Saturday, August 30, 2014

No Play, No Pay: About Google AdWords

Copyright © 2013 Eilis Flynn
Originally Published by 1st Turning Point
I’d only vaguely heard of Google AdWords when the Husband, Mike the Marketing Man, suggested I sign up for it. Okay, I said…and then I promptly forgot about it. But as fate (and an advertising campaign orchestrated by someone else) would have it, the topic came up again, this time in the form of a direct mail piece. Okay, it was clearly time to take a look. The Hub agreed.
In case you’re as clueless as I was on the subject (well, that’s hard to believe. You’re reading something at 1st Turning Point, aren’t you?) and Google AdWords sounds like one of those foreign and exotic things, it’s not: It’s part of the modern marketers’ mantra. With the boom of the Internet has arrived a new method of promoting your work, and it’s a surprisingly simple way of making use of impulse control. Or lack thereof.
Google AdWords
You know search words, right? Or keywords? That’s how you find something, right? You go to Google and type in words that you think will give you the response you want. Before you click on one of those Google results, though, if you look to the side, you’ll notice small-print ads, with terms that echo those like yours under the heading “Sponsored links.” Guess what? Those are AdWords ads. Those ads show up when someone does a search using precise terms that you’ve just used to get those Google results. Like magic!
Now, if you’ll recall, the title of this piece is “No Play, No Pay.” (If you didn’t remember, you should have looked up at the beginning, silly.) The glory of AdWords is that those sponsored links show up, but you don’t have to worry about paying unless someone actually gets intrigued enough to click on the link (you pay to activate the service, but that’s it at the beginning). Notice how that works? These are people doing searches using terms that are relevant to YOU and your ad campaign. So the audience is already interested.
And it’s not just text ads, although that’s the place to start. You can specify text ads, images, video—pretty much what your heart desires.
Not only that, you’ll find that with AdWords, you can track how your Google ad is working. (That’s also part of the joy of modern technology: you want to have immediate results!) Logging in and looking at your account allows you to determine how your responses are going, and if you’ve been doing the AdWords thing for a while, you can actually compare how you’ve done through time using charts. CHARTS, people. Like a real business!
Next time, I’ll tell you about signing up, the variable price structure, and more about personalizing your very own ad campaign! 

Eilis Flynn has worked at a comic book company, a couple of Wall Street brokerage firms, a wire service, a publishing company for financial cultists, and a magazine for futurists. She’s also dined with a former British prime minister and a famous economist, can claim family ties to the emperor of Japan (but then can’t we all?) and the president of a major telecommunications company, worked at most of the buildings of the World Trade Centers, stalked actress Katharine Hepburn (for one block), and met her husband when he asked her to sign a comic book. With all these experiences (all of which are true!), what else could she do but start writing stories to make use of all that? She’s written a variety of things that also don’t seem to belong together, but they do: comic book stories both online and in print, scholarly works in a previous life as a scholar, book reviews and interviews, and articles about finance (at odds with her anthropology background), before settling down to write romantic fantasies about the reality beyond what we can see.
Eilis lives in verdant Washington state with her equally fantastical husband and the ghosts of spoiled rotten cats. She was written Superman family stories for DC Comics (as Elizabeth Smith). Her first five novels—The Sleeper Awakes, Festival of Stars, Introducing Sonika, Echoes of Passion, and Static Shock,and Wear Black (cowritten with Heather Hiestand)—are available at most online retailers, and her novella,Riddle of Ryu, and short story, "Halloween for a Heroine," is available at the same digital stores. Her latest comic book story, ”30-Day Guarantee,” is available at http://www.myromancestory.com.
If you’re curious to find out more, you can check out http://www.eilisflynn.com. She can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com. If you’re looking for a professional editor for your own work, check out her rates athttp://emsflynn.wordpress.com.





