#Keep Moving Forward Challenge…

Keep Moving Forward Challenge…

My friend and the facilitator of Bucks County Creative Explorers, Kelly wrote a blog post about being stuck. She wrote that she felt like her feet were stuck in concrete. That is exactly how I was feeling too.

I’ve enjoyed the challenge and hope Kelly will bring it back at the beginning of every season.

Kelly then posted this challenge. If you are feeling stuck too please join us. Let’s inspire each other to smash our concrete shoes.


I will post an entry in the Keep Moving Forward Challenge every Thursday from now through March 2015. To join in on the journey, use the comment section to tell us about how you “kept moving forward” that week. Write about it on your own blog site (and include the link in the comments), make a video, and/or use the hashtag #KeepMovingForwardChallenge on the social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).


Please make sure to use #KeepMovingForwardChallenge on social media so that we can comment, like, share, favorite, or retweet.

As usual my goals were pretty mighty this week. Life got in the way so I didn’t complete everything I wanted too.

I spent an afternoon with my nineteen-year-old, fifteen-year-old and five-year-old granddaughters. We went shopping for and found a beautiful prom dress, for Allyson (the nineteen-year-old.) I practiced making videos with the five-year-old. She is quite a director, oh my. I need SO much more practice.

I facilitate workshops for the Press Club and we had to cancel one in January due to weather. The make- up was last Saturday and this Saturday we have a regularly scheduled workshop. The committee, presenters and attendees are all having a really good time but it is time consuming. I never imagined I would enjoy teaching so much. Next month we have a writing workshop. This is the one I have been most looking forward to.


Although the workshops are taking up a lot of my time I did manage to write and post my A-to-Z April Blog Challenge Theme Reveal post and I wrote 2 ½ posts for the challenge. Only twenty-four more left to write. Are you participating in the challenge? I highly recommend it.


I finished my book cover questionnaire for The Stranger In My Recliner and received some great feedback on my back matter (text on the back of the book) from my writing friends at Bucks County Creative Explorers. So I guess you could say I finished a lot of ‘business’ writing this week.

Quote Keep Moving Forward

I still haven’t found a forward writer or blurb writers for the book. I haven’t tried very hard either. This goal needs to be #one next week.

All in all I feel like I have moved forward this week, slightly.

How about you?

Have a blessed week,


A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal…

                                      A-to-Z  CHALLENGE THEME REVEAL

A-to-Z Theme Reveal banner

http://www.a-to-z challenge.com

I have to admit I am not ready for the challenge but I am never fully prepared. My post titles have been chosen and I am hoping to get several of them pre-written this week.  I am however beyond excited and cannot wait to discover what all of your themes are!

Once again I will be a minion for the challenge and am so proud to be one of Lisa’s Live Wires!

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

My theme this year is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of, Sophie.  Sophie is the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The night that she walked through our front door changed me.


That book will be out later this year.

I decided this year’s posts will be on programs that actually help the homeless and the mentally ill, programs that don’t, when did homelessness become a problem and what or who caused it, famous homeless people, famous people that help the homeless and the mentally ill, what you can do that will help in a real way, excerpts from the book, the drain on emergency rooms and the justice system and a whole alphabet more…

I am looking forward to revisiting all of my old A-to-Z friends and making lots of new ones.

High Fives and Good Luck to all of the participants! Here we go!


Rocket launch Gemini 4



Writing Wednesday/ Promotional Products


Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my writing journey and on to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you have any tips please share them with us…

Public Relations (PR) Part 5- Promotional Materials

The time to think about what promotional items you will need to promote your book/blog is when you are writing your marketing plan. Promotional materials can be part of your PR plan so remember you want whatever you choose to show you as an author and your book/blog in a good light. All of your products should coordinate. When ordering products remember to order enough for any conferences you are planning to attend, networking events, book signings and your launch party.

I custom created postcards for each location I had a book signing but I used the same colors so they all had a similar look.

It is easy to overspend on promotional items; they can be fun but try to stick with your budget.

Bookmarks photo

Product ideas:

Table cloths for book signings

Banners/ posters

Post cards


Business cards

Book markers


Key chains



Note pads


There are many promotional material companies to choose from so do some comparison shopping. I have used and recommend Vista Print, Café Press and Moo. I have also used an independent local company and was happy with the convenience and the quality.

What products have you used to promote your book/blog/business?

