Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Dear bloggie friends,

I hope 2014 was everything you expected it to be (if it wasn't, then I hope it was a year to learn great life lessons). May 2015 inspire you to continue writing.

Wishing you ALL continued success in your writing career.

Celebrate Life! (including the good, the bad, the obstacles, the success, and everything in between).

Happy 2015!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Must-Have iPhone Apps for Authors & Writers

Hi fellow bloggers!
Once again, my colleague has offered to write a blog post for my blog :)
For all you techies out there, this post is for you!

As a modern day writer, you've learned when and where you write best. Rarely, I'm sure, does inspiration strike when you're seated at your desk in front of your computer at 9:00am. More likely, you're inspired while you're out and about. In order to efficiently capture and save every new idea, detail, story line, etc., you need to download some new apps to your iPhone. The list below will help you research, brainstorm, write, and even publish your work whether you're at home, at the office, or in the middle of daily errands. Check em out.

Wikipanion brings the Wikipedia website to your phone's catalogue of apps. It is useful for quick research on the go. 

Evernote syncs to your desktop computer or tablet. That way, if you're making additions or edits to your work on your cell phone, you'll be able to work from your most recent version and you won't lose any new ideas. 

The Google Mobile app allows you to access Google (obviously) and you can use voice commands or search by images. 

The Voice Memos app comes pre-loaded on all iPhones. This is a fantastic tool for writers because sometimes, it's just easier to say your latest and greatest idea and have it recorded. 

Dragon Dictation transcribes whatever you say, instantly. 

Your phone's camera is an excellent resource. You can snap images or video and use them as inspiration when developing location, characters, or situations. 

Feeling stumped for a topic? Download the Idea Generator app. It will generate three words for you, which will hopefully spark some sort of creative idea, enabling you to get back to what you do best - writing! 

Creative Whack Pack delivers 84 interactive creative strategies to stimulate your brain and get you thinking creatively! 

Mindjet is perfect for writers who are very visual when they're developing their work. It allows you to create visual maps as you outline articles, characters, plot, and themes. has created the app Writing Prompt, which generates over 600 writing prompts and you can save your favorites. 

My Writing Spot is exactly that, a spot on your phone for you to write. On the app, you can easily access a dictionary or thesaurus and it will autosave all of your progress 

Office2 is ideal if you prefer to write in a word document. The app allows you to edit your Microsoft Word and Excel documents and is also compatible with Google Docs and MobileMe, so you'll be able to access everything from your phone.

Writer's Studio allows you to write, edit, and format an entire book on your phone. You can add images, graphics, and audio. 

WordCount is a very straight forward app. It counts your words and lets you know how long your piece is. 

Dropbox is a life saver. It backs up all of your files in real time, and saves 30 days worth of various versions. You'll never have to worry about whether or not you saved your latest and greatest piece because Dropbox will have already saved it before you could even worry about it. 

Byword is designed to make writing more enjoyable by giving you all the tools you need to write effectively and has keyboard shortcuts and word counters with live updates. The app allows you to sync your work, export it, and publish to the web platform of your choice. 

Contour is the award-winning story development system that streamlines the process of turning your movie ideas from first glimmer to full outline. 

A Novel Idea is the premier tool for plotting your story and recording bursts of inspiration. You can create your characters, setting, scenes, ideas, and link them together to create your story. 

Story Tracker makes keeping track of your submitted stories, novels, poems, scripts, and articles easy. 

Pages, Apples highly rated cloud-centric word processing app, will let writers seamlessly access and work on documents on their iPhone, iPad and Macintosh, storing them securely in the cloud. Pages has hooks built in to let you easily export your work to Word or PDF (or plain text or .mobi). 

Index Card for iPad is a must for serious writers or screenwriters working in Scrivener. You can work on elements of your Scrivener project on the iPad in Index Card files, then fairly easily sync them back to the Scrivener project. This is a pretty good workaround to the fact that an iOS version of Scrivener is not yet available. 

