Hellow Dear Followers and Subscribers!

If you haven’t seen my last 3 posts please go to backwoodsauthor.com to subscribe or follow. I went from the free platform to a self hosted blog and website.

I’m still bringing you the content you like, but the new site is still ultra cool and wonderful.

I still pop in to WP.com and work on my other blog, so I see all your posts that you’ve put up :).


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The Newbie Author's Guide

Newbie Authors Guide would like to welcome JP Thompson back. He’s back by popular demand. Again sit back and enjoy another informative post about Google Adwords!!

So, you’re back for more.

A neutron walks into a bar and asks how much for a drink. The bartender replies “for you, no charge” ~ Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory.

In last week’s post, The Secret of Selecting Keywords for AdWords, you learned a few techniques for selecting your keyword phrases for your AdWords campaign. As a recap:

  • Select “phrases” rather than a single key word.
  • Select 5-10 Keyword Phrases (20 maximum).
  • Select Keyword Phrases that have 10K – 100k searches per month.
  • Use Amazon’s search bar and Google’s Keyword Tool to help you select your keyword phrases.

Now that you have your keyword phrases, let’s turn our attention to the ad itself. Again, before you go running off to…

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The Newbie Author's Guide

Newbie Author’s Guide  is happy to welcome J. P. Thompson, The AdWords Guy to the blog today. He’s here to share some thoughts on AdWords. Grab a coffee(or whatever floats you boat), sit back and learn! Enjoy!

So, you are thinking about an AdWords ad campaign, are you?

Let me begin.

“Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and as it always has, rock crushes scissors.” – Sheldon ‘Big Bang Theory’

Setting up an AdWords campaign can, at times, seem like you trying to follow a discussion with Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory. Over the next few posts I will be assisting you in setting up your AdWords ad campaign.

Before you go running off to set up an AdWords account, there are a few questions you should think…

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No Longer An Island

When I began my writing career at age 16 and my published career at age 29, I had always been an island. After publishing and beginning the long hard road I was flying pretty much solo in the beginning.

This was not by my own choosing. That was the hand I was dealt. I didn’t know anyone or knew where to find the resources available to me on publishing and marketing a book. There was no one I knew on and off the Internet that could help me. I pretty much had a crash course on the whole thing and had to learn everything on my own “on the job”.

Then I began to slowly build my network and joining author groups. As I was constructing the network, I met Rachel Thompson on Twitter and she was tweeting about a group called IBC. Eager to plug into an author group of any kind, I decided to join and check it out.

Then one day I catch a tweet about IBC starting a new stream called SciYourFi. I decided to volunteer here and immerse myself and connect with some fellow authors in my genre. Since I have joined IBC and became involved, my network has really expanded and I have learned a lot about using social media in addition to what I had learned on my own. By doing this I have found and plugged in to quite a few other author groups along the way.

A lot of indie authors start out as islands, so I am not the only one it happens to. The main premise here is not to remain that way; authors have to actively search and find people and groups to connect to and reach out. Get involved with groups you come in contact with and like.

You could say I am probably one of the shyest people on the planet, but when I connect with people on social media, I am connecting to them my preferred method of communication: writing.

If you find yourself on the deserted island start lighting signal fires. Start flashing your mirrors at passing airplanes. Draw attention to yourself. You have to actively get people to know you exist and that you want to connect. Sometimes rescue only occurs if the person does something to help themselves.

Here are a few pointers from my own experience to help:

  • Use search functions on Twitter, Goodreads, Librarything, and Google to look for fellow authors and groups to plug into.
  • Start engaging with people who seem interested in what you have to say. Build relationships.
  • Look for authors in your genre. You will find much in common with them!
  • Don’t hesitate to cross over into other genres too.
  • When engaging with other authors, exchange intel and resources. That’s the whole point in networking

So, in summary, don’t remain an island. Swim out to the mainland!

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Everybody Knows When You Screw Up Online

No, in case readers are wondering no it wasn’t me–at least, that I am aware of ;). With that knowledge out of the way, here we go.

Everybody knows that little tidbit about as you do right it seems like no one or few people see what you’re doing or up to. So it is until you screw up. I mean REALLY screw up. Yeah. Everybody and their friends and family seems to know. The Twitterverse and the Blogosphere and all related online universes seem to buzz with the notion  that you screwed up, how you screwed up, the responses thereof about how everybody reacted to how you screwed up, etc. All eyes are on YOU. Not the attention you had in mind.

It may be funny to read the said scenario above, but it isn’t so funny if you are the person who screwed up and become the reason said scenario above occurred. The best way to avoid said scenario it not to screw up.

I know everyone makes mistakes here and there, but doing something you know is wrong in the online community or in the community you’re a part of is where the rubber meets the road here.

This is not a backwoods-related post since backwoods stuff rarely occurs online, so that’s not the community in question. Rather, it’s the indie author community I am a part of.

The scenario: indie author gets a bad review and has a public meltdown. Online. Concerned online neighbors begin talking about the said meltdown. I’ll write about all kinds of bad author behavior on my other blog Newbie Author’s Guide next week. To read the indie author’s  public meltdown post click here. Click here to read more about another blogger’s reactions to the said meltdown. I found out about the meltdown by another concerned online author neighbor. See how that works? How far has it gone since? What makes it really scary is that I have seen this person online and have connections with this person. Not extremely close where I talk to him all the time, but I have bumped into him a time or two online.

The reviewer has apparently removed her review from Amazon. I guess he won that round. But, in the wake of kicking that offending stone, he just buried himself in a rockslide. Didn’t do anything but harm and harm his public image.

There has been a rash of posts written about how authors should deal with negative reviews. Yes they suck (the reviews). Yes they hurt our delicate egos. Yes nobody wants them. But guess what? We can’t make everybody on the planet like our work. Even popular books like Harry Potter and Twilight have people that hate them. Even the greatest writers of all time have had negative reviews. No one is safe. No one is exempt. It’s a matter of when and not if. That’s the price we pay for sharing and going public. We have no control over other people’s opinions. Could this rash of related blog post be in accord to the indie-author-in-question’s meltdown? Probably.

We do have control over how we act toward other people. You don’t want to be a cyber-bully or an author-douche.

And guess what?  The reviewers’ opinions are mostly geared toward other readers and for the sake of other readers’ possible reading experience. There are some cases though where a reviewer my be writing to the author and they usually make a note to the author in the review. We learn and grow from them. And, any critique at all may actually HELP a reader’s experience–been here done that. Sometimes a negative review or reviews can actually encourage a buy just because curiosity is aroused–speaking of others here. If you read both good and bad reviews for something you get the whole picture. If you have a public meltdown and attack the reviewer on Amazon, your blog, Twitter, you have just sealed your fate. You may have just helped yourself get on thousands of people’s “Never Buy” list just by not being professional. That’s one list you DON’T want to be on.

Avoid the “Never Buy” List!

Occasionally though there are scathing reviews left by rival authors for attack, but they’ll get their comeuppance. Other reviewers may just be plain nasty for no reason. Bad online behavior does come out sooner or later. The best course of action? “Don’t feed the trolls” and “Don’t attack the reviewer”. Have your tirade or pity party elsewhere offline and in private. No one will ever know. If you need to talk to friends, do so privately where no one else can see. If a reviewer makes a comment on an author as a person and don’t know them, what do they know? They are in the wrong. You don’t step in;  another reviewer might and call them on their bad behavior. Let others do it for you. It’s the safest thing to do. Don’t call upon your minions to invade said offender’s domain though. Somebody’s gonna know! Then YOU are in the wrong. You don’t want to be there!

If I have learned anything by watching this, its what can happen if you act unprofessionally at any time. Everyone’s gonna know. What you do will affect your public image. It takes a lot of work to build it, but it doesn’t take much to destroy it. Funny how that works!

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Caught Between Eras

I’m sure visitors are wondering what in the world I could possibly be writing about in this post. This is a discovery I have made about myself and my writing as I am working on my edits and rewrites for my second book Escape from Ancient Egypt.  I had also written this story back when I was a teenager as well right after Neiko’s Five Land Adventure.

And, no, I am not caught in between the 20th century AD and the 13th century BC in case anyone is wondering ;).

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am a self-taught writer for about 90% of my writing career. I’m not from a state that is known to birth tons of authors all the time like New York or California, so writer stuff is scarce and hard to find definitely for a 16 year old (that is not my age RIGHT NOW). So, I had to learn from both books and nuggets from English class and put it all together.

Now, my elementary and middle school classes and the books I read were back in the ’80’s and early ’90’s. The writing style is quite a bit different than it is now in the first part of the 21st century. This definitely made a very interesting conversation between my editor and I. I learned a lot from this conversation. We authors should really appreciate good editors who help us and take their time with us!

Back then books seemed to have more elaborate expositions to start up the story. That was also when prologues were not considered a sin by publishers even though I didn’t use them. Nowadays, though the exposition is cut much shorter; prologues have been banned–so what is a fantasy writer to do about the backstory? So a lot of things I had learned I had to unlearn and relearn differently. All for the sake of beginning my writing career in one era and publishing in another. The publishing is what counts since that is what people are going to see–they aren’t going to be seeing my rough draft. Also other things I may have learned or wanted to do are now out of style. I guess this kind of happens when you are isolated from the rest of the world because of where you live and don’t know anyone who is in your occupation because they are few and far between until the rise of the digital age.

To add, I have always struggled with the beginning of a story anyway, so this really ups the ante on the challenge. Hopefully I can crack the code before I get to the next hairpin curve!

The story hasn’t changed at all–it’s namely the little things, but on do those little things make a difference!

Discovering how things have changed and learning a new style of writing seems to throw some challenges at me and preserving the idea that I had come up with going on 17 years ago: each novel is an episode of the saga all threaded together and they are related one with the other. Between some episodes some things happen that I didn’t necessarily write about last time, but would like to hit the highlights on and sometimes jump from one to the other as well jump into the story.

If  it’s one thing about the fantasy genre (for those who don’t know) is that readers always want to know the backstory and the rules of why things work the way they do etc, etc or they get cheated–they’ll let you know about it too I might add. But, at the same time we, the authors, can bog down the story with too much backstory. We have to find that perfect medium! I have seen readers complain about the absence of backstory, and I have done so as a reader myself. I didn’t get why things work they way they work. Being caught between eras presents new challenges in how we can accomplish this feat and not disappointing our readers by gypping them on the rules of the game and not kill the action.

This is all part of growing and adapting to the changes of the industry. It’ll probably change again before it’s over with. It’s fun and challenging, so it shouldn’t get boring. Even in writing the scientist in me likes making new discoveries.

I’m sure there are some other seasoned writers out there that have had to change with the eras after writing and publishing for 30 years. Any newbies out there that feel “caught between eras”? I would be interested in hearing if there are, or maybe the story can help others with the evolving of their craft with the changes of the industry.

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Guest Post: Schools Must Take Steps to Address the Bullying Problem

Bullying is a significant problem in America that should not be overlooked or neglected. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, one-third of US students experience bullying, either as a target or perpetrator. It is estimated that 160,000 young students skip one or more school days each month due to a fear of encountering bullies. Most children who are being bullied choose to conceal the fact from parents or teachers, as they believe adult intervention is ineffective and will only lead to more harassment. It is clear that bullying can have a disturbingly negative impact on a child’s education.

You may be surprised to learn that school children are not the only victims of vicious bullying. Adult bullying in the workplace is also a major problem and can take the form of sexual harassment, illegal discrimination, physical bullying, and verbal assaults . Bullying is a serious form of violence that can physically and emotionally scar victims for years following the incident. The unfortunate reality is that bullying can really obliterate victims’ self-confidence.

Some important studies have highlighted them most effective strategies schools can employ to combat bullying. Let’s take a close look at one such recent study.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has recently released a report Bulling in Schools: An Overview that highlights effective steps that schools can take to tackle the bullying problem. Through the their studies and analyses, the authors of this report make the following recommendations to schools: Offer mentoring programs, provide students community service opportunities, address the difficulties of transitioning from elementary school to middle school and begin prevention programs early.

The report emphasizes the point  that schools should closely monitor students’ attendance patterns since bullying has been linked to a drop in attendance. The authors make it clear that mentoring should be a major component of every school in America in order to deal with the bullying problem. There should be several adult mentors throughout the school that students can turn to during times of need and distress. Students should also have the opportunity to serve as mentors to other students in order to promote effective and positive interaction. An expansion of community service opportunities and requirements will help students in the same way and also promote the development of leadership skills. The authors highlight the difficulties involved in transitioning from elementary school to middle school. Students can have a difficult time adapting to larger classroom sizes and the greater emphasis on testing. Some students turn to bullying because of new challenges and so the creation of some transition program or bridge may be helpful in addressing the problem.

Bullying is a very serious problem in America. No one deserves to have their self-worth threatened, jeopardized or diminished. Having a support group to turn to is very important for victims of bullying. All students should be engaged in mentoring as well as community service in order to develop leadership skills and the ability to interact positively with others. If schools take aggressive steps to tackle the bullying problem, there is a good chance that workplace bullying will also be reduced over time.

About the Author:

Kristina Edwards is the proud mother of three young boys, online instructor for College City. Kristina is very concerned about the bullying problem in America and has written extensively on the subject. She regularly discusses the matter with her young boys who attend elementary and middle school. 


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Everyone is a Potential Victim

Price of Being Different

This week I will be finishing up the series on bulling with this post and a guest post with Kristina Edwards from College City.

The idea for this week’s post comes from the idea about why was I and so many other seemingly normal kids  were victims of bullying. I always wondered what I had ever done to be hated so much by other people. I am sure there are others out there that have had similar thoughts or experiencing them right now. Maybe your child or loved one is experiencing it.

That’s the thing there is no rhyme or reason to bullying. Sometimes it can be just being different.

There are some children that have a disability or some other thing that sets them apart. They seem to be automatically a target which is completely unfair. However being different doesn’t  always have to be infirmity.

You can be highly intelligent and not think on the same plane as others, run faster, draw better, etc and be just as harassed and maltreated as the kid who is missing their leg or overweight.

No difference of any kind should be grounds for tormenting kids. Handicapped kids are actually amazing IMHO when they can do things other people can do and do outstanding things to get the job done. For instance, people with no arms can do outstanding things with their feet such as drive, draw, and write.

Other kids with they were  or were more [insert talent or adjective here] so the bullying would stop. I’ll tell you one thing that being prettier or smarter or  faster doesn’t save you from bullying. It can actually make it worse.

Anything that makes you different or sets you apart from the rest will make you a more likely target. Is it jealousy? Is it hate? Both? Or is it something else altogether?

There were some kids who came to me (the few kids I ever talked to) said maybe I would be more popular or accepted if I was smarter or prettier or whatever they wanted to change about themselves. All I can say is “Nope, no can do. That won’t solve the problem at all.”

Here’s why. Grown-ups have told me about how smart I was, how pretty I was, etc,  etc. This was back when I was a pretty young child still (about 6-8). Well, that didn’t save me from being bullied. I think I was the most hated child in my grade by my peers.  I didn’t feel so gifted or pretty; I felt the quite opposite. I’m not so special at all. Special people are supposed to be liked, right? I’m not liked, so I can’t be special. The other kids would have told you how stupid and ugly I was too. They weren’t interested in anything I had to say or anything about me, so then I became even more silent or withdrawn. Then, they would wonder why I never talked. People, make up your mind. I no longer had anything to say. Anything I said would be held against me. I would answer them with a shrug or “I just don’t have anything to say.” I got sick of trying to help them understand me just so they could pluck me into the gutter… Forget it, I’m done. I can find something else better to do than to try to make friends with people who hate me. I’ll create friends who like me. I could tell them how much Bobby was being a douche and Becky was a snob just before we went to war! That seemed to do the trick; I just had to remember that we couldn’t talk at school…

