Book Review: Burnt Toast by Teri Hatcher

This book review is by Megan Hartwig. 

Burnt Toast and other Philosophies of Life’ by Teri Hatcher is my recent read. You all know Teri Hatcher. Don’t you? Okay, let‘s say ‘Desperate Housewives’…ahh the bulb clicked. Right then..Teri Hatcher is a celebrity, beautiful, successful and rich and she’s also a human being, a mother and a woman.

 

“Toast. Think about it for a moment. It probably has the simplest recipe in the world: one ingredient, one instruction. Still, you know when you’re trying to make it and you just can’t get it right? It’s too light or too soft, then… totally burnt. Charred in a matter of seconds — now it’s more like a brick than a piece of toast. So what do you do? Are you the kind of person who tries to scrape off the black? Or do you smother it with jam to hide the taste? Do you throw it away, or do you just eat it? If you shrug and eat the toast, is it because you’re willing to settle for less? Maybe you don’t want to be wasteful, but if you go ahead and eat that blackened square of bread, then what you’re really saying — to yourself and to the world — is that the piece of bread is worth more than your own satisfaction”. – Excerpt from the book.

She explores these feelings in “Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life,” in which she speaks frankly about her life, career, child and relationships. It is a fast and easy read and the book shows a lot of times that there are in fact a lot of similarities between Teri and her ‘Desperate Housewives’ character “Susan”.

“Up ’til now, I ate the burnt toast. I learned that from my mother — metaphorically if not literally. I can’t actually remember if she even likes toast or how she eats it. But what I know for sure is that although she was a loving and devoted wife and mother, she always took care of everyone and everything else before herself. This habitual self-sacrifice was well intended, but ultimately it’s a mixed message for a child. It taught me that in order for me to succeed, someone else had to suffer. I learned to accept whatever was in front of me without complaint because I didn’t think I deserved good things.”- Excerpt from the book.

In fact, the title of her new book, “Burnt Toast,” I feel, is a metaphor for women who too often take the leftovers for themselves — something Hatcher says she is trying not to do as much, but still does.

It is light and true to heart. I enjoyed it and so will you.

 

You can find Megan, the reviewer of this book, on 

Instagram: flutterbymegs Twitter:@flutterbymegs

 

 

How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul (Book Review)

I really enjoyed reading this book, mostly for two reasons:

ruth-soukup-how-to-blog-for-profit1) Most blogging books I have read have been a little over my head and this one was very approachable. I felt like I was sitting down and having a cup of coffee with her. The stories of her successes and failures will remain with you long after you have read the book.

2) Also most blogging books have been in different niches. At least this one was closer to what I was writing about. Admittedly, she does more Pinterest stuff like crafts and cooking, but there was still a lot to be gleamed from this book.

Ruth Soukup says: The Secret to successfully blogging for profit is learning how to maintain authenticity with your readers while at the same time successfully navigating the behind the scenes waters of running a business and building a brand…. Just stay you.

Points Ruth brings up that I found valuable:

  • Don’t compare your blog to other, more successful ones. You will just get depressed. Rather focus on your passion. You will fail if you only want to make money.
  • Your passion should be awesome content with an overarching theme, with subtopics and categories. Ruth organizes this content on her navigation bar. She also recommends using an editorial calendar. (SITS girls have lots of posts and printables  on this). Set aside time to brainstorm ideas. You need content that will draw traffic. (Have a popular posts widget)
  • You need a great name and self-hosting. (See my post on why you need decent hosting). She recommends WordPress as the industry standard.
  • Presentation is everything and if your blog is well organized into the categories we talked about your traffic will benefit. Highlight your best content in your navigation bar and sidebar (popular posts) I guess this is on my to do list. Ruth suggests clean and clear. As an aside I would like to mention that internet guru Ryan Deiss made a lot of money with a blog that did not use this tip. He had multiple posts on his home page and also used his own ads for his own products. It is busy but it certainly sparks interest. I’ve used the same concept on my healwithheather.com website (using first paragraph teasers redirecting to relevant blog posts on onestepatatime.co.za) and these posts have done well, particularly the thyroid one.
  • Use beautiful, pinnable photos. I have now got into the habit of doing a main image with the text of the post title for every new post I write. I also have a Pinterest plugin so that you can scroll over and pin the image. You may think that because you don’t blog about food, craft or DIY, Pinterest does not apply to you. The truth is that beautiful images which correspond to great content will get re-pinned. Sell your pin with urgency and make it engaging.
  • How to increase traffic from Pinterest: improve your home page, split your boards up into specific categories, collaborative boards after personal ones, and then newest boards last. She suggests focusing on this social media, or just on the ones driving traffic. Pinterest is often the number one traffic source for my blog, and I definitely don’t optimize it enough. But I also have to give credit to Facebook and Twitter. I think you have to focus on what you feel comfortable with. I love Facebook and have made some good blogging friends on that network.
  • Traditional traffic is discussed, like word of mouth, blog hops and linkies, commenting on other blogs (I do this a lot) and promoting other bloggers (she uses getting ideas for a party as an example). As an infertility blogger I will often post when others in the community need support. She also cites networking (blog events), SEO (use a relevant title tag with less than 70 characters, using long tailed keywords and claim Google Authorship.
  • Ways to monetize your blog are: ad networks (e.g. Google Adsense), affiliate advertising, private ads, sponsored posts and working with brands, selling products and services and writing and speaking. (You will have to read her book for more details on this).
  • It’s worth looking at her way of working with brands: still creating great content and having the post “underwritten” rather than sponsored. You can check out an example here where she writes about making money on the internet, where one of the options is doing surveys and the brand is mentioned there and at the end. Check out her different brand options here.Even when you do write a sponsored post it is possible to focus on writing engaging content rather than just the product. (See mine on stain removal for Vanish here or crime stats for an insurance company here).
  • She suggests slowing down and creating awesome content rather than rushing for money making opportunities that will damage your integrity. She case studies several successful bloggers, all of whom have been blogging for longer than three years.

There’s a lot we can learn from Ruth and hers is one of the better blogging books out there. I totally recommend it.