The Bottom Line: Download some new apps today to ensure no writing material, ideas, or concepts are ever lost again. You can brainstorm, write, edit, and share while you're on the go. There’s no need to be chained to a PC again!  

Be sure to let me know if you have a favorite app for authors and I’ll include it on an updated version of this article. 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it's their first book or their 15th book. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communicationsbook marketing approach at  or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Sunday, November 9, 2014

How Authors Can Use Listmania to Promote Their Book

My colleague and book publicist, Scott Lorenz of Westwind Communications offered to share some valuable advice on promoting your book.

Whether you're a published author or an emerging writer, you'll find his advice helpful.

As a book publicist I am always on the lookout for effective inexpensive ways to reach book buyers. One way is to tap into the power of Amazon by using Listmania lists. How?

Listmania is a free marketing tool that allows all Amazon account holders to create a list of their favorite things such as books. It is ideal for authors to list their own book on their list along with other books in the same genre to gain from their popularity and association. For example if you have a book similar to Harry Potter then listing that book along with your book and other similar books, your book can benefit at as it may show up on Google, Bing and Amazon searches.

Here’s how to create a Listmania list on Amazon:

Click the “Edit Your Profile” button on the top right-hand corner of the page.

Click the “Lists” tab in the Contributions section of Your Profile.

Click the “Create your first one now” link or “Manage your Listmania Lists” link if you already have existing lists.

Provide the requested information for your list and click the Preview button to review your list and Publish list when you are finished.

Here’s the information you’ll be asked to enter:

Name Your List: Make it searchable by keywords, other bestselling authors’ names or book titles

Your qualifications: Your qualifications should be a description of why you’re an expert in the subject of your list.

Introduction: You can add an optional introductory paragraph to describe the list.

Add tags: This allows you to add keywords that help others discover your list.

Add Your Book: This is the core of your list. You can add anything from the book listings on; (you can add anything on Amazon for that matter)

“Authors often use Listmania as a way to promote their own titles while grouping them with similar books. It is clever, discreet and effective” said Rosanne Dingli, author of Death of Malta and According to Luke.

“My Listmania is a definitive listing of China photo books that were exhaustively compiled from every genre, from mass-market coffee table books to independently-published eccentricity,” said Tom Carter, author of China: Portrait of a People. His book is considered the most comprehensive book of photography about modern China, and it’s listed with other books in the photojournalism genre.

According to Anna Weber, a literary strategist, “Authors can ask others to list their book on their own Listmania and – if in good taste professionally, to secure recommendations from other readers who are looking for new books to read and purchase.”

Most authors are unaware of this inexpensive and valuable promotional service but should become familiar with it. By creating a list, and adding their own book, the author should also add their competition to the list. It is ideal for the author to create a list with his or her book listed along with the genre competition before someone else creates a similar list without that particular author’s book listed.

“I never understood the exposure Listmania provides each book on a list…it is invaluable. Eventually I saw how often my lists started popping up all over Amazon, and how my book was now appearing under “suggested reading” on other books’ product pages, I realized that Listmania was an untapped goldmine of free and effective book promotion,” adds Carter.

Whether you are a well-known author or self-publishing your first book, Listmania is an economical way for you to promote your book.

The Bottom Line: Listmania gives authors free exposure leading to more sales and recognition. Make a Listmania list TODAY!

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it's their first book or their 15th book. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communicationsbook marketing approach at   or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Thursday, October 23, 2014

5 Ways Your Competition Can Help You Promote Your Books

If you want to market successfully, you need to be smart. Why reinvent the wheel if there are more effective ways to promote yourself and your books? If you take the time to see what your competitors are doing, you’ll discover plenty of ideas and inspiration to keep you going – without resorting to only imitating what others do.

You’re simply being a smart marketer, and that means keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening. Understanding your market means being aware of who else is in the space. What books have they written? How do they price their books? How do they reach their audience? When you learn these things, you’ll have a better understanding of your market, and you’ll be in the perfect position to set yourself apart from your competitors.

