Ten “P” Keys to Becoming a Successful Writer Faster and More Easily Than Ever

Ten P Keys to Success 

By Michael Larsen


 Now is the best time to be a writer, but technology is forcing writers to reinvent themselves. A new model for becoming a successful writer is needed.  The goal of these ten keys is to provide the model.

1.    Passion—your love for creating and communicating about your work. Using your passion to serve others is the ultimate key to success and happiness.

2.    Purpose—personal, literary, publishing, and community goals that inspire you to achieve them.

3.    Products—devoting yourself to the holy trinity of content: reading, writing, and sharing and the holy trinity of communication: people, platform, and pre-promotion:

4.    People—crowdsourcing your success with win-win relationships with engaged, committed, growing communities of people and collaborators you serve who want to help you, because they know, like, and trust you

5.    Platform–your continuing visibility with your communities and potential buyers, online and off, on your subject or the kind of book you write

6.    Pre-promotion–test-marketing your work in as many ways as you can

7.    Promotion— serving your communities by using your passion and platform to share the value of your work  

8.    People, Planet, and Profit—making the effects of your efforts on the holy trinity of sustainability—in this order–the criteria for determining what you do

9.    Professionalism:

–a positive perspective about writing, publishing, and your field
–reinventing yourself as a “contentpreneur” running a business that creates and re-purposes  a steady stream of scalable content in as many ways as possible
–making you and your work your brand
–using technology
–being a life-long learner

10.    Perseverance—a plan, patience, discipline, faith in yourself, failing your way to success, simplifying your life, a long-term perspective, the commitment to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to achieve your goals, and celebrating your victories.

These keys balance yin and yang—creating content and communicating about it. Integrating them will create a literary ecosystem that will build synergy as long as you sustain it with service. You can adapt the keys to other fields and your personal life. I welcome your suggestions for changes.


Michael Larsen of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency has been helping writers launch careers since 1972. For more information about him and the work he has done with Elizabeth Pomada to help writers, visit The 5th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference / Changing the World One Book at a Time at : www.sfwritingforchange.org  and  The 11th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community  at: www.sfwriters.org / You can also check out Mike’s blog: http://sfwriters.info/blog @SFWC  and Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference. Finally, be sure to investigate the free classes at San Francisco Writers University / Empowering Writers to Reach Their Goals:  www.sfwritersu.com


Zombies are Real: Thoughts on Education and School Textbooks

       Patricia V. Davis


What might be worse than destroying someone’s physical body with a gun or a bomb or any other lethal weapon is to pretend they don’t exist. To pretend their thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs do not exist, because they are different than ours.

But the irony is that pretending that someone who is not like you, who doesn’t think as you do, who has a different perspective on any given subject than you do, does not exist, is that it harms you as much as it harms him. Because when there is nothing to challenge your point of view, there is nothing to learn. And when there is nothing left to learn, there is no room for growth. And the opposite of growth is death.

Oh, we might not be physically dead, we might still be sitting on that couch, or going to that church or attending that rally, or posting an opinion on our blogs or on our Facebook pages for only our like-minded friends to nod their heads to in agreement with us.

But our brains and our spirits are dead because we have stopped learning.

And this is why I no longer teach in a high school classroom, or read newspapers and watch news programs that slant to the right or the left, or to the Christian point of view or the atheist point of view or the liberal point of view or the conservative, etc. It’s because each and every one of those outlets is designed to keep its disciples in check.

When we listen and repeat what our teacher says, what a textbook says (or, as in the case at the link below, doesn’t say) what a pundit says, what a religious leader says or what a politician says, we’re not learning — we’re parroting.

That was who was celebrated when I was a classroom teacher: the parrot, not the pupil. The pupil who asked his teachers “Why?” “How?” “What for?” “How do we know?” was considered a BEHAVIOR problem. But the parrot who sat quietly, read the textbook he was given and absorbed wholesale what was in that textbook so he could be tested on how well he’d memorized it, got the cracker.

