Publishing Media Creative Incorporated

Debbie Elicksen ~ Freelance Publishing Expert

October 19, 2014
by Debbie Elicksen

How To Make A Story Out Of Nothing


Screenshot 2014-10-19 at 4.32.53 PM

The best storytellers are not always the best writers and the best writers are not always great storytellers. Writing is 99 percent sweat equity and coming up with a story idea can be as easy as formulating a plan for world peace.

Rather than look at the linear aspect of a topic, how about digging deeper into all the elements that combine to bring the topic to life? Take for example, a cup of coffee.

If you’re not receiving your coffee by courier from an online order, you’re probably purchasing it in a retail environment. Let’s go back to the beginning, to when the coffee was grown. Here are some storytelling elements that stem from a simple cup:

  1. The history of the family who grew the coffee beans.
  2. The growing season of the coffee beans.
  3. How the beans are culled and prepared for transport.
  4. Who ships the coffee from the country of origin to the manufacturing plant?
  5. Who are the people who work the distribution chain and what are their stories?
  6. Who creates the packaging for the coffee beans and what are their stories?
  7. Once the coffee arrives at the retail warehouse, how is it distributed and what are their stories.
  8. What do the truckers see when they transport the beans?
  9. When the coffee arrives at the retail destination, who are the people who unload it and sell it. What are their stories?
  10. How many industries does a cup of coffee touch? How many products go into its productions? Hint: oil and gas is required for transport; parts and machinery for the trucks, ships, trains, warehouses, and manufacturing floor; metals and plastics; paper and pulp mills for the paper products that make up the packaging and the cups for individual sale at the retail store; textiles for the clothing and aprons for the workers at every leg of a bean’s journey.

So you can see that a cup of coffee isn’t just a perishable product. It is a culmination of all the life stories that combined and worked together to create that cup.

Here are more ideas on how to make a story out of nothing.

October 8, 2014
by Debbie Elicksen

The Dissection of a Word


This catalog has been coming to the house (wrong name, right address) for some time now and it is filled with some interesting knick knacks and wares. Only this morning had I really noticed the title. The more I looked at it, the more off it appeared.

Is it collectables or collectibles? This calls for a dissection of a word.

According to this WordPress blog, collectables is not the right spelling. I daresay that in my lifelong literary travels, collectibles has been the norm — and I’ve dedicated a lot of effort in obtaining some of them.

Still, I thought perhaps this was a cultural thing, like the difference between an Oxford, Canadian, and American dictionary. So I Googled it. The results seem to favor both versions.

Brendan Scott’s Webblog: 

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Forum:  

Oxford Dictionary: 

September 24, 2014
by Debbie Elicksen

Your Account Has Been Limited Case ID 8001512-104

When I received the email with this subject heading: Your Account Has Been Limited Case ID 8001512-104, my first thought was to delete it, knowing full well this is not from PayPal.

But then I decided that perhaps I should show an example of what a phishing scam looks like, so you can see first-hand WHAT NOT TO CLICK ON.

First of all, check out the return email address first. It does not say, and if it did, PayPal will never email you with an issue or get you to click a link.



PayPal has an email set up specifically for this kind of occasion. Whenever you receive a suspicious email purporting to be from PayPal, forward the whole message here: This is how they shut the bad guys down.

I did just that with the email above and immediately got this response from PayPal — the REAL PayPal:

Hello Debbie Elicksen,
Thanks for forwarding that suspicious-looking email. You’re right – it
was a phishing attempt, and we’re working on stopping the fraud. By
reporting the problem, you’ve made a difference!
Identity thieves try to trick you into revealing your password or other
personal information through phishing emails and fake websites. To learn
more about online safety, click “Security Center” on any PayPal webpage.
Every email counts. When you forward suspicious-looking emails to, you help keep yourself and others safe from identity
Your account security is very important to us, so we appreciate your
extra effort.
This email is sent to you by the contracting entity to your User
Agreement, either PayPal Ince, PayPal Pte. Ltd or PayPal (Europe) S.à
r.l. & Cie, S.C.A. Société en Commandite par Actions, Registered Office:
5th Floor 22-24 Boulevard Royal L-2449, Luxembourg RCS Luxembourg B 118
PayPal always sends a subsequent follow up email to remind you about how phishers try to infiltrate your computer:
Dear Debbie Elicksen,
Thank you for being a proactive contributor by reporting
suspicious-looking emails to PayPal’s Abuse Department. Our security
team is working to identify if the email you forwarded to us is a
malicious email.
Paypal Will Always:
– Address our customers by their first and last name or business name of
their PayPal account
Paypal Will Never:
– Send an email to: “Undisclosed Recipients” or more than one email
– Ask you to download a form or file to resolve an issue
– Ask in an email to verify an account using Personal Information such
as Name, Date of Birth, Driver’s License, or Address
– Ask in an email to verify an account using Bank Account Information
such as Bank Name, Routing Number, or Bank Account PIN Number
– Ask in an email to verify an account using Credit Card Information
such as Credit Card Number or Type, Expiration Date, ATM PIN Number, or
CVV2 Security Code
– Ask for your full credit card number without displaying the type of
card and the last two digits
– Ask you for your full bank account number without displaying your bank
name, type of account (Checking/Savings) and the last two digits
– Ask you for your security question answers without displaying each
security question you created
– Ask you to ship an item, pay a shipping fee, send a Western Union
Money Transfer, or provide a tracking number before the payment received
is available in your transaction history
Any time you receive an email about changes to your PayPal account, the
safest way to confirm the email’s validity is to log in to your PayPal
account where any of the activity reported in the email will be
THE PAYPAL WEBSITE. Instead, enter into your browser to
log in to your account.
What is a phishing email?
You may have received an email falsely claiming to be from PayPal or
another known entity. This is called “phishing” because the sender is
“fishing” for your personal data. The goal is to trick you into clicking
through to a fake or “spoofed” website, or into calling a bogus customer
service number where they can collect and steal your sensitive personal
or financial information.
We will carefully review the content reported to us to certify that the
content is legitimate. We will contact you if we need any additional
information for investigating the matter. Please take note to the
security tips provided above as they may help to answer any questions
that you may have about the email you are reporting to us.
Help! I responded to a phishing email!
If you have responded to a phishing email and provided any personal
information, or if you think someone has used your account without
permission, you should immediately change your password and security
You should also report it to PayPal immediately and we’ll help protect
you as much as possible.
1. Open a new browser and type in
2. Log in to your PayPal account.
3. Click “Security and Protection” near the top of the page.
4. Click “Identify a problem.”
5. Click “I think someone may be using my account without permission.”
6. Click “Unauthorized Account Activity.”
Thank you for your help making a difference.
Every email counts. By forwarding a suspicious-looking email to, you have helped keep yourself and others safe from
identity theft.
The PayPal Team
Please do not reply to this email. If you need to follow up, please
follow the steps above to access your account and utilize the Contact Us
resources from our site.
So when you receive an email from PayPal, eBay, or your bank that tries to alarm you by telling you your account has been limited or compromised, 100% of the time it is a phishing scheme to infiltrate your computer to steal your passwords, money, and maybe your identity.

September 19, 2014
by Debbie Elicksen

Tell A Story With Photographs On SlideShare


If you’re like me, you have a gazillion pictures you’ve taken over the years. Some of them may be quite good. Even if they’re not, chances are they tell a story.

While you may have shoe boxes full of physical prints and negatives that haven’t quite made it to the scanner, if you are now using a digital camera and have amassed a gallery, here is a way to make a cool presentation and show off your talents, for free.

So how about showcasing your photographs on SlideShare?

Open up a blank PowerPoint presentation. If you don’t have Office software on your computer or device, just go to Google Drive and open up a blank presentation. Start playing.