This isn't about copying anyone. Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery in this case. But you should know who else is in your market. You’ll gain so many insights from keeping tabs on your competitors. You’ll also learn some valuable marketing tips, and if you’re ever wondering how to get your message out more effectively you may find the answers from observing what your peers say and do to keep their fans engaged.

Here are some ways you can keep up with the competition:

1. Google search and alerts: You start by looking for others in your market. You’ll find names and book titles, but you’ll also discover ways to touch base with your fans. No matter your topic, search for authors and books, but ignore the big names and titles. At their level, they can do just about anything and they’ll succeed – that’s one of the bonuses of their success, they are now their own brands (think Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Deepak Chopra). Look for the level below this supergroup because these are the authors who are working hard to break through.

Develop your list of competitors and sign up for their newsletters and follow them on social media. This is how you’ll learn what they do to market themselves, but you’ll also support another author. You’ll learn a lot from this stage of your research, starting with the best social media sites for your market. Then take a closer look at what they do, what they share, how frequently they blog. You’ll save a lot of time down the road by doing this research and using the results to help you focus your own marketing efforts.

You can also set up Google Alerts, and use sites like and to monitor their activity. You’ll also see where they've been featured, and you can use that information when it’s time to pitch yourself.

2. Go to the bookstore: A significant portion of book awareness still comes from brick and mortar stores, and knowing what’s selling well in your market is important. Bookstores will only stock books they believe will sell. Check out your genre and see what’s in stock, but once again, focus not on the big names but on the authors you don’t know. The big names get shelf space easily, but it’s much more of a challenge for lesser-known authors. You should buy copies of those books, too, as part of your research. Then you can see how they handled their topic, and you can discover ways to address the issues more effectively. Or, you’ll learn how you can make your book different from theirs.

3. Look for reviews: Find the books on Amazon and then read the reviews. See what readers say; what did they like? What did they feel was missing? You can discover issues and trends that haven’t been covered, or realize you can address the issues from a new perspective that meets readers’ needs.

4. Attend author presentations: If you’re lucky, at least one of the authors you’re following will have an event in your area that you can attend. This is a great way to network, meet people in your market, and support another author. If the author has a speaking event make note of the questions attendees ask because they can be fodder for topics you can cover – in your blog, in a new book, etc.

5. Check out conferences: This is an opportunity for you to learn from others in your field. You’ll get to meet people, network, and gain new ideas. You’ll get stale if you remain stuck in your office. You’ll also find it easier to remain motivated when you keep up with your industry.

A big component of success is getting to know your market and keeping up with what’s going on. The benefits are manifold: you’ll learn, get new ideas, make contacts, and build connections with colleagues (they aren't just competition) as well as fans. That’s what all the research, learning, and sharing is ultimately about: helping you grow your own fanbase.

Article reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free e-zine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Attention Montreal and Laval Writers!

Laval Families Magazine
Laval Families Magazine is always looking for talented, experienced freelance writers to improve our magazine, ancillary publications and website. Our general goal is to have local stories of interest to the Laval and North Shore Regions. If you think you can help us achieve this goal, please read below.

Write For Us

At Laval Families, our mission is to provide relevant information that informs, inspires, and entertains our community. The goal of our features, sections, and columns is to educate, inspire, and uplift readers. We look for writers who share our vision and demonstrate a fresh, engaging style, and focus specifically on topics that matter to families in our community.

Articles may include family-related topics ranging from health, education, fashion, news, community development, senior living, family pets, fitness and wellness, psychology, parenting, childcare, environment, and spirituality.
Inquiries and proposals for Articles, Columns and Illustrations:

We are happy to consider any story idea or illustration that reflects the values and mission of the magazine. Please keep in mind that submissions are accepted on an individual basis, and consideration concerning articles is subject to the focus of the current issue, relevance to the publication and space available.
We publish our print and online versions five times a year.

Please check out our latest issue at:
To inquire please send an email to: with “Contributor for LFM” in the subject line.

Absolutely no spam mail!