Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Monthly Roundup... (January)

It’s the end of the month, so time for another look at how ‘My Year of Getting Published’ is getting on…

Results from the 15 query letters sent:

1 acceptance

‘I am interested in your article idea – as long as it is ‘Australianised’


7 responses (but no assignments) - here are some of the comments:

- ‘it does not meet our current editorial needs… Best of luck to you in your writing endeavors,’

- ‘ I have something very similar in the pipeline so the answer, this time, is no.’

- ‘I’d like to keep your idea on file as there are changes afoot with the magazine’s format .’

-’ I am afraid it is not quite right for … magazine.’

- ‘we do not pay for this type of article.’

- ‘thanks for your interest in (…magazine). I’d suggest you may like to contact one of the following press organisations about your idea.’(he then preceded to provide a list of 5 alternative placement locations) saying ‘…each of these newspapers have large weekly travel supplements…’


5 no response

Am now on "Journalists" mail group for one magazine I queried.

- They send out general ideas they are looking for and if you’re interested, then you send in a developed query. So far, no ideas that I can help with but it’s a foot in a door.


Two requests to interview me: - Amazing! I’ve been interviewed twice this month.

- One was a writer who was writing about ‘blog promotion’ for Ideolog, a New Zealand business/technology magazine (will let you know what the article says when it comes out)

- Second interview was for ‘The Traveler Next Door’ that runs every Friday over at Traveler's Pen


Signed up for the ‘Query Challenge 2007’

- another great motivator to get those query letters out.



2 applications for Paid Blogging postitions

- one positive response for me to ‘come on board’. However, after reading the fine print, I decided against signing up. The amount of output required was too much for the small amount of compensation offered. Signing on there would have meant I would not have anytime to develop other writing options.

- 1 no response.


Conclusion: I am definitely the tortoise not the hare in this journey. but I'm having fun and learning lots along the way...

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Tuesday Question ???

Two weeks ago the ‘Tuesday Question’ asked what should a writer take with them to conferences for networking purposes. Everyone indicated that business cards were a must.

Following up on that, this week the Tuesday Question asks:

What do you put on a business card? Do you call yourself a ‘writer’ or ‘freelance writer’? How much information did you add ? Photos? Graphics? What makes a good business card ?

Let’s talk…

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Trends in Travel Books...

I love travel books and am always excited to find new ones on the bookstore shelves. But as I become more and more interested in the business of writing, I find that I am also looking for the trends that guide the types of travel books being published. So I often check out and the New York Times Books Reviews to find out what they have to say.

Interested ? Then check out the following articles:

Going with the Green

Armchair travel brings the world closer—with no scheduling worries

Getting There from Here

Holiday Books: Travel

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Healthy snacking gives you energy...

You’re trying to beat the deadline, your body says sleep, and your mind is starting to wander… what can you do?

According to the experts, there are ways of re-energizing. Drink plenty of fluids (especially water), take a nap, take a walk, and snack…

Now ‘snack’ is a word I like.. But my idea of snacking - potato chips and chocolate - isn’t quite what they have in mind. Here’s a list from WebMD Daily of balanced snacks recommended to help energize you:

Apples with peanut butter
Hummus (or other low-fat dip) and vegetables
String cheese (or any kind of low-fat cheese) and whole-grain crackers
100-calorie packs of popcorn, crackers, or simple cookies
Sugar-free cocoa with an added splash of skim milk
Rice cakes with nut butter
Low-fat yogurt and fruit
Hard-boiled egg and a glass of juice
Glass of skim milk and graham crackers
Fruit smoothie
Low-sugar granola or cereal bar
Mini whole-wheat bagel and soft cheese
Trail mix of dried fruit and nuts

Look’s like I’ll have to head out to the grocery store…

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Procrastination is my middle name...

