Monday, February 13, 2017

Hello, Wigwam wins major award



     Just before Christmas, 2016, L. John Lawrence received notice that his novel Hello, Wigwam won the Military Writers gold seal award, one of the highest awards given to books about military life. The announcement he received is copied below:


Your book, Hello, Wigwam, received a GOLD Medal in the 2016 Military Writers Society of America awards young adult category. I am attaching the review to this email. Please use it any way you like. You will receive the medal and 100 stickers from Dwight Zimmerman sometime in the new year. Your award will be announced in a general email blast to the organization membership, in the Winter 2017 MWSA Dispatches magazine, on the MWSA website, and in a national media release. There will be no Awards Ceremony for 2016 winners.
 
Process:
As you know, 2016 was a transition year. The MWSA Awards Committee (Betsy Beard (Chair), Sandra Linhart, Carolyn Schriber(Author of the Year 2015), Bob Doerr (Author of the year 2013 and Vice President of MWSA), and I) revamped the entire program. The already stringent requirements were toughened further. Three judges read every book submitted and scored them based on content, visual, style, and technical criteria. The three scores were then averaged. To receive a medal, a book had to reflect MWSA's exacting technical standards as well has a high total score. If there was disagreement, the three judges met to discuss the books in detail. Books are judged to a standard, not competitively against each other. If you get the score, you get the medal. While this process took longer, we feel that it was worth the time to ensure that only the very best books submitted were recognized.
 
 
Best wishes for the holiday season and congratulations on your personal and professional achievement
with this work
.
 
Joyce Faulkner and Betsy Beard, MWSA Awards Directors
Joyce Faulkner
Betsy Beard
MWSA Awards Directors


     This award winning book can be found on the 4RV online bookstore (http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/l-john-lawrence.php) and is available in hardcover and in paperback. It could also be obtained through regular bookstores and other online stores, such as Amazon.

      Two reviews follow, neither from Amazon:

     Literary Classics is pleased to announce that the book, Hello, Wigwam  by L. John Lawrence, has been selected to receive the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.  
     L. John Lawrence exhibits a true gift of the pen in his depiction of a young man who is swept into a world of blood and battle which is not without its ironically funny moments.  This riveting story is superbly written, displaying poignant moments interspersed with a healthy dose of satire.  Hello, Wigwam is recommended for a mature young adult audience and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

Five-Star Review By Sandy Appleyard for "Readers' Favorite"
     Hello, Wigwam by L. John Lawrence is a wonderfully told story. The author describes, via a combination of anecdotes, quotes, and edge-of-your-seat life-like accounts, what the boy sees, feels and learns. The reader gets the sense that the young man is wholesome, likeable, and will always try to do the right thing.
     Hello, Wigwam is an entertaining read and is recommended to those looking for an interesting, educational, humorous, and thought-provoking novel about a young boy who becomes a man.


 
     Want to read a book that will hold your attention? Read Hello, Wigwam by L. John Lawrence.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Book Marketing - Even Tiny Action Steps can Produce Huge Results


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because
someone planted a tree a long time ago."

By Karen Cioffi

This Warren Buffet quote inspires me. It's simple, yet so amazingly powerful. 

1. A tiny seed can create something as massive as a tree, even a sequoia tree.
Think of the giant sequoia tree in California, USA. It averages around 26 feet in diameter, weighs around 4,189,000 lbs. and reaches heights of 275 feet. According to Wikepedia, "Record trees have been measured to be 311 feet in height and over 56 feet in diameter. The oldest known giant sequoia based on ring count is 3,500 years old."

The seed of the sequoia tree is 0.16–0.20 inches long, 0.039 inches broad, and 0.039 inches wide.

Hard to imagine, isn't it.

Well, this can easily relate to writing, to content marketing, to business . . . to just about everything in your work and life.

Small positive actionable steps, no matter how tiny, can create massive results. You may think your writing and marketing efforts aren't moving you forward, but think of how long it takes that tiny seed to grow into that tree that gives shade.

2. Basic action steps to move your author/writer platform forward.

A. Everyone selling something online needs a website. So, the very first step is to create one or have one created.
B. Make your website work for you by publishing blog posts to it regularly. This strategy will create visibility, bring people to your site, build your authority in your niche, and boost sales.
C. Share your blog posts on social media networks, such as GooglePlus, Twitter, and Facebook.

3. What you sow today can have benefits for many tomorrows.

Time will pass whether you take action or not. If you have an idea, take action now. Don't wait for tomorrow or until you have more time or until you have more money. Take action now. The benefits may turn out to be bigger than you could possibly imagine.

You may reap the benefits of your writing or content marketing or business efforts far into your future, so take that initial step. Or, maybe it's expansion that you're thinking about, or a new strategy.

Keep in mind though that every living thing needs sun, water, and food to grow. So, when you take that step (plant that seed), be sure to give it the nurturing it needs to become what you believe it can be.

Plant that seed today!

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning author, children’s ghostwriter, and content marketing instructor. Get weekly must-know writing and marketing information and more, right to your inbox. Join Karen Cioffi in The Writing World. (It’s all free!)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Writing Elements Mix – Is There a Right Balance?

By Karen Cioffi

Writing can be thought of as a recipe, a handful of plot, a quarter cup of setting, a third to a half cup of dialogue, and a half cup of action and forward movement. Then you also need to add just the right amount of theme, character, and style. Stir it all together and bake for several months (might be longer, depending on your oven), and that’s it.

Ah, if it were only that simple.

Today, there are a number of rules to writing that didn’t plague writers years ago when the world was slower and people actually had time to sit and read at a leisurely pace. Writers had the luxury of setting scenes in detail and didn’t have to worry about ‘telling’ too much.

Now, publishers want your story to begin with a BAM. Grab the reader right away, or you’ll lose her. And, it’s important that setting and telling are limited. In addition, don’t forget to magically weave backstory for your characters seamlessly into the mix.

So, what is the right balance of writing elements that will create a successful story?

Well, there really isn’t a pat formula. Each story will call for its own particular amounts of elements, and each publisher will have her own set of rules that the author must adhere to. But there are certain basics that all stories must contain.

The five basic elements of a story are:

Plot: The arrangement of circumstances and/or events in the story, including conflicts and resolution.

Character: Without the main character and supporting characters the plot is useless. It is the character’s struggle to overcome the conflicts or obstacles in his path that gives the plot life.

Setting: This element includes the physical backdrop of the story, the time period and location.

Atmosphere or Tone: The mood, including the setting, characters and their clothing, weather, and other elements within the story, determines the tone of the story.

Style: The author’s way of expressing herself is the style. Sentence structure, diction, choice of words, point of view, imagery, and symbols are all means of conveying a story that is unique to the author.

In regard to the amounts or balance of each element, the objective is to create a story that continually moves forward toward a satisfying conclusion while holding the reader’s attention.

You can have a plot driven story or a character driven story. You can also have a story with a lot of dialogue, but you need to be sure the story is focused, coherent, and engaging.

Often, as you self-edit you won’t be able to see if the elements are just right, You should have your manuscript critiqued and have an editor take a look at it to see if you’re on the mark. And, then after all that, it will be up to the acquistion editor to give the final say on whether you have just the right balance of writing elements for a successful story.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning author, ghost-writer, and online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. For must-know writing and marketing tips, get free access to The Writing World.

Reprinted from 2012.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Do You Still Need a Website as the Core of Your Online Platform?

By Karen Cioffi

A few years ago I wrote an article about the need for home business websites. I explained the reasons a website was an absolute must and gave a couple of statistics proving that need.

Since then, social media has exploded. It’s become more powerful than ever, and more and more people and businesses are using it as an integral part of their marketing strategy.

In fact, the social engines are now an essential element of brand visibility, website traffic, and building authority to all size businesses. It’s gotten to the point where some are questioning the need for a website.

Are websites for marketing really a thing of the past?

Here are three reasons for that question:

1. Some might reason that you can blog on venues like LinkedIn. You can also publish articles on EzineArticles and other article directories to generate visibility and authority.

2. If you’re selling a product or service, you can use social networks to do so by linking to your Amazon or other sales page.

3. Want to let people know about you and what you do? You can do that on your social network pages. You can even build your subscriber list through social media.

So, it’s not unreasonable for some to wonder about the necessity of a website.

But, if you decide to forgo the website or get rid of an existing one, think twice and even three times about it.

The benefits of a website

While the social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow for just about everything you need to market you and your product/service, you’re at the mercy of these sites.

Pro internet marketer and entrepreneur Sandi Krakowski has over 1 million Likes on her Facebook page. And, she has over 1 million clients, which allows her to produce millions in revenue. She knows what she’s talking

In a recent email from Sandi, she said, “If you don't have a website, listen to me very carefully, you own NOTHING online. You're homeless. You have no real estate, you are under the control of someone else's property and when push comes to shove, you my friend are in a big pickle!”

Did you notice she said you don’t have control with social media sites?

Think of it as renting space in a building. Or, better yet, buying within a condominium development. You’re not in control. You’re at the mercy of their rules and regulations, their changes, their agendas, basically, their whims.

Want to change the exterior color of the building? Want to do major construction inside?

You’re at the mercy of the owner’s permission.

In other words, you’re not in control.

This is the same as using sites like Facebook and GooglePlus. You never know when or if changes will come that will render your social media page useless.

This is why you still need your own website.

If you use paid website hosting through sites like Bluehost, you own the site. It’s yours. You are in control of what you publish, how you publish, and so on. You can choose your own theme with the header dimensions and design you want. You can put ads and affiliate links on it with no problem. You can sell from it.

Along with this, people trust bloggers. This gives bloggers influence and authority. It’s good marketing to have that authority, that influence, go to your own site.

Bottom line, as an author / writer, you still absolutely need your own website!


Knowing what to do and ‘not do’ is an important aspect of online marketing. Karen Cioffi’s new CREATE YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE TODAY (no code, no technical stuff, no fuss ) e-class through WOW! Women on Writing shows you how to build your online foundation.
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

An Effective Book Marketing Strategy: Joint Ventures

By Karen Cioffi

There is a song, The Power of One, which conveys what one individual can accomplish and/or change. But, how much more effective is the power of two, or five, or ten, or a hundred, or more?

In a technical light, a joint venture (JV) is a partnership between two or more entities for a specific project and for a specified amount of time.

This is the concept behind joint ventures for book promotion, and they are very effective.

The idea is to hook up with other authors/writers and participate in JVs. What this means is an author has a new book coming out and wants to reach more than her individual mailing list and social networks, she joins forces with writer friends or acquaintances to promote the book for a ONE DAY Promotional Power-Packed Special.

Suppose it’s your new book; you contact one to several authors who might be willing to put your prewritten promo on their sites and social networks, and (THIS IS THE VERY IMPORTANT PART) are willing to provide a freebie or a significant discount on a product or service to any one who purchases your book on that day.

According to book marketing specialists Brain Judd and Daniel Hall, this has the potential to put your book on Amazon’s TOP HUNDRED list in one or more categories – just for one day’s promo.

Even participating in JVs has promotional benefits. I recently participated in a JV initiated by an author for her new book. For my participation I offered a FREE bonus gift. This increased my visibility. For a little effort and time, you can increase your visibility and possibly your subscriber list.

To have your participation be more effective, be sure to provide your links and offer your own products within your free or reduced price offering.  And, to create added value, you can allow the freebie to be shared, or portions of it reprinted with your tag/bio.

Another scenario for book promotion JVs, in fact a more popular one, is to be approached by publicists. This has happened to me several times and I usually participate for the visibility factor. The publicist will put out a wide reaching call for participants for his client. Obviously, the more on board the greater the promotional reach and punch. But, even on a small scale, this marketing strategy is a gem.

Karen Cioffi is an author-writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. If you need to get your website up or you have one but it’s not bringing the results it should, check out:
   
Create Your WordPress Website Today
No code, no technical stuff, no fuss

This article is a reprint from 2012.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New 4RV Releases in Time for Christmas

     So far five books have been released for Christmas sales. Two more are in the works and promotion will be given when they are ready.

     The book to the left, Joy and Mary Save Christmas, tells of two girls who help Santa when gifts disappear and electrical problems plague the North Pole. Wayne Harris-Wyrick's story is brought to life with Carrie Salazar's delightful illustrations.

     Willard the Dragon: Camp Dragon-Fire, by Suzanne Cardatos and illustrated by Luisa Gioffre-Suzuki, continues the adventures of Willard and his friends, this time at the camp that had trained dragons for over 100 years. The young dragons discover mysterious happenings and work to find the solution.

      Bethany Ramos wrote an enjoyable tale of a young boy who finds a soaking wet kitten on his front steps one day after school. Imagine the boy's surprise when every time he attempts to include his kitten in activities, people say the lion kitten can't. Nicole Morrow illustrated Lions Can't Eat Spaghetti.

      What's a boy to do when his dad is deployed to some far away land, leaving his son, wife, and home. Billy doesn't want to visit or do anything with his friends. when not in school, he mopes in his room, wondering if he will see his dad again. However, a neighbor and his mother give Billy and his friends a mystery to solve. Mike McNair, with illustrations by Matthew Hughes, create a story that appeals to all ages in Billy Beechum and the Hooticat's Secret.

 

           The fifth released book, Forty Winks by Nancy Allen and illustrated by Diane Brown, creates a magical world for children at bedtime. What child wouldn't like a book reading monster in his or her closet, one that enjoys adventure?


          All books can be found on the 4RV Bookstore, as well as through bookstores and online sources such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016