through Joe’s body.

Example: Joe was frightened.
Alternative: Joe’s breath stopped. Goosebumps made the hair on his arms stand at attention.

3. Editing a Book: Point of View - Watch for Head Hopping

Checking for head hopping is especially important for children’s writers since their stories should be told from the protagonist’s point of view or perspective.

If the story is being told from your main character’s point of view (POV) make sure it stays there.

If my POV character Joe is sad and wearing a frown, it wouldn’t be advisable to say: Noticing his sad face Fran immediately knew Joe was distraught. This is bringing Fran’s POV into the picture.

You might say: Joe knew Fran would immediately notice his despair; they were friends for so long.

Or, you can just use dialogue: “Joe, what’s wrong?”

To read tips 5 through 10, go to:

Part 2 of Editing a Book - 10 Tips Checklist for Children’s Writers


Imagery and Your Story
Successful Writing Strategy – Know Your Intent



Editing Like a Pro - For Books and Articles
Tons of tips and tricks to self-edit your books and articles