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                    W R I T I N G   W O R L D

A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World


Issue 10:05           10,485 subscribers           March 4, 2010

MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the bottom of this newsletter for
details on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or contact the editors.
THE EDITOR'S DESK: by Moira Allen
THE INQUIRING WRITER - Creative Writing Software, by Dawn Copeman
FEATURE:  How Social Media Helps Writers, by Penny J Leisch 
COLUMN: Free Stuff for Writers, by Aline Lechaye
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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The Disappearing Writer

In January, I undertook one of those tasks that makes me question
my sanity: I checked and updated the links on all 600+ articles on
Writing-World.com.  I make it a practice to update the links
section every year (Dawn, bless her, is handling it this year), but
the articles had never been checked.

What surprised me was not the number of dead or changed links --
but the number of AUTHOR website links that had vanished.  At least
half the author bios had dead links.  In some cases, it was a
matter of switching from some outdated generic site like Homestead
to the author's own domain.  But in other cases, the author already
had a domain--and it was gone. 

At the same time, I needed to track down some authors who had
worked for me in the past, and I ran into the same problem: I could
not find them.  Some had vanished completely; I have no idea if
they've stopped writing, emigrated to a desert island with no
Internet connection, or died.  Others, I could find through only
one mechanism: Social networking sites, such as are described in
our feature article below.

Now, I find it rather amusing to see how my own "Internet" career
has evolved from "cutting edge" (I wrote one of the first books on
how writers could benefit from the Internet) to "dinosaur."  I
don't have a Facebook page, I don't do Twitter, I don't blog, and
though I DO have a LinkedIn account, I never check it.  However,
I'm not knocking social networking sites; as our author Penny
Leisch points out, they have many benefits for writers.

Chief amongst those benefits, however, is "self-promotion." Leisch
recommends social networking sites as an EXTENSION of a writer's
promotional efforts -- as an additional place to connect with
editors and readers.  The disturbing trend that I'm seeing,
however, is writers who are relying on social networking sites as
their ONLY means of self-promotion.  This is akin to telling both
readers and potential employers (including editors like me, Madame
le Dinosaur), "if you want to contact me, you have to join my club."

For example, when I went hunting for authors who had contributed to
an earlier edition of one of my books, the ONLY place I could
locate several of them was on LinkedIn.  This meant establishing a
LinkedIn account of my own, simply so that I could make contact. 

And even then there were challenges: I found four people with the
same name, and no means of determining which might be the author I
was looking for.  I had to turn amateur detective here, checking
the author's bio in my file to find the school he'd gone to (he'd
already changed jobs so that info was no help) and then matching it
with the LinkedIn profile.  

I suspect that part of the appeal of social networking sites is, of
course, that they are free.  You don't have to pay for a domain
name, web hosting, and possibly for someone to design and maintain
your site.  There's also the sense (merited or not) of security:

Yes, the Web is becoming a perilous frontier, with hackers,
spammers and worse.  And perhaps part of the appeal is that it's
simply so much easier to set up a Facebook page than create your
own website.

However, I can't help but believe that if you're a writer and your
goal is to connect with readers and/or potential employers, part of
your task is to make it as easy as possible for those readers and
employers connect with YOU.  Cloistering oneself inside the web's
equivalent of a gated community (members only) does NOT make you
accessible.  This doesn't mean that you have to post your e-mail
far and wide, if you don't want readers to engage you in
conversation.  But it does mean making it possible for readers to
visit your site, see what new books or stories you have to offer,
perhaps read your thoughts on writing or any other subject you care
to cover, find out where you might be giving a talk or chat, and so
forth -- all without having to jump through extra hoops.

Similarly, if you're a writer looking for WORK, keep in mind that
quite a lot of editors out there are, in fact, dinosaurs like me. 
We're dinosaurs because we've been doing this for a great many
years, and we get set in our ways.  We also don't like extra
hassles, and will go out of our way to avoid them.  Thus, given a
choice between a writer who has an accessible website and an e-mail
address where we can make contact RIGHT NOW, and one who can only
be found on a site where we have to set up an account, verify it,
and then use that site's internal communication system to make
contact, guess which we'll pick?  (By the way, I put this in action
myself on that same book, Googling for a site on a particular topic
and then hiring the author of that site to write a book chapter.)  

