Category Archives: Contests, Giveways, Drawings

Join Me May 5 at Arts on the Ridge, Ridgeway, SC

Arts on the Ridge Literary Festival, Century House, Ridgeway, SC

I am super excited. I am a featured author on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at the Arts on the Ridge, Literary Festival at the Century House, 170 S Dogwood Ave in Ridgeway, SC from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. I’ll do readings from Flip Flap Floodle and Joan’s Elder Care Guide at 10:45 am. I will be able to answer a few questions, too. I hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the area. I’ll have copies of both books for sale. I’ll be happy to autograph them for you. I’d love to see your smiling face. 

11 other authors (bios below) will be there on Saturday to greet you, too. Come join us for a great time. 

Free parking is available in the Cotton Yard.

Ridgeway merchants will be offering show specials throughout the town.

The 12th Annual Arts on the Ridge Art Show & Sale will be held on May 4th and 5th in downtown Ridgeway, SC. This year’s theme “Opening Doors to the Arts and Beauty of Small Town Life” has inspired yarnbombing of 15 downtown objects, a Literary Festival with a gallery of 12 published authors, a juried photography, juried plein air painting and open art show & sale featuring cash prizes.

“We are so wealthy,” explained event Chair, Phyllis Gutierrez. “Our community is so blessed with a treasure chest of talented painters, sculptors, photographers, and artists that it is easy to overlook the large number of published authors that live here among us. This year we are excited to be including and celebrating the literary side of art with a gallery of 12 published authors who will be available for book signings and one-on-one discussions of their craft.”

The St. Stephen’s Art and Fiber Guild will be covering trees, lampposts, benches, road signs, rocking chairs and more with colorful yarn craft in an effort to make a statement regarding how important arts and crafts are to the community.

Friday evening, May 4th from 6 to 8 p.m., visitors are invited to preview the art exhibition and sale and vote for the People’s Choice award. A juried photography show and sale and a juried plein air painting show and sale are on exhibit along with the open art categories both Friday evening and all day on Saturday at the Century House. Vendors featuring hand crafted items will be located on the Century House grounds.

Arts on the Ridge Literary Festival, Century House, Ridgeway, SC

Saturday, May 5 events will kick off at 10:00 a.m. with performances by students from Geiger Elementary School. At 10:20 visitors can enjoy a presentation by Doug and Louise Ruff, members of the Go Forth Ridgeway Chapter of the Institute for Cultural Communication.

The Literary Festival will kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday with authors scheduled to be on hand from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Century House. The Authors Gallery includes published authors Johnny Bloodworth, Tim Conroy, Lisa Anne Cullen, Joan Y. Edwards, Mike Long III, James D. McCallister, Beaty Miller, Betty Parker, Tom Poland, Raegan Teller, Marv Ward and Millie West.

The authors will also be public speakers for our “Meet Me On The Porch” feature at these scheduled times: Ward 10:30am, Edwards 10:45am, Conroy 11:00am, Teller 11:15am, Bloodworth 11:30am, Parker 11:45am, Long 12:00 noon, Cullen 12:15pm, West 12:30pm, McCallister 12:45pm, Miller 1:00pm and Poland 1:15pm.

Here are bios of Featured Authors:

JOHNNY BLOODWORTH says, “We Southerners are more a product of our place and time than other aspects of our being. I am a storyteller, and when I tell a story, I need to connect to place and time. My roots are Georgia, but South Carolina is home. My places are Columbia where I grew up and worked, and the Cedar Creek community near Blythewood where my wife Sandra and I have lived for forty-five years. Before writing Gift, my story telling consisted of turning an incident or a joke into a tale about friends or family. Gift added discipline to the creative process.”

TIM CONROY is a former special education teacher, school administrator, and vice president of the South Carolina Autism Society. His poetry, essays, and fiction have been published in literary journals, magazines, and compilations, including Fall Lines, University of Georgia Press, Auntie Bellum, Jasper, Blue Mountain Review, and Marked by Water. In 2017, Muddy Ford Press published his first book of poetry, Theologies of Terrain, edited by Ed Madden, poet laureate of the City of Columbia. A founding board member of the Pat Conroy Literary Center established in his brother’s honor, Conroy lives and writes in Columbia.

LISA ANNE CULLEN is the author or editor of eight children’s books and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing for children and pairs this passion with her love of illustration, art, photography, and screenwriting. Cullen has won awards for her artistic and written works and finds pure joy in connecting with the natural world. Her author-illustrated, picture book folktales Little Orange Honey Hood and Three Wild Pigs are being released through the University of South Carolina Press/Young Palmetto Books spring and fall of 2018.

JOAN Y. EDWARDS is the author/illustrator of folktale Flip Flap Floodle, a happy little duck who never gives up on his song even in Mr. Fox’s belly. She is author of 4RV Publishing’s Joan’s Elder Care Guide. It is full of practical hints and resources to promote healing and make care-giving easier. She has a Master of Arts in Education and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the Charlotte Writers Club. She and her husband, Carl watch humorous mysteries, like Columbo and Monk. They relax at the beach and in the mountains.  Dream! Love! Laugh! Never Give Up!

MCKENDREE R. (Mike) LONG III is a retired soldier with two combat tours and the author of several Western novels: Brodie, Higher Ground, Dog Soldier Moon, and No Good Like It Is. His awards include the Parachutist Badge and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He and his wife Mary have two married daughters, four grandchildren, and four great-grands.  He holds a BS in Business Administration and is also a retired financial consultant. He’s a member of Western Writers of America, South Carolina Writers Association, and SERTOMA.

JAMES D. McCALLISTER, besides working as a media archivist, newspaper columnist, small business owner and educator, is the author of numerous academic and magazine publications. His fiction efforts are highlighted by a short story collection and four novels including his latest, Dogs of Parsons Hollow (Mind Harvest Press, 2018). Along with a number of awards for short fiction, McCallister’s upcoming novel Dixiana (2019) was a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom award. A lifelong South Carolinian, McCallister resides in West Columbia, SC, with his wife Jenn and their beloved brood of cats, muses all.