So yesterday was meant to be a day dedicated to writing. No reading. No surfing the internet. Simply writing. But somehow the ‘procrastination bug’ got to me and wouldn’t let me go. Instead of writing, I watched a an episode of ER that I had taped earlier in the week, then I watched Fox News and CNN, then I watched the rain fall…. But I kept my promise - I didn’t read and I didn’t surf the internet. And eventually, I did get in a couple of hours of writing. Not nearly enough, which means I’ll just have to work even harder over the weekend…

But I'm not alone. According to a study done by Piers Steel, Canadian industrial psychologist, procrastination is becoming more and more common. Why ? A lot of it has to do with the increase in the amount of ways to get distracted - TV, play stations, MP3, cellphones, email, internet, blackberries, etc, etc. Everything is just a click away…

But if you think procrastination is harmless, think again. Occasional procrastination is okay, but watch out if it starts to become a habit. The study has found that chronic procrastination makes people poorer, fatter, and unhappier. Which doesn’t sound so appealing.


How? Piers Steel offers the following recommendations:

- Pre-commitment. Force yourself to do what needs to be done.
- Do unpleasant work when you have the most energy, early and in the morning.
- Get attainable goals and do the work in steps.
- Unplug distractions, such as television and computers.
- The five-minute rule. Commit to doing the job for five minutes. At the end of five minutes, commit to another five minutes.
- Examine the reasons you procrastinate. Ask yourself what makes doing the work too difficult and why would it get easier with time.

I have a further recommendation - promise yourself a treat when you’re finished. Think chocolate, good coffee, dinner out, champagne, a holiday…

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Friday, January 26, 2007

'Query Letters that Rock' has arrived...

I checked the mail yesterday and found the package from 'Query Letters that Rock’ has finally arrived. Only problem is, I can’t read it right now. I had to leave it in it’s box. With four articles to finish by the end of the month, I have no time to read anything at the moment. Three of the articles are in draft form and just waiting review and editing. But the fourth article is still just a figment of my imagination - hopefully that will change in the next couple of days as I start putting pen to paper.

Once the articles are finished and sent off, I’ll be able to sit back and have a good read of the book. Then I can use it to analyse my own query letters and see where I can improve. There is always room for improvement…

And then, more query letters will be sent...

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

5 Top Posts of the Week for Writers...

1. Make Money from your Blog through Print Syndication
- for anyone wanting to become a columnist

2. 100 Great Ideas for Your Next Article or Query
- for when you’re stuck for ideas

3. Understand the rules of great content
- another great post by Tony Hung

4. How to get your first food writing clip
- great links for aspiring food writers

5. Are You a Blogger for Hire?
- should be read by anyone considering paid blogging

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

8 Trend Prediction Lists worth reading...

Stuck for articles ideas? Perhaps some trend predictions can inspire you…

Retail Trends 2007: Beauty, Fashion... China
Travel Trends 2007
Faith Popcorn's consumer trends 2007
10 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2007
A look at the big trends for 2007 weddings
Food trends for 2007
Top 5 Food Business Trends for 2007
Fitness trends for 2007

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In my travels...

No, the aliens have not arrived in New Zealand. But it sure is attracting a lot of attention by anyone walking through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

This is one of the few ‘Futuro’ houses left in the world. Designed by Finish architect Matti Suuronen during the 1960s, these plastic, space age portable holiday hideaways never really took off...

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Tuesday Question ???

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m having trouble keeping track of all my query letters and article submissions. I seem to be surrounded by dozens of scraps of paper, with email addresses, story titles, and comments written on them. There must be a better way.

So the ‘Tuesday Question’…

What system do you use to keep track of your submissions ? What would you recommend? Is it better to have a paper trail or use a computer program ?

Let’s talk….

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Interviews with travel writers...

Rolf Pott’s been interviewing travel writers since the year 2000 and you can read them all at his interview archives. I counted at least 50 interviews listed. All the writers are asked similar questions, such as ’How did you get started writing?’ and ‘What advice and/or warnings would you give to someone who is considering going into travel writing?’

If you have some spare time, read the interviews. They provide interesting insight into the travel writers world…

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Is handwriting dead?

It’s National Handwriting Day (and John Hancock’s birthday) on the 23rd of January (Tuesday). But does it have much meaning in the era of keyboarding.? As more and more elementary schools use computers in the classrooms is
’the handwriting on the wall?’

Have computers forced handwriting out of the picture?

