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8-4 PR is PR

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Carol Cassara explained PR (public relations) in a copyrighted interview several years ago. Recently, Rebeca Shiller shared her insights into agency PR.

(c) November, 2002, Carol Cassara,
"While I've never said that PR is the world's most important, exquisite job and that only a chosen few can do it, I do believe it is only civilized to respect the time and effort each of us puts into what PR professionals do for a living and the level of expertise we have attained.
"Public relations is a single aspect of the promotional mix - --that also includes advertising and sales collateral . . . both are more sales-oriented than PR. PR is the art (and it is definitely an art) of obtaining positive media coverage for a client's product or service.
"It's more than spewing out news releases. It's looking for the nexus between what your client offers and what the media need. And when done well, it's more strategic than you can imagine.
"Perhaps because I went to journalism school, and because I've seen college graduates come into PR with a simplistic view and be ill-prepared to serve clients, (and because as a corporate PR exec and a nonprofit exec, I hired PR consultants) I'd like folks who aspire to this work to know that you don't just read a few news releases and figure it out -- and bank all that easy money. (PR firms pay lower than just about any consulting firm and non-profits have notoriously low budgets.)
"I would suggest to them what I suggest to any entry level PR person - take some news writing courses at a local Journalism school and understand what reporters and editors are looking for. Understand what "news" is and how to identify it, because "news" is not the sales benefits of your product or service, and a news release is not a brochure that describes those things in glowing terms. PR is not sales.
"If you learn how to practice PR, you'll be more effective for your client, which of course you WANT to be -- because you are taking your client's money for a service rendered and your client has a right to professional service for their investment.
"In PR, we write the following kinds of things:
  • News releases (AP style, not all hyped up with glowing sales terms, but instead, much as a journalist might write news)
  • Contributed feature articles (but only to local weeklies that don't have much staff and appreciate getting them, and to a standard of excellence that editors compliment our firm on)
  • Op-eds (clients who have a position on an issue often use their PR firm to ghost write in the appropriate format...and then they have to be "pitched")
  • Fact sheets or backgrounders (the basics of a project or company that helps a reporter put the news in context)
  • Pitch letter (or email, or fax) (presents why you think the news you are sending is important, why the reporter should cover it.)
"Positive news coverage is important to clients because it is thought to have the cachet of a "third party endorsement"--unlike advertising or sales collateral.
"During my career, I've had many clients who don't have real "news", but believe that reporters should be just dying to write marketing hype about their product/service, because after all, that product or service is just wonderful! Or, who are horrified when a reporter doesn't write about them in glowing terms. In those cases, I always recommend the client consider advertising instead--where you can control the message entirely.
"There's also a specialty called "crisis PR", which is helping your client respond when they've either gotten in trouble or are getting bad press for some other reason. Think about the Red Cross PR crisis around September 11, or the commonly used case study of the Tylenol poisonings. I've done quite a bit of work with crisis clients over the years, and the skill set there differs significantly . . . but that's a story for another time. End"
Rebeca Schiller,, a former PR agency professional, has this to say about PR
"PR is good for only one thing - to alert the public of new products, policies in a straightforward, no nonsense manner."
She talks about how humiliating it was, when she worked for a PR agency to have to "embarrass myself for the thousandth time when I had to pitch a story that no one, not even the CEO's grandmother, gave one flying $#@!"
Performed without integrity, she says PR is " the most miserable profession on the planet; a non profession with agency principals whose heads deserve to be on the chopping block."
Today,  as online editor for an art magazine, she sits on the other side of the desk and makes
"a special effort to circumnavigate around PR people, get the news straight from the source, and produce something worthwhile."
Each perspective will help you better understand the role PR plays in a writer's career.

Sandra Beckwith, a recovering publicist who has written two publicity books and uses workshops and other tools to teach how to generate publicity says, "Why pay a pricey consultant when you can do it yourself?" She offers a free book publicity e-zine, Also visit Sandra's blog,

Chapter 17 - Organizations and Newspapers:

Next: Chapter 18 - Book Publishing:


1-4 Let Clip and Save = Efficient Writing

(c) 2010 by Mona Leeson Vanek

You can easily minimize Internet research time and maximize writing time. All you need do is Toggle between programs, clip and save and paste, and file methodically, and quickly retrieve data as needed. Here's how to Clip and Save and Paste your research.

Copy material on the Internet and paste it into your file-message 
Copy and Paste are actions done when you Right mouse button, and select from the drop down list by moving your pointer to the one you want and clicking the Left button.

1.) Start your e-mail program
  • Send it to the taskbar by clicking your mouse on the [-] sign at the top right hand corner of your screen.
2.) Open your Internet browser program.

To move back and forth between these two programs as you copy and save research material, Toggle will mean to click on the e-mail icon in your task bar.

Until you close your e-mail program, Toggle will return you to the open message you left.

3.) With your Internet browser open (on top)
  • Toggle e-mail.
Press "ctrl  n" (ie: press both keys simultaneously) to create a file-message. Later, it will become a mailbox folder.

Type your research project name into the To: line. This identifies the project.

Use the Subject: line to elaborate on message contents.

4.) Toggle. The "http" line at the top of your browser screen is the URL (what got you to this web page, either because you typed it there, or you clicked on it's link somewhere.)
  • Click mouse pointer on URL to highlight it.
  • Right click (opens the drop-down list.)
Select Copy from the drop down list This places an invisible copy on your (invisible) Clipboard, ready to be pasted wherever you want it.

4.) To save what you just copied,

  •  Toggle the e-mail icon
Right click mouse pointer inside the new message
Select Paste from the drop down list. Anything you copy can be pasted where you want to save it.
*Every time you insert material into your file-message, press "ctrl s" to save all that you've collected in case the power goes off unexpectedly shutting the computer down, or some other computer crash happens.
  • When you close your e-mail file-message the message goes into your OUT mailbox (or Draft, or whichever folder (mailbox), depending on your e-mail program. The message remains there, ready to be reopened and added to. If using your word processor, save the named document after each insertion by pressing "ctrl s".
5.) Toggle, and on the web page, look for the Site Map.

Not all web pages will have a site map, but it's very useful. It's often a link on the Home page, usually either near the top of the page or near the bottom. If you don't see it, try pressing ctrl f to open your computer's Find function, where you type 'Site Map.' Also, ctrl End will quickly get you to the bottom of the page, where you may find who owns the site.

6.) Locate the web page owner's name, and highlight (by holding down left mouse key while scrolling) and Right click. Choose "copy". Finding the owner often takes persistent searching, and not all sites list the owner. Sometimes it's a corporation. Check also in "About Us" and "Contact Us" (where you might also find the president or CEO's name), or in the Copyright information, which is also usually at the page bottom.

7.) Toggle, and in file-message, Right click and "paste" the owner's name.

8.) Toggle, and find out how to contact the web page owner. Save the contact information in your e-mail message. Include an e-mail address and a phone number (if available) in case you need to get in touch at some later date. Even if you aren't sure you have the right e-mail address, someone will generally reply to your e-mail.

Some editors only require citing your source URL, however many editors expect you to obtain permission to cite material from a web site.

If there's a contact's link, often the address will be automatically inserted into a new message in your e-mail program. Copy and save it. Other times, an on-line reply form will open. Save a copy of the web page URL in your file-message in case you want to use that form later.

When you send a message via an on-line form, it disappears, so when you contact a web site owner using the online form, before sending (or submitting) ALWAYS create a copy of the message you type (ctrl a inside of the online message box to highlight all, and then ctrl c to copy.) Paste (ctrl v) your copy into your file-message.)

9.) As you explore the links on the web page and highlight, copy and save the snippets you'll use later when you flesh out your article or story, remember to also save the URL from every new page you gather data from.

Also check for a "last updated" note. Many pages were last updated years ago, and few say when, but if you find a recent update note it's a much more valuable resource. More and more editors will accept only recently published online citations.

When finished, the important information you need to cite your facts will be readily available when needed -- in the e-mail folder (mailbox) you create to store them.

10.) Close the file-message. It's now ready to Transfer.

11.) If you haven't attempted to create new mailboxes, the process is similar to saving word document files, and your e-mail program Help file will walk you through it. (*See Step 3.)

While you're searching online, you may find information for a different article. Save it into a new e-mail message message.

Control key functions:
In many software programs, keyboarding is supported. In other words, when you press a combination of the control (ctrl) key simultaneously with another key a function is available:
Ctrl while rolling your mouse over a line (or picture) highlights it.
ctrl c = COPY, whatever is highlighted
ctrl v = PASTE, whatever you have copied
ctrl f = SEARCH, opens a box with a line where you type the number, symbol, letter, word or words you want to find quickly
ctrl a = HIGHLIGHTS, the entire open file. Highlighted material can then be copied, deleted or moved to somewhere else within the document.
If you accidentally delete something (and you will!) ctrl v should paste it back! IF ctrl v does not, then use ctrl z.
ctrl z = UNDO, last typing (ie: like if you've deleted something and decide you want it back, pressing ctrl z will return it to wherever it was.)
ctrl o = OPENS, Offers you a box showing all the files in your computer from which you can choose the one you want to open.)
ctrl p = PRINT, the file (message) that is currently open.
ctrl s = SAVES, the current message, and keeps it open so you can continue typing into it.
ctrl w = CLOSE, messages, mailboxes, documents, and some programs, such as Internet Explorer, etc.
ctrl e = SEND, messages. (Send is immediate IF you are connected on-line, otherwise you'll get a 'can't send' message.)
ctrl d = DUMP, messages into your trash mailbox.
ctrl k = COPY, highlighted message sender's ADDRESS INTO ADDRESS BOOK
ctrl 6 = will start a spell-check on words in the open message. (you chose what you want to do about them and cancel out of the spell-checker at anytime.)
ctrl works with home and end keys, too. They are useful ways to speed moving around in the open file and can save you lots of time.
ctrl tab = toggle between open pages.
ctrl p = print and save this so you can refer to it anytime!
ctrl q = QUITS, a program (exits the program and the message will be gone, gone, gone, as in erased and gone forever! It's as final as putting your mouse pointer on the little "x" in the top corner to EXIT. DO NOT QUIT or EXIT documents you've written without first using ctrl s to save, or ctrl w to close and save the current message you're typing, or ctrl e to send it.

Next: 1-5, 1-6, Let Retrieving Misplaced Data = Efficient Writing,

Chapter 1: Chapter 1 - Ideas -

5-7 Travel Writing

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Get started by learning about this huge and widely varied genre by visiting Travel Writing Net: Check all the links.

Talking Travel With Roy Lowey,, may just have the most useful links for travel writers, as well as travelers. Begin your thorough exploration by clicking the entire list of links at the top of the National Association of Travel Journalists Association, Select Travel World Magazine, Keep exploring and learning all you can. You'll be able to search for many excellent articles. Scroll down and click on Site Map.

Durant Imboden's Writing.Org site,, "A travel writer's guide to self-publishing on the Web,"  is good. Scroll his Articles Index to find Travel Writing, and read his article:

Lorry Pattons' Travel tips 'n' Tales, Browse, check out links, and especially the Terms of Use Copyright link at the bottom of the page. (TIP: Press Trips, when they appear, will be found under News, which is separated by topics. Sometimes none are listed.)

Check out Scott American Corporation at, For free information, click the GoGo for travelers, and be zipped to, where you'll find a wealth of information. Click Site Map and surf the results, and grow your travel writing knowledge exponentially!

For example, at Cathay Pacific Airways, by surfing the links you can learn about baggage, in-flight health, airports, lounges, aviation logistics, and antenna farms, etc. Let each spark ideas to topic spoke.

Check Destinations at each airline to learn which cities to focus on when getting ideas for in-flight magazines. Don't skip Travel Publications. Check each publication for submission guidelines.

*NOTE: Travel Publicity Leads is for travel writers with some experience, not beginners or students. The services offered should not be used until you have developed experience in the niche of travel writing. Study how other writers looking for press trips or press kits use the listing service.

Travel Press Kits
BootsnAll Press Kit is an excellent example of what may be included in a press kit:

Many companies, locations, media, etc., offer press kits. Get started by typing "travel press kit" into The search will return different results, depending on what new information has reached the Internet. For example, I found links to:; (search press kit).

Expect to find unexpected perks as you build your databases. For example, at, the official Alaskan Vacation Planner, although the site didn't look impressive, when I scrolled I found a link to a calendar of events, and at the very bottom, two excellent resource links, the Industry Glossary, and the Site map.

Travel guides
Do lots of homework online by checking the multitude of online travel guides for destinations, accommodations, etc. Pamela Lanier hosts several websites you can link to from her interesting site: Roll your mouse over her site carefully so you don't miss any links.

Lanier Travel Guides, is one example. On the page, Check the destinations link to find thumbnail sketches of destinations. It offers a site map where you can select from their database of destination information. Great for gathering data and generating dozens of ideas to topic spoke! ALWAYS check her Site Map on each page.

Travel writers association
International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, can spend days surfing this site and not get to all of the information you can glean, free!

Graduated memberships are available. The online application(s) give the fee(s). Memberships include newsletter, Press Pass, that lists press trips, conferences, markets, etc. Click Magazine, to view it online. Spend some time exploring this excellent site, because you don't know what freebies you'll find unless you do!

Locate Chambers of Commerce at:

Currency exchange calculators:,
Yahoo Finance,, provides rates of exchange and alphabetical list of countries.

Travel Library: Personal travelogues and worldwide travel and tourism information. Has important link to Airline Ticket Consolidators. The travelogues listed in the Library sometimes contain links to personal home pages. People put their travel stories online in the Travel-Library and include their personal web sites for a variety of reasons. Almost none of these writers are making any money from writing their travelogue. HOWEVER, with persistent surfing, you can also locate interesting sites such as places for working and volunteering. Maybe you'll discover someone interesting, and write a profile article.

TravelWritingNet,, is devoted soley to showcase the best in high-quality travel writing from unpublished writers. It may be right for you when you're stepping into the speciality field. Payment consists of having the satisfaction of getting your stories published where others can enjoy them.

Other information sites and press packets
Check out state websites, too. For example, see Montana information here: (TIP: Click Search and Help near bottom page to get a VERY comprehensive alphabetical list of what's in Montana! (quick link: Sign up for a newsletter, if you're interested in state that has a certain mystique popular with readers. has recently launched a new Web site for journalists and editors researching adventure travel stories in the Rocky Mountain states, The site offers journalists complete online press kits for adventure travel companies. Go to:. *For information, email,

Travel Writers Exchange also has good information,
Airline websites can lead to a wealth of travel information, too. For example, from Delta Airlines site map at, I located Frommers, an excellent international itinerary guide resource:

FreeTrip(R) (, Inc.) has a quick and dirty calculator for best route between two points-- and, importantly, gives you approximate driving time. It allows you to constrain the trip to or away from certain highways if all you're looking for are the text descriptions of how to get somewhere.

Centers for Disease and Control, Traveler's Health,, provides international travelers with current information on disease outbreaks and health issues. Includes information on recommended vaccinations, and links to CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program for sanitation inspections on international cruise ships.

Travel writing isn't only about making trips or visiting destinations; let topic spoking lead your writing in many directions. This venue can be challenging, but the rewards are many. Give traveling a try, if you have a strong constitution and itchy feet.

Chapter 12, Other Writing Opportunities:

Next: 5-8, Newspaper Contracts:


9-8 Promoting Your Book

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Promotion is 85% of becoming a successful author. Unless your book sells, whether self-published or through a publishing house, promotion is the number one key to sales. You must be involved and be able to generate sales on a broad scale. Besides being a benchmark of your success, sales of your book pay the bills.

But sales don't happen without promotion.

Whether your books is the product of a publishing house or if you self-publish it, promotion is largely up to you. Your promotional efforts are integral to becoming a successful author. Your job includes discovering or generating ways to spread the word about your new book. And time quickly runs out, and yours is quickly bumped from the new book list.

One opportunity not to be ignored is The Habitual Reader,, 00an online fiction book club that features reader profiles, book reviews, and favorite community bookstores. Along with a wealth of information, it offers free promotion of your book(s). Here is your chance to "shamelessly self-promote your masterpiece." If you're published, click "Authors."

Charlotte Cook, President of Habitual Reader and Komenar Publishing suggests,
"If an author wants to have substantial impact on our site, he or she should use the other offerings as well, such as Reviews and Profiles. We are also looking for some original editorials. Each of these offers participants in the site an opportunity to be featured and showcased. And those authors who send us more readers ... not just other authors ... help the site become successful for all of us."
Also, take advantage of the excellent help you'll find by visiting, (featured in Shelf Awareness.) I especially recommend that you click "About Us," and scroll down to Charlotte Cook and click "See some examples."

Two books belong on your reference shelf:
  • The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
  • Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, by Steve Weber.
Each provides a wealth of information and ideas on how to market and publicize your book, especially Weber's book, which also includes an entire section on blog tours and social networking.

Book promotion is increasingly the burden of the author, rather than the publisher, so regularly search online for news articles that address the issue. Search dilligently to find opportunities to promote your book.

Arrange book signings at local book stores; smaller stores generally yield better results than large chain book outlets like Barnes and Noble, etc.

Join or monitor writers discussion lists, too. And read, Advice From The Pros, What About Distribution and Publicists?,

Chapter 18 - Book Publishing:

Next: 9-9, Trade Book Publishing Agreement:

5-5 Screenwriters Online Resources

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Drew's Script-O-Rama Index of movie scripts available on the Internet:

Simply Scripts, Screenplays, transcripts, and partial scripts of old, current and soon to be released movies: Scripts, Large archive of movie screenplays in plain text or PDF format:

Full Sail University. Awesome Scripts and Screenplays. Read dozens of film scripts online:

Weekly Script, Movie and television screenplays and transcripts, listed alphabetically: Read over a hundred scripts online or join a screenplay-related discussion group:

The Scriptwriters Network, founded in 1986, is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization created by writers for writers and industry professionals:

TV Film Rights.Com. A world marketplace community for TV and film rights;

The Hollywood Script Readers' Digest, a division of Alliance Diversified Ltd. Showcases synopses of unproduced screenplays and TV series proposals:

Colin's Movie Monologue Page. Multitude of movie monologues:

List of screen writing software

Chapter 12 - Other Writing Opportunities:

Next: 5-6, Medical Writing:(under construction)

9-3 Audio Book Publishing

(c) 2010 Mona Leeson Vanek

The audio book industry is on a fast track ~~ with over a billion dollars in sales annually. Over 40 million audio books were sold last year alone, according to Spoken Books Publishing,
  • Words come alive and fictional characters quickly become real.
  • How-to-information becomes understandable.
  • Sightless people can enjoy books again.
The reasons go on and on, and profits to authors soar.

Read summaries from publishers that specialize in audio books, at Spoken Books Publishing,, and also study at Publishing Central,, and at Green Leaf Book Group LCC,

Also, type (Tip -- fast method, copy\paste) audiobookpublishing into and to get many sites to check out.

The importance of new developments in the industry must always be considered.

As I write this, a major concern with electronic publishing is being tied to a format which can only be read by proprietary hardware or software.

Keep an eye on this by checking news reports. Ie. Adobe, Kindle, Mobipocket, iPad. etc. (Today, 07/21/10, is offering a free download of Kindle to your PC, I have no idea how long this offer will last, but you can check on it at

In ten years time, all of them could be past history, or if they are available they won't use the same format. Nor is it likely that today's devices will still work that long into the future: they break down, they get dropped, they get lost.
  • Where does that leave readers who have bought books in these formats?
  • Or writers whose work has been published in these formats?
  • Do similar fates befall audio books, too?
Experienced professional writers keep abreast of the market place, because the book marketplace is changing lightening fast.

Chapter 18 - Book Publishing:

Next: 9-6, Book Publicity and Marketing?:

7-2 Infringement and Plagiarizing

Dealing With Plagiarizing
(c) 2010 Mona Leeson Vanek

Many things have changed since litigation was initiated because of plagiarism issues in electronic databases, and writers still await settlement awards. Read the latest update on that Copyright Class Action lawsuit here: Publishers and writers now negotiate contracts that avoid plagiarism issues, but they still occur. Writers are encouraged to contact the perpetrator every time someone uses their work without authorization, whether in print or online.

In today's electronic marketplace, plagiarism and copyright infringement may be better understood, but they're still serious problems for ALL writers. When negotiating a magazine's contract, freelancers may prefer to strike everything beyond use in a single print edition. Negotiating for all they're worth, they wrestle with clauses covering audiotape, microfilm, microfiche, CD-ROM, and broad electronic rights like database. They'll try for time limits, and excise one vicious clause that boils down to 'rights of the purchaser to secure copyright as proprietor', or in other words, giving their copyright over to the publisher.

However, even with successful negotiating, freelancers too often end up finding themselves inadequately protected.

Say you don't write for on-line publication; that doesn't necessarily mean that your words aren't going to be on-line. Freelancers say one problem is that print publishers don't always own the rights they've sublicensed, but realistically nearly every publisher obtains at least non-exclusive electronics rights for some period of time; whether the author limits archiving or allows archiving their writing ad infinum.

Expect to find that copyright infringement spans all countries and many continents, but laws differ. For example, Canadian law allows copyright cases to be heard in small claims courts. Copyright infringement in the United States is decided in federal courts, although suits charging breach of contract may be heard in small claims or other state courts.

Plagiarism by an individual, in some cases such as in educational use, has a slightly different connotation from the use of your works without permission by a concern or company. The need to consult an attorney who specializes in intellectual rights cannot be over-emphasized.

At home, or at the library, you can use the capabilities of spider searches on the World Wide Web, to routinely track down plagiarizers and infringers. If a publisher has exceeded the terms of its license the writer's contract is breached, and the writer may also still charge others in the chain of plagiarizing with copyright infringement. A publisher's indemnification doesn't let the others off the hook. Each time a violation is found, writers need to take aggressive action.

Immediately ask Internet Service Providers (ISP) to remove the offending Web sites alleged to have illegally post your copyrighted works. Be prepared to prove you are owner of the copyright. The subject of on-line copyright infringement is complex and serious.