BEATY MILLER broke the Mennonite tradition of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and continued her education past eighth grade and graduated from high school—the first to do so in her family. At nineteen years of age, she accepted the position to teach at a parochial school. Later, she resumed a full-time job as a secretary.  After a promotion to the office manager, Miller started classes at Reading Area Community College and earned an Associate Degree to become a registered nurse. She began a twenty-year geriatrics career, ending as a Personal Care Home Administrator. After Miller and her husband relocated to Rock Hill, she wrote her memoir, My Last Name is Grace.

BETTY PARKER is a professional speaker, author, and trainer. In 2006, she started Sharper Development Solutions, Inc., a training and development company specializing in leadership skills training and coaching.  Betty is a regular guest host on WLXC-FM’s “N Touch” community affairs program and is often sought out as a speaker for conferences and events.  She is at work on her next book, Defeating Goliath:  A Lesson in Solving People Problems.  Parker is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) through the Association for Talent Development and a Certified Professional Coach.

TOM POLAND, a Southern writer, has works appearing in magazines throughout the South. Among his recent books are Classic Carolina Road Trips From Columbia, Georgialina, A Southland, As We Knew It, and Reflections of South Carolina, Vol. II. Swamp Gravy, Georgia’s Official Folk Life Drama, staged his play, Solid Ground. Poland writes a weekly column for newspapers and journals about the South, its people, traditions, lifestyle, and changing culture and speaks to groups across South Carolina and Georgia. He’s the editor of “Shrimp, Collards & Grits,” a Lowcountry lifestyle magazine. His new book, South Carolina Country Roads, will be released April 16, 2018. Tom lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

RAEGAN TELLER is the award-winning author of the Enid Blackwell series. Murder in Madden (Pondhawk Press, 2016) was her debut novel, followed by The Last Sale (2018). Both mystery novels were inspired by real-life cold cases in Columbia, where she lives with her husband and two cats. Teller writes about small town intrigue, family secrets, and tales of murder, and uses fiction to bring closure where there was none in real-life. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Queens University, Charlotte, and a member of Sisters in Crime, South Carolina Writers Association, and Charlotte Writers Club. More info at

MARV WARD, Reverend,” a blues and Americana singer, songwriter, and guitarist, has performed throughout the United States with some of the most well-known musical artists. Listed in An Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians, Ward writes poetry with the same passion with which he composes his songs. His latest collection “One Lone Minstrel,” represents some earlier work, as well as recent efforts. A native of Lorton, Virginia, Ward lives in Columbia, South Carolina, and has two sons. He previously served in the United States Naval Reserve and has worked in broadcast and educational television throughout North and South Carolina.

MILLIE WEST is a South Carolina history buff who has spent countless hours exploring the rich historical vestiges of her home state. She is the author of two novels, The Cast Net and Catherine’s Cross. In 2018, a second novel in The Cast Net trilogy, Of Sun and Rain will be released. Millie has also written three screenplays, an adaptation of her novel Catherine’s Cross, and Amelia Was Here! Her third screenplay, Dr. Portia, chronicles the life of Dr. Portia Lubchenco, the first female graduate of the NC Medical College. West is an University of South Carolina graduate and resides with her family near Columbia. More info at

I’d love to hear from you. Click comment below and scroll down.


Never Give Up because YOU ARE AWESOME!

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2018 Joan Y. Edwards


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Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2018 Joan Y. Edwards


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,659 other followers

Please subscribe now to join over 442 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

Celebrate 500,000 Views with Me

“Celebrate 500,000 Views with Me” by Joan Y. Edwards


On Thursday, February 16, 2018 the number of views for my Never Give Up blog reached 500,000 views! I am very excited! Throwing confetti in the air. Thank you to each and every one of you who made this possible! 
This is the 680th post. The day with the highest number of views was September 30, 2014 with 960 views. It has 343 subscribers and 6,855 comments. 
Top Blog Posts

50 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts 265,981
22 Literary Agents Who Are Looking for You 55,923
Home page / Archives 22,073
How Many Words Should Your Sentences Contain? 19,347
What Is the Purpose of Dialogue in Your Story? 10,056
7 Questions to Make Sure Your Plot Has Believable Consequences 7,882
Family Sewing Projects – Jedi Robes and Princess Leia Ponchos 6,841
Prayers for Writers and Patron Saint of Writers 4,310
What Are Easy Readers? 4,072
Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story 3,808
What Is Your Story’s Premise? Editors Want to Know 3,212
About Me 2,893
Wonderfully Funny Analogies and Metaphors 2,798
Week 1 2,692
Twelve Ways to Get Over Disappointment 2,691
Pub Subbers 2,636
You Are Special – One of a Kind 2,358
17 Days to Repaint a Wooden French Provincial Bed 2,348
First Lines from Non-Fiction Best Sellers 2,312
Eight Character Archetypes to Emphasize the Conflict in Your Story 2,078
God Will Show You How by Mary L. Kupferle public domain 2,032
What’s Your Excuse for Not Submitting Your Manuscript? 1,385
Vary Your sentences: Begin with a Different Part of Speech 1,327
What I Learned about the Adams Literary Agency 1,324
Week 2 1,305
Ten Minutes a Day to Good Writing Using Seven Senses 1,284
What I Learned from the book “How Full Is Your Bucket?” 1,235
God’s Emergency Phone List 1,198
Apples Are Growing on My “Cherry” Tree 1,090
Backstory: In Description, Dialogue, and Flashback 1,047
“Let’s Face It – English Is a Crazy Language” by Richard Lederer 1,000


While writing the blog, I’ve gone to conferences, presented workshops at conferences, presented workshops for my critique group, wrote Joan’s Elder Care Guide,  and in 2016 4RV Publishing published Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive. I’ve also dealt with life. I’ve found that writing this blog gives me stability even when my world seems unstable, when life enters in with challenges. When I’m down, I try to write something to calm myself and hope that it resonates to help you, my readers, too. When you leave comments, you put a lot of joy into my heart and help me survive the little things and the big things in my life. Thank you very much for that.


Together, we’ll continue to survive. When we look at the picture in the future, our writing’s improved, our stories are published, our illustrations are great and delightful. Keep that picture in your mind. Keep on going. You’ll get there. I’ll get there. We’ll get there.


bicycling-003 from gif org
Keep on Going! You’ll Get There! 



