"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Monday, September 17, 2018

4 Reasons Video Blogging May Not Be 4 Everyone

 

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION...!


In an effort to diversify content, expand readership and increase their online rankings, some bloggers have opted to add videos to their site's offerings.

Theoretically, it seems like a smart, progressive idea. Videos add visual variety, help to establish a more personal connection with readers, and are great for instructional type posts.
But before you take that camera out, be forewarned: just because something is "recommended" doesn't mean that you should necessarily try it or buy it.

Are you with me here?
You should always take into consideration whether it suits you, your goals and your personal strengths.
Of course it goes without saying, I am providing this "public service message" not to be critical, but to be a partner in your blogging success.

Here's a little back story to today's post...

Some time ago, upon visiting one of the blogs I regularly follow, I was surprised to discover that this particular scribe had added YouTube videos for viewing.
I was impressed with her courage to venture into new territory and her desire to try something different.  But a few minutes in, let's just say I was a little less "impressed."
The reasons?
There were a lot of background distractions in the presentation; she looked a bit uncomfortable; and her wording was awkward and poorly paced at times.

This convinced me that perhaps video blogging (a.k.a. Vlogging) is not the best medium of expression for everyone. And that's perfectly fine.

In the book 62 Blog Posts to Overcome Bloggers Block, author Marcie Hill shares: "Although multi-media posts are a great way to diversify your content and engage your readers, they are time consuming to create and editing can eat up loads of time depending on your editing skill level and the type of media you use."


ACCORDINGLY, HERE ARE SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU COMMIT:





  • THE "UMM" SYNDROME
Remember the blogger I mentioned earlier in today's post?  I counted about 15 times where she stated "umm" in a 5-minute video. Truth is, most of us use "fillers," personal phrases and casual expressions when we're speaking that we're not always conscious of.  Videos tend to highlight these flaws and can sometimes come across as a little less eloquent. I should also point out that if your blog is recreational in nature, intended to be humorous, or to be shared merely with family and friends, then your strategy and content can be less "formal." Have at it!
  • TECHNICAL GLITCHES AND POOR SOUND QUALITY
Good video presentations hinge upon an array of factors: technical ability, comfort in front of a camera, content, sound quality and loading time. At some blogs I've visited, I have experienced long wait times for the post to display, poor audio, and other drawbacks and mishaps. This can be counter-productive.  "Can you hear me now?" :-)

  • BACKGROUND DISTRACTIONS AND NOISES
Unless you're in a "controlled space," sometimes it's hard to predict and manage background noises from pets, children, neighbors, phones ringing, etc. This is something to keep in mind moving forward.

  • LEVEL OF COMFORT IN FRONT OF A CAMERA
Let's face it: not everyone is "camera confident."  I certainly am not.  How about you?
With textual blogging, conversely,  there's no penalty for bad hair days, shyness, awkward pauses, and brain freezes.


In closing...


There are advantages and disadvantages to video blogging.  The best way to approach it, for optimal success is to practice, start small, and whenever possible, get assistance. Mastery takes time.
For informational purposes, here's an interesting online article that addresses many pros and cons of video blogging:
https://www.atlargeinc.com/insights/pros-and-cons-vlogging-video-blogging

Hopefully today's post will help you to make a more informed decision in the future.
Here's to your success!


Thoughts? Comments?  Any experience here?


Image credit: Pixabay.com

Monday, September 10, 2018

Get Hired, Be Inspired-The 3Rs Series Continues!







RECOMMENDED READS AROUND THE WEB


MAKE MONEY IN THE GREETING CARD MARKET

 
https://writersweekly.com/this-weeks-article/make-money-writing-for-the-greeting-card-and-gift-book-markets


THE BEST WAY OUT IS ALWAYS THROUGH!
http://www.possibilityoftoday.com/2016/08/08/the-best-way-out-is-always-through/#more-11576

18 WAYS TO SUPPORT AN AUTHOR WITHOUT SPENDING CASH

https://thewritelife.com/support-an-author/

HOW TO GET WORK FROM SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS

https://inkwelleditorial.com/proofreading-for-self-published-authors

MAKE MONEY WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING
 
http://howtoblogabook.com/how-make-money-affiliate-marketing/

6 WAYS TO CREATE FREELANCE CASH 

https://writersweekly.com/this-weeks-article/6-ways-to-create-cash

BACK TO SCHOOL TIPS FOR PARENTS
http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/going-to-school/back-to-school/back-to-school-tips-for-parents/
 
 


CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS & CONTESTS:

 
 
LADYQ’S

 
WRITERS WEEKLY
 

CWA’s 1st CHAPTER CONTEST


 

RESOURCES:

 
NEW PAGES
 

 
 19 PLACES TO GET BOOK REVIEWS
 

REVIEW



 FLIGHT WITH DENZEL WASHINGTON

I have yet to see a movie with Denzel Washington that didn't have the "wow" factor.  Add this one to the list. There are a lot of interesting plot twists and turns, in this action-packed movie with Denzel as "Whip"-- an accomplished airplane pilot with addiction issues. Since this movie has been out for quite some time, many of you may have already viewed it. For those who have not, it's a must-see! Be forewarned: there's a degree of nudity, profanity and drug use here. But, in my opinion it does not diminish the quality of this film.
I give it **** 4 stars out of 5.

 
Thoughts? What's your favorite read or resource listed?
I'll tell you mine, if you tell me yours. :-)
 
Image credits: Pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Blog Break-up Series With Kelly James-Enger



Greetings, readers!
Have I got a treat for you today. Joining us for this installment of the "Blog Break-up Series" is noted author, ghostwriter and blogger, Kelly James Enger (now known as Kelly K. James).
Many of you may be familiar with her from her hugely popular book, "Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks." Or perhaps you followed her weekly blog at "Dollars and Deadlines" (me too).
Even if you're not an old fan, I'm betting you'll become a new one.

Please extend a warm welcome to Kelly in the comments section at the conclusion of today's post.
We look forward to your feedback and questions.
Now, for your edification and enjoyment...


THE BLOG BREAK-UP SERIES

(PART 2)



Have you ever thought of giving your blog "the boot"?

Does your "relationship" with your readers sometimes leave you a little uncertain? Feeling overwhelmed and undervalued?
Have you "lost that lovin' feelin'?"

It happens to the best of us. Some days it's a blessing; other times it's a burden.
This blogging thing can cause more internal conflict than the characters we read about in romance novels. And there's no disputing it's a "labor of love" that we devote endless hours of time, energy and attention. Which sometimes causes us to question whether it's worth all the sweat equity.
It's also the reason why countless bloggers have decided to "divorce" their blogs for other more profitable pursuits.
Perhaps you're one of them.

Disenchantment doesn't necessarily have to signal doom. It all depends on how you handle it. Whether you've been considering a blog break or a complete break-up, other writers will share their experiences here to give you greater perspective, clarity and wisdom.

FEATURED BLOGGER

 


KELLY JAMES-ENGER (KELLY K. JAMES)


LAST BLOG POST JUNE, 2017
DOLLARS & DEADLINES

http://dollarsanddeadlines.blogspot.com/


 WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO STOP BLOGGING OR TAKE AN EXTENDED BREAK?

A couple of reasons. First and foremost, I was changing the nature of my “platform.” I wanted to transition from being a freelancing expert to a ghostwriter of health/wellness/fitness books and I felt like my blog wasn’t helping me do that. Second, feeding the beast (i.e., blogging at least once a week) was feeling more and more like something I dreaded having to do, instead of something I get to do…and I was burned out on doing so.

 HOW HAS THIS DECISION IMPACTED YOUR TIME OR CREATIVE CAREER?