Five organizations in the writer's favor are, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc.(ASJA),, The Authors Guild,, The Authors Registry,, the Text and Academic Authors Association,, and the National Writers Union, (NWU),

Send information and scuttlebutt to American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA): Contracts Committee, ASJA, 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. ph: 212-997-0947. Visit their searchable archive of ASJA Contracts Watch at Contact info is on the web page. Read the other valuable information and tips on freelance contracts, electronic rights and copyright. Subscribe to get e-mail announcements.

Study posts at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, search 'writer beware',

Only vigilance will protect you from copyright infringement. Don't let plagiarists and copyright infringers steal your material!! Be concerned. Stand up for the rights of ALL writers!!

Chapter 14 - Tending to Business:

Next: 7-3, What About Taxes :

6-3 Character traits

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson VanekBegin learning about character traits and their importance from the book many professional writers recommend, The Writer's Guide to Character Traits, Linda N. Edelstein. Edelstein talks about common traits such as, being dependable, creative, ambitious, charismatic, curious, etc. As your character first begins to evolve, step back and make a list of this person's character traits.Practice this technique by writing a short vignette that tells a story about a character, using one set of characteristics. For instance, show a "responsible" character's deeds in your story. Then write another vignette, using a different set of characteristics. Make a habit of this exercise while you're writing.Study online at Suite101, you want to expand your understanding, type character traits into a search engine, such as, and follow links to continue your studies about character traits and their importance in a story.

Chapter 13 - Genre Writing and Writing for Children:

Next: 6-4, Show Versus Tell Issues:

6-2 All About Names

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Exploring names and their meanings for your characters can not only be fascinating, but very enlightening. Names bear more thought an consideration than many writers realize., is fast, efficient and very useful for finding names, their origins and definitions, nicknames, etc.. Click a letter of the alphabet at the top to generate girl\boy lists alphabetically. Click color button, pink or blue to get names by gender. Click name. Panel on right gives clickable options that return information about Name Page, Name Sakes, Similar and Drawbacks, each requiring only a mouse click to bring information lightening fast!

Behind The Name, the etymology and history of first names,, is a terrific resource that lets you check popularity, related names, name day, name ratings, etc., arranged by nationality, mythology, biblical, and many more options. You'll like the Alphabetical Navigator in a box at the left.

Kabalarian's site is an invaluable and fascinating site that concerns names, Kabalarians Philosophy, Although time ran out before I was ever able to download alphabetical name list, by using the Search box near top right of page, typing in a name, and then checking What Does My Name Mean?, I gleaned some information. Kalabarian Philosophy Electronic Newsletter, The Newsline, contains a vast amount of information about names.

Find the top 100 names in any given year at Social Security Online, You can also search a name to discover the year(s) it was most popular.

After you've studied at these sites, you'll be much better equipped when naming your characters, and you'll probably visit repeatedly.

Chapter 13 - Genre Writing and Writing for Children:

Next: 6-3, Character Traits:


4-4 Adventuring Your Road To Successful Writing and Marketing

(c) 2010 Mona Leeson Vanek

Use the Internet to minimize the time spent locating magazines to study, find archived articles, obtain free sample copies, locate writer's guidelines, and query editors. Other important information, such as magazine publishers, publishers' representatives, and award-winning stories that help you blueprint your stories and articles to a magazine's template reduce guesswork.

Explore each web site
For example, by following links at Collecting, I discovered there are fifteen magazines for dolls!, and more here,, (Both websites belong to the New York Times See a list of New York Times web sites, New York Times required (which is free)

IMPORTANT -- Take time to learn about companies you hope to write for. For example, you'll see New York Times web sites listed at the bottom of the home page.) is owned by New York Times. In the permission I received from them to include information and links, they also said, "Please be advised that linking to an article on The New York Times is free of charge and does not require permission. You do, however have to use the Publisher's URL which will take your readers back to The New York Times web site in which they have to be a member, or become a member. Membership is free of charge and only takes a minute to complete. For further information on linking, please see the URL below: If you wish to post an article onto your site (your URL would then host the material), then permission is needed and copyright fees apply."

Time Inc. has a portfolio of 21 U.S. magazines and more than 25 U.S. Web sites. Take time to learn more here,

Site Map
The Site Map displays the links on the web page, providing information quickly. Not all web pages have one, but you'll either find it at the top or the bottom of the page.

MAGHOUND, When I clicked a magazine there, the resulting page offered View All Magazines. Hovering a mouse over each magazine's cover page displays its specialty. belongs to Time Inc., which publishes more than 115 magazines, including 22 in the U.S., which are read nearly 250 million times worldwide on a monthly basis, 26 US web sites, 48 worldwide web sites.

Web page search funtion
Take advantage of a web page's search function, because theirs often locates magazines missed by your favorite search engine. is a top Meta Search Engine, found at, The search function at Starting Point, brings links to magazines to read. Starting Point (TM) Magazines is one of the best databases to search any topic and the magazines catering to it. It doesn't cover guides, but is a very good place to start when you're studying magazine content. Read reviews to get inside the magazine's readers minds.

NBC Internet (NBCi), will search many of the publications on the web for subjects or keywords, including magazines.

Explore the Internet Public Library, and also use their search utility: With diligence, you find goodies like:

Moira Allen's Website for writers,,, offers many links to various markets and writers' sites.

Visit Kirk LaPointe's J-Home has a very comprehensive list of links to magazines,

The American Journalism Review site, affords links to the 50 largest circulation magazines in the states and the 25 largest circulation magazines in Canada. However, not every large circulation magazine has a link because many do not have web pages. Use News Sources at the top of the page and then select from the drop down list to get categorized lists.

Specialties galore exist, such as Family Tree Magazine, devoted to family and genealogy,

Greeting card magazine, Greetings.etc., is the industry's leading magazine,

Provided by the Weider History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines, is excellent, and will also show you the picture of the day:

Women magazines URL links and much much more are at, under Media and Publications. If you write for or about women you'll want to check out,

If writing trade articles interests you, locate FreeTradeMagazines -- an excellent trade magazines resource, Click on a listed magazine to get a page with more magazines in that topic. Study and compare to learn each magazine's style, content, publication dates, etc. (Tip: If making money from your writing-related website interests you, on the home page at the top, click the "Affiliate" button for full details.

Click on a listed magazine to get a page with more magazines in that topic. Study and compare to learn each magazine's style, content, publication dates, etc.

Magazine databases
Some magazine databases have links to magazine guidelines or contact information.
Databases of magazines, (writers guidelines for many magazines are also linked)
Writers Write,
Writers Weekly,,
Writing For DOLLARS,
Ark Royal Magazines,,,
ABZY News Links,

Sample Magazines to study
At magazine seller sites click on the magazine cover. Some offer a blurb about the focus of the magazine. Many magazines offer free trials. It's fine to order magazines, but don't feel obligated to subscribe. Unless you are truly interested, and want the subscription, immediately write cancel on the statement when it arrives and return it the same day, or very soon afterwards.

While reading magazines online, check the magazine's archives, where stories are often categorized by month or year, or by alphabetized listing of archived articles.

Archives are very useful to learn what the editor wants, how magazine focus changes over several years, and topics that have been published. If the same topic is covered periodically, it's an opportunity for you to target the magazine with an article on previously covered topics ~~ at a later date!

Writers guidelines
At magazine seller sites, choose the name of any magazine and copy-paste or type it into your search engine to locate the home page of the magazine, where you'll often find a link to writer's guidelines.

If guides aren't on the home page, check at their About Us and\or Contact Us to request them. You can also contact a magazines' advertising department and ask for their media kit (and your editor will never have to know.) Study the media kit and editorial calendar to learn about the behind the scenes operation of magazines.

Guidelines for many magazines are at: Hover your mouse over Get Published to locate the drop down and get Hot Markets, where you'll find The Writer's Digest Top 100. Each magazine title you click will take you to that magazine's writers guidelines.

How much can you learn from one magazine? SeedQuest contains an online and prints publications list. Begin at the homepage, I don't remember ever surfing so many links from one web page that led me to a wider variety of topics! Nearly every line of type is a link! It's an awesome resource to spark topic ideas. Exploring leads to great story ideas.

For example,
  • start by clicking 'seed biotechnologies
  • scroll to a link to Seed Technology Center at UC Davis and click their link
  • then use the Google search on the resulting page
  • from there you can surf on over to CooksGarden -- and spark endless writing possibilities!
Although eHarlequin,, publishes romance, their website is a treasure of helpful information. You'll find the Site Map near the bottom of the home page, from which you can jump to the blog,, which offers Read, Talk, Write, along with much more.

Also, find much more by clicking Frequently Asked Questions, FAQ.

If you explore the site you'll find articles on writing a synopsis, publishing glossary, what proofreader's marks mean, etc.

By diligently exploring the Internet to find magazines, editors, spark ideas, and guidelines you'll pave your road to successful writing and marketing.

Chapter 9 - Querying and Related Issues:

Next: 4-5, Writers and Networking: >


6-1 Strong Fictional Characters

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

This advice is shared by Alan Girling, Freelance Writer.
  • "Do you need to study strong female fictional characters? Have you related to those in books such as the Taming of the Shrew; Jane Eyre; Anne of Green Gables? At The Back Fence,, you'll find a long, interesting and very thorough essay on heroines in classic fiction and modern romance with detailed descriptions, many links, and relevant quotations from discussed books." ~~ Alan Girling

Chapter 6 - Permissions and Writer Beware:

Next, 6-2, All About Names:

3-5 Quoting Quotes

(c) 2010 Mona Leeson Vanek

When quoting someone else's quotes for historical references, you say
  • Quoted in REFERENCE, page [xxx.]
However, be careful in assuming fair use in ANY case, especially if you're getting paid for the project.

Anthony Robbins was successfully sued over the use of a couple of TWO-WORD phrases. There is no word count limit that determines fair use, and if you're getting paid to write the book, it's a "commercial purpose."

There's an excellent article about this on Ivan Hoffman's website at, Ivan's entire site has many, many useful articles. He is an attorney who specializes in copyright and intellectual property law. There are two previous articles on other aspects of fair use, as well.

Keep in mind that Hoffman's articles are not intended as legal advice and are not legal advice. The articles are intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information and are not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed.

Chapter 5 - Copyrights, Previously Published Works,and Using Quotations:

Next: Chapter 6 - Permissions and Writer Beware:

9-6 What About Distribution and Publicists?

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Distribution has always been one of the major reasons for not self-publishing your book. So what can you do to help turn that around?

Diane Diekman, author of two books she self-published, A Farm in the Hidewood; My South Dakota Home (ISBN 0-9708201-0-0) and Navy Greenshirt: A Leader Made, Not Born (ISBM 0-9708201-1-9), says boxes of them remain because she had no distribution system. However, since the University of Illinois Press, which has worldwide distribution, published her third book, "Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story (ISBN is 978-0-252-03248-6.)

U of I Press sent 17,000 catalogs around the world, made numerous contacts for reviews, and a blurb in the Faron Young book jacket promotes her earlier books. And now, Diane makes good use of her website,, where links publicize her first two books, plus Faron Young, Marty Robbins (Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins, her book in progress) and a link to her Newsletter and Blog.

Still, Diane said that hiring a publicist would have been helpful. A publicist would have set up book tours and radio interviews and other events for her. Many publishers do not set up events, or pay for them. And if you self-publish a publicist may be able to help. You must also ensure that bookstores will allow you to bring in your book if you are able to schedule a book signing, and be sure that sufficient copies are at the event.

Developing your platform is extremely important. Speak at every opportunity. Network with professional writers. Start a newsletter as soon as you finish writing your book. Be creative and grow your subscriber list. Network with other newsletter-owners and ask them to offer reprints of yours to their distribution list, if possible.

Diane started a weekly Faron Young email newsletter more than two years before publication of her book, after she'd finished writing her manuscript. By the time her book was on book shelves, her subscriber list had grown from 40 to almost 400, and another newsletter with a 20,000-person distribution reprints hers.

Distribution and platforms are critical, however not every professional agrees on the importance of platforms. Begin by reading the following post,, at Michael Hyatt's website. Then scroll to the bottom of the post and check out the articles linked there:
Then, you should know enough to begin your strategy for success.

Chapter 18 - Book Publishing:

Next: 9-7 What an Agent Expects to See:

2-5 Grammar Resources

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Where do you go for answers to grammar questions?

The following websites can help, a grammar forum for the gray areas of the English language offers excellent help,

The University of Chicago Writing Program,

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has an excellent handout here,

Find answers to grammar questions at Capital Community College Foundation sponsors The Guide to Writing and Grammar: Click Index to get links to whatever you want to know about.

Chapter 4 - Writers Guidelines and Magazine Calendars

Next: Chapter 5 - Copyrights, Previously Published Works,and Using Quotations:

9-9 Trade Book Publishing Agreement

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek, is a great site to study and learn about trade book publishing. Visit About Us and acquaint yourelf with owner, Lloyd Jassin. Read the Articles, explore the Forms, and don't miss Visit Our Blog, and become a regular follower.
then become a regular follower.

Chapter 18 - Book Publishing:

Next, Chapter 19 - Research and Libraries:

9-2 About That Agent

(c) 2010 Mona Leeson Vanek

You'll find many answers to your questions about agents by visiting The Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR), AAR's site explains the organization and tells what to expect from a reputable agent. Before you begin your search for an agent to represent you, explore the wealth of information offered to learn such things as etiquette, what questions to ask an agent, etc.

You'll also find very good links to help you understand many aspects of writing at Dan Perez' web site,, including an article on what to look for in an agent.

Many agents prefer cover letters that demonstrate your writing ability to query letters. Sound assured and be very clear. If they enhance the focus of your manuscript, it’s okay to include clips (your previously published material).

Your query should clearly ask, "Do you want to see my book proposal about [ xxx…]?”.

When you receive an affirmative response, send the proposal with a cover letter saying, "Here is the proposal you requested for, “working book title.”

Just because an agent asks for exclusivity on your proposal doesn't mean she necessarily thinks it’s saleable. It only means she doesn't want to waste her time looking at it if someone else is also looking at it. Agents get as high as 300+ queries a week.

On Natalie R. Collins' web site,, scroll to the bottom where you'll find Agent link. The agents listed have a verifiable track record of legitimate sales. It's updated about every three months. Each agent is researched before being added. No additions are made without her approval. TIP: The Agent page will give you instructions on how to download the list that's grown to large to display on a web page.

Collins says,
"I will not claim every agent on there is good, because I have heard of some writers having HORRIBLE experiences with A-list agents, but it's a good place to start. One big plus, you will not find scam artist agents on this listing."
Collins is the author of Wives and Sisters, and Behind Closed Doors, from St. Martin's Press. Find Suspense Fiction Behind the Zion Curtain here:

You should never be shy of asking questions about the agent's background and way of working.

  1. About the agent's background in publishing, Hollywood or the law.
  2. Which clients and/or types of books the agent represents.
  3. Which publishers the agent works with regularly.
  4. Does the agent visit New York (if he or she doesn't work there).
  5. How will you be expected to pay the agent (is he or she asking any reading or editorial fees beyond the commission?)
  6. Whether the agent will forward publishers' rejection letters (if any) to you upon their receipt
  7. Whether you'll be consulted on all deals that go through on your behalf (you must be!)
  8. To what extent the agent is experienced and aggressive in selling subsidiary rights (or engaging co-agents to do it for him or her) and negotiating points on your contract.
When a publisher accepts your proposal, you should always be able to get a list from the agent of where she submitted it and copies of rejection letters.

Alternative to having an agent
For some books, you’ll do well by dealing directly with a publisher. Do your homework to find an appropriate publisher who accepts manuscripts from writers. Then query the publisher’s Acquisitions Editor.

When requested by the AE, send your formal proposal. Be sure to follow the publishing house’s template if you get one. It will include an overview of other competing books on the market, with publisher, author, ISBN, etc., and a few paragraphs that detail how your book is better, or adds value not found in those already available.

When dealing directly with a publishing house, be sure to have your Intellectual Properties Attorney review and explain the contract details so you clearly understand them. After the publisher makes you an offer, it’s legitimate to get an agent to represent you.

Above all, make sure you have a sense that the agent likes and understands your work and knows the market (the specific editors and houses) for it. If your genre is a newer area for the agent, that's not necessarily a bad thing (it may make you the agency's "star client" in that genre), but just be sure the agent knows who the right editors will be. And be certain that the person seems like someone you could work happily with. Your agent doesn't have to become your closest pal, but he or she does need to be someone you can trust, respect, and feel comfortable with.

One last point: it's diplomatic to reserve these questions for your interview or discussion with the agent, after the agent calls or writes to express interest in representing you. Agents can more comfortably discuss them over the phone with you than in writing (either by email or by letter). Don't put them in your query letter or you'll probably alienate the person.

Also, check out QueryTracer,

Contracts resulting from an agent's efforts
Look at a contract as a business proposition, not just as an opportunity to publish books. Your agent might help you get the best contract, but you will want your Intellectual Property Attorney on board, too.

Novelists, Inc., keeps its members connected, communicating, and well informed while striving to better the status of fiction writers: This fine web site has excellent articles. Use tabs at the top to locate. One article, written by Laura Resnick about negotiating a book contract, has some relevance to magazine contracts.

Chapter 18 - Book Publishing:

Next: 9-3 Audio Book Publishing:

10-4 More Useful Links to Markets

(c) 2010 Mona Leeson Vanek

LitLine, A Website for the Independent Literary Community,

Poets and Writers, (Click Magazines and scroll to Classifieds at bottom of that page.)


Poetry Publishers Who Accept email Submissions, Compiled continually by Louie Crew,

Literary Magazines, Every Writer's Resource,

Millikin University of Haiku, Directory of haiku magazines,

Chapter 21 - Polish, Sell, and Enjoy Rewards!:

Next: 10-5, Use Wi-Fi Legally:

3-4 Interviewing to Write Profiles

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

John Palcewski has enjoyed a long and eclectic career as a newspaper reporter, music/drama critic, magazine editor, UPI photojournalist, fine arts photographer, poet, and fiction author. Writing a personality profile on Miles Davis launched him on his professional writing career, and he says profiles have always been his favorite thing. "I regard writing profiles as a "kind of journalistic/psychoanalytical process," Palcewski says, "I try to get to know the person as much as possible."

He studies his subject, and gets to know them through research in the library, as well as through their personal friends and family. He advises using the Internet and various search engines to gather everything that has been written about the person.

Note same or similar biographical elements appearing in various sources and also note elements that you can personally relate to.

Don't rely on just taking notes, be sure to also keep a record of the URL where you found each piece of data as you might never locate the source again. Remember, technology is not fail safe -- don't find yourself relying on the Internet without taking valuable notes. Both are important.

Interview as many of the subject's friends and relatives as you can and ask each to describe the subject in 25 words or less (the length of a good newspaper lead!). Gather input as well from the subjects'colleagues, especially those who are critical of him/her.

After you've assembled a nice big pile, very slowly and carefully read it over several times.
"Then sit down and start writing out a list of questions. These questions should flow naturally from the material you've already assembled. Compose questions relating to the contradictory things you've read, and also about other biographical episodes.
"Then arrange for an interview. There is a lot of debate about location, whether it should be on his/her turf, or in a neutral place. Much of it depends on to what extent the subject wants to cooperate. But it's essential to get as much time as possible, and ideally arrange in advance some follow-up meetings or telephone calls.
"Start the interview with thanking the subject for granting the interview, and make it emphatic! And then begin your questions with all the positive things the subject has been involved with, allow him/her to revisit pleasant experiences.
"As you are conducting the interview, it's essential to make the subject know that you are truly INTERESTED in what he/she is saying. That means sitting on the edge of your chair, leaning forward just a bit, and keeping eye contact. People know when you are receptive, or when you are just going through the motions.
"The fact that you have spent the time doing your homework will soon become apparent to the subject, and body language that reinforces your interest will create the best possible climate.
"If there are controversial questions, like a history of drug use or other negative things, save them for the very end. The whole idea is to fashion the interview in such a way that the subject naturally starts revealing personal things. And it will happen only if a feeling of trust has been established.
"If the subject objects to certain questions, you can say, well, look. I'm a journalist, and I'm sorry to be so intrusive, but readers ARE curious about these things. Another way to frame difficult questions is to say: "Many people would say that..." followed by either silence or "What would YOU say to them?"
"I usually use a tape recorder for two reasons. One, you have something that is "proof" beyond question of what was said. Two, you must spend a lot of time transcribing the tape. This gives you further time saturating yourself with the subject. The idea here is to "master" the material. Doing so not only brings a fuller understanding of the subject, but it also makes the writing easier."
A favorite aphorism of John's is: "Master the content; form will rise to meet you."

Other professional writers offered these tips
  • If the subject can't talk when you contact them, find a specific time frame that suits both your schedules, and allow set the date to set aside time to be interviewed. It will less pressured and they'll feel more in control.
  • Letting the person take the lead is essential to having a good laid back interview.
  • If you are interviewing by phone, start to wrap up the interview before the person gets tired and is ready to quit. Often the interviewee comes forward with good information at this point--many Interviewees have specific things they want included. Or, make sure you ask, "Is there anything else you would like to add?"
  • Be prepared. Make a list of questions and them hone them down. Don't have too many, and allow room for spontaneous conversation.
  • Do research before you go. If there are things from other articles or promotional material you want to use, be sure to ask if it's correct. You'd be surprised how many times you'll be told, "no, actually...."
  • If possible, interview the person in a place where they feel most comfortable, and don't forget to build rapport and identify with them.
  • Most people, particularly older/retired individuals, are often quite humble; they don't see anything spectacular or unusual about their lives. Chatting a bit before the interview often helps you to identify a theme-focus if you're interviewing them cold. 
Freelance writer, Holly Michael, who also writes profiles says,
"What works best for me is to create a comfortable environment. I let them choose the place, their home works great.
"Then I begin by just chatting and finding a familiar ground. Maybe we have children the same age or we both eat too much chocolate or something like that. Usually if you can find a common thing, a person will open up more.
"To me it isn't about asking all the right questions, but more about drawing lots of goodies out of them. I probably break all the rules of interviewing ... I don't make any lists of questions UNLESS I am interviewing over the phone -- it's best to have a list ready when phoning."
Find out about their involvements and interests i.e. member of Rotary Club, quilter, retired Air Force, Vietnam vet, mother, La Leche, etc., church. This gives you not only different aspects to investigate or ask about, but sometimes it gives insight into what kind of person they are. It also opens more markets for a profile article.

Kim Pawlak, who wrote 'Notables,' a textbook author profile advised requesting the author's curriculum vitae or resume. It contains the statistics, numbers of books published, awards, success of the books, etc. In addition to researching documented material, she also talked to professors in the subject's field who shed light on the author.

Karen Blue, freelance writer who retired to Mexico where she wrote extensively about the benefits to single women who relocated there, says
  • Take notes about body language. (Chewing fingers, blowing smoke rings, etc.) to make your profile more personal.
  • Always have a general idea about where the interview is going, but encourage them to go off on a tangent if it seems more interesting than the stock questions you had prepared.
  • Take pictures, you'll forget after a while what some interviewees looked like. And have a backup recorder and batteries.
So, do not be intimidated about interviewing. With all the right tools on hand, you too can become a profiler.

Chapter 5 - Copyrights, Previously Published Works,and Using Quotations:

Next, 3-5, Quoting Quotes:

3-7 Let Writing Careers and Writers and Artists Glossary Terms Enhance Your Vocabulary

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Put more writer's savy into your vocabulary today with a glossary of the terms used in your profession. It's very frustrating when someone tells you something and you misunderstand, or can't comprehend, the terms they're using. Don't be caught unaware. You'll be more savy after a visit to the glossary of terms that pertain to literature, writing, art, graphic design, and technology at WriteDesignonline, Bookmark it now.

For example, an advance isn't moving a chess piece, clip isn't how you trim your nails, galley isn't the sailboat's kitchen, imprint isn't pushing your palms into plaster of paris, and pasteup isn't gluing objects.A good many words have different meanings for editors and publishers than the way you've always understood them.There's an excellent recently updated glossary of writing careers here in John Hewitt's, PoeWar archives,

Chapter 8 - Newsgroups, Forums and Reference Desks:

Next: Chapter 9 - Querying and Related Issues:

10-6 Writing Software

(c) 2010 by Mona Leeson Vanek

It goes without saying that a writer's job is easier when they are comfortable and satisfied with their writing software program(s)! But, sadly, that's not always the case and increasing numbers of writers are switching the software they use for writing, despite editor's preference for manuscripts written in MS-Word. is an open source program like Mozilla and Firefox. It's free. Anything you do in OpenOffice can be saved in Microsoft Office format. Anything in MS Office format can be opened with OpenOffice. OpenOffice has a word processor, a spread sheet, a power point, and other gadgets. It's far more stable and saves with far less file space demand than anything offered by Microsoft. It's intuitive but also has a great help file.

Note: Always be sure to READ THE TERMS.

Gary Presley explained OpenOffice to me,
"Download a free copy of OpenOffice. And when you do, make a contribution because it's superb software. If you appreciated the open source community's efforts to make a product like Firefox available, you'll dance with joy after using OpenOffice; you can save work in a variety of formats, and it opens MS stuff with a click of the mouse.
"You'll also notice fewer crashes, minimal hang-ups, and that saved OO works take up much less space than similar MS documents. I had material that comprised about a quarter of a meg when saved in OpenOffice, but the editor wanted it in Word. I saved a Word copy, and it was over a meg in size. We use OpenOffice at our house to substitute for Word (my stuff) or Powerpoint (for my wife's teaching needs), and we'll never go back. And, the thesaurus (a writer's best friend) in OpenOffice also outshines the one in Word.
"It takes only a few seconds to set up a separate folder and save your writing there in Word format. In fact, you can save or open documents in a dozen formats via a pull down menu after you click "Save As."
"Nearly every editor I've worked with wants manuscripts in Word or Plain Text, but the simplicity and reliability of OpenOffice is so solid that I don't mind making a copy in Word for those editors "behind the curve."
Give it a try and if you find you like it, it may save you the money of buying MSWord or MSOffice.

Another option is available if you don't have MS-Word. You can create Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents online at, Read the Terms here,

Chapter 21 - Polish, Sell, and Enjoy Rewards!:

Next: 10-7 Blog Income Tips: (currently being revised)

10-5 Use Wi-Fi Legally

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Staying on the safe side of the law is never foolish no matter what anyone claims so it makes good sense to know Wi-Fi laws, and abide by them. History is often our best teacher, and you won't go wrong by following Debra Littlejohn Shinder advice, because it's still relevant.

A June, 2007 news item, by Sara Bonisteel, reported the arrest and conviction of a man piggybacking on a cafe's Wi-Fi,,2933,276720,00.html. That resulted in my decision to add the following information, provided by Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP, editor of WXPNews and author of "Scene of the Cybercrime (Syngress Publishing)."

(c) 2009 Debra Littlejohn Shinder

"There are a number of different issues involved in connecting to an open wireless network or opening up your own wireless network to the public. Some are contractual issues and others involve criminal laws.

"First, let's look at the contractual issues. In the case of consumer ISP accounts, most providers prohibit in their terms of service (ToS) agreements allowing anyone outside of your household to use your Internet bandwidth. Thus someone else connecting to your network could cause you to have your Internet service terminated either temporarily or permanently. So while running a "freenet" or a wireless network that's intentionally open to the public may seem like a generous thing to do, but it could have serious consequences if you don't have the permission of your ISP.

"Even if your ISP permits you to share your bandwidth, be careful about doing so. A computer connecting to your network can deliberately or inadvertently spread viruses, worms, Trojans, rootkits, etc. throughout your network or serve as a conduit for an attack if he/she connects to web sites that run malicious controls or applets. These could result in loss of data, network downtime and even corruption of your system files to the point of having to reinstall your operating system and applications.

"Also be aware of how your service is billed. Although most ISPs these days provide "unlimited" service for a set fee, some DSL and T-1 providers DO still charge by the megabyte so that a rogue wireless computer on the network can put the you over the threshold for the next level of service and cost you more money.

"Many people are sharing their networks without even knowing they're doing it because the default setting on their WAP or router is for the network to be open. Be sure to check your device's settings and if you don't want to or aren't permitted to run an open network, enable encryption.

"From the other end (using someone else's wireless connection), it's important to understand that this is illegal under the criminal laws of most states in the U.S. if you don't have the network owner's permission. Just because the other person or company left their network open (unencrypted), that doesn't mean you have consent to use it, just as the fact that your neighbor leaves his front door unlocked doesn't give you permission to enter his house without his permission. Laws differ in different jurisdictions and unauthorized access is a felony in many areas. Be sure you know what the laws are where you are.

"Some people, companies and public entities do set up free wireless networks that they invite anyone to use. You should be careful, though, when taking advantage of such freebies. A freenet operated by a municipality or other government entity or a legitimate company is relatively safe (although connecting to any public wireless network poses some security risks). But connecting to a freenet set up by an individual you don't know can result in all sorts of trouble.