Thursday, August 28, 2014

If…Then


Copyright © 2013 Amber Scott
Originally published by 1st Turning Point, 2009
Don’t tell my five-year old son, but I am no trendsetter. I started my little writing experiment, the Amber Scott Project, not to start a trend so much as to explore an existing one. In summary, In January 2010, I’ll self-publish my manuscript, Play Fling, on Scribd.com, Amazon Kindle, and Smashwords.com while maintaining my publishing rights and simultaneously submitting it to agents and editors. My goal is to compare and contrast self-publishing and epublishing and to see if self-publishing can be part of a name building platform for an author. Perhaps more.
Three months, two edit rounds and three book cover attempts in, this week I found the self-publishing idea is catching. The November issue of Romance Writers Report includes, “Self-Publishing: Pros and Cons” by Patricia Simpson, wherein the author details her own experience. Also, author JA Konrath, an imaginative self-promoter, shares sales comparisons between his Kindle published versus Hyperion Press published work on his blog. Both authors’ numbers and experiences are compelling. Granted, each has already built an audience but, maybe an author can make it on his/her own. Moreover, maybe they should.
These authors make a point I find is also my primary concern: Can an inexperienced author accurately judge their own work as publishable, let alone have the resources to properly edit it, and the technical skills to self-publish it? Five years ago, when I began writing seriously, I thought I’d nailed this writing thing. Looking back? Not at all. Do I now? I don’t know. But then, who really decides?
The whole concept excites me, and intimidates me. If any writer at any level can put their work out there for sale, how does that affect the market as a whole? Won’t this compromise the integrity of authorship, the respect of peers? I’ve decided it can’t hurt to try, to learn. Ultimately, whether sent to an agent or put up on a website, we are responsible for our own product, and as the publishing world evolves, more and more, we are responsible for our own marketing, too.
Simpson decides between going it on her own and traditional publishing, writing, “As for me, I like writing too much to want to put on a sales & marketing hat every other day.” But, can self-publishing become a part of your marketing platform alongside the blog, website, social networking and other tools to connect with readers? Well, why not? An ISBN# isn’t necessary, an author maintains all rights. Even piracy becomes less a worry with these huge sites. Scribd.com has a fingerprinting system designed especially for piracy protection. An author can sell a work inexpensively or offer it for free and even involve readers in the writing process. Those readers already looking to alternatives can find a good read-yours.

The industry itself is changing. Editors are now website directors as well. Agents are now authors. Kate Spade has electronic book reader covers for sale. Where self-publishing will take us, remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the bumpy ride.
Amber Scott runs. Her feet hit earth while her heart chases fire. Her worlds are made of magick, redemption, attraction and transformation. While she has wanted to be an author her entire life, her dream finally came true seven years ago. Through life's twists and turns, her fiction and fans carry her forward. She makes her home in Arizona with her amazing children, where each day she gets to live her own inspiring love story. Someday she hopes to share it.







Monday, August 25, 2014

Pointless Networking

Copyright © 2010 Carrie Lofty
Originally published by 1st Turning Point, 2010

When I first started attending conferences, both at the national and regional levels, I did so with clear goals.  Primarily, I attended workshops to better hone my storytelling skills and scheduled pitch appointments to secure a few precious minutes of face time with an editor or agent.  In later conferences, I expanded to presenting workshops or sitting on panels.
My experience in attending conferences this spring has been very different.  I have an agent and I recently sold to Pocket, so the pressure of pitch appointments has dissipated.  But that doesn’t mean conferences are any less important than when I was just starting out—and I don’t just mean promoting my newest release.
I call my current conference task “pointless networking.”
I don’t mean that networking is pointless.  Far from it.  Networking is quite possibly the single most important task you can perform outside of refining your skills as a storyteller.  Instead, I mean networking without a particular goal in mind.  This sort of networking is literally “without a point.”  There is no way to quantify it, no goals to meet.  But everyone should try it!
For example, I went to dinner at the Romance Writers of America national conference last year with a large group of romance readers and bloggers.  My goal for the evening was to make a good impression on these influential women.  I happened to sit next to a fellow historical romance author with whom I’d never have the opportunity to make a good connection.  Over dinner we talked about our respective works in progress.  This was social time, where she and I simply shared our enthusiasm for our current ideas.  I had no indication that the conversation we shared for roughly an hour would come in handy.
But now she and I share an editor.  I was able to email her with questions about her experiences and generally solidify the relationship that had started at the accidental dinner.
The same accidental process has taken place numerous times, even though I’ve only been actively working toward publication for a few years.  My friendly online interaction with the blogger led me to an on-camera interview sponsored by RT Book Reviews.  The positive impression I made on the woman in charge of that interview has since led to more opportunities, and I’ve been able to introduce her to author friends seeking promotional prospects.  I made one such introduction in April on the dance floor at the Ellora’s Cave party at RT!
Good connections are never wasted.  And whether you make those connections online, on the dance floor, in the bar after hours, or in a more formal setting like sitting on a panel or pitching your manuscript, all of them have the potential to bear fruit.
My advice, then, is this: When interacting in any professional forum, maintain appropriately professional behavior.  However, don’t forget that the writers and industry professionals you meet are also human beings.  If you can connect with them as people, you may be able to make a lasting impression that provides more than simply a night’s entertainment.

So buy a round of drinks and tell silly jokes.  Be yourself.  Have a nice time—within limits, of course—and remember that when it comes to networking, nothing is ever truly pointless.