Are you a vanishing author?  One way to find out is to Google
yourself.  If the only place your name turns up is on a social
networking site, or in the bylines of a few articles sprinkled
across the web, take another look at your online presence. Think of
social networking sites as "the mall" and a personal website as
"office space."  You may make some connections and have some great
chats at the mall -- but a lot of people (and especially employers)
are still going to expect to find you in the office.  Don't let
them down!
-- Moira Allen, Editor



Calling all Bloggers!

Do you have a blog?  If so, I'd like to hear from you.  I am in the
midst of updating my book, "Starting Your Career as a Freelance
Writer," and I want to include a chapter on blogging.  I'd like to
talk to writers who blog -- whether they blog on writing or on any
other topic.  If you'd be interested in assisting me by completing
a short questionnaire on blogging -- how to get started, pros and
cons, how blogging has helped you promote your writing, whether
you've been able to earn income from blogging, etc. -- please drop
me a note with your e-mail. Please put "Blogging" in the subject
line.  I'll be sending out a questionnaire in the next couple of
weeks.  Thanks!

-- Moira Allen, Editor


CHILDREN'S WRITERS COMPETITIVE EDGE. Monthly 12-page newsletter of
editors' current wants and needs - up to 50 each month.  Plus
market studies and genre analyses loaded with editors' tips and
insights into subjects and writing styles they're looking for right
now.  Get 2 FREE issues and see for yourself.  


THE INQUIRING WRITER: Creative Writing Software, by Dawn Copeman

Last month Kevin Walsh asked "if any of your readers use creative
writing software such as WritePro or FictionMaster and if it helped
their writing?"

I can only assume that none of you do, because no-one replied. 
Sorry, Kevin.  It doesn't seem as if we can help you with that one. 

Seeing as we have a very long but incredibly useful article on
social networking for writers this issue, I'll keep this section
very short.  This month's question comes from two writers. One has
self-published a book of poetry and the other, Stephen D. Rogers,
has had a short story collection published by a small publisher. 
They both want to know what they should be doing to boost publicity
for their books.  Hopefully, some of you can help.  

Email your responses with the subject line "Inquiring Writer" to me
at editorial@writing-world.com.

Until next time, 

Copyright (c) 2010 Dawn Copeman


published author Peggy Bechko's just-released e-book, "Out of Thin
Air: A New Writer's Guide for New and Young Writers" - filled with
writing tips, how-tos and helpful weblinks for the serious new
writer. Just $15 from http://www.newwriterguide.com/



6500 Authors Say 'No' to Google Book Agreement
Any authors who did not want their works to be digitized by Google
had until January 28 to notify the courts. Documents released by
the courts reveal that over 6,500 authors and publishers have
declined to take part in Google's Book Agreement.  The estates of
Roald Dahl, Rudyard Kipling and Nevil Shute have refused Google
permission to digitize their books and thousands of living authors
from all over the world have followed suit.  For more on this story
visit: http://tinyurl.com/ylb69zj

Man in Kentucky Faces Prosecution over a Poem
A federal judge in Louisville, Kentucky has ruled that Johnny Logan
Spencer Jr. can be prosecuted over a poem he wrote about the
president.  Mr. Spencer argued that his poem was covered by the
First Amendment, but was overruled.  For more on this story visit:

Rough Time Ahead for Travel Books
Sales of travel guides fell by 8.9% in 2009, according to Nielsen
BookScan and many in the sector feel that the best they can hope
for this year is for sales to remain at 2009 levels.  This doesn't
look that likely given that in the UK sales of travel guides have
dropped by 14% over the last five years.  For more on this story
visit: http://tinyurl.com/yfo8y4o

But Upturn Predicted for Children's Books
Industry professionals are expecting increased demand in all
sectors of the children's publishing sector this year.  Demand for
Young Adult books is high but for the first time in two years there
is increased demand in the US for picture books too.  For more on
this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/ylla7vz


feedback and revisions.  Hone your skills through online courses, 
personal mentoring, free lessons and loads of tips on developing 
original, well-crafted writing from novelist/university instructor/
mentor Pearl Luke.  http://www.be-a-better-writer.com



Stylus Media Group Seeking Global Freelancers
London, UK based Stylus Media Group is looking for global freelance
contributors to support their dynamic new online business and a
growing global team for the interiors, design and lifestyle
industries. Whether you're a dedicated interiors, architecture or
design reporter, visual arts and culture writer, a travel
specialist or an expert within the trend forecasting business with
knowledge of consumer and lifestyle trends, they would like to hear
from you. Please send your CV and a cover letter to

Mother Earth News Seeking Contributions
Mother Earth News is a bimonthly magazine that promotes more
self-sufficient, financially independent and environmentally aware
lifestyles. Readers range in age from the early teens to 90-plus.
They welcome articles and quality photographs for two departments:
"Country Lore" and "Firsthand Reports from the Field." "Country
Lore" presents handy how-to tips of 100 to 300 words; payment is
$25 to $50 per published item. "Firsthand Reports from the Field"
are first-person stories (1,500 to 2,000 words) about sustainable
lifestyles of all sorts; payment is $150 per published piece. View
website for details: http://www.ogdenpubs.com/writers/men.html

Wend Calls for Submissions
Wend is interested in first-person accounts of literate adventure
travel with a social/anthropological/environmental awareness that
permeates throughout the story. Stories are about ordinary people
doing extraordinary things, not extraordinary people doing ordinary
things. All departments pay 25 cents a word, plus photos. View
website for contact details. http://www.wendmag.com/writersguide


BE YOUR OWN EDITOR, by Sigrid Macdonald, is a crash course in 
writing basics: everything from run-on sentences to character 
development to organizing essays and nonfiction articles is 
covered here. Buy it at Lulu: http://tinyurl.com/yehze36.


FEATURE:  How Social Media Helps Writers
By Penny J Leisch 

Social Media 101
You probably already spend too much time at the computer. Maybe you
even agree with George Clooney, who said, "I'd rather have a
prostate exam than a Facebook page." Would you be interested if I
told you that I received two job contacts and a contract within the
first week I used Twitter? I did. Do I get that response every
week? No. Are there ways to promote yourself and increase your
visibility? Yes.

This article addresses the most popular social media sites as of
2010. The sites, the ownership of the sites, and the features
available change with lightning speed. My goal is to help you use
these new tools to further your writing goals. Therefore, I'll
explain the advantages and disadvantages, as well as a bit about
how to market in these venues, after we talk about what these sites
do. For instructions, there are plenty of how-to articles and each
site offers a tutorial, but I'll list a couple in the resources too.

First, you need to know that all writers who use this form of
advertising and networking are your competition. I recently read
about a company that only tweets their jobs. They do it to lower
the number of applications they receive. You can be one of the
people who get a shot at that job.

Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter allow an individual or
business to set up a profile. Think of each profile as a
mini-website. These services provide tools that allow you to limit
who sees your information (called privacy controls), who may
contact you, how they contact you, and how much information you
share. The biggest challenge for newcomers is that you must define
your purpose for the site to be effective.

First, let's talk about each site and what they offer, as well as
how they differ.

Facebook is a hybrid of personal and business users with over 300
million users (SiteProNews, October 9, 2009). According to
Alexa.com, it's the third most trafficked site in the world. It's
also the number one social network (Nielson.com). If you want
exposure, you can get it here. Set up a basic account and a great
profile, at the very least.

The demographic is primarily 35 years old and up (Facebook.com),
with high incomes: 51% over $75K and 33% over $100K annually (Jayde
2009); people now spend three times more on Facebook than on Google
(Jayde 2009). That's a lot of market potential, and it's an
international market! I bet those folks with $100,000 annual
incomes can afford to hire a writer to help with their memoirs,
newsletters, and resumes.

This website appeals more to professional and mature audiences than
MySpace, partially because the format is cleaner and easier to
navigate. It's designed to allow people to communicate through
messages, posting to the wall -- which is like a bulletin board -- 
sharing photos, news, blogs, and more. There are also fun features,
like sending flowers or hugs, to customers, friends, and family.

Business users also add personal touches to their sites. They use
logos showing charities the business supports, company picnic
photos, and good PR news. It's very important to check the privacy
settings carefully though. You'll quickly annoy friends and family
if you send every update to the entire list. It's also not a good
idea to send your boss a note that says you sent flowers to your
girlfriend or applied for another job. These risks are good reasons
not to mix business and personal use.

MySpace earned its fame among the teens and college crowd first, as
did Facebook. However, Facebook evolved, and the primary users are
now older. MySpace still has a lot of wild, sometimes offensive,
content. This may be encouraged because MySpace allows anonymity,
which the others don't. Who needs to be anonymous to contact
friends or run a business? MySpace statistics show steady decline
(over 55% decline in traffic between 9/08 and 9/09, Experian
Hitwise). Most sources I checked give it only a quick mention.

Some businesses focus on MySpace because they have a strong market
among a specific demographic that hangs out there. For example,
this is a great place for an author of popular teen books, but it
may not net much for a CPA. MySpace is available in twenty
languages, and it's still the largest networking site in the U.S.
Therefore, there may be added value here if you work in multiple

Parents and employers sometimes maintain accounts for the sole
purpose of keeping an eye on kids or employees. Other individuals
and businesses use it solely to have a presence on all major social
media, as I do. The ease of use has improved, but it's still not as
clean as the others are. It's also not rated as favorably for
business use as Facebook or LinkedIn. If you are just starting out,
minimize the time spent here or skip it, unless you have a clear
connection to the under 25 audience.

This is the most respected and widely used site for business
networking. LinkedIn is where you share ideas and get answers to
questions from professionals that you'd never meet any other way.
Industry specific professional groups help each other through
advice, resources, referrals, and more. Plus, employers post jobs
and recruit here.

LinkedIn isn't a fast-track to becoming an executive editor at
Random House, but it is good exposure that can be focused on your
specialty. People get to know you through discussions. They learn
about you and your expertise when you answer questions for others
by responding to a discussion. Again, it's about others and earning
the respect of others in your network who can make referrals. 

In addition, customers and employers can post public
recommendations on your page, and you can see when people in your
network change jobs or location, which helps you maintain a current
network with viable contacts. Your network can be as wide or narrow
as you want to work to make it.

Because of my LinkedIn profile, I netted a job offer from one of my
husband's connections. A former co-worker of his is starting a
small business and had no idea that I write professionally. Once
that became known, I got an email asking if I would edit their
website content. I accepted, and two more projects followed, with
more to come.

The Twitter phenomenon is still relatively new. It's really a
micro-blogging site, and it grew by 1,928% from June 2008 to June
2009 (Nielson.com). It is now the fastest growing social network in
the world.

One resource, istrategylabs.com, states that 46% of Twitter users
are college graduates, and 31% are between the ages of 35 and 49,
with use roughly equal between males and females. According to
TechCrunch.com, the 50 millionth unique visitor arrived in July
2009. That's a lot of potential exposure.

The purpose is to create awareness of your presence. Messages
should provide helpful tips, entertain, or inform your target
market. Yes, there are spammers and hookers here too. It's easy to
block the undesirable element though. The big no-no is blatant
self-promotion. Like all customer-oriented content, it's about
them, not you.

The short message format is also the ultimate test of your ability
to get to the point, which isn't a bad thing to practice. You build
a following by offering information that people want, solving
problems, and engaging in useful conversation, not by promoting
your work ad nauseum. There is an amazing amount of good research
information available by doing simple searches too.

