Who Writes For Love Of Writing?

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Last night I was thinking about the question that titles this post. A few years ago, I heard a University of Houston Literature professor, who is also a published poet, say that only poets wrote for the love of writing. His reasoning was that poets never make any money from writing so they do it strictly because they love stringing words together.

I disagreed with him then, and I disagree now because I know many, many writers who have written hundreds of thousands of words and have never been published yet they still keep writing. Sure, they submit to publishers, but they've been rejected time and again - not because their writing isn't worthy of publication.

Why, Oh Why

They don't get published because of myriad reasons, many of them subjective. Perhaps the publisher just bought a manuscript with that premise or that same setting. Maybe the editor doesn't think the marketing hook is high concept enough or the editor's personal opinion is that no one could ever be caught in the situation that's in the opening scene of the book.

Maybe the publisher has an author who already writes that type of book, and they don't see a need for another author writing it. Maybe the industry is downsizing. Maybe the editor doesn't like women like the heroine of the piece. Or, maybe the hero's name is Brian, and the editor just split from her husband named Brian. The "maybe's" go on forever.

For those who are reading this and saying, "Amen," they can attest to the fact that, sometimes, good writing just never lands on an editor or agent's desk who "get it." Do they give up? No. Do they outline another book and start writing? Yes. Why? Because they can't not write. They love writing.

Cynthia Wicklund Writes For Love

Last night, I had the pleasure of visiting the website, still under construction, but now live, of Cynthia Wicklund, an author who has written a dozen great stories. Cindy has written for years, persevering in the face of rejections. Why? Because she loves writing. She's a storyteller. She can't not write. She's tried, believe me, but the love of telling stories, in her special way, makes her continue.

On June 24, Cindy's first book Lord Of Always will be published by Cerridwen Press. I'll be interviewing Cindy for this blog later. In the meantime, I ask you to mark your calendars, and, please, buy her book!

Takeaway Truth

Maybe Calvin Coolidge is still right. "Persist. Persist. Never give up."

Og Mandino On Clutter

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Though it's rather late this Sunday afternoon to be posting a Quote for the Week, I have the perfect one. It's in keeping with what I spent from most of this afternoon doing: clearing out clutter.

American Essayist and Psychologist Og Mandino said: "Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along."

Though he's speaking about the trivial we all seem to pursue too much of the time, it also applies to the physical kind of clutter I've been sorting through this afternoon. Next weekend we're moving furniture from storage into the house we bought at the golf resort. Unfortunately, to get to the furniture, we have to unload dozens of packed boxes. We made a start today.

I realized that all those boxes of things suck the life out of me. I felt so overwhelmed and depressed when I surveyed them. It's going to take a lot of time to go through what we've inherited from family members who passed, things we saved because we might need them some day, and other sentimental odds and ends, but I'm determined to clear away the clutter. It sucks the life out of me and takes precious energy, not to mention a chunk of money each month in storage rent, to deal with all this. Storing it all is just procrastination.

I want to take what Mr. Mandino said to heart. I don't want to clutter my world with "stuff" any more than I want to clutter my life with trivial matters. I want the energy to tackle real challenges as well as the energy to have more fun.

Takeaway Truth

I'll heed Thoreau, and simplify. Simplify!

Choose The Right Word

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I had to laugh when I read recently that there are about 2,500 words for drunk, a word meaning inebriated. Good Lord! Can't you just imagine Bubba from the Forest Gump movie as he tells someone that he's drunk - in the same way he held forth on the many varieties of shrimp dishes?

"I was drunk. Snockered. Pickled. Hammered. Messed up. Trashed. Looped. Ripped. Sloshed. Wasted. Plastered. Tight. Zonked. Tanked. I could go on and on, but the point isn't really all the synonyms for drunk. The point is that you, as a writer, need to pick the best word for what you're writing.


So Many Words

There are thousands of words, proper and slang, for every object and action. You have a lot of choices so don't take the easy way out. Search out the right word that expresses the layers of meaning attached to the word. Also make sure that your character would use that specific word based on his or her economic and educational background, personality, attitudes, and vocalization patterns.

That's a long way of saying that someone who possesses three advanced degrees and is a Harvard professor from a long line of professors would be less likely to say, "I'm totally wasted, dude." He'd be more likely to say, "I'm rather intoxicated."

Unless, he's trying to fit in with a young, urban crowd to impress a girl perhaps. There are many scenarios, but the point is that word choice is organic to the character you write.

