Because stumbling blindly through menopause is less fun than it sounds

A Huge Thanks to The Lit Coach for including me in her post: Blogs That Work and Why!


Blogs That Work and Why

by  |  on August 23rd, 2012  |  4 comments


Tuesday, I shared the Five Pillars of Effective Blogs as I shared with the LARARWA group this past weekend:

Compelling Content, Consistent Posts, Fresh Ideas, Engagement, and Share-ability

Today, I’d like share with you some of the blogs I discussed and why they work.

Yarnagogo – The blog that launched Knit Lit Romance author Rachael Herron’s career. Rachael shared with me that not only did her blog come before she scored an agent and a three book deal, it pretty much sealed the deal. Her agent and editorial team loved her authentic voice and how she connected with her audience.

Girlfriends Book Club – This collaborative blog featuring Women’s Fiction heavy hitters Ellen Meister, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Marilyn Brant, Maggie Mar (who I had the great pleasure of meeting at the LARA event) and many more, is a prime example of great content, consistency, fresh ideas, robust engagement with the audience and a community of sharing between most involved on the blog.

I asked Ellen Meister about how the blog began and how they’ve found success as a popular blog. Here’s what she had this to say:

The Girlfriends Book Club blog rose from the ashes of The Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, which was a group of commercially published women authors who posted about each other’s books. That went on successfully for a number of years and eventually just burned itself out. Author Karin Gillespie deserves some kind of medal, because she not only ran the GCC but continues to coordinate and schedule the group blog.
It’s a tremendously effective way of reaching people, because there’s strength in numbers. With 40 writers as part of the group, the blog pulls from a vast network.
As it turns out, the majority the blog’s readers seem to be aspiring writers. Recognizing this, we post a lot of writing and marketing tips for aspiring authors. My most popular post was 20 Social Media Tips for Writers. Other favorite posts include 16 Tips for Writing Sexy Scenes18 Novelists Share Their Writing Routines and Girlfriends Share Tips on How to Be a Productive Writer
As far as promoting our own books, it’s clear that the most popular posts are the ones that offer giveaways.
Importantly, the women in the group are tremendously supportive, and we help spread the word about each other’s posts with Tweets and Facebook status updates.

Menologues – Robin Donovan, author of Is it Still Murder Even if She Was a Bitch?, began blogging about menopause “because stumbling blindly through menopause is less funny than it sounds.” She wanted to reach a community of women who were going through what she was going through and it worked. Robin had a clearly defined audience, wrote specifically for them and soon, her blog was picked up by Vibrant Nation.

Twinfatuation – Twins expert and author Cheryl Lage has a world-wide audience, has written for an impressive array of national and local magazines, and ezines, has appeared on Martha Stewart Live Radio, has been called by The Today Show and so much more, mostly because of her blog. But like many bloggers who author books, she didn’t begin with a blog. Cheryl contacted me when I was a literary agent and she, a mother of adorable toddler twins and a writer with a great idea about a book for parents of twins and multiples. Cheryl’s story is very special to me and I was delighted to share it on literary agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog (another fabulous blog!). I encourage you to read the short post on how we started building her platform as a twin parenting expert before we sold her manuscript. You may see some of your questions and concerns answered in the robust comment thread.

A Walking Carnival – This has got to be my favorite slice of life blog ever. I like to say Deirdre Lewis, the creator of AWC, is the love child of Erma Bombeck and David Sedaris. A filmmaker and screenwriter by trade, Deirdre’s unique quirkiness shines through her blog as she takes you through her neighborhood in Echo Park, CA, to a dusty old camera shop, to an airport book store and to her father’s house. There is no post I don’t absolutely love. This blog is ALWAYS fresh, pretty consistent and I feel the content is spectacularly good. One of her latest posts is an all imagined dialog between two car mechanics – notice how the conversation reveals so much about the narrator. Deirdre is not repped by an agent, but it won’t be long before she is. She uses the blog to discover her voice and hone her craft. Works for me!

What blogs do you absolutely love and why? Share them below.





