Freelance Writing and Marketing - Do You Have a Good Client Horror Story?

Do You Have a Good Client Horror Story?

By Featured Writer Matt Ramage

Recently, an anonymous story was posted on Search Engine Journal about a nut-job client. It’s one of those stories that is so hilarious because it’s just plain ridiculous. However, when this scenario happens to you, it’s not so funny…

But let’s face it, this will happen to all of us at some point. And if it hasn’t here are some things to look for:

Misunderstanding SEO

Understanding SEO can be difficult if you’re hearing about it for the first time. For example, take this conversation via Clients From Hell. A potential client asks if it’s possible to get their child dance troupe to rank #1 for “Lady Gaga”. What?!

These may not be the craziest things you’ve heard, but there are plenty of others out there.

Put It in Writing

One of the most common complaints I’ve heard from web marketing firms is that clients will often keep asking for more changes and different projects that weren’t what was agreed to in the initial contract. Then, when the work isn’t completed, the client will become angry because they haven’t gotten what they asked for. It’s important to bring this up and highlight exactly what they signed up for. You might need to adjust accordingly for completion of this work but it can be hard to not let a client take advantage of you, especially if you’re just starting out as a freelancer. It also helps to have some breathing room and flexibility to deal with more demanding or high profile clients.

Weighing in on the Good and Bad

Technical aspects aside, there are just some clients that you won’t get along with. As always in disagreements, the best route is to keep your cool and take a breather when you really feel like going berserk. You can try to get to know the client on a personal level and cater to what you think will make them happy or at least, prevent a blowout.

In the end, experts recommending doing a pro/cons or cost/benefits list to consider if it’s better for your business to keep or not renew (aka fire) the client.

Of course dealing and thinking about our own past clients from hell may not bring back good or even helpful memories. That’s why it’s beneficial to hear from others to look at things in a different perspective to see what you would do and any lessons you can learn. Let us know if you have any stories you’d like to share!

Matt Ramage is Creative Director at and you can find more of his writing on his blog at


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More on Freelance Writing:

Freelance Writing Work: The Possibilities
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Article Directories and Ghostwriting


Small Business Marketing - Know What Consumers Buy

Today is the first post of a three-part series for Small Business Marketing. Specifically, the series will cover:

Know What Consumers Buy
Know Your Customer's Online Behavior
Meet your Customer's Wants

So, off we go.

Small Business Marketing - Know What Consumers Buy

Key Marketing Principle One – Know Your Prospect’s Motives

You’ve finally done it. You created a great product to sell. But, could it be that the product you think is ‘great’ is not something many others are interested in?

For small business marketing to be effective, you need to know if there is a customer base for your product or service. This is why it’s important to determine what people are buying. And, it’s important to know this prior to creating your product, if possible. If you already have a product or service available, this information will help you tweak it to be more relevant and attractive to potential customers.

How to Find out What Consumers Buy

You might be wondering how you learn about your prospect and his buying habits. Fortunately, the Web has made this easy to do. One way to find this information is to do keyword searches. Knowing what people are searching for gives insight into what they want and what they’re buying.

As an example of small business marketing and keywords, let’s use ‘alternative health options’ as a search word.

If you do a search for that particular keyword through Yahoo, you’ll realize the target market is broad. In fact, there are over 50,000 in the search results.

You can also do a Google Adwords search. Using ‘alternative health options,’ Google will provide you with an assortment of keywords related to your query and let you know their weight – meaning how many searches there are for each. For the keyword ‘natural health,’ there are 246,000 global searches.

The purpose of these keyword search tools is to provide you with information, such as:

•    What consumers buy - the types of products and/or services people are searching for, which shows what they want
•    The specific keyword or phrases people are searching under
•    Less competitive long-tail keywords that will narrow your target market
•    Product and name ideas

But, to see which keywords are actually relating to your sales, you should use Amazon, which by the way is an excellent keyword search tool. Simply type in the beginning of your query. We’ll stick with ‘alternative health options’ from above. So, type “alternati,” in the query box and Amazon will automatically list its most popular keywords for that beginning query.

This is valuable information for the marketer. These are the keywords that people are using to buy books and other products. And, since Amazon makes money when products are sold, they provide the most effective keywords.

After doing the research, the effective keyword you come up with will be the foundation of your product’s name and/or your website’s name. This is what the people you’re targeting are looking for, this is what they want. And, this is what you’ll provide.

Other Small Business Marketing Strategies to Determine What Consumers Buy

Join groups that deal with the subject matter you are thinking of creating a product around. Follow relevant keywords on Twitter and take note of what’s going on in the tweets. And, follow through on links provided in the tweets. The same goes for Facebook, Linkedin, GooglePlus, active blogs and newsletters. Read, read, read.

The information garnered through these strategies will help you create an effective name for your product, or if you already have an existing product, as mentioned above, it can help you tweak your marketing strategies in regard to its name, its appearance, and its promotional content. The same goes for your website.

The information you learn will also help you craft articles and content to establish yourself as an authority on the subject matter and draw traffic to your site.

Knowing what consumers buy is an important element in your small business marketing strategy.

Check out Parts 2 and 3 in this three part series:

Small Business Marketing – Meet Your Customers’ Wants (2)
Small Business Marketing – Know Your Customer’s Online Behavior (3)



Visit: the Article Writing Doctor
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12 Ways to Create a Mailing List that Will Sell Books

Today's guest post is by author and expert book marketer Penny Sansevieri.

12 Ways to Create a Mailing List that Will Sell Books

Penny C. Sansevieri

We've all heard this: capture email addresses on your website so you can market to them again. So we do, we capture email addresses and then we wonder what to do with them. What if you don't really have news? Do you mail the list anyway? How can I monetize my list, and how much is too much?

We've had The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter for over eight years now and the newsletter, bursting in content, is one of the best promotional tools my company has. We've never done a single piece of advertisement for my firm, all of it has come from word of mouth, online, and our newsletter.

The key to a good newsletter list is simple really and the biggest piece of this is you've got to have something useful to say. While your friends and family might enjoy hearing about your latest book signing, people who happened onto your site and subscribed to your ezine might become bored with this information and unsubscribe. If you have a list or are considering starting one, consider these tips to get you going and help you maximize your newsletter.

1.    Timing: How often you send the newsletter will really depend on your crowd, but I don't recommend anything less than once a month. I know some people who send a quarterly newsletter and that's fine if you don't really have much to say, but if you're looking for content so you can send the newsletter more frequently, then read on; I have some ideas and ways of maximizing the use of content for your newsletter.

2.    Distribution: How will you send your newsletter? If your plan is to email it, forget it unless you have less than 100 subscribers. Anything over that and you should consider using a service like Aweber or Constant Contact. These places will handle your subscribes and unsubscribes for you. If you start mailing to a list larger than 50 from your email service, you run the risk of getting shut down for spam.
3.    Easy Opt In: Make it easy for people to sign up. Make sure there's a sign-up on your website, preferably the home page and then a mention of it again on your most popular page which, for most of us, is our blog. The opt-in will take new subscribers to your welcome page (which we'll talk about in a minute) and handle sending your new readers right into the mailing list.

4.    Ethical Bribe: So what will you give readers to get their email? It might not be enough just to tout that you have this fabulous newsletter; in fact, often it isn't. Have something that they'll want, a key item: e-book, tip sheet, whatever will entice readers to sign up for your newsletter. Here's a hint: give them something they'll have to keep referring to again and again so that your name and book stays in front of them.

5.    Free: There are some folks in the industry who try to charge for their newsletters. Listen, I get it. A newsletter is a lot of work, but if done properly, it is a key promotional tool and therefore, should be free. Magazines can charge for subscriptions, you can't. Make it free. Don't even put a value on it. I know folks who do this, too. I think the value of the newsletter should be evident in its content, not in the price you chose to put on it.

6.    Welcome pages: After someone signs up for your newsletter, what will they see? A simple thank you page on your website is a waste of an opportunity. Make sure there is a welcome page that shares their freebie (the ethical bribe) and tells them about one or two of your products. It's also a great idea to offer a special on this welcome page as a "thank you" for signing up to your mailing list.

7.    Check your facts: The quickest way to lose subscribers is to publish a newsletter full of factual mistakes. Do your fact and link checking prior to it going out. Seriously. It's important not just to the credibility of your newsletter, but to you as well. I mean who wants to buy something from someone who can't even be bothered to check their facts? Also, please get your newsletter edited. I've seen some newsletters with a disclaimer that they are unedited. If you aren't an editor and can't afford one, see if you can get it done for free and then blurb the person in your newsletter as a way to reciprocate. Remember, everything is your resume. Would you send a CV to a potential employer that was full of typos? I didn't think so.

8.    Promote: This is key because once you decide to do a newsletter you'll want to promote it. You can do so by adding it to your signature line in email (“sign up for my newsletter and get a free …”), you should also never go to a book event without a sign-up sheet, and add your newsletter info to the byline of any article you write that gets syndicated online.

9.    Collaborate: If you're strapped for content and time, why not open up your newsletter to other collaborators? Our newsletter, The Book Marketing Expert, is a collaboration of a lot of voices. We have publishing tips, website tips, social media tips, and the main article. It's a great way to let others have a voice in your newsletter, which helps to promote them - and the best part of this is that if you have a collaborative newsletter you can all promote it to the different people you touch in your travels. This will help increase your sign-ups exponentially because you're hitting that many more people. Your collaborators should be in the industry, but specializing in different areas. This will give your newsletter the flavor and interest it needs. Don't worry about sharing your newsletter space with others, we've done it this way for years, and it's a great way to build lots of useful content.

10.    Be generous: Give lots of good information. By giving away good information people will want to read it, and when they read it you will build a readership and loyal following, not just for your newsletter but for your books and products as well.

11.    Balance:  The key to a good newsletter that will not only get read, but passed along, is balance. By this I mean balance giving with selling. My general rule of thumb is 95% helpful information and 5% selling; while that number may seem low trust me, this is a great balance. Yes, you can offer specials and offers to your readers, but that's the 5%.

12.    Content creation: While it may seem daunting to have to write content for a newsletter every month or every two weeks, you can use and reuse this content because not everyone will find you in the same place. What I mean by this is that some folks will find you on your blog, others might find you on Twitter and still others will find you by searching online and happening on an article you've syndicated. Once I create content for The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter, that content is then redistributed and reused in places like our blog, my Twitter account (@bookgal) or on my page at The Huffington Post ( Use and reuse your content, though not too much. I generally will use my articles in one or two other places and that's it, but the point is that they can be used again.

The idea behind a good newsletter is one that not only brings your readers in, but keeps them interested. It's the marketing funnel we marketing people love to talk about so much, once you get someone to sign up, stay on their radar screen with helpful content. Once you do, you'll find not only loyal readers, but loyal buyers as well.

Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert and an Adjunct Instructor with NYU. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. She is the author of five books, including Book to Bestseller which has been called the “road map to publishing success.” AME is the first marketing and publicity firm to use Internet promotion to its full impact through The Virtual Author Tour, which strategically works with social networking sites, blogs, micro-blogs, ezines, video sites, and relevant sites to push an author’s message into the virtual community and connect with sites related to the book’s topic, positioning the author in his or her market. To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her website at To subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: Copyright © 2010 Penny C. Sansevieri

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Should You Submit The Same Article To Multiple Article Directories?

Should You Submit The Same Article To Multiple Article Directories?

By GT Allen

This is one of the classic questions that comes up time and time again in article marketing. In fact, after Google completed their Panda update that essentially penalized and destroyed content farms, this question comes up even more.

Here's the bottom line... There's absolutely no benefit at all to submitting your same article to multiple directories, but there is 1 exception.

Let me explain...

If you write one original and unique article, but you submit it to 100 different article directories, Google is only going to display the article 1 time in the search results. It makes absolutely no sense for Google to display the same article 10 times on the first page of the search results. That doesn't help Google nor does it help Google's customers.

Plus, you should ask yourself why you're writing the article in the first place. Is it for search engine rankings or is it for human consumption? It should be for human consumption. If you are building a business based on search engine rankings, you are playing with fire. Google can change the algorithm and put you out of business the next day, just like it did with for a lot of people with the infamous Panda update.

Getting search engine rankings is just a benefit of the process, and that's it. Consequently, that's the exception to the question of this article. If you have an article that is a high performing article and it's not at the top of page 1, but maybe it's close, then you can write another similar article and submit it to other article directories. The purpose would be to get that high performing article to the top spot for a particular keyword phrase.

The strategy here is to link to the article you want to move up. Instead of using the resource box to link to your website, link to the article you want to improve. Usually you can increase the rankings of that article with this one little strategy. Other than that, there's no reason to submit the same article to multiple article directories.

Article Source:



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How to Brainstorm Ideas For Blog Posts

How to Brainstorm Ideas For Blog Posts

By Featured Writer Leslie Branch

Readers love great content. But, producing too much content can leave you with nothing to write. You can run out of ideas and be left wondering what new ideas can be added to your blog. Producing new, innovate ideas takes time, but it also takes inspiration. You cannot expect to produce new content without first being inspired to write it.

Some brainstorming tips work better than others. From reading a book to watching a movie, these tips are designed to get your creative juices flowing, so you can type away and continue to attract readers.


You could sit staring at your blank computer screen, or you could go out and find your inspiration. Brainstorming is more than just sitting down and jotting ideas. It’s about being aggressive and collaborating ideas with fellow writers.

When you read, you’re brainstorming ideas. You’re taking bits of information from one writer and turning it into fuel for your own work. Subscribe to news feeds. Follow different bloggers and read different media outlets for ideas.

Integrate Hobbies into your Blogs

Change the direction of your stories by altering the perspective. How many people would consider reading the following blog post titled, “Ways to Cultivate New Brainstorming Ideas?” You would imagine that a few would read it, but imagine if you took your favorite hobby of video games and fused the two together and created “How Mass Effect 3 helps Me Brainstorm New Ideas.”

Take an unusual perspective from one of your hobbies and turn it into a blog post. You know the ins-and-outs of your hobbies; you just have to figure out how to integrate the topics together. Use what you already know to make something new and interesting for readers.

Review Your Past Content

Who says you cannot take your past work and use it again—but this time for inspiration. Go through your past blog posts and see how you can turn a previously discussed topic into a new one. Explore a different angle. Revisit an unexplored path. Discuss an issue you've neglected.

When you’re reading over your old work, take a peak at the comment section and see what your readers are saying about your writing. Most of the times, a reader will comment on something that will make you say, “Hey, I never thought of that!” And just like that, you found a new idea for your blog.

Get creative with your sources of inspiration. Go out for a walk. Listen to music. Watch a movie. Let your surroundings help you brainstorm and mine for new content. If you’re an English student managing a “How to Find a Job as an English Major” blog, visit a different website for inspiration. Try new brainstorming methods and see what ideas you end up with.

I hope you enjoyed this featured article by Leslie Branch. Coming up with blog post ideas can be a struggle, especially if you post often. Do you have any special tricks you use? Let us know.

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eMarketing with PowerPoint Webinars - Create and Conduct Your own Webinars

eMarketing with PowerPoint Webinars - Create and Conduct Your own Webinars

An Effective Marketing Tool and Easy to Do was Offered by Writers on the Move

The replay will be up at Writers on the Move soon.

You’re an author or writer, or maybe an entrepreneur or affiliate marketer, and you want to increase your mailing list, expert status, and sales of what you have to offer.

Sound about right?

Well then, do what the pros do, get into PowerPoint webinars.

Presenting PowerPoint webinars is an effective marketing tool. In fact, it’s one of the most effective strategies you can use to establish yourself as an expert, increase your mailing list, increase traffic to your sites, and sell your products and services.

Its effectiveness is noted by many of the marketing experts by their use of them. Big hitters, such as Daniel Hall, Brian Jud, David Frey, Kathleen Gage, and Jim Edwards all use webinars as a standard marketing tool.

And, you can have guest presenters or partner-up (joint ventures) with other marketers selling their products or services. You can even present webinars to sell affiliate products.

The webinar gave great tips to get you ready and set to create your own webinars.

Check out what we'll be discussing:

What is a Webinar?
6 Reasons Why You Should Offer Webinars
What is a PowerPoint Webinar?
What Webinar Service Should You Use?
Some Technical Elements of Webinars
Preparing for Your PowerPoint Presentation
Presenting a PowerPoint Webinar
Enhance Conversion Rate

Check out Writers on the Move's Workshop Page for this and other replays.


You can Write for Money

It’s amazing how the road to ‘making money’ for writers has opened. Maybe you’ve been thinking about it, or maybe you’ve even tried your hand at writing to earn an income or simply to supplement what you already make, but just haven’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel.

Well, take a step back, look around, and take a new stab at it, because now’s the time to write for money.

You might be wondering what it means to ‘write for money.’

The answer to that is simple: any form of writing that provides payment is writing for money. You may ghostwrite articles or books, maybe you write your own articles and books and submit them to publishers, or maybe you write white papers, e-books, newsletters, landing pages, greeting cards, or other content, if you get paid for writing it, it’s writing for money.

Create Content

Writing to earn goes beyond that simple answer above. Along with actually being paid for the content you produce, you can also write 300 - 500 word posts for your monetized blogsite or website. While you’re not actually paid for the post content itself, the content will bring you traffic and help build your mailing list from which you have the potential to earn money.

The relevancy of the blog post content to the product you’re offering is an important factor for conversion, as is the quality of the content, so keep that in mind. Another important factor is to post your content on a regular basis.

You can also use your content writing skills to write for businesses. Content writers are now in high-demand.

Conversion is when a visitor to your site actually buys what you’re offering, so you will need to create a webpage that motivates visitors to click on the BUY button. 

Create an eBook

One content format that has tremendous potential to make money is writing and self-publishing e-books. Due to the ease of creation and easy access to self-publishing services such as Amazon’s Kindle, and other services, writers now have a platform to publish e-books with absolutely NO out-of-pocket costs.

No more endless submissions and rejections, now you can just write and self-publish in e-book format. And, most of the selling price goes to you - the self-publishing services do take a small percentage of your sales.

While being able to self-publish with ease and at no cost is great for writers, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make money. If your intent is to write to make money you will want to produce information e-books. Information is the most effective type of content for earning money.

Information content can be in the form of a simple three - five page report or a 100+ page e-book. Whatever the word or page count is you will need to make sure the information you provide is something online searchers are looking for, and it needs to be valuable and polished.

How do you determine what people are looking for?

To find what online searchers are looking for you will need to do keyword searches.

For example: I wrote an e-book on book marketing. I came up with a few titles and then did a keyword search. I found that adding “How to” at the beginning of one of my titles was within my target number of searches, so I titled it How to Attract Customers With Information Marketing.

You should be cautioned though that marketing information is an ever-changing topic. What’s relevant and savvy today may be useless six months from now – marketing technology is constantly evolving and therefore marketing strategies are often changing. While some basic marketing information is steadfast, it may be wiser to go with an evergreen topic, like writing, health and fitness, gardening, etc.

Ebooks and Content Build Authority

Along with the possibility of earning an income, creating content and ebooks helps you build authority in your niche. Authority is a very important marketing element. People are more likely to invest with someone they trust and who has authority.

Another option with ebooks is to offer writing them as a service to others. Use your persuasive copy to let businesses know they should have their own book to offer to clients, potential clients, employees, and so on.

Whichever strategy you use, be sure your content is polished. This means self-editing and proofing your work before you publish it. Just because self-publishing is easy to do and no one is monitoring your writing, your content is still a reflection of your writing ability and your professionalism.


Speaking of making money writing . . .

Become an Power-Blogger and Content Writer in Just 4 Weeks

This 4 week interactive e-class through WOW! Women on Writing that will train you to write super-charged articles and content that will be shareable, engaging, and will increase conversion. Make it a money-making part of your freelance writer’s portfolio. Or, use it to boost your own home or small business.

Check out all that this course offers: BECOME A POWER-BLOGGER


Five Effective Book Marketing Strategies

Today I have the pleasure of featuring Karina Fabian. This site is one of the stops on her book tour for Live and Let Fly, and she's prepared a valuable post on book marketing strategies. After that is some great information about the book!

