Friday, December 28, 2012

Focused Memoir: Write Your Spiritual Autobiography

by Deborah Wilbrink

“Write about what you know.” That is excellent advice for authors looking for a subject. Make the project even more worthwhile by writing your spiritual autobiography.

A spiritual autobiography focuses on the spiritual influences and milestones of one’s life, set in chronological order. For example, my own autobiography might include high school and then college graduations, a career path, and marriages, births, and divorces. But my spiritual autobiography includes revelations and epiphanies! It features a kind minister who was run out of town by hypocrites, propelling me to leave the church as a teenager; and a transcendental experience that sent me in search of a guru. The career path becomes an instrument for service and for meeting influences. The failed marriages become, not a tale of naiveté and woe, but preparation for real and lasting love.

Writing about your personal spiritual path clarifies what you have learned and where you have been. The intent, creation and review inherent in spiritual autobiography make it a cleansing process.

To write yours, begin with your current spiritual practice such as a prayer or meditation, stating your intent. Create a brainstormed outline, noting the events in your life that changed your attitude and philosophy. Did you find a new path after an especially troubled time? Next, remember those who influenced you for the better. Did someone give you a spiritual text, with love? Did someone reach out to you and help you over a hurdle? These memories will soon begin to flow. Later, come back and write the stories around your outline. Stay on the path of what influenced you spiritually. If you work best visually, you may draw a map or timeline instead of outline; remembering music or speeches can be a tool for those whose listening ears are important conduits for the spirit.

Your spiritual autobiography may be briefly stated, sketched, or evolve to book length. Finishing your account will bring peace of mind and a readiness for the next step. The very fact of this reflection and seeking attitude will attract what you need to grow spiritually in the coming time. As you encounter experiences you will be adding chapters to the document, or starting another volume.

As a genre, spiritual autobiographies have inspired readers for centuries. Today anyone can adopt this method of spiritual exploration. You will enjoy the valuable process of spiritual autobiography. It may be helpful to others; it will always be helpful to its author. It’s at your fingertips, and in your soul. Why wait?

Deborah Wilbrink is an editor and ghostwriter with Writers in the Sky, specializing in personal history and memoir. She offers creative writing and life journaling workshops. Deborah was an English teacher, video producer, Senate aide, journalist, and cemetery manager – all in this lifetime! Visit Deborah’s blog- Perfect Memoirs and you can Contact Deborah here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book with a View December 2012

Title: Shudderville Part Two
Author: Mia Zabriskie
Publisher: August 30, 2012
Reviewed by Dana Micheli

When I reviewed Part 1 of Mia Zabrisky’s Shudderville series, I stated in my review that I would never again underestimate her as a master storyteller. That said, when I read the second installment of Shudderville, I was once again struck by Zabrisky’s ability to delve, not only into the wickedness of the human mind, but into the battle between good and evil that rages---to varying degrees—within each of us.

Set in the turbulent Vietnam War era, Part 2 is the story of serial killer Leonard Sipes. Part Jack Kerouac, part Hannibal Lechter, Sipes travels across a divided America, preying on its most vulnerable citizens. With his average looks and Ted Bundy charm, Sipes insinuates himself into the lives of his victims, then moves in for the kill to achieve power, purpose, and enjoyment. He is pure, unadulterated evil, yet like many serial killers, he possesses a strange moral code known only to himself. When he rents a room in the home of a mysterious widow and her children, Sipes vows to do the ‘right thing’; however he will soon learn there are forces in world even he can’t control.

While I couldn’t bring myself to pity Sipes, his backstory certainly gave me pause. If things had been different, would he have used his intelligence, charisma and adaptability to achieve success? Or would he have simply become a different kind of monster? It is these deeper questions that separate Zabrisky’s work from run-of-the-mill horror.

The time period and characters of Shudderville Part 2 are completely different than Part I; so is the voice and the mood. They are equally as terrifying, however, and only a writer with Zabrisky’s skill and versatility could create two such separate yet finely drawn universes.

Title: The Summer called Angel: A Story of Hope on the Journey through Prematurity
Author: Sola Olu
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 7, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1460932676
ISBN-13: 978-1460932674
Reviewed by Dana Micheli

Women who are expecting a baby understand that they will undergo enormous changes, physically and emotionally. They also know that once the baby arrives, the dynamics of their daily routine will change, probably forever. What they are not prepared for is a life and death battle that begins in the womb and continues well into the child’s first months—even years – of life. Sola Olu’s new book, The Summer Called Angel chronicles the incredible story of two pregnancies that ended in premature delivery and the lengths she and her husband went through to save their children.

Sola was a busy graduate student when she learned she was expecting her first child. She and her husband were overjoyed about this wonderful addition to their already happy, and hectic, lives. Sola had been feeling a little extra tired, but when she arrived one afternoon at her doctor’s office for a “routine” visit, she was sure it was ‘nothing a good nap couldn’t cure’. She couldn’t have been more wrong. The doctor, concerned about certain markers in Sola’s blood, sent her for further tests, and the results were terrifying: Sola had preeclampsia and was dangerously close to delivering long before the due date. Suddenly, her life, so full with a myriad of concerns about school and other daily-to-day matters, was immediately distilled to one: ensuring her baby survived.

One of the reasons The Summer Called Angel is so powerful is that it began as her private journal, infused with raw emotion and containing real time descriptions of the pregnancies and post-birth complications. It also details the procedures being done to correct these complications, including risky and invasive surgeries.

The Summer Called Angel is an honest account of the vulnerabilities, strengths, weaknesses, faith and doubt as well as other conflicting emotions that parents of preemies sometimes go through. It is intended to help others navigating their own journey of worry, fear and hope when dealing with complications arising from childbirth, and it fulfills this mission tenfold. It provides not only a wealth of invaluable information, but also inspiration. When reading it, one literally feels like Sola is there, holding your hand and telling you that there is nothing more important than faith in God and the love for your child. The Summer Called Angel is a must-read for all parents.

Friday, December 21, 2012

8 Ways to Get Reviews That Aren’t Fake

We've always had a problem with "fake." Whether it was a fake Kate Spade handbag, or a knock-off clothing line, fake has always been a part of our culture. Most of this is made popular by the "don't you want to have it, too?" mindset that often surrounds celebrities: "Get the dress Jennifer Aniston wore for only $200!" Most of us, however, can spot fake. Or, to help avoid litigation, many reputable companies offer knock-offs of celebrity Oscar gowns and what-not. Fake, however, is not limited to fashion anymore.

Now, fake and counterfeit has begun permeating the publishing industry. We've seen things like 35 Shades of Grey and other knock-off titles that seem to circumvent any legal challenges, but there's a new challenge on the frontier, that of fake reviews. Do you believe reviews? A majority of us don't, but more often than not we believed the consumer reviews. Not so much anymore, especially now when reviews can be bought, or in some cases, simply faked. The message seems to be: if you want to get noticed, you'd better be prepared to "fake it till you make it." That's a nice saying, in theory, but when you're talking about polluting an Amazon page with a bunch of dummy reviews, that's another story.

So, what's an author to do? I'm sure as time wears on it will be tempting to buy into this but what happens when we do? We end up with a cluttered market packed with "I loved this!" and we're left to wonder, did the person really love it and, even worse, did they even read it? We all want to be liked, or rather, we want our work to be liked but to what end?

Several years ago we were on a team retreat, at that time a savvy team member came to me and said "We can't put our stock in reviews, these folks are inundated with books to look over, we need to find other channels." And so we did. Where we used to do review-centric programs (meaning that the success or failure of a marketing campaign depended on the number of reviews we got), we now offer campaigns that are balanced and yes, we like to get reviews for our customers, but that's not always the best way to grow your market. Here is perhaps a different set of ideas (and maybe a few you've heard before) about getting exposure and (if you're lucky) getting reviews:

1. Stay engaged: I see a lot of folks who aren't engaged in the process or their reader. I'm not talking about running through your to-do list of marketing activities. I'm talking about staying engaged with your reader. Talking to them via your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, whatever. Your reader is your end user, you want reviews to get to them, but in the absence of reviews guess what? Your outreach to your reader will have a far greater impact on your market and your sales.

2. Know the rules: The rules of the game are important. Part of what's so discouraging to bloggers (and eats away at their time) is that authors don't often take the time to know who to pitch. That's what makes paid reviews so tempting (among other things), you can send in a check and then you get reviews. Real, honest, and thorough reviews take time but keep this in mind: when this shakes out and presumably "consumer" reviews don't have the credibility they once did, where do you think authors will start to go? To the long-time, credible reviewers - where it all started. So, get to know them now. They have a following and people who read them know, they can't be bought.

3. Start early: As with anything in marketing, start early. I'm going to run through some networking tips in another section but for now, start thinking in terms of early, early, early. How soon should you start? Six months at a minimum.

4. Review other books: Reviewing other people's books works great on a number of levels. First and foremost, it's important to support other authors in your market. You want reviews? Guess what? So do they. Get out and review their books, they'll appreciate the effort. Then, when it's time for your book to come out, let them know you're published, offer to send them a copy and (if they have the time) encourage a review. Keep in mind that they may or may not do it, you aren't trading reviews here, you're paying it forward.

5. Please and thank you: When was the last time you thanked someone for a review? If you haven't, you should. You'll write more books and may want to pitch them again, and even if you don't, saying thank you takes no work at all. Show them your appreciation. Consider this, Midwest Book Review has worked tirelessly to do reviews for years, they ask for nothing. Occasionally I'll get a letter from them saying "if you want to help out, we could really use stamps." It's a small thing, with a huge impact. We're all in this together, help out the people who help so many others. Spread the word about the review, thank them, be gracious. You'll be glad you did.

6. Network: If the idea of networking makes you think of long, boring events where you hand out your cards like candies out of a Pez dispenser, take heart - it doesn't have to be like that. You can network on a variety of sites. Let's take LinkedIn for example, which is a great place to network with the media. Join groups in your area of expertise and contribute once a week or so, connect with media and bloggers in your market and then comment on their updates and posts. See? You don't even have to leave your house or, for that matter, attend some boring, colorless event to stay connected.

7. Social media contacts: When was the last time you went through your social media contacts, your Likes on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn? Part of your monthly networking outreach could be to send a quick note to 4 contacts on each social media site. Why? Because there's a big likelihood that you are connected to a blogger, bookstore buyer, or reviewer. You simply never know who is part of your network unless you take time to explore them!

8. Reviews aren't the end game: At the end of the day reviews may not be the way to greater sales. Consider this: have you ever pitched yourself as a contributor to bloggers or blogs? Have you reached out to any newsletters in your industry? Have you considered excerpting your book online somewhere? Consider other options, brainstorm with other authors who are facing the same challenges.

While we love easy, easy isn't always best. A slew of five-star reviews on an Amazon page is now considered suspect. If you want to build your credibility you'll need to work harder. Consumers want authentic, they want transparency. By looking outside of the norm and really maximizing what you already have access to, you can rise about the review noise and, in so doing, will begin to build much more credibility for yourself in the long-term. Credibility breeds respect, and that could bring you more legitimate reviews than you know what to do with.

We now live in a world where anyone can publish at any time. With one click of a button you can become an author. But I believe the journey is much greater than that. It's more than just putting words on paper and hitting a few buttons. It's an effort and it requires time, patience, persistence and passion.

Someone asked me once "Wouldn't it be great if everyone loved your book?" Not really, I said. Not everyone's going to love what I write or what I do. I love the love, but it's in the criticism that I often find my biggest growth.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free e-zine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Attracting Your Ideal Weight: a written interview with author Zaheen Nanji

Behavioral weight loss expert Zaheen Nanji and 11 other self-improvement experts have recently released the anthology Unlock the Power of YOU: 12 Keys to Health, Happiness Success. Writers in the Sky is pleased to welcome Nanji with a written interview about her chapter, “Attracting Your Ideal Weight.”

WITS: How did you become one of the authors of Unlock the Power of YOU: 12 Keys to Health, Happiness and Success?

ZN: In 2008, I was certified as a Law of Attraction Facilitator by Michael Losier – best-selling author of Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don’t. One of the facilitators, who is an author and a publisher, invited me to join other self-improvement experts for this project.

WITS: What made you write specifically about weight loss?

ZN: I struggled with my weight since I was a teenager and I went on my first diet at the age of 15. With my degree in food science and nutrition, and my background in coaching, I started to make changes in my behaviors and relationship with food. I dropped from a size 14 to a size 6. At the same time, I started coaching clients on behavioral and nutritional weight loss and they started to see the difference. I wanted to share my successful approach with others so they can end their inner struggle with weight.

WITS: In your chapter, "Attracting Your Ideal Weight", you explain how a certain type of
motivation can actually keep people from achieving their weight loss goals. How is that

ZN: Human beings are motivated by moving away from pain or by moving toward a goal.
People who struggle with their weight or are yo-yo dieters are motivated to move away from pain. They will start panicking when their clothes are getting snug and they feel horrible.
This pain will get them to exercise or go on another diet. However, as time goes on, they start feeling good, the pain is not there, motivation starts to dissipate, and this leads them back to their old patterns again. In my chapter, I show you how to move toward a goal consistently.

WITS: In "Attracting Your Ideal Weight", you share 5 key habits of people who maintain a healthy weight. What would be the most important one for our readers?

ZN: The key habit of “feedback”, in my opinion, is important. After coaching so many clients, I realized that the ones who were successful viewed major or minor slip-ups as feedback instead of failure. Individuals, who view slip-ups as failures, give up easily and continue to struggle with their weight. Feedback is the ability to learn from your previous mistakes or slip-ups and exploring what you can do differently to create the desired outcome.

WITS: Unlock the Power of YOU is an anthology featuring your work and the work of 11 other
self-improvement experts. Do you plan to write your own book in the future?

ZN: Yes. I am working on a memoir about how I overcame my stutter and other obstacles when I moved to Canada from Kenya without my parents at a young age. It will be released late next year.

WITS: Where can our readers purchase a copy of Unlock the Power of YOU?

ZN: They can purchase it from my website ( or from our wellness center - Shanti Wellness Centre. They can also get it for free if they enroll in my online weight loss course or individual coaching program. Information about both is also on the website. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Poetry and Prose Corner December 2012

The First Step

by Denise Demaras

I read a Greek Proverb today
It said the beginning is half of the way.
I know for myself this is true,
And how scary that first step is to do.
Feel the fear and do it any way
You'll find it's easier each and every day.
Reach for the stars to let your dream fly
Take that first step and touch the sky.

Denise Demaras, an L.A.-based Artist, Author, Publisher and Holistic Health Coach.
Her new new book, Heal From Your Heart With Breath, Rhyme and Art instructs people how to rid their lives of physical and spiritual pain through a variety of meditation and healing techniques.

…And It’s Christmas

It’s reindeer on rooftops,
It’s cocoa and cream,
It’s dewdrops and gumdrops
And sugarplum dreams,
It’s carolers caroling
Sounds of the season.
Do-gooders doing good
For no good reason.
…And it’s Christmas

It’s Santa and elves
Waiting perched at the mall
With Eddie and Adeline
Watching in awe,
It’s crimson and candy canes,
Emeralds and diamond rings,
Lollypops, presents and
All kind of wondrous things.
…And it’s Christmas.

It’s angels with halos and
Good will toward men,
A grand celebration of
Family and friend,
It’s eggnog and candlelight,
Star-topped trees twinkling bright,
Praises to Heaven that echo the night.
…And it’s Christmas.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

No Boundaries

By Bill Sawyers

There are no boundaries of life in this age;
Just open your mind of empty space.
Learn the knowledge of wisdom through school and books;
As you just can’t depend on your looks.
Use your best judgment to follow through.
The future is upon us,
It’s all up to you.
If you reach a dead end,
Then start over again.
A day is a day; a year is a year;
Time is one thing you shouldn’t fear.
You will succeed one of these days
What ever goal you’re trying to reach
I’ll wish you luck, as this is the way;
Just try to make the best of your day.

Bill Sawyers is an author and poet that has been writing for many years. He has written three children’s books and the book proceeds benefit three schools in the Concord, California area.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dream Big

Novelist Luke Hays Offers Advice to Other Young Writers

By Dana Micheli

Luke Hays knew at a very young age that he wanted to be a writer, ever since he became hooked on Calvin and Hobbes and The Great Illustrated Classics. “I remember thinking, ‘I want to be like these authors,” Hay says, “and it wasn’t long before I started writing my own stories.” Among the first was a piece he wrote with his younger brother during a cross-country trip; both boys were still in grade school. It was through these early stories that Luke began to find his voice as a writer, and at 21 years old, he has published two novels, is working on a third, and has even tried his hand at screenplay writing.

His second novel, Psychic Detective, is a historical fantasy novel set in the spring of 1883. It’s the story of Henry Larson, a crack Pinkerton Detective whose amazing crime-fighting skills spring in part from an ability to see the future. When Larson is called to a small town in California to solve a string of gruesome murders, he knows he’ll have to use all his powers—natural and supernatural—to catch the elusive killer. Hays’ inspiration for Psychic Detective came from the Hughes Brother’s film, “From Hell”, starring Johnny Depp as Inspector Fredrick Abberline. Abberline, who is investigating Jack the Ripper, is also a psychic. Hays also credits Sir Arthur Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and other detective stories for sparking his desire to create this story. Hays has always drawn inspiration from his favorite books, including Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson, Christopher Paolini’s The Inheritance Cycle, and The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. Currently, he has moved on to a different genre and time period to read Stephen King’s Carrie.

Like any veteran writer, Hays has come up with a creative process that works best for him. “As soon as I come up with an idea, I jot it down, then I write a logline for the book. This gives me the basic framework for the plot.” Sometimes he creates character biographies as well, but he does not spend a lot of time on story outlines. “When writing a novel I generally write a rough draft that becomes my outline.” Screenplays, however, are another story. “I do outlines for screenplays because I’m dealing with visuals, which I find more challenging, but in a good way. Screenwriting is a lot of fun.”

After careful consideration, Hays has decided to self-publish his books. “I’ve thought about going the traditional route of querying agents and trying to get a publisher,” Hays admits, “but it is a long process, requiring a lot of patience. Self-publishing is less expensive and gets your book on the market much sooner. The self-publishing company reads through your manuscript to see if it needs to be fixed or reworked, and then you’re good to go.” Hays’ self-publishing experiences have been so positive that he also plans to self-publish the second and third installment of The Blood Line Trilogy. Not one to limit his options, however, Hays is considering pursuing traditional publishers for yet another novel he has in the works.

Being a writer is not an easy path, and is certainly not the type of career most people try without either a back-up plan or a safety net. Hays’s family has certainly had time to become accustomed to his dream, and while they are supportive, they also promote self-reliance. “They do encourage me and cheer me on, but the editing and publishing costs are all on me. It all really comes down to motivating myself.”

That said, Hays has nothing but words of support for other young writers who might be feeling the pressure to choose a “safer” career. “Never give up, I tell them. It can be a rough road, but the benefits of following your passion more than compensate you for any hardships.”

Psychic Detective would undoubtedly make a good film, and Hays certainly hasn’t ruled out writing an adaption for the big screen. Right now, however, he is focusing on The Bloodline Trilogy, first writing the second installation, then perhaps a TV series based on the storyline.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Author Don Miguel Ruiz will Joins Us on We Are One in Spirit Podcast Tomorrow!

On December 13, 2012 Don Miguel Ruiz will join Yvonne Perry on We Are One in Spirit Podcast to share the message of the Mayan elders.

Don Miguel Ruiz is the international bestselling author of a powerful series of books including The Four Agreements, which stayed on The New York Times bestseller list for seven years and became the 36th bestselling book of the first decade of the 21st century.
He has dedicated his life to sharing the wisdom of the ancient Toltec through his books, lectures, and journeys to sacred sites around the world. His other bestselling books include: The Mastery of Love, The Voice of Knowledge, Prayers, and The Fifth Agreement, a collaboration with his son don Jose Ruiz.
On Dec 17-21, The Ruiz Family will host “Awakening The Giant” a sacred, powerful and intimate transformational experience that is equal parts spiritual learning experience, musical celebration and mystical gateway-- within the sacred site of Teotihuacan, on the outskirts of Mexico City. This is a once in a lifetime experience where people can come to help birth the new era of light. The event is designed to allow families and individuals to participate in the awakening of humanity to its full power. For more information you can visit:
If you would like to join this call, please be sure you are subscribed to this blog or our mailing list.
Yvonne Perry is the author of Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience and Whose Stuff Is This? ~ Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You. Coaching is a life-changing experience that allows you to quickly make changes and improve every aspect of your life. Yvonne is a metaphysical coach able to assist you on your spiritual journey. Learn more at .

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Editor's Corner December 2012

Welcome to the December, folks! As people in the Northeast continue the post-Sandy clean-up, we are all reminded of the power of collaboration. Friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers have come together for the good of their communities, promising that everyone will emerge from this trauma even stronger than before. Of course, since I am a workaholic, this got me thinking about the collaborative nature of my work.

When speaking with a new client, I always let them know that this is a partnership. Of course, they have the final say as to what goes into their book; however, many first time authors think that as the “expert,” the editor or ghostwriter has all the right answers. While editors can certainly help polish your work and get it ready for market, they must also be committed to preserving the author’s unique vision, voice, and message for the world. The same goes for a ghostwriter.

If you’re about to begin your search for an editor, keep in mind that he/she must be willing to work with you, not impose their own vision, or writing style. Ask them how they view the editing process, and be sure to get references and samples of their work. On the other hand, be open to ideas that he/she might have, as they can lead your book in directions you wouldn’t otherwise consider. After all, two heads are better than one.

Happy Holidays, everybody!

Dana Micheli
Writer and editor, Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services

Writers in the Sky is a team of ghostwriters, editors, and book marketing specialists committed to the craft and business of writing. We work with our clients on all levels of the publishing process from editing and manuscript assessments to book formatting and marketing. So whether you are a first-time author or a veteran of the craft, let Writers in the Sky help you get your book out into the world. We also provide assistance with résumés, business documents, and academic essays. For more information, visit

Saturday, December 8, 2012

WITS Announcments December 2012

As a subscriber to Writers in the Sky Newsletter, you are entitled to share your announcements with our readers. See guidelines at and send your material to us before the 24th of each month to make the next month’s issue. Anything posted in WITS Newsletter is also shared with our blog readers at

The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is open to anyone who loves expressing innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful art of poetry or writing a story that is worth telling everyone. Write a poem or short story for a chance to win cash prizes! Postmark deadline: January 13, 2013. All works must be original. Visit our website for details:
WITS client Tiago Bernal has released Messages from the Future Part I, the first instalment of his three-part interactive game book. The human race is facing extinction in the very near future, unless a few brave individuals are willing to stop it. Are you one of these people? We dare you to find out. If you decide to accept this challenge, you will find yourself in the midst of an adventure that will take all of your wits and courage to survive. To check out the trailer and buy Messages from the Future, visit:
Read the first chapter for free and then decide if you want to download the 3-hour-long mp3 audio book of More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife for only $7.00
Need last minute holiday gifts? Try James Ross’ latest release, PABBY'S SCORE, on 12/12/12. It has INNOCENCE (special needs teens) GREED (an unethical lawyer) CORRUPTION (a dishonest court) and SEX (Internet dating) as well as a few laughs and several surprises.

Mark your calendar for the PABBY'S SCORE Blitz on 12/12/12 at Amazon online. It can be purchased in paperback and Kindle format!

Each story in The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children focuses on life skills such as environmental awareness, helping others, being true to one’s self, overcoming fear, and following inner guidance.
Beginning November 26, Michael Loyd Gray's latest novel, King Biscuit, takes a tour around the blogosphere. Join us as we celebrate another great story by this master of literary fiction! Visit the tour here:
Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those around You is a guidebook for empathic people who have been unknowingly carrying energetic burdens that belong to someone else. See all purchasing options at
State of Appreciation is a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical & spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization. This publication offers empowering articles, gifts, and free contemporary and classic empowerment downloads free at
If you are looking for someone to create an original piece for your book cover, you may want to connect with Diane Daversa on Facebook:!/pages/Diane-Daversa-Fine-Art/109782219119036
Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience is about how to embrace multidimensional frequencies, lessen physical and emotional symptoms of rapid spiritual ascension, and offers tips to make the ascension process easier and quicker.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Top 10 Tasks to Get Your Blog Ready for Prime Time

By Joel Friedlander

New blogs are popping up all the time. New writers, new authors, new businesses and new ideas find a friendly space and set up shop. Authors are encouraged to use author blogging to help build their careers.

There are lots great reasons for authors to blog, and I think most writers understand that right away.

But when you get started, you face a sort of dilemma: your blog exists to host visitors, but when will it be ready to start inviting people to come over for a visit?

Well, you wouldn’t throw a party for special and important guests if you don’t have any furniture yet, would you? So you don’t want to start marketing your blog and trying to build an audience if you aren’t ready for visitors.

Even though you can start a blog any time you want and post your first article in minutes, both you and your readers will enjoy it a lot more if you’ve put some basics in place first.

First impressions count for a lot, and your typical web surfer is pretty quick to come to a conclusion about your new site. That’s why it’s a good idea to be ready before you try to get traffic to your sparkling new articles.

So here’s a list you can bookmark and refer back to that will help you if you’re just warming up a brand new blog.

You don’t have to treat these items as absolute requirements, but the more of them you have in place before throwing open your doors, the more confident you can be that you’ll show your best side to new visitors. You’ll encourage comments, send readers to your “archive” to read more, and sign them up as subscribers. It’s all good.

Top 10 Tasks to Get Your Blog Ready for Prime Time

6-10 Posts—This one should be easy, since you want to have a collection of at least 6 to 10 articles already on your blog. These should all address fundamental ideas, definitions, or principles of whatever your blog topic is. Presented properly, these are what we call foundation content, evergreen content, or pillar content.

Title & byline—You probably thought of a title for your blog when you first decided to set it up. But do you have a good tagline? This brief statement, often found in the header of a blog, helps orient new visitors right away to what kind of approach they’ll find in your articles.

Plugins—This blog runs on WordPress, and while the software is outstanding, you still need to install a few crucial plugins to keep things running well. For instance, the first plugin I install on new blogs is the Akismet comment spam eliminator.

Subscriptions—It takes a lot of work to get people to visit your blog. It would be a shame if they just came and, even if they liked your articles, simply left again. Blog subscriptions allow people to stay in touch with your content without having to remember to keep checking back. This is essential to building your audience.

Opt-in—You could consider this another subscription, but it’s very different. You want to sign up with an email provider, a company like AWeber or someone else, and put an opt-in signup box on your blog right from the beginning. No matter what goal you have for your blog, an email list is likely to be critical to helping you achieve it.

Customization—There are hundreds of cool themes available for WordPress blogs, many of them free. Once you find one you like, whether free or a premium theme, you want to make it your own. At the minimum, you can create a graphic, or hire someone to create one for you, and add it to your theme to give you a custom header. It will be the beginning of your blog’s branding, and you won’t look like every other new blog out there.

Submit to Google—When you have a new site it’s very important to get noticed and indexed by Google and other search engines. After all, this is how many of your yet-to-arrive visitors are going to find you. Whether you submit a sitemap or get links from more mature sites, or both, you’ll want make sure you’re getting noticed.

Create basic pages—One of the great things about WordPress is the way it allows you to create static pages as well as posts. For instance, you need to have an About page and a Contact page at the minimum, but you might also want to have a page for each of your books, for a media kit or to offer services.

Copyright—I don’t know of many bloggers who copyright their blog, but I believe it will become increasingly important to content creators. The process is a bit complex because blogs are completely different kind of publication than existed when copyright was invented, but you can still do it. If nothing else, make sure you have a copyright notice on your blog, like the one in the footer at the bottom of this page.

Policies—You may or may not be ready to put your privacy, comment or other policies in writing yet, but it’s a good idea to give them some thought. If you plan to stimulate discussion, it might be good to have a comment policy in place right from the start.

Looking over this list, I think you can see that a blog that’s been prepared for visitors, even if you’ve only done half of these 10 items, will be a more welcoming and richer environment for them when they arrive.

Time to start finding those readers and inviting them over.

Joel Friedlander is a self-published author, an award-winning book designer, and an accomplished blogger. He's the founder of the Self-Publishing Roadmap online training course, and a frequent speaker at industry events where he talks to writers about how the new tools of publishing can help them reach and inspire their readers.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

We Are One in Spirit & Writers in the Sky Podcast Schedules for December

WAO Podcast

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows for people of all walks of life to discuss their spiritual journey and life—transforming experiences that remind us that we are all ONE IN SPIRIT. Uplifting, enlightening, and insightful topics include healing, empathy, intuition, spiritual/psychic gifts, metaphysics, soul development, afterlife, spirit communication, and more. The metaphysical shows are archived at feed:// You will also find us on iTunes. Please subscribe to the We Are One in Spirit mailing list to receive the call log-in information:

December 13: Don Miguel Ruiz will join Yvonne Perry to share the message of the Mayan elders. Don Miguel Ruiz is the international bestselling author of a powerful series of books including The Four Agreements, which stayed on The New York Times bestseller list for seven years and became the 36th bestselling book of the first decade of the 21st century. He has dedicated his life to sharing the wisdom of the ancient Toltec through his books, lectures, and journeys to sacred sites around the world. His other bestselling books include: The Mastery of Love, The Voice of Knowledge, Prayers, and The Fifth Agreement, a collaboration with his son don Jose Ruiz.

WITS Podcast

Writers in the Sky Podcast is a Nashville-based talk show about writing, publishing, and book marketing. An educational tool for people who want to learn more about the craft and business of writing, this show offers interviews with authors and writers, as well as the latest news about books currently on the market. You will also learn about publishing methods and marketing techniques as we interview publishers and publicists. Listen to archived shows via RSS Feed. Download WITS Podcast on iTunes for your iPod or iPad.

December 21: Dara Beevas joins us for a discussion on The Indie Author Revolution. After taking her own books from idea to print, Dara has written "The Revolution" to help other authors get their message out into the world.