To Find a Publisher or Self Publish: Why I Chose to Self Publish

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Writing and publishing a book is a dream come true for most writers. Story creators have different publishing options once their manuscript is completed. The traditional methods of finding a publisher to print your story is still in high demand; however, thanks to technology, writers also have the choice to self-publish their manuscripts. There are pro’s and cons to both.

When I wrote Saving Sunny, I always knew that I was going to self-publish my story. So why did I choose this method?

When I first came up with the idea for this delightful story, my initial plans were to create a movie. Images of a camera view looking down from the sky to arctic ice flow with small dark shadows danced in my head. As the camera view slowly descended closer to the icy mass, the shadows gradually transitioned into a colony of harp seals. Eventually, the view zoomed in on Sunny’s animated beautiful face.

The whole story played in my head like a DreamWorks movie. It was a wonderful story that I couldn’t wait to tell. But what played in my head, could not be transferred onto my laptop.

I took a script writing course with big dreams of creating this magical idea into an even more magical script. But sadly, I learned quickly that I am not a script writer. However, where I lacked in script writing, I more than made up for in story telling; soon, my movie became a picture book.

The road from idea to written draft to published book is never easy no matter which road you choose. Finding someone to illustrate the book (bless my nephew for doing the pictures), the creating, designing, publishing, and marketing it is very challenging. Essentially, the author becomes the cook, the baker, and the candlestick maker of their own idea.

Looking for an agent or publisher is equally challenging – if not more so. With so many books on the market – unpublished or published – adding your tale to the sludge pile is like adding another grain of sand to the beach. The amount of literature is endless; the challenge is trying to make your manuscript stand out in the vast sea of potential story books.

I chose to self publish Saving Sunny for one simple reason:  I didn’t want my beloved seal pup to end up in someone else’s sludge pile. This was a story that was very near and dear to my heart. It has a story, but it also has a message – it talks about conservation, ocean pollution and the effects it has on marine life.

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Publishing houses are limited with the number of books they can publish and have certain criteria regarding story lines and topics. They can’t publish every book they read after all; it’s not realistic. Your topic might not be one that a publisher is interested in.

Saving Sunny was a very personal story; I wanted my harp seal pup’s adventure shared with the world, not stuck on a pile collecting dust.

But I also wanted more from the book. The story was not just a lighthearted tale of a seal pup. It was about a real danger to the Sunny’s of the world and all other marine life. My natural thoughts were of using the book to fight for the better good.

I wanted the tale to help battle the very real, environmental issue; to educate, sponsor, and support ocean conservation. By self publishing, I can choose to donate some of the proceeds to an organization that helps our oceans.

And so, self publishing was the natural, and only choice for Saving Sunny. Because this is the first of a series of books, I look forward to the thrill, the excitement, and the personal satisfaction in seeing my other idea come to life just like Sunny’s story.

 

6 Topics to Cover When Hiring a Content Writer

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If you have never hired a writer before, chances are that you are like most entrepreneurs: treading in unchartered territory. It can be challenging to decide what questions or topics to cover during the hiring process.

Before you even begin to place your want ad, decide what the writer’s purpose and role is to your company. Do you want the person to have specific knowledge of your industry or field? Do you want the content to be written in a certain tone? Will they be blogging only or are there other sites and tasks to be managed? This information will help shape the tone of your interview questions.

If you’re not sure what to ask a potential candidate, here are six topics that you can cover when hiring a writer:

  1. Social Media Knowledge

If posting on your social media sites is an important part of the job, then you will want to ask your candidates what experience they have with social media content.  If your company uses certain social media sites, your writer should have experience with those sites.

  1. On-the-Job Experience

This is a common question to ask potential candidates for any job. Some firms and positions do not require a lot of experience while others expect their candidates to have a high level of real work experience. It’s up to you to decide how much experience – if any – you want your candidate to have.

  1. SEO Knowledge

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a vital part of writing online content. Search engine analytics use keywords to find and rank your content on their search pages. Knowledge of current SEO practices is a crucial part of online writing. A professional writer will stay on top of the trends and policies around SEO usage and should use current practices when creating content.

  1. Education and Training

Talent is just as important as post secondary education. Not all professional writers have a university degree and, depending on the job, it’s not necessarily a mandatory qualification. As an employer, you will need to decide how essential post secondary education and training is to the job.  There are many exceptional writers who do not have formal education; but some jobs require formal training from colleges and universities. Once you have decided what is best for your business, you can form questions relating to this topic before and during the interview.

  1. Writing Samples and Tests

The content should reflect the image and brand of your business. Sometimes, as good as a writer is, their style just doesn’t match your company’s vision. That is not a poor reflection of the writer or your enterprise. The only way you will know if the person is the right fit is by reading their work. Some employers ask to see previous writing samples while others ask potential candidates to write a blog on a specific topic or format as part of the hiring process.

  1. Short and Long Term Goals

Hiring a writer is the same as hiring any other staff for your company. It’s an investment. Ask similar questions that you would ask other candidates to see if the writer is willing to give to your service as much as you are investing in them. If your goals differ too much, they might not be the right person for the job.

While this is new territory for many businesses, content writers and marketing staff are here to stay. Hiring the right person doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Good questions can help you find the right professional to meet your company’s content writing needs.

At From the Heart Communication Services, we have experience working with clients from different industries and companies. We can help fulfill your short and long term writing needs too. Contact us today to find out how.

7 Important Qualities to Look For When Hiring a Content Writer

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In today’s digital and social age, hiring a content writer is essential. The writer is the member who creates engaging content for various online and hard copy media forums. The content that writer’s produce is usually the first contact that many consumers have with a business. The content promotes the company brand while providing useful and interesting information to the reader. It’s the beginning stages of a business -consumer relationship.

But with the literally thousands of professional writers available, what should a company look for in their writing staff?

Strong Writing Talent

A writer should be able to write high quality content that is original, engaging, and useful. The information should flow and be relevant to the industry.

Grammar and Spelling

Grammar and spelling skills have always been essential in writing. It’s even more important when written material is available to the public because the first thing the reader will notice are the errors. Poor spelling and grammar is not only damaging to the writer, but to the company that he/she is representing as well.

Creativity

Good writer’s can find great topic ideas from a variety of sources. Some owners have ideas or topics they want in their blog, and, while it’s good to share this information, company owners are not and should not have to continually instruct their writing staff on what to write; that’s the writer’s job.

SEO Practices

Professional writers are knowledgeable with SEO practices and analytics. They keep up-to-date with the changing trends of the major search engines like Google analytics to ensure that their content is tracked by the search engines.

Company Voice

As great as a writer is, their tone and style needs to fit with the tone and style that the company wants to project. Some businesses want a friendly, conversational tone while others are looking for a more formal, professional tone. Before hiring any writer it’s important to decide first what type of voice you want to project and find a writer that can create that voice.

Education

Some companies want their writing staff to have a formal education while other company’s are more focused on the actual product. While there is a lot of knowledge to gain from formal training, some of the best writers have never taken post secondary education. Hiring criteria should be a combined balance of training and experience.

Industry Knowledge

This is another area that company owners prioritize differently. While some owners want their writers to be very knowledgeable, others allow the to learn through research. Neither is wrong or right.  Before hiring writing staff, it’s important to decide how much experience or knowledge you want your writer to have about your industry.

Writer’s are an important part of today’s business world. Finding the right person to create the content that best represents your company’s values and needs is essential for grow. Before you start looking for a writer, decide what type of person you want to represent your company. The right person will help your business move forward to day’s media market.

At From the Heart Communication, we have experience writing compelling content on a variety of topics. We have helped many organizations and blog sites by producing rich, high quality articles. Contact us today to find out how we can help you too!

6 Important Reasons Why Companies Need to Hire a Writer

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In today’s market, an online presence is a critical part of running any business. Most consumers, in fact, will not even consider doing business with a company that does not have a professional website.

The internet has changed how companies interact with consumers. In today’s professional world, business is about engagement between the two parties.  One of the most significant ways to connect with an audience is through online content.

Producing content for a professional site involves much more than slapping a few sentences together. The information written should be useful for the consumer, easy-to-read, and free of spelling or grammatical errors.

Not everyone can create high quality, appealing articles. Therefore, hiring a professional writer is one of the best investments company owners can make. Here’s why:

1. Writers are Trained and Qualified

Like any job in an organization, not just anyone is hired to do the job. The person should be trained and qualified to perform the tasks required. Professional writers are trained and experienced with creating informative and engaging content for a variety of online and hard copy mediums such as web pages, blogs, newsletters, social media pages, press releases, and advertising copy.

2. Writers Keep Better Track of the Market

Writers can keep track of the market better than other employees. Because it is part of their job, they regularly monitor surveys, algorithms, analytics, and other tracking programs to monitor current trends, keyword usage, and effectiveness of social media sites, information shared, and company promotions.

3. Help the Company Stay Competitive

Hiring a writer helps ensure that the company stays competitive because today, online content is a mandatory part of a business’s growth. Online writing comes in many forms and has numerous uses in social media sites, web pages, advertising copy, company documentation, and newsletters. Professional writers use all avenues to use their written posts.

4. Is Cost Effective

Hiring a professional writer will save a businesses money. Rather than add another employee to the payroll, contracting the needed work out to a professional will reduce company’s expenses while ensuring the job is done right.

5. Business Owners Have Other Work to Do

As a business owner, you already have a lot of work to do to keep your business running. Adding another job like writing online content will only increase your workload. It’s easier and more efficient to delegate the work to someone who knows what they are doing.

6. And So Do the Employees

Adding the work onto another employee only increases their workload as well. Staff already have enough to do; delegating writing tasks to their load can add to their stress levels. It will also increase the risk of potential problems or inconsistencies. It’s more efficient to give the job to someone who can focus on doing the assignments properly and consistently.

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In today’s business world, writers are an essential part of company operations. Hiring a professional to create the online content will help a company engage with their target market and, through ongoing social engagement, prosper in a competitive market.

At From the Heart Communication Services, we have helped numerous businesses with all their online content and advertising needs. Contact us today to find out how we can help you too.

Happy New Year!!

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Happy New Year! I would like to take this moment to thank all my clients for making last year a prosperous and adventurous one.

2016 was an exciting year in many ways. At From the Heart Communication Services, I have had the opportunity to work with many wonderful clients throughout North America.  New connections along with continued relationships provided many wonderful chances to create content for various sites and industries.

Throughout 2016, I have helped many businesses and professionals establish their websites by creating webpages and blog posts for their company sites. I have worked closely with my consumers to provide rich and engaging articles for E-zines, eBooks, and online forums; I have created newsletters and ads while managing social media content.

It has been a pleasure to work with customers from many different and fascinating industries. I thrive on working with and helping my clients by providing rich, online content.

As we say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017, it is with enthusiasm that I look ahead to what the new year will bring. At From the Heart Communication Services, I have many projects planned for the coming year. I look forward to meeting and working with new people while enjoying continued relationships with current clients. 2017 promises to be even more exciting than 2016 and I have all of you to thank for that. You have been instrumental in helping me achieve my goals and grow my business.

It is with the greatest pleasure that I can do what I love; write. Whether it’s content, articles, blogs, web pages, social media posts, newsletters, books, advertisements, press releases or reviews, I love to create unique works of written art for others. Thank you for a wonderful 2016. I wish all of you a successful and prosperous 2017!

