July 13, 2014

Marketing Your Book: 4 Things Writers Can Learn from Business



Hug for Jan




Writers more than frequently than not tell me they are stymied when it comes to marketing their book. They prefer sitting at their desk writing. They would love to hide in their little corner of the world and let the book sell itself.

However, the book won’t sell itself.

There are multi-million dollar deals for some authors. For all but very few authors. However, they have a proven track record or have had a unique life experience. For example

  • Simon & Schuster signed Mary Higgins Clark, the mystery writer, to a $10.1 million, five-book contract.
  • Dell Publishing’s agreement less than two weeks ago to pay $5.2 million for hardcover and paperback rights to two books by Thomas Harris, the author of three best sellers, including the current ”Silence of the Lambs.”
  • Malala Yousafzai, 15, will get a chance to tell her story with the publication of a book I Am Malala. The deal: 3 million dollars.
  • Amanda Knox agreed to a nearly $4 million book deal with HarperCollins about her trial and imprisonment in Italy for the murder of her British roommate.

Yes, the multimillion dollar book deals are out there for those persons with name recognition or with bizarre experiences. However, they aren’t out there for you or for me. For us marketing is viewed as a struggle and a challenge. We must work diligently to sell our books.

Business persons offers some marketing hints for authors. I’ve collected a four to share. NOTE: I’ve changed some of the material to reflect writing and readers rather than businesses and customers.


As I read articles and columns about being successful in business I see hints which might help us market our books. After all, our book is a product and a product must be marketed if it is to be sold. And marketing requires us to develop an outgoing side to our personality. Sitting in a corner mouse-like doesn’t cut it.

In this article I’ll share four business-model lessons I’ve gleaned from reading different columns: developing an opening line, sell yourself first, developing empathy, and developing self-confidence.


When selling your book (product) what you really sell first is yourself. The ultimate product is (more…)

February 27, 2014

How to Write a Letter to the Editor


Hugs to the members of the Beanery Writers Group


On February 12, 2014, the Greensburg Tribune-Review printed my first letter to the editor, Open birth records.

What inspired me to write this letter? Why would you, I, or anyone else want to write a letter to the editor?

I wrote the letter because I felt strongly about an issue I hadn’t seen in the local Pennsylvania media, yet it affects a great number of the state’s citizens—

  • adoptees (born and released for adoption in Pennsylvania
  • adoptive families
  • women who released their children for adoption

I wrote the letter to inform citizens about HB 162, which, if passed by the State Senate, will allow adult adoptees access to their original birth record. The Bill passed the House unanimously on October 23, 2013.

UPDATE: HB 162 will be heard in the Senate Committee on Aging & Youth on March 18 at 10:00 a.m. 


There are many reasons why you might want to write a letter to the editor. 40 reasons (from a survey asking this question of National Post readers) are presented in an article by Paul Russell.

I’ve excerpted three here. Visit his site to read the others.

  • The “letters to the editor” page is the perfect forum for exchanging ideas and finding out what other people are thinking about specific issues. Even if I don’t change anyone’s mind, at least it might make some people think and realize that there is more than one way to look at anything. Sometimes I think I am the only person with a specific viewpoint until I open my National Post to the Letters page and find that there are many likeminded people.
    — Renate Roy
  • Letters matter, otherwise nobody would bother writing. While factual reporting and editorial content are important, private citizens comments are no less so. Letters are metaphorically the hooting, foot stomping, hand-clapping, head shaking, tongue-wagging ministrations of a (more…)

November 3, 2013

New Words: Insouciant, Halcyon, & Glamping

Filed under: New Words — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am
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Hug for Jane



I came across the words insouciant, halcyon, and glamping during routine reading.

Insouciant is an adjective meaning unconcerned, undisturbed; carefree and nonchalant, derived from the French words in- (not) and souciant (worrying). Pronounced ( in-su see – ent)

Halcyon is also an adjective defined as a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful. It’s three syllables, hal-cy-on are pronounced halsēən

Glamping, glamorous (more…)

October 10, 2013

From Postcards to Tweets: The Byte Connection



Hug to Peg

We think that today’s “modern” communication is new. Perhaps it is, but it has the basic elements of historical communication.


