Spotlight on Sharon Hamilton

How many authors can remember with precision the first day they began to write? Sharon Hamilton does. It was December 15, 2008, the day she was trapped in a rented dorm room in Portland.

At the time, her family had traveled to Portland to attend her daughter’s graduation. When they were suddenly snowed in, Sharon pulled out a chair and started to write.

A Room of Her Own

She found a room of her own that every woman writer craves following a painful incident. Her house burned down so she moved into an 800 square-foot apartment. Isolated during the day while her husband worked on rebuilding their home, she dedicated her time to writing.

“That’s when writing hit me and it really took hold.”

Before long, she published Heavenly Lover, which she rewrote 57 times. Soon thereafter, she
published Underworld Love and later Honeymoon Bite.

By 2010, she had won several writing contests, started writing erotica, and found an agent who told her to return to her first book
and rewrite it again.

[Read more…]

Spotlight on Writer Arlene Miller

Arlene Miller, a Redwood Writers Board Vice President and author of The Best Little Grammar Book Ever, uses social media to get the word out about her book and to encourage sales. I had a chance to interview her recently in hopes that she might share some of her secrets with us.

Arlene Miller

Arlene began using Facebook in 2008 simply because she wanted to keep up with her daughter who tours with Disney On Ice. After she wrote and published her book 2 years ago, she found Facebook to be an important tool in getting the word out about her grammar book. Today, she maintains both a profile (631 friends) and a fan page (249 page likes).

“Through Facebook, I got hooked up with people from elementary and high school. It all started with an invitation to a reunion and even though I didn’t attend it, former schoolmates bought multiple copies of my book,” she said.

It was through Facebook as well that Apple users found her and soon the entire group was ordering her book.

“I have a lot of Facebook friends – some I know and others I don’t know. In general, it gets the word out about what you’re

LinkedIn is often overlooked by writers but again Arlene has had success in using this social media channel to buy her book. She joined several groups, asked members for their advice on an upcoming book she is writing, and contributed to the groups by answering questions and offering advice.

When I asked Arlene for her best tips, she offered some great advice. “The best thing is don’t try to sell; try to help people.
Don’t say I have a book to sell and you should buy it. Instead answer questions and try to help others.”

[Read more…]

How to Use Lists to Navigate Privacy on Facebook

I was helping a client setup a Facebook fan page recently and found the experience a tad frustrating. What I don’t like about Facebook is how interlinked profiles and fan pages are.

This particular client wanted to keep her privacy settings as secure as possible on her profile. However, on her business page, she wanted the world to find her.

Well, that’s impossible on Facebook. The king of all social media won’t let you tailor your settings within one account.

If you’re thinking, “I’ll just set up another account,” forget it. Facebook doesn’t allow users to have more than one account.

So what’s a person to do? Use the lists feature.

You can liberalize your settings by simply categorizing your friends, family members, colleagues, and fans into lists. That way, each time you post an update, you can select how public or how private your information will be.

[Read more…]

Lessons from The Art of Fielding

By Frances Caballo for Redwood Writers

You have spent years crafting your novel or anthology of poems and now you’re ready to send it out into the world. You’re trained as a writer but what about marketing? This series of blogs will endeavor to help you master the next steps to selling your book.

Did you read the October issue of Vogue magazine? There was a fabulous article in it titled “The Book on Publishing” by Graydon Carter and Keith Gessen. In case you missed it, you can purchase the article for $1.99 from Amazon.

It’s an engrossing tale and a good read.

The article chronicles the life of Chad Harbach, author of the novel The Art of Fielding, from his undergraduate studies to an MFA program as he pursues his passion of writing. Like too many writers, he wades through the morass of low-paying jobs while committing himself to the one novel he keeps rewriting.

With the support of friends who believe in his talent, Harbach meets literary agent Chris ParrisLamb of the Gernert Company in Manhattan. The agent loves Harbach’s novel and forwards copies to publishers.

After an initial offer of $175,000, which Harbach turns down, Parris-Lamb calls for an auction. Bidding starts at $100,000 and eventually ends with Scribner’s successful bid – of $750,000 and an opportunity to work with the editor of David Foster Wallace.

Now Harbach is not only a successfully published novelist but also a publishing story that Vogue and other media outlets can’t resist.

By the way, his book is doing great too. On GoodReads, the book has generated 1,242 ratings and 389 reviews. On Facebook, the book has nearly 500 “likes.”

This kind of story gives me hope. None of us will know the outcome of our passion for writing unless we stick with it, make time
to write, work on our revisions – and never sell ourselves to the lowest bidder.

Let me know what you think of the Vogue article, this blog, or any other thoughts you’d like to share. Thanks!

About the Author: Frances Caballo, owner of ACT Communications, has 22 years of communications and resource development experience. She has worked with small businesses and local, regional and national nonprofits at all levels of management. Presently, she is the Social Media Editor and a Board Vice President for Redwood Writers. She specializes in helping writers, small businesses and nonprofits with their social media marketing, external communications, and fund development needs. Frances is bilingual in English and Spanish.

 ©Frances  Caballo 2011 – This post cannot be reproduced without permission from the author.

Start Your Blog Now!

Writer’s Guide to Marketing, Redwood Writers’ Blog

By Frances Caballo for Redwood Writers

To market your book, you need a blog.You have spent years crafting your novel or anthology of poems and now you’re ready to send it out into the world. You’re trained as a writer but what about marketing? This series of blogs will endeavor to help you master the next steps to selling your book. 

You’ve published your book (or made it available as an e-book), signed up for Facebook and Twitter, and you have a website. At last you can do a few readings, ask your Redwood Writers colleagues to buy a copy, and relax. Right?


You need a blog. Search engines love websites that continually add new content and blogs are an easy way to achieve that objective.

How often should you blog? Some people blog daily while others blog once a month. If you can blog twice a week, that would be

If you can only blog once a month that’s okay. Just start one and keep it going. And don’t forget to use this platform to promote
your book.

How to Use Your Blog to Promote Your Book 

[Read more…]

A Writer’s Guide to Marketing

By Frances Caballo for Redwood Writers

You’ve spent years crafting your novel or anthology of poems and now you’re ready to send it out into the world. You’re trained as a writer but what about marketing? This series of blogs will endeavor to help you master the next steps to selling your book.

Michael Martine is the mastermind behind Remarkablogger, which he describes as “No-Bullshit Blogging for Bitchin’ Businesses.” It’s immediately obvious that he has found his blogging voice – a unique one that rises to the top of search engines out there on the Internet.

This guy has personality and he really knows his stuff.

He wrote a 65-page e-book titled How to Write an E-Book That Doesn’t Suck. This is a great little book for bloggers to pick up because it will show you how to plan your blogs ahead of time and then compile them into a “how-to” e-book.

Do you cringe at the thought of writing pitches to sell your book? Michael sums up his advice with this comment: “Nowhere … does it say, ‘Sound like an overhyped snake oil salesman and bleed yellow highlighter all
over your text.’”

In other words, don’t push your book. If it’s a “how-to” book, promote it as containing solutions to the buyer’s problems or questions.

[Read more…]