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Musings May 2007


May 2007 Musings Column


Promote Like a Parrot (Part Two)



In Promote Like a Parrot (Part One), we looked at ways writers could use video technology to promote their work. This month, we investigate the potential of audio and other promotion tools. Whatever means a writer chooses, the idea is to talk it, squawk it and tell it to the world…just like a parrot!


Let’s start with an easy way to market yourself. One simple promotional tool writers should use is to add a customized signature to all outgoing emails. To do this in Microsoft Outlook, go to Tools/Options/Mail Format. If you click on Signatures, it will open a new window where you can create a signature, which will automatically appear on either all outgoing emails, or all new outgoing emails (i.e. not replies or forwards.)


Most signatures have a writer’s name and contact details. Don’t forget to click apply when you’re happy with the preview. (Caveat: Some writers include their entire published history, a fact I often curse when sifting through verbiage to locate the actual email message, or the exact contact details.) The signatures I admire most are ones where a writer puts brief contact details and includes a catchy sentence about their product, one intriguing enough to entice me to their website. Now that’s clever promotion!


Lea Schizas, author, editor and founder of the Museitup Club, explains the promotional steps she took with her novel, Rock of Realm, on this page:  Another marketing idea Lea likes is to offer a free ebook to writers. Inside Assaulting a Writer’s Thinking, Lea has links to her name and books she’s written/edited. When a writer takes advantage of Lea’s free offer, her name is sent along the channels, being noticed by people all over the world – people she would otherwise not have reached. Lea encourages other writers to offer her book as a free gift to their readers, and those readers to offer it…and so on.


Author, editor and teacher, Kathe Gogolewski, has successfully used audio as a promotion method. You can hear Kathe’s podcast for her children’s book, Tato, here:  So enthusiastic did Kathe become about the potential of audio to help in writer promotion, she also used audio to co-present a series of classes for writers ( )


In Kathe’s own words, “Creating a podcast is so easy to do! No, really. And I ought to know, because these "tecchie" things don't always come easily for me. When Scott the "Z" man from ArtistFirst World Radio told me to buy a little microphone and record an ad for him to play before our interview together, I balked. Not another technology learning curve! Each new curve usually wraps me around the axle for hours, or worse, even days! Scott assured me that it was simple. So, without a lot of faith, I followed his simple steps and within an hour (includes shopping time), I had a podcast! Here is what Scott told me:

Buy a microphone at any electronics store (they are generic for PCs) and it will come with instructions on where to plug it in. (Note* From what I've heard, all computers built in the last ten years will have a port for the microphone.) Then, to record, you go to the Start Menu and click on All Programs, then Click on Accessories, then you might have to click on Entertainment before you will get to Sound, or Sound will be right after Accessories. But it's in Accessories somewhere. When you click on Sound, a recording box will pop open. Simply click on the record icon and start talking! The box will let you record for one minute, then you have to press the little icon to continue. A minute is a long time however, and the files are BIG, so you probably want to design everything that you have to say in that minute.

Now Scott is playing my podcast "ad" nearly every night!! There are many things you can do with a podcast. You can send short ones in your email as an "audio postcard". You can also upload a longer one on your website of you reading an excerpt of your book!
When you are finished, you can save the file anywhere on your hard drive and upload as an attachment on your email like any other file.


If you would like to know more about podcasting, read this wonderful article by Joyce Faulkner. She says it all right here:    


Reading Kathe’s comment about ArtistFirst World Radio prompted me to investigate it. What a fantastic promotional tool for writers! The site says it “offers a weekly show series exclusively about independent and undiscovered authors”. ArtistFirst actively recruits authors and publishes interviews with them for the cost of a donation. You can find out more here:


Roy Peter Clarke made a very sophisticated podcast to promote his book, Writing Tools. You can link to Writing Tools, the Musical here: It is not only fun to listen to, but is studded with journalistic gems like “Put subjects close to verbs. They like each other and will pay you back time and again.”


You don’t need birdseed to promote yourself as a writer – just talk it, squawk it and tell it to the world.





Have you been to these sites?


Read about an amazing parrot, Nkisi, with a vocabulary of 950 words, here:


How to Fit a Car Seat on a Camel seeks well-written essays that reveal the (often unintentionally) funny side of those journeys you've made with kids. Essays from women of all ages and all situations are welcome, whether the trip was across the Sahara or cross-state, to Paris, France or Paris, Texas; whether you were traveling solo with your charges or with a gaggle of underage adventurers. If you've ever taken one of those trips where you've muttered through clenched teeth, “We'll laugh about this later”, then we want to hear from you. Pays $100 plus two books. Deadline May 2007.

Twelfth Planet Press would like to announce the launch of Shiny, a new e-zine of Young Adult speculative fiction, in August 2007. Initially, the zine will be published as a limited series of three issues. If it proves viable, the series will continue in 2008. Shiny is looking for fresh, entertaining stories between 2,000 and 8,000 words long. The style and substance of Shiny stories should be up there with the best current YA fiction, and should (for the most part) feature teenage protagonists. We're mostly interested in stories with speculative elements - science fiction, fantasy and horror - but we're open to non-speculative stories that would appeal to genre readers. Pays $50 AUS.

Archetype Writing, the Fiction Writers' Guide to Psychology.

Run by a clinical psychologist, Archetype has lots of information on real psychology jargon, diagnoses and therapy, along with idea generators and articles on things like how to create great villains and increase creativity. There's also a Q&A, and a Media Portrayals section with lots of examples of psychology in movies and books.

Paying Markets for Writers at WritersWeekly

Travel Writing/Photography Contest

Matador Travel is currently accepting submissions for its writing and photography contest. The winner receives $500. Deadline is May 15th 2007. Winner will be announced June 1.

• All submissions must be your own work and previously unpublished.

• Articles should be between 1,000 - 2,000 words.

• At least three photos should accompany each article (Photographs may be taken by someone other than the writer, in which case, award will be split amongst the two).

• Please send articles via email as word attachments / attach photos as jpg files with each one being no larger than 300k to

• Please write “submission” plus title and your name in subject line

• Any author who submits a story must create a profile on Matador. Please include your screen name in the body of your email.

• Matador Travel is copyrighted but the rights to the work remain with the authors.

Before submitting, check out the articles section at to see the kinds of work we are publishing. In general we look for travel writing and profiles that tell good stories and exhibit an honest sense of character and place.

The winner, along with selected entries, will be published on Matador from now until June 1st.

Going Bonkers magazine accepts articles from 600 -3000 words, but we prefer articles in the 1000-1500 range.  We look for the articles that present the subject clearly, and then offer the reader steps, in an easy-to-read format, that will help them overcome, deal with, or better understand the subject. We prefer email submissions. Email to:


Until next time,


Copyright 2007 by The Muse Marquee. All rights reserved. All authors hold individual ownership & copyrights of any material contributed. No unauthorized usage of any published material within the Muse Marquee unless permission is first granted by copyright owner of said material.