Sharo Vander MeerI do a lot of free online meetings, mostly about blogging and site building. Invariably the topic of SEO comes up (Search Engine Optimization). Let us pretend I know what that entails. Let us pretend I know what that even means.

So, what does it take to make a website stand out from all the others? Well, I wish I knew. What I know is that I write, and I post, and I wait… and not much happens. How many blogs pretending to be websites are there? According to one online source, by September 2017 there were about 152 million. Is it any wonder so few people are taking note of mine?

I do have nearly 276 followers and 226 subscribers, which I am totally excited to have. How many of them are friends and family? One-third? Half? Surprisingly about 10 percent; the rest are folks who sort of stumbled onto my site and liked something I wrote.

A few have left – unsubscribed – since I started the site, perhaps because it has undergone a variety of themes and formats over its seven-year existence. Or maybe I’ve written about something a reader didn’t like or found boring. Could it be that my scatter-shot approach to this site is all over the map? I’m told I need to focus on one topic or idea and stick with it. Who am I? What do I want this site to do for me? Good question.

Ultimately I want people to read what I write and respond:  comment on posts, share posts, buy my books, subscribe to my episodic novel. These are the reasons I decided on a magazine format. My intent is to create or post content that people learn from, laugh at, think about or are inspired by. That comes in many forms, and I hope in the end it turns people on to new ideas, new opportunities and new insights.

The trick is to get the content in front of more eyes, which is where SEO – and other posting strategies – come into play, which is where I am right now, trying to figure it out.

As a WordPress user, it is clear I have at my disposal many resources. They have detailed instructions about… well, about everything, including SEO. What it requires of the user/blogger/website developer, is attention to detail, understanding the limitations (and flexibility) of themes, and taking the FREE sessions that teach you how to make best use of the wonderful tool that is the internet.

In closing, I would love for you as a reader to recommend this site to your friends and family. If you enjoy the content let me know. If you don’t like the content or see ways it can be improved, I for sure want to know that.

This morning I spent quality time with Steve, a WordPress Happiness Engineer who talked me through my site and gave me invaluable tips on how to improve it. These were tools already available to me that I hadn’t known how to use. That’s the thing about WordPress; if you have a premium or business plan, you have access to a wealth of  one-on-one help from WordPress support. As a basic user with a free blogging site, help is available and a click away.

So, thank you WordPress, and thank you Steve, for your help. It has given me a leg up when the road was getting ever so bumpy.

From the keyboard of Sharon Vander Meer
(Note: I am not paid to promote WordPress)



Blog Recognition: Thanks a Bunch!

My sister blogger, Aiming Flamingo, has nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award. Thank you so much Aiming Flamingo! Readers and followers are essential elements of the conversation that happens in the blogosphere. I very much appreciate your support.


I’ve been blogging for several years, had a website, and created a web zine. It was driving me crazy trying to keep up with four blogs, a website and the zine. I decided a little over a year ago to put everything under “one roof,” hence the title of my blog, One Roof Publishing.

I cover a lot of territory in the blog, writing Q&A posts about events and people, posting inspirational essays, writing about health and wellness, and anything else I can think of, including occasional short fiction. I welcome Followers and am always looking for new essay and article ideas. If you would like to guest post on my site, send your query to

I am a writer through and through. I have indie published several books and am close to publishing a new novel. I also do writing for hire through my business, Write Stuff Writing Services.

I’m not much for handing out advice, but that’s part of the process of passing the Blogger Recognition Award around. So here goes: My two pieces of advice for new bloggers – your best shot at getting readers is to know who you want your readers to be (target marketing), and posting regularly.

Below are the sites I’m recognizing. It is indeed an eclectic mix that shares one thing in common and only one: these are all folks who have a passion for something. I find that admirable and inspiring. Passion puts the pizzazz in life.

