Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Writing Surprises (or Boy or Girl Voice?)

Tip of the Day:
Check out the Diversity in YA Reading Challenge! You could win a ton of new books by spreading the word.

I'm working on my YA WIP that involves two different aspects for me: 1) alternating first person povs; and 2) a boy main character.

And guess what? My crit group loves the boy's voice a lot more than the girl's. Woah. I did not think that would be the outcome.

What that means is that I need to really work on the girl's voice and go through her chapters carefully and make her as fun to read as her brother.

Can I do it?

The challenge is on.

What has surprised you about your writing?
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The anti 9-to-5 movement

Tip of the Day: if one of your guilty pleasures is the Real Housewives of New Jersey, you have to check out Jay Mohr's blog entries. Too funny!

One of the articles that popped up in my Yahoo news feed the other day was about people making a living with multiple part-time jobs. The NY times article was a fascinating read for a number of reasons. Not only have I made my living with multiple part-time jobs on numerous occasions, but I have to admit that I almost prefer to work that way. And it appears I'm not alone, because the article touches on the growing trend for Gen Y'ers to prefer sampling with multiple careers.

Both of my parents have been in the same field (if not the same job) for pretty much my entire life. While I on the other hand have a resume that could rival Mr. Ryan Seacrest himself in variety and quantity. And I have to admit, I wouldn't want it any other way. All of my work experience has pushed me to think outside the box and be in a state of constant learning.

I think part of the reason I'm drawn to writing so much is not only is it an outlet for creativity, but it gives me something to work for professionally outside of my current career.

Maybe it is being born into (or at least relating with) a generation that's in constant contact via email, cell phone, Facebook, Twitter, and the like. But as a result of all this communication and motion, I get bored easily. Very easily. As a result I'm constantly looking to the future for new ways to get fulfillment in work and artistically.

Writing has been one of those ways.

And as the article suggests this can be both good and bad. Because it's easy to get distracted when things are hard and then it's almost a given you want to move onto the next job or activity.

But if you want anything great to happen, you have to rein yourself in and keep plugging away!

--Emily, Miss Habitual Job Seeker

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Graduation!

Tip of the Day: I have absolutely no tips to share with you on how to stop your kids from turning into slugs over the summer. Let me know if you have tips for me!

This weekend was high school graduation weekend in my area. There were parties on almost every street. Congratulations! Is it me, or do these events seem much less dramatic and rowdy than they did when I graduated? The drama must be very well hidden.

Here is what I learned from being a writer about what happens after graduation:
1- Keeping a journal is probably a good thing, but don't be surprised if you want to burn it someday.
2- Take some college classes in something you like. My parents really pushed me to be a business major and were disappointed when I majored in English. They thought I'd never make a living. But I've had some interesting jobs, and even jobs that paid pretty well. It's better to get through school learning about what you love than to drop out.
3- Read this summer a lot. Because whether you're going on to college or not, life tends to get very hectic in the fall.
4- If you're living at home, you're going to hate living at home. If you're living away from home, you're going to hate that, too. Be patient with yourself. If necessary, journal and burn.
5- Try something you've never tried before. I'm still telling myself that. We don't know what we can do until we try, and every time we try something new, we learn.
6- I don't know what the end goal is, but you'll probably get the kind of life you work for.

Happy Graduation seniors and parents of seniors! Enjoy your summer!

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fun Friday: Guest Post from YA Author JENNIFER HUBBARD

Today's guest post comes from an author who has been reading Author2Author since the very beginning! So cool! Welcome Jenn!


About a month ago, I faced the fact that my TBR (to-be-read) book pile, if unchecked, stood a good chance of taking over the house. (I assume the only reason it hasn’t already is that the prospect of ruling two middle-class adults and one self-important cat isn’t particularly compelling, as coups and takeovers go.) I couldn’t shake the thought that there’s a certain silliness to buying more books when I have dozens of perfectly good unread books at home. (Readers everywhere will understand, though, that you have to be in the right mood to read a book, and sometimes that means putting off the TBR pile another day.) Also, I like to subscribe to literary magazines, but ever since I sold my first book, issues of these journals have been piling up unread.