Is handwriting a lost art?

I used to have great handwriting- it looked good, and more importantly, it was legible. But that all changed when I went to University. Suddenly, I was scribbling instead of writing, trying to keep up with lecture notes. Now I’m lucky if I, let alone anyone else, can read my writing. Every so often, I promise myself that I will put more effort into my handwriting. That lasts about a sentence, then my brain gets ahead of the pen and everything turns to squiggles and smudges. And I turn back to the computer in desperation.

And it turns out I’m not the only one. According to University of Vanderbilt writing expert Steve Graham ‘many of today’s students reach for a keyboard rather than a pencil to communicate their thoughts’, which would be fine except that ’…they just might be typing their way to the back of the class.’

Steve Graham says ‘“Handwriting is one of the basic building blocks of good writing and plays a critical role in learning. Young children who have difficulty mastering this skill often avoid writing and their writing development may be arrested. They also may have trouble taking notes and following along in class, which will further impede their development.”

Sure does make you think. Maybe National Handwriting Day should be used by everyone to reintroduce themselves and their children to pen (or pencil) and paper…

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

2007 Christchurch World Buskers Festival...

I've started posting photos over at my New Zealand blog Travel Cafe Kiwi for anyone who wants to have a look.

Back to writing tomorrow...

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Seminars for Travel Writers...

National Geographic Traveler’s ‘Inside Secrets of Successful Travel Writing’ seminars are being held in Chicago (Feb 4), Boston (Feb 25), and Los Angeles (March 18). Unfortunately too far away for me…

Four of the top brass from the magazine will be conducting these one day seminars on ‘…how to write the kinds of stories that have earned Traveler the “World’s Most Widely Read Travel Magazine” distinction.’

Here’s hoping that they will be running more of these seminars later in the year, when I have more a chance of attending.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to settle for another day of laughter at the Christchurch World Buskers Festival….

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Christchurch World Buskers Festival is on...

It’s time once again for the annual Christchurch World Buskers Festival - 11 days of non-stop entertainment. So there might not be that many posts from me over the next few days - I’ll be too busy laughing…

I’ll also be thinking, taking notes, and trying to come up with angles for a story or two on the festival. I have sent a number of queries to various publications worldwide, trying to drum up interest in an article on the festival, but so far no luck. Guess I haven’t found the right angle yet. Any ideas???

I’ll be posting photos over on my New Zealand blog, Travel CafĂ© Kiwi.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lonely Planet Bluelist Competition ends soon…

I’ve just submitted my Bluelist: ‘Best Places for Seeing Stars’.

Have you entered your Bluelist yet?

If not, better hurry up as the clock is ticking. The competition ends on 19 January 2007 at 12 noon AEDST.

Good luck…

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Link now fixed...

Thanks to everyone who let me know that the link to 'Afraid of Networking?' in the 'Top 5 Posts of the Week' wasn't working.

It's now fixed. So go ahead and check it out...

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5 Top Posts of the Week for Writers...

1..How to Market your blog in 2007 - this is worth visiting more than once.

2.. Add life to your blog with photographs - for those of us who like pictures.

3. Afraid of Networking? - why it pays to be brave.

4. If You Have a Non-Fiction Project - what the editor wants to know about you.

5.Use Your ‘Forgettry’ - why we should practice forgetting what we know.

Plus one extra :

The Stickiness Aptitude Test (SAT) and Ten Questions with Chip and Dan Heath - great interview with the authors of the book ‘Made to Stick’

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Conferences for Bloggers...

Sheila from Family Travel mentioned this in The Tuesday Question comments. HerBlog are holding two conferences for bloggers - one in New York City (March 22-23) and one in Chicago (27-28 July).

Further information can found here.

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I'm being interviewed....

I’ve been busy all week, sending out query letters, trying to reach my quota of 10 query letters this month. Needless to say, I’ve also been anxiously watching the email inbox, wishing for responses. So far, no positive responses this week.

But I got something better in the inbox - a request to interview me!! I find that quite amazing, but this writer is putting together a story about blogging for a national NZ business/technology magazine and wants my story….YES…it is nice being noticed…

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Dealing with Writer's Block...