5 Benefits of Blogging for Your Business During the Holidays

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By now we know that online content is good for business, but did you know that there are many benefits of blogging during the holidays too? Every season inspires a new opportunity to connect with people and promote your services in ways that are different from the every day. Here a some of the benefits of blogging during the Christmas holiday season.

Increases Your Online Exposure

Holiday writing exposes your site to customers outside your target area. Topics related to trending festive themes or stories will increase your visibility to online viewers who are looking for information about those seasonal related topics. This will increase your traffic flow while introducing your company to a new and bigger audience.

Get to Know Another Side of Your Company

During the holidays, consumers have an opportunity to see another side of your business. Whether you are sharing information about new seasonal products, answering frequently asked questions or telling stories about volunteer or fundraising efforts that you and your staff are doing, festive writing is your chance to show case another side of you and your company to your readers.

Introduce New Products and Promotions

Holiday articles are the perfect time to introduce new promotions or products to your customers. You might be selling holiday specific items, running a special sale, or holding a contest that coincides with this time of year; your online content is the perfect platform to promote this news to your readers.

Generate Ideas for Consumers

Customers don’t always associate some services or products with different seasons. If your company is one of those providers, this is the perfect time to tell your viewers how you can fulfill their needs during this time of year. Introduce your consumers to new and exciting possibilities with your webpage articles.

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Relationship Building

Holiday blogging gives professionals another moment to connect with their customers and to thank them customers for their loyal service. It allows you, the professional, another avenue to engage in new conversations and deepen your relationships with your clients.

 

Blogging is an ongoing dialogue that business owners have with their target audience. During the holiday season, online content creates many new opportunities for companies to connect with their consumers.

 

6 Places to Look for Fresh Festive Blog Topics

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Now that we are in full holiday season mode, many businesses have started focusing their blog topics on festive related material. But for the person creating the content, it can be an ongoing challenge to come up with engaging and original articles to attract customers.

With the multitude of topics that can be covered this time of year, the holidays provide a great opportunity to be creative. Some of the more popular blogging stories include gift giving ideas, stress management, money-saving tips, holiday themed party ideas, recipes, historical holiday facts and traditions, fundraising campaigns or donation drives, company return policies and other company information related to the holidays. But if you have already covered these topics in previous years and want something fresh, here are some places where you can look for inspiration:

  1. The Internet

What did we ever do without the internet? This invaluable tool provides an endless supply of hot topics, holiday trends, news and ideas for writers to draw inspiration from. Typing in a few key words will help you find a ton of useful and interesting material to write about.

  1. The Company

The company or person that you write for will have their own interesting information about the holidays. Whether it’s policy related information, charitable drives, customer appreciation events, customer interactions, Q&A opportunities, historical information, thank you notes or oddities that have occurred, there is an abundance of ideas that can come directly from the business itself.

  1. Friends and Family

Everyone has a different perspective or opinion about certain topics. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, ask friends and family to help you. It’s amazing what you can come up with in a brainstorming session.

  1. The News

Every day, something is happening in your area or the world that is worth talking about. The news is full of topic that you can turn into a story, especially during this time of year. While there is often a lot of negative stories, there are also many good ones. If you don’t already, watch the news to find out what’s going on in your community and blog about it.

  1. Community Events

There are so many events going on in and around your community at this time of year. If there is something that ties into your company blog, or could be associated with your business, it’s definitely a news worthy topic for your next content piece. Attend community events or contact your local centers to find out what’s going on around you. You will quickly find lots of interesting topics to write about.

  1. Past Magazines and Newspapers

What’s old is new today. Going through magazines or news printer from year’s past will easily provide lots of interesting tidbits, topics, stories, and lost information. Go to your local library or newspaper archives to find interesting topics that you can turn into a story today.

Just when you think that you have run out of ideas, stop, look, and listen. You will be surprised how many inspiring and festive content inspiration there are around you that can be easily turned into an article for a professional or personal website. And at this time of year, there is no shortage of topics to cover. Happy festive blog writing season.