Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guest Post: Effective Self-Promotion for Authors by Kelsey Clark

As publishers' budgets shrink, authors are now more than ever responsible for their own self-promotion. And many authors now are self-published, so they are their own marketing department. Self-promotion may seem intimidating, particularly to authors who are more comfortable writing alone in a room than getting out and talking to people about their work. But writers need not be intimidated. There are a few efficient ways to self-promote both online and offline.

1. Keep it local - Local bookstores are often interested in doing signings, readings and promotions for authors, and many local bookstores will extend the definition of "local" to a fairly large radius, so there's no need to despair for authors who live in towns too small for bookstores. In fact, smaller communities are excellent for another type of local self-promotion, the press. Contacting the local newspaper with a press release can be an effective way to wind up as the subject of a feature article.

2. Visit the library - Even more than bookstores, libraries enjoy visits from writers, and they needn't even be local. YA authors can give talks to kids and teens, but talks by adult writers will be welcome as well. Librarians may also be persuaded to order an author's books following such a talk.

3. Visit schools - YA writers should look into local school visits, and writers for adults can visit college and university campuses. These types of visits can be as informal as stopping by a friend's classroom to chat about the writing life or as formal as an official appearance as a guest of a school or campus organization.

4. Go online - Twitter, Facebook and blogs are boons for the self-promoting author. Writers should not use social media to constantly push their books on potential readers, however. A marketing barrage will irritate and drive people away. Instead, writers should use social media to engage readers and potential readers and chat about things that interest them. They needn't be too personal; blog posts and Twitter conversation can be about movies, books, cats, food or just about anything else. People interested in following writers are likely to want to read at least some about the writing life. Concentrate on connecting with people, and the rest will follow.

Authors need to offer something of value whether it's a library talk or entertaining content on the Internet. In doing so, they come across as engaging people and interest potential readers in their writing. Rather than thinking words like "networking" and "self-promotion," writers should think about connecting with people. In doing so, they will find their audiences.

About Kelsey

Kelsey is the editor in chief for She loves to write article and ideas that parents & nannies would be interested in hearing. She helps society on giving information about nannies through nanny services. She is a professional writer & loves writing on anything.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Mim Bizic

1) Tell us a bit about who you are, and where you live and work. 

“Writer’s Block Mission Control, I’m ready for departure. Do you read me?”
“Writer’s Block Control to Author Mim Bizic. Come in! All systems GO!”
3-2-1, Blast-OFF!

Remember U.S.A. Astronaut James Allen Lovell? The Moon he circled in his Apollo spaceship, the same moon we see each clear night? Both will help you learn a little more about me, Milana (Mim) Bizic, and where I live and work!

For twenty-two years now, I’ve called Moon Township, a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA, my home. I promise I won’t ask you to jump over any Patti Page “Allegheny (County) Moons” with me, but I will take you on an “On Beyond Z!” journey, a trail I’ve learned to follow from Astronaut Lovell and his beloved Dr. Seuss!

While attending the college graduation ceremonies at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA, USA of my youngest sister in the early ‘70’s, I heard the famous U.S. Astronaut, James A. Lovell, give the Keynote Address. The distinguished guest, one of only 24 astronauts to have been to the Moon, rightly first congratulated the graduating students and their parents for reaching this fine and high level of accomplishment. But it wasn't long afterwards before he went on to admonish the capped and gowned graduates, saying that although they now thought they were finally finished with their "A "to "Z" formal studies, they had only embarked on what would prove to be a lifelong journey of education. He chided the students to read as much as they possibly could, paused for a while, and then asked the audience to think of a favorite author who made a big difference in their lives. With almost boyish playfulness, he waited for the silence to subside, and then announced that Dr. Seuss was his favorite author. All doubts as to why Lovell chose Seuss fell by the wayside as he went on to quote this verse from his book called On Beyond Zebra:

"The A is for Apple, the B is for Bear,
The C is for Camel, the H is for Hare,
Through to Z. Z is for Zebra, I know them all well,"
Said Conrad Cornelius O'Donnell O'Dell.

Then he almost fell flat on his face on the floor,

When I picked up the chalk and drew one letter more!
"In the places I go, there are things that I see,
That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z!"

It was a lesson I never forgot and I quickly passed that poem on to countless numbers of children in the ensuing years until I formally retired after 40+ years of teaching eight years ago. But one never really retires from learning or teaching. So now with the World Wide Web, I welcome the wonderful opportunity to bring a renewed Energy, Enthusiasm and Excitement for learning to a whole new realm of learners with the establishment of my first new business venture, Bizic Education, LLC, highlighting an educational story app I’ve created with the help of two bright and talented international friends, Dilip Kumer and Ayesha Deane, called The Power of Three.

2) Describe your journey to becoming an author. 

It seems like I was born to the author’s cloth, following in the footsteps of my father, Milan Karlo, a truly gifted writer and professional photographer, who documented American Serb history throughout the USA and Canada as the editor of several newspapers, and then as the author of EARLY DAYS: Serbian Settlers in America, 1984.

Throughout my life, I’ve written articles for newspapers and magazines on a variety of fascinating subjects of interest to me, ranging from Hobo Nickels from the Depression Era to Mola Art of the Kuna Indians of Panama. But the most admired are my human interest stories featuring special people, places and events in my life that have made a difference, whether highlighting a special wedding, a 90th birthday celebration of a national hero, or of a lost carrier pigeon named Jane.

Here’s an annotated bibliography to read more.

And that brings me to say that much of my time has also been writing extensive educational content for my three websites that have been shared the world over.

3) What kinds of books do you write? Who is your ideal reader?

I have published many short stories and articles, but also, I published an extensive 200 page Karajlovich (Karlo) Family History in 1989 in commemoration with the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. However,
 The Power of Three is my first attempt at another “book” project. Ideal readers for the first book were not only extended family members living at the time, but for all those who came before and those who will come after. The book continues to serve as a valued historical reference of Serbian American immigrant life in homes across America, in reference libraries throughout Pittsburgh, and the Library of Congress.

The Power of Three my educational story app, was written for elementary school students, their teachers and parents or really, anyone who wishes to learn more about creative thinking skills in a fun way.

4) Tell us about The Power of Three. 

Well-known economist, Richard Florida, wrote: “The engine that drives our economy is Creativity.” In The Power of Three educational story app, Johnny, thought to be the "lazy" Reluctant Learner, transforms into a Change Leader and Classroom Champion. He provides vision and new direction to his table teammates and finally his whole class. What could have been almost bully-like, destructive behavior instead has a great ending! (Maybe 3!)

Teachers know that creative thinking varies by levels and degree, but individual knowledge bases can be enhanced with training, and The Power of Three helps learners to get fired up in finding the magic of discovering, developing and utilizing their own talents rather quickly.

Because of the world's complexity, change and competition, the ability to generate new ideas and bring them to the table is a critical life skill. Linus Pauling, the physicist wrote, "The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas." The Power of Three, seeks to promote ideation and to enhance each child's ability to go "On Beyond Z!" while at the same time, enjoying a good story with a happy and challenging ending.

5) Who are your favorite authors? What is on your reading list right now? 

How could you ask a former librarian that question? J There are dozens of wonderful children’s book authors to chose from, world history writers, and great biographers! I read almost two books/week ranging from Land of the Silent People to Organize Your Brain, Organize Your Life. Thus, we can’t forget those who also try to help make the world a better place. So, I’ll also add the name of author Dr. Rose K. Gantner, my younger middle sister, who recently published Workplace Wellness: Performance With A Purpose. It has received thunderous accolades from readers. Check out what people are writing about it here:

6) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?

You might have the best book or app in town, but it won’t go anywhere if no one knows about it. Because I believe in my story app so strongly, and because I want to use proceeds on my end for largely forgotten orphans, I work hard to promote it in any way I can. I have created a website for The Power of Three, written a blog for it, and use Social Media (Facebook/ Linked-In, etc.) to help promote any progress made on this sometimes tumultuous journey. My reader friends have patiently come along with me on this exciting ride. We hope it has astronomical, out-of-this-world success!

7) What are your upcoming plans for the rest of 2012? 

It’s been a long, hard struggle (over a year’s worth of work) to reach the point where we’re ready to launch our educational story app for the iPad. I will continue to work to bring this to fruition and then, make sure others in the world know about Bizic Education LLC and The Power of Three.