In 1869 a revolutionary technology appeared in the form of postcards, a form of communication that was open to all eyes (no privacy here). It happened in an Austrian post office, where three million postcards were sent in the first three months, according to columnist Monica Cure, writer of Tweeting by mail: The postcard’s stormy birth.

Four years earlier Heinrich von Stephan, a German postal official, had proposed the adoption of what he described as an “open post-sheet” made of stiff paper. One side would be reserved for the recipient’s address, and the other side would have just enough space for a brief message. It would circulate at the cheapest rate possible.

His idea was rejected as too radical.

The postcard’s popularity baffled and even appalled the (more…)

September 24, 2013

W-P Daily Prompt for 9/10/2013: Six (word story about my dream)



Hugs for the Beanery Writers Group members


America’s next great historical-romance novel (is) written

The wordpress September 10, 2013, prompt is to Write a six-word story about what you think the future holds for you, and then expand on it in a post .

My six-word story describing my dream:

America’s next great historical-romance novel written

How appropo that this prompt is consistent with one of the main purposes of the New England travel my husband and I are now experiencing: to glean details necessary for historical accuracy in my upcoming novel, to continue writing said novel, and to even possibly schedule one or more novel-under-construction readings.

The first part, gleaning necessary details, is already begun.

For 7 years I’ve sought information on the Hingham Packet, the sailing vessel in which my main character, Madame de Leval, traveled from Boston to Trenton, Maine. A visit to the collections room at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut provided the details on this vessel.

It also clarified to me some points about (more…)

July 2, 2013

Celebrating 1000 Posts on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS




I was—and still am—mystified.

Why did my post Groundhog Day—Children’s Stories & Poems accumulate the highest number of visits ever on February 2, 2013?

2092 visits that day for a groundhog post?

True, it was Groundhog Day. Still, 2092 is an exorbitant number of visits for my rinky-dink little blog. What adds to the mystery is that this blog still receives visits on a regular basis—accumulating 5386 visits to date. It is the 4th most visited post, following Home page / Archives (37,387),  CHILD ABUSE AND SCRIPTURE (8695), and THE HOLOCAUST STORY OF A TEENAGE VICTIM (Part 1) (6426).


Statistically, CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS ranks 1,389,365th among wordpress blogs in the United States, and 5,936,285th globally.**

I’m a miniscule, little runt among 67,838,445 other blogs hosted by wordPress.** My measly 231,052 post visits in 5 years, 4 months, have come from all over the globe.

So what if my site is miniscule? It’s been viewed by readers in Sweden, Singapore, Italy, Australia, Jordan, Egypt (I can even identify some of the readers in these contries), as well as Russia, Brazil, and other countries too numerous to list—including some I have never heard of.  It’s a global connection in a small package.

 I believe it’s not the size of something that makes it a success. It’s the quality and the response.

As for quality, I’ll let my readers be the judge.


But for the response I do have some input.

Perhaps the greatest value of CAROLYN’S CREATIONS came from its connections and interactions. On January 19, 2011, the following comment appeared on CAROLYN’S BIO (and another post—repeated 3 times):


I’m not sure HOW I found you and not sure where to write this, but PLEASE CONTACT ME. My mother is adopted, and I recently helped her get her REAL birth certificate (she was denied in earlier years) and we JUST got her REAL birth certificate. She was born in…(comment edited due to private information…Carolyn)

My response? I’m being spammed, I told my husband. However, what could it hurt to (more…)

May 5, 2013

How to Write About a Mountain Top Experience




Including Schoodic Mountain, Laurel Mountain,

and Stone Mountain

I recently spent a week researching mountaineering and writing about a mountain summit experience.

