Category Archives: blogging

WGPodcast: Are Websites Necessary

Writer Groupie Podcast brings you discussions, insights, and insider details on planning, producing, promoting, and profiting as a writer.

Welcome to Writer Groupie!



Good day, Writer Groupies! I am doing a flyby episode today in hopes that I am going to slowly get back to my podcast schedule. I think most of you know that my hubby is my producer and he has been in the hospital and unable to help me out for some time now.

At any rate, he will be able to direct me to do the production work soon, so we can get back to business! If you are a former guest, or one that I have had to cancel, I will be in touch to reschedule soon!

Today, I want to discuss a subject that is subjective, depending on what your preferences are, and I am certainly NOT trying to sway you one way or another. But, it’s about websites for authors and whether we still need them or not, and whether what we put on one is complex or simple.

What got me on the subject today was seeing a nice book cover on Facebook and following the links to see the book on Amazon-you know me, I love good book covers – and if you need one designed will be happy to do that for you- but I digress.

This book, a romance, was ranking on Amazon moderately, and I wanted to know more about the author. I always think about possible podcast guests. So, I tried and tried to find the author’s website. And there is not one. The author is exclusively on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

This made me sit back on my heels a little.

Are websites now no longer needed for an author?  Do we as consumers no longer desire to see the author’s creds and other items? This author only had the one book so maybe she will get a site up once she gets another one ready to go. I also tried to hunt down her publishing company and found nothing that matched exactly so suspect that she is using her own publishing information as I do with MKS Books. This is a common thing with indies.

But I have heard more than once that you should have a website, even a one page site. It’s just the norm. But I am seeing more and more indies going to a social media experience for their platform. I think in a way, that is an okay thing to do. I mean, where did I find this author? On Facebook!

So, it bears repeating…are websites going by the wayside? I find myself going less and less to sites for my information gathering…even of big companies. Now, yes, we all shop online and those sites are frequented quite heavily. But for an author? Or a book? Is it possible now to do away with a website?

When I visited the sites of two of my favorite authors, I found sites filled with info about their book tours and covers and links to their books (current books being sold—not really backlist) and nothing else. I suspect these NYT bestsellers are far too busy out in the world promoting to be worrying with blogging or any of that and likely have author assistants who do their sites.

But, if you have a site…what is necessary? For a long time, it was simply a placeholder for your image and bio and book covers and links. Then sites went the way of blogs and everyone felt the need to post blog posts daily or so…but I am seeing a whole lot of defunct blogs now because we are all very, very busy people and don’t have time to write out a long tirade. And even less time to read one. So, I think it is safe to say that blogging at least on a website is really sort of a dead thing.

And if the authors that I visited are any indication, sites may be going back to the placeholder days.

Either way, a website is in my opinion, an expense that an author just getting started could do without. I think they may well get more mileage from social media places. Eventually as they publish more and more books they will want a site.

What do you think?

Please feel free to comment. I would love to hear what you think.

Thanks for listening! You can find show notes, contact form, and more at

You can find out more about Kim Smith at

Happy New Year to WGP fans and followers!


I have had a major setback in my personal life and have taken a small hiatus from the podcast for a while. I cancelled all my scheduled podcasts for the now, and I apologize to all my guests.

If it were not serious, and necessary, I would never do such a thing.

But I will try to do a few flyby episodes here and there until my load lightens. Thanks to everyone who has stayed the course with me through all the tumult.


Episode 73 Janie Franz, acquisitions editor

This week we welcome Janie Franz, the new acquisitions editor for MuseItUp Publishing. Janie is an accomplished author in her own right.


