Site of Interest: Flying Monkeys Writing and Marketing Workshops

This weeks site of interest is Flying Monkeys Writing & Marketing Workshops

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This site often offers free 'Writing 101 Workshops' which appear as a post right there on the Flying Monkeys Blog. Workshops cover a variety of topics e.g. Editing & Proof Reading, Reviews and You've Written Your Book, Now What?

This is what they say about themselves:

"Striving to Pay It Forward, you will get writing and marketing tips, publishing tips and how-to's, and much more. There will be writing workshops that you can attend online as well. So much will be going on, so stop in often".

So who are they? Two authors Yvonne Mason and BK Walker. 

Worth a visit!
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Interview opportunity

Would you like to be featured on this site?

I'm looking for Freelance writers, authors, publishers, web designers, virtual assistants, editors, etc... to interview here on Writers and Authors.

If interested, just send me an email with a brief bio and your weblink.

As you can see by looking at the traffic map on site, Writers and Authors has a large international readership. The Fan Page on facebook is also becoming more and more popular and the number of followers is increasing too both directly subscribing to the blog feed and by following on third party applications like NetworkedBlogs and the Podcast). All posts to the website are fed to various social media platforms (including, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace) automatically giving even more opportunities to be seen.

So what are you waiting for? Send me an email today.
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Exploring your publishing options

As A Cappela Publishing states on their website “There is not one right way to publish”. So how do we as writers decide on which publishing option will work best for us?

The first step should be to think about your goals for the book. You should include in this both the monetary and emotional as this will give you a clearer idea of where you see it going.

You will probably also want to consider the genre of your book which will in many cases cut down your research as not all genres are suitable for all publishers.

It’s also wise to work out how much time and effort you plan to put into the marketing and promotional side of publishing your book. Keep in mind though that which ever route you choose you will probably have to do at least some.

In her article at Ezine Articles Olga Kellen compares the following publishing options and also takes a look at important factors like how much each route costs and how you market your book:

--Conventional publishing
--Vanity or subsidy publishing
--Print-on-demand publishing
--Self-publish yourself
--Get help with self-publishing has a great break down of the advantages and disadvantages to each publishing choice for quick and easy reference.

There are a lot of books offering advice and information about the different publishing options available today e.g. 

Disclaimer: Writers and Authors is not connected to any of the books listed and offers them solely to provide ideas of books that may help.

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Site of Interest: Book Clubs Resource

This weeks site of interest is is a complete guide to book clubs and reading groups with an outstanding collection of links and information for readers, including information about saving with discount book clubs. Whether you're looking to start your own reading group, participate in one online, or just learn more about what a book club is, you'll make the best of your book club experience with

The site includes:

What is a book club?
Reading group guidelines
Online book clubs
Running a book club
Reading resources
and more....

This site is an excellent resource and great for getting new ideas for how to promote you books. Well worth a visit!
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Interview with Cheryl Malandrinos

Tell us a bit about your latest book 'LITTLE SHEPHERD'.
Thanks for having me here today, Jo. I’m very honored. Little Shepherd is the story of Obed, a young shepherd in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. After the angels appear, he is hesitant to leave his flock unattended. He decides to visit the newborn King, but is anxious to return to his sheep. A visit with the Holy Family and what he sees once he returns to the field convinces Obed that it is a night of miracles.

Available on Amazon here Little Shepherd

Artist Eugene Ruble illustrated the book. How did you work together to get it right?
I was familiar with Eugene’s work from other Guardian Angel books he had illustrated. I knew he would do a lovely job on Little Shepherd. I’ve actually never met or spoken to him. He’s not online and he’s in St. Louis while I’m in Western Massachusetts. Lynda Burch, owner of Guardian Angel Publishing, asked me to mail Eugene some cover and interior illustration ideas when I mailed him a copy of the signed contract. That’s all he needed to bring Obed’s story to life. I believe he did a wonderful job of combining those ideas with his ideas and talent.

Your book is published by Guardian Angel Publishing. What made you pick them and are you happy with what they offer you as an author?
Selecting the publisher was easy. I only had Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP) in mind when I wrote Little Shepherd. I became familiar with them when one of their authors asked me to review her book. I loved it and began searching out more GAP books to review. I also spoke with some of their authors to see how they liked working with them. I received very positive feedback. So, once Obed’s story was polished, I pitched it to Lynda. She requested I make a few changes and resubmit it. She accepted the revised manuscript.
Working with everyone at GAP has been a fabulous experience. My fellow authors are very supportive and Lynda is a wealth of information. GAP books are available as eBooks, CD eBooks, and in print. They are available at Amazon,,, and other online retailers. There is an annual gathering of GAP authors in St. Louis each September. I feel very blessed to be part of the GAP family.

A member of Musing Our Children, you are also the Editor in Chief of the group's quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens. Tell us a bit about the project and how people can get involved.
Musing Our Children is the brainstorm of the talented and amazing, Lea Schizas. We are a group of authors, illustrators, publishers, and storytellers who wish to encourage a love of reading and writing in young people. We hold workshops at schools and libraries. We also encourage children to read books and send us their reviews. Our quarterly newsletter is available as a free download from our website.
We’re always looking for new members and contributors to Pages & Pens. You can register for membership at our Yahoo Group.

You run several blogs and have recently launched a new one The Children's and Teens' Book Connection, write reviews, articles and more. How do you find the time to work on so many different projects?
It’s definitely a challenge, especially now that Little Shepherd is out and I am working on promoting it. I write out a weekly to-do list, which I use to keep me focused. My girls are now in school, so I have 7 hours each weekday to concentrate on my fulltime job as a virtual book tour coordinator forPump Up Your Book and my writing. I schedule times to check emails and only answer the phone if it’s the girls’ schools. I have reined in the time I spend browsing the Internet. I focus on the girls once they come home and then work for a while once they are asleep.
Loving what I do certainly makes it much easier.

What advice do you have for other writers wanting to enter the children’s market?
Writers work in a very competitive world. You need to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Join a critique group so you can receive regular feedback on your writing. This will also motivate you to create the time to write. Don’t be afraid to invest in classes that will help you improve the weaker areas of your writing.
Read books in the market you are interested in breaking into. Make sure your manuscript is polished before submitting it to a publisher or an agent. Investing in a professional editor to help you shape your manuscript before you start mailing out queries is a smart idea.
Most of all, have faith in yourself and be determined to persevere. You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Readers can find me online at or at my blogs:
and my newest blog dedicated to my book, Little Shepherd. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I would like to thank you again for hosting me today. It is through the great support of my many online friends that the word of Little Shepherd is being spread across the Net. I created a video trailer for the book, which can be viewed on YouTube.

While it took a few years for me to make the transition from aspiring author to published author, I feel blessed every day by the tremendous amount of support from family and friends, and for God planting the idea of Obed’s story in my heart years ago.
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New looks and features for popular social media sites

It would seem that the social media world is getting a make over. Several of the most popular sites are in the process of installing new looks and extra features to their platforms.

Social media sites offer many ways to promote your writing and services for free to a large international market.If you're not using them already you should really consider setting up some profiles. Those of you that already have accounts can find out more about the changes happening by checking out the following links:

You can find out more about the new Digg by reading this great article on the Social Media Examiner website:

For news about the new Twitter check out:

For Myspace changes check out:

Facebook adds places. Find out more at:
You might also find this article useful:

Which social media platforms are you using to promote your writing/services? Which site is giving you the best results?
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Over 30 places to download free ebooks for writers

As today is my 30th Birthday I thought I'd offer you a little treat. Below is a list of 30 places where you can download free ebooks that will help you in the different aspects of your writing careers. Enjoy!

  1. The Freelance Writing website has a large number of free ebooks for you to download on a variety of topics ranging from HOW TO PLAN A HOME OFFICE THAT WORKS to THE ACTIVE AUTHOR'S GUIDE TO COPYRIGHT BASICS to BOOK WRITING FOR FUN & PROFIT see for the full list and downloads.
  2.  offer a free e-book containing 59 Free E-books for New Writers
  3. Fiction Factor contains mostly ebooks on honing and improving your craft as a writer.
  5. has an excellent selection of free ebooks. Big name authors and best sellers. 
  6. For  the free ebook How to Write a Great Query Letter
  7. Free ebooks by Australian writers, or about Australia! Australia's Greatest Books. A number of Australian 'classics'.
  8. onlne library of free ebooks
  10. has a great list of free ebooks for children's writers
  11. Thousands of ebooks organized by category at
  12. probably something here for every type of reader.
  16. free ebooks on English grammar and how to write better.
  17. lots of free ebooks to download about writing and marketing.
  19. not only contains free ebooks, this site also offers loads of information on self publishing and ebook markets
  20. Free online reads of popular romance novels
  21. Much more than a simple ebook resource, Girlebooks aims to make classic and contemporary works by female writers available to a large audience through the ebook medium. 
  22. Tons of links to complete free ebooks still covered by copyright. Novels, mystery, romance, thriller, history, spiritual and more.
    They are legal, in most cases from the author's own website.
  24. Free Business Books, Free Memoirs, Free How-to Books, Free Travel Books, Free Spiritual Books ...
  26.  A virtual library.
  27. Also has an excellent range of links to sites useful to writers.
  29. Top 25 free ebooks about social media 
  30. 'Tweeting your way to success' from

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Site of Interest: weberbooks

This weeks site of interest is

"Plug Your Book! How authors use social media to market books"
The Plug your book! site is packed full of great posts containing up to date information and news regarding marketing avenues, advice, how tos and more.

Recent posts include:
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5 Tips for Co-ordinating a Successful Virtual Book Tour

Cheryl Malandrinos from Pump Up Your Book is guest today and will be sharing some valuable advice about virtual tours.

Years ago, book promotion was different. Book signings, library readings, radio and newspaper interviews, and book reviews from well-known publications could help get your book noticed. For new authors, however, it was tough to get their books into the hands of readers outside of their local areas.
Then things changed.
The Internet arrived and blogs soon followed. People from all walks of life were using these online journals to write about all sorts of things, including the books they liked or didn’t like. This paved the road for a new way to promote books—the virtual book tour (VBT).
A virtual book tour is when an author visits a certain number of blogs during a specific period of time. The author’s book gets reviewed, he might be interviewed, and in many cases, he can be a guest blogger, where he writes an article that appears on someone else’s blog.
Virtual book tours are a great way to create an online presence for your book. Unlike in-store book signings, potential readers can access your blog stop (when you appear at a blog during a VBT) many months after you’ve been there. As long as the blog remains online, readers can find out about you and your work.
There are a few tricks to help you coordinate a successful virtual book tour. I’ll share some of them below.
Tip # 1 – Decide on the right time to tour your book.
It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to coordinate a VBT. One of the main reasons is that there must be enough time to ship books to those who are reviewing them. This time can be shortened if you’re touring an e-Book.
Another thing you must consider is your schedule. If you’re already struggling to balance your workload, it might not be the right time to coordinate a virtual book tour. I tell my clients to expect to spend half an hour to an hour a day working on VBT items—interviews, guest posts, and mailing out books. And don’t forget, once the virtual book tour starts, you need to allot time to promote it.
You might also want to consider what time of year is best to promote your book. When creating a marketing plan for my first children’s book, Little Shepherd, I decide to coordinate a VBT for the last three months of the year because it ties into Christmas.
Tip #2 – Provide bloggers with the information they need to decide if they want to host you.
In addition to being a virtual book tour coordinator, I am a blogger and book reviewer. I can’t tell you how many times I receive an email that reads this way:
“Dear blogger,
I am an author looking for a good blog to review my book, (title). Please let me know if you’re interested.
Susie Author”
How can I decide if I want to read a book without knowing anything about it?
All correspondence to bloggers should be professionally written and include the following:
·      Your name
·      The book title
·      A book blurb
·      The genre
·      Link to your website or where the book can be purchased
·      If you are looking for the book to be reviewed within a certain time frame (important if you’re coordinating a virtual book tour)
Use the blogger’s name instead of addressing your email to, “Dear Blogger”. If you’re unsure of the name, you could open your email with, “Dear Editor of (blog title)”.
Remember to spell check your email before hitting send.
Tip #3 – Include a Thank You note and a business card with your review copy.
While some might feel that a free book is thanks enough, the blogger is still agreeing to spend some of his/her time reading your book and putting together a review. Whenever possible, send along a note of thanks with your review copy.
It’s also smart to include a business card if you have one. I add all names and addresses for books I review into my Outlook contacts. That way I can email the author a direct link when I complete the review. I stash all those business cards in a desk drawer, which means I can look up an author’s website at a future time to see if he/she has a new release coming out.
Tip #4 – Be creative with your interviews and guest posts.
This is your chance to shine; to tell potential readers why they should be plunking down their hard earned cash on your book. Boring interviews filled with one or two sentence answers won’t provide enough information for a reader to make a decision. You want the reader to feel like you and the blogger are sitting down having an actual conversation.
When writing up a guest post, take a few minutes to browse the blogger’s site. Draft an article that will engage the reader. Try not to use the same guest post more than twice during your virtual book tour. People who are following along will soon get bored reading the same information over and again.
Tip # 5 – Tell people you’re going on a virtual book tour.
Virtual book tours are a wonderful way to reach potential readers all over the world, but if you don’t tell anyone you’re on a virtual book tour, who will know?
Post your VBT schedule on your website or blog. Email your contacts and let them know when your virtual book tour will start and give them a link to where you’ve posted your schedule so they can follow your tour.
Don’t have a website or blog?
Start one before your virtual book tour begins. Experienced bloggers will look online for more information about you and your book to supplement their blog posts. In addition, you want to give potential readers a place to learn more about the book you’re promoting. 
Use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to promote your blog stops on a daily basis.
Coordinating a successful virtual book tour is time-consuming, but it’s also a lot of fun. Making sure you have the time to dedicate to a VBT, providing bloggers with all the information they need, saying thanks, being creative, and letting people know you’re on a virtual book tour, will make your experience a lot easier too.

