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.

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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.”

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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.

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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 

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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…]