The same thing is true in most homes, isn’t it? Does the Christian parent exist who wouldn’t be appalled if her child were an atheist, or the liberal who wouldn’t feel disgusted if her child were a conservative? There are those parents who abandon their children emotionally if those children do not conform to what they believe. And some go even further than that —they don’t just emotionally destroy them, they murder them—their own children — and are proud of it, as a matter of “honor.” Western society finds that horrific when they hear about it, but let’s face it—most of us, to a greater or lesser degree, put our children through a death of sorts  by not allowing them to think as individuals rather than as an extension of ourselves and of what we were taught to believe. We’re even told by our peers that we’re being good parents when we do so. “It’s very important that my son speak the language I grew up speaking,” “It’s very important that my daughter goes to church,” “It’s very important that my kids not be gay,” are just three of many caveats to their approval and affection I’ve heard parents issue.
Some people who read the article at the link below won’t be upset by the fact there is missing information in these textbooks, any more than they’re upset that there is missing information in the textbooks used by schools in Texas, California, New York, Utah, and many other states in the US. Yet those same people are terribly upset when an Israeli bulldozer knocks down a house that belongs to a Palestinian in the Gaza, or when a gunman comes into a school and slaughters children like fish in a barrel.

Yes, those are terrible things. But just as terrible, perhaps far worse because of its long tail, is the slow zombification of an entire species. That’s what mainstream media, organized religion and the current education systems in each and every country on the planet are doing to us—more horrific than no schooling at all, more horrific than wholesale slaughter of a population, is the systemic agenda to turn all of us into a mindless mass of followers whose sole reason for existing is to eat the brains of the next generation.

And I can’t think of a greater weapon against this than to read everything, question everything, and learn whatever we can about everyone else who is different than we are, without ethnocentricity and xenophobia as the gatekeepers of our learning process.


Patricia V. Davis is the author of  The Diva Doctrine: 16 Universal Principles Every Woman Needs to Know and Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss and Greece. She is the founder of  The Women’s PowerStrategy™ Conference

Come home for the holidays…home to yourself…connect, create and inspire

There’s no place like home for the holidays…that’s what the song says.

What does home mean to you? What does it look like?

It can be a

  • place…specific geographic location
  • feeling…when we are lost in reading/writing our favorite genre
  • person… representing that sense of well-being

I believe home is somewhere or someone who makes us feel always welcome, comfortable, nurtured, and cherished.

Thomas Wolfe said “we can’t go home again.”

I agree with Mr. Wolfe that you can’t go “home” again. It is physically and emotionally impossible to return to the specific point in time we yearn to revisit. When we were six-years-old and cuddled up on Grandma’s lap being smothered with kisses and attention. When we were 12 and won that science award. When we had that first confirmation of our writing abilities by being published in the junior college literary magazine.

Dorothy figured out that “there’s no place like home.”

I am also in agreement with Dorothy. As much as she found Oz magical, Kansas was her real land of enchantment of family and friends. Wherever we call home, that address possesses the ability to inspire ease and delicious comfort for us.

“I long,” Maya Angelou tells us, “as does every human being, to be at home within myself.

Ah yes, I fully embrace Maya Angelou’s sentiments. As much as it is important to have an environment, which fosters an atmosphere of growth and understanding, we cannot ever hope to be at “home” in any physical surroundings, if we are not first at “home” within ourselves. The address could be a palace, grand estate or a shack, but if we are not comfortable in our own skin…are we really living our best life?

How do you come to be at home within yourself?

The answer is not simple…it is a lifelong journey.

I believe as writers we have an inside track in finding the path to be at home within ourselves. We couldn’t write if we didn’t know how to reach inside ourselves. We couldn’t write if we didn’t know how to bridge the gap between the surface story and the emotional drama below the façade.

What does home mean to you?