When words just don’t want to come, is there any point in sitting and staring at a blank screen?

No. You need something to stimulate the brain. suggest heading over to and have some fun with their interactive quizzes. It’s amazing what you’ll discover and it might even break the writer’s block…

For example, I discovered my Sesame Street Personality was…

You Are Cookie Monster

Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking

How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"

And Art Movement I could be described as…

You Are Impressionism

You think the world is quite beautiful, especially if you look at it in new and interesting ways.
You tend to focus on color and movement in art.
For you, seeing the big picture is much more important than recording every little detail.
You can find inspiration anywhere... especially from nature.

So go now. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. It’s a great time waster...

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Finalist list for ‘10 Top Books for Writers’

Over at Writing White Papers, Michael has compiled a list of the finalist in the ‘Top 10 Book for Writers’. There’s 16 books on the finalist list (check here for the full list of books nominated). Make sure you put your vote in….

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The Tuesday Question...

From now on, every Tuesday, I’m going to post a question about writing.

The idea - to have a conversation and share information amongst ourselves.

Question: What do you take to a writer’s conference? You’re going there to network and maybe even impress an editor or two. So what do you need to take with you to market yourself?

Let’s talk…add a comment, help answer the question or even expand the question...

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Another step closer to the platform...

I’ve always been more a generalist than specialist. I like to know a little bit about everything rather than a lot about one thing. But if building a platform requires becoming a specialist, then so be it. But in order to be successful, you need a specialty that has an audience of more than one…

I’ve been reading Kelly James-Enger’s book Ready, Aim, Specialize to get ideas on how it is done. Great book, well worth reading. Kelly describes how she started out in freelance writing, firing off query letters to everyone and anyone until at one point ‘…she had 54 query letters, completed articles, and essays circulating in the mail…’ All on different subjects and to different markets. The result of this ‘saturation-bombing technique’ as she called it was not a high percentage sell rate, but an almost burnt out writer after only eight months.

Deciding there had to be a better way, Kelly started concentrating on a small number of topics and markets. She sent out less query letters, but had a better sell rate. She had, in fact, discovered the art of specializing.

Now a successful freelance writer, Kelly has written a book to guide other writers into the world of specialization. And in it she lists the ‘top ten hottest specialties’ for writers. They are:

- Health
- Diet, Nutrition, and Food
- Business and Finance
- Technology
- Parenting
- Travel
- Fitness and Sports
- Essays and Personal Pieces
- Home and Garden
- Profiles and True-Life Features

Using this as a guideline, I’ve been working out where my interests, knowledge, experience, and passion lie. So far, I’ve eliminated the last three. But all the rest are topics that interest and captivate me. How to decide???

Perhaps the answer is to focus on one main specialty, such as travel, and create subcategories within that specialty. Or maybe combine two specialties together and forge a new specialty. Any ideas…

Building a platform obviously ain't as easy as it sounds...

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Becoming visible...

This posting ‘How to Market Your Blog 2007’ from Problogger is too good to miss. Both new and experienced bloggers will find this list of 41 tips for making your blog more visible very useful. Top tips I like include:

- become an expert on something (yes, we are back to that platform concept again)

- do interviews with other bloggers (interesting idea and a way of practicing your interviewing skills for magazine articles)

- join a blog network (must do more research on this idea)

- Join the blog carnival community. Find the carnival of your topic on the submissions page and send in a blog posting

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the post for yourself...

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Luck Factor...

I spent yesterday afternoon in the most gemmelsmerch free atmosphere possible. All electronics (computer, cellphone, television, radio) were turned off. I opened all the windows and doors (yes, summer is back - sort of!!!), stretched out on the couch, and read.

Book of choice - The Luck Factor by Dr. Richard Wiseman

Successful magician turned psychologist, Dr Wiseman visited New Zealand last year, speaking at the NZ International Science Festival in Dunedin. I couldn’t make the festival, but did make note of his book. And yesterday, I managed to find time to read it.

Based on a 10 year scientific study, Dr Wiseman has determined the four basic principles that lucky people appear to utilize to create good fortune in their lives.

