Writer’s Digest Writer’s Website of the Week

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Twenty-two years ago I was an Intern at Writer’s Digest Books and got my first national writing credit for a profile of a small press in the Novelist & Short Story Writer’s Market. I indexed a book for mystery writers, combed through the slush pile for Story magazine, and did other interesting things. And now… I’m on their website. What comes around goes around. Anyway, it’s cool to be featured by the company that gave me my start in publishing.

Since the folks in Cincinnati are driving a lot of traffic here, I wanted to explain why I might have been so honored.

One: I have fun extras for each of my books, particularly for Mudville and Mamba Point. Since I became a dad between books two and three, the subsequent books have suffered. But there is some fun stuff there for teachers using Mudville or Mamba Point in their classrooms and/or kids who enjoyed those books.

Two: I have some hard-learned lessons as a writer on my blog. See Five Ways to Write a Story, Writing and Publishing, and Writing in the Wedges.

Three: I have rarely sank my own money into publicity, but while I use a packaged theme for my website, I did pay an illustrator for unique graphics, and I love them. I think it’s a good way to go for authors who want a unique design but work on a small budget.

Four: I am regularly on Twitter and Facebook and I mix self-promotion with a healthy dose of being myself and interacting with others on both.

Five: I know who my audience is. I scrapped my book reviews blog once I got published, and my “trying to get published” blog, and focused ever since on teachers, librarians, and book club facilitators as my primary audience; friends and fellow writers as my secondary audience. Having facilitated book clubs, I knew the kinds of things facilitators look for when boosting discussion of a book and keeping it front and center. So that’s what I offered, or try to, and it’s the best lesson of all. Keep in mind who your audience is and what you are trying to do with your author’s website.

So, thanks Writer’s Digest and I hope the folks coming from there enjoy their visit.

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