Happy Writing,


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Writing Wednesday/ PR Part 2/ Press Releases


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Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you have any tips to share please do…

Public Relations PR Part 2/ Press Releases

Just when you thought writing the book was the hard part you were told you had to write a synopsis, then an outline, a proposal and the hardest of all a query letter.  You finish all of those and breathe a big sigh of release only to find out you need to write marketing, advertising and PR plans and those include writing press releases and media pitches.

Writing is hard

If you have the budget to hire a professional to write and submit your press releases for you, they are well worth the money. If a professional isn’t in your budget no fears, you can write your own.

The fact that you wrote and published a book is not ‘newsworthy’ to most media outlets. They are looking for news that is of interest to their entire audience.

The main thing you have to remember when writing a press release is you are informing the audience of something important to them, you are not promoting your book (that would be considered advertising.) What expertise or insight have you gained from writing your book? If you wrote a book about your transition from the corporate world to owning a bakery perhaps your angle could be ‘the pros and cons of opening a small business in (name of town,) or tips on how to have a memorable celebration. The possibilities are endless but you should choose 2 or 3 and stick with them.

The second thing to remember is keep it concise and professional. Use simple words.

The third thing is to send it to the right place. Do the research. Make sure the publication is right for ‘your news.’ If it isn’t something their readers would be interested in, you are wasting your time and theirs.  My suggestion is to start small, think close to home. Your small hometown paper, magazine or newsletter is a great place to start. On most media websites you can find a place to submit press releases. Does your alma mater have a newspaper or newsletter, does your church? Once you have submitted to these local publications submit to 3 or 4 city papers closest to home. You can expand from there.

Newspaper photo

There are web based businesses that are promising to distribute your press release, for a fee. It is time consuming but you are better off looking up the publications and submitting to them yourself.

Do not submit press releases to the same publication more than once a month unless the news is really big.

Tips on format:

Your headline has to be fabulous and should be no more than 8 words. You only have about 15 words to grab an editor’s attention so the headline counts big-time.

Next you want to put your first choice for the date you want the release to be published. Most people put, For Immediate Release.

Next you want to write an introductory paragraph. Press releases are written in third person. If you are announcing a book event, mention that and the host and any other authors involved. Think hooking the reader here.

Next you want to go more into ‘the news of your release,’ answering the who, what, why, when and where questions. Remember you cannot ‘sell’ in a press release so don’t mention where your book can be purchased. You want the ‘news’ of the release to be so good that the reader will go look for your book.

A short bio comes next and then you want to list your contact information. Let the editor know what contact information you want published and what information you don’t want published. I usually list only an e-mail publicly. If it is for a book event you can list the phone number of the book store or wherever the event is being held.

When a publication does publish your press release, thank them, promote them and share on social media.






Next week: PR part 3-TV and radio pitches.





What unique angle or area of expertise can you use to make your book, WIP or your blog newsworthy?

Happy writing,


*** Before the angel of success arrives in your life, you should devote yourself to preparing your welcome for her. Polish your craft and strengthen your body to be fit so that you can do your job and enjoy success when it comes. Sharpen your mind and spirit so they are ready to face the challenges that accompany a visit from the angel of success. If you are not ready when the angel knocks, she will flee. And who knows when she will make it back around to your door again. Unknown ***

Angel pic

Will I see you here?


Or here?

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Writing Wednesday/ Book PR

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and getting ready to publish again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

Whichever path you choose to take for your book, traditional, independent or self-publishing the fact is you will be responsible for marketing your book.  As soon as you start writing a book you should start writing a marketing plan. A marketing plan has three major parts, marketing advertising and public relations.

I wrote about marketing plans here: doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5230

Advertising here: http://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5540

Public Relations (PR) Part 1

Any book can become a best seller if it is written and marketed well. You must create a reason for people to ‘need’ your book. A good Public relations professional is well worth the investment if your publisher does not provide one. If hiring a PR rep is not in your budget, no worries.

What exactly are public relations?

It is the professional maintenance of a favorable public image for you and your business.

The art of managing the spread of information between your business and the public.


Planning Promotions for the purpose of creating goodwill

Creating an author platform

Publicity- press releases- media pitches- communication intended to create a positive image


Creating promotional text, audio, and video

Planning launches, conferences, book signings etc…

Creating promotional materials- business cards, book markers, post cards etc…

Some tips for putting your PR plan together:

Know what is news- News is information that is relevant to the public as a whole. Sadly for us writers, putting our hearts, souls and in most cases a lot of time, a year sometimes more of our lives into our work, experiencing rejection on steroids over and over again and ending up finally, as a published author is NOT news. There are more than a half-million of us a year and the numbers keep growing.

