Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Computer Woes

 by Katie Hines
     As writers, we're all familiar with those oh-so-inconvenient problems with our computers. Here's a rather humorous take on some of the problems I've had!
     I’ve been having head-banging-against-the-wall computer difficulties.  When my husband unplugged my daughter’s computer (W2K Pro) to move it, he didn’t know her password was timing out and would soon be deleted by the system, and that waiting to reconnect would result in big time log-in problems.
     But the CPU’s insidious memory chuckled mercilessly as it counted down the hours, then minutes, to lock out – and when it reached “zero,” it did just that.
     Old passwords no longer worked and I entered every password, and variation thereof, I could think of.  No luck.
     An epiphany:  log on as “guest.”  Epiphany wasted.  The “guest” function was unavailable. 
     I spent two days in an eye-crossing search of the internet for a solution.  I’ve encountered BIOS, read not to mess with BIOS, and learned that passwords used in restarting the computer have nothing whatsoever to do with the Windows user names and passwords.
     Furthermore, the Windows administrator – who is God in the computer system - is missing, and I’ve learned that she hides behind strange codes and locked doors that one must have the correct computer key to enter.
     I’ve discovered NTFS and SCSI-controllers, SAM and EFS files, CMOS and PDC, and all sorts of other alphabetical gobbledygook that I thought only the military had a patent on.  Additionally, I’ve been trying to figure out what the heck the PCI bus is and if I can ride it to the solution to my problem.
     Working on my computer, I have downloaded zipped boot disk images and SCSI-drivers in order to create a bypass disk. But, the install failed and a window said the .exe file needed was not on the same path.  Huh?
     So I closed the window and doggone, there the .exe file was, staring at me from my screen.  Unfortunately, as I leaned forward, my hand hit the wrong button and, just like a naughty child, the .exe file ran away and is currently listed as “missing in action.”
     My woes didn’t end there.  During the process of downloading both programs found on the internet specifically designed to help recover lost passwords, these rebellious programs linked to mirrors that didn’t work or were so indecipherable in lingo that I hadn’t a clue what to do.
     I have punched the “help” button so many times it has popped loose from my keyboard.
     So what results did all that tedious, mind-boggling reading uncover?  It was very simple (as most computer answers are – once you know them):  W2K makes no provision for recovering lost log-in administrator and user passwords in a non-domain computer. 
     Since I couldn’t get the recovery programs to work and didn’t want to pay big bucks for non-freeware, the only option left was to do a clean install of W2K Pro, which would erase all other programs and files.
     Why the heck couldn’t I have found this out in the first ten minutes of my search?  It would have saved me the hospital expenses incurred as a result of my head-banging concussion!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hunt for the Flag Blog Tour - by Stephanie Burkhart

In "First Flag of New Hampshire," Aly and Miguel travel to Portsmouth, a town on the seacoast with a rich history of naval service. They visit the naval museum looking for a clue to find the first flag of New Hampshire. I've been to Portsmouth a couple of times myself, but it's been a while and my memory is a bit sketchy. I do have a strong affinity to the sea and wanting to be near water. Some of my favorite memories are going to Hampton Beach as a young girl and visiting Portsmouth with my friends in the 1990's.

Portsmouth is a town with a rich colonial history. Before the Europeans arrived, the area had been settled by the Abenaki Indians. In 1630, the town was settled by English immigrants.

The Naval Shipyard was established in 1800. Prior to that, a 32 gun frigate, The Raleigh, was commissioned by the Continental Army and constructed on Badger Island, in Kittery, Maine, just over the border. It launched on May 21, 1776. The Raleigh saw battle during the Revolutionary War, but was eventually captured and used by the British.

The Raleigh is on the state seal of New Hampshire and the state seal is on the official state flag. While the ship was built in what is considered Kittery, Maine, it is only 2/10th of a mile from Portsmouth and constructed in the seaport's annex. The state has a rich tradition of shipbuilding, and the Raleigh was one of the first ships built to serve the new nation.

Quick Facts:

New Hampshire has the smallest coastline in the United States – 9 miles.

Interestingly, NH did not adopt the current state flag until 1909. It was modified in 1931.

Prisoners of war from the Spanish-American War were housed at the Portsmouth Naval Base.

