Featured Member: Michele Blood

Michele Blood, founder of New Jersey Writer, LLC, has always had a passion for helping and delighting her clients. Michele runs New Jersey Writer, LLC to help clients who come to her with a problem that needs to be solved. Whether that problem consists of a marketing plan or an article that needs to be written, Michele is always there to lend a helping hand.

As a psychology major, Michele has been able to use her knowledge of human personality and behavior to write and re-write stories, blog posts and articles. She knows how important it is for a writer’s work to stand out, especially because the digital world is louder than ever with aspiring and veteran writer voices competing for attention.

Not only is Michele a writer and a social media marketer, but she is also a huge fan of Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction. In fact, because of her love of the genres she became a writing coach. Writers of these genres are given individual consultation and coaching about plots and character analyses. Michele also gives you the encouragement you need to finish the manuscript!

Here is what Michele focuses on:

  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Newsletters
  • Autoresponders
  • Video scripts
  • Case studies
  • Web page copy
  • Content development and management

Be sure to check out Michele’s interview to learn more about her:

Why did you decide to create New Jersey Writer, LLC?

I created New Jersey Writer, LLC when I launched my freelance writing career a couple of years ago. Having a website, even a simple website (and mine is very simple, indeed) provides potential clients with an easy means for finding me and for getting a quick overview of what I do. My goal for the site is to use it as a marketing tool, which means I need to do a lot more SEO-savvy blogging and a lot less thinking and talking about blogging!

As a fan of Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction what clichés would you tell authors to avoid when working with that genre? 

Avoid talking down to kids and tippy-toeing around “sensitive” subjects. Middle graders and teens, in many cases, are much more sophisticated than some writers may believe. That doesn’t mean that it’s necessary – or even advisable – to cram in “dark” material where you wouldn’t otherwise. It does mean, however, that you needn’t avoid it when that’s what is called for to tell your tale properly.

Don’t preach. Kids can smell that a mile off, and they will walk away. Tell your story and respect your readers enough to allow them to glean from it what they will. Good guys don’t always win, and bad guys don’t necessarily get what they deserve. Life is filled more with more grays than blacks and whites, and by junior high, readers understand that. They’re living it.

What are some MG and YA novels you would recommend to parents and teachers?

Last night, I finished reading Circus Mirandus by debut MG author, Cassie Beasley. This is a writer who is going places. Lofty, career-making, award-winning places. It’s truly a fantastic book. I highly recommend it.

Other MG and YA writers I deeply admire include Suzanne Collins (yes, I’m an unapologetic crazy Hunger Games fan), Neil Gaiman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Cecilia Gallante, Lauren Oliver, Kate DiCamillo, Kathi Appelt, Barbara Dee, Cindy Callaghan, and Rebecca Stead (whom I read is making a foray into the literary agenting world). There are so many talented MG and YA writers – it’s nearly impossible to list them all!

One of the best pieces of advice I came across when I started delving into kidlit writing was to read, at a minimum, the last decade’s worth of Newbery and Caldecott-winning works. Not only can you familiarize yourself with what’s current in kidlit, but also you familiarize yourself with what quality kitlit looks like. If you want to be the best (and who doesn’t), read the best. And read as much of it as possible.

What’s the best advice you could give a freelance writer?

Avoid the content mills. Understand that your writing has value. Do your research, a lot of it. Capitalize on experience you may have in fields other than writing. Scour sites like MediaBistro for leads, but don’t rely entirely on the internet to find clients. Get connected in your community and let people know what you do. Don’t be afraid to strategically toot your own horn.

Do you think including technology in libraries and classrooms can help childhood development?

Cutting edge tech in libraries and classrooms is great for kids! Learning as early as possible to be conversant with all forms of tech gives kids a feeling of mastery and opens world to them they otherwise might never see. To me, story isn’t limited to paper and ink. And creating stories is my job as a writer. Kids might experience story on paper, on a tablet, on a big screen, or on a stage. The important bit is to get kids engaged in story itself – to get them so in love with story that they just can’t get enough – regardless of the form in which it is delivered.

What are you working on right now?

Recently, I’ve been investing quite a bit of time on my Facebook page (different from my freelance/business page), curating kidlit content. I’ve been dipping a tentative finger into the picture book writing arena, but always seem to find myself drawn back to MG and YA. I’ve been thinking about dredging up a novel I started during NaNoWriMo last year but abandoned midstream. It’s been calling to me. Perhaps I should listen.

You’re always active in the KidLit TV Facebook group. Where do you find all of the wonderful websites you share with us?

I love KidLitTV! I’ve loved it since I attended the live launch online (I even won a prize!). The videos are fantastic and the conversations on the Facebook page are awesome. What you’re doing is incredible. I’m so happy to get to be part of the KidLitTV community!

I love connecting with fellow writers in real life and on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. I “like” their pages, follow their Twitter feeds, and make a point of regularly checking out major sources of quality kidlit content. When I find something newsworthy, interesting, or useful, I share it to my Facebook page and to writing groups I think would have an interest in it.

I love inspirational quotes, and I also love fooling around with creating graphics. I’m no graphics pro, but I do have fun with it. When I run across a great quote, I make a point to create a graphic and share it so others might be inspired, as well. Somehow, creating them helps cement it for me – it really gets into my head that way. And we can all use an extra dose of inspiration, right?

I’m all about creating community – whether it’s in my hometown or among fellow kitlit lovers. We all benefit when we freely share information and encouragement. KitLitTV is one of the best venues online making that happen.

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Kid Lit TV Commenter Julie Gribble

Active members like Michele make our community fun and engaging. I’m so thankful for her and the many others we’ve connected with in our KidLit TV Facebook group. I learn so much from them and strive to give back to the community by sharing their expertise with you! Thank you for being our featured member of the month, Michele!

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