Dr. K. L. Register, The Ninth Life
Edge of Humanity Magazine
Momentary Lapse of Sanity
Windy Lynn Harris
Success Inspirers World
Gabriella Clark
Kate  Barnwell Poetry
Haddon Musings
Kathleen Rodgers
Sarah Flores Blog
Be Inspired!
Charles French
Author Kristen Lamb


Now it’s your turn. The rules are simple.
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to his or her blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated and provide the link to the post you created

I hope you can make the time to join in the support and recognition of other bloggers.

Writing lessons and life lessons


Over the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to talk to writers of varying levels of success. These wonderful interactions have taught me a lot about what it means to be a writer and how each applies to having a happy life.

Write tight. Whether you are writing an advertisement or penning the Great American Novel, less is more. Good writing is often a matter of making the most of a few well-chosen words.

Life Lesson: The same is true in every day encounters. More time spent listening and less time talking can bring unexpected rewards, and will likely result in stronger relationships. 

Do your homework. (Research). Writers have an obligation to their readers to be credible. Works of fiction with shaky plots and weak characters turn readers off. Non-fiction books with incorrect information turn readers off. Period, end of story. 

Life Lesson: In presenting your thoughts and ideas verbally, whether one-on-one, in small groups or before an audience of thousands, be trust-worthy. Nothing taints character and integrity like misinformation or an out-and-out lie. 

Write. To be successful, writers must write. It sounds simple, but making time to write is difficult if you are not intentional about putting words on paper (or computer), which is why most authors have a schedule and stick with it come what may.

Life Lesson: To be successful at anything, perseverance is required. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV) Stick with it, whatever “it” is for you, and you are more likely to achieve your goals. 

Be interesting. Create a compelling story with strong characters, drama, conflict, action and a satisfying conclusion. 

Life Lesson: In life the interesting people are more engaged, motivated, happier and less stressed. 

Be creative. There are many ways to write about the same subject. Love. Hate. Death. Life. Fear. Happiness. Truth. Lies. You name it and it has been written about, and that will continue. How does your creativity and innovation bring new life to these concepts? That’s the story you want to tell. 

Life Lesson: How will your personal story take shape as you live each day? Find ways to be creative, even if it’s as simple as drinking your orange juice out of a wine glass. No matter what you do, you can bring elements of creativity to the way you live.

Happiness is…

Think about it. You get to fill in that blank any way you want to. It’s your story. It’s your life. Be happy.


Vander Meer Books available at Amazon.


Q&A With Rebecca Lee: Object Lessons

Writer Rebecca Lee lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has published with The Noctua Review, Cleaver Magazine, Rebecca LeeExistere Journal, The Rusty Nail.  Her blog is at

Q. Tell readers about yourself and your writing goals.
A. Writing is my #1 passion in life. I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pen.  My main writing goal for the future is to publish a collection of short stories and vignettes.

Q. Your blog is an eclectic collection on a variety of topics. Comments from some readers refer to it as being quirky and original. Talk about the premise of the blog and why you started it.
A. My blog is mostly about objects personified. When I first started the blog I wanted to be able to write about anything and make it interesting. I hope that’s what I’ve been able to accomplish.

Q. Why write about what some would consider irrelevant, I mean power outlets? How can this be relevant?
A. Lately I’ve been writing about any kind of object that I think relates to a news article. The power outlet seemed like a perfect fit for the news surrounding college rape. Words have a way of seeping through the subconscious mind and piecing themselves into a way that makes sense. Even if those words are describing objects, one can still grasp the deeper meaning.

Q.Object enthusiast. Fiction writer. Six word stories on twitter.” That’s you’re Twitter profile. What does it all mean?
A. I’m a big fan of inanimate objects. If something isn’t alive, you can create and attach any sort of feeling to it. Who’s to say a silver spoon doesn’t feel a certain way? We’ll never know.

As for the six word stories – I came across Hemingway’s story and was inspired. He wrote: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. In just those six words, he said it all.

Q. In one sentence, describe yourself as a writer.
A. For sale: words with hopeful promise.

Q. What do you find most challenging, concept development or writing?
A. Depends on the writing and the concept. In general I find poetry to be the most natural form of writing and essays to be more challenging. Depending on the topic, my feelings can change.

Q. What do you wish people knew about you as a writer?
A. I write about everything. My blog focuses mostly on stories surrounding objects, however I write non-fiction and poetry as well.

Q. You have been published in a number of literary journals for your short fiction and nonfiction. How do you decide where you will submit your work and how do you handle rejection?
A. I read a lot of literary magazines. I spend a lot of time on Duotrope. I take writing classes with other students who also submit their work to various places. I always have an eye out for publications.

In terms of rejection, I think I might be a rejection addict. When I was eleven, I asked a boy to dance with me at a school social and he turned me down. It was love at first sight. Rejection gives me an energy that encourages me to try harder.

Q. What encouragement would you offer writers about getting published?
A. Read a lot of literary magazines. Find the best one that fits your style and keep trying.

Q. What are you working on now or what would you like people to know about your work and where they can find it?
A. I am working on a collection of short stories and vignettes as well as a memoir. My published online writing is available at Linden Ave Literary Journal, Haggard and Halloo Publications,  Chicago Record, *82 Review, and in the next issue of Cleaver Magazine. For print publications, I have been featured in The Rusty Nail, The Noctua Review, and Existere Journal. For regularly updated writing, please visit

Write to Excite Engagement

BloggingDo your readers read you?

My platform challenge for today is to write a post that includes a call to action. I try to do that in every post, with the exception of my poetry. I don’t always get a call to action in, but I try. For example, the second two words in this post are a call to action. By clicking on the link you can learn more about the platform challenge facilitated by Writer’s Digest senior content editor Robert Lee Brewer. See, I just did it again. If you click on the word “poetry” you will find a poem I wrote following the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon.

The purpose of a CTA is to engage readers at a deeper level. I have written a number of book reviews and other content that is all over the place. To get as much mileage as possible out of those posts, I can subtly guide readers to previous posts on similar subjects, or I can be deliberate about promoting my book, “Finding Family.” The goal is to encourage readers to learn more by clicking on a link.

As a really lousy self-promoter, I’m not much good at the call to action for my stuff, but I’m more than happy to take readers to information I believe they will enjoy or get something from.

Why reader response matters

In some ways posting creates an opportunity for dialogue between the writer and her readers. The comment section at the bottom of posts is there for a reason. As a writer it is encouraging to me when someone comments, positive or negative. Why? Because as a writer I know my work is being read. When it just sits there, even though I can count the clicks on my analytics page, I don’t really know how much of what I have written is being read and thought about. Comments are the lifeblood of a post. So please comment below.

If comments are the lifeblood, “like” and “share” are the heartbeat. These two actions by a reader lets others know the content touched something in him and inspired a response. So when you read a post, mine or anyone else’s, like it and share it with friends and family.

I want to thank anyone who has ever commented, liked or shared one of my posts. It means more to me than you can imagine.


Writer’s Block

I don’t have it, writer’s block I mean, but my writing sort of wanders all over the place. One Roof Publishing is where I write about everything, and most would tell you to NOT do that. Focus. Write. Get it right. Do it regularly. Make it work. SEO it to death. I could paper my home office with all the printouts I have from other people’s blogs about writing. My library of writing books would (red alert cliche on the way!) choke a horse. I’m a serious contender for Writing Student of the Month. What I lack is confidence and the will to work hard at publication. It’s too easy to slip into negative mode:

Write NowI’ll never get published.
I’m tired of rejection.
There’s too much competition.

Okay, that last is just plain exasperation. So, I’m an indie author with one desktop published book of poetry I keep a deep dark secret, four books published through Xlibris, my Vander Meer Books website, and this confetti blog. So I write. I Tweet but rarely, post on Facebook, share posts on other platforms, but I can’t even tell you what they are. So I’m doing all the right things, but perhaps not in the right ways.

So this post is my “task for today” in the 2015 October Platform Challenge facilitated by Writer’s Digest senior content editor Robert Lee Brewer. See, the thing is, this is YESTERDAY’S task, and that sort of explains why I don’t get things done and published; tomorrow is always a better day.

Happy Writing!