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    Joan Y. Edwards and her licensors.

    Active since October 9, 2009. Thank you for reading and leaving comments on my blog.

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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 Random.org 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

Random.org 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 @ gmail.com.


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 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: http://becominghero.ninja

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:

byjenfinelli.com (I live here)

petrepan.blogspot.com (Free nightmares and ponies here)

http://becominghero.ninja (I make comics here)

mysweetaffair.com (I wrote a movie!)

Connect with Jen Finelli on Social Media: 

Facebook: http://facebook.com/becomingherocomic
Twitter: twitter.com/petr3pan
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/118054993565539554359
Pinterest: pinterest.com/petr3pan
Instagram: instagram.com/becominghero
Stumbleupon: stumbleupon.com/petrepan (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 random.org 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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  1. Never Give Up image
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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: http://jahangiri.us/2013/author-blog-holodeck-for-the-authors-brain/


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 www.google.com/alerts.

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 http://www.talkwalker.com/alerts. 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: http://jahangiri.us/2013/category/no-niche/social-media/social-strategy-for-writers/



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: http://jahangiri.us/2013/holly-jahangiri/

Where to Connect with her online: http://jahangiri.us/2013/holly-jahangiri/where-to-find-me/

Buy Trockle: https://www.amazon.com/Trockle-Holly-Jahangiri/dp/0979751322/ref

Buy A Puppy, Not a Guppy: https://www.amazon.com/Puppy-Not-Guppy-Holly-Jahangiri/dp/0984070850/ref


Buy A New Leaf for Lyle: https://www.amazon.com/New-Leaf-Lyle-Holly-Jahangiri-ebook/dp/B00K1TW6DY/ref

Where to buy her books

  1. Amazon Smile where a portion of sales goes to charity: http://jahangiri.us/amazon
  2. Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Holly-Jahangiri/e/B002BMEYUC/

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. Random.org 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


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Thank You for 250,000 Views!

Women Shopping 3

“Thank You for 250,000 views!” by Joan Y. Edwards

Oh my goodness. I started out with one view on October 9, 2009. Yesterday morning, July 13, 2015, there were more than 250,068 views.

Blog began on October 9, 2009

50,000 views May 18, 2013

70,000 views October 1, 2013

140,000 views July 10, 2014

250,000 views July 13, 2015

I am very excited.  Average of over 3,600 a month for 69 months.  250,000 is a big number. Indianapolis Speedway Stadium is the only speedway that will hold that many people.

I’m running to this blog post because I’d like to do something fun with you to celebrate with you.

Walk. Walk. Walk.

I’m running to meet you on this virtual page to celebrate with you!

What are your ideas?

Ask me questions! Tell me what kind of free prizes do you cherish as a writer or illustrator?

Let me know your favorite blog post or what you like about my blog. I’ll put all the names of the people who leave a comment on this post between now and July 31, 2015  in a virtual hat and have Random.org choose a winner. I’ll announce the winner on August 1, 2015.

What you’ll win: a blog post about you and your writing or illustrating on my blog highlighting ten writing or illustrating tips that have helped you the most.  I’ll also give you a 15 minute phone call in the United States consultation on: blogging, writing, or submitting, If the winner is out of the USA, I’ll Skype you for 15 minutes. You can email me your questions ahead of time so we can make the best use of your fifteen minutes.

Celebrate you!
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

Connect with me. I’d be honored.
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Oh My Goodness! My Blog Hit 140,000 Views Today!

Joan and Carl Edwards wearing hats

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards
Joan and Carl Edwards Wear Hats to Celebrate Life

“Oh My Goodness! My Blog Hit 140,000 Views Today!” by Joan Y. Edwards

In an effort to practice what I preach, I decided I needed to celebrate you, me, and my blog! I had planned to wait until 200,000 views, but thought it would be more fun to do it sooner than that. So I decided when I reached 140,000 views I would celebrate again. That about was 13 days ago. Thank you very much for reading my blog. Each time you read it and leave a comment, you give me life and confidence to write more.

Here are earlier celebration blog posts:

May 18, 2013 Celebrate 50,000 Views with Me
September 24, 2013 Over 70,000 Views! Yippee! Oh Wow! Win free prizes!
February 5, 2014 Over 100,000 Views – Wow! How Exciting! Thank You

When I first started my blog on October 9, 2009, I was clueless about what to write or what people would want to read. My personal mantra all of my life has been “Never Give Up.” This same philosophy is embodied in the spirit of my picture book about a little duck who never gives up on his song, Flip Flap Floodle. It is in Joan’s Elder Care Guide which the editor from 4RV Publishing and I are currently working on to get it ready for its publication in December 2014 or as close to that as possible.

There were a few times in my life that I wasn’t sure about how to keep on going. I know what it’s like to be feel frustrated, depressed, worthless, and without hope. My goal in my blog is to help encourage, motivate, and inspire you and others to find a solution to your questions about life and about writing to help you reach your goals and stay out of the depths of despair.

So to celebrate 140,00 views that I achieved at 12:30 p.m. today, July 10, 2014, I am offering 4 prizes to 4 lucky people who leave a comment on this post between now and next Thursday, July 17, 2014 at midnight EDT. (This contest is over now. I hope you’ll try for another contest) I will announce the winners on Friday, July 18, 2014. Random.org will choose the winners for me in the order below:

1. A free critique of 1,000 words of a manuscript
2. A free critique of 2,000 words of a manuscript.
3. A free critique of 3,000 words of a manuscript.
4. A free critique of 4,000 words of a manuscript.

In each critique I point out at least three Blue Ribbon phrases in your manuscript. Blue Ribbon means that if a judge at a fair critiques your work, he would put a Blue Ribbon on it.

Here are the ten posts with the highest views on my blog since 2009 (all have over 1,600 views):

  1. 18 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts
  2. 18 Literary Agents Who Are Looking for You
  3. How Many Words Should Your Sentences Contain?
  4. Family Sewing Projects – Jedi Robes and Princess Leia Ponchos
  5. Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story
  6. What Is Your Story’s Premise? Editors Want to Know
  7. 17 Days to Repaint a Wooden French Provincial Bed
  8. Twelve Ways to Get Over Disappointment
  9. Wonderfully Funny Analogies and Metaphors
  10. Eight Character Archetypes to Emphasize the Conflict in Your Story

Remember to celebrate you today. Who you are and what you do makes a difference to our world, and especially to me. Thank you.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


196 Subscribers  – Thank you. (Oh my goodness! Only four more to an extra gift of 20 affirmations for writers when you subscribe.)

Subscribe to Joan’s Never Give Up blog by email from the left-hand column and receive a free Never Give Up logo image. You’ll receive her new blog posts filled with inspiration and information in your inbox as soon as she uploads them.





And the Winner of Healing Waters by Joyce Moyer Hostetter Is…

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

“And the Winner of Healing Waters by Joyce Moyer Hostetter Is…” by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you to Joyce Moyer Hostetter for being a guest on my blog: Interview with Joyce Moyer Hostetter, Award-Winning Historical Fiction Writer. Thank you to all who read it. I really appreciate you and the people who shared wonderful praises in the comment area for Joyce and her books. It is indeed great that Joyce is willing to give a free autographed hardback copy of Healing Waters to one of the lucky people who left a comment. Below are the names of all the people who left a comment between January 29, 2014 and midnight February 7, 2014.

1.    Ann Eisenstein
2.    Linda Martin Andersen
3.    Vijaya
4.    Stephanie Caceres
5.    Sandra Warren
6.    Luann Martin
7.    Rosi
8.    Faith Hough
9.    Linda Vigen Phillips
10.    Bonnie J. Doerr
11.    Elizabeth Vollstadt
12.    Francis Can Mom
13.    Kathy Burkiinshaw

Carol Federlin Baldwin also left a comment, but did not wish to be included in the drawing.

Random.org chose #1. Therefore, Ann Eisenstein you won a free copy of Healing Waters. Congratulations! Please send your snail mail address to me at the contact address from the left-hand column.

Sorry that I was late posting this. It kept you in suspense. Good for writing. Not good for punctuality. It’s one of those times when I look in the mirror and discover that I’m human.

Jump over to Joyce’s blog to discover who won a copy of Healing Waters there:
HEALING WATER: We have a winner!

Celebrate you every day.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


173 Subscribers  – Thank you.

Subscribe to Joan’s Never Give Up blog by email from the left-hand column and receive a free Never Give Up logo image. You’ll receive her new blog posts filled with inspiration and information in your inbox as soon as they are uploaded.


Never Give Up


Book Review and Interview with Jeff Herman on January 11, 2011 with Giveaways

I am so excited. On Friday, December 10, 2010 I went to my face-to-face writing group. There were only three of us there that day. At 10:41 a.m. I showed Roxie Hanna and Becky Shillington my copy of  Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents 2011.  I explained how it had symbols for the different genres, and has 1094  pages, and explains what editors and publishers are looking for. Both of them  said they were putting Jeff Herman’s book on their Christmas list.

When I got home, I discovered that Beth Pehlke, Jeff Herman’s publicist,  had emailed me at 10:41 a.m. This was the same time that I was talking to my writer’s group about his book. That was uncanny. Her email said she had noticed how I had mentioned Jeff’s book in my blog several times.  She asked if I would like to interview Jeff Herman on my blog or have him to do a guest blog. After I floated around and danced on the ceiling around ten minutes, I called my writing group friends and told them. They danced around on the ceiling with me.

Of course, I wrote Beth and told her that I would be honored to interview Jeff Herman on my blog. The news gets even better. She is  going to give me three copies of this outstanding writer’s resource of 1094 pages to give away as prizes for three lucky random winners. The winners will be chosen at random (choosing numbers from random.org).  Winner 1 will be one of the people who leaves a comment for the Book Review of Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2011. Winner 2 will be one of the people who leaves a comment on the blog post where I interview Jeff Herman. Winner 3 will be chosen from one of the people subscribed to my blog.

The blogs will be posted at 12:01 a.m. EST on January 11, 2011. You will have 7 days to leave your comments or subscribe to my blog. The winners will be chosen and announced at 12:01 a.m. EST on January 18, 2011.

Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to let me know questions you have about Jeff Herman and/or his book.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Good luck in publishing your work.  Sign up for an email subscription from the “Sign me up” block from the top of the left hand column. The 50th person to subscribe from the left will receive a free paperback copy of Flip Flap Floodle or a 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer.

Joan Y. Edwards




Copyright 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.

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