Thank you to everyone who read this post. A special thanks to the following people who left comments on this blog before midnight February 24, 2018!

  1. Flight up (Joan Reid) 
  2. Stepmom Shawn  (Shawn Simon)
  3. Sharon Willett
  4. Maureen Crites
  5. Linda Andersen
  6. bmadole (Brenda Madole)
  7. Samantha Bell
  8. Sandra Warren
  9. Kathleen Burkinshaw (asked not to be included in the drawing)
  10. Carol Baldwin (asked not to be included in the drawing)

I asked to choose 3 numbers between 1 and 8. 

Random chose 4, 1, and 5. Therefore, Congratulations! Maureen Crites, Joan Reid, and Linda Andersen. You won a choice of a free paperback copy of either Flip Flap Floodle or Joan’s Elder Care GuidePlease send me your choice of books and your snail mailing address to me at Also, tell me the person for whom you would like them autographed.




Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2018 Joan Y. Edwards


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,659 other followers

Please subscribe now to join over 443 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

Spivey’s Web, a Christmas Story: Interview with Author, Sandra Warren

“Spivey’s Web, a Christmas Story: Interview with Author, Sandra Warren” by Joan Y. Edwards

Spivey's Web cover 300 dpi (1)
Spivey’s Web written by Sandra Warren; illustrated by Susan Fitzgerald. Available on Amazon.

Today, it is an honor to interview Sandra Warren, author of Spivey’s Web. Thanks for coming today, Sandra. I want to hear all about SPIVEY’S WEB, a picture book that’s out now that you had in your head for 15+ years! 

I’m so glad to be here. 

Sandra Warren

1.Tell us about Spivey’s Web.

I am very excited that Spivey’s Web is out now since it has a Christian twist at the end. It’s about a spider who wants to spin a web of her own design, not the expected web for a barn spider. After being ridiculed for her efforts, she moves to a window high in the loft and when the Star of David shines through, it sprinkles stars, like a disco ball, around a manger and calms a very special baby. Although the baby is not named, you can tell by the illustration that it’s the baby Jesus. I love the last line….My web didn’t catch flies. It caught the light!

Spivey’s web is more than a Christmas story, however. It’s also about having the courage to follow your heart and do what makes you happy even when everyone around says it can’t be done or it’s never been done like that. From Spivey we learn to never give up.

Writers take heed. When agents and editors say, no, no, sorry no, we have to keep at it and never give up because if we do, we’ll never know how close we came and we’ll never know what amazing things might come from our creative, imaginative minds. We all need Spivey’s courage to spin a web of our own design.

2. Did you submit Spivey’s Web to traditional publishers? Christian markets? 

Sandra: I tried for years to get Spivey’s Web traditionally published, but it was too secular for the Christian market and too Christian for the secular market. A major agent loved it until she got to the end and realized it was a holiday/Christian theme. She said she doesn’t do holiday books. Although I was still holding out for a traditional publisher, everything changed when I met an amazing artist.

3. Marvelous illustrations. Who is the illustrator? 

Sandra: Susan Fitzgerald, one of our part-time neighbors at Hidden Lake is a FINE artist who approached me asking if I’d LET her illustrate a manuscript of mine. I was floored because she’s an amazing artist who exhibits full-time in a gallery in Jacksonville. Her concept of Spivey and all her illustrations are fabulous in my opinion.

4. Did you encounter any problems with the formatting of the book?

Sandra: Oh my, yes! One problem we had that took us almost a day to figure out was that we were trying to put a landscape/horizontal illustration into a square template. A landscape picture book template was not offered by the company we chose. We also had trouble balancing the required minimum 300 dpi of each illustration for printing. It’s tricky to send illustrations through email without losing dpi. Now we know how to do it. Our original vision was to have a horizontal format with illustrations that bled off the page–flowed to the very edges. But because of issues with the horizontal formatting of the original artwork, we had to compensate by reducing the size of each illustration allowing for a border or frame around each. 

Here are suggestions if you’re self-publishing a book:

  • Make sure you download the publisher’s PDF Specification Guide from CreateSpace or other publisher and read it before beginning to make sure they print books in the size and format you want.
  • Don’t be afraid to contact Support if you have any questions. The folks at CreateSpace are very helpful! 

Despite all the formatting issues, we’re thrilled with the end result that Spivey’s Web is now available online.

Thanks for being a guest on my blog, Sandra. Thank you for offering a giveaway, too.

Winners of the Giveaway:

Between December 10th and midnight yesterday, December 21, 2017, the following six people left a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a free autographed copy of “Spivey’s Web:”
1. Sarah Maury Swan
2. Gretchen Griffith
3. Dr. Bob Rich
4. Linda Andersen Gutheil
5. Lisa Anne Cullen
6. Barbara Bockman

Thank you to all those who left a comment! You make my blog sparkle with excitement. chose number 4 and number 1 for the two winners:
Therefore, Sarah Maury Swan and Linda Andersen are the winners. I will send you Sandra Warren’s email address so you can email her your snail mail address so she can send your prize – an autographed copy of the beautiful picture book, “Spivey’s Web.” Congratulations! Yippee!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sandra Warren’s website:

Sandra’s blog:

Other books by Sandra Warren:

Bomber Book Cover

Arlie alligator bookcover

Hidden-Casualties book cover

When-Duty-Called book cover


To leave a comment, click below and scroll to the bottom of the page.


Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Flip Flap Floodle, Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?
Joan’s Elder Care Guide A guide to help caregivers find ways to meet their needs and those of their elders to help them survive.


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  1. Never Give Up image
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  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators











Happy 8th Blogaversary

7 balloons filled with helium and tied together with a string.
Happy 8th Blogaversary Image Credit: Pixabay


“Happy 8th Blogaversary” by Joan Y. Edwards

It’s hard to believe that it has been 8 years since I started this blog. Oh my goodness! Thank you for reading and following my blog. I have had fun getting to know each of you who have responded in the comment area. I smile each time I receive an email saying that one of you subscribed to my blog. Those things mean a lot to me. They tell me that what I’ve written means something to you the reader. That’s an awesome experience and a great privilege and honor.

I started it on October 9, 2009. At the time, I didn’t know what I was going to write. I just knew that I wanted to write articles to inspire people to keep reaching for their goals and to never give up.