When adults would compliment me as a child I thought they were just making that up or just telling me that. I didn’t feel special at all–maybe to mom and dad, family, and other grown-ups,  but they probably say that about everyone. Being different can be both a blessing and a curse at the same time. That’s what  bullying can do for you; make you doubt your own self-worth or your own capabilities. Changing who you are wouldn’t make it any better. Things would be about the same or worse for the person.

Later, I had to examine myself, and think maybe what the grown-ups says is true, but I can’t share it with peers. I just had to not listen to all the bully hullabaloo and take it to heart. Now all I wanted was for them to shut up and leave me alone. Was that really so much to ask? If you don’t want to be nice to me I don’t want to be around you! What is with you people?

The main point to take from this is to not change anything about yourself just so that the bullies will go away. They won’t. They’ll just find something else to torment you about. You would still be tormented if you changed you identity!

Now, next post is the guest post by Kristina Edwards and some thoughts about what schools can do to help with bullying!

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Bullying: Public Violence

We need one just like it for bullying!

This post about bullying came from a thought a few weeks back. It will compare and contrast it with other types of serious social issues such as: domestic violence and child abuse. There is more done about the latter for whatever reason. There used to be more done about bullying, but somehow our society seems to be tolerating it–or something. Of any public violence scenarios more is done about sexual harassment (though not enough) rather than other kinds of public abuse such as bullying.

When I was growing up, I used to hear more about child abuse and domestic violence more often. Now you don’t hear about it as much and people being against it. Nowadays, you only hear about it if happens.

I can also add that members of my family were victims of domestic violence. I am fortunate it didn’t  happen in my home. There has also been child abuse, but not of the physical sort; rather, it was psychological and emotional. Again, this was by other members of the family, but not myself. I don’t have an abusive husband–I was very choosy who I married. If I had been in such a situation, you can play the song “Gunpowder and Lead” if the law let me down and my life was in danger. My family would also intervene; my dad and my grandfather would definitely do something about it.

The logical part of my brain has been comparing and contrasting domestic abuse with bullying. Someone out there could have already pieced this together, but I don’t know of him/her. This post is my own personal observations and thoughts.

How Are They Similar?

  1. Bullying and domestic abuse doesn’t always have to be physical. Psychological and emotional  trauma can be just as extreme and debilitating. Whatever happens can lead to long term damage and social implications.
  2. They both can lead to death whether it is murder or suicide.
  3. They both can have those same feelings of isolation, helplessness, depression, anxiety, and trauma.
  4. Both may need others to intervene for the victim if the situation is way out of control. Sometimes there is a risk to the victim if they try to handle it on their own.
  5. Domestic abuse is actually just another form of bullying. Howbeit more extreme.
  6. Bullying is another type of abuse.

How Are They Different?

  1. Where they take place: domestic abuse takes place at home and bullying takes place in public. You can almost say that bullying is “public abuse” or “public violence”.
  2. Bullying can take place on the Internet (subform: cyberbulling). Domestic violence does not. Victims of domestic violence normally will have little or no access to the Internet and the “bully” has control over the victim’s access.
  3. Who is involved. In “public violence peers, strangers, or the public is responsible. In the domestic sense it is usually done by a family member(s). In this case the domestic setting can be more extreme in that you are being “bullied” by someone you are supposed to love or trust, not strangers. You also have to live with the bully–you are supposed to be safe at home, right? You get it when you get home, not after school or on the bus the next day.
  4. Number of people  involved. “Public abuse” can have as little as one, but as many as hundreds; domestic violence is usually one or two, but other family members can “pitch in” in some cases.
  5. As of right now, domestic violence has more programs for victims and public awareness and support against it–bullying not so much right now–maybe soon. Abusers can be put in jail, although it presents a dangerous situation for the victim once the abuser gets out. He or she has to move away and/or other drastic measures for their safety. It’s  like the trial situation in “How Grownups Fail the Bullied”. It’s the same kind of thing if government and law enforcement get involved in bullying.

So from these conclusions I can say that public intervention and public awareness are the best weapons against bullying of all types. Laws, law enforcement, and prosecution are not really necessary in “public violence”,  and a last resort unless there is a death–God forbid. It will only get that far if communities stand around and do nothing and remain inactive spectators.

Want to know more about how community intervention can help bullying? Read this article by Huffington Post about bullies attacking an elderly bus monitor and the public acting. The next week Ms. Klein went on the air to talk about the incident.

Next week is my last post on the bullying. Then were back for more backwood fun and humor and “book related stuff”.

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Neiko Takes on Indie Reader Discovery Awards

Last week while  I was on vacation–my mini vacation–I received a nice surprise. I found out that Neiko’s Five Land Adventure won an award–my first one. It’s my first book, so I wasn’t really expecting anything even if I did enter a contest.

What award is it? Indie Reader award and also being “Indie Reader Approved” as a great book–not just an indie book. There were other authors who won also, and I feel very fortunate to be among them. There is no shame in being indie, especially if you put you best out there. I feel like indie and traditional publishing should find some common ground and stop the “us vs them” mindset. Music and art have bridged the gap between the two, so what’s up with the writers and publishers? There are a few hybrid publishers emerging who look like both and are pioneers in bridging the gap, but that’s another story.

Who or What is Indie Reader?

I found out about Indie Reader on a Goodreads forum where other indie authors congregate. The chairman left a message to the group and a link. I read up on it and checked it out thoroughly. I decided to go and check it out. I was guaranteed at least an honest review and a little exposure. It had a contest to boot and I felt  like it was a bit better than submitting to Kirkus for just a review only (which isn’t a bad idea either, but…). I had never been one for contests of any sort, but I entered in regardless.

Indie Reader has been around for about three years if I remember correctly. Amy Hedelman, the chairman had some background in traditional publishing. She began Indie Reader to explore the indie pool after the indie revolution took hold and found out there are gems, but oftentimes they get drowned out since the marketplace is more crowded than ever before. Some get found and some don’t. They exist to help readers and other folks find good indie books.

I also know of other indie bestsellers who write for Indie Reader who also engage in their own cross promotional efforts. Melissa Foster and Terri G. Long are two I know of and have bumped into a time or two  online and connected with.

The judges for the contest were not the average reader. They were pretty heavy hitting industry people with traditional background, so it’s not as easy as it sounds. I wasn’t much into contests and such my whole life, but in order for me to check this thing out, I had to suck it up and try. New, unknown author, first book–didn’t expect to get my hopes up too high. If nothing comes of it, don’t worry about it. It was a long shot anyway. At least try this before ever embarking on other awards or anything for later stories; I didn’t know very much about book awards or contests or how they worked exactly. This was the first one I had come across. At least I knew where I stood because I had no idea. I didn’t know how my own writing compared to others. I wrote my stories in hermitdom; no one ever saw it other than family–not too many readers have found it yet; I haven’t done enough time yet. I did read others’ works, but knew nothing of myself.

Even though I reached this milestone I can’t stop improving my craft. There is always room for improvement regardless. I am learning new stuff now as I am reworking my second book that I also wrote when I was a teen. There are still 30+ more stories to come, and most aren’t even written yet–they are just more ideas floating around in my head among everything else and jotted down in my notebook. There is a stack of 14 more awaiting edits and publishing. I’ve just had to build my platform for a time until then. This is just another piece of the structure. There is still so much work to do!

Neiko’s Five Land Adventure is:


Click Here for Indie Reader’s Review (also on Amazon)

Interested in Neiko’s Five Land Adventure? Click Here or visit “My Books” page for excerpts, Kindlegraphs, or to purchase

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