Category : Uncategorized

  • September 10, 2013

    How To Make Google Work for Your Blog



    Lucy Morgan-Jones is a stay-at-home mum to four precocious children by day and a snoop by night, stalking interesting characters through historical Colorado and writing about their exploits. 

    She enjoys meeting new people from all over the world and learning about the craft of writing. When she can be separated from her laptop, she is a professional time waster on Facebook, a slave to the towering stack of books on her bedside table, and a bottler, preserving fruit the old fashioned way so she can swap recipes and tips with her characters. 

    Her home is in country Victoria, Australia, and she is a member of  Writers Downunder, ACFW, and Romance Writers of America.

    How To Make Google Work for Your Blog 

    Social media, platform, blogs, build an online presence, etc. We’ve been told we need to do this as part of developing a successful writing career. Yet, how can we stand out in a busy blogging world with a million other voices all competing for attention?

    One way is by using tools that are already at our disposal. Search engines…

    Google has 620 million visitors a day, making 4.7 billion searches combined. That’s a lot of traffic! That’s a lot of people searching for answers. Which got me thinking that famous writing question: What if?

    What if I wrote a blog post on spec to a popular Google search? What if I researched what questions are out there, and answered them with a hefty flavor of grace? Yes, with the aim of increasing traffic to my blog, but also to provide answers to a world that is getting advice from some dodgy sources.

    Some tools to help:

    Google Trends: A quick look at the Google searches that are getting the most traffic overall (updated hourly).

    Google Insights: looks at search volume over specific geographical regions, time frames, and subject categories. Use this to

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  • September 5, 2013

    Thursdays with Amanda: YOU’RE INVITED!



    Are you attending ACFW this year? Or maybe you’ll be in the Indianapolis area? If so, you’re invited to a party!


    Friday, September 13 from 9:30pm-11pm

    Buca di Beppo, Indianapolis (35 North Illinois Street – one block from the Hyatt Regency Hotel)

    With special appearances by TOSCA LEE & SUSAN MAY WARREN!


    Come on out to mingle with other YA readers and writers, learn about Playlist Fiction, participate in giveaways, eat free dessert, and more!

    Please RSVP on our official event page.


    And check out our invite! (NOTE: the free ebook promotion will run September 13-17)


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  • August 15, 2013

    Thursdays with Amanda: Organizing Your Street Team


    Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


    So, we know the reasoning behind why you need a Street Team and then the basics of building one, but once you have your tribe of minions, what do you do with them? Before you send them out into the world (which will probably be next week’s post), you need a home base. 

    Street Teams are all about communication–that is you communicating with them and them communicating with each other. Now a simple (and lame) way to handle this is to send out mass emails. BUT we all know how annoying those can be, and there’s always a guy who hits “reply all” EVERY FREAKING TIME even though he has nothing to say except for some stupid joke that no one finds funny.

    So, your other options are to form a private Facebook or Yahoo! Group (or something similar). You can even make the space fancy by adding pictures and files and other items that you would normally email everyone. In turn, using such an outlet will encourage your Team to actually interact with one another…which reminds me…


    I know it’s great to believe that your peeps will all get along like one big happy family, but let’s be real. There are going to be personality clashes, competitiveness, overwhelming personalities, and maybe even a few street brawls. So be clear about group etiquette. Make sure everyone plays nice.

    Some other ideas include…

    You could go one step farther with your group (if you have a big enough team) and create regional groups. This way, if you

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  • August 7, 2013

    Remember field trips? Did you get to go to a Literary Office?


    Today our office was inundated with small children. Because, you know, kids love hanging out in literary agencies.

    “What do you do?”

    “Do you make books?”

    “Do you know the guy that wrote Diary of a Wimpy Kid?”

    “Can I use the bathroom?”

    All very good questions from the local youth center kids on a field trip. Chip MacGregor, president of MacGregor Literary, had it under control, however, entertaining the local youth with verve and made up stories.  He had a lot to live up to, since they had just come from gorging themselves on chili dogs and playing on the beach.

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  • August 6, 2013

    Does an agent treat authors differently?


    Someone wrote to say, “You obviously enjoy your job. But does an agent have to treat authors differently than you would clients in another business?”

    It’s true — I love my job. In fact, the one time I stepped away from agenting (to be a publisher for Time-Warner) turned out to be a bit of a career mistake, so I can’t imagine doing anything else. I get to work with talented, creative people and develop books – which I think are the most powerful life-change tools we have. (As I’ve said before, we all love music, but few times does someone say, “My life changed when I heard that song.” Most of us appreciate dance, but it’s rare to hear someone say, “I was never the same after I observed that ballet.” And yet I know all sorts of people who will tell you, “My life changed when I read those words…”)

    But to answer your question, no, I don’t think I treat authors any different that I would clients in another business. In fact, I’m not sure I’d know how to treat people differently. I have done organizational consulting and fund raising, interviewed people on the radio, taught at colleges, served on some staffs as an executive/organizational type, and I think I’ve learned that people basically want to be heard and helped to succeed. Sometimes I do that well; other times I suck at it. There’s no single relationship I have with all my authors — some are close friends, some less so. Some want to talk through book ideas, others don’t care what I think of their ideas. Some want to read the contracts carefully, others basically say, “Just tell me when it’s ready and I’ll sign it.” If  there was one way to be an agent, we’d write it down. and anyone could do this job. But there’s not — instead, it’s a series of relationships, which

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  • August 5, 2013

    A Guest Post: How a Book Publicist Launches Her Own Debut



    Jessica Dotta has always been fascinated by the intricacies of society that existed in England from the Regency through the Edwardian era. She writes in a manner that blends past and modern fiction techniques. She lives in the Nashville area and works as a freelance media consultant and publicist. Her first novel, Born of Persuasion, releases September 2013.

    How does one best introduce a book that is best described as Downton Abbey meets Wuthering Heights or as Bronte meets Austen?

    I’ve worked many years as book publicist, but when it came time for the online promotion of Born of Persuasion online, I felt as overwhelmed as any new author might. There are many options!

    But the first step of PR plan is always to identify your target audience and then set about reaching them, so I started there. That part was easy. My audience, I knew. They are historical fiction, romance, and women fiction readers.

    When promoting authors, I worked under the assumption that the author’s personal interests will help me enlarge their target audience. After all, our personalities are woven into our books and who better to reach than kindred spirits? I always gain great insight on where to pitch his or her book just by asking what magazines they subscribe or by finding out what blogs they follow.

    For me, I’m a crafter, decorator, I love Victoria Magazine, I drink tea, and collect teapots. So I added that to the mix of ideas. Authors can pull out themes and ideas from the genre of their novel. Since the Price of Privilege trilogy is set in England I added that, too, into consideration.

    When you factor that together, it’s not hard to see why I chose an online tea party. I mean, what’s more British and tailored for women than tea?

    So a tea party it was. But now the question was how to make it fun.


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  • July 18, 2013

    Thursdays with Amanda: Taking Topic Suggestions


    Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    As Amanda is attending RWA’s annual conference in Atlanta at the moment, she isn’t sharing her usual Thursday dose of marketing wisdom. However, in a couple weeks she will be talking about all things related to street teams, so stay tuned.

    For today, Amanda is asking for your input—do you have a publishing topic you want her to discuss on a future post? Any marketing concerns that need fresh insight? Please use the comments’ feature below to share your questions and ideas. Thanks!


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  • July 8, 2013

    On Contracts: What’s New With Rights



    Guest writer Marie Prys is Contract Administrator at MacGregor Literary. A former editor and co-author, she now spends her working hours reading each and every contract MacGregor Literary facilitates while working closely with our agents and trading emails with, at last count, 25 publishers.


    On Contracts: What’s New with Rights by Marie Prys

    At long last, the wait is over. The publishing agreement has arrived, likely in the form of a PDF attachment delivered over E-mail. Looking rather heavy with single-spaced legalese and significant ramifications, you want to print, sign, and send. It’s GO time.

    And since it has taken six months or a year or even two years to get to this point, it’s tempting to skip to the good section, the show-me-the-money paragraph, and then head for the signature page. You’ve worked so hard and so long for this moment–you might feel hesitant about appearing troublesome or finding problems with this agreement, of asking further questions.

    Experienced authors will tell you–this contract could be your worst nightmare–a career-killing albatross that will haunt your future. Then again, it could be a very standard contract that is fair and will establish a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your publisher. If you’re not sure exactly what you have in front of you, consider these few items regarding rights, all of which I’ve seen popping up lately in my daily dose of contract reading.

    Which rights should I grant to the publisher?

    Publishers are asking for more specific rights than ever. Theme park rights, video game rights, lyric rights, calendar rights, workbook and curriculum rights–all of these classes of rights show up in the wording. These are in addition to the usual rights being routinely requested and granted to publishing houses of all shapes and sizes: digital, motion picture/dramatic rights, audio rights, and foreign rights.

    If you have a connection for someone to write a screenplay and potentially sell

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  • July 3, 2013

    Giving the Beginner a Chance



    GUEST WRITER Carmen Berry, New York Times bestselling author, is a full-time book coach working from Southern California. She specializes in developing projects from first-time author who want to write and publish high quality self-help books. She offers live, online classes starting new each month. You can learn more about her services at


    Giving the Beginner a Chance    by Carmen Berry

    I remember when I got my first book published—in the 1987—a million years ago in publishing-time. Back then, my editor had time to develop my project, and me as an author. Now, with over twenty self-help books under my belt, I wonder what challenges I’d face if I were starting out today.

    The industry has changed radically, with first-time authors facing stiffer competition and less editorial support. Yes, it’s true that self-publishing is an option, but there are few who truly understand how to write and publish a book like a pro.

    This places a heavier burden on agents to find top-notch first-time authors who have sellable ideas and well written manuscripts—and for first-time authors to take responsibility for their own development.

    A few years ago I realized it was time for me to give back to the publishing industry I love, especially to those who want to help others through their writing. I began to coach first-time authors who had great messages to share, but who were clueless about how to prepare a solid proposal or find a high quality agent.

    For those of you who are just starting out I have one piece of advice: If you do not have a solid structure created for your book, stop writing your manuscript. Odd advice? Perhaps. But until you have a clear writing strategy and a strong book structure in place, it may be a waste of time to continue writing. Would you build a house without a blueprint? Of course not. Then why start

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