My focus has been inspiration, education, laughter for everyone.

For writers, I’ve placed special emphasis on articles about writing, revising, and marketing a manuscript. I developed PubSubbers plan with detailed steps to get a manuscript ready for submission. PubSubbers and Week 1 have received more than 2,000 views. I researched publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts and listed them in a blog post.

Pub Subbers
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

The last two years, I’ve added a focus on adding inspiration, education, and laughter for artists and illustrators because as I’ve needed a little help and encouragement myself as I’ve worked on the illustrations for my chapter book, Larry, the Terrifying Turkey.  It will have at least 15 illustrations – one for each chapter. I have 7 draft illustrations done. To celebrate today, I thought I’d share a draft of the cover. It’s not etched in stone. It’s a draft. I am self-publishing it when I complete the illustrations.

turkey chasing young girl
DRAFT Cover or Larry, the Terrifying Turkey Copyright 2017 Joan Y. Edwards. The book will be 5.5 x 8.5 inches, so the final cover will be narrower.

Selling Pitch/Blurb for Book Cover:  Larry, the Terrifying Turkey, Chapter Book, Ages 6-8, Grades 1-3

Scarred by her mother’s pet turkey and taunted by her third grade classmates, Sara Brown searches for a way to get back at him. Will she face the turkey square in the gobbler or will her parents ground her until she is twenty-one after she wrecks her mother’s new car?

I now have 422 subscribers. Thank you for all of you who have subscribed to my blog.

If you haven’t subscribed, please do. Subscribers get an email notice each time I post a new blog article. New subscribers also get 3 free gifts:

  • Never Give Up image
  • 20 Affirmations for Writers
  • Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

Here are the top 12 blog posts, each has over 2,000 views:

  1. 40 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts
  2. 22 Literary Agents Who Are Looking for You
  3. How Many Words Should Your Sentences Contain?
  4. What Is the Purpose of Dialogue in Your Story?
  5. 7 Questions to Make Sure Your Plot Has Believable Consequences
  6. Family Sewing Projects – Jedi Robes and Princess Leia Ponchos
  7. What Are Easy Readers?
  8. Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story
  9. Prayers for Writers and Patron Saint of Writers
  10. What Is Your Story’s Premise? Editors Want to Know
  11. About Me
  12. Twelve Ways to Get Over Disappointment

Do you have a favorite post from my blog? I hope you’ll share it with me.

To celebrate my 8th Blogaversary, I offered a choice of prizes for the lucky person chosen by who left a comment on this blog between October 9 and October 17…8 days. I decided to give a prize to TWO winners instead of one. Here are the names of the ten wonderful, delightful, fantastic people who left a comment. 

  1. Sandra Warren
  2. Claire Iannini
  3. Gretchen Griffith
  4. Dr. Bob Rich
  5. Linda Martin Andersen
  6. Maureen Crites
  7. J.Q. Rose
  8. Joan Reid
  9. Carol Federlin Baldwin
  10. Cat Michaels chose two winners for me – #5 and #2. So, Linda Martin Andersen and Claire Iannini you may choose one of the four choices below for your prize for  winning the 8th Blogaversary giveaway. 

  1. A copy of Flip Flap Floodle.
  2. A copy of Joan’s Elder Care Guide
  3. A critique of 5,000 words.
  4. An image of the winner or their favorite animal saying, “I Never Give Up.” 

Please email me with your choice at joanyedwards1 @


Believe in You
Never Give Up

Books to Enjoy
Flip Flap Floodle, Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?
Joan’s Elder Care Guide published by 4RV Publishing. A great gift for a friend who is caring for a loved one.

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,659 other followers

Join over 422 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators


Interview with Becoming Hero’s Author, Jen Finelli

Becoming Hero by Jen Fenelli
Becoming Hero by Jen Fenelli

“Interview with Becoming Hero’s Author, Jen Finelli” (Giveaway details below)

Today, I am delighted to interview Jen Finelli, author of soon to be released Becoming Hero

Hi, Jen. So good to have you as our honored guest today. I know our readers are going to enjoy learning about you. You are clever and fun. I’ve rolled out the red carpet for you.

Thank you, Joan for having me here. Let’s get going.

  1. Where were you born?
    Washington, DC!
  1. Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Why?
    Germany was wonderful, but my heart’s in Paraguay. You know how some folks have that Grandma’s house out in the country or something they went to over the summer? My “summer” place was Paraguay…the verdant home to thousands of undiscovered bird species, the largest waterfall in the world, and people who will offer you tea and next thing you know is that you’re part of their family. That’s where I’m going to live when I grow up: I’m spending the next ten years saving up money to build a clinic in the jungle there.
  1. Did you have a favorite place to read a book as a child? Where and why?
    What’s comfier than a bed, am I right?
  1. Where is your favorite place to read now? Why?
    Ha, I don’t grow up. That’s why on Twitter they call me Petr3Pan! I’m still in the same place.
  1. How do you keep yourself physically fit?
    I cry a lot, and that doesn’t seem to be working. It’s great, I stay the same size all the time! I’m big enough for my husband to write words on and hide them in the folds. In all seriousness, there are some awesome apps people should check out if they want to get fit. I’m trying to do this 100 push-ups app, and learn Bellydancing. Zombies Run looks awesome. I used to be a black belt who ran three miles every morning, taught martial arts classes, AND swam competitively, so I do like exercise. It just doesn’t like me.
  1. If you go to an amusement park, which ride do you go to first? Which ride do you ignore at all costs?
    Not a huge fan of spinning things. Love the Apollo’s Chariot at Bush Gardens, Williamsburg, Va. I want to fly, so anything that makes me feel like I’m flying is a go.
  2. What is your favorite genre? Why?
    Sci-Fi! Because it’s the best one! You can say anything about the future, the past, the now, and you can explore the edges of human innovation and maybe even influence some real scientists. Nothing’s better than that!
  1. What’s your favorite book that you’ve ever read? Why?
    Either Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie or The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. The Space Trilogy is a great example of anthropological philosophy, and he spends a lot of time thinking about what cultures might be like on other planets in a very mystical, beautiful way. Much more lit than his Narnia trilogy.
  1. Where is your favorite place to visit? Why?
    Wherever my husband is.
  1. When did you decide to become a writer?
    Six year old me: grubby, shower-less little kid who exclusively spoke in words she’d read in the dictionary. Hated writing, but I wrote an essay about a salmon that included the sentence “she swam far far far far far far far far far far far far” and it won an award, so my fate was sealed. I might still hate writing, who knows.

But the fact is I’m good at written storytelling, and as my writing career began to build (despite my attempts to do other things like medicine) I realized I was born for this. I quit a pharmacy tech position and began writing full-time. I—no joke—heard God telling me it’s my calling to write.

*Ding ding ding crazy!* I know you’re all thinking it, so it’s okay, I’ll go ahead and say it. But you know, I’m a multiple published Codex member now with over a hundred pieces over my belt, so I don’t think I’m one of these people who says God told them to write and then sends you the scary manifesto they wrote in blood on toilet paper.

I’m more like one of those people who says God told them to write and sends you a frikkin’ awesome zombie story in a popular anthology. (I’m saving my bloody toilet paper manifesto for when Vermin Supreme becomes president = P)

  1. Who or what has inspired you the most to write?
    I have no idea! When I was nine I loved something by Lynne Reid Banks so much I decided to write my own magical world about an Easter Egg. I always wanted to be the next C.S. Lewis. If I can learn to be the best me, that would be a good start.
  1. What has been the most exhilarating moment as a writer?
    When I stopped thinking I knew how to write, and started taking advice. That’s when my career took off. I threw away a 500,000 word novel, people.
  1. What are your top ten tips for writers to help them in writing a best seller?
  • Don’t be lazy.
  • Be patient.
  • Realize your work isn’t perfect, that’s not a personal flaw, and you can take steps to get better. You don’t have to kill all your Darlings, but you do have to kill your ego.

These three things will help you deal with rejection and improve your writing more than anything else will. You also need to avoid the use of “was,” use strong words instead of adverbs, stop being pretentious and writerly (stop saying utilize instead of use), and read both Grammar Girl and Strunk and White. (I need to do those things, too) Ten tips is more than I’m qualified to give in one post, but I do have a place on my site where I drop writing tips I’ve learned from others. I believe you’ll think it’s worth checking out.

  1. How did you find the illustrator for your comic book?
    That’s a bit of a secret, since we have a big reveal coming up, but suffice it to say: online! People who are looking for artists should follow them on Twitter, go to ComicCons, hang out on DeviantArt, and generally try to think like artists.

Paying money helps, which is why I ran this awesome campaign to pay my artist AND give my fans cool inexpensive pre-orders! At the $1 level peeps get a $17 audiobook!

  1. What are three things that you do to entice readers to read to the very last page of your book?
    Pray. Eat. Love. Or something like that. No, for real! Prayer helps get my mind focused, I need to eat or I can’t write, and if you don’t love your readers they can feel it. That’s something Dale Carnegie said once.

On a more practical note, keep secrets (but don’t lie to your readers, they hate that)—every character should have one secret trait you never tell your readers, and one secret that affects the book in some way. Cock Chekhov’s gun: let readers see the rifle lying in the room before it becomes important. Just kind of mention it, and then later when it’s important they’re like OH SNAP I REMEMBER THAT THERE WAS A GUN IN THE ROOM!

And finally, have an outline that flows.

  1. As I understand it, when you were writing a cartoon, you had one of your characters rebel against the situations you put him in? How do you feel about this?
    Well it’s not actually me that Skye’s shooting—he’s inside a comic book INSIDE the novel, so his author lives in the novel, and I’m his author’s author. Like his grand-author. Thankfully, he doesn’t know I exist.

In all seriousness, writing something this meta can mess with your head a little bit. I’m writing about tropes I think comic authors should stop using, and about how ridiculous it gets when major franchises get dragged on and on and on…and I’m employing the same tropes I’m talking about because otherwise it’s tell not show. So like…if Skye were real somewhere…am I a huge jerk, or am I doing this because I’m trying to make a hero out of him? Would he hate me, or thank me for bringing him to become the person he’s meant to be?

I try to write all my characters, even the bad guys, as if I love them very much. I want to see them shine, so each one needs to have his moment, and each one needs a deep reason for why he does what he does. But who knows…Skye might still find me worthy of a bullet in the brain.

  1. This question is for Skye, the main character in your new book, Becoming Hero.
    Hello, Skye from Becoming Hero. Why are you so upset?
Becoming Hero by Jen Fenelli
Becoming Hero by Jen Finelli

Skye speaking:

“To quote Batman: how many girlfriends died in your hands?

You know what’s really sad about it? They’re fading in my head, ’til they’re almost not people anymore—just plot points, meant to drive me on, and I can feel that drive, that spiked wheel turning in my rib cage and churning all the meat in there like a blender, I feel how it’s supposed to warp me and turn me in to a dark and cool mysterious brooding guy with a past, and I don’t want it, I don’t, that’s not who I am.

Before you know it, well, here I am. Dark and brooding guy with a past. I even use guns now. I’ve got nothing but Natasha’s name on my lips and her ring around my neck, because her personality, her well-rounded human self disappeared every time she stepped into a panel and became “the girlfriend.” Because I’m the main character, everyone exists around me. Which means everyone around me has to suffer, but I can never, never die.

This is what the SAT calls egomania. This is what the author in the comic is doing to me.

You know it’s the worst thing ever when you know what’s happening to you, and you can’t stop it?

If there were one person in your life who was responsible for all the suffering of everyone you loved—your parents, your best friend, that special person who makes you blush like a dummy—would you take it lying down?

Or would you take them out?”

For more information about me, Skye from Jen Finelli’s new book, Becoming Hero, check out the website:

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question, Skye.



Jen Fenelli, Author of Becoming Hero
Jen Fenelli, Author of Becoming Hero

Jen Finelli’s Short Bio

If you’re looking for sentient cockroaches, angry superheroes, zombies or fairies, offensive gods, and anything else just plain different, Jen Finelli probably writes what you want. She’s a world-traveling sci-fi writer with a knack for making people feel things. (Rage, mostly, but that’s a feeling, right?) So far she’s gotten locked in a German nunnery, fired by a secret news organization, lost in an underground tunnel network, and wind-whipped in a tropical monsoon while riding a motorcycle, so she thinks she’s doing something right. Her comic book character wants to kill his author in Becoming Hero, coming in 2017.

