Friday, January 31, 2014

What Authors Can Learn from the Promotion of Anchorman II, Starring Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications

Anchorman II: The Legend Continues is the highly anticipated, long overdue sequel to 2004's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The first film quickly became a cult classic with its quippy one-liners and hilarious cast. The sequel premiered December 18. Leading up to the movie's release, the Anchorman team took promoting the film to another level.

Ron Burgundy was EVERYWHERE. In the year and a half following the announcement of the sequel, there was a museum exhibit, a book, a Ben and Jerry's ice cream, a new brand of Scotch, TV commercials for the Dodge Durango, an iPhone app, TV cameos, viral videos, a website chock-full of GIFs, and a college was even renamed after Mr. Burgundy.

So, in the marketing and promotional spirit of Ron Burgundy, here are some tips authors can use in the promotion of their own books.

1. Don't hesitate to do a small town, small market local news show as it might have national implications. Ron Burgundy made a guest appearance on a local news program in Bismark, North Dakota. The clip was so funny it was shown on news casts on every network all over the USA. How does this work for authors? I’ve seen my author interviews on local news picked up on by the national affiliates of FOX, CBS, NBC, and ABC-TV, shown across their syndicated network. In fact, many stories are put up ‘on the satellite’ so other affiliates can grab them and run the story. Sometimes those stories are localized by adding a local twist. Furthermore, the national news desks have people in the newsroom whose job it is to push and promote those stories to their affiliates. Contact your local news outlet for an interview, and don’t hesitate to travel to a small market for an interview. Here’s the infamous North Dakota TV clip in its entirety.

2. Write your own testimonial. In his book Let Me Off at the Top, Ron Burgundy put his own blurb right on the cover: “I Wrote a Hell of a Book!” Most authors agree their book is “One Hell of a Book” but it’s rather self-serving and you won’t be able to get away with it. But who can say that for you? Find that person and get that testimonial. I’ll often ask an author if you could get anybody to blurb your book who would it be? Make a list of the top ten. Then if it’s in the realm of possibilities go out and get it. Check out the Let Me Off at the Top book trailer here:

3. Be willing to travel all over the country. Ron Burgundy went from North Dakota to Connecticut to Los Angeles to New York. Obviously travel costs money, but so does obscurity. If nobody knows about your book what was the point in writing it? Your book is a ‘start-up’; spend time and money to promote it. Get your name and your work out there and as far out there as possible. Don't settle for “hometown press” with the headline “local man/woman publishes book” story. Take your work and promote yourself across the country. Look to special events like book festivals across the nation that you can tie to your book. Check out my list of book festivals and plan to attend a few.

4. Target internationally. “Comedy is very subject to local and cultural sensibilities,” Andrew Runyon, Paramount’s vice president of interactive marketing points out. “It requires a little bit more customization.” In order to be equally relevant and funny in America, as well as abroad, Will Ferrell created some videos for markets in the U.K., Ireland, and Australia. How can an author do this? Delve deep into the messages, themes, and characters of your book. Think about different cultures and how they might perceive your work. Make your book appeal to different nationalities. Show them why your book is as relevant in America as it is in Italy or England. YouTube goes worldwide, so does your Pinterest page and so do most press releases. I get phone calls and inquiries from all over the world requesting my authors conduct interviews. If you are not trying to get attention worldwide, it won’t happen by itself. Check out this clip from Australian TV.

5. Ron Burgundy clips are shown on local newscasts. Context is key. "Part of the reason these clips work so well is that it's placing Ron Burgundy in a modern context, something that adds a fish-out-of-water element to his already goofy charm," says Drew Taylor of Ron Burgundy found his niche in broadcast journalism. Think about where your book fits in best. A restaurant chef protagonist might sell well in Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma. A murder mystery book might gain press at a murder mystery themed weekend getaway. A lifestyle book may be picked up in a hotel bookstore that's renowned for team-building activities or company retreats.

6. Stir up a little competition with your readers.'s Christopher Heine explains, "Working with Zemoga, Paramount is employing a social media-styled casting call. The talent show-like initiative, 'Join Ron’s News Crew,' asks people from around the world to audition for the positions of anchor (#TeamRon), meteorologist (#TeamBrick), sportscaster (#TeamChamp), and live reporter (#TeamBrian)." The people auditioning will post their videos online and hashtag which team they're on. Start your own social media competition. Encourage fans to submit videos, GIFs, artwork, or stories to win a competition of your choosing. Your fans could create the cover art or choose an alternate ending. They could win a day in the life of your lead character or be chosen to have a private lunch with you, the author.

7. Think big, but also think small. The Anchorman II promotional team was especially proud of their collaboration with Tumblr. Nine animated GIFs were pieced together in order to create a socially embeddable poster for the film. Cliff Marks, president of National CineMedia, feels it is possible for GIF mashups to be the future of movie posters in this digital age. “These small, chewable formats are a cool way to present your content,” he says. “And the studios are starting to make that content a focus.”

The Bottom Line: Think like Ron Burgundy and consider some non-traditional marketing methods to get your book on the radar. If you ever want to become a top-selling author, get some swagger, step over the line, and steal a line from Ron Burgundy, “I don’t know how to put this, but I am kind of a big deal.”

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is president of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their fifteenth. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA officers, Navy SEALs, homemakers, fitness gurus, doctors, lawyers, and adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, and Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’s book marketing approach at, or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Poetry and Prose Corner January 2014


Who is that hiding behind the mask
Of civility?
Claiming to understand
As the flames of misfortune
Come searching, seeking.

You shall not touch my shining
White armour.
My inoculation against your wrath
Yields me immune to your foul breath of fire
Though you aspire to drive me insane.

Speak not of frailty
Nor meekness of purpose.
Waltz proud and loud
Marching out, unafraid,
Brandishing sword and shield,
Searching for dragons,
Tearing down walls
To unmask the charade.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Beyond the Veil

By Brenda McBride

Beyond the veil, a whole new existence awaits you. A dimension that
has endless possibilities with no limitations. You are a part of all
that is good. Within this new dimension, you'll be able to connect to those you've loved and have lost, due to physical death. You'll realize that your family and friends who are in spirit never really left you. All those special people who you thought were gone, are
very much a part of you, and you are a part of them. The deep love
and appreciation you feel for your loved ones is felt by mere thought. Your connection is endless to all of God’s gifts that you
cherished. Animals are greatly appreciated for their unique wisdom and for their devotion to those they love. They are a part of you,
just as you are a part of them. There is no real separation when love
is felt and given from the heart. The beauty inside us will radiate with joy and pure emotion. We realize that God’s blessings never cease to exist. We feel more
alive now than ever before, with no more death or disease to face. Beyond the veil, the music has perfect harmony with each and every tune. We are a part of
this harmonious music, just as it is a part of us. The warmth of the sunshine
that warmed our soul is now a part of us. Just as the coolness of the raindrops
as they fall to refresh our senses. We are more alive now than ever before. Was
life a dream? Since time does not exist, we have endless moments to experience
all that is and all that will be. God’s buffet of blessings surround us as we
marvel in the here and now. Love fills the air with joy and happiness for all
his people. Our spirits soar to the upmost highest level in creation. Our soul
sings out with praise and gratitude. We are finally home! Our true home awaits
us all.

Brenda McBride lives in Temecula, California, with her two teenage girls and is a substitute teacher working with Special Education students. Several of her articles and poems have been published in various magazines throughout the last several years. When her father passed away in 2011, her grief became so unbearable that she began writing to release deep emotions. There's not a day that goes by without the thought and beautiful memories shared with her wonderful dad. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Let Tom Swift Inform Your Writing

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Ever heard of Tom Swifties?

Maybe you're too young to be familiar with the classic Tom Swift adventures for boys. Or maybe you're a girl who never read a Tom Swift book nor cares to.

Tom Swifties are one-line jokes lampooning the style of Victor Appleton, the author of the original Tom Swift books. People started making jokes about his overuse of adverbs and the unnecessary taglines he wrote into his dialogue. Like the Polish jokes, they were so much fun that a whole series of them became available for the pun-loving. The author of these classics, of course, laughed all the way to the bank. But that's a lesson for one of my marketing seminars, not this article on writing.

Tom Swifties are something from America's literary past. This is now. I haven't dared to go to the new books in the series but I assume that this outdated writing has been eliminated from them.

You'll want to minimize tags and adverbs in your writing, too!

An example from one of the Swift books will suffice to let you know what to watch for. (Thank you to Roy Peter Clark for the example.)

"'Look!' suddenly exclaimed Ned. 'There's the agent now!...I'm going to speak to him!' impulsively declared Ned.'"

Even authors who swear that adverbs are always very, very good things to use and are reluctant to give up their clever taglines can see how, well . . . .awful this is. In fact, I have to reassure people the quotation is real! Some of the writing that comes to the desks of agents and editors looks almost as bad. Here's how you can make sure yours doesn't:

1. Use taglines only when one is necessary for the reader to know who is speaking.

2. Almost always choose "he said" or "she said" over anything too cute, exuberant or wordy like "declared" and "exclaimed."

3. Cut the "ly" words ruthlessly, not only in dialogue tags but everywhere. You will find specific techniques for strengthening your writing in the process of eliminating adverbs in The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. This book will also give you some computer tricks for making these edits easy.

You don't have to know the reasons or the techniques for making the "ly" and tagline edits easy, of course. You can follow Nike's advice and "Just do it!" But learning all you can about turning adverbs to your advantage is never a bad thing.

For more help with editing and all things related (like grammar, spelling, formatting) go to or refer to your copy of The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your new bestseller, now in its second edition as an e-book. It is available at

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher ( and The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your new bestseller ( Both books are winners of USA Book News "Best Professional Book" award the first in the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers holds Book Publicists of Southern California's coveted Irwin Award. The Frugal Editor is also the winner of Reader Views Literary Awards and Next Generation Indie Book Award for Marketing. Carolyn is also the author of "The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need To Know To Sell Your Book in 20 Minutes or Less," the first in a series of inexpensive booklets for authors.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

WITS Book Reviews January 2014

Book Title: Dead Burn
Author: Jennifer Chase
ISBN: 978-0982953693
Publisher: JEC
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Publication Date: April 2013
Book Length in Pages: 357
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

It’s not every day that a writer creates a character powerful enough to drive a novel; when that character is also powerful enough to drive a series, it’s an incredibly rare treat. Jennifer Chase is one of those authors, and Emily Stone, the star of four of her detective novels, is most certainly one of those characters.

Blond and beautiful, Stone has the looks of a swimsuit model, the heart of a vigilante, and a mind sharp enough to outwit the craftiest criminals in California. In her view, the only thing worse than those who prey on women and children is a justice system that lets let them get away with it, and that’s precisely what happens in the case of Timothy Devlin.

Devlin believes himself to be untouchable, and when he is acquitted of a brutal rape, it seems he is right. But Devlin is about to find out that there are things a lot worse than a jail cell. Immediately following the trial, a serial killer starts picking off everyone associated with the case, beginning with Devlin’s crafty and completely unethical attorney. The killer considers himself righteous, purging the world of sinners. He traps his victims, then sets them afire, leaving them burnt to a crisp and investigators baffled.

Emily wants nothing more than to catch the arsonist before he strikes again, but she soon finds herself in another equally desperate situation. GATE, a government anti-terrorist unit, wants her to work for them, and to ensure her compliance they have abducted her partner, Rick. Emily will have to use every weapon in her arsenal, and walk both sides of the law, in order to come out of this one alive.

Whether you are a fan of gory slasher stories or the thinking person’s whodunit, Dead Burn will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is not only an excellent continuation of Stone’s story, but a wonderful stand-alone mystery as well. I promise you this: if you haven’t already read the first three books, you will after reading Dead Burn!


Friday, January 17, 2014

Discovery—Courting Catalogs and Bulk Sales

Have you ever dreamed of selling your book to a catalog or large corporation? A sale like that would register several thousand copies of non-returnable product on the book sale meter. The trick is knowing who to pitch and when. 

Before you embark on this type of a project, it's important to understand the possibilities: these include incentives, gift basket inserts, sales to catalog companies, and corporate buys. All of these can be fantastic ways to gain some extra momentum for your book. The first step with this is to identify your market. Where does your book fit into this market and where could they use it? For example, a number of years ago I stumbled onto an event company that was planning a lot of corporate retreats to golf courses. The company would organize gift baskets for the executive sleeping rooms so when they arrived they had a lovely “welcome to the retreat” basket. This sparked an idea. At the time we were working on a golf book that would have been a perfect gift for them. When I offered it to them they got in touch with the author and purchased several thousand copies of this book. The key here is to start being aware of incentive items you might see and understand how they are used. Many are offered as consumer gifts or incentives while others are used as training tools or morale boosters for employees.

You may have to do some research because if you’re going after a corporate target, you want to find one that aligns with your book in some way. Thirteen years ago when I was first in business it was pretty easy to place books with companies and even airlines. I once coordinated a purchase for Southwest Airlines that took less than a week to close. Things have changed. Companies are more selective about what they buy, some no longer buy, and others have limited any incentive buys to once a year.

Some examples of bulk sales might be:

• Books offered at yearly company sales meetings
• Books offered to consumers at a discount (consumers are usually asked to send in product UPC's to qualify for these specials)
• Books offered to new customers at financial institutions
• Books offered to new home buyers
• Catalog sales

Corporate Buys

Once you analyze your book and the appropriate market, you’re going to want to put together a sales pitch. The pitch needs to be sharp and educational. Most of the folks you are going to be pitching may have never dealt with bulk buys before. They won’t know the benefits of offering a book; they won’t see the immediate tie-in with their audience, or the benefit of buying your books in bulk, so you’ll have to spend some time telling them why.

The why, however, should be pretty easy. First, books have a higher perceived value. If you've ever been given a swag bag, you know that much of it gets forgotten or discarded, but people are less inclined to toss a book. There is more value to the person receiving it.

Second, you may want to share with your potential buyer some of the success you've had with the book such as reviews, blurbs, etc. All of these things are positive. Perhaps even other sales you've made (unless it’s a competing company!). Also, if you are doing a short print run, remind them that the books can be customized with their company logo and perhaps even a letter from the president of their organization.

If you're going after a particular market and are trying to locate companies within that industry, try doing a search in Google. Your search should look like this: "your industry and companies."

Next, don't overlook companies in your own backyard. Think about industries, companies and organizations in your area that might work well for your book and begin going after them. Many times, local companies will welcome the opportunity to support hometown authors.

Once you've put your list together, you’ll want to create a pitch packet. While most of the pitching we do now is via email, when it comes to bulk sales to companies we’ll generally do a pitch packet that includes a book, endorsements, blurbs, and a cost breakdown of the book. Keep in mind that you’ll likely have to offer a significant discount to get them to buy. For example, you could offer 45 percent all the way up to 80 percent if the buy is big enough. When you start to get into big numbers like 5,000–10,000, etc., I recommend doing an offset print run to drop the cost of the book. Short print runs are always more expensive.

Corporate buys can take a bit of time, so start early. Most companies decide on gift or incentive items months in advance of the event. You’ll need to follow up and that’s really important. Most of the companies will not just call you when they get your packet. You’ll need to call and follow up. And, if you’re lucky to get a call or a meeting, be ready to lead with the benefits.

Catalogs & Stores

This is another area where your book can shine, but be cautious; unlike in the corporate arena, there’s a lot of competition here. First and foremost, you’ll want to identify the right catalog(s) to pitch. You can find a listing here:

Once you locate the catalog, you’ll need to search the site for submission information. If it’s not there (and it may not be), you’ll have to call them. Be warned: you may get the runaround. This isn’t intentional. Most of the phone reps you’ll come in contact with are there to handle customer issues and know very little about sales. You’ll have to be persistent and, if necessary, ask for a manager.

The same is true for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Goods Store, Home Depot, Macy’s, etc. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find the submission information on their website but, in most cases, you’ll need to call. You will get bounced around a bit, but if you persist (just like the catalogs) you’ll eventually succeed.

As with corporate pitching, you’ll need a package (though, in some cases, you’ll submit your information online) but unlike with corporate pitching, you won’t have to convince them to buy. They know you’re submitting to make a sale, but I do recommend that you send them pricing for various purchase points. Use 0–1,000, 1,001–5,000, and so on. You may not have this pricing handy but a quick call to a printer should be able to get you estimates on printing your book in these quantities.

Gift Shops & Specialty Stores

This is another area that’s often overlooked. We were working with a cancer book recently that we sold into a few hospital gift shops with big or well-known cancer wards. Gift shops, whether in a hospital, amusement park, museum, or some other tourist location, can be a great way to push copies of your book into the exact perfect market. I was in Vegas recently and saw a self-published book on Vegas mob history in several of their gift shops. Perfect fit, right? I asked the shop owner how they found these books, they said, “Often the authors pitch us; if it’s a good fit, we’ll make a buy.” I find this is true for most stores. Consider any store that might be appropriate to your market, regardless of the size. We’ve sold books to church bookstores that continue to order copies year after year. I have one title I placed in a church store seven years ago, and they continue to reorder it. Imagine those sales numbers!

Be open and creative with your pursuit of bulk sales! There are a lot of possibilities out there to sell lots of copies of your book and the more niche you can get, the better.

How long does this process take? As I mentioned above, I’ve seen bulk sales turn around in a week, while others take a year or more to complete. Oh, and the most important part... how many books can you plan to sell? Anywhere from one thousand to several thousand depending on the deal and the company.

With the right book and the right targets, sales like these are not only a great way to gain exposure for your book but also, in the end, they make great "cents."

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


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Editor's Corner January 2014

Welcome to 2014 and the January edition of the Writers in Sky newsletter!

Pardon the cliché, but this really is a time to review the past year, taking stock of both the triumphs and the challenges. As you do, you may find yourself wishing you could erase the frustrations, particularly if your writing or marketing efforts have not gone according to plan.

You are not alone, of course, whether your passion is writing or anything else. And, like everyone else, if you examine those disappointments closely, you will see the great value in them. Perhaps a rejection from an agent (or two, or three, or one hundred!) forced you to make improvements to your book; perhaps a less-than-thunderous response to your marketing campaign inspired you reinvent your online presence.

As difficult as it may be to revisit 2013, to avoid doing so is to miss an opportunity for continued growth, as well as to celebrate all the things that went right (I'm sure there were heaps of those as well). The important thing is to embrace the relative "good" and "bad" and allow them to fuel your dreams in the future.

Happy New Year and, as always, happy writing!

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

Monday, January 13, 2014

Writing a Family Genealogy

By Yvonne M. Perry

During my visit to Sedona, Arizona, in 2012, I had a spiritual reading by an indigenous grandmother who told me I had Cherokee blood in my veins. I remembered my parents having mentioned that fact about our ancestry; so, when I next saw them I asked for details. They identified Sarah Elizabeth Ward (whom our family called “Big Granny”) as the Cherokee on my mom’s side. So, off I went on a search to find her in historical records. Since so many Native Americans intermarried with European settlers and hid their pedigree in order to survive the harsh treatment forced upon them, it is difficult to confirm ethnicity in U.S. census records and other government documents. What can’t be hidden is the truth that comes from the stories shared and passed down in families.

Mom told me that her cousin Jenny had done several years of research and personally knew Big Granny. Growing up in the ’40s and ’50s, Jenny remembered many of the stories that her older sister, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and other relatives had told her —Jenny would be the one to fill in the missing details. Jenny and I knew one another through our brief encounters at family gatherings when I was young, but I moved out of state as an adult and no longer attended the reunions. When I contacted Jenny, we knew we were an answer to one another’s prayers. I wanted to know about my ancestors and she had been praying for someone to help her publish the material she had compiled.

If you’ve ever tried to do research for a family genealogy or writing a book you know that either one is a daunting task in itself. Now try doing both tasks and you’ll understand why this is almost impossible without collaboration from family members. Not only did Jenny and I spend countless hours poring through family trees and contacting people on, we spent equal time writing and editing the stories we gathered from family members who Jenny interviewed. She also visited courthouses, graveyards, and cousins who had family photos and memorabilia we had no idea existed.

In addition to sharing our family pedigree, Jenny and I wrote about what we have seen, heard, and experienced with angels and ancestors. We sensed their presence and help with the research on this project. I would awaken during the night with a hunch I had to follow the next day. While looking for clues on one lead, some other information we needed would magically pop up. And, not only were the ancestors helpful, some liked to play pranks. For example, Jenny went to her car at 6:30 one winter morning and found all the windows on her car rolled down. They were not down when she came in the day before. One would need a key to the door lock and the ignition in order to raise or lower the windows. The first thing she thought was, “Who did this?” Then she said, “Good morning, whoever you are.” She went to work with a wet butt from the damp seat.

That’s not the only time we encountered the spirits of our ancestors. I was lead to connect and provide healing energy to the ancestors who came to me in spirit. When one person in a family heals, it positively affects those in the DNA timeline forward and backward, regardless of whether or not they are in a human body. While visiting the Little Union Cemetery one day with her sister, Sarah, Jenny was nearly back to the church when she spotted the tombstone of a family friend. Jenny snapped a photo and started to step away from the grave when something invisible grabbed ahold of her right foot and would not let go. She fell face down, rolling around and trying to get up. At first, she thought she was tangled in the leaves or caught in a vine, but when they raked back the leaves, there was nothing but smooth-cut grass underneath. Another night that same month, Jenny was sitting at her computer, thrilled at what she was finding when suddenly the radio in her bedroom blasted on. She accused her husband of messing with it, but found him asleep in his chair. The alarm that she had set to go off at five o’clock every morning was still set. She took that as a sign that our ancestors were helping us with this research.

I think you will find this book of memoirs interesting even if you have never heard of the Bates family. To learn more about this research project, see

Oh, Come, Angel Band ~ The Living Genealogy of the Charlton Bates Family authored by Yvonne Perry and Jenny Bates Meadows-Sauls is now available!

Purchase on CreateSpace
Purchase on

The genealogy of the Bates family of Georgia is traced back to Charlton Bates and Nancy Kelly (O'Kelly) Bates, first recorded as living in South Carolina in 1812. The descendants mentioned in this book are David Ward and Nancy Martin, Thomas F. Bates; Sarah Elizabeth Ward, Savannah Bates and Alexander Newton Smith; and Lemuel Harris Bates and Lillian Margaret Smith. There are more than 200 photos and some interesting history of Cherokee County, Georgia, as remembered by the Bates family who lived in the area.

Request the paperback book at retail stores or your local library using the info below:

Title: Oh, Come, Angel Band ~ The Living Genealogy of the Charlton Bates Family
Authors: Jenny Bates Meadows-Sauls and Yvonne Perry
ISBN-13: 978-1492269700
ISBN-10: 1492269700
Pub date: December 13, 2013

Friday, January 10, 2014

Build Your Author Platform by Guest Posting

By Dana Lynn Smith

Contributing articles to blogs other than your own is called “guest posting”—in fact, the article that you’re reading right now is a guest post.

Guest posting is a great opportunity to build your author platform and gain exposure to potential book buyers that you might not reach in any other way. As an added benefit, guest posts usually generate links from the sites you post on back to your own website, which helps improve the search engine optimization of your site.

Guest posts are win-wins for everyone. Readers get useful or entertaining articles, bloggers get additional content for their sites, and guest posters build their reputation, get links to their websites, and have the opportunity to sell books.

Author guest posts can take the form of how-to articles, essays, interviews, or case studies, and you can even create audio or video posts. Fiction authors can discuss the writing process or topics related to their novel.

One terrific way to do guest posts is to organize a virtual book tour where you will visit a series of blogs, radio shows, and other venues during a certain time frame. See the article, Promote Your Book with a Virtual Book Tour, to learn more about virtual tours.

To get started with guest posting, look for blogs that are a good match for your book's target audience, then reach out to the blog owners to propose a guest post. It’s best to develop some rapport with the blog owners first by making thoughtful comments on their blog and/or interacting on social networks.

Check with each blogger to see what their requirements are for the length of the post, the topic, and whether they accept previously published content. Some bloggers list their guest post guidelines on their site, so look for that before making contact.

Be sure to include a good “about the author” paragraph at the end of your article, containing a two- or three-sentence bio, a call to action, and a link back to your website. The call to action should include an incentive for people to visit your site, such as a free report or sample chapters. You may want to include a link to your book's page on Amazon as well.

Include your author photo and a book cover when submitting your article, along with a note saying something like “my photo and book cover are attached if you’d like to use them.” Many bloggers will post one or both graphics with your article.

Guest posting can be a highly effective platform building and promotional technique, and I encourage authors to include this strategy in their book marketing plans.

About Dana Lynn Smith

Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, helps authors and indie publishers learn how to sell more books through her blog, newsletter, and how-to guides covering topics such as organizing virtual book tours, getting reviews, increasing sales on Amazon, developing a book marketing plan, and more. Get her free Top Book Marketing Tips guide at


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Volunteers Needed to Read Film Scripts from Nashville Film Festival Competition

Michael Wood from the Nashville Film Festival is seeking volunteers to read film scripts that were received for the sceenwriting competition associated with the festival. If you would like to volunteer your time to read scripts, please contact him at Volunteers have an opportunity to earn passes to the film festival. A Gold Laminate (160 reads total) will grant you access to Festival films for free, as well as VIP Tent Access throughout the Festival. A Silver Laminate (100 reads total) will grant your $5 tickets to films (a $7 discount) and VIP Tent Access throughout the Festival. A voucher (every 24 reads) for a film grants you a $5 ticket to a film. There will be an Orientation Session on January 23rd, and possibly another one on January 30th, for new readers to attend.

WITS Announcements January 2014

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 the 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 a short story for a chance to win cash prizes! All works must be original. Postmark deadline: January 16, 2014. Visit our website for details:
Read the first chapter for free and then decide if you want to download the 3-hour-long MP3 audiobook of More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife for only $7.00.
Write Your Own Classic! New Class Forming…

Whenever I speak to a group, someone is sure to ask, “When are you going to give a class about
writing?” Many people enjoy writing more when they can have feedback with a group. A writers group is wonderful for that—friends who meet or “Meetup” to share their writing and get some feedback and tips. I’ve designed a class with more structure which facilitates, literally, “Old School” learning. It’s described below, and will be on my website, on the page Classes and Coaching, after this little blurb passes on. If you don’t need it, wonderful! Please let others know who may benefit. Someone out there has a New Year’s Resolution to take a writing class!

If you came here looking for something else, please browse either the website or my old postings by scrolling down. I hope you’ll subscribe on the right if you haven’t already. Thanks for visiting!

Write Your Own Classic

Meets 1.5 hours, once a week, 6 weeks, begins mid-Jan.
Woodmont Blvd. and Hillsboro Pike, Nashville
$25 due at each class, or $125 in advance for all six.

This is a structured creative writing class aimed at working on your memoir or novel. Aristotle’s classic structure can be applied to either. Step by step you’ll practice developing setting, character, plot, moral, and theme. These are the elements that make a book worth reading.

Finding one’s voice, choosing a style, and organizing your structure are also topics.

Each class will feature a brief lecture with examples—partnered and group activities, independent writing and voluntary sharing. It is anchored with a PowerPoint / slide presentation, and you will have handouts to take home and use. There are no grades. Our goals are learning, fun, and improvement. Writers at all levels will be successful and are welcome.

If you are interested, please answer the questions below with a yes or no and email your answers to me at with any additional details or feedback.

1. Can you attend on Saturday mornings, 10-11:30?
2. Can you attend Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday nights, 7-8:30?
3. Can you start mid-January? If not, when?
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 oneself, overcoming fear, and following inner guidance.
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 and spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization. This publication offers empowering articles, gifts, and free contemporary and classic empowerment downloads at
If you are looking for someone to create an original piece for your book cover, you might 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.
Yvonne Perry and her cousin, Jenny Bates, have been working for more than a year on a book about their family's history. This genealogy will include 200 photos and many stories from descendants of a line dating back to the early 1800s. If you are of the lineage of South Carolina-born Charlton Bates (b.1812) and Nancy O'Kelly (b. 1813) who migrated to Cherokee County of North Georgia, you may be interested in learning more. The blog for the book is if you would like to see what we have done with this project.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January Podcast Schedules

Coaching Podcast

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows people from 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:

This month’s interactive calls include group coaching for empaths on January 9, 2014, and for walk-ins on January 23. Both webinar conference calls are at 2 p.m. Central Time.

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.

Tune in on Friday, January 24 to hear Mary L. Johnson talk about her book, 6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village. This fascinating book explores America's ongoing love affair with Hollywood, particularly how films both capture and influence contemporary views on religion, politics and other social issues.