Janie Franz comes from a long line of liars and storytellers with roots deep in east Tennessee. Her work is honed by the frigid winters of the Northern Plains and the high desert and mountains of New Mexico and influenced by her degree in anthropology. She is an author, a professional speaker, and reviewer. Previously, she ran her own online music publication (Refrain Magazine) and was an agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, a radio announcer, and a yoga/relaxation instructor. She is the author of eleven novels (fantasy, thriller, and contemporary), a freelance writing manual, and co-author of two wedding how-to books. “Refrain,” the second book of The Lost Song trilogy, was a Top 10 Finisher, Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy, 2013 Preditors & Editors Reader Poll.

Links to books (click on cover to be magically transported to purchase)

Video Link

In this episode with Janie Franz, we discuss:


  • Janie tells us about her new “hat” as an acquisitions editor
  • We learn about what MuseItUp Publishing is looking for and when someone can submit
  • Insider info about the New Adult or NA category
  • Details about what an acquisitions editor does
  • We talk about the Muse It Up Conference and other cons Janie attends and speaks at
  • What the main thrust of MuseItUp Publishing is and what they offer authors
  • Info about cover art and distribution at MIU, including foreign translations
  • Details about author participation in promotions and marketing their work in today’s industry
  • Janie’s thoughts about Imaginarium, the con we both attend in Louisville, KY
  • Discussion about pitch sessions and how they are handled at a con (there are differences!) and why you should develop a good elevator pitch
  • AND SO MUCH MORE!!!!!!!


    Listen to my writing news info, personal update, and the AUDIO ONLY version of the interview here:

    You can find Janie Franz online at:


    MuseItUp Publishing site :
    Janie’s Website :
    Facebook :


    Thanks for Listening to WGP (Writer Groupie Podcast)!
    We appreciate your time!

    Did you enjoy this episode?

    If so, please do one (or all) of the following:

    Leave a comment on this page or ask a question if you need us to elaborate on the topic.
    Use the social media buttons to share this episode with your friends, family, and contacts.
    Go over to iTunes or YouTube to leave a rating/review and to subscribe to the podcast.
    We appreciate you taking the time to check out WGP! And we look forward to providing you with more content in the next episode!

    Subscribe to Writer Groupie Podcast on iTunes and YouTube by clicking on the images below:



    Episode 70: James Patrick, political thrillers, Blood Profits

    James N. Patrick
    Jim Patrick is a former Senior Executive and is an author, life coach and a specialist in world affairs, trend analysis, business development and startups.

    Jim was deeply involved in the political arena during the late sixties and during the time of the Watergate scandal. He managed political campaigns at all levels and was a well known strategist in regards to the emerging ‘baby boomer’ vote. He served on the advance team for the White House and attended numerous White House receptions and got to know all of the key players at that time in our country’s history.

    He has 45+ years of experience at all levels and has worked with or for some of the top business and government leaders globally.

    To get a copy of Jim’s book simply click the cover!


    Interview with Jim Patrick

    Show Notes
    In this episode we learn:

    • About Jim and his career in politics and writing
    • What led Jim to write Blood Profits and who KT Frog is
    • Why Jim wrote the book in serial fashion and how it has to do with corruption
    • Why Jim wrote all the landmarks in the book from real places
    • How Jim put together the characters and all their info and how he wove the cast together
    • What made Jim decide to write political thrillers
    • We discuss whether it is a character-driven or plot-driven sort of series
    • Brief reference to book two (which is upcoming!)
    • We learn if Jim thinks the series will make it into the movie industry
    • How this election year has become like the movie “Network”

    and so, so much more, including his BEST advice for aspiring authors

    Listen to my writing news info, personal update, and the AUDIO ONLY version of the interview here:

    You can find more about Jim Patrick and his work online at:
    Blood Profits, The Lithium Conspiracy
    Blood Profits’ Facebook Page
    Twitter page


    Thanks for Listening to WGP (Writer Groupie Podcast)!
    We appreciate your time!

    Did you enjoy this episode?

    If so, please do one (or all) of the following:

    Leave a comment on this page or ask a question if you need us to elaborate on the topic.
    Use the social media buttons to share this episode with your friends, family, and contacts.
    Go over to iTunes or YouTube to leave a rating/review and to subscribe to the podcast.
    We appreciate you taking the time to check out WGP! And we look forward to providing you with more content in the next episode!

    Subscribe to Writer Groupie Podcast on iTunes and YouTube by clicking on the images below:




    Six ways to fuel creativity

    Ways to fuel creativity when you have no idea how to get started.

    How on earth do I get started writing a book? I can hardly make it through writing a letter. Is there something special that I have to do to get the words in my head out on paper or on screen?


    Here are six ways to fuel your creativity.

    Create a morning routine.   Everyone who is an early morning person generally has a routine that they like to use. For myself, it is coffee first, then work out, then writing time. But I admit that is not perhaps the best method for anyone else. Maybe you don’t drink coffee, or maybe you don’t exercise. That’s totally fine. Just remember that writing is something that SHOULD be a part of your morning routine, and be sure to include it. And don’t forget the power of free-writing. Give fuel to your writing day by sitting down and tapping the keys. See what happens!

    Exercise. For me, getting on the treadmill and going to the gym are both a part of my life. Regular exercise helps me to mentally escape from the world and get into the realm of my characters. I can write entire scenes while listening to quiet music and moving. The added energy it gives me helps to keep me in the writing chair longer, also. Exercise is the fuel that keeps a body in motion.

    Don’t read.  I know it sounds counter-productive, but going on a reading diet really helps me to solidify story ideas. When I am actively involved in books (I read more than one at a time) I just do not feel like my ideas are there in full force the way they are when I am not engaged with someone else’s writing. I take a break from reading other people’s work in order to hear the voices in my head clearly and know they are not just a rehash of the book I am reading. Nothing fuels my writing life like hearing my characters telling me what to write!

    Get really quiet.  I find a lot of inspiration in solitude. I can sit on a park bench and listen to the wind, the birds, and other nature sound, and create vividly.  Finding solitude and harnessing its power has been the backdrop for meditation lovers everywhere. No, it is not necessary. No, you can meditate anywhere. But it seems to help elevate the creative spirit inside when you can find a few moments to just breathe in and out and enjoy being alive and able to create. Writing fuel is stoked when we can relax and enjoy our art.

    Find inspiration in others.  Every week I meet with other authors in a face-to-face setting. We discuss our writing trials and successes, our marketing efforts and what has worked or bombed, and we enjoy sharing ideas, supporting each other, and being with someone who understands this crazy writing life. I highly recommend meeting with other authors in a real world setting, not just online. My group, Linda, Kimberley, Kristi, Robin, and Angela, are some of the best writers I know, and just being allowed to be involved with them fuels my writing in a big way.

    Never say no.  When you are cranking out your ideas, there is nothing that is taboo. You can write about anything you want to, even if it sounds a little crazy. To squelch your creative spirit in the beginning by saying no to an idea is just soul-crushing. Don’t do it. Nothing takes fuel OUT of my writing like saying no to an idea that comes up.

    I know there are many more ways to get your writing fueled, but I hope these six ways will at least get you started!


    WGP Episode 63: Rich Zahradnik, mystery

    podcast logo


    Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series from Camel Press. Last Words is the first novel in the series and was published October 2014. Drop Dead Punk came out August 2015.

    Drop Dead Punk won the gold medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs). It was also named a finalist in the mystery category of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Last Words won honorable mention for mystery in Foreword Reviews’ IndieFab Book of the Year Awards and the bronze medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2015 IPPYs.

    Zahradnik was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter, often writing news stories and analysis about the journalism business, broadcasting, film production, publishing and the online industry.

    In January 2012, he was one of 20 writers selected for the inaugural class of the Crime Fiction Academy, a first-of-its-kind program run by New York’s Center for Fiction.

    He has been a media entrepreneur throughout his career. He was founding executive producer of, a leading financial news website and a Webby winner; managing editor of, and a partner in the soccer-news website company Goal Networks. Zahradnik also co-founded the weekly newspaper The Peekskill Herald at the age of 25, leading it to seven state press association awards in its first three years.

    Zahradnik was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Sheri and son Patrick in Pelham, New York, where he writes fiction and teaches elementary school kids how to publish the online and print newspaper the Colonial Times.

    To get any of Rich’s books simply click the cover!




    In this episode we learn:

    Show Notes

    WGP Episode 62: Dana Faletti, YA and Women’s Fiction

    podcast logo


    Dana Faletti is a Pittsburgh native who loves Broadway musicals and knows all the words to Les Miserables – the entire show. One of her favorite TV series is Sons of Anarchy, and her favorite movie is the Sound of Music. Don’t try to start a conversation with her in the morning until she’s had at least one cup of coffee – preferably Starbucks, but do come over for a glass of wine (red) and some good conversation at dinner time. Dana loves to cook and owned a successful catering business for a few years, before giving it up to focus on her family and write full-time. She shares her life with a Gemini husband who also knows every word to Les Mis, and three amazing daughters – an eleven-year-old theatre buff, a nine-year-old future mega-entrepreneur, and a curly-haired six-year-old who is the true CEO of the household.
    Dana has been writing for what seems like forever. Her young adult trilogy, The Whisper Series, is a paranormal romance that’s rife with angels, demons and forbidden romance, as well as a message of love and acceptance that has touched readers nationwide. Her newest novel, Beautiful Secret, is a women’s fiction set in the scorched hills of Southern Italy, where Dana has spent much time traveling and visiting relatives. Beautiful Secret is set to be released this summer by Pandamoon Publishing. Dana has a love affair with all things Italian and is proud to be part of the loud, crazy, and wonderful Italian family that inspired her new book.

    To get any of Dana’s books simply click the cover!

    In this episode we learn:

    Show Notes

    • The insider details of Dana Faletti’s journey as an author
    • Information about her YA trilogy, The Whisper Trilogy and her upcoming release, Beautiful Secret
    • We discuss her website and blog contents, be sure to see the links below this post!
    • We get the scoop on her publisher, Pandamoon Publishing
    • Inspiration from her on the three things she wants to accomplish as an author

    AND SO MUCH MORE including her best advice for aspiring authors!

    *with intro from hostess, Kim Smith*

    You can find her online at:

    Twitter: @danafaletti

    Thanks for Listening to WGP (Writer Groupie Podcast)!
    We appreciate your time!

    Did you enjoy this episode with Dana Faletti?

    If so, please do one (or all) of the following:

    Leave a comment on this page or ask a question if you need us to elaborate on the topic.
    Use the social media buttons to share this episode with your friends, family, and contacts.
    Go over to iTunes or YouTube to leave a rating/review and to subscribe to the podcast.
    We appreciate you taking the time to check out WGP! And we look forward to providing you with more content in the next episode!

    Subscribe to Writer Groupie Podcast on iTunes and YouTube by clicking on the images below:



    Brand building:become famous

    Building a brand: ways to do it

    Recently, someone told me that they noticed that every time they opened their browser, it seemed like, I was there. They wanted to know how on earth I got it all done, and became such a household name. I smiled and told them it was a secret. Well, being a brand is a different animal.


    Well, it is. Because I don’t know HOW I got to be so popular! But I have a goodly list of ways  and things to try that might benefit you.

    Keeping it real,  I never believed I would become popular in this space, especially with WGP– a podcast in the “how to write/writer life” niche, which as you probably know is terribly overdone.

    A successful blog is not just a blog. Right enough, it’s the place where things get first notice. It’s where ability is considered and content is offered. But if you stick to just that one thing, you’ll be just that – and only that.

    Your website and blog is your hub, your home base where people can go to find out more about who you are and what you do. It’s the starting point for people to find more about the great whole of your brand.

    7 Ways to Build a Brand

    1. Be everywhere. This is hard, folks. I am not going to lie. You will spend as much time online as offline at least in the beginning. I have been on forums, social media, and writing sites for nearly ten years. But, it is paying off. You cannot say, “I do not have enough time for all that”. If you decide early on that you cannot do it, then you have already failed. TRY. JUST TRY.
    2. Keep it consistent. You need to have the same imagery on all those sites that you are on. Build a visual brand as well as a presence. People identify with images these days. They will remember bits of what you say, but always your iconic image.
    3. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Podcasting was not something that I just decided one day that I would be good at. It was something that I determined was a good way to capture a different audience. You have to be able to try new stuff and see what works. You may be the next big thing!
    4. It takes less than five minutes to set up social media accounts. Don’t be one of those people who says I don’t want to be on social media. It’s the best way to reach readers. If you decide you do not want to be on social media, you are going to have a very tough go at building your brand.
    5. Guest post! This is a fun and easy way to broaden your outreach. Find other people who are into what you are into and have a blog. Most every one wants new faces and blog posts, offer to be the one for a day on theirs.
    6. Give until it hurts. We are a society of consumers. We want everything we can get and we want it for free. It’s okay to give your audience a lot of stuff. And give it to them for free. Get known as the guy or gal who has so much knowledge and gives it out to readers for nothing. That also is a brand.
    7. Cultivate a fan base who will spread the word. When you over-give, you build a fan base of people who want to help you be a household name.  They will share your info, buy your books, and follow you around the net.

    My name is linked to a few great sites and my podcast is growing. I would say that my evil plan is working but…you already know that.


    WGP Interview: Kathleen Gerard

    Recently, Writer Groupie Podcast had the privilege of interviewing Kathleen Gerard, author of In Transit and The Thing Is. Here is the interview and you can get links to her work below.

    Kathleen Gerard
    Photo credit: North Jersey Media Group, The Record

    THE THING IS (a novel) by Kathleen Gerard

    Can you share a little of your current work with us?

    Here’s a brief synopsis of THE THING IS:
    Can a woman mired deep in the throes of grief have her heart and soul rallied by a therapy
    dog named Prozac who has supernatural wisdom and a canine Mensa IQ?

    Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she’s not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.

    Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal brokenhearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.
    Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it’s still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.

    THE THING IS is a perfect read for fans of General Fiction, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, and Dog and Pet Lovers!

    Do you have a specific writing style?

    All of the books I’ve published (so far) deal with strong women who are forced to overcome challenges of some kind. Humor and romance also play a part in the stories. My first novel, In Transit, is a suspenseful woman-in-jeopardy story about a female rookie NYPD cop who falls in love with the wrong man.

    Cold Comfort is more of a heartwarming-style romance about a workaholic photojournalist who comes face-to-face with an old flame who broke her heart in college.

    I experimented a bit with The Thing Is, telling that story from two, very distinct points-of-view—that of a blocked romance writer who has become entrenched in grief after her fiancé dies, and a crafty, sometimes very devious, “Spirit Guide Dog,” who believes his mission is to help the writer learn how to live and love again.

    How did you come up with the title?

    THE THING IS was inspired by the poem, “The Thing Is” by Ellen Bass. Bass’s poem speaks to how to go on living life when we feel completely heartbroken and riddled with despair. It was apropos to the themes of the story, and I decided to title the novel by the very same name.

    As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

    I wanted to be a photojournalist—and I pursued that passion throughout childhood, high school and college. I always hoped that one day I would work for the Associated Press (AP) and travel the world taking pictures, including photographing in war zones. But when I realized that my personality was much more methodical and analytical by nature, I reconsidered things. And that was when the writing bug suddenly bit me.

    Who is your favorite character in your books and why?

    I select all of my characters–even the “bad guys”–with care, so I like them all. However, writing from a clever dog’s point-of-view in THE THING IS was very fun—and liberating.

    Who designed the cover?

    My publisher, Red Adept Publishing, has a great staff on board for all facets of their books from editing to book covers to marketing. The very talented Jessica Anderegg worked with Streetlight Graphics (they’re wonderful!) to make a gem of a book cover for THE THING IS

    What was the hardest part of writing your book?

    The hardest part about writing this book was staying the course and letting the story unravel on its own—without preconceiving the plot. Once I figured out who the characters were and their goals (I wrote and wrote and threw out a lot), the story evolved very organically. When I make a concerted effort to stick to and follow through with the writing of a book, I always try to keep my heart, soul and mind open to whatever crosses my path during the process. I’ve found that if I stay attuned and pay attention to things as they happen in my real life, then, more often than not, my writing life becomes the beneficiary of that attentiveness. For example, a friend (or even a stranger) may off-handedly make a remark, or I’ll read an article in the newspaper, or maybe even a postcard advertisement will arrive in the mail…the mundane can suddenly become an aha! moment—something that unexpectedly serves the story. But trusting that process–and being patient–is sometimes very difficult.

    Do you have any advice for other writers?

    Read a lot. Write a lot. And stick to it!

    What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

    Read. Hang out with my dog. I like to cook and enjoy watching cooking shows on TV. And when I want to unwind, I like to watch indie films and romantic comedies.

    What do you think makes a good story?

    Strong characters. Conflict and transcendence.

    Quick fire questions:
    Favorite food: Pizza
    Favorite music: Lately, music by Sara Bareillis
    Favorite TV program: Cooking shows with Lidia Bastianich
    Five things you like: My dog. Pizza. Red wine. Cooking (and eating). A good story.
    Five things you dislike: Illness. Mean-spirited/cruel people. Phoniness/Gossip. Dieting. Traffic.
    Five words that describe you: Sensitive. Spiritual. Loyal. Analytical. Tenacious.

    Kathleen Gerard

    Learn more about THE THING IS:

    Learn more about IN TRANSIT
    Learn more about COLD COMFORT

    The Thing Is can be purchased at:
    * Amazon –
    * Barnes and Noble –
    * BooksAMillion –
    *Indiebound –
    * Google Play:

    THE THING IS (a novel) by Kathleen Gerard
    Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
    Genre: Romantic Comedy
    Pages: 299
    Release: March 9, 2016
    Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
    ISBN: 9781940215587


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    Stand out in the book market

    While I am busily lining up guests for next month, I hope you enjoy this redux of a blog post from my author site. If you like it, part two is linked at the bottom. New podcasts are coming!

    Most people are trying to figure out how to stand out in this really oversaturated book industry. Well, today I hope to help in that regard. In fact this may be a bit of a series of posts depending on how well I manage my time.

    First off, in order to stand out in this aspect, you have to plan to work and work your plan.

    Here are a few tips on how to accomplish this:

    Call it a business. It is. You are now published-your time is no longer your own. You have to work this lifestyle. IT IS A BUSINESS. Get used to hearing that.

  • Do something daily for your writing business. Create a production schedule. Plan on when you are going to have books published. Put it into writing and make it a habit to follow the schedule. If you were sitting in a corporate office somewhere you would be looking at a schedule of work to be accomplished and you wouldn’t question whether you could do it or not, or wanted to do it or not, etc. For your business, even more so. Treat it as such.
  • Market. Go out into the wide world web and tell someone somewhere about your book. Do this every day. EVERY DAY. Note: this does not mean to spam people. Just try to tell three places your book is available once a day. Do SOMETHING in the way of marketing EVERY DAY.
  • Write more books. Spend the bulk of your free time writing something new. Even if you only put in a page or two a day. This is critical because in reality, the best way to stand out in this crowded marketplace is a numbers game. Those with a lot of books will be found easier than those with one or two.
  • Okay, I did run out of time. I will be back later with another tidbit on how to stand out/market your work. >>>>>>>>> GO TO PART TWO HERE <<<<<<<<<<