Not that I plan on becoming a mountaineer. However, a Madame Rosalie de Leval, a character in my novel, climbed Schoodic Mountain in Hancock County, Maine, as a means to view the expanse of land—200,000 acres—she had a tentative contract to purchase from top land speculators in 1791.

The writing will be a chapter in my novel-in-progress, and I wanted to use it at a book reading in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

The ocean at Wallis Sands Beach, Rye, N. H.

The ocean at Wallis Sands Beach, Rye, N. H.

I’ve always been an ocean person who never gave a thought to mountains. Since my husband’s retirement I’ve driven over and through the mountains of the Laurel and Chestnut ridges in  the northern Appalachian mountain chain in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  I even live in a foothill of Laurel Mountain (on the Laurel Ridge). Yet I never considered climbing Laurel Mountain, although Monte did one year with a peace group.

The Laurel Ridge from Kentuck Knob, PA

The Laurel Ridge from Kentuck Knob, PA

We drive through the mountains in New Hampshire, and have driven up Mt. Washington and Cadillac mountains, and by the accident of making a wrong I arrived at the ski slopes at Killington Mountain in Vermont. Our family lived five minutes away from Stone Mountain outside Atlanta, a gigantic rock outcropping that was identified as a mountain. Even having all these experiences I never had an attraction for mountains, and  I never considered becoming a mountaineer.


I finally climbed a mountain—Schoodic Mountain. I did it to (more…)

January 6, 2013

New Words: Drub and Sobriquet

Filed under: New Words — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am
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While doing his daily puzzles my husband Monte asked me if I could define sobriquet. I couldn’t, so I looked it up:


If people start calling you “Mac” because you like to eat macaroni and cheese for every meal, then you not only have a strange diet, but you also have a sobriquet — in other words, a nickname.

A sobriquet (soh-bri-kay is a nickname, sometimes assumed, but often given by another. It is usually a familiar name, distinct from a pseudonym, assumed as a disguise, but a nickname which is familiar enough such that it can be used in place of a real name without the need of explanation. This salient characteristic is of sufficient familiarity that the sobriquet can become more familiar than the original name. For example, Genghis Khan, who is rarely recognized now by (more…)

December 5, 2012

What is Your Most Memorable Christmas Experience?



CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is seeking answers to the following question:

What is your most memorable Christmas experience?


Several years ago I approached people in various places—malls, restaurants, even on the streets—asking them to share their happiest Christmas experience. At the time I was writing for a local newspaper and wanted to develop the responses into a Christmas story.

I learned a couple of things from the experience.

First, I was asking the wrong question. One woman told me a bittersweet story about her third Christmas—she had received a Christmas ornament from her older brother who was serving overseas in the military. He became a war casualty three months later, but she cherishes the ornament.

The question should be “most memorable.”

Second, people want to share, need to share. I listened to numerous wonderful memories, writing down the stories. When I asked for the person’s name they held back (even though I had made it clear I was asking them for a newspaper story). What they relished was someone who would listen to their story—just listen. I heard many stories I couldn’t use for my article.

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is seeking answers to the following question: What is your most memorable Christmas experience? I am asking people I meet at the mall, in restaurants, and on the street.

In so doing I asked myself Why not ask my readers the question, and give them the opportunity to respond.


So my question to you is: What is your most memorable Christmas experience?

I invite you to share your happy, bittersweet, or funny story with me

  • By using the comment box below—you need not use your real name (but the story should be real).
  • By emailing it to me at chollandnews at

I will weave the stories into a Christmas post for your enjoyment.

Thank you for sharing.



November 9, 2012

Play Lexicographer: RIDICULOUSITY



The WordPress daily prompt for November 9, 2012, was to Play Lexicographer: Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

The other day I used the word ridiculousity and was told it wasn’t a word.

“Yes,” I said. “I made it up.”

I used it as a noun” My ridiculousity changed the whole atmosphere of the gathering.


When it came to playing lexicographer I decided to use ridiculousity. I was surprised that my computer underlined it in red, indicating a misspelling. So I typed it into a search engine. Sure enough, the word appeared in the (more…)

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