5 Tips for Keeping an Author Blog

Robin Densmore FusonWhen I published my first book, one of the things that most frightened me was doing my own marketing. I discovered the best way to market my book was through social media, and that included a blog. There are many kinds of blogs, from how-to’s to devotionals. Whatever your interest is, there is a blog for you.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Blog Alive and Generating Hits

1.)    Post often. For you it may be daily, biweekly, weekly or monthly. It is best to post at least once every week. This will bring your audience to your blog regularly, which will keep your name alive and may even cause you to come up in conversation. Sometimes, just writing a sentence or two, or posing a question for readers to comment on will help you to post more often. Don’t forget to reply to any commenting, even if they are not flattering or are negative. (more…)

5 Things to Remember when Making Your Media Kit

Creating Your Media KitCreating awareness of your name and book is an essential part of an author’s marketing strategy. A media kit or press kit is the easiest and quickest way to reach anyone from a blogger to a publishing company. It allows you to gather all of your information into one place that can easily be seen and is ready to be distributed when you need it.

There are many ways to build your online media kit. Making it personal to your style is important, but there are some necessities to all media kits.

5 things to include in your media kit:

1.       A Creative Bio:
It’s all about the basics here; keep it short and sweet. Make sure to put in something unique about yourself, such as how you came to be a writer or what influences your writing. Add information about yourself that could possibly be used for any media coverage. Include your contact information and social media links so contacts are able to reach out to you.

2.       A Quality Photo:
This may seem like a no-brainer, but not having a high-resolution photo could make or break your media kit. A blurry photo doesn’t give your media kit the professional look it should project, making the media think you are unprofessional. While hiring a professional photographer for quality images is recommended, it is not necessary. Just make sure that you use decent high-resolutions images in your media kit. In addition to using the images for your media kit, you can use the images on your social media accounts as well.

3.       Your Current Work:
Let people know what you’re working on. Making your writing status known to the public is very important – it’s what a media kit is for. Get people excited for a future project or tell them about your current book on the market. Show your upcoming events, such as book signings, and add links to any recent news coverage about your book.

4.       Links to PDF Files:
Allow the viewers of your media kit to reach it easily. Put links on your social media sites or add it to the bottom of an email. It is also important to have the option of your media kit to be printable. If your media kit is not a digital PDF file, create a link to a PDF file so the viewer has the option to either look over your kit online or have it in a tangible form. 

5.      Your Previous Projects:
If you are building a media kit to show an upcoming book you are writing, add previous work you have already completed. Attach writing samples so viewers can get a sense of your writing style; it’s another way to generate excitement for your new project.

These ideas are some of the basic necessities to an online media kit. Utilizing this form of marketing can only help you get your name out there. But remember to take the time to make it professional, concise and relevant.

Writing Tip & Prompt: Participle Phrases

Writing Tip & PromptOn Fridays, we like to share writing tips and trick with our readers. We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.

Writing Tip – Participle Phrases

A participle phrase (a non-finite verb that can function as an adjective) that modifies a noun or pronoun must refer to the grammatical subject when placed at the beginning of a sentence. Make sure that you form sentences correctly depending on the meaning. Example: “Young and inexperienced, the job seemed simple to me.” Young and inexperienced refers to the subject of the sentence, “the job,” which is not what the writer intends. The sentence can be corrected like this: “Young and inexperienced, I thought the job was simple.”

Writing Prompt – Antiques

When looking for inspiration for a writing session, sometimes it helps to go somewhere and be inspired by what you see. A good place to look for inspiration is an antique shop. They have a wide variety of items, from different time periods and places. With so many antiques to choose from, there is no telling where your story will go. For this week’s prompt, go to your local antique store and look around until something sticks out at you. Once you find that thing, focus on it: What is its history? How did it come to be in your town? Who did it used to belong to? Use the inspiration you got from the antique to write a short story.

Book-to-Screen PitchFest Los Angeles 2013

Book-to-Screen PitchFest Los Angeles 2013Recently, WestBow Press partnered up with Author Solutions to participate in an exclusive and unique event called Book-to-Screen PitchFest, in Los Angeles. The Book-to-Screen PitchFest was held at the historic Century Plaza hotel and was kicked off with a cocktail reception on Friday, July 12. Authors were able to relax at the outdoor reception on the breeze lawn of the Century Plaza. At the reception, Keith Ogorek, vice president of global marketing for Author Solutions, Robert Kosberg, Hollywood’s “King of the Pitch,” and Danny Sherman from Thruline Entertainment talked about what the authors could expect from the exciting events that were planned for the weekend.

Authors gathered bright and early for breakfast on Saturday morning. After breakfast, Robert Kosberg gave a lecture on how he got his start in Hollywood and how he worked his way up by mastering the art of pitching a movie. Kosberg provided authors with helpful tips on crafting their pitch and gave examples of famous movie pitches for reference. Authors seized this opportunity to learn what is essential for a great pitch, and you could see a flurry of note taking as they made changes to what they had previously prepared.

After the lecture, the authors were separated into three different rooms where everyone had two minutes to deliver their pitch to Robert, Keith or Danny. Then, each author was provided with feedback on how to best present their pitch. The group setting allowed authors to benefit from the direct advice they received for their pitch as well as the advice other authors received, and once again, authors were busy editing their pitches to be ready for the pitch sessions later that day.

Finally, it was time for the authors to deliver their fine-tuned pitches to Hollywood representatives. There were seven representatives at seven different tables – set up in a speed dating style. Each author had an assigned block of time when they would go in and present their pitch to a representative. To enforce the two minute pitch, a bell would ring to let authors know that it was time to end their pitch and move on to the next representative. While listening to the pitches, the Hollywood representatives take notes and indicate if they are interested in received a copy of any of the manuscripts for further review.

Two minutes may not seem like enough time to get the point of your book across to anyone, but throughout Book-to-Screen PitchFest you’ll realize that two minutes is actually more than enough.  In fact, two minutes can sometimes be longer than pitching professionals get, making this a great opportunity for self-published authors. The Book-to-Screen PitchFest insures that each author will get two minutes of face time with several Hollywood representatives, something that not all self-published authors are lucky to get. It’s important to have a solid elevator pitch prepared for your book because you never know when you’ll run into someone or what opportunity may lead to your big break!

Have you ever thought your book could be a television show, or even a movie? WestBow Press has once again partnered with Author Solutions to provide our authors with this great opportunity to pitch their books at Book-to-Screen PitchFest New York in October. This time, the event is being held in the heart of Times Square and Broadway, giving authors the chance to meet with  theater representatives in addition to film and television representatives.

Writing Tip & Prompt: Never Give Up

Writing Tip & PromptOn Fridays, we like to share writing tips and trick with our readers. We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.

Writing Tip – Never Give Up

The journey to becoming a published author is not an easy one and it is easy to get discouraged. While writing a book and getting it published is a long and hard journey, it is very rewarding in the end. Some days you might not be able to work on your book at all – that’s okay. Take a step back and write a short story about something completely different. This allows you to take a break while still writing. When having your manuscript reviewed, some may seem harsher than others. Use any critiques you receive to your advantage and keep pushing through. You’ve spent countless hours creating your work and you deserve to reach your goal of becoming a published author.

Writing Prompt – Dream Vacation

Summer is most often associated with relaxation and vacation. Many of us look forward to a vacation in order to get a break from our everyday lives. In addition, writers look forward to vacation because they get the chance to be introduced to a new environment that could be a potential location in their next novel. What is your dream vacation? If you could go anywhere in the world for any amount of time, where would you go? Use this vacation spot as inspiration for a short story. Explain the location in detail. Try to make the reader feel as passionate about this vacation as you.

3 Reasons to Write Every Day

3 Reasons to Write Every Day “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
— Aristotle

Writers often talk about the importance of creating (and sticking to) a writing schedule. There are writers who insist that writing every day is the best way to success; then there are those who swear that to simply write when inspiration comes will do the trick. Some build their writing schedules around word counts, some by page numbers, others by hours at the keyboard. Some set their deadlines by the week — others by the month.

Of course, different systems work for different people, but there’s a strong argument to be made for writing every day. It doesn’t have to be a lot. In fact, a single sentence commitment will do. Hopefully, once you get that first sentence down, more will follow. Some days that one sentence might turn into four or five pages. Other days that single sentence might be all you can muster. But that’s okay. Instead of striving toward ambitious goals, you’ll be creating a habit.  

Here’s how daily writing can help your productivity:

  1. Relieve the Pressure: When writing days are few and far between, each individual writing session can come with a lot of pressure. It’s easy to feel like you have to make up for lost time — to produce a high volume of high quality material right away. However, if you’re writing daily, you can approach each session with smaller, friendlier goals in mind. You might feel freer to try new things and explore new ideas. Simply by writing more frequently, you give yourself plenty of time for experiments, mistakes and corrections.
  2. Stay in Rhythm: Writing daily will help you keep your work fresh in your mind. You’ll be far less likely to forget what your characters were doing, to lose your train of thought, or to have to revisit your research. With ideas, plotlines and arguments still lingering, it should always be easy to pick up where you left off.
  3. Fall into Habit: As with any other craft, practice makes perfect. The more you write, the easier it will be and the more you’ll get done. By making time to work every day, writing can become second nature — as instinctual as brushing your teeth. You won’t struggle to fit it in to your life anymore; you’ll just do it. Thinking and creating will become part of who you are in your daily life.

Stop making goals and start creating a habit. Write — at least one sentence — every day. And see where that one sentence leads you. Remember, it’s only through writing that you can become a writer.

How do you make writing a part of your lifestyle?

Writing Tip & Prompt: Keep a Writing Calendar

Writing Tip and PromptOn Fridays, we like to share writing tips and tricks with our readers. We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.

Writing Tip – Keep a Writing Calendar

On top of an active writing schedule, create a writing calendar. Note your writing goals and set realistic deadlines for yourself, such as “Chapter one completed by August 8,” or “Reread and edit chapter 2 by November 1.” This is meant to be a guide — a motivator — not a tool that adds stress. It’s between you and your writing. Keep it real and understand that dates may change but the writing will continue. Seeing your progression will give extra energy and excitement for your daily writing.

Writing Prompt – Observe People

Take a field trip to your local coffee shop, park or library. Don’t forget to bring pen and paper, or your laptop.  Settle in at a table or bench and get ready to write.  At any of these places you are bound to see dozens of people, some you may know or recognize, and others you may have never seen before. Observe the visitors of your locale for a few minutes until you see someone who inspires you to create a story for them. What is their background – what brought them to your location that day?  Use your thoughts to write a short story on the person that piqued your interest for the day.

ICRS 2013: Your Show. One Mission.

2013 International Christian Retail ShowThe 2013 International Christian Retail Show was hosted in the lovely city of St. Louis, June 23 – 26.   The Gateway City was the perfect back drop for members of the CBA to come together to be in community with one another, share new ideas, network and inspire.

“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 (NKJV)

ICRS opened educational seminars with a first-time Author Boot Camp on Sunday, June 23. Bookseller and author-promotion consultant Suzanne Kuhn lead an intense six-hour session to provide attendees with insights into the world of book sales, retailer relations and effective engagement through social media. 

Pastor and author Max Lucado closed Sunday evening with a Worship Him service where he encouraged attendees to “keep God in the middle” of difficult times. Radio host and author Stephen Arterburn delivered the devotional and prayer for the opening ceremony on Monday morning, and VeggieTales characters Bob and Larry were on hand to help celebrate Big Idea’s 20th anniversary.

Musical guests included Grammy and Dove Award winning artists Laura Story and Stephen Curtis Chapman.  Former GOP candidate for the 2012 presidential nominee Rick Santorum made a special appearance at Sunday night’s New Voices Showcase, as well.  Mr. Santorum has recently been named the new CEO of EchoLight Studios, the first vertically integrated Christian movie studio to offer production financing, marketing and distribution across all releasing platforms.

The theme of this year’s ICRS was “One Mission – To Go Into All the World.” Meaning, we are called as Christians to go into the world to speak His word and encourage our communities to dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ.  This year I had the pleasure and honor to meet a handful of WestBow Press authors attending ICRS.  Each one of these authors have been called upon to be a part of that mission and to add a light in a world of darkness, engage, lead and inspire through their writing.  The following WestBow Press authors and books were present at ICRS:


The Pole by Peron Jones
Christian Bible Challenge by Jerry Adams
60 Minutes of Wisdom by Derek Grier
Get Your Hopes Up!!! by Patti Reeser
The Beating of My Hearts by Brian L. Fowler MD
Dying to Control by Leon R. Hayduchok
Living with the Book:  John by Phillip and Linda Charlton
The Agony and Ecstasy of the Bipolar Mind by Joy Paz
The Whole Armor of God by Merry Sonshine


WestBow Press 2013 Summer Recommended Reading List

Summer Reading ListSummertime is the best time to get lost in a book! Whether you are on vacation, looking to unwind after a stressful day at work or in need of a book to read while your children play in the pool, there is ample time for you to read in the summer. Maybe you use the summer to revisit your favorite books, or maybe you take advantage of the summer by introdcing yourself to new books and authos.

If you are looking for a new book, The New York Times Best Sellers list is a grea place to start. But if you are like me, you like discovering authors and books beyond the traditional beaten path, which is where WestBow Press can help. If it is fiction, self-help, mystery or a little inspiration you are looking for, then WestBow Press has a mountain of options available at your fingertips.

 Here are 10 cool reads that I recommend for those hot summer days:

The Beating of My Hearts by Brian L. Fowler, MD

12 Days in Africa:  A Mother’s Journey by Lisa Sanders

Dying to Control:  The 21st Century Dilemma by Leon R. Hayduchok

Living with the Book:  John by Philip and Linda Charlton

Christian Bible Challenge:  Answers Every Christian Should Know by Jerry Adams

50 Deeds for Those in Need by Andrew J. Nalian

The Called Man:  Properly Discerning the Call of God on Your Life by Glenn Murphy

Home in Harrison Mountain by Jamie Ferris

Lasting by B.R. Cline

The Bank Heist by Kerri Swick


What books are on your summer reading list?

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