Takeaway Truth

Listen to people talk. Try to imagine their backgrounds based on their word choice. Then use that technique in your writing.

Basic Amazon Promotion

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I find I'm doing a lot on Amazon now. Once I received my Kindle and discovered how much I love it, I started learning more about the many ways an author can promote using Amazon.

I've authorized both Sling Words and Joan Slings Words to be published in Kindle editions. (Look for a blog post next week on how to do this.) I'm also working on getting some of my previously printed books and original manuscripts on Kindle too.

Using Amazon

However, I wanted to talk today about the most basic way someone can promote using Amazon, and that's with a review of a product sold on Amazon. Last month I posted about this in How To Publish Reviews On Amazon so I won't repeat the information here. However, I will encourage you to get started doing this.

With each review you post, you have an opportunity to increase name recognition and website awareness. Use the review itself to slip in a very brief promotion message, BUT make sure what you insert is organic and flows with your content. Don't be blatant and obtrusive because that marks you as someone no one wants to know. Be subtle. Then use your signature line as a promotion tool also.

Takeaway Truth

Amazon can be a tool for you. Learn how to use it.

3 Podcast Sources

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One of the gifts I received last Christmas, which I've thoroughly enjoyed, was an iPod Nano. It didn't take long to discover the wealth of entertainment available for this device.

Immediately, I subscribed to several podcasts about writing, books, and authors. Now when I do my exercise walk each morning, I've got great entertainment/education in an easy to carry device.

I haven't ventured into podcasting yet, but I figure I will eventually. Therefore, I've been researching the subject. Like most of the Internet, there are many websites that allow you to submit podcasts. You can widen your circle of influence and work on your name recognition by posting podcasts.

You can use the search string "free podcast hosting" and find lots of choices - over 5 million SERPs. To begin, explore these 3 websites to post your podcast and grow your audience. If you don't find what you need there, move on. There are lots of choices.

Visit Tutorials to learn how to do each.

Podbean has a user-friendly interface that doesn't require a lot of tech knowledge.

My Podcast is another website that seems to be user friendly.

Takeaway Truth

There are a lot of new ways to promote one's name and one's product. Try each, and see if it works for you.

Promotion Game

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Competition for attention and spendable dollars is fierce today. Conventional wisdom says that promotion and publicity can give you an edge. Chances are you're already using your websites for promotion.

You're also using your signature file in emails, forums, and social networking to promote the URL of your sites. You probably have even included your URLs in your hard copy materials like business cards and letterhead as well as bookmarks, post cards, flyers, and other print media.

You're probably putting your website info in your press kits and other media contacts too. If you meet the public for speaking engagements or book signings, you're using that opportunity to hand out print material that promotes too.

What Else

What else can you do as an adjunct to these standard means to promote your name and/or product. If you're an author, you know that means you and your writing. If you're a manufacturer or a retailer, of physical or digital products, that means your name and your thingamajigs.

Here are a few ideas I've thought about. I think these will work, but I don't know how effectively because it's difficult to measure results from promotion efforts in an objective, quantitative way. If you try these ideas, let me know what you think.

License Plate Frames

You can get these stamped with your website URL or the name of your book or product. A lot of companies, probably in your own locale as well as online, offer this service. I even offer them on my Cafe Press shop if you just need one or two.

I like the idea of the exposure one gets if stuck in traffic every day. I know when I'm in gridlock, I'm reading bumper stickers, car badging, billboards, and anything my eyes find. I'm going to get a couple of frames made with my blog URLs and test it for myself.

Bumper Stickers

Same reasoning as the license plate frame. I used to have a Suburban with "Caution: Writer Aboard In Creative Trance" stuck on the bumper. That bumper sticker actually got me out of a speeding ticket out of state when the trooper asked what I wrote. He was kind enough to give me a warning instead of a ticket. (My shop sells those bumper stickers. I'll even design one just for you with a URL on it if you email me.)

CD/DVD Video

Produce a video about you and your product with info on your websites. Hand that out when you meet the public. Make sure the disk and/or the jewel case has an appealing cover design. Certify that there are no bugs, viruses, or other kudies in the file.

Podcasts

Produce a podcast with the same goal as the video. Promote the URL in the conventional and unconventional ways.

Takeaway Truth

Don't hesitate to try new ways to get the message out.

In Plain Sight

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Have you been watching the new season of USA's crime "dramedy" In Plain Sight starring Mary McCormack as U. S. Marshal Mary Shannon and Frederick Weller as U. S. Marshal Marshall Mann. (Poor guy! His conflict is instant, isn't it?) It's on our family's must see list.

These two characters are with the Federal Witness Protection Program (WITSEC) so you can see why this is a crime drama. The comedy is in the characters and their relationships. Last year when we were introduced to Mary, we learned she loves her job, and she's the best at it. We also learned she comes from a family of alcoholics, bank robbers, and losers with a dysfunctional mother and sister in tow.

Marshall, on the other hand, is Mr. Nice Guy. We suspect he's in love with Mary, but she's his partner so it's hands off. She dishes out crap to everyone, and Marshall simply flings it back at her. Very neat and believable relationship. Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it's a delight from first word to last.

When the show went into hiatus last year, there was a mass "off with their heads" revolution. The show's creator and writer David Maples and his actress wife Holly who played Eleanore in the series were the first victims.

Then came the news that they were going to cut the very appealing secondary characters who gave the show its depth. I feared the worst. True to that prediction, beginning with the first episode of the new season, Lesley Ann Warren who played Mary's mother Jinx, Nicole Hiltz who played Mary's sister Brandi, Cristian de la Fuente who played her love interest Raphael, and Paul Ben-Victor who played her boss Stan have all left.

Gosh, all those talented people really contributed to the show's appeal. I'm sorry to see them go. However, based on the first few episodes, the show will live on. The essence of the main character and her sidekick remain. Time will tell whether the show will maintain the "viewability" it had under Maples and with the original cast.

Takeaway Truth

If you haven't watched In Plain Sight before, check it out. I think you'll find it a good time investment.

Leon Hale Rocks!

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In Sunday's Houston Chronicle, columnist Leon Hale used his space to answer questions. If you're not from Texas, you may wonder who this writer is and why I'm talking about him.

Who Is Leon Hale

Leon Hale is a long time Houston newspaper columnist known for the wit and wisdom he presents in his personal commentaries. He's the author of 11 books that include nonfiction, fiction, and column collections.

In the New York Times, Phillip Lopate, writing about personal essays, named Mr. Hale as being one of the top three columnists in America today.

Join The Fan Club

I started reading Mr. Hale when I first moved to Houston many years ago. He was at The Houston Post then. He's made his newspaper home at The Houston Chronicle, the only daily to survive the newspaper wars in Houston, since 1983. You can sample some of his columns at Houston Chronicle Online, and be sure and check his website to purchase his books. I know you'll enjoy them.

His folksy, conversational style remains appealing to readers despite the high tech modern world in which we're mired. The surprising thing to many is that he is a senior citizen. Actually, not just a senior but an advanced senior since he's now 89.

Q And A

Several of the questions he answered in his column Sunday dealt with his age, his abilities, and his goals for the future. People seem stunned that he's still producing credible content at his age. I'm not surprised because I regularly write about writers who are turning out books, short stories, articles, and more well into what once was called their dotage.

I'm always pleased when I read about these writers in my Authors Guild magazines. Why pleased? Because I know that age does not diminish one's ability to create good copy.

No Goals? No Problem

Mr. Hale is realistic. When asked about his goals for his future, he replied that he didn't set goals. Everyone he's known who did has already passed despite a goal of reaching a ninth decade or beyond. He said he wouldn't set goals, but he'd just take what he got.

Takeaway Truth

If you're past 40, you already know that age really is more than a number. That doesn't mean you can't adopt an attitude of celebrating life - embracing however many years you're given - and that's an attitude that's good to adopt whether you're 20, 50, or 90.

Tolstoy On Writer's Task

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Quote for the Week

I really like this quotation that I'm sharing with you today. Leo Tolstoy wrote: "The task of the writer is to seize the reader by the back of the neck and force him to love life."

Do you think that's true? I think it's a rather poetic way of saying writers create worlds larger than life, and, in doing so, they show the reader what life is all about.

Writers pump up the conflict so that when the protagonist wins, that triumph is immensely satisfying because great odds had to be overcome. That's living fully. The phrase "to love life" means to fully participate in one's life, experiencing the joys and the sorrows equally because to do otherwise is to exist in a lesser state, a kind of half life.

Most of us go out of our way to avoid living in the moment, experiencing all that life throws at us without dulling that pain with medication, alcohol, illegal substances, or even food. We don't want to embrace the sorrow, disappointments, and challenges.

We don't rock the boat because we don't want to risk our fragile peace and tranquility. People who live this way haven't learned the value of the struggle.

Takeaway Truth

What would you do if you didn't think you could fail? Would you climb out of your rut? Try something new that might be risky? If you can read about it, living the adventure vicariously, then why not do it in real life?

Attitude Adjustment

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Are you in need of an attitude adjustment? After all, it's spring cleaning time so why not clean out the old brain and get rid of some bad attitudes while you're at it?

Of course, we can't just chuck an attitude in the trash bin no matter how much we'd like to do so. Attitudes can only be changed by replacing one with another, and it requires conscious effort to make that change.

Consider Please

Start your attitude adjustment by analyzing how you face challenges and disappointments. If life has been handing you a basket of lemons lately, do you turn those suckers into lemonade or do you pucker up in sourness and make self-defeating statements like: "I knew I wouldn't get the job done on time."

Perhaps you've been known to say: "I knew my manuscript would get rejected. Why did I even try?" Tonight, on the phone, a friend told me about her dead car battery today: "If it's not one thing, it's another. Tomorrow will probably be something else."

Self-Defeating statements come from fear and from the insecurity we each host inside our subconscious. The only purpose of this defeatist self-talk is to make us feel bad and to grind our pitiful little egos into the dust. Unfortunately, yielding to the temptation to self-flagellate is the easy path when we confront disappointments. There's another option.

Change Your Reaction

Consciously change the way you'll react to those challenges. Write out a script and keep it within eyesight. When you're tempted to heap recriminations on yourself, read that script aloud. Other methods of making yourself consciously aware of what you're saying to yourself is to wear a rubber band on your wrist.

When you tell yourself something, ask if that's really true? If not, why did you think it? Pop that rubber band and consciously replace the negative statement with a positive one. Attitude adjustments can make the difference in a life lived happily and a life lived miserably.

Takeaway Truth

Many times, the choice of happiness or despondency is yours to make. Choose wisely.

My First Kindle

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The big news is that I bought a Kindle. The even bigger news is that I adore it! This little device was created for someone who loves to read.

Author Contrarian

Why did I buy a Kindle when I'm a big supporter of pBooks, that is, paper books? I guess because I wanted to make my own decision about the subject rather than follow the party line of condemning them as the anti-Christ of publishing.

Sure, there are a lot of writers who deplore digital publishing and eBook devices. I won't name any names, but some authors have said publicly that they hope no one ever clicks the Amazon button saying "I'd like this book to be on Kindle."

The debate seems to be getting more heated so I thought I'd test the pros and cons myself. Thus, I ordered a Kindle on Monday. It arrived Wednesday, and it was programmed and ready to go right out of the box.

Pro-Kindle

1. Easy to use and navigate. If you've ever used a cell phone or computer, the learning curve is very short. Few buttons to master, and all are intuitive.

2. Can connect to purchase books, periodicals, or blogs from virtually anywhere and what you "buy" is always stored on your Amazon account in case you need to delete it from your device to make room or you accidentally delete it and want to download it again.

3. Lightweight and sized perfectly and easy to handle. Plus, you can use it in bright sunlight.

4. Text size is adjustable which endears it immediately to bifocal wearers.

5. Lots of free content available for purchase. I downloaded all of Jane Austen's books in a matter of minutes. I also downloaded, free, The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross, a co-writer with James Patterson on several thrillers. Apparently, the publisher is making this title free for a limited time as a promotion. You can even download the entire Bible free.

6. Long battery life. I think I'll be a heavy user so I bought the car charger as well as a protective sleeve.

7. Text to speech enabled on a lot of books so it can read to you if you're a person who learns well that way with instructional nonfiction or if you just like to hear a book read to you in certain situations, like folding clothes and all the other mundane chores called housework.

8. Makes less sound when turning pages while reading in bed next to a spouse trying to sleep.

9. Able to hold 1000 books.

10. Can annotate and bookmark what you read.

11. Can instantly look up a word while you're reading thanks to the New Oxford American Dictionary that comes loaded on the Kindle. If you prefer a different dictionary, you can download one at reasonable cost.

12. Can follow links embedded in Kindle content to further your research when reading nonfiction.

Anti-Kindle

1. It's big weapon in the burgeoning digital versus paper book war. Publishing will have to change. I can easily see all the advantages to digital, and I can see that digital will continue to grow. It's just too easy to use.

2. Connection to the 3G network that makes the Kindle work varies depending on the 3G network and your battery strength. Weak 3G takes more battery power. I started in the living room with a weak signal. Walked to the front and stepped outside and sat on the step. Signal got very strong though it waned after 10 minutes. Went to the patio. Weak signal, but it strengthened to full before fading 10 minutes later. The stronger the signal; the faster the speed.

3. It's nothing I'd ever lounge in a bubble bath and read. One slip, and Kindle is history. Still, I can't remember the last time I had a bubble bath. I'm more of a shower girl.

4. Books on Kindle vary in price. It's probably just me, but I'll probably never pay for a bestseller on Kindle because you can get hard copies for just about the same price.

5. The text to speech function is bothersome because of copyright concerns over audio books.

6. Though it makes less sound than turning pages while reading in bed, you still have to use a book light of some kind. I had thought there would be a glow function or something, but there's not.

7. It's display is in black and white only. For some reason, I thought it would be in color. That was a big disappointment.

8. It will change traditional publishing even more than digital publication already has.

9. Digital piracy is just as innovative as digital technology, and piracy will continue increasing and threatening the ability of creative persons to make a living from their creativity.

Hmmm. That's about it. Maybe it's just me, but I see a lot of advantages to Kindle and other eBook readers or digital devices. In fact, after a couple of days of use, I'm sold on the Kindle.

Will I stop buying paper books? No way. When I have the time to curl up with a book, it will be a paper book. There's nothing that will replace the tactile feel of paper, seeing the inked words on the page, or even the smell of a book.

By the way, Andrew Gross's book was just as much a page turner digitally as it would be in print. I had to force myself to turn Kindle off last night and sleep instead of continuing to hit Next Page.

I'll be putting several traditionally published books on Kindle in the near future along with some original books not published before. In each case, I'll make a paper copy available if readers want that too or in place of.

To begin, I've got both my blogs accepted for Kindle publication. I didn't set the subscription price. Amazon does that and pays me a royalty each month. I'll blog about the process of doing this and getting books in Kindle format at a future date. You can look for articles like that under the Digital Publishing label I've set up.

I'm hoping someone will subscribe to the Kindle editions. Here are the links to subscribe the the Kindle Editions of my blogs in case you're interested in checking them out.

Joan Slings Words, Kindle Edition

Sling Words, Kindle Edition

Takeaway Truth

The world of publishing is changing. To succeed, authors and publishers must change too.

Why Post Articles For Free

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People post articles for free in hopes that doing so will generate a lot more traffic on their own site.

Most article sites allow the writer to post along with the article at least a URL to their own site which the writer hopes will be followed by readers. In some cases, the writer "donating" the article can post a short bio as well. Most of these forums try to create a social network as well. The more active you are on their forum, the better the chance someone will visit your site.

A Google SERP yields about 108,000,000 links for article site so you have a lot of research ahead of you. Most people who do this immediately see a jump in their visitor stats. Check out some of these for yourself by visiting Avangate, a website that posts a link list of 50 sites that welcome articles from contributors.

Thursday3Some: Tips To Choose Wisely

At most article sites, you must create an account. Here are some tips to help you choose the right site for your contribution.

1. Read the Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy carefully. Some sites have additional TofS for Authors so read both if applicable so you'll know exactly how they will use your content. You want them to keep your byline and link, not strip it, and you want them to make your article visible. Be sure and do a search to see if there are complaints about the site from authors.

2. Check out the quality of the articles on the site. Do you really want your work in the same arena as content that is full of grammatical and/or factual errors?

3. Check how easy it is to use the site's software in order to upload your articles. Some sites have software that is cumbersome while other sites are much more user-friendly.

Takeaway Truth

A writer in search of an audience must kiss a lot of frogs before finding a prince of a promotion idea that works.

6 Keys To Book Promotion

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If you have a book coming out - either in hard copy or digital - then you're probably thinking a lot about promotion. Everyone has their own take on how to go about promoting a book. After all, if you want to make sales, you need to make your book stand out from the crowd.

I've been pondering this a lot lately because I'll have a book out on Kindle this next week. Actually, it will be a Kindle release as well as a print copy released by CreateSpace. I'll tell you more about that later in the week. For now, let's focus on you and your book.

How

How do you do this? Start by asking yourself 6 questions. Write them on whatever works for you: a piece of paper or keyed into your computer and displayed on your monitor. Leave space after each to fill in your answers. Give focused thought to this, and that means take your time and actually write your answers.

1. What makes your book different from all the other books lining the physical and cyber shelves?

Trust me, every book is different because a writer filters all ideas through her own brain. All your experiences, attitudes, and personality make the way you write an idea different from anyone else. You just have to figure out how your take on a subject is different from the same idea written by another author. This is usually easier with nonfiction than fiction.

2. What is your niche, your area of expertise that gives you credibility as the author of this particular book?

If your book has a housewife in desperation then those women will be interested. If you're a talented rose gardener writing a nonfiction book about ecologically safe ways to keep fungus off roses, then you've got a built in audience of other gardeners. Again, nonfiction is easier than fiction.

3. Who are the people who will be interested in that specific area of interest, that niche?

With the rose gardening book, every garden club in America and abroad fits your demographics. Heck, I'd be interested if I hadn't given up on old roses and planted with the fabulous Knockout Rose.

4. How do you find those people who will want your book?

Start locally and branch out. Garden clubs, civic organizations, any group in need of a speaker. The Internet brings you an international audience. Cultivate them.

5. What are you willing to do to promote your book?

Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone. Will you speak to groups? Will you do book signings? Will you give a workshop at the library? Will you wear a tee shirt that says: "Ask me about my book" and be willing to respond if someone does? Will you go to writing club meetings? Will you write free articles and submit them to article sites or club newsletters?

6. What are you willing to give up in order to have a successful book?

This follows the philosophy that you have to make room in your life for something new. To have a book success, you might have to give up your daytime soap or your night time game show. Maybe you have to quit playing Freecell, Solitaire, or whatever your game of choice may be. I've never seen someone succeed in a meaningful way unless they gave something up. It just seems to be a universal truth that you can have anything you want, but you can't have everything.

Takeaway Truth

I hope you'll think deeply about these questions because I think the answers will help you position your book and yourself for success.

Book Trailer Parameters

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On March 30, on my other blog, I posted about Video Contests. If you're into making book trailers or other videos, you might find the post of interest.

Here's a quick tip about videos that will also help. Size matters. When making a video to upload to the Internet, there are certain parameters you need to follow.

1. Use Flash because it keeps the file manageable and makes it easy to load.

2. Your Book Trailer file should be no larger than 750x500 pixels because that file size will load fast and with very good resolution.

Takeaway Truth

The tech savvy have an edge when it comes to modern Book Promotion.

Poetic Definition Of The Novel

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I have to share this absolutely stunning quote by British author Julian Barnes. He's written 10 novels, 2 volumes of short stories, and a couple of essay collections.

When asked what a novel does, Mr. Barnes said: "It tells beautiful, shapely lies which enclose hard, exact truths."

Takeaway Truth

A lyrical answer can still be dead-on accurate.

A Basement In Texas!

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I've written several posts lately, mostly on my other blog, about our hunt for a vacation home at our favorite golf resort. Before I tell you the rest of this story, I must emphasize that this is in Texas on the edge of the hill country. To our surprise, we encountered two houses with basements! In Texas! We just don't have basements in this state.

Each house was great, and both were on the golf course. We didn't make an offer on either because each had a basement. One house's basement smelled horrible. Wet and moldy. The other basement wasn't finished - just earthen walls. We were there on a rainy day so it was like a mud pit.

In each case, we didn't have a clue as to how to assess the cost of making the basement in the first house waterproof or in finishing out the basement in the second house, also making sure it was waterproof.

Today, I did a little Internet sleuthing and found several articles on waterproofing basements in an Article directory. I always say if you want to know something, do a search online. I don't think there's ever been an instance when I haven't found research material on a subject in which I've been interested.

To make a long story short, we're going to take another look at those houses.

Takeaway Truth

One of the best things about the Internet is the ability to find articles in an instant. I love that!

James Russell Lowell On Pollen

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Quote for the Week

Keeping a car clean in spring, a season depicted by the yellow haze covering most inanimate objects, is difficult to impossible. Take my black car which now, despite a recent trip to the car wash, sports a dull, dusty yellow countenance.

Ah, tree pollen, that fine powder that coats driveways, cars, lawn furniture, and people if they stand still too long outdoors.

James Russell Lowell, a 19th century American poet, likened books to pollen-carrying bees. He wrote: "Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind."

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? I'll try to keep that literary scenario in mind the next time I'm outside sneezing and sniffling because of all that darn quickening pollen.

Takeaway Truth

You can run, but you can't hide. Pollen will get you despite all the Flonase and Allegra in your antihistamine armory.

3 Tips To Blogging Popularity

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Thursday3Some welcomes you to SlingWords. Today's tips are about increasing the traffic to your blog. This will increase your name recognition on the Internet and in the blogging world.

1. Comments: making and receiving.

Visit other blogs and leave comments. There is a wealth of great blogs out there. Visit around and meet some of these interesting people. When you read something that resonates with you, leave a comment and thank the blogger.

If someone makes a comment on your blog, acknowledge them. When someone comments on your blog, return the favor and visit their blog and explore it. Be sure to leave a comment for them.

2. Links: give and receive.

If someone links to your site, reciprocate and place a link on your site. Collect links and post them in appropriate categories on your websites. Reciprocate and request reciprocation where appropriate.

3. Give: offer website visitors something to make it worth their time to visit your site regularly. Excellent content is a given, but consider offering free stuff that could range from products, books, or downloads of worthwhile files.

Takeaway Truth

Be friendly. Be generous. Be nice. You'll find you enjoy blogging even more than before.

Wildflowers

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Quote for the Week

Lady Bird Johnson once said, "Where flowers bloom so does hope."

I concur.

Here in Texas, we owe much to the former President's wife and her love of wildflowers. Due to her efforts, a seeding program was carried out years ago and areas where wildflowers already grew were taken care of the encourage re-seeding. The result is a spectacular spring time show of wildflowers.

I don't think there's a prettier time in this state than in spring when bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, coreopsis, phlox, primroses, and Mexican sombreros cover the boulevards, grassy embankments on roadways, and meadows.

Saturday, we drove up through Aggieland and marveled at nature's bountiful crop of wildflowers. Every few miles, we saw people parked along the roads and getting out of their cars to take pictures of the flowers. Everyone from kids to senior citizens could be seen posing amidst fields of bluebonnets, and they all had huge smiles on their faces.

Takeaway Truth

There's just something about wildflowers that brings out the smiles and lifts the spirits.

$8,000 Tax Credit Boosts Buying Power

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My husband and I spent the day up at a golf resort at the foot of Texas Hill Country shopping for a house. Oh, the wildflowers were in bloom, and the roads and hillsides were gorgeous. We're trying to beat the deadline for purchasing a home, or at least getting one under contract, in order to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit.

Boost Your Home Buying Bucks

This tax credit is such a sweet deal if you're in the market to buy your first home or a move up, or move on, home. It's not some complicated deal either. If you click on the link, you can view a video that explains how the whole thing works.

Basically, you can receive up to an $8,000 tax credit if you're a first-time home buyer or you're a home buyer who hasn't owned a house in the last three years. But, get this: you can still get a tax credit up to $6,500 if you're moving up and you have lived 5 out of 8 years in your present home. That covers a lot of people.

If you're one of them, don't miss out on this opportunity. Don't delay because the deadline for executing a contract is April 30 with closing no later than June 30. Watch the video today and start shopping for a new home tomorrow.

Takeaway Truth

A few thousand from a tax credit can certainly enhance your home buying fund.

Writer's Digest Contest Is 79!

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There aren't many writing contests that can brag about longevity, but the 79th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition is an exception.

With a deadline of May 14, 2010, this may be a competition you should enter, especially since they give away more than $30,000 in cash and prizes including a trip to New York City to meet with editors or agents.

Check out the various categories and respective requirements on the website.

Takeaway Truth

Someone has to win. Maybe it will be you.

3 Tips To Website Popularity

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Welcome to Thursday3Some, a new feature on SlingWords. Each Thursday I'll give you 3 short tips to help you in your quest for success. Seriously. This is not an April Fool's Joke.

Today, let's talk about 3 easy things you can do to make your website popular and improve your Internet Presence.

Today, let's talk about 3 easy things to do to make your website popular.

1. Make your website user friendly by testing it to see if it will load quickly and correctly using the most popular web browsers, i.e. Internet Explorer and Firefox.

2. Use the proper size images so your site doesn't bog down when loading.

3. Don't use music on your website. It's in the top 10 of things that visitors don't like when visiting a site.

Takeaway Truth

Having a website that attracts visitors is not as difficult as you may think.