Two job offers appeared within the first week after I set up my
Twitter account. First, I searched for writing jobs and followed
them. Second, I tweeted daily. I tweeted a couple of writing tips,
a coupon for a discount on resumes, a new blog entry, and an
entertaining quote pertaining to writing. 

One day, I received a DM (direct message) from a manager asking if
I'd be interested in writing for her company. She had visited my
website and seen my writing on other sites. We exchanged e-mail
addresses, and a contract followed. The other employer tweeted a
job that I saw because I was following writing jobs, and I replied.

Many of the jobs posted are SEO [search-engine optimization]
content writing and bid-for-work sites. However, there are agents,
authors, writers, individuals, and businesses online. Any of them
may need a writer or may be looking without advertising. You can
easily maintain a presence and monitor your account with simple
management tools.

I only spend a couple of hours each week managing my accounts. In
fact, the time people spend on Twitter is declining now that the
novelty is wearing off. That may bode well for the content becoming
leaner and more meaningful.

And HOW MANY more?
Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn are only a few of the
social media sites for business networking. They are in the top
five used in the U.S. There are over one hundred others, including
Naymz, Fast Pitch, Ryze, and Biznik. Nexopia is among the most
popular in Canada, and Friendster is a very popular site in Asia.

Some sites focus specifically on one industry. Others attempt to
create a niche and eliminate annoying features. They may screen
posts more carefully, eliminate advertisements, and/or charge for
membership. I get an invitation at least once a week from someone
who wants me to join a new networking site. Just settle on one or
two top sites and don't try to cover all the bases. You'll save
valuable time and your sanity.

Using Social Network Sites
Think of anything on a networking site as public information. If
you wouldn't share the information with your boss or your
grandmother, don't put it on a website that's open to the public.
There are privacy controls that allow you to limit access. However,
we are talking business here, and you won't get business by hiding
your profile.

A recent article I read says that 56% of employers say hiring
decisions are affected by what an applicant puts on social media
sites (SitePro News). This is of significant importance to writers,
since many writers have other full time jobs. Have you Googled your
name lately? You should check to see what's out there occasionally
to protect your image and your work. For example, I used to use
Penny's Pen. A search of that term brought up a website about a pet
pig. Hmmm. Apparently, it was a very popular pig.

Brian Solis of Future Works, a Silicon Valley PR firm, performed a
social media gender study and found that women outnumber men by a
minimum of 5-15% on most social networking sites. If women are your
audience, social media is where you want to market. How you market
in this arena may not be as obvious. In real life and in online
marketing, customers don't usually hang out with your peers.

What types of activities engage your ideal customer? Do you write
about finance? High net worth clients may be in philanthropic or
investment groups. Find a reason to be there. Are you a printer or
publisher? Get in front of marketing professionals. Are you a
resume writer? Join job search forums and networks where people
actively search for jobs. Then, participate in discussions, start
discussions, and offer tips to show your expertise.

It's not necessary to advertise everything on every site. Focus on
the purpose of each site. Use Facebook to advertise classes,
teleclasses, products, services, or webinars. Try to offer some
free incentives. To do business-to-business advertising, post
workshops, meetings, conferences and articles on LinkedIn. Search
for groups of potential customers that need to be aware of you and
join them. Tweet short tips and useful information.

Another thing that builds visibility and credibility are
discussions on LinkedIn. Start one. Not only do you learn a lot and
gain visibility, you get a wealth of information. I asked the
members of several LinkedIn groups this question, "How many of you
are using Twitter? Are you networking with others or connecting
with customers? Do you have more than one account for different
purposes? Tell me your experiences and strategy." 

I received fifteen responses at last count. Everyone openly shared
information. One Freelance Success member tweets twice a day about
her editing business and books and tweets occasional social
comments. She states that she gets some referrals to her website
from Twitter, but more from LinkedIn. She keeps Facebook for
personal use to connect with friends and former co-workers. 

Another writer from the Austin Independent Business Alliance (AIBA)
group has used Twitter for about a year and states she has landed a
few projects, but she uses it mostly to learn about her industry,
"like my own online library of resources."

What else can you do? You can pitch a job to a journalist that
followed you back on Twitter. You can share a link with valuable
writing tips. You can build your personal brand and create an image
that makes you approachable and human.

This is especially important for writers who mentor other writers
or teach lifewriting skills, because personal stories are always a
sensitive topic. You can even do advanced searches to find people
in your area to network with in person. Don't be intimidated. Just
take it one step at a time.

LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook
Basic accounts are free on all of these services, and it's easy to
set up a profile by following the instructions. All offer a variety
of controls that allow you to decide which information you want to
show the public.

For example, you may want to display your state of residence but
not your birth date. Remember, don't include too much personal
information, such as a home phone number, home address, or photos
of your kids and where they go to school. Save those things for a
site restricted to family.

On the other hand, if you want to do business, you have to accept
some form of contact. If you elect only to accept contact through
the message feature on that site, you must also remember to log in
regularly. Most sites forward email from the site to your personal
email if you wish.

Gmail or Yahoo email accounts can provide an extra layer of
privacy, but you must remember to login and check them. Originally,
I had a mail store mailbox for snail mail, because I work out of my
home and posting street address on the website increases business.
However, I have so little need for business snail mail that I
closed the box last year. Your type of work and clientele should
guide your choices.

Be consistent and decide what you want to emphasize before you set
up profiles. Business people need to be accessible and personable,
without being naive and vulnerable. That's a fine line to walk in
the world of the Internet. However, it's a proven fact that a photo
can increase sales by 50%. You must be real.

Before you set up accounts, pick a photo, write a tagline or short
description, decide on several different login and password
combinations you like, and draft a statement that describes you,
your accomplishments, and your services.

In addition, some password systems don't allow you to use your
first name, two letters in a row, or your email address. You may
have to come up with one that fits the site specifications.
Remember to write all of them down.

Don't use the same login and password for every social media
website, and don't select one you use for personal banking or
logging into your blog. If a company has a security breach, that
could leave you vulnerable in other areas. Once you have all of
this information together, you are ready to create an account and
build a profile.

Select groups and contacts based on what you want to accomplish. If
you are an author who wants to get to know publishers, follow
publishers; join publishing groups, post messages about what you
write and how you build your platform. If you work in publishing
and want a new job, your messages could be tips you've learned in
the trade with subtle information about your accomplishments.

Compliment others on their blogs, websites, and successes too.
Those entries create an awareness of your presence that can result
in referrals and work later.

Twitter's profile is limited to 256 characters. With this limit,
you definitely want to draft the profile before you set up your
account. It must be highly focused to fit and be effective. There
are limits in the communication format too.

Your message is a tweet. Tweets have a limit of 140 characters, and
your followers are called tweeps. You can also send and receive a
direct message, called a DM. The idea is to follow people in your
industry and in subject areas where you want to gain information or
contacts, e.g., This Old House for home renovation tips. Tweeting
is where you gain real visibility.

Most people you follow check your profile to decide whether they
want to follow you back. That makes them aware of you. The
exception is companies. They usually follow back automatically or
not at all. While there is a convention that says, "If someone
follows you, you follow them," don't take that too literally. We
don't all need real estate in San Francisco or a daily update from
the BBC in London.

The easiest way to read and manage Twitter is by downloading free
software called TweetDeck, which consolidates the messages in one
window that's organized in four sections that are easy to scan. For
tweeting, the free management tool I use is SocialOomph (formerly
TweetLater). This program allows me to monitor mentions of my
profile, and it lets me set up tweets in advance, which is
essential when I need concentrated time to write. It also allows me
to generate a daily digest email of specific people or subjects
that I want to watch.

There are tons of paid upgrades available for all of the services,
but there isn't any need to pay. The free services work fine. One
other caution is to be very sure of the meaning of any shortcuts or
abbreviations you use. Many text terms have multiple meanings that
can lead to great embarrassment. A good source of clarification is
the Urban Dictionary at http://www.urbandictionary.com/

Of course, there are disadvantages too.

People sometimes complain that too many of the group messages on
LinkedIn are spam. It is true many people don't follow the
guidelines, and some marketing gurus advocate for breaking the
rules. Many new users follow these "gurus" blindly. Once you see
how annoying it is, you'll understand why it's not a technique to
use to build relationships for freelancers and small businesses.
You can always drop an annoying group.
One means of control is to set up mail sort folders. Send group
emails to a separate folder that you read at your convenience or on
a set schedule, such as Tuesday and Thursday. That way those
messages don't clutter your inbox, and you don't waste time. It's
easy to scan quickly through the headings to see whether you've
received a DM or an email from an individual that may need
attention sooner.

Beyond the Basics
You've set up your account, navigated through the basics, and
you're at least familiar with moving around on the sites you've
selected. Now, it's time to talk about how to build your contacts
and how to use these sites to build your business.

The first thing to understand is that this is a part of marketing
yourself as a writer. It's not a magic job magnet. I've read the
articles where the author announces instant fame and a book
contract within weeks, but that's not what happens for most people.

On the other hand, a writer who doesn't learn to market online
loses many opportunities. More and more people search online for
all of their services from doctors to carpet cleaning. You don't
have to be an Internet guru, but you need a presence.

When you set up multiple sites that describe your work and your
services, the consistency of those descriptions establishes your
brand. In marketing, it is said that a customer has to see an ad
seven times to remember it. Plus, all of these sites provide an
opportunity to link back to your main website too.

Use your website name or your name to customize the link (for
example, facebook.com/pennyleisch). Select whichever name you use
to do business, if it's available. You can further solidify your
brand by selecting colors that are consistent with your website.
Unless you are a programmer, you might not have a perfect match,
but you'll have a consistent image on the sites that offer color

Next, it's time to start selecting groups to join on LinkedIn. You
also need to find people to connect with on Facebook and MySpace,
and people or organizations to follow on Twitter. Of all of these,
Twitter seems to be the most confusing to novice users, and I
understand why. Hash tags (#), address signs (@), abbreviations (U,
R, 2, etc), and unique things like follow Friday (FF) make it look
like alphabet soup or a kid's coded message.

Give yourself time and find a good tutorial. If you have a friend
that is already tweeting, watch and ask questions. It isn't hard.
It's just new and different. This article explains what these tools
are and how to benefit by using them. There are many very well done
systematic tutorials available to teach the rudimentary skills. If
the first one you try isn't easy to understand, try another. Two
good ones are listed below. 

Now, go have fun and try something new.


http://www.tweetdeck.com for easy viewing of tweets, direct
messages, and updates
http://www.socialoomph.com (formerly tweetlater.com) for Twitter
http://www.linkedin.com networking targeted for businesses and
freelance work
http://www.myspace.com networking for personal and business use
http://www.facebook.com networking for personal and business use
http://www.twitter.com the micro-blogging platform of social media
http://www.urbandictionary.com for definitions of abbreviations and
social media slang
http://www.theavidwriter.com offers a beginner's Twitter tutorial
http://mashable.com/guidebook/twitter offers a large Twitter
tutorial online
http://j2bmarketing.com Check out Marci Reynolds' excellent
Internet marketing tips that apply equally well to freelancers,
small businesses, and individuals.
http://www.mashable.com is a leading authority on social media and
a good resource for finding out where your target demographic likes
to hang out.
http://www.friendfeed.com allows you to manage all of your networks
in one place

Twitter Starters for Writers:
Look at the profiles and posts for these tweeters to get started.


Penny J. Leisch is an independent writer. Her work appears in
newspapers, magazines, online, and in two Cup of Comfort
anthologies. She also wrote Writing & Photography: A $Winning$
Combination. You can learn more about Penny at 
http://www.pennyleisch.com. She has a profile on MySpace, LinkedIn,
and Facebook too.
Copyright (c) 2010 by Penny J. Leisch

For more information on using the internet to find writing work
visit: http://www.writing-world.com/rights/netjobs.shtml 


WIN PRIZES AND GET PUBLISHED! Find out how to submit your stories,
poetry, articles and books to hundreds of writing contests in the
US and internationally. Newly updated for 2010, WRITING TO WIN
by Moira Allen is the one-stop resource you need for contests
and contest tips. Visit Writing-World.com's bookstore for details:


Free Stuff for Writers: Free Writing Courses
By Aline Lechaye

You think your writing is good, but you'd like to see it taken to a
new level. Or, alternatively, you think your writing is bad and
could use some help. Maybe you want to learn more about the basics.
Or maybe you would just like to get some answers to the big
questions in life: what makes your characters great characters? How
does plot work? How can you get dialogue to come alive?

Sounds like you could use a writing course. No, we're not talking
about those $500-for-a-week things, or "Limited Offer!" workshop
emails that show up in your spam inbox. 

The courses listed here are all free, and they're all high-quality.
Some are university courses. Some are set up by well-established
writers. Either way, they're written by people who KNOW. 

Writing and Reading Short Stories
This is an MIT course that was taught in the fall semester of 2006.
All the course lecture notes are downloadable in pdf format, which
makes it easy for you to work in the privacy of your own home once
you've gotten everything down on your computer. You're taken
through the process of storytelling, character building, plotting,
and description. The "assignments" section of the site also has a
few student stories as examples for you to read. Get the course
here at http://tinyurl.com/yap5x3y

Nine-Week Screenwriting Course
Screenwriter Steven Barnes taught years of screenwriting at UCLA,
and now he's condensed his college course into a nine-week online
workshop. This intense course is not only for screenwriters, but
can be helpful for the "normal" writers as well. As Barnes himself
comments in the introduction: "In general, writing is writing." The
course discusses structure, plotting, and he even... gives you
homework! Learn more about it at: 

Plotting Mini-Course
Lots of writers consider plotting the biggest headache of writing.
What is plot? How does one DO it? Is plot something you have to be
born with? 

Never fear. Award-winning full-time writer Holly Lisle (Fire in the
Mist, available from http://hollylisle.com/downloads.html for free)
has a plotting course that can help. The seven-part course is sent
to you via email, and contains plotting tips and examples. Each
lesson starts with some general advice, a plotting example from
Holly, and some questions to get you started on your own work. Sign
up for the course here: 

Character Building Workshop
The Writers' Village University has now made its character building
workshop available online for free. This workshop is a series of
questionnaires to help you build your characters, define the
archetypes, and there's even a section on disorders. If you love
those personality quizzes in magazines, you'll love this workshop.

Try it out at: http://writeronline.com/ 

Start Writing Fiction
Open University offers this twelve-hour fiction course on 
http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=2748&topic=all. The
materials are all online, and there are examples and discussions
that you can read. The course is divided into three big sections:
character, setting, and genre. 

The good thing about online courses is that you aren't restricted
by class attendance, stuttering instructors, or snoring classmates.
You can work at your own pace and read course materials in bed. And
in case you forgot, all the courses are free, so you have nothing
to lose...and everything to gain. 


Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who
resides in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye@gmail.com.

Copyright (c) Aline Lechaye 2010  



Freelance Writer's Database
This is aimed at UK writers and is a place where writers, editors
and agents can meet up.  It is free to join and looks quite useful,
especially if you're hunting for an agent. 

Short Story Writing: Advice from a Creative Writing Tutor
This site has a wonderful collection of articles on all aspects of
short story writing by Ian Mackean. Take your time on this site to
get the most from it. 

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy
This is a free online course aimed mainly at young writers but
suitable to anyone who wants to have a go at writing in this genre. 


WORLDWIDE FREELANCE WRITER - You can download a free list of 
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AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

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