How to Launch

August 3, 2017 | Leave a Comment

I learned a lot when I launched my first collection of travel stories, Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive! in 2014. I kept notes about best practices so I wouldn’t forget all that important info, and they’ve come in handy now that I’m launching my second book, Your Crocodile has Arrived. There’s a lot to plan, prepare, and organize!

If you’d like access to suggested activities and timing for a book launch, head over to BookLaunch.US, where I’ve consolidated and organized the information. I hope it’s as helpful to you as it has been to me.

Here’s a link to the writers guidelines for They don’t pay a lot, but the guidelines are so thorough and detailed that reading them is like taking a mini-course in travel writing. You’re welcome!

NewYearsGinny Soskey over at Hubspot offers a list of 16 Professional New Year’s Resolutions You Should Actually Keep, and provides resources to help. My favorite is #2: Write something every day.

“Don’t know what to write about?” Ginny asks.  Here are tools and resources to help:

2016typewriterContently offers five writing challenges that will help motivate you, provide milestones, and connect you to a supportive writing community. Happy 2016!


Wordrates or PresslandContently’s “The Freelancer” brings us news of Pressland and Wordrates, both of which allow freelancer writers to rate and review media companies and editors much like one would review a restaurant on Yelp.

“The true value proposition [of Pressland and WordRates] is connecting freelancers with editors via an open directory. It’s an issue of empowerment for writers and accountability for editors and publishers.”

The complete article is here.

BBC AcademyThe Freelancer from Contently offers this list of six places journalists can get free online training. My favorite? The BBC Academy provides detailed information meant to help develop skills in areas like investigative journalism and interviewing.

Here’s a list, reprinted with permission from Betsy Graziani Fasbinder of ways we can all support independent authors. I’m especially happy to post it now that I am an indie author, and fully appreciate how much friends and fans can do to help get the word out.

How to Support your Favorite Indie Authors—A Few Tips

Promoting a book is almost as hard as writing one. Maybe harder. Publishers only promote their high-profile authors. Lesser known authors shoulder the expense and burden themselves. You can help the cause of good books and authors you love, with little or no money and very little time. If you genuinely enjoy a book and want to support its author, here’s how:

FasbinderIn the process of preparing for my book launch in August, I met recently with Presentation Coach Betsy Graziani Fasbinder. She’s terrific! Betsy is an author herself, and especially likes to help authors (and other introverts) polish their public speaking skills. She helped me with three things:

  • Organizing my thoughts—and my presentation.
  • Mastering behaviors that will help me look composed and have an energetic presentation.
  • Anticipating audience responses.

Of course, I still have some practicing to do, but now I know what to focus on, and feel confident that I can do a good job. I am enthusiastically recommending Betsy to everyone I know!

SleepHabits“Over the years,” Marla Popova writes, “in my endless fascination with daily routines, I found myself especially intrigued by successful writers’ sleep habits — after all, it’s been argued that “sleep is the best (and easiest) creative aphrodisiac” and science tells us that it impacts everything from our moods to our brain development to our every waking moment. I found myself wondering whether there might be a correlation between sleep habits and literary productivity.”

E-book Tips

June 8, 2014 | Leave a Comment

ebookThinking of publishing an ebook? Here are 9 solid pointers, ranging from how to think about content to what to do with it once you’ve put the ebook together.




















Thanks to Laurie McManus for the link. More where that came from…

midnight-oilI had an interesting conversation recently with Phil Cousineau about the time of day (or night) that works best for creative productivity. For me, proximity to sleep (either first thing in the morning or late at night) has something to do with the ability to access creativity.

Our conversation was sparked by Cousineau’s new book, Burning the Midnight Oil: Illuminating Words for the Long Night’s Journey Into Day, and reminded me of this article by Alexandra Enders in Poets & Writers about when and where writers write … and why.

That’s all for now. (It’s nearly nap time.)


February 13, 2014toFebruary 16, 2014

SFWritersConfIt’s coming to the Mark Hopkins Hotel, February 13-16, 2014.  And here’s why they think you’ll want to be there:

Top Ten Reasons for Writers to Attend the 2014 San Francisco Writers Conference

  • Launch your writing career–or take it to a more professional level–with direction from bestselling authors and publishing experts.
  • Choose from a schedule of workshops, panels and sessions that fit your specific writing needs and goals.
  • Get your questions answered at the Ask-a-Pro session featuring New York and California editors…included in your registration fee.

habeggerThere are still a few spots left in Larry Habegger‘s Advanced Personal Essay/Memoir Workshop in San Francisco. I took this class a few years back, and improved my writing—lots!

Here’s more info from Larry:

“In the class we’ll work on your stories, with lots of discussion and development to move those stories to deeper levels. It will pick up where we left off at Book Passage, or for those of you who weren’t in my morning sessions, we’ll emphasize strengthening your writing and storytelling through accessing memory and emotion, discovering the right structure, and using fiction techniques, among other things.

“This series of classes will run seven consecutive weeks,

enewmanWondering how to generate some income from your storytelling abilities? I met Ellen Newman, strategic storyteller, at the recent Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. Ellen has used her storytelling abilities to develop a business that helps individuals and businesses discover their essential narratives.

I love the way her website explains the steps Ellen and her clients go through:

Discover your story.
We start by uncovering your strategic story through facilitated conversations and deep listening. Our insightful questions draw out compelling details – the nuances that set you apart – so your authentic voice shines through.

travelerstales“Travelers’ Tales/Solas House has launched a new e-book program called Gateway. Manuscripts submitted here will be considered for e-book publication and also for release in print. Please submit your book-length non-fiction manuscript after completing the contact information.

shakespeareLove Shakespeare? You’ll love him even more after you realize that he invented more than 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, and performing other acts of creative grammatics (is that a word?). Here are some of the words Shakespeare Invented.

socialmediaexaminer“When did you last revisit your social profile on Twitter or Facebook? Do you want to maximize the impact of your social networking efforts?” Debbie Hemley provides an A-Z guide of 26 Tips for your Social Network Profiles at Social Media Examiner.
My favorites:

  • #12: Link Your Content With Google Authorship

    Content is published at an astounding rate and it’s easy for your articles to get lost in the masses of results that show up in a search. Google Authorship links your content to your Google+ profile so that a photo is displayed next to your content in search results, along with a link to more of your relevant content.

I was looking the other day for a list I had saved about how to critique, and couldn’t find it—darn. Here are a few lists I found online (in no particular order) with critiquing guidelines. Please let me know if you have other suggestions.

kickass-grammarFrom Jules Older: One Effin Older has just posted her grammar app to all platforms. It costs US$5 … but not yet. For the first three weeks, it’s free.

As you’ll gather from the title, Kickass Grammar, it’s not your mother’s grammar guide. For your readers, it actually makes grammar fun.

In the aid of good grammar, it’s replete with gossip. Tiger Woods is all right or alright? Marilyn Monroe; was she anxious or eager? Reese Witherspoon — emotive or emotional?

Try it (and please rate & review it) — you’ll like it.

I enjoyed Laura Fraser’s talk at Bay Area Travel Writers on Saturday—especially her suggestion about writing regular “sensory postcards” as an exercise in paying attention to our surroundings and writing regularly.

Laura’s latest book is All Over the Map, in which she “tangos in Buenos Aires, seeks wisdom from an Amazonian shaman, heads off into the wilderness on Outward Bound, goes on a ten-day meditation retreat, interviews sex-trafficked women in Italy, and reports on the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda.”

March 18, 2011 9:00 amtoMarch 19, 2011 4:00 pm

Workshop activities include:

  • Instruction in writing techniques particular to creative nonfiction—travel, memoir, food and the personal essay.
  • Strategies to aid the invention, composition and revision of students’ writing.
  • Study of professionally published models of creative nonfiction writing.
  • Writing exercises and sharing of participants’ writing.

The workshop fee of $150.00 includes instruction, digital copies of reading materials, morning coffee, drinks at lunch and afternoon snack. Directions to the workshop location in Pleasanton will be sent to all participants. Email the instructor, Kathryn Abajian, at for an enrollment form and further directions. Or call Kathryn at 925-998-5785 with questions.

“For the media, this is a Tom Sawyer moment. “Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?” he says to his friends, and sure enough, they are soon lined up for the privilege of doing his chores. That’s a bit like how social networks get built. (Just imagine if Tom had also schooled them in the networking opportunities of the user-generated endeavor: “You’re not just painting a fence. You’re building an audience around your personal brand.”)”

Read the rest of this Feb 14 New York Times article about crowd-sourced journalism.

Karen Misuraca’s new iPhone/iPodTouch/iPad app, California Coast North, has been released by Sutro Media. From beaches to historical sites, restaurants to lodgings, parks, events, recreation and more, this is the ultimate guide to daytripping and vacations along the world-famous coastline. More than 200 detailed listings with Google maps and 1,700 color photos. $2.99 (with free updates for life!). Check out the new app and post a review here.

June 29, 2010
6:00 pm

The Mechanics’ Institute will host a panel discussion Tuesday evening, June 29 at 6 p.m.: Bay Area writers will discuss the dramatically changing directions and paradigms of the book publishing industry. Explore traditional publishing routes and take advantage of innovations like e-books, self-publishing, social media, and the Web. Panelists include writing coach Lisa Alpine (leader of the Self-Publishing Boot Camp), travel writer/journalist Laura Fraser (All Over the Map), internet to print scientist/writer Ransom Stephens (The God Patent) and Twitter to print author Matt Stewart (The French Revolution).

MODERATED by: Constance Hale, book editor and author of Sin and Syntax.

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