Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lots of Job Postings

Health and Fitness Writer Wanted

Freelance Online Newsletter Publisher

Center for Independent Journalists Fellowship for Writers in N.M

Fellowship for Reporting in Austria

Freelance Business Reporters Needed in New York

Political Reporters in CA, OA, TX, OH, NY

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids

Today, I interview Kathy Seal, who co-authored, "Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids: Dealing With Competition While Raising a Successful Child." Kathy talks about how her education helped her in her writing career, co-authoring and developing a writing specialty.

Tell us about yourself.
I’m a journalist and author, and the mother of two sons. I’m married and I live in Santa Monica, Calif.

Tell us about your new book, Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids: Dealing With Competition While Raising a Successful Child.

It's about the pressure and anxiety put on parents by the heightened competition in kids' lives today. That anxiety tends to make us push and control our kids, which isn’t good for them. What should we do instead? The research is clear: we need to stay involved, respect their autonomy, and give structure and support. If you do that instead of screaming at your child, offering rewards, or trying to force her in other ways, you’ll foster your child’s inner passion and interest, her intrinsic motivation. She’ll excel because she wants to. In other words, Pressured Parents shows you how to fend off the craziness you feel when your kid competes in sports, academics, and even the arts, while helping children succeed. And it's all based on the past 30 years of academic research.

How did you go from majoring in classics and comparative literature in college to a specialty in writing and speaking on parenting?
Classics and comparative literature prepare you well for writing! They make you love language, and train you to think clearly, and write precisely. When I had children, quite naturally I became very interested in their psychology and jumped at the chance to interview psychologists, chat with them about parents’ concerns, and then as a journalist share their thinking with my readers.

Your books have been co-authored. How do you find the right collaborator when doing a co-authored book?
I found Wendy Grolnick, my collaborator on Pressured Parents, Stressed Out Kids, while writing magazine articles. A psychologist I was interviewing suggested I call Wendy to talk about parenting and children’s motivation to learn. She was a great interview and I called on her as I wrote subsequent articles. She had published an academic book on parental pressure, and suggested we write a popular book on the same topic.
I met my first coauthor Deborah Stipek when she was director of my children’s laboratory elementary school at UCLA, the Corinne A. Seeds University Elementary School. I had begun writing articles on her research specialty, motivation, and she began giving me suggestions for a few articles. Then I began interviewing her for stories, and eventually she agreed to coauthor a book with me.

How does the co-authoring process work for you - do you each write a chapter - explain the creative process?
Usually I draft a section or chapter, often after discussing an outline or the points we want to make (this discussion may have taken place already in the book proposal stage.) Then my coauthor makes suggestions and/or changes the copy, using tracking software. We send the chapter back and forth like this until we’re both happy with it. Occasionally the procedure is reversed, with my coauthor writing the first draft.

For you, how does writing an article differ from writing an entire book?
Writing an article demands a quick pass at the topic, concentrating the information into a small gem. But writing a book allows you to go into depth, examining the issue deeply and linking it to what people already know and to common points of reference in our culture, the stuff of stories and anecdotes. It’s more like creating a necklace and earrings, studded with many gems.

How important do you believe developing a specialty is to a writer's career?
It’s all-important. The more you write about a topic the more you learn about it -- until you become an expert. Then you can write high quality articles and eventually you’ll know enough to write a book.

How did you find your agent/publisher?
Wendy and I visited a number of agents in New York, both referrals from friends and agents we read about on line, especially at We chose the agent we thought would best represent us. However, I ended up finding our publisher at the ASJA annual meeting.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I've posted about (sorry I couldn't resist) before. For those people who've tried out for a freelance gig with the Time Inc. company and not gotten it, well, they're pretty bitter. It does require quite a bit of time to build the site which is judged against others. For those who've gotten the gig, I've heard it still takes an intense amount of time, but is worth the money. You're guaranteed an income each month - it's recently been raised from $500 to $750 a month, plus you get more based on hits to your site. They're looking for several people now - including in writers in the areas of food, tech, gardening.
Go to to read all about it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holy Paws

