Tuesday, December 31, 2013

4RV nominations for 2013 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll

by Vivian Zabel

     Nominations and voting are open for the 2013 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll, and 4RV Publishing is nominated, as well as some books and people associated with the company. Below is a list of the nominations and the links to the pages to vote.

     Anyone who votes needs to realize that only one vote per name and email counts per category and remember to follow the directions completely.

4RV Publishing Nominations in Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll

Other novels:
     A Wandering Warrior by Harry Gilleland                 http://critters.org/predpoll/novel.shtml
Young Adult novels
     Taking the High Ground by Amy Alessio                 http://critters.org/predpoll/novelyoungadult.shtml
Children’s books:
      I Like Pink by Vivian Zabel                                    http://critters.org/predpoll/novelchildrens.shtml
Book/eBook cover art:
     A Wandering Warrior     Aidana WillowRaven       http://critters.org/predpoll/bookart.shtml
Author page:
     Vivian Zabel                                                          http://critters.org/predpoll/author.shtml
Print/electronic book Publisher:
     4RV Publishing                                                      http://critters.org/predpoll/ebookpublisher.shtml
      Ginger Nielson                                                     http://critters.org/predpoll/ebookpublisher.shtml                         
Print/eBook editor:
                Carla Ralston                                                                 http://critters.org/predpoll/bookeditor.shtml   


                4RV Publishing                                                             http://critters.org/predpoll/bookstore.shtml 



Sunday, December 29, 2013

There's Always a Better Word

By: Stephanie Burkhart

Self-Editing Tips

I've heart it said writing is 10% writing and 90% editing. I can honestly say that's the case. Self-editing is truly a talent that has to be developed over time. There are some great books with self-editing pointers including characters, plot, and dialogue, but today I'm going to keep it easy – there's always a stronger word.

Example:  Annie got the book she wanted.

There's a better verb for the sentence above and a great "place" to find what you're looking for is a thesaurus. You can discover a ton of alternative words to "punch up" your sentence. My thesaurus is never far from my laptop.

New Example: Annie received the book she wanted.

Fresher Example: Annie received the novel she wanted.

Freshest Example: The book Annie wanted fell into her lap.

Reinvigorated Example: Annie's tattered and threadbare novel offered her happiness.

Self-editing takes time so be sure to dedicate the time for it. Things to look for: verb use (weak versus strong) and "punchier" descriptors. I just finished reading Janet Evanovich's "One for the Money," and I loved it. She's mastered the use of better/strong words to create an entertaining novel with a great economy of words. She paints graphic visuals with just a stroke.

Here's another self-editing tip: Be a reader, too. The more you read, the more you can give to your own writing.

Question: Do you have any self-editing tips that work for you that you'd like to share?

Have a blessed and happy new year!

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She's also a cub scout den leader and a frazzled taxi mom. Her books with 4RV Publishing include: The Giving Meadow and First Flag of New Hampshire.








Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Notice How People Talk

Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards
        Image Copyright © Joan Y. Edwards
"Notice How People Talk" by Joan Y. Edwards

Take note of how people talk. Watch them talk. Do their heads move when the mouth moves? Do the eyes up or down when they are talking? Are the hands still, or moving rapidly as the words come out? One person may talk out of the right side of his mouth. Another may talk out of the left side of his mouth. A bell ringer may bellow like you can't hear them unless they do. A little old lady might whisper so low you can't hear her in a noisy crowded room.

I watched a western movie once in which the star of the show barely opened his mouth to speak. It was as though the director told him, "Do not open your mouth to talk. There are a gazillion flies around here and one may go in. Don't open your mouth to talk."

Does your main character talk with his mouth barely open. If he does, would it make it easier or harder for others to understand him? Try talking with your mouth almost shut.

Is he a ventriloquist and his mouth stays shut while he makes it seem like his words come from the dummy on his lap?

Give your characters a special way to talk, it might make it easier for a reader to visualize a picture of them.
Does he lisp?
Does she stutter?

Look at yourself in the mirror while you are talking. Write 3 sentences to describe what your mouth does when you talk. How does talking influence your eyes? What about your hands?

While you're watching your favorite movie or television show, notice how a main character moves his mouth, eyes, and hands when he talks.

Read your favorite novel. How does the author give distinctive speech traits to the characters? Copy any of the descriptions you believe are good.

Choose one of the things you observe to put into one of your works in progress. See if this adds depth to your character. I believe it will.

Enjoy watching people. They are intriguing. Celebrate your writing skills.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Joan's Elder Care Guide - Release by 4RV Publishing in June 2014.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

SEO Marketing Tips to Help Get Links to Your Site

By Karen Cioffi

The most effective way to get links to your site as part of your book marketing strategy is through content and SEO marketing.

Here are the four of the most popular SEO marketing content strategies to use:

1. Write keyword rich and quality blog posts and alert your social networks that there’s fresh content on your site. If it’s valuable content, readers will be motivated to share it with their networks, moving it to viral status.

2. Do guest blogging on quality and ‘relevant to your platform’ sites.

3. Post quality and polished content to article directories that other website and blogsite owners will find of value and can post to their sites for free.

When writing for article directories or even guest blogging, make your ‘author bio’ as compelling a possible. You want to get people to click on your link. Your ‘bio’ is just as important as your article content. The reader needs to know that by clicking on your link, she will be benefited with more valuable information.

As an example, Joe Smith could use the following as his author bio:

Joe Smith is a published author, ghostwriter, and freelance writer. Learn more about writing and marketing at www. joesmith.com

It’s not likely that people will really care about what Joe Smith does – what they want is to know what will be in it for them if they click on his link. It’s all about the WITFM (what’s in it for me).

So, a more effective author bio might be:

To learn more about writing and marketing and to pick the must-have ebook, “How to Write and Market Your Way to Success, go to joesmith.com and sign up for his free newsletter, The Writing World.

Do you see and understand the difference? Make the reader want to click on the link.

4. Create and publish informational videos to sites like YouTube. Video marketing is gaining momentum in being a ‘heavy hitter’ for creating visibility and website traffic.

Another strategy to use to get traffic to your site is ‘link bait.’

With this strategy you submit well written and valuable articles to sites like Digg.com and even article directories, such as Ezine Articles. If the article is very informative or entertaining, or the ‘good’ form of controversial, it will get picked up by the site and put on its home page. Now you’re talking lots of visibility and traffic resulting in lots of links.

Most, if not all, of the strategies discussed have the potential to make your content go viral; this generates more visibility and traffic to your website, increasing your links.

There is obviously much more involved in SEO marketing, but this is part of the basics.

Want to learn more about creating and optimizing your author online platform? Check out WOW! Women on Writing’s 6 week e-class: Create and Build Your Author Online Platform.

Image copyright 2013 Karen Cioffi

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Write THAT book

by Suzanne Y. Cordatos

Boots crunch on six inches of new powder and carve a fluffy white trail up the Connecticut hills. Like a scene on a greeting card or a Norman Rockwell painting, we drag an empty red sled and carry a rugged knife capable of allowing a suburban family to saw a perfect 7-foot pine from the tree farm a short drive from our new house. My preschoolers run and hug one of the first trees they see and declare it perfect. Feeling like a lumberjack, my husband gets to work with the saw and the fresh pine smell rushes our senses with nature’s holiday goodness as our fingers get sticky with the resin we can’t help but touch.


“I have no memory of that – of a real tree in the house,” my now-teenage daughter announced the other day as she made up her own verses singing “Deck the halls and fluff the branches! Fa la la la la-a-a-, la la la la!” She referred to our family’s annual ritual of fluffing the plastic Christmas tree branches to look more real, spreading the packaged greens apart while I silently regretted not buying a pack of “pine scent sticks” to tuck into the tree branches. Then it hit me: How did I succumb to this fake tree? When did I allow this change to happen to my family? What do you mean you have no idea what a fresh pine tree smells like at Christmas?!?

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
but what happened to the pine smell?
Writers, it is up to us. 

How might city kids learn about the woods or a farm if they have never visited one? When a girl loves to dance, can she imagine herself on stage? What does it feel like under the hot lights in front of an audience?There’s probably a book for that—and if there isn’t? Write THAT book!

Prolific American author Jane Yolen has a lot to say about what and how to write in her book, Take Joy. Her advice on what should go into your writing? "The wind in your hair, the slate of sky overhead; a child's quick intake of breath". In other words, the little discoveries that perhaps only you have bothered to notice. Cultural holiday traditions from far away or long ago can feel as alive as a simmering pot when you read about them in a storybook; the tinkering of tools in a workshop crafting homemade wooden toys; the warmth of Mom’s kitchen, her flour-coated hands expert on the rolling pin or helping pudgy little fingers press hard enough on the cookie cutters; tangible vibrations of voices lifting together in joyful song to the heavens.

When writers describe life’s moments (big or small, important or seemingly trivial) through words and characters and stories, we offer readers a window into an experience they might completely miss out on otherwise. Not just pretty holiday moments, either. Young people learn empathy by identifying with a character and experiencing tragedy or illness without having to go through the trauma themselves. Through books, we get inspired to discuss ethical dilemmas and explore different paths our lives might take. If we didn't learn about life through books, our world would be limited indeed. 

Please share one of your special holiday moments – it is important! Let’s not miss out!
Happy Holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 6, 2013

4RV Reading, Writing, & Art News: Add Depth to Writing with Expressive Words

4RV Reading, Writing, & Art News: Add Depth to Writing with Expressive Words: Expressive types of speech can describe characters, put the reader into settings, and heighten or clarify action. Comparisons and explanat...

Add Depth to Writing with Expressive Words

Expressive types of speech can describe characters, put the reader into settings, and heighten or clarify action. Comparisons and explanatory word choices add depth to writing. Psychologist/writing teacher extraordinaire, Margie Lawson, claims there are many rhetorical devices to use in our writing, but twenty-five top her best-ever list.

Before taking her classes, I admit to only remembering four; simile, metaphor, oxymoron, and alliteration.

How many can you name?

How many do you use in your writing?

Expressive types of speech makes your writing not just good, but excellent.

I scanned a couple of my works in progress, picked out a few sentences, and applied an expressive type of speech to make the sentence or sentences visible and memorable. I first give a definition. Here’s  my before and after sentences to spark your imagination.


Alliteration – using the same consonant sounds in a row.

Before - Her mother’s calls unsettled her.

After – Her mother’s calls drenched her with discomfort, distaste, and disappointment.


Simile - comparing one thing with something else (usually used with like or as).

Before – Her words hurt Lacey.

After - Her words sliced through Lacey like tornados shattered Texas cornfields.

Before – His going to church was rare.

After - His going to church was like moving a redneck into New York City.

Metaphor – Comparing two things by using one in place of the other.

Before – A river wound through the canyon walls.

After – A green snake writhed between canyon walls.

Before – When Victoria moved to the country, she got a cute guy, but I get an old, crippled-looking man.

After - When Victoria moved to the country, she got a cute guy, but I get Gandolf from Lord of the Rings. 

For those who read my book, “Victoria and the Ghost,” the above example comes from the sequel due out in June, 2014.

Personification – speaking of inanimate objects like they were alive.

Before – Purple wildflowers bloomed at the rocks’ edge.

After - Purple wildflowers wiggled their stiff stems and demanded space amongst the rocks.

Oxymoron – two words that mean the exact opposite

Before - She wore make-up but was still ugly.

After – She was as gorgeous as Godzilla in makeup.

Anaphora – is repeating the same words or phrases three times for emphasis.

Before – (only the original sentence) Her heart moved out of her chest, skimmed her stomach, wiggled toward her toes.

After - (same sentence but added anaphora)  Her heart moved out of her chest, skimmed her stomach, wiggled toward her toes.

  Perhaps it was his too-sad eyes.

  Perhaps it was his too-caring tone.

  Perhaps it was the way he caught her when her legs gave way.

Well, there’s my examples.
I challenge you to go through your works in progress. Use expressive types of speech to clarify, heighten sensory, and rev up action.  Make your writing superb.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Book Marketing - Choose a Website Domain Name (make it keyword effective)

By Karen Cioffi

The first rung on your book marketing ladder is to create a quality product, in the case of an author, that would be a book. You need to create an engaging story, be part of a critique group, make sure the manuscript gets edited, and have a knock-out cover.

Creating the book might be considered Research and Development under the Marketing umbrella, and the foundation of a marketing strategy.

The second step or rung on the book marketing ladder is the actual book promotion: creating a platform and brand for you and your book. This is accomplished through visibility. A platform is a means to let readers know what your area of expertise is.

You may be shaking your head and thinking you don’t have an area of expertise, well the very first step to establish yourself as an expert is to create a website or blog. The focus of that website will be your niche and new area of authority.

Choosing a Website Domain Name

Choose a website domain name carefully and think ahead. Marketing experts always advise using ‘your name’ for your domain name. While you can have multiple sites, your name should be your main or central site.

On the other hand, if you write in a specific genre, you should include that in your website domain name. If you’re a children’s writer, maybe: Children’s Books by Your Name, or Picture Books by Your Name. The more specific you make your domain name the more likely those searching online for that genre will find you.

Why is it so important to have your name in your central site’s title?

The answer is for those searching by your name to find you. Maybe Reader A doesn’t know the name of your book, but does remember your author name.

Why, if you write in a specific genre, is it important to include that keyword in your site’s title?

Simply put: If you sell shoes and your website domain name is John Smith, how will those searching online for shoes ever find you?

Using Keywords in Your Domain Name

The idea is to make multiple avenues of search that lead to your site. In other words, you need multiple keywords that are relevant to your site - keywords that will allow the search engines to index your site and allow readers doing online searches to find your site. Again, the more specific the better.

And, be sure to use appropriate keywords in the subtitle of your site. For example, if your book is a children’s fantasy adventure, be sure to include those keywords in your subtitle. The keywords will let the search engines know what your site is about and direct searchers to it.

As mentioned, you can create multiple sites. You might have ‘YourName.com’ as your central site and then create other sites for your individual books, or possibly for a particular niche or genre you write in.

For example, I have a blogsite specifically for my each of my books: Walking Through Walls , and another specifically for Day’s End Lullaby. These sites offer information related to the books only.

Your domain name is one of the most important elements of your marketing strategy. Think about it before creating yours.

For more on writing and marketing, join Karen Cioffi and The Writing World for free weekly tips and guidance, plus updates on free instructional webinars. Get access today and you’ll receive “How to Create an Optimized Website – 3 Essential Author Website Elements and 9 Must-Have Pages:”

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Marketing Tools: Composing an Author Bio

By: Stephanie Burkhart 

Happy Thanksgiving! I know this week will be a busy one. There's grocery shopping, hunting down turkeys, baking pies, and decorating. It's a time to enjoy family and friends. From the 4RV family and me, enjoy the holiday! Don't forget to take a moment and give thanks for those special people and moments in your life.

As you go about marketing your latest release, one request that always comes up is your author bio. It's needed for the back of your book, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, (the booksellers), your author's web page, blog entries, and query letters to name a few. Each request needs to be "tailored" to fit. Some author bios are expected to be shorter than others.

What should be in an author bio? I'd recommend making bullet points first. Include everything.

Where you were born
Highest degree obtained
Outside activities

Now that you've got your bullet points, it's time to write. My tip: infuse humor when you can. A little humor goes a long way to attracting potential readers. Also try to go in chronological order of what's happened in your life.

A "full" biography might take 150 words. Try not to go over that. Consider using that bio for query letters and the back of your book.

A "medium" sized bio might not be so comprehensive. I'd say it should consist of roughly 50-75 words. Include where you're born, highest degree obtained, accomplishments, and 1-2 personal items. A medium bio is also good for query letters, your web pages, and depending, blog spots.

A "short" bio is one-to-three sentences that should tell a snippet about you. Focus this bio on what you're doing now.

Here's mine roughly:  Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She enjoys writing romance and children's novels. A cub scout mom, she also own a very sweet golden retriever who loves to counter surf. Her 4RV books include "The Giving Meadow" and "First Flag of New Hampshire." You can find her at: http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

Another tip: If you can, leave a link for your website or blog.

I use my short bio mostly for visiting blogs, but I always have it handy when I meet people, for the back of business cards, postcards, bookmarks, and other promotional opportunities.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and feedback for composing author bios. It's a great marketing tool to have!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Way of All Grammar

When my father was a kid, English grammar, parts of speech, verb tenses and the like were an important part of the school curriculum. By the time I got to school, now a good many years ago, things were much laxer, to the point where my first real introduction to verb tenses was through my French classes.

I still remember coming home and telling my father, who spoke fluent French, that French had a subjunctive but English didn't. He set me straight.

Even so, we learned far more about grammar than today's kids, who apparently can't even figure out which form of a pronoun it's appropriate to use after a preposition. If you don't believe me, take a copy of your local paper and go through the Op Ed page looking for grammatical errors. I'm pretty confident you'll be shocked. That is, assuming you are old enough to have learned
grammar in school.

I say it's past time to bring back rigorous instruction in the fundamentals of our language.

Prepositions were a particular peeve of my dad's. Here's a typical conversation:

Me; It's me.

Dad: it's not 'it's me', it's 'it's I.

Me: I know, but no one says that.

Dad: You don't know, or you wouldn't be saying 'it's me."

Me: grinds teeth.

Dad: repeats rule and explanation of subject and object pronouns, etc.

Once I made the mistake of pointing out that "C'est moi" is perfectly correct in French. Dad then repeated the rules for pronouns in French -- in French.

I can still repeat both sets of rules. And it's been a *long* time.

Dad always repeated the entire rule and it's full explanation each and every time we made a grammatical error. Major teeth grinding, but now I can still recall my grammar, and as a result was a whiz at helping out with fifth grade English homework -- also math, but that's another story --

Dad also would never give us the meaning of a word we didn't know -- he made us look it up in the dictionary. This was most annoying at the dinner table, when we, for what I hope were obvious reasons, weren't eager to jump right up and look up the word.

I didn't relentlessly correct my own kids, and as a result they lack the firm grasp of adjective, adverb, and the like that my sister and I had. I don't know -- maybe it was a mistake. However annoying it was at the time, I did really learn a lot as a result.

Here are a few resources. For more check http://www.margaretfieland.com/writers_resources

Flags adverbs, weak words, passive voice, said, cliches, and more :  http://editminion.com/

Sentence length, pacing, dialog tags, homonyms, vague and abstract words, and more:  http://prowritingaid.com/

Enhanced by Zemanta