1: Lucky people create, notice, and act upon the chance opportunities in their life.

2: Lucky people make successful decisions by using their intuition and gut feelings.

3: Lucky people’s expectations about the future help them fulfil their dreams and ambitions.

4. Lucky people are able to transform their bad luck into good fortune.

Full of examples, questionnaires, and exercises, the book provides a guide to improving your luck factor.

I plan on using one of the suggested exercises - Visualize Good Fortune - every time I’m ready to send out a query letter. I’m going to spend a couple of minutes visualizing it’s journey from my computer to the editor’s eyes. I’m going to sit quietly and imagine the editor reading the query, liking the query, and sending back a positive response…

Meanwhile, I’m off to the local farmers market. I’ve been visualizing this all week. What I see is clear sunny skies, warm breeze, lots of laughter, good coffee, and plenty organic produce. Sounds like a successful day to me…

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Too much technology?

The recent 2007 Consumer Electronics Show shows us that technology continues to grow and grow. Whatever you buy today will be an antique by tomorrow. Something newer, better, and smaller will come ago. Steve Job proved that when he hijacked the media away from the Consumer Electronics Show with the announcement of the Apple iphone. All this is meant to make life better. But is it?

Are we all just being over wired with too much technology? Is the constant connection with the internet and cell phone driving us all to distraction? Dr Ned Hallowell thinks so. His book Crazy Busy gives advice how to live in the ADD driven world that technology is creating.

According to Hallowell, technology has created a society full of gemmelsmerch, ‘the ubiquitous force that distracts us from whatever we are doing with the desire to start doing something else.’

Multitasking has become the norm. Constant distractions from an array of technology - cellphones, blackberrys, email - force us to perform below our true abilities. And for many, the overload is so bad they fear that they are suffering the symptoms of early Alzheimers.

Hallowell’s solution to information overload - take back control. Turn off the technology. Delegate, ignore, or cancel. Easy to say, much harder to do…

But I’m going to try. Hang on while I go and turn off the cellphone, television, and radio. That just leaves the computer…

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

5 Top Blog Posts of the Week for Writers...

Today I’m starting a new weekly post called ‘5 Top Blog Posts of the Week for Writers’. Every Thursday, I will list what I consider the five best posts for writers that I have found on my travels around the blogosphere.

Here’s this weeks:

1. How to Build Buzz Around Yourself

This is a great article about networking and how to make yourself buzz-worthy. There’s a lot of points here that will work for new writers.

2. Making Time for Travel

Tips on how to make travel-time in your life.

Apparently a large percentage of Americans do not take vacations for a variety of reasons. They worry about losing their job, losing their edge, or they don‘t get paid vacation time. This shrinking vacation syndrome is so bad that according to a New York Times article (August 10.,2006) ‘…at least one major American company, the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, has taken to shutting down its entire national operation twice a year to ensure that people stop working — for about 10 days over Christmas, and 5 days or so around the Fourth of July.’

This sounds like an article idea in the making…

3. Keep your e-query letters out the trash folder

Some great tips on sending email query letters.

4. How to find news for your blog

This post by guest blogger Tony Hung (Tony’s covering Problogger while Darren takes a vacaction) provides ways in which you can find ‘all the news that fit to print.’

And talking about news, what’s with Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell? Everytime I turn on CNN or Fox news, there they are. How can this be real news? If you ask me, its all about publicity…

5. Inkthinker 2007 Query Challenge

It speaks for itself. Check it out and take the challenge…

If you think I’ve missed a great post, let me know. Point me in the right direction and I will follow…

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Travel Writers wanted...

The 2007 Lonely Planet Bluelist has been released and now they are looking for ‘bluelists’ for 2008.

From the Lonely Planet website:

‘Once again, we're on the hunt for four budding travel writers. Do you love roaming the world? Got a way with words? We'll put you on the road with a Lonely Planet author, you'll sample the day to day of being a travel writer, then write some kick-arse content for us when you return.’

What do you win? On-the-road training (Morroco for a week) with a published Lonely Planet author, your list published in the 2008 book, and the chance to provide content for

How to enter? By creating a bluelist on a topic of your choice. Check out last years winners to see what you have to do.

Deadline - January 19, 2007

Why not give it a shot? I’m going to…

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Inspired by others...

A comment left yesterday by Julie (A Mingling of Tastes) inspired me to add a new reading list ‘Non-Writing Blogs I love’ to my blog. After all, it’s not just about writing. There are so many interesting things out in the blogosphere worth sharing…

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sign up for the 2007 Query Challenge…

Okay, so you’ve worked out your writing goals for 2007. You might have even published them on your blog. But is that enough of a challenge? As they say in poker, how about increasing the stakes? Make your query writing goals even more visible by signing up for the 2007 Query Challenge that Kristen King over at Inkthinker is setting up. See you there…

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First Query Letter of Year Accepted...

I checked my email this afternoon to find a response to the first query letter I sent out this year. They like the idea…and want the article by the 20th!!!

Yes. Success is a good feeling. Now all I have to do is go and write the article…

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The 2007 Consumer Electronics Show

Did you know that the average American household has over 21 electronic gadgets? The minute I heard that I did a mental inventory of the house. The results - I’m well below average. What about you? Are gadgets running your life? If the answer is yes, than the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show (January 8 -11) is your kinda show.

Held annual in Las Vegas, this is the place for gadget junkies. Computers, phones, Tvs, videos, DVDs, etc etc etc…

But it’s the futuristic gadgets that attract the most interest. Robots. Talking and walking Robots. What about a Robopanda? Plastic, not furry. Roughly 19.5 inches (standing). Guaranteed robot/human interaction. It walks, it talks, it tells stories. Sounds like the ideal babysitter while you sit at the computer writing…

And for adults, how about a RoboElvis? Okay, so he’s missing a few things - arms, legs, body. He doesn’t walk or talk but he sure does sing.

If you can’t get to Las Vegas then head CNET, Gizmodo, and PC magazine for up-to-date coverage.

Me, I’d rather be in Las Vegas….

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Monday, January 08, 2007

How much should you charge???

I found this over at Travel Writer’s News - a downloadable PDF article by Lynn Wasnak on freelance copywriting and editing rates. A useful tool for when you’re not sure what to charge…

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Update on Australasian Writer's Conferences...

When I posted last month about the upcoming Australasian Writer’s Conferences I was unable to say where they were being held. But with a little help from Yvonne Russell and Kim Grigg, I now have the locations.

The Australian Freelance Conference (31 March- 1 April 2007) will be held at the Manly Pacific Hotel in Sydney, Australia

The NZ Freelance Conference (3-4 May 2007) will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Auckland, New Zealand. (the website for this conference will be up and running 1 February)

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Writing White Papers Book Nominations so far…

I’ve been watching as nominations pour in for the ‘10 Ten Books for Writers’ over at Writing White Papers blog. I’ve read very few of the books nominated, so thought I’d list them here for future reference.

On Writing - Stephen King
The Elements of Style - Strunk & White
The Well-Fed Writer - Peter Bowerman
The Artists Way - Julia Cameron
Walking in this World -Julia Cameron
Writing to Persuade - Marcia Yudkin
Words that Sell - Richard Bayan
The Renegade Writer - Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell
The Elements of Copywriting - Gary Blake and Bob Bly
Advertising Secrets of the Written Word - Joe Sugarman
Secrets of Freelance Writer - Bob Bly
Solo Success - David Perlstein
Copy Workshop Workbook - Bruce Bendinger
If You Want to Write - Brenda Uehland
Net Words - Nick Usborne
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles - Stephen Pressfiild
Audition: Everything you need to know to get the part - Michael Shurtleff
The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children - Nancy Lamb
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers - Renni Browne and Dave King
The First Five Pages - Noah Lukeman
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
Curso de redaccion - Matin Vivaldi
The Renegade Writer Query Letters that Rock - Linda Formichelli and Diane Burrell
Ready, Aim, Specialize — Kelly James-Enger
Six Figure Freelancing — Kelly James-Enger
On Writing Well - William Zinsser
Writing Successful Self-Help and How-To Books — Jean Marie Stine
Secrets of Screenplay Structure — Linda Cowgill
Write Faster, Write Better - David Fryxell

Maybe one day I’ll have a chance to read them all…

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Platform hunting...