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Comments (4)

  1. Ellen Meister, August 23, 2012
    Thanks so much for another terrific and informative post, Erin. And of course, the shout-out for the Girlfriends Book Club blog is much appreciated! Here’s a recent update–the wonderful Maggie Marr is now at the helm. We’re so lucky to have people like Karin and Maggie to lead the way! Ellen Reply
    • TheLitCoach, August 24, 2012
      Ellen, thanks! I truly feel what you all contribute to the blog world, especially with regard to educating writers, is so valuable. I really enjoy the blog (and need to comment more often!) and am happy to refer writers to it. While I was speaking about GBC in front of the group, Maggie was in the audience. She smiled when I mentioned the name so I stopped and asked her if she knew of the blog. When she said she was ON the blog I nearly died! I was THRILLED to meet a GBC member. Reply
  2. Marilyn Brant, August 23, 2012
    Thanks so much for the shout out, Erin! I feel lucky to be part of the GBC because, as Ellen said, it’s such a tremendously supportive group of writers. I truly enjoy getting to read the posts of the other contributors and have found the readers to be really receptive to the diversity of topics and voice, too. Looking forward to checking out the other blogs you recommended!! Reply
  3. TheLitCoach, August 24, 2012
    Thanks, Marilyn. The GBC blog is so unique and really is a compelling example of how to collaborate with your fellow authors online successfully. Reply
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Guest Post: Menopause and Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Oh Joy!

Trans Vaginal Mesh revision surgery

Trans Vaginal Mesh revision surgery

This post comes to us compliments of guest author, Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the general public about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for

If you are a woman who is approaching menopause or have already gone through that change in life, there are a few things you should be looking out for as far as your pelvic health is concerned. No doubt, your doctor has given you a long list of signs and symptoms of various health conditions and diseases to watch for, but there is one common health issue that many doctors forget to include on that list for their female patients: pelvic organ prolapse (POP). If you have children, you are at risk, since POP becomes an issue for nearly half of all women who have given birth, and menopause is prime time for the condition to make itself known.

What POP is and How it Happens
Pelvic organ prolapse is caused by pelvic floor stretching or weakening. The pelvic floor is the structure that supports pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus and rectum, keeping them in their proper positions to ensure that they can perform their functions efficiently. Made up of muscles and connective tissues, the pelvic floor can be gradually damaged over a woman’s lifetime.
The biggest factor in that damage is the stress placed on the pelvic floor by pregnancy and childbirth, but other factors can also contribute to the development of POP. Heavy lifting, obesity, high-impact sports, pelvic surgery, chronic coughing or frequent constipation can be risk factors, and genetics can also play a role, since POP tends to run in families.
Then, menopause comes along, bringing with it decreased estrogen levels that can reduce elasticity in the pelvic floor. This is often the last straw for weakened and stretched tissues that have been just barely maintaining support for those pelvic organs.
What to Look For
Many women who have pelvic organ prolapse have no symptoms at all. On the other hand, women who have severe POP can have symptoms that are very troublesome and have a big impact on their day-to-day lives. Among the issues reported by women with POP are pressure, pain or a lump in the vagina or pelvic area, painful sex, vaginal bleeding, urinary problems and difficult bowel movements.
In severe cases, women may see tissue protruding through the vaginal opening. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about them, since getting treated early can help keep POP from getting worse.


Women who suffer mild to moderate pelvic organ prolapse symptoms often find relief with a regimen of pelvic floor exercises, weight loss and dietary changes. A pessary is often prescribed, which is a device that is inserted into the vagina to support the organs.
Severe symptoms may require surgical intervention. However, if you have POP and surgery has been recommended, there are a few things you should be looking out for there too. Many POP repair procedures over the last decade have included the use of transvaginal mesh implants, devices that are inserted through the vagina to support pelvic organs. Unfortunately, they have been linked to a growing number of serious complications.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the most frequently reported problems include mesh erosion through vaginal walls, organ perforation, mesh shrinkage and infection. These complications have caused pain for a lot of women and many times the symptoms are irreversible. This had led to the filing of a transvaginal mesh lawsuit by thousands of women seeking justice for their injuries. Often, more surgery is needed to correct these problems, and the FDA says that these procedures show no better clinical results than traditional POP repair.

Please address any questions on the above topic to the patient advocates at Public Outreach Department at 800-452-0949.

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When the Journey through menopause is long it takes a toll.


A few weeks ago I was chatting with a relative who recently turned 46. She asked me “when does menopause typically start?” I said “the average age is 52.” Then she asked “and when does it end?” My response “never.” She looked at me quizzically so I explained.

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