Jen invites you to go here to get a $17 audiobook for $1, watch a silly movie (cool video with Jen telling about her book), and get an early Valentine’s Day gift for you loved one!

Jen’s websites: (I live here) (Free nightmares and ponies here) (I make comics here) (I wrote a movie!)

Connect with Jen Finelli on Social Media: 

Google Plus:
Stumbleupon: (please like/stumble my things!)

Thank you, Jen for a fun interview. I wish you the best of luck with your launch of Becoming Hero.

Pre-order now!

Thank you for reading my blog. I am very blessed to see you here.

Winner of the Giveaway Contest. I appreciate the three people who were kind enough to leave a comment on this blog post between January 19th and midnight, January 28, 2017.

  1. Linda Andersen
  2. Kathleen Burkinshaw
  3. Cat Michaels

I had choose the winner. The lucky winner of Jen Finelli’s short story, Minnie: The Curse of Sentience is Linda Andersen. Congratulations, Linda. I hope you enjoy it. I’ll send it to you by email.

To leave a comment please click below and scroll down to the bottom:


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards


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Contest to Win a Mentorship from Author or Agent of Picture Books – Sponsored by Tara Cattie Lubbe

Copyright Jami Gigot
Copyright © Jami Gigot


Contest to Win a Mentorship from Author or Agent of Picture Books – Sponsored by Tara Cattie Luebbe

Tara Cattie Luebbe’s announced a Writing with the Stars Mentor Contest January 13-midnight January 16 EDT, 2017. It is for authors and illustrators of picture books. To find out more about it, visit the following links:

  1. Jonell DeWitt’s Blog: Interview with New Author Tara Cattie Luebbe and Mentor Contest Announced
  2. Becky Shillington’s blog about Tara’s contest: Poetry Friday: Holiday Math Poetry and a New Contest for PB Writers
  3. Check out Tara’s website: Contest Details on Tara’s website 

Good luck to all who enter the contest.

Thanks Tara for paying it forward after Stacy McAnulty gave you a mentorship! Congratulations on landing an agent and a three-book contract!

Click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards


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  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

Happy 7th Blogaversary, Never Give Up Blog

Happy 7th Blogaversary
Happy 7th Blogaversary

“Happy 7th Blogaversary, Never Give Up Blog” by Joan Y. Edwards

Giveaway: Details at end of post.

Today marks the 7th Blogaversary for my Never Give Up Blog! I started this blog on October 9, 2009. Here are the number of views on October 31st each year (This year’s is for October 9th):

Number of Views on October 31st

2009            113

2010        3,631 

2011      14,857 

2012     34,940 

2013     78,500 

2014   174,960

2015   285,384

October 9, 2016   385,573

Thank you for reading my blog posts. Thank you for sharing them in emails, Facebook, and Twitter. Thank you to the 367 email subscribers! Thank you to those who leave comments. Since 2009, there have been over 3,000 comments from you. I treasure those of you who leave comments. You fill my heart with joy and provide readers with great ideas and information. Thank you to the following people who left the most comments of the last 1,000 comments: Linda Martin Andersen, Carol Baldwin, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Sandra Warren, Joan Reid, and June Phyllis Baker. I sent each of them a free “You are Amazing” image.

The top 16 posts on my blog since 2009 are:
1. 40 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts
22 Literary Agents Who Are Looking for You
3. Home page / Archives
4. How Many Words Should Your Sentences Contain?
5. 7 Questions to Make Sure Your Plot Has Believable Consequences
6. Family Sewing Projects – Jedi Robes and Princess Leia Ponchos
7. What Is the Purpose of Dialogue in Your Story?
8. Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story
9. What Is Your Story’s Premise? Editors Want to Know
10. What Are Easy Readers?
11. Twelve Ways to Get Over Disappointment
12. About Me
13. 17 Days to Repaint a Wooden French Provincial Bed
14. Wonderfully Funny Analogies and Metaphors

15. Week 1
16. Pub Subbers

I interviewed many people on my blog and I reblogged articles from blogs I knew you’d want to see.

GIVEAWAY went to Maureen Crites. Congratulations.

As a way to celebrate the 7th Blogaversary, I offered a free paperback copy of Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass and the Workbook to accompany it to one of the people who left a comment on my blog between October 9, 2016 and midnight on October 20, 2016.

Here are the names of the five people who left comments and wanted to be included for the contest. Carol Baldwin left a comment but didn’t want to be included because she already has a copy.

  1. Joan Reid
  2. Karen Tomas
  3. Maureen Crites
  4. Sandra Warren
  5. Megan Vance chose number 3, so hip hip hooray, Maureen Crites is the winner. Maureen, send me your snail mail address to so I can send you the book and workbook. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

To leave a comment, click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,659 other followers

Join over 360 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators



Kathleen Burkinshaw Won a Free Critique


man smiling listening on cell phone to his ear
The Winner Is image Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“Kathleen Burkinshaw Won a Free Critique” by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you to Dr. Bob Rich, Linda Andersen, and Kathleen Burkinshaw for leaving a comment before midnight, September 9, 2016 on  Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Contract with a Publisher/. chose number 3 as the winner of the Givewawy. The winner of a free 1,000 word critique is Kathleen Burkinshaw.

Congratulations, Kathleen. Please send me 1000 words of the manuscript you’d like for me to critique for you to

Thank you to all of you who read my blog. I appreciate you.

Never Give Up

Alana Mautone Won a Copy of New Leaf for Lyle by Holly Jahangiri

And the Winner Is...
Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you to the seven people who left a comment. I appreciate you very much. You make my blog come to life.
1.    Carol Baldwin
2.    Kristen Duisky
3.    Sandra Warren
4.    Linda Andersen
5.    Ann Eisenstein
6.    Cat Michaels
7.    Alana Mautone

It is with pleasure that I announce that chose number 7 as the winner.

