Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hiring Professionals - Copywriting for Business, Online and Social Media

Can’t most people with a high school education manage to throw something together for a website? After all, there’s not much writing on a web page and the main point is just to have a website and be visible online, right? Sometimes, people do look at things this way when having a website developed for the first time. Getting the thing up and running is all that some companies think they need to do to reap the miraculous rewards only the Internet can bring. 

Some people even think, hey, the kid next door is in high school and he’s a real a whiz with computers and graphics, so I’ll get him to do it. And he’ll be cheap too. You could certainly go this route, but if you do, you then have to be prepared for the fact that your site will probably get little traffic. Plus, anyone who does actually encounter you online may assume that your company is as unprofessional as the website appears, no matter how superior your products and services may be. 

I have extensive experience in writing for a wide range of industries and markets. Contact me directly for details of rates and fees regarding copywriting services.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Seeing the Light: Writers and Seasonal Affective Disorder - Part Four

Many people are adversely affected each year by the winter blues and writers are no exception. There are many ways to combat SAD, including antidepressants and other medications, but bright artificial light treatments are common as a means to give the body more exposure to the light that is lacking once winter approaches. For SAD sufferers, shorter days and long nights can initiate depression, excessive fatigue and other issues. Not simply the ‘winter blues’, Seasonal Affective Disorder is recognized as a form of depression, which can have serious consequences. 
However, you don’t have to mourn the passing of summer by looking ahead with a sense of impending doom and there are many ways to cope with feelings of lethargy and mood shifts in fall and winter. Make your home or writing workplace brighter by opening blinds, perhaps even adding extra windows and trim tree branches or bushes close to the house that block sunlight. If a trip to warmer latitudes isn’t in your budget, get outside as much as you can, taking advantage of sunshine even on cold winter days. Take more long walks and if its not too cold, simply sit peacefully on a bench in a park and soak up the sun. 
Regular physical exercise can also help with stress relief and prevent the onset of SAD. Feeling more fit makes you feel better about yourself overall and generally improves your mood. Giving in to those winter blues can also be stressful and lead to overeating, overindulgence in alcohol or other unhealthy pursuits, so you need to take care of your body, watch your diet and get enough sleep. Make time to relax and get away from your writing once in a while, especially if you work at home. 
And even if you do suffer from cabin fever, make sure you invite people into that cabin for a tea or coffee on occasion during the winter or at least go to visit their cabin instead. Writing is a solitary and often lonely profession and staying connected with your friends and acquaintances, and not just online, is vital if you are to get through the winter. SAD may be a fact of life for many people out there, but it doesn’t have to be a sad part of your life during the darker winter months, so keep writing and get that book finished. After all, there may be someone in a sunnier place beating you to it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Writing Classes in North Calgary - November and December

Headline News - Classes with Northern Hills Community Association at Cardel Place - November 16 to December 14, 10.00 am to 11.30 am 

These classes take a look at journalism and discover just what exactly goes into creating newspaper stories. Just as the plot of a novel has a beginning, middle and end, a news story has a headline, lead, body and conclusion. Participants will create their own unique examples of newspaper writing, such as news stories, attention grabbing headlines, advertising, book and movie reviews, articles on topics such as celebrity gossip, entertainment news, fashion, sports, lifestyle, recipes, real estate and more. 

Classes run on November 16, 23, 30, December 7 and 14, from 10.00 am to 11.30 am and are held at Cardel Place, 11950 Country Village Link NE, Calgary AB.

Call 403 226 6422 for further details. Costs are $50 for Northern Hills Community Association members and $75 for non members. Payment is due at the time of registration.

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel - University of Calgary, Saturday, November 2

Each year, the Continuing Education department at the University of Calgary serves over 20,000 lifelong learners and offers thousands of courses taught by more than 1,000 instructors – all experts in their fields.

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel - Saturday, November 2

This workshop deals with getting started as a writer for young readers and the subsequent path to publication. You will examine the writing process from initial concept through to the finished manuscript, including how to turn ideas into stories, story structure, developing characters, the creation of outlines and the importance of editing and revision. You will also examine ways to research publishing houses where you can submit your work, cover letters, synopses and sample chapters.

Learn more about the Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel workshop and how to register here

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Children's Writer's Guide - Now Available on Amazon

The Children’s Writer’s Guide examines how you can get started as a writer, create time and space to pursue your craft and deal with lack of motivation and writers block. Topics covered include where ideas come from and how writers turn them into stories, choosing names for characters that are appropriate to the story, the importance of historical research if your novel is set in a different era, writing science fiction and fantasy, and the use of magic in stories for children.

The guide examines the role of editing and revision and how to deal with what is often the inevitable process of rejection, at least until good fortune comes your way. I also recount some of my experiences with marketing and promotion, such as book launches and in-store signings, websites, blogs, and social media, and discusses presentations, workshops and author-in-residence programs at schools and libraries.

Check out the video on YouTube, where I talk about some of the topics covered in the Guide.

Here are just a few places where you can buy The Children’s Writer’s Guide.

Amazon Canada               Amazon USA               Amazon UK     
Amazon Germany             Amazon France           Amazon Japan

You can also learn more about The Children’s Writer’s Guidealong with all my other books, on my website.

Attracting Attention - Copywriting for Business, Online and Social Media

Headlines are a crucial component of your web pages, so don’t neglect them if you seriously want to increase your traffic. If the headlines fail to do their job, no one is going to take the time to read the copy underneath them, no matter how well it is written or how wonderful your company may be. Take time to think about those headlines. Consider as many different alternatives as you can that are capable of getting your message across and ensure that once people arrive at your website, they will wish to learn more about you. You want them to read your web copy, so give them an incentive to do so. 

The professional web copywriter can be invaluable in this regard, helping you to focus not on what you are trying to sell, but on the needs and wants of your audience. The copywriter will create headlines that instantly grab the reader’s attention, interest them enough to want to find out more about you and excite them about your products and services.

I have extensive experience in writing for a wide range of industries and markets. Contact me directly for details of rates and fees regarding copywriting services.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seeing the Light: Writers and Seasonal Affective Disorder - Part Three

So how does SAD affect writers. Are those in Canada, the northern USA, and Scandinavia less prolific in the winter months? Does the cloud cover in Vancouver or in Britain reduce the amount of literary work originating in those areas? Do American writers in Florida create more prose between October and April than their counterparts in Minnesota? 

Is a writer in Australia or South Africa more likely to produce a larger body of work because he or she has more sunlight? Many of us may prefer to escape to a sunnier environment each winter if possible, but would it be to a writer's advantage to live there permanently, in order to become more proficient at his or her chosen craft?

There are undoubtedly writers with SAD who are less motivated to write in the winter. And yet, our ancestors, who had no access to artificial light to illuminate the gloom of winter, still managed to write and their work is no less impressive. Cave paintings may have created in the daytime, when ferocious animals were less likely to be around. Yet in the dark caves, the pictures would have been painted by the light of a flaming torch. 
In ancient Greece and Rome, the works of Plato, Aristotle, Virgil and others may have been composed at night, with very little illumination. Monks in the Middle Ages would also have worked all year round and such works as Beowulf or the Anglo Saxon Chronicle would never have been written if everyone in the scriptorium had SAD. 
Did Shakespeare only write in the spring and summer? Candlelight was his only option if he chose to write his plays and sonnets after the sun had set. The same applied to Samuel Pepys, who we can assume wrote at least a portion of his diary entries in the evening, as he recorded his reflections on the day, in all four seasons. And of course Charles Dickens was a prolific writer for twelve months of each year, with only candlelight, oil or gas lamps to enable him to write.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Killer Headlines - Copywriting for Business, Online and Social Media

On the Internet, you need to stand out as much as possible if you want to get noticed. However, just having a cool website or even a fabulous product doesn’t always do the job. You need to retain the customer’s attention for long enough to actually have a chance at doing business with them. You have very little time before the person clicks away to visit another site, so you need riveting headlines on your web pages, something copywriters are trained to produce. 

Think about it in terms of books or newspapers, if you prefer. A title can make or break a book in terms of sales. The title entices you to pick up the book, check out the front cover then read the back cover synopsis to see what the story’s all about. These things are all important, but the title is what grabs the reader’s attention in the first place. Similarly with newspapers, the headline on the front page is what encourages you to pick that paper and read the rest of the article. This is also what separates that particular newspaper from the other publications beside it on the rack. 

I have extensive experience in writing for a wide range of industries and markets. Contact me directly for details of rates and fees regarding copywriting services.