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Thread: Where Writers Win

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Weirdmage's Avatar
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    Where Writers Win

    Was made aware of this when a blogger friend mentioned she was in their blogger directory (, with wrong information that she reviews self-published books).

    This is their main page: http://writerswin.com/

    Had a quick look, and they offer several services, including "Writer Coaching/Editing".
    Haven't looked at much, but their "Website/Blog" service costs $1.450 for what seems to be pretty basic to me.

  2. #2
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    I see that they're owned by "Shark Marketing Company" (does Jaws know about this??!?) and that three of the "team members" from the Writers Win site are the three that run Shark Marketing. SM's website can be seen here - http://www.sharkmarketingco.com

    They list a whole whack of editors (<--like a "murder of crows" or a "pride of lions") on a list attached to their "Writer Coaching/Editing" page. I know nothing of editing, so I'll leave any dissecting to those who know. I do note that they have, "certified professional" writing coaches--is that a thing? I've never heard of that. "Certified" by whom, to do what? Is there a Board of Writing Certification you're all keeping from me? *goes off to sulk in a corner and consume a Cadbury's Dairy Milk bar in angst.*
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  3. #3
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
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    More than likely, mail order certification...
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  4. #4

    Where Writers Win

    I am an independent author and team member of Where Writers Win, so allow me to address this thread. To explain what we do, I would refer you to the website www.writerswin.com. But best I explain why we do it. I hired Shari Stauch to 1) re-design and migrate my website 2) train/coach me for social media. I was so impressed with my results and Shari that when she invited me to join the team I was ecstatic. Turns out, we shared a common outrage at the many “snake oil salesmen” lurking on the World Wide Web waiting to take advantage of indie and traditionally published authors.

    Paid services offered by WWW are provided by collaborators. These are folks that Shari has worked with and developed relationships with for years. The prices are better than reasonable, in my opinion. And let me stress that my opinion is based on experiences of my own. The website design includes training that enables you to maintain the site on your own… no ongoing costs. The whole philosophy is to push the chicks out of the nest…show you how to do it and let you fly. Got a problem after launch? I’ve never known any of the collaborators to charge a dime for answering a question or addressing a concern…long after launch. Kendra Haskins, team member who is the website designer has a soft spot for authors. Lucky us that her pricing is a fraction of what she charges her business clients. Did I mention that she was voted Charleston Business Woman of the Year last year and that she sits on the board of The Center for Women here in Charleston, SC? Her reputation is impeccable.

    Bren McClain, media trainer, is an award winning indie author whose business is devoted to training individuals for television or any public appearances. Her media training clients have included Workman Publishing, AT&T, CIBA Vision, Turner Broadcasting, Georgia Pacific, The Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Marriott International, The Kentucky Department of Education, Telecom Pioneers, Arthritis Foundation, Cincinnati Reds, Career Sports & Marketing, Ford Motor Company and the U.S. Army. In addition, the NCAA Foundation selected her to write the Media Relations component for its Life Skills Program, aimed at preparing student-athletes across the country for life after college. Bren and Shari are also past producers of the South Carolina Writers Workshop (SCWW) Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC.

    Did I mention how lucky I feel to be included in this group?

    The new Winner Circle is a subscriber service - $59.95/year (currently as intro offer at $39.95/year). Our goal is to provide published authors with resources so that they might market their work. Our subscribers are a mix of indie and traditionally published authors because traditional publishers aren’t doing so much for authors anymore.

    Book blog review sites? Born out of an outrage that so many of our author friends were getting ripped off by “blog tours”… putting a thriller with a reviewer that does YA, not showing up, etc. Authors are paying hundreds of dollars for something they could do themselves. We have logged hundreds of hours researching over 5000 book blog review sites, breaking our list into genres (32) and rating them. (W, WW, or WWW). Out of those 5000 sites we found but a few hundred that are worthy of our hard working authors. We will update the list 4 times a year. To address Weirdmage…your friend contacted us and we corrected the listing immediately. We DID make a mistake because we’re people… we get tired… it was a data entry error likely made by me personally. Mea culpa, mea culpa. We are grateful for the opportunity to correct the error.

    Fluff Bunny – I don’t think Shark Marketing is currently active, but I don’t want to speak for Shari Stauch. It is now Where Writers Win. But just so you know, the original name comes from Shari’s background as a former world champion pool player and current publisher of Pool and Billiard Magazine, the oldest sports magazine still in existence.

    We are all extremely strong author advocates. I wanted to set the record somewhat straight, though Shari is founder and CEO. I’m hoping she’ll jump in here too.
    Last edited by jacquiegum; 05-24-2013 at 04:17 PM.
    J

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW eternalised's Avatar
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    What I think is outrageous is the price for blog/website. $1450? All blogs in the portfolio basically use the same design templates; most of them a slightly-modified version of the main WordPress standard design (which you can download for free, and actually get with your WordPress download, also for free) with a customized banner and colors. That's it. And I'm looking at the portfolio here.

    I know hundreds, if not thousands, of freelance designers that charge a lot less and do a lot more.
    Visit my website.



  6. #6
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    Kendra Haskins, team member who is the website designer has a soft spot for authors. Lucky us that her pricing is a fraction of what she charges her business clients. Did I mention that she was voted Charleston Business Woman of the Year last year and that she sits on the board of The Center for Women here in Charleston, SC? Her reputation is impeccable.
    I was unable to find a "Charleston Business Woman of the Year" award. I did find the 2012 "Woman of Influence" award presented by the Charleston Regional Business Journal (won by Evelyn Reis Perry), the 2012 "Woman of the Year" award presented by the Charleston Women in International Trade (won by Christian MacIver), and the 2012 "Influential Women in Business" award. That last was won by Cokie Berenyi in the CEO sub-category, with Ms. Haskins as one of the two additional finalists listed. I'd consider that a very great honor, indeed, to be a finalist, but I don't think you can truthfully say she, "was voted Charleston Business Woman of the Year last year"; "She was a finalist for CEO of the Year/Charleston Business Woman of the year" would be a little more accurate.

    Fluff Bunny – I don’t think Shark Marketing is currently active, but I don’t want to speak for Shari Stauch. It is now Where Writers Win. But just so you know, the original name comes from Shari’s background as a former world champion pool player and current publisher of Pool and Billiard Magazine, the oldest sports magazine still in existence.
    I have no clue whether Shark Marketing is still active or not, I merely found the connection of interest. I was unable to locate a world championship won by Ms. Stauch, but note that she was elected to the WPBA Hall of Fame, where the activities listed all appear to be for service to the sport (Secretary-General, PR, Board of Directors, etc.). Again, not to take anything away from her--that's a heck of an achievement, not to mention an honor, and it appears she served the sport well. As for "Pool & Billiards" magazine, they advertise themselves as "the sport's oldest magazine", not the oldest sporting magazine in general--that prize goes, I think, to the Sporting News (for US magazines, anyway).
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  8. #8
    Sorry eternalised...I should have mentioned that because I had paid two website designers previously and had an active website, I was only charged for a migration... a fraction of the cost. I was unhappy with my site and frustrated that the previous designer didn't get what I wanted or my need to establish myself s a brand with my books as the product. I found what I wanted at Where Writers Win and was a satisfied customer long before I became a part of the team. There probably isn't a thing on the planet you can't find for cheaper... but Author Bites wanted to charge me around $6000.00 and would not let me maintain my site myself. So value is subjective... beauty in the eye of the beholder... and I doubt you'll find dissent when it comes to the WWW clients. Bottom line, client satisfaction is ALWAYS the objective and as a customer first, I would attest to their responsive and giving me the product I wanted. It's a bonus to really like the people that are servicing you. And I did... and do
    J

  9. #9

    Smile

    Fluff Bunny...thanks for fact checking and you are probably right, so I want to admit that I rattled those things off from memory and I'm in the middle of a dental emergency (yikes) which has my brain even more addled! Ha! So please accept my humble apologies. But really, the personal facts aren't so much related to the services these guys offer. They are on the up and up and it kinda hurt my little heart to read something that could be construed as negative, because these guys wear the White Hats...they're the good guys who are actually out there trying to help people like us through the ever changing maze of publishing and marketing. That's all.
    J

  10. #10
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    Yowch! I'm so sorry about the dental problem. I hope it gets taken care of soon and feels better even sooner than that.

    No worries, at all. When I hear credentials offered, I check. Auto-magic-geek-response, I think.
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  11. #11
    Fluff Bunny...awwww. Well now THAT made my little heart smile. The idea that you are concerned with my dental emergency So, I thought I would let you know that I am fixed up! Yikes...I'd write about this, but nobody wants to read about dental crap! Hahaha! Mostly I want to thank you for being the auto-magic-geek responder... because the world needs folks like you, with a genuine interest in keeping things straight. Hats off to another White Hat good guy ! Yaay!
    J

  12. #12
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdmage View Post
    Was made aware of this when a blogger friend mentioned she was in their blogger directory (, with wrong information that she reviews self-published books).

    This is their main page: http://writerswin.com/

    Had a quick look, and they offer several services, including "Writer Coaching/Editing".
    Haven't looked at much, but their "Website/Blog" service costs $1.450 for what seems to be pretty basic to me.
    Weirdimage: I guess the company is what it is. Are you asking because you want to use their services? If you are a writer and are considering paying money for promotional services, you would do well to look very carefully at the posts and information in this section from established writers like Jim McDonald and Victoria Strauss, in addition to other fine folks in the publishing industry who offer great insight. For free. :^)

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by AphraB View Post
    Weirdimage: I guess the company is what it is. Are you asking because you want to use their services? If you are a writer and are considering paying money for promotional services, you would do well to look very carefully at the posts and information in this section from established writers like Jim McDonald and Victoria Strauss, in addition to other fine folks in the publishing industry who offer great insight. For free. :^)
    Oops! Forgot to mention that WWW blogs every other day with all sorts of free information for authors and writers on marketing, blogging, the craft of writing, avoiding scams and more...tons of info free. A subscription to her blog is free
    Last edited by jacquiegum; 05-24-2013 at 09:38 PM.
    J

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Where Writers Win: From the Shark's mouth :)

    Hi folks... trying to weigh in between hellish deadlines. Yes, spent first 20 years of my career as a professional pool player, but ha, never world champ - inducted into the Women's Pro Billiard Assoc. Hall of Fame for my part in creating/promoting their tour, negotiating ESPN, establishing Billiard Education Foundation, etc. In short, helping provide income opportunities for pro and future pro players.

    Today, full disclosure, I still co-own P&B Mag, now celebrating 33 years as the sport's oldest monthly. Retired from playing and promoting in ‘04, though tour calls me out of retirement once or twice a year to do onsite PR for an event. Fun, but after moving from Chicago to Charleston in '98, I was having MORE fun in the writing community.

    So yes, SMC does still exist, though now only for non-writing clients like WPBA. Some day I'll find time to revise that site... sigh. But a few years back, when deciding to veer more towards authors, I put together a "team" - so that each of the members would retain their autonomy, yet we'd pool our considerable experience to work with authors, with fees way below corporate client pricing AND what others were charging authors, because look, I’ve written books and know what REAL royalties amount to in this very narrow-margin business.

    Fast forward to 2012 when we decided to make it official AND more useful, and formed Where Writers Win (to lose the pool/shark/water references entirely). Beginning May 1, 2012 the new site launched with every-other-day blogs. On May 1, 2013 the new Winner Circle launched... It's still somewhat in its "beta" phase and so yes, an error here and there and we're quick to respond to them, and also making it available to folks half price (that's actually $29.95 Jacquie!) while we grow and refine the offerings.


    Our goal: to "shrink" this overwhelming space so authors can find what is truly useful to market themselves, whether that be vetted review sites by genre, book clubs open to viewing new work, indie book stores, finding upcoming festivals or conferences to attend as a panelist, etc. And admit to a bit of “hate motivation” too because originally was intrigued with blog tours, ‘til I saw the outrageous prices and the worthless blogs folks were being put on…Not saying there’s not good tours – but there are more bad, unfortunately. So instead we began working towards something authors could DIY.

    As for website pricing, well, wish they could all be free (and that someone would just give me a new Macbook Pro, too, lol). But really, many man hours go into each site, working with the author not only on initial concept and design, but design according to their audience, content development, training (most of our folks are very new to this space) and meticulous follow up.

    I can offer up this: 1. We don't stop working 'til we over-deliver, and long after that clients know they can –and do– ask for help. 2. Discounts include $75 off for being a Winner Circle member; 5% off if coming through one of our publishing partners; 5% off for anyone attending any class/panel/workshop/festival we attend, etc. 3. We purposely charge less than others offering author sites and deliver more (happy to provide many comps as proof), including knowing how form must meet function for an author's site to actually establish traffic and reach his/her readers. 4. If an author has a site that's working for them, we don't try to fix what ain’t broke. Likewise if they have the ability to DIY it, we encourage that, too.

    Sorry so long, thanks for indulging... If you want to read some of the things folks say about us visit http://writerswin.com/testimonials/ They're all available as references, too. And please, shout out with Qs, here or to me, shari@writerswin.com.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW
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    I put two of the websites mentioned in the testimonials through the W3C markup validator. Both failed.

  16. #16
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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  17. #17
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffysquirrel View Post
    I put two of the websites mentioned in the testimonials through the W3C markup validator. Both failed.
    To be fair, I reckon about 90% of all Websites fail validation. And if they're using WordPress, they're not actually Web Designers unless they're creating the templates (they aren't), so they're not responsible for failed code since they're not actually writing the code; the CMS is.

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  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW Weirdmage's Avatar
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    I see mention of blog tours. I'm a book blogger myself, although I haven't (yet) participated in any blog tours. But many of my blogging friends have, and those tours have always been organized by the publisher or the author, and I have never seen any complaints from authors on those kind of blog tours. I have however seen multiple complaints from authors about blog tours they have paid to have organized, it seems those very often miss their mark. If I were to give authors a tip on blog tours, it would be to do it yourself. Most authors will be quite aware of what sites they would like to see their books promoted on (, at least they should be).
    I don't see any value in companies that "organize" blog tours, neither from the authors nor the blogger standpoint.
    Last edited by Weirdmage; 05-25-2013 at 04:33 AM. Reason: Added a sentence

  19. #19
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    To be fair, I reckon about 90% of all Websites fail validation. And if they're using WordPress, they're not actually Web Designers unless they're creating the templates (they aren't), so they're not responsible for failed code since they're not actually writing the code; the CMS is.
    ^^^
    This.

    Also, I design sites, and when possible I hand something over to the client that they can maintain. If I hand over something that passes validation, that's no guarantee the next person (be it the client or someone else they hire) will add code that will validate. Non-validating code is not the end of the world.

  20. #20
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieB View Post
    Non-validating code is not the end of the world.
    Yep; you're soaking in it right now.

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  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW eternalised's Avatar
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    I still think using the standard WordPress template and basically just adding new colors and a new banner, even if there's follow-up and communication afterward, isn't worth $1450. Like, never.

    Honestly, how many hours does it take to install WordPress, the default theme, and basically just come up with a new banner and colors? I bet I could do that in like one, maximum two hours.

    Then explaining to your clients how WordPress works. I've done that about a dozen times so far, and it never really takes that long. WordPress is very intuitive. Need a new update? Just click on the 'automatically update' button. Need a new blog post? Click on the 'posts' and then 'add new post' button. Really, explaining WordPress isn't that hard. It certainly doesn't warrant the excessive price.

    Now, if the designer actually designed stuff, like made a WordPress theme from scratch, then the price would reasonable. As it stands now, absolutely not.
    Visit my website.



  22. #22
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    If I pay that amount of money for a website, I expect the code to validate. Why? Because I expect all my potential customers to be able to access the site, not just those using whatever browser the webdev glanced at the site in. The fact that many other websites fail validation is irrelevant. I haven't paid for those.

  23. #23
    Never Surrender AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    When The Kid was in high school, she did web design for a few friends of mine who wanted writing sites to promote their work and had not a clue, nor much of a budget. This fifteen-year-old self-taught web designer checked the sites in no less than six or eight browsers, from the newest and most popular to ones originally installed more than a decade earlier and never updated. Her sites had to display correctly in all of them.

    She probably didn't even know validation existed, but checking the site you code on a variety of browsers and operating systems is pretty basic.

    Maryn, just sayin'
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  24. #24
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    Indeed. This is why we have a back room with computers running Windows 98SE (Yup. Still.), XP, Vista, and 7, Ubuntu Linux, Max OSX and IOS (iPad and iPod). There's a lot of dual-booting/virtual boxes going on; it's not actually that crowded. I suppose I could pull out my still-working TI 99/4A, but that would be pushing the hardware a tad too far.
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  25. #25
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
    She probably didn't even know validation existed, but checking the site you code on a variety of browsers and operating systems is pretty basic.

    Maryn, just sayin'
    That's better than validating the code; validation tells you the code meets spec; but none of the browsers actually follow the spec, so that's not terribly useful.

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