As an inveterate list-maker, I decided that making a list would help me put a dent in the TBR pile. Nothing thrills a compulsive list-maker like crossing off items on a list, or getting to add to a list of accomplishments! I decided to do both: to make a list of all newly-read books and magazines that were already in the house as of April 17, 2011; and to list all books purchased since then, and record whether I’ve read them or not.

I know you are all waiting breathlessly for my stats, so here they are for the first month: Since starting this project, I’ve read three novels that I already owned; seven issues of the literary journal OneStory; and one issue of the literary magazine Tin House (likewise). I have also purchased ten new books, of which I’ve read six. That’s a net decrease in the amount of unread material in the house! I’ve also reread some books, as I always do, but they don’t count toward this list.

I’m not sure how I’ll handle library books—I don’t have any checked out at the moment. *ponders* The nice thing is that, read or unread, library books don’t hang around the house for long, joining the TBR pile in whatever act of rebellion it’s plotting.

How do you manage your TBR pile—or do you manage it?


Jennifer R. Hubbard writes contemporary YA stories, including The Secret Year (Viking, 2010), “Confessions and Chocolate Brains” (a short story in the 2011 anthology Truth & Dare), and the upcoming Try Not to Breathe (Viking, 2012). She blogs at

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Anthology Cover

Tip of the Day: Check out this great post about why we should be reading contemporary YA novels over at and then browse through the rest of the week of great posts on contemporary YA.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I was talking about writing a short story? Well, I'm still working on it but it's going better (Yay!). And we just got the BEAUTIFUL cover so now I'm even more excited to finish and make it great. Isn't it cool?

The list of authors includes: Cyn Balog, Lauren Bjorkman, Leigh Brescia, Jennifer Brown, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Janet Gurtler, Teri Hall, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Stacey Jay, Heidi R. Kling, C. Lee McKenzie, Saundra Mitchell, Jenny Moss, Jackson Pearce, Shani Petroff, Carrie Ryan, Sydney Salter, Kurtis Scaletta, Jon Skovron, Kristina Springer, Rhonda Stapleton, Charity Tahmaseb, Jessica Verday, J.A. Yang, and Lara Zielin.

This will be an eBook only (available via Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords)--the tentative release date is October 2011.

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tip of the Day: At least watch Step 1 on "How do I Plot a Novel." Then, if you have time, watch the next 27 (I'm not done yet!).

In honor of my latest WIP that I'm excited about, I'm posting a teaser. Enjoy!

The Forgotten Night

Chapter 1

My body ached like it had been crushed under an entire football team. Except I hadn’t played ball in three years. Screw anything that could break my fingers and stop me from playing my Gibson.

Speaking of that, I slowly flexed my fingers. Thank god they bent without trouble.

Wait, why would there be trouble?

I popped my eyes open. I was in my car.


A pounding head, nausea, and dizziness joined my body aches. The rising sun’s rays cut like razors in my eyes. “Jesus,” I muttered.

A moan came from beside me. My sister, Jenny. “You OK?” I grunted.

“Where are we?” she asked, her voice rough.

I felt my head for gaping wounds. My fingers slicked up with sweat but no blood.

“Leo? What happened?”

As if I had a clue.

“You crashed, didn’t you?” Jenny clutched her head and cringed. “I can’t believe it. Why do you have to drive like such a maniac?”

“I didn’t crash.” My own voice hurt my head. I reached to the back seat and groped around for my water bottle, then drank. I didn’t remember crashing, but didn’t remember not crashing. From the crooked position of the car, I had run into a shallow ditch. Dammit.

“Do you remember what happened or don’t you?” Jenny demanded, her voice rising. Not that I blamed her. Inside I felt the same panic.


“I’ll figure it out,” I said, a better answer than admitting that my thoughts from last night were as blank as a corrupted hard drive. I rolled out of the car. The motion made me gag but nothing came up. I leaned onto the cool, dewy hood and scoped out the scene.

The road was empty, the sky was still. I sucked in some fresh air and recognized the two-lane country road that we took to and from Dad’s. Route 522 in Pennsylvania. To the west, long field grasses lined the way until the elevation soared into the tree-covered Appalachian Mountains.

Jenny’s door creaked open. “Did we hit a deer? Or take down a tree or something?” she asked from her seat.

The overgrown grasses buzzed with insects but that was it. Jenny and I were alone. I circled the car in measured steps looking for any sign of damage, trying to keep my posture tall so Jenny wouldn’t know how bad the spinning was in my head and gut.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Clean up on Page 10

Tip of the Day: finally tried out the Overdrive app on my iPhone today, so I can get books easily from my library. Love it!

This week has been filled with cleaning, cleaning, sprucing up, and more cleaning. I definitely come from the group of people that believe messy environments are the sign of a creative mind, and choose to clean for only one of two reasons:

1.) When you have to flip through 100 papers to find the one you need. (Or you have to start hand washing dishes because there's no clean bowls left to put your Lucky Charms in.)
2.) Or when someone is coming to visit.

This week's reason for The Great Clean centers on No. 2. Not only do we have company coming this weekend, but we also have hundreds of people that will be traipsing in our house for a Historic Home and Garden Tour. And since they have to fork over $10 to see all the homes and gardens on the tour, I felt I owed it to them to at least dust.

But I will have to say that I have found myself on multiple occasions this week just stuffing random papers into drawers, throwing things into closests, and taking more and more items down into the basement to sit out of view.

And after doing all this, I'm just now realizing that it's going to take me twice as long to put it all back to it's rightful place when the home tour is over. And if I'd just taken the extra time upfront to do the proper cleaning then I probably won't be wanting to bang my head against the door when I have to clean again in a few days.

I'm guilty of doing this with my writing as well. Sometimes I'm lazy and want to shortcut my revisions or I think "oh this simple solution will still work. It might not be the best, but it will be ten times faster and easier."

And you know the end it's not worth it. Because it almost always needs redone.

If only I'd listened to my mother when I was younger and learned the proper way to clean, maybe both my house and my current work in progress wouldn't be such a mess.

Oh's a good thing Creative Minds are born from chaos...

Hmmm....maybe my coffee table/trunk really would make a better laundry basket in the basement?


* Note: this is not my office. To prove it you can find the picture posted on this site and track down the real owner of this office. But I will say at least the papers seem to be in neat piles! That's points in my book.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Online Classes: How Do You Decide?

Tip of the Day: It's time for the national sunscreen debate, which I follow closely because my skin is severely sun damaged. Although one of my state senators is trying to ban retinyl palmitate, most medical experts say it's not harmful at all. Ah, politcs vs. science!

I'm starting an online class today through Women on Writing. A close friend of mine works with the organizers of the site, so I know it's a portal I can trust. As I implied in my Tip of the Day, I have to go through a whole research process, deciding who I can trust, before I shell out $10 for sunscreen. You can imagine what I go through before I sign up for an online class.

I feel good about trusting Women on Writing, but the instructor has almost the same email address as a very funny friend of mine. So when my first assignment showed up today, I was like, "Hey, fun email address! This attachment should be ... wait, this is WORK!" And it's not just a little bit of work, either. She's quite serious. But those are the best classes, aren't they? After all, the goal is to get as much expert opinion as you can while you can, so the more work you do, the better.

It's all about who the instructor is, so it's important to Google his or her name before you sign up for the class. Writers' boards like Verla Kay's Blueboards and Absolute Write are great resources. Don't forget to ask your writer friends for recommendations.

Then there's the money issue. Have I heard fabulous things about Highlights Founders Retreats and Media Bistro courses? Sure. Can I afford them? Well, not this year. Or last year. Or the year before. But obviously choosing a class by picking the lowest bidder is a terrible idea.