Alana Mautone, you won a free autographed paperback copy of Holly Jahangiri’s book, New Leaf for Lyle. Please send me your snail mail address so that Holly can send it to you (

Thank you, Holly Jahangiri for being a guest on my blog and for offering the free copy of your wonderful book and sharing your expertise with social media.


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,659 other followers

Join over 360 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

1. Never Give Up image
2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators


Interview and Top Ten Social Media Tips with Holly Jahangiri

Holly Johangiri profile-backyard-instagram2-100315sm
Holly Jahangiri, Author and Social Media Guru

“Interview and Top Ten Social Media Tips with Holly Jahangiri” by Joan Y. Edwards

Today I am very excited to share Holly Jahangiri’s Top Ten Social Media Tips. I met her at the Oklahoma Writers  Federation Incorporated conference in May, 2016 where I celebrated the release of Joan’s Elder Care Guide. She is also a published author with 4RV Publishing. She presented a workshop on Social Media. I was amazed at her clever ways of using Social Media and asked if she would be a guest on my blog.

Thank you, Holly for being a guest on my blog. My readers are going to be amazed!

You’re welcome, Joan. It’s wonderful to be here. I’m ready for your questions. Let’s get started.

By the way, Holly is giving away an autographed copy of A New Leaf for Lyle for one lucky person. GIVEAWAY CONTEST Details on how to win at the end.

About Holly Jahangiri

  1. Where were you born?

I was born across the street from the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. You see? I come by my “lead foot” naturally!

  1. Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Why?

Silver Lake, Ohio. It was the town my mom grew up in, and she knew it was a great place to raise a child. Many of her friends had stayed or moved back, and had children my age. We lived right around the corner – or two back yards and a couple of hedges – away from the elementary school. There was a little lake with a tiny island where we could swim in summer and ice skate in winter. There were no fences; good manners were the only fences we needed as we played in the neighbors’ yards, careful not to trample their flower beds or break their hedges or peer into their windows. Only one or two older people in the whole neighborhood were the “Get off my lawn!” types. The rest looked out for us and called our parents if we got into trouble or did something they considered dangerous.

  1. Where is your favorite place to live now? Why?

Right now, I call Houston, Texas, home. And it’s a very good place to live and work and raise a family. It’s cosmopolitan and diverse, with top-notch schools and universities, parks, theaters, a symphony, a ballet, an opera house – and it’s very near the Johnson Space Center and Galveston Beach. The most surprising thing to people who visit Houston for the first time is that it isn’t dry, brown, and full of tumbleweeds. Houston is in the tropics – we have seven-story-tall pine trees next to magnolias and palm trees and hibiscus. It’s hot, but it’s also quite humid. You may have heard we had some flooding, a while back? I now understand what my grandmother meant when she’d say things like, “See you next year, God willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise.”

  1. Did you ever want to hide when you were a child?

From what? Seriously, my favorite game was “Hide and Seek.” I was a master at it. My favorite places were the closets under the stairs, the top of my grandparents’ “Climbing Tree” (who ever thinks to look UP during a game of “Hide and Seek”?), and the third attic in my grandparents’ house. You got to it through a walk-in closet. Along one wall of the closet, there was a bookshelf, and behind that, a hidden door. Enter the door, then turn around – to the left of that door, there was another door. Their house was just made for hiding!

  1. What are your 3 favorite places to read a book?

In a tree. On a window seat. In bed. But really, a book transports me to so many places – by the time I’m immersed in reading one, I can imagine that I am anywhere I want to be.

  1. What is your favorite ride at an amusement park? Why?

The roller-coaster! Why? Like life, it has its ups and downs. There’s the delicious anticipation – that sense of adventure mixed with excitement and dread in almost equal measure – that moment as the car crests the first incline, when you think to yourself, “Oh, dear God, what have I done?” followed by that sense of joyful flying as it races downhill and turns sideways or rises for a loop-de-loop. It’s over too fast, but you can always do it again!

  1. What ride do you avoid at all costs?

The Viking Ship. Nothing is more guaranteed to make me toss my cookies than The Viking Ship or its variations, especially if it’s a hot day. I used to love rides like The Octopus, but there came a point where that was more nausea- and headache-inducing than it was fun. When I was a kid, I loved all rides – the wilder, the better. I may have been the only child disappointed in Disney World, because it was more “theme” than ride. Cedar Point rules! I haven’t been there since I was a tween, but I can still remember being turned loose with the all-you-can-ride wristband, a watch, and a list of times and places to “check in” with the grown-ups. Those were the days!

  1. What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?

Gosh, I don’t remember – so many funny things have happened to me, but no big one stands out!

  1. How did you do in English in high school?

Wonderfully well! English was my favorite class – an easy A.

  1. When and why did you decide to become an author?

I think it was in 5th or 6th grade. We were learning to write essays. I got mine back – I think the grade was an A, but what I remember was all the comments in red pen up the margins. Reactions to something I wrote, plus suggestions for improvement.And that started my love of the red pen. Others see it as criticism; I see it as, “Oh! Someone really read what I wrote and thought about it!” It was the start of a conversation. I wrote more essays – unassigned, and looking back, probably dreaded by the teacher. But she read them all, and she filled them all with red ink and thoughtful suggestions for improvement. Mrs. T. created a monster.

  1. What got you interested in social media?

Boredom and curiosity. Isn’t that something all writers have in common? We all write to entertain ourselves, eventually, when we run out of books we want to read. But I’ve never written “just for me.” It was that conversation – started with my English teacher, back in middle school – that had me hooked on writing. Writing is a meeting of the minds, but blogging and social media makes it a two-way street. I’m more comfortable communicating through my writing than I am in speaking – though I did enjoy speaking at the 2016 OWFI Conference! Social media gives me a chance to read what others are thinking and to have those two-way exchanges of ideas that so hooked me on writing in the first place.

  1. Do you do “work for hire?”

I don’t. I have a full-time job and too little time for my own writing, these days, as it is! But thanks!

