Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"We're More Alike Than We're Different" My Name Is Jake by Angela Steele

     Angela Graham Steele wrote an unusual nonfiction book with her son Jake as the main character. My Name Is Jake addresses the fundamentals of Down Syndrome. This book shows children may all be different in one way or another, but their hearts remain the same. Jessica McClure provided the illustrations that brought Angela's words to life.
     The book is available in both hardback and paperback on the 4RV online bookstore, as well through other online bookstores and brick and mortar stores.
     Angela and Jessica also created, with Aidana WillowRaven putting everything together, a coloring sheet that Angela uses for promotion and when she visits schools.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Using a Beta Reader

By: Stephanie Burkhart 
You’ve finished your manuscript and are ready to submit your “baby” to several literary agents and or/publishers. Wait! It might be a good idea to have a beta reader look it over first.
 What’s a beta reader? Someone who is willing to read your finished story and give you the feedback you need to ensure your story is consistent, makes sense, and holds one’s attention. They should do it in a timely manner so you can tighten your story before sending it off. A beta reader should be willing to read your work and offer honest feedback on what works – and what doesn’t.
While just about anyone can be a beta reader, be selective in asking. You want to look for readers who read the genre you’re writing in and can offer thoughtful feedback.
You might consider 1-3 beta readers so the feedback is varied. The big thing in asking someone to beta read for you is not to pressure them to do it and stress to them that you want their honest thoughts and feelings. Give them a timeline to read the story and if they can’t do it in the time allotted, let them know there’s no hard feelings. I always show my appreciation with a Starbuck’s gift card. Remember, they are taking time out of their schedules to read and offer you feedback, so thank them.
Provide your beta reader with a list of questions that you want feedback on. Examples: 
Is “Johnny” likeable? 
Did the opening confuse you?
When did you know what the story was about?
Is there a scene that made you sad, happy or angry?
Once you get your feedback, than your betas, compare notes, and identify the area you need to tighten up. You might have to rework your opening or add a scene to clarify you main character’s motivation. Be open to making the changes if they make your story better.
For me, it’s about honesty. I want my beta reader to be honest with me. I’ve got to let them know I’ll be okay with their feedback regardless if it’s glowing – or not. If they tell me hero is cold and aloof, and that’s not my intention, I’ve got to be open to receiving that feedback.
Question for you: Do you use a beta reader? How many? How do they help you? Do you take all their suggestions to heart?
Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. Her latest childrens book with 4RV Publishing is “Brady’s Lost Blanket.”  She enjoys coffee, adores chocolate, and strives to keep up with the active boys in her cub scout den. 
Find her at:

Friday, September 18, 2015

4RV Book Given Seal of Approval - Review

      Literary Classics presented Beverly Stowe McClure with the CLC seal of approval and gave a review of her book Star of the Team, as shown below. Congratulations, Beverly.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval

Last year Kate was one of the best players on her team.  But now the new girl, Emily, has joined the Angels. When Emily stops bragging long enough to play, she proves she's actually pretty good, which really gets under Kate's skin.  Kate wants nothing more than to be the star of the team; and she's willing to work hard to make that dream a reality. But when Kate has an accident on the court, her dreams are put on the back-burner.  As she takes a break from basketball, Kate finds time for some insightful introspection.

Author Beverly Stowe McClure continues to captivate young audiences with her book, Star of the Team, which speaks to girls on many levels.  Her ability to portray the myriad of hopes, fears and frustrations of her young characters is a big part of what makes McClure an exceptional writer.  Fans of McClure's writing will not be disappointed with this book which will appeal to young readers, even those who may not follow basketball.

Star of the Team comes highly recommended for home and school libraries and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Website Ranking - Basic Metrics (Elements)

By Karen Cioffi

According to statistics by Digital Strategy Consulting, on January 21, 2013, there were 634 million active websites. That’s over half a billion. That’s a lot of noise . . . a lot of competition. And, that was a while ago.

I’ve used the analogy before, about being a spec in the sky, and it’s true. You need to find and use marketing strategies, specifically website optimization strategies, to give your site (and your client’s site) a brighter light. You need to create visibility and ranking.

Some of the basic elements (metrics) that are looked at for website ranking are:

  • Daily pageviews per visitor
  • Daily time on site
  • Sites linking in
  • Search visits
  • Bounce rate

Let’s break these elements down:

Pageviews per visitor refers to a view of a page on your website by a person/visitor. Factors such as reloading a page and moving to different pages count. The more pages the better. So, using WOTM’s statistic above, visitors are clicking on other pages during their visit.

According to, “If a visitor clicks reload after reaching the page, this is counted as an additional pageview. If a user navigates to a different page and then returns to the original page, a second pageview is recorded as well.” (1)

An effective way of ‘upping’ the pageviews is to:

•    Use long-tail keywords for title tags and headers
•    Have separate pages for specific topics (an example would be if you have a health site, one page might be on Cancer, one on Diabetes, one on Heart Disease, and so on
•    Have a ‘freebie’ page – it might be helpful information that’s downloadable (a download is considered a ‘hit’)
•    Use deep-linking (have links to more information within your site)

A unique pageview “represents the number of sessions during which that page was viewed one or more times.” (1)

Daily time on site is the amount of time (in minutes and seconds) a visitor stays on a site during one visit. The ‘pageviews’ plays a factor in this. If your content contains links to other pages or posts on your site, then the ‘time on site’ will increase. This is deep linking.

Another strategy to increase the ‘time on site’ is using video or audio. Even short 30-60 second clips keep the visitor in place.

Sites linking in reflects the number of websites that find your website informative and valuable enough to link to.

According to Moz Analytics, “External Links are hyperlinks that point at (target) any domain other than the domain the link exists on (source). In layman's terms, if another website links to you, this is considered an external link to your site.” (2)

Linking can be done through anchor text, which is the best format for site linking, or through a direct URL link. ‘Sites linking in’ is an important SEO factor.

Search visits are those visits to your site that are a result of online searches, usually for a particular keyword. But, along with search visits goes bounces, time on site, and page views. Simply getting a search visitor doesn’t do much if he’s gone in less than 5 seconds (considered a bounce).

The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave within a few seconds after visiting just one page (the page they originally land on). High bounce rates are usually an indication that your keywords aren’t really relevant to your content. Or, your site may be difficult to navigate or read, or confusing. You want a low bounce rate.

A key factor to keeping your bounce rates low is to deliver on what you promise. Meet your visitors’ expectations. This means having quality content and relevant keywords. You also need to have a visitor-friendly website design. This means it needs to load quickly, be easy to navigate and easy to read, has an ‘easy to find’ call-to-action, and is clean (uncluttered).



Originally published at:

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning author, ghostwriter, and online marketing instructor. To keep up with must-know, easy to do writing and marketing strategies, get free access to The Writing World.

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