Friday, April 25, 2014

Does Your Website Suck?

Is your website ready for business? When I ask this question at speaking events, there are usually only a few hands that go up. Most people aren’t really sure whether their website is working or not. The main goal of your site is to sell your book or product, and no matter what you're selling, there are some key elements every website must have. This checklist will help you determine if your website is working as well as it should:

1. Proofread your copy: Every single page must be carefully edited. There's no quicker way to lose a sale than to present readers with typos and other needless gaffes. Your website is your 24/7 sales and marketing tool and you want to create a stellar first impression.

2. Check your traffic: You can see who visits your site, where they come from, and much more. Google Analytics is free and easy to use. You want to review the reports regularly so you understand who visits your site, how they find you, and what they do once they're on your site. Then you'll learn what works (and what doesn't).

3. Be media ready: Every website should have a media room with downloadable materials ready to go. This includes a photo, bio, book synopsis and book cover. Offer the downloads in small files, people will appreciate that. In addition, your media room can have a Q&A, book reviews, book group questions, events calendar, and more. Make your media room the one stop source for easy to obtain information.

4. Keep the copy simple: People don't sit down to read web pages. They scan, so a home page of 200 to 250 words is ideal. Your site needs to be easy to scan and it has to have a call to action - what is it you want readers to do? Buy your book? Download a report? Whatever it is, you want your site to direct visitors to a specific action.

5. Have a web store: While it's a good idea to have your products available at a number of e-tailers, you should have a spot on your site dedicated to sales - even if you direct people to or another site for the actual purchase. Make it easy for visitors to your site to buy from you, otherwise, you'll lose the sale.

6. Invest in professional design: You don't have to break the bank, but definitely consider hiring a professional to design your website. Designers understand layout, color, calls to action, and web surfing habits better than anyone. A good designer will not only produce a nice-looking site, but one that's focused, with a clear call to action that will turn your site's surfers into buyers.

7. Blog and other contact points: Having a blog ensures you have regularly updated content on your site, as well as a page on your blog where visitors can participate. If you're using social media, make it easy for visitors to your site to click through and follow you wherever you are: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.

8. Freshen up your content: This works well if you have a blog. Try to update it once or twice a week. The updates are a big plus for Google, which will reward your site with a higher search ranking if it has fresh content. That ranking will help with search because you’ll be listed before your competition. And that’s what you want – for people to be able to find you (instead of someone else) when they’re searching books in your genre or for authorities in your area of expertise.

9. Add social widgets: All of the major social media sites have widgets you can add to your site. This makes it easy for others to share content, whether it's your latest blog post, book synopsis, or events calendar. When you make it easy to share content you’ll get results.

10. Build a mailing list: Email marketing is a valuable tool, and you can use your website to build that list. Offer something your readers want, such as a free download of a report, or a sample chapter of your book. Those email addresses will come in handy when your next book or new product comes out!

11. Contact information: Make sure your site offers a way for people to get in touch with you. Don't make visitors hunt for that phone number, email, or contact form - they won't. They'll just leave your site and they won't come back.

12. Go Mobile: With Mobile such a huge part of our world, your site should be mobile-ready. Many sites like WordPress have simple plug-ins, also check out Dudamobile, which has a free platform to help you turn your desktop site into something that’s mobile friendly.

Your website is critical to the success of your business, book, or product. Invest the time and money to get the best, most professional site possible. When you take the time to do it right, you’ll have a website that’s a valuable marketing and sales machine.

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Poetry and Prose Corner April 2014

Opening Night

Places! Places!
Dim the lights!
Tempo. Timing.
Make it right.
Attack the stage.
Forget the fright.
Finally it’s
Opening night.

Grueling weeks of
Late night trends,
Burning candles
At both ends.
Do it over
And again
Until we get it all
Just right.

Love the crowd.
Forget the crowd.
Stand up proud
And shout out loud.
Curtain, lights.
Bring the house down
Opening night.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Let’s Get Together

Enough is enough
-Is enough –
Is too much.
Patience and common sense
Running amuck.
Lit up in firefight,
Caught in the crush
By her saber –
Cut to the bone.

Sudden explosion
Trembles the ground
Mocking the silence –
World upside down til
Cymbals crescendo
And I look around
To find myself
Lost and alone.

One might imagine
A world without hate
Where patience evolves
And all celebrate
Diversity’s beauty.

It’s not too late.
Let’s get together.
Let’s get it done.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WITS Book Reviews April 2014

Book Title: Letting Go
Author: Belinda Tors
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Genre: literature, fiction
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Book Length in Pages: 236
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

It is not easy to write a novel about domestic abuse; in fact, it may be one of the hardest topics to write about. Imagine juggling an author’s desire for a happy ending with the all too common tragedy that befalls women in this situation. The author wants the victim to be a victor, without seeming like a parody of a superhero. Belinda Tors skillfully achieves that balance in her novel, Letting Go.

The story shifts back and forth in time, from when Margery Arturo is desperate to leave her violent husband but cannot see a way out, to when she is counseling other abused women. Her first attempts to leave Tony ended in failure, after Margery realized that she would get no help from her parents or from the shelter system she once contributed to. She returns home, but this time, she has an escape plan that includes getting therapy and an education to increase her earning potential. However, when she puts that plan into action, she learns it is only the beginning of her struggle. Like so many other abusive husbands, Tony is not going to let her, or his children, go so easily.

Domestic violence is an epidemic, and one often discussed, but Letting Go tackles it in a very unique way. She tells the story of what happens after a woman leaves-- and the very real problems she faces, even beyond being stalked by the abuser. It explores not only the lack of funding for domestic shelters, but the divide between abused women of different socioeconomic groups and how any one of them can slip through the cracks.

Compelling, raw and brutally honest, the power of Letting Go lies in Tors’ ability to convey realism, strength, and best of all, hope.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

This Week's Podcast Guest: Belinda Tors

I was not sure what to expect when I cracked open Belinda Tors' new book, Letting Go. After all, there aren't many novels that tackle the topic of domestic violence head-on, and as someone who used to work for an anti-violence organization, I was curious to see how it would be depicted. I found Letting Go to be powerful, moving and, best of all, realistic - probably because it addresses the struggles a woman has even after she has left the abusive relationship.

This was just one of the topics of Belinda's fascinating interview on the WITS podcast. She also discussed her other books, including a collection of poems, and her work counseling abuse victims. 

To listen to the podcast, click here. To learn more about Belinda Tors or to purchase her books, visit her website or Amazon Author Page.

8-Step Plan for Landing Endorsements to Promote Your Books

by Dana Lynn Smith

Endorsements are recommendations from authors, experts or celebrities—people whose opinion can influence sales of your book. These are the quotes (or “blurbs”) you typically see printed on the covers and inside of books.

Having a well-known person endorse your book lends credibility and can really impact sales, so it's worth the time and effort required to land important endorsements.

But why would a high-profile individual do you the favor of giving you an endorsement? In a word: publicity. The person giving the endorsement gains exposure from endorsing quality products. And, of course, many people (especially other authors) are happy to help out an author who has written a good book.

Here are some steps for landing powerful endorsements:

1. Schedule well in advance.
If you want to print your most important endorsements on your book cover or inside the book, you'll need to build time into your production schedule. It can be time-consuming to track down well-known people and get their endorsement, so start at least 60 to 90 days before you need the text.

2. Go for the gold!
The next step is to make a list of potential endorsers who are a good fit for the topic or genre of your book. Do not be afraid to aim high! You have nothing to lose but a little time and perhaps the cost of mailing a book. And the rewards of scoring an endorsement from a highly influential person can be great.

3. Locate prospects.
It can be a challenge to track down an email or mailing address for top experts and celebrities. The first place to look is on the person's website. You might also try searching for their profile on Facebook or LinkedIn. For authors, check their personal or author profile on and the publisher's website. You might also find contact information printed in the front or back of their books. Also considering using your personal connections, if you know someone who knows someone.

4. Prepare your materials.
If your book is not yet finished, prepare a synopsis, outline and a couple of sample chapters, along with a killer cover letter. If the manuscript is complete, you may still want to send a specific chapter that's relevant to the person you're asking for an endorsement, and offer to send the entire manuscript upon request.

It's a good idea to include some sample endorsements in the material you send. This is not as presumptuous as it might sound. Keep in mind that the people you are contacting are very busy and you are asking them for a favor. It takes some thought to write a good quotable endorsement and you can save the endorser's time by making a few suggestions. Spend time drafting two or three endorsements that fit each individual, and of course make it clear that these are only suggestions and they are welcome to modify or write something original.

5. Consider Peer Reviews.
Peer reviews can be useful for getting feedback on your book and also generating endorsements. Nonfiction authors can send portions of their book to other experts in their field asking for professional feedback, and then send the completed manuscript later requesting an endorsement. Novelists can request peer reviews from authors in their genre.

6. Make contact.
The next step is to prioritize your list of potential endorsers and start making contact. You may have to go through assistants or agents, so be prepared to explain what you need. It is easiest to email a PDF document containing your manuscript or sample materials, but it’s a good idea to include a note offering to send hard copies if they prefer.

7. Follow up and confirm.
If someone has not responded to your query or has promised an endorsement but hasn't delivered, you may need to follow up with a gentle reminder. If the prospect asks for a full manuscript or more information, send it immediately. Once someone has given you an endorsement, be sure to get their written permission to use it.

8. Show your appreciation.
Follow up promptly with a handwritten thank you note, and be sure to send the endorser an autographed copy of the book upon publication.

Excerpted from Chapter 5 of How to Get Your Book Reviewed.
Dana Lynn Smith, the Savvy Book Marketer, teaches authors how to sell more books through her blog, newsletters, guidebooks, and author training programs. Get book marketing tips at and download her free report, Create a Book Marketing Plan That Sells Books, at   

Thursday, April 10, 2014

WITS Announcements April 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

Former WITS owner Yvonne Perry has a new book out this month! Light Language Emerging ~ Activating Codes and Integrating Body, Soul, and Spirit is the book so many Facebook friends have been talking about. The link to the Kindle version is The paperback is available at

Here is a description of the book:

For eons, humans have been locked in a shallow understanding of who we are as spirit beings. While our linear thinking may help us feel safe, it can also limit us from communicating on a deep soul level with our Creator. It is when we bypass human reasoning, if only for a brief moment, that we tap into a realm where we join with something so pure and wonderful that it defies logical explanation. It is these moments that allow us to know that our experiences in those dimensions are more real than our daily lives that greatly ignore the divine aspect of who we are.

Light is the language of the soul, which allows us to communicate directly with Source without the interference of the mind, while activating codes to assist with healing and restoration on all levels. Discover the sacred artistic tools of light language for opening DNA strands required for bodily ascension. Learn how to move in sync with Spirit to bring restoration to all creation as you integrate aspects of your multidimensional soul for a unified expression of your highest self.

Jamye Price, light language channel, healer, and teacher says this about the book:

Light Language Emerging helps to bring understanding to a vast, new, and unusual subject: the language of light. When it spontaneously started happening to me many years ago, I had no exposure to it, no one to turn to and no immediate answers. A book like this is not only a catalyst for opening, but it becomes a life line for those having unique experiences as their telepathic communications begin to activate. With Yvonne’s book, readers will come to understand their own multi-dimensional nature, their cosmic connection to their galactic family, and their ability to expand beyond limiting perceptions of self and life.

Purchase on or Yvonne’s website:
Do you have a great idea for a book but don't have the time or skills needed to complete the project? Our team will use your notes or rough draft, conduct author interviews, and/or transcribe your audio files to write your book. And the best part is, your name will be on the cover! Learn more:
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.
Writers in the Sky offers three different levels of editing--developmental, copy editing, and proofreading for books, articles, and other documents. WITS has edited many books for publishers, several of which became bestsellers in their category. We offer full or partial edits, as well as the opportunity to work with an editor as much or as little as you like.
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.
You've poured your blood, sweat and tears into your book, and now, after countless rounds of writing, rewriting and editing, it is finally ready for market. Think your work is over? Think again. These days, whether you are a self-published or traditionally published author, you are responsible for the lion's share of the marketing. That's why Writers in the Sky offers a full menu of services to assist you in promoting your book. Visit our website for more information!
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:
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.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Join Us for a Conversation with Novelist Belinda Tors

Some of the best books tackle the toughest topics. In the case of Belinda Tors' new novel, Letting Go, it is the scourge of domestic violence. Letting Go is a moving and realistic account of what a woman goes through, not only during an abusive marriage, but after she leaves.  

Belinda Tors is a retired social worker and journalist who has published widely in newspapers and literary journals. Under the name Barbara Fifield, she is the author of two women’s novels, Photographs and Memories and Lucifer Rising, and a self-illustrated book of poetry, Passion’s Evidence. She is a member of several writing groups, including the Florida Writers’ Association, the Tomoka Poets, and the Ormond Beach Writers’ League. She resides in Port Orange, Florida. 

Tune into the WITS podcast this Friday to hear Belinda discuss her passion for writing, her creative process, and her own struggle to rebuild her life after leaving a violent relationship. 

Click here to read my review of Letting Go. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Editor's Corner April 2014

I have always been inspired by writers, not just because of their talent and imagination, but also by their willingness to expose their private worlds for others to see. From the children’s books my mother read to me, to the classics I was “forced” to read in high school—even the occasional smutty romance—all impressed upon me how writers truly enrich our lives.
This has been doubly so of the people I’ve worked with—the clients who have revealed their deepest secrets and darkest moments, often for the purpose of helping others. People like Gwen McNutt, who after losing four sons to a rare blood disorder, wrote Angels Never Die to help people understand what the power of faith can do. Or Yvonne Perry, whose new book, Light Language Emerging ~ Activating Codes and Integrating Body, Soul, and Spirit, helps seekers take their spiritual journey to the next level.

As we writers tends to live in our own heads (hence the rumors that we’re all crazy!), it’s sometimes hard to remember the world of inspiration outside. This month, I suggest that everyone, particularly those of you who are feeling “stuck”, takes some time to read a few of the books on their wish list.  Or, choose some that you find inspiring, even if they are outside your usual genre(s). Whether you enjoy these books or not, I guarantee that you will learn something from them. It will make you a happier person, and a better writer.

Happy reading, 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

Friday, April 4, 2014

WAO and WITS Podcast Schedules April 2014

WAO Podcast

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows for 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 April 8th and for walk-ins on April 24th. Both webinar conference calls are at 2 p.m., central time.

Learn more about the group coaching calls at

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 April 11 when author Belinda Tors discusses her powerful new novel, Letting Go. It is the story of a woman's struggle to rebuild her life after leaving an abusive marriage.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Angels Never Die Launches in Las Vegas, April 9-14

If you plan on being in the Las Vegas area next week, take a break from the slots and check out the book launching events for Gwendolyn McNutt's Angels Never Die, A True Story of Love, Loss & Faith.  

Gwen and her husband Henry always believed that God's greatest blessing was their six children. But when they lose all four sons to a rare blood disorder, their faith is put to the most agonizing test a parent can imagine. Angels Never Die is their journey of pain, hope and survival in the face of tragedy. It is also a powerful testament to the strength and bravery of their boys.     

If you're not going to be in Vegas, be sure to tune into the radio interviews!  

Tuscany Hotel
Book Launching and Signing / Dinner with the Author
255 E. Flamingo
Las Vegas
Wednesday, April 9th
3:00 PM - 5 PM - West Coast Book launching and signing
5 PM - 7 PM - Dinner with the Author

Radio Interview
Aspects of Writing with James Kelly
Live on VANR (
Thursday, April 10th - 4:00 PM
This show will rebroadcast on KLAV April 22 nd at 2:00 PM (PST)

The Book Boutique
19 W. Pacific Ave.
Henderson, Nevada
Friday, April 11th
12 PM - 2 PM

Barnes and Noble
Henderson, Nevada
Stephanie and Sunset
Saturday, April 12, 2014
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Radio Interview
Community Angels with Josie Harrison
Sunday 5 PM - 6 PM (PST)
KLAV - 12.30 on the dail or

The Coffee House on Water Street
117 S. Water Street
Henderson, Nevada
Monday, April 14, 2014
11:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Finding the Answer to, "Do You Love Me?"

By Deborah Wilbrink

Love takes many forms.  

“My book has turned into a mission,” Gigi calmly states.  “It is finding its way into the right hands, and I am being asked to speak at churches and women’s groups. They listen and their hearts are touched. This feels right.” If you hear Barbara “Gigi” Goodall speak, you’ll meet a self-assured, tall woman in her seventies, accompanied by her amiable husband, Newell. She radiates peace. It comes with telling her heartrending true story.

 “This is a true story of four adults who abandoned me, twice. Once as a five year-old to the state’s foster care system; and then again when a teenager, as I was left with strangers or even to fend on my own. I was born in 1940 and my memories begin at five years of age. . . My parents and grandparents, a couple of four, were always together – but there was no room for me.”

The “couple of four” once left their child alone on a sidewalk, and drove away “to see my reaction.” Later, they repeatedly placed the young teen in boarding situations where she lived without family or friends while her family, unbeknownst to her, collected her wages. It was only when she became seventeen and married that the young woman escaped emotional abuse and opportunism, and began to experience love.

A natural writer, Gigi laments the lack of books, reading aloud, and story-telling in her childhood. Perhaps it was the great stories within the Bible, her one readily available book, which instilled her skills with prose. Maybe it was the guardian angel she believes guided her life.

Gigi began with the intent of saving her story for her four children and their children. Her daughter, Tami, knew about Writers in the Sky and put her mother in touch with an editor there, starting with a gift certificate. It quickly became evident her story was an inspirational memoir that many would enjoy. Her message of love is especially motivating for foster children and foster alumni, restoring faith in their own abilities to succeed. 

Gigi Goodall completed high school when she was thirty-two, successfully raised four children, and provided a temporary home for twenty-five foster kids. She played a leadership role assisting the poor on both an administrative and highly personal level for her Tennessee county. Gigi’s answer to her own question, Do You Love Me? is simple. It’s never too late for love to change lives. The book sold well at Gigi’s book signing, and is available on

Deborah Wilbrink is a personal historian, editor, and proprietor of and is also affiliated with Writers in the Sky. Reprinted with permission from Mature Lifestyles of Tennessee magazine.