Holly’s Top Ten Tips for Social Media

  1. Always be aware that the Internet is forever. What you say now will still be there – to haunt you or to do you proud – in twenty years. Assume that nothing you post is truly private; it could be shared by the original recipient or it could be one server admin’s “oops!” away from being public.
  2. Claim your social media space before someone else does, and tell your story better than anyone else can. Make sure that you are the online authority on you. If you have a blog, cross-link it to and from all your social media profiles.
  3. If it’s not fun, and it’s not absolutely necessary, don’t do it. I think this applies to more than social media, doesn’t it? We tend to do well what we enjoy doing. When we try to do things we think are a chore, others can tell we’re just “phoning it in.” What’s the point? Someone says, “You have to have a Facebook Page!” and your first reaction is “Why?” then ask. Make them convince you of its value and worth to you. Set a limit for how much time you spend on social media – don’t let it keep you from living, work, and your own writing.
  4. If you try out a social media site and decide it’s not for you, close your account. Don’t leave abandoned sites all over the Internet. Someone’s likely to find them, some day, and conclude that you died five years ago when you stopped updating them.
  5. People generally prefer sincerity over whatever façade we think we have to show the world. This, of course, assumes that you are not a malicious, hateful troll.
  6. If there are two ways to interpret how something is said, assume the other person meant it the nicer way. Not everyone is a masterful communicator. Some people aren’t very good at recognizing sarcasm in writing. Sometimes, people are dealing with difficult things offline, and they take out their own hurt and frustration on the nameless, faceless “Internet.” Respond with compassion, and you may make a friend instead of an enemy.
  7. If someone harasses you, stalks you, threatens or cyberbullies you – don’t engage. You’ll often hear the advice, “Don’t feed the trolls.” We all have a little troll inside us, just itching to come out and play, some days. But there are a few – blessedly, very few – real trolls, and they can be quite malicious. Keep a careful record of it (use screenshots, document times and dates), and call the police. The motive is almost always to unsettle, intimidate, and upset you emotionally. Why give anyone that satisfaction?
  8. Record your username and password for each site in a safe place (offline, preferably in a password-protected OneNote file on your PC, or in a hardcopy notebook). Use different passwords for each site. For any accounts that link to banking, domain ownership, or that have the ability to request password resets, use very strong passwords and dual-authentication. If you write these things down, lock up the notebook or encode the information in a way that only you can read it. It’s a pain, when you forget your own password, but it makes it much harder for thieves to access your important accounts or for scam artists and identity thieves to impersonate you. Phrases like this are easier for you to remember, and are also quite “strong” passwords: I<3turnips+COFFEE!
  9. Look at your own profile the way others see it. Log out of the social media site completely, then visit your link. If you were a stranger to you, what would your first impression be?
  10. Don’t be afraid to jump in and try new things. Experiment. Have fun. The world will not explode if you press the wrong key, I promise.


Social Media Tips

for Those with Published Books!

  • Blog. Your blog should be the hub of all your social media activities. Link from your blog, outward, to all your active social media profiles. Link inward, from all your active social media profiles, to your blog.
  • Follow the 90/10 rule: 90% of what you post should be for others – entertaining, informative, fun, and engaging. 10-20% can be “shamelessly self-promotional.” After all, people appreciate your making it easy for them to find and buy your books, once you’ve given them a reason to be interested. But 100 tweets of your book cover with the words “buy my book!” won’t accomplish anything good! See #9, above – look at your own profiles, all of them, the way a stranger would.
  • Read this post for more:


Social Media Tips

for Those Hoping to Get a Book Contract!

Your blog and your social media profiles serve two important purposes:

  • They are an online portfolio – a sample of your writing.
  • They serve as “social proof” and give a publisher an idea of whether you will be an active and engaging participant in any marketing activities for your books.

Keeping that in mind, you want to carefully proofread your posts and build a solid network of followers – not 10,000 followers for just $14.97, but real people. Readers, librarians, indie bookstore owners, friends, fellow authors, experts in the field you’re writing about (if you’re writing non-fiction), and interesting people who are actively engaging with other interesting people in social media. That takes a bit of time and effort, so it’s never too early to start. I’d suggest building the blog and the social media profiles first – make sure there’s some interesting content there that makes clear who you are and why anyone might want to follow you – then start finding followers.


Vanity Surfing – Google Alerts and TalkWalker Alerts

You should search for your own name – and all its variants – periodically, to see what the first three to five pages of search results contain. Most people never really look past the first three pages of results, but you want to be sure those three are a good reflection of you and what you’re all about. It’s also a good idea to set up alerts on Google and on Talkwalker – think of this as the lazy man’s way of vanity surfing.

First, go to

In the box where it says “Create an alert about” type your name in quotation marks. You can also type something like this:

“ann smith” OR “anne smith” OR “anne w. smith” OR “anne wilson smith” OR “annie the cat whisperer” – listing all common permutations of your name and pseudonyms.

Click Show options.

Choose how often you want to receive alerts; from which sources (hold CTRL while clicking to select multiple sources, or choose Automatic for all); language; region; all or “only the best”; and enter the email address to send them to.

Click Create Alert.

Next, go to Fill in the blanks as described above (they are essentially the same as Google Alerts). Preview and Create Alert.

The results are similar, but there are some differences between the two and it may be worth monitoring both. Create alerts for your book titles, as well.

Social media should be fun. It can also be an excellent marketing tool for writers. If you follow my tips, you can avoid headaches, heartaches, and undue stress. You’ll find more tips on my blog: It’s All a Matter of Perspective. I also wrote a number of posts specifically on social media strategy for writers. Come on over and don’t be shy – I love comments!

For more, read:



Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; and A New Leaf for Lyle. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young at heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

More about Holly:

Where to Connect with her online:

Holly Jahangiri FinalFrontCover

Buy Trockle:

Holly Jahangiri front cover with text
A Puppy, Not a Guppy

Buy A Puppy, Not a Guppy:


A New Leaf for Lyle
A New Leaf for Lyle

Buy A New Leaf for Lyle:

Where to buy her books

  1. Amazon Smile where a portion of sales goes to charity:
  2. Amazon

Thank you for sharing your tips about social media and about your life, Holly. 

If you’d like to ask Holly a question or leave a message for her, please click comment below and scroll to the bottom of the page.

GIVEAWAY CONTEST: Everyone who leaves a comment between now and midnight on Monday, August 15, 2016 will have his/her name put in a hat. will choose the winner. I will announce the winner in a new post that day.


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,659 other followers

Join over 360 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

1. Never Give Up image
2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators