Tuesday, April 14, 2020


The article below is written by Idaho author Carol Peterson and used with permission:

Writers are regularly assaulted with the marketing advice that we must have an online presence. It is great advice.

Many writers however, tremble when facing the technology learning curve and don’t even know how to start. Other writers don’t have the couple hundred dollars each year to maintain a website or are overwhelmed with the work involved in providing continuously new and fresh content.

Even blogsites, most of which are free, have many of the same concerns for writers—the technology, the lack of direction, the work commitment.

Consider then a joint website. A joint website is nothing more than gathering like-minded writers together and forming an online presence.

Such an endeavor is not new. Writers often join together to share the work and expense as well as to encourage each other and build up their platform base. Writers might join together based on the genre they write, the location they live in, or just because they work well together.

Even if some or all of the writers in the group are still unpublished, having an online presence can help them become established online and build up a fan base and platform for when they become published. Having an online presence also provides a place to send agents and editors when pursuing traditional publishing.

A simple way to structure a joint website would be:

  • The website could have an active, changing home page. Each person could commit to writing a periodic post so there is always new and fresh content.
  • Create a separate web page for each person. There each person could write a bio, what they write and for whom and what books or other work they have published or are working on.
  • You might have a separate web page to list all of the books written by all of the members. The books could be listed alphabetically by title or listed by genre so it is less obvious if one person has written 50 books and the rest have only written one. Of course, make sure each book title has a link to purchase that book either online or directly from the author.
  • You might have an additional page of special posts or information or FAQs about the overall theme or purpose of the website. For example, if the website is dedicated to helping other writers, you might post individual articles about various writing tools or aspects of the craft of writing. If the purpose of your website is to encourage busy mothers, you might have a page dedicated to simple, healthy recipes kids love.
  • Elect a single person who will maintain the website to avoid having members add content willy-nilly. Set up guidelines folks will abide by, such as allowing new content only once a month or quarterly so as to not overload the website manager, or create a word limit per post.

Of course, encourage each member to invite their own friends, family members, and readers to visit and subscribe to the site.

You may not think you are ready for your own website either because you are just beginning your writing career, don’t yet have a book in print or can’t afford the cost. Creating a joint website might be a wonderful option for you. Not only does it provide you with a low-cost online presence, the group can create a richer website more quickly with each member providing content at the start.

Stay encouraged!

Carol Peterson

The content for this article was part of a workshop presented at the 2018 Idaho Creative Author Network (ICAN) Author’s Fest. For more information about how writers can market together, please check out Working Together; Achieving Success: Critiquing, Marketing, Masterminds available on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

My Mother and the Depression Era

My mother lived during the depression era. In her adult life, she saved so many things that it was a nightmare to move her, and a it bothered me that she couldn’t throw away something such as thirty margarine tubs stacked in her closet. I don’t think that she’d classify as a hoarder, she had a large house and had a place for most things. Yet, it was also a pain to dust over many odds and ends she’d displayed around the house. I learned later that many of these items were given to her by friends and loved ones and they meant a lot to her. Now, after she has passed, I wish that she would have told me why she saved so many things, that they meant a lot to her or that she saved because she had been without so much in her early years. My thoughts as I’ve gotten older tell me that she knew I wouldn’t understand, and she would have been right.

With Covid-19 as part of the present, I find myself looking through my cupboards, pantry and freezer, thankful that we had stocked some items away in early March and have been able to exist on them and for a while longer. In my mind I have gone back to my 20s when I was on a strict budget and stretched the groceries in a creative way in how and what I cooked. Those thoughts have come back to me and I am now grateful I had those years to learn how to fare in times like these.

I’ve been thinking about making a face mask for my husband and I, we eventually must get out and shop for something. I figure even a homemade face cover is better than none. I kept a cardboard box of sewing items that my mother had used over the years, thinking I could use the buttons, needles, and spools of thread. I knew that she had some scraps of material in there too, as well as elastic. Basically, I can find everything I need in there and more to make a mask. There are even some shoulder pads in there that can work as padding inside the mask, too (as long as I can breathe). I smiled many times as I sorted through her things and thought how she would so enjoy if I would use her items for something as important as a crisis that she’d saved for all her life.

These are strange times. Be creative, be thankful for what you have, exercise a bit and please stay well. Best wishes to you.