Video Demo And Review Of MockUp Shots Book Promotion Graphics Software

Video Demo And Review Of MockUp Shots Book Promotion Graphics Software

I just uploaded a new video to YouTube.

It’s a demo and review of MockUpShots, a site that gives authors lifetime access to a library of images for book promotion purposes.

​You can watch my 12-minute demo here. ​

I’ll show you:

     * What the software does with the cover of my book, Dark Before Dawn, in a matter of seconds
     * Explain the types of designs you can create
     * Share the pros and cons

I’m an affiliate of this product, so I will receive a commission if you purchase through my link, but I’ve also been a customer for several years. It saves me time, and I think it could save you time, too. Best of all, through my affiliate link, you can grab this tool for $97 rather than the regular $207 price.

I don’t know about you, but I think writing a book is a lot more fun than promoting it! When there are ways to streamline tedious marketing tasks, I’m all for it.

Quick Links

​12-minute video demo​

​Buy link to get MockUpShots for just $97!


Refilling Your Creative Well, Finding Inspiration, And More Tips for Writers

Refilling Your Creative Well, Finding Inspiration, And More Tips for Writers

I love doing podcast interviews and wanted to share a link to a recent one I did for the Getting to the Heart of Why We Write podcast. Everyone has a story tell and the people on this show have published theirs. Host Gina Soldano-Herrle talks to authors about the stories they write and the underlying fire at the heart of their writing. 

Here are some highlights from my chat with Gina.

How I learned over many years to refill my creative well with meditation, yoga, reading, and jigsaw puzzles.

Finding inspiration from all the different corners of daily life from flag etiquette to theme park princesses.

The importance of ergonomics for writers.

How oracle cards are different from tarot and how they can help writers.

Using vision boards, action steps, and concrete goals to move past obstacles.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the interview:

“Find those things that rejuvenate you and remember not to take it personally.”

“[Writing] gives me a voice. When I write, I feel like I’m fully myself.”

Check out the interview here!


Also, be sure to check out Gina’s article on my blog about the Kickstarter campaign for her children’s picture book.


Kickstarter For Authors: From Moldy Strawberries To Kickstarter Picture Book

Kickstarter For Authors: From Moldy Strawberries To Kickstarter Picture Book

kickstarter for authors

Kickstarter for authors. It’s a popular topic these days, but creating a Kickstarter campaign for your book can seem like an intimidating task. Luckily, we have Gina Soldano-Herrle visiting the blog today and sharing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Kickstarter campaign for her children’s picture book, Nia’s Rescue Box.

It all started with some moldy strawberries, or maybe they were blueberries. At Vindeket Foods, where I worked as a service participant (like a volunteer) every Tuesday night, I started telling myself stories.

Why A Food Rescue Picture Book?

Vindeket Foods is a food rescue and unlike any place I’ve ever been. It’s not just about any one thing; it’s much much more. So, I decided I’d combine it with my other passion, writing.

I wrote Nia’s Rescue Box in fall 2022 and queried for a minute before I decided to publish the picture book myself. With the encouragement of Vindeket’s founder and community support, I ran a Kickstarter the next spring so I could bring Nia’s story to life and share Vindeket’s philosophy with the world.

I could go on all day about their mission, but it’s basically about revaluing food and people providing a dual purpose solution that solves food waste and food insecurity in communities.

Kickstarters For Authors Done Well

There are A LOT of Kickstarters out there and many of them are done well. Below are a few that I’ve noticed, followed, or learned about that I think are examples of utilizing the platform well.

1. Rachael Herron’s Unstuck: An Audacious Hunt for Home and Happiness. Funded within a day at over 300% of target goal.

2. Joanna Penn’s Writing the Shadow: Turn Your Inner Darkness into Words. Funded at 729% of target goal.

3. Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper: Volume One. Funded at 655% of target goal.

Pre-Campaign Marketing For Kickstarter Books

This is the number one thing you can do to get your campaign up and off the ground. By marketing before you need any actual money, people will hear about your project with time to decide if they want to back it or not. And if not, they still might share it with a friend, coworker, or relative who could turn into a backer.

Pre-campaign marketing comes in a variety of ways. It could be webinars, social media posts, blogs, interviews, and more. Your focus will be determined by you, your project, and your target audience. No matter what your focus is, create your Kickstarter page as soon as you can.

The pages are editable and you can change the launch date as many times as you like before going live with the campaign. Once backers have picked certain rewards is when you need to stick to deadlines. Try to get your page published at least a week but up to a month in advance. Kickstarter has the option to “follow” a project. This lets you email potential backers to let them know your campaign is live. Also, having followers appears to help with the site’s algorithm.

Publicity For Kickstarter Author Campaigns

You know more than you think you know. For my own campaign, I was anxious about reaching out to people to publicize the project. I did what I could, but I know I could have reached out to way more networks than I did (think college, high school, home town, family, special interest groups).

I contacted some local news stations and was interviewed by a local paper. Other than that, I relied on grassroots support and my immediate networks through social media. Research who would be interested in your book, then reach out to those individuals, organizations, and news outlets to let as many people as you can know about your project. They can’t back it if they don’t know about it.

Community And Grassroots Support

Do NOT underestimate this powerful force. Community support is one of the biggest keys to having a successful Kickstarter.The campaign examples I mentioned above all had strong bases of support through readers, clients, and fans.

But, don’t worry. You don’t need to be famous to fund your book through Kickstarter. What is priceless are true fans.

Know the individuals who support your work. Reach out to your target audience. If you have a community-based project (like mine), let your community know exactly what you’re trying to do and what the rewards are for backing the project.

Rewards For Kickstarter Backers

Rewards can be tricky to figure out and I know now that I made a million mistakes. Lean into what you can offer that is a high ticket item and get people excited about it.

That could be “Ask Me Anything” calls in your subject of expertise. It could be a writing retreat, hiking retreat, meditation retreat, or online event. Offer classroom visits, guest speaker spots, special editions (Joanna Penn really nailed this one), whatever you can do that will be worth a backer’s dollar and fund your project.

Platform For Kickstarter Authors

You don’t need to have a huge platform, but you want people to be able to find you. Build that excitement like I said above before you launch your campaign. If your project doesn’t fund in time for your goal, you get $0. The stakes can feel impossible sometimes, but each campaign is a learning experience and you can always try again.

Although, you might as well take the time to do everything you can. It’d be way more exciting to hit your goal the first time, right? Use your platform on social media, email lists, and in local specialty organizations to build support and keep your project top of mind.

Updates And What Comes Next

Once your campaign funds (and even before), you’ll want to put out updates. For me, my first update went out when I decided on an illustrator and shared her first design. Updates can be once you have a cover or find a printer. Look at the examples above (all updates are visible to the public) for further inspiration.

You can also publish updates when timelines change. I originally told backers I’d publish in July 2023, but that changed to November 2023 because of a variety of factors. Don’t be afraid to be honest. Be human. The updates are also a great way to keep your project in front of people even well after it’s funded. You want to keep selling your book beyond the preorder, don’t you?

Keep updates coming as long as is reasonable or expected for backers and at least until they receive your book in their hands.

About The Author

Gina Soldano-Herrle is a professional core story consultant, ghostwriter, and author. She’s an active member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and was recently awarded a 12×12 Picture Book Challenge scholarship for 2024. Her debut picture book, Nia’s Rescue Box is available at most online booksellers. You can also listen to recent author interviews about “Why We Write” on her website or your favorite podcast platform.

Hot tip: Listen to Gina interview Stacy on this episode.

Why we write

About The Book

kickstarter for books

Ashamed of her newfound food insecurity, Nia leaves the local food rescue with an empty box. Afterward, when confronted with the reality of food waste, she reconsiders accepting help and becoming a part of something greater. In this picture book, children learn about food rescues, food waste, food insecurity, and what they can do about it.

Buy it on Amazon.



Time Management And Body Language Tips For Writers – Podcast Interview @AWolfe6293

Time Management And Body Language Tips For Writers – Podcast Interview @AWolfe6293

Authors Alcove time management

Could you use some tips on managing your time better as a writer? How about advice on how to express your characters’ emotions through body language?

Then I hope you’ll tune in to my interview on the Authors’ Alcove Podcast: Writers Helping Writers, where I discuss these topics and more. Host Agnes Wolfe interviewed me about my motivation for starting the Shortcuts for Writers website, and how during my career as an author and freelance developmental editor, I observed common mistakes made by writers.

Throughout the conversation, I emphasized the importance of writers learning to think like editors to save time and money on the editing process. We briefly discussed my courses, which aim to empower writers with the skills to catch mistakes on their own, producing stronger manuscripts and reducing the need for multiple rounds of professional editing.

The conversation also delved into practical writing advice, including time management tips, the Pomodoro Technique, and the significance of writing routines. We stressed the importance of quality over quantity in writing time, encouraging writers to find small pockets of time for consistent writing rather than waiting for longer sessions. I also discussed the impact of clutter, both physical and mental, on writing productivity and suggested strategies for decluttering and organizing writing spaces.

Agnes and I also touched on the importance of portraying body language effectively in writing. I explained how I created a course, the Energize Your Writing Toolkit, to help writers diversify their descriptions of body language beyond common clichés. The course provides lists of phrases for different emotions so writers can use them as starting points to enrich character interactions and avoid overused expressions.

