Sunday, January 25, 2015

Self Editing Your Work

By: Stephanie Burkhart 
Have you ever considered revising your work by reading it out loud with a group of friends? This method accomplishes much by getting feedback and identifying errors. 
Writing tends to be a solitary endeavor. When you’ve finished your project, it’s essential to get feedback during the editing/revision phase. One way to do this is to invite a couple of your close friends over for a “Read Out Loud.” 
Reading out loud benefits every writer. You read words differently out loud than you do when you’re silent reading. Invite a couple of your friends whom you trust over to give you honest feedback. You manage the amount, but too many friends might defeat the purpose.
Prepare drinks and light snacks for your guests to thank them for their time. If your work is a novel, only plan to read a part of it. (preferably the part where you might be struggling) and print copies for all involved.
Reading out loud offers several ways to improve:
It gives you a reason to meet with friends you might have neglected while writing. 
It gives perspective. Do your jokes work? Is everything (plot points) clear? Is characterization consistent? 
How is your pacing? Slow in places or does it gloss over important information too quickly?
Identify errors.
Your friends make a great “beta” audience. They have your best interests at heart. You may feel a little discomfort sharing your work – don’t. They want to help you.
Read the passage first. Take notes as your friends read. Notice if they appear bored or engage, restless or attentive. After they read, ask questions. (make sure you write them down before the reading)
Questions might include:
Is this offensive?
Do you see foreshadowing?
Is it romantic?
Listen to them and write down their feedback. Stay neutral. Don’t be offended when they offer you constructive criticism. Take it all in. 
Remember some suggestions might contradict. You don’t have to use everything. Look at the project and see what improves the work. 
Question for you: Has anyone ever done this? Does it work for you? What do you like about the format? Can you trust the feedback you receive?
Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. Her 4RV stories include “The Giving Meadow” and “First Flag of New Hampshire.” She lives in Castaic, CA and enjoys chocolate, adores coffee and likes taking walks around the lake. She’s a den leader for her son’s Cub Scout Den. 
Find me at:






Reference for this blog article: Writer’s Digest, January 2015, “Inkwell: Revising Out Loud,” by Joe Stollenwerk, pages 8-9.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Online Marketing with Grassroots Visibility Part 2

This is Part 2 of Online Marketing with Grassroots Visibility. Part 1 covered taking the time to learn the basics and the beginning of creating visibility. To read Part 1, please visit:

2. Begin to create that visibility (continued). 

A. Create a website or at the very least a blog.

To read this, please see Part One.

B: Bring traffic to your site.

1. Write regularly to your blog and make sure the content is valuable to the reader.

2. Write articles for article directories such as Ezine Articles, Associated Content, or Helium. Go to the site, create an account and then submit an article. There are a number of article directories you can use, just do a Google search. Be sure to write something that will be useful to others – if your readers feel your content is valuable they'll take that extra step and click on the link in your resource box.

If you have no idea what to write or are intimidate about writing your own content, there are writing services that will write articles for you. These services might be listed as ghostwriting and/or blog and article content service.

Be sure to check out their qualification (their articles and blogs) before hiring them.

You can also take advantage of PLR - Private Label Rights. These can come in the form of ebooks which you can give away as your own. This is a great way to draw visitors and get them to sign up as subscribers. A word of caution here: be sure to read the ebook before you offer it as a freebie on your site; there may be errors in the content or outdated information that you will need to correct.

3. Once you have an article published on your website, share it to all your social networks, including: GooglePlus, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SutmbleUpon, and so on.

4. Visit other bloggers' sites and leave comments. Be sure to actually read the article you're commenting about so you won't be tempted to leave a generic response. If your comment is interesting or informative, the author or other commenters may click on the link back to your site.

5. Join in on a virtual book tour. If you're not promoting your own book, offer your site for authors who are. To offer your site you can post a notice on Twitter, Facebook and other groups you belong to.

6. Ask writers you know to do guest articles for your site.

7. Be sure to join a couple of worthwhile forums and be an active member. This is a great source of networking.

8. Always include your URL as part of your signature.

3 You’re in it for the long-haul.

These are some simple ways to bring traffic to your site and gain visibility. To keep your readers coming back you'll need to continue providing useful content.

Don't feel overwhelmed; take one step at a time. Marketing is an on-going journey – just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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