It’s been good for me overall. First, my ghosting business has taken off and I’m busier than I ever have been (which is good). I haven’t missed blogging—although I do miss connecting with readers in that way—and it’s a relief to not have to think about getting a post up every Monday.
But I do have some sense of that engagement on Facebook (though with a slightly different group of followers/readers).
I have had more time to put into writing what I want to do (I sold three essays last year, after years of not writing any), which is also gratifying.

DID YOUR BLOG FORMERLY GENERATE A REGULAR MONTHLY INCOME?

A very small one, based on click-through ads and book sales.

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT W.I.P. (WORK IN PROGRESS)?

I just finished a book for a ghostwriting client and edits on another…I have a couple of book proposals in the works and eight articles for regular clients. I’m busy, which is good. :)

DO YOU FEEL BLOGGING IS STILL RELEVANT TODAY?

Yes, but I think it’s harder to maintain an engaged audience.

WHAT IS THE MAIN REASON YOU FEEL THAT MANY SUCCESSFUL BLOGGERS OPT TO ABANDON THEIR BLOGS AFTER ALL THE SWEAT EQUITY INVOLVED?

Burnout…and lack of visible returns. I did make a small amount of money from my blog and enjoyed connecting with readers, but on balance it wasn’t a great use of my time. That was my experience, anyway.

WHAT ONE PIECE OF ADVICE CAN YOU OFFER TO HELP OTHERS WHO ARE UNCERTAIN AS TO WHETHER OR NOT TO CONTINUE ON THEIR BLOGGING JOURNEY?

I’m a big fan of making pros and cons lists and weighing your individual advantages/disadvantages. That helped me make the decision to let the blog go idle.

Thanks, Kelly. It's been a pleasure connecting with you and getting your valuable perspective on blogging in 2018.

BIO

Kelly K. James (formerly Kelly James-Enger) is a long-time freelancer, ghostwriter, and author. She’s the author of books including Six-Figure Freelancing and Goodbye, Byline, Hello Big Bucks. She specializes in health, wellness, fitness, and nutrition subjects and lives outside Chicago with her family.    

www.becomebodywise.com.

 
 
Your thoughts, readers?
 
 
Image credit hands: Pixabay.com

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Short & Sweet-How to Earn More Pay Per Word

 
 
A couple of weeks ago, I received a check in the mail that financed a little "retail
therapy” from an unexpected source. I sold some poetry.
Though I obtain the lion’s share of my freelance earnings through the creation of web content, articles and blog posts, I also dabble in other creative genres. And you should too.

Many of these quick, smaller projects yield a greater return for my sweat equity and add variety to my regimented days.
If your goal is to “work smarter, not harder” in times ahead you’ll want to follow suit.

Consider the benefits of these shorter

word count markets:


1. The opportunity to diversify your writing portfolio

2. The ability to add another income source to your freelance business

3. The chance to hone different writing skills to expand the services you offer

4. Time saved to work on other passion projects

For example, if you create a “winning” 1-4 line corporate slogan at Sloganslingers.com, you could receive compensation typically ranging from $150.00 to $300.00 for a few minutes of brainstorming.

Not bad for a day’s work, wouldn’t you agree?

If you're on board, here are a few "short and sweet" markets that require very little time and effort, no “heavy lifting” (and more pay for your say).

 

CATEGORIES:

 



DEVOTIONALS


For those seeking to share spiritual wisdom or words of inspiration, devotionals are a great market to consider. These brief heart-felt messages typically range from 150-350 words. Pay range is usually $25.00-$100.00 for your efforts.

A good market to try is:
https://www.upperroom.org/resources/write-for-the-upper-room

POETRY


"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."  Poetry is one of my 1st "literary loves" and remains  one of my favorite forms of expression (decades later). If you're into verse, The Write City Magazine welcomes your submissions. See their guidelines here:

https://www.chicagowrites.org/write_city_magazine/guidelines

GREETING CARDS


Greeting cards are a fun, innovative way to show a little creativity and celebrate different social events and milestones.  This recent article at Writers Weekly provides an array of resources and helpful tips to explore.

https://writersweekly.com/this-weeks-article/make-money-writing-for-the-greeting-card-and-gift-book-markets

SLOGANS


Most of us writers have had some experience developing slogans; whether it's been a tagline for our blog or a project at work. Slogans allow us to be clever and concise. Sloganslingers.com provides slogans for corporations seeking assistance with their branding and marketing campaigns.
Learn more about how you can get in on the action as a slogan writer here:


https://www.sloganslingers.com/writerRegister.php

 

 
To practice what I preach here, I'll keep today's post "short and sweet." :-)
Have a great week!


Thoughts? Questions?
What's your fave short market?


Image credit: Pixabay.com

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Pen & Prosper Celebrates National Friendship Month

 

Friends are worth celebrating...

 
Did you know that there is actually a recognized "holiday" for celebrating friendship?
I recently stumbled across this information and couldn't wait to share it here!
You can learn more at Friendshipday.org:

http://www.friendshipday.org/when-is-friendship-day.html

Who's bringing the ice cream for the celebration? :-)

Friendship is crucial to an enhanced quality of life. Good ones are sacred.
And when it comes to our "writer" friends? They keep us motivated. They serve as our cheerleaders.
They understand our creative trials and tribulations. We laugh together. We cry together. We share ideas and leads. We persevere and pray together.

As such, today's post addresses the 5 Friends

Every Writer Should Have



 
 
As solitary professionals, writers don't often have the luxury of cultivating (and maintaining) workplace friendships like those in the corporate arena.
Other than the mailman and the folks we meet and greet at the local coffee shop, we're on our own. True?

There are no "water cooler" conversations, juicy office gossip, or gripes with a bad boss that binds us. Of course, we do have social media that allows us to connect and share "Tweets" with our "peeps"; but it's not quite the same.

You, "my friend," need to have friends beyond the virtual world. You need to have a support system of solid people of whom you can rely. And no, your pet Fido doesn't count. :-)

Here are five folks I believe every serious writer should add to their V.I.P. list, for a more enriching experience and more successful career.
See if you agree.

1. THE TECH GUY
Of all my professional challenges, I am most stumped by technology. Hacks, attacks, and things that go whack! Oh my! Lucky for me that I was blessed to meet a guy some years ago that has provided some serious on-site assistance-- with software installation, virus attacks, and general maintenance. He's a true life saver. Which brings to mind, a while back ago, when my laptop went out on me in the middle of a very important (and lucrative) client's project and he provided a "loaner" at the last minute. Thanks, Emmanuel!

2. THE LOCAL LIBRARIAN
My friend Deb is bright, helpful and resourceful. If I need reliable statistics for a proposal I'm pitching, she'll either provide the research, or steer me in the right direction. She recommends good reads, and is always well informed about things going on in the literary community.

3. THE CONSUMMATE "CHEERLEADER"
You've gotten a rejection letter from an editor that really cut you to the core. Or you're working hard, but seem to be going nowhere. Or a client pink-slips you. Who do you call? No, not ghost busters! For me, it's typically my friend, "Red". As a creative artist too, she sometimes knows my pain and understands my struggles. She reminds me of all I've accomplished. She also has a good sense of humor, which allows me to "lighten up" when needed.

4. THE "DO I LOOK FAT IN THESE JEANS?" FRIEND
When you can't really be objective about your work and need someone to provide a reality check, this individual helps you keep your head on straight, and keep your wits about you. Accepting the "honors" for this award is my mom.

5. THE CREDENTIALED EXPERT
Every writer knows that a good quote provides extra "oomph" and greater credibility to feature pieces and interviews. The problem? Many times credentialed go-to gurus are busy with their own projects, or you may feel intimidated to reach out to them. I'm so fortunate to have noted authors like Noelle Sterne, Wendy Burt and William July, (and more folks than I can mention here) to go to. I greatly appreciate their time, wisdom and expertise.
 
In closing, I'd like to thank each of you for your virtual "friendship" and ongoing support here at Pen & Prosper. Without you, it wouldn't be worth it. :-)
 
 

COMMENT CONTEST

 
Let's add some fun and interest to things here.  Leave a comment on friendship or this post in general. Two random winners will be selected to receive 2 FREE EBOOKS from my popular series
"Bank on Success!" 
 
 
 
THIS JUST IN: Congratulations to the winners of our comment contest!
Linda O. and Marcie H.
(I'll be sending your books out next week).
 
Thanks to everyone that participated.
 
 
 

Image credits: Pixabay.com

 
 

 

 

 



Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Blog "Break up" Series * Writers Reveal All!


Have you ever thought of giving your blog the "boot"?


Does your "relationship" with your readers sometimes leave you a little uncertain? Feeling overwhelmed and undervalued?
Have you "lost that lovin' feelin'?"

It happens to the best of us. Some days it's a blessing; other times it's a burden.
This blogging thing can cause more internal conflict than the characters we read about in romance novels. And there's no disputing it's a "labor of love" that we devote endless hours of time, energy and attention. Which sometimes causes us to question whether it's worth all the sweat equity.
It's also the reason why countless bloggers have decided to "divorce" their blogs for other more profitable pursuits.
Perhaps you're one of them.

Disenchantment doesn't necessarily have to signal doom. It all depends on how you handle it. Whether you've been considering a blog break or a complete break-up, other writers will share their experiences here to give you greater perspective, clarity and wisdom.

Accordingly, I bring you

the "BLOG BREAK UP" SERIES...


Featured Blogger
KAREN E. LANGE




http://karenelange.blogspot.com/

(BLOG BREAK about 5 MONTHS)
 
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO STOP BLOGGING OR TAKE AN EXTENDED BREAK?
Overall I've enjoyed blogging - it's a wonderful venture where you meet and interact with great people and learn a whole lot of things you didn't know you didn't know.But it takes a lot of time, effort, and energy, from writing posts to keeping up with comments and visiting others' blogs and more. After nine years of blogging, I was about fried. It was quickly becoming evident that if I didn't take a break, blogging would go from a "want to" to a "have to" kind of thing. I was on empty, and just wanted to get away. And just about didn't care if I returned. It was time to step back. I also had other and new commitments that needed attention and I wanted to work out the bugs with all of that. 

HOW HAS IT IMPACTED YOUR TIME OR CREATIVE CAREER?

My career hasn't been affected in the four months since I stepped away. Current freelance and online tutoring pursuits were not gained through my blog. This hasn't been a great concern for me, as the blog is still there, so to some degree it still maintains my presence. As far as time goes, I have more. Have I used it wisely or efficiently? Not always. But the break has been a wonderful reprieve.

WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT NOT BLOGGING?

Without question - I miss the people. The blogging community I interact with is a wonderful, kind, and supportive group of writers, readers, and other creatives.

 WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT W.I.P. (WORK IN PROGRESS)?

I have many irons in the fire, from working on web content and articles to revising high school creative writing lessons for publication. Some days I'm not quite sure which to work on first. :)

 DO YOU FEEL BLOGGING IS STILL RELEVANT TODAY?
I do. The landscape has changed over the years, so I think relevancy depends on what you're doing, if you're selling books or services, how you wish to gain info, and get your info out there. It's still a great way to connect with others, sharpen your writing skills, and highlight your talents.

WILL YOU RETURN?
Likely, yes.



Your turn, readers.

Thoughts? Questions?

Have you ever thought of breaking up with your blog?

