Founder & Managing Editor
features POLL: Has “Green” Lost Its Steam?
So You Want a Website
Dick Tracy: Bon Vivant Garden Writer
Bruce Bailey Katie Elzer-Peters Daniel Gasteiger Kylee Baumle Christopher Tidrick Charlotte Germane Web
Inside Amazon Author Central
www.growwrite.com Phone 908 TO GROW 1
Software Review: DupeFree Pro
Inquiries & News Tips firstname.lastname@example.org
The Self-Publishing Option
The Memorial Garden
Web Presence Matters
Writing By the Book
The Winter Garden
#Twitter #Lessons #Learned
The Last Word Michael Nolan
Advertising & Sales email@example.com
A few years ago I was approached by a colleague for whom I had written a blog for some time. He had been contacted by a publisher about the possibility of writing a book and he wanted me to do it. That was the day I felt as though I could wear the title of “garden writer” as a badge of honor because I finally knew I'd earned it. It sounds a bit silly in retrospect but after more than a decade where most of my writing work was done in someone else's name, knowing that my name was going to finally be on the cover of a book was more than just validation of my skill as a writer; it was a sign that my experiences and opinions were both valued and desired. Years as a ghost writer served we well, and I knew all about the tenuous arts of negotiation, working with editors and balancing tight deadlines with having a life. Still, I clicked “SEND” on the email containing the final edit and downed half a bottle of wine before I was able to breathe normally again. I felt a conflict for which my ghostwriting experience had not prepared me. The yearlong thorn in my side had finally been extracted, and the baby I'd brought to life just 331 days prior had left the nest for good. I felt as jubilant as I did empty, and the rest of that wine did nothing to change either sensation. Perhaps GrowWrite! was born of a desire to relive that feeling, or maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment. All I can say for certain is that before this issue of this magazine, there was no resource of this scope and magnitude for those of us who write, snap photos, edit articles or teach gardeners with the dirt from our own gardens still fresh under our fingernails. It gives me overwhelming joy to present to you that resource, in the form of GrowWrite! Magazine. GrowWrite! Exists as a much-needed badge of honor acknowledging the tremendous work of garden writers and communicators across the world as well as the need for a reliable source of information, news, education and entertainment that relates to this common bond we share. I can't thank you enough for joining us on this amazing journey. Michael Nolan Managing Editor
Winner of the prestigious Garden Writers Association 2011 Media Award for Best Small Garden Magazine, GreenPrints aka "The Weeder's Digest" is packed full of entertaining stories, poetry, prose and photos that any gardener will surely love. 4 Seasonal Issues for $19.97 www.greenprints.com
Greenwoman is a quirky and fun new literary magazine with a focus on gardening poetry, creative nonfiction, art, interviews and columns from an eclectic collection of seasoned contributors, lovingly crafted by mother-daughter team Sandra & Zora Knauf. 2 Issues for $12.50 www.greenwomanmagazine.com
Katie Elzer-Peters has been a wordsmith since she could hold a pen, destroying everything in sight by writing her name on it. She graduated, at the age of six, to a hard-sided briefcase with snap locks, and was rarely seen without it. Even though she scribbles on a computer now, she can't leave home without a pad of paper and six colors of Sharpies and Bic round stic pens. She gardens, surfs, stand up paddleboards and reads in Wilmington, N.C. Daniel Gasteiger teaches people and businesses how to use the Internet to establish themselves as authorities in their respective fields. His book contract, Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too is the result of applying the online techniques he teaches. He welcomes inquiries about his consulting services and is enthusiastic to lead seminars for your clubs, associations, and businesses. Charlotte Germane writes for Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply in Grass Valley, California. She is lead gardening contributor to The Morton Report and also writes a frothy e-newsletter, Dirt du jour: Northern California. She provides communications, social media management and training, blog editing, marketing and public relations through Daffodil Planter Media. Bruce Bailey is a purveyor of plants and owner of Heavy Petal Nursery in Eastern Washington, specializing in the unique and unexpected along with a few forgotten favorites. His education in art history and design help him to bring new ideas and bold presentations to life not just in his nursery designs but also as he speaks at garden events across the country.
Kylee Baumle writes from Northwest Ohio, where she tends to the gardens at Our Little Acre with her husband, along with their ten cats and eight chickens. She is a contributing writer for Ohio Gardener, Indiana Gardener, and Horticulture magazine, where she is also the Book Review Editor.
Christopher Tidrick is a garden photographer and writer who lives in Champaign, Illinois. His blog, From the Soil is the living, growing memoir of his garden and life. He has been a guest blogger for Martha Stewart Living and Better Home and Gardens.
The Grammar Edition with Katie Elzer-Peters
The Internet is full of websites, but who has time to wade through all of them to find the ones that really matter? We've done the work for you with Clicks You Can't Miss, the column with a handful of helpful sites that you need to see. This month we tackle grammar. Even if you stood out as a stellar student in English, chances are good that you have grammar questions while you write. Where can you go to get good advice instantly? Here are five clicks you can’t miss for grammar help: The Oatmeal The Oatmeal, as a whole, is hilarious, but also off-color. Be warned if you venture outside the grammar tag. If you have chronic problems with apostrophes, you won’t after reading The Oatmeal.
OWL From one of the most respected online resources for grammar and writing information, Purdue University, OWL stands for Online Writing Lab. There are plenty of handouts about all parts of English.
Grammar Girl What started as a stand-alone blog has morphed into an entire website of “quick and dirty tips.” The Grammar Girl section is just one of many, but is as helpful as ever. If you prefer to learn by listening, her podcasts are just the ticket.
Common Errors in English Usage Mostly word choice information. Perfect if you get confused about insure and ensure.
HyperGrammar This is an online course from the University of Ottawa. If you need a refresher in grammar from start to finish, you’ll want to work through this information.
Business Writing Blog More than grammar, but with a lot of helpful links and information.
Winning the Dead Heat
by Daniel Gasteiger
Imagine this scenario: You're trying to sell to a new market. You assemble a dynamite pitch, your sample material is amazing and the buyer really wants to work with you. Your proposal is at the top of the stack, but it's not the only one! The buyer has three favorite proposals with resources to make only one purchase. What do you think happens next? I hope you're thinking “Google.” When all else is equal, an agent, editor, art buyer or meeting planner googles your name and the names of your competitors. Whichever of you has the most impressive web presence makes the sale. It's crucial to understand the ramifications here. Your articles, drawings or photos may already appear in many books about gardening. You may have a dynamite relationship with a major media outlet. You may even create the most sensational photographs of Dracena marginata imaginable, but if the other candidates have a more impressive web presence, you're not going to win in a new market. How to Build Web Presence There are three broad and heavily-interrelated categories of activities that build your web presence without costing a fortune: ✔ Creating content on websites ✔ Participating in social media ✔ Performing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on web content Creating Content on Websites You don't need to own a website to create content on the web. Commenting on other people's blog posts, uploading videos to YouTube, posting photos on Flickr, even managing your Facebook account constitute the creation of content. When you participate in any of these activities, take credit by using your real name when you create social networking profiles or leave comments on blogs and forums. Participating in Social Media Normal humans feel pretty silly when they first use Twitter. I did and you probably will. Get over it. Twitter is an amazing community that lets participants move smoothly among conversations about almost anything. Many relationships made on Twitter have lead to business opportunities. You'll meet people who will want to buy your work or hire your services. Some will simply help you to tell the world about what you do, and that's a good thing.
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Of course, social media goes way beyond Twitter, but if you’re not yet using any social media, wade in slowly with Twitter. If you already use social media but you’ve never tweeted, stop being shy and give it a try. Gradually building facility with several social media services—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more—will build your web presence and reveal which services best suit your personality and style.
The First Mistake Most Bloggers Make Most people about to start a blog name the blog to represent its intended content, the blogger’s interests, or even the blogger’s name. This may be a mistake. Search engines consider your blog’s name when they decide where to put the blog in search results. In two years, perhaps one person searches on Google for “Daniel Gasteiger.” Google won’t send many readers to a blog on www.danielgasteiger.com—even if my blog is at the top of the search results every time.
Performing SEO on your Web Content Search Engine Optimization is the discipline of getting Google and other search engines to love your web content (and so, to send visitors to your website). Even before you start a website a blog or anything else, there are important tasks that will improve the site’s favor with Google.
However, every day there are nearly 1.5 million searches on Google that include the word “garden.” If your blog appeared in position 1 of Google search results for that word, you’d get a lot of readers. Not surprisingly, www.garden.com holds the coveted first position.
Before you choose a name for a blog, find a If you’re not yet blogging, don’t start until you learn more about keyword that people SEO (but absolutely do start a blog). The box on the right explains search for a lot, but for which there aren’t a lot why. of web pages. There are 2.25 billion pages that mention “garden.” You’ll get better results in Google if you use a keyword or phrase that appears on fewer than 100 thousand pages.
Daniel Gasteiger is an author, photographer, and speaker. He teaches how to grow and preserve food and how to build a powerful web presence to promote your business, your art, and yourself. He invites you to visit his premier blog, Your Small Kitchen Garden, and find him on Twitter where he goes by the name @cityslipper.
Outdoor Living Extravaganza A Retreat and Seminar with Proven Winners
The Hotel Del Coronado – 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
$80 per person – 8:30 am to 4 pm (includes catered luncheon)
March 3, 2012 For the fourth year Proven Winners is bringing this enjoyable and educational gardening seminar to cities across North America. You’ll learn from our experts about creative new ways to use color, the easiest ways to grow plant varieties, how to put together exceptional containers and much more. In addition, you’ll be treated to a bag of exciting gifts-including a plant; you’ll enjoy delicious lunch, beverages, and snacks; and you’ll have plenty of chances to win great prizes. Even your non-gardening friends will enjoy this relaxed and entertaining look at what’s new in outdoor decor, Proven Winners style. To register, go to provenwinners.com or call 877-865-5818. For registration purposes, please include your name and any guests names along with any special diet requirements.
wth Katie Elzer-Peters
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird is mostly a book about writing fiction - stories. If you’ve ever had the occasion to attend one of Mary-Kate Mackey’s excellent writing workshops, you know how important it is to work narrative techniques into your nonfiction writing. There’s much to be learned from character development and dialogue tips which might not be immediately obvious because many of us spend much of our time working on the grind. Reading a book like Bird by Bird reminds me that I am, first, before business, a writer. I make a living writing, but in order to do that and to keep doing that I have to keep my skills sharp. We aren’t writers because we have hands and pens and computers and printers. We’re writers because, as Anne Lamott writes we can “. . .take major events or small episodes from daily life and shade or exaggerate things in such a way as to capture their shape and substance, capture what life felt like. . .” Lamott writes “The other kids always wanted me to tell them stories of what had happened, even—or especially—when they had been there.” I’ve had that experience as the chronicler of Friday night volleyball games for “The Wicked Stitchers,” the company team of the shirt factory where I worked for a while. Everyone knew the scores, but they liked to relive, through my stories, the evenings drinking beer and shaking sand out of our ears after diving for the ball.
A Few Gems from Bird by Bird “Find out what each character cares about most in the world because then you will have discovered what’s at stake.” With what we write, mostly, what’s at stake is the success of the reader. Will what we’ve written, every last word, help them be better gardeners? continued on next page
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You could read the entire book with a highlighter and finish with every other line marked. Here are a few more gems: “Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it’s going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.” How much of what you do is actually writing? How much is what one of my editor friends affectionately (or not) calls “word vomit?” Dumping out something to meet a deadline? Writing to a rigid template? I do an awful lot of template-driving writing. It pays the bills, but sometimes it is hard to make the paragraphs sing, not to mention making sure that I haven’t left anything out that will leave the reader in a lurch about how to do whatever it is I’m describing. “I believed, before I sold my first book, that publication would be instantly and automatically gratifying, an affirming and romantic experience, a Hallmark commercial where one runs and leaps in slow motion across a meadow filled with wildflowers into the arms of acclaim and self-esteem.” Needless to say, as she goes on to write, that isn’t exactly what happens. “It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.” If you’ve gotten too far away from the joy of writing about camellias because you love camellias, or vermiculture because you like the word vermiculture, it’s time to revisit the process. “. . . the first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up.” Do you turn in first drafts? If you say “they don’t pay me enough for a second draft,” please stop a minute and think. If you don’t edit your work, someone else has to. Make yourself indispensible to your editor by rereading your pieces and improving them. Does every word count? Is everything you included necessary? Did you leave something out? “Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop.” I find this to be so true. I will start writing and then lop off the entire first paragraph. Then I’ll cut the last 2/3. Not until I’ve written for a while do I always understand what I’m actually writing about. “Jealousy is such a direct attack on whatever measure of confidence you’ve been able to muster. But if you continue to write, you are probably going to have to deal with it, because some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, undeserving writers you know—people who are, in other words, not you.” You’re lying to yourself if you don’t see the green monster every now and then—especially if you write to make money. In addition to writing techniques, Lamott deals with what it means to be a writer and experience crushing doubt in yourself, raging bouts of jealousy, and the desire to do everything but put your butt in the chair and write. Bird by Bird, in that way, is as much of a self-help book as it is a writing book. Non-writers smart enough to make the connection could get a lot out of of it too. I could go on and on. The point is, to me, to grow as a business person means I also have to grow as a writer. There are many ways to do that, one of which is working with a good editor. That’s another article another time. Even easier than that is to pick up a worthwhile book and take its advice. Katie Elzer-Peters is the founder of The Garden of Words, LLC. She writes, edits, reads, surfs and even manages to find the time to garden once in a while in Wilmington, NC.
You would be hard pressed to find an area that hasn't been infiltrated by the word “green” in the past few years. It is everywhere from cleaning and food products to major industries. We asked readers on the GrowWrite! Facebook page to chime in on the topic a few weeks ago when we posted the poll question you see in the graphic on the next page. There are some who would argue that the word is so oversaturated in today's marketplace that it has lost its meaning. Joe Lamp'l, host of “Growing a Greener World” and author of The Green Gardeners Guide: “Sadly, it's way overused. Greenwashing is exploited and consequently so many people are numb to it now. The word still is near and dear to my heart when used appropriately.” Author Chris McLaughlin: “I agree with my fellow garden writers. Just like the term 'organic' -- you almost don't 'hear' the word anymore. But then, gardening & environmental issues don't corner the market on this phenomenon this is typical of everything in the world (as it catches on).” Southern Living's Grumpy Gardener Steve Bender: “'Green' is like 'natural' or 'organic' -- once useful terms now co-opted by big business to increase market share without making any significant change at all.” Kat Dickerson: “I think it is kind of like the pink ribbon for breast cancer. It is used so much that people are getting sick of seeing/hearing it. I am not sure if it still has the same impact but I don't know what the answer is either. I just think for both, it is not so much about awareness since we are all aware of the problems. I think it is about taking action.” Michael Phillips: “I think it is a good short word that is now well known to mean the environmental movement. However, I think it is sometimes used in places that do not deserve it. “ Steven Munley: “I think overall, it is important to be vigilant about what the terms mean. I agree with others who have posted that "green" and like terms have been co-opted, but as a responsible citizen and consumer, we have a responsibility to review and verify these claims, and not just be sheep about it. More people are aware, and that's great - but it can't stop there. Shannon Vaughn of Great American Seed Swap: “I still like 'green.' I can't hear it, like on Sesame Street, without thinking 'environment.'” Steve Stroupe of Pond Trade Magazine: “It has a clear, if overly-broad meaning to most, and is prized by some while loathed by others. Plays well on MSNBC. FOX...not so much.. “ Green Living authority Shawna Coronado: “As a writer, I have discovered that the general public does not understand what more complex words related to the green industry like 'sustainability' or 'environmentalism' specifically mean. I frequently use green as a general term that is more easily referenced and understood by my target audience. This target audience is new to sustainability and learning baby steps, so 'green' becomes the best and easiest word to use that they will grasp and understand.”
With 181 votes logged at the time of this article, the overwhelming majority of responders seem to feel that the word â€œgreenâ€? has been overused in the environmental movement and has lost at least some of its impact as a result. Be sure to
our Facebook page to take part in future polls and giveaways.
I joined Twitter just one year ago this month and caught on pretty fast, or so I thought. It seems that I may not have understood two of Twitter's biggest draws – Follow Friday and Hash tags – nearly as well as I'd initially thought.
#Follow Friday If you've been on Twitter for any time at all, then you've been caught up in the whirlwind of #FF hash tags filling your feed with who is cool according to who you follow. One night while composing tweets on my phone I realized I was just creating spam. There, I said it. I tweet out my #Ffs and several others retweet it. Cool right? Not exactly. I failed to share why I follow these people. Now I send out eight to ten tweets on who I follow along with links to their blog, website, articles and pictures. When I show others why I like a person or group, my tweets take them by the hand and show them more than just a Twitter handle. Asl yourself what makes the people you follow worth following and then make sure that your #FF tweets reflect that.
#Hash Tags Hash tags are an ingenious way of helping other Twitter users find what you are tweeting about. Think of it like keywording or tagging a blog post and you'll be on the right track. Here's an example:
“Elegant Men's #Rose Print neckties by __________________” Q: What market is this tweet trying to attract? A: Anyone who is into roses: growing roses, lovers of roses, anything rose-related. Q: What else should this person have hash-tagged? A: How about #neckties? How about #men? Each of those help to further identify the target audience and they might reach someone who wouldn't have thought about rose print ties. Hash-tags such as #sheisdrivingmecrazy or #icantbelievethisishappeningtome? Those are just a waste of 140 characters from a promotional standpoint. Using simple, direct hash tags directs people to you. #DYI, #upcycle, #food, #garden. It;s okay to use more than one hash tag, especially when they are going to expand your audience. Make it easier for people to find those who are tweeting about the topic they are interested in. On the other side of the coin are hash tags that end with #___chat. They are intended for the interaction of those participating in a specific conversation on a specific topic at a specific time and they otherwise don't have a valid application in the Twitterverse. Is your information getting lost in a cacaphony of words and tags that don't get people to look at your work? Worse, is it directing them away from your work entirely? Before you tag, think of your tweet as a collection of keywords and make sure you are using them wisely.
Bruce Bailey owns Heavy Petal Nursery in Moses Lake, Washington. When he's not on Twitter (@whereplantsrock) he is introducing the public to unique and unusual plant combinations and speaking at garden and horticulture events across the country.
By Katie Elzer-Peters
Creating and maintaining a website doesn't have to be a nightmare experience! Here are some tips on how to find a web designer, work with them so that you get what you want and maintain your website so that the content stays current and fresh.
Know the Lingo •
Domain Name: A web address, such as www.yourcompany.com
URL: Short for Uniform Resource Locator, this is what people type into the web browser (Like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari) to find you. It will look like this: http://www.yourcompanyname.com.
Hosting: The information in your website is stored on a server with your web hosting company. When people type in the web address, the web address pulls information from the server where your website is hosted and displays that information.
Registrar: The registrar is the company that lists the public record certifying that you own your domain name. If you want to change your web hosting, you have to work with the registrar.
CMS: Short for Content Management System, this is the structure that holds website information, most often through the use of a database. A content management system provides an easy way for you to work with your website content without messing with the nitty-gritty code. A good CMS will give you a WYSIWYG editor (short for "What You See Is What You Get") that lets you format content like you're using Microsoft Word.
Content: Web designers use this term to refer to the words and pictures that will go in your website. Usually they ask you to gather your content and send it to them while they're building the website.
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Tips for Web Success Spend time looking around the internet and finding websites that you like. These don't have to be websites in your industry. Jot down the address (www.thecoolwebsite.com) and what you like about it. This will help the designer. Follow the "Rule of Three." Always keep your domain name registered with a separate company from your web hosting company. (For instance, register your domain name with GoDaddy and buy hosting from HostGator.) Make sure that your web developer does not host your website on their server. By keeping everything separate, you retain control over your domain name and website and no developer can hold it hostage. If you don't understand something, ask. Your web designer works for YOU, not the other way around. They don't know everything about running a garden center, and you don't know everything about a website. Make sure to speak up during the design phase. It is easier to make changes to the overall look of the website while it is on the virtual drawing board. Once the website is in code form, changes can still be made, but they take more time. Again, you want to make sure that the design is something that you are comfortable with. A good designer will work with you to help you achieve the look and feel that you want, but a good designer will also tell you if something that you suggest will detract from the usability of the website. They will also alert you if it appears that you want to add components that will require a lot of time for maintenance. In the end, be sure to remember that your website is your online business card. It is often the first impression that potential customers will have, so you need to be sure that it is sending the right message from the start. Don't give in to pressure and rush into decisions you may not be happy with. Take the time to carefully consider what you are doing now so that you can reap the rewards for years to come.
by Charlotte Germane
When my husband and I moved to rural Nevada County from the Bay Area we used to buy The Sacramento Bee newspaper just once a week -- to read Dick Tracy's Saturday gardening column. Dick was The Bee's Home & Garden Editor and a witty oracle of garden information. He didn't start out that way. In 1969, when Dick moved to town for a reporter job at The Sacramento Bee, his new boss mentioned there would be farm and gardening stories on his beat. Dick, a sports journalist, went home and told his wife about the new assignment. "I'm not unpacking", she replied. Dick says that in 1969 he could identify three plants: a dandelion, a cactus, and a rose. He quickly fell in love with gardeners and farmers, and they felt the same way about him. One of the secrets to Dick’s lively prose about gardens is his unending interest in gardeners. As a novice garden writer I asked to shadow him as he visited three gardens, preparing articles to promote an annual garden tour. Meeting Dick Tracy is a “rock star moment” for any Sacramento-area gardener, but Dick’s genuine friendliness puts the gardener at ease as Dick asks permission to start his portable tape recorder. After a few of Dick’s admiring questions, any anxiety about being recorded disappears, replaced by delight in being able to converse with someone so knowledgeable about plants and design. That day Dick and I visited gardens that ranged from fabulous to run-of-the-mill, but he found virtues in each one, and especially in each gardener. When I asked him how he avoided making design judgments about gardens he said he was always amazed by “how extraordinary REAL gardeners are. Tell them they can either give up gardening or give up an arm and they ask, ‘Which arm?’.” continued on next page
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In his decades of reporting at The Bee there were never any complaints from the subjects of his stories. Dick puts that down to his practice of sending a pre-publication draft to each subject. He says, “More often than not the person you were interviewing can clear up any misconceptions AND add something to the story that they forgot to mention.” Dick had a charmed career at The Bee. In those days the newspaper could reward his quality writing with trips to cover every garden spot from Winterthur to the Chelsea Flower Show. Dick was a blossoming horticulture writer when he encountered the Garden Writers Association. "I approached the first meeting in the 1970s, thinking I'd be spending the day with people who spoke botanical Latin, ‘How's your Fischer's Ricinifolia begonia?’ But I came home impressed with how much fun they were. And I joined shortly after that." In 2011 the GWA made Dick a Fellow, recognizing his years of service as a GWA National Director and mentor to garden communicators, along with his excellence as a writer. Dick’s best stories about the GWA don’t revolve around board meetings though. Among the many GWA symposiums he attended, Dick was at a regional meeting at Stanford in the 1970s that ended with a giant au naturel redwood hot tub party that drew about 40 skinny dippers. The symposium chair, Karen, joined in the festivities and she crossed paths with Dick at a garden event 20 years later. “Karen!” Dick said, “Do you realize the last time we saw each other we were stark naked?” “Yes,” she said, unsmiling, “Don’t tell my husband.” That was one occasion on which the author of The Bee’s popular Garden Detective column did not have to search for clues.
Charlotte Germane writes a free, weekday garden enewsletter, Dirt du jour: Northern California. She also provides writing, social media training and management, marketing, and public relations to the garden world.
Amazon Author Central is a sub site of the well-known online bookseller turned megastore specifically dedicated to helping published authors make the most of their experience on the site. It is free for any author with a book on Amazon.com, surprisingly easy to use and provides several benefits to the end user that shouldn't be missed.
SIGN UP The signup process is basic and easily understood. When an author visits the Author Central website and selects Join Now, they can either log in with an existing Amazon.com account or create a new one. Once an author agrees to the Terms and Conditions they are then asked to enter the name under which they have authored books. A list of possible book matches is presented, allowing the author to choose those written by them. Once at least one book has been selected, the Author Central account is created and a confirmation email is automatically sent by the system. The author must respond to the email to verify the account. In some cases, Amazon.com will contact the publisher to verify your identity, though the approval process rarely takes longer than 7 days. In the event that you have to wait for approval, let's cover the PROFILE tab and the information it contains first:
The PROFILE Tab
The Author Central profile is divided into 5 basic categories: biography, photos, blog feeds, events and videos. With a verified account, each of these categories can be written and edited by the author.
Biography The biography must be at least 20 words and must be written in plain text â€“ no HTML allowed. 3-4 well-crafted sentences are usually adequate without becoming overbearing. Photos The author photo must be a JPG. The optimal size is 200 pixels by 225 pixels but if you are unsure about cropping your own images, the system will handle it automatically so long as your image is between 300 and 2500 pixels and no larger than 4MB. Blog Feeds If you have a blog, this is an excellent opportunity to provide current information to fans and potential readers who visit your Author Central page. Adding your blog feed is simple to do and you can edit or delete a feed at any time. Events Another underutilized tool on Author Central is the ability to add events and appearances to an Author Central profile. This feature makes it easy for readers to learn where you will be and how they can see you. Videos Authors have the ability to upload video content to their Author Central profile provided they meet certain guidelines. This is an excellent way to personalize a profile and make for a more direct and personal experience. continued on next page
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The BOOKS Tab Not surprisingly, the books an author has claimed will be found under the Books tab. Clicking on an individual book title opens a page that allows customization of the editorial information that will appear on the Amazon.com page for the title including: Review Product Description From the Author From the Inside Flap From the Back Cover About the Author Each of these areas are customizable and in most cases, the more information provided on the book sales page, the more likely a customer will make the purchase. It is well worth the time to ensure the information this page contains is thorough and accurate.
The SALES Tab
The Sales tab gives the author details of book sales via BookScan as well as current Amazon Bestsellers Rank information. Data is provided not only for the number of books sold in a given period but also for the geographic location of the purchasers.
The CUSTOMER REVIEWS Tab
One on one interaction goes a long way, and with the Customer Reviews tab the author is able to see a list of the reviews a book has been given by customers and also to respond directly to each one. An active and involved author is engaging, entertaining and informative. By making the most of Amazon Author Central, you can quickly and easily prove yourself to be all three in just a few minutes time. It doesn't take any special skill to present yourself at your online best For more information, visit: http://authorcentral.amazon.com
Michael Nolan is a jack of all trades and a master of none. He writes and speaks on gardening, sustainability and food ethics, and other topics that come up over dinner. He is the founder and managing editor of GrowWrite! Magazine and he drinks more coffee than the entire population of some third world countries.
Review by Michael Nolan
A few years ago I was working on a series of rewrites for a client. The requirements were very specific when it came to keyword density and similarity of content between the original and rewritten copy and I was at a loss for how I was supposed to meet the deadlines without spending most of my time figuring percentages. The client told me about a program called DupeFree that would make my life a lot easier and though I was skeptical, I gave it a shot. That was four years ago and I have been a faithful user of the software ever since. DupeFree Pro software is made especially for people who write and rewrite content as a simple way to help them to avoid duplication of content that can lead to issues without how websites are indexed in search engines. It uses a transparent customizable algorithm to calculate duplicate content between two pieces of work unlike other programs that are quite secretive about their algorithms. It is excellent for anyone who has existing content written that just needs to be refreshed without a complete overhaul, but it even goes beyond that. DupeFree Pro also allows you to make the same comparisons between content on your local computer and online content. By simply pasting your content into one window and entering a URL into the second window, DFP can manage the same comparisons in no time, along with detailed information broken down by search engine. There's even CopyScape module available, along with a module that lets you bulk check a series of articles at once. I can't even begin to cover all of the really cool things DFP can do in such a short space, but what I can do is tell you that I have used it myself for years and I wouldn't do SEO work without it, period.
If you're new to search engine optimization work (SEO), you might not fully understand the value of knowing how unique your content is, but search engines grade website content on uniqueness and they penalize them when the content is too similar to existing content on the web. I contacted the folks at DupeFree Pro to tell them that I'd be including a review of their software in the magazine. Without knowing the content or tone of the review, they wanted to advertise in this issue but they didn't stop there. They also extended an incredible offer to GrowWrite! readers by giving you a discount code worth 30% off your purchase of DupeFree Pro! To read more about the offer click here and enter GRWWRT30 at checkout to redeem your exclusive 30% discount.
DISCLAIMER: The author did not receive payment of any sort for this review. The review was written prior to any agreement about the reviewed product being advertised. In conjunction with the ad placement, GrowWrite! Magazine has entered into an affiliate agreement with DupeFree Pro that entitles it to a percentage of sales that result from ads in this magazine.
to our friends at GrowWrite! on your first issue! Join veteran host and gardening expert Joe Lampâ€™l for the third season of Growing a Greener World, a national series dedicated to inspiring people to live a more eco-friendly life through gardening, food, and sustainable choices. Distributed by American Public Television and Presented by UNC-TV
Hands-on projects inspire and teach in every episode, including garden-to-table recipes from Chef Nathan Lyon. An integrated website enriches the experience with10/27/10 bonus video, blogs, podcasts, informative articles, cooking segments, recipes and more. Now filming Season Three. Growing a Greener World is nationally distributed through American Public Television and presented by UNC-TV.
Watch on television (stations and times) Watch online (full episodes)
u growingagreenerworld.com Facebook.com/GGWTV Twitter.com/GGWTV Distributed by American Public Television and Presented by UNC-TV
by Kylee Baumle Book publishing has certainly taken some interesting turns in recent years, thanks to technology. Gone are the days when you had to have a publisher to produce a book. Self-publishing venues abound. If you decide you’ll self-publish, I applaud you. I may do that myself someday. But this option has some pitfalls that you’d do well to avoid. As a fellow garden writer once said, “If you self-publish, you almost have to do a better job than those who go through a traditional publisher.” This is because, in spite of its rise in popularity, the public mindset is still pretty much that people self-publish because they can’t get a traditional publisher to buy their ideas. This isn’t always the case anymore, but it’s hard to change public perception and self-published authors need to put out a product that doesn’t look like an amateur effort. If you choose to submit a proposal to a traditional publisher or the publisher contacts you with a book idea, you’ll have the experience and expertise of those who work in the trade to guide and direct you. You’ll pay for that in reduced royalties, but the cost may be worth it when all is said and done. Neither of you wants to put out a second-rate product. As a book reviewer, I am sent a great number of books to read and review. No, I don’t have one that bears my name on the cover (yet), and I don’t claim to be an expert. But as a lifelong consumer of books and one who looks at hundreds of them in the course of a year, I can recognize those which have qualities that stand out above the rest. A few suggestions for those who choose to self-publish: 1. If you have the funds, hire an editor. If you can’t afford to hire an editor, enlist the help of a large number of people by asking them to read your book, critically. Even those who aren’t in the field can be very good at spotting awkward phrasing, grammatical errors and typos. Tell them to give it to you straight and mean it. 2. Choose your self-publisher carefully. People do judge a book by its cover. If it has a cheap, pamphletized look to it, your effort is not likely to be taken seriously. Try to emulate the professional publishers if possible. Check around and try to physically look at books that self-publishers have produced. It may cost more to put spit and polish on the cover, but after all the work you’ve put into it, don’t skimp on packaging. continued on next page
continued from previous page 3. If you include photography in your book, pay attention to the quality. Would color photography enhance your pages over black-and-white? Nothing looks worse than pixelated photographs because the resolution wasn’t high enough for print. Every element of your book should look top-notch. 4. Ask other self-publishers for their advice. Especially listen to those that self-published first and traditionally published later, and vice-versa. Find out why they switched. 5. Is your topic relevant in today’s market? This can be somewhat of a guessing game, depending on your subject, since by the time you’ve finished writing and printing your book, the readers’ mood may have changed. So while it’s a bit of a risk, it can also work in your favor to have a quirky topic that hasn’t been run into the ground already. 6. Be prepared to market your book aggressively. With all the venues available for doing this today, there’s no excuse for not getting the word out. If you already have an online presence, work it. If you don’t, get to work. If you don’t believe in your book enough to think that others will be interested in it, they probably won’t be. Finally – and I know you’ve heard this before – grow some thick skin. No one is perfect and not everyone writes a book deserving of a Pulitzer Prize. You won’t catch every error. (I find at least one in nearly every book I read, whether traditionally or self-published.) Not everyone will like the way you write. You may not sell as many copies of your book as you’d hoped. All authors experience this at some point in their writing careers. On the other hand, you’ll never know how successful you’ll be unless you just forge ahead. Whether your efforts are a success or failure, you’ll learn a lot about the writing and publishing world and a lot about yourself in the process. Try putting a price on that.
Kylee Baumle writes the blog Our Little Acre. She is a contributing writer for Ohio Gardener, Indiana Gardener and Horticulture Magazine, where she is also the Book Review Editor.
When I was a kid I got picked on nearly every day. It wasn't bad enough that I bore the scarlet letter of a “gifted” kid, I also had a heart murmur and a birth defect that damaged my Achilles tendon, so needless to say I wasn't the most athletic kid on the playground. At that age, anything that makes you different makes you a target. While I now celebrate my individuality and love standing out in a crowd, when I was younger that was a recipe for a good old fashioned beat down. I am proud to live in a time when people from all walks of life can support the “It Gets Better” campaign spearheaded by columnist Dan Savage and its efforts to stop teen suicide as a result of bullying. What I am not proud of is a worldwide network of garden communicators who remain silent when there are those among our ranks who are no better than the schoolyard punks who stole lunch money and shouted hateful names at anyone they chose to target. It is happening right under our noses and for far too long we have allowed it to continue unanswered. It happened recently when a well-respected writer used a phrase that was coined by another writer among us without attribution. Ironically, the phrase was tied to the highly-televised OCCUPY movement that makes a point to not individualize itself, though it became quite an individualized attack replete with antangonizing onlookers.
If your very existence as a writer is centered on being a self-appointed watchdog bent on maligning the men and women who work hard to inform and educate while you work hard to belittle them, you are a bully. Plain and simple, cut and dried, a bully. We are garden communicators, right? When did that job description come with the requirement that we become rabid pitbulls who grab hold and rip someone to shreds, not releasing our grip until there's nothing left? In order to be a productive communicator, all you have to do is communicate productively. If your intent is instead to garner any attention you can regardless of the impact, then spout all the negativity you want but don't be surprised when your audience shrinks as quickly as the list of friends who will return your calls. Even if you're not the origin of negative comments, ask yourself if it does any good to retweet or otherwise share them. If you feel that you should take any direction at all, might I suggest the high road? If you don't speak out against bullying under the misguided idea that your silence keeps you out of it, you're no better than the bullies themselves. Your silence is your nod of quiet acceptance that you see nothing wrong with what is going on. I'm not sure which is sadder to me, that there are bullies among the ranks of garden communicators or that anyone is paying attention to them. Am I naïve to think that we should build each other up, support our fellow communicators and grow together? I don't think so, and I know I'm not the only one who feels that way.