"Some bad guys are deliberately setting up open wireless networks and naming them something like "FREENET" to encourage people to connect, then accessing the info on those computers and using it for identity theft. Never, ever connect to a random wireless network with a computer that has any kind of financial or personal information on it (and be aware that if, for example, you've entered things like your banking password or your credit card info into a web browser, it may very well be cached (saved) on the hard drive)."

DEBRA LITTLEJOHN SHINDER is a Microsoft MVP specializing in enterprise security and CEO of TACteam (Trainers, Authors and Consultants). A former police officer/criminal justice instructor, she has written or contributed to over 20 books and hundreds of articles for print and online publications.

Remember, when you buy a Wi-Fi equipped device it's your responsibility to find out what you can and can't legally do with that device, just as it would be if you were buying any other piece of electronics. There are alternatives to illegal piggybacking -- and some form of Internet access is available at most universities and libraries.

Chapter 21 - Polish, Sell, and Enjoy Rewards!:

Next: 10-6: Writing Software:

10-1 Sold Again

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Yahoo! An editor has offered to purchase your article. Today, most major magazines enter into contractual agreements with authors and take all the rights the writer will let them get by with. Before you sign the contract is the time to negotiate rights.

Don't be afraid to negotiate every contract. with vigor. _Know_ what rights you are selling to the first publisher.*(see sidebar on rights negotiating.) Make sure you have the final agreement in writing before the article is published.

There are, however, still many publications that don't use contracts. According to US law, if there has been no discussion of rights, one time rights or first rights are assumed. This is currently true for paper-print publications, but electronic rights are still, legally, far from being clear and are being influenced by many factors.

Don't chance giving electronic rights to the publisher free by not discussing them just as soon as the editor offers to publish your article. Also, limiting the duration of electronic rights influences reprint marketability.

Whoopee! Your article has been published! You've banked the money and basked in the glow of success. Now what?

To be on safe ground, as soon as your article is published write (or e-mail) the publisher asking him to reassign remaining rights to you. Then you're ready to market again, or sell reprints. Many magazines are happy to publish a reprint if it has had a limited distribution or has been published in a totally different market area (ie. sports magazine versus a nature magazine.)

Go back to your original marketing plan, the one you researched and planned before you sold the article. It's time to start marketing reprints to the remaining markets on your spreadsheet. Searching out markets that take reprints is an especially good way to turn small-potatoes" writing into steady income. It's not unusual for reprints to bring higher fees than first rights generated. These are called second publication rights or one-time rights.

Opportunities exist in other areas, too, for selling reprints. Regional magazines are one type of publication. For example, parenting publications and rural electric co-op magazines are regionals. Regionals will often be happy to reprint articles that other regional publications have already published because, as far as their readers will ever see, it's a first run. Marketing reprints is a potential way to make money from regional magazines, without the work of more writing.

Another good aspect is, once you can tell an editor that x, y, and z regional magazines have already printed it, they are much more likely to buy it from you for their magazine. Articles that have been published in larger magazines are attractive, too, because they have already been honed and polished.

So don't bother reslanting and remarketing for the regionals. Just happily resell your published work in its original form. And don't overlook other genre niches, like trade magazines.

How do you query for a reprint?
First Example:
"Please consider the following articles for reprint in XYZ Magazine. "The (name of published article)" was originally published in (name of original publication) on (Date of publication). One time rights were sold."
Note: Be sure to include all previous publications of the article, not just the original publisher\date.

Second example:
"I am offering to (name of magazine you're offering it to) an article I wrote on (subject of the published article). It appears in the (Date of publication) issue of (name of original publication). (Include URL of web site if applicable). I own the reprint rights to this article. (Or, if the publisher owns them, say "please contact xxxxx magazine for reprint rights. I have copied the article into this e-mail. You'll find it below. My articles have appeared in x x x x x x x and others,
"I look forward to hearing from you. Please contact me before publication to guarantee regional exclusivity."
Third example:
"Please consider purchasing one-time print rights for the following story, (name of story) *Note: One-time rights have been previously sold to (name of other publication that has already bought the rights), but so far it hasn't shown up in print."
Selling reprints brings in money you can bank and lets you bask in the glow of success -- over and over.

Chapter 21 - Polish, Sell, and Enjoy Rewards!:

Next: 10-2, Selling Reprints:


9-4 E-Book Publishing and e-book Readers

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

To reach the largest possible audience you can publish in more than one format. Some people like to print out e-books; PDF would obviously work best for them. Some people love reading books in LIT format on their Pocket PC phone; they can take a dozen (or a hundred) books with them anywhere in their pocket; it's especially great when traveling. The Microsoft Reader software is available for Windows or Windows Mobile at and it also has a text-to-speech package so the books can be easily accessed by the blind.

You can create LIT files with the ReaderWorks software at

Advantages are that e-books go on forever, apparently. They can remain available and continue to sell, sometimes once a month, sometimes zero for several months, and occasionally as many as 50 a month. Author's get royalties (often not much but some) and someone is reading their work.

Another valuable advantage recently was demonstrated when Natalie Roberts, replublished her out-of-print book on Kindle.

October 16, 2010, Natalie wrote,
"I'm excited to announce that I have one new book, and two other books now available in Kindle!
"Sister Wife, which has been out of print for quite some time, is now available on Amazon. Twisted Sister, the sequel to Sister Wife, is also there in Kindle format. There is also a hardback version, for those who don't want an electronic read. And The Fourth World, a brand new book from me, is available as well, on Kindle. And the bestselling Wives and Sisters is also available in Kindle format."
Roberts is giving away two free Kindles, with two ways to win
  1. Become a fan on her Facebook page (and stay there until the contest is over)
  2. Buy SisterWife, Twisted Sister, or The Fourth World, and review them on Amazon. Send her a copy of the review for proof to be entered to win.
e-Books are reviewed by ForeWord Reviews, Contact Jennifer Szunko, Director of Clarion Review Services, They offer book reviews anytime, anywhere and anyone can Download their new iPhone App,

However, while you're mulling your options, read Liz Castro's: EPUB Straight to the Point, posted at The Book Designer,

Before you considering e-book publishing, try first to get an agent to handle your work. Then try to sell your manuscript directly to a publisher. After both of those efforts fail, choose (carefully) an e-book publisher.

However, every few months new developments must be considered. News reports abound that plans to stop offering e-books in Microsoft Reader or Adobe e-formats and will offer e-books only in Kindle or Mobipocket formats. Amazon owns the Kindle and Mobipocket.

A major problem with electronic publishing has surfaced recently -- it can be tied to a format which can only be read by proprietary hardware or software. Only one of the formats mentioned --- Adobe --- is an open format which can be read without buying special hardware or software, and that is not one which Amazon is going to offer.

"In ten years time, it is very likely neither Kindle nor Mobipocket will be available, or if they are available will use the same format. Nor is it likely that today's devices will still work that long into the future: they break down, they get dropped, they get lost. Where does that leave readers who have bought books in these formats? Or writers whose work has been published in these formats?"

It is imperative to keep abreast of the rapid changes taking place in the marketplace.

In July 2010, Newsweek published this article by Isia Jasiewicz,

Aug. 4, 2010, Spiegel Online International published an interesting interview with the (German) CEO of Random House as to the future of print and e-books and the publishing industry, Part 1,,1518,709760,00.html; Part 2,,1518,709760-2,00.html; Part 3,,1518,709760-3,00.html.

It's difficult to keep abreast of the rapid changes in the publishing industry, but it's imperative for every writer who wants to succeed.

Chapter 18 - Book Publishing:

Next: 9-5, Book Publicity and Marketing: