A Trendless Strategy for Engagement: Writing for Parasocial Interaction

Big brands thrive online. However, in a digital world run by social platforms and search engines that are constantly altering the way their algorithms prioritize content, it can be difficult for a small business owner to have the resources to keep up with the latest SEO (search-engine-optimization) or other organic promotion strategies. This makes it difficult to compete with large brands that can afford paid strategists and advertising specialists to keep their content at the top of the algorithmic food chain–where conversion and sales are the easiest. 

Luckily, some aspects of content creation are timeless. Good stories create connection, connection creates loyalty, and loyalty creates sales. Even tiny brands can leverage this storytelling skill to generate parasocial relationships with their followers, which makes online selling less like shouting into a crowded town square and more like chatting with some friends at a party. 

What is Parasocial Interaction?

Parasocial interaction, named by Donald Horton and Richard Wohl, is the illusion of a face-to-face relationship created by celebrities, influencers, and brands. It is one-sided, with the audience being more connected to the Persona (content creator) than vice-versa. Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, Rachel Hollis, Kanye West: these are all Personas created to facilitate a marketing experience to consumers. Note that they all have very different niches and appeal to very different types of “followers,” but the end result is the same: their word carries weight with certain ideas, products, and trends; I chose these specific Personas because they have received significant backlash from people who do not follow them which has not affected their success in their niche. Parasocial relationships are more powerful than traditional marketing strategies because they are built to prioritize engagement rather than other metrics like sales conversion.

Is Parasocial Marketing Ethical? 

It might seem like creating content focused on building this parasocial relationship with consumers is a slimy thing to do business. However, the research shows that these relationships are not a source of manipulation for lonely or otherwise vulnerable people–humans are simply wired to connect, and they enjoy parasocial relationships for the benefit that they provide in an increasingly isolated and insulated world. 

The reality is that your consumer already craves interaction with the brands they like, and by facilitating that connection you are finally meeting that need.

How to Write for Parasocial Engagement

When writing with the goal of creating parasocial interactions, consider these important and timeless strategies to increase the likelihood of success. 

What to Include

Jose Gallegos writes that the most successful parasocial marketing “transfer[s] cultural meanings and values onto a product.” When you’re aiming to successfully make this transfer, here’s what you should be sure to do:

  • Become your audience’s idealized alter-ego. Wohl and Horton’s research indicates that successful parasocial interactions occur when the audience is able to project their own ideals onto the brand. This is why the disconnect occurs when the real person is unable to remain in their audience’s eye as the Persona–which is why so many people have stories of their favorite celebrity being a “jerk” in real life. Because your brand can’t actually ever be a human person, this is great news for marketers.
  • Speak directly to your audience. In order to build the illusion of a relationship, writers must engage their audience as though their work is actually part of a larger discussion. This creates space in the audience’s mind for them to respond to the content.
  • Mingle. Your brand must engage with its audience wherever they are if it hopes to build a relationship of any kind. This can be as simple as responding to comments or as complex as creating live content that invites real-time audience participation, but it simply is not a negotiable aspect of creating a valuable brand Persona.
  • Become a part of your audience’s daily life. Regular digital publishing is necessary. Your brand Persona must give the appearance of inhabiting the digital space and perpetually acting and reacting to its environment. A great rule of thumb: if you talk to your best friend more than your Persona talks to its audience, then you need to create and publish more content. 
  • Tell well-constructed stories that feel authentic. There are no shortage of guides on how to write for general reader engagement – like this one from grammar.yourdictionary.com – and you should always start writing with these tips in mind. As a discipline, writing has a high level of research and development, and the principles of good writing rarely shift by large degrees. Additionally, this content is what your consumer is looking for. Gallegos notes that consumers “crave stories, they crave connection, and they crave interaction with other humans, with real people (a byproduct, perhaps, of the increasing amount of time we spend in front of a computer screen?).” A content creator who is trained in traditional writing has the advantage of being able to craft authentic-feeling stories without relying on user-generated content, which can be expensive and time-consuming to acquire. 

What to Avoid

Australian videogame publication Doublejump has a great writeup on one of the worst attempts at leveraging parasocial relationships in our times. Videogame company Riot Games created an imaginary Persona named Seraphine to market a virtual product in their League of Legends videogame which received harsh criticism from its community. Here’s what you can learn from their mistake. Make sure that you don’t: 

  • Hide your intentions from your audience. Your followers are both smarter and more resilient than you think. Attempting to hide your desire to monetize your online presence is the quickest way to feel inauthentic and turn potential consumers away from your product.
  • Be too aggressive or coercive. Again, your audience gets it. You don’t have to manipulate them into purchasing from you; if you provide enough value, they will be eager to invest in your relationship.
  • Sell out your loyal following for short-term gain. Your Persona’s reputation is invaluable to your brand. Never make the mistake of seeking quick monetization by devaluing your Persona’s value as a historical source of positive consumer interaction. You can court all the controversy from outside of your audience that you want, but creating negative interactions within your parasocial following is a great way to lose consumer trust. 


Digital publishing is increasingly the primary way that businesses interact with their consumers. For small and micro-businesses to survive, they have to know how to understand their analytics, define their voice, create cost- and energy-efficient content, and create consumer relationships that don’t rely on the latest marketing tips and tricks. The best way to monetize digital content is to create a parasocial Persona for followers to connect with, value, and ultimately trust. 

The best brands live online. Does yours?

To Hire or Not to Hire: Is it better to Self-Edit or Go with a Pro?

Your bestseller is sitting there, waiting for publication. You have written, revised, rewritten, and revised again, and now — you cringe at the thought of more corrections. Every writer experiences the painstaking chore of cleaning up their work before moving forward, but not every writer hires a professional editor. Some do, some do not. Whether you plan to go the traditional route or self-publish, getting a quality book to the masses will require the long and tedious task of editing. So, the question stands, who should do the editing, you or a professional?  The answer lies solely in your goals for the masterpiece you have created.

Professional editors work hand in hand with authors to ensure their book hits the shelves in the best condition possible. As an invaluable piece of the publishing puzzle, the editor’s job is to turn a good book into a fantastic one.

[Do not be mistaken: it is NOT the editor’s job to take a pile of literary goo that you have an idea for and then magically transform it into an award-winning novel. You are the writer — they just make your writing better.]

That being said, at certain times and in certain conditions, it may be more cost-efficient and practical to perform the tedious task of editing yourself. If you are looking to get your writing to the masses as quickly as possible, try out a story idea to beta readers, or test run a particular genre, you may be able to buckle down and take on this job without external help.

If the focus, though, is to propel your career forward and have your work come across as flawless and professional as possible, then you may need to open your wallet and get some experts in your corner. Weighing your writing goals against the pros of both hiring and self-editing will help you better understand which option will work best for you.   


Derek Murphy of Authortube posted an informational video in 2015 stating that he does not always recommend hiring an editor for individuals looking to publish. This does not sound like something a professional editor would say. However, his reasoning rests on the idea that if the story is not good, then editing will not make a difference. You can have a grammatically and structurally pristine body of work, but the writing is so horrible that it puts people to sleep. This logic is sound and reflects one condition where external editing may not be necessary.

Murphy expounds on this, saying that if the story’s structure is good and it flows well, then the smaller nuances and grammatical slip-ups will not matter quite as much. Readers are much more forgiving of a few small errors when the writing captivates them. His modus operandi for publishing is to edit a solid amount himself and then send that work out to beta readers, asking for their help in identifying typos and errors. This method should catch most, if not all, significant errors and problems in the writing. If your plans are not necessarily to have your work accepted as expert material, this should be more than enough to make your book readable and successful if it is written well.

Catherine Turner of Daily House further develops the process of self-editing on her YouTube channel, Bestseller List. Her overarching belief is that hiring a professional will always be best, but she also understands that sometimes paying an editor is not feasible. For most beginner authors, frugality is vital, and oftentimes, hiring an editor is beyond the scope of financial possibility. Adding onto Murphy’s ideas, Turner focuses on the necessity of quality when publishing any written work. For self-editors, free or inexpensive tools such as ProWritingAid and Grammarly are exceptional in scanning the various details of writing structure and grammar usage within the text. Online programs like these can clean things up and make the formatting more professional.

Additional tips that Turner suggests when approaching publication are:

  • Sending selections of the book to a professional editor in pieces versus all at once. This process can be spread out over several months while continuing your revisions and allows you to edit as you go instead of going back to page 1 after you have done all that work. This method does enlist the help of a professional editor but in more affordable chunks. Choosing this route can divvy up editing costs to as little as $100 – $200 a month.
  • Taking advantage of Beta readers who can help with the final proofing process. Again, this can be done in pieces or the book’s entirety.
  • Pricing your finished book lower. While it may seem counterproductive, this trick elicits less scrutiny from readers, as it lowers the expectation of perfection. If the work is of good quality, it will sell regardless, and you can get a better feel of whether the book will be successful. A $0.99 book is held under a more forgiving microscope than a $15.99 one.


Self-editing can save a good bit of money, but it may not always be worth it. There are many situations when hiring an expert is the best decision you could make. Countless authors believe so much in this process that they will opt-out of other typically paid-for services (like professional cover design) to have more of their budget allotted to hiring a quality editor. Content is that important.

Blake Atwood shares his professional opinion on the matter at The Write Life, discussing when a writer should start looking for an editor.

A few of the questions he recommends authors ask themselves are:

  • Have I done as much as I can to make my manuscript the best it can be?
  • Am I looking for an editor because I’m tired of looking at my manuscript?
  • Do I have the nagging feeling that something undefinable isn’t quite working in my manuscript?
  • Do I understand the cost, both in time and money, of hiring a professional editor, and have I budgeted for both?

When hiring an editor, it is crucial to understand just what services they will be offering. You must know why you are hiring an editor before jumping in. Otherwise, you may be paying for additional services that you do not need or need certain ones that your editor does not provide. P.S. Hoffman explains the process in his article “When Should You Hire an Editor?”

Line Editing is when the editor will go line by line to check the flow and feel of the language you have used and the meaning implied.

Proofreading will only fix the grammar, spelling, and factual errors within the writing. It does not look at the flow of the piece or whether things make sense overall.

Developmental or structural editing will focus on the plot, the characters, and the story as a whole.

After you have done all of your own revisions, take a look at what you need the most for your book and hire someone based on those needs. Do you need grammatical help, help with the feel of the story, or perhaps plot structure? Some editors package multiple services into one at a discounted rate. Do your homework and communicate your needs. When everyone is on the same page, the writer-editor relationship will be optimal.


Hiring a professional should be done when you cannot do it yourself effectively, do not have the time or energy to do it yourself, or need your work to be as polished as humanly possible before releasing it for publication.

On the other hand, if you are skilled enough to make the necessary corrections, have an astute attention to detail, or cannot budget for a professional editor, then self-editing might be a better choice for your work.

Regardless of the path you choose to get your writing from point A to point B, the editing process is one that you cannot cut corners on; it has to be done. Whether you hire a professional or choose to do it yourself is up to you. More often than not, multiple revisions must be made before a book is ready for market. If you can do the work of both writer and editor, it will save a significant amount of money, but hiring one will always be worth the cost to convey a professional tone. Perfect as much as you can, and then let your writing speak for itself.  

I’ve reached that final moment of editing a book—the one where the text manifests as a living breathing person and starts slugging me in the face.

Richard Due

What Are You Waiting For? Stop Procrastinating.

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” ~ Rita Mae Brown, author

Writers are notorious procrastinators. When deadlines loom, some are relaxed because all articles or presentations have been submitted. Others are right on schedule, just giving it a quick review before sending. Then, there are those of us who are still scrambling for ideas with neither outlines nor rough drafts, mere days before the due date. We know procrastination adds stress to our already overloaded to-do cart, so why do we do this to ourselves?  More importantly, what can we do to stop?

What type of procrastinator are you?

According to Ali Schiller and Marissa Boisvert , professional business coaches and co-owners of Accountability Works, procrastinators are one of four main types: the performer, the self-deprecator, the overbooker, and the novelty seeker. Schiller and Boisvert explain that finding out which group you belong to can help break your cycle of procrastinating. For each type, they describe behaviors and challenges, and offer solutions.

The Performers

The Performers are those who say, ”I work well under pressure.” Mostly perfectionists, Performers force themselves to focus by reducing the time they have.  This self-inflicted ploy makes it impossible to have a perfect outcome when there is so little time, so why bother.  Other Performers truly believe they are best under pressure to make deadlines.  The Performers’ biggest challenge is getting started, and the best way to beat that, says Schiller and Boisvert, is to concentrate on the start date, not the due date.  By inverting the timeline, you will lessen the pressure and can focus properly on starting the project.

The Self-Deprecators

The Self-Deprecators claim laziness, but in fact they are far from it. Schiller and Boisvert say many of their male clients are in this group of Type A people, who are very hard on themselves. When they miss a deadline, they blame laziness rather than admit they are tired.  What they should do is give it a rest, literally.  Take a break, even when you think you can’t. Regroup and recharge, so you’ll have a new focused view of your starting point

The Overbookers 

The Overbookers are too busy; they are mighty beasts at filling up the calendar, but too often overwhelmed by the load. Since the busiest people are usually the ones who get the most done, if an Overbooker says, “I’m too busy,” it may mean, “I don’t want to do this.” It’s a form of avoidance, but rather than admitting that, they let their chaotic schedule take the blame. The solution in this case is simple: ask yourself what you are really trying to avoid and why. Once that’s settled, you’re free to get started.

The Novelty Seekers

Finally, the Novelty Seekers are those who always have the best new ideas.  Schiller and Boisvert call this the Shiny Object Syndrome, where these people are constantly coming up with new ideas and quickly tire of older ones. They are quick to see trends and act on them, but they fail to follow through, causing lost time and burnout.  They aren’t consistent long enough to see results.  The coaches say many entrepreneurial clients fit in this category, and their greatest struggle is completion. They often advise these clients to “make it stick,” literally, with sticky notes.  Posting the ideas gives them validity and acknowledges the possibilities while recognizing the possible distraction. The only rule: Do not start them until after the current project is complete.

The Writers for Hire blog agrees.  “Writers are known procrastinators,” says the (staff) author.  “Whether we’re afraid our ideas won’t be good enough, or we’re waiting for inspiration to strike, we tend to set ourselves up for stress by waiting until the last possible minute to begin serious work on our projects.” Don’t worry, they assure us.  We can stop this pattern with their tips

“Always keep the main idea in mind.”  

Define your purpose in one sentence, and let that guide you. Posting that sentence in your line of vision while you write helps.  Keeping the end result in mind will help guide you and keep you from wandering off on random tangents, and strengthens your focus.

“The end is in sight.”

Visualize your end result, especially with larger projects. Vow to outline an article or two, do some research, or write a certain number of words daily. Keep track of word counts on a calendar. Little accomplishments will bolster your confidence. Remember: each word written is one word closer to the finish line.

“Just do it already.” 

Stop with the excuses, and just start writing.  It doesn’t have to be perfect; that’s why they are called drafts, and you can have as many as time allows.  Don’t worry about the mechanics, just get it on paper.  You can edit later.  If you can’t think of anything, try some free association. Schedule time for brainstorming with a friend.

“Reward yourself for a job well done.”

Finishing your written project is a great reason to celebrate, and knowing there is a planned reward at the end of the road will motivate you to press on to completion. Then, relax with your favorite beverage, a round of golf, a much-needed nap, or a bit of retail therapy to congratulate yourself. 

“Lose the ‘I work better under pressure’ mentality.” 

Stop kidding yourself; that mindset is false, and it never works to your advantage. Stress causes you to rush through your work, forget things and make mistakes. Putting off your paper or article will only make you want to pull your hair out later. Stop trying to kid yourself and start writing. Now

Ghostwriting Digital Content

Imagine being the business owner of a successful RV company that wants to get the word out about the new features the manufacturers have added to their new RV models that can boost interest in otherwise basic models. You know everything about the new features, but you do not know how to create a reader-friendly digital article that shares why the newer features are exciting and used by some of the leading RV magazines. What do you do?

Hire a ghostwriter. With recent shifts to perform jobs digitally, ghostwriters can work remote digital writing jobs anywhere. A ghostwriter will not only create terrific digital content, but their professional writing skills will land the new features into the RV industries’ magazines. As the business owner, you will never have to have written the article, the credit of the article will go to you, and your reputation is considered knowledgeable in the RV industry.

An Introduction to Digital Ghostwriting

A ghostwriter is a writer hired to produce content with the “byline” of the content going towards the person who hired them. Ghostwriters listen to what the client wants, do extensive research on the subject, and construct specialized content about the subject that is fascinating to readers.

With digital content marketing continuing to rise, business owners have digital content that they need someone to write because they may not have the time or expertise to write consistently. Writer’s Access gives an abbreviated list of types of digital content ghostwriters can write, such as blogs, social media posts, email marketing sequences, thought leadership pieces, and eBooks.

How can ghostwriters help businesses with these types of digital content?

Blogs – Business owners will hire ghostwriters to keep their blogs updated by having them write frequent and enticing articles to drive digital readers to the blog so that business owners can focus on other areas of their business.

Social Media Posting – Businesses may hire a ghostwriter for a certain length of time to keep social media posts current, engaging, and build brand recognition with an online target audience.  

Email Marketing Sequences – Ghostwriters construct alluring emails to prospective customers about a company’s current promotions of products or services. The goal of the email is to get people redirected to the website or store to purchase.

Thought Leadership Pieces – Leading figures of an industry contract ghostwriters to write thought leadership pieces to make them seem insightful by having ghostwriters post articles on LinkedIn as if the client wrote the personal post or even for larger magazine companies.

EBooks – A business strategy some owners are doing to collect potential customers is by offering free eBooks to consumers via email addresses. Once the business owner has their email addresses, other ghostwriters can send frequent email marketing sequences. Business owners may not have the time or expertise to write a short eBook about their product or service and therefore contract a ghostwriter to do that for them. Business owners benefit because it does not cost money to make an eBook, ghostwriters can be expensive, but by keeping the eBook short, it is less expensive. The huge reward is having hundreds, thousands, or even millions of personal emails to send out business information in later emails.

Not only do companies seek digital ghostwriters but celebrities as well to help publish their books. A Forbes article explains there are “somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published each year in the US alone.” Many celebrities who cannot write are somehow writing autobiographies that land on the best-selling lists: the reason, ghostwriters.

A ghostwriter could work on the project by themselves or collaborate with the client hiring them for the work. The ghostwriter must adapt their writing style to match the credited author, so readers draw slight suspicion about whether the bylined author wrote the material or not. This is what gives the name “ghost” writer because you as the writer are paid to do the work and disappear like a ghost from the project once it is finalized. According to NPR, at least 60 percent of the nonfiction books published are written by ghostwriters. People may want to publish eBooks and print books, but most do not know how to write a book.

How does a writer become a ghostwriter?

Many freelance writers who have gained experience in writing hot consumer articles and have built a reputation with clients tend to switch entirely into ghostwriting or do both to maximize their income.

Many websites advertise that they can hire you as a ghostwriter but are not legitimate or underpay writers significantly. MasterClass, in a recent article, gives six tips to how to find ghostwriting work: choose the right location, build a network, ask for recommendations, perfect your craft, work on your interviewing skills, and develop your own personal style.

In a nutshell, to be a successful ghostwriter, you do not have to be in central writing locations like New York City or Los Angelos, but you should always be networking to gain contacts of people in these locations. Networking is beneficial in forwarding a ghostwriter’s career. If you make your goals as a writer known to your network (who may have an author or publisher connection), your name could be recommended to clients. If you are not socially inclined, hard work can still land you contacts by getting your writing out there under your name.

Pros of being a Ghostwriter

Flexible Hours: If you are a writer that enjoys writing content at midnight instead of bright and early, this job may be for you. It does not matter what time you feel the most productive in writing. What matters is that you manage your time to complete the project.

Remote Working: More jobs are teleworking, and ghostwriting is one of those jobs that does not require you to work from an office. A ghostwriter can easily do their job anywhere if they can send their work electronically to clients. That means ghostwriters can work from the comforts of their own home or on the other side of the world.

New Subjects: As a ghostwriter, you are asked to write on various topics of subjects in which you may not be familiar with. If you love to research topics and write about them, this could be an excellent job for you as a writer.

Upfront Payment: According to Author Bridge Media, 20 to 50% of the total cost is paid upfront to the writer. Some publishing agencies however may pay the whole deposit upfront to the writer. Pricing depends on the writer’s skill, the length of the project, and the timeline to finish the project. Ghostwriters can set their terms of the contract and how they wish to charge (by word, page, hour, etc.). Experienced ghostwriters with a well-received large portfolio can charge higher prices as opposed to someone who is not as well known or has not worked on many projects. Average ghostwriters charge $20,000 to $80,000 for a 200-to-300-page book. You as a writer gain additional income by writing royalties and bonuses in your contracts if a client makes it to the best-selling list or you have driven considerable amounts of people to their blogs.

Cons of being a Ghostwriter

No Credit: You may be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) if you wrote an eBook for a client. Meaning that under the penalty of the law, you are never to discuss or admit that you wrote that book. NPR heard from Joni Rodgers, a ghostwriter from Houston, who says, “being invisible is 1,000 times more exciting than being famous.” However, if you are someone who enjoys writing and getting recognition for the work that you have done, ghostwriting is not for you.

Job Stability: Ghostwriting can pay good to great money if you are an average to expert writer with revolving projects lined up. However, unlike a regular job, if you do not have projects to work on, you may be struggling for money until you have a project come your way.

Writing Deadlines: Ghostwriting can be freeing to choose where you write and at what time you write but the customer sets the deadlines of the project. Every project needs a deadline, but some customers need the work finished in an urgent manner to get the writing out immediately. Hindering your freedom of work/play since you will need to use more of your playtime to work long hours to get the project done. It can be unappealing for many, but if you as a writer are paid for the urgency of the work it can be worth sacrificing your time.

Ethics of Ghostwriting

In the United States, ghostwriting is a legal job that one can pursue. People who are not versed in business or writing, may see these clients who are taking the byline credit as dishonest. As digital content marketing increases with many people being online, more clients need ghostwriters to do the heavy work while they focus their attention elsewhere in their business.

An NDA is standard for ghostwriters, not just for books/eBooks but also for blog articles and social media posts. Byline authors do this because readers may not enjoy the fact that their favorite celebrity did not write something that they have read. By signing an NDA, readers are none the wiser and ghostwriters will get paid good money, because it is their job to tell that story in a way that is eloquent and as close to the byline author’s voice as possible without anyone noticing.

A type of ghostwriting that is seen as unethical is academic ghostwriting. A student will pay for a service to have a ghostwriter write a paper on a subject for their class. The reason why this is unethical (although not illegal for the ghostwriter) is because the student is plagiarizing the work of another person and passing it off as if they wrote the paper. Students can be expelled for violating academic integrity. One could argue that the previous examples are unethical, but universities have a code of conduct for students to follow why they are receiving a formal education.

Bottom Line

Digital content on online platforms will only continue to be on the rise into the foreseeable future. Therefore, ghostwriting can be a beneficial job avenue for more experienced writers to consider pursuing. Entry level writers, however, may not have immediate success breaking into ghostwriting business. Ghostwriters are hired based on their writing experience, reputation of previous projects, and customer satisfaction. Once a writer focuses on perfecting these areas, they will have a more positive experience of finding clients and getting paid honest wages for their writing talent.

Is digital marketing better than traditional marketing for publishing companies?

Publishing companies promote books written by new and veteran authors with digital and traditional marketing to get the public interested and excited for the latest books. Traditional marketing is when the publishing companies would use newspapers, tv ads, and sometimes billboards to promote a book. Even advertisements on most radio stations reach people commuting in their cars or relaxing in their homes. Traditional marketing may be an excellent way to start promoting, but it may not get to most people.  Some people may not have a tv or radio. They might not have to a newspaper stand near them or have a newspaper delivered to their house. This is where digital marketing help with reaching more people anywhere in the world as long as there is an internet connection and a social media account.  

              Digital marketing is any way for publishing companies and authors can promote books to people. Many people in the digital era do not watch cable tv anymore and prefer to use streaming their tv shows from streaming services. Some of the streaming services do not have advertisements, or the person can skip the ad to get straight to the show. Most people have a social media account with promotions throughout the website that companies pay to have. Some publishing companies can also send an email to people’s email accounts if they sign out for that opinion. To do this, people can put their email addresses on the publishing companies’ mailing lists. People can also re-post something about the book to help authors and publications with promotion. The more people talk about something on their social media account, the more people it reaches. Authors and publication companies have social media accounts to assist with their marketing needs. The accounts can range from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, where both the publication and authors can post anything about the book to the public months before release. Digital marketing does have some drawbacks. Some people probably do not have access to an internet connection or prefer not to use technology. They also may not have social media or email account they use regularly. Most people may not be tech-savvy as well. Many people do not have a computer, smartphone, or tablet to access the internet.

              Both traditional and digital marketing can be used together to reach people in both ways. There is someone who would rather receive one form of marketing from publishers and authors. It comes down to their preference for advertisements from the two parties. Regardless of their skills with technology or they want to continue receiving mail and buying newspapers, there are many reasons people choose their method of receiving advertisements. Digital marketing may have a negative effect on people buying books from a publication company. Traditional marketing may also have the same impact on people as well. But there might be some positive impact on people from the two forms of marketing. It all depends on how the book is promoted to the public.  Which do you prefer receiving from publishers and authors of your favorite books? Would you want to have a digital promotion or a printed one?

QR Codes: A “Quick Response” for Writers

Envision, you are in the middle of reading your favorite book. You flip the page, and there is a quick response code (QR code) crisp and simplistic, prompting you to “scan me” with your smartphone. You scan the image. The code promptly takes you to an interactive map based on the story that also features extensive character bios, activities specific to what is currently happening in the book, and bonus content. Making the story, you were reading come alive.

Writers can employ QR code technology in beneficial ways to draw a larger audience, interest and engage readers, and entice book lovers to participate long after they have closed the book. QR codes are customizable to the author’s desire. When placed strategically, writers can have readers connect with their writing on deeper levels than ever before imagined.

What are QR codes?

If you are new to QR code technology, it was first invented in Japan in 1994. Denso Wave tasked a team led by Masahiro Hara to find a way to track automobiles and their parts during manufacturing quickly. Hara increased data storage and kept up with product versatility by compacting a one-dimensional (1D) barcode and making it two-dimensional (2D).

QR codes are a square, flat, scannable black and white image made up of one of four modes – numeric, alphanumeric, binary, and Kanji. QR codes have a “quiet zone” of white space bordering around the image to help cameras focus, so information is delivered rapidly and without failure.

QR codes have since expanded into other areas of business like writing. Before QR codes, books only had barcodes that delivered a tiny bit of information, such as the book’s price and nothing else. With the use of a QR code, an encoded image can be printed on or inside of a book and instantly read by your smartphone’s camera or with a QR code reader application installed on other devices. Attached information such as images, audio files, videos, and web addresses redirect your phone in a matter of seconds to give users a more meaningful experience than just the written word.

How are dynamic QR codes modernizing today’s authors?

Whether you are breaking into the writing field or an established writer, dynamic QR codes are inexpensive and functional for today’s writing business. Dynamic QR codes can edit, update, give current analytics and scan statistics to see where authors are drawing the most traffic. Dynamic QR codes even allow authors to establish their brand by generating codes with customizable frames, colors, shapes, images, and logos.

Authors with dynamic QR codes can update information with current social media platforms, promotional contests, recently published books, promo a book, link readers to online storefronts to purchase books, and add transparency to their books with customer reviews. The author will not have to worry about dynamic codes being obsolete in books years from now if they maintain the links attached to the encoded image.  

How can authors incorporate QR codes into their writing to maximize their written content?

Statistics of 2020 proved two things: QR codes are frequently scanned, and book lovers still prefer their printed books. Authors have an interesting opportunity to unite print and eBook readers to maximize their following. Regardless of if a book is print, an eBook, or is later a printed eBook, readers of different platforms can cohesively experience a novel’s interactive QR codes produced within the story or on the jacket of a book. No reader will feel left out of the experience because smartphones are in the hands of almost everyone worldwide.

Every author’s goal is to draw in a larger audience that appreciates their work and gains followers. To gain new readers, Yashika Tangri suggests placing a video QR code on the book’s jacket that opens into a book trailer, like a movie trailer. Tangri writes, “The book trailer of ‘As Dead As It Gets’ by Katie Alender has over five million views on YouTube.” Book trailers can be influential, gain audiences, and drive sales.

Authors may have longer books that can struggle to keep a reader’s interest or have complicated subject matter. To break up the monotony of words, liven up photographs, or explain complex concepts, QR codes of videos would work best to reengage the reader and help them better understand what written words or a still photo cannot through a video.

If you are a tech-savvy author, link a QR code to your website to get readers excited about interactive maps from the story, character bios, fictional weapon schematics, and knowledge tests. The sky is truly the limit when bringing fictional stories to life with multi-media.

A professional and minimalistic way to convey a lot of information is with a QR code. QR codes can tidy up the book and still convey a synopsis of a future book, a list of other written books by the author, an author’s social profile, or boast current promotions. By not having a scannable QR code at the end of the story, authors run the risk of outdated information and readers not wanting to dig further to find your information since it is not readily available to them. Having a scannable QR code at the end of a story can keep even older novels relevant to what the author is currently working on.

To further keep readers engaged once they have closed the book, authors might also consider placing a QR code at the end of the story that links to a fandom discussion board website. Readers will keep engaged with the author’s work and see what other fellow fans’ thoughts are while also sharing their own.


QR codes since their birth have only expanded in resourcefulness and popularity around the world. With dynamic QR codes, authors can update and edit information without having to reprint or relaunch books. Besides being of value to the writer, QR codes can bridge print and eBook lovers together under the same QR codes, so each is experiencing the story in uniform ways while reading in their preferred ways. No reader will feel left out from experiencing books in superior technological ways.

A Smaller Screen = A Larger Audience

With technology advancing at the speed of light, your website must be up to date now more than ever. Digital publishers must keep pace, and this means keep looking at the big picture, but view it on a smaller screen. If your website has decreased in activity lately, it may be that it doesn’t meet the needs of your mobile phone user audience. Here are a few ideas on how to make your website more (mobile) user friendly: 

Test for Mobile-friendliness 

According to Kristen Hicks on HostGator.com, “Having a mobile-friendly website is no longer optional. If your mobile visitors don’t have a good experience on your site, you’ll drive away a huge portion of your traffic (and hurt your search engine rankings in the process).”  

Hicks suggests using this testing tool from Google to determine if your website is mobile-friendly.  It lets you know quickly, and even throws in a screenshot of what your site looks like on a mobile phone. 

Code it Right 

Tatiana Tsyulia, of link-assistant.com, advises publishers to code in HTML5.  She also recommends avoiding software not normally found on smartphones, like Flash. Doing this, says Tsyulia, will ensure your content is presented smoothly on more mobile devices.  

Make sure your page loads quickly.  Smartphone users don’t like to waste their time waiting for a page to open, and will likely search elsewhere. Google’s update Core Web Vitals can determine if your site is “healthy” by its core indicators, one of which is load speed.  Tsyulia says if your site doesn’t start loading within 2.5 seconds, it needs improvement. 

Keep it Short and Sweet 

Hannah Whitfield of websitebuilderexpert.com lists a few things to keep in mind when checking the mobile-friendliness of your website.  “Avoid large chunks of text.  The copy on your website should be short and sweet at the best of times (with the exception of blog posts, like this one!), but on mobile this becomes all the more important.”  

Whitfield also advises all forms to be shortened, because “Long forms will lose you readers faster than you can say ‘this is a required field.’” Ensure all forms only ask for the necessary information.  Her top tip? “Pesky autocorrect is a surefire way to turn form-filling into a major waste of time. Save your readers the stress by switching it off.”  

Access for All  

On her dreamhost.com blog , Megan Hendrickson stresses inclusivity: “Make sure your website is accessible to all readers – from adjusting the contrast so colorblind people can read content to making it possible for visually impaired people to understand through screen readers.  

According to Hendrickson, it’s a mobile-first world, and optimization can’t wait.  Since users rely more on mobile devices than their desktops, considering how your site works and looks on small screens is important. “Optimizing your site so that it performs well and is still easily usable on mobile devices is key, especially if you don’t want to get penalized by search engines.   

Governmental Role Model 

Tips on reader activity can be found in this very informative article on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services site. “The truth is, users don’t read Web pages; they scan them, looking for things they can read very quickly until they find a relevant piece of information. What does this mean? Write pages the way people use them. Make them scannable.” Here’s more good advice: 

  • Organize Content in an Inverted Pyramid 

Organize your content as an inverted pyramid; put the most important information at the top and less important information at the bottom. 

  • Add Headings 

Look for opportunities to divide your content into sections and give each section a descriptive heading. 

  • Use Bulleted and Numbered Lists 

Use bulleted or numbered lists when appropriate. 

  • Write Concisely 

Keep your paragraphs short—no more than 3-4 lines of text. Look for opportunities to cut words, sentences, and even entire paragraphs if they do not contribute necessary content 

  • Link and Bold Important Pieces of Information 

Use hyperlinks and bolding to highlight important pieces of content, but be judicious—less is more. 

Watch Your Language! 

The University of Maryland website provides useful hints on your language use in this article on their website.  Make your choices the right ones with their advice

  • Use Common Language 

For SEO (Search Engine Optimization) use the same words and phrases your readers do. When creating page titles, headers, list items, and links, choose keywords carefully and use them consistently. This practice reinforces keywords relevancy for search engines. 

  • Tone 

Readers expect a personal, upbeat tone in web writing. They find bureaucratic writing offensive and out-of-place and ignore the message it’s trying to convey. 

To avoid bureaucratic language, turn the tone down a notch. Search out and destroy jargon. Use active voice. Always try to write in first or second person. 

  • Use active voice instead of passive voice 

Yes: Tim taught the class. 

No: The class was taught by Tim. 

  • Choose lists over long paragraphs Use lists to make your content easier to scan 


People are using their phones from everything from paying bills online to see who is stealing their Amazon packages while they are at work. Clear, quality, timely, mobile-friendly, fast and accessible information are what your mobile readers want.  Apply the KISS principle, don’t waste their time, and you can reach out and touch everyone.  

Writers Find All the Help They Need on Scribophile

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” Anaїs Nin’s words convey the purpose of many writers, but that writing process is not always as easy as a passionate swipe of the keyboard. The work is tedious, tiresome, and often involves multiple rewrites to end up with something that is (hopefully) close to what was intended. To be a writer takes skill, perseverance, and analytical editing of one’s work, but this task is much more difficult without the support and wise advice of others who have walked the same road. While writing for public consumption can be accomplished entirely by individual efforts, it is a world of difference when quality help is enlisted.

Help is Found!

Online communities and workshops are available across the web and do more than provide digital socialization. With the help of platforms like Scribophile (affectionately nicknamed “Scrib“), seasoned authors and novel newbies can gain insight and critiques from other writers to help improve their talents and find valuable, professional information on sharpening their literary skillset. Founded in 2008, Scribophile is an all-inclusive community and multi-skill workshop where novelists, poets, essayists, and the like, can post thoughtful suggestions to others and have their work reviewed as well. The greatest perks of this specific network focus on the common good of the group and the active, individual support of fellow writers in their various projects.

Beta-readers are always at the ready to review writings in a safe and honest environment. For authors, beta-readers can help boost confidence tremendously by offering a disinterested party’s genuine feedback. One’s adoring mother might be able to provide help with a review, but it is much more beneficial to have someone in the general public give their 100% honest take on a piece. Critical feedback is crucial to understanding how the composition will come across to the masses, and quality insight can help convey public opinion better than a well-meaning friend or relative.

Touted as one of the “largest and most active writing groups online,” Scribophile gives a brief summary of their offerings:

  • Post your writing to get detailed, insightful feedback from other writers on how to improve it
  • Chat and discuss with other writers from around the world in our busy writing forums
  • Network with like-minded writers in our special-purpose writing groups
  • Enter free writing contests to win great prizes
  • And educate yourself on the finer points of the craft of writing in our writing academy and writing blog

One of Scribophile’s most brilliant selling points is their currency. Karma Points are the bait and reward that entices readers and writers to give extensive feedback, engage with other writers, and simply be involved across the board. These free points are earned by posting critiques (the lengthier, the more points you can earn), others reacting positively to reviews left for them, sending virtual gifts, etc. Points are easy to acquire and easy to spend; it only requires five karma points to post new work for critique. A writer will also frequently stumble across other members who generously give points as gifts from their own excess, just to help a writer out.

The “Writing Academy” section of the site is where priceless information is stored. It is a “collection of free writing resources produced by members of the Scribophile community who are writing professionals.” Subjects vary across a broad spectrum of categories. These include articles on writing effective critiques, using different narrative perspectives, composing screenplays, publishing, copyright infringement, and more. Scrib provides a plethora of opportunities for writers to improve and hone their craft.  

Scribophile abounds in valuable resources and friendly interactions, all in the free version of the platform. With the premium upgrade, bonuses are added to the already vast array of benefits. Some of these benefits are:

  • Account limits lifted
  • Ways to get more and improved feedback
  • Control over who sees your writing
  • Publication Showcase

Discounts are also offered for Grammarly Premium and Bookbaby’s book editing service upon enrollment in Scribophile’s premium program.

As a poet, playwright, and novelist, Mark Guerin had a personal interest in the appeal of Scribophile and composed a review for Dead Darlings: Everything Novel. His conclusive opinion highlights the many positive features available for writers in the Scrib community. A favorite of Guerin is what Scribophile calls inline critiques, allowing the critic to “highlight text, suggest deletions and directly insert comments which highlight to green to differentiate them from the author’s text. The resulting screen is much easier to read than a commented Word doc with all its arrows and bubbles.”

The depth of analysis that critics can utilize when reviewing the work of others allows a more personalized and professional experience. Guerin completes his praise of the site by stating,

Scribophile offers me enough of the critical insights I need to spot and revise problems in my writing, and more importantly, to keep me motivated. Writers need readers and Scribophile provides them.

A key element in the website’s feedback system is what Alex Cabal, founder of Scribophile, likes to call the Spotlight. On Author Secret, Cabal explains that the Spotlight system is a way to guarantee timely feedback for writings that members post. A limited number of pieces are highlighted in this section for maximum karma earnings. He assures members that “your work is guaranteed to enter a spotlight for a minimum of critiques… Once your work reaches a certain number of critiques, it’s removed from the Spotlight to make room for another work.” This system, along with karma points, guarantee feedback for every single submission.

Scribophile is more than a friendly group of writers; it is a centralized storehouse of helpful information, contests, networking, and invaluable critiques to help with the daunting tasks of writing and editing. It is one thing to experience life initially through the creation of a literary work; it is quite another to re-live it through the chiseling away of what hinders the development of the masterpiece. Having other hands available to help with this sculpting process enables the creation to stand stronger and more beautiful than it would with only one set of tools. Countless writers are willing and able to take that journey alongside a comrade through community platforms and workshops like Scribophile. With a simple sign-in, all the help a writer could need is available for the taking.

E-textbooks: Are they a simple choice for universities and publishers?

College students have been using printed textbooks for years, but digital publishing students have purchased digital books or e-textbooks for their classes. There are some advantages and disadvantages for college students using e-textbooks. Textbooks for college students have been both necessary and expensive throughout their college careers. One book could cost over two hundred dollars even with the help of scholarships or financial aid. It also depends on if a student has more than three classes during a semester or term how many textbooks they have to carry with them to and from class. One course material could be cover in multiple books or maybe one book. Students could hold a decent weight of textbooks around campus daily for their classes. Going digitally for college would be easy for some students and publishing companies; there are some faults when using laptops or tablets for e-textbooks.

              Different companies are getting into digital textbooks. Pearson, Chegg, Cengage, and Amazon are four companies that students use to buy or rent their books. Because of the success of those four companies and most if not all students have eight a laptop or a tablet they use for their courses. Those companies have a reasonable price for e-textbooks for students to either rent or buy. While also affording any addition of the textbook as well. Students can rent a digital book for a semester from these companies through the companies’ app or the university during the first to second week semester or term. E-textbooks would have more manageable and quicker to correct any mistakes after publication. For students have an e-textbook would be an easy way with them at all times. They would find the chapter or session quicker by using the search feature. Some digital textbooks are much more affordable for students to purchase or rent. Students can have some or all of their classes’ books on one device for them to use.  

              The use of digital textbooks does have some drawbacks for both the students and the publishing companies. Some students may not have a laptop or tablet they can use for class, or they may not be as tech-savvy as other students.  If a student buys the e-textbook, the book can’t be resale or sent it back to the company at the end of the semester or term. The student will have textbooks in their digital library of the apps they used to purchase it. Even if they delete it from their library, it’s still there in cyberspace. There is also the harm of blue light from laptops’ and tablets’ screens for students’ eyes. Students are straining their eyes looking at these screens for an extended time when looking at any computer or tablet’s screen. These laptops and tablets need to be charged daily. Some students would instead use a printed text for their studies. At the same time, some of the apps need to have an internet connection to work correctly. If the app is not open within an internet connection once, some app features would be out of sync or have a glitch when open outside of wifi. Publishers might have found some glitches in the apps that are difficult to fix in time for the start of the semester or term. The digital textbook is not up to date, or they do not have all the different versions of the book. Professors would rather have their students use printed texts to save time for the class.   

              Digital textbooks do have advantages and disadvantages for both students and publishers. Publishers still sell the printed versions to universities to be acceptable from selling printed and digital texts. It would have to be the choice of the user and their preference whether a student wants to have all their textbooks on one device or wish to have physical text to have zero distance when studying. It’s entirely up to the students and their choice for their class. Which would you choose? Printed textbooks or e-textbooks to use for your classes.     

How To Make Your Digital Content’s Voice Match Your Brand

You have seven seconds to make a first impression and even less time on the web. Digitally published content is most potential clients’ first interaction with your business, and how they perceive your brand is going to affect whether they choose to spend money with you. Understanding which Voice and Tones are appropriate for your niche will go a long way in fostering trust and encouraging sales. Additionally, formalizing your brand’s voice and tone will give you the freedom to delegate content creation to a lower-level or offsite employee.

Matching Your Business Voice with Your Brand

Think of your brand’s digital content as communication with your consumer via a virtual human voice. CoSchedule notes that brand Voice is the combination of word choice, personality, and phrasing your brand uses to communicate with consumers; it is “consistent and unchanging.” It is crucial to create the impression that your business is participating in a dialogue with the consumer rather than merely talking at them. To figure out what your target customer wants to talk about, you will need to have studied your analytics and clarified your brand’s unique value in the market (AI can help you generate this statement if you get stuck!). Armed with this information, you can choose a Voice that is appropriate and engaging. Within that Voice, you can choose Tones that suit your brand’s personality and may address the full spectrum of business-related communication concerns.

Defining your Business Voice

Your brand can – and, often, should – choose a blended voice. Your brand’s “personality” should ideally be driven by data, but many marketing sites offer brand personality quizzes that can get you started with keywords. This unique blend of identifiers is what will help you stand out and maintain your position as a thought leader in your industry. Once you’ve narrowed this list down to a few adjectives, you can use the Content Marketing Institute’s Voice Chart to flesh out your brand’s voice:


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Choosing Appropriate Tones

Tone is the inflection of your brand’s Voice in context. CoSchedule notes that tone “adjusts to what’s suitable for a particular piece or message.” Your subtext is going to communicate your brand’s identity whether your consumer is messaging with a customer service chatbot or reading an article from your company website, but exactly how it does so should differ. From vocabulary to phrasing to punctuation, there are no limits to the subtle nuances of your brand’s tone. So, how do you know how to adjust the tone of your voice for each message you need to craft? Like so many things, it comes down to knowing your audience.

Start with the basics: is it more in-line with your brand’s Voice to use formal or informal Tones when speaking to its audience? Is your brand approaching conversations with its consumers from a place of superiority or sameness? How does your brand address a concern without igniting further tensions? Even a quirky, casual brand will want to respond to allegations of racial insensitivity from a place of respect and seriousness, for example. AI content production company Acrolinx offers a definitive guide to the tonal choices your brand should navigate, including education level of your audience, intended emotional response, and immediate impact on the consumer.

How to Formalize Your Voice and Tone

Because Voice and Tone differ for every person, and sometimes for every kind of business, they should be established and formalized early in the development of your website and content strategy. By following the Voice and Tone establishment techniques in this article, you will eventually be able to compile a data-driven resource like Mailchimp’s Content Style Guide. Realistically, compiling a few writing samples covering various content concerns will be enough to get your brand’s content speaking from an impactful and unified perspective—even if you outsource the content creation itself.


Making sure your brand’s voice is consistent across all marketing channels is a crucial element in successful marketing. As an owner, you need to be the expert on the way your digitally published content is communicating with consumers. With a professional approach to content writing, you can harness the power of your brand and drive significant business growth.