I’d love to discuss this subject further, please join me at the Come Home to Yourself…Connect, Create and Inspire Unleash YOU! Holiday Tea with Mary E. Knippel on Monday, Dec. 10, 3:30 p.m. in San Mateo.

During this season of giving, stop all the hustle and bustle to indulge in a little “me” time and discuss why self-nurturance is necessary not just during the holidays, but throughout the year.

Sit, sip, and savor time with friends and take home a bit of holiday magic with your own personal blend of bath salts.

$10 via this link, or $15 at the door. (includes hands-on materials and refreshments)

*A portion of monies collected at Unleash You! events will benefit  Breast Cancer Connections (www.bcconnections.org), a Bay Area non-profit organization offering free programs and services for those touched by breast cancer and the people who care about them.


This event is presented by Mary E. Knippel. Mary is a past president of WNBA-SF as well as a presenter and Independent Editor Coordinator at the San Francisco Writers Conference. She is a creative professional with over 25 years of extensive writing experience and the author of THE SECRET ARTIST – give yourself permission to let your creativity shine! Mary helps her clients move from concept to creation whatever the project:  web text, personal profiles, newsletters, e-mail campaigns, blog posts, articles or artful taglines. Using her skills as a free-lance writer, editor, speaker, and workshop facilitator, Mary encourages everyone to overcome their reluctance to embrace their writing potential and address writing challenges with fun and flair. For more information, visit her website.

Why a Blog is an Aspiring Author’s Best Friend


Nina Amir

Nina Amir

Like a best friend or writing buddy, a blog supports aspiring and published authors’ efforts to write, publish and promote their books. Yet, many writers refuse to blog. They don’t want to learn new technology, don’t want to promote themselves, or believe blogging will take them away from daily writing.

However, a blog offers writers a host of benefits, such as:

  1. An author platform.
  2. A way to promote themselves and their work.
  3. A creative outlet.
  4. A way to get their work read.
  5. A way to connect with readers.
  6. A targeted critique group.
  7. A way to write a book.
  8. A way to attract a publisher.
  9. A way to gain buyers for your book.
  10. A way to become a published author.

These days, writers—published writers—don’t just write, they blog. Why? Because a blog is, indeed, a writer’s best friend. Let me explain how you can use your blog to gain these benefits I’ve mentioned.

How to Build Author Platform with a Blog

To build author platform with a blog, simply blog often and consistently. Once a week is okay, but if you publish a short post (250-300 words) 2-5 times a week, you will begin to see traffic (readers) at your blog fairly quickly.

How a Blog Promotes Your Work and You

Write about what you know—the subject of your book and every subject related to the subject of your book. Write about writing your book. Write about what interests you. In this way, you promote yourself and your work.

How to Use Your Blog as a Creative Outlet

Forget morning pages that no one reads but you. If you’ve got something to write about, write about it on your blog. You’ll get more creative knowing someone is actually reading your writing.

How a Blog Gets Your Work Read

While you wait a year and a half or two years for a publisher to publish your book or a month or two (or more with editing and design) for your self-published book to be released, start blogging and have your work read immediately. The average book today garners 300 or so readers a year or 3,000 readers in its lifetime. You can have 300 readers to your blog daily or weekly—3,000 monthly or more.

How a Blog Helps You Connect With Readers

When readers comment on your blog, you reply. You have a conversation with your readers. Install a forum on your blog or survey your readers, and engage with them. Ask readers to subscribe to your newsletter; then email them. These activities equate to connecting with your blog readers.

How a Blog Provides You With a Targeted Critique Group

Let your blog readers serve as your critique group. Publish pieces of your book on your blog (or blog the entire book). You’ll get feedback from the actual people who might read your printed book each time they comment on your blog. Publish posts on the topic of your book. See if these posts get read or receive comments. Survey readers about specific content.

How a Blog Helps You Write Your Book

Map out your book’s content in post sized pieces. Then compose the manuscript by writing 250-500 words a day 5 days a week. You’ll compose approximately 1,250-2,500 words a week. Publish you manuscript one post at a time on your blog. Do this for 7 months; you’ll produce a 35,000-70,000-word manuscript—the first draft of a book. Write 7 posts per week and you’ll write your book faster.

How Your Blog Attracts a Publisher

Publish blog posts regularly and consistently so you develop a popular and successful blog—one with a faithful and large readership. This fan base equates to an author platform. With a large enough platform, a publisher may discover you and your blog and offer you a book deal. Or you can send a book proposal to a publisher and provide your blog stats as proof of your author platform.

How Your Blog Creates Buyers for Your Book

The more blog readers you have, the more potential buyers you gain for your book. Create a successful blog, and you create a successful book—one that sells.

How Your Blog Helps You Go from Aspiring to Published Author

Every time you finish a blog post, you hit the “publish” button. You become a published an author and a publisher. Viola! (Also, your successful blog attracts agents and publishers.)

Make friends with your blog today. It won’t let you down.

About Nina Amir 

Nina Amir, Your Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, inspires people to combine their purpose and passion so they Achieve More Inspired Results. Through her work at CopyWright Communications, she motivates writers to create publishable and published products and careers as authors. The author of nine short books and five blogs, her newest book is How to Blog a Book, Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time. (Writer’s Digest Books).






February 2, 2012, 6:15-7:30pm “What is a Platform and How to Build Yours”

Free Event  February 2, 2012 6:15-7:30pm WNBA-SF Chapter members and prospective members welcomed to  San Francisco Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Room A (food allowed)

 Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan will present interactive session “What is a Platform and How to Build Yours”  promptly at 6:15pm. Must RSVP  24 hours before meeting by emailing :     writingcoachteresa  at     gmail.com

Join Women’s National Book Association https://wnba-sfchapter.org

Coach Teresa is the author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW  http://writingcoachTeresa.com

“Authors Exchange Solutions” discussions at SFPL are orchestrated by Teresa LeYung-Ryan & Mary E. Knippel & Birgit Soyka.

Then March 1, 2012, 6:15-7:30pm  FREE event Thurs., March 1, 2012, 6:15-7:30pm  Your-Writing-Mentor/SFWC presenter Mary E. Knippel will present “Ready Your Pitch for March 24 WNBA Meet The Agents event” for WNBA–SF Chapter members and prospective members, at San Francisco Main Library, Stong Conference Room. Promptly at 6:15pm. Must RSVP 24 hours before meeting by emailing:   MaryEKnippel (use @ sign)  gmail.com  Bring your business cards or postcards.  Mentor Mary is the author of The Secret Artist – Give Yourself Permission to Let Your Creativity Shine!

Authors Exchange Solutions at WNBA-SF Chapter Meetings at SFPL

Authors Exchange Solutions at WNBA-SF Chapter Meetings at SFPL

Thursday, December 1, 2011 6:00-7:30pm San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room A (food is allowed).
22-Day Platform-Building Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan (SF Chapter Secretary) here to say: “What an exciting get-together!  11 hard-working writers cheered and swapped marketing & editing tips at the December 2011 meeting. Please join co-facilitators Birgit Soyka, Mary E. Knippel and me at the next meeting–Thursday, January 5, 2012  6:00-7:30pm San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room A (food is allowed).

All attendees from tonight’s meeting please submit a comment to this post — introduce yourselves to WNBA fans and tell them what gems you walked away with this evening.

Birgit Soyka

Mary E. Knippel

Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Laura Bean

Mary French

Jane Glendinning

Shulamit Sofia

Rob Robbins

Catherine C. Robbins

Fred Glynn

Matilde Schmidt

Who is already a member?  https://wnba-sfchapter.org/wnba-sf-chapter-membership-directory/

Join us!  https://wnba-sfchapter.org/membership/join-or-renew-here/



Create Your Success Story

Create Your Success Story

from the Inside Out

sponsored by

The Women’s National Book Assn-San Francisco Chapter

facilitated by

Mary E. Knippel, founder of Your Writing Mentor

Sunday, Jan. 29, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Half Moon Bay, CA

Are you…

  • looking for a new way of thinking?

  • ready to learn inspired problem-solving?

  • in need of a creativity booster for 2012?

$35 WNBA-SF members

 $55 WNBA-SF non-members


Mary’s presentation will help you:

  • learn simple, creative ways to get noticed in a crowd

  • design your roadmap to achieving your dreams

  • convert your passions into valuable connections



Be warned…A word of caution to our left-brain thinking friends.

  1. There will not be a test.
  2. No one will grade this activity.
  3. Glue sticks will be used.
  4. Colored pens will be available.
  5. Fun will be optional.


 Mary E. Knippel, founder of Your Writing Mentor, is a creative professional with 25 years of extensive writing experience. Mary helps her clients move from concept to creation whatever the project:  web text, personal profiles, newsletters, e-mail campaigns, blog posts, articles to artful taglines. Using her skills as a free-lance writer, editor, speaker, and workshop facilitator, Mary encourages all reluctant writers to embrace their writing potential and address writing challenges with fun and flair. For more information go to www.yourwritingmentor.com.

December 1, 2011, 6:00-7:30pm Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter

Join Us – WNBA-SF Gathering at SF Main Library, Dec. 1, 2011, 6:00-7:30pm

Members and prospective members welcomed.

Click on the headline/title bar of this post to see full description of event and RSVP by submitting comment.

San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room (food is allowed).  Near BART Civic Center Station. 2 entrances for the library: 100 Larkin St. (and 30 Grove St.), S.F., CA 94102

Facilitated by Birgit Soyka, author of To Drink the Wild Air.

RSVP by submitting comment here OR email Birgit Soyka at   bsr107  at  yahoo.com

Discuss your writing projects; bring your ideas for future event.

Also, Your-Writing-Mentor Mary E. Knippel (creator of “Create Your Success Story” workshops) and Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan (author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW  and Love Made of Heart) will be present.


  *   **

Leon Veal, thank you for arranging meeting space at SFPL year-round!

At the October 6, 2011 meeting, Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan and Mentor Mary E. Knippel helped members create 60-second videos/marketing pieces for themselves.  Click here to see thank-you message to Brian at SF Project Read.

At the November 3, 2011 meeting, author Birgit Soyka facilitated another fun meeting.

To become a WNBA member or to renew: https://wnba-sfchapter.org

See you there!

Who Are the Movers and Shakers at Women’s National Book Association San Francisco Chapter?

Who Are the Movers and Shakers at Women’s National Book Association San Francisco Chapter?

June 26, 2011 planning retreat

Back row: Linda Lee (co-President), Verna Dreisbach (co-VP), Leigh Anne Lindsey, Kate Farrell, Margie Yee Webb, Pat Windom, Laura Novak (co-VP), Birgit Soyka (SF bookstore readings Liaison)

Front row: Mary E. Knippel (past President), Barbara Santos, Ana Manwaring, Apala Egan, Linda Joy Myers (co-President), Teresa LeYung-Ryan (Secretary)

In four hours, each of the fourteen powerful women declared what is most important in her career and community.
Here’s a partial list of events sponsored by WNBA-SF Chapter or supported by chapter members:

In addition to mixers/meet-ups at libraries & bookstores and book festivals . . .

January – WNBA New Year Creativity Workshop with Mary E. Knippel

February – San Francisco Writers Conference

March – WNBA’s “Meet the Agents”

April – Redwood Writers Conference

Effie Lee Morris Lecture – WNBA joins Friends of the San Francisco Public Library

October is National Reading Group Month – WNBA National event, every chapter participates

Sunday November 6, 2011 (tentative date)– WNBA publishing panel



Teresa LeYung-Ryan

WNBA-SF Chapter Secretary

Writing Career Coach – Author – Manuscript Consultant


Why is it important to show up to network?

Why is it important to show up to network?

WNBA-SF Chapter Board Member and Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan here to answer the question:

June 2, 2011

Take care of yourself; take care of your career. I don’t even like the word “network” so I get creative. Speaking of getting creative, tonight’s WNBA-SF Chapter Meet Up was an example of how to network and have fun.

WNBA member Leon Veal, the outreach coordinator for Project Read San Francisco, calendars meeting space at the San Francisco Public Library main branch for us once a month.  I had asked SF Chapter past president Creativity Mentor Mary E. Knippel to co-lead a WNBA Meet Up with me.

Members Birgit Soyka and Janine Kovac RSVPed.

Mary and I showed up early.  I helped Mary re-configure her business card to read: You’ve been thinking about writing your book? Let me (Mary E. Knippel) help you. Mary showed me her Google Voice phone number. I want to create a YouTube channel for WNBA-SF Chapter–I provided the format and Mary came up with a great idea–”Let’s create a how-to video/tutorial for our members!”  Mary is indeed the Creativity Mentor.

Birgit Soyka arrived, looking vibrant.  She and I will be showcasing our books later this month:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tuesday, June 28, 2011, 7:00-9:00pm

BookShop West Portal, 80 West Portal Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 415-564-8080

Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) members celebrate June’s “Rebuild Your Life Month” featuring books by members Birgit Soyka and Teresa LeYung-Ryan. Join us for a fun evening— reception; authors’ presentations; meet the new board and members of the San Francisco Chapter. Please RSVP by emailing  BookShopRSVP@wnba-sfchapter.org

Birgit Soyka (author of To Drink the Wild Air: One Woman’s Quest to Touch the Horizon)


Teresa LeYung-Ryan (author of Love Made of Heart and Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Mary and I were telling Birgit about using YouTube to promote our work and Birgit was telling us about her wanting to identify her biggest target audience. Would that be readers of spiritual growth, world travels, women’s issues or motorcycle racing?

Then Terri Bertini (screenwriter, producer and director) showed up!  I had met Terri at the Asian Heritage Street Celebration last month.  When Birgit showed her book to Terri and started talking about her motorcycle racing and world travel . . . Terri said she remembers meeting Birgit in Los Angeles fifteen years ago at a race and that it seems like just yesterday. Voila!  Birgit (in her motorcycle gear) is memorable and attracts attention.

I asked Terri if she has a blog and she told us the blog name she is considering. When her blog name is official I will broadcast on my blog.

Birgit is interested in showcasing her book at more venues.  Mary and I will be at the Literary Arts/Fine Arts Department at the San Mateo County Fair on Friday 17, 2011 (please see http://www.lovemadeofheart.com/Teresa-LeYung-Ryan%27s-Events.html for details) but we cannot be at the fair the following day for Bardi Rosman Koodrin’s Author Book Day June 18, 2011, 2:00-4:00pm because Mary is giving a workshop in Half Moon Bay and I had promised to take photos and film her.

Here’s an idea:  I would email Bardi and pitch Birgit. Mary suggested to Birgit that if she gets table space on the 18th to showcase her books that she might also showcase my books.

Aah, helping each other, helping ourselves and having fun at the same time! This is why it is important to show up to network.

Janine Kovac, we missed you. Check out Janine’s blog.  See you real soon.

Terri Bertini, thank you for joining us at the library.

Cheering for all hardworking writers!

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Hope to see you on June 17, 2011!  at the Literary Arts Dept. Stage at the San Mateo County Fair in California

4:00-6:00pm Mary E. Knippel presents “Coaxing Creativity” workshop

6:30-8:00pm readings by California Writers Club–San Francisco Peninsula Branch members including contributing authors in the anthology Fault Zone: Words from the Edge.

8:00-9:00pm Author Teresa LeYung-Ryan uses Love Made of Heart to inspire adult-children of mentally-ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and gain resources for their families. As Writing Career Coach Teresa, she helps fiction and nonfiction authors gain a competitive edge before and after publication with her workbook Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days.