You can listen in at the below links or watch the interview on YouTube.


3 Great Podcasts For Writers And Book Lovers #writingprocess #writingtips

3 Great Podcasts For Writers And Book Lovers #writingprocess #writingtips

podcasts for writers

Recently, I was featured on three podcasts for writers and book lovers, and wanted to tell you a little bit about each appearance. As you may know, I LOVE talking about books and writing. I’m grateful to have had the chance to do both during these interviews.

Between the Covers

First, host Stephanie Larkin of Red Penguin Books interviewed a few contributing writers to the new release, Launch Pad: The Countdown To Writing Your Book. This craft book is designed to help writers navigate the emotional ups and downs of finishing a novel, and was led by Emma Dhesi and Grace Sammon.

The episode features interviews with Susanne Dunlap, author of The Courtesan’s Daughter and a certified book coach; Meredith Stoddard, author of The River Maiden: Once & Future Series; Carol Van Den Hende, author of Goodbye, Orchid; and myself.

We discussed our writing processes, what’s inside the Launch Pad book, and valuable tips for writers.

You can watch the episode and learn more about the book here, or watch it below on YouTube.

eReads Podcast

I also had a lively discussion with Liz Bullard on the eReads Podcast.We discussed things like the perfect desk chair and how my chiropractor reprimanded me for working on my recliner. ☹️

Last year, when I was having neck and upper back soreness, he advised me to buy an ergonomic desk chair with a headrest. Some of you know my obsession with office supplies.

I mean, it takes me 45 minutes to pick out pens. Imagine how long it took for me to pick out a $300 chair.

I felt like Goldilocks, sitting on all the office chairs at Staples.

Too hard.

Too soft.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything just right, but I found one that was comfortable enough . . .

Well, after I bought a special cushion on Amazon.

I still occasionally use my Chromebook on my recliner, but I’m much more aware of my posture!

Anyway, Liz and I talked about a lot more than desk chairs and chiropractors.

I also shared some helpful editing and time management tips. If you’d like to listen, you can check out the episode here.

During the episode, Liz also asked me to share a writing prompt. I gave her one that I used to use a lot: I remember. All you do is free write starting with the words, I remember . . . and see what comes out.

You can read what Liz wrote here. 

Pencils & Lipstick Podcast

Last but not least, my good friend Kat Caldwell interviewed me on her Pencils & Lipstick podcast. This was the third or fourth time I’ve been on the show, and Kat and I always have a good time. The topic of the day was body language and nonverbal communication.

We delved into what those terms mean for writers, why it’s important, common mistakes that writers make, how to freshen up your characters’ emotions, and how to write creative emotional descriptions. You can listen to the episode here or watch it on YouTube below.



Time Blocking Tips And Princess Trivia – A Tale Of 2 Interviews

Time Blocking Tips And Princess Trivia – A Tale Of 2 Interviews

author your dream

I love doing interviews on podcasts and YouTube channels for readers and writers. Below, you can find out more about my two latest conversations and how to listen in.

Could you use some time management tips? Then be sure to check out my interview on the Author Your Dream podcast.

Time management is something that a lot of authors struggle with. Host Kenny MacKay and I discussed a number of topics, including effective strategies, time blocking, and automating tasks to help you be more productive.

Listen in here or in your favorite podcast app.


I was recently interviewed on Bookterviews – Meet An Author Show with JB Favour.

I had a fun time talking about my sweet and sassy chick lit novel, Fooling Around With Cinderella, and answering five princess-themed trivia questions.

Here is the blurb for the book: When twenty-five-year-old Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom…

If you enjoy fairy tales and trivia, go watch the interview on YouTube.

Gifts For Friends Who Love Writing, Work From Home, Or Yourself!

Gifts For Friends Who Love Writing, Work From Home, Or Yourself!

gifts for friends who love writing

I’m excited to announce that I have a brand new Amazon Influencer store featuring books and products for writers and entrepreneurs. They make great gifts for friends who love writing or who work from home—or for yourself! You’ll find journals, business planners, writing books, home office supplies and decor, tech gadgets and accessories, video and audio equipment, and products to help with the aches and pains that come from hunching over a computer all day. Headaches, eyestrain, backaches, neck aches, carpal tunnel—you’ll find suggestions for all of those ailments and more. I also shared some of my favorite “fun” products to decompress by myself or with my family.

You can check out the main storefront here. Please note that as an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through my links.

Below, I’ve included direct links to the various subcategories in my Amazon shop. I also embedded a series of three Show and Tell videos where I hold up some featured products that I own and do short reviews.

Let me know in the comments which products look the most interesting to you, if you’ve ever used any of these, or if you have suggestions for my lists. 


Main Storefront

Books for Writers

Home Office

Household Clutter Busters & Organization

Inspiration, Personal Development, & Journals

Technology, Gadgets, & Accessories

Business Books 

Planning & Productivity

Comfort and Health

Video and Audio Equipment

 Relaxing Hobbies & Games

Books I’ve Published

Again, you can find all of the products featured in the videos (and many more) in my Amazon store.  

Let me know what you think in the comments!


Cost-Effective Book Editing Livestream – Get Some Tips!

Cost-Effective Book Editing Livestream – Get Some Tips!

This is an interview I did for Emma Dhesi’s podcast for new writers, Turning Readers Into Writers. It was also livestreamed in her Facebook group, Turning Readers Into Writers With Emma Dhesi.

The topic was cost-effective editing and self-editing tips. Thank you to Emma for generously giving me the video to share. We discussed my writing background, delved into common mistakes that writers make, and I shared about how my self-paced online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable saves writers time and money.

During the interview, I also responded to questions from Facebook listeners about working with an editor.

Emma is an extremely inspiring writer and coach who helps beginner writers find the time and confidence to write their first novel.


You can find Emma here:
Turning Readers Into Writers Facebook group:



Read her interview on the Shortcuts for Writers Blog

Interview On It’s A Nerdy Thing #Booktube Channel #booktubers

Interview On It’s A Nerdy Thing #Booktube Channel #booktubers

It's A Nerdy Thing

I had a great time recently speaking with Ayushi Jaiswal, a book reviewer and host of the show It’s A Nerdy Thing. Ayushi calls herself a book nerd and says her goals are to share her bookish experiences and make viewers laugh.

I’m delighted that my novels have been part of her bookish experiences, and I had such fun sitting down to chat with her. We talked about my Storybook Valley chick lit novel Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty, my lifelong love of reading, how I got into writing, and my tips for writers.

I hope you enjoy the video. If you love to read, be sure to follow Ayushi on Instagram and YouTube.

Tips For Being An Author And Mompreneur

Tips For Being An Author And Mompreneur

writer mom

I wanted to share a couple recent interviews I did about being a writer, editor, course creator, and mompreneur. I hope you enjoy learning more about my journey and find my tips helpful.

Moms Who Rise

First, I was honored to be interviewed on the Moms Who Rise blog as part of the Momspire feature. We chatted about what inspired me to start my own business and tips for entrepreneurship.

Angela Garcia runs the Moms Who Rise site to give moms a community where they can connect and grow as women and also embrace their motherhood journey. Moms Who Rise is not only an online community, but they also meet through monthly mom socials, quarterly workshops, and the Moms Who Rise conference hosted twice a year.

Read our interview here.

The Digital Maddy Show

Mithyl Dave interviewed me recently on The Digital Maddy Show, talking about how to become an author. The show, which is available in podcast and YouTube formats, features topics including video creation, digital marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing, content creation, and storytelling. As a writer, I fit into the storytelling category, if you haven’t already guessed! Between promoting my books and running Shortcuts for Writers, I do a lot of marketing also.

If you’ve always wanted to write a book, give the interview a listen. Watch it on YouTube or listen to The Digital Maddy Show on your favorite podcast app. (May 30th, 2020 episode)⁠

How to Write Your First Novel And Get Published @ngalina1973

How to Write Your First Novel And Get Published @ngalina1973

How to write your first novel

I recently did a livestream interview on Alina Boyte’s Heart Centered Life Broadcast, talking about How To Write Your First Novel And Get Published. Alina hosts a podcast and YouTube show for busy professionals, entrepreneurs, and educators on living and leading from the heart. During the interview, we discussed how to get ideas and find inspiration for your book, develop characters, build a captivating story, edit your work, and find a publisher. You can watch the episode below.

Visit Alina’s Heart Centered Life website
Tour The Book Editing Blueprint Classroom

Tour The Book Editing Blueprint Classroom


In Book Editing Blueprint, your mission is to learn how to do a thorough developmental, line edit, and copyedit and to create a solid action plan. By the end of this 10-module, self-paced course, you’ll have prepared a detailed editorial report and will be armed with a simple self-editing checklist to guide you through your revisions. It’s a proven system that outlines what every fiction and creative nonfiction author should do before approaching an editor. That way when you’re ready to hire a freelance editor, you’ll get much more value for your money and should receive a high level edit rather than one filled with general beginner advice.

In this video, I’ll show you what the classroom looks like and give a quick overview of each lesson.


Please SUBSCRIBE and click the bell to get notifications.

I’m a fiction author, award-winning journalist, freelance developmental editor, and the founder of Shortcuts for Writers. My motto is “Let’s make editing simple,” and my signature course is Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable. I’ve taught workshops for organizations including Savvy Authors, RWA, and Sisters in Crime.








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#writing #writers #writingtips

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