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Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days

How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days is the latest in WCCL's range of products and courses for writers, which also includes my courses Essential English for Authors, Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and The Wealthy Writer.

How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days is written by successful children's author Mel McIntyre. It's provided as an instant download in the universal PDF format, and is therefore suitable for all computing platforms: Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux. The main manual and bonuses are all password-protected (you'll find the password in the email you receive when ordering), but this is only a minor inconvenience.

Like all WCCL products, How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days is beautifully produced, and it has obviously been professionally written and edited. The main manual weighs in at a substantial 178 pages.

The manual provides a practical, step-by-step guide to devising, planning and writing a children's book in the shortest possible time. It's divided into three main sections.

Section 1 (Day 1 to Day 5) takes you through planning your book. Its sub-title is The MAGIC Formula. Regular WCCL customers won't be surprised to discover that MAGIC here is an acronym. In this case it stands for Message, Audience, Genre, Imagination, Chapters & Verses.

Under each of these headings, Mel discusses the requirements for a successful modern children's book. The approach is hands-on throughout; for example, in the section about Message the student is required to complete a form summarizing the 'message' his or her book will communicate to readers.

Section 2 (Day 6 to Day 11) is where you get down to the nitty-gritty of writing your children's book. Its sub-title is Building BLOCKS, and yep, once again, BLOCKS is an acronym. B stands for Bang-On Beginnings - the rest I'll let you discover for yourself!

Section 3 (Day 11 to to Day 14) covers proofreading and editing your book. It's called Putting it to Bed (and no, for once bed isn't an acronym). There is also a short fourth section, which discusses getting feedback on your draft book and giving it a final polish.

Everything is clearly explained, with diagrams used where appropriate. There are also plenty of examples from successful, published children's books to illustrate the points made.

In addition to the main manual, there are also various bonuses. Perhaps the most useful is A Pocketful of Publishing. This discusses how to market your children's book (a topic not really touched on in the main manual). It includes details of publishers and agents who are currently looking for children's books. Self publishing is also covered, along with useful resources for those who want to try going down this route.

The other bonuses include a list of the author's top 50 recommended children's books that any aspiring children's author today should read. This is a mixture of acknowledged classics such as Alice in Wonderland, through to more modern books with which you may not be familiar unless you are a parent yourself!

Finally, the course includes an in-depth interview with the author himself, conducted by his wife.

Overall, I was very impressed with How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days. If you want to write a saleable children's book, there is no doubt in my mind that this course will help you to achieve this.

Do I have any criticisms? Only perhaps that the recommended approach, with its heavy emphasis on planning and outlining, might not suit everybody. If you are the sort of writer who prefers to trust to inspiration and 'go with the flow', you might find it a little restrictive.

On the other hand, if you want a realistic, practical, step-by-step guide for creating your first children's book, How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days would probably be ideal for you.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Free Stuff for Writers From WCCL!


Regular readers will know that this blog is sponsored by my publishers, The WCCL Network.

WCCL publish my courses such as Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and The Wealthy Writer, along with a wide range of other training courses, software, CDs, and so on.

You might not know, however, that WCCL also offers a number of free websites, resources and services for writers.

First among these is my forum at www.mywriterscircle.com. This is an open-access forum with nearly 9000 members all over the world. My role is to manage MWC, and I am particularly pleased by the reputation that it has built up as the Internet's friendliest writers' forum. Much of the credit for this must go to my dedicated team of volunteer moderators, of course.

If you want to get feedback on your writing, ask (and answer) questions, discover new writers' markets, or just shoot the breeze with your fellow authors, My Writers Circle should be high on your Favorites list. You can browse the forum without logging in, but to get the most from it you should really register (free) and become a member. It's easy and it's fun, although admittedly many of us do find it rather addictive!

Another free service sponsored by WCCL is WritersFM, the Internet's first online radio station by and for writers. WritersFM features a mixture of music, writing tips and in-depth interviews with successful authors, conducted by your irrepressible host, Karl Moore. There are some big names among them, including historial novelist Bernard Cornwell, British politician turned author Edwina Currie, world famous screenwriting guru Syd Field, top copywriter Joe Vitale, and many others (including yours truly).

WritersFM broadcasts continually on a regularly updated loop, or you can stream or download most of the interviews from their podcasts page. Note that you will need a broadband/DSL connection to listen to WritersFM, however.

Yet another WCCL giveaway is the bi-weekly Smart Writers newsletter. This has some great articles about writing, along with tips and advice, inspirational quotations, and much more. Yes, it also includes promotions for WCCL's writing-related products, but these are almost invariably offered at a discount - and, naturally, there is never any obligation to buy anything.

You can subscribe to Smart Writers via their Writers Giveaway site. Essentially, you get a huge selection of writing-related software, e-books, MP3s, and so on, just for signing up. You can unsubscribe any time you like, of course, so why not join the newsletter's existing 300,000+ subscribers and sign up today?

Finally, they're not aimed at writers, but WCCL also sponsors two other giveaway sites which operate in a similar way to the writers' site. The Self Growth Giveaway offers personal development guides, software, even free hypnosis downloads, just for signing up to a newsletter. And the Software Giveaway provides a vast range of free Windows software and utilities, including programs that will boost your creativity, protect your privacy online, and help you work more efficiently. I strongly recommend checking both of these excellent offers out!

Photo credit: Rileyroxx on Flickr.com

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Exemplar Possessive

A reader wrote to me recently regarding the Writer's Block CD, a product from my sponsors and publishers, The WCCL Network.

