Category Archives: Guest Blog Post

Is Your Fiction Novel Getting the Attention It Deserves?

Adapted from an article by Marsha Friedman

Many new fiction authors are surprised to discover that 1) They have to work just as hard promoting their book as they did to write it, and 2) Getting media attention for works of fiction is really hard!

Most journalists and talk show hosts just don’t seem interested in fiction. Even when the author has great testimonials from people who’ve read their book. And even when the topic is profoundly compelling.

But you can get great publicity – and that’s not a fictitious tale!

Novelists are among the most under-served groups in terms of needing marketing help. One big problem is that many authors, and even marketers, strive only for publicity that overtly promotes the book, such as reviews, articles describing the plot and characters, and author Q-and-A’s about “why I wrote it.” That’s fine for journalists, show hosts and bloggers who specialize in writing and talking about books, but the rest will tell you, “Buy an ad!”

While the media may not be interested in the books – you can get them interested in the author. They’re always in need of expert sources to address topical news, trends and issues. Authors often do extensive research on a topic, place or character to make their novels more plausible. That becomes an area of expertise.

Their novel may be loosely based on their own experiences: growing up during the Depression, teaching in an urban school, traveling to foreign countries. That certainly makes them qualified to offer opinions on those topics or issues related to them.

Often, the themes in a novel reflect the lessons or morals the author feels are important to share. It may be that redemption is possible for any wrongdoers; that sacrifice brings rewards; that conforming to societal expectations is not necessarily a good thing

These themes underlie daily news stories, as well. Fiction authors can add depth and context to events and issues by identifying the underlying themes and expanding on them.

How will talking about something related to your book provide the publicity you need?

It gives both you and your book exposure. When quoted by journalists or interviewed on a talk show segment, you’re “Pamela Samuels Young, author of Anybody’s Daughter.” Your website address may get printed, repeated on air or flashed on TV screens. You may even get asked a couple questions about your book, in addition to the newsworthy information you provide.

Second, being quoted by traditional media is marketing gold; it’s an implied endorsement of both you and your book. If you’re the person journalists and show hosts are turning to for insight and expertise, they must value what you have to say.

Thanks to the Internet, that publicity is now worth more than ever. Almost every print publication also publishes online, where articles are exposed to even more people and can live indefinitely. Post links to these on your website, as well as links to, or clips of, your radio and TV interviews, and they’ll continue to give that credibility that makes you stand apart.

Yes, for many fiction writers, getting exposure can be daunting. But it’s not impossible!

Consider the areas of expertise you’ve developed that are relevant to your book; be willing to share that expertise, and focus more on exposure than overt book promotion, and a whole new world will open up to you.
And that’s no fantasy.

What kind of media coverage have you been able to get for your Fiction novel? What topics did you focus the discussion on?


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Ellechor Media Founder/CEO Two-Time 2014 Stiletto Women In Business Award Finalist

I received some great news this week that I’d love to officially share! Check out the press release below:

Rochelle Carter, Author and Founder/CEO of Ellechor Media LLC has received national recognition for her leadership and professional achievements as a finalist in both the Entrepreneur Of The Year (Creative Arts & Media) and Business On The Rise categories of the 2014 Stiletto Women In Business Award (SWIBA) competition. The Stiletto Woman Awards program honors “women solopreneurs, micro business owners and independent professionals” and is sponsored by Stiletto Woman Media, a FORBES ranked leadership-centric lifestyle improvement company for modern working business women.

Finalists, selected from hundreds of nominations, were judged by an advisory board on four primary criteria: creative and innovative execution of ideas and brand communication; professional leadership, ethics and character; the candidate’s positive impact on women and community; and degree of professionalism combined with family and work life ideology.

Carter established Ellechor Media in 2009, which has since expanded to include three Christian imprints, as well as two online communities. The company reflects both the traditional publishing model and trends in digital and self-publishing, succeeding by having established a foundation based on innovation, communication and empowerment of authors.

A new release from Carter, The 7-Step Guide to Authorpreneurship (EverFaith Press, May 17, 2014) reflects her commitment to help others succeed. The book is a comprehensive career guide for aspiring and published authors, providing not only the who and what necessary to succeed in the ever-evolving publishing industry but also the how, when and why.

Carter is an active professional in the publishing industry, as well as her local community. She is a board member of both Women Entrepreneurs of Oregon and Portland’s first Leadership and Entrepreneurship Public Charter High School. She lives in Portland with her husband and two children.

SWIBA winners will be announced at the Stiletto Thrive Womenpreneur Lifestyle Conference being held on June 7, 2014, in Columbus. Ohio.

For more information about Ellechor Media LLC, visit


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Market Your Book in Ten Minutes: Create an Amazon “So You’d Like to…” Guide

Uncovering new ways to use Amazon to market and sell books is a hobby of mine.  The Amazon “So You’d Like to…Guides” are an incredible find for an author looking to go the extra mile to market their book.  Yes, it’s the simple things in life that make me happy.  Would you like to learn how to use this cool Amazon gizmo to help to market and promote your book?

What in the world is a “So You’d Like to…Guide” on Amazon?

I have yet to find one author who even knows anything about this Amazon feature, let alone that it exists at all.  As far as I’m concerned it is a little piece of paradise.  “So You’d Like to…Guides” are pages that you can build that are completely focused on topics of your own interest.  If you’re passionate about it…you can build a guide.

Why is this so cool for an author?

You control your own destiny with an online guide.  Are you chef that specializes in French cuisine?  Why not build a “So You’d Like to Know about French Cuisine on a Budget Guide.”  You name it.  You can design the guide around your book topic, genre or specialty.

You get to write your own content about your subject matter and within that content, mention the products (i.e. your book) for sale on Amazon.  Does it get any better than that?

If we’re sticking with our example subject of French cooking, your approach would be to pull together a list of the best books, DVDs and kitchen products that Amazon has for sale that are tied to French cooking.  You build your guide with your book and subject matter in mind.  It’s as simple as entering in the products 10-digit Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) or 13-digit International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for books.  Amazon’s online technology will do the rest to build the page and then you publish it.  One final thing, you do need to write some engaging marketing copy about your subject and drizzle it with mentions of your products.  You’re an expert on your topic so this should be a breeze.

How to create a super-fabulous guide that will help to promote your book…

  1. Pick your subject topic.  This is your starting point and it should be tied to your book.  Whether you write fiction or non-fiction you can create a guide that focuses on your niche.  Think outside the box and keep in mind what people will be looking for and why they would be coming to Amazon to find content that will drive them to find your book and supporting products.
  2. Research other guides to ensure you’re not duplicating what is already published.  Do I need to say more? J  Okay, I will.  If there are other guides on your subject that is fine, clearly there is an audience for topic.  Focus on a different angle and make your guide better than what is already out there. Fill in the gaps that the other guides are not addressing.
  3. Use a catchy title.  Be direct and to the point, with a twist of marketing genius.  Your title will draw your readers in.  Get them in the door.
  4. Focus on the subject and then market your book.  Let the subject of the guide be the belle of the ball.  Your book is the supporting feature.  You’re also the author and the expert on the subject…that is a huge benefit.
  5. Have fun with it!  This is an opportunity to be creative.  The success of your guide will be a success if you use your expertise and let your passion shine through.

To get started on your “So You’d Like to…Guide” on Amazon, click here to go directly to Amazon.

Please post the link to your “So You’d Like to…Guide” on Amazon below.  I would love to see what you have designed.  Is this is the first you’ve heard about this Amazon feature?  Just curious…


Authorpreneurs: Attract Business and Book Sales with Bylined Articles

If your goal is to sell books, attract new business or raise your profile as an expert in your field, then bylined articles are a great way to reach your target audience with a controlled message showcasing your expertise.

First, what is a bylined article? It is an article, written by you, and published in a magazine, newspaper, or online outlet. Full credit is given to you as the author, with a blurb about you, your book, and your business–ideally with a photo, an image of your book cover, and links to your website and book’s Amazon page.

Placement of your article gives you credibility, continues to establish you as a leader and expert in your field, differentiates you from your competitors, and sparks book sales. Articles may also open new opportunities for you, including regular article submissions, expert commentary, consulting projects, speaking engagements, and new business opportunities. All of these have happened for our clients, including one business author who shared that he received more than $500,000 in new business and drove his book to the bestseller list as a direct result of just a few months of this type of media exposure, primarily in targeted industry trade publications. Another author had his bylined article featured as a full page article in TIME Magazine, which opened many doors for him, his book, and his consulting business.

Here are some tips for writing a bylined article to increase your chance for placement:

1. Pick a topic offering valuable information to your target audience. The article cannot be about how great you are or how wonderful your book is. Although that might be the case, you need to select a topic related to your book and expertise that will inform, educate, or inspire readers. Giving solid content that addresses your audience’s concerns is key. The goal is to give readers meaningful information through your insights, experience, and advice and to entice them to want to learn more about you and your book.

Here are examples:

  • Business relationship author wrote an article on tips to remember people’s names. Target audience—sales managers.
  • TIME Magazine featured an author who wrote this article: Don’t Become Irreplaceable—have a plan to successfully sell your business. Target audience—small business owners.
  • A successful female CEO and author wrote this article: Women You’re Unique. You Lead Differently from Men, and that’s a Good Thing—Especially in the World of Business! Target audience—women starting their careers.

2. Include lessons learned/case studies. Showcase your expertise by including case studies where there was a real-life challenge and how your advice resulted in a positive solution. Readers will learn from the lesson and you will shine as an authority. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Look at the chapters in your book and isolate one point to write about. Again, the goal is to entice people to learn more about you.

3. Know your media outlet. If you have a particular magazine, blog, or online site in mind, read the type and style of bylined articles they publish. If your relationship self-help book can be useful to teens, women, and newly divorced women, write an article specific to one audience. Don’t make it generic. If your entrepreneurial book can be of use to a specific industry, write an article just for them—the family restaurant, a graphic design freelancer, a financial planner, etc.

4. Choosing the right article headline. Again, look through your favorite magazine or online sites for article headlines that grab your attention. Use active, not passive words. Highlight benefits, not features. Examples of weak and strong headlines:
Fabulous Diet Tip that Makes a Difference!
or better ….
5 Ways to Visibly Reduce Body Fat in 30 Days

Use Back Up Storage Drive With 1TB of Memory
or better …
Never Lose Another Computer File Again

Investing Your Money For the Future
or better …
10 Painless Ways to Save NOW for Your Preschooler’s College Education
5. Know the length of an article. A good rule of thumb for the length of an article is between 700 and 1,200 words. If you have a specific outlet in mind, check submission guidelines for the outlet.

6. Contacting the right media and determining exclusivity. First, while national media exposure and big name media features are always welcomed, many authors find more value with coverage in small, trade publications that reach their exact target audience. Some outlets want exclusivity–to be the only place featuring your article–and will ask if your content has been published elsewhere. Therefore, contact (emailing the editor is the best place to start) your “home run” outlets first with your article and your bio. Some media outlets will still accept an article if has already been published as long as it’s a good fit for their readers. Offer to write an exclusive article (especially on your high-priority outlets) and brainstorm ideas that fit their needs and editorial calendar. Often you don’t have to rewrite an entire article to make it exclusive or fitting for the target audience. Once you have one article placed, contact the publication again offering more topics for new articles.
7. Using your published article. Once published, showcase your articles as part of your resume, in your brochures, as handouts in your presentations, on your website, etc. Published articles give you credibility—be sure to include tag lines such as “featured on,” or “as featured in TIME Magazine.” Plus, online articles never go away and will turn up when people search for you online.

Although bylined articles take care and thought in creating, the benefits of showcasing your book and expertise are priceless.

Sandra Poirier-Diaz is president of Smith Publicity, one of the premier book publicity and book marketing firms in the industry. Since 1997, Smith Publicity has implemented more than 1,600 promotional campaigns. For more information please or


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You’ve Written the Book—Now Get Paid to Speak

It’s long been said in the speaking profession that if you want to solidly establish your credibility as a professional speaker, you should write a book! In this business, having a book is like having an oversized business card; it tells others what you know and how good your information is, and it establishes your professional image. Once you have the book and have marketed it appropriately (and incessantly), you may be invited to do paid speaking engagements. But how does that happen? Here are three quick and easy tips to help you out.

1. Make sure your book and your topic are engaging
It’s great to have a story and expertise in an area—but make sure your content has value in the marketplace. I have met incredible storytellers over the course of my career, and many of them tried to make the transition to getting paid to speak. What they didn’t realize was that while their story was entertaining at a cocktail party, it didn’t translate to a presentation in front of a paying audience. When writing your book and your speech, ask yourself: Why would someone pay me for this information and these stories? Will it further their business, motivate their employees, or give them new and unique skills and techniques? And how can I customize it to speak specifically to this audience? The days of a one-size-fits-all speech are gone—those hiring speakers want you to tailor your expertise and information to their audience. If you don’t, they will likely move on to select someone else.

2. Speak, Speak, Speak
The best way to book more speeches is to . . . speak more often! When you are developing your message, and even once you have it refined, you need to practice, practice, practice. Do it in front of a live audience as often as you can, even if they aren’t paying you. You’ll learn something every single time you practice live, and if you can video record it you’ll learn even more when you go back and review the footage.

3. Free to Fee
You will likely have to speak for free quite a few times as you establish your credibility and following, but once you have your message refined, it’s time to find audiences that not only want to hear what you have to say but are also in a position to hire you to say it. Find Rotary Clubs, chambers of commerce, and other associations and volunteer to speak for them—you never know who will come up afterwards and ask what your fee is to make that same presentation to their company or group. At that point, you can negotiate based on the budget they have available until you establish demand for your speech and can attract higher-fee engagements.

Speaking is a business, and as any in other business it takes a lot of time and effort to establish yourself. Many get into speaking wanting to be an overnight success, but that rarely happens. Create your plan and work it—and I look forward to seeing you on the platform!


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Use “Beats” to Bring Your Dialogue to Life

I’ve talked about using dialogue to bring characters to life. Today I’d like to discuss the importance of using beats.

A “beat” is a description of the physical action a character makes while speaking,and good beats can bring your characters to life and make your dialogue pop right off the page.

Beats can also help you show your readers instead of telling them. (Misuse of show, not tell is a common mistake many first-time authors make. Remember that readers don’t like to be told what to think!)

Here are three examples of the power of a good beat.

Which of the following sentences make you feel more connected to what is happening?


A) “I told you, I’m not going!” John shouted, furious.

B) John slammed his fist on the table, his nostrils flaring. “I told you, I’m not going!”

John is clearly angry. But in example A, we know this because we are told so. In example B, we know this because we are shown it.


A) “You’re really not going?” Karen said, incredulous.

B) Karen’s jaw dropped. “You’re really not going?”

Karen is incredulous, but why do we know this? Do you see the difference between A and B? In A, we’re told what to think, and in B, we’re left to decide on our own what to think.


A) “No, because I can’t be with you after what you did,” John said with disdain.

B) John slowly shook his head, still glaring at her. “No, because I can’t be with you after what you did.”

Which of these do you think better shows the reader what’s happening?

Well-placed beats make your writing richer, fuller, and better. And good writing, like good teaching, engages your readers and lets them draw their own conclusions.

This blog post originally appeared on Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.


Maria Murnane, best-selling author of the Waverly books, novels for anyone who has ever run into an ex looking like crap.


Use Dialogue To Bring Your Characters To Life

First-time novelists often have trouble with dialogue. A common problem is that the characters all sound the same, so the readers have a hard time telling them apart. As a result, the readers get confused, annoyed, distracted, or all of the above – none of which you want to happen.

If you want your readers to become invested in your characters, you need to bring those characters to life – and dialogue presents a wonderful opportunity to do just that! So when your characters speak, have them make an impression. Are they sarcastic? Jaded? Bitter? Happy? Sad? Pessimistic? Optimistic? Loyal? Funny? Do they use their hands a lot when they speak? Do they lower their voice when they gossip? Do they chew gum? Do they have a particular gesture or body tic that gives away what they’re feeling?

You may have heard the expression “show, don’t tell,” and this is a great example of that. Don’t tell us what the characters are like, let them show us.

Think about the people in your life who are closest to you. I’m guessing you can often tell what they’re feeling just by their body language. If you can put that level of perception into your dialogue, your readers will come to see your characters as real people, not just words on a page. And if you do this well, eventually you’ll be able to write a line and either think to yourself, “This soundsjust like something Sally Smith would say or do,” or “Sally Smith would never say or do such a thing,” in which case, delete and try again.

When the characters begin speaking to you, they begin to take on a life of their own, and the story starts to write itself. And when that happens, you’re on your way to producing a great novel.


Tips To Run The Optimal Goodreads Giveaway

How to run an effective Goodreads giveaway

Many authors claim that when it comes to social media, staying active on Goodreads is even more important than maintaining a presence on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Why is Goodreads so important? Because that’s where avid readers are hanging out already, discussing books, leaving reviews, and making reading recommendations.

One of the best ways to encourage advance reviews for your newest book, build a buzz, and turn those avid readers into fans of your own writing is to host a Goodreads giveaway.

The Goodreads giveaway process is pretty simple:

1) you decide how many books you want to give away (they must be physical books, no eBooks)

2) you set a duration for how long the giveaway should run

3) Goodreads users can sign up to win a free book

4) Goodreads sends you the info for the winner/s so you can mail them your book

According to Goodreads’ site, over 40k users are entering giveaways every single day with an average of 825 people entering per giveaway. That’s a lot of exposure for you and your book.

To make the most out of your giveaway, Goodreads recommends that you:

* Start early — at least 1 month before official publication (3-6 months would be better) — in order to increase your chances of advance press.

* run the giveaway for a month to maximize signups.

* give away at least 10 books, since the more you give away the better your chances of getting early reviews (though it’s worth noting here that Goodreads doesn’t remove negative reviews — so you’ll have to be brave and live with whatever criticism or praise comes your way).

* use Goodreads’ giveaway widget on your blog to increase entries.

* do multiple giveaways — one or two pre-release, and one upon the official on-sale date of your book.

A slightly different take on Goodreads giveaways from an author who saw results

Author Emlyn Chand ran a number of Goodreads giveaways for her book. After analyzing the data, she offers a number of great tips to help you maximize the power of each Goodreads giveaway:

1. You only need to offer one copy. The additional copies don’t really add to the allure, but they do add to your postage tally. If you have many copies to offer, I suggest running additional giveaways rather than offering all of them at once.

2. Let readers know you’ll be providing an autographed copy. They love that. In fact, I include the words “AUTOGRAPHED COPY” in all caps at the very top of the giveaway description box. Similarly, if your giveaway is for an ARC (Advance Readers’ Copy), say so. Readers love to have the first look at new titles.

3. End your giveaway on a non-popular date. In my lovely table, you’ll notice that the average copies added drops off steeply somewhere in the middle of my experimentation. That was because I was ending giveaways on very popular days (around Christmas time). On the giveaway list, there were several pages of giveaways ending on one specific day, which means mine never got to the top of the list and didn’t garner much attention. Scroll through the list of giveaways and find a date where you will have minimal competition and maximum exposure.

4. More countries = more exposure. I’ve made it a point to offer my giveaways for all the countries listed and not just the US. More often than not, a US user wins anyway (since they are the most populous on the site). Still, when an international person wins, I pony up the $16.95 for postage and honor my commitment. There aren’t as many giveaways for international users, and I know they appreciate being included!

5. Make your giveaway description compelling. It’s all too easy to simply copy-paste your back cover synopsis into the giveaway description box. Don’t! Through trial and error, I found that review blurbs work best here. Also note any awards you may have won. If readers want a synopsis, they can easily click over to your book listing on GoodReads to learn about it. I’ve pasted the giveaway description that works best for my book to give you an idea.

6. Reach out to winners. When your giveaway ends, GoodReads will send you a notification and a link to click to view the winner’s name and address. You can also click on the winner’s name to visit his/her GoodReads profile. I like to send a message congratulating them for the win and telling them when the copy will be mailed out.

7. Send books promptly. I can’t stress this enough. I’ve seen many GoodReads users flag a book as one-star with a review saying “never received this book that I won from a giveaway.” That’s such a shame. It’s so exciting to readers when they win. Deliver on your commitment, and send the book as quickly as you can.

8. Pulse your giveaway lengths. GoodReads recommends running giveaways for 2 weeks, I don’t. A short giveaway can be a powerful thing. GoodReads organizes their giveaway listings by those that have recently begun, those that will be ending soon, those that are most requested, and those by popular authors. If you run a giveaway for only 2 days, you’ll likely be listed on both the newly listed and ending soon pages for the duration or your giveaway. That is awesome exposure! Readers can search by genre, but it’s far easier to just browse. By alternating longer and shorter giveaways, you can balance cost with impact. Many short giveaways in a row may lose their potency.

9. Schedule your giveaways to start in the future. Don’t set-up the giveaway and click for it to start immediately. GoodReads goes through an approval process which can take a couple days. If they approve your giveaway midday, you will be lumped with the authors who also scheduled theirs to start at the beginning of the day, and you will spend less time in the recently listed section. I usually schedule mine to start 3 business days later, so that I know it will be ready. NOTE: GoodReads does not work on weekends, so listing a giveaway on Thursday or Friday could be a bad idea!

10. Book covers count. Back cover copy counts. The better each of these is, the better your giveaway will do. Seriously, go look at the giveaways that are ending soon. Compare the number of copies requested for books with beautiful covers to those with meh covers. There’s a very clear correlation between attractiveness of cover and number of copies requested (consider copies requested a proxy measure for the desirability of your book and therefore people’s likelihood to purchase).

11. How to become a “Popular Author.” I was lucky enough to befriend a member of the GoodReads staff, and now she lets me ask her all my questions. The first and most pressing thing I wanted to know was:  How does an author become “popular?” The answer is simple. More reviews = higher popularity. This is across all titles, so an author with many books out has a better chance of becoming popular. The more popular you are, the more prominently your giveaway will be listed. Right now, I’m on page 4-6 of the popular author section, which isn’t too bad. Always looking to improve! Another reason to find readers to review your book and to cross-post those reviews on GoodReads.

So there you have it. I hope this will help many of you find new readers and gain exposure on the most happenin’ book site on the web.


How to Plan Your Stay-at-Home Writing Retreat

[This post was written by Beth Barany, author The Writer’s Adventure Guide: 12 Stages to Writing Your Book.]

We all want to get our writing done. A writer writes, after all. But what to do when you have a busy life, a full-time job, family, and necessary obligations like health, and oh, sleep? One way to handle getting your writing done is to set up your very own Stay-at-Home Writing Retreat. In fact, because I’m publishing my second novel soon, I go on a writing retreat just about every Friday and Saturday. You can do something similar.

Create your own stay-at-home writing retreat.

What: Typically, writing retreats involve going away, far from everyday obligations, and focusing solely on your writing. Retreats can vary in length, anything from a few days to a few months, like a summer. In this article I focus on creating your own writing retreat at home (or in your hometown).

Why: Writing retreats are great for getting away from it all. You get a chance to step aside from everyday obligations and give yourself the gift of total focus to get your writing done. If you want to can also surround yourself with other supportive folks, like teachers and/or fellow writers. In the case of your Stay-at-Home Writing Retreat, you won’t have to bother with expensive travel, the time of that expensive travel, and bed bugs.

How: here are my 6 essential tips for your very own Stay-at-Home Writing Retreat…

1. Set reasonable goals for yourself to manage your own expectations.

If you’ve never written all day, then don’t expect you’ll be able to do that on your writing retreat. If on the other hand, you’ve been able to write for 1-hour stints, then during your retreat, with no other responsibilities, you could perhaps do two to three 1-hour stints.

2. Make it fun.

Go to a location that you love, be it the local cafe, diner, restaurant, or your home office, living room, or dining table. One time my husband and I cafe-hopped down College Ave. in Oakland, and even stopped off at the Rockridge Library, and several yummy cafes.

3. Use time limits.

Set the timer to complete in chunks that feel reasonable to you. I love 20-minute timed writing sessions for journal writing or character sketches. And since I like writing in 1-hour chunks, I set the timer to write prose for an hour. I also set the timer so that I will be sure to get up and walk around, take a water fluid adjustment break, or in the case of our College Ave hop, to move to a new location.

4. Congratulate/reward yourself.

All work and no play makes Jane an unhappy girl, to riff off of a saying (“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”) In our College Ave. Writing retreat, we rewarded ourselves with a break at the chocolate cafe, Bittersweet, on College Ave.

5. Plan your Stay-at-Home Writer’s Retreat in advance so that you can rearrange your other commitments and plan for your success.

Some of the things I do to plan ahead is I set reasonable, realistic goals for myself. (See #1) So for example last weekend, I decided I’d spend at least 1 hour inputting edits. On other days, I’ve also given myself word-count goals. This helps me know when I’ve hit my goals, which is so very important, so that I can congratulate and reward myself: chocolate! (See #4)

6. Tell your accountability-partners, supporters, and fans.

When you plan to do something new, it can help to tell the important supportive people in your life what you’re planning on doing. Use your social media network to share your intention, progress, and success. Telling your supportive community helps you follow through—social pressure, and all that—but it also allows people to support you, and congratulate you, and celebrate with you. (Yep, See #4 again)

That’s my take on the essential tips for a supportive and successful Stay-at-Home Writing Retreat. What are your tips? Please chime in and share them in the comments below.


Beth Barany is a bestselling author of The Writer’s Adventure Guide, and helps authors write, publish, and market their books through her creativity coaching practice. Sign up for her free Writer’s Motivation Mini-Course at her site:


The Authorpreneur and the “Amateur” Book Reviewer/ Blogger

Much has changed in the old fortress of publishing over the past twenty years (since the rise of the Internet and self-publishing).

However, the biggest change we’ve seen in publishing isn’t the rise of eBooks, the evolution of self-publishing, or Amazon’s domination over traditional booksellers. It’s the fact that–regardless of where or how an author is published–the author has really become the book’s most reliable sales rep, marketing manager, publicity department, etc. Publishing nowadays requires AUTHORS to be the product, and the book sells based on how well the author performs. Every author needs to be active in both grassroots and large-scale marketing campaigns. is one of the most popular contemporary social media sites, and it’s centered solely around the amateur reviewer. The value of Amazon customer reviews is enormous nowadays, not only to convince readers to pick up the book but to secure other publicity and notice.

On that note, “amateur” review bloggers (I say amateur, but these professional bloggers are really anything but amateur!) are getting more and more attention and respect among individual readers, booksellers, and industry professionals and publications. The best part is that most of them are responding to the fact that most authors are their own sales reps, marketing managers, and publicity departments, so the need for an “official” publicist isn’t exactly necessary for securing high-profile reviews from successful self-made book reviewers. Below is a list of the best “amateur” review bloggers we know of! If you’re a reader, check them out to find out what’s new. If you’re an author, drop them a line!

1) Bookslut

2) Becky’s Book Reviews

3) books i done read

4) Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog

5) The New Book Review

6) A Book and a Review

7) Shelf Love

8) Bibliophile Stalker

9) The Book Nest

10) The Overweight Bookshelf

11) A Geek At Heart

12) Reading for Sanity

13) Books on the Knob

14) The Book Smugglers

15) The Literary Saloon

16) Omnivoracious

17) The Bookshop Blog

18) Read React Review

19) Bookroom Reviews

20) Booking Mama


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