Archive | March, 2015

Face to Face Marketing

31 Mar

003Happy Last Day of March, 2015, to all of you. I hope this finds you well.

I spent this past weekend in the garden tending to the animals, birds and soil.  Talk about replenishing my soul….I woke up Monday overflowing with creativity.

The book continues but the end is in sight. I’m on the final edit…I promise…two more weeks and the query letters will begin.  I can finally say I’m satisfied with the results.  Thanks again to all who helped me as beta readers and friends.  You are invaluable to me.

Today let’s talk a bit about marketing in this ebook world, but first a quote you might enjoy.


Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.

David Packard
Unfortunately, we are our marketing departments.


I heard from a dear friend in my Mailbag series, and she asked about marketing her upcoming ebook.  She was concerned because she has been away from marketing for some time, and she wondered if there were any new marketing tips I might have for her.

I made the statement then and I’ll stand by it now, that social media is a nice marketing tool but it is not the only marketing tool.  A writer must, at some point, get out among the masses and promote their book in person.

My friend responded that this is a problem with ebooks; there is no physical book to promote when doing readings and you can’t do book signings with an ebook.


This is not an “either or” situation. Sites like CreateSpace allow you to have a printed copy of your ebook for free or a nominal fee.  For those of you who want a physical copy of your book, this is the perfect win-win situation.

The bottom line is this:  you must get out among your readers and sell.  There are few overnight successes in the writing game, and there are fewer successes that occur by simply marketing online.  Pound the pavement; become an active member of the writing community; market your book like your writing future depends upon it….because it does.


Since I mentioned CreateSpace I should probably give you the link to it.  Here it is.  Check it out.


The Maine Review Short Story Contest is currently taking submissions for their annual anthology. Entry fee is ten bucks and the deadline is April 15th.  There is a $200 first prize and submissions must be 5,000 words or less.  Check it out here.


But you can rest assured I’ll be back next week, good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.  Thanks for stopping by and visiting.  Have a great week of following your passion.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Quality Control Begins and Ends with You

24 Mar

003Happy Tuesday to you all on this twenty-fourth day of March.  I hope the last flakes of snow are melting where you are. We are experiencing spring showers and I am confident they will bring flowers.  Heck, our bulbs were up weeks ago since we kind of skipped right over winter here in Olympia.

What’s new in my world?  My novel, “Shadows Kill,” is being revised once again.  I received some great feedback from my friend Cristen, and her feedback was right on. Now I have some writing to do.  Some of the changes are minor and easy fixes. One change involves one of the main characters and will require some serious work.

The thing is, I could have ignored Cristen’s advice.  The book was pretty good already, and I suspect I could get an agent to go for it without making the changes.  I’ve certainly read worse books during my lifetime, and those were published, so I feel pretty confident that mine would be published without making any more changes….but…

It wouldn’t be my best work then, would it?

When I finish “Shadows Kill” I want to be able to walk away from it knowing I have nothing left.  I want to look at it and be able to declare that it is my best work, that I gave it everything I had, that there was nothing left in me to add to it.

And that’s exactly what I will do.


The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.

Ray Kroc

One of the things I enjoy most about being a writer is that I have no boss hovering over me telling me what to do.  It is also one of the dangers of being a writer.  Quality control begins and ends with me.  Only I can determine when my best effort has been given.


Before you publish your next article or book, ask yourself one question: is this the best I can do on this particular piece?  If the answer is yes then hit the publish button and be done with it.  If the answer is no….well, I think you understand.


“Top 30 Writing Sites” is an interesting online site you might want to visit. I don’t know who this Edgar guy is, but his list of writing sites is a valuable one.  If you are looking for a writing community that can help you grow, then I suggest you browse through his list.  You can find it by following this link.


Check out Cristen and her blog….well worth reading.  You can find it here


Take a few minutes and go visit a friend of mine.  Patricia Scott is her name and you can find her here.

Patricia writes from the heart, and it is a huge heart to write from.  I love passion in a writer and Patricia is filled with passion.  Stop by and say howdy!


We’re all busy and that’s why I keep this blog limited to one post per week.  Thank you for spending part of your Tuesday with me. Have a great week of writing.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Weathering the Storms as a Writer

17 Mar

003Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my friends!  I’m wearing the green in honor of the Irish ancestors I may or may not have. Being adopted tends to put a question mark on anything having to do with ancestry.

Spring seems to have arrived in most parts of the country. I’m happy for those of you who suffered through February.  Here we had one hell of a storm this past weekend….four inches of rain Saturday and Sunday with high winds.  Bev and I were scrambling to make sure our quail didn’t drown and we succeeded.

My latest novel, Shadows Kill, is progressing. I re-wrote the introduction…then re-wrote the ending…and now I’m waiting on the last beta reader to see what she has to say.  Meanwhile, I re-wrote my query letter and I think I’ve got that tight and interesting.

And, of course, I have begun work on the new novel, a sequel to Shadows Kill titled Shadows Over Innocence, one in which I’m turning my vigilante hero loose against the sex trafficking industry.  I suspect the bad guys are going to wish Eli Baker was never born.

So that’s what’s happening in my neck of the woods.  How about you?


Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.

Robert H. Schuller


There is some serious wisdom in those words.


I’ve mentioned before that I have a five year plan.  I set, as my goal, to be published by a major book publisher within five years. I just finished Year Three.  I know I’m right on track but there are times when doubts set in….the storms arrive….and I have to remember that I prepared for the storms, I will survive them, and to just keep moving forward into the bite of the wind.


Long-range planning means exactly what it says.  Set a goal, map out how you are going to attain that goal, and then keep moving forward.  Of course you’ll have to adjust at times, but the one thing you shouldn’t do is simply change goals because there are short-term setbacks.  If the goal was important enough to set in the first place, then it is important enough to strive for despite setbacks.


If you haven’t done so, check in with your local library.  They are a wonderful resource for writers. Many of them are thrilled to have writers conduct readings.  Many of them have contests for writers.  Check them out and see what they have to offer you.


I shared this last week but I think it’s important enough to do so again.  Go to this site and you’ll find a list of free writing contests.  The key word here is FREE!  If you are building a writing platform and trying to improve your status among the writing community, winning a contest is a great way to do so.  Follow this link.


I have novels to write so I’ll cut this off today. I hope you have a superb week of writing. I know I will.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Are You Getting Helpful Feedback?

10 Mar

003The second full week of March and we’ve all, hopefully, turned the corner on winter.  Spring is staring us in the face, and with spring comes hope for longer days, warmer days, and perhaps new beginnings.

How are you this week?  I’m fat and sassy, thank you very much.  We are enjoying ridiculously beautiful weather.  I’m sure it will come to an end so I’m soaking up as much sun as possible and storing it for the spring rains that will surely come.

You’ll laugh at this piece of news: I’m still not done with “Shadows Kill.”  I thought I was but the ending is still leaving me wanting more, so back to the drawing board this week.  No biggie; it’s all part of the process.  The book will be done when it is done and not a moment before.  When I finish this book I want it to be my best writing to date, and I’ll feel the same way when I finish the next book, and the one after that.

And the most wonderful thing happened to me Sunday……I received a review on “Resurrecting Tobias” that was not a perfect five stars.  That review was a wonderful gift because I value honesty greatly, and I need to know that what I’m doing is not perfect.  The reviewer was right on with her summation….I can do better, and I will do better.

How about you?  Do you value honesty in critiques of your work?  Do you really want to know that your poop stinks at times?


General reader feedback is usually pretty worthless. 99% of people give feedback that is irrelevant, stupid, or just flat out wrong. But that 1% of people who give good feedback are invaluable.

Tucker Max
Now I can’t be as brutal about feedback as Tucker is, because I greatly appreciate any feedback I get about my writing, but I understand what he is saying.


Back in my teaching days, twice a year we would have parent/student/teacher conferences.  These were dreaded by many but I actually enjoyed them.  When I was holding a conference, I would make sure I did two things for every student: I would point out the good work they had done, and I would point out what they needed to improve. I owed them the most sincere and helpful feedback I could give them.


Are you getting “good feedback?”  I’m not talking about constant words of praise but rather about feedback that will help you grow as a writer?  If you  aren’t receiving that kind of feedback you need to go find someone who can give it to you….if being a better writer is your goal, of course.

Where do you find that feedback?  Different strokes for different folks.  I offer a service as a writing coach where I give constructive feedback of your writing…for a fee of course.  There are others who do it as well, or if you can find a trusted friend who is willing to be honest with you, then go that route.

I’m currently helping a fellow writer to write her first book.  It is an exciting process.  Slow-going for sure, and at times frustrating for her, but she trusts my suggestions and guidance, and she knows I want the best for her.  And I want the same for you!


That’s my way of saying I have to cut this one short.  I hope I’ve given you something to think about.  The bottom line is I want you all to grow in your craft, and that means receiving valuable feedback about your writing skills.

Have a super week and I’ll do the same.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Writing and Rabbit Poop

4 Mar

003Happy Tuesday and Happy March 3, 2015.  I know, it’s Wednesday, but today I choose to believe time is relative, and that will cover up the fact that I’m a day late in posting this. J

I would love to tell you that my novel is finished but alas, it is not.  I re-wrote the first chapter…and now I’m tinkering again.


Because I believe in excellence, and I refuse to sell-out for instant gratification.

Today let’s talk about rabbit poop.

Bev and I worked in the garden this past weekend.  We moved our herb garden to another section of the yard, and then we turned over the soil in our raised-vegetable beds and began the process of weeding.  We were pleased to see that our labors during the winter paid off.  All winter long we have added leaves, compost and rabbit feces to our gardens, and Sunday we were rewarded with black gold, the most beautiful soil you could ever wish to see.  I immediately pulled out my soil-tester and I am happy to report that the soil is perfect and ready for planting.

And it’s all because I spread that poop, spread that compost, covered with leaves and trusted in the natural process.


Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.


I read an article the other day by a writer on HubPages.  She was saying goodbye to that site.  She had written twenty-two articles over a six month period and had not earned a payout yet, so she was taking her act somewhere else.

Six months and expecting a payout?  Really?

I do not say this with unkindness in my heart, but it is important to say….she was not a good writer.  There were grammatical errors in her articles. They were not particularly interesting….the rhythm was non-existent….she had a lot of work to do, but she either was unwilling to do it or unaware that it needed to be done.  Instead she stated her dissatisfaction with the site and took her toys and left.

That’s like a gardener or farmer who does not work the soil.

Yesterday I received an email from someone, and she asked me how one becomes a good writer if they have no obvious talent at writing.  I suspect she was talking about herself although I disagree with her because she does have talent.

The point is that on the one hand we have someone not willing to be realistic and put in the work, and on the other hand we have someone with her eyes wide open who is eager to work at her craft.


Pay your dues.

No other words are necessary.

Pay your dues!


Go read your latest work and eliminate five adverbs from that work.  Just five…no more…no less.  Get in the habit of paring down your work, and break the habit of using adverbs for a crutch.


I love introducing new writers, so today let me give a shout out to Claudia.  I think she’s got game.  She is eager to learn, willing to comment and seems like a nice lady. Stop by and give her some support if you have a minute.  Thank you!

I still remember the first person who commented on my first article….her comment meant a lot to me. I suspect the same will be true for Claudia.


If you have a few minutes, go visit the Writer’s Café.  You might just find it enjoyable, and without a doubt you’ll meet some interesting people, all of whom are writers like yourself.  Follow this link.


Are you interested in entering some writing contests that have no submission fee?  Try this site and you might find one you are interested in.


I hope your week is everything you wanted it to be.  Keep working at your craft.  Good things are right around the corner if you do.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”