In 1905, the Treat of Portsmouth ended the Russo-Japanese War. President Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his efforts.

During World War I, the naval base began building submarines. The first one ever built by the navy was constructed there.

Alyssa has to take American Studies for college prep, and she hurries to the first class. She's paired with classmate Miguel De Soto to find the first flag of New Hampshire, but the flag has flown only four times in New Hampshire's past. Can Alyssa and Miguel track the flag through history before time is up?


Hunt For the Flag Giveaway:

Answer the follow questions about the NH flag. I'll pick a winner to receive an Easter/Spring book bag (made by my talented friend, Lori Powell), full of goodies to include chocolates, a magnet and more.

Why are there 9 stars dispersed between the laurel leaves on the NH State Flag?










Friday, May 25, 2012

Promotion: Book Trailer for Trockle

posted by Vivian Zabel  

            Once upon a time, about four and a half years ago, a young boy named Stephen and a little monster named Trockle became the first to join the 4RV family of children's books. Written by Holly Jahangiri for her son who "knew" a monster was under his bed, the story hid in a drawer for a few years before I begged the author to allow me to have it for the company. Jordan Vinyard agreed to illustrate the story, and a book to delight children from two to one hundred two was born. After all, not everyone knew that not only was the boy on the bed afraid of the monster under the bed, but the little monster under the bed was afraid of the big monster on the bed.

          Aidana WillowRaven added her "magic" to the promotional illustrations and created a trailer to show off this story that makes us all feel safer about going to bed in the dark.


          Trockle can be found through the 4RV Bookstore.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Promotion: Northern Oklahoma Literary Arts Book Festival

by Vivian Zabel

     The Northern Oklahoma Literary Arts Book Festival, organized and directed by Evonna Rains, took place May 19, 2012 at the Marland's Grand Home in Ponca City, Oklahoma. 4RV author vehoae participated, as did 4RV Publishing. Vehoae did a presentation during the festival, and Vivian Zabel was the dinner speaker.

     Due to limited space, we had to limit the 4RV titles taken. Also, we have to limit the number of boxes and weight of books taken since only two people, both elderly women, do all the loading, setting up, reloading, and unloading. However two large racks were placed on the table, filled with 4RV books. The full array of releases can be found on the 4RV Bookstore. Thirty-four titles attended the festival with us.

         Vehoae gave a talk about her book during the festival, attracting many of the attendees. Everyone thought her presentation interesting. She does very well with a subject she holds important for all of us to know, history that is often changed and hidden from modern people and students.

        She also has an attractive table wherever she takes her books, as shown in this photo taken by Vivian Zabel. 

         The location for the festival is a delight to visit, as well as being used for a book festival. I wish I had photos of the whole mansion. I've visited several times in the past, even attended a wedding there. 

         After the festival, once everyone hauled all books, signs, other items, and decorations, we adjourned to The Daily Grind for the festival dinner. There we enjoyed delicious food, company, and a speech by me, Vivian Zabel. 

       I spoke about making writing snap, how to make it interesting from the hook to all through the manuscript. Apparently, I wasn't very boring because no one fell asleep. *grin* Several people thanked me for giving information they can use. That means success to me, because I helped some writers, if not all listening.

         The next book festival for 4RV books will be the Kansas Book Festival in Topeka, Kansas, September 15. Hopefully we'll be able to take a larger selection of books. We'll try. Several 4RV members are helping us have funds for a large booth. Any one willing to attend and help?

        If 4RV authors and illustrators will send us photos and information about book signings, awards, presentations, or other promotions, I will spotlight you in a newsletter post.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Writing Elements Mix - Is There a Right Balance?

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 you 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 publisher’s 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, freelance/ghostwriter, editor, and marketer. For more on writing and marketing visit and sign up for her FREE newsletter, A Writer’s World - you’ll get 2 FREE ebooks: Book Promotion: The Bare Basics and Power Queries.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Other Ways to Vary Sentences: Different Beginnings

by Vivian Zabel 


   We have discussed sentences as to types, combinations, and usage to offer a variety in writing. Now, let's look at another way to have assorted sentences to help keep the reader's interest: using diverse sentence beginnings.

      Several ways exist to create a diversity for sentence starts, each which shouldn't be used regularly enough to become a pattern in paragraphs and series of paragraphs. Remember we want variety in order to retain interest.

1. A prepositional phrase - You can start your sentence by using a
          prepositional phrase.
  • Through your help I was able to move on with life.
  • In three to four years, you'll have your money back.

    Prepositions phrases provide information of place, time, direction, or
                At yesterday’s game, the half-time show was a disaster.
                By tomorrow morning, there will be six inches of snow on the
                Beneath our property, people find old and abandoned mine shafts.
                For each one of us, memory has a different meaning.
    NOTE: When a sentence begins with a prepositional phrase, a comma follows.
2.   An infinitive phrase - You can start your sentence by using an infinitive
            phrase. Infinitive phrases are verb forms using "to" in front of the
            present from of the verb.
  • To reach his goals, Justin must practice writing everyday.
  • To love you, I need to love myself first.
3. A participial phrase - You can start your sentence by using a participial  
  • Playing all afternoon, the children are now tired.
  • Ignoring you all day, I now found myself full of regrets.
          Participial phrases generally gin with –ing verbs and are used to describe
                  Erin work early. She dressed quickly and went to feed the horses.
                  Waking up early, Erin dressed quickly and went to feed the horses.
           NOTE: When a sentence begins with a participial phrase, a comma   
follows it.

4. A direct object - You can start your sentence by using a direct object.This
          is a very awkward way to begin a sentence and should be avoided.
  • The cake, I gave to my boyfriend.
  • The letter, I read it to you.
5. A dependent clause - You can start your sentence by using a dependent   
           clause. We discussed dependent clauses in Know about Sentences.
  • Although I love you, I still need to leave.
  • By finishing the project, Justin felt successful.
6. An adverb - You can start your sentence by using an adverb.
  • Happily, Justin did it.
  • Immediately, I ran to his house.
7. An adjective - You can start your sentence by using an adjective.
  • Tall and beautiful, my sister walked down the street.
  • Being terrified, Justin ran to me.

      Yes, other ways may exist to vary sentence beginnings, but those above are major ways. Remember, using a direct object is stilted and should be not be used UNLESS using in dialect-dialogue.

4RV Publishing website   
4RV Bookstore  


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Critique Is a Gift - It Contains Choices and Possibilities

“A Critique Is a Gift-It Contains Choices and Possibilities” by Joan Y. Edwards

A critique is a gift. It contains choices and possibilities for you to consider. Not – YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE THIS AND DO THIS OR ELSE your story will not survive. Use your critiques to empower you to improve your manuscript and take it to a higher level.

Sometimes you don’t ask the person who critiques your work enough questions. If you can get them to interact with you back and forth after the critique, it would be helpful. You as a writer are brave. Ask questions. Many times you are lucky to have gotten the critique and there’s no way of communicating with that person again. Having the right thoughts going through your mind when you’re reading your critique will help you accept it as the gift it is and use it to your advantage.

Don’t be afraid of what a critique says. You’re afraid probably because you’ve received countless rejections. Hundreds of rejections that stack up from the floor to the ceiling. This may cause you to doubt yourself as a writer. You may believe rejection means you are not a good writer. Actually, rejection doesn’t mean anything about your writing except that the person reading it didn’t have a passion for what you wrote like you do. It didn’t “call” them.”

I challenge you to change your thinking. Accept in your mind that it’s all right if they like it. And it’s all right if they don’t like it. Once you get to that point, you’re able to really listen to what they are saying. As long as you like your story and believe it will be published, and you’ve visualized it in its final form with cover and binding and people purchasing it. You’ll see that a critique is either your pathway to growth or the pathway to giving up. It’s your choice.

There is another very real possibility. It could be that the person who critiqued your work likes your work and is trying to help you make it better. Or they missed part of your plan for your story. They don’t understand parts of your plot. If possible, ask them questions.

Ask questions. Suppose 3 different people tell you to start at three different places in your story.

If someone tells you that you’re starting your story at the wrong place, ask them to tell you more.

  1. Where do you think it should start and why?
  2. Why do you think I wrote this story? What did you learn from it?
  3. Is there a better place to start the story? What is it? Why?
  4. Is the emotion missing?
  5. Do I give action, reaction, and dialogue for each scene?
  6. Give me possible what ifs for my story.

  • What if your main character did this?
  • What if the setting was in a different place, like _______.
  • If such and such happened, what would be the new set of chain reactions for the main character? If the main character does this, then the villain would do what?
  • What if the main character’s problem was even more difficult, steeper, harder for him to handle, like ______________?

Before you use any of the information in a critique, make sure you agree 100 per cent with any changes you make. Make those changes you agree with as quickly as you can. Send it out. Submit it again.

If there are parts of the critique you don’t agree with, you have two choices – delete them and never think about them again or let the manuscript hibernate in a drawer or in a folder in your computer for 1-4 weeks-no longer than that. Then take it out and read the critique again. Read your manuscript again with new eyes. Pretend this is the first time you’ve ever read it. Pretend you’re a potential buyer of your book in a store. You open it up to the first page. You read it. What do you think? If you still are not 100 per cent sure you want to use the questionable advice in this critique. Let it go. Delete it. Say a prayer. Relax. Believe in your manuscript. It will be published. You will know the changes to make. Studying the craft books that are in this area will help. Trust yourself and your story.

Accept in your mind that your beginning might be the best or another beginning might be best. Either is okay with you in your mind. Now allow yourself to choose the right place to start your story. You are the writer of this story. Believe that you can choose the right place. Other people’s opinions are possibilities. Other people’s opinions are choices. They are not facts. They are opinions. They give you something you never thought about. They give you possibilities. What a gift! Rejoice! Remember it’s your choice, your story. Believe that these critiques are not going to stop you from reaching your goal. They are steps to make your story better. To get it in top-notch shape for publication.

Be happy and rejoice with every critique you receive. Delete any ideas and suggestions that you don’t agree with 100 per cent after you’ve studied it and given good consideration of the possibilities given. It’s your story. You are the author. You will decide great things for your story. Now revise your manuscript with high energy and a good feeling and thankfulness for the critique.

Summarizing above:

Receive the critique.

Use what you agree with 100 per cent right away. Change the manuscript and submit again.

Put the questionable advice and the manuscript in a drawer. Wait from 1-4 weeks. Then read the critique and the manuscript again with new eyes. Make a decision. Use the advice or delete it. Then go forward.

Believe in your manuscript. Believe in you and your story. Accept the critique as a gift.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tips for Speaking and Presenting at Conferences

by Vivian Zabel 

     So you want to be speaker or presenter or hold a workshop at a writing conference or book festival. Who wouldn't like to be considered expert enough to be invited to share his/her knowledge with other writers? If any of us said otherwise, we might grow extra long noses.

     I've received invitations and most I have accepted, but I'm not able to tell people how to received those invitations. I can only share some tips to help you prepare to be successful once that invitation arrives.

 1.  Know your material inside out, upside down, and from every direction.You must be prepared mentally/intellectually. If you don't know your subject matter completely, you'll not be able to share what is needed.

 2.  Know how to use your language orally, to use it and pronounce it correctly. No, you don't have to speak in stiff formal English, but you need to speak correctly without appearing unintelligent. Yes, I hear news reporters, sports commentators, and other public people slaughter grammar; however, to those who know their language, people who use incorrect language do NOT sound smart. Neither do people who incorrectly pronounce words.
       A few examples I hear too regularly that cause my nerves to hear fingernails on a chalk board include the following:
       The football team, they want to finish this year here on top. (two big no, noes: The football team wants to finish this year on top.)
        The reason why is hidden from you and I. (one major boo-boo: I is a subject form, not an object form, can't be used correctly after a preposition such as for or between. The reason why is hidden from you and me.)
         He did good on his exam. (good what? He did a good job, or he did well.)
         His athleticism helps him win. (Yes, that's becoming so used by sports people that we've almost become use to it, but actually, athletic ability is correct.)
         The best fishing spot is in the bend of the crick (creek).
         The pitcher (picture) on the wall was taken by my mother.

     Those are just a few examples of problems in language that would weaken your presentation.

 3.  Once you receive an invitation, prepare your material so that it is organized and interesting. If you're using handouts, be sure they add to your presentation and help the audience better understand your message.

 4.  Practice giving your presentation. Know it well enough that you can deliver it with a few notes or an outline. I have gotten to where I have to refer only a few times to any notes. The photo above caught me doing so. This photo shows Jacque Graham practicing her presentation at the North East Texas Writers Organization conference.  

 5.  Present your material to your audience, allowing them to fee a connection to you as a person. I always have a few humorous comments, even if a joke on myself.

     Yes, some people can talk for as long a time as allowed about subject they know about. I happen to be one of those people, but it is the result of studying, teaching, and practicing speech and debate and a multitude of subjects completely. Also being able to do so is a result of living long enough to gain a storehouse of information. Still, I would not go into a presentation, speech, or workshop unprepared. My audience deserves the best I can give them.

 6.  A final note, look professional. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. No, no one has to buy an expensive wardrobe to look clean, neat, and professional. However, a t-shirt and jeans isn't the way to stand in front of a group and appear prepared. I have four outfits that I use, and sometimes interchange pieces. I also use blue as my trade mark. I may have a black top and slacks with a blue jacket over the combination, or a navy blue three-piece suit. I wear dress shoes without whatever outfit I wear. I'm not a slim, trim person who looks good no matter what she wears, but even if I were, I'd dress professionally.

     I will have held four workshops, taken a host of pitches from writers, and given at least two speeches before 2012 comes to a close. One workshop will be in Anchorage, Alaska. I'm not afraid to let people know that I'm an expert in a few areas. I wrote articles that were published. I visited schools and libraries and gave talks. Some way, my name became known. Once I do a speech, presentation, or workshop, I want participants to feel they gained something from the experience. So should you. Each success builds your reputation.

     Therefore, begin to prepare before you are invited. With work, any of us can succeed.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring Rains

Spring Rains By Suzanne Y. Cordatos Did you make any writing resolutions this past New Year? How are they going? In January, my writing friend set ambitious goals: Submit work more often. Research and query agents. Enter contests. Query. Revise. Again. And Again. I meet with this writing friend every week for a hearty breakfast of eggs, critiques, conversation, inspiration and motivation. (BTW, if you haven’t yet found a writing friend, it is easier than you might think. Join a formal association, or simply make a few public comments that you “are a writer”. Fellow writing souls will emerge from the woodwork.)In March, her effort paid off big-time. Her manuscript was in the hands of agents and contest judges, right on schedule. Even better, the novel we had labored over for two years (longer for her) was placed among the top four finalists of a contest. Her work would be read by a top NYC publishing house! The top finalist would be handed a gold-plated book contract! Yippee! Right? Not so fast.
Like spring rains, however, rejections started pouring down on her good efforts and optimistic spirits. For the past few weeks, her writing pen has barely slogged across the page. Have you ever felt that way? Why do we writers torture ourselves like this? Her self-torture: If she hadn’t submitted more, she’d be swimming happily right now in her pool of dreams, a pool deep with fantasy contracts and book signings. Why do you bother to write? I keep trying because stories have shaped my sense of empathy, my understanding of the human condition; fiction binds us together as people of a planet who share the human experience: its dreams, sadness, and hopes. Stories help create empathy for others and transport us out of the mundane. Find out why by reading some of your favorite old classics. Those treasured, dog-eared books you dragged around? The ones whose characters felt more like friends than the kids down the street? I found myself—the values/views/themes/beliefs I hold dear to my heart—in specific sentences of those books. Single lines that rang true. Bits of dialogue. Unforgettable settings. Characters who triumphed over obstacles. The joy of watching flowers bloom and helping others reach their potential? It’s behind the locked door of The Secret Garden. The value of a good cry? Who didn’t cry over the beauty of life and self-sacrifice in Charlotte’s Web? A sense of adventure and the belief that small people can make a big difference in the world? Just ask Frodo and Bilbo Baggins. The deep sense that Mom cares no matter how bad I am? It’s in the bowl of soup that Max’s mom left at the end of Where the Wild Things Are. After Max’s misadventures, the soup was still hot. Writers make a difference. Published or not. I sat across a conference lunch table from Newberry Award writer Jerry Spinelli a few years ago and heard about a manuscript he still keeps tucked away – a novel the editors don't care to publish. What if he had stopped writing when they said no to that first try? Whatever is on your heart that needs to be said to the world—it matters! Whatever keeps pushing the keys on your keyboard, the words that speak to your heart, it really does matter.
What inspires you to keep writing through rejection? Visit Suzanne's blog Ideas Tingle and Bite at

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Being a Writer: Learn the Craft of Writing

Being a Writer: Learn the Craft of Writing

By Karen Cioffi

In the June 2010 issue of The Writer, author Jane Yolen discussed the need to learn the craft of writing in an article titled, “Dedicate Yourself to a Writing Apprenticeship.” She explained that the process is slow and long, but is necessary to being a writer, to learn the craft of writing.

If you’re wondering what the craft of writing is, it’s proper writing technique, grammar, and style. These writing elements include structure, formatting, clarity, and in fiction writing, plot, character development, point of view, and dialogue. Even knowing the particulars in the genre you write is important.

So, what exactly is the meaning of the word ‘craft?’

Wikipedia’s definition is, “A craft is a branch of a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work.”

Merriam-Webster refers to ‘craft’ as an occupation requiring “artistic skill.”

And, mentions membership in a guild.

Between all three definitions we know that a ‘craft’ is a branch of a professional group or guild. It is a career or occupation, not simply a hobby.

Interestingly, there are various avenues that can be taken to become an accomplished or professional writer, but each one has the need for learning, practice, time, and commitment. Some writers may go to school and get degrees, others may learn from a coach or mentor, others from trial and error, failures and successes. But, whichever path is taken, there is a lot of work that goes into becoming experienced and knowledgeable in being a writer. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

But today, with the easy-to-do-it-yourself self-publishing explosion, writers may not be viewed as professionals. Certainly, most people have read a self-published book or e-book that lacks proper grammar, structure, and even clarity. These products are easy to spot, but yet they’re available for sale, and the authors consider themselves writers.

While it’s great that those who want to write have a vehicle to publish their own work, especially in this overwhelmed publishing market, those who don’t take the time to learn the craft of writing do themselves and others an injustice. They make the self-publishing book market murky and the label of ‘writer’ less professional.

This shouldn’t be the case.

Think of a professional musician. Imagine him playing an amazing piece, smooth, fluid, and beautiful – every note is perfect. Now imagine another musician; this one isn’t in tune, can’t read the music, misses notes, and sounds awful. Which musician do you want to be?

You should want to be the professional; the one who offers polished and experienced work; the one who earns a reputation for quality.

According to, it doesn’t matter what your experience level is, there is always room for improvement. Writers should strive to “study ways to improve their craft.” While this may take time and work, it is easy to find the needed help and resources.

To begin, do a search for online writing instruction; try the keyword “learn to write.” You can also check your local schools for adult education classes, or take some college writing courses. There is an abundance of writing information available, much of it free or very inexpensive; take advantage of it.

Being a writer means you need to learn the craft of writing, and continue honing your skills.

Karen Cioffi is a multi-award winning author, freelance/ghostwriter, editor, and marketer. For more on writing and marketing visit and sign up for her FREE newsletter, A Writer’s World - you’ll get 2 FREE ebooks: Book Promotion: The Bare Basics and Power Queries.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Would you ghostwrite?

I read a post on a blog where the author said, “No Thanks”, because they felt if someone wanted a book, they should be the one to write it.

As a ghostwriter, you receive no credit, no royalties, only what you receive for the project.
Does this make you a “writing whore”, as a blog post coined the term? Are you writing only for money, or are you writing because of a calling to write, even if you’re not paid?

Anyone can write, but not everyone is a writer. If a writer writes a book, shouldn’t they be the one to receive the credit and any royalties from their work? I believe they should.

I have been thinking about this and wondering if I would write a book for someone should they ask. I am leaning more toward “no”, because I am using my skill set to create a story for a person. I feel I should be the one whose name should be on the cover as either co-writer, and any profits at least split. I doubt many clients are most likely not to agree to a split of royalties and your name on the book.

The final decision about whether or not to ghostwrite is up to the individual writer.

There is software available to spin articles, and more. As a writer, I only publish 100 percent original work that includes headlines, for stories that in essence are the same subject, but would pass Copyscape as zero duplication. That is what original means to me.

If you choose to ghostwrite, just write well.

Robert Medak