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Interview with Karen Cioffi-Ventrice – Writing and Marketing Guru

picture of Karen Cioffi

Karen Cioffi
Copyright © 2013 Karen Cioffi

“Interview with Karen Cioffi-Ventrice – Writing and Marketing Guru” by Joan Y. Edwards

Welcome, Karen. It is good to have you here as a guest on my blog. Thank you for coming.

It’s a pleasure to be here.

Let’s get started.

1.  How did you do in English as a kid?

I actually did pretty well in English as a kid. I loved to write stories, but it’s been quite a while and don’t really remember how well they were received.

2.  When did you decide to become an author?

I’ve written since I was in grade school. In high school and through my twenties I wrote poems. I didn’t think about becoming an author until my daughter was pregnant with my first grandchild. I had a poem I wrote for my firstborn and my children felt it was a good time to turn it into a bedtime picture book. That’s when I decided to become an author.

3.  What’s your favorite book? Why?

Oh, boy, that’s a tough one. I’ll have to say my all-time favorite is the J.R. Tolkien series, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I read these stories in my late teens and they took me to a new world – I was completely engrossed. I loved them. I don’t think I’ve read anything since then that has transported me that way.

4.  Are your characters based on real people?

No, my characters are not based on real people. Although, I do use my grandsons for motivation, language, behaviors, actions, and mannerisms.

5.   Did you outline and plan your books before you wrote them or did these stories flow on its own?

Day's End Lullaby Copyright © 2008 Karen Cioffi and Robyn Feltman

Day’s End Lullaby
Copyright © 2008 Karen Cioffi and Robyn Feltman

My first book Day’s End Lullaby was a product of a poem I wrote years earlier, so I guess you can say there was an outline.

My second book, Walking Through Walls, a middle grade fantasy adventure, was created from an outline of an ancient Chinese tale. So, again, there was a sort of outline involved.

My children’s picture book series that is currently in contract was written completely on the fly. The characters and stories were created from my imagination. But, because of the subject matter, the environment, I did do research to add a bit of realism to the otherwise sci-fi genre.

6.  How much research did you have to do for writing and/or publishing your books or manuscript in progress? What helped you in doing your research that others could benefit by your experience?

I did research on all my books, except Day’s End Lullaby. For Walking Through Walls, I had to research lots of things relevant to 16th century China, since that is the setting for the story. I used the internet for all the information I gathered. I discovered facts about the agriculture and food, the clothing, the family structure, and what type of jobs they worked at. I also researched the Chinese dragon, another element of the story.

For the picture book series in contract, I also used the internet to find facts on environmental issues, geographical locations, animals, and so on.

If my books were nonfiction, I would have also used primary sources for my research.

7.  Do you have trouble saying goodbye to your characters when the book is finished?

I don’t have any trouble saying goodbye to characters. I think I’m ‘moving’ too fast to linger on what I’ve done already.

8.  What’s your favorite book you’ve written?

Walking Through Walls by Karen Cioffi Copyright ©2011 Karen Cioffi

Walking Through Walls by Karen Cioffi/Illustrated by WillowRaven
Copyright © 2011 Karen Cioffi

My favorite book is Walking Through Walls. It’s a middle-grade fantasy adventure set in 16th century China. It is a story with a positive, yet subtle, message for children and adults. This is the theme for most ancient tales. It won the Children’s Literary Classics 2012 Silver Award.

9.  What is your favorite genre?

For children’s books, I love writing fantasy. It takes children to other worlds and on fantastic adventures. And, it a very entertaining and subtle method of relaying important messages without hitting children over the head.

10.  How do you choose a unique setting that heightens the suspense of the plot and the problems of the main character?

The story’s setting is a vital part of your story. It can set the mood and theme of the story and becomes an integral part of the story and how the characters react.

An example of this is Walking Through Walls. The story is set in 16th century China. It was a time of respect and honor. This sets the tone and of the story and the attitude and actions of its characters. The time period warranted children to honor their elders and to follow in the footsteps of their parents. The story would not be the same without this particular setting.

 11.  What is it about marketing that excites you and makes you want to learn and share more about it?

I think because I have an accounting background marketing feels comfortable to me. And, because of its necessity to promote books, other products, and services, it’s essential to success.

Along with this, it’s always changing, so continued learning is a must. What worked yesterday may not work today.

As someone who teaches authors and writers to build their online platform, I come across a number of people who are completely baffled by the marketing process, who are struggling to move forward but don’t know how. This makes me want to help guide them. So, I continually create eBooks and courses to inform writers/authors of marketing strategies they should know about and how to actually put them into action.

12.  Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you as a writer?

My first critique groups, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the writing groups I belong to now, and my writing coach have been helpful to me as a writer.  My children, when they were babies, were my inspiration for writing poems, songs, and stories; now, my grandsons are.

13.  What are you writing now?

I finished and submitted three children’s picture books for publishing. They’re in the editor’s hands now.

I’m also working on a business and health writing eCourse for small businesses, solopreneurs, and freelance writers. It should launch in about a month at http://articlewritingdoctor.com.

14.  What are three of your favorite articles you’ve written for blogs?

A short bio:

In 2000, Karen was an accountant for a manufacturing company and switched her gears to writing. She is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and ghostwriter.  She is an book marketing instructor and presenter of webinars.  She is founder and manager of a marketing blog, Writers on the Move. And, for the icing on the cake, Writer’s Digest chose Karen’s blog, Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing as Writer’s Digest Website of the Week, June 25, 2012 because “it should stand as a model for other freelance writers.”

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing – http://karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com
Karen Cioffihttp://karencioffi.com
The Article Writing Doctor http://articlewritingdoctor.com. She offers content training for small businesses, solopreneurs, and freelance writers.
Writers on the Movehttp://www.writersonthemove.com

Connect with Karen:

It was fun having you as my guest, Karen. Thanks again for coming.

