My thoughts on writing tips found online and in published works (with some random thoughts thrown into the mix).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Best Video I Have Seen Recently

In his classic style, "Weird Al" Yankovic has taken an over-played pop song and turned it into something truly awesome. This time, it happened to be right up my grammar-loving alley. Take a minute and listen to "Word Crimes" and you will laugh too!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Most Important Part of Social Media Marketing

Many articles and blog posts will tell you that having a presence on social media is important. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and (for writers) Goodreads are highlighted as the tools to success for any creative professional. Just published your book? Trying to sell your first painting? Your band released their debut album? Everyone tells you to go straight to social media to find your buyers.

But, that advice is incomplete. What they sometimes forget to tell you is that making an account on one or more of these sites is just the beginning. Next, you need to show people that you are worth their time. Sure, you are an author, so are thousands of other people on Twitter, all promoting their newest novel or short story. What makes you different? Why should other people care?

The key to making them actually want to pay attention is to establish a relationship with your followers. Don't  just shamelessly self-promote with every post. Post links to articles that relate to your work, reference other people's blog posts that you find interesting, and make yourself interesting to your target audience.

For example, say you just released a sci-fi novel set in outer space. Browse scientific articles about space debris and share it with your audience. Read and promote a blog post from a fellow writer about how they came up with a new alien race in their work-in-progress. Tweet quotes from well-known Area 51 researchers. Make your page all about your story and your reader will already be itching to know what you have in store for them.

Don't forget to reach out, beyond just posting and moving on. Interact with other people in the field on an active level, having public discussions and asking questions. Take an interest in the individuals within your audience and don't forget to respond to them. If they post a comment on your Facebook Fan Page and you get back to them with an answer, you just built a relationship that will leave a lasting impression. And things like that spread quickly in the the age of digital technology, so soon enough they will have told their friends about the positive encounter and more people will show an interest.

The bottom line is, if you want to succeed on the internet by using social media, you can't just log in, post, and log back out. You have to spend some time making your presence known and getting to know your followers. Put in the effort and it will pay you back.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My book is written...Now what?

You have finally finished writing, editing, and (if you are epublishing) formatting your book. Now what? The next step, and one of the most essential to hooking in readers, is getting a knock-out book cover!

Some authors make the mistake of trying to make their own book cover when they have no idea what they are doing. Some authors also try to pay a friend or find an artist on the cheap to do it for them. Either way could end in success, but this is rare. Most of the time, it ends up with a mess that will, at best, push readers away. At worst, it could make your book into a joke and end up with the wrong kind of attention. Just check out some of the dozens of websites dedicated to these monstrosities and you will know what I mean. Go ahead and Google "bad book covers," you'll be shocked at what you find!

Now, how do you avoid this embarrassment and make sure you have a book cover that will draw the right kind of attention? You need to hire a professional who will either use top-of-the-line stock images or create a cover from scratch to fit your theme and your plot. You need someone who will take the highlights of your story and use them to bring your story to life. You want the reader to take one look and not only have an idea of what is contained within the pages, but will instantly want to buy your book and dive right in.

If you are looking for just such an artist, you should consider checking out the Pittsburgh Writer website. For a discounted price that you won't find anywhere else, a highly-skilled, experienced designer will put together a book cover to draw in traffic, not laughs. The best part? They have a 100% money back guarantee if you aren't completely satisfied with what your artist produces. You can choose between a stock image design or a completely custom illustration. Also, if you are publishing in print, they can help you with full front and back covers, along with a spine.

Don't let your book become the butt of potential readers' jokes, get a professional cover!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Updates to the "Editing Services" tab

At the top of my blog, there is a tab called "Freelance Editing Services." Besides describing the services I offer, from proofreading to developmental editing, I have updated the page to include my price list!

Up to 5 pages - $10
Up to 25 pages - $40
Up to 50 pages - $75
Up to 100 pages - $125
Up to 200 pages - $240
200 pages and up - $360

Developmental Editing

Up to 5 pages - $30
Up to 25 pages - $125
Up to 50 pages - $225
Up to 100 pages - $425
Up to 200 pages - $825
200 pages and up - $1,200

A specific due date can be requested.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Looking for some top-notch creative services?

Do you need an editor or proofreader? A ghostwriter? A custom-designed cover for your book? Do you need help formatting your eBook for publication? After publication, would you like someone to help market your book? Want to draw more traffic to your Facebook fan page, blog, and Twitter account? Do you need someone to write technical content for you?

If your answer to any of these questions was "Yes!", then you need to head on over to the Pittsburgh Writer website. Despite the name, this website is a gold mine for more than just Western Pennsylvania writers. These new services are offered by professionals that want to help you succeed. And with the discounted prices that you won't find anywhere else, you will get more for your money.

The website also offers tips for writing fiction and recommends other top-notch websites to help you truly succeed in the writing world. Plus, the blog covers the nuisances of the everyday life of a writer, sharing the successes, frustrations, and obstacles that you probably encounter in your own struggle to create.

If you have been looking for a website that not only offers you the tools you need to publish your book but shows you how to make money off of it too, then you need to check out the Pittsburgh Writer's new Creative Services pages.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Before all of the festivities get started, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year! Do you have any goals or resolutions for 2014? Have you made resolutions in the past? If so, have you stuck with them? Let me know what you think!

If you are like me and don't have cable, here is a link to a live feed to watch the ball drop in New York City. The live feed will begin at 5:55PM Eastern Time, so tune in to enjoy the celebration!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Good Christmas Read

Are you looking for a new Christmas story to read this season? A Gitmo Nation Christmas Carol, inspired by Charles Dickens' classic and based on the No Agenda series, is a thrilling tale of the mistake-filled life of President Ebenezer Scrooge. This twist on the traditional holiday story will keep you on your toes!

The best part? It is FREE for the next 5 days in the Kindle store!
In the US, get your copy at
In the UK, get your copy at

Oh, and it also happens to be edited by me!