To become newsworthy you must establish yourself as an expert. This is a little bit easier for non-fiction writers but definitely possible for fiction writers.

Press Club Comcast

My second book, The Stranger In My Recliner is the story of a homeless woman named Sophie. My husband brought her home and she lived with us for nearly three-years. After experiencing first-hand the lack of action by government, community and private agencies, the research I did on homelessness, interviewing her friends and family I feel comfortable saying I am an expert on the topic of homelessness.

If you are stuck figuring out your topic of expertise ask your beta readers what message they received from your story…

Have a concise message, who; what; why; when and where. Have you perfected your two or three line elevator speech?

Know who you are pitching. You don’t want to pitch your expertise on rebuilding car engines to the entertainment reporter.

Follow journalist, producers and reporters on twitter but DO NOT pitch them on social media. Trust me just don’t. Simply be entertaining but professional. Join the conversation and favorite and like their stuff, not all of their stuff because that can make you look like a stalker. Be patient…

Have you joined HARO?  http://helpareporter.com

Next week I will share tips on writing a press release and a media pitch.

What is your area of expertise?

Happy writing,


“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and above all accurately so they will be guided by its light.” Joseph Pullitzer 1847-1911

I would love to connect with you here:



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Writing Wednesday/Book Advertising


Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

Book Advertising

In past weeks I’ve written about how important it is for authors to have a marketing plan. A marketing plan contains three components, Marketing; Advertising and Public Relations.  They are all different and equally important to ensure the success of any business including the business of selling books. We’ve all heard the saying you have to spend money to make money. Advertising is the marketing you pay for and should be an essential part of your marketing plan. That said, you should not rush out and haphazardly start ordering ads. A little research and a good plan can make the difference between ads that actually sell books and opening the door and tossing your money into the wind.

If you wrote a proposal for your book (and I hope you did) you, already know who your target audience is. If not you can learn more about proposals here: https://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5141

When creating your advertising plan you need to figure out how to reach that target audience. If you can afford an advertising agency, great but it is not necessary.

As writers when we think of advertising I imagine most of us think of a full page ad in the New York Times Book section. If you can afford that, go for it but chances are you will not recoup your investment.

The mistakes I made when first advertising Bristol boyz Stomp were to just choose as many outlets as I could afford without a plan.

My advice would be to concentrate on advertising outlets that are available to you locally. Most local media outlets will offer you a consultant free of charge. Keep in mind that there job is to sell you advertising and you will need to read between the lines before deciding what is best for you and your book.

Print Advertising- Look into local ‘free’ newspapers, magazines, college/university newspapers and special sections of local larger newspapers. Most of these have the capacity to target specific demographic areas. Billboards are another form of print advertising. I know an author that had great success with a billboard on a major highway and another that did not have success with the billboard on the same highway. One was a business book and the other was a novel. It is now obvious to me that business people spend a lot of time on that highway so the ad for the business book caught their eye. Billboards are very expensive so before making that decision, make sure the people reading it are likely readers of your book. There are less expensive alternatives to billboards. Look into train stations, bus and taxi advertising opportunities.


T.V. Advertising- During the Super bowl 30 second ads go for 4.5 million dollars but there are many less expensive alternatives. Look into rates/specials with your local T.V and cable companies. They too in most cases can target specific demographics.


Radio- Some smaller, local radio stations have specific and loyal audiences. If one of them is an eldercare show and your book is on care-giving, the audience would be interested in your book. In that case radio advertising would be a good investment.


Internet- the opportunities for online advertising are diverse. What worked for me was placing ads on my local t.v. news outlet website and paid Facebook ads. What didn’t work for me were book blog tours. I had some success placing ads on websites/blogs that featured topics ‘my readers’ would be interested in.

internet photo

Once you create your marketing/advertising/PR plan try to stick with it for at least a quarter but don’t be afraid to tweak it a little if something is clearly working or not working. Consistency matters when it comes to marketing.

What paid ads have prompted you to pay for a book?

Happy Writing,







Writing Wednesday/Focus

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink


Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to being published, marketing, writing and publishing again.


2014 got off to a devastating start for me. I lost my father on January 10th and one of my closest friends on February 24th, my birthday. I struggled to find my words for a few months but I was determined to finish several projects before the year ended. It seems to take me forever to find my writing groove every fall after a summer of slow down. Just when I feel I am caught up the holidays arrive. It’s not like I don’t know they are coming, they arrive at the same time every year. I did put in extra hours this fall and I did manage, somehow to catch up. My word for 2014 was finish and I cut it very close but I did finish most of the projects on my list, including my second book. Beach Goodbye Summer 3


The Stranger In My Recliner is done, for now and I am waiting for a production schedule. I cannot wait to share Sophie’s story.

My word for 2015 was going to be organize. I had breakfast on Christmas Eve with a few members of my writing group HotPenz7 and friend, Annmarie Kelly (Happy Hour Radio, Victorious Woman) said her word for 2015 was going to be focus. Focus sounds so much more important than organize so I am going with it too.

How did I ever remember when to pick up my kids and from where, doctor appointments, days off of school and everything else including my work responsibilities without a plan, a schedule and a calendar?

Looking ahead to this New Year, I am full of hope and words that I cannot wait to write. I just need a plan because I can’t seem to remember anything these days.

Weekly word counts worked so well for me I am going to stick with them. Daily word counts caused me to fail and to feel like a failure every single day. With weekly counts I always feel there is always a chance to catch up if I fall behind. I am going to go with 5,000 words a week. That number feels comfortable and achievable. Focusing may be a bit tougher. In January I will be busy planning.  I will be creating a schedule for writing, blogging and living for the entire year.

Quotes Start writing

If I focus, I should have a second draft of The Father’s Pain by June.

I have a lot of friends who are committed to finishing books in 2015 for many it will be their first. I am excited for them and it feels good to have so many to cheer on and to celebrate with.

2014 is leaving with a few chunks of my heart but it also held many blessings and for them I am so grateful. Change and saying goodbye to this year feels hard but I know moving on and living does not mean I have forgotten.

Do you have a word for 2015, writing goals or do you make resolutions? I wish you a healthy, focused, happy, and successful 2015.

Happy New Year,



Writing Wednesday/ Manuscript Formatting

Every Wednesday I share some of the things I have found that worked well for me and some that didn’t work so well on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again.  The sort of stuff I wish somebody would have told me back then…

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink


Formatting Your Manuscript


I will never forget the relief and at the same time the sheer terror I felt when I typed The End on my first manuscript. When I received my first request for the full manuscript from an agent I was so excited, until I saw her instructions for manuscript formatting. My manuscript was already finished. I used a fancy font, fancier chapter headings and I included photos and illustrations. I did not follow that agents instructions and sent it off to her as it was. Within two-hours I received an e-mail saying thank you but no thank you.



confused woman


No matter which type of publishing route you choose to take your manuscript will need to be professionally edited (by a book editor) and it will need to be formatted in standard publishing form.  While this is the business standard keep in mind each agent and or publisher may have their own specific instructions for submissions. Follow their instructions carefully.


 Standard Formatting:


On the first page, top left place your name and contact information. Use your real name here not a pen name. Add your full address, phone number, e-mail and website URL.


On the top right put the title of your book and under the title put your word count, rounded to the nearest thousand.


Halfway down the page in the center, put your first chapter title- hit enter twice and put your name or a pen name if you are using one. This page is not numbered.



Use a one inch margin on all sides.


 Use a standard twelve-point font such as Times New Roman, Ariel or New Courier.


Use a header on each page that includes on the top left of the page your last name/ the book title in all caps/ and the page number on the top right of the page. Use forward slashes to separate your name and book title.


Start each chapter on its own page ½ to 1/3 of the way down the page. The chapter number and chapter title should be bold and in capital letters.


Indent five-spaces for each new paragraph.

Writers Clock


Double space your entire text.


Use only one space in between sentences.


Scene breaks should be marked with a single # sign- aligned left.


Start each chapter on a separate page.


When I wrote my first book I had no idea that when using word you can track your changes and that word will automatically add your name/book title and page number if you use the formatting/header feature. I also didn’t know that there was a find and replace feature that you can use if your main characters name is Lilly and you had a revelation that her name should be Jenny. Word will find every Lilly for you and replace it with Jenny. I felt like such a dummy.

Quote Writing Ann Rice Make a fool



Do you have any formatting tips?


Keep writing,




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Writing Wednesday/ Writing Memoir



Typewriter Pink


Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.


Writing Memoir

Most of us believe our lives are boring but the truth is everyone does have a story to tell. We all have that one thing that happened in our lives that changed our course in either a positive or negative way.

What exactly is a memoir? Let’s start with what it is not. It is not an autobiography which is the story of your entire lifetime. Unless you are somebody famous that has many accomplishments to your credit readers will not be interested in your entire life. It also is not a biography, which is also the story of an entire lifetime.

What a memoir is, finally clicked with me when my editor said, imagine someone is taking a walk around the block and they see your house and walk up to look into your large picture window. This day happened to be the day that “it” happened. The “it” is what changed or altered the course of your life for either the good or the bad.  What would that person, who is walking by your house, see? Whatever it is that the person would see is the place you start your memoir. After the “it” event there should be some brief back story, the resolution and how you arrived there and a bit about where you are now.

Quotes Just Write Dont worry

A memoir is about an event, an incident, something that changed you in a positive or a negative way. It explains how you dealt with the “it,” The author questions what happened, tells the lessons learned and where you went from that moment on.

The memoir can be written in first person from the author’s point of view. It can also be told as Narrative nonfiction which is written like fiction-in story form.

There is little dialogue.

The reader should learn something and their life should also be affected in some way.

Memoirs should never be about revenge and should not be a book length rant.

They are between 90,000 and 100,000 words.

When writing nonfiction it helps to start with an outline.

Make a list of any research you will need to do

If you are writing nonfiction, you need to write the truth. Real names and places should be used unless using them will cause great harm. If you are planning on using fake names and places consider telling your story as fiction, instead of non-fiction.

If it happened to you, it is your story,  you own it and have every right to tell it in your own way.

Pic of Maya Angelou quote Writing

An outline starts with a brief description of your story. The description should include the beginning, the middle and the end in a concise three paragraph’s. Next, write a paragraph or two on each chapter. Name your chapters and choose a title for your memoir. Nothing is written in stone, this is just the starting point.

I find it helps to have some photo’s and personal items that remind me of the time period I am writing about on my desk.

While writing The Stranger in My Recliner I kept a photo of Sophie, a few Peppermint Patties and a can of peas, all of which reminded me of her.

Once your outline is finished the next step is to write your proposal.  Once your proposal is written you will have a solid foundation to write your book.

Happy Writing,


Quote A professional writer is




Hell and Sons.

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.

Friday Fragments Summer logo

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

On Tuesday in the Philadelphia suburbs it was sunny and 67-degrees, it was beautiful. On Thursday it was barely 40 degrees and they were talking a wet mixture of white stuff. Driving home from work was a mess. So of course we are going down the shore on Sunday.

My favorite TV show obsessions are out of control. Kurt Sutter (the writer /creator of Sons of Anarchy) is definitely going to win a few awards. I did not see this coming:

RAVE: Sons of Anarchy: Finally, finally, finally Jax knows the truth about who murdered Tara! After Abel spent all day scratching himself with a fork to blame it on Gemma to get her in trouble with the school (seriously, how smart/scary is this 5-year-old?!?) Jax decided to get to the bottom of what was bothering his son and told him the truth about his “two mommies.” Now Abel knows Wendy is his “first mommy,” and asked if that’s why “grandma killed my second mommy so my first mommy can be with me.” Cue Jax’s bewildered expression, and the credits roll. Next Tuesday needs to get here now!

sons of anarchy jax and able

Hell on Wheels is back after a three week hiatus.  I cannot believe there are only 2 more shows left this season but thrilled the show was picked up for another season.  I am a history buff but I had no idea how brutally the Mormons fought against slavery. Today we would call their actions back then terroristic.

Hell on Wheels pic

The Stranger in My Recliner will be sent off to the publisher next week. I cannot wait to share Sophie’s story with everyone. Wish me luck!

Did you know November is National caregivers month? I had no idea.

I am going to make a real effort to get the bulk of my Christmas and other Holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving. I hope I am not paving the road to Hell with my intentions. Have you started?


My favorite quote this week:

Fear does not stop death, it stops life! Isn’t that the truth?

Have a blessed weekend,



Realize Your Writing Dreams by Doreen McGettigan
The Stranger In My Recliner by Doreen McGettigan
Book - Bristol Boyz Stomp by Doreen McGettigan
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