It was my pleasure. As a gift to those who read my interview, here is a link to a free copy of Winter 2013 Compilation of Quotes from the writers who contribute to the blog posts on Writers on the Movehttp://www.karencioffi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/WOTM_Winter2013_eBook1.pdf 

Thanks, Karen. I know these quotes will inspire them.


Thank you for reading this interview with Karen. Please feel free to ask her questions in the comments area. She’d love to hear from you.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


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This interview with Karen is part of my Authors I Admire Series:

  1. 4RV Publishing – Vivian Zabel. “Vivian Zabel and 4RV Publishing:”  https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/interview-with-vivian-zabel-and-4rv-publishing/
  2. Ann Eisenstein. “Catch the Great Dialogue of Amazon Best-Selling
    Author, Ann Eisenstein:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/catch-the-great-dialogue-of-amazon-best-selling-author-ann-eisenstein/
  3. Bob Rich, PhD. “Interview with Dr. Bob Rich: Writer, Mudsmith, Psychologist, and Editor:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/interview-with-dr-bob-rich-writer-mudsmith-psychologist-and-editor/
  4. Carol Baldwin. “Interview and Amazing Facts about Teacher and Author, Carol Baldwin:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/interview-and-amazing-facts-about-teacher-and-author-carol-baldwin/
  5. Jeff Herman. “My Interview of Jeff Herman:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/my-interview-of-jeff-herman/
  6. Joy Acey. “Joy Acey Says Pub Sub Works (PubSub3rdFri):” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/joy-acey-says-pub-sub-works-pubsub3rdfri/
  7. Juliana Jones. “Top Ten Reasons I Love Being a Part of PubSub3rdFriday! by Juliana Jones:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/top-ten-reasons-i-love-being-a-part-of-pubsub3rdfriday-by-juliana-jones/
  8. Linda Andersen. “Linda Andersen Is Proof That PubSub3rdFri Works:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/linda-andersen-is-proof-that-pubsub3rdfri-works/
  9. Linda Andersen. “What Entices You to Submit Your Writing:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/what-entices-you-to-submit-your-writing-by-linda-andersen-guest-blogger-pubsub3rdfri/
  10. Margaret Fieland “Interview with Intriguing Sci-Fi Author and Editor, Margaret Fieland:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/interview-with-intriguing-sci-fi-author-and-editor-margaret-fieland/
  11. Maureen Wartski. “In Memoriam: Interview with Maureen Wartski, Artist, Author, and Friend:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/in-memoriam-interview-with-maureen-wartski-artist-author-and-friend/
  12. Megan Vance. “Interview and Great Writing Tips from Author Megan Vance:”
  13. Nicole Thompson-Andrews. “Nicole Thompson-Andrews Loves Pub Subbing:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/nicole-thompson-andrews-loves-pub-subbing/
  14. Samantha Bell. “An Interview with Samantha Bell – Impressive and Talented Author and Illustrator:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/an-interview-with-samantha-bell-impressive-and-talented-author-and-illustrator/
  15. Sandra Warren. “Fascinating Ideas and Advice from Sandra Warren, Author:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/fascinating-ideas-and-advice-from-sandra-warren-author/

16 Responses

  1. Wow, Joan, thank you so much for such a thorough and wonderful interview. I’m thrilled to be here!


    • Dear Karen,
      You are very welcome. I’m delighted that you’re here as my guest. I enjoyed learning about you.

      Celebrate you every day!
      Never Give Up


  2. Thanks for the wonderful interview, Karen and Joan! I agree that critique groups are SO very important, and that SCBWI is helpful, as well. Best of luck to you, Karen! = )


    • Dear Becky,
      Thanks for writing. You and Karen are right. Critique groups are very important to a writer. Getting feedback to see if you wrote what you planned to write.

      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up


    • Becky, thank you for stopping by. It’s important to find a critique group that’s right for you – when you do, they’re a great help.

      And, yes, the SCBWI was so helpful to me in the beginning. The members there are very generous with their time and experience.


  3. I love that an accountant can pair skill with numbers with a love of words. And a love of helping other writers share her Joy. The latter goes for both Joan (our blogger) and Karen.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Loving helping writers get read with my HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including the multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) .


    • Dear Carolyn,
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. You love helping others, too. In my experience, most writers are eager to share what they’ve learned with others. Ah! The world is full of wonderful people like you and Karen!

      Celebrate you and all you do to help people
      Never Give Up


    • Carolyn, as a former accountant I have a keen eye for details that I may not have had otherwise. It helps in my editing and it helps in my business writing and the marketing arena.

      Not quite sure if it plays a factor in my children’s writing though. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  4. Joan,
    Another hit interview.

    I am glad you decided to switch gears. The writing world needs you and so do your readers.


    • Linda, Thank you so much for your kind words. And, thank you for stopping by!


    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you liked the interview with Karen. Thanks for saying it was a “Hit interview.” What a nice thing to say!

      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you liked the interview with Karen. Thanks for saying it was a “Hit interview.” What a nice thing to say!

      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  5. Thanks for this interview, Joan. And Karen, I really appreciate the marketing tips and encouragement because it is NOT my forte but you make it sound easy!


    • Dear Linda Vigen Phillips,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you liked the interview with Karen. I hope her marketing tips and encouragement helps you soar.

      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up


  6. Thank you Karen and Joan for a wonderful interview. As one who is “completely baffled” at times, I appreciate your marketing tips! Thank you for the great Writers on the Move book!


    • Dear Ann,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad that you enjoyed the interview with Karen. You are right, Karen is great at unbaffling marketing for us.

      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up


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