"Why is the apostrophe placed in front of the 's'?" he asked me. "Surely more than one person in the history of the world has suffered from this condition?"

I understood what he meant. The normal rule with possessives is that the apostrophe comes after the relevant noun. So the boy's room refers to a room belonging to one boy, while the boys' room signifies a room occupied by two or more. I discussed this in more detail a while ago in this blog post.

Writer's block is not really an exception to this rule, more a special case. Where the question of ownership is much less important than the nature or provenance of the item, a single 'exemplar' noun is often used for the possessive. I call this the exemplar possessive - I'm not sure if it has a more 'official' name. Here are a few more examples:
  • goat's cheese
  • cow's milk
  • greengrocer's apostrophe
  • cat's eyes (reflective safety devices on roads)
  • collector's item
In some circumstances you can make a case either way, or even three different ways. Father's Day, for example, can be written in any of three ways:

Fathers Day - 'Fathers' here is seen as an adjective, like 'sports' in sports hall.
Father's Day - The exemplar possessive here signifies a day devoted to fathers and fatherhood in general.
Fathers' Day - The plural possessive here signifies a day belonging to all fathers.

None of these options is 'wrong', though each has a slightly different emphasis. If you're a dad, see whether and where an apostrophe appears on your cards on the day in question. Fun for all the family...

In other cases, however, the exemplar possessive is clearly required to avoid ambiguity. Suppose, for example, you have a recipe that includes among the ingredients six lamb's kidneys. Most people would understand this to mean that six kidneys from lambs - obviously not all from a single lamb - are required.

If, however, you wrote instead six lambs' kidneys (the plural possessive), it would be hard to avoid the conclusion that the recipe required the kidneys of six lambs, i.e. twelve kidneys in all. So in this case, using the exemplar possessive avoids any risk of confusing the cook!


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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Wealthy Writer FAQ

My new downloadable course The Wealthy Writer - co-written with Ruth Barringham - has been out for a few weeks now.

I'm getting great feedback from buyers (see this review and this blog comment, for example), but I'm also receiving quite a few questions. So I thought I'd publish my answers to the most frequently asked here...

1. What's the difference between The Wealthy Writer and Quick Cash Writing?

Quick Cash Writing is my guide to making money writing short items for (mainly) traditional publishing media. It covers writing articles, fillers, short stories, greeting card ideas, jokes and comedy sketches, and so on.

The Wealthy Writer, on the other hand, is entirely about making money writing for online markets, including blogging, e-book writing, online article writing, bidding on job auction sites, and so forth.

2. How long will The Wealthy Writer be available at its current discount price?

I don't know the answer to this, I'm afraid. Pricing is entirely in the hands of my publishers, The WCCL Network, and they could in theory decide to raise the price at any time. I'm not aware of any immediate plans to do so, but even so I wouldn't leave it too long if you're thinking of buying.

3. Who is the Wealthy Writer aimed at? Is it suitable for anyone?

The Wealthy Writer has been written primarily for writers who have some knowledge of the Internet and are taking their first steps in making money online from their writing skills. It's also suitable for people with more experience who are looking to bring their online earnings up to the next level.

The course does not assume any special knowledge of website building, programming, HTML, and so forth. If you're brand new to the Internet, however, it might not be 100% suitable for you until have a bit more experience of the online world.

4. I have a query about the ordering process. Whom can I ask?

My publishers, The WCCL Network, have a 24-hour customer support website at www.myhelphub.com. If you have any queries about ordering, raise a ticket there and one of their trained technicians will get back to you with an answer, normally within 24 hours.

Myhelphub.com is also the place to go if you need technical support with the course, or encounter any problems downloading it.

5. Can you tell me who wrote which chapters?

The Wealthy Writer was a collaborative project between myself and Ruth Barringham. We both worked on every chapter.

I wrote the initial draft of some chapters where I had the greater knowledge or experience, e.g. blogging; and likewise for Ruth, who wrote the initial draft of the chapter on e-book publishing, for example. However, every chapter of the completed course contains input from both of us.

6. How do you recommend approaching the course - there's so much in it?!

It's true, The Wealthy Writer has a LOT of content. In retrospect, we could and perhaps should have produced a number of shorter guides and made more money out of them. However, we wanted to produce one comprehensive guide which covers all the main ways of making money as an online writer - and that is, I hope, what we ended up with.

As we say in the course, we recommend that you do NOT try to do everything covered in The Wealthy Writer at once. Rather, pick one or (at most) two areas and focus on them. Once these are up and running successfully, you can then think about applying some of the other methods described in the course.

7. How do I get the special bonuses you are offering?

The Wealthy Writer already includes a number of bonus items - see the main sales page for more info. However, as a special thank-you to people ordering via my web page, I'm offering two additional bonus items to people who order via my website only.

The bonuses concern the micro-blogging service Twitter, and together explain how writers can use Twitter to help boost their online earnings. Please see my web page for more details, including how to claim your extra bonuses from me. Basically, though, all you have to do is go to the sales site via my link, and send me an email to let me know once you have made your purchase. As soon as I have confirmed this, I will send you my bonus reports.

Finally, if you have any other queries about The Wealthy Writer, please post them below as Comments and I will do my very best to answer them. Alternatively, use the Contact Me form if you don't want your question (and my answer) to appear publicly.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you!



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Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Wealthy Writer Just Launched!

I'm excited to reveal that my latest WCCL course The Wealthy Writer has just been launched!

The Wealthy Writer is a complete guide for authors on how they can make money writing for the Internet. I wrote it in collaboration with successful author/publisher Ruth Barringham.

In The Wealthy Writer, we aimed to cover all the main ways writers can make money writing for the Internet. They include:
  • blogging
  • writing website copy
  • short report writing
  • e-book writing
  • article writing
  • affiliate marketing
  • selling your writing services via job auction sites
  • setting up a writer's website
  • advertising online for writing work
  • and many more!
The Wealthy Writer represents the culmination of the project I began with Write Any Book in Under 28 Days, my top-selling guide to book writing, and Quick Cash Writing, which covers faster ways of making money from writing: articles, short stories, comedy writing, and so on.

I had been aware for a while that what was still needed was a dedicated guide to making money writing for online markets. The Wealthy Writer is the last piece of the jigsaw - and it was great to be working on it with Ruth, who has experience of some areas I don't know quite as well (and vice versa).

Anyway, I'm not going to go on too long here about The Wealthy Writer. I'd simply like to invite you to click through any of the links in this post to visit a page of my website where I've included an extract from the course and details of a unique special offer for anyone buying it via my site!

With the aid of the Internet and this guide, you really can become The Wealthy Writer of the title!

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

What New Writing Product Would YOU Most Like to See?

My colleague Karl Moore of The WCCL Network - who publish several of my writing courses - wants to know what new writing course or product he should produce next. And he's looking for ideas and suggestions from readers of my blog.

For those who don't know, WCCL already produce a wide range of writers' resources, from my own Quick Cash Writing and Write Any Book in Under 28 Days, to Travel Writing Secrets and Movie in a Month. You can see the whole range on their WriteStreet portal.

So what new product or course would YOU most like to see next from WCCL? A few suggestions already made include:

* Freelance journalism course
* How to profit from writing/selling e-books
* Proofreading and editing course
* Comedy writing course
* Short story writing for fun and profit
* How to win writing competitions

If you particularly like (or dislike) any of these ideas, Karl would like to know. But ALL ideas and suggestions are very welcome. This is your chance to have a say in the future development of WCCL - and there may even be commissions on offer for suitably qualified writers!

So put your thinking cap on, and post your suggestions as comments below - or, if you prefer, write directly to Karl at karl @ karlmoore.com. He's waiting to hear from you!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Contests Week: Final Round-Up

Last week was Contests Week on my forum at Mywriterscircle.com, and this week the winners were revealed.

In this post I'll be publishing the winners of all five contests, and also setting out a few thoughts on the contests from a judge's perspective.

The first challenge, set on Monday, was to write a story in exactly 100 words including three essential words (envelope, jocular, precursor). The prize, a copy of WCCL's Novel in a Month, was won by Grognoth, with the following entry:

The Fear of All Mothers Whose Sons Went to War
by Grognoth

The news was bad; the fleet had come under attack at night. Philip's ship had been torpedoed. Few men survived, many were unaccounted for.

Having read the naval letter, Sally believed it was a precursor for worse to come. "Missing in action; presumed dead." No words of comfort, just the official cold line.

Sally waited before nervously picking up the beige envelope. An hour and three cups of tea later, she opened it.

"Dear Mum, in hospital and in jocular mood, though don't know why; so many friends gone. Love you."

Sally returned the paper to the envelope and cried.


You can read the winner and runners-up, and members' comments about them, on this forum topic. All of the entries are also published here anonymously as a Word attachment.

Tuesday's contest was to write a haiku including two out of three set words (smoke, lake, paper). The prize was a copy of WCCL's Writer's Block CD. The winner of this challenge was a new member, Rohi Shetty, with the following beautifully crafted entry:

Haiku: an ink-clad
thought on paper; lovely like
the lake at sunrise.


You can read the winner and runners-up (which included another of Rohi's poems), and members' comments about them, on this forum topic. All of the entries are also published anonymously here as a Word attachment.

Wednesday's Contest was to write a radio commercial for Mywriterscircle.com. The prize was a copy of WCCL's Ultimate Copywriter guide. The winner was brimstone with the following entry:

Female1: What are you looking so chuffed about?
Female2: I've just had my first short story accepted by a magazine.
Female1: Didn't know you could write!
Female2: Neither did I. Then I joined this website called MyWritersCircle.com. It's for people who like to write. You should check it out Jill.
Female1: I'm hopeless at writing.
Female2: Me too. But on MyWritersCircle.com we review each other's work. Share ideas. It's improved my writing a lot. It's fun and it's free.
Female1: Free?
Female2: That's right. And I've met some lovely people online.
If I can learn to write, anybody can.

Male announcer: Want to improve your writing? At MyWritersCircle.com we help each other write. Visit us now at MyWritersCircle.com

Female1: I checked out that website last night.
Female2: And?
Female1: You were right it's fun.
Female2: Told you.
Female1: Booker Prize. Here I come!

They chuckle.


You can read the winner and runners-up, and members' comments about them, on this forum topic. All of the entries are also published anonymously here as a Word attachment.

Incidentally, our forum administrator and sponsor Karl Moore has already recorded this ad for possible future use on his online radio station WritersFM - click here to listen to it on YouTube!

Thursday's challenge was to write a travel article about your best-ever or worst-ever vacation. The prize was a copy of WCCL's Travel Writing Secrets, and the winner was Sellit with this entry:

Wet and Wild Dominica, an Island for the Adventurous

Dominica is for nature lovers who crave a taste of the wild side. Don't expect resorts, gourmet cuisine, and upscale shopping. Pack your hiking boots and a swimsuit. Prepare to encounter 365 rivers, lush rain forests, waterfalls, amazing sea life, and narrow mountain roads. Dominica remains a largely undeveloped island where tourism and ecosystem coexist.

When our cruise ship docked, we anticipated a day of adventure. We were not disappointed. Two shore excursions provided memories we'll cherish for a lifetime.

Skirting the rugged volcanic shoreline aboard the Sting Ray II, dolphins set a tone of expectation as they frolicked beside our vessel. The boat's hydrophone picked up the clicks of conversing whales. Words cannot capture the thrill of racing to intercept these fascinating creatures. A pod of ten sperm whales surfaced like enormous gray submarines. Giant waterspouts blew from their noses. They posed for pictures and waved perfect flukes as they departed with the precision of a choreographed diving team.

A unique glimpse of motherhood came when a young whale surfaced to swallow and then dove several times to nurse. Both mother and child provided a splendid view of flukes when they departed.

Sun-baked by our morning with the dolphins and whales, we departed for a jeep ride into the mountains. These aptly named Wacky Rollers traversed riverbeds and wound along narrow roads high in the rainforest.

A short hike crossed a river via a footbridge and led to a dark opening between sheer black cliffs. Brave souls entered the river's frigid water and swam between the towering cliffs. A magnificent waterfall, plunging into Ti Tou Gorge, was our reward. Sunlight filtered through overhanging foliage at the top of the narrow chasm as we drifted out on the current. Invigorated by our adventure, we stood in the water of a warm spring that drops into the pool outside the pseudo cave.

'The Pirates of the Caribbean' movies used Ti Tou Gorge and other locations around Dominica during filming. It wasn't hard to imagine pirates sailing the shores or roaming the trails of this wet, wild island.

You can read the winner and runners-up, and members' comments about them, on this forum topic. All of the entries are also published anonymously here as a Word attachment.

The winner of this contest (real name Melinda) wrote to thank me, and added, 'I'm hoping to break into the travel writing area, so this win is a big bonus for me. I really wanted this prize.' Great to hear that, Melinda!

Our final, Friday challenge was to write a scene for any dramatic medium featuring three people in a restaurant. The prize was a copy of WCCL's premium product Movie in a Month. The winner was sue91353 with the following entry:

Meeting at the Angry Yeti

Man and woman seated at table in center of room. Both wear chain mail armor.

Serving wench drops off drinks and food and winks at man, whispers something in his ear. He grins.

Food and drink are consumed. Man stands.

Beauregard: I'm off, don't wait for me. I'll see you in the morning.

Elspeth: How do you do it? Every town we go to, there's a wench with room in her bed for you. And you're not even pretty.

Beauregard: (Shrugs) I treat them right.

Elspeth waves him away and sits back with her drink.

She looks around. A man is staring at her, looking her up and down. He looks at her face and she raises an eyebrow. He smiles. She turns away.

Tall, red haired man, bearded, muscular, leather armor, stands in front of table.

Tannik: May I join you?

Elspeth: (points to chair and nods)

Tannik: Your friend left you.

Elspeth: He had obligations.

Tannik: (Looks off in distance) So I see.

Beauregard and serving wench are climbing the back stairs.

Elspeth: What brings you to my table?

Tannik: (Smiles) I have obligations. And you are the most interesting one I've seen in a while.

Elspeth: (Laughs, shakes her head) I've been on the road all winter, I'm only here to drink.

Tannik: Then I'll escort you home when you've had your fill.

Elspeth: I need no protection.

Tannik: I suspect not. But I would like to anyway.

A chair flies by, loud voices in background.
Elspeth chugs her drink, stands.

Elspeth: Last thing I need is a brawl. You can escort me home now.

Tannik: Indeed. I'm glad I'm not on duty.

Exit pub. Warder at door hands back their weapons. Elspeth straps on great sword, dragon-hilted, ruby eyes, outspread wings form guard. Tannik hoists battle axe.

Tannik: I see you really don't need protection.

Elspeth: (Smiles) No, but you might.

Laughing, exit building.


You can read the winner and runners-up, and members' comments about them, on this forum topic. All of the entries are also published anonymously here as a Word attachment.

I and my fellow judges really enjoyed judging the Contest Week entries, although it was a lot of work for us as well! Here are a few tips based on our experience of judging the contests that I hope may be helpful to anyone entering writing contests on MWC (or anywhere else) in future...

1. Most important of all, obey the contest rules. We didn't actually disqualify anyone for failing to do this, but nonetheless an entry that clearly didn't follow the instructions had no chance of winning. A good example was the radio commercial contest, where several people wrote ads for other products or services, and not for Mywriterscircle.com as instructed.

2. It's also very important to pay attention to the instructions and how they are worded. In Friday's Challenge we asked for a script that would 'reveal something interesting about the characters' and also 'make us want to see/hear more'. Our winner and runners-up did this, but some of the other scripts were really more like comedy sketches, with two-dimensional characters whose sole purpose was to lead up to a punch-line. As such they might have worked well, but it wasn't really what we were looking for in this challenge.

3. Try to come up with an original slant. In contests where certain elements are required (as in many of the Contests Week challenges) a lot of people inevitably adopt a similar, predictable line, and this can become a bit wearing for the judges. When we see someone who has found an original slant different from anything we have come across before, inevitably we take a bit more interest.

4. And finally, check and double-check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. The overall standard was actually quite good, but a few entries were let down by lack of attention to the basics. Again, no entry is likely to win a writing contest if it is littered with mistakes of this nature.

Once again, thank you very much to everyone who took part in Contests Week, to the moderators who put so much time and effort into judging the challenges, and (of course) to Karl Moore from WCCL, who generously donated the prizes. Don't forget you can see a wide range of WCCL's great-value courses and products for writers on their dedicated website at WriteStreet.com.

Watch out for more exciting contests and challenges on the world's favorite writing forum soon!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Contests Week: Monday Challenge Results

Last week was Contests Week on my forum at Mywriterscircle.com, and this week the winners will be revealed.

Monday's challenge was to write a story in exactly 100 words including three essential words (envelope, jocular, precursor).

We received over 50 entries to this contest, and the overall standard was amazingly high (so much so that the judging took a lot longer than anticipated). There can only be one winner, however, so I am delighted to reveal that this was Grognoth, with the following entry:

The Fear of All Mothers Whose Sons Went to War
by Grognoth

The news was bad; the fleet had come under attack at night. Philip's ship had been torpedoed. Few men survived, many were unaccounted for.

Having read the naval letter, Sally believed it was a precursor for worse to come. "Missing in action; presumed dead." No words of comfort, just the official cold line.

Sally waited before nervously picking up the beige envelope. An hour and three cups of tea later, she opened it.

"Dear Mum, in hospital and in jocular mood, though don't know why; so many friends gone. Love you."

Sally returned the paper to the envelope and cried.


I will be in touch with Grognoth to arrange delivery of his prize, a copy of WCCL's Novel in a Month.

There were two runners-up in this contest, both of whom came within a single vote of the winner. Both Annvh and kk should consider themselves Highly Commended, therefore. I'm sorry there was only one prize! Here are their entries:

Never Again
by Annvh

Jenny's eyelids remained defiantly shut, ignoring the insistent beep of her alarm clock. As she eased one arm from beneath her duvet to tap the snooze button, her hand brushed against a package lying on the pillow next to her. Consciousness surfaced with jagged shafts of light flickering at the edge of her vision; the precursor of a blinding migraine; and images of last night's excesses forced her eyes wide open.

"Well, open the envelope," a teasing, jocular voice called from the doorway. "It'll help you remember."

Photos, of bits she didn't know she had.

"Call it a hangover cure."

Kids Rule!
by kk

We met at Fenway Park, huge fans of the Red Sox, never missing a game; a precursor to falling in love. We married; had babies. Life together was perfect; agreeing on everything - where we lived; children; life was good.

Finding that envelope with the photo of him and Marybeth - together - like that - it nearly killed me. Nothing could have prepared me. Devastated, I confronted him one fateful day.

"What's this?" I demanded, presenting the photo of little Marybeth; Yankees cap ruining her toddler's jocular innocence.

"Well," he replied, "I couldn't resist"; "As she says, 'Yankees rule, Red Sox drool.'"

Congratulations again to our winner and runners-up, and thank you to everyone else who entered. For those who are interested, on my forum post I have attached a separate Word file including all the entries, listed anonymously. See if you agree with the judges or not!

The results of Tuesday's challenge will be published on the Writing Games and Challenges board tomorrow. Note that I will not be publishing the results on this blog every day this week as well - I have a few other things I want to blog about - but I will include a round-up of all the winners on Friday.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Contests Week: Friday Challenge

All this week has been CONTESTS WEEK on Mywriterscircle.com.

Every day we've posted a quick-fire 24-hour writing challenge, with great prizes of software for writers donated by our sponsors (and my publishers) WCCL.

The final, Friday Challenge is now open - and as it's 'lucky' Friday 13th, it's a humdinger! This time, we're asking you to write a short scene set in a restaurant, in any dramatic medium of your choice!

The prize for the winner of this challenge will be a copy of WCCL's flagship product (well, one of them) Movie in a Month. This is a complete guide to film screenwriting on CD-ROM.

Movie in a Month was written by three successful screenwriters, two in the US and one in the UK. As well as a set of informative manuals, it also includes over 850 actual TV and movie scripts and treatments, and a complete, fully-featured screenplay writing and formatting program. The full normal price of Movie in a Month is $97.

As always you have just 24 hours to complete this challenge, with a final deadline of 9 am GMT on Saturday 14 March. For full details of this exciting contest, see Contests Week: Friday Challenge.

Just to remind you, the results of all the Contests Week challenges will be announced next week, with Monday's winner announced on Monday 16 March, and the winner of today's contest on Friday 20 March.

Good luck in today's challenge. Whether or not you are one of our winners, I do hope you have enjoyed Contests Week, and that you will continue to return regularly to Mywriterscircle.com!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Contests Week: Thursday Challenge

All this week from Monday to Friday it's CONTESTS WEEK! on Mywriterscircle.com

Every day we're posting a quick-fire 24-hour writing challenge, with great prizes of software for writers donated by our sponsors (and my publishers) WCCL.

The Thursday Challenge is now open. This time we're asking you to write a short travel article describing your best-ever or worst-ever vacation!

The prize for the winner of this challenge will be a copy of WCCL's Travel Writing Secrets. This is a complete guide for any writer who enjoys travelling and wants to make money writing about it.

For full details of this exciting contest, see Contests Week: Thursday Challenge.

By the way, following the huge response to our first two challenges, we have had to delay announcing the results slightly, to allow more time for the judges to discuss the entries and vote on them. All results will now be announced next week, with Monday's winner announced on Monday 16 March, and so on.

Good luck in today's challenge, and watch out for the biggest prize of the week in Friday's final contest - all brought to you by courtesy of our sponsors WCCL, in association with the world's favorite writers' forum!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Contests Week: Wednesday Challenge

All this week from Monday to Friday it's CONTESTS WEEK! on Mywriterscircle.com

Every day we're posting a quick-fire 24-hour writing challenge, with great prizes of software for writers donated by our sponsors (and my publishers) WCCL.

Tuesday's challenge is now closed. I'm pleased to say we received a huge response to our haiku contest, so please bear with us while we judge the winner. This will be announced on the forum, and we will also publish all the other entries, so you can see whether you agree with our decision or not!

In the meantime, Wednesday's Challenge is now open. This time we're asking you to put on your copywriter's hat and write a radio commercial for Mywriterscircle.com.

The prize for the winner of this challenge will be a copy of WCCL's market-leading guide The Ultimate Copywriter. This is written for any writer who wants to break in to the exciting and well-paid world of advertising copywriting.

For full details of this contest, see Contests Week: Wednesday Challenge. And watch out for more writing challenges with great prizes every day this week on the world's favorite writers' forum!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Contests Week: Tuesday Challenge Now Posted!

All this week from Monday to Friday it's CONTESTS WEEK! on Mywriterscircle.com

Every day we're posting a quick-fire 24-hour writing challenge, with great prizes of software for writers donated by our sponsors (and my publishers) WCCL.

Monday's challenge is now closed. I'm pleased to say we received a huge response to our Flash Fiction contest, so please bear with us while we judge the winner. This will be announced as soon as possible, and we will also publish all the other entries, so you can see whether you agree with our decision or not!

In the meantime, Tuesday's Challenge is now open. This time we're asking you to write a haiku - a form of syllabic poetry - incorporating two out of three particular words set out in the contest rules.

The prize for the winner of this challenge will be a copy of WCCL's amazing Writer's Block CD, which is intended not only to help writers overcome writer's block but also to boost their creativity.

For full details of this contest, see Contests Week: Tuesday Challenge. And watch out for more writing challenges with great prizes every day this week on the world's favorite writers' forum!

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Contests Week: First Challenge Now Posted!

All this week from Monday to Friday it's CONTESTS WEEK on Mywriterscircle.com!

Every day we're posting a quick-fire 24-hour writing challenge, with great prizes of software for writers donated by our sponsors (and my publishers) WCCL.

I'm excited to reveal that the first challenge is now open. We're asking you to write a short story of 100 words exactly incorporating three particular words set out in the contest rules.

The prize for the winner of this challenge will be a copy of Novel in a Month, WCCL's block-busting tutorial that guides you through planning, writing and editing a novel in just four weeks.

For full details of this contest, see Contests Week: Monday Challenge. And watch out for more writing challenges with great prizes every day this week on the world's favorite writers' forum!

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Contests Week on Mywriterscircle.com!

Just wanted to let you know that from Monday 9 March to Friday 13 March, it's Contests Week at MyWritersCircle.com!

Every day, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors WCCL, we'll be giving away courses and products from their great range for writers, in a series of 24-hour writing challenges. For more info about WCCL's writing software, please visit WriteStreet.com.

At 9 am GMT every day during Contests Week I will post a new challenge on MWC's Writing Games & Challenges board. This will also mark the closing time for the previous challenge.

The challenges will all be quite short. You will need to submit your entry by PM (personal message) to one designated moderator, whose name will be shown in the challenge details. They will then forward all entries anonymously to the other mods, who will vote to decide the winner. We have chosen this method to allow the contests to be judged anonymously.

Of course, this does mean that you will need to be a member of Mywriterscircle.com to enter the contests, but joining is very easy (and free) - just click on the Register tab near the top of the MWC homepage and follow the on-screen instructions.

Although we are keeping the exact details of the contests a surprise, I can reveal that we are giving away the following WCCL products as prizes during the week (though not necessarily in this order):

* Movie in a Month
* Writer's Block CD
* Novel in a Month
* The Ultimate Copywriter
* Travel Writing Secrets

For more details of any of these products, just click on the name in the list above. The sales page will then open in a separate window. The contests will be themed so they are at least vaguely relevant to the prize on offer!

For further info and updates, please see this read-only forum topic.

I do hope you will join in with at least some of the daily challenges. I'd also appreciate any help you can provide in spreading word of Contests Week to the widest possible audience, via e-mail, blog posts, Twitter, social networking sites, and so on.

Here's to an exciting week of contests!

Photo Credit: www.theedinburghblog.co.uk on Flickr

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

WCCL Week: Self-Publishing Secrets


All this week I've been spotlighting a range of great products for writers from my sponsors (and publishers) The WCCL Network.

Today is the final day of WCCL Week, and for my last item I'm featuring a personal favorite from WCCL's range, Self-Publishing Secrets.

Self-Publishing Secrets is written by the prolific UK author Carol Ann Strange, who also happens to be a former colleague from my days as a freelance tutor for The Writers Bureau.

Self-Publishing Secrets is an instant download (no waiting for a CD to arrive in the post!). The main manual (there are also various bonuses) is arranged in nine chapters: Introduction, Welcome to Self Publishing, Preparing Your Book for Publication, Going Into Print, Handling Your Book's Sales and Distribution, How to Market Your Book Successfully, Using the Power of the Web to Promote Your Book, How to Increase Your Self Publishing Profits, and Resources.

Self-Publishing Secrets makes a persuasive case for self-publishing as an alternative to seeking out a conventional publisher. It is particularly strong in the advice it offers about promoting and marketing your book. The manual is packed with ideas for getting publicity and sales, and really does fire you up with enthusiasm for getting your book out there and embarking on your first publicity tour!

You can read my full review by clicking on Self-Publishing Secrets Review.

And if you scroll down the review, you will see that I am making my own very special offer on this product when you buy via my blog. You get my own mini-guide to publishing an e-book at the self-publishing site Lulu.com - and you also get a copy of my e-book Fifty Great Ideas for Creative Writing Teaching (co-written with Simon Pitt), as actually published on Lulu. Please read the instructions carefully to discover how to claim these extra free gifts from me personally.

I firmly believe that, in these recessionary times, self-publishing represents the best way forward for many authors today. Self-Publishing Secrets will show you everything you need to know to get started in this exciting field.

This post is the last of WCCL Week, but I would just like to remind you again that you can see all of WCCL's writing products, including some I haven't had room to feature this week, on their writing portal at WriteStreet.com.

Enjoy your writing, and watch out for some very special promotions on WCCL products on my blog and forum soon!

Photo credit: singsing_sky on Flickr

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

WCCL Week: The Best Seller Secret

All this week I'm spotlighting a range of great products for writers from my sponsors (and publishers) The WCCL Network. Today I'm featuring The Best-Seller Secret

The Best-Seller Secret is written by Dan Strauss, WCCL's senior editor, and successful author Mel McIntyre. It's provided as an instant download in the universal PDF format.

I should make one thing clear right away, however. Despite the title, The Best-Seller Secret will NOT show you how to write your book (for that, try Novel in a Month or my own Write Any Book in Under 28 Days). Rather, The Best-Seller Secret is for anyone who has written a book, or is on the way to doing so, and wants to know how they can get it into the Amazon online bookstore's Top 100 Books list, with all the benefits that can flow from this.

You might think that only a major publishing house would have the resources (and budget) needed to propel a book into best-sellerdom. But, as this guide reveals, the Internet has changed all that. It sets out a ten-step strategy literally anyone can use to make their book an Amazon best-seller.

The Best-Seller Secret really does make this aim realistic and achievable. Yes, it will involve you in doing some work, but the returns (both direct and indirect) from having an Amazon best-seller should justify this many times over. It definitely can be done, and the guide includes several case studies of successful campaigns.

To see my full review, please click on Best-Seller Secret Review.

With The Best-Seller Secret, you really can become a best-selling author at the world's favorite online bookstore!

Watch for my next blog post tomorrow spotlighting another great WCCL product for writers. Alternatively, visit WriteStreet.com today to see the whole range!

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Friday, February 27, 2009

WCCL Week: Movie in a Month

All this week I'm spotlighting a range of great products for writers from my sponsors (and publishers) The WCCL Network. Today I'm featuring Movie in a Month.

Movie in a Month is written by three successful screenwriters, two based in the US and one in the UK. It is provided on CD-ROM in the universal PDF format.

At the heart of Movie in a Month is a 156-page manual on screenwriting by Los Angeles-based James Lamberg, who has written (and ghost-written) over fifty screenplays.

James has a highly readable and motivational style. His system for writing a 'movie in a month' is based on his unique and powerful five-part W.R.I.T.E. formula.

Along with James's manual, you get a wide range of other items. These include a 30-page guide to movie plotting, a Little Black Book of movie industry contacts, a guide to screenplay formatting, and over 850 sample movie and TV screenplays and treatments. And more besides. Perhaps you can see now why it's supplied on CD-ROM rather than as an instant download!

To see my full review of Movie in a Month, please click on Movie in a Month Review. By the way, if you scroll down the review, you will see that I am (still) offering a very special deal for people buying via my blog. Not only can you get $20 off the usual price, you also get three extra free bonuses from me that are unavailable anywhere else. Read the instructions carefully to discover how to claim these.

With Movie in a Month, it really is possible to break into this exciting and lucrative field and become a successful movie or TV screenwriter!

Watch for my next blog post tomorrow spotlighting another great WCCL product for writers. Alternatively, visit WriteStreet.com today to see the whole range!
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

WCCL Week: Writer's Block CD

All this week I'm spotlighting a range of great products for writers from my sponsors (and publishers) The WCCL Network. Today I'm featuring The Writer's Block CD.

Writer's Block is a common affliction among writers. For whatever reason, the creative spring runs dry and words refuse to flow. Many popular and successful writers have been affected by writer's block, and for some it has ended their careers.

The Writer's Block CD is NOT a manual of hints and tips for beating writer's block - there is no shortage of those. Rather, it is an audio CD that uses an advanced technology called binaural beats to help 'entrain' the mind into a creative state.

You can read my full review of The Writer's Block CD by clicking on Writer's Block CD Review. Briefly, however, it works by playing sounds of slightly differing frequencies in each ear (so headphones are needed when using it). Studies have shown that when you do this, a resonance is created in the brain at a frequency that represents the difference between the two frequencies. On The Writer's Block CD this difference is set at 4.5 to 9 Hz. This corresponds with the theta and alpha frequencies in the brain. These are the brainwave frequencies most associated with daydreaming and creativity.

I've been using The Writer's Block CD for some time now, and find it really does help me to get into a creative groove. Other members of my writing forum have found it a valuable aid also. If writer's block is a problem for you - or you just want a method for enhancing your creativity - in my view it's well worth checking out.

Watch for my next blog post tomorrow spotlighting another great WCCL product for writers. Alternatively, visit WriteStreet.com today to see the whole range!
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WCCL Week: Essential English for Authors

All this week I'm spotlighting a range of great products for writers from my sponsors (and publishers) The WCCL Network. Today I'm featuring one of my own guides, Essential English for Authors.

Essential English for Authors is a guide for anyone who hopes to write for publication, but is afraid their written English might let them down.

Essential English for Authors covers all the common problem areas for new writers: from the basics of grammatical sentence and paragraph construction, through principles of capitalization and punctuation, to 'minefield' topics such as subject/verb agreement and how to set out and punctuate dialogue. Everything is explained in simple, easy-to-grasp terms, with lots of examples to illustrate the points made.

It's not JUST the basics, however. A long module titled 'Putting on the Style' covers a range of matters that - while they may not all be essential to achieving publication - will help bring your written English up to the highest possible standards. There are also self-study tests you can complete to check your understanding of the material covered.

I'm sometimes asked why anyone should buy Essential English for Authors rather than, say, the famous Elements of Style book by Strunk & White. My answer is that Strunk & White offers good advice on writing American English, and I do recommend reading it. However, unlike my guide, it was not written specifically for writers seeking to achieve publication. The original version was published over 90 years ago, and although it has been revised since then, it does not always in my view reflect the realities of writing for publication today. Many people also find it rather dry and prescriptive. My guide aims to clarify which 'rules' are the ones you MUST follow for your work to be taken seriously, and which ones nowadays are regarded as less critical.

Finally, I should add that Essential English for Authors assumes no previous knowledge, and is suitable for beginners and people for whom English is not their first language. It is, however, equally relevant for established writers who want to brush up on their knowledge of these matters.

To sum up, if you want to bring your writing to a publishable standard in the shortest possible time, Essential English for Authors will help you to achieve this. It won't turn you into Shakespeare, but it will ensure that your writing is taken seriously by editors, agents and publishers, and not rejected out-of-hand due to errors of grammar and punctuation. The rest, as they say, is up to you!

Watch out for my next blog post tomorrow spotlighting another great WCCL product for writers. Alternatively, visit WriteStreet.com today to see the whole range!
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

WCCL Week: Novel in a Month

All this week I'm spotlighting a range of great products for writers from my sponsors (and publishers) The WCCL Network. Today I'm looking at their latest writing course, Novel in a Month.

Novel in a Month is written by Dan Strauss, Senior Editor at WCCL and a successful author/novelist himself. The course is provided on CD-ROM in the universal PDF format.

As you will gather, Novel in a Month is aimed at anyone who wants to write a complete novel in the shortest time possible. The system set out in Novel in a Month involves writing your first draft in three weeks, then editing it in the fourth. There is also a preliminary stage of planning and outlining, which takes up the first day or two.

Novel in a Month is far more than just an outlining system, though. It is packed with hints and tips for writing your novel as quickly and efficiently as possible. Among the things I particularly liked in it were the 'population index' chart for developing characters, and Dan Strauss's unique P.L.O.T. plotting method, neither of which I had seen before.

I know one or two people have gotten a bit confused between Novel in a Month and my own course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days, so I am happy to try to clarify the difference here.

Write Any Book in Under 28 Days was WCCL's original writing course. My brief then was to create a course that would cover all types of full-length writing projects, fiction and non-fiction. The method of outlining and blueprinting set out in Write Any Book in Under 28 Days is therefore suitable for any type of book, and there is also a long section devoted to fiction writing. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that Write Any Book in Under 28 Days has a slight bias toward writing non-fiction (which is, of course, my speciality).

Novel in a Month was developed in response to requests for a course specifically devoted to novel writing. It is a completely different course by a different author. Novel in a Month goes into much more detail about novel-writing than I did in my original course, though my course does include some advice and ideas that aren't in it. Ideally, then, I think that if you want to write a novel you should really buy both (I would say that, wouldn't I!?). But if you just want one guide to writing a novel, I have to admit, Novel in a Month is probably the one you should go for.

You can read my full blog review of Novel in a Month by clicking on the following link: Novel in a Month Review. And, of course, you can click through to WCCL's sales and info page via any of the links in this post or my earlier review.

If writing a novel is one of your goals for 2009, Novel in a Month will provide you with all the tools and knowledge you need to see the project through to completion!

Watch out for my next blog post tomorrow spotlighting another great WCCL product for writers. Alternatively, visit WriteStreet.com today to see the whole range!
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Monday, February 23, 2009

WCCL Week: Travel Writing Secrets


As I mentioned in my last post, all this week I'll be spotlighting a range of great products for writers from my sponsors (and publishers) The WCCL Network.

Here in Britain, and most of the northern hemisphere, we're coming to the end of a miserable winter. It's a time when many of us start thinking about getting away from it all.

So I thought I'd start WCCL Week with a look at the company's definitive guide to travelling and making money from it: Travel Writing Secrets.

Travel Writing Secrets is written by my colleague Mel McIntyre, who has also written several other WCCL courses. It's supplied on CD-ROM, in the universal PDF format. It's a complete guide to travel writing, suitable for both new and experienced writers.