Hopefully the rest of the journey will be a lot smoother, like “Success without Stress,” if that’s possible. In the meantime, I’ll be traveling to Phoenix with our Church Choir in September and also visiting various Mediterranean seaports in October with my family and friends. And I’ll continue doing what I do best, and that is write.

8) What is your definition of success as an author?

Success is not about how much money you make, but if you have been able to affect a targeted audience in a positive way and make a difference with your writings. Of course there is nothing wrong with monetizing knowledge, but nothing makes me feel prouder and more successful than to receive feedback from men and women (old AND young!), from across the country, that say when they read my stories, they feel as if they’re right there with me on our unusual and always dynamic journeys. I try to create experiences that engage, inform and inspire. I’m so glad they feel emotionally and socially connected, and of course that kind of feedback always makes me want to create even more. It’s sharing the journey. People say I have a way with words. Where there’s a will, there’s a Way, but I know Success=a two way street!

9) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors? 

Always follow your heart, be authentic and show the real you. Try to harvest your challenging frustrations. Use your God-given talent, imagination, innovation and productivity positively. Don’t be afraid to creatively step up to satisfy that beauty and passion of yours. Ignite and enable the success of others along the way. Look emotional commitment in the eye. Dance with people and life! You’ll go far! Maybe even to the MOON!

About the Author:


"Who can find a virtual librarian for her price is far above rubies." ~Doug Johnson after Proverbs 31:10. I have always tried to follow Doug's advice to be a Virtual Librarian, Crowsnester, and Rabble Rouser, not as a Critic, but one of a builder.

Mim says: “Like those brave sailors of old who climbed the tall, wooden masts to the top of the ship always on the lookout for land or new horizons, I love being a ‘Crowsnester.’ It's the teacher-researcher-librarian in me. I am consistently on the lookout for new and effective strategies to raise learning levels across all age levels, this time, world wide!”

Milana ("Mim") Karlo Bizic earned a B.S. degree in three (3) years from the University of Pittsburgh where she had a four-year scholarship; a Master's Degree in 1967; School Library Certification in 1970; and Gifted and Talented Certification in 1981. Her professional experience includes teaching all Elementary grade level students K-6; Teaching Graduate level courses for Penn State University (Beaver Campus for nine years until 1994, where she taught fellow educators how to creatively integrate computers into their curricula across all disciplines and all grade levels, K-12; working as a Supervisor of Student Teachers for the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) after she retired from working 40+ years teaching in the public schools, most notably for Quaker Valley School District in June, 2004.

Mim has served as an Educational Consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Apple Computer Co, Scholastic Magazine, and the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. A national presenter for the U.S. Patent Office, Mim has shared her creative and inventive thinking skills expertise with teachers from Portland, OR to Toldeo, OH. She did similar work with the INVENT AMERICA! foundation, reaching out to teachers in Chicago and Washington. She's been a Co-Keynote Speaker for the Ben Franklin Computer Conference held at Carnegie-Mellon University and the Computer Using Educators (CUE) of Delaware.

Apple Computer Co. and Modern Pictures Services asked Mim to use her creativity and computer technological know-how to write lesson plans in workshops held in Cape Cod, Massachusetts; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Maui, Hawaii.

Who's Who of American Women-1995 
National Endownment for the Humanities Awardee-1995; 
Educational Cultural Ambassador to Japan-1993; 
Who's Who in American Teaching: 1992; 
Citizen of the Year with Drs. Fusco and Marrone for SewickleyNET: 1997; 
National Science Awardee from the Smithsonian-ASCT: 1990; Thanks to Teachers Award (Pitt/Westinghouse/KDKA): 1990; 
Woman of the Year-Sewickley, PA 1987; 
National Awards from Apple Computer 1985-86; 1986-87; 1987-88 and 1989-90; .
Judge's Choice Award at Boston Fest: 1988; 
Serbian Unity Congress Honoree-1995-96; 
Serb National Federation Person of the Year 2008.

Specialties: Webmaster, Author, Researcher, American/Serbian Tradition Bearer, Teacher-Librarian Retired

Contact Mim


Websites: The Power of Three  American Serb History 101 Educational website


Mim Bizic is also on Facebook, Linked-In, and Pinterest.