After much gerrymandering of text boxes and blank space, I figured out that if you want a picture to take up the whole slide, upload the picture when you format the slide’s background (right-click on a blank slide and click the format background option). Then you can insert a text box.

Then after you save your completed presentation in PowerPoint (keep it in that format if you should ever want to go back and revise), save it again as a PDF.

Go to and upload the PDF. Fill out the title, description, and tags. Go back to edit it if you want to add any videos you might have shot that fit the presentation.

Here are some examples of photograph presentations I recently added to SlideShare.

September 12, 2014
by Debbie Elicksen

Rock Opera Til You Drop

Black Label Society

Black Label Society

Rock operas. It became a new concept in the 1970s, that rock music coupled with a film, could further embed rock culture into a bigger market share of mainstream. Rock opera is storytelling amplified with guitar licks.

The first rock opera is in debate, but for most people, it is The Who’s Tommy that comes to mind.

The following are my favorite rock operas.

I traditionally listen to Jesus Christ Superstar at least a couple of times every Easter. It is hard to imagine anyone else but Ted Neely playing the part of Jesus. However, on the album, that part is sung by Ian Gillian.

Heavy Metal hasn’t actually been classified as a rock opera, but it is storytelling through the backdrop of metal.

Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds hasn’t really been classified as a rock opera either, but I’d still put it into this category. It is a brilliant piece of work.

September 2, 2014
by Debbie Elicksen

As the Spam Turns, Episode 3

Storytelling can come from the most unusual places. Take a look at this month’s drama series from the spam folder.

As the spam turns Sept 2-14

Calm down the young woman. That day for his work. Himself from john came through.

Exclaimed terry watched from one more. Winkler with me how many times!

Exclaimed terry watched from one more. Winkler with me how many times that. Inside her work at lea.

Nothing and half an important. Same thing that mean to stay calm. Sorry we were trying not going.

Leaving you love for once. Other than me from here. John called us out their.

 Stay tuned for another compelling episode of As the Spam Turns by Debbie Elicksen.



July 26, 2014
by Debbie Elicksen

Take Control of Your Own Publicity

multi-media ad

By Tanya Lee Howe

As an editor who specializes in nonfiction books, I’m lucky to work with people who are experts in their fields. I learn a lot from the business and legal topics these authors explore in their writing. Sometimes, the subject matter really hits home for me and provides me with a new avenue to explore in my own business.

Recently I was able to work on Debbie Elicksen’s book, Publishing and Marketing in the Digital Age. After my first read-through of the book, I realized there is so much more I need to be doing to increase public awareness of my digital profile to promote my own books.

Many writers still go through traditional publishing houses to publish their books. Most authors receive no more than 10 percent of the retail price (e.g., Amazon sells the book for $14, the writer receives $1.40 per book sold). The other 90 percent of the book sales goes into the publishing house for editing, distribution, marketing, and publicity.

If an author self-publishes, he or she can make up to 70 percent per book sold; however, the person has to take care of his or her own marketing and publicity along with the distribution and editing. It’s hard to get connections in newspapers or magazines in order to get the information out there. Newspapers, magazines, television, and radio are the areas in which publicists at traditional publishing houses focus their efforts on getting their authors noticed. Unfortunately, nowadays these are not the best areas to get notoriety. The place to be is online with a strong presence.

Debbie’s book taught me to take control of my own publicity, which is to make sure I have a website that I update on a weekly basis to keep viewers returning. Every topic I explore on my site needs to be focused on my area of expertise, which is Alzheimer’s awareness. Whether I post a topic or ask someone to guest post, my readers know what to expect when they return. They know my topics won’t stray into what I had for breakfast or why my cats are the best in the world. The readers want information about caregiving, working with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease, or where they can go for help. Being consistent and keeping my web presence current is important to establishing myself online.

