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Members who wish to submit a blog entry should send it to sandiegowriterseditorsguild@gmail.com. A review committee will consider each submission for membership interest and may suggest edits before publishing the submission to the blog. For more information, see Blog or Be Blogged.

  • 6 Jul 2023 2:00 PM | Lisa Hagerman (Administrator)


    Please join SDWEG member Andrew Fitzgerald at Warwick's in La Jolla on Sunday, August 20th, noon - 2 p.m. Andrew will sign copies of his international best selling book, How Did I Get Here?: Traveling The Road To Resilience .

    "I flat-lined twice and was brought back to life..." A father, husband, and author, Andrew speaks on what it takes to be successful in the corporate world and how to overcome health crises and other losses. His experiences allow him to show others how to recover in order to flourish and thrive with resilience.



    For more information, please visit Andrew's website at www.andrewfitzgeraldauthor.com.

  • 5 Jul 2023 8:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    THANK YOU, LINDSEY!

    The winners of the 2023 KidsWrite! program were announced in June at an event at the Coronado Public Library. A special thanks to KidsWrite! Director and SDWEG member Lindsey Salatka for managing the contest again this year. Without Lindsey, this year of SDWF KidsWrite! would not have happened! Lindsey is tireless and dedicated and works for hours on end to make the whole contest for San Diego Youth a reality.

    AND CONGRATULATIONS to OTTO LANA and all of the KidsWrite! Winners!

    Otto Lana and Lindsey Salatka

    A Message from Otto Lana, a Treasured Member of Our KidsWrite Community

    "I want to thank Lindsey Salatka, Jen Laffler, and everyone involved with KidsWrite! San Diego. Thank you for keeping the IDEA of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility alive and well and shining bright. Four years ago, I submitted a poem to the poetry contest, as a high school student, despite the adults in my life encouraging me to enter my work in the special education category. I wanted my poem to be judged as a creative work, not a work segregated from the rest of the poets. This distinction is important to me. It represents inclusion at its core. Congratulations to everyone to was acknowledged with an award on Saturday and to everyone who was brave enough to write something and share it. Thank you for sharing something from your heart. Keep writing. Keep dreaming. And thank you for honoring me with a perpetual award called the 'Otto Lana Award'! If you make movies, you can win an Oscar. If you write plays, you can win a Tony. If you write poetry in San Diego, you can win an Otto! Good luck, everyone!"

    About Otto

    I have autism, apraxia, and anxiety. These labels describe me but do not define me. I am a self-proclaimed math nerd, so I say it’s A to the third power (A^3). I was introduced to typing as a form of communication at age nine. Let me back up; apraxia prevents me from speaking with my mouth, hence typing. 

    CLICK HERE to read more about Otto - http://sdvoyager.com/interview/meet-otto-lana-of-la-jolla/

    Starting in 2024, SDWF KidsWrite! will offer the Otto Award for young writers who exhibit talent, resilience, grit, and passion.

    SDWEG has sponsored KidsWrite! each year since its beginning.

    The Guild's sponsorship of youth programs such as KidsWriter! is possible because of the growth in SDWEG membership over the past years as well as to the success and sales of our annual anthology, The Guilded Pen. Thanks to all SDWEG members for support over the years. We are proud to be able to share our resources to encourage growth of programs and efforts outside of the Guild as well as within it.




  • 8 Jun 2023 5:52 PM | Anonymous member


    Pendelton Wallace has authored 14 books, including the well-loved Ted Higuera Series (7), and the Catrina Flaherty Mystery Series (4). Formerly, he was a member of the SDWEG board, and has taught Guild members a number of classes and workshops. 

    His most recent release is Back to Vietnam: Ted Higuera Thriller #7
    In our interview, Wallace shares how he achieved his success as an author by becoming a marketing guru, all while living a life of adventure on a 56-foot sailboat.

    Pierce: Talk us through your writing process.

    Wallace: Every book starts with a beat sheet—a three-to-five-page document outlining the plot, characters, and story. From that, I write sketches for the major characters. As new characters develop, I produce sketches for them as well. I want to know who they are and how they will react in situations before I begin writing.

    Next, I expand the outline. In about fifteen-to-twenty pages, I describe most of the book’s scenes. After completing factfinding homework, I start writing. By this time, I know the characters and story so well that I don’t really think about what I’m writing. The words just flow from my fingertips. Usually, each book comes in around 65,000-75,000 words.

    Pierce: While writing, how do you incorporate marketing?

    Wallace: My marketing for each book starts during the first draft, about six months before the release. I publish announcements on my website, in my newsletter and on Facebook (aka META) where I state what I am working on. Then, I’ll post updates at least once a month, asking for feedback from readers about plot problems that need solving. Readers can make suggestions. This makes them feel more committed to the book.

    About two months before the launch, I do a cover contest. My cover artist will make four or five versions and I’ll send out a newsletter with those different versions asking people to vote for which one they prefer. Usually, two of them will surface to the top and I will have a runoff election. My readers choose the cover, and, here again, I think this makes them feel vested in the book. 

    After this, I do a cover reveal on Facebook and on my website, and continually provide updates for readers.

    When I finish the second draft, I ask for Beta readers. I usually get around 100 volunteers from which I choose ten. A few will be return Beta readers, some of whom I will give preferential treatment.

    Pierce: What characteristics make for a good Beta reader—one that you would use again?

    WallaceI mail them a report template that they fill out and return. If they give me helpful feedback, they will definitely go on my “Use Them Again” list. But there are people who don’t show me the problems and just provide worthless feedback, which doesn’t help me at all. 

    For the ones I haven’t chosen, I email them and say you didn't make the cut this time, but I will be calling for advanced-readers in a few weeks and you can sign-up for that.

    The chosen Beta readers provide reports, and I consider their feedback, and incorporate the most valuable into the third draft.

    Pierce:  What do you do next?

    Wallace: Upon completion of the third draft, I send it to my editor. Incorporating his notes, I send the fourth draft to my proofreader. At the same time, I call for readers and send out advanced-reader copies (ARCs). I take any reader willing to volunteer, that is if they agree to write reviews on Amazon. I set a hard deadline for posting their reviews and send reminders. Anyone that does not post, I won’t put on the list again.

    Now, it is time to publish.

    Pierce: Talk about marketing at the point of the book’s launch. Would you discuss how you juggle the blog, newsletters, social media, advertising, and events to maximize promotion and book sales? 

    Wallace: On release day, I price the book at $.99 and I do a Facebook blast that announces a three-day Friends and Family Discount for readers. Generally, I sell a whole bunch of copies. On the fourth day, the price goes up to $3.99. So, if a reader didn’t buy in the first three days, they have missed their window of opportunity. 

    At this point, I will run ads. There are websites where you can purchase advertising, priced anywhere from free to $500. AuthorsXP is my favorite. BookBub is one of the best, but they have grown larger, have a stricter vetting process, and are pivoting more toward featuring big-name authors.

    Additionally, I use Facebook. I belong to a couple of hundred groups. At some point, I calculated these groups contain around three million members, and let's just say 10% see the blast. That means, 300,000 people will see it.

    I pick a date and location for a launch party, where there will be free food, and readers will be able to ask me all the questions they want. The party invitation goes out in a Facebook blast, the newsletter, and my blog. 

    For Back to Vietnam, I did a big book release party at the OB Java Shop in Ocean Beach. We had mountains of food. Mingling with guests, I asked those who had read some of the chapters to capture their feel for the book.

    Pierce: You mentioned earlier you have an editor and cover designer. Do you hire these for each of your books, and do you use the same ones?

    Wallace: Yes. I use the same editor and cover designer. We have established relationships and work well together. They give helpful advice, as members of my writers’ group.

    Pierce: Tell us more about your writers’ group.

    Wallace: I have been in the group since 2014. There are some main people that are always there, and others who come and go. On Sundays, we submit our work for the week, up to 35 pages. Our meetings are on Wednesday. Usually, we review four to five submissions. We meet on Zoom, and our members are from all over—Japan, Thailand, England. So, each person gets to give their feedback. In my case, the group’s feedback is important while I work on my second draft. 

    Feedback from female members (and from my girlfriend) is critical, so the women characters think, act, and dress like real people.

    Pierce: You have developed a solid group of writer friends. Ones that uphold a similar level of quality in their books. Have you worked together to promote one another?

    Wallace: Dave Larson leads two writing groups on Sunday: one is sort of like a Writing 101 for beginers. When these writers get really good, they graduate to the second group, who are considered accomplished writers.

    Pierce: And you have also done an anthology with your writer friends?

    Wallace: Yes. With that, I have made six very good friends. The anthology showed us the value of promoting one another. 

    I published my first book, which was a biographical novel about my father (Blue Water and Me, 2012). At that point, I had about 60 people signed up for my reading list. I attended the, now defunct, San Diego Writers Conference, and met a woman who was close to one of my writing friends. They wrote nautical mysteries, and suggested putting together an anthology. I was put in charge, and cold-contacted several dozen writers who wrote nautical mysteries. Seven signed up. 

    We put together a collection of seven novels that we sold for $.99. When our sales did well, we considered what to do with the funds. We decided to donate money to The Wounded Warriors Project and wrote them a check for over $20,000. We sold a ton of those books. 

    Even three and four years after, I received emails saying: "I just read your book in the Seven Seas Mysteries anthology. Loved it! I'm gonna be reading more of your books!" So that was a big thing! 

    The really important thing about that experience was it gave me a chance to work with six other writers, all of whom sold more books than I did. I was just starting out. 

    All six had mailing lists. I emailed the authors and suggested we all do an email exchange. "I will email all the people on my list and ask them to join your list, and you can email all the people on your list and ask them to join my list." I picked up a couple hundred more readers. Then I discovered AuthorsXP.

    Pierce: Let’s talk about that.

    WallaceAuthorsXP [authorsxp.com] is the very best thing I’ve ever done. Amy VanSant runs a weekly genre giveaway—mystery, children’s books, female authors, etc.

    She’ll ask 35 authors to sign-up to give away a copy of their books. She’ll post the covers of each book. Those who sign up for her mailing list are entered into the contest. She will draw a name and the winner will receive all 35 books. Also, everyone submitting their name for the mailing list receives a book. She then passes along those mailing list names to the authors. 

    With every AuthorsXP promotion, I'll get anywhere from 500 to 3,000 new names for my mailing list. This has built my list up into the thousands. I have more than 12,000 people on my mailing list now.

    Amy offers different ways to market your book. The “Get to Know the Author” promotion is my favorite. She takes the author’s bio and features all of the books that they have written. She gives readers the opportunity to find out about you and find books of interest. Usually, if they read one, they’ll come back and keep reading.

    Recently for Back to Vietnam, I started a promotion, and in one day was able to sell enough books to pay for the ad, and over the next two days, I did about the same. Overall, I received about a 200% return on my investment.

    Pierce: Now, 14 books in, what do you know about your target demographic?

    Wallace: When I started writing the Ted series, I thought my readers were 18- to 65-year-old males with college degrees, who had white-collar jobs. After Hacker for Hire (2014), the second book in the series, I received several emails from women saying what they didn't like. At first, I thought they weren’t my demographic anyway. But then I got more women giving feedback. I wondered who my demographic might really be. 

    I sent out a questionnaire to my readers list, asking their age, sex, and where they lived. I was shocked to find out the huge majority were over 55 and 60% were female readers. From the third book in the series (The Mexican Connection, 2014), I tailored more to female tastes. I need to do another demographic questionnaire.

    Pierce: Will you briefly touch on the current projects you’d like to promote?

    Wallace: I am working on a new story with the working title, The Pirate and the Princess, planned for Kindle Vella. I’m calling it an Alternate History Pirate Romance. 

    You can contact Pendelton Wallace at: penn@pennwallace.com

    And visit him at his website: www.pennwallace.com/

    And follow him on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Pendelton-C.-Wallace/author/B008823QGW

  • 30 May 2023 5:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Interview of John Gormally, writing as Patrick Greenwood by Gabi Manangan:

    So, you want to publish a book. Great. Got your idea? Your whole story structured? How about your finished manuscript that took months to draft, read over, and edit, again and again. Awesome. You’re almost there!

    Now, the hardest part: you must go through the trials and tribulations of becoming published. You may attempt to seek an audience with the traditional publishing kings of the business and plead your worth or take the treacherous path of making it all on your own. Or, at least, this exaggeration is what it may feel like for one new to the gauntlet, and even for those who have already been through it!

    Newly published author, Patrick Greenwood, graciously gives us some of his time and wisdom on the matter. Changing careers from tech sales, he faced the very same dilemma you might be facing right now: he had no idea what publishing route to choose! One afternoon, during the pandemic, after a heavy day at work, he sat down and drafted up the first draft of his debut novel, “Sunrise in Saigon.”

    At this point, one should seek out others. First, use at least one writing group. Next, find beta readers. There are websites that provide regular people who like to read new books. You could ask your book club to review it. There are even Facebook page sites where people will read your book.

    The next step might be expensive. Find an editor. Someone who will catch all the little errors your eyes no longer see. There are automatic programs, but “I assure you, they make lots of errors.”

    After he felt that he was ready, Greenwood spent time sending his hard work to traditional publishers. He found an opportunity at a hybrid publisher, Austin Macauley. In the arduous journey before, during, and after, he has gained wisdom to share with authors going through the same process.

    Greenwood says that hybrid publishing can be a middle-ground between traditional and self-publishing—a company, for a price, will get the book published, but the author still needs to do a lot of legwork to make sales take off. Greenwood cautions, “Be sure to know what they going to do for you.”

    For Greenwood, he saw that despite Austin Macauley’s price, the firm offered “experience and global expertise.” Performing his due diligence, Greenwood bought a whooping 41 books from the publisher. After reading them, he decided they were of acceptable quality and that he would be okay having his book released among them.

    Research any publishing house goes a long way— traditional or hybrid. It’s an investment in your book’s future. Prices an author might pay the hybrid publisher may range from $2,500 to $30k! On top of that, there are still royalties held by the publisher that varies for a multitude of situations and conditions.

    Acting between traditional and self-publishing, hybrid publishers are able to take the lead on certain aspects of the publishing process, including editing, cover art, various formatting, marketing, and more. While an author may have more control and autonomy doing everything, it means just that – they do everything themselves! Hybrid publishing is especially helpful if the author knows with what aspects of self-publishing they want or need help.

    One other example of a hybrid publisher is BookBaby. Through Amazon, they focus on getting your book published and available through various formats. Additionally, BookBaby advertises that they will do some extra promoting of your book.

    For example, Greenwood asserts that, despite going through a hybrid publisher, a book’s success will be heavily reliant on the author’s ability to sell the book. Authors should “be realistic on their expectations. Do not expect them to do your marketing. They are trying to get the book out. And they want to have their name on it in some form.” A publisher may not even have a focus on editing your work. You’d expect them to have high attention to detail, but at the end of the day, their focus will be getting the book published and not much else.

    Greenwood compares the plight of hybrid and self-published authors to some traditional publisher cases. Traditional publishers may pay an author to do signings or make appearances. When Greenwood approached a Barnes & Noble bookstore about having stock of his book there, he was promptly asked for his marketing plan and was informed that they “do not do signing days unless they are a ’Barnes & Noble premier author.’” Self- and hybrid-published authors must rely on their own marketing. Greenwood offers social media, virtual and in-person book signings, and giveaways as some examples.

    When negotiating with publishers, Greenwood knows one thing for sure: “If they don’t offer Ingram Sparks, run the other way.” As soon he was on Ingram, his book was on 14 other websites throughout the world. Ingram Sparks notified other online sites that the book was available. “Part of what you will be paying for is a foot in the door.”

    Ingram Sparks, like Amazon, offers “print on demand” services, which can be a powerful tool. One strength is being able to edit as one goes; an author is able to submit edits and require no time at all for their updates to be reflected in the books because they are made when ordered. However, Greenwood admits this strength may not be reflected when a publisher is the one posting the manuscript onto Ingram Sparks; they didn’t always upload the updated master copy in a timely manner.

    Going forward, for his future books, Greenwood recognizes his planned self-publishing process will be easier, since he is already a published author and, on top of that, he has a publishing house behind his first book. As an interesting aside, even though he went through his hybrid publisher, Greenwood is still considered self-published since he still owns his manuscript. Many book awards incentivize self-publishing by offering awards specifically for self-published works.

    Overall, self-publishing is a very flexible route that gives authors autonomy they otherwise might not have had with a publisher. When going through his publisher, Greenwood admits he had to fight to keep the name and cover he had planned for his work (and he still had to pay the publisher’s art fee)! The beautiful cover art was a photo taken by Greenwood himself, full of meaning to both him and his story.

    Additionally, publisher isn’t able to support the author in every way. Greenwood recalls the story of requesting a Vietnamese woman with a narration role in the audio book format. Austin MacCauley was not able to provide an actress’s voice. Fortunately, Greenwood was able to introduce someone to his publisher.

    Going through self-publishing, Greenwood offers advice on the different formats—hard and softback, eBook, and audio-book. First, he recommends Ingram Sparks over Amazon; preferring their print-on-demand service. Then, one can use Ingram Sparks’ ISBN for hard and soft copies of the book. Next, take the book’s ISBN number and upload it to Amazon for the sole purpose of having it available through Kindle. For physical sales, books on Ingram Sparks can be listed on Amazon. Last, he recommends “Upwork” as a medium agency to outsource work. Freelancers available to format your book for various formats are readily available, and Greenwood happily reports that some even go the extra mile and even upload it themselves.

    The hardest and most important thing a writer must learn and master is marketing, marketing, and marketing. Even when going through a publishing house, Greenwood says, “Publishers will market your book, never you.” Regardless of your route, becoming comfortable with marketing is paramount to your success.

    Greenwood emphasizes the importance of doing proactive marketing. “The author is going to have to talk to people." He points out that paying a PR firm to get your work an ad spot on a podcast isn't going to cut it. "YOU have to be the one on that podcast."

    Marketing is a continual process. You have to post on social media, send out books, and ask for reviews, good or bad! He gives an example—he thanked a literary titan on LinkedIn. They came back and offered a press release for him, free of charge. Just like many aspects of life, kindness goes a long way.

    Greenwood has a few outlets through which he markets his writing. Most notably, the most community-friendly has been his podcast, “Writers on Writers over Triple Espresso.” Over coffee, Greenwood offers a platform for fledgling authors to talk and advertise themselves. Recognizing the plight of getting one’s name out there, Greenwood offers a platform from which writers can talk.

    Unfortunately, marketing is a rough slog for many. And despite the author’s best efforts, their book may not sell as well as they expected. Greenwood offers: “Think forward!” Rather than lose oneself in fantasies of grandeur, think smaller: buy books and distribute them. Give them to friends and family and acquaintances and ask them to write reviews. Let your small project take root and care for it as it grows. Treat your written work like a young sapling and nurture its growth.

    The point isn’t to subdue your expectations and to expect nothing; it’s to recognize the monumental feat you’ve accomplished just by having the discipline, passion, and drive to sit down and write. And, Greenwood points out, you now can do it again. And again. And again.

    Throughout the interview, Greenwood’s passion simmers up as he shares his experiences. A genuine adoration of the art of writing overflows and it’s hard not to get swept into his enthusiasm.

    Regardless of how an author publishes, or even if they don’t publish at all, it’s important to savor the time from start to finish. Regardless of the route you take, you can always learn something new and tailor your future publishing experiences accordingly. Keeping this motion in mind, Greenwood signs every one of his books with the same three-word phrase: “Enjoy the journey.”

  • 22 May 2023 1:25 PM | Anonymous member

    We are pleased to announce the schedule for the Kauai Writers Conference, taking place from November 6-12. With workshops, interactive sessions and many outstanding new faculty, it provides the full range of varied experiences that people have most requested. 

    Members of San Diego Writers and Editors Guild are offered a substantial discount. To qualify, enter the code WG789 at check-out when you register. Click here to register for the Kauai Writers Conference.

    To find a complete overview of the conference, master classes, agent sessions, meals, lodging and special events, visit the KWC website


  • 10 May 2023 5:00 PM | Anonymous member


    All of the interviews from UCSD-TV can be viewed on the UCSD website.

    They also have a few videos from previous Symposium events on their YouTube Channel.


    Click below for direct links to the 2023 interviews on YouTube:

    PLNU has also shared photos from this year's events on their Facebook page. Check out the galleries on Facebook.

    They also will be sharing many of these images on their Instagram account. Follow them @writersbythesea 

    Symposium by the Sea continues to be grateful for your support! And, once more, thank you to the generous donors who make these events possible! They hope you'll join us again in February 2024!

    Sincerely,

    Dean Nelson
    Founder/Director of Writer's Symposium by the Sea
    Director of PLNU Journalism Program

    Ashley Reynolds-Montaño
    Event Coordinator of Writer's Symposium by the Sea
    Administrative Assistant to the Associate Deans

    --

    WRITER'S SYMPOSIUM BY THE SEA
    28th Annual Writer's Symposium by the Sea
    Writing that Celebrates, Feb 20-24, 2023

  • 9 May 2023 11:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    We occasionally hear from local businesses who provide services to authors. One such message arrived recently from Fawzia Burke, author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors, founder of FSB Associates, and co-founder of Pub Site.

    Pub Site is an online framework that enables every author, irrespective of financial situation, to have a beautiful, expert website. Pub Site, a brand-new, simple DIY website builder made especially for books and writers, was developed by FSB Associates , a company with extensive experience in the book industry. No matter the amount of books you've written or how many there are, Pub Site makes it easy for you to create, design, and update your website.

    With their co-founder Fauzia Burke, they are thrilled to invite you to a free forthcoming virtual event on Zoom on Wednesday, May 17, at 12:00 p.m. PDT.

    This event is for anyone interested in Pub Site, whether you've been a member recently or for some time. It's the ideal chance for you to connect with other authors who have used Pub Site to develop their online presences and ask any queries you might have.

    You'll have the chance to view an actual demonstration of Pub Site at the event and discover how it can assist you in creating a website that genuinely shows your work and engages your audience. Additionally, you'll see how simple it is to use Pub Site and how their committed support staff is here to help you at every turn.

    Take advantage of this excellent chance to upgrade your author website. Don't let it pass you by. Register right away for their free event to find out how Pub Site can assist you in making a name for yourself online. As space is limited, sign up right away.

    Note: This information is provided for your information. SDWEG does not endorse any author services provider but shares information for members to consider for themselves.

    Register Now 

  • 25 Apr 2023 11:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Small Fiction Contest:

    The Master's Review have long admired the mighty power of the compressed form, which is why they are expanding their search for the very best in small fiction. The Masters Review is excited to announce the new Spring Small Fiction Awards! This contest will honor a grand prize winner in three categories—Microfiction, Flash Fiction, and Sudden Fiction—by awarding $1,000 and online publication to each winner selected by by the magnificent K-Ming Chang! This year’s judge will be announced next week. A runner-up in each category will also be honored with a $200 prize and online publication.

    For this contest:

    • Microfiction is any story up to 500 words.
    • Flash Fiction is any story between 501 and 1,000 words.
    • Sudden Fiction is any story between 1,001 and 1,500 words.

    The Master's Review welcomes up to two stories per submission, in any combination of the three categories.

    Please include both stories in one document.

    DEADLINE: June 1, 2023

    Novel Workshop:

    Writers are invited to submit the first fifty pages of their novels to the Master's Review  2023 Novel Workshop! Enrollment is open until May 2, 2023.

    Please include a brief synopsis of the novel, any challenges you may be facing, and any specific feedback you are seeking in your cover letter.

    After registration, writers will receive their assigned editor, along with instructional materials compiled by The Masters Review. Manuscripts will be processed in the order they are received.

    All participants will receive feedback no later than August 31, 2023.

    Registration is $497

    Participants will receive:

    • an editorial letter with specific suggestions and developmental analysis that will help elevate their novel to the next level;
    • a PDF of a self-guided learning curriculum on fiction and novel writing, featuring workbooks uniquely built by their team around such foundational texts as Naming The World edited by Bret Anthony Johnston, The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass, Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway, and Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody;
    • an opportunity to join a curated writing group with other participants;
    • a free submission to one of their upcoming contests;
    • and an archived copy of The Masters Review anthology.

    REGISTER NOW

  • 21 Apr 2023 12:04 PM | Anonymous member
    ADA and Section 508: Why are they important to me?

    The Americans with Disabilities Act is a law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. It concerns all areas of life, requiring equal access to education, employment, and businesses, and more. 

    Similarly, the Rehabilitation Act outlaws discrimination that affects access to government programs. Section 508 of this act states that federal electronic and information technology should be available to people with disabilities.

    Websites belonging to state and local governments, as well as businesses open to the public, must comply with these laws. 

    Currently, there aren’t federal standards that define exact requirements for an accessible site. As a rule of thumb, most follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines(or WCAG). The WCAG outlines international standards for accessibility on the web.

    Why should I care if my website complies with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act?

    One in four Americans struggle with some kind of disability. Having an inaccessible site would alienate a significant portion of your audience. The web should be a place that is inclusive to all.

    Another reason to make your site more accessible is that it can improve your site for people who don’t have disabilities. Originally, curb-cuts were designed for wheelchair access to sidewalks. Although unintended, the change has improved mobility in general, helping people with strollers and scooters navigate more easily.

    The same can be said about video captions, which are used by both deaf and hearing people. Better web accessibility can benefit everyone!

    How can I find out what problems my website has that I need to fix?

    WebAIM, an organization dedicated to improving accessibility issues, provides several useful resources and tools. 

    One tool called WAVE (https://wave.webaim.org/) will evaluate a webpage and catch potential accessibility errors. 

    Try it with your own webpage to see the types of issues it flags. But keep in mind that any online tool is only as good as the knowledge the person who uses it applies. WAVE highlights issues the web designer should look at and then decide if correction is needed.

    Other helpful accessibility checkers useful for website developers:

    Note: These tools should NOT be used on their own to ensure ADA compliance. There is no application that can catch every accessibility problem (if an app claims to, you should avoid it). These resources should only be used as an aid to manual testing. 

    How can I fix them or find someone who can fix them?

    You can enlist a specialist to find and correct potential accessibility problems. But keep in mind that correcting problems isn’t a one-time and you’re done activity. It’s better to understand the potential problems and address them as you add content.

    Alternatively, you could also refer to the WCAG guidelines and try to fix the problems on your own. This would require some familiarity with HTML and CSS.

    To improve the accessibility of your site, here are a few changes to start with:

    • Add alternative text to images. See the screenshot below for an illustration:


    SDWG header with tooltipNote the gray “tooltip” that appears below this image in the screenshot. It contains two double quote marks as the alternative text for the graphic image. This indicates to a screen reader that there is no information in the image that is not also available within the text so no text needs to be read. Without the alt text, the screen reader will read the filename for the image. Image file names rarely contain useful information.
    • Add HTML labels to form fields

    Clear HTML labels make selected form fields identifiable to users with screen readers. 

    Simple form with labels

    • Use video captions

    • Apply color contrast 

    Color contrast makes text more readable.

    Two rectangles with text, with different colors to illustrate color contrast
    • Use descriptive text for links

    Screen reader users often skip through the links on a page to find what they’re looking for. To make the process easier, links should make sense out of context. 

    This would be considered inaccessible: 

    Check out the article here.

    To improve accessibility, make your link more specific:

    Check out this article on writing accessible links.


    And overall, keep things clear and concise.

    We’ll include more specific information on how to make your websites compliant with Section 508 in future blog posts.


  • 11 Apr 2023 11:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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    In his native San Diego, California, Corey Lynn Fayman has made a career out of staying out of the sun. He has toiled away as a keyboardist for local bands, a sound designer for the renowned Old Globe Theatre, and an interactive designer for various businesses. He holds degrees in educational technology from SDSU and a BA in creative writing from UCLA. He has taught technology and design courses at a number of Southern California schools and institutions. Fayman developed the idea for Rolly Waters, the guitar-playing detective first seen in the mystery Black's Beach Shuffle, which was nominated for a San Diego Book Award. As a result of this early success, he was inspired to write a second Rolly Waters mystery, Border Field Blues, which went on to win the 2013 Hollywood Book Festival's Genre Award.

    The third book in the series, Desert City Diva, took home the bronze medal at the 2015 Indiefab Novel of the Year Awards. The most recent book in the series until now, Ballast Point Breakdown, won the Geisel Award for best in show at the San Diego Book Awards in 2021. Fayman had adventures while working for the controversial Internet startup MP3.com which inspired the March 2023 release of the latest in the series, Gillespie Field Groove. Fayman took advantage of marketing programs through Authors Cross Promotion to get the word out. We asked Corey about his experience with Authors Cross Promotion and whether he’d recommend their programs to other authors.

    SDWEG: How did you learn about Authors Cross Promotion or AXP?

    CLF: I don’t remember, exactly, but I suspect it was because I received a promotional email or newsletter from a fellow author who had signed up for one of AXP’s list-building giveaways. I clicked on the ad, entered the giveaway and then decided to investigate the service to see what it could do for me as an author.

    SDWEG: Which of their many programs have you used when promoting your novels?

    CLF: I’ve used the Mailing List Builder, Spotlight, Daily Deal, and Read & Review services. The Mailing List Builder does exactly what it sounds like it does. You add one of your books (ebook or paperback) to the list of prizes being given away by AuthorsXP as part of themed giveaway (Mystery, Romance, Cozy). You post the giveaway ad they provide for you on your social media channels. When the contest ends, you send your book to the winner and receive a list of clean emails from AuthorsXP which you can add to your own mailing list for promotions, newsletter, etc. The Daily Deal program is for promoting discounted book sales you may be running on Amazon or other sites. Spotlight Is a way to highlight your books to the AuthorsXP mailing list. It costs a bit more than the other programs

    SDWEG: Have you been able to evaluate the programs against sales of your books or do you have a different goal than increased sales?

    CLF: I use the Daily Deal program when I want to boost an individual book’s sales. It’s very easy to evaluate its effect since the deal runs on a specific date. You can then check the numbers for that date in your sales reports in Amazon’s KDP center. It’s very much an eBook, Amazon-centric sales approach. I always get some kind of boost in sales, usually enough to at least pay for the service. I plan to experiment more with my book pricing to see if I can boost my margins a little more.

    SDWEG: Would you recommend specific AXP programs over others?

    CLF: The Mailing List Builder has been the most consistent and useful for me. In the last three years I’ve increased the contacts in my email database from 750 to over 4,000. AuthorsXP hasn’t been the only service I’ve used, but it’s been an effective one, bringing in 200 – 400 new names for my list each time I used it. A few of those will drop off but most of them stay subscribed, even after I’ve sent them a couple of newsletters.

    SDWEG: Have you used other marketing promotion programs offered by other companies? If so, how would you rate AXP against them?

    CLF: AuthorsXP is my first pick, but BookSweeps runs an email collection program that's been almost as effective. Bargain Booksy has also been useful to me for promoting discounted books. If you have the budget for it, running campaigns on more than one service at the same time can be even more effective. It takes a little practice.

    Our thanks to Raquel Damus, a student volunteer, for providing this interview with Corey Lynn Fayman. Raquel is a student at Florida International University with a Public Relations major. Raquel is working with Guild Board members to enhance our communication efforts.


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