So, do your research, find a class you trust, then figure out if you can afford it. If you sign up, remember that the more work you put into it, the more you get out of it. Interact with the instructor as much as possible about the subject you're studying (keep on topic). I'd love it if you added your online class tips to the comments!

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fun Friday: Guest Post from YA Author JENNIFER JABALEY

In Defense of Keeping the Day Job

Every writer knows the old adage, keep your day job. It’s spoken to aspiring writers as a soft warning with the requisite slight grimace and empathetic head tilt. It’s meant to relay a thousand cautionary tales: less than twenty percent of debut authors will ever see a royalty check; bookstores are crumbling and publishers are investing less money in new authors; with the uprising of e-books, authors are making less money. Keep your day job. But it’s every writer’s dream to one day turn in their two weeks notice, right? Or is it? Well, I’m here to tell you that keeping your day job is not always a bad thing.

Now, I’ll fess up: I only work part time and I’m one of those rarities who loves their day job. I’m an optometrist and it’s a great field. But believe me, there are days when after prying scraps of metal from the ultimate eye squeezer that I’m contemplating full time writing. So why don’t I?

For me, it’s all about balance. Writing is the ultimate roller coaster. It’s an emotional ride. Because writing is so subjective, it can bring crippling insecurity. I’ve seen major NYT bestselling authors blog honestly how they still fear their new books will not be well received. It’s a financial ride – a nice advance check followed by months of no income at all. Writing, I’ve also found, is a roller coaster ride of time management as well. There will be weeks of intense deadlines that require a monopoly of time followed by a span of weeks where you sit twiddling your thumbs waiting to hear back from your editor.

This constant undulating of emotions and paychecks and time requirements can elicit extreme joy: I just got the most amazing fan letter! I just got an awesome advance check! I just met my deadline! Or it can throw you into a fit of lows: I just got a two star review on Amazon! Will I ever earn out my advance? What am I supposed to do while I wait to hear back about my submission? For me, I like to complement this roller coaster ride of highs and lows with the steady reassurances of my day job. I don’t have daily emotional doubts about my ability in my day job, there’s a guaranteed paycheck and a nine to five schedule.

Then, there’s the physical nature of writing. There’s all that sitting and staring at the computer screen. All that quiet. I love the balance of having days where I’m bouncing around from room to room, seeing new faces and talking with new people. Which brings me to the solitary nature of writing. Sure, there’s social networking available to the lonely writer. True. And there’s value in it, absolutely. But, for me, the computer will never replace true connections with other people. I’m still a firm believer that much of actual communication in a relationship is relayed through tone of voice, body language and the ebb and flow of an actual verbal conversation. All these things are lost with just typed words. I love that my quiet, creative writing time is balanced with a day job that puts me in constant connection with different people. Not only does it fill a social need, but it serves as a schoolroom to witness actual people and their quirks and mannerisms – all things that eventually help shape my character development and dialogue. In fact, it was a little over a year ago when I walked into the exam room to hear two teenagers in the midst of a very animated discussion on how they should make a voodoo doll of an ex-boyfriend. I quickly scribbled a note and the next day, in my writing time, I crafted an entire voodoo scene that wound up in my new YA novel.

For me, weaving together the stability of a day job with the creativity of writing has helped me achieve a blended balance that keeps me sane. So the next time someone tells you, don’t quit your day job, don’t necessarily think of it as a bad thing. Think of it as an avenue to balance the undulating emotions, keep a healthy bank account, throw some diversity into daily activities and an opportunity to study people for inspiration.

To learn more about Jen and her books, please visit her at:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kindle Commercial, I'm Not Happy With You

Tip of the Day: Buy a book from a bookstore. And go see Meg Cabot! She's touring right now for the next month.

Maybe I'm feeling a little sensitive because my favorite coffee shop just closed (yes, the one I had my first launch party at. Sigh.) Or because the really cool tea shop my bookstore friends and I liked to go to just closed too. Or maybe I'm still just aggravated that my Borders is gone. But this Kindle commercial really pissed me off.

Yes, I get it. They need to sell their product. But don't bash bookstores and make people feel like a loser for going to one. To me this commercial sounded like:

Girl: Yay, I'm going to the bookstore to get a book I really want!

Boy: Why Lucy Loser? If you weren't such a losey lose loser you'd download books like me in 60 seconds (note, the whole commercial was only 31 seconds. You didn't download that fast.)

Girl: Oh wow, I don't want to be a loser. Forget how much fun it is to walk in a bookstore, see all the books, browse, and hold one in my hand. Guess I'll just stand here with you and download stuff.


I'm not against Kindle or ereaders or anything, don't get me wrong. I just don't see why they had to put out a commercial where they try to make someone appear stupid, or not in the know, not cool or what have you, because she wants to go to the bookstore. Sure, it's easy to download books. There's an easier way to do everything. Why walk to the park with the kids when I can drive them? Why cook them dinner when I can microwave something in two minutes? I guess walking and cooking is for losers too.

What do you guys think?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Genre Mash-Ups (or A + B = Sales)

Tip of the Day: Check out my fiance's performance at the Rochester International Jazz Festival last Friday night! The band is Filthy Funk and John is the hot guitar player. :)

At the YALSA Symposium last November, a librarian talked about "mash-ups," or books that combined two genres into one story. She mentioned BLOOD NINJA, a combination of Japan, the ninja culture, and vampires. A perfect example.

I also put HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER in that category. It combines humor with paranormal.

Mash-ups can be fun to read -- and smart to write. With the YA fiction market the way it is right now (favoring dark, edgy, moody, paranormal books, to generalize), adding a "mash-up" to your chick-lit, light, realistic novel could be the way to go.

I'm not saying that you have to -- or should -- write for the market. But I do think that if you want to get published, you have to write with the market in mind. Still write the story you are passionate about, but if mashing it up some way with a selling genre fits into the book, go for it! At least write one version that way and see what happens.

My current WIP is a darker speculative story, something new for me, but the plot has been percolating in my head for years and the market seemed right now to get it out. My next idea is a humor-ghost mash-up that I am so excited to write. Back to evoking some laughs but with a touch of ghostiness to give it a possible market. Why not?

Chasing trends is not the way to go, but it doesn't mean you should try to sell VHS players to people who want to watch movies now and in the future. Sometimes you have to go with the flow and see where it takes you.

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When the Writing Blues Strike

Tip of the Day: if you are feeling blue, might I suggest trying the new rolo McFlurry at McDonalds. Yum times ten.

Been feeling a little bit like this lately...

Which usually means I'm analyzing my story too much and have lost site of what I love about the book or characters. To try to undo the Writing Blues, I thought it might be helpful to remind myself of some of the decent (no...good) things about my current work in progress.

  • The characters are fun and witty.
  • The setting is unique and allows for so many possibilities.
  • About three of the five senses seem to be represented. And three senses are definitely better than none.
  • The book is almost done!
  • Those last five years of writing haven't been a total waste and the writing itself is actually much improved. Thankfully this isn't the first book, because if it was then I'd realllllyyyy have a long way to go to get it up to par.
If you have the Writing Blues, feel free to try to undo them in the comments by listing all the things you love about your book or characters. Maybe our sappy love fest will reverse this negative thinking :) Since I'm fairly confident all of your current works-in-progress rock!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Compound Verbs Are Just Not That Into You

Tip of the day: For mechanics, my favorite book is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King. It has great info on dialogue, point of view, etc. that scales up in difficulty so beginners and long-time writers will get a lot out of it.

Last week, I posted a tip about searching your manuscript for compound verbs. It's a basic tip, but one I want to elaborate on: compound verbs are not your friend. They're not starting to like you, they're not beginning to like you, they won't be liking you. They haven't liked you. There's only one way to put this: Compound verbs don't like you.