Using the tips from Debbie’s book, I’m beginning to build more of a following on Twitter and eventually I’ll branch out to some of the other areas Debbie has suggested. I have also reached out to other authors asking if they would like to guest post on my website which has led to me working with an author to co-write some caregiving articles for magazines.

The small steps I’ve taken so far, by using Debbie’s advice, have shown results already. One of these results was Debbie asking me to write a guest post on her website, which is an honor and an opportunity I’m grateful for. If you are self-publishing your work or going through a traditional publisher, please pick up Debbie’s book and learn to take control of your own publicity. Trust me, it’s worth it.

About the author: Tanya Lee Howe is the author of Supporting Parents with Alzheimer’s; and the co-author of Changing Your Name in Canada and Start & Run a Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio. You can find her at or on Twitter at @TanyaLeeHowe.

July 6, 2014
by Debbie Elicksen

Social Media Isn’t One Size Fits All

social-media-share  Social media is like writing a book.

  1. Plan your pitch. What do you want to accomplish and how do you want to be perceived?
  2. Draft a road map to figure out what your message is and how it’s going to flush out.
  3. Determine who your preferred audience is and where they live (in cyberspace).
  4. Do some research: Who are the social media thought leaders? What are general best practices for social media overall and for each of the platforms?
  5. Edit your work. There are enough examples of poorly thought out posts with bad grammar and spelling. Don’t be that guy or gal. Would you hire them? Exactly.
  6. Be mindful of copyright laws. Name your source. Don’t plagiarize.
  7. Be original. Nobody wants to read or see the same stuff all the time.
  8. Tap into trends and what’s hot, but don’t let that define you. Those things grow old overnight.
  9. Stay on top of your game. The only way to be a good writer is to write and practice good writing. The only way to get better at social media is to participate often.
  10. Customize your posts. Don’t make each platform a carbon copy of the other. Once you publish a book, that’s it. You can update it, have an abridged version, but if you write the same text in a five-book series, people will turn away.

July 1, 2014
by Debbie Elicksen

Story-centric Marketing


NASA on a tablet

Transmedia is not about pushing content out through various forms of media. It’s not about viewing on multiple devices. It’s not about taking different characters and giving them a voice outside of the main story. It isn’t about getting the audience to engage and bring the conversation about the product to new heights.

It is all of the above.

What transmedia truly can be described as is that it is story-centric marketing.

Transmedia must begin with the story, and the story must have strong characters that can carry the message to other platforms on their own.

Nuno Bernardo is an award-winning and Emmy-nominated producer, founder and manager of beActive Entertainment. He is also the author of the book Transmedia 2.0. He reminds us that audiences are drawn to products they can resonate with and reinforce their own sense of identity. 

Let me repeat that: audiences are drawn to products they can resonate with and reinforce their own sense of identity. This is why stuff goes viral. This is why social media became a thing. People crave a connection. Transmedia marketing brings the audience into the story and lets them rewrite it.

But in order to do it right, you need the following:

  • Compelling characters
  • An exciting and convincing storyworld
  • A strong storyline with clearly defined points.

The following interview with Bernardo dives into this deeper.

Virtual Newsmakers: Nuno Bernardo and Transmedia 2.0

June 28, 2014
by Debbie Elicksen

Business Cyberbullying = Toxic Crap



More on the Book Publishing Process

This probably won’t be the cover for my next book with Self-Counsel Press, but then again, it could be. Those who have experienced business cyberbullying have seen a lot of toxic crap under their name. After a while it starts getting old, just like the cat or dog poop in this photo.

So while I await the galley proof (a preview copy of the laid out version of the book Publishing and Marketing in the Digital World), I have since submitted the Table of Contents to the managing editor for approval and am now working on the first two chapters, which are due to the publisher by July 1.

One chapter down and one to go, I’ve come to the realization that when this manuscript is completed in August, I will have written three whole books in eight months. No wonder my blogging schedule is off kilter.

Write on.