Monday, March 31, 2014

Protecting Your Blog...

Someone on LinkedIn was concerned about how to protect his content on his blog and this was my response:

Once you write something, you own the copyright. You can purchase a Copyscape subscription to protect the content on your blog (or website) and that is cheaper than purchasing a copyright on every blog post you write or copyrighting your entire website/ blog. In addition, Copyscape monitors your content and lets you know when someone has taken it. The U.S. Copyright office only "officially" protects it. It is true that without depositing information with the Copyright office, it can be more difficult to protect your claim of ownership.

However, if you are concerned about protecting your content, my question would be - what kind of material are you planning to post?

If your goal is networking, it seems you would want people to share clips from and links to your blog on their blogs back to yours. (Feel free to share my writing on here as long as you let people know where you found it.) It also seems that the type of material you post would be the type of material you want others to share. Any books you publish (and therefore excerpts from them) should be copyrighted upon publication or shortly thereafter (mine are).

If you do find your material is plagiarized (you can self-check with a pay per check option on Copyscape or check you posts free/ with subscription on; the subscription to also comes with a plagiarism checker), you can notify the owner of the website (or if it is another blog, notify the host site) and they have to remove the material. I would also make a MSWord backup of your content because that has a date attached to it. Keep in mind that search engines generally only list the website that first posted the content.

The only content I know of that you never want to post anywhere is screenplay content. The film/television industry is so notorious for stealing work. Screenplays are one of the few items you can have copyrighted before they are complete.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Well, if you have been following this blog for the past couple of weeks, you will notice I added a new link for a "Situations of Inconvenience Series." The first book in this inspirational romance series is now published under the title "The Inconvenient Widow" on Amazon. Yep, it was rejected by Harlequin because it had too many characters in it.

I am not really upset because it is the first book in a planned series and as such I wanted to introduce the characters you will see in the next five books. Harlequin doesn't like involved plots though, and I knew that when I submitted it. However, I was hopeful since it was the first book in a series they would overlook it. They didn't.

The problem with traditional publishing is that you must give them exactly what they are looking for when they are looking for it. As most of you probably know, I am not a mold type person. Everything about me, from my Guru profile name, 'Paradoxical,' to the employers and situations I choose to write about screams my rebellion against molds. I like Jane Austin and Samuel Beckett. I don't like things that are neat.

Don't get me wrong, I did my research - if you want any chance at traditional publishing you must. But with all the awful books that traditional publishers are putting out these days, I think the quality of traditional publishing is flagging while the quality of self-publishing is increasing. As more people who self-publish invest in paid cover designers and paid editor/proofreaders, this quality will only continue to improve.

One person asked, if you only could choose to read one, traditionally published or self-published books, for the rest of your life, which would it be. I would take my chances on self-published books at this point in time because the quality is increasing. But, then again, I am definitely an outside the box type person.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Wanted! Someone to Represent Me on Dating Websites

I wish I was joking, but I really did see this job advertised. This breaks many ethical boundaries in my book. However, in seven days, two people have actually signed up for it. Amazing.

Additionally, the "employer" is going to pay a generous $2-$5 per hour!!! for someone to do this. It is no wonder this cheapskate cannot get a date.

I don't give dating advice, but if you are having a hard time getting a date, it may be time to look at yourself and critically analyze what you can change to improve your overall package. You see, getting a date is a lot like getting a freelance job. You may be desperate, but you don't want your potential employer to know you are desperate. You want your employer to see your best skills.

In writing my proposals, I struggle with not pointing out all my flaws as well. For example, when I started I had zero feedback on my profile. It was difficult to say, "Now, I know that I don't have any feedback, but I am new here." Pointing out your flaws and answering them is one way to resolve issues before they arise, but it doesn't work when you are selling yourself.

It's the same when I wrote my first query letters to publishing companies. It was difficult to avoid writing "Now, I haven't published anything yet, but my grandma says this book is a best seller and I took writing in high school."

All of these statements, including, "Now, the things I say don't come out right, so I am hiring someone to social network on dating websites for me," are self-depreciating. From the time we are small we are taught humility, but humility won't get you jobs - or online dates. It is only when we develop a relationship with another person that humility is important - it keeps friends.

But selling yourself through writing is a one time shot. I am not saying you need to brag about skills you don't have (that will sink you just a quick when they open your manuscript to read it), but focus on what you do have and make sure the person reading your proposal or query is impressed by it.

Friday, March 21, 2014


There is a Sal, Captain of the Baby Guards Giveaway on Goodreads for anyone interested in entering. Goodreads will select five winners to receive a free paperback copy:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sal, Captain of the Baby Guards by Jennifer Reinoehl

Sal, Captain of the Baby Guards

by Jennifer Reinoehl

Giveaway ends May 07, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Writer's Block

When I get writer's block, I usually have to read to get over it. I know some people watch movies or look at bulletin boards or Pinterest with inspiring pictures they have tacked to it, but I have found reading is the best way to get me out of my rut.

Sometimes I read fiction works, but non-fiction actually is more inspiring because I can read about things surrounding my characters. If my characters are farmers, I find books about farmers. If my characters lived in the 17th century, I read history from that time period.

I do occasionally look at other people's Pinterest pages (and have thought about creating mine), but I really prefer to immerse myself in the character's life through reading. Visual stimulation is just too brief.

I also like to read other people's stories about my characters. I can hire a freelancer and give them the character and setting and have them write a story about the character. This helps me even if I do not use most of it. Sometimes other people can see things about my characters that I have missed. I think it comes from all the classroom/ collaborative writing I have done and my collaborative theatre work. I am used to working with other people to create.

I think collaboration is the only way to write numerous stories without repeating yourself. For example, when I read Georgette Heyer, I notice that she wrote many books but some of the plot lines are close to each other. Jane Austin wrote only a few books but each was distinct. Shakespeare wrote many plays, but used stories that were written by others to create them. (No, I don't think other people actually wrote the plays for him.) One person can only have so many ideas without the input from others.

That is what I like about freelancing. Basically, another author is giving me their story, and I am working with them to improve it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Wait Becomes Harder

So, I am still waiting to hear from Harlequin. That is no surprise since tomorrow will only mark the two month point since my submission. I did, however, relax a little and stop worrying about it.

Well, at least until Amazon announced a self-publishing contest. The only book I had finished that would have fit was the one I submitted to Harlequin, and the grand prize was $50,000. But I wrote that book specifically for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line. I was torn up for the two weeks I had to enter the contest and am still a little unsettled for other reasons. $50,000 is a lot of money. But, there was a catch. In order to get the prize if you won, you had to allow Amazon to publish your book and sign a contract that was posted and could not be changed. The contract was generous, but it gave Amazon some rights I did not want to relinquish.

The question is: If Harlequin doesn't accept it, wouldn't Amazon be better than nothing? And of course the answer is "yes," but I want Harlequin to accept it. I want to publish my series through them because it was written for them. I know. I am being silly - especially since $50,000 is a good deal. But even that isn't guaranteed. I probably would have less of a chance of winning since my book isn't steamy. So, I didn't submit it.

Yes, I might be kicking myself in a few months when that rejection letter from Harlequin comes, but I just couldn't risk giving up before I know for sure...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


So, I lost my favorite mega search engine (Metacrawler) several weeks ago when it became Zoo. I was not impressed with the new layout, but I had been loosing my 16 year love of Metacrawler when they began including searches from Blekko. I hate blekko because it was always returning stupid results. I would type in "18th century social reform" and it would return "Find 18th century social reform on eBay." I really doubt it...

So, I switched to Google. This was a logical choice since I have two Google e-mail accounts, this blog which is written on a website owned by Google, and I have a Google+ account. But, I never switched to Google thinking I would stay there. It is still my home page, but it is only one search engine.

Authors and researchers need a mega search engine. I quickly became frustrated with Google and so I searched for something more powerful. Finally, I have added Dogpile to my favorites bar. Google is still my homepage because it makes getting to all my accounts easy, but Dogpile has been holding its own for a couple of weeks. It searches four other search engines, so it isn't as extensive as Metacrawler used to be, but it also doesn't search Blekko - which I feel is very appropriately named. After all, if I wanted to by social reform on eBay, wouldn't I at least want something from the 21st century?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Taxes and Freelancing

Ugh. I hate doing taxes. Working through Guru offers many benefits, including the 1099 service. I do not have to do any 1099 paperwork and neither do my employers. Guru has my social security number but no one else needs it. I like it that way.

However, Guru does not do my taxes for me. (Sigh.) So, I prefer to use Turbo Tax. I could take it to a tax preparer, but the last time I was self-employed and had someone do my business taxes it cost $400. Turbo Tax Home and Business cost me $89 on sale, and it walks me through everything. It even gives me an option of setting up my own quarterly tax payments. You also get a step-by-step easy to understand walk through on your taxes, and it does all the calculating for you. As long as you put the numbers in correctly, it guarantees your taxes will be done right.

One year, I received another tax software in the mail for free and I thought I would use that (after all, it was free). It was so confusing, I think it was made for an accountant. I ended up purchasing Turbo Tax and using that instead.

Turbo Tax will automatically import from Quicken books, and most places will give you a discount if you buy the two together, but I haven't gotten around to getting that program yet. I think it would save time in the long run, though.

I do keep envelopes with all my important receipts throughout the year, then I go through and add everything up, check all my bank and credit card statements, and shred everything I don't need to keep. I e-file my federal taxes because it's free, but then I print a copy of everything, including a backup disk and shove it and my receipts into a large manila envelope with the year marked on the outside.

You should keep all your tax information for at least 10 years (so I've heard), but you might want to be safe and keep it indefinitely.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Miranda returns

So the lady I compared to Miranda from "The Devil Wears Prada" a few posts ago gave me bad feedback as expected. But even doing that, her inability to remember anything amazed me. She ranted about how I didn't take messages during our Skype meeting.

I not only do not use Skype, I do not have a Skype ID. In fact, on my freelancer profile page it specifically says I do not use Skype and why.

Now, Skype is a nice tool that allows you to talk around the world for free, but I have my reasons for not using it. I do willingly call all my employers and have an international calling plan so I can do this. Being able to contact your employers verbally is important. Some employers have a difficult time writing - that is why they are hiring you after all - so offering another form of communication is important.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


The toughest part of being a freelancer is when you get sick. I am not talking about slightly sick, lay in bed with a box of tissues, and keep working. I am talking about so sick you don't even want to read and looking a a computer screen makes you want to run for the bathroom.

I was very sick last week. I pretty much slept through four-and-a-half days.

In normal businesses, someone else would do the work for you if you got sick, but when you are the only one, you are stuck.

Most of my employers have been very understanding when I get sick. Generally, I have my husband send them an e-mail about it. Thankfully, I was working for one of those employers this time and writing an academic paper.

I think I will develop a standard e-mail that my husband can send, should it happen again. I always worry that he will type something filled with spelling and grammar errors. As a writing freelancer, I never like to send e-mails that have not been proofread two or three times. I do not want people to think I am careless with my edits - unless they are reading my blog where I tend to be a bit more relaxed. :-) Then again, maybe it's good he writes them because his writing style is very different than mine.