Friday, August 29, 2008

Adjusting to the new circumstances

Since it is Friday I will keep my blog a bit brief. August is coming to a close and we all want to go outside and snag those last droplets of summer before the air turns cold [last night it dropped in to the 40s outside Toledo, OH....brrrrr].

I want to continue a bit with what I talked about Wednesday.

There are changes going on in our economy that have effects on writing. Now, while I love politics [I have a degree in Political Science] I do NOT want a political debate in my comments. What I'm talking about here is changes in the ways people gather information. These effects have implications for us as writers.

Circulation for many print publishers is way down. Newspapers are laying off staff and reducing size because of the loss of readership.

So what is the response?? Come on business minded writers...find the positive. Okay, one result of this will be fewer places to sell our articles for a high fee. We may have to sell articles for well under $100 rather than the hundreds of dollars some publications paid in the past.

This may also open up more opportunities for freelancers to fill in a gap that used to be filled by a full time staff.

Next, as people are continuing to get their information other places...why not BE that other place. If you'd like to develop a local base why don't YOU go and report on the current events, the who's who stories and local sports? Get word out in your community that you have information they can use...and they will come!

Find other ways to get in front of people...blogging seems to come naturally to writers because it is another form of writing but what about speaking more often. What do you have to share with others?

Adjusting to the changing reality around you will be the key to your success or failure in the changing world. What have you decided it will be for you?

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tough love on publishing

A couple of months ago I threw caution to the wind and gave out some tough love [wow, I'm getting those cliches out of my system before I work on edits!]

It was one of the more popular blogs I posted. In fact, it was almost as popular as my blog of fear. So today I decided to share with you a tongue lashing I gave myself recently.

Fair doesn't matter.

For many people the focus is on being fair. We all want to be equatable and give everyone their say. The internet, and particularly blogs, have sprung up simply because they offer ANYONE the opportunity to talk. I never would have dreamed a year ago that this blog would be as popular as it is. When you count subscribers [people who have the full blog emailed directly to them each time I post] there have been between well over 10,000 hits on my blog in 2008 so far. That is TRULY mind boggling for me.

The blogosphere [not sure if that is the correct spelling. My dictionary predates blogs] is also rather Darwinian. There is no guaranteed equality of outcome, simply equality of opportunity.

The same is true in our marketing. It doesn't matter how nice we are or how much we like our story. It is our responsibility to see to it that our book sells. And this is where you have to make a fundamental intellectual shift:

You are NOT employed by a publisher, a publisher invests in YOU! They are a business partner providing a service to help distribute your product. You do not work for the publisher. NOW before you go ranting off to an editor telling them that you don't HAVE to change your 17th scene because you don't WORK for them...stop! They also don't have to invest in you if they feel it is a loosing investment.

If you were going to buy a duplex house to use as a rental to earn money you would likely object if the current owners decided to paint the place bright purple just before closing because it was "The color on their heart". Why not?? Well, it is likely you won't be able to find the tenants you are targeting if the place is bright purple.

The same is true in publishing.

I think once authors begin to realize that they are not job hunting when they shop their manuscripts, but rather that they're looking for investors to buy in to their vision, that they will approach their writing in a much healthier way.

Okay, end of rant. Next time we're going to look a bit on changes in the market and how to adjust.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to school and back to work

Fall is a wonderful time to jump start your writing and marketing efforts.

The first, and for many people most obvious, reason is the kids are back to school and we have the days to write. This is not the only reason that fall is a great time to get back in to gear. Schools offer a wonderful opportunity to not only promote our writing but to promote literacy by going and speaking to classes.

When you are looking at your marketing efforts don't forget to focus on reaching future readers in general-and not simply your target demographic. With opportunities to speak at career day as well as speaking to English and creative writing classes, authors can offer a great resource to teachers.

Along those same lines is offering to speak at local colleges and universities. Consider contacting the department of Arts and Sciences or other department for a lecture.

And are you going to find ways to work on your writing when shuttling kids to sports practice, dance and after-school activities? Now is the time for putting together your writing bag. Always have a notebook, pens, pencils and a novel or two in a bag that you can keep with you in your car. You never know when you'll have 10-15 minutes to fill.

So with the upcoming school year look at ways to not only market yourself but also to build your craft and manage your time.

I have to go, I have writing to do!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Y-City Writers Conference limited to first 100 People

This was posted August 19 on the Y-City Writers Forum. You can visit the blog directly for updates at this link. You will see I'm teaching in the afternoon [they misspelled my last name by inserting a 'U', but that is me.]

If any of you are from the Zanesville, OH area and would like to attend visit the link to register. And let me know you'll be there.

This is the schedule as we have it now. We are waiting on a tentative speaker to get back to us. We will have a downloadable registration form ready in a few days, as well as an online registration with paypal.

Y-City Writers Conference
November 8, 2008
Coburn United Methodist Church
3618 Maple Avenue
Zanesville, Ohio 43701
8:00 a.m. Morning registration and meeting the authors in the bookroom
9:00 Welcoming remarks
9:30 – 10:15 – Keynote speaker
Gary Braunbeck - anthology writing
10:30 – 11:15 - FIRST session workshop
A: ___ Lillian K. Duncan, The ABC’s of Being a Better Writer.
B: ___ Annie & Jay Warmke, self publishing booklets
C: ___ Lucy A. Snyder, writing and publishing poetry
11:30 – 12:15 - SECOND session workshop & LUNCH
D: ___ Patty West-Volland, Freelance writing
E: ___ Scott Mooney, poetry
12:30 – 1:15 THIRD session workshop & LUNCH
F: ___ Sharon Mooney, writing about your job
G: ___ Aaron Keirns, historical writing
1:30 – 2:15 KEYNOTE SPEAKER Nick Conrad – catch a publisher’s eye
2:30 – 3:15 FOURTH session workshop
H: ___ Linore Rose Burkhard, marketing your book for online success
I: ___ Tiffany Coulter, getting organized for greater efficiency
J: ___ Asma Mobin-Uddin, MD, giving birth to childrens books
3:30 –4:15 FIFTH session workshop
K: ___ Linda Stanek, children’s books
L: ___
M: ___Nikki Jenkins, writing a novel
4:30-5:00 Raffle and Door Prizes5:00 Conference concludes

Friday, August 22, 2008

An exercize in improving your craft

For today's blog I'm going to teach you something that I've been doing to improve my craft. I have been reading many top selling/well written books and I'll take an opening paragraph or a particular scene and write one of my characters in to the scene. I try to keep as near as possible to the tone and feel of the scene without stealing the exact wording.

What this does is forces me to try to write as well as some of these top authors. It really gets me thinking about the way the scene is put together, the purpose of each word and the mood that is conveyed with those words.

Think about when you were in school and you had to write a limerick in English class. You were being introduced to a new style of writing. It is the same concept here. Take three or four really great openings to novels and see how they make you feel, how do they suck you in to the story and how can you do that with your own characters.

Of course, I'm not telling you to share this anywhere or to pass the writing off as your own, but rather, look at this as an exercise. It truly is. I have grown substantially as a writer simply by doing this with the intro of every book I read.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Taking a professional look at your writing

When I hear about people in leadership or growing stars in the business world, I take notice. I've become a student of success over my life and am interested in the success stories of regular people.

Some people look to great events like the Super Bowl, the World Cup or the Olympics for a vision of success. While their success might be more visible, it is really no different than the success of other great people. To get to where they are, great athletes had to do a series of tasks:
1. Train
2. Learn from and emulate other highly successful individuals
3. Keep going when they had every reason to quit
4. Smile when faced with defeat, but decide to do better next year
5. Practice again and again and again until it is flawless.
6. Be passionate about what you're doing, but don't wait for passion to equal inspiration
7. Get up and do it, even when you're tired.
8. Never allow time for excuses
9. Keep going when people tell you that you can't
10. Never believe that you've arrived

Now look through that list, is that the approach you're taking to your writing? Remember, writing is more than the book you put on paper-it is the marketing, the blog tours and the book signings. It is writing a proposal five times to make it perfect only to have an editor to say the writing isn't quite there.

It is taking a long term approach to your career and thinking about how what you do today will impact the rest of your life.

Go through that list again and make the decision that you're going to do them! You are a professional and you will succeed.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Getting rid of the clutter

This blog could also be named "The importance of a clean desk" because looking at the stacks of paper to the right of my computer is what inspired me to write this blog today.

I am working through a couple of book projects right now and so I have research sitting in piles and about 100 pages of print outs on my printer just waiting to be organized. There is no telling what is lurking at the bottom of each of these stacks of paper, when things slow down I'll find out.

And THAT is the sentence that inspired this blog...when x then y.

That one phrase destroys more writing careers [and the potential of individuals in other pursuits] than any other.

When things slow down then I'll clean the desk
When I'm done teaching this class then I'll work on my book
When I can get more hours at work [$] then I can get books on writing and really take off
When the kids are in school
When the kids are out of school
When I get my degree
When I get my new job
When I can quit this job

It goes on and on and on...

So today! Take time to clear off part of your desk! Whatever your "desk" might be. Do you have 100 emails in your email folder? Go through them and clear them out. You don't need all 100!

Maybe you need to clear out words of doubt? Then spend time looking at accomplishments.
Or maybe, like me, you need to clean off your desk.

Let this be a week of transition. Each day attack one area. Take the hour you usually reserve for TV or games and instead do some cleaning.

Hurry and do it before you get a new excuse.

I've got to go. I have cleaning to do!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Published Authors Invited to Mansfield Conference. Mansfield News Journal

This article appeared in the Mansfield News Journal August 12. 2008

Published Authors Invited to Mansfield Conference

MANSFIELD -- A first-of-its-kind book conference for the mid-Ohio area will take place 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Baku Grotto Hall, 747 S. Main St.

Published authors are invited to attend the day-long conference, said Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter, president of the Mid-Ohio Writers Association of Mansfield, a group organized to encourage writing and give area published authors a forum to discuss their work.

"Local published authors may sell copies of any and all their books. Publishing style doesn't matter: self-published, small press, e-books, POD or national publisher," she said.

Organizers welcome a variety of subject matter and genres in fiction and nonfiction (but no pornography). Authors should order books now in time to participate in the conference.

Keynote speakers at the conference will be Stacy Dittrich, a Richland County sheriff's deputy who is writing her fifth book; and Tiffany Colter, an award-winning author and personal writing career coach from the Toledo area.

Book signings will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

For information, or to participate in the conference as an author, visit or call Wickersham-McWhorter at 419-631-7592.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Finances for Writers


As you know I always teach my readers what it is I have done to reach success. Today I want to talk a bit about finances for a writer.

However, today I'm not going to share with you what I'm currently doing. Unfortunately, my husband was diagnosed with Cancer 3 years ago and it hit our finances pretty hard. We were blessed to have savings when it happened, but only about a month's worth. We are in the process of digging out of that right now. [And he is now 2 years cancer free!!!]

But for those of you who did not have a calamity I read last week something that Randy Ingermanson has done to help get his mortgage paid off. I think it could be a good idea for the right person. He has seen a significant reduction in his debt through the process and I wanted to pass his information along. Thankfully Randy has allowed me to copy this article in its entirety for you to read.

Randy is known for his Snowflake method and his Fiction 101, 201, 301 series. I've seen him at writer's conferences and you'll find his fiction programs among my suggested readings. So today I will allow him to teach you a bit about your finances. And I'm not a financial advisor, just a person who hopes this will help someone out there.

Organizing: The "HELOC Trick"

Several months ago, a friend of mine invited me to come
listen to a talk by one of those debt-reduction people.
The talk would supposedly show us a way to pay down our
mortgages a lot faster. My friend wanted me to tell him
if the math was legit, because it sounded too good to
be true.

I am always skeptical about money games like this. My
experience says that when something sounds too good to
be true, there's a catch somewhere.

I was right, there was a catch, but it turned out that
there was a lot of truth in the idea. I'd like to share
it here, for the simple reason that most writers I know
are often concerned about money. Any idea that can
reduce a writer's pesky money worries is a good idea.

If money is not an issue for you, then skip this
article. Next month, I'll be back to my normal article
on organizing your time or whatever. But just for this
month, I'll be talking about that vile money thing.

Here is my standard caveat: I am not a financial
advisor. I don't give financial advice. Nothing I say
here should be construed as financial advice. I am a
math guy, and I am pretty darn sure that everything I
say here is mathematically correct, but any action you
take is your own decision, not mine.

By the way, in the last 12 months, I've reduced my
total debt by almost exactly 10%. At that rate, I'll be
debt-free in a bit more than six years (because of the
compounding effect).

Now, not everybody believes that it's smart to be
debt-free. There are lots of good folks who think that
debt is terrific and that you should be in debt up to
your eyeballs, as long as it's debt for an investment
(such as a house or a business).

If you believe debt is wonderful, then that's fine, I
won't argue with you, but this column is not for you;
skip on down to the next column. If you e-mail me
telling me that I should love my mortgage because I'm
using other people's money to get rich in real estate,
I won't even bother to answer you. I don't love my
mortgage anymore. If you love your mortgage, go ahead
and kiss it, marry it, live happily ever after with it.
I want to burn mine.

Let's get back to the story. My friend took me to hear
this guy talk about debt-reduction. To my astonishment,
I saw right away that the plan would actually work. The
math was completely legit and it had some nice
psychological advantages that would help even more.

The problem was that the speaker was selling a $3500
software product to "help you do the math." To be
blunt, I didn't think the product was worth that kind
of money, when I could easily "do the math" with a
pocket calculator in one minute. I'd have been happy to
pay fifty bucks for the idea, but not three and a half
Big Boys.

For that reason, I won't give the name of the product
or the company that sells it. You can easily find it
with a search engine after you've read this article.
You'll see that a lot of financial advisors think the
product is a load of hooey.

But the idea is rather clever and I was incensed that
I'd never thought of it myself, because it's obvious to
any math guy. I call it "the HELOC Trick."

OK, so how does "the HELOC Trick" work?

Before I answer that, I'll talk about what problem
we're trying to solve. After all, as any of those
financial advisors will tell you, the way to get out of
debt is to spend less than you earn and apply the
difference to your debt. If you do that, you'll
eventually fry your mortgage. Duh, right?

Yes, that's pretty obvious, but most people don't do
it. I had a mortgage on my last house for 12 years, but
I hardly ever applied any extra money to my mortgage.
Why not? Two main reasons:

* I knew that if I paid extra money on my mortgage, I
wouldn't be able to get that money back out. Those
meanies at the bank won't give it back once you pay it

* When I had extra money, I put it in savings in case
of an "emergency." When the savings got big enough, I
started feeling "rich" and spent the money on something
I didn't need.

So after 12 years of paying my mortgage, I had paid the
bank MORE than the original value of the house and had
actually paid down ALMOST a quarter of the value of the
house. Pretty sweet deal, eh? Sweet for the bank,

Fact is, I made money on the house when I sold it,
because house prices were skyrocketing in those days.
But house prices aren't skyrocketing right now. Not in
most places. For sure not where I live. I don't really
want to pay for this new house 2 or 3 times over. I'd
be happy with paying for it only once. I'm funny that

So here's what I've done in the last several months to
start knocking down my debt. When I started this game,
I had two debts: a mortgage on my house at 6.25% and a
car loan at 6.4%.

a) I went to my bank and opened a Home Equity Line Of
Credit (a HELOC). You can take money out of a HELOC any
time you want, but you can also put money in any time
you want. They charge you interest daily based on the
amount you owe that day. The bank didn't charge me
anything for my HELOC, and they gave me quite a big
credit line -- a LOT more than I needed to make this
plan work. At that time, the interest rate was 7.19%.
It has since dropped to 4.94%.

b) I used the HELOC to pay off my car loan completely.
(It always makes sense to pay down the debt with the
highest interest rate first. If I'd had credit card
debts at the typical usury rates, I'd have paid those
off first.)

c) Right after my next paycheck, I took almost all the
money in my checking account and paid it into the
HELOC, leaving only a few hundred bucks in the checking
account. This also reduced my HELOC debt to a
comfortably small number. And it reduced my daily
interest charge to a very small amount.

d) Throughout the next month, I paid bills by writing
checks out of the HELOC account. So the debt in my
HELOC gradually increased throughout the month from a
small amount to a larger amount.

e) Every month since then, I've repeated steps (c) and
(d). Right after I get paid, I move most of the money
in my checking account into the HELOC. Whenever I get
any extra cash (tax refund or whatever), I move it
straight into the HELOC. At the beginning of each
month, I do a simple calculation and then pay some
extra money out of the HELOC against the principal in
my mortgage.

What is that "simple calculation?" I have a target
amount that I want to owe on my HELOC after paying the
mortgage. I look at how much I owe and subtract it from
the target amount. I pay the difference on my mortgage.

For example, if my target HELOC debt was $10k and I
owed $8k on the HELOC on the day my mortgage was due,
then I'd take $2k out of the HELOC and pay it to my
mortgage company. If I only owed $5k on the HELOC on
that day, then I'd take $5k out of the HELOC and apply
it to the mortgage. If I owed $10k on the HELOC, I'd
pay the mortgage payment but no more than that.

By following this strategy, I always owe roughly the
same amount on my HELOC, and any "extra" money goes to
pay down my mortgage.

Notice that my total debt is the sum of my mortgage
plus my HELOC debt, so that "simple calculation" above
doesn't have to be very precise. It really doesn't
matter who I owe that money to; I owe it to somebody.
My goal is to reduce the total as fast as possible.
That's why every spare dime I get goes into the HELOC
right away.

That's pretty much it. It sounds like a shell game,
doesn't it? How could it possibly work? What does it
cost, and what does it gain me?

a) Opening a HELOC cost me nothing. Some banks charge a
fee to open one, but my bank paid the fee because they
wanted to earn interest from me.

b) Paying off the car loan with the HELOC didn't change
my total debt. I still owed the same amount. This cost
me nothing and saved me nothing.

c) Moving most of my money from my checking account
into the HELOC immediately began saving me interest. My
checking account earns no interest. The HELOC costs me
interest, but the interest is computed on the daily
balance. Mathematically, moving my money into the HELOC
means that I am now earning interest on all the money
that WAS in my checking account.

d) As I pay bills out of the HELOC throughout the
month, I gradually increase my debt. The bank will
charge me interest on this debt, but they charge it
each day on the daily balance. Early in the month, that
daily balance is low. Near the end of the month, the
debt rises back to almost its original level. (Since I
spend less than I earn, the debt doesn't quite reach
the original level.)

e) Whenever I get any extra cash, that money goes
immediately into the HELOC, and I effectively save the
interest I would have paid on that money throughout the

As any financial advisor can tell you, the above
hocus-pocus will earn you a few hundred bucks per year.
Many advisors will tell you that it isn't worth your
time to do this. In a world where people act with pure
mathematical logic, they would be right.

However, in the real world I live in, hardly anybody
acts with pure mathematical logic. Very few people
floss daily, for example, even though it's one of the
cheapest and easiest things you can do for your health.

The reason the above hocus-pocus has led me to reduce
my debt so sharply is that it has changed my entire way
of thinking.

I used to think: "I have money in my checking account,
so I might as well spend it."

Now, I think: "I have almost no money in my checking
account! I have this huge debt that I have to pay off
someday! I'm not going to spend any money unless I have

I used to think: "If I get extra cash, I'd better save
it in case of an emergency."

Now, I think: "If I get extra cash, I'll put it in the
HELOC and save some interest. If an emergency does come
along, I'll take it back out of the HELOC. In the
meantime, I'll have saved some interest."

This change in thinking is what makes the whole thing
work. If you were to buy that un-named $3500 product
that I mentioned earlier, the sales-droid ought to tell
you that this psychological shift is what makes it all

The sales-droid will likely instead tell you that it's
the "debt-cancellation effect" that makes it fly. Um,
sorta. There is a smallish "debt-cancellation effect"
thanks to the fact that interest on a HELOC is computed
daily. It's a few hundred bucks a year, and so "the
math works."

But "debt-cancellation" is a small effect. The main
thing has been to change my thinking. If I want to pay
off my enormous debt, I need to get that enormous
number in front of my face every time I spend money. I
had to quit thinking I'm "rich," when in reality I owe
tons and tons of money.

Now it should be obvious that none of this would work at
all for me if ANY of the following were true:

* I don't have a mortgage
* I don't want to eliminate my debt
* I have no equity in my house
* I spend more than I earn
* I don't want to do the calculation every month

If any of the above were true, then the "HELOC Trick"
wouldn't work.

People often get over-excited about the "HELOC Trick"
and think that it will solve all their problems right
away. Nope, sorry. For that there is a faster but much
riskier solution called "winning the lottery." The
"HELOC Trick" works for me because it helped me change
from a "spend the extra" mentality to a "save the
extra" mentality.

The "HELOC Trick" helped me grow myself a spine. That's
all. But it's enough.

Once again, you are a thinking, autonomous, intelligent
human with the ability to make your own decisions. I
make no recommendations here. I give no advice. I have
put a bug in your ear; what you do with the bug is your

If you're in town six years from now, you're invited to
my mortgage-burning party.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the
Snowflake Guy," publishes the Advanced Fiction Writing
E-zine, with more than 12,000 readers, every month. If
you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction,
AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND
have FUN doing it, visit

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Internships now open

Well I promised it weeks ago and it is finally here. The Writing Career Coach Internship program.

I am very excited to announce this program for writers, and aspiring writers, to learn some of the things that have built my business SO fast. I decided to reduce the time committment a bit to make it more conducive to people who work full time.

What are the benefits of internships?
Whether this internship, or another, internships are useful because they help you learn not only specific skills of a particular trade but also the order and structure of a business. For example, you may learn about daily news briefings from a journalism course but you may not understand when and where they're structured, how questions are asked and answered or how to get noticed until you've been a part of that environment. That is why so many employers want experience in a trade before they hire you. "But how do I get experience if no one will give me a shot?" Internships, for many, can be that shot.

How do they benefit writers?
I can't speak for other internships but for my interns the benefits are many fold. There are a series of specific things that I did to help grow Writing Career Coach. I learned them over years of reading, researching and applying what I learned. The growth of my writing business has made it such that I'm not able to do all of these things myself any more. Therefore, students learn exactly what it is I do. My sincere hope is that, once their internship is done, they will be able to duplicate my success.

What is my commitment?
As an intern you commit to complete each of the assigned tasks in the time given. You must also turn in reports to me so that I can monitor results of each task. This helps me best advise you how to apply this to your own business later and also helps me adjust the internship program.

Should I have interns myself?
If you have already established your own writing business and would like to take on interns as well then you have two reasons to join my program: to learn how to build your business, and to learn how to train interns. I have a non-disclosure but you are able to read full details when you sign up. You are allowed, and encouraged, to duplicate what I do with interns of your own. [provided you have something to teach them.]

What must I do to apply?
To apply for the internship simply email me through the website In the email tell me of any experience you have writing, what your personal writing goals are and goals for the program. I need to know that you can commit up to a maximum of 5-7 hrs per week for 10 weeks to the program. I will typically assign a task at the beginning of the week and ask for the report on a set day at the end of the week. If there is a holiday during the week, we will skip that week.

Is there any payment?
As with most internship programs there is no payment directly HOWEVER as I said when I announced the internship program I will have a customized debriefing where I will help you learn how to apply what we did to your own business. That means helping you with editing a WIP, putting together a proposal and a one sheet [a $600 value]. I offer this ONLY to people who complete the entire program because I'm also teaching all of you to be finishers...not starters.

So I look forward to hearing from you and getting to know a small group of you better as interns. And you are welcome to post this information on any blogs or forums you are part of. PLEASE no SPAMMING!!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Monday, August 11, 2008

Using your influence

Today I want to talk a bit about ways you can partner with others to help develop a platform. Specifically using your available platform to not only reach others but to help others.

Here is an example. I will be teaching at two writer's conferences this fall: The Midwest dreams conference in October and the Y-City conference in November. I told both of these conferences that I am happy to publicize my appearance to my readers. That helps them get exposure to groups who might not otherwise know about the conference.

It also helps me because it will hopefully draw a larger crowd to these events. In the short term that may not mean much, but in the long term it can lead to more opportunities to speak to other groups of writers. Each individual will hopefully be changed as a result of taking part in the conference. I will give meaningful content as well as action steps to help them grow as a writer and as the owner of a writing business. This means that they will hopefully tell others about me.

But I've gone a step further. I've also offered an incentive for people who invite friends to come to the conference. This I do simply to give back to the group. I am a writer. I know what a sacrifice it is to pursue your dream. I want to help whenever I can.

So consider ways you can give back to other writers. Whether it is mentoring one person or volunteering to help a local writer's group. Find ways to help others. You will make many friends and expand your platform.

And if you'd like to attend either conference I've attached links to the names. Midwest Dreams
or Y-City Conference
Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A creative Blogging Idea

Hello my magnificent Marketers!!

Yesterday I gave you the name of a friend's blog. Her name is Nora St. Laurent and I encouraged you to read some of her previous posts. I hope you did that because I want to elaborate on some of the EXTREMELY creative writing, marketing and business development things Nora did in that blog.

As a "Case Study" we are going to look at her Rebeca Seitz blog. I've linked to it here if you'd like to reference back.

First, notice that Nora uses two photos at the beginning of her blog. I'll admit, I don't do this often because it REALLY slows down the time that people on dial-up have to wait for the page to load. However, as people are increasingly getting faster internet speed...I'm considering moving to this simple way to jazz up my blog.

Next, look at the clean way she puts together the interview. It is set up in a Q and A format. That makes it MUCH less work for the blogger. Many of you have been concerned about the amount of time that you spend working on a blog. Nora posts book reviews and author interviews. This allows her to "assign" part of her work to authors. By that I mean that she emails the questions and the authors answer. Then she must simply read through, ask any follow up questions and post.

Then from an income standpoint Nora asks about favorite books and posts funny pictures to keep readers entertained. One way to generate revenue from your blog [no matter how limited] is to make those amazon links. It allows your readers to quickly grab books that interest them. Most people will not make a great deal of money from selling books on their blog BUT I remember earlier this year about a week after my birthday I found out Amazon had just deposited $16 in my checking account. That was pretty cool. I personally recommend books to my readers that I have read and that have changed the way I look at things. You can see my list of suggested readings at this link. And these do link through to amazon. I don't do it to become rich [laugh] but I don't think there is anything wrong with offering the books for sale on my blog. If nothing else, I can keep the money to pay the annual renewal of www.Writing Career

Finally, notice Nora's tone. Her blogs are MUCH longer than mine are but she really has a very unique voice. When you read Nora's book reviews and interview questions you get a real sense of the happy and loving woman I know Nora to be. You can look at the pictures to see her sense of humor and it makes you want to read more. That is part of why Nora is such a sought after person!

So I encourage you that as you read various blogs to notice not only what they say but their style. Pay attention to the WAY that they give information. You never want to feel that you're reading an infomercial. You also want to feel as if you've learned, been uplifted or something else after reading.

Why do people come to your blog? Does the set-up of your blog reflect that?

People come to Nora's blog to learn about great books and smile. I think a person would be hard pressed to read the Rebeca Seitz blog, or any of her other author interviews, and not leave changed.

That is TRULY the key to an effective blog!

I have to go...I have learning to do!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Monday, August 4, 2008

Word association for Writers

Hello everyone,

I am so excited about this week. We are in to August and getting ready for back to school. While I honestly hate the winters up here outside Toledo, Ohio...I do LOVE the fall. The air gets cool and bring with it the cravings of apple cider and donuts. These things just go together. I can't think of one without the other.

What do you think goes together?

For you is it summer that goes with family vacations? Maybe Spring with gardening.

There are some things I want you to look at that go together as well: Writing, marketing and helping other writers.

First, Writing and marketing. I have a good friend, Nora St. Laurent, who blogged this last week about a few different people you need to check out. Michelle Sutton is the Volunteer Officer of ACFW, author and the editor of a new online magazine. Next, Rebeca Seitz of Glass Roads PR on the same blog. This is a writer who is also a publicist. Finally, Nora also had David Gregory. If you like book reviews and author interviews I encourage you to check out her blog. Nora has a highly successful group of book clubs that she facilitates and is becoming something of a fiction expert. Click this link, and prepare to become addicted.

Next, Writing and Helping other writers. This is something near and dear to my heart. I truly believe that it is the role of each writer to support other writers. When I heard two days ago that Kristie Pratt wanted to help 3 people get to conference who didn't have the funds to get there, I was intrigued. She asked people to send $2 and within about 2 days she was 25% of the way to her goal. That is incredible. She only has until August 15th to get all the money raised so these people can go without the price increasing on them.

I sent her a contribution [more than $2] because I have received a scholarship before to attend conference. I know how they can refresh and encourage a writer. I'm asking all my writers to help with this fund. BUT I'm putting my money where my mouth is! Not only have I personally donated but I've also decided that I'm donating 1/2 of all the product sales from my website from now to August 14, 2008 will go to this. There is no special link needed. Nothing. Whatever I sell this week of my products, I'm going to give 1/2 of the RETAIL PRICE [not the profit only] to help. So if you'd like to donate, you can send Kristie a payment through paypal at or if you'd like to purchase a Writing Career Coach product [that includes the new college and homeschool products I added on the Homeschool page] then 1/2 of your purchase price will be sent to these writers.

So back to our word association game, I hope that when you begin to think about your own writing career that you think of diligent effort, effective marketing strategies and remembering where you came from so you can help others get to where you are.

Remember, marketing isn't about beating someone else-it's about being the best that YOU can be and running with that success.