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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Book Marketing Blogging - 4 Elements to SEO Ready Content

By Karen Cioffi

There is much to know about properly formatted and SEO ready article content. While both elements are essential to effective content marketing, it’s the search engine optimization that will allow your articles to be picked up by the search engines and found by the online searchers.

It's important for writers and authors who use blogging to know how to use their content effectively. This will increase your visibility, expert status, readership, and ranking.

So, what are the elements needed to create SEO effective content?

1. Create ‘shareable’ and keyword optimized blog posts.

The ‘old’ SEO had you optimizing keywords that search engines would find, categorize, and index in order to place that content as results based on search queries.

Today, it’s all about providing quality content that readers will find valuable enough to share. You want readers to share that article or post with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Google Plus, and other social networks.

While you also need to provide keywords for the search engines to find, the key to article marketing now is to provide quality content, so it can go viral.

SEO is a kind of popularity contest. The more people like and share your content the greater value you (your site) has with Google and other search engines.

2. Include Your Bio

You’d think every writer would make sure they receive credit for their article content, but if you read some blogs, even those with multiple contributing authors, there are some with no byline. Even if it’s your own blog, at least end the post with your name.

For article directories, each service has its own resource box instructions. For guest blogging you don’t want your byline to be too long – make it short and effective. You can include your name with a couple of sentences letting the reader know why he should click on your link.

Your tag, bio, byline, is how you get credit for what you write.

3. Blog Post Marketing Tags

Including keywords or tags where allowed is essential to article marketing and its SEO effectiveness. Most hosting services and article directories provide specific areas at the bottom of the article for keywords or tags. Take advantage of this tool.

These tags should be relevant to the content and will allow the search engines to categorize and index your content. This in turn will allow your article to be found by people searching for your topic.

4. Link to More Content

This step is simple. In any article you publish on your own blog or submit for a guest post (if the host site allows it) link to other articles or a landing page on your site. You can do this within your content by hyperlinking a relevant word or phrase to a relevant article on your site.

You can also include a “Related Articles” section at the end of your article and list a couple of titles with hyperlinks to the actual articles on your site. Or, after a bit of information within the article add, “For more information on this check out” and add the link.

This allows you to get even more ‘juice’ out of your articles. You may not be able to do this with article directories, but for your blog posts, it will keep visitors on your own site longer and draw them further into your pages, and will bring visitors to your guest posts back to your site. Search engines like this marketing technique.

For those who aren’t sure how to hyperlink, you simply highlight the relevant word or phrase, click on the link option in your toolbar, put in the URL, and click okay. Simple.

There you have it, four blog post SEO ready tips to get your blog posts doing what they should be doing: getting read, getting shared, and bringing traffic to your site.

Karen Cioffi is a online marketing instructor for WOW! Women on Writing and Working Writers Club. Check out her classes on Blogging:

Become a Power-Blogger in Just 4 Weeks
Blogging Made Easy (a four-week class for beginners)

Friday, September 23, 2016

New Books in Time for Christmas - More Coming

      Two of the books coming out in time for Christmas sales are the children's book Lions Can't Each Spaghetti, written by Bethany Ramos and illustrated by Nicole Marrow, and Joy and Mary Save Christmas, written by Wayne Harris-Wyrick and illustrated by Carrie Salazar.

     Pre-orders can be made on the 4RV Online Bookstore.   The picture book and middle grade book titles appear on the content page where one can click on the authors' names, and Lions Can't Eat Spaghetti is on the 4RV Children's Corner page while Joy and Mary Save Christmas can be found on the 4RV Tweens and Teens page. On the imprint pages, click on the book title to go to the author's page to order.

     Lions Can't Eat Spaghetti is a fun hardcover book with quirky cute illustrations for ages 3 to 6.

     Christopher finds a kitten on his doorstep, which, to his surprise, grows up into a lion! Since Christopher already loves his pet, he tries to introduce him to his everyday life, much to the horror of his friends, family, and neighbors.

       Joy and Mary Save Christmas comes in both paperback and hardcover versions.  The story and illustrations combine to create a Christmas story for the whole family, but it is written to appeal to the tween aged reader.

      Christmas, a time of magic and gifts, comes to a halt when stolen presents and electrical problems hit the North Pole.
      What can Santa or his elves do? What can two girls do? Joy and Mary are the only oneswho can save Christmas.

      Both books can be found on other online stores as well as through brick and mortar bookstores. Either one or both would delight young readers for Christmas.

Coming soon, information about other books to be released in time for Christmas.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Writing to Get Published

By Karen Cioffi

All writers have one primary focus—to get published. What makes each of us different is our slant or perspective on the story we’re telling, and how we tell it.

It’s true that anyone can write, but writing to get published is another story. To accomplish this, there four steps you need to include in your writing.

1. Write an out-of-the-ballpark beginning

This is the crucial step that will determine whether the agent or editor keeps reading. Your beginning needs to grab the reader; it needs to lead the reader on without him having to think about it.  

Here are different slants on a possible beginning:

A. Jan saw blood dripping down the wall. She screamed.

This idea is a beginning that might entice a reader to read on, but the problem is it’s telling not showing. To add showing:

B. Blood dripped down the stark white wall, adding to the puddle already formed on the floor. Jane felt a quiver run down her spine. Reacting before thinking of the consequences, a blood curdling scream issued from the depths of her being.

C. Blood slowly dripped down the stark white wall. A quiver ran throughout Jane’s body. An urgent eruption welled up from the depths of her being and brought forth a blood curdling scream.  

D. Blood slowly dripped down the stark white wall, adding to the dark red puddle already formed on the floor. A quiver ran throughout Jane’s body creating an urgent eruption that welled up from the depths of her being—a blood curdling scream issued forth.  

Examples B, C and D do a much better job of showing rather than telling. While they can easily be taken apart and reworded for tightness, more description or less description, whatever the author deems necessary, for this article they serve their purpose.

And remember, using descriptive words and adverbs adds to the word count. So, analyze each word you use; be sure they enhance the story and move it along, not weigh it down. In today’s writing world publishers and agents want tight writing.

2. The body of your story

This area needs to fulfill the beginning’s promise. It needs to keep the reader interested in the characters and plot—this will ensure the reader keeps turning the pages. You also need to keep track of everything going on in the story and follow through. Readers don’t want to feel cheated or disappointed.

Some authors use character and event cards or sheets to keep track of each character’s qualities and the details to each event. This will guarantee continuity and help prevent loose ends.

3. Your ending

The ending must tie everything together and tie-up all loose ends. If you wrote a paragraph or chapter about John and Jane contemplating marriage then segue into something else, let the reader know how it ends up.

It’s also a plus if you can come up with a twist at the end, something the reader won’t expect.
But, keep in mind it’s essential that you leave the reader satisfied.

4. Submitting your work

You’ll never know if you’ve written the next best seller if you don’t submit your work. Research publishers and/or agents who work in the genre you write. Choose the ones that you think are the best fit and study their guidelines. Then, follow the guidelines and submit your work. Don’t let fear or uncertainty keep you from moving forward—nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning author, working-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 - lots of freebies too!)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Make Your Children’s Writing Website Focused (3 Must-Haves, 6 Tips)

By Karen Cioffi

Is your children's author site on the mark?

As we get caught up in our writing careers sometimes it’s easy to forget to remain focused.

That’s a no-no! It’s important to present a focused brand and site.

Okay, so what are three website must-haves and six tips?

The Must-Haves

1. Create a website using your own name.

As a writer, whether you’re co-writing with someone or not, you need your own website. And, your main (hub) site should have your name in it. This will be your central site linking off to your other related sites.

As an example, my children’s writing site is: Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

Now, with this title I have two essential elements covered: (1) my name, (2) the site’s keyword.

The visitor and search engines can quickly determine what the site is about. This is super important for website ranking and authority. While there are a number of other areas that need your keyword for website optimization, the title is one of the top ones.

Note: In this case, when I say “title,” I mean the URL also. Your URL is an optimization tool. It gives the search engines more information the site.

So, using my site above, the URL is

My site’s title and its URL both have the always-important keywords in them. This is focus.

2. Include the niche you write in as part of your URL and website title.

This was touched on in number one above. If you write in only one niche, say children’s historical fantasy, you should have that keyword in the title of your site, as well as in the domain name. Then you can have one site to list all your books. Just be sure to create separate pages for each book.

Tip: It’s really a much better idea to create a separate website for each book, in addition to your central author site. It allows you to create multiple must-have pages for each book. See number 4 in the tips below.

HOT TIP: If your title is too long, it’s better to use the niche keyword, say ‘children’s historical fantasy,’ and omit your name. Unless you’re Eric Carle, or Kevin Henkes, or James Patterson, you’re name has no search engine value.

3. If you are branding yourself as a children’s writer, keep your site specific to writing for children.

I originally had a problem with this. I ventured into a number of writing arenas including content writing and online marketing. Instead of keeping those areas separate, I brought them into my children’s writing site.
So, why is this a mistake? Well, because of dilution of expertise.

If you’re branding yourself as a children’s writer, the focus of your site must be children’s writing. If you promote yourself as ‘doing this, that, and the other thing,’ you’ll become known as the ‘jack of all trades and master of none,’ – dilution of expertise.

TIP: If you’re also involved in other writing arenas as I am, create a separate sites for promoting yourself as an expert in those areas. You wouldn’t want to have your steamy romance books listed on your children’s writing site.

Remember, whatever your site’s niche is, keep it focused on that niche.

6 TIPS for a Better Website/Blog

1. Always have an about page on each of your sites, include a short bio and photo.

2. Always have an opt-in box (for your mailing list) readily visible on your sites.

3. Always make sure your visitors can easily find how to contact you – a contact page is a good idea.

4. Have a page for reviews of your books, excerpts of your books, testimonials, illustrations, awards, etc. You can also link to interviews others have done about you and your books. (This is where a separate site for each book comes in handy.)

5. Offer a resources and/or tools page. The visitor will appreciate this and hopefully share your site with others and link back to it.

6. Get a book trailer or video on your site. Mix it up. People love visuals.

Using these tips will help you create a focused and reader/search engine optimized children’s writing website.

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:

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Some Facts Behind "My Name Is Jake"

     The following information was printed in the Cleveland County Life Styles, July 26, 2016:

...  she (Angela Steele) is wife and mother to four sons ranging in age from 6 to 14. It’s a close-knit family that enjoys working–and playing–together.

The youngest, Jake, has Down Syndrome, is autistic and was born with an AV canal heart valve defect. And while many families would find dealing with any one of these conditions challenging, Angie says “he’s nothing but a blessing.”

And therein lies another interesting story.

Angie was 35, and 14 weeks into her pregnancy, when she learned that her baby carried the genetic disorder. After getting over the initial shock, she and her husband, Todd, began to discuss how they would share the news with their young boys in a way they could understand it. Drawing on her journalistic background, Angie began researching the literature—and found nothing targeting children.

So, she wrote her own book and sent it out to over 200 publishers. Angie selected 4RV Publishing, based in Edmond, to sign with, and the publishing company contracted with illustrator Jessica McClure, who used photos of Jake to illustrate the book.

My Name Is Jake, which addresses the fundamentals of Down Syndrome and explains that while children may all be different in one way or another, their hearts remain the same, is available at, Chris’ Express Drug in south Oklahoma City, the Washington Feed and Seed store, and on Amazon.

     A side note: My Name Is Jake  can also be found on the 4RV online bookstore.