Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hobbies and Cents

We're pleased to feature Rho'Nesha Bontemps, creator of Hobbies and Cents. It's a blog dedicated to teaching readers to enjoy their hobbies while taking control of their finances. Along the way, readers learn how to date their mates, shop, travel, and more all on a budget.
When did you discover a passion for writing?
I discovered my passion for writing in the 7th grade after I read the Catcher in the Rye.  I don’t know what it is about that book but it made me fall in love reading and writing.  I started writing in a journal and just never stopped.
Hobbies and Cents is an intriguing name. How did it come about?
I was at work one day talking to a friend about my hobbies and it just hit me.  I chose hobbies because I’m passionate about the things that I like to do and I chose cents because I love enjoying my hobbies but I don’t want to spend a lot of money doing them.  Hence the name Hobbies and Cents.
How does your blog assist with your author platform?
I’m not an author just yet. Eventually I hope to publish an eBook sometime next year but I haven’t settled on a topic just yet.
How often do you post?
I post one to two times per week.  I want to post twice but I am focusing on quality versus quantity right now.  Eventually it will grow to 3 times per week if everything goes according to plan.
What type of posts do you find most satisfying?
All of my posts are my favorite so far because they are things that I’ve dealt with.  If I was forced to choose my favorite post I would be the post on my wedding. It mean a lot to me to have my dream wedding on a budget and to share how I was able to obtain it through careful planning.  I hope to share those tips and more with others through my writing.

What do you like about your blog?
I love that it will be so versatile. I talk about money, marriage, travel, and other lifestyle tips such as getting your house ready for the holidays (which will be featured this week). I love the fact that it gives me the freedom to write about all of my passions without restrictions.
What bugs you about it?
Everything that I have to learn.  It is time consuming but it will be worth it once my readers grow.
How do you target your specific audience?
Right now I advertise on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  I just joined Tailwind to automatically schedule my Pinterest posts.  I saw a slight growth last week but I know it takes time to grow my subscribers.
Do you feel it’s important to capture emails or subscribers? If so, what's your preferred method?
I don’t have a large following yet so I don’t really know.  If I could pick now I would say subscribers because starting next week, I will be sending out weekly emails to my subscribers.
How do you engage comments or attempt to, which can be extremely challenging?
I hope to start ending my blog posts with questions to get my readers involved.
Any advice for a newbie blogger?
My advice would be tackle one thing at a time.  It takes time write, post, find pictures, etc. It can be overwhelming but if you set small goals and organize your time it will help you.
Anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Yes, check me out on

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Featured Author Tiffany Shand

We're pleased to feature Tiffany Shand from Colchester, UK. Tiffany started writing novels in her teens. Now in her 20's, she has multiple titles on Amazon including the Excalibar Investigations Series. Her books are available as ebooks and paperbacks.
Tiffany, when did you discover a passion for writing?
Writing stories is one of the first things I remember doing. I always loved reading books and I think I just naturally started writing my own stories. My first stories were usually about my pets. Writing has always been an outlet for me during hard times in my life.
Pets make great characters. What did you have?
I had dogs, rabbits and hamsters growing up but mostly wrote about my border collie and my hamster. I usually wrote stories where my dog was the character's pet too or just stories where my dog was the main character.
How has your passion for writing turned into a career?
A few years ago, I was told I would never be able to work due to ongoing health problems. When I tried out for jobs no one was interested in me because I had disabilities and had to occasionally go to hospital. Suffering from chronic pain, fatigue and illness made it hard for me to do normal everyday things. But writing was something that always helped me cope with all of that. It took me away from the pain and after doing a creative writing course and getting good feedback from that, I decided I might as well have a go at publishing one of my novels. So you could say writing and publishing a book actually gave me the confidence to start pursuing a career and having a job for the first time. This helped me to go on to become a professional editor and copywriter.
Besides feeling better, has writing had other benefits to your health or benefits in general?
Ooh, that's a tough question! I think writing has made me a bit more confident and it opened up a lot more possibilities for me. Writing itself did come physically difficult for me over the past few years as my disability affects my hands and makes it very hard sometimes for me to type. So instead, now I have an adapted keyboard and a Dragon (voice recognition software) which types for me. After not being able to find a job and giving up my dream of studying law, I decided to pursue my other dream, which was to always be an author. I thought a publisher might be put off by health problems so being an Indie works great for me. I can control everything and do things in my own time without the pressure of having to answer to someone else. Don't get me wrong, it's been a steep learning curve but as I said writing enabled me to do so many things I never thought I'd be able to do.
You're also a blogger. How does that assist with your writing goals?
I think blogging really helped me to start establishing my author platform. When I first started blogging I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about outside of my fiction. Blogging really inspired me to want to help other authors and opened up the love of writing non-fiction writing – which is something I never thought I would do.
As a non-fiction author, I have to ask why not?
Writing non-fiction was something strange to me as I'd always written fiction before and it was something I never thought I'd be good at. When I first started doing a creative writing course, I tried writing articles but never really liked the style of them. The style of writing never appealed to me until I started learning how to be a copywriter and I really got into blogging. I do actually enjoy writing articles now too and I find non-fiction to be a nice change when I don't feel like writing fiction.
How often do you post?
Usually once or twice a week at
What type of posts do you find most satisfying?
I love writing how-to posts and things that would hopefully help and inspire other authors.
What do you like about your blog?
I like that it’s the main hub for my readers and a way for me to directly connect with them. I also like the fact that it gets me writing something, especially when I’m in the middle of revising my own books or editing books for my clients.
Do you feel it’s important to capture emails or subscribers? If so, what's your preferred method?
I’m fairly new to email marketing, but yes, I think it is important to capture email addresses. Having an email list is a great way to directly connect with your readers and share news with them, perhaps in more ways than a blog is as you can sense something directly to their inbox.
How do you engage comments or attempt to, which can be extremely challenging?
I usually ask questions at the end of a post then share the post on social media. Facebook groups can be a really good way of getting traffic and getting readers to engage in comments.
Any advice for a newbie blogger?
Choose a topic you love to write about and it can be more than one topic. If you’re an author don’t just write about yourself all the time or your books as that would quickly become boring to you and your readers.
Couldn't have said it better. What's next for you in publishing?
My second urban fantasy novel comes out the end of March and I’m currently working on the first book in a short novella a series. After that, I’m planning on writing my first non-fiction book on how to build your author platform.
I'll look forward to seeing it. What's the best link for readers to find your books?

I'd like to learn all about Dragon, but that sounds like another post. Thank you, Tiffany!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Featured Author Faith Blum

We're pleased to feature author Faith Blum from Wisconsin. She's written and published multiple books including A Mighty Fortress.

Most people by age 24 are ahead of the game if they've published one book. You have 6 titles selling on Amazon and likely more coming out soon. How do you stay so productive?
Three of those titles are novellas, so they are shorter and faster to publish. But what also helps is that I do not work outside the home. My writing is my work. I am blessed to have a supportive family whom I still live with and who allow me to contribute my time rather than my money to the family.

Modest of you to say that, Faith, but it's still impressive and you blog too. Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging to create more awareness of my books as I published them. Since then, my blog has also been a good place to help other authors.

What kind of help?
I am willing to help authors with almost anything I can. I offer proofreading services, beta-reading services, and general help questions. In June 2015, I also did a series of blog posts on Self-publishing that has some great resources I have found.

How does your blog assist with your writing goals?
It helps me connect with readers and potential readers and also to have a public place to set goals. Setting goals that I make public help me to stay motivated to meet the goals.

Do you use Blogger, or
I currently only use, but may switch my website over to at some point in the next year or so. does have more features. How did you decide on the domain name?
One of the few things that will not change with my writing is my author name, so I thought this would be the easiest way to make sure my fans could find me online if they wanted to.

How often do you post?
That really depends. I try to do at least one post per week, but sometimes I don't have anything to post and other times, I have three or four posts in a week. I don't post regularly like some people, but I do try to keep it active.

That's a smart approach. What's one piece of advice you have for new authors?

Just keep writing. If you get stuck in your story, keep writing anyway. One thing that's helped me when I get stuck is to skip ahead and write a scene I know I can do later on in the story. Then, when I finally get an idea how to finish off the previous scene, I'll write that and connect them. There was one time, I got stuck, wrote ahead, got stuck again and wrote ahead again, so I had to connect in two places. It eventually worked out and you can't tell at all.

What do you like about your blog?
How versatile it is. So far I have been able to put almost anything on my blog.

Ah yes, reminds me of my "anything in the universe" blog where no topic is off limit. What bugs you about your blog?
Rafflecopter and Mailchimp forms don't show up on Wordpress unless you pay big bucks for it.

How do you engage comments or attempt to, which can be extremely challenging?
I don't get a lot of comments, so it isn't that hard. I do try to reply to each comment even if it's just a "Thank you for stopping by!"

Might you create a book from your blog posts?
I doubt it.

What's one good link for readers to find your books?

Here are ways to connect with Faith Blum:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Keep up the amazing work!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Self-Publishing with Smashwords Udemy Course

Smashwords is the world’s largest distributor of self-published ebooks. 350,000 authors have published with Smashwords for these great reasons:
1. Pays you 85% royalties on direct sales.
2. Converts your ebook into every file type for any possible e-reading device.
3. Distributes your ebook for sale to other retailers like Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Page Foundry, Baker & Taylor, Library Direct, Oyster, Scribd, Flipkart and OverDrive while handling the finances.
4. Allows you to generate ebook discounts for any amount and time frame. Perfect for gifting books or creating sale events.
5. Design an author profile with photos, videos, links to your print books, interview and more.
6. It's a free service. They only make money when you sell ebooks.
The course is taught by Jason Matthews, bestselling author and Udemy instructor for self-publishing topics.
Everything you need to:
  • format documents with NCX file
  • pass Meatgrinder and make Premium Catalog
  • convert to ePub
  • make covers
  • upload and sell at Smashwords
  • distribute to major retailers around the world
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Want Your Blog Featured? See the Course and Contact Info

Friday, May 1, 2015

Featured Authors Sandra V. and William L. McGee

We're pleased to feature Sandra and William McGee, authors of multiple books including The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler.

The book sounds fascinating.
The year was 1947. The place, Reno, Nevada. Young and handsome Montana cowboy, Bill McGee, recently discharged from the U.S. Navy, is hired on as the head dude wrangler at the Flying M E, an exclusive divorce ranch 20 miles south of Reno that catered to wealthy Easterners and Hollywood celebrities seeking a six week divorce.
McGee recalls these post-war years in a collection of stories about the guests he met Eastern socialites with names like Astor, du Pont and Roosevelt, and Hollywood celebrities like Gable, Gardner and Hayworth and the places they frequented while serving their six week residencies.
The coffee table book is illustrated with more than 500 black-and-white photographs (most from private collections and never before published) and give the reader an up-close glimpse into life on this exclusive Nevada divorce ranch.

What's the name of your blog, Sandra?
DIVORCE NEVADA STYLE, About the Brief But Glimmering Reno Divorce Era 1930s-1960s: Also the name of a book I co-authored with my husband Bill. However, I'm contemplating upgrading the blog domain name this year so it includes "Divorce Nevada Style" in the URL.

How long have you had it and how often do you post?
I started the blog about eight years ago (wow!) and post when I have news to announce which is, on average, maybe every other month.

What do you like the most about your blog?
There was a learning curve in the beginning; then I found pretty easy to use.

What have you learned that you can share with a newbie?
I appreciate when a blog post contains information that is worth my time to read.

Good tip, instead of just writing fluff. What's the best link for readers to find your books?

Divorce isn't always pretty, but it makes for interesting reading. Thank you, Sandra and Bill.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Author Dan Alatorre

We're pleased to featured best-selling author of the Savvy Series and humorist, Dan Alatorre, from Florida. Dan's blog platform is the free version of Wordpress, a fine choice for any author:

Dan, how did you decide on the domain name?
Originally, I thought I’d do what Steven Spielberg and other people do, make their first book or movie the name of their production company. So at first I had the book Savvy Stories and not much else; later I thought I’d probably publish under Savvy Stories Books or something, and use it that way so it still tied in.

How long have you had it and how often do you post?
I have probably had the blog for 1 ½ years now, maybe a little less. I posted weekly or more often at first, until I realized after a year that nobody was reading it. Then I cut way back. Now I am more balanced. I do Twitter daily to feed the blog and as an overall fun presence, Facebook daily for other things as a presence, and blog at least weekly but in a focused direction of helpful writer tips and little snippets of the books.

What do you like the most or least about your blog?
Wordpress is MUCH less intuitive than almost any other social media I use. Facebook is almost child’s play; Wordpress isn’t. I call it clunky. I feel at home with it now, but it’s still not as easy to get stats and see what’s happening as Twitter or almost anything else, which is inexcusable these days. The description I’d use is that FB and Twitter are easy for noncomputer types; Wordpress seems like it was written by code engineers who don’t know what people want. And honestly, if you have Facebook, do you even need a blog? FB can be both. If certain people I respect HIGHLY (my wife, you) hadn’t told me to have a blog, I probably wouldn’t. FB was my blog.

What have you learned that you can share with a newbie?
Ooh. Tons. Because of Jason Matthews’ courses, which I recommend to everyone, and other things, I have helped Allison Maruska get her first book published, I’m helping a published young author develop a platform to market, I’m helping another author get her first book finished and published, and I’m willing to help almost anyone avoid the horrid mistakes I made from not knowing where to go and what to do. I recommend critique groups, editors, book cover designers, your FB group and on and on. I read and review books for new authors and work with them in critique groups to show them they have talent.

Because of what I’ve learned and my experience as a Fortune 500 company sales manager, I’m compiling an eBook sales marketing book series that should be ready soon, and which would make for a GREAT Udemy course if you’re interested in helping with that. I’d take you as a partner in a heartbeat, Jason! Think about it.

Okay, sounds good. What's the best link for readers to find your books?
Probably my Amazon author page

Anything else you’d like to add?
Jason, your FB group and your Udemy course helped me a TON, I think you know that, so I recommend them both to everybody. Then I try my best to help each new author who asks or needs it, because as corny as it sounds, it feels good to help others.

Not corny at all. Dan, you're a great ambassador for the indie author crowd. I hope to meet more authors like you on this experience.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

How to Start a Blog for Authors: New Udemy Course

Perfect for beginners who haven't created one or intermediates who want to do it better.
BONUS feature: students who use the course can have their blog featured on mine!
Learn every aspect from choosing a domain name to posting and sharing with social media. We’ll blog in a schedule that fits yours as a stress-free way to assist your writing career.

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