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Thursday, June 30, 2016

So, I know. I've been remiss. I've neglected visitors and subscribers to my blog. Forgive me, but I've been writing the third in my HowToDoItFrugally series of books. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically will be released late summer or early fall.

So, aren't I lucky to have writing friends to help me out! Valerie Allen is spot on with her article on Pesky Pronouns. I am especially grateful to have her as a guest blogger on this topic, though, because I tutor immigrants in English as a Second Language and American Culture (primarily Asians and Armenians) so I'm aware--at least as far as these language speaking groups--that pronouns are a big bugaboo for them.

Pesky Pronouns
by
Valerie Allen

A pronoun is used in place of a noun. An antecedent is a noun that a pronoun replaces. All pronouns must agree with their antecedent in number, person, and gender.

Various types of pronouns and examples include: personal (I), relative (who), demonstrative (that), interrogative (which), intensive (himself), reflexive (themselves) and indefinite (anybody).
Personal pronouns are used the most. They tell us whether the pronoun is speaking, being spoken to, or being spoken about. Pronouns can be singular, plural or stand-alone.

Here are examples of personal pronouns:
  • Subject singular: I, you, he, she, it
  • Subject plural: we, you, they
  • Object singular: me, you, him, her, it
  • Object plural: us, you, them
  • Possessive before a noun: my, your, his, her, its, our, their
  • Stand alone: mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs
To avoid ambiguity in pronoun use, be aware of antecedent agreement and pronoun shift.

Examples of correct pronoun usage:

Marshall didn’t have a good time at his party.
The boys feared the steep hill, but their courage prevailed.
Valerie is afraid of flying, which she told Holly last Tuesday.
Last Tuesday, Valerie and Holly talked about their fear of flying.
Examples of correct and incorrect pronoun usage:
When one goes to the zoo, they should not feed the animals. (Incorrect)
When one goes to the zoo, one should not feed the animals. (Correct)
Elizabeth visited her mother when she had a cold. (Incorrect)
When she visited her mother, Elizabeth had a cold. (Correct)
Her mother had a cold when Elizabeth visited her. (Correct)
The Wicks and the Wacks both assumed they would prevail in the card game, and they won. (Incorrect)
The Wicks and the Wacks both assumed they would prevail in the card game, but the Wacks won. (Correct)

Pronouns can be tricky if not clearly used to replace a specific noun, they shift in a sentence, or are placed too far away from the antecedent.



~ ~ ~
Valerie Allen, author, playwright, and speaker, writes fiction, non-fiction, short stories, plays, and children's books. She is a popular speaker at writer's conferences, libraries, and community events using her book: Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged 2nd Edition.

She is a co-founder of Authors for Authors, which supports new and experienced authors with book fairs, book launches, book displays, and writing seminars. Authors from across the US have had their books displayed at two Florida book fairs held in March and November each year sponsored by AuthorsforAuthors.com.

Valerie Allen can be contacted via FB, Twitter, Google+ and at VAllenWriter@gmail.com or ValerieAllenWriter.com



~  Valerie Allen  ~
ValerieAllenWriter.com                                                    VAllenWriter@cs.com

The Prodigal Son
Amazing Grace
Sins of the Father
Suffer The Little Children
'Tis Herself: Short Story Volume One
Summer School for Smarties
Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends
Write, Publish, Sell! 2 ed
Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony

-----
 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Karen Cioffi-Ventrice Shares Keyword Tips for Writers

Karen Cioffi Ventrice is our SharingwithWriters guest blogger today because she is my go-to girl for anything techy.  Here is a brief tutorial on keywords. 


Keyword Tips from Karen Cioffi Ventrice
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
By Tech Smartie Karen Cioffi Ventrice



To get search engines to categorize and index your content, you still need to use keywords. It's the quickest way for them to do that.

You should put a keyword in your title; in the first paragraph of the article, once midway through and in the last paragraph. But, the first two are probably the most important.

After you have your article in place, go to the POST SETTINGS on the right side of the blogging area. In Labels input the keywords relevant to the article.

Then, scroll down to the SEARCH DESCRIPTION area. Put a keyword effective brief description. This is as important as using keywords because if a search engine picks up the article to use as the results of a search query, they usually use the description you create to go along with it.

I have a Slideshare overview of optimizing a Blogger blog post at:
http://www.articlewritingdoctor.com/2015/08/optimize-your-blogger-blog-posts/

It's pretty much the same for optimizing a WordPress blog post also.


Karen


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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sharing Short List of Agents Gleaned from IBPA's Independent Magazine



The trouble with trying to get recommendations for agents is that most authors haven’t been associated with very many of them and they are therefore unable to compare. Furthermore, many authors aren’t all that willing to share anyway. To find names that may be more reliable than others, go to conferences that feature pitch sessions with agents and read newsletters like this one or magazines like the newly named IBPA Independent. That magazine recently ran a feature that some agents contributed to. Here they are:
Barbara Lowenstein and Mary South at Lowenstein Associates. Find them at http://lowensteinassoiciates.com
Denise Marcil of Marcil O’Farrell Literary, http://marcilofarrellliteraryagency.com.
Jane von Mehren at Zachary Schuster Harmsworth, http://szhliterary.com.
Caryn Karmatz Rudy at DeFiore and Company Literary Management Inc. http://defliterary.com
Sheree Bykofsky, founder of Sheree Bykofsky Assoicates, Inc.; http://shereebee.com
Anne Edelstein, President, Anne Edelstein Literary Agency LLC; http://aeliterary.com.

It, of course, is up to you to see if each handles your genre and to learn what their submission guidelines are. You’ll find lots more generous agents—the kind willing to contribute to magazines like these or to books like my The Frugal Editor. I list the latter group all of whom were generous enough to help me help authors like you with things to avoid when approaching them with your query letters. Find them in that chapter but also listed in the index of that book. 
PS: I am the kind who shares. My agent is Terrie Wolf at AKA Literary. And she is a sweetie. 
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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

One Lovely Thank You Note a Day: This is What Carolyn See May Have Meant

In one of her books on writing, Carolyn See advises authors to write one lovely thank you note a day, the emphasis on "lovely." Lots of authors are good at writing thank you notes, especially since e-mail has made it so easy. But "lovely?"  We are all pressed for time.

Still, I have one reader who has sent me several that are examples of the kind of letter I think See would have approved of. Her name is Marlan Warren and she gave me permission to reprint her letter if I thought it would help other writers do something similar--or at least to nudge them to write their letters.  I mean, a note like this can make an author so happy! And the words from a smart publicist are an added bonus!

Dear Carolyn:

I really enjoyed your interview with Maxine Thompson on the Artist First Radio Network last night.
I felt privileged to hear you and Maxine discuss literature, writers, writing, and your own great how-to knowledge (I’m a huge fan of your How to Do It Frugally series and now a fan of Maxine's show). You are two Old School pros who know better than anyone that being a great writer or editor means more than having been at the top of your class in English.

I especially liked your tip to "Promote the Promotion." This is what I try to explain to my PR/Marketing clients, but it is hard for them to grasp. Most think it's enough to post a "Hey! Buy my book!" on social media and leave it at that.

Your discussion with Maxine about editing was spot on. Didn't she say something about refusing to promote a book that is not ready? I do the same thing. You explained today’s indie author marketing environment perfectly: the Internet has provided new venues for people who want to get their writing "out there," but it has also opened the floodgates for sloppy writing and presentations.

I recently received a book from a small press, and the first thing I noticed was a typo on the back cover. Newbie authors often think this is no big deal, not realizing the book will never be opened by a media host if they spot such an error.

Many inexperienced writers/authors I meet confess to feeling bored with the book after they’ve published it: "Never mind about promoting Book No. 1...I've started writing Book No. 2!"

Gives a whole new image to the phrase “pleasuring oneself,” doesn’t it?

Thanks again, Carolyn and Maxine!

Keep on truckin'!


Marlan Warren

ABOUT THE LETTER-WRITER (-: 

Marlan Warren offers PR/Marketing services for authors (Book Publicity by Marlan) and the rest (Roadmap Communications). She reviews for The Midwest Book Review, and is the author of the novel, Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged: All’s Not Fair in Love or War. The last book she edited is the upcoming The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People by Shelly and Sherry Glaser. A seasoned journalist, Marlan is also a contributor to No Depression Magazine.

https://bay177.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gifhttps://bay177.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gifE-Mail: memoircity@gmail.com
Twitter: @marlanwarren

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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What to Say to Edtors to Get Free Publicity



I thought I’d share a pitch I wrote to my local newspapers in April for Earth Day. It illustrates how we authors need to figure out how to make a query work for their particular title—in whatever news cycle might apply to its theme, characters, settings, or whatever.  

This query matches my poetry book (with Magdalena Ball) called Sublime Planet with Earth Day, but you might adapt yours to other holidays or current events. I also include a few basic dos and don’ts at the end of the query letter. And, if you are a blogger or have a radio show or about anything else that would benefit from a current topic like this, feel free to contact me at hojonews@aol.com. I mean, have at it! (-: Magdalena and I have poetry chapbooks that celebrate most of the major holidays in any given year.  Here it is: 

Hi, I’m an award-winning author who knows how hard it is to find good stories for Earth Day or to fit with current news about global warming which we both know is always a topic of interest.

Earth Day is sneaking up on us but I have an idea for you that will help the environmentalists in your audience celebrate. They’ll love the accessible poems about the fragility of our cosmos by my Aussie poetry partner Magdalena Ball and I. We love to share my poems about XXX and XXX. (In fact, I welcome reprints of any of my poems from any of my award-winning poetry books!) 

Further there is a feature story in how we came to be partners living in separate hemispheres without having ever met. I can schedule interviews just about any time that works for you.

Please let my Sublime Planet poetry book help you with a feature story this month—one probably unlike one you have ever published.
-----
Here are the tips I promised you readers of this SharingwithWriters blog:

Notice that I didn’t bother giving the editor my name. Unless your name is already known by the contact or you are as famous as J. K. Rowling, it isn’t necessary and just keeps you from the interesting stuff that will help them choose your idea for their book page, blog post, entertainment section, radio show or whatever it is that they do.

I also didn’t mention the title in the first sentence. The only time that should come up front is if it is very catchy or outrageous.

Notice how precise the idea is. Query letters need to be clear about the benefits for the media or editor (they need material for current events and holidays). Editors are perfectly capable of moving from the particular to the general or adapting one detailed idea to another of their needs.


By the way, sending media releases—even releases that get ignored--benefits you because you can contact the same editor for the next holiday or current event. Soon they will have come to expect ideas from you that are well considered for their needs. I included another script by well-known publicist Raleigh Pinsky that you can use as a template in my Appendix of my The Frugal Book Promoter. Well-known publicist Raleigh Pinksky gave me permission to reprint it and it will give you even more detail for formulating pitches—in this case telephone pitches—that work.

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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .