Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Successful Publishing - October Newsletter

Content of this Newsletter

- Independent Authors

- Help a Reporter Out - HARO

- Grants

Freelance Writing

- Writing Contests

Welcome to the October Newsletter. 

Are you falling for Fall like me? Pumpkin pie and spiced coffee, glorious tree colors, mild Indian Summer weather, crisp colorful leaves, delicious food and wine, country hikes - and yes, lots of new books. Get the (maybe much-needed) motivation for the busy fall season and read these valuable publishing tips:

Independent Authors

Think about it: How can you be an independent author if you are under the control of Internet giants? The only way to throw off the shackles is to become an independent publisher. You can take full control of your writing, publishing, and income.  Read more reasons why Authors Should Stay INDEPENDENT




Help a Reporter Out (HARO) platform is giving writers important opportunities. And you have the opportunity to be interviewed for a longer story. The basic subscription level for HARO is free, whether you register as a source or as a journalist, and it’s a great way to forge some new connections. As you can see above, it’s also a great resource for finding ways to promote yourself as a writer and find more paying opportunities to further your writing career.

- Discover new outlets or job opportunities. Subscribing to the free emails can introduce you to a wide variety of paying outlets in search of writers.

- Gain visibility by responding to requests for quotes

HARO IS not only for non-fiction writers and freelancers - but a way for writers to get better known:  https://www.helpareporter.com/


Neal Pierce Travel Grant

 Our travel grants of up to $1,500 enable journalists to travel to cities within the U.S. to produce one or more stories for publication. The awards, selected through a competitive review process, cover travel expenses necessary for on-the-ground reporting.  Full-time freelancers as well as journalists currently employed by a news organization are invited to apply.  Reporters, writers, editors, and photographers working in print, online, radio, television, and multimedia are eligible for travel grant awards if they have had stories published or aired in the previous three years.  Deadline October 15 https://www.nealpeircefoundation.org/apply/


Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Sector Recovery Grants 

Individuals are offered unrestricted grants of $5,000 to creatives and gig workers to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and set a path for growth.  To apply for this grant, an applicant must be an artist or cultural practitioner active in any artistic discipline or cultural tradition; a teaching artist/scientist/humanist; or a cultural worker in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences in the state of Massachusetts.  Deadline November 1. 


The American Gardener

Among the topics of particular interest to us are profiles of individual plant groups; innovative approaches to garden design; profiles of prominent horticulturists whose work has a national impact; plant research and plant hunting; plant conservation, biodiversity, and heirloom gardening; events or personalities in American horticultural history; people-plant relationships (horticultural therapy, ethnobotany, and community gardening);  environmentally appropriate gardening (choosing plants suited to one’s region, using native plants, conserving water, etc.); and plant lore and literature.  Feature articles run 1,500 to 2,500 words.  Departments run 600 to 1,000 words.  Payment for feature articles ranges from $300 to $600 on publication.  Payment for departments ranges from $150 to $200.  



The Sun

Seeking short stories and personal essays for The Sun magazine that will make the editors laugh.  When you message the editor, provide a summary of your piece. They only read finished stories and essays.  If interested, they follow up and ask you to email the submission. Direct message https://twitter.com/Barelyoutofblue (Anna Gazmarian).  Pays Nonfiction/Fiction $300 to $2,000 and Poetry $100 to $250. The Sun is an independent magazine that uses words and photographs to evoke the splendor and heartache of being human.  https://www.thesunmagazine.org



Seeking US-based medical/health/science freelance journalists.  Query mlooi@bmj.com.  Rates vary depending on story complexity but the range is between £350-700.  The BMJ can be many things to its diverse audiences: an international research journal, a member magazine, a think tank, an investigative campaigner, an educational resource, or even a trusted and inspiring friend.


Chicken Soup for the Soul

Funny Stories. Genre: True stories. "Share your funny stories about something that happened to you in your life – in your relationship with a partner or spouse, a parent or child, a family member or friend, at work or at home – that made you and the people around you laugh out loud.  Payment: $200.  Did you mean for it to be funny?  Did the other person mean to make you laugh?  Did a situation just get out of control?  Did a misunderstanding turn into a comedy of errors?” Deadline: October 15 



Women's Prize for Fiction

Genre: Published novel by a woman. Entrants must be writing in English and must be published in the UK between 1 October 2022 and 31 November 2022.  All subject matters and women of any age, from any nationality or country of residence, are eligible.  Prize: £30,000.00.  Deadline: October 21.  https://www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/enter


National Award for Arts Writing

The Mar-field Prize, also known as the National Award for Arts Writing, is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington to nonfiction books about the arts written for a broad audience.  Prize: $10,000.  Genre: Non-fiction book. Self-published books are not accepted.  Deadline: October 28 https://themarfieldprize.com/


The Writer Magazine Fall Short Story Contest

Submit works in any genre – fiction OR nonfiction – in less than 2,000 words for your chance to win $1,000 and publication in our magazine. Our grand-prize winner will receive $1,000, our second-place winner will receive $500, and our third-place winner will receive $250. The first-place story will also appear in a print issue of The Writer.  $25-30 Entry Fee.  Early deadline October 25, last call deadline November 8.  https://www.writermag.com/contests/


“October: crisp, sunny days and cool nights, a time to curl up around the dancing flames and sink into a good book.” ~ John Sinor.  Have a great October and happy writing!

Visit my Author Page too - lots of books to help writers market their books:





Monday, September 26, 2022

House- and Pet Sitting 101


Traveling is on the rise, be it just for a week or for several months on end. But what to do with furry friends, aka dogs and cats and other pets? A perfect way to protect your pets and also the house is to have a house sitter, taking care of both. If you are new to house-sitting - no matter if you are a home/pet owner or if you want to house sit, here is a comprehensive checklist for both parties.


The relationship between home/pet owner and house sitter is rarely based on money but on trust and the free exchange of services (house and pet sitting) for goods (accommodation). A house sitter will be meeting your pet's needs, providing companionship and love as well as keeping them fed, exercised, safe and healthy. Often, the service is free and the majority of our house sitters work for free too. Your house sitter is, in essence, working for you - for free. Even though they have their own household to pay for. It is a house sitter's job to ensure that the needs of their animals and property are met in the ways that you specify.

Your house sitter will care for your pets to maintain their good health and happiness. Animal psychologists and veterinarians agree that boarding animals in kennels for any length of time can place a huge strain on their physical and emotional health. Even taking your pets on holiday with you can be a far less pleasant experience for them than it is for you (think of cargo holds, vaccinations and sedatives, time spent in quarantine, time spent in a travel container, motion sickness, unfamiliar surroundings, unfamiliar food, heatstroke, hostile strange animals… Also save a bundle on pet care fees, often hundreds of dollars!

Also important: Prevent your home owner's insurance premium from going through the roof - or maybe to be denied insurance - often after only two weeks of your home being vacant.

You can ask your house sitter to stay in regular contact with you to keep you informed of any issues that may affect your animals or property. Make arrangements with your house sitter early on - and write her/him what time and day you are welcoming them, and when you exactly return from your trip. 

With the high gas prices right now (and maybe in the future) consider participating in your house sitters' travel costs, or choose only house sitters who live in your area.  After all, you are saving hundreds of dollars in pet hotel costs, maybe even dog walker costs or expenses for your house cleaner.

Ask your house sitter to come at least a day or two earlier to make friends with your pets. It would be cruel to leave your pets right away when your sitter (after all, a totally unknown person to your furry friends!) arrives. 


Your welcome list is a checklist! Write it like a (numbered) checklist, not like a fiction story! Use a new line for each info/instruction, so it is easy to read for the house sitter. 


Your animals' special needs, health, and safety need to be documented and provided for while you're away. Your house sitter is prepared to make your animals' health and happiness a top priority but they can't do their best without all the necessary information and preparation by you.

  • What are the local leash/poop scoop laws? 
  • Place up-to-date immunization records (copies) for your house sitter
  • Show them microchip information
  • Provide the lost pet register contact information
  • Place municipal license or registration records for your house sitter
  • Place medical history (including last dates of de-flea and de-worming treatment) out
  • Provide a copy of current medication (including generic names of drugs, dosage information, and your usual supplier)
  • Place the vet's contact information and let your house sitter put it on the phone/laptop
  • Give after-hours animals medical emergency service contact information
  • Provide a photograph of your pet that is both current and adequately detailed to identify them with
  • Hand out a map with the location of good dog parks and other permitted dog walking areas

The more you can tell your house sitter about your animal's usual habits and quirks the more fine-tuned their care and attention can be toward your pets. Honesty is essential here. If your dog is antisocial around other dogs or about to come into season tell your house sitter. If your dog is an 'escaper' when let off the leash or if your cat is a scent-marker then you need to leave this information for your house sitter. Also if your cat might be aggressive in some situations. 

  • Does your pet have any unusual habits (for example, your cat may regularly vomit, your puppy may urinate when showing submission, or your dog may try to leap out of open car windows)?
  • Where are your pet's favorite hiding places?
  • Does your pet have any phobias or anxieties?
  • Are any rooms or parts of the property 'off limits' for pets
  • Tell (and write down) the routines in your pet's day (including eating, sleeping, exercising and playing)
  • Is your pet on a special diet? What amounts of food do they usually eat? When do they usually eat? 
  • How many treats are they usually permitted?
  • Does your pet have any major and minor health problems (for example, skin allergies or old injuries)?
  • Where is the vet’s clinic? And how to get there? Write it down with a map or drawing. 

Prepare for your pet(s):

  • Enough food (main meals, dry food, treats, chewing bones) or catnip
  • Bowls for food and water 
  • Medications (flea, tick, lice, heartworm, worm, and other treatments, with dosage information)
  • Toys (indoor chewing and tugging toys, chasing toys)
  • Exercise equipment (leads, balls, tennis racket, towels, cold weather gear, muzzles, collars, harness, snow boots)
  • Cleaning equipment for your animal (medicated shampoo, towels, hoses, brushes, clippers, and scissors)
  • Cleaning equipment for your animals' messes in your home (mops, brushes, sponges, disinfectant)
  • Waste collection equipment (poop scooper, bags, gloves, kitty litter, and trays)
  • Where should the doggy bags be disposed of?
  • Traveling equipment (car restraints, car blankets, travel containers)

  • Make a visit to the dog/cat groomer before your house sitter arrives. E.g. bathing and nail-clipping so that they don/t ruin your house sitters clothing) 
  • Ideally, your house sitter should spend a full day or two with your pets in your company before you leave. Schedule some time to take your house sitter and your dogs out for a walk. Or your house sitter could just handle your animals in your presence to get everyone acquainted with each other before you go.
  • Put anything away that could be harmful to your pet. During Christmas time, the tree decorations, tinsel, pine needles, firewood, cooked bones (think gum and gut-perforating splinters and shards), strings, ribbon, or knitting wool are all potentially deadly to curious cats and dogs. Add pesticides, flavored medicines, digestion aids, sweetened pills, chocolates, confectionary, biscuits, space cookies, tobacco, and sweet liquors to this list. It is critical to put any dangerous substances in your garage completely out of the reach of your pets (preferably behind a locked door).
  • Block your pets' usual escape routes from your property. 
  • You may need to repair holes in the fence or fill scraped-out depressions beneath fences or gates with heavy objects.
  • Secure any gates on your property (including those to a swimming pool).
  • Unplug any appliances that your house sitter won't be using to prevent possible accidents
  • Consider installing a door flap so that your animals can leave the house if they need to (for their toileting or in case of an emergency such as fire or flooding).
  • Leave a piece of your worn clothing in your pets' sleeping area to give them a nice reminder of their beloved human while 

  • Provide information to the building super or handyman

  • Write down where the fuse box is, and where the main water valve and sump pump are

  • Will you need the house sitter to drive the dog(s) to a dog park or for veterinary treatments?

In the event of a medical pet emergency, are there pet carriers and a way to get to the vet? Is there a pet ambulance in the community? In the event of fire or flood or any other major emergency, who is closest to the house? Who is authorized to make legal or financial decisions?

Introduce Your House Sitter

  • Let your neighbors, friends, and family know that you have a house sitter moving into your home on a particular date.
  • Introduce your house sitter to the neighbors.
  • Leave your contact information, such as email, phone, and also those of neighbors, friends, or family members that the house sitter can contact if they need help. 
  • Tell your service providers (maid, cleaner, gardener or grounds person etc) about your house sitting arrangement.
  • Contact your insurance company to let them know you will have a house sitter moving into your home. Your home and contents premium will be unaffected by this information.

It is only common sense to store your valuables in a secure locked area while you're away. If your valuables are especially expensive then you need to maintain your usual security precautions in your absence. Make an inventory of your valuables before you go (with photos). Put your wine collection and bar supplies well out of sight.

Ensure your house and grounds are clean and tidy in preparation for your house sitter's arrival. Note that in the house sitting agreement your house sitter has agreed to maintain your home and garden to the condition that they first encountered them.


  • If you are happy to have your house sitter use your vehicle while you're away you need to do the following: 
  • Familiarize them with your vehicle before you go 
  • Add their name to your motor vehicle insurance policy
  • Provide local driving regulation information for their reference 
  • Have the house sitter confirm in writing that they will be liable for any costs and damages incurred while using your vehicle including paying any excess fees on any resulting insurance claim
  • Leave your garage door opener or similar device out in plain sight to allow your house sitter access to your garage, and certainly the garage key numbers.
  • You may be happy for your house sitter to use your bicycle. 

Keys and Alarm System

  • Familiarize your house sitter with any security locks you may use including combination numbers and spare keys.
  • Give your house sitter their own set of house keys plus a spare set
  • Assign a spot for the key (and do write it on the welcome list)
  • Write the numbers if you have an electric house and garage key on the welcome list

What Else?

  • Empty some cupboards and drawers for your house sitter to stow their belongings

  • Empty space in your fridge and freezer

  • Leave instructions for the safe use of your electricity and gas services

  • Leave enough dishwashing pads, paper tissues, and toilet paper for your house sitter

  • Show your house sitter where the relevant meters are as well as the fuse boxes and cut-off switches

  • Leave detailed written instructions on how to program the heating and air-conditioning systems

  • Leave instructions for your house sitter on how to keep ahead of your washing machine and dryer

  • Mark up a local map with some of the area's best assets for your intrepid house sitter. Include your local supermarket, library, internet cafe, cinema, DVD rental shop, dog park, etc.

  • Local transport maps covering travel by bicycle, bus, train, tram, and underground are invaluable for helping your house sitters get oriented

  • Leave any supplies for your indoor plants out for your house sitter. Attach written instructions to these.

  • Leave enough wild seed to keep your bird feeders topped up while you're away.

Garden and Pool Maintenance

  • Have your pool equipment and chemicals available for your house sitter to use

  • Attach clear written instructions to these

  • Make sure your garden tools are accessible 

  • Leave a copy of your shed keys for your house sitter

  • Check that your lawnmower is in good working order. Leave a spare can of fuel for your lawn mower if required. Attach hoses to outdoor water supplies for watering your garden and lawn

  • Check the garden hose and the water outlets for leaks and spilling

  • List the places for the watering can, fertilizers, and leave bags on the welcome list

Safety Issues

  • Make arrangements with the security company for a code and security password specifically for your house sitter to use. Security systems can be very tricky (and noisy) so be sure to tell your house sitter how to manage your alarm system in exact detail. Write a checklist for the alarm system!
  • If you have cameras or recording devices on your property, you must declare this to the house sitter before the assignment starts. House sitters can declare whether they consent to the homeowner operating the devices or not
  • Provide a first aid kit and write down where it can be found
  • Provide plenty of rubbish bags of the right size and strength
  • Nothing beats good communication with the people and animals involved to ensure a successful experience for everyone.
  • State who may (or may not) visit your home with your house sitter's consent, include this information in your house sitting agreement.
  • By placing all of your records in plastic A4 sheets in a sturdy folder, this pack can be used by your house sitters for years to come.


The best benefit of house sitting: the pleasures of the company of pets. 

Animal care is the bottom line. Pets are dependent upon you while their human companions are gone. Many dog owners will ask you to walk their dogs twice a day. That's really not enough! Dogs need exercise, medication, special food, and grooming. 

  • Arrive on time. Don’t turn up late at the house sitter's place (or way too early for that matter)
  • Bring a couple of small cookies for the pets, but ask if you may give them a cookie.
  • Show an interest in the house and pets as soon as you arrive. This gives your hosts instant reassurance. Any worries will be put to rest. You’re there to provide a service! But to your hosts, you’re still a stranger and home, pets and treasured possessions will be in your hands
  • Treat the pets like your own ones - maybe even better. Play with them and walk them frequently.
  • Ask homeowners if they want updates on their pets and the house - by email or FaceTime.  Let them know how their pets are faring
  • Be friendly and polite to neighbors - You are the homeowner’s ambassador!
  • Never invite anyone into the home - Unless you’ve first asked for the homeowner’s agreement. Remember it’s NOT your home. This is the basic rule of home-sitting.
  • Take care to hand back the home exactly as the homeowner left it - maybe even better. If you moved anything, put it back in its rightful place. When they get back, homeowners have a right to feel at home again!
  • Don’t take anything from the fridge or store cupboard unless you replace it - especially not alcohol.
  • Ensure the bedroom and bathroom is spick and span. Depending on instructions, either take off, wash and put back clean sheets and all the towels, or leave the bed ready to make up again. Above all, ensure that returning homeowners have the least possible work to do on arrival.
  • Cook a nice meal for the returning homeowners, and stock the fridge up on fresh milk, eggs, yogurt, and fruits

Enjoy your time with the temporary pets, maybe you make good friends 

with them and with their owners. That would be the perfect house sit!




Wednesday, August 31, 2022

September Newsletter for Successful Writing and Publishing


Tips for Successful Publishing - Newsletter September 2022

111Publishing and SavvyBookWriters

Dear friends,

Lots of celebrations in September: Labor Day on the first Monday in September, Native American Day is always celebrated on the 4th Friday of September, and Constitution Day celebrates the ratification of the governing document of the United States on September 17.  Also, participate and celebrate the many awards you find in this newsletter:


Michael Marks UK Award for Poetry 

Only pamphlets published in the United Kingdom are eligible. Genre: Poetry pamphlet. Prize: £5,000. Deadline: Sept 23  https://michaelmarksawards.org/awards-2022/

Willie Morris Awards for Southern Fiction and Nonfiction 

Novels and nonfiction books published in 2022. The book has to be set in one of the original eleven Confederacy States. Prize: $2,500.00.  Deadline: September 30



Red Hen Press Fiction Contest

Length 150-pages minimum of prose. Award is $1,000 and publication.  Entry Fee $25.  Deadline Sept 30    https://redhen.org/awards/red-hen-press-fiction-award/

Quill Prose Award

Award is $1,000 and publication. Considers 25,000-word minimum (approximately 150 pages, double spaced, Times New Roman 12pt font) of prose (fiction or nonfiction) by a queer writer only.  Entry Fee $10.  Deadline Nov 30   https://redhen.org/awards/quill-prose-award/


Common Mistakes Aspiring Authors Make

When you declare you want to become a full-time writer, publish books, and have your own literary fans, are you really willing to make any sacrifices?  If yes, your mission is to build a small empire around your words.  To do that, you will need thick skin.  There’s More to Writing a Book Than… Writing.  Find here all the traps - and how to avoid them:




Virginia Center for the Arts

Applicants will be considered for a VCCA residency and as many fully funded fellowships for which they are eligible. In addition, all eligible applicants who demonstrate a need will be considered for financial aid to help cover the cost of their residency. The VCCA residency at Mt. San Angelo includes a private bedroom with a private bath, a separate individual studio, and three meals daily in a community of cross-disciplinary artists.  Deadline Sept 15  



Ft Union National Monument Residency

Location Watrous, New Mexico, a historic outpost on the high plains and on the Santa Fe trail. Open to any and all artists, writers, musicians, or performance artists. Residency dates March 2023. Stipend $1,000.  Deadline Sept 30



Massachusetts Cultural Sector Recovery Grants

Unrestricted grants of $5,000 to creatives and gig workers to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and set a path for growth. This one-time FY23 grant program is funded through state pandemic recovery monies Mass Cultural Council received from the Legislature. An applicant must be a full-year resident of Massachusetts, 18 years or older, and an artist or cultural practitioner active in any artistic discipline or cultural tradition, a teaching artist/scientist/humanist, or a cultural worker in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. Deadline Nov 1




Sun Magazine

They publish personal essays, fiction, and poetry. Personal stories that touch on political and cultural issues are welcome. Personal Essays $300 to $2,000. Fiction $300 to $2,000. 




A city magazine for the DC area that publishes long, deeply reported profiles, true-crime yarns, and pieces of narrative journalism. But also trend pieces, photo essays, column-length arguments, and comprehensive lists. How the city works, or how to get the most out of Washington, home design, DIY, or real estate stories. Pays $1/word on average.  Email mmontgomery@washingtonian.com



The Food Section

Our mission is to serve eaters across the American South by providing them with the information and analysis they need to enhance their food and drink experiences for original, inclusive, and independent reporting about restaurants, bars, farmers, fishermen, food artisans—and everything else that influences how and what we eat and drink. Rate: $1,000 for a 1,200-word reported piece.




GoodRx is looking for freelance writers who can put a face on what it's like to go through a health crisis. They want strong storytellers who can approach patient stories with journalistic expertise. Most stories will be 800 to 1,200 words, with a pay rate of $500 per story. 



One more Tip on How to Research Literary Agents and Book Publishers
A timeless and useful article written by Virginia Lloyd

Only 15 weeks until Christmas… What are your plans for the best time of the year to sell books?  Bundle several of your books to sell a new edition, or have a note in your print book, offering readers a free ebook download of it, as a way to contact your readers directly?  There are hundreds of marketing ideas, just scroll through our Blog and pick the ones you like best.





Books by Doris-Maria Heilmann:

To the TOP

Smart Free Marketing for Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed

ebook: https://books2read.com/u/mqv8Z1

print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1988664381

ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08957T6XN/


Audiobooks for Success

Valuable guidebook for authors, audiobook publishers, narrators, voice-over artists, and audiobook listeners. Learn how to create, produce, publish, and market your audiobooks




111 Tips to Create Impressive Videos - 
How to Plan, Create, Upload, and Market Videos



111 Tips To Make Money With Writing -
The Art of Making a Living Full-time Writing -
An Essential Guide for More Income as a Freelancer



111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free
 - Detailed Plans and Smart Strategies for Your Book’s Success



111 Tips to Get Free Book Reviews
 - Best Strategies for Getting Lots of Great Reviews
plus 1,200+ reviewer contact links



111 Tips to Create Your Book Trailer -
How to Create, Where to Upload, and How to Market Your Videos



Book Marketing on a Shoestring
How Authors Can Promote their Books 

Without Spending a Lot of Money


Visit my Author Page here: