Sunday, August 31, 2014

3 Fantastic Ways to Get More Exposure for FREE


Like to sell more books?  Get more people to know you and your writing!  Your first step is to get more traffic on your website and your blog.  How can you achieve this? In “seeding” links to your sites that will grow in months and years to come and ultimately result in more book sales.  All good things come in threes:
Blog Commenting and Comments in Forums
Your time investment each week on blog commenting? About 5 – 10 minutes per post, per day. Comment on writing-related web sites, that receive excellent traffic.  What’s also attractive about this is, that as long as the posts are online, readers who see your comments will always have the option to link back to your site. 
Make sure when commenting that you always have something specific to say about the post. NEVER just spam a blog’s comment area with “Great post!” Or “Right on!” That will lead others to think you’re a spammer. Also, make sure that after you write your comment, re-read it and ensure there are no typos. After all, you’re a highly-respected writer now. 

Article Marketing
When writers submit articles to a directory or eZines that are visited by webmasters in order to find free content for their sites, it will account for roughly 20% of new traffic on your blog or website.  When webmasters like your articles and publish one or more on their websites, your byline, a blurb about you, your company and a link to your website is always included. This is called a back link and it will then appear on these sites indefinitely.  Most times, for several years. So years from now, that article that took you two hours to write will still bring you new traffic!
Guest Blogging
Find highly trafficked sites in your niche that you respect and would like to write for.  If they take guest bloggers, read their guidelines and study the type of content that they publish.  Be aware that these sites only accept original content.  As these sites have such large followings, it’s going to be well worth your time.  Find out:

  • What articles do they prefer?
  • What writing style?
  • What is the typical length of their posts?
  • Which types of posts seem to get the most comments?
  • Which ones are shared via social media

As with article marketing, your guest posts are including a back link to your site and will be available for years to come.  Some blogs receive 1,000,000 page views per month. Let’s pretend, only 5% of this audience reads your post and clicks through to your web page or blog. That’s 50,000 targeted visitors who can find your book!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

7 Magazines and Tips to Make Money With Writing


Is writing your passion? Would you like to use your talent to earn more and eventually become a full-time author?  Writing novels or non-fiction books is a rather lengthy way of earning money with your writing skills. However, there are lots of possibilities to leverage your talent and your research much faster.  Often even parts of your manuscript can be re-used for writing articles – in a huge variety of magazines and newspapers, here are just a few, there are thousands of English-language magazines out there: 

Seven Magazines Who Pay for Your Writing:

Real Simple is the magazine for women who are very busy and want ways to simplify their lives. Magazine is particularly friendly to freelancers in the front of the book area to include "Health" (1,500 words) and "Money" (1,000 words). Features are harder to obtain, but they are 1,000 to 3,000 and open to freelance pitches. "Food" and "Fashion" are difficult to obtain. If pitching to "Life Lessons," you must have ample magazine publishing experience or a couple books to your name. There is a light chance of obtaining a gig online in the Work and Life area. Pays up to $2/word.

Routes is distributed in the foothills region and some south Calgary, Canada, suburbs. Primarily a lifestyle magazine, Routes showcases local business, history, people and events, with a mandate to inform, entertain, and impassion its audience. ROUTES pays writers competitively within the professional magazine industry. Rates may vary depending on the experience of the writer and the difficulty of the assignment. Some stories are paid by the word (typically around 50 cents/word) and some departments and features have set rates.

Woman's Day has taken on a new flavor in the last 4-5 years, so look hard at current issues. Our editors work almost exclusively with experienced writers who have clips from major national magazines. As a result, we accept unsolicited manuscripts only from writers with such credentials. There are no exceptions.
If you do have significant national writing experience, and you have an idea or manuscript that you think might interest us, email us at, and please include some of your most recent clips. Woman's Day doesn't have features well. Instead, each section hosts its own feature, so pitch accordingly. No beauty, fashion or home pieces. Pay rate ranges from $1.50 to $2 a word, depending on writer's experience.

Airline Magazines often pay the most for excellent articles!  Alaska is no exception. The monthly in-flight magazine for Alaska Airlines, reaching more than a million travelers in Alaska, California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Western Canada and Mexico each month. 75% freelance. Columns include Journal (arts and culture), Business, On Location, Profiles, Sports, Technology and Travel. Rates begin at $150 to $250 for shorts through to $500 for columns and $700 for features.

If you're interested in working for Fodor's as a travel writer, send your résumé and writing clips, together with a cover letter explaining your qualifications and areas of expertise, to You may also mail materials to: Fodor's Travel Publications, Researcher Writer Positions, 1745 Broadway, 15th floor, New York, NY 10019. Remember that most Fodor's writers live in the areas they cover. Note that we do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Arizona Highways is a monthly magazine that encourages travel to and within Arizona. It does this by publishing stories, short monthly departments, and fine photography on places to go and things to do, on the state’s unique scenic environment, on its flora and fauna, on its people, and on the history and culture. The magazine’s feature stories typically run between 1,500 and 4,000 words. Several departments open to freelancers. No fiction, humor or poetry. Pays up to $1/word.

A Christian parenting magazine designed to take parents from pregnancy through the preteen years. ParentLife brings a Christian worldview to today’s top parenting and cultural issues, covering topics related to health, development, education, discipline, and spiritual growth. Each issue of ParentLife gives practical ideas and insights to help parents meet the responsibilities and celebrate the joys of parenting. ParentLife is set apart from other secular parenting magazines in that it alone addresses the whole child: physically, cognitively, socially, emotionally … and spiritually. Pays up to $350 for articles of 350 to 1,200 words.

More Magazines You Can Write for are listed in the 2015 Writers Market:

How to pitch to magazine editors:

  • Very important: Learn how to write a query for magazines
  • Get to know and understand the magazine before you query, read at least 12 issues back.
  • Create a list / database of editors at prestigious magazines, blogs, newspapers.
  • Don’t forget a catchy byline at the end of the article with a link to your book / website.
  • Offer your best photographs to illustrate your articles.

You can use published articles as clips to show to potential publishers and clients in all writing areas. You will receive traffic, money and credibility as a writer, and you will get a huge audience that you could never reach with your blog and Social Media alone!

. . . . . .

More Tips on Writing for Magazines and Newspapers:


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Foreign Book Rights: Multiply the Sales of Your Manuscript



Want to Sell More of Your Books?
Foreign Rights as well as translations into other languages can be a great way to leverage the value of your manuscript – but don’t expect big numbers right away. Revenue will be an advance and approximately 6 - 10% royalty of the retail price, minus percentage for the agent. It's also a long-term project as it takes around 18 months until the book is translated and finally available online and in bookstores abroad.
Contact Foreign Publishers via Book Fairs or an Agent
Before signing a contract with an agent or a publisher, how can an author tell if the company is good with foreign rights? Ask about their previous sales!  Contact authors who work with that publisher or agent and ask them about their experience. It’s also possible to find out the name of foreign publishers and go to their web sites and see what books they have recently published.


Writer Beware - Carefully Check Out the Agency!
Find out what authors the agency represents overseas, then ask those authors about their own experiences. Again, foreign rights are only a portion of an author’s income, so that’s something to bear in mind. Check your agreement with a translations rights agent carefully.  Never, ever! give world rights away as standard, and you should also insist in a large upfront payment instead of higher royalty.  The advance is what you get now, while royalties may trigger in over future years, and if something goes wrong with the publisher, you have at least the advance.
A foreign rights deal is an absolutely fantastic way to increase revenue while taking your content “Global”. 
More Resources for Foreign Rights:

How You Can Sell your Rights or Split Your Book into Single Articles:

In Gwen Ellery’s article are tips from foreign agents about the cultural difference – something very important!

John Penberthy, a successful writer, who searched the internet, found contact addresses of agents in other countries and contacted them directly.

Morris Rosenthal gives also great, detailed tips in his article about book contracts.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hidden Gem in Washington, DC


Living in the Washington, DC area? Or Traveling to DC?

There is no shortage on wonderful places and museums to visit, but one hidden gem I really encourage everyone interested in outstanding art, beautiful gardens and fine decor to explore, is the Hillwood Estates. Nestled in the hills of northwest Washington, D.C., only five miles from downtown. Hillwood welcomes visitors from around the world to escape the big city hussle, see the Mansion, dine at the Café, and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the formal gardens.


Why You Should Visit?

Marjorie Merriweather Post bought Hillwood in 1955 and soon decided her home would be a museum that would inspire and educate the public. Her northwest Washington, D.C. estate endowed the country with the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, a distinguished 18th-century French decorative art collection, twenty-five acres of serene landscaped gardens, and natural woodlands for all to enjoy. Opened to the public in 1977, today Hillwood's allure stems from the equally fascinating parts that make up the whole esemble. 

The Gardens
Hillwood’s spectacular gardens were designed by landscape architects Umberto Innocenti and Richard Webel who expanded the existing gardens. Thirteen acres of formal gardens extend from the house’s terraces and porches in a progression of "outdoor rooms" through subtle transitional features, from the French Parterre to the Rose Garden and onto the Friendship Walk.

Hillwood employs experts in the areas of Russian and French decorative arts and culture; gardens, gardening, and horticulture or the history of the American country estate, who give talks and tours throughout the year. Check out the calendar of events and enjoy your visit.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to Run Your Website / Blog Like a Pro

Dealing with Website or Blog Issues? I Found the Perfect Help
It started out with my struggle to place buttons for all the page sections of our blog Content-on Demand. For days I searched the internet, trying to find instructions, as the blogging platform we use was not very helpful with instructions, nor are their forums.  My basic HTML knowledge didn't enable me to work effectively on the Blogspot platform.  And I must admit, I am not very patient, and would rather write ten articles than to deal with one web problem. Well not real problems for a specialist, but for me.

I turned to where I found help in the past, for example to have our Facebook account unlocked or to have someone creating us a database. Looking for advice or hands-on work with Blogger (Blogspot) platforms I found an amazing techie who helped me with a dozen of issues on the websites and blogs that we run: Denis at Fiverr

Among many other tasks Denis helps also with these tasks:

  • set up Follow Buttons
  • repaired broken Sharing Buttons
  • set up the blog archive
  • created the page buttons on blogs
  • improved and corrected image size
  • helped us to get rid of spam comment-ers
  • corrected the layout of website / blog
  • placed a Google+ batch - which resulted in many more followers since implementing!

The list goes on and on... and best of all:  each of these tasks were only $5.  However, we often add a tip to this amount to show our appreciation for his fast and pleasant service.
Denis at offers a lot more:

  • installing of advanced templates on Blogger and WordPress
  • Creation of logos with graphical design
  • Installing life stream hangout on blogs
  • All kind of HTML / CSS coding and basic Java Script
  • Installing Facebook comments to your blog


You have found something interesting on someone else website and you would like to have that on your blog/website but you don't know how?  Ask him, chances are good he can implement it on your site too.  It was amazing how fast and professional Denis helped us to improve the overall design of the websites / blogs and gave me professional advice how we could improve a couple of things on our sites (for example SEO).
Placing sharing buttons, Social Media following buttons, Google+ batches or new page sections on websites or blogs seem to be daunting tasks for non-techies. Sure, there are forums where many questions might be answered - if one has the time and patience to crawl through hundreds of web pages to find the right answer to their problem. And then to implement it, when a month ago the platform changed its design or code ...  The advice given at forums is free, but often out-dated.  Much faster and more economical is it to get some inexpensive help with the custom-creation of your blog or website at Fiverr.  For just $5 experts can help to solve problems that overwhelm the average computer user.  Give it a try!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Market Your Book Like a Real Publisher


You don’t need to travel to the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, like Johannes Kepler did in 1620 – yes, self-publishing was en vogue already four hundred years ago!  How can author-publishers nowadays use the methods of global trade publishers to promote their self-published books?
Marketing and Advertising by traditional publishers, is almost always only for their Bestseller authors only.  It includes for example: Advance Book Reviews, posted on their book’s cover, Book Tours and Signings of celebrity authors, media coverage including reviews, speaking engagements, and placing at major bookstores who report to Bestseller lists. 

Stiff Competition: 7 Million Self-Published Titles
Since 2010 roughly 7 million new self-published books appeared, almost all at online retailer’s websites.  And these titles will be offered for many years to come, as most of them are in digital format. The “gold rush” seems to be over and self-publishing has been dropping almost 50% per year, obviously “separating the wheat from the chaff”.  You are not a New York Times bestselling author. You don’t have a publicist. And your Amazon sales numbers are awful. Should you quit writing books?  No, absolutely not!

Use a Variety of Traditional Marketing Methods

For those of you who want to succeed at self-publishing, use also some traditional marketing methods, create a Business Plan and a Budget, including anywhere from 5-10% for your overall book marketing, including website, paying for IT help, designer, or Google ads.
Traditional publishing uses multiple ways to promote. Self-published authors attempt to market their books to the entire world via Amazon, social media, and their website it seems.  Publishers select books in order to stay in business, and also to determine what the publishing house’s identity is.  Here’s how you can copy traditional ways to market – adjusted to self-publishing.  One step at a time, but continually every day – split in small tasks.
1. Start Early
Market Research – the very first step to do!  An editor will need to make a case that the book fills a market need. And to do that, the publishing house will look carefully at what’s out there. Has the competition a recent publication in this sub-genre? Does it have similar scope? Is it widely available? Authors, and especially self-publishing authors need to study their competition carefully too:  Read their books, study book covers, pricing, reviews, and the marketing of competing books. The most powerful and essential steps you can take toward promoting your book begins long before the actual writing of the book.  At least two years before the book is published, start building a network of supporters and reviewers.

Read 16 more ways, how to market your book like a professional publisher at  


Thursday, August 14, 2014

23 Insider Tips for First-time Cruise Travelers

Carnival Breeze sailing into the Caribbean
Source: Carnival Cruise Lines

Be Organized for Your Cruise
With all the meals, accommodation, transportation, entertainment and lots of board activities provided, cruise guests are really pampered. It's only some small things that make life on board and during land excursions even more enjoyable.
·         Do your homework on visa requirements, also for neighboring countries in case the vessel has to divert due to weather or technical reasons.
·         Triple check that you know the way to your pier where you're embarking.
·         Get a passport in time (weeks or even months in advance) if you don't have one already. Get a passport, even if your cruise will stay in the waters of your homeland, but it might happen that it has to divert.
·         If possible choose only one piece of luggage - the largest permissible carry-on. First-time cruisers often pack at least twice as many clothes as they need. "Roll-aboards" are the most hassle-free. You minimize theft, loss or delay of your luggage when you always carry it with you. Check with your airline on maximum weights and dimensions (length x width x girth).

Grand Turk Island
·         If you have to check your luggage in: Replace your conventional luggage locks. There are now TSA-compliant locks available at most luggage shops. Buy unusually colored cable ties to discourage unauthorized opening of your bags. Potential thieves may have a supply of normal white ones, but they are unlikely to have Day-Glo orange cable ties.
·         Photocopy all important information, including your passport's data pages, both sides of your credit cards, travel itinerary, other ID's and contact information.
·         Get a tiny, soft bag, also called Neck Wallet or Lanyard, that you can wear underneath your clothes, to avoid being a pick-pocket victim.
·         Bring Ziploc bags with you. These are ideal for placing your wet bathing suit in after a shore excursion.
·         Buy travel insurance (that covers health-related issues) now, even if your trip is months away, to get the maximum coverage for bankruptcies in addition to weather concerns and pre-existing medical conditions.
·         Bring some cash (in small notes, as certain cab drivers "don't have enough cash with them") in the currency of your departure and countries you plan shore tours.

·         Make sure to be back in time for your ships departure and double check which time the cruise ship expects you back from your land tour (some stay on the departure's standard time).
·         Buy several pre-paid credit cards for $25 and $50, even though there are fees on them, check out their rules, and compare prices - US-customers get the best prices at WalMart and Walgreens. If pre-paid credit cards get stolen or lost during a land excursion, there's a limit to the amount of money that you could loose.
·         Check that your luggage has tags for YOUR ship, that it doesn' end up on another vessel.
·         Sea-sickness, also very rare, can put a damper on your cruise fun. Talk to your pharmacist which one of these products are advisable: Transderm Scop, a scopolamine patch, that you wear behind the ear, starting about 8 hrs before departure. Bonine or Benadryl are drugs, available over the counter. For a natural remedy bring some ginger with you, which studies have found prevents nausea / motion sickness. Booking an outside cabin in the middle of the ship, which is the natural balance point, is also a good idea.
·         Bring a couple of water bottles (expensive on board!). And to have coffee during the day - and have it warm - purchase a small Thermos or foam-insulated coffee mugs with lids.

Important: electronic / electric devices to pack:
·         your own hair dryer,
·         an extension cord with multiple outlets,
·         a travel night light,
·         battery charger

Test your battery charger, extension cords, power strips etc. at home to make sure everything works.

Source: Grant Turk Islands Tourism

Source: Grant Turk Islands Tourism


Grand Turk Islands


Nassau, Bahamas

Tips for Boarding Your Cruise Ship:
Try to stick with one carry-on piece of luggage
Staterooms are not that large to accommodate huge suitcases. And unless you have booked a cruise around the world you really don't need more than a small suitcase that you carry with you on the plane and when you board the ship, as it may take hours until guests who checked in their regular-size suitcases got them delivered to their stateroom.
Experienced travelers come early and board early
They arrive a day before the cruise starts in the port city and enjoy a peaceful breakfast, maybe some sightseeing or a half day on the hotel pool and arrive on board before the crowd comes in. Most hotels provide a free shuttle to the cruise line.
Start your cruise hours earlier than everyone else
Even if the cabins are not yet ready, you can board and hang out on deck, at the bar, go for the lunch buffet and enjoy your first meal on board or go swimming. The benefit of having a carry-on piece of luggage versus big suitcases, is to have everything you need with you, such as swim suit, sunscreen or toiletry, while passengers who have lots of luggage must often wait for hours until it arrives in their suite.
You will receive a sail card as soon as you arrive at the cruise terminal. This will be used for all purchases on-board and for leaving and returning to the ship while in port. At the casino they will give you a lanyard, a great way to make sure you don't lose your card.

Here are some videos with even more tips:

Precautions - Better be safe than sorry
Travel abroad and visiting new places during a stay-over on a cruise is hardly more dangerous than visiting any city close to home. Just be aware of your surroundings and keep common sense.
Wear a light jacket to carry your camera in an inside pocket and a so-called Lanyard for your money, credit card and copy of your passport. Use a purse or tote to carry only water, food, tissues, maps etc., not for valuables.

Don't wear any jewelry or precious watches, leave them in your ships' safe.
Get a cheap watch, custom jewelry for your vacation trips.
Don't dress as a "tourist".  Rather than sneakers wear leather shoes.  And try to dress similar as the locals do. Don't wear shorts or baseball caps.
Let your credit organization know where and when you are travelling and the destination countries. Credit Card fraud: do not give away your credit card, if a restaurant / shop has no digital device, pay cash or use a pre-paid card.
Leave your cell phone on board in your stateroom's safe. Cell phones are the number-one item stolen from tourists. Get a calling card for emergency calls.
Theft of purses and backpacks represents the vast majority of infractions. Pick-pocketing is, by far, the most oft-reported variety, and happens in crowded squares and aboard public transit. Pick-pockets often work in teams of two or more, one to distract the traveler, while the other lifts the wallet/purse.

Best Coffee in the World: Blue Mountain from Jamaica

Top Reasons for Booking a Cruise:

Multiple Destinations - Unpack Only Once
Your floating hotel takes you from port to port or from island to island and there’s no need to pack and unpack, or to mess with train or ferry schedules, or lug your heavy suitcase along with you. Evening suit / tie and beautiful gowns are no longer required. So pack lightly!

Great Value
Get value for your vacation dollar because cruise fares include a fantastic trip: food, accommodations, daytime and evening entertainment and transportation between travel destinations. Many cruise lines offer all this under $100 per person, per night, which is much cheaper than you would spend on land for a hotel, dinner and a show. On some cruise lines, kids even sail free or at discounted rates when sharing a cabin with two adults.

Cruising is Social

If you love to meet people from around the country - and the world - cruising provides a wonderful opportunity to make new friends. On-board, you will meet people at your dinner table, at the piano bar, in the gym or pool-side.

Ships are Like Floating Cities
Cruise ships have everything you could possibly want on-board. Today's vessels are for example equipped with Wi-Fi, cell service and satellite TV so you can stay in touch with the world during your cruise (if you really want to). On-board shops sell the toiletries you forgot to pack, medical centers can provide medications or a doctor's services if needed, and laundry facilities let you wash your clothes mid-cruise so you don't need to over-pack. Of course, there's also the fun stuff like gyms, multiple restaurants, movie screens, spas, swimming pools, theaters and discos.

Ships Offer a Variety of On-board Activities
Today's cruise ships are designed to keep everyone happy. Want to pamper yourself at the spa while your spouse hits the casino? Or lounge in the sun reading a book while your family plays basketball. You can go to an educational lecture, a wine tasting, a computer class or a dance workshop;

Cruise Ships are Family Friendly
Cruises are fun for all ages. You will have a vacation that your 5 to your 16-year-old will all love, and that has adult activities, too -- ships now have extensive kids' facilities, split by age.

Get Quiet Time and Places on a Cruise
If you can afford a balcony, get one. It becomes your own private refuge - and a wonderful place to sit and relax. You will also be able to find a number of quiet places on board during any cruise - certainly not the pool deck on days-at-sea, but in front of the long windows at a bar during the day, and a number of different decks, inside and out, where you will hardly ever see anyone.

Grand Turks Island


No Single Mosquito on Board!
What I love most on cruises: there is not a single mosquito on board! Coming from Canada where you can only sit on your patio with a screen to keep these critters out, it is a pleasure to sit at night on your state room's balcony with the light on or a candle and read or watch the stars, without being bitten or having to spray yourself constantly.
So have lots of fun on your next cruise!

More Useful Links:
·         Insider Tips for an Amazing Caribbean Cruise
Caribbean Cruise Insider Tips
·         Hand luggage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hand Luggage Requirements for Various Airlines
·         Cruises - First Time Cruisers - Cruise Critic
Advice for first-time cruisers; how to pick a cabin, get a bargain, what to pack.

Dunn's Falls Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Useful Accessories for Any Trip, Not Only Cruises:

  • I love the Delsey Luggage Helium Aero Carry-On Spinner Trolley.  Fits in overhead bins of all major air carriers, and holds a lot of clothing. You can carry it on board of your cruise ship, ready to check-in right away.  No longer waiting for your luggage!
  • A charger is a must!  1,115 times a 5-Star review for the EASY ACCESS AKKU
  • Want to watch the Whales and Dolphins?  Or discover the islands before anyone else? A high-quality, light-weight binocular brings even more fun to your cruise!