Since 2008, RITA-nominated and RT Reviewers’ Choice-winning author Carrie Lofty has over twenty books to her name—or four names, to be precise. Currently with Pocket, her historical romances have been described as “nuanced and superbly realized” (The Chicago Tribune), while her “Dragon Kings” paranormal series, written as Lindsey Piper, is “sexy, brutal and somehow innocent” (All About Romance). In May 2014, Carrie celebrates the release of her first New Adult romance, Blue Notes, featuring a shy piano prodigy and a New Orleans playboy.
As Katie Porter, all five of Carrie and co-writing partner Lorelie Brown’s “Vegas Top Guns” contemporary erotic romances received 4½ Stars from RT BookReviews. They have been honored with a Reviewers’ Choice award for Best Erotic Ebook, and the first m/m nomination for RT’s Book of the Year. Back-to-back releases of their La Femme Nakita-inspired military romance series will begin in May 2014 from Samhain.
During her junior year abroad, Carrie lured an unsuspecting Englishman to the Midwest, where she’s kept him a happy ex-pat for sixteen years. With two pre-teen daughters and a master’s degree specializing in Old West outlaws, Carrie is a movie buff, a former ballroom and bellydancer, and a woman in desperate need of a maid service.






Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Signing Primer



Being self-published and trying to sell your creation can be a daunting task – especially if you have no one to counsel you. I’ve written several books and have close to a hundred book signings yielding me close to $100,000.00 in sales. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it required weeks and weeks of not being home, sleeping in two-bit motels, and setting up and tearing down my book signing station a hundred times – maybe more. However, if you want to make your writing a success – you do what you have to do. To that end I would like to pass on a few ‘tricks’ I learned which helped me sell many books while conserving on costs.
I began book signing not knowing a thing. I approached Barnes and Noble, and after sending them my book and promo material, they agreed they would allow me to sign books. The final decision would be the manager’s. I approached a local B&N and, after some hesitancy, agreed I could hold a signing on a Saturday. And I was off!
A successful book signing depends on PROMOTION by you. When I go to a store, I bring all sorts of carefully assembled stuff which will make my presence a happening.
1. Life size stand-up of me holding my book (placed outside entrance)
2. At least two 2x3 foot pictures of the book. These are placed on easels inside store leading people to my signing table
3. I bring my own 5 foot foldup table (a number of B&N and others try to make me sit at a card table (ugh). My table contains lots and lots of books carefully stacked with some stand-up stands. In addition I begged from a store to get their discarded cardboard displays which they throw away. These I repainted, put my web site on it, and put my own books in it. The entire appearance of the signing table is very professional.
4. Every half hour I go to the PA system and make a pre-written announcement to the customers that ‘the store is thrilled to host William Creed, author or the book . Don’t miss this chance to get a personally autographed book of his outstanding story’ Don’t be modest. Your book is OUTSTANDING, THRILLING, CRITICS PRAISE and whatever you can think of to hype the book and yourself (make sure events and awards you claim are true)
5. Print out handouts – this is the most important, effective thing you can do. I give one to customers as they come in the store. I don’t care if they stop – few do. But they DO read the handout as they pass you by. The handouts have a pic of myself, the book(s), favorable critic reviews, and a short SHORT synopsis of the story that leaves some mystery in the readers mind. It’s amazing how this handout works.
6. Many stores expect that you will be there one day – and for the first months of signing that is what I did. Everyday – 7 days a week – I was at a different store. Then I got smart, and I started my book signing on the Thursday (set-up day) and signed book through Saturday. It cut down dramatically on the gas I had to buy – and each day brought a new group of people. Sometimes I stayed for Sunday afternoon.
7. Customer E-Mail addresses. Get ‘em! You need to contact these people when you write your second book – and you WILL write a second book. Don’t throw away all the information you gathered the first time around. Now, people will NOT give you their email addresses. I understand that – they don’t know me. They don’t want a bunch of junk mail. I get it. So I have to come up with a reason for them to give me the address. I came up with a photo. “Say, would like to take a picture with me, then I’ll send it to you and it fits right on the inside cover – be kinda neat!” I received hundreds and hundreds of email addresses. Course that’s kinda hard now because everybody has their own phone-camera. But if I have my camera on the table and I hold it up while I’m talking, it sorta short circuits their thoughts and they say “OK” Then I grab a customer and have them take a pic and get the customer’s email.
These are the basic things I do and the results has been that a typical book signing will yield about $1,000.00 to $1,500.00 for a two day stay, and about 500.00 for additional two days tacked on the event. I also visit stores during the week; however signings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday rarely exceed $200.00. I gave up signings on Mondays – waste of energy. If I’m on the road I golf of Mondays. There are other things I do in preparation of a book signing: I contact local papers and announce that William Creed will be coming to their town. I contact radio stations to see if they have a local talk show. Some stores have me collect the sales money, so I’ve set up a VISA merchant account so that I can take credit cards. If you don’t have charge capability you will be missing a lot of revenue.
I’ve been to most B&N east of the Rockies, also most Hastings Book, Books-A-Million, military exchanges and many private book stores. If you want to make a living doing this, book signings are essential. The result of all my efforts is I now have written five books – each one meaning another book signing tour. A publisher in Texas purchased my book and signed me to a contract in which they will reprint all of the books in the series. I’ve been contacted by Army units who what me to come overseas, and offered to pay expenses, another outfit asked if I would donate books they would take overseas and give to soldiers – which I did. I was contacted by a script writer in California who had read my book. I signed a contract and he wrote a screenplay which won a couple of awards and is now being considered for production by two movie companies.
I say this because all of my results are because I was willing to pack my car and travel to these book stores. The books I sold were like seeds I was planting and the fruits of that have been amazing.



While a student at Romeo High, Bill started his literary career by approaching a local newspaper about writing a weekly column for teens.The editor liked the idea and he soon began writing a column entitled, “Viewing The Teens”.In one of his columns, Bill proposed the idea of forming a Teen United Nations as a way to encourage teenagers to put aside national politics and reach out to those in other countries. Bill’s journey into national politics brought him national media coverage, as well as many letters, including a letter from the Soviet Embassy in New York expressing interest in the idea. After graduation from high school, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was initially stationed at Tyndall AFB, Florida.In 1961, he was assigned to the Air Force Security Service and stationed in Darmstadt, Germany.Here he wrote a guide to living in Germany for the serviceman and his family titled, “G.I. In Germany.” The manuscript received endorsements from the Comander of European Forces, the Chancellor of Germany, and Mayors of Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich among others.

Creed’s life changed dramatically when, at the age of 39, he contracted encephalitis from a mosquito bite he received in Florida. As a result of this bite, he lost the ability to count to ten, write, read or understand much of the English language. Though he was told that he would remain like this, Bill a long-time Christian, sought healing through his faith. Bill received a promise from God that he would be healed – and he was. Over the years, through prayer, and with the support of family and friends, he now has regained what he lost.
In 1998, Bill decided to return to the activity he enjoyed most, writing. Subsequently, he wrote COMES THE END which received rave reviews from critics and readers alike. He followed with his second book, THE GATHERING, which also has received an outstanding reception. Creed’s third book, THE PROMISE, was released in April 2009; and his fourth book, The New Dawn, was released in 2013 to the delight of his many fans.
Creed has done hundreds of book signings all over the US for B&N, Hastings Books, Books-A-Million and many independent stores. In addition, he was invited to visit Air Force and Army Bases throughout the country and has visited many of the major military installations.
His first book, Comes The End, has been made into an award winning movies script by a writer on the West coast and is currently being considered by two motion picture companies.
Bill lives in Romeo, Michigan with his wife, Sharon.Together they have five children and two spoiled dogs. His wife is a nurse case manager at a local hospital and has been her husband’s chief supporter and fan. In addition to many book signings, his book has been taken overseas by the army for distribution to servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Visit Bill at his website www.williamcreed.com.




Monday, August 18, 2014

You Are Evited


Copyright © 2013 John Foxjohn
First Published by 1st Turning Point, 2010

In March, I launched my latest novel, Tattered Justice. I held the launch party at the local library in Lufkin, Texas, and I really thought it was a successful signing—one of the best launches I’ve ever had.
There are several reasons that contributed to the success of the launch party besides the fact that I wrote a tremendous book.
First, the library went out of the way to promote the event, and they started a couple of months before the event took place. They had it on their website, had a huge poster in the entrance, and one of the librarians wrote an article about it for the local paper.
Second, there are a lot of media outlets that are free and easy to access in my area: the Chamber of Commerce and their web site, all the TV stations in the area, and local newspapers have community events sections where you simply go online and fill in the information.
Third, I used several social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to announce the signing.
Fourth and maybe the most important reason, I have a huge e-mail list. This list is not only broken down by state, but also by region of each individual state. I sent out personal invites by e-mail to everyone in my area.
Now, this might sound time-consuming, but it’s really not. I use Evite.
Evite lets you use their templates to create your invitation, or you can be the designer and create your own. The invitations are easy to create, and you send all of them at once with one click. All you need to do is enter the e-mail addresses. Hey, I can cut and paste with the best of them. It is easy to invite more later if you want to.
The recipients of these professional invitations can respond with a yes, they are coming, maybe, or no, they aren’t coming. Then, Evite will send out reminders to all the ones who replied with a yes or a maybe.
One other good thing about Evite—it is free.
It allowed me a simple, worry-free way to get the word out about my launch. I know it was effective because many of the people who showed up told me they got my Evite.
John Foxjohn, the author of the best-selling true crime, Killer Nurse, epitomizes the phrase "been there--done that." Born and raised in the rural East Texas town of Nacogdoches, he quit high school and joined the Army at seventeen: Viet Nam veteran, Army Airborne Ranger, policeman and homicide detective, retired teacher and coach, now he is a multi-published author.
Growing up, Foxjohn developed a love of reading that will never end. In fact, he refers to himself as a "readalcoholic." He began with the classics and still lists Huckleberry Finn as one of his all time favorites. Later, he discovered Louis L'Amour and besides owning every book he wrote, Foxjohn says he's read every one of them at least five times.
However, when he was twelve, Foxjohn read a book about Crazy Horse, and decided right then he would also write one about the famous Lakota leader. After many "yondering" years as L'Amour called them, he spent ten years researching his historical fiction, Journey of the Spirit, now titled The People's Warrior.
Maybe because of his eclectic reading habits John has not limited himself to publishing in one genre. In fact, he has published mysteries, romantic suspenses, historical fiction, legal thrillers, and nonfiction Killer Nurse.
When he's not writing, teaching writing classes, or speaking to different writing groups and conferences, Foxjohn loves to spend time square dancing, working in his rose garden, or in his garage doing woodwork. However, his passion outside of family and writing is without a doubt, anything to do with the Dallas Cowboys.

She was hired to nurse them back to health...instead, she took their lives.
For months, the DaVita Dialysis Center in Lufkin, Texas had been baffled by the rising number of deaths and injuries occurring in their clinic. In April alone, they’d rushed thirty-four patients to the hospital. But no one expected such a horrific cause to be behind it all.
Kimberly Clark Saenz was a well-liked licensed vocational nurse at the center. The East Texas nurse was a mother of two, and known for her smiles and the stories she told to help patients pass the time. But on April 28, 2008, witnesses came forward to say that instead of lifesaving medication, they’d seen Saenz adding toxic bleach to IV ports. Turns out, it wasn’t the first time. Once caught, the shocking story of Saenz’s murderous practices began to unravel…

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Opportunities


Copyright © 2013 John Foxjohn
First Published by 1st Turning Point, 2010.
I just spent a little over a week in Florida—four days in Orlando at the National RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference where I had the great honor of presenting a class there.
Besides teaching a class at RWA National, I spent most of the time introducing myself to people I have known on the internet but never had the privilege of meeting.
I want to identify two of those people that I met.  They were Ann Charles and Wendy Delaney—both officers in 1st Turning Point.  Now understand, I didn’t get to talk to Ann that much.  Obviously, she was aglow, and rightfully so, with her big night of walking off with two huge awards.
I did talk to Wendy, though.  As far as I could tell, the only major thing wrong with her is she isn’t a Dallas Cowboy fan.  Oh well, not everyone can have good taste.  (Sorry, Wendy—had to put that one in there.)
As we talked about articles and things, they asked me what my next topic would be.  I didn’t even hesitate.  I said, “Opportunities.”
I know—it’s taken me a while to get to the subject.  What can I say?  I’m from Texas.
Several conversations I had with some published authors brought this subject to mind. The words were percolating in my mind when they asked me the question, but later, someone reinforced this subject to me even more.
Monday night, I was at my favorite place at conferences to meet people and talk—the bar at the conference hotel.  I was sitting at the table with several published authors.  Mind you, this was a couple of hours before the big party, so I had all my mental faculties.
As authors are apt to do, the group was complaining about things.  To my total astonishment, one complained about interviews that other writers asked her to do.
I was even more surprised when another author took up the cause.  She said that people hounded her at least once a month to do an interview for a blog, newsletter, or a site.  She didn’t think it was fair because it would sound bad if she didn’t do them.
Another one said that these people almost forced authors to do the interviews.  But when the one that started the conversation piped in that doing the interviews took away her time to promote, I almost died laughing.  There were eight of us at the table.  I reached into my right coat pocket where I keep my trusty magnets, took out several, and handed them to the authors.
I told them that my web site and e-mail address were on the magnet and the next time one of these people pestered them, simply direct the interviewer to me.  I would take care of it for them.
One of the authors thanked me.  She thought I was doing her a favor.
Another one gave me a fish-eyed look that said she didn’t believe for a minute that I was going to do this out of the kindness of my heart.  Pretty sharp woman, that one.
I do these online interviews all the time.  The longest one has ever taken me is thirty minutes.  To be honest with you, for the most part, most of the questions are the same.  I have a template on my computer now with answers to most of the questions.  All I have to do is cut and paste.  I can usually do one in five minutes.
So what good are they?  Writers see them.  Readers see them, and most writers are readers, too.  Not only do they see the answers, they see your name.  I have said this before, and I will say it again.  A huge part of self-promotion is branding your name.
Readers go to bookstores or search online for authors’ names.
If they know your name, they may search for you, or if they come across your books, and know your name, they may stop.
Besides all that, anyone will tell you that the absolutely best advertising is word of mouth.  It never hurts to spend five minutes to help someone out.  Heck, it’s an honor to have people ask you.
Hey, one of the reasons I have my high position with 1st Turning Point is because I did an interview.  I love doing this for 1st Turning Point, but it also helps me promote.
Friday night of the conference, I went to a big party at a friend’s room in the hotel, but I didn’t wear my nametag.  The place was packed and as it happened, I was the only male. Darn, I just hate it when that happens.
As I made my way to the wine table, one of the women looked at me and almost screamed, “Oh my God.  You’re John Foxjohn.”
Almost scared me to death, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to confess to being that notorious person or not.  As it happens, besides being one of the few males at the conference—I hate that, too—I’m recognizable by my handcuffs. (Remember, if you actually read my articles on here, I mentioned my cuffs on my lapel.)
Anyway, she had been looking for me because a friend of hers had told her so much about me.  The friend couldn’t come to the conference, but as it turned out, I did a blog interview for her a couple of years ago, and she has gotten all her friends to read my books, too.
Word of mouth—can’t beat it.
So, if people have inundated you with these interview requests, my e-mail address is johnfoxjohn@yahoo.com.
I try not to miss opportunities, especially free ones.
By the way, I also told the ladies about 1st Turning Point and they wouldn’t want to miss my next article.  I hope they are reading.


John Foxjohn, the author of the best-selling true crime, Killer Nurse, epitomizes the phrase "been there--done that." Born and raised in the rural East Texas town of Nacogdoches, he quit high school and joined the Army at seventeen: Viet Nam veteran, Army Airborne Ranger, policeman and homicide detective, retired teacher and coach, now he is a multi-published author. 
Growing up, Foxjohn developed a love of reading that will never end. In fact, he refers to himself as a "readalcoholic." He began with the classics and still lists Huckleberry Finn as one of his all time favorites. Later, he discovered Louis L'Amour and besides owning every book he wrote, Foxjohn says he's read every one of them at least five times. 
However, when he was twelve, Foxjohn read a book about Crazy Horse, and decided right then he would also write one about the famous Lakota leader. After many "yondering" years as L'Amour called them, he spent ten years researching his historical fiction, Journey of the Spirit, now titled The People's Warrior. 
Maybe because of his eclectic reading habits John has not limited himself to publishing in one genre. In fact, he has published mysteries, romantic suspenses, historical fiction, legal thrillers, and nonfiction Killer Nurse. 
When he's not writing, teaching writing classes, or speaking to different writing groups and conferences, Foxjohn loves to spend time square dancing, working in his rose garden, or in his garage doing woodwork. However, his passion outside of family and writing is without a doubt, anything to do with the Dallas Cowboys. 

She was hired to nurse them back to health...instead, she took their lives.
For months, the DaVita Dialysis Center in Lufkin, Texas had been baffled by the rising number of deaths and injuries occurring in their clinic. In April alone, they’d rushed thirty-four patients to the hospital. But no one expected such a horrific cause to be behind it all.
Kimberly Clark Saenz was a well-liked licensed vocational nurse at the center. The East Texas nurse was a mother of two, and known for her smiles and the stories she told to help patients pass the time. But on April 28, 2008, witnesses came forward to say that instead of lifesaving medication, they’d seen Saenz adding toxic bleach to IV ports. Turns out, it wasn’t the first time. Once caught, the shocking story of Saenz’s murderous practices began to unravel…






Thursday, August 14, 2014

7 Tips to Bring More Traffic to your Blog

Tip #1 Write content other people want to read. Tip #1 sounds like a no-brainer but many bloggers lose sight of it. Try to work out who your audience is, and what they need. For instance, I have a lot of librarians and teachers who read my blog, The Book Chook. They are time-poor, and that almost always means no comments. But they come to my blog if I offer content that saves them time like an article that pulls a whole lot of educational resources together, or an article that explains how to do something for kids. Because I have spent many years in the classroom, I know what parents might be able to use in their own parenting or homeschooling. I also read content every single day in my subject area of children’s literacy, literature and learning.
Tip #2 Let people know what you've written. Post a link to your current blog article on all your social media pages. Join groups, email lists, Google+ communities and forums. Follow blogs and like-minded people on Twitter. Refer to your articles at an appropriate time if you think they might help. Tweet them and Pin them to appropriate boards. It's really important not to be spammy. The soft sell works best when posting about your blog on other people’s sites or pages.
Tip #3 Learn techniques to enhance what you write. Read up on good SEO practices and implement what you can. The overwhelming majority of my traffic comes from Google. I hope to turn at least some of those people into subscribers to my blog because they want more of the same kind of content. So I make sure the subscribe and share options are easily seen amongst my blog real estate. I also offer other ways to subscribe e.g. Facebook, Twitter, G+ in the hope that will appeal to some people. “Link Within” is a great widget to use on each post that suggests further reading on my blog, but I also add links manually to many posts. For example, “If you enjoyed this article, you might like to read …" Readers at my blog can find content under select categories in the form of buttons in my sidebar too.
Tip #4 Write and invite guest posts. Inviting other authors to guest post on your own blog means they will mention your blog to all their social networks and open you up to a whole new audience. Writing for other bloggers earns you a byline and links back to your blog. Hopefully, some of their readers will follow the trail home to your page.
Tip #5 Include how-to posts. Back in 2010 I wrote a blog post on how kids could write a book review. Today that post has had 165 363 page views. I've sold its content to a publishing company and still it brings traffic to my blog. I suspect "how-to" posts are an excellent way for new bloggers to start.
Tip #6 Include video and images. Liven up your text posts with video and images. Video demos are perfect with “how-to” posts. Definitely include an image so people can Pin your post. Spend some time researching Pinterest and the sorts of images that work well there, and seek out like-minded people there. After Google and Twitter, my next biggest traffic bringer is Pinterest.
Tip #7 Share your passion. Blogging is like any kind of writing - if you find and follow your passion, that passion permeates everything you write. Luckily, sharing creative and educational resources IS my passion. It also makes me very happy to know that I’m giving something to people I very much admire: parents, teachers and librarians. If you share your passion, I believe that not only does that reflect in your writing much of the time, but it makes your blog less like work and more like fun.
Susan Stephenson is an Australian reader, writer, book reviewer, teacher and blogger. She began blogging as a way to build an online presence for her own writing, but soon became fascinated by blogging as a way of communicating with a global audience. The Book Chook blog features children’s book and app reviews, plus tips and resources for parents, teachers and librarians. Recently Susan was invited to blog for
Scholastic Parents. You can find out more about her via her website, www.susanstephenson.com.au.

Monday, August 11, 2014

What’s LinkedIn Got To Do With It?

Copyright © 2013 Rowena Cherry
Originally Published by 1st Turning Point, 2009

So, you understand why you should take the time away from your writing to take part in Social Networking on Facebook.com. You’ve got the hang of Twitter.com (or have you?). But, what can a bunch of high powered “suits” do for you?
LinkedIn.com is for CEOs. Right?
Right! However, you are the CEO of your own freelance writing enterprise. You are invited, and entry into the club is free…. Although, like many sites, there is a higher level of membership, if you wish to subscribe.
Those who do pay for premium membership have the little “in” icon displayed on their homepage, they are entitled to more “introductions” to execs they’d like to meet, and they get better information on who has checked out their profiles.
Here’s what LinkedIn says about its own importance:
“LinkedIn has over 40 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world. A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of our members are outside the U.S. Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members.”
LinkedIn.com is a site for professionals and professional behavior. I don’t expect to sell books one copy at a time there. I don’t try.
If I can’t handsell my book, what use is it?
You may pitch your book, but only on your home page and through your discussions within appropriate groups of which you are a member (or a group you start and moderate).
How do I make conquests and expand my network if I can only connect with people I already know?
Slowly. LOL! That is the trick. You set up the most comprehensive and interesting page that you can. Like mine. http://www.linkedin.com/in/rowenacherry
You invite people whom you know to connect. However, under no circumstances take advantage of the system that will access your aol/gmail/yahoo address book and invite everyone who has ever emailed you! Be certain to remind those you invite how they know you, even if they are your publicist or your agent. An accidental “Do Not Know” rating cannot be withdrawn, and is a permanent Spammer flag on your reputation.
By the way, never “DNK” someone who asks to connect to you. Why burn bridges? If you don’t know them, archive the invitation.
Next, you ride coat-tails; you join the groups that your friends and mentors have joined.
For instance, these are some of the groups I’m in.
Facebook.com,
Goodreads
TWITTER – Follow the twitterers.
EPIC – Electronically Published Internet Connection
Published Authors Network
Science Fiction readers, writers, and collectors
Writing Professionals
Book Publishing Professionals
Authors of Romance helping Authors of Romance
Novelists Networking Group
Advertising professionals
Social Media Marketing
Media Professionals Worldwide
TopLinked.com (Open Networkers)
Media & Entertainment Professionals
M2Moms – Marketing To Moms
Book Sales and Marketing
Talking smak about SmakNews.com
Some Groups reflect membership on other Social Networking sites, or Professional associations such as RWA’s PAN, EPIC etc. This makes sense. When you ask an acquaintance to “connect”, you don’t have to know their private email address if you both belong to the same group, or work for the same company (even if that company is “Freelance Writer”).
Having joined a few groups, you comment on the discussion posts that interest you. Often, a “Discussion” will be veiled self-promo, but that’s OK. If you follow the links, you may find an excuse to comment on a high powered blog or site that you’d never have found otherwise, and you can almost always link your comment to your own website.
Moreover, entrepreneurs tend to announce their new ventures and their (free-for-now) Beta services on LinkedIn. You can be a highly visible fish in a small but growing pond… such as SmakNews.com
There’s a lot more you can do on LinkedIn. You can even microblog via the “Status Update.” I don’t have space to mention everything here, but I ought to mention the
Recommendations function.
When you sign up, you will be offered the option to request a recommendation. I’d skip that, but it’s your call. However it is tacky to ask someone you don’t know to recommend you.
LinkedIn says:
“Relationships Matter
Your professional network of trusted contacts gives you an advantage in your career, and is one of your most valuable assets.”
In other words, for me, LinkedIn is a place for big picture stuff: to Network to find an expert for my research, an editor, an agent, an intellectual properties attorney.

I think of it as my Golden Rolodex.
Award winning author and talk show host, and outspoken copyrights advocate, Rowena Cherry has played chess with a Grand Master and former President of the World Chess Federation (hence the chess-pun titles of her alien romances).
She has spent folly filled summers in a Spanish castle; dined on a sheikh's yacht with royalty; been serenaded (on a birthday) by a rockstar and an English nobleman; ridden in a pace car at the 1993 Indy 500; received the gold level of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award; and generally lived on the edge of the sort of life that inspires her romances about high-living alien gods. Find out more about Rowena at the following:

SPACE SNARK™ www.spacesnark.com









Saturday, August 9, 2014

Social Networks: Spotlight on Gather

Originally published at 1st Turning Point
Copyright Gina Robinson, 2013

There’s a lot of hype these days about social networks and the importance of belonging to one or more.  Each network has its own personality and set of rules.  How do you choose which network or networks to join?  To help you out, I’m going to give you the skinny on Gather as I see it.
Entrepreneur Tom Gerace formed Gather in 2005.  I joined in August 2007, just a few months before I made my first sale.  As a networking site, Gather is pretty low stress.  You don’t have to build a fancy member page or decide on a theme.  Every member page has the standard Gather layout.  When you sign up, you get your page, fill out your profile with the information and settings you’d like, upload your icon photo, and you’re off and running.  As an example, you can check out my Gather profile page.
Gerace set up Gather as a site for sharing ideas through articles, photos, and videos, which makes it an ideal place for writers.  You connect with others in several ways-by connecting or becoming “friends,” or by joining groups that interest you.  You can Gather mail your friends or send Gather mail to an entire group.  When you post an article, photo, or video, you can select any friends or groups you wish to be able to view it or post it so that the Gather community at large has viewing privileges.
Gather is the only networking site I know about that provides incentives for sharing.  You earn points toward gift cards or even cash for every article you post or comment you make on another’s article.  Who doesn’t love getting paid to write about your ideas or share your photos?
During 2007 and 2008, Gather co-sponsored at least three novel writing competitions with either or both Simon and Schuster and Borders.  The grand prize in each competition was a book contract and special promotion at Borders stores.  Sheila Deeth joined Gather for the First Chapters contest.  ”It was a turning point for me and encouraged me to keep trying.”
Jamie Chapman won $25,000 in a Gather-sponsored essay contest.  ”I recently signed with a publisher (five book deal) and an excellent agent.  I can honestly say that the bumpy road to publication was greatly smoothed by the writer friends I made on Gather.  I don’t think I’d be where I am today if it weren’t for them.”
Judi Fennell, author of Wild Blue Under, Sourcebooks November 2009, joined Gather so she could enter the first two novel competitions.  She placed in the top twenty and third respectively.  Although neither was enough to get her a contract, her story caught the eye of final judge Sue Grimshaw, National Buyer for Romance at Borders Books.  Sue gave Judi editing tips to make the story more marketable and then pitched it to editors.  As a result, Judi sold her Mer series to Sourcebooks in a three-book deal.
Judi says, “Because of the contacts I’ve made on Gather, I have friends all across the country who celebrated with me when I sold my series, and helped get the word out by distributing bookmarks to local book stores, chatting it up among their friends, making sure the books were face out as per the co-op, giving me great feedback on upcoming manuscripts to make them as strong as they can be before submitting to my editor, and having great parties when we get together in someone’s hometown.”
Judi and I belong to the same group, The Writing Wombats.  My Gather experience mirrors hers.  My Gather friends were my national, and in some cases, international PR force when my debut novel Spy Candy was released in November 2008.
Fellow Wombat Lisa Brackmann, Rock Paper Tiger, Soho Press June 2010, enjoys the support she gets.  ”…many of us have gone on to agency and publication deals.  I think that being around like-minded, serious and talented writers creates a sort of positive group-think that encourages success-and having a refuge to go to when times are hard, where people understand what you’re going through, is a huge comfort.”
For the published author, Gather provides a convenient, easy, and free way to reach thousands of potential readers by posting book releases, contests, or other news via articles or sending Gather mail to groups.
Rita Kuehn, author of Peripheral View, has garnered a wealth of marketing tips from Gather.  ”From helpful websites (some created by Gather members) to where the best place is to buy bookmarks or other promotional items, you can find it on Gather.”
Published or unpublished, no matter what you’re looking for-support, tips, friends, or PR opportunities—give Gather a try.
Gina Robinson is the author of the award-winning funny romantic suspense Agent Ex series. She also writes historical, contemporary, and new adult romance. She was not a prankster in college, although she knows a good many people who were. They will remain nameless to protect the guilty. She married her college sweetheart and has never forgotten that wonderful feeling of falling in love. Most days she writes while wearing slippers, flip-flops, or tennis shoes, depending on the season. But she loves a great, sexy heel and has a closet full for special occasions.