Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blog Tour: Author Extraordinaire - Michelle McLean

Hello everyone! I have the extreme honor of hosting a published author on this humble establishment that I call my blog. Author Michelle McLean is currently on her blog tour to promote her new book: Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers.

Where was this woman when I was in high school? Where was this book? Oh, how I wish I could go back in time to all those days when I sat there in class, chewing the eraser end off my pencil, with a blank page in front of me, wondering why the teacher demons would bestow such torture on this helpless student's soul by making her write an essay. AHHH! Horrible flashback moment!

Okay... okay... I'm all right. But, what if you are a parent whose children are experiencing such problems now? Would you really banish them to the depths of "Term Paper Gehanna" without the appropriate tools to succeed?  Here is the book that describes essay writing in user-friendly terms and examples to take the mystery out of pen/paper/lengthy dissertation work.

The newest addition to Career Press’s best-selling Homework Helpers series is a fun, user-friendly guide that takes the confusion out of writing essays and papers for students of all ages. Unlike other books that are so full of technical jargon they confuse more than help, Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers uses straightforward language and simple steps to guide students through the essay-writing process.

Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers

· Describes in detailed "plain English" each element and step involved in writing a dozen different types of essays

· Includes a rough, edited, and final draft sample of each type of essay discussed

· Explains the necessity of proofreading and citing sources, providing tips and instruction on how to accomplish these tasks

· Presents step-by-step instructions on how to write a great SAT essay

Students of all ages can find help on writing essays for every major subject in high school or college. Beginners will find guidance on the basics, while those further along in their educational careers can adapt the detailed instructions for more in-depth assignments.

This book is available at Amazon, B&N and Borders.

Author Michelle McLean was kind enough to answer some questions concerning her book and breaking into the non-fiction writing market. So, let's have a chat with this wonderful woman.

Michelle McLean is a writer and the Chief Editorial Consultant for PixelMags, LLC. 

In addition to her non-fiction work, Michelle writes YA historical novels and other children’s books. 

If she's not editing, reading or chasing her kids, she can usually be found in a quiet corner working on her next book. 

What made you decide to write this book?

In doing some refresher research for a few How To posts I was doing for my blog, I became very irritated at the overly complicated and under-explained guidebooks and websites I was coming across. Some only listed the rules with no explanation how to get the process started. And some went overboard on explanation, but did so in a way that even I could barely understand. I just didn’t get why people had to make the process so complicated and confusing.

My goal with it is to help people, especially students, get through their assignments with the least amount of pain and confusion possible. Essays are something that everyone has to write, whether they want to or not. Being confused by the process doesn’t make it any easier.
Was there anyone in your life that inspired you to write this, or who presently inspires you in your writing career?

Mostly my brother and sister. I was always helping them with their essays (in fact, my brother is still in college so I’m still helping him) :D My sister would sit down and ask me “what now? What now?” over and over until I’d almost written the whole essay for her :) She knew what needed to be done but had no idea how to go about doing it. I kept them in mind as I wrote this book.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers when it comes into breaking into the non-fiction market?

Start building your platform. Most authors nowadays are expected to help promote their own books, but this is especially true for non-fiction. Publishers not only want a great book, they want to know how you can help sell it and if you have an audience base already in place, your chances of getting published will be much better.

Having said that, if you have an awesome book idea, something that people need or will be interested in that isn’t all ready out there…go for it. My platform isn’t the best one out there. But my book was one that generated enough interest publishers were willing to take a chance on me. There are a lot of writing guidebooks out there, but none that I could find that actually walk you through every single step of the process, in plain easy-to-understand English, providing fun examples the whole way. 

Do what you can to build your platform, and then let the book speak for itself.
Are you planning any bookstore tours, workshops, or attending seminars? If you have attended any, such as writing workshops, which would you recommend?

I haven’t attended any workshops…I have a masters in English, so my writing experience comes from many, many years of writing my own essays and papers (several of which are used as examples in my book actually) :) But I am going to be appearing at my local bookstore in March and again at the end of the summer for their bi-annual teacher resources event. I will be working on putting together an online writing workshop as well and should have some more information about that in a few months.
Thank you, Michelle McLean, for the interview and the opportunity to be a part of your author blog tour! Parents, help your children to make homework, and essay writing, an easy and fun learning experience by picking up this book: Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers. Now available at your local bookstore and retailers.


  1. First, what a brilliant idea! A virtual book tour!

    Second, she chose a wonderful place to be when she chose yours, MDGF.

    Third, it actually is interesting material, and something I'd likely scope out more if I had kids.

  2. I'll second what Suldog said and add that I certainly would have found a "how to" for essays and term papers extremely useful back in the day.

  3. Hmmmmm. . .

    I think I know a few kids who could make good use of something like this. . .

    Thanks for this, Michelle

  4. Thanks everyone, and thanks so much for hosting me, Michelle! :)

  5. Nicely done, Michelles!
    I love the idea of a virtual book tour, and of hosting guests who enrich our blog circle. Good read, good fun!

  6. Congratulations, Michelle (both Michelle(s).. :)) What a nice interview....and thumbs up on authoring "Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers" Michelle, M. :)))
    Smiles and hugs from Jackie


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