Category Archives: copywriting

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Carolyn Howard-Johnson, the Frugal Book Promoter!

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Author interview with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, your Frugal Editor and Frugal Book Promoter (-:

Carolyn was raised by a depression-era mother, thus the Frugal thing. Her fiction is informed by The Place she grew up, beauty, warts and all. Utah. And, like Wendy, she loves to share and help writers promote their books. Find her frugal stuff at www.howtodoitfrugally.com and her fiction and poetry at www.carolynhoward-Johnson.com .

1. Tell us about your latest book.

It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques . It was launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center in New York (about the time of last year’s Book Expo America) and is based on my many years as founder, owner and marketer for a chain of gift stores. Find it at www.budurl.com/RetailersGuide.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I thought the boys on my high school newspaper staff were cute. We said “cute” back then, not “hot.” I wouldn’t have known from “hot.”

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I look like a toadstool growing out of one of those ergonomic chairs that sit in front of computers. In the afternoons I got to movies, a habit born out of the days when I reviewed film for the Glendale News-Press. Movies also inform my writing.

4. Describe your workspace.

Messy, very messy. If you’d like a photo, I’ll send it to you. It was taken a couple of years ago. It’s worse now. There is still room, however, for my Great Dane to spread out on the floor.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers).

Oh, so many. Wendy, I’m reading yours. Just got it. One of my favorites these days is an e-book by Larry Brooks on story structure. www.storyfix.com. It’s the best I’ve ever seen on that subject.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you.

  • Mmmm. I dye my hair the same color it comes out at the roots. Go figure.
  • I was a redhead before I was a blonde. Wishing made it so. You can call it silver, or gray and get a swat. You can get away with “platinum,” though I still want to be “blonde.”
  • I was only 18 when I started my first writing job. You can learn how I got that job by reading the fictionalized account in my novel This Is the Place. http://www.amazon.com/This-Place-Carolyn-Howard-Johnson/dp/1588513521/

7. Favorite quote

“Careers that are not fed soon die as readily as any living organism given no sustenance.”

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

You’ll find it on my handouts for the classes I teach at UCLA, all over my Website, in th footers of some of my books, etc.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Oh, gosh. Best part. I love it. It cured me of cancer.

Truly, no worse part. Truly.

9. Advice for other writers

Read. Read in your genre. Read outside of your genre. Read how-to books on every subject related to writing and the marketing of books. Read more than one on each subject. Buy books for gifts.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I love your story. It’s hard to beat.  So I won’t try.

At that first job in journalism I wrote a cooking column for teenagers, using their recipes. I was also learning layout and had to write the cutlines (those little explanations beneath pictures) and it is hard to write them for one column headshots. One week I featured a brownie recipe that didn’t have to be baked from a teen in Salt Lake City. I wrote (name changed to protect the innocent), Diane Dotson . . . Easy to make while studying.” It ran in most editions. Editors caught it before the city edition hit the press. Luckily for me and for my job.

Where can people buy your books?

Oh, so many! Just know that I know my HowToDoItFrugally books will help authors make their dreams come true and that I consider even The Frugal Editor (www.budurl.com/TheFrugalEditor) important in marketing your book to a publisher, agent or anyone else. Editing is just so important. Your readers will find everything from my award-winning poetry to The Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) at www.howtodoitfrugally.com.

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UK workshop for freelance journalists wanting more ‘corporate work’

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Linda Jones, author of “The Greatest Freelance Writers Tips in the World” is holding a workshop for freelance journalists in London (Nov. 14) and Birmingham (Nov. 28). Topic include Ethics, Writing style, How to get work, Getting paid, and “Clients from hell.” Space is limited. To learn more, contact Linda directly:

linda@passionatemedia.co.uk   or   01543 468621

Need a writer, editor or proofreader?

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Lauren Holder Raab can help with your projects! She provides freelance writing, editing and proofreading services, primarily for authors and literary publications. Projects include books, magazines and websites. Check out her website, www.laurenholderraab.com, and tell her Wendy sent you.

Here’s a review of Wendy’s book on Lauren’s site:

http://www.laurenholderraab.com/2009/07/31/book-review-the-query-queen-holds-court

Interview with Melissa Donovan, creator of “Writing Forward”

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Interview with Melissa Donovan, multi-talented writer and creating ofmelissadonovan “Writing Forward,” an award-winning site for writers 

Melissa Donovan is a self-employed copywriter and web content specialist. She writes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her blog, Writing Forward, which was recently named one of Writer’s Digest “101 Best Websites for Writers,” offers creative writing tips and ideas.

 

1. How did you get started as a writer?

 

Like many writers, I started out as a reader – a voracious reader. I could read before I turned four years old and I have always devoured books. When I was about thirteen, I started journaling and writing poetry. I also enrolled in journalism class and worked on the school newspaper.


2. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Writers can learn a lot by reading well-written works by successful authors. If you want to improve your language, read Jazz by Toni Morrison. If you’re having trouble creating realistic or believable characters, read Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Read the classics and read extensively in whatever genre you want to write.

3. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I’m a huge animal lover, and one of my goals is to write and work on behalf of the No Kill movement, which seeks to end the unethical and unnecessary killing of homeless animals in shelters. You can learn more by visiting the No Kill Advocacy Center.

Normally, I’m pretty shy and I don’t like speaking in public or being the center of attention. The only exception is when I’m dancing. I love to dance, and when I do, my inner exhibitionist comes out and my shyness disappears. I like to own the dance floor.

I started working as a freelance copywriter on a whim. I had been working for a company that went out of business, and six months later I was tired of the job search, tired of corporate life, and tired of playing it safe. So, I took a leap of faith and less than a month later, I was in business.

4. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part of being a writer is telling a story that people care about. Also, the writing community is incredibly warm and supportive, so it’s an honor to be a part of that. It’s all about making that human connection.

Having said that, the worst part is the solitude. The only thing I miss about having an office job is meeting and working closely with other people. The Internet is helpful in maintaining a sense of community but it’s not quite the same.

5. Advice for other writers

Read and write. Those are the only two things every writer absolutely must do.

Where can people get writing tips and exercises?

My website features writing tips to help writers improve their craft, along with activities like poetry prompts and writing exercises. The poetry prompts are especially popular because the challenge is simple – write a poem that contains all of the words from a list.

One of my favorite fiction writing exercises asks writers to get into their characters by chatting with them, putting them in situations outside of the story, and writing a monologue from the characters’ perspective. It’s called “Getting Into Character.” 

Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I took a fiction writing course in college, and I remember reading my story out loud to the class – not something I enjoyed much, but it was a class requirement. They laughed, and the best part was that they laughed where the story was supposed to be funny. I remember thinking that I can do this – if I can make people laugh with my writing, then I can be a writer.

“How to Survive as a Writer During a Recession”

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Marcia Peterson has a collected a great bunch of pieces to answer “1 Big Question” (her words) about how to survive as a writer during a recession. Yes, I’m quoted in the article, but that’s not the only reason it’s a great read! ; )

http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/29-20questions-RecessionTips.html

5 Q’s with Wendy on freelance life

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I was just interviewed by Susan Johnston of the Urban Muse Writer. She asked me about common mistakes writers make, staying organized and motivated as a freelance writer, advice for other writers and more. Read the interview and then sign up for The Urban Museletter to get your monthly fix of writing tips and tidbits. It’s good advice; Susan has written for The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, SELF, WomenEntrepreneur.com and Yahoo! HotJobs, among other places. She also teaches and does copywriting. Here’s her other Web site: www.Susan-Johnston.com

free ebook and tons of sites for freelance writers!

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Hi folks,

Trevas Walker was kind enough to share a TON of resources with us. First of all, he’s GIVING AWAY his ebook for writers on eBookGuru.org. Here’s a direct link to the announcement of the Freelance Package:

http://www.ebookguru.org/index.php/2008/11/this-week%E2%80%99s-free-ebook-%E2%80%93-the-freelance-package/

 Next, here’s a list some of the sites that the book itself compares and teaches about. In the main body of the book you’ll find links to:

The Freelance Sites – for Finding Online Freelance Work (The Main Ones)

1. Elance – http://www.elance.com

2. oDesk – http://www.odesk.com

3. Guru – http://www.guru.com

4. Rent a Coder – http://www.rentacoder.com

5. Get a Coder – http://www.getacoder.com

and…

A Great Site for Finding Traditional Freelance Work

http://www.writersmarket.com

 

In the resource section of the book Traves has added:

http://www.getafreelancer.com/

http://www.limeexchange.com/

http://www.scriptlance.com/

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/

http://www.freelancewriting.com/freelance-writing-jobs.php (Pulls writing jobs from various sources on the web.

http://www.online-writing-jobs.com/

http://allfreelancewritingjobs.com/

http://aboutfreelancewriting.com/jobs/currentjobs.htm

 

Traves says that eBookGuru.org will soon have some teaching resources for writers, so you might want to bookmark it and check back.

 

Three notes from Traves:

1. Don and I are working on a series on how to market an eBook (with a slant towards fiction), and Charlee Compo (http://www.windlegends.org/) has offered to write an article on building a successful writers site (her site gets about 5000 visitors each month).

 2. I also wrote a feature on ePublishing with the help of Chapmagne Books

http://www.ebookguru.org/index.php/2008/12/e-publishing-the-advantages-of-using-an-e-publisher-over-selling-it-yourself/

3. We also have an ePublishing article by Carol North (http://www.carolnorth.com/) posted here:

 http://www.ebookguru.org/index.php/2009/01/join-the-e-publishing-revolution/