Writing Wednesday/ Professional Editing

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink










On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up on my journey to being published, marketing my first book, editing and preparing to be published again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then…



If you like the information I hope you will share it!


Professional Editing


You have created an outline, a proposal, plotted your story, developed your characters, and written your first draft, edited, revised and ended up with a second draft. You had that draft read and critiqued and wrote your third draft. You are sure that in this draft:


You have used few if any adverbs


Removed the word ‘very’ from the entire MS


Taken out every word, sentence or phrase that is not relevant to the story and your critique partner says the story flows nicely, the points are clear and concise and the story is interesting. You have polished and feel confident (even if just a teeny bit because writers are not known to be the most confident type.) Congratulations you are ready to hire a professional editor!


Do I need a professional editor? Yes you do.


I can’t afford a professional editor? If you want to make writing your career then you must treat it like a business. When starting any new business financial investment is necessary for success. It is the same in the book business.


Where do you find a professional book editor? Ask your Facebook or other social media friends, do a Google search or ask other writers. Once you receive a couple of referrals they will probably ask you for a few chapters of your MS to do a sample edit for you. They will return it with suggestions and offer you a contract or they will pass. Before signing a contract make sure it includes time frame (both ways,) charges and how they are calculated and the editor’s method.

Little girl looking at book through magnifier

How much will it cost? If you are a starving, new writer you may be able to find a starving new editor who will be more than willing to negotiate a great price for you and do a great job for you in exchange for a reference. The average rate is $30-$65 an hour (10 pages per hour, a page being 250 words.) Well established editors with a client list of best sellers will charge much more. This is why you want your MS in the best shape you can get it before it goes to the editor. The fewer changes needed equal less time and that means less money out of your pocket.


What exactly does an editor do? Besides suggesting corrections for grammar, punctuation, technical elements and spelling your editor will organize your MS for the greatest impact and clarity. They will make sure all of your conclusions are supported and that you did not overuse certain words. A good editor knows what publishers are looking for, what readers expect and is able to balance that with what the author wants to say. A good editor will enhance your work and challenge you as a writer.


Your path from writer to successful author will be much shorter with a good editor in your tribe.




Write Drunk, Edit Sober.~Earnest Hemingway








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Eagles, Sons and a CVS Fall Fail

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post and link back to our host Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin’ Time.

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It’s not too late to join in on the fun and we would love to have you!


I walked into CVS yesterday and they were setting up the Halloween aisle. Right there on the end of that aisle was candy corn! Besides being sentimental for me the darn things are so addicting! It was the only thing that helped me with nine-months of morning sickness with my oldest daughter (a really long time ago) and also got me through wicked cigarette withdrawals. So of course I grabbed a bag. Driving home I thought to myself, fall isn’t going to be so bad after all.

Candy Corn

Did you know that 24 pieces of candy corn is considered a serving? That serving is 160 calories, 85 mg of sodium (Holy Salt) and 32 grams of sugar (Yikes!) None of that mattered as I ripped open the bag and poured it into a bowl and put it on my desk with every intention of eating it all. I grabbed a handful and nearly re-broke the broken jaw I just had surgery on a few weeks ago. It was hard and nasty. I am SO mad!! Big fail CVS. Now I want summer back!


One of my bosses from my out of the house job also a very dear friend, Susan passed away last weekend. She was 51. We said goodbye to her on Wednesday. This is the 4th close friend or relative I have lost to cancer since January. What is going on? #ihatecancer

My husband’s boss planned last weekend’s company picnic months ago. He had no idea the date he chose would be the first game and the home opener for the EAGLES. Everybody sucked it up and showed up at the pavilion and there was a huge T.V. set up. The first half ended with the EAGLES losing 17-0. It was a beautiful day and the food was so good the game had to turn around and it did. They ended up winning 34-17! Suddenly the company picnic turned into a real party!

Just when we thought we rid our city and our football team of all bad karma (you know that Vick guy) another one of our favorite players brings national shame attention to our city and our team.

Philly skyline


Our star running back LeSean McCoy, nicknamed Shady is a fan favorite. Last week he and a few friends went to a popular Philly restaurant PHT. The server admittedly a bit nervous because he was a HUGE fan forgot the appetizer. McCoy and his party left a twenty-cent tip. The owner of the restaurant posted the receipt on Facebook and we have a scandal. Charlie Sheen jumped on Twitter and offered the server $1000 to which McCoy said, I’m glad you are finally doing something good with your life. Somebody today said, at least he didn’t knock his girlfriend out in an elevator. No he didn’t but I remember what he did doand believe me it wasn’t nice. You see this is not the first time this fan fave’s shady character has been questioned. Meet the real LeSean McCoy


Eagles Shady McCoy 2

“A 20-cent tip is kind of a statement. You can’t disrespect somebody and expect them to tip you. I don’t care who the person is. That’s why I left my card so they could see my name.” LeSean McCoy

We have been waiting SO long for the new and final season of Sons of Anarchy. The first episode was two and a half hours long and so much happened I was getting dizzy. It was also very gory. I had to turn away at one point. I am hooked though and really want to see where the writer takes this and it all ends. I hope there is some redemption there.

Sons of Anarchy jax gemma wendy

I didn’t think I had many Fragments!

Have a blessed weekend,


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Writing Wednesday/ Platforms and Tribes

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Writing Wednesday

 Typewriter Pink








On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up on my journey to being published, marketing my first book, editing and preparing to be published again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then…


If you like the information I hope you will share it!


There is so much talk lately about writers needing to build platforms and find their tribes. It is true we do need both but how do you build a platform and where do you find your tribe?


Building a Writers Platform means creating a connection between you the writer and, your potential readers. How do you find that connection? Every book has some sort of message, something the author wants the reader to take away with them. If you wrote gluten free diet book then your platform might be healthier eating for people with gluten intolerance. A wider platform would simply be people interested in healthy eating and a sub group would be readers looking for healthy recipes. Where do you find readers that live with a gluten intolerance? Where do you find the millions of people interested in healthier eating lifestyles? I would do a Google search to see if I could find any groups in my area that met in real life and attend a meeting, not to sell my book to them but to make connections. I would also do a search for Facebook groups that matched my message and join them. Think of your platform as being the bridge that connects you to your readers not the soap box you stand on with a megaphone asking them to buy your book.  If people are interested in you they will be interested in your book.



A tribe is like a family and can even be family members. Your tribe is anyone that is for you and your book, those people that celebrate you and your choice to write. Finding a good writers group is a good place to start. A good writers group is one where you feel comfortable sharing your work and receiving encouragement as well as constructive criticism. You should also feel comfortable giving others in the group feedback and encouragement. The buzz about your book should never come from you the author. The buzz should always come from readers. This is where your tribe is invaluable. Your tribe members are those that share your social media posts, talk about how much they enjoyed your book, write reviews and show up at your book signings not alone but with friends.


Happy Writing,


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Nightmares and Department Stores…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments here:

Half-Past Kissin’ Time

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I am feeling so fragmented today. It was my first full week back to work ( I worked on Labor Day ) after an awesome vacation. As hard as I tried to be organized, by Wednesday it all fell apart and here I am on Friday scrambling to check all the boxes so I can relax and start my weekend.

Are you a Garth Brooks fan? I am so excited about his comeback tour. I was one of those people that slept on a sidewalk in Philadelphia all those years ago to get [good] tickets to see him. I was confused at first by the new digital format but this video sort of helped with that. I think it might be awesome. I wonder if Trisha will be offering her music on the space too.


Garth and Trisha










A few of my grandchildren started school on Wednesday, two others will start on Monday and Adrianna will start kindergarten next Tuesday. Is it me or do our schools in the Philadelphia area start late? I do love that the kids don’t go back until after Labor Day.

My teaching schedule starts with the first of the Press Club workshop series, a social media class on September 27th.  The committee and I have been working on these for months and they are really coming together.

My author schedule starts on September 19th with an author panel and book signing at The Boscov’s Department Store at Granite Run Mall. I am looking forward to spending time with the other awesome authors.


When we got back from our Florida trip last week (with 5 grandkids) I had the same nightmare for three nights in a row. I dreamed my eight-year-old granddaughter, Avery was drowning. It was terrifying. I was afraid to look up the meaning of the dream. Apparently when you dream a child is drowning it means you are feeling the end of a deep emotional connection. That made perfect sense because she was the youngest on the trip and we were worried about her getting homesick and being left out by the older kids. Neither happened thank goodness but I did feel very connected to her and all of the kids. Do you believe in dream interpretation?

FLORIDA avery in the hot tub

There is more sad news from Hollywood. I always found Joan Rivers hysterical. That said, more recently on her show Fashion Police, even I thought she could be a bit harsh. No matter what you thought of her she was the first women to have a nighttime show of her own and she paved the way for many female comediennes. My favorite thing about her was her refusal at all costs to be politically correct which made her, in my eyes and in spite of her exterior a very ‘real’ person inside.

Joan Rivers

The real news has been brutally sad too. I am usually pretty immune to it but these be-headings of journalists are so heartbreaking. I cannot stop thinking of their family and friends and the grief they are feeling.

Just thinking about this next election season is making me nauseous.

Have you had anything pumpkin flavored yet?

Have a blessed weekend,



I would love to connect with you here too:



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An excerpt from The Stranger in My Recliner [2015]:










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Writing Wednesday/Book Store Signings & Readings…

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The first Wednesday of every month I participate in The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. #IWSG.  This is one AMAZING group of talented beginners and professional authors. One of the many things we all have in common is our moments of extreme insecurity about our craft. Another is our gratitude and pay it forward attitudes when our confidence is soaring.

To find out more about the IWSG or to join us, visit:















Wednesdays are also ‘Writing Wednesday’s’ here. Each week I am going to share some of the things I have found that worked and some that didn’t work so well along my journey to publication, marketing and preparing to be published again.

Typewriter Pink

How to get you and your book in bookstores…

To have a chance at having your book stocked in a book store, your publisher has to be willing to offer your book to them at a wholesale discount price of at least 55% off the cover price. The books must also be returnable to the publisher if they do not sell within the stores allotted time-frame.

If you use Amazon for publishing it will be difficult to have your book available in an actual book store. This is because Amazon Publishers will not process returns and they will not offer further discounts.

Lightening Source is a self-publishing company you can use if you want your book to be available in book stores. They process returns, for a charge. All publishers, even traditional ones charge you for your returns. (I don’t know any one that has used them so this is not an endorsement)

All print books are ordered and delivered to stores through a book distribution center. The two major distributors are Ingram and Baker & Taylor. If the publisher you are planning to use does not use one or both of these distributors, move on from that publisher.

It is possible to have a CRM (Barnes & Noble) or an Event Coordinator (Independent) to allow you to bring books to the store and have them manually put them into the store’s inventory. This is not something they like to do so you will have to convince them the book has received decent reviews and that you can get people through the door.

If you have an agent or a publisher they will most likely ask you for a list of place’s you would like to have a book signing or a reading.  Chances are they have a business relationship with the event coordinators for those stores and your chances.

Once you have an event scheduled you will need to do your best to get customers through the door. Social media alone will not work. You also cannot count on foot traffic in the store. Once people realize you are selling something they will go the other way. You need to be creative to get them in front of your table. I use chocolate and promotional items like book markers, pens and notebooks.

Read how to get media attention for your book- http://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5243

Print postcards and ask the book store to keep them on the counter, mail them to everyone on your address list and ask other stores if you can pin one on their bulletin board.

Print flyers, do an e-mail blast, send press releases (see PR post,) post the event on the calendars of every local newspaper and magazine (online and in print if available,) write a blog post, social media posts  and place a small add in a local newspaper.

Completely stress out over what to wear, just kidding (no I’m not!) Seriously have fun.




Other suggestions for book signings:


Gift shops

Book Fairs

Holiday Fairs

Charity Events

Did you know that if you go into a library and donate paperback books it is possible (highly likely) they will be thrown in the trash can? Libraries prefer hardcover books. They also use major distributors to purchase books.  Ask the librarian what their policy is before leaving books.

Happy Writing,


Writing Quotes





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What would you do if your husband brought a woman home?

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This is an excerpt from my second book The Stranger In My Recliner, an intimate look at the mental health and homeless crisis[2015.] It is the true story of Sophie a homeless woman my husband brought home one night.

When Sophie walked through my front door that night I could not believe my eyes. She was a frail, filthy, and hunched over, eighty- year –old woman. I wondered if she had bugs. I’m OCD[obsessive compulsive disorder] like that. I told her to sit on the sofa, while the whole time in my mind I was making it all better for me by imagining myself throwing that big red sofa away and buying a nice new, clean one. Maybe an ‘L’ shaped, brown microfiber one, this time.

I made her a hot cup of tea. After noticing she had no teeth and wondering what in the world could have happened to them, I made her a scrambled egg. While she ate her eggs and talked with John about people they might mutually know, I went upstairs and prepared her a warm bubble bath. I gave her my favorite silk pajamas, clean underwear, a warm fluffy pair of socks and a thick robe. The pajamas were a gift from my kids. They gave them to me when I was in the hospital for treatment of a bad allergic reaction to a vitamin supplement made from shellfish. I was certain they would understand why I had to give them to Sophie.

While she was in the bathroom having her bath, I made up the big red sofa with our softest six-hundred thread count guest sheets, our best pillows and a warm cotton blanket. I wanted her to feel safe, warm and comfortable. Whatever the reason for her plight, no one should be sleeping on the ground in this crazy weather. John thanked me for allowing him to bring Sophie into our home. He gave me a hug and promised me everything would be okay. He sensed my growing discomfort so he hugged me again. I love that he has the ability to sense my feelings.

I wanted to ask her a thousand questions. Do you have a family, where you ever married? Do you have children? How did you get yourself into this situation? Are you still drinking? That was the big one. That would be bad. I decided not to ask too many questions that night. I did ask her where the woods were located, the ones she had been sleeping in and she told me they were alongside McDade Boulevard.  McDade Boulevard is the main thorough fare connecting a dozen or so small towns in Delaware County, leading to Philadelphia. She also told us that night she had been attacked and robbed several times.


Talk about a soft target and for what a few coins at the most. I felt so sorry for her and such anger for those unknown scumbags that would hurt her. I wanted to know more but decided I would ask her another time. I thought she must be physically as well as mentally exhausted. I thought she might be embarrassed too. I would be horrified if I found myself with nowhere to go and I had to wear a stranger’s underwear, their clothes and sleep on their sofa.  I would also be scared to death if I had no choice but to trust in the sincerity and saneness of strangers. I did not want to think about that stuff anymore.

She seemed to trust in John completely. With me, she was completely unsure. She most likely sensed my fear and disapproval. I had the feeling there was so much more to her story. How could there not be more. How do you get to be eighty-years-old and not have met at least one person that loved or at least cared enough about you to take you in from the cold. What possibly could have happened to her, what sin or crime did she commit that would force her to have no choice in the world but to trust complete strangers over family or friends? Wondering about those possible sins and crimes scared me to my core.

My husband on the other hand is the least judgmental person I know. He is trusting to a frustrating fault. I admired his compassion and knew in my heart keeping her safe and warm on this cold, wet night was the right thing to do no matter how she came to be in this situation. Even if it was wrong of me, I could not help wondering why I had to be the one to do that particular right thing on that particular night.

We made sure she had everything she could possibly ever need during the night. I poured a glass of ice water and placed it on the end table beside the red sofa. I put a few magazines on the coffee table. We asked if she would like to watch some TV. She said she would like that. I found an old- movie on AMC, Duel in the Sun and I was thrilled to see her eyes light up. “I love Joe Cotten” she said smiling, “He is my favorite actor.” I had no idea who, Joe Cotten was but I did notice Gregory Peck and Lionel Barrymore where in the film. I sort of wished I wasn’t so tired. I wouldn’t have minded watching it with her if John would have stayed up to watch it too. Instead John and I went to bed. I imagined it must have been a long time since she was able to watch and enjoy a good movie. It felt good to do that for her.

Joe Cotten

Turning the latch on my bedroom door knob ever so slowly, so she wouldn’t hear the click, I locked our bedroom door and tip toed over to our bed. Yes I admit it I was scared. I had visions of this crazy lady stabbing us in our sleep, robbing us or having her homeless gaggle of friends coming into our house to party through the night. I shuddered at the thought of the endless horrific things they could do to us. I tossed and turned all night. I tried to imagine how anyone could let an eighty -year –old woman become homeless and then reverted to what could she have possibly done to find herself in this situation.

The truth is I wanted her and the sting of the slap in the face reality of her situation to go away. I felt guilty that I felt that way.

I rolled over and flipped my pillow again, hoping to find a small patch of cold on the other side. Instead memories flooded my mind. I had a history with homeless people and it was not always good. I took in a homeless woman with a six-week-old infant, when I was a young, divorced mom.  My kids and I fell in love with the baby. Danielle lived with us whenever her mother was in prison, which was several times over an eight-year-period. The mother emotionally blackmailed and sometimes even terrorized my family for years. A priest told me sometimes we have to make the choice to hurt one to save many others.  I hated the sound of that advice. We did not want to but we sent that little girl to live with her father and her older sister in Minnesota. It wasn’t fair of us to keep her from knowing her family. Our hearts are still broken.

I took in a young man that worked for me when I managed a Pizza Hut Restaurant. He was a homeless drifter, a musician.  I found out he smoked pot in front of my young daughters and their friends. I was horrified, hurt and furious.

Another time, I took in a childhood friend of my sister’s. The woman had two young children and they were living in an abusive situation. Her husband had no idea I existed, so they would be safe and able to get a head start on a new life. It was a struggle for her and her children.  I admired her for finding the strength to leave him and for loving her children so much that she gave up everything to keep them safe. I was thrilled when she moved on, fell in love and remarried a gentle man.

I do not regret helping any of those people but now that I am older and look back, I realize what dangerous situations I put my family, my own children in at times. That woman’s abusive husband could have found her at my house and killed us all. That little girl’s mother was jailed several times for terroristic threats. I shudder when I imagine what could have happened. I do not mean to be over dramatic but you only have to watch the Lifetime Movie Network to know it can, and unfortunately does happen when you least expect it.

I seem to constantly, be asking myself if the fear I developed with age is a good- enough reason to do nothing. Of course the answer is no. It is not a good reason. Eliminating the fear and replacing it with knowledge is a good start. It is always easier to open a door if you have a reasonable expectation of what is waiting for you on the other side of the door.

I flipped my pillow again and rolled onto my side. Why didn’t I leave some cookies, crackers or chips out for, Sophie? I wondered if she was still hungry. There was no chance I was going downstairs to find out. John was sound asleep.

What do you do in those situations where there is no way to know what’s behind that door? You can choose to stay stuck or you can dig deep for the faith and courage to open that door. I would rather have stayed stuck in my safe comfortable world that night, secure in the fact that I had done enough good deeds in this lifetime. John however, on that night needed me to walk through that door with him.

He was grieving the loss of his mother. She passed away six-months prior to him finding Sophie on that sidewalk. John and I met and married shortly before his mother became ill. Kathleen was the first elderly person I ever lived with and the first elderly person I ever provided with hands on care. Honestly, ever since I was a small child I was afraid of older people. We had a few cranky neighbors when I was a kid. The older kids would tell us stories about being, captured by these creepy-old people and kept chained in their smelly basements.

I always adored, my own grandmother except for the times when she was yelling at my poor grandfather. While I was growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, she lived just a few blocks from our house. We saw her every day.  As I got older I would drive her to doctor appointments, clean for her or just sit and visit. Back then she never seemed old to me. Maybe I was too close to notice. When she did become sick, she went down hill and passed away quickly. My grandfather got sick years before and took his own life before he had the chance to grow old.