Oh, was that last sentence a little cold? Maybe you're thinking that compound verbs would never be that mean. You're right, they wouldn't. They're passive-aggressive whiners. They talk and talk, adding unnecessary words to your manuscript. They disguise themselves behind "-ing" and tell you that you need them. You can't write that they cried because they've been crying all along. Do you want your readers to think they just started crying?

Compound verbs began to pack their things, insisting they were leaving.

Oh, sure, compound verbs, you drama queens. Nobody believes you're leaving.

Compound verbs packed their things and left.

Huh, I guess they really meant it this time.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fun Friday: Google is the coolest!

If you haven't already, go to today and run your mouse over the guitar strings to play a tune. Google is so darn creative.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Printer's Row Panel Recap

Tip of the Day: Get your a/c checked before it's 100 degrees out. :-/

Last weekend was the Midwest's Largest Literary event-- 2011 Printer's Row Lit Fest in Chicago. There were 180 booksellers in tents lining the street:

And 200 authors were in attendance as well. I did a panel with a cool group of writers: Ellen Booraem, Ilene Cooper, Brenda Ferber, and C. Alexander London. It was moderated by Amy Alessio. Amy is also an author and speaker (as well as YA librarian!) and runs a really cool vintage cookbook blog and does a lot of great programs as well.

Ellen Booraem and C. Alexander London both flew in for the event (so cool of them!). Ellen from Maine and C. Alexander from New York. Ellen was so nice and her newest book, SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS, looks great! C. Alexander was really funny and has traveled all over the world as a journalist before writing fiction. I always like seeing Brenda Ferber and sat next to her on the panel. She shared great stories about where her ideas for her books come from. And I was so excited to see Ilene Cooper again. She's written more than 30 books for kids of all ages and she's the Children's Books Editor at Booklist Magazine. On her Web site she says, "Every book published in a year comes into my office and I look at almost every one. All 6,000 of them." How cool is that?!

It was really exciting being with such a great group and as I sat there I realized it was my first official panel. Things I learned:
1) Drink lots of water if you're sitting outside in 95 degree heat. (Yikes, it was hot.)
2) Make sure they have your book for sale at the event. (I usually do check for that at events. I don't know why I didn't think to this time.)
3) Listen closely to the moderator when she's asking questions. (I was thinking about how sweaty and hot it was at one point and missed my question. Whoops.)
4) Talk directly into the microphone (and don't keep thinking about how funny your voice sounds in it.)
4) And have fun! It really takes a lot of pressure off to be with a group of people and have a moderator with pre-determined questions. There is no worry if someone from the audience will ask questions and the moderator keeps things rolling along beautifully. It was a great time!

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

School Summer Reading List (or Cost Comparisons)

Tip of the Day: Got a teen/Are you a teen who has a summer reading assignment? Get to the library early (read: not August 31) for the best selection of titles on your list. Yes, all the "good books" will be checked out by mid-July.

The schools that my library serves just released their summer reading lists. Yay! Now I can order the books that my lib doesn't own or have many copies of so that I have offerings when the teens come in!

Something I've been noticing, though, is that some of the lists have a lot of adult fiction. I totally enjoyed HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, and I'm fine with it being on the high school lists because it does have teen appeal. BUT there are so many awesome, awesome YA books out now that I kind of wish the lists leaned even more that way.

Admitedly, I am deeply biased since I'm the YA Services Librarian, but in addition to my love of the books:
1. I want teens to know that there are book being written WITH THEM IN MIND; and
2. my YA book budget is decided with YA book prices in mind, and when I have to buy adult titles for the YA required reading collection, it creates an unbalanced use of the funds.

I also feel like there is a lifetime for all of us to read books intended for adults, but YA books really can be "outgrown" by some people and I want the teens to experience as many of those novels now.

Many arguments can be made for including the adult titles, like the fact that they can push teen readers out of their comfort zones, but I'll let someone else write that post.

Or weigh in here.


Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beach Reads are my kind of reads

Tip of the Day: enjoy a good book! You deserve it!

Happy almost summer everyone!

Beach reads are some of my favorite all time books.

Here's some coming out this summer that look like they'd be perfect reading while you are at the beach (or just sitting on your deck sipping virgin strawberry daiquiris while pretending you are at the beach).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Search Engine Optimization for Young Adult Writers' Websites

Tip of the Day: Watch those compound verbs! Search begin, start, and continue in your manuscript. Change "He began to cry" to "He cried"; "She started to panic" to "She panicked" wherever you possibly can.

I've been looking at freelance writing jobs, where the hot buzzword is SEO writing. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a way of writing articles and web site copy that makes it easier to find those pages in Google, Bing, and Yahoo Search.

Interested in how your web site or blog can be "search engine optimized"? It's a lot easier than that acronym makes it sound.

1. If you want to know how search engines get their search results, check out's Beginner's Guide to SEO.
2. If your site name and logo only show up in graphics, search engines can't hit the text. Make sure your name is in text, not only in graphic banners.
3. Label images. You'd be surprised how many people use Google Images to do searches these days.
4. Avoid directories that charge you to list your web site. Search engines tend to mark those links as spam.
5. Search engines find sites by web crawling through tunnels of links. Link to reputable sites in your articles to become easier to find in the tunnels.
6. When naming articles, use the term you think people might search. Hopefully this article will come up near the top if I search "Search engine optimization for young adult writers" in Google. (This should be a good experiment.)
7. And the tip you already know: the more interesting your content, the better chance it will be shared on Twitter, Facebook, etc. The most popular websites come up first in searches, so as always, it's all about the writing.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Short Story Tips?

Tip of the Day: The largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest is this weekend! Come out for the 2011 Printer's Row Lit Fest in Chicago. I'm doing a panel Saturday (6/4/) @12:30PM on the Mash Stage with a lot of really cool writers: Ellen Booraem, Ilene Cooper, Brenda Ferber, and C. Alexander London.

Writing short stories is HARD! Maybe it's not hard for everyone but when your used to writing books it's hard to get out what you want to say in few pages. I've written eight books now and they all tend to fall somewhere around 200 pages. I never go too far under that or too far over that. But now that I have a limited word count to work with I'm kinda freaking. I'm working on my short story for the Debs Anthology and the word count is 3000 to 6000 words. I'm rocking along writing my story and I hit 1000 words last night and freaked out. Uhoh. This story is not 1/3 of the way through. Not even 1/6. Darn. It kinda paralyzed me. I was afraid to keep going because I think I'm not going to be able to say everything in the allotted pages. I'm going to try of course, and hope that it doesn't get so out of control that I have to hack a bunch of it out at the end.

Are any of our readers short story writers? Have any tips for me?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

People-by-the-Sea (or Deena-by-the-Pond)

Tip of the Day: Lisa Schroeder's THE DAY BEFORE comes out in just 28 days!

Last week I went to Narragansett, RI for vacation. Wow. What a beautiful place! I'd post pics if a) Blogger was working properly, and b) I hadn't forgotten my camera in Newport. But I digress.

We were surrounded by water almost at all times, and the power of the ocean was relaxing, invigorating, and inspiring all at the same time. How I wished I could retreat there to write. Somehow just being around all that power made me want to sit by it, amidst the rolling fog, and let the words flow!

I was not there to write; I was there to hang out with friends and sight see and eat (yummmmm...Crazy Burger). Which was all good too!

Now I am back home, sitting on my porch in the awesome summery spring weather, with my pond and ducks and red-winged blackbirds and robins and sparrows, all of whom I love. But I still feel like the words would flow better if I were listening to the rush of the ocean instead of the traffic on I-390.

What about you readers? Do you find you write better in some environments than others?

And those of you who live on the ocean, do the words really flow like I imagine they would? Or does a change in scenery jumpstart creativity?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing