Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sarah Ballance: Down in Flames - Hot new release!

Sarah Ballance lives a charmed life as the mother of six incredible homeschooled children, all of whom are completely adorable when they're asleep. Her husband of many years (long, long years, he calls them) is the kind of guy who could teach those heroes from the books a thing or two about romance, not that he'd readily admit it. Completely supportive of her newfound love of writing fiction, he's generously offered to help with any necessary research for "the good parts." She's never had to ask twice.

The whole boisterous lot of them live within boating distance of the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina, suspiciously close to the setting of Sarah’s second novel – a romantic suspense which gives a whole new meaning to the idea of escaping to the beach.

She joins us today to announce the exciting news of her new release, Down in Flames!

What inspired you to start writing fiction?


After writing little more than a grocery list throughout my entire adult life, I jumped into freelancing on a blind whim. I ended up making quite a bit of money through contract clients and scored a couple of national print credits to boot. One of my friends then suggested I write a novel, to which I replied “I can’t do that.” It’s one thing to write nonfiction … it can be impersonal. Fiction dives into the heart and mind of the writer and leaves pieces of the author’s soul on the page. As THE introvert, just the thought of putting myself out there like that scared me. But at the same time, I don’t like being told I can’t do anything – not even by ME – so I gave it a shot. Almost exactly a year after I typed the first words of Down in Flames, Noble Romance Publishing released it. I’m still an introvert, but I’m hooked!

As a homeschooling mom of 6, how do you find time to write? Have you created a schedule or do you work better when life is flexible?

In theory, I get up around five in the morning and spend four blissful, uninterrupted hours writing. In reality, 7:00 a.m. hits me like a boulder to the forehead and I wake up feeling totally behind and frazzled, which is a lousy way to start the day. I do my best writing in the morning, though, so it’s my goal to write early. The kids sleep in and begin their day around nine or ten and from there I’m in mom mode. I usually don’t get another chance to write until after dinner. I think overall our schedule IS “flexible,” LOL!


How did you decide on Noble for a publisher?

I did my research on a few publishers and found the buzz on Noble to be fantastic. No one had anything negative to say about them, I noticed many of their authors repeated, and the covers are stunning. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but covers do sell books! I didn’t think for a moment they’d accept my story, but they were definitely my top choice. And my experience has far exceeded any expectations I managed to form through the shock of the contract offer. The Noble team is friendly, professional, and both supportive of and available to their authors. I’m so blessed to have wandered through their front door with my homeless manuscript!

Promotion is such a big part of being an author. What are you doing to advertise Down in Flames?

This is something I’m still experimenting with. I’ve been fortunate with the number of blog interviews I’ve been offered, and eventually I worked up enough nerve to do a couple of guest blogs (to a fantastic response!). My focus now, aside of writing more books, is to get my name out there. Pretending to be an extrovert is tough at times, LOL, but the friends and connections I’ve made are amazing. And I’ve been told my book cover has been seen “all over the place” by more than one of these friends and readers, so I feel as if my small steps are good ones. The biggest response thus far has been in site hits originating from my paid ad, but it’s too soon to know if those hits will translate to sales.

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

Thanks so much for hanging out and reading through to the end! To check out the latest news, read my favorite excerpt from Down in Flames, or take a peek at my news archives – including two guest blogs readers loved – please visit my website at SarahBallance.com. All of my contact info is on the home page, so if you’d like to connect that’s the place to go to make it happen!

Sarah, thank you for visiting us at Writers in Business. We wish you all the best with your new book, Down in Flames.

Sarah can be reached at Down in Flames @ Noble Romance, Blog and Facebook.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam. a New York City-based journalist, is the author of Grindhopping: Build a Rewarding Career without Paying Your Dues (McGraw-Hill, 2007), which the New York Post selected as one of four notable career books of 2007. She is a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors, and her work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, City Journal, Scientific American, Reader’s Digest, Reason, and other publications. A 2001 graduate of Princeton, she enjoys writing fiction, running, and singing soprano with the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus. She lives with her husband and two young boys.

Laura’s newest book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, was released in May of 2010. Her book received promotion from Redbook (June 2010), and Parenting Magazine (July 2010). In addition, Laura has appeared on The Today Show and Fox News.

We are thrilled to welcome Laura to Writers in Business!

First, can you tell us why we should think of our time as 168 hours?


It's what you get when you multiply 24 by 7 -- there are 168 hours in a week!Thinking in terms of 168 hours gives us a more complete picture of our time. In any given day, we might not achieve the right balance. We might have to work late, or we might be late to work because the kids miss the bus. When we get caught up in looking at 24-hour blocks, we don't see spaces in our schedules. But looking at the whole 168 hours opens up a lot more possibilities. So you can't exercise every day. But if you can get up early twice during the workweek to run for 30 minutes, and then run twice on weekends, you can make real progress.
Why do you say people have more time than we think?

Some of this is just math. There are 168 hours in a week. If you work 40 and sleep 8 hours a night (56 per week) this leaves 72 hours for other things. If you work 50, this leaves 62. This is still a lot of time! In 62 hours, you can probably find 4 to exercise, 3 to volunteer, and still have time for your family and your hobbies.

That’s a good point! I’ve never looked at time that way before. Any tips to help readers get started?

Try keeping a time log. If you've ever tried to lose weight, you know that nutritionists tell you to write down what you're eating, to keep you accountable. It's the same with time. Write down what you're doing as often as you remember (you can download a spreadsheet at Time Management Spreadsheet). Think of yourself like a lawyer billing your time to different projects. At the end of the week, add it up and see if it reflects you're priorities. If not, ask what you'd like to be doing with your 168 hours, and see what you can change.

In this demanding 24/7 world, we can all use some extra time. Laura offers a treasure trove of useful information on her blog: My 168 Hours and you can order her book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders and many other bookstores.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pat Hauldren Editor and Writer Extraordinaire


Pat Hauldren, known to her friends as Alley, joins us today from Grand Prairie, Texas. She is a talented freelance writer, editor and writing teacher who wears many hats.

Through her web site AlleyPat.com , Alley offers a variety of services including full line-by-line editing, proofreading, transcription, newsletter writing and design, ghostwriting and customized social media planning. She can also design web sites and create content for them.

She is currently copyeditor at Cyberwizard Publications, editor for the newsletter of a local chapter of RWA, and freelance writer for the Examiner.com.

- What is your favorite genre?


My favorite genre is science fiction and fantasy, or as we are calling it now, speculative fiction. My first SF was unintentional. In grade school, we lived in a small town in the piney woods of East Texas. Small town meant small library, which meant, small selection of books. At the time, I was reading horse stories (you know, Flicka and all that.), but one Friday afternoon, before catching the bus for the hour ride home, I grabbed several books I assumed to be the ones I wanted. Well, I did want them, after the fact. I had selected several Heinlein’s young adult books like Have Space Suit, Will Travel & Starship Troopers. Speculative fiction has been an addiction ever since.

- Can you tell us about your new position as writer for the Sy Fy Channel at the Examiner?

I write Speculative Fiction and call myself a Mythologist because when I world-build, I have to create the legends and myths of my world. Even when writing contemporary fantasy, I delve into human history, legends, myths, and fables to weed out those intriguing nuggets that suggest gem of possibilities for a fantastical world or culture.

Please visit me at the Sy Fy Channel Examiner -- SyFy Channel read more about my world.

As if all this wasn’t keeping her busy, Alley writes for other channels at the Examiner including:

Fort Worth Writing Examiner
Fort Worth Hockey Examiner
Dallas Speculative Fiction Examiner
Dallas Women's Sports Examiner

Where can writers go online to learn more about writing and editing?


I have created, organized, and moderate several online and live writers’ workshops. Some of the online workshops are:
• DFW_Authors ~ for writers in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas
• NTRWA ~ for members of the North Texas Speculative Fiction Workshop
• SFF_Writers ~ for Science Fiction & Fantasy writers world-wide
• SFF_Texas ~ for Science Fiction & Fantasy writers in the Texas area
• Texas-Writers ~ information and networking for Texas area writers, editors, agents, publishers
• Texas Writers Classifieds ~ writers resources including freelance writing & editing jobs, publishing & marketing news, special events, booksignings, workshops, writing contests, and seminars.
• Writing & Publishing ~ for writers, editors, agents, & publishers all around the world.

Alley, you are one busy woman! I’ve enjoyed learning more about you and your writing. Having just subscribed to your SyFy channel, I’m looking forward to reading your creative writing as well.

Readers can contact Alley at EditAlley@gmail.com , Google Voice: 214.444.8916, Skype: Pat Hauldren and online at AlleyPat.com.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mystery Writer and Readers Choice Award Nominee John Desjarlais

A former producer with Wisconsin Public Radio, John Desjarlais teaches English at Kishwaukee College in northern Illinois. His first novel, The Throne of Tara (Crossway 1990, 2000), was a Christianity Today Readers Choice Award nominee, and his medieval crime novel Relics (Thomas Nelson 1993, 2009) was a Doubleday Book Club Selection.

Bleeder and Viper (Sophia Institute Press 2009 and forthcoming 2010, respectively) are the first two entries in a contemporary mystery series. A member of The Academy of American Poets and Mystery Writers of America, he is listed in Who's Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who Among America's Teachers.

John, Thank you for joining us today. It's exciting to interview such a prolific writer. With two books published, I'm eager to learn what you are working on next. Can you tell us about your latest books?


BLEEDER is a contemporary amateur-sleuth mystery where a stigmatic priest bleeds to death on Good Friday in front of horrified parishioners. A miracle? Or bloody murder? Aristotle professor Reed Stubblefield needs to find out, because police regard him as the prime ‘person of interest’ in the mysterious death. He applies Aristotle’s logic to get at the truth before he is arrested or killed by people who don’t want this mystery solved.

VIPER, the sequel due out this fall, features a minor character from BLEEDER as the protagonist. Latina insurance agent Selena De La Cruz learns that her name has been written in her parish church’s ‘Book of the Deceased’ on All Souls Day. The problem is, she’s not dead. But someone wants her to be.

These are interesting plots! I’m intrigued. How did you pick the genre you write in?

When I worked as a scriptwriter for a multimedia company in the 1980s, I produced a documentary on the history of Western Christianity and became fascinated by the Irish monastic movement. These artistic, scholarly monks saved civilization at a time when barbarians were burning their way through Europe. Saint Columba of Iona was especially interesting – a hot-headed warrior and poet with Second Sight who went to war over a disputed manuscript and, in remorse over the thousands slain, exiled himself among the Picts of Scotland where he dueled the druids, miracles versus magic. So his fictionalized biography, The Throne of Tara, was my first novel.

I learned about relics along the way and the rich trade in them (and battles over them) in the Middle Ages and that became the basis for book 2, Relics. I’d begun researching a third historical wherein Aristotle, the Father of Logic, would solve a crime. But I learned this had already been done (and well) by a British writer not long ago. So I fancied a classics professor who was familiar with Aristotle’s writing and who would apply Aristotelian logic to solving a crime that defied reason. That’s how BLEEDER began, a story of a stigmatic priest who bleeds to death on Good Friday. I always enjoyed reading mysteries and now I’m hooked on writing them.

It sounds like you enjoy the experience of researching topics and writing about them. Are there any parts of the writing process you find challenging?

You won't believe how many times you'll read your own book in the proofing process. You do want it to be perfect and avoid typos and such - but what tedious work.

Promotion and marketing are harder than writing the book, more time-consuming, and potentially a real hindrance to writing. 15 years ago, my publishers invested in my titles with advertising, solicitation of reviews and other things. We've all heard how little publishers are putting into marketing these days, backing only their top-sellers who don't need much publicity anyway. The business side of writing, the selling side, is a real challenge. There's always something you could be doing, and this can bite into the work you like most - writing.

How can my readers get in touch with you?

My email is jjdesjarlais@johndesjarlais.com – my web site is JohnDesjarlais.com – I look forward to hearing from your readers. Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you.

It’s been a pleasure to host you and to learn more about your books. Thank you for sharing your writing with us.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Great Books for Kids by author Kevin McNamee

Kevin McNamee joins us today at Writers in Business. He is a writer and poet living in Yonkers, NY. He primarily writes for the children’s market. He has several children’s picture books published including If I Could Be Anything, The Sister Exchange, and The Soggy Town of Hilltop. These books are available at Guardian Angel Publishing, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble or ask your local bookstore.


When Kevin isn’t writing, he spends his time playing hide and seek, at the insistence of his five year old daughter, and at his day job, at the insistence of his wife. When time permits, Kevin also enjoys fossil hunting, home-brewing beer, and gardening. He is currently engaged in an epic battle against roving gangs of crazed squirrels who are digging up everything in sight. Kevin notes that the squirrels are winning.

Welcome, Kevin. How do you define your writing?


I discovered writing for children by accident. I was watching my nieces fight and it gave me an idea for a sibling rivalry story. I thought it would be fun to write, and it was. There was no looking back.

There seems like an endless supply of topics to write about for children. What messages would you like to convey through your books?

I think that writing for children carries a lot of responsibility and it’s a challenge that I try to rise to. The world can be a confusing enough place as it is for adults, how much more so for children? If I can help children understand the world around them and help them make sense of various situations that effect them, that would be the most rewarding thing of all, for it would be something that they could carry with them long after they have put down my book.

What can we expect when we read one of your books for the first time?

I try to entertain, and whenever possible educate. I also try to incorporate humor into my work whenever possible. My goal is to write for everybody and to create stories that adults as well as children can enjoy.

Can you describe when you realized you were a real writer?

Somewhere along the way, I stopped doubting my ability. A rejection of my manuscript ceased to be a rejection of myself. A rejection letter became an opportunity to send my manuscript somewhere else. Comments and criticism became opportunities to strengthen my story, revise something unworkable, or something to ignore altogether if it didn’t fit with my vision of the story. I was able to refer to myself as a writer without feeling self conscious and … oh yeah, someone was willing to pay me for what I wrote.

How can we learn more about your writing?

To find out more about me, please visit my website at KevinMcNamee.com or my blog. I also have a new child-friendly site with games and activities at KevsChildrensBooks.com.

My daughter is now hooked on your new web site. The Word Jumble game is her favorite. It’s been a pleasure interviewing you and we are looking forward to reading your books. Thanks for joining us today.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Release, To Take Up the Sword, by Brynna Curry

Bethany Cagle joins us today to share the exciting news of her new release, To Take Up the Sword. This new book is written under her pen name of Brynna Curry. I've enjoyed reading your first book and am excited to learn more about this one.

Thank you for having me here. To Take Up the Sword is the second book in my Elemental Magic series and already receiving rave reviews.

5 Ravens from The Black Raven's Reviews
"To Take Up the Sword is excellent. There are paranormal elements and sexual elements but neither overpowers the plot. This is a good read with enough twists and turns that you'll be rereading it just to be sure you caught everything." Lea The Black Raven's Reviews

5 Diamonds from Got Romance Reviews
"I loved this book. It has everything: well-developed characters, strong emotions, obstacles galore, villains, and a complicated plot and all in a novella-length story. " Starla Kaye Got Romance Reviews

These are wonderful reviews. Tell us about the plot for To Take Up the Sword.

After the acquittal of Gueraldi's right hand and favored killer for hire, Ashton Smythe, Special Agent Gabriel Spiller takes time away from his work with the FBI. Having failed in his mission to avenge his lost would be lover, Serena Roarke, Gabe returns to Alabama in search of the missing diamonds needed to reopen the investigation and to lay low from the death threats he's received since Smythe went free.

Almost two years after her sister's death, Leannan O'Neal feels the loss of Serena more now than ever. A secret meeting between them before she died left Lea with an ugly figurine and nothing but questions. Hang-up calls at work and a trashed house reminds her of the card Serena gave her. "If you find yourself in trouble, go to him and only him" were the last words her sister spoke to her.

With Smthye out for revenge and hot on her heels, Lea goes on the run in search of Serena's 'Angel', but how long can Gabe keep her alive, and is the cost worth more than her life?


Wow... now I'm even more excited to delve into the book!
How can we order a copy?


By visiting Lyrical Press. The book is also available through Amazon and various book vendors online.

How many books are planned?

There are five books in the Elemental Magic series. For more on each book, visit my website.

Earth Enchanted Available now

To Take Up the Sword 9-6-10

Wait for the Wind 1-2011

Sea's Sorceress 4-2011

Fire's Ice 8-2011

How can readers contact you to learn more about your writing?

At my web site . I have a page titled "Brynna's Links" and from there you can visit all my online homes including Facebook and Twitter. There's also tons of info on the series, blurbs, excerpts and news. I'd love for you to visit me there and if you have a moment sign the guestbook or shoot me an email. I love to hear from my readers!

Thanks for allowing me to join you today!

I'm looking forward to reading To Take Up the Sword as well as the other books in the series. Thank you for joining us today at Writers in Business.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Win a free copy of The Fear Within by Shelby Patrick

Shelby Patrick, born and raised in southeastern Michigan, grew up watching classic horror movies of the great Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing. She turned her love of horror into the written word during her senior year in high school when she was introduced to her first writing class.

Since then Shelby has published two creative writing exercise books, Dark Recesses of the Mind and Forbidden Knowledge, as well as various articles throughout the Internet and created several e-books. She’s visiting us today at Writers in Business to announce the release of her newest publication, The Fear Within: A Short Story Collection.

Please tell us about your new book, The Fear Within.


The book contains twenty-five stories of the supernatural and alien encounters -- a romantic getaway that they can’t get away from, a virus that infects the cell phone network and only a small handful of people are uninfected while the rest of the world goes murderously insane, a prison with no bars, no walls, and no escape, dead things that don’t stay dead, a mysterious door in the basement that is to be kept locked at all times, and much more.

Where do you get your ideas?

From everywhere. I’m always in writing mode and it doesn’t take much to spark an idea. One of my stories was based on a paper route I had once; another found its title from a song I heard on the radio. It could be a conversation I overheard or a headline in the news that gives me ideas, and sometimes they just come from my dreams.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
When I was a kid, I loved to dream and I loved to read. I could play out whole scenes in my mind, like seeing a movie, in which I was the main character and I lived an exciting life. My imagination was my whole world. I didn’t realize how exciting it would turn out to be by penning my fantasies down, but when I was thrown into my first creative writing class, I knew what I was put on this Earth to do – write and share my minds-eye view of the worlds I created with readers. I’ve been writing ever since.

Where can readers go to learn more about your writing?

I have a website at ShelbyPatrick.com. You can join my mailing list, check out blurbs from my novels, get excerpts from my stories, or buy a signed copy of The Fear Within. I also have a blog at WritersHideaway.

I understand you are giving away free copies of The Fear Within.

Yes, I am offering a free signed copy of The Fear Within in a random drawing to anyone who comes and visits me at the following sites on my tour dates of August 29 –September 4, 2010. Please visit my Virtual Book Tour page to learn more.

We wish you all the best with your new book Shelby!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ace Web Content Makes Your Words Shine

Erum Zehra is the Head Writer for Ace Web Content and has an MBA with a major in Marketing. She has been running a web based consulting firm (BizTalk4U Consulting) for the last ten years and has written for many business websites.

Ten years of web writing experience has awarded her with the expertise required to excel in writing projects. She specializes in creating web content which is both visitor and search engine friendly.

Welcome Erum, Thank you for joining us today at Writers in Business. As writers, we know that having an online presence is essential to build our platform and generate sales. How does Ace Web Content help writers achieve this?


Writing is essential for promoting any business on the web. Writers have an edge in doing so as they are already skilled in writing. Ace Web Content advises them to proactively use their writing skills to enhance and promote their online business. Knowledge and understanding of web marketing is needed to use their writing skills in the most effective way for this purpose.

Along with writing content, I understand you also offer meta tag coding to make the web pages more visible to search engines. Can you share the importance of this with us? How does this improve our web site page rankings?

I just posted an article about this on my website:

How to Write Search Engine Friendly Meta Tags


What other services do you offer at Ace Web Content?

We offer Social media marketing, press release writing, SEO and web content writing.

Do you charge by the page or by the hour for projects?

Smaller projects are charged per page and bigger projects are charged by per hour. Estimates for projects can be requested by submitting our free quote form at Quote Form.

How can we reach you?

The fastest way is to submit the contact form on the website at
Contact Us.

Please visit Ace Web Content for your next project and consider them for search engine optimization.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Cutting Edge: New suspense thriller from Darcia Helle

Darcia Helle returns to announce the release of her new suspense title, The Cutting Edge.

Where did the idea for The Cutting Edge come from?

I was a hairstylist in a small town salon for about 15 years. A lot of crazy things happened there. The women I worked with and I were often equal parts psychologist and stylist. The things clients would tell us still amaze me! Working so closely with people - and their egos - could be difficult. And the small town atmosphere gave our clients the impression that they were allowed to pick apart our personal lives. I used to say that the craziness of our salon would make a great background for a novel. One day, Skye's character popped into my head and that salon was the perfect place for her.

How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer?

I always wrote, though, for some reason, I didn’t think of writing as a career option. When I was young, I would create elaborate fantasy worlds in my head, though I never thought of turning them into books. I actually wanted to be a psychologist but, while in college, decided I couldn't handle the responsibility of coaching people on how to live their lives. I wound up going to cosmetology school and working in my mother’s hair salon. I would write short stories for my kids when they were young and lots of poetry. Then one day, I sat down with an idea in my head that wouldn’t go away and that idea turned into my first book. I haven't stopped since.

How do you approach the blank page?

I don’t think I’ve ever had an issue with a blank page. My problem is that I tend to have too many pages at once that belong to too many different stories. I call it writers’ A.D.D. I’m very character-driven and these characters will pop into my head with a story to tell. Staying focused on one character’s story long enough to complete the novel (without distraction from other novels-in-progress) is my biggest problem. And it’s one that I have yet to master.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I'm married to my pen pal! During the first Gulf War, Michael (my husband) was serving in Bosnia and Kuwait. I had a client who was running a pen pal program for military members. This was before the Internet had taken over. I was divorced and loved to write, so she brought me a few names. Michael and I wrote for almost 4 years. We met shortly after he got out of the military and were married 6 months
later.

Please visit Darcia at Quiet Fury Books to learn more about The Cutting Edge and her other titles.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Create Visibility Before Getting Published: Build Your Platform by Karen Cioffi

Today we are joined by author and freelance writer, Karen Cioffi. She is a reviewer for BookPleasures.com and Muse Book Reviews, and co-moderator of a children’s critique group. Karen provides ghostwriting, editing, proofreading and critiques along with website and blogsite creation. She is our guest blogger today and shares her wisdom on the importance of building your platform.

Create Visibility Before Getting Published: Build Your Platform
By Karen Cioffi

The road to publication can be long and winding ... and filled with rejection. So, what do you do while you’re submitting your manuscript and waiting patiently? Okay, maybe not patiently, but waiting nonetheless.

That’s easy. And, it’s very important, create visibility. I don’t mean standing on the street corner singing at the top of your lungs, I mean creating an online presence that depicts who and what you are. In other words, you need to create your platform.

There are a number of writers who are reluctant to begin promoting themselves because they haven’t landed a publisher yet. Or, they’re still learning the craft. This mentality won’t cut it today. You need to begin that visibility.

First step in your platform journey is to create a blog using a blog site such as Blogger, or a website; either one is relatively simple to create, and can be free. Obviously, you will want to create your platform right from the beginning by posting to your blog with content that is in the genre you are writing.

Important Tip: Make the name of your site something that will grow with you, and your name should be part of the site name.

But wait a minute, let me backtrack. For those who aren’t sure what a platform is, it is a means to let readers know what your area of expertise is. Yes, I know, you might be shaking your head and thinking that you don’t have an area of expertise, but this is how you create it.

The next step in your journey is to create your platform and online visibility. Learn your craft and as you’re learning, write about what you learn. In other words, if your book is about cooking, blog about cooking—you will be creating your area of expertise.

Once you feel comfortable adding content to your blog, start writing articles and submitting them to article directories. Again, keep them focused on the area of expertise you are trying to create. You may not get paid for them, but they will establish an online presence. And, if your articles are beneficial or interesting to others, it will bring traffic to your site.

The publishing and marketing industry has changed. In today’s writing market publishing houses, big and small, expect you to:

1. Have and online presence (website or blog)
2. Have a platform
3. Have a following
4. Have the potential to increase that following
5. Have a marketing strategy
6. Be able to sell your book

Selling books is now a joint effort between the publishing house and the author. And, if you’re venturing into the self-publishing arena, promoting yourself is even more important. Don’t procrastinate. Start creating your online presence and platform today.

Karen Cioffi is an author and freelance writer. Stop by her site, Karen Cioffi (KarenCioffi.com), and sign up for the FREE monthly newsletter, A Writer’s World. It offers writing and marketing articles, tips and links, book reviews, resources and much more. While there, you can also pick up a free e-book about writing and/or marketing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Writer Janet Ann Collins

Janet Ann Collins is visiting us today from the beautiful Sierra foothills of Northern California. She is an award winning author of two fiction books, columnist for the Antique Auction Explorer, freelance writers, retired teacher and public speaker.

Please tell us about your books.

I have written two fiction books for children. The Peril of the Sinister Scientist is about a middle school boy who thinks he was cloned from the blood on the Shroud of Turin because a scientist who had worked on that experiment is stalking him. Secret Service Saint is a picture book about Nicholas, who discovers the fun of doing secret good deeds and eventually becomes known as Santa Claus.



What are you working on now?

I have a book for young readers and I’m working on several things, including a middle grade fantasy about a girl who can communicate with animals by thought language. I’m also spending lots of time learning how to do marketing and publicity for my published books and managing two blogs, Onwordsblog.blogspot.com and
Janet Ann Collins.

Can you describe a typical day in your writing life?
I reserve two days a week for writing and squeeze some in on other days if possible. After I check my e-mail I work on my current project for several hours. Often I’ll do the laundry the same day so when the dryer buzzes I can get up and move around for a few minutes, then get back to work. If I’m on a roll I may write more in the afternoon. Otherwise I use that time for plotting, planning, sending out submissions, and working on publicity for my books.

How do you define your writing?
My writing falls into many categories; adult, children, fiction and nonfiction, Christian and general market. My tagline, “Opening Eyes, Opening Hearts,” sums up what it all has in common.

You can learn more about Janet and her writing by visiting her online at JanetAnnCollins.com .

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chelle Korgis, Historical Writer and 30 Something Blogger

Chelle Korgis is a native from Kankakee, Illinois who now resides in the state of Missouri. Her interest in writing began at an early age and her first piece was printed in The Christian County News-Journal in 2002.

Her writing has been published Digi Tall-News Media, Ozark Senior Living, U.S. Legacies Magazine, and Friends and Neighbor. Her two books, Ozark and Nixa, were published by Arcadia Publishing.

Thank you for joining us today Chelle. Tell us more about your writing.


As mentioned above, I have 2 non-fiction books published. I have also written many poems including "Lonely Old Man" and "Ole Mother Nature" which won reader awards in 2002. Today, I am writing articles based on women in their 30s focusing on how the economy continues to influence their marriages. At some point, I hope to write a 30 Something column in magazines or newspapers.

Can you share article titles and publications your work has appeared in?

- September 11, 2002: A County Remembers - (Christian County News-Journal, 2002)
- Centenarian, Irene Murphy - (Ozark Senior Living, 2002)
- A Trip Back In Time - (Ozark Senior Living, 2002)
- Inquisitive Little Minds - (Christian County News-Journal, 2002)
- A Little Prayer - (Friends and Neighbors Magazine, 2002)
- Pumpkins are the reason for planting this season - (Christian County News-Journal, 2002)
- Are our rights being violated? - (Christian County News-Journal, 2002)

What or who encouraged you to start writing?

I was first inspired to write when I was a teenager and started reading the poems written by Emily Dickinson. I also enjoyed reading books by Dean Koontz.
When I was 30, I was impressed when I discovered that my father wrote poetry.

My idea to start writing about history evolved from time spent driving around our town with my former husband taking pictures of old scenery and buildings.

What topics inspire you?

Non-fiction history continues to pique my interest; however, after talking with many friends I've started writing about everyday women who are having troubles in their marriages. After ending my 10 year marriage from Hell, I’m now a single mother and have a lot to share on this topic.

Please visit Chelle online at Chellewrites.webs.com for more information. You can order her books through her web site or through Amazon.com.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meet Suspense Author Darcia Helle

DarcĂ­a Helle says she writes because, "My head gets cluttered with characters that demand their story be written."

A suspense author, she has written five novels: Enemies and Playmates, Hit List, No Justice, Beyond Salvation, and Miami Snow. Her sixth book, The Cutting Edge, will be out in late summer. She joins us today at Writers in Business to share her experiences as a writer. Welcome Darcia.

I’ve heard wonderful things about your novel, Miami Snow. Can you share the plot?


One day Nick Donovan has it all; a beautiful, pregnant wife, a nice house, a great job. The next day he is on his own, starting from scratch with Nick flees to the opposite coast of Florida, trying to leave his ex-wife and the memories behind. But that couldn't happen. Soon Nick finds that he is tied to Shelley in a way that he hadn't expected. And, in her bitterness, she does everything she can to ensure his misery.
Brandy is Shelley's opposite; wild, sensual, free-spirited. With Brandy, Nick is able to rebel against all that Shelley stands for. Brandy quickly leads Nick into a world of sex, drugs, and cash. And now Nick finds himself caught between the two worlds, desperate to stay afloat.

Sounds like a great book! Can you tell us about your other books?

Miami Snow is my fifth book. I’m currently in the editing phase of my sixth, entitled The Cutting Edge. My first two are Enemies and Playmates and Hit List. My third and fourth, No Justice and Beyond Salvation, are the first two in the ongoing Michael Sykora series.

My first five books are suspense, with some level of mystery. My sixth is more difficult to define. The Cutting Edge combines suspense and mystery with humor. It tends to be more comical than edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting suspense. However, the main character does cross paths with a serial killer, so the suspense is definitely there! It’s also written in the first-person, which is new for me.

I understand you are working with CreateSpace. Has it been a positive experience?

CreateSpace is great to work with! They have deals with a variety of online stores, as well as libraries. My books are automatically listed in those stores and libraries can order them.

Publishing is a difficult business. The traditional method (agents and large publishing houses) is closed off for most new and/or unknown authors. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams with the small presses and self-publishing companies. CreateSpace is a fantastic option to this dilemma.

What marketing strategies have you tried? What has worked best for you?

I've tried countless methods, including Google Adwords, contests and giveaways, ads on specific book/reader groups, Twitter, and blog tours. I'm not able to do physical book tours or book signings due to health constraints from chronic, late-stage lyme disease. Therefore, my marketing is all Internet-based. I've found that what works best for me personally is interacting with readers. My Facebook page is open to everyone and I also belong to a site called Goodreads. I'm just me all the time and I welcome readers - as well as other writers - into my world. That interaction, combined with the occasional giveaways, has brought an increase in sales. I've also met some amazing people along the way.

How can our readers learn more about you and your ongoing efforts?

I’m quite accessible! My website has all of my book information, as well as contests, a monthly newsletter on a variety of crime & punishment topics, and a bunch of other distractions. I have a blog that I update frequently. I’m on Facebook, where I share my crazy world with anyone wishing to join me there. And I’m now learning my way around Twitter.

My Website
My Blog
Facebook
Twitter

I can also be reached through email at Darcia@quietfurybooks.com. I love to hear from readers as well as aspiring writers.

Thank you Darcia!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meet J. Aday Kennedy and Win a Prize!

J. Aday Kennedy, the differently-abled writer, is an award winning multi published author of inspirational/Christian pieces and of children’s literature. Eight picture books are under contract eagerly awaiting publication. She is a ventilator dependent quadriplegic making her dreams come true a story at a time. As a speaker, Aday entertains, instructs, motivates and inspires audiences of all ages. She joins us today at Writers in Business.

Tell us about your children's books.


I have eight picture books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing Guardian Angel Publishing, They are a mixture of humorous fantasy and Christian stories. All include a teacher's guide, send a positive message and are geared to attract reluctant readers.

What other things do you write?

I write essays for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Five essays have been published in their anthologies. Christian and inspirational articles are among many of my writing credits.


What is the best advice on writing you've ever received?

When you have written something let it rest. Do not look at it for weeks before you begin the editing process. Then you can look at it with fresh eyes. Have someone read your manuscript aloud to you. I use a text reader, TextAloud from Next Up. It is a real eye opener.

Tell us about the Klutzy Kantor book series.
• Klutzy Kantor Book I
The book was just released in April. Kantor is a lovable Pegasus plagued by clumsiness. He travels to a rainbow to challenge Cobbledom McSweeney to a riddle duel. If he solves Cobbledom’s impossible riddle his wish to stop being a klutz will be granted. The book teaches children to concentrate on their strengths.

• Cobbledom’s Curse Book II
Cobbledom curses the apple’s Kantor can’t resist and he becomes a klutz again. His elf friend, Sprystar, was cursed by the devious leprechaun never to sleep again. The pair travel to Cobbledom’s rainbow and strike a bargain. They agree to wash Cobbledom’s dingy rainbow in exchange for a wish. They think each will get a wish, but Cobbledom refuses to give more than one. Kantor must make a choice. If Sprystar gets his wish, Kantor will remain a klutz. Friendship is often challenged by one’s own desires or self.

• The Iitcha Itcha Goo Goo Blues Book III
Jensen elf is recovering from the Itcha Itcha Goo Goo Disease, the equivalent to human cancer. She lost her hair from the cure. Kantor takes her to Cobbledom’s rainbow with the intention of getting a wish for her hair back. Cobbledom will grant her wish if Kantor will sacrifice his tail. Kantor must choose between himself and Jensen’s needs. A lesson in self sacrifice is taught.

Each book is geared to reluctant readers, All provide a teacher’s guide, share a positive message and are full of Kantor’s funny antics.

I understand you are offering prizes as part of your Klutzy Kantor book tour. Can you tell us how to participate?"

Yes, I have planned a giveaway at the end of the tour. The more stops visitors make and promote with blurbs on their social networks the more entries in the contest they receive. The more participants, the more prizes and winners their will be. I will let the winner(s) choose their prizes. Winner 1 gets first choice, winner 2 gets second choice and so on. Every 13 participants adds another prize. For pictures of the possible prizes and contest rules visit KlutzyKantor.blogspot.com.

You are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your new Klutzy Kantor book series with us. To learn more about her and her writing, visit JAdayKennedy.com and JAdayKennedy Blog.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Virtual Book Tour member - Marvin Wilson


I am a member of the Virtual Book Tours - Writers on the Move group and each month we interview another member. Today we meet Marvin Wilson. He is the author of three published books, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie), Owen Fiddler, and Between the Storm and the Rainbow.

Marvin has had articles published in several ezines, and has been interviewed on hundreds of blogs, radio and TV shows. A prolific blogger, his internationally popular blog, Free Spirit, was voted first place in the 2008 Book Blogger Appreciation Week award contest, in the Christian/Inspirational Fiction category. His other blog, Tie Dyed Tirades, is also growing in global popularity.

Marvin is an editor with All Things That Matter Press and also does freelance editing. You can reach him though his website .

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stephen Tremp's Breakthrough

Stephen Tremp's Premiere Book Breakthrough, an action suspense-thriller set in Boston, MA, and Orange County, CA, weaves together cutting edge discoveries in theoretical physics and technology with greed, murder, and mayhem. This novel addresses potential larger social issues to address if Einstein-Rosen Bridges should move beyond the realm of mere possibility. Breakthrough will appeal to fans of Dean Koontz, Dan Brown, Stephen King, and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Stephen is joining us today at Writers in Business. Welcome Stephen. First, please tell us about your new book.


Breakthrough, the first book in the Adventures of Chase Manhattan series, begins with a big bang and offers the audience exciting, unique, and diverse heroes and villains. The result is a fresh suspense thriller series integrating elements of greed, betrayal, passion, lust, unconditional love, coming of age, and hope. The action is swift. There are numerous red herrings, twists and turns, that will keep the reader turning the pages and wanting more.

~ Wow… that sounds like my kind of book! Where can we purchase a copy?

Books can be purchased through my web site and through
Barnes & Noble
.

~ What method are you using to track your writing income and expenses?

Through 2009, I used the shoe box method. I have receipts for all books I purchased to give as gifts, Post Office receipts, food and Starbucks receipts, and an account for mileage. I then transferred everything to an Excel spreadsheet.

Moving forward, I expect the financial aspect to become complicated and I need more sophisticated record keeping. I do know QuickBooks and will be using this software. I’m sure my accountant will appreciate the effort and make his job easier. Organization is the name of the game. If an author is organized, they position themselves for success. A disorganized author is setting themselves up for mediocrity or even failure.

~Can you share a marketing tip with us?

Exposure is everything, even at the expense of sales for an aspiring author. I’m focusing on Blog Talk Radio, expanding my blog exposure, my FaceBook exposure with my Fan Site (Fans of the Breakthrough Trilogy), and traveling to major metropolitan areas for book signings. I may or may not show a profit for 2010, but I will gain national exposure. I’m working with a number of A.M. radio talk shows and local morning TV talk shows, so hopefully I’ll be able to line up two-minute interviews and promote my book Breakthrough and my upcoming books Opening and Escalation.

~Do you use business cards?

I use business cards mainly at book signings, although I do hand a few out now and then. I need to have new ones printed using my blog rather than Web site. I released both sites about the same time and for whatever reasons, the blog took off and the Web site did not. Sign of the times, I guess.

So the new business cards will have my blog site and I’ll lose the Web site. I’m also going to include my FaceBook Fan Site (Fans of the Breakthrough Trilogy). I don’t think having three sites on a business card is a good idea. It’s too much for the recipient to look at. So the Web site will fall by the way side.

Writing has progressed from a hobby to a business for me. This is not to say I’m losing the love and passion for writing. These will forever drive me. But as the promotional and marketing aspects expand and sales increase, an author needs to take seriously the business aspects.

I love the title of your book, Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers. This is where I need to start, the basics. Ignorance is not bliss, its ignorant. There’s power in knowledge. And knowledge applied helps birth wisdom. I also need to look for write offs that I’m not aware of.

Thank you, Stephen. Yes, finding those write offs can be the holy grail of the recordkeeping experience. There are many deductions available for writers and my book shows readers how to harness them.

It was a pleasure to learn more about your writing and your experience as an author. To read more about Breakthrough and Stephen’s new books, please visit him at his blog and his web site .

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tom Gillispie - The Master of Simple, Powerful Words

Joining us today from Rural Hall, NC is Tom Gillispie, writer and editor extraordinaire. Tom was a career newspaper writer and copy editor working at eight newspapers over a span of 30-plus years. Today, he is a freelance editor, proofreader and writer. He edits magazine articles, business letters, novels, non-fiction books and more.

Tell us about services you offer.


If you owned a business and wanted a regular company newspaper (print or online), I could take photos, write stories, lay out pages and edit copy. Except for ads, I could do it all. The last time I did that was late 2008.

I have written (and still occasionally write) newspaper, magazine and online articles, but my main thing is editing. I edit fiction and non-fiction books; I edit for writers, businessmen, lawyers or anyone who has written a resume. I have tutored writers, usually via email or chat. I offer academic editing and tutoring, although I will not write academic papers. For all writers, I don’t rewrite your work, unless it’s a mess. I try to let the client’s voice shine through. He/she might not even notice the changes if not for Track Changes in Word.

Who do you usually work with?

For 30 years, I have edited for newspapers, and I still do that one or two days a week on a freelance basis. Otherwise, I’ve edited fiction and non-fiction books, magazine articles, web-site material and even law work. People often ask if I edit their kind of writing. I probably do. Two women were uncertain if I could edit their books on spirituality. Turned out that I could. Another woman feared that I couldn’t edit her novel. I told her to send a chapter and pay me for that chapter when it was done. I worked on that novel and a second one for her. Still another woman had written an ebook on care of hands and toenails, and she seemed thrilled with the editing.

You have stated, “I tighten, focus and improve copy, and I'm good at fact-checking. Everything I edit gets a little shorter, a little tighter, and, usually, a lot better.” Can you give us an example of how you achieve this?

I cut out unnecessary modifiers like certainly and very. Do you need to say that the 7-1, 300-plus-pound Shaquille O’Neal is huge or massive? The numbers say it. Can something be very unique? Can a woman be very pregnant? Sometimes I exchange big words (exacerbate) for smaller ones (weaken, worsen) that are familiar. I look for strong verbs. I untangle long, messy sentences and paragraphs.

I often do this on my blog to show writers and editors what I’m thinking. I recently heard this on TV: There is no such thing as that which is impossible. Sounds very profound (I couldn’t resist), doesn’t it? I’d change that to Nothing is impossible. Simple. Powerful.

I find ways to use the fewest words possible. Shakespeare, for instance, wasn’t famous for being wordy. He made every word count.

You created the Yahoo group, Freelance Writers and Editors. As a member of the group, I’m impressed by the support and encouragement offered by members. There is camaraderie present and a genuine effort to share resources. Please tell us about the group. Why did you start it? What role would you like it to play in the lives of writers and editors? Can anyone join or are there criteria that must be met?

I started the group, I admit, to find work. I wanted it to be useful to writers and editors, but that was my ultimate goal. It’s turned into more than I expected. One of our members tried me hard when the group started. He wanted to see if I’d throw him out of the group. I told him he didn’t need foul language to get his ideas across; I believed he could be a valued and valuable member of the group. And he has. When he had surgery, group members got in touch with the family and followed his progress. And when his wife died, we mourned with him.

Some of us have learned about grammar, computer programs, helpful web sites and such. We’ve shared laughs and picked on each other. I won’t say the group has been family – most of the nearly 500 members never speak up – but I feel close to several people I’ve never met in person.

As for membership, I ask that potential members be a writer or an editor. If they’re selling products or they don’t use the word editor, writer or freelancer, they don’t get in. If they don’t write anything, they don’t get in.

Can you share a personal experience with us on writing vs. editing?

When I first started, I wanted to be a writer, but I had to learn how to lay out newspaper pages. When I was working at a weekly paper, the sports editor of a nearby daily called and offered me a copy-editing job. He told me that any metropolitan daily would hire me as a copy editor, but he added that no newspaper would hire me as a writer. That wasn’t true, but that newspaper tried to convert me to a full-time copy editor.


I was interviewing for another writing job, and I took their test. The sports editor said he would hire me as a copy editor but not as a writer. I told him that he’d never hire me.

I went through that at every job. I was better than most of the writers they had, but they always wanted to make me a copy editor. I knew I was probably a better editor than writer, but, dammit, I wanted to write. And I have. I’ve written for nine papers I worked for. I’ve written on a freelance basis for dozens of newspapers, The Miami Herald, Washington Post and Baltimore Sun included. I’ve written for probably 20 magazines, including The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated, on a freelance basis. And I’ve written three books and several comic-book scripts.

But I’ve come to realize that my talents are all based on copy editing. My copy editor’s “ear” makes me a better writer, and my copy editor’s “eye” makes me a better photographer and page designer.

I’ve come to terms with being a copy editor. It’s what I do best. But I write when I can.


To learn more about how Tom can help your writing reach new heights, please visit his web site. You can see more of his work at his blog and his writing blog. If you are a racing fan, don’t miss Tom’s books on the subject: Racing books.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lisa Jackson Chats about Editing, Writing and Zombies!

My guest today is Lisa Jackson who makes her home in Southern New Hampshire. She is a professional writer and editor who enjoys working with words. Lisa is the owner of Write Your Way and creates fiction under the pen name Lisa Haselton.

Can you tell us about your business, Write Your Way? What services do you offer?


Sure. I’m an independent editor and writer and my business provides writing and editing services to businesses, publishers, and individuals. I love working with folks who want to tighten their writing or get something written. I enjoy working with words, and whether I’m a ghost writer on a project, or get to take public credit, seeing a project through to successful completion is something I’m passionate about.
I have a strong business (high tech, beauty, and software industries) background, along with a strong writing background. I work with corporations, publishers, small businesses, and independent writers and authors. I’ve written and edited marketing materials, business profiles, interviews, tech and process manuals, fiction, memoir, and so on. My interests are varied and I love that – the work never gets boring.

Consulting on a project is no cost. I like to find out as much about a project as I can up front, and if I’m not the right editor or writer, I’ll make recommendations for other resources. I don’t accept a project that I don’t feel confident I can complete to the customer’s satisfaction.

If anyone contacts me for writing or editing services and mentions this blog, I will give 30% off the project fee. Every project is different, but pricing is known before any contract is made.

Your web site mentions the importance of maintaining the writer’s unique ‘voice’. Can you give us an example of this?

We all have certain ways of speaking, and that ‘voice’ comes through in our writing, whether it’s a memo, process manual, or something creative like fiction. Some voices are proper, some include humor, some are passive, some are formal, and the list goes on.

When I’m writing technical manuals, I like to make the text enjoyable to read, so I use short sentences and small words. Fiction writing, especially the narrative, varies from author to author. Stephen King’s voice is different from Dennis Lehane’s and J.K. Rowling’s. We have rhythms to our writing which create the ‘voice’.

When I edit fiction or any non-technical, non-business work, my preference is to make suggestions on sentences/phrases that can be improved upon and instead of changing the text to what I would use, I list examples and let the author rewrite the section as he or she sees fit. More and more often though, I’m having authors tell me to just make the corrections. Seems after having dealt with the manuscript for X number of iterations, they just want it polished. I can work with that, too.

I understand you have a short story in an anthology called The Zombie Cookbook. This was written under your pen name of Lisa Haselton. Please tell us about it. Where can we obtain a copy?

I saw a call last year through Writer’s Chatroom (details on this resource below) for stories and poems for an anthology called The Zombie Cookbook. I’d never written about zombies before, but the title made me laugh, so I had to try.

I came up with a poem, actually several, using names and the zombie theme. I submitted my favorite, A Zombie Named Clete, and it was accepted. After that I just felt like I wanted to write a story to go with the poem. It took quite a while for me to come up with the story, but eventually I was able to come up with the setting and it came together.

The artwork on the cover and in the book are quite, um, appropriate for the subject matter, but the stories inside range from funny to gross. And there are some zombie recipes, too. Details on the book, including ordering information, can be found at: Zombiecookbook.net. This anthology helped me land my first-ever book signing, and I’ve enjoyed being a part of it.

Please tell us about the Writer's Chatroom. It was recently awarded with the 101 Best Websites for Writers designation from Writer's Digest. How can we join?

The Writer’s Chatroom is a fantastic place for writers of any experience and any genre. I’ve been on the staff for over 2 years now and love it.

It’s easy to become involved. Just go to the site and sign up for the chat announcements to be notified of upcoming chats. There are moderated chats every Sunday night from 7-9PM EST. We host authors, agents, and publishers as well has have writing-related evenings.

Every Wednesday night from 8-11PM EST, is an “open chat”, where anyone can go for writing-related help on any subject. There is also a forum folks can join to find critiquers, get advice, find writing markets, anything they need. It’s free, and we like to help other writers. You can find Writer’s Chatroom on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, too.

Lisa, it has been a great pleasure to learn about the services you offer. I've also enjoyed spending time in the Writer's Chatroom. What a great resource!

Thank you so much for letting me share a bit about myself. I love words; working with them and meeting others who enjoy reading and writing. My fiction can be found at Lisa Haselton and I’m Lisa Haselton on MySpace as well.

You can follow me on Twitter at LisaJJackson and visit me online at LisaJJackson.com.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What Editors Really Want (In A Query Letter) by Usha Krishnan Sliva

What Editors Really Want (In A Query Letter)
from Usha Krishnan Sliva


There are a lot of reasons why a query letter may be rejected, the number one being the topic you've selected has already been published. Editors want great unpublished ideas, which translate into excellent well-written stories. Most rejection letters should not be taken personally, but if you find you're not getting anywhere despite some lightbulb moments, remember, editors hate the following:

1. Typos and errors: Check and double check to see there are no spelling or typing errors. Print out your letter and read it, or better yet get someone else to go through it before you send it out.

2. Poor formatting: Editors go through hundreds of documents on a weekly basis. Receiving one that's poorly typed up is sure to get binned. Ensure you select a standard font size (Ariel or Times Roman, point 12 usually works well) and single space the text. Try to keep it to one page- most editors won't have the time or inclination to read beyond that.

3. Long, windy sentences: Remember KISS? It's an acronym for Keep It Short & Simple. Make your point, give them clear instructions as to who you are and what you can do for them, and conclude your letter.

4. A condescending (or patronizing) attitude: Starting out with testimonials or nuggets of wisdom is never a good idea. Write in a clear and straightforward language.

5. A poorly addressed letter: Begin with a clear salutation addressed to the person who's going to be reading your letter. You can find out who it is by visiting the publication's website, looking at a current masthead, or emailing/calling their office.

6. An offer you can't back up: Don't get carried away and make claims before you can actually do research to back them up. If you are offering to interview someone, get updated statistics, or send in photographs to accompany your story, make sure you'll be able to deliver on your promises.



Freelance writer Usha Krishnan Sliva has years of article and copywriting experience. To get more free tips and writing ideas, sign up for her ezine on Getting It Write!