Sunday, March 29, 2015

Must Do Marketing: Phase Two

There are three primary reasons you must market your writing. Promotions are free, offers name recognition, and helps to sell your books. After the basics of having a blurb, email, web page, and business cards, comes Phase Two of marketing your work.

1.  Start a portfolio. This can simply be a binder with page protectors. Whenever your name or your book appears in print, date it and the source and put it in the binder. You can display this binder at your writer events and presentations.

2.  Take photos. Always have a camera with you to capture you in action. Photos of you with other authors is also a good idea. Take the photo showing the signage of the event or your table display. You want to remember that book fair, book launch, or the meet-and-greet at a writers' conference. How about when someone wins that gift basket you donated?

3.  Write book reviews.  Ask other writers to trade books and both of you agree to read and do a book review on line. If someone mentions they have read and enjoyed your book, ask them if  they would write a review. There are also online author sites where you can request a review and repost reviews.

4.  Make presentations. Offer to speak at libraries, school career day, church groups, book clubs, senior centers, or community organizations.  This is especially worthwhile if your book fits into a season, social need, or community concern or event.

5.  Teach a class.  This can be done informally at a life-long learning organization or a parks/recreation community program. If you have the educational credentials and experience, you can teach a college course or create a short seminar or discussion group.

6.  Offer to speak at local book clubs. You can generate interest in your book by talking about your experiences writing or publishing your work. You can compare your work to similar books. You can discuss what makes your book the same or different from other writing styles.

7.  Make book baskets. Give these as prizes and gifts for all occasions. Put your book, business card, and related items in a basket and keep it on hand for birthdays, house warmings, teacher gifts, hospital visits, charitable events, and so on.

8.  Display your books at out-of-town events. Many conferences and book fairs offer a Display Book Only option for a small fee. This is a great way to reach bigger markets and gain exposure beyond your family, friends, and local community. Some will return your book if you enclose a SASE.

9.  Write a media release. Send this out each time you launch a new book, speak at a library or conference, participate in a book fair, or win a prize. If you win an award, or have a promotional opportunity, unrelated to your writing, be sure to include the fact that you are an author and mention the title of your book(s).

10..Participate in book fairs. These tend to be more intimate learning and selling opportunities. You may begin to meet some of the same writers and form friendships. This can lead to an exchange of editing and critiques of each other's work. Typically authors sell books and related items to attendees and give out and exchange business cards for future contact.

 ~ ~ ~

~ Valerie Allen ~                                
Psychologist, author, and speaker writes, fiction, non-fiction, short stories, and children's books. She is a popular presenter at writer conferences and the author of, “Write, Publish, Sell! 2nd Editon.”
 Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony
Write Publish Sell!
Summer School for Smarties
Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends
Amazing Grace
Sins of the Father
Suffer the Little Children
'Tis Herself: Short Story Collection, Vol 1

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Happiness and Perception of Reality


We are Souls in Human bodies.
On a Universal level, we are called Human Beings.
Being in human bodies, we enclosed ourselves in a box delimitated by our five senses. The borders that separate our limited reality from the bigger picture, sometimes makes us even forget that there are some borders out there. We believe in the Infinite but somehow we tend to believe that the infinite is also closed in our box.
In this box we have needs; we have desires. And our greatest desire is to reach Happiness.
Yes, WE SEEK HAPPINESS without even having all the details about what the Greatest Happiness is. But we have this encrypted in our DNA.

Who am I to tell you about finding Happiness? Well, like you, I am also a Soul. A Soul that also received a human body Here and Now…
A Soul with its own box and having its own borders, inside which… I may have found Happiness, or may not. But… I am here. And I am here to share my experience on this planet. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something inside it for YOU.
I don’t intend to give you the Ultimate Recipe for HAPPINESS.
But I will make you wonder and question yourself.
I definitely believe that the answer lays in the question. Instead of focusing on the answer, maybe it’s better to concentrate on the question. And one day the answer will find you. And from this answer you will extract the personal Recipe for a better life. YOUR RECIPE FOR PERCEIVING HAPPINESS.
Because… in the world where our human bodies live… everything is subjective and relative… and ultimately… everything is a matter of PERCEPTION OF REALITY.



Sunday, March 22, 2015


Bob van Laerhoven is a fulltime professional Belgian/Flemish author. His novel “Baudelaire’s Revenge”  - winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize and the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense” - was published in hardcover by Pegasus Books in April 2014. The paperback version will be released in April this year.

This is the first episode of a blog I'm going to start: "Conversations with Archimeda:

"Hiiiiih….Hey boss, a small question, if you please…
Archimeda, how many times do I have to tell you? Don’t call me boss, you devious female. I’m your two-legged best friend.
Yes boss, sure boss….Why do you like to read on my back?
Because it makes me sensitive like you are, my beauty. Reading has to be done in a refined mode of the mind. That mindset is natural for horses, not for humans.
Okay, got it… But why are you now sitting in reverse position?
Because I don’t want to upset your delicate nature, my darling…
Oh? Pray, enlighten me, b-
Only when you drop the “boss”.
Well….Pray, enlighten me, Bobbbb….
I’m reading about war, destruction and tragic suffering, my treasure. Mary Borden wrote The Forbidden Zone when she was a nurse in World War One.
Humans killing humans for incomprehensible reasons, Archimeda.
Mmmm….Why you want to read about things that make me shudder?
It is research for my new novel, you graceful creature. The Shadow of the Mole has WW1 as a backdrop but its main theme is the exploration of our damaged souls…
Souls? Are they edible? Like apples?
I don’t think so, sweetie.
A shame. They should be.
You have a soul too, tender one, and often I think it’s better than mine. But I don’t see you eating it, although you devour a lot of hay, you glutton.
Now that I know what it is, a soul, I think I’ve seen you doing it. But it was the other way around.
What do you mean?
I’ve seen that your soul was eating you…
Explain, my beauty.
When you wrote the book Baudelaire’s Revenge you were surrounded by a black cloud.
You saw that?
We horses see things that humans don’t.
And what did that black cloud do?
It tried to eat your heart and it succeeded partly. Each time when you came in our corral you didn’t see me. You just saw a beast. You were elsewhere. It went on for months. It saddened me very much.
I’m so sorry, Archimeda. I…
Before you bought me, I was used to being treated harshly. Shouts, whips, bits that cut in my mouth, curses. You were different. You groomed me, you told me over and over again that you loved me. You calmed me down when I was nervous and afraid. You kissed me a thousand times on my nose. And then it stopped.
I apologize, Archimmeke. Baudelaire’s Revenge was such a dark book to write, so hopeless, so violent, so gruesome. And yet, the man I was writing about, the poet Charles Baudelaire, was someone who sought beauty and love and light, just like I do. But for humans, each thing has its opposite and Baudelaire got lost in the darkness. I realize now I did too.
Humans are strange beings. I am beauty. I am love. I have no opposite.
I know, Archimeda.
You know it with what you call a brain. You still have to learn to know it with your heart. I’m afraid that when you’re writing The Shadow Of The Mole you will be eaten again, this time completely.
You’re an equine philosopher, my treasure. I’m going to dismount now and give you thousand kisses on your nose. I promise you, this time, I will not be eaten.
Yes, my darling?
I’m glad I can’t read your books.
But you can read my heart, my lovely, you can read my heart…."

(I don’t have an author page…I don’t believe in that: I’m not just an author, I’m a human being with many interests)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Real Advice For The Unemployed

RealAdviceForTheUnemployed speaks to the real human and heart wrenching aspects of unemployment. In it, we deal with a wide variety of the complications including finances, housing, relationships, career opportunities, as well as the toll unemployment takes on all who experience it.                                           

Most importantly, we help you look for solutions that will actually work for you based upon your personal situation.  From getting yourself whole again, to aiding you in finding new employment, RealAdviceForTheUnemployed has it all.Finally, THE definitive book that’s offers real advice and counsel on how to navigate your way through what could be the most difficult situation you have ever experienced.

deals with real life and the real realities of unemployment and offers ideas and solutions for all who find themselves unemployed and not thinking or acting so clearly.

RealAdviceForTheUnemployed offers real advice on relationship meltdowns, financial meltdowns, social networking, how to handle your friends and family, and the anger, frustration, humiliation and your overall state of emotional wellness. RealAdviceForTheUnemployed doesn’t gloss over anything.

RealAdviceForTheUnemployed is a timely, truthful and humorous book that delivers on real advice for real people who find themselves unemployed, underemployed, or just career challenged.

It's full of stories and solutions that describe and really deal with the personal chaos and incredibly insane choices you may be faced with: From repairing frayed relationships, getting yourself back on your game,  saving the house, to handling those nasty phone calls and bill collectors. If you need to get back from here to here, this is your book!

This is definitely not your usual “self-help” or career advice book. RealAdviceForTheUnemployed serves as a timely and truly humorous book that delivers on real advice for the unemployed, underemployed, and career challenged. It's full of stories describing the personal chaos and incredibly insane problems (and how to solve them) brought on by unemployment: From getting back on your career path, repairing frayed relationships, saving the house, Government assistance, and handling those oh so nasty letters and phone calls.                                                                                                                            

“Finally, someone has written a real book for real people that is full of real stories and solid advice for the millions of Americans who have come face to face with the miseries of unemployment. Framed around stories that are written in human terms that everyone can identify with, this personal and very entertaining book truly understands the human portion of unemployment issues and offers solid solutions to the emotional and financial problems so many American’s are currently faced with." (Review)

Listed on Amazon's Best Seller list, RealAdviceForThe Unemployed is available in its new upgraded version at
In addition to a variety of fiction stories Samuel Murphy has published, he has also authored many short, non fiction works giving rather skewed --as he calls it--but real advice on family matters, employment, finances, child rearing, and all types of relationships. (most currently for Akashic Book’s Terrible Tuesdays, Unhinged Magazine, and Flash. Recently he had stories placed with Akashic books, flash fiction magazine, Unhinged magazine.

on Facebook

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Must Do Marketing: Phase One

There are three primary reasons you must market your writing. Promotions are  free,  offer name recognition, and help to sell your books. Here are 10 quick and easy steps to jump start your book marketing plan.

1.  Create a 25 word blurb. It must sum up the essence of your book. Practice saying it, so you will be prepared when asked what your book is about.

2.  Email tags. After your name, this information should also be in your signature line: your book titles and all of your contact information, email, web page, Facebook, Twitter, and blog addresses.

3.  Create a web page. This can be simple or complex. You can obtain a domain name and use a template that is provided. It's important to have all of your contact information on every page and to update your web page frequently.

4.  Have business cards. Be sure all of your contact information is on your business card.  Do not put your home address or personal phone number. On the reverse side you can list your book titles or put a title with a blurb.

5.  Join a writers' group. This provides networking opportunities with authors, agents, editors, and publishers. You learn invaluable tips and information and become known as an author.

6.  Attend writer conferences/seminars/workshops/presentations. This provides a larger group for networking and learning. You can also find out what successful authors are doing beyond your local area.

7. Always have books available. You should have a minimum of five books in your car. You should always carry at least one of your books when attending a writer event.

8.  Donate your books: They can be given as door prizes, not only at writer events, but also to local charitable organizations or a non-profit that supports a cause related to your content.

9. Write an interesting bio: Tell about yourself, your education, credentials, awards, and what led you to write this particular book.  You can offer a brief bit of personal information, such as your dog's name, or you have triplets, or hiked the Grand Canyon. Write several different bios to suit different target groups.

10. Always acknowledge those who support you as an author: Offer to read and review their book for online book sellers. Thank any journalist or media person who gave you a write up. Especially acknowledge those who make referrals to you or give your book to someone as a gift.

Marketing Phase II will be here on WGT on 3/29/15. Watch this space!

~ Valerie Allen ~                                
 Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony
Write Publish Sell!
Summer School for Smarties
Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends
Amazing Grace
Sins of the Father
Suffer the Little Children
'Tis Herself: Short Story Collection, Vol 1

Thursday, March 12, 2015


When I saw today's contribution on " A. Word. A. Day." with Anu Garg, I couldn't help myself but copy a god bit over from that amazing site that has enlightened me and my vocabulary for a number of years now. It's free by the way and comes highly recommended. Would you know for example what to sashay means or where it comes from, to promulgate, or opprobrium, mythomane, sitzkrieg or even turgid just to name a few?

There is a new word every day from changing categories, loan words, their pronunciation and etymology explained.
Well, you know the meaning of this one, but here goes:
noun: A humorous, often risque, verse of three long (A) and two short (B) lines with the rhyme scheme AABBA. 
Here’s how someone has described a limerick:
The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical.
But the good ones I’ve seen
So seldom are clean
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.
Did you see the one I posted recently on Facebook?

There was a young lady from Riga
who rode with a smile on a tiger
they returned from the ride
with the lady inside
and a smile on the face of the tiger.

        I used to live near Limerick for about over 10 years on lovely Lough Derg on an organic farm and teach at UL (University of Limerick). To my astonishment, the locals were not wildly conversant in limericks or had one up their sleeve. Some never even knew what I meant. The Little book of Naughty Limericks I eventually spotted was  a rare find but not even a particularly good nor naughty one in site of the title.
For Usage, read on!
“First of all, the limerick judges at this newspaper would like contestants to know that we are acutely aware that ‘Journal’ rhymes with ‘urinal’. Almost as much fun as reading limericks was reading excuses from the people who wrote the limericks. It was as if we had caught someone reading the S ex With Aliens Weekly at the supermarket. Diane Harvey, of DeForest, for example, began her entrant thusly:
It is with a deep sense of shame that I submit the following puerile, low-brow limericks, and confess the guilty pleasure I had in writing them. As one who normally leads a completely respectable life, I cannot tell you what an illicit thrill it was to shed the trappings of responsible adulthood and for a ‘brief shining moment’ indulge in rude juvenile humor once again.
“Several writers put the ‘Journal-urinal’ rhyme to obvious use, and a few similarly included good-humored critiques of columnist George Hesselberg, as in the one by Dan Barker, of Madison: 
There once was a parrot named Colonel,
Who read all the papers diurnal.
But his favorite page
On the floor of his cage
Was the Hesselberg page from the Journal.” 
Now bookmark the page and subscribe whether you are a writer or not. I promise you're in for a treat! Ask Anu Lal, my co-editor. Have any good ones?

Let me add one of my own limericks created after a particularly outstanding matchmaking request; however, I couldn't come up with the goods...:)

A virgin farmer from Newcastle West
at 68 want'd to put his genes to the test
with a colleen in her thirties
to produce little Berties
a child anyway, but a male heir at his best.

 A big thank you to this wonderful free site!
Siggy Buckley

Sunday, March 8, 2015






Tim Williams was born and brought up in the coal mining valleys of south Wales and did various jobs over the years mainly in the antiques trade. Has been a singer songwriter for 35 years, 3 years ago tried his hand at poetry as opposed to song lyrics; having a little success started performing his poetry at festivals and gig's around Wales. He has had a few poems published in books and on websites both here in UK, won an award in Milan Italy in 2014 and has had a few published in USA on websites there. He has his first book of poems due out this spring entitled " Are you reading that poetry book your sitting on ". He has a Facebook site Tim Williams Welsh Poet and features on Cosmofunnel an American poetry and writing site.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

50 Shades of Grey: A Female Fantasy?

I'm not into Erotica; so I wasn’t enamored with reading  Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James like everybody else.  To me it smacked too much of Marquis de Sade's Story of O which I absolutely detest. However, as the author of a somewhat racy book (Next Time Lucky: How to Find Your Mr. Right), I felt compeled to find out what the big hype was all about and why this book is selling better than mine. A slight understatement!
In fact, the trilogy now comes in a “Fifty Shades Trilogy" box set , has been translated in 52 languages worldwide and sold more than 90 million copies in e-book and print—making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series ever. It is called the phenomenon behind the film that just hit the movie theaters fittingly around Valentine’s Day. Needless to say it’s already the biggest movie of the season –which season? They can’t mean the Oscar Season.

To give you the anticipated result first: I did not find out. The hero or villain ─depending on your point of view─ is a self-made billionaire by the name of Christian Grey at age 27? Right. Just let that sink in for a moment. Anastasia Steele is a literary student first, then a college graduate,  and a virgin, who so far never even got drunk, had sex, or masturbated once in spite of some occasional hot thoughts...right!
But these two are attracted to each other to the extent that Ana, as he calls her, goes along with his S& M games willingly and…enjoys them from the get-go. Triple right!?
The book is eye-candy for voyeurs and, at least to me, unbelievable throughout, because guess what: This totally ordinary, stubborn and self-centered young girl is first shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes; then Ana demands a deeper commitment. You read that right.
Determined to keep her, Christian agrees. That easy! She changes  this Mr. S. &M. Incarnate into a loving husband and father. 
The writing style is bland and predictable, clich├ęs abound. According to some  Kindle search function, characters roll their eyes 41 times, Ana bites her lip 35 times, Christian's lips "quirk up" 16 times, Christian "cocks his head to one side" 17 times, characters "purse" their lips 15 times, and characters raise their eyebrows a whopping 50 times. Banalities and profanities go on and on at this repetitious rate.
Call me an old fogey who begrudges female readers (and the majority of them are indeed women!) their sexual fantasies. The author, a mother of two, claims she wrote the book for female readers and their fantasies. Right. I admit there are millions of women who wish for a rich knight in shining armor  and apparently, in modern versions, they fly in on their own planes.  I fully realize that there is a huge readership of Erotica and S&M literature out there, judging from the amount of titles in that category popping up on Facebook writers groups alone. Some critics may be inclined to say “De gustibus…” and all that.
However, in a world increasingly full of female abuse and exploitation where even young girls are sold into sexual slavery, I find it dangerous to promote such fantasies. I find it irresponsible to pretend that somebody with extreme sexual behavior can be changed or dominated like in this book. Maybe I just missed out on a big exciting chapter in my life?

I admit to some jealousy being in play on my part when I wrote this review as I struggle to sell my book. Next Time Lucky in comparison has intelligent and witty passages, sprinkled with some sexy scenes, and is written out of a real life experience-- something that millions of divorced or single people can relate to.It's been labeled too raunchy for some.
But then again, I don't like paranormal, zombie or werewolf stories either, genres that people read to escape reality or for good old entertainment. Well, then... Suum cuique?
So, I will and cannot recommend 50 Shades. If you didn't like it either, contact me and I'll send you a FREE e-copy of my novel. Seriously.

Can’t wait to see how the movie is doing

Comments welcome!