I’ve been ‘platform hunting’. I figured that if I want to start building a platform, I needed a guide. Someone who could show me how it is done. After all, you wouldn’t start building a house without consulting an architect and builder. So I went hunting and found…

Rick Steves - a best seller author who created and runs the $31 million dollar Europe Through the Back Door travel business.

Rolf Potts - a travel writer, author, and blogger (Vagabonding)

They might not ever know it, but these two guys have become my ‘guides’ or ‘mentors’ in my journey to create an effective platform…

Who’s guiding you?

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Blogtipping ...

I was blogtipped three days ago at the Family Travel blog. They had such nice things to say about my blogs. As for their tip, they suggested adding a photo to my profile. While not being overly keen on having my photo taken (much happier behind the camera), I will take the tip into consideration.

I’d never heard of blogtipping before, so I did a little research. Started by Easton Ellsworth over at Business Blogwire, blogtipping is a great way of communicating and sharing information. At the beginning of each month, you pick three blogs, give them three compliments, and one helpful tip. Learn more at Blog Tutorials.

The next Blogtipping Day is February 1, 2007. I think I will play…

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Do you have a platform?

Whenever someone mentions ‘platform’ to me, I think politicians with agendas and Olympic divers perched on boards high above the pool. I never think publishing and writing. But just recently, the word has been jumping out at me. ‘You can’t get published without a platform’ one article said. Another mentions ‘a proposal without a platform will not work’, and yet another stated ‘the first thing the publishing company will ask is what is the writer’s platform’.

If, like me, you’re not too sure what they mean by ‘platform’, then check out the following articles. They provide everything you need to know in order to understand and create your own ‘writer’s platform’.

Do you have a platform ?

How to Build Your Author’s Platform From Scratch

Building a Platform

If You Build It, They Will Come—Hot in Publishing: Platforms

Secrets of the Writer's Trade: Basic Elements of a Strong Publishing Platform

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cast your vote...

Michael Stelzner over at Writing White Papers is creating a list of the ‘Top 10 Books for Writers’. Stop by and nominate your favorite book.

And the Seventh Annual Weblogs Awards are up and running until January 10, 2007. One vote per person.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

First Query Letter of the year...

There’s no point letting the grass grow under your feet. So I’m getting right into it and have sent out my first query letter of the year.

Granted, I did get a little side tracked along the way. An old movie on television, a walk around the neighbourhood, and of course, a two hour visit to Borders. But I can justify all actions. The movie made me laugh, the walk stretched the muscles, and Borders, well, Borders just makes me feel good. All those magazines, books, CDs, DVDs, and coffee…(now I’m starting to sound like a advertisement for Borders)

Yes, it’s the coffee, people watching, and the chance to flip through the new magazines that draws me to Borders. But I did do a little research while I was there. I checked the writing section to see if they had a copy of ‘Query letters that Rock’ (they don’t) and I looked through the newest copy of the magazine I was planning to sending today’s query letter to (no change in editorial staff).

I’m all for having fun while being productive…

P.S. just got an email from Amazon saying they have now shipped my order ‘Query Letters that Rock’ - estimated delivery date 23 January 2007.

In the meantime, here's a list of some of the articles I've been reading on writing query letters. Don't you just love the titles...

The Complete Nobody’s Guide to Query Letters

Publish or Piss Off: Query Letters

Beware the Weary Query

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

'Query Letters that Rock’ is lost in space…

Okay, so maybe the book is not actually ‘lost in space’. But it sure is lost somewhere within the worldwide mailing system. ‘Query Letters that Rock’ is somewhere out there. I just don’t know where. Neither, it seems, does Amazon. But they are going to send another one out. Unfortunately not until the end of the month. So I wait…

It’s not the only thing that’s lost around here. Summer also seems to have gone walkabout, taking the sun and warm temperatures with it. It might as well be winter around here at present...

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2007

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