(No judgments here). :-)

 



 Image credit: Pixabay.com




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

6 Valuable Lessons Writer's Rejection Teaches Us!


 
 
Welcome back, readers! It's great to reconnect.
I hope you've had an awesome summer thus far. As for me?
I'll fill you in on mine in days ahead. For now, let's explore a topic that is important to writers of all levels and genres: rejection.  I'd love to get your feedback here later in the comments section.
Now, without further delay, on to today's topic...
 

Lessons can come in many forms. Like the ones that “inform” us by way of experience; or those we acquire through formal training; and even life lessons our mothers imparted to lessen the harsh blows of adulthood.


I’ve received a great deal of education through the “school of hard knocks” in my career as a writer. Unexpected lessons that have strengthened my resolve, helped to hone my craft and broadened my perspective.

Many of these lessons have resulted from dozens and dozens of rejections over a decade, from an array of publications and paths.
Let’s face it: rejection is a natural part of life, whether it stems from an editor, agent or former mate. It happens to the best of us. What matters most is how we deal with it.

Author Yuwanda Black shares in her “how-to”manual, The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook: “Rejection is an inevitable part of freelancing. The sooner you train yourself to accept it and move on, the sooner you’ll be on the road to success.”

In the spirit of enlightenment, the “Rejection Revelations” I am providing here can help you as a fellow writer to shorten your learning curve; keep your wits about you; and hopefully inspire you to persevere, so you can continue to share your unique message with the world and get paid, (even during days of doubt).
Pencils ready?

These are the 6 most crucial lessons to heed from writer’s rejection (in no particular order):


REJECTION REVELATIONS





1. DON’T RETREAT, RELOAD!
In the words of Sarah Palin: “Don’t retreat, reload.” Here’s a case in point.
Many years ago I received a crushing rejection from an editor of a popular writers’ newsletter, on one of my submissions. Not only were this editor’s words harsh and extremely critical, they made me feel like I was back in high school English class. I was offended and embarrassed. After feeling sorry for myself, I had a change of heart. I decided to reject her rejection and send my article elsewhere! Much to my surprise, my piece was accepted immediately by another publication--without any revisions, with pay. The take-away? Believe in yourself. Keep going. Keep growing.

2. YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
It’s true. If you’re a “rejected” writer, (as I have been) you’re in good company. Many creative “greats” have been turned down countless times before they found ultimate success: consider Walt Disney, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey and Emily Dickinson. Here’s a compilation of other success stories to motivate you:
 https://thoughtcatalog.com/rachel-hodin/2013/10/35-famous-people-who-were-painfully-rejected-before-making-it-big/

3. DON’T BE BITTER, BE BETTER!
Although the initial reaction to rejection for many of us may be anger, denial or defensiveness, if we are receptive we can actually glean useful information that can enhance our future writing efforts. Take a step back. Exercise some objectivity and when possible, try to see things from the editor’s position. The more you learn the more you‘ll earn.

4. HUMOR HELPS.
A wise man once said: “If you can laugh through it, you can live through it.” Writing can be really intense and mentally taxing. Flip the script. Find the funny in that “evil editor,” or agent‘s snub, or creative mishap. Doing so can lead to a humorous personal essay or inspirational post to publish on your blog. As writers, no experience is ever truly wasted.

5. YOU WIN SOME, YOU LOSE SOME.
No matter how uncomfortable, rejection can teach us humility and resilience. This pushes us to work harder, reach new heights and build character. Even star athletes have losing seasons. Don’t let it take you out of the game.

6. STAY OPEN.
When our ideologies, ways of expression or methods become so fixed and rigid that we absolutely refuse to entertain the opinions and suggestions of editors, publishers or readers, we stunt our growth and compromise our potential.

 
IN CONCLUSION

Rejection doesn’t need to derail you on the path to publishing success. Follow these six timely tips, stay focused and keep believing in the power of your dreams.

 
YOUR TURN
 
Thoughts? Which lesson resonates most with you?


Image credit: Pixabay.com