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book (formerly Pump Up Your Book Promotion). A book reviewer and blogger, Ms. Malandrinos is also a founding member of Musing Our Children, and editor in chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages and Pens. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released by Guardian Angel Publishing in August 2010.
Visit Cheryl online at For more information about Pump Up Your Book’s virtual book tours, please visit or contact Cheryl directly at

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Review: same kind of different as me

Title: Same Kind of Different as Me
Authors: Ron Hall, Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-8499-1910-7

Reviewed by Jo Linsdell

Same Kind of Different as Me is an inspirational, emotional and eye-opener of a read. An amazing story of a modern-day slave, an international art dealer and the women that bound them together and changed their lives.

The book is so well written I really felt I knew both men as I turned the pages. Their characters strong and moving as the tale unfolds. In several places I found myself with a lump in my throat and more than once was close to tears as events and feelings were described.

The photo’s included at the end really bring home the fact that what you’ve just read is in fact a true story and it’s message hits all the harder.

A real revelation of problems and prejudices that still exist today. It touches on prejudice, homelessness, sickness and suffering, forgiveness and faith. After reading this book you will no doubt question what you’re doing to help others and make the world a better place. You will probably also have questions related to faith and religion in general. The book includes an excellent readers guide to aid group discussions.

Although there is a strong religious presence in this book, I think that it’s other messages are just as strong and thought provoking, making it a worth while read for everyone, not just the Christian market. Same Kind of Different as Me is a truly noteworthy and significant book. I highly recommend.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Interview with Carlo Vella

When did you become a writer? 
I became a writer after winning a short story contest in Melbourne Australia. Never took it seriously then and living it out  but I enjoyed the time putting words to paper, drifting into a fantasy and living it out as a story. I then wrote my first book and since then I kept on writing.  

Originally from Australia, you now work as an English teacher in Spain. How does this help you as a writer? Keeps the money coming in! Unfurtunately, writing is not a money making career unless you are a succesful and well known. The royalties I get isn´t enough to write on a full time basis. That is where the teaching comes in.  

What genre do you write and why? 
Histoprical fiction, occult. I love history and enjoying learning about other cultures. I love hearing tales of old, myths, old wives tales. Enjoy the research and once I have enough information, the story starts to unforld. I like mixing historical fact with fiction and bring an historical event into the 21st century.

Please tell us a bit about your latest release The Book of Secrets.
It is a story about a book, some say it is a tome written by Angels. It holds secrets only the Vatican and a secret order that investgate religious phenomena know about. It is a race to see who can find the book first and unfortunately there are consequences to whoever finds the book. The story takes you back to when the Templar Knights located the book, a story told in parts, first and third person narratives. It also takes you on a journey: from Australia where the story begins, to Rome and finaly Barcelona.  

Are there plans for a follow up?
 Yes. I am writing the sequel - The Thirteen Tortures about the Patron saint of Barcelona and witchcraft. It is not a book where one must read the first part though I am using the same characters and adding some flashbacks from ¨The Book of Secrets¨  

What is the hardest part of being a writer?
 Creating the characters, writing the book and to keep it interesting - letting it flow. Concentration can also be difficult.  

Any tips or advice for other writers?
 I know some writers starting off tend to begin writing their book and then give up. Not easy to commit yourself to writing something that has to be over 200 pages. It´s not an easy task. Keep at it. You never know if you have a best seller there right infront of you.  

Where can people find out more about you and your work?
My web people are welcome to email me as well.  

Anything else you'd like to add?
 I write because of the joy it gives me. Nice to have a best seller but even if a few people buy my book, I am quite content with that. The research I do for my stories, is more than enough satisfaction as a writer. The knowledge and education from my reseasrch and interviews educates me and that is enough to keep me writing. Also I tell my students that writing helps to express ones self. 

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Site of Interest: Write a Better Novel

This weeks site of interest is

"Practical wisdom for novelists and other storytellers"

Write a Better Novel is a professional blog for novelists and other fiction writers who want to add new skills, and understand old skills in new ways.

The site is run by Bill Henderson, a full time novelist, teacher, and coach, with a passion for fiction–and the Internet.

"Why Write a Better Novel?

My aim is to help novelists get a new take on the basics, by expaining not just how they are are done, but why. I like to share what I know. You might say it’s my way of contributing to the general fund of fiction writing craft and experience I’ve picked up over the years.
Kurt Vonnegut, one of my teachers at Iowa, used to say, “I can’t teach you to be a great writer, but I can save you time.” Looking back on my own personal struggle to figure things out, I think I finally know what he meant. Essentially, I’m able to share craft secrets in a flash, vital but often misunderstood “tips ‘n’ tricks” that took me long hours and untold amounts of labor to learn.
My hope is that what I write, and how I write it, will cast new light on writing and storytelling skills, that if mastered, can have a huge positive impact on a novelist’s development".

Interesting articles taking on various topics linked to the writing industry. Worth a visit.
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