How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul

How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your SoulHow To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your SoulHow To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup by Ruth Soukup

If you’re at all interested in monetizing your blog, Soukup’s book is a great place to start. Her writing style is easy to follow, and she gives great ideas and tips. The hardest part is finding the time to put all of the ideas you’ll generate into action!

Much of the book has tips that you’ve likely heard already, but there was some new information for me (especially about utilizing Pinterest). Often with things like this, it’s not always that the information is new, it’s how it’s organized or how it motivates you to put it into practice that is key. And it’s very motivating and has easily actionable steps.

I especially appreciated the sections on goal setting and time management – the latter is my biggest blogging issue, especially with balancing it with the rest of my life.

Publisher’s Description:
Do you want to earn a living doing what you love?

Whether you have been blogging for years or just a few weeks, How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) offers solid advice and practical action plans for creating an authentic, successful, and profitable blog.

With wit, wisdom, and the insight of someone who’s been there, Ruth Soukup shares how she grew her own blog, Living Well Spending Less, to over one million monthly visitors, earns a full time income, and still is able to write about the things she truly cares about.

In this expanded 2nd Edition of How to Blog for Profit you will:

• Stop comparing your blog to those around you and instead learn to leverage your own unique assets.
• Discover the secrets to creating amazing, compelling blog content that brings readers back again and again.
• Learn how to increase your blog traffic and build solid platform through field-tested strategies. • Develop a solid social media strategy for capturing viral growth through Pinterest and Facebook.
• Dramatically boost your revenue through diversified income streams.
• Improve your productivity, learning to work smarter not harder, and take concrete steps to transform your blog into a business.

Book Details

Title: How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your SoulHow To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
Author: Ruth Soukup
Category: Nonfiction / Blogging
My Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

The Forest for the TreesThe Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to WritersThe Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner by Betsy Lerner

Enjoyable and insightful look at the publishing industry. Lerner’s tone is sympathetic and supportive, but still quite realistic about publication. The stories she shares illustrate her points well, although there were a few times when I wished she’d been willing to share the names of the individuals in question. That was just me being nosy though! There are some named examples however, so it’s not just all anonymous examples.

Recommended for anyone seeking publication. If you’re not, I’m not sure how valuable it would be, but I found it interesting enough that I was glad I read it, even if I’m not looking to be published in the foreseeable future. I do generally like behind-the-scenes type looks at things though, so I was a bit predisposed to enjoy this.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Quickly established as an essential and enduring companion for aspiring writers when it was first published, Betsy Lerner’s sharp, funny, and insightful guide has been meticulously updated and revised to address the dramatic changes that have reshaped the publishing industry in the decade since. From blank page to first glowing (or gutting) review, Betsy Lerner is a knowing and sympathetic coach who helps writers discover how they can be more productive in the creative process and how they can better their odds of not only getting published, but getting published well. This is an essential trove of advice for writers and an indispensable user’s manual to both the inner life of the writer and the increasingly anxious place where art and commerce meet: the boardrooms and cubicles of the publishing house.

Book Details

Title: The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to WritersThe Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner
Author: Betsy Lerner
Category: Nonfiction / Writing
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

How I Write

How I WriteHow I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling AuthorHow I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof

You’re thinking you don’t like Evanovich’s books, so why would you care what she has to say about writing? Well, there is still a lot to learn from her, no matter if her writing style is to your taste or not.

What’s really good in it:
The examples. Instead of just telling you to do this or that, she includes excerpts from her books to show you how she’s done it. It’s very helpful seeing specifics.

The reality check. She’s hugely successful now, but there was no overnight success. She wrote for years before being published, and then wrote for years before having a breakout success.

The prioritization. She emphasizes persistence, hard work, and discipline. That matters no matter your genre. She has deadlines, and there’s no waiting for inspiration.

Maybe the best quote from the book? “I don’t get writer’s block because I don’t believe in it. I believe you sit in front of the computer and force your fingers to get something on the screen.”

And maybe the second best quote goes along with it: “Lots of times I’m not crazy about the writing, but I keep moving ahead and somehow it gets better. The important thing is to move forward.” You can always fix something you’ve written, but you can’t fix a blank page.

This isn’t my absolute favorite writing book, but it was very readable and encouraging. And she gives a different take on a lot of aspects of writing, so if more traditional writing texts don’t speak to you, this one might.

[Read more…]

Twitterature: Recent Reads about Writing

recent reads, twitterature-style

I’ve been known to get on reading jags – grabbing several books on the same topic in quick succession. Sometimes it’s completely coincidental, and other times I’m inspired by the first and can’t wait to dive into more on that topic.

This month, it’s been a little bit of both. My book club‘s picks for the month were Steven Pressfield’s books The War of ArtThe War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Do the WorkDo the Work by Steven Pressfield, and I also had a review book with a deadline, Tricia Goyer’s Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home MomBalanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom by Tricia Goyer. Those led to a few other writing books. I’ve already shared a longer review for Balanced, and will likely write ones for Pressfield’s and Hughes’ books. Until then, here’s a brief look at them all:

War of ArtThe War of ArtThe War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Do the WorkDo the Work by Steven Pressfield by Steven Pressfield
Generally motivating and inspiring, if a bit odd at times (could have done without the bits on evil and angels and the like). Still worth reading, especially as they’re such a quick read, although you could probably just pick one of them and get the gist of them both. In many ways, his story is the most motivating part of it (years and years and years of effort before achieving success as a writer).

BalancedBalanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home MomBalanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom by Tricia Goyer by Tricia Goyer. Super practical and even more motivating and inspiring than Pressfield’s books, although that could very well be because of the whole stage-of-life thing that resonated so well for me. If you’re a work-from-home parent (especially one who writes) read it! (my full review is here)

30 Days of Writing Prompts30 Days of Writing Prompts30 Days of Writing Prompts by Richard Rohlin by Richard Rohlin. I grabbed this one while it was an Amazon freebie (it’s currently $.99) and am happy I did – while some of the prompts themselves are similar to ones you can easily find elsewhere, many of them contain additional information or tips on writing that are helpful. As well, there are some essays included in the midst of some of the prompts on topics such as “avoiding five common writing mistakes” and “how to fail at anything.” These are very good, and give the e-book additional value.

365-featured-image2365 Days of Writing Prompts. If you need still more prompts, this has them. These are more specific than the 30 Days one above (more like Three Sixty-Five below), and are dated, so January 1 is related to New Years, etc. Best of all, this one is a FREE download, so what have you got to lose?

Three-Sixty-Five-EbookThree Sixty-Five: Ideas for Blog Posts, Scrapbook Pages & Art Journal Entries by Kam Altar
Lots and lots of ideas for posts (or journals or scrapbooks). I liked how they’re grouped into themes, and if you’re stuck for an idea, this may help you out. What I don’t like is the PDF version (which is all there is) is very Kindle-unfriendly and requires constant resizing.

On Becoming a WriterOn Becoming a Writer: What Every Blogger Needs to KnowOn Becoming a Writer: What Every Blogger Needs to Know by Denise J. Hughes by Denise J. Hughes. My favorite part of this one is how it separates writing from editing in a way that many books about writing do not. It’s focused on blogging, but many of her tips would work for other types of writing, especially any sort of nonfiction writing. Loved this one.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry

Pizza Pigs and PoetryPizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a PoemPizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem by Jack Prelutsky by Jack Prelutsky

If you’re not familiar with Prelutsky’s poetry, the title of this book probably makes no sense. If you are familiar with his work, you know that for him, this title is tame. 🙂

Despite not really being the target audience for this book, I enjoyed it tremendously. Each chapter is introduced by an anecdote, and how Prelutsky turned that experience into a poem. I loved how he emphasized generating ideas, and using anything as a springboard to creating something else. Even more, I loved how he emphasized the importance of working at it. He talked about how often he rewrites his poems, and how long some of them take to get to where he’s satisfied with them. Perseverance is an important trait, and I’d love to be able to give my children a book on writing that reinforces that throughout the text (not in a preachy way, but in a this-is-what-it-takes way).

The book isn’t just stories from his life as a back story to the poems he writes. Each chapter ends with a writing tip and exercise, and sprinkled throughout the text are definitions of literary and poetic terms written to be understandable by children. The end of the book includes a list of beginning lines to inspire writers to create their own poems.

Publisher’s Description:
Have you ever tried to write a poem about a pizza? How about a pig? How about a pigeon, penguin, potato, Ping-Pong, parrot, puppy, pelican, porcupine, pie, pachyderm, or your parents?

Jack Prelutsky has written more than one thousand poems about all of these things—and many others. In this book he gives you the inside scoop on writing poetry and shows you how you can turn your own experiences and stories about your family, your pets, and your friends into poems. He offers tips, advice, and secrets about writing and provides some fun exercises to help you get started (or unstuck). You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes look at the ingredients of some of his most popular poems. If you are a poet, want to be a poet, or if you have to write a poem for homework and you just need some help, then this is the book for you!

Book Details

Title: Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a PoemPizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem by Jack Prelutsky
Author: Jack Prelutsky
Category: Nonfiction / Writing
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

31 Days of Great Nonfiction: Wired for Story

Wired for StoryWired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First SentenceWired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron by Lisa Cron

My usual tactic when I’m trying to learn something new to is read a mountain of books about a topic, and then attempt it. I’m currently in the stage of “read a mountain of books” about writing, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one, and how much I learned.

Cron does a fabulous job of explaining the latest brain science research and how it relates to writing. Why are stories so captivating? What makes a book so compelling that a reader is completely unable to put it down?

I was concerned that the book would be formulaic, and over-the-top, emphasizing over-the-top action à la a Hollywood blockbuster. Instead Cron explains why some of those blockbusters work, and how writers can use that knowledge for their own stories. No explosions, alien invasions, or other special effects extravaganzas required.

You don’t need to be a screenwriter or novelist to learn from Cron’s book. Any sort of writing should be interesting and compelling enough to make the reader want to turn the pages and continue with the book. [Read more…]

E-book Review: 2k to 10k

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron by Rachel Aaron.

While Aaron’s background is in fiction writing, and her focus in the book often is about plotting and other story concerns that relate to fiction, many of her tips and suggestions will work for any sort of writing. She’s very encouraging and inspiring, and I appreciated her straightforward approach.

Her ideas are also very doable, and the specific examples from her experience developing her method shows how it can work. Her approach really resonated with me and I loved reading her examples so much that I went looking for her fiction books.

My only complaint with it is that there are a fair number of typos and misspellings. It’s such a well-done book otherwise that I was surprised to find them. Don’t let that put you off from reading it, just be aware that they are there, and it’s disappointing.

I grabbed this when it was offered for free from Amazon, but that promotion has ended. It’s back to the usual price of $.99, and it’s easily worth that.
[Read more…]

Planning for 2013: Starting a Blog? (or Trying to Improve a Blog?)

If you’re not a blogger or planning on becoming one, today’s post won’t be all that relevant. How about a great biography instead? Or just come back Dec 31 for non-blogger-specific content.

Now, if you are a blogger or wanting to start a blog in the new year, there are some terrific ebooks out there to help.

Planning for 2013: Starting/Improving a Blog: 31 Days to Build a Better BlogIf you’re brand new to the blogging world, ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging is excellent. While I don’t think I’d truly try and start a brand-new blog and immediately begin blogging through the book, this is a great resource for walking you through some of the steps you’ll take as you begin publishing and promoting your blog.

Once you’ve passed the initial stage, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is another ProBlogger resource that is very helpful. The tasks are all simple enough that they’re doable in one day, and they all are worthwhile tasks too – it doesn’t feel like they’ve tried to pad the book to reach 31 by including meaningless ideas.



Planning for 2013: Starting/Improving a Blog: No Brainer BlogIf you need help with the bigger-picture aspects of blogging, Hayley Morgan (The Tiny Twig) has a new ebook out that may be just what you’re looking for. The No Brainer Blog is designed to help you cast your vision, define your voice, and refine your (virtual) space.

What does that mean exactly? It means figuring out why you’re blogging – what’s your purpose and motivation for spending your time blogging instead of all the other things you could be doing instead. Figuring out your writing style – are you serious or silly? Do you write rants or thoughtful insights? Your style needs to match your content, but most importantly it needs to be you. It also means figuring out your (virtual) space. Design matters, and the look of your blog needs to fit your content and style. Yeah, I’m still working on that last one.



Planning for 2013: Starting/Improving a Blog: Simple BloggingIf you read Rachel Meeks’ blog Small Notebook you’ll have a good idea if you like her style. I do, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed her ebook Simple Blogging so much.

My biggest issue with the ProBloggers books is that they can sometimes feel like they don’t get the whole blogging-during-spare-moments thing. Meeks gets it – her book’s emphasis is yes, on helping you grow your blog, but recognizing that you may be blogging in your spare time and that’s not going to change. A focus on making the most of the blogging time you have, and recognizing what your core message is? Perfect.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!