For the first time in our young marriage, John and I were living alone. We were just getting used to our newly found freedom. We discussed traveling, home renovation projects and retiring at the seashore. We discovered our living room. For two- years, the room was a campground for John’s sisters and nieces who thankfully were there to help care for his mother. That is the way it is supposed to be right? Families are supposed to come together and come up with a workable solution to provide care for their elderly loved ones. It is one of those times in life, that you must put your own needs and feelings aside and work as a unit.

I enjoyed the chaos of so many people coming in and out of the house.  That was what I came from. The situation helped me to be less homesick. When I married John I moved in with him. He lived in another county, on the other side of Philadelphia. I was used to seeing my kids and grandkids every single day. When the house was quiet, I missed them.

What a long night that first night with Sophie turned out to be. As I walked downstairs, in the morning I was hoping it had all been a long dream. No such luck. There she was sitting on the end of the big red sofa.  She was awake and as real as my freezing feet on the cold floor. She was dressed in her own, old-dirty clothes. Those ripped plastic grocery bags that were full of I have no idea what were at her feet. We originally thought they held some sort of groceries but no. They definitely did not hold groceries. She clutched a filthy overstuffed pocketbook with a broken strap to her chest. Her head was down, she was staring at the floor. She looked so fragile. I noticed the pajamas, underwear and those fluffy socks I gave her folded neatly beside her. My first thought was; not believing she put her dirty underwear back on her nice, clean body. I cringed. My second thought was she must have been a beautiful woman. Her hair was pure white not at all that dingy grey most of us are stuck with. It was so long and wavy. Most of the older women that I knew wore their hair short. I wondered if she ever colored it. It was so beautiful this morning compared to the filthy stringy mess it had been last night, before her bath.

I made her a cup of hot tea and some instant apples and cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal is not one of my favorites but I love the way the flavored ones smell. She seemed thrilled when I handed her a banana. It didn’t seem like the right time to ask where her teeth were. I hoped I never had the opportunity to ask.

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Time for Teaching and still Beaching…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments here:

Half-Past Kissin’ Time

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My husband told me yesterday to stop thinking about summer being over and to concentrate on enjoying each day of September. He is so right. The days are still sunny and warm, without being oppressive and the nights are comfortably cool. Then he asked me to go on a couple of beach dates. Just another of the million reasons I love that man.

Florida Does Beach Feet

I have some exciting things to look forward to this fall. Not only will I be teaching again but I have been working with a committee since last spring to put together a workshop series sponsored by the Press Club of Pa. They will be held the fourth Saturday of every month (except December.) They will be on social media, branding, style (for men and women), networking, understanding the news, how to get attention from the media for your product, business, store, event, non-profit, blog or book, writing and publishing, pitching your business and more. We have been so lucky to have top experts in these fields offer to join us. We even have a few celebrity guests. I will be writing more about these classes next week!


Our Florida adventure has come and gone but I have no doubt we all created memories that will last forever. My husband and I took five of our grandchildren to Daytona Beach to visit my mother and John’s sister. We were worried that at least the driving part would be a nightmare but I have to tell you the kids were so good and we had SO much fun. Kudos to John for renting the top of the line Town & Country minivan equipped with DVD players and satellite radio and kudos to me for creating maps and putting them on corkboard for each child with colored stick pins. One color for cities we stopped in and another color for cities we passed through. They really got into it and now they know how to read a map. We had a great time with family and friends, went Go Karting, to batting cages, the beach, to Zoomair Daytona a zipline adventure and more…

FLORIDA trip the kids by pool FLORIDA Here we go FLORIDA trip maps FLORIDA with Kids Florida beach all 5

During our vacation my laptop kind of crashed and even though there was a TV by the pool the kids always wanted to listen to music so I was forced to detox from my news addiction. After reading this post on Boomeon written by Cathy Chester, taking an occasional news break is going to become a habit for me:


Have a safe and fun Labor Day,





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Writing Wednesday/ Marketing Part 2 PR

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink











On Wednesdays I like to share bits of information that I picked up on my journey to publication and preparing to be published again. The kind of information I wish someone shared with me.







You can find part 1 here:


Marketing is composed of Advertising and Public Relations (PR.)

This week I want to talk about PR. It is the communication that is created to show you and your business (book) in the best light possible. Good PR does not just happen. It usually takes serious planning, a lot of effort and patience.

Press Releases fall under the PR category. They should be short, no more than one page and should answer the questions who; what; where; when and why. They should be e-mailed to editors of print media and producers for radio and TV. Editors and producers are extremely busy. Chances are you won’t hear from them but your release could possibly appear in their publication or be mentioned in a community information spot on radio, TV or the stations websites. If you don’t hear from them and your release does not appear chances are they were not interested. Remember lead times if you are submitting to magazines or TV. Many of them plan their publications well in advance. It is never a good idea to call these people. If you put your contact information on your press release they will contact you if they want more information.

Reasons to send a press release for a book:

  1. To announce the release of a book
  2. To announce book readings/signings

Press Releases should not be sent for reviews. They should never contain links or buying information. That is advertising.

Newspaper photo

Talk show hosts, radio announcers and news anchors rarely have authors on to discuss their books. They are more interested in ‘experts’ on a particular current topic. This is where you need to get creative and prepare a pitch sheet. What has the research and the writing of your book taught you? As an example, my first book Bristol boyz Stomp is about the random road rage murder of my younger brother. That loss has made me an expert in road rage statistics, grief and victim services. When a road rage assault occurs, a producer or journalist (because I sent them a pitch sheet) may request an interview with me to discuss road rage statistics, give the victims view or to give listeners tips on how not to become a victim. Your pitch should include a very brief bio (related to your topic,) the reason you are the best person to discuss your topic and a list of talking points (what you are able to comfortably discuss on the topic.) Again make sure there is no advertising in your pitch. In your bio you can mention you wrote a book on the subject.

An agent or publisher is likely to Google your name before they decide to offer you a contract. Make sure there is something for them to see. Is your blog consistent? Is your Twitter page interesting and engaging?

Google Logo

A quick way to increase your online presence is to write letters to the editors of local newspapers on current events. Most papers are quick to post these online. This type of letter, once in print also gives you publishing credibility.

Another part of PR is public speaking and events. If the thought scares you find a way to get past your fear. Approach your local library, your church and your bookstore with a pitch for a writing or blogging workshop, author panel, reading etc… Do these for free until you have established a name for yourself. The first people you should invite to your release party is the media.

Remember, the buzz about your book should always come from readers, reviewers and the media, not from you.

Social media is a clever tool for marketing and PR if used correctly. You must be human, chat about stuff other than your book. Be interesting and relevant. If you start or join interesting conversations with people they will want to know more about you, realize you are a writer and seek out your books.

The success of your book hinges on having a book that has heart; is a compelling story and is professionally produced.

Word of mouth is still an effective PR and advertizing tool however; that word of mouth can snowball if you have a good PR plan. PR can be much more effective than advertising. One mention of you and your book by the media can quickly legitimize you as an author.  PR works best in conjunction with a good advertising plan.


After being cooped up in my office writing for eight months, in my pajamas the thought of going out and actually speaking to people terrified me. What would I wear? Would I sound like I knew what I was talking about? With each book signing and each media event my confidence grew. I actually enjoy it now. The key is being practiced and prepared.

Happy writing!




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On the Road Again…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments here:

Half-Past Kissin’ Time

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Every August we say, can you believe it’s August already. It comes every year at the same time yet here I am asking the silly question, “Really August is half over today?” Finally, that long cold winter we had feels like it is in the past and I am not ready to start preparing for another one.


This morning after I have a (hopefully) quick visit to have the highly annoying sutures removed from my mouth, we will be loading up a van with five of our grandkids and heading south to Florida. We will be stopping about half way for some swimming, eating and sleeping. I am honestly not sure who is more excited John and I or the kids. I am not going to think about the end of summer or any stressor. I want to enjoy every minute with the kids. When I am old I want them to remind me of the good times we had together.

It was very difficult watching my husband react to Robin Williams’ death. His son, John died of suicide. The similarity in the details was horrifying. As hard as it is for our family to hear and read about, depression and suicide need to be talked and written about. The stigma needs to end.

If you have a child entering high school or college, please have the suicide talk with them no matter what. Make them sign a contract swearing that they will never ‘do it’ and if the thought even enters their mind they will immediately call you and accept help. Is it over dramatic? I don’t think so and I’m quite sure Robin Williams’ family and my husband will agree. Will it save everyone? I don’t know but if it saves your loved one the talk was worth it.

We are taking the kids to ZOOM Daytona. It is a zip-line park. One voice inside keeps telling me to go for it, climb those trees with the little ones. Another voice is saying umm have you lost your mind you don’t even like the merry-go-round. John said there was no way he was climbing trees in August in Florida but he did pack his sneakers.  Have you tried one of these adventures?

Zoom Air

To keep the ZOOM theme going we will also be visiting Kart City where we will race go karts, play some miniature golf and hopefully hit some home runs in the batting cages.

go kart city

I have a few conference calls and a bit of editing to do while we are away but nothing inspires me and feeds my creativity more than working by the waves.

That being said we will be by the water not in the water…

SharkShark tracking Katherine


Would you do this?

Rock Climb

I am hoping to read a lot of blog posts in between the “are we there yet questions” and the karaoke versions of Big Fat Butt and Beachin.

Have a blessed weekend,



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Writing Wednesday/ Marketing Part 1

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Typewriter Pink













On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.



This week’s topic is Marketing Part 1

No matter where you are with your writing, even if you are just starting out, whether you are self, independently or traditionally published, marketing should be on your mind very early on in your process.

Back here I wrote about writing proposals.


An important part of your proposal is the Marketing Plan.

Marketing is the process for creating, communicating, selling and delivering your product (book) to customers and for managing customer (reader) relationships in ways that benefit. It requires co-ordination, planning and implementation.

Before starting your plan you will need to establish your goals, determine your target audience, research competition, ad costs, consider strategies, a time table and a budget.

Keep in mind when planning your timetable that most print publications (other than newspapers) require a long lead time for placing ads. Some magazines are laid out months in advance of their publication date. Internet banner ads can sometimes have a long lead time too. Radio and T.V. producers book guest well in advance. Most book stores schedule readings and book signing’s well ahead of time as well. Conferences book speakers and presenters months in advance.

Advertising is one component of marketing. It is the paid communication about your book through direct mail, print media, radio, television and the internet. An integral part of marketing, advertising is the process used to motivate buyers. Advertising can be expensive. It takes diligent research to come up with advertising outlets that reach your target audience and fit your budget.

Newspaper photo

When considering your marketing budget remember to include promotional materials like business cards, postcards, postage, bookmarkers and other promotional items, advertising, travel a launch party, web site, and professional organization memberships to name a few. If you are publishing with a traditional or an Indy publisher they may cover some of advertising cost, chances are the bulk of it will be up to you. Some authors self-publish and feel they can skip the advertising step. They say, “I cannot afford it.” To this I say publishing is a business. It is absolutely possible to sell books without advertising, most likely one at a time. One, well placed add can sell hundreds.

Public Relations (PR) is the professional action that presents you and your book to the public, stores, and the media including social media in the best possible light and managing the spread of the information about you and your book. These actions also include writing press releases, pitches to T.V. and radio producers, event management, creating and producing promotional materials.

And you thought writing the book was the hardest part didn’t you? Don’t get discouraged. Marketing is a bear, for sure but the key is a good, well researched, well implemented, realistic plan.

Start with a tag line. When someone ask you what your book is about you want a two- to- three sentence answer to roll off of your lips without sounding memorized. It is a good idea to have two or three taglines you can use. Practice saying it out loud until it sounds natural.

Next week I will write in more detail about PR.


  • 5000 copies of a hardcover book in one week, depending on the month could land your book on the New York Times top 15 list/
  • 250-500 is the average number of books sold by first time authors.
  • Once again because it is one of my favorites, the average age of a best-selling author is 50.
  • The number of books being published every year is exploding. On average 1,000,000 books are published in the United States each year. Hundreds of thousands of American language books are sold in other countries.

The only thing standing between you and your goal..

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