Five effective book marketing strategies

By Karina Fabian

Target Audience:  Everyone knows about this one, but so few of us follow it.  I must admit, it’s my own stumbling block, but I offer two pieces of advice:  Don’t just advertise to all your author groups. Yes, authors are readers, but they are also the ones trying to peddle their own books.  Get out of the crowded pool and find another with people who might be interested in reading.  This is easier said than done, I know; too often, I join some reader’s group and discover it’s full of writers all trying to find readers but talking to each other about their own books.  So, let me suggest finding book review blogs and checking out those bloggers and what blogs they look at and what groups they are in.  I got this idea in Feb while working my book tour.  Got another idea?  Please comment!

Repetition:  The old saying is people need to see something seven times before they are ready to buy.  Frankly, it’s one reason why movie trailers work so well, and amateur book trailers don’t.  Movie companies pay to have their trailers shown again and again on multiple sites.  There are ways, however, that you can repeat your message without just repeating yourself obnoxiously.  Use different mediums:  the book video and the excerpt and a sneak peek and a contest.  Tweet bits of your book, esp. if they are funny.  Make multiple trailers from different angles.  I had a lot of fun with this for my new book, Live and Let Fly.  I did a serious one, a snarky one from Vern’s POV, a character-based on with Stan Rakness, and a longer one with more information.  Some took a lot of work, but a couple, I tossed together for fun.

Follow-up:  If you send out a press release, an announcement, a guest post, etc., follow up.  People are busy; things get lost in e-mail; folks forget.  Also, when you see something posted about you, go to the page, comment, and tweet or FB about it.  And keep track of those people, especially if they are new to you—they might be willing to post your news on your next book.  .  If you do a blog tour, keep track of the people who toured you and send them some kind of follow-up later—like if the book is up for an award, or something exciting happens, or some occasion ties into your book.  For example, my publisher and I sent out a press release to all the folks who toured my father’s and my devotional, Why God Matters, during Lent as a suggestion for a Lenten activity.  Several bloggers agreed to run the press release or re-run their reviews; one blogger got me and several other writers going on a multi-blog devotional which was a great blessing to us all.

Be open to opportunities:  My latest book, Live and Let Fly, is the second DragonEye, PI novel.  It is here only because I was open to opportunities—first, the anthology Firestorm of Dragons, for which I created Vern, a snarky dragon detective on the wrong side of the interdimensional portal.  Then a request for a serial DragonEye, PI story from a small Mensa magazine.  (I’ve rerun it on, btw.)  That, along with meeting an editor at the MuseOnline writers conference, led to the award winning novel, Magic, Mensa and Mayhem.  Frankly, I’ve had so much fun with Vern and his partner, Sister Grace, that I am on the third novel now, and have 16 short stories written. 

Not all opportunities are paying, but weigh them against the pleasure you’ll have and the potential future benefit.

--JUST A NOTE:  My weekly newsletter, 30-Minute Marketer, helps you with steps 2, 3, and 4.  I have a program set up of repeated tasks, follow-ups, new projects and quickie tasks, each of which should take half an hour or less.  Please check it out  No subscription fee, but I am working off donations.

Have fun—or fake it!  Last week, I saw a clip of Nathan Fillion getting his People’s Choice award.  He said that he was sick with the flu—pull the car over, sick—on the way, and the whole time, all he was thinking was to not vomit on the hostess.  You’d never know from his actions on the stage.

I’m preparing a virtual book tour that has exceeded 45 stops as I write this, and I’m still getting more.  I’m also researching more blogs and review sites and stressing a bit on when I’ll get review copies.  (I’m writing this in February).  When I write posts like this one, however, I don’t think about all that.  I’m enjoying the fact that a friend is hosting me, I might be giving folks some inspiration—and I get to plug my book and newsletter!  How can I not be stoked?

Marketing can be dreary and frustrating, but if you treat it like a drudgery, then people will internalize that attitude and may take it to your book.  So reach in, find the excitement and let it show in your face, our voice, the attitude of your tweets and post.  After all, no matter how tedious the marketing may feel, you are in love with your book—and the thought of a sale is just a bit exciting, too!


For a dragon detective with a magic-slinging nun as a partner, saving the worlds gets routine. So, when the US government hires Vern and Sister Grace to recover stolen secrets for creating a new Interdimensional Gap--secrets the US would like to keep to itself, thank you—Vern sees a chance to play Dragon-Oh-Seven.

No human spy, however, ever went up against a Norse goddess determined to exploit those secrets to rescue her husband. Sigyn will move heaven and earth to get Loki—and use the best and worst of our world against anyone who tries to stop her.

It's super-spy spoofing at its best with exotic locations (Idaho--exotic?), maniacal middle-managers, secret agent men, teen rock stars in trouble, man-eating animatronics, evil overlords and more!


Festival was Friday. We had two days to stop a Nordic demigod evil overlord—overlady, overbeing, whatever—from blowing up a nuclear power plant, possibly destroying half an island full of revelers in the process, and creating an Interdimensional Gap through which she can bring the rest of her giant relatives to set up housekeeping where the Faerie Catholic Church didn't have the power to control them. In other words, two days until Hel broke loose.

I've had worse deadlines. I could afford a long bath in our whirlpool tub and a good meal first.


Karina Fabian is an award-winning fantasy, science fiction and horror author, whose books make people laugh, cry or think—sometimes all three. Check out her latest at


How to Write Tight - Self-Editing Tips to Make Your Manuscript Ready For Publication

Today, I have a great article about the craft of writing from writing coach Suzanne Lieurance.While this was written with fiction writing in mind, most of these tips are valid for content marketing and helpful to the content writer.

How to Write Tight - Self-Editing Tips to Make Your Manuscript Ready For Publication

by Suzanne Lieurance

As writers, we hear it all the time. We need to "write tight", which just means we need to trim all the flab from our manuscripts and make every word count.

Here are some self-editing tips that will help you "write tight" and take your manuscripts from flabby to fit for publication in no time!

1. Avoid a lot of back story - information about the POV character's history and background. Weave all this into the story instead of loading the manuscript down with too many sentences or paragraphs of straight narrative before the action begins.

2. Simplify your sentences wherever possible. Watch for redundant or unnecessary phrases. As writers, we need to "show, not tell" as often as possible. Yet, some writers tend to show and then tell the same information, which is redundant. Watch out for this in your manuscripts. Also, look for the redundant phrases below and others like them.

Stand up = stand
Sit down = sit
Turned around = turned
He thought to himself = He thought
She shrugged her shoulders = she shrugged
She whispered softly = she whispered
He nodded his head = he nodded

3. Avoid adverbs for the most part. Use strong, descriptive verbs instead.

Flabby: She smiled slightly at the photographer.
Fit: She grinned at the photographer.

4. Avoid using the same word over and over in a paragraph. Go back and reread each sentence. Have you repeated the same word several times within a single sentence or paragraph? If so, substitute another word with the same meaning.

5. Don't overuse names. Beginning writers tend to have the characters address each other by name too often. When you speak to a friend, you don't constantly say his name. Don't have your characters do this either. It doesn't ring true, and it draws the reader OUT of the story.

6. Limit the description in a dialogue tag. Again, beginning writers tend to load down the dialogue tags (the "he said, she said" part of the dialogue) with too many details. If you must describe what a character is doing AS he says something, put that information in a separate sentence, not in the dialogue tag. And keep it short.

7. Avoid participle phrases - particularly at the beginning of sentences. Participle phrases end in the letters -ing. Go back over every page of your manuscript and circle the places where you've started a sentence with a participle phrase. If your manuscript is loaded down with participle phrases it tends to distract the reader and pull him out of the story.

8. No idle chit-chat. Be sure the dialogue advances the storyline. Readers don't need to hear the characters talking about anything that doesn't somehow relate directly to what's happened so far or what will happen next or later in the story.

9. Minimize use of the passive voice. Here's an example of passive voice: The ball was hit by Susan. Here's the same information in active voice: Susan hit the ball.

10. Use active, descriptive verbs.
Flabby: I was the one who made the decision to go home.
Fit: I decided to go home.

Strengthen weak verbs. You can usually eliminate was and were by replacing them with stronger, more descriptive verbs. Usually, was and were precede an -ing word, and you can change the -ing word to make it stronger.

Flabby:He was talking to my brother.
Fit: He talked to my brother.

11. Minimize use of the verb "to be" to keep the word count down.
Flabby: She is a graceful dancer.
Fit: She dances gracefully.

12. Cut the verb preceding an infinitive if it's not needed.
Flabby: She was able to fix the bicycle.
Fit: She fixed the bicycle.

13. Avoid using the word that when you don't need it. Reread each sentence that includes that, then read the sentence without that. If it sounds all right without it, cut it.

Also, avoid other crutch words we tend to rely on yet don't add much to the story. Other crutch words include just and really. The word suddenly should be used as infrequently as possible. Otherwise, it tends to sound as if your characters are constantly jumping around.

14. Watch for pet words or phrases you tend to favor without even realizing it. Common words like then, as, and when tend to get overused often.

15. Avoid stall phrases that slow down the action for no good reason. Phrases such as: tried to, began to and started to can be changed to the simple paste tense of the verb.

Keep this list of self-editing tips handy for awhile as you're writing and rewriting until using these tips becomes automatic.

Suzanne Lieurance is a multi-published author and the Working Writer's Coach. Get your writing in gear with the Working Writers Club (I've been a member for quite some time).

Related Reading

Writing Nonfiction: Using Quotes
Being a Writer: Learn the Craft of Writing


Book Marketing - Create a Blog

The time and effort you put into writing your book paid off – you got a publishing contract. And, now you’re book will be out in a few months. It’s time to get your visibility and platform in place and you will take your first step by creating a website.

Sorry, there’s no way around this one – you must create a web presence. The first tool in your book marketing visibility toolbox is a website, and it should be created before your book is published. You can choose a website or a blog and you can get either type for free from sites such as or

 I use Bluehost for my website hosting service and highly recommend them. I like there service so much, I'm even an affiliate for them.

Now for some comparisons.

Website vs. Blogsite

If you find the thought of having to create a website daunting, go for; it is very user friendly and good for beginners. And with its updates, it has a number of features much like a website.

One major drawback to Blogger though is you cannot upload ebooks or pdfs to link to in order to offer them for free or for sale. So, if this is something you’ll be doing, you will have to use a website like WordPress, Yola, or Weebly.

Just be sure the one you choose has a blog feature, because you will need to provide quality content on a regular basis to create an informational funnel.

If you like the user-friendly ease of Blogger, you can create a free website just for the purpose of uploading PDFs and link them to your Blogger site.

Whichever you choose as your visibility site, be sure to carefully think about the domain name you use. Allow it to be easily searchable and relevant to the content you will be offering on the site. It’s often a good idea to have a least one site with ‘your name’ as the title of a website. This site will have information about you as the author: a Media Page, an About You Page, and a page that lists all your books.

Simple is a Better Strategy

Marketing expert Mike Volpe of points out that it’s more important to spend time, and money if necessary, on content rather than a flashy website design; simple works. In fact, simpler usually leads to a higher conversion rate. The conversion rate is the ratio of visitors who buy your book, product, or service.

Volpe also stresses that you should have control over your site. This means you should be able to manage it. You don’t want to run to a web designer for every little change you want to make to your site, or to do something as simple as adding content.

To reinforce this ‘simple is better strategy,’ Google says that milliseconds count in regard to your page load time. If your page is slow to load, you’ll get a poorer score with Google.

Tip: Should you decide you do need help to create a site, don’t hire an expensive web designer. Look for someone who wants to establish themselves as a website creator, or someone who does it in his spare time, you will pay much less. And, try to make arrangements that will include the designer teach you how to manage your own site. This will make updates, changes, and posting much easier, and less expensive.

Make Your Site Optimized for the Search Engines

If you choose a WordPress site, go through the dashboard and sections carefully, and fill in how you want your site to work. There are also a number of plugins for WordPress that will help your site get noticed and indexed by the search engines. If you’re not sure how to do this, it would probably be worth the investment to hire someone to do basic search engine optimization (SEO) for your site.

It's not uncommon for writers to need help with book marketing, including websites and SEO, it's impossible to be proficient at everything. Thankfully, there are those who know the ins and outs of optimizing websites, if needed take advantage of them.

This is a reprint from 2011, but the information is well worth repeating.



Give Your Author/Writer Business a Boost with Inbound Marketing
Website Optimization, Blogging Smart, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing

This 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class is through WOW! Women on Writing and covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

CLICK HERE to check out all it includes!


Online Membership Sites – Should You Join One?
The Author Website – Keep it Simple and to the Point
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