Saturday, July 30, 2011

SEO Keywords for Writers

Since search is one key way people can find you on the Internet, I've argued in the past that a basic SEO strategy is important to a successful online strategy for writers. However, a writer can know this but still not know which keywords to use in blog posts and on web pages.

Here are a few keywords writers should try to include when relevant on pages:
  • Your name. In my case, that would be Robert Lee Brewer. If possible, work your name into the url of any sites you can. This will definitely increase search result rankings on your name.
  • Your book titles. If you have published books, include these titles on as many relevant pages as possible. Also, link to pages that sell your published books if you include them. This will increase your search results on your book titles and hopefully sales too.
  • Your articles, poems, etc. If you have any published pieces, dedicate a page (or more) to these. I've read several poems in literary journals, for instance, that have led me to search out the poet to interview on my Poetic Asides blog. All I might have at hand to search on is the poet, poem title, and publication the poem appeared in--and sometimes, I'm not able to easily locate the poet and the interview never happens. Help people like me find and promote people like you. Include your name, piece, and publication the piece appeared in, and you may be receiving more page views and interview requests.
  • Your location (and previous locations). You don't have to give a mailing address, but location can help people searching you out to know if you are someone they may know. For instance, I've spent my life in the Dayton-Cincinnati, Ohio, and Duluth-Atlanta, Georgia, areas. Make it easy on people who are trying to find you.
  • Work experience. Again, this is helpful for people who may know you from a current or previous job. Even if the job is not related to writing, you may have mentioned your passion for writing at another job and customers or previous co-workers may be curious about whether you're still writing away. So anyone who knows me from F+W Media, F&W Publications, United Dairy Farmers, WeatherGuard, Delphi, Skyline Chili, K-Mart, Woody's Restaurant, Burger King, University of Cincinnati, or the City of Moraine Parks & Recreation should be able to find and identify me in this blog post.
When possible (and relevant), try to combine keyword opportunities on the same page. As you can see, I included several of my own keywords on this page as examples, but you can easily do this on your own website or blog by having an About Me page and/or a Previous Publications page.

I do want to clarify something: The goal is not to load your pages and blog posts up with keywords just for the sake of adding keywords. If they aren't relevant for the page or post, don't try to fit a square peg into a round hole. However, I know many writer sites and blogs that completely pass up SEO opportunities.

For instance, I've read posts by authors who mention their book as "my book" throughout a blog post without ever once referring to it by name. You better believe that if I mention either of my poetry chapbooks that I'll refer to them as ENTER and ESCAPE at least once in the post. In fact, the same goes for my two big books: Writer's Market and Poet's Market.

Here are a few more pieces on SEO:

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Learn even more about SEO and blog and website optimization with these resources:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Publishing My Second Collection of Poetry!

Earlier this year (April 1), I released my first ever chapbook of poetry, ENTER. The release was a very personal, limited edition release (only 101 individually numbered copies) that sold out in less than a month. I have no current plans to do another printing of that collection, but I am moving on to my next project: ESCAPE.
ESCAPE will be my second limited edition chapbook (once again, only 101 individually numbered copies), and ordered copies will be personally signed by myself. I'm really excited about this collection, because they are bound together by theme and my own little poetic form.

ESCAPE is something I've been putting together for more than a year. Many of the 22 poems have been previously published, and many of the poems have been performed at readings. Did I mention I was excited about this collection?

Here are a few more details about ESCAPE:
  • The official release date will be September 1, 2011.
  • The official price will be $10 (which includes shipping, regardless of where you live).
  • All purchased copies will be signed by the poet (that's me).
  • Super eager readers can pre-order now and receive copies somewhat before the "official release date." Also, pre-ordering is a good way to ensure that you get a copy before they sell out. Just e-mail me (at for details.

This collection includes one of my favorite poems (which is also currently unpublished, though I've performed it at several readings), but it also includes several that have been previously published, including:

Here's a nice review of my first collection ENTER by Maureen Doallas.

And here's another nice review of ENTER by Sheila Moore.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer, or connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

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To pre-order a copy of ESCAPE for $10 (includes shipping), send me an e-mail at I accepted payments for ENTER via PayPal, check and money order; I'm sure that's how I'll roll again this time.

Thanks for your support!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Project: Final Reset: 4-Week Update

As I mentioned last Sunday, I'm currently trying to revise how I live my life by making healthier decisions for myself, my future and my family. This morning marks the end of my fourth week, and so far so good.

Tammy and I have been sticking to our super tight maternity leave budget. Plus, I've now lost 25.8 pounds--in 4 weeks! Once I lose 9 more pounds, I'll be ready to buy some running shoes and start training for the Atlanta Half-Marathon on Thanksgiving Day.

This week may be a challenge to continue eating right and light. I've just started a week-long vacation, which means I won't have work to distract me from munchy cravings. The good news is that if I can make it through this week, I'm sure I can make it through any week.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer, or connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Or sign up for e-mail updates from this blog over on the right.


The diet I'm on worked in the past and is working again. It's not only a diet that helps you lose weight, but it helps your body function better by taking care of your liver. In fact, the diet was originally created to help cure other ailments--outside of weight loss--and for me, it's helped my skin feel smoother and gets rid of headaches.

Click here to learn more about The Liver Cleansing Diet, by Sandra Cabot. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

When Should Writers Start Blogging?

Maybe the question to ask before when is should writers blog? And my answer is yes. However, the decision to blog is a personal one. You have to feel like you might have something to say, though you definitely don't need to know exactly what right out of the gates.

Blogging is a free and easy way to connect with already established and/or potential new readers. If you want some tips on blogging, click here. I've also got some blog design tips (for non-designers) if you click here.

When Should Writers Start Blogging?
If you decide you should be blogging or even if you're just curious about blogging, then the appropriate time to start is now. Don't think about it or debate it.

Either start up a blog here on Blogger or use Wordpress. Either is fine, and both have supporters. Both are free and easy to get started. You could literally have your blog created and first blog post up in an hour or less.

How I Got Started
This is not my first blog. I started off with a MySpace blog before ending up here. I also have a very popular poetry blog on titled Poetic Asides. In each case that I've started a blog, I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to communicate.

I just knew I wanted to connect with readers and share information. Over time, I've experimented with content with some major successes and minor failures. In fact, the good thing about blogging is that most failed experiments are minor, though successful experiments can yield great returns.

An example of a failed blog would be my Telecommuting Parents blog. I still think it was a good idea, but I just didn't have the passion and energy to commit myself completely to the project. I probably only lost 5 or 6 hours of time and energy, though it was still a good learning experience.

One example of a blog that really performed well for me is the Poetic Asides blog mentioned above. My blogging on that site has helped me make connections and share inspiration with thousands of poets and even helped me earn the 2010 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere title from

So don't delay. Get started today.


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Plus, be sure to sign up for e-mail updates over on the right.


Want some more resources on blogging? Check these out:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Call for Submissions: Poet's Market and Writer's Market

Recently, I've sent both the 2012 Poet's Market and 2012 Writer's Market off to the printer. I'm really excited about these two books and think they're the best ones yet. They both include so many publishing opportunities with book publishers, magazines, contests and more, but this year's versions also include more than twice as many articles on the craft and business of writing and poeming.
I took an hour or two off to celebrate, but now, I have to start gearing up for the 2013 editions, and that's where you might find your own publishing opportunity. In fact, I have three different opportunities listed below.

Write an article for the 2013 Writer's Market!
Pitch me an article idea (or two) for the 2013 Writer's Market. I'm looking for articles that deal with the business side of writing. For instance, articles on writing successful query letters, synopses and book proposals, managing rights and/or taxes, organizing submissions, fostering relationships with editors and publications, and more. I want articles that will help writers get published and paid for their writing.

Please send an e-mail to with the subject line: 2013 Writer's Market Pitch. The deadline has been extended to August 8, 2011.

Write an article for the 2013 Poet's Market!
Pitch me an article idea (or two) for the 2013 Poet's Market. As with Writer's Market, I'm looking for articles that deal with business-related information (handling submissions, dealing with editors, promoting work, speaking, putting on events, etc.). However, I'm also looking for craft-related pieces as well.

Please send an e-mail to with the subject line: 2013 Poet's Market Pitch. This deadline is also August 8, 2011.

Publish a poem in the 2013 Poet's Market!
For the first time ever (as far as I know), Poet's Market will be accepting previously unpublished poems for consideration. I'm looking for my favorite 20 poems from the bunch. All styles of poems will be considered. However, I'll let you know that longer poems (more than 3 pages) are probably going to be a hard sell for me. All accepted poems will earn their poets publication, a contributor copy of the 2013 Poet's Market, and $50.

Please send poems by e-mail to with the subject line: My 2013 Poetry Submission. The deadline for submitting poems is August 15. For even more comprehensive guidelines on this particular opportunity, click here.

Good luck!


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The 2012 writing-related Market Books are headed to the printer. If you want to be the first to receive a copy, pre-order a copy below:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Best Movies Ever (According to Me)

Okay, I realize everyone has their own favorite movies. That's cool. However, these are my favorites.
  1. It's a Wonderful Life. Often mistaken as just a Christmas movie, this is the movie of one man's life and how important he is--even if he's not a war hero, millionaire, or famous explorer. This movie is about as light and dark as any I've ever seen, and it always gets me choked up at the end.
  2. Love Actually. I love love stories, and this is the ultimate love story movie. This movie successfully weaves together several love stories into one spectacular finish.
  3. Jaws. The more I watch this movie the more I love it, and I've watched it a lot. The characters really hook me on this movie, and then, of course, the adventure once they're all out on the sea.
  4. Singing in the Rain. In my opinion, this is the greatest of all musicals. It has so many incredible songs and dance numbers, and it's super funny.
  5. The Quiet Man. I grew up in a family that loves The Duke, and while I think True Grit is great too, I love this story of a man with a mysterious past who moves back to Ireland. The scenes are beautiful, and the chemistry between John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara rocks.
  6. So I Married an Axe Murderer. This movie is quite simply silly and cracks me up every time I watch it. It's my favorite Mike Myers film.
  7. Casablanca. This movie has the best one-liners ever. I put off watching it for a long time, but fell in love with it when I finally did.
  8. Raiders of the Lost Ark. I'm a big Indiana Jones fan, and this is my favorite of the trilogy (I don't recognize that Crystal Skull nonsense).
  9. The Big Lebowski. I thought this movie was great fun the first time I watched it, but it's moved further up my favorite movies list each new time I watch it. My favorite Coen brothers movie.
  10. Halloween. Tammy introduced this movie to me. I've never been a huge fan of horror movies, but this one changed my mind. Besides the fact that Michael Myers is one spooky bad guy, I enjoy the camera work and setting of this movie.
So, what do you think? Which movies am I missing? Tell me below.


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Here are the next 10 movies that didn't make my list:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Is Writing Worth Pursuing?

Many writers either ask me the question above, or if they're getting frustrated about their lack of progress in "hitting it big," they say something like, "Sometimes I wonder if writing is even worth it." Before I get into how I would answer that question, I'd like to tell you about my baby brother, Simon (also known as "Crazy Uncle Simon" to the boys).

Crazy Uncle Simon
Years ago, when Simon was finishing high school, he knew exactly what he wanted to study when he moved on to college: Meteorology. His top two choices, I believe, were St. Louis and Oklahoma, but he wanted to do more than just study weather; he wanted to experience weather. So, he opted for Oklahoma, even though St. Louis showed more interest in him.

Early years of chasing for Simon.

After Simon got out to Norman, Oklahoma (in 1999), he didn't waste any time hooking up with some other freshman meteorologists who were also interested in chasing storms (check out their website here). For a few years, they chased when they were able. Eventually, they realized they could make a little money by licensing video and photographs from their chases. By 2003, I was able to watch Simon's storm chasing videos on the Weather Channel while staying in the hospital when Jonah was born.

A few years later, Simon appeared on his first reality storm chasing show. Now, he's finished filming the third season of Storm Riders, which is a hit show on the Weather Channel. No longer a hobby, his day job is to chase storms.

Image from the new season of Storm Riders that begins this August.

The Moral
Simon didn't start off trying to make a living off storm chasing. He just loved chasing and followed his passion with abandon. When writers ask if writing is worth pursuing, I think of my brother Simon. Writing is definitely worth pursuing, but--unless you're going into professional or technical writing--you should be doing it because you're passionate about writing.

Everyone wants to live off their writing, and it is possible, but if profit is the only motivating factor in writing a novel, then most writers are going to walk away disappointed.


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Also, be sure to sign up for e-mail updates over on the right.


Learn more about writing and weather with these resources:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Project: Final Reset: The Beginning

Tomorrow, I turn 33.

I couldn't ask for a better way to start my 34th year of living: I have all four of my boys (Ohio and Georgia), my daughter and awesome wife around me. That said, there are things I know I could improve with myself.

While Tammy was pregnant with Hannah, I put on a lot of "sympathy" weight. That's what Tammy called it anyway. Personally, I called it "competitive" weight. Regardless of the why, the simple fact is that I put on too much weight. Now, I have to lose it.

Project: Final Reset
Tammy and I plan on Hannah being our final contribution (of little bundles of joy) to the world. Recently, we were talking about that while we took a mile walk around a park with Hannah and Will. Tammy said something along the lines of, "It's nice to know we won't have to hit the reset button anymore."

Obviously, we love having children, but we both have to hit the reset button on our weight with each child. Tammy has biological reasons. Mine are more psychological, I guess (and yes, I realize there's probably plenty everyone could say about that).

Anyway, I consider this latest round of weight loss Project: Final Reset. The goal is that I don't have to hit that dreaded reset button again on my weight and my health. Here's how it works:
  1. Lose weight. I'm doing this by eating healthier foods and smaller portions. Not exactly brain science, but I do feel the diet I'm using (mentioned below) is the best out of the several diets I've tried over the years.
  2. Start running. I'm waiting until my weight gets close to or below 210 pounds before running. I've tried running at heavier weights before, and the same thing always happens: I slim down, but lose virtually no weight. And heavy is heavy when you're running, whether it's fat or muscle.
  3. Stay consistent. This means that I plan to make my diet my normal way of eating. I don't have an end date for quitting the diet. Once I get close to my target weight, I will try to adjust portions to ensure I don't completely disappear, but I want to stay healthy. This also means I want to continue working out at least 3-4 days a week too.
  4. Budget. Not all my changes are physical. Tammy and I had to create a tight budget to accommodate for her maternity leave (after Hannah). We both plan on continuing the tight budget after she goes back to work. That way, we can finish paying off all our debt and put more money in savings.
  5. Simplify. I've already been working on this for more than a year, but it's a process that I think is very important to all my other goals. The more I can simplify processes and my own schedule the more time I can spend with my family and on myself.

Already started
I could've waited until my birthday (or Janaury 1, 2012), but I didn't. I've actually been working toward my goals for 3 weeks now. In 3 weeks, I've lost 19 pounds!

I'm following a healthy liver diet that was working extremely well for me when Tammy got pregnant with Hannah. Of course, I quit the diet soon after hearing the news. Now that I'm back on it, I really can't understand why I ever left it.

The diet cuts out foods that overload the liver--red meats, sugar, dairy, and processed meats--and replaces them with healthy foods--raw fruits and veggies, whole wheat breads, eggs, chicken, and fish. I still have cravings for the bad stuff, but I also know how carried away I can get once I get started.

A goal
I don't have an end date for my diet and fitness objectives. However, I do have one goal: On Thanksgiving morning, I want to run the Atlanta Half-Marathon. I don't have a goal time; the goal is simply to run the whole race from beginning to end.

Maybe after 13.1 miles of punishment, I'll let myself have a day of feasting.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer. Or connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Oh yeah, and be sure to sign up for e-mail updates over to the right.


The diet I'm on worked in the past and is working again. It's not only a diet that helps you lose weight, but it helps your body function better by taking care of your liver. In fact, the diet was originally created to help cure other ailments--outside of weight loss--and for me, it's helped my skin feel smoother and gets rid of headaches.

Click here to learn more about The Liver Cleansing Diet, by Sandra Cabot.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

11 Google+ Tips for Writers

A new mania is sweeping the Internet: Google+ mania. Some users are going ALL IN by redirecting their blogs to their G+ accounts and removing all their other social media accounts. However, I don't advise doing that.

Time will tell how much staying power Google+ has, but for the moment, Facebook is still the most used social network and established blogs are still something that directs to and from various social networks. In the meantime, I've been banging around on the site and searching for tips on how to best use Google+.

Here's what I've found so far (and feel encouraged to throw in other tips in the comments below):
  • Complete your profile. As with all social networks, please complete as much of your profile as possible. This makes it easy for others to understand who you are and if you're of interest to them.
  • Build your connections wisely. Don't just start circling people haphazardly. Search for useful connections you know from the real world and other social networks. Invite friends and family to join you.
  • Circle people with a purpose. Google doesn't do "friending" or "following," but "circling." Here's my best advice on cirlces: Think about how you want to take information "in" and push information "out" when creating circles and placing users in circles. For instance, some of my circles include "Poets," "Publishers," "Publications," and "Media Gurus."
  • The +1 button = Like. If you like something someone has to say, you can "plus one" them.
  • Share the good stuff. As with Facebook, you can share the information that you really like, and you can share that information with the specific circles or everyone.
  • Mute specific posts. If you want to block a post, but not a specific person completely, you can do that. Each post has a little options menu on the right-hand side of the post that allows you to mute the specific post.
  • Tag friends in posts. As with Twitter and Facebook, you can use the at-sign (@) to tag friends on Google+.
  • Double check privacy settings. This is just a good idea any time you join a social network. I'm a proponent of sharing as much as possible, but still... To check the privacy settings, click the options icon in upper right of page, click "Google+ Settings" and select the "profile and privacy" tab.
  • Experiment with hangouts. The hangouts part of the site is basically a video feed. You can invite G+ friends to join you. Early uses for this feature have included tutorials, music performances, and, of course, just hanging out and talking online.
  • Follow your interests. Sort of like following feeds on Twitter, you can follow specific search terms using the Sparks feature of G+. To use, click on Sparks (on the left-hand toolbar). Then, perform a search on a topic or two. If you find a feed you'd like to save, click the "Add interest" button. For instance, you could create a feed of "Google+ Tips."
  • Stop the e-mails! One thing I did not like about starting my account was that I started receiving a bunch of e-mail notifications anytime anything happened on G+. I put a stop to that by doing this: First, click the options icon in upper right hand corner of page; click "Google+ Settings"; select the "Google+" tab; and unselect any notifications you do not want to receive by e-mail. For instance, I unchecked them all.
Do I like Google+ so far? Yes, I love it.

Am I abandoning all of my other social media accounts? No way.

I'm cautiously optimistic that Google+ may become my favorite social media site, but it's not like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all of a sudden completely useless. In fact, Facebook is still the top dog, though they better be looking over their shoulders.


Want to connect with me? Here's where I'm at on:
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Want to make a difference with your social networking? Don't chase numbers; build relationships. Here are a few resources to help:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weekend of Change

In most big ways, my life did not change this weekend. However, there were quite a few small changes that are likely to expand over time.

I joined Google+ this weekend, and so far, it feels like a cleaner version of Facebook with instant access to my gmail and the ability to start throwing people into appropriate groups (Facebook didn't create that feature until I'd already hit the 5,000-friend limit, so it's not practical for me to go through them all now).

There's still a lot I haven't tried on the site, but it seems promising enough. Of course, the site doesn't have nearly as many people on it as Facebook...yet. I'm definitely interested to see how it does over the next year, and I can't wait to figure out more of the tools.

Coming of age
My son Ben turned 10 on Sunday. I don't mind that I'm turning 33 in about a week, but my oldest son reaching double digits makes me feel old. This is nothing new. Ever since I became a parent, I've realized that I no longer mark my own age as much as the ages of my kids--all five of them!

On the way up to Ohio, it also occurred to me that Ben is now within striking distance of being taller than Tammy and is only a few years from equalling my height (if he follows my growth pattern, that is)--not to mention he's only six years from learning how to drive. Where does the time go?

10-year-old Ben with his new Nook.

e-Readers Hit Close to Home
Beyond that, Ben received a Nook as one of his birthday gifts. In fact, it was the main gift he wanted and talked about before his birthday. His mother and nana bought it for him. Their main reasoning for a Nook over the Kindle? The Preble County library system allows visitors to check out digital books--only for the Nook.

Ben likes to read, and he represents a generation of young readers who have no problem with moving from printed books to a digital platform. Anyway, I think it's interesting to see how the e-reader revolution is hitting close to home with my double digit son.

His first books to download? Three titles from the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. He's into creepy stuff.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer. Or connect with me on LinkedIn. Plus, you can search for me on Facebook (as "Robert Lee Brewer") or Google+ (as "Robert Brewer"). And feel free to sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog over on the right.


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