Today, I'm glad to have Jeannine Fox talking about her book, "Holy Paws: How my Dog Helped me Heal from Abuse." Jeannine not only has a lot to say about the publishing industry - she created her own for this book - but also about the healing power of our pets.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, graduated from St. Louis University with a degree in business and later earned an MBA from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. I retired after 19 years as an Internal Revenue Agent, criminal investigator, and auditor for the U.S. Treasury and Department of Energy.
I began my freelance writing career in the 90's. I was a ghostwriter for the executive director of a non-profit organization for three years. My first book, a book of inspirational poetry, was published in 1995. That same year I came out with my line of inspiring bookmarks featuring 24 different poetic sayings.
I’ve spent over 20 years volunteering with various organizations and charities. I was a public building commissioner and a plan commissioner for the City of Leawood, Kansas. In 2003 I became a Court Advocate for Rose Brooks Center, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. For three years I helped victims of abuse through the Kansas City municipal court system. In 2004 I received the Court Advocate Volunteer Award of the Year. In 2005 I received the Golden Mile Award - an award given to the volunteer who has gone the "extra mile" to help victims of domestic violence. I am currently serving my third term as treasurer of the Kansas City Hospice fundraising event.
I have over 25 years of public speaking experience and I won the International Toastmistress Speech Contest in Miami, Florida. My speaking experience and training have been extremely helpful in promoting "Holy Paws."
My hobbies include gardening, walking, giving theme parties, taking care of my dogs and dancing. I am 65 years old and live in Leawood, Kansas with my husband, Marty, and our two canine kids, Baby and Rosie.

Tell us about your book, "Holy Paws, how my dog helped me heal from abuse."

I was 51 when I adopted Baby, a two-year-old dog who had been abused as a puppy. Just months earlier memories of my own abuse had begun to surface. I convinced myself that if I focused on helping Baby overcome her abuse I wouldn’t have to deal with my own. But that was not to be.
On our first day together, I told Baby that I loved her and would protect her, that she was safe and no one would ever hurt her again. As I comforted Baby, I was comforted. As I expressed my love for her, I felt Baby’s love in return. Before I knew it, Baby became my confidant. Whether we were sitting alone in silence, or going for a walk, I shared my fears, feelings, and thoughts with her. She was the first one to know the details of my abuse. I felt safe telling Baby. After all, she wouldn’t tell anyone my secret, wouldn’t say it had been my fault or that if I had been a “perfect little girl” it wouldn’t have happened.
"Holy Paws" is a story of healing, the triumphant account of how Baby’s unconditional love gave me the courage to face the past and the affects it had on my life. Without revealing the details of my childhood abuse I share how Baby’s presence helped me overcome my anger, shame, fears, and feeling of unworthiness.
"Holy Paws" is a tribute to both the human spirit and the healing power of animals. Because of Baby I walked away from my paralyzing past. Because of Baby I found the peace and joy I longed for. Because of Baby I learned to love myself as I am.

Did you have an agent? And how did you find your publisher?

I had intended to use an agent to promote "Holy Paws," but after reviewing the publishing industry, and the average length of time it takes to get a book under contract and actually published, I decided to create my own publishing company, Royal Works Publishing, LLC
Having a Masters in Business Administration enabled me to use my experience in creating Royal Works Publishing. I researched to make sure the name wasn’t already taken, registered on line with the State of Kansas, filed for a Federal Identification Number, applied for an ISBN, and acquired a post office box. I then obtained sales tax numbers from both Kansas and Missouri. To save money I did all of this myself. I then hired an attorney to prepare the legal documents.
I wanted a portion of the book’s proceeds to benefit organizations working with abused children and women, as well as animal shelters. And the best way to make this happen was to self-publish. That way I could maintain my own inventory and maximize my profits.

Why did you choose to create your own company, rather than go with a self publisher or POD company?

This decision was based on several factors:
I wanted to support local professionals - editors, layout and design specialists, website designers, and even the printer and binder.
I interviewed each person or firm that worked on the project beforehand
It was important for me to have a personal relationship with those who would work on "Holy Paws" - to be able to have one on one meetings and exchange ideas
It was vital that those working on Holy Paws respected the project and the purpose for which it was written.
Because of my decision to self-publish I was able control the product quality - the feel of the paper (I chose 70 lb.), font style and size, size of the book, cover design and colors, use of color photos throughout the book, etc.

You've written about a difficult subject. When did you decide it was the right time for a book about it?

It was never my intention to write about my abuse. Instead it was my desire to write about my healing. And that’s why "Holy Paws" is an inspirational story of healing. I had kept secret my abuse for over 50 years. I could not keep secret my healing. I felt compelled to share my story that after all these years I was able to release the past and the impact it had on my life. I didn’t want sympathy for what had happened to me, instead I wanted to give others hope. I wanted to provide encouragement that it’s never to late to heal, no matter what the experience.
From the day Baby came into my life, and as I worked through the process of healing, I kept a journal of how she helped me. When I decided to write "Holy Paws", I used these journals to recall and write my story.
It took me over seven years to complete "Holy Paws." There were times I stopped writing, telling myself there was no need to continue. And at other times I chastised myself for not having finished it sooner. Over time I came to understand that I could not complete "Holy Paws" until I had completed my healing.

When writing about difficult personal topics, how do you decide what to leave in, and what to leave out - does it involve discussions with other family members?

I knew from the beginning that I was not going to reveal the details of my abuse or the names of my abusers. In my heart I felt telling the specifics of what happened to me as a child would benefit no one. I came to believe that what helps others is them knowing that healing is possible, no matter how old the injury. So it was easy not to include the particulars.
Deciding what to include was more difficult. At first I wanted only to write in general terms about how Baby helped me heal. I didn’t want to share how my behavior had been influenced by the abuse, what I didn’t like about myself, or the specific lessons I was forced to learn. I didn’t want to expose myself to family, friends, and strangers. But, as I continued to write I knew I had to be honest with the reader and myself. I had to include how my fears, my need to control, my feelings of unworthiness, my need to always keep busy, and my relationship with God were an integral part of my past and my healing. If I was to give hope to others I couldn’t sugarcoat my story or my personality. I had to lay it all on the line. And I believe that is why so many people have related to my story; they have been able to see themselves in my story and apply some of the lessons to their own life.
During the course of my healing I told my family. I was fortunate that they believed me and supported my healing. But, when it was all said and done only I could do the healing. I had to be the one to choose to move on, to move beyond what had happened to me.

How have you approached marketing your book? What has worked the best for you?

I developed lists of my friends, family, neighbors, church members, and people from other organizations. I went through my old address books, listing everyone I knew from years past. I then hired someone to create a pre-publication postcard and letter. A month before "Holy Paws" was published I sent out over 850 letters offering free shipping and that I would pay sales tax on their purchases. I gave them 30 days to pay in advance. This was extremely successful - it not only brought in money but it also created and interest for the book
Because I wish to donate proceeds to children, women and animal shelters, I offer these organizations an opportunity to have a fundraising event. This too has been very successful. I was fortunate that Rose Brooks Center, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, contacted various media. The Kansas City Star, in the FYI section, did a feature story of about Baby and myself. The story was picked up by 15 other newspapers around the country and this helped sales. Baby and I also were on the television program, Kansas City Live.
I cold call bookstores, shops, churches, organizations, etc. and personally set up my signings, talks, and appearances. No group is too small. At all my signings I tell people I am available to come speak to their organizations.
My business cards have book’s cover on it - in color. Wherever I go I hand out my cards - even the grocery store and post office. In addition, I put a card in every bill I pay. I hired a professional website design team and sell the book on line. I also signed up for Amazon.
I obtained endorsements for the back cover from a child psychiatrist, a veterinarian, a minister, and the staff of a domestic violence shelter. Their credentials have also helped with sales.
Holy Paws has received both local and national attention, with newspaper stories appearing in 15 papers around the country. Since its publication six months ago, Holy Paws has been shipped to 32 States, 4 foreign countries and is now available worldwide in Braille and digital audio for the visually impaired.
Over 1500 copies have been sold.

You published your first book in 1995, is there anything that's changed in the process since that time - were there any surprises this time around?

My first book was a small book of inspirational poetry - no more than 20 pages. Although I sold 2000 copies my purpose in writing it was different than that of Holy Paws.
I am dedicated to spreading the uplifting message of Holy Paws and to donating money to helping others. Therefore, I had to do things differently. I set up a publishing company and create everything I needed to sell to retailers. I made a personal commitment to promoting the book, with no restrictions and no preconceived ideas.
The procedure for getting into major bookstores has changed. In 1995 the stores would buy direct from a local author. Today it’s more difficult. Some major retailers will only go through a distributor, which means less is paid to the author, payment is received only upon sales, and payment takes 60 -90 days. But, since I am determined to get "Holy Paws" before the public I accept these terms.

What's next for you? Where can people learn more about you and buy your book?
I have been touched by over 100 emails and letters from readers sharing their stories of healing, talking about their pets, and thanking me for writing Holy Paws. The greatest compliment is when they tell me they’ve given the book to someone else to read.
I have been doing book signings, giving talks and presentations to a wide variety of organizations in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, and later this month in Utah. I’ve spoken at Rotary Clubs, churches, bookstores, PEO’s, women’s groups, retreat centers and more.
As a result of reader comments I designed, and have been conducting, a two-hour workshop on healing. Participants are given four simple, yet profound steps to release the hurt from any life experience. This is the basis for my next book.
Holy Paws is available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Rainy Day Books, Land of Paws, or People can learn about me by visiting
I welcome opportunities to speak to any organization, business, church, or other group about Holy Paws, the healing power of animals, writing and self-publishing, or how to heal from a life experience. I can be reached at or 913.491.6207.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Financial Reporter Wanted

Insurance Finance & Investment (IFI) is recruiting a reporter. IFI is looking for sophisticated reporting on innovative investment strategies used by leading insurance companies. Our coverage includes news of the latest investment strategies being used by asset managers on behalf of insurance companies, reallocations of assets in insurer portfolios, creation of benchmarks, insurer selection of (third-party) asset managers, mandates won by third-party asset managers, unique financial instruments, mergers and acquisitions, and personnel moves. The candidate should have previous experience in covering the insurance/finance industry. More information on the company and the publication, IFI, is available at, under Publications/Finance/North America/Insurance Finance & Investment. Interested parties should contact the editor, Catherine Chen, at

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Unsinkable Mollie Bryan and Her Cookbook

Today, I interview Mollie Cox Bryan, author of "Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley." Mollie talks about food writing, how she got into it and how this combo biography and cookbook happened.

Tell us about yourself.
I live in Waynesboro, Va., and am a stay-at-home mom who freelances, after being in the publishing field full time about 15 years in the Washington, D.C. area. I am originally from Western Pa.

Tell us about your book, "Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of > Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley."
It's a narrative cookbook that tells the story of Mrs. Rowe's life and restaurant in between recipes. Mrs. Rowe (Mildred) was raised on a struggling family farm in the Allegheny Highlands and became a wealthy, iconic, restaurant owner. The story of how that happens is a study into women's history, food history, restaurant history, and just a wonderful all-around story about the human spirit.

There's the old adage that every life has a story - but every life doesn't make a book. How did you happen upon this story and how did you know it was book-worthy?
After we moved from the DC area to the Shenandoah Valley, I began to hear stories about Mrs. Rowe. My husband works at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Va. and Mrs. Rowe's son, Mike DiGrassie is on their Board of Directors. He often told my husband stories about his mother and Eric came home and told me. I really thought her personal story was remarkable and thought that someone needed to write it. So I approached Mike about writing a self-published biography of Mrs. Rowe. (The restaurant was going to publish it.) In the mean time, Mrs. Rowe passed away. I was quoted in local papers as her "biographer," and I began to hear from people all over the country-not just Virginia-about their memories of her, her food, and restaurant. So I knew then that I was on to a national story.

When you started, did you know you were going to incorporate the recipes from her restaurant into the book?
My original plan was to write the biography with one or two very special recipes at the end of each chapter. But I had no plan to write a cookbook.

Tell us about incorporating a biography into a cookbook. How did you weave the two together?
Believe it or not, I think two kind of unrelated experiences helped me cut apart the biography and morph it into a cookbook. First, I have a great deal of newsletter and magazine experience and those principles of telling the story through not just words, but also photos, captions, sidebars, and other art work really helped. Because this was a cookbook, I also had the extra element of telling the story through recipe head notes. So if there was a story in the narrative, for example, that I could pull out and place into a head note, that's what I did. I also have a hobby that helped. I am an avid scrapbooker and when my editor found that out, she said,"Let's think of this book visually like a scrapbook." As you can imagine, it was at first, hard to think of my 300-some page biography in terms of being a cookbook. It seemed overwhelming.

How did you find your agent/publisher?
My agent is Angela Miller, who I met at the Symposium for Professional Food Writers at the Greenbrier. She was on a panel and I liked the fact that she used to be an editor and so (one would assume) knew language and had high esteem for writing. That is very important to me. I also really liked her very practical manner when she spoke about money. She looked at my proposal at the Greenbrier and made some suggestions. I rewrote and sent it to her and I think there were several more tweaks to the proposal. Then she sent it around as a biography and there were no takers, even though there were some very nice remarks. But, Ten Speed had this vision of it becoming a cookbook. And after working on this about two years at that point, when they asked, I said yes, sure I can do a cookbook.

You've specialized in food writing for a while, how did you develop this niche?
I went to the Greenbrier to see what it was all about. I found a group of very creative, supportive, smart writers who are really professional. So many opportunities are opening up for food writing and there are so many kinds of food writing-essays, articles, history, recipe writing-and then there the whole investigative and scientific food writing (Omnivore's Dilemma.). I was really just starting in freelancing, trying to find some lucrative, interesting markets, and there it was. The book has given me a great platform into more food writing articles. All that said, I like to be very careful in labeling myself-or anybody else for that matter;-). I also write a family life column for the Daily News Leader in Staunton, Va. and recently I've written profiles and garden articles for Virginia Living magazine. My favorite thing to write for magazines is the profile, and remember, it was Mrs. Rowe's life story that attracted me to her. I think why I like to write about food so much is that it proves such a wonderful frame or metaphor to tell stories about people.

You said you never imagined writing a cookbook, how does it differ from other types of food writing you do? Does it involve a lot of test tasting?
I think for some cookbook authors, yes, there is a lot of taste testing. For us (the restaurant and myself) we knew these recipes were used over and over again and would be fine, but the publisher insisted on professional testing, which is what we did. The tester made all the recipes and helped format the recipes. (There is a whole recipe style book, much like AP Style or Chicago, "Recipes into Type." Then, most cookbook publishers have their own house style, as well.) The magazines I've worked for-NPR's Kitchen Window, Grit, and Taste of the South, for example-do their own testing of your recipes.

How have you approached marketing your book?
I wrote a marketing plan and sent it to my publicist at Ten Speed. They designed the press materials and sent out galleys and books to reviewers. We worked together on book signings and other promotional events. I provided lists of local contacts and they made calls to set things up. I set up my own web site and blog. The other thing I've tried to do is publish articles about Mrs. Rowe, or her pie, or our relationship. And I have noted that when something gets published in a magazine that just mentions I am the author of this book, sales go up for a little while on Amazon. Also, the restaurant carries the book and has little blurbs about it on their placemats. The owner of the restaurant, Mike Di Grassie, showed up for some of the book signings, as well. We had one event where he and one of the chefs from the restaurant demonstrated how to cook certain items and I spoke about Mrs. Rowe and introduced them. That was a very successful event.

What's next for you? Where can people learn more about you and buy your book?
I am working on several projects right now. First, there will be another (smaller) Mrs. Rowe book-the working title is MRS. ROWE'S LITTLE BOOK OF SOUTHERN PIE. I've also been approached by another very old and fascinating Virginia establishment to write a narrative cookbook for them. I am considering that. In the mean time, I am working on a memoir, which will include the Western Pa. food I grew up eating. The working title is THE KITCHEN QUEEN OF FISH POT ROAD. And I am always working on articles or pitching articles to magazines. My website is and email address is if anybody would like to reach me. You can get the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and you can order it directly from the publisher

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Temporarily Out of Service

I learned a big lesson yesterday - it isn't enough to have a surge protector for your electrical cords during a bad thunderstorm. We should buy the surge protectors that have them for the phone wires as well.
I'm in a temporary location on dial up, but even if you have high speed internet and have a phone cord going into your computer as back up Internet, you can still suffer a lightening strike, as I did yesterday.
I'm on my 11 year old laptop, so posts will be suspended until I can recover my files from my other computer.