Check These Out

The idea behind a writing community is writers writing together, helping each other, whether through courses, retreats, podcasts, social media, and so on.

Have you considered joining a writing community?

There are quite a few and I’d recommend you join one or two. They furnish lots of good information authors need to know, keep you up to date on new trends and “helps”, and get you in touch with others who write in your same genre.

Here are some to check out:

  1. A Writer’s Path
  2. Chronicles
  3. NaNoWriMo
  4. Alessandra Torre Ink
  5. Fiction Writing
  6. YeahWrite
  8. She Writes
  9. Insecure Writer’s Support Group
  11. Association of Ghostwriters
  12. Faith Writers
  13. The Masters Review
  14. Storywrite

Choose. Then Use.

To choose, copyright, and use a pen name:

  1. Make sure you haven’t chosen another well-known person’s pen name. (I just read this week that even though it is ok to choose a pen name of a different gender, it is NOT acceptable to use one of a different ethnicity than your own.)
  1. Purchase URLs and social media handles for your pen name.
  1. Legally set up a business using your pen name. Most writers choose LLCs or sole proprietorships. Open new bank accounts in your pen name. 
  1. Apply for a Fictitious Business Name Statement (FBN Statement) if you plan to receive payments under your pen name. (Amazon will make payments to the account owner name of your KDP account, so if you’re only selling on Amazon, you may choose to skip this step).
  1. Inform your agent and publisher of your real name for contracts and tax purposes.
  1. Use your pen name on your book cover and copyright notice (like this: © 2021 [your pen name]).
  1. Register the copyright for your work under your real name and your pen name.

Next week: the conclusion of Using Pen Names.

Reasons, Reasons, and More Reasons

Reasons for Authors Using Pen Names Might Include:

  1. If the author’s real name is similar (or identical) to another well-known person, an author might want to change it so as not to be confused with the “other person.”

2) To keep their writing career separate from their “occupation.”

3)  To have a more memorable name.

4)  To make certain one has access to the URL and social media handles they want.

5)    If one’s real name is hard to pronounce or is easily misspelled.

6)   Writing under different names may help to avoid readers’ confusion if the authors writes in several different genres.

7) If they are writing about something controversial and fear reprisal.

8)  If their real name suggests something negative. (I remember being afraid of our family doctor when I was a child. His name was Dr. Slaughter!)

9) Just for fun!

Endless Possibilities!

You’re halfway through your first book and you come up for air. You read an article on self-promotion: getting your name out there and becoming recognizable in the world of the written word. The fact that you actually have to turn to the social media machine that you have been avoiding (because it potentially could suck up all of your writing time) hits you like a ton of bricks. Panic wells up inside you.

You read a few articles, hoping against hope that you have misunderstood. But, nope. The message is loud and clear. What to do, now?

Should you run, bury your head in the sand, pack it up, give up the dream? Could you even do that? 

Of course not. That world that offers you solace and a creative outlet. It challenges you to look deep within and inspires you to become more than you ever thought possible.

So, you begin building a platform. Putting your ego aside. Inviting criticism through your door. Fighting your insecurities. Finding a voice. Calming those fears of rejection and perhaps being misunderstood at times.

But I promise, you’ll wake up one day in the not-too-distant future and put your name into your computer’s search bar and it will pop up. You’ll get a few emails from followers—some, even, in other countries! You’ll read positive comments to your posts. You’ll get encouragement from friends and family.

You are suddenly on the brink of a whole new life, filled with endless possibilities.

All because you dare to write. To challenge yourself. To share all of who you are about. What you’ve got going. What you bring to the table that no one else does in quite the same way.

We’re writers—and life doesn’t get any better than that!

Even More Powerful: Video



We have talked about the video blog, but here I am referring to creating a book trailer or perhaps even something more creative.

Let’s say you’ve written a teenage girl-focused book on wardrobe essentials. You could create a series of tutorials including color and fabric selection, mixing and matching styles, hairdos, etc. Or, for a book on soccer, a series of tutorials on strategies for making goals. Once done, publish them on YouTube and your other social channels.


I don’t know where they came from, or how they got inside my house, but I have a couple of pesky mosquitoes that have taken up residence in my home office. They may not have planned it that way, but I think they stay around because they see a free meal…

The first day they showed up, uninvited and unannounced, I got eaten up, badly. Within an hour, I had huge welts on my legs, arms, neck, and hands. It wasn’t just exposed skin they were going for, as I recall from past experience, these mosquitos also bit me through my shirt!

The fact was, I needed to work at my computer. It was in my office. And, so were the intruders.

I needed a plan. I needed to be proactive.

I tried the fly-swatter method. They seemed to know I was armed and waiting, so they laid low. It was only after I put the swatter down and started working that they ventured out, again.

If I wanted to get any work done, I had play defense: Type. Swat. Type. Swat.

Finally, I  went down to the corner drugstore and bought insect repellent. I sprayed the air, the carpet, my clothing, and doused all exposed skin.

Finally, I was successful. I repeated this every four hours, making it possible for me to get my work done every day this week.

Proactive. That’s the name of the game.

The same goes for writing. I have found I have to get proactive. I have a writing plan and as long as I stick to it, I can get a lot accomplished.

If  something or someone comes around to disrupt me, like say a phone call from a friend, I end up not being very productive—if I don’t follow the plan I put in place way back in January (no answering the phone or emails between 9:00 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day). And, that hurts.

I have to be proactive: answer emails, start the laundry, straighten up the house—BEFORE 9 a.m. If I do that, the next six hours are productive. If I don’t take charge of my writing life, there are always little mosquitos that buzz around with only one goal in mind: to suck the hours of productivity right out of me!

M-  Mom and Dad (they are older, now, and I need to check on them every day).

O-  opening emails and physical mail.

S-  snacking (the refrigerator and pantry are just a few feet away).

Q-  quiet (every little noise can be a distraction).

U-  up and down (the dog wants out, I need to stretch, change to laundry from the washer to 

      the dryer…)

I-  ideas that pop into my head at the most inopportune times, distracting me from the work at


T-  telephone (a temptation to answer every time it rings…I put it on silent mode).

O-  opportunities (little things that seem to come up every day; seemingly “good” ideas, but 

      really nothing more than distractions in disguise.)

E- energy—lack thereof.

S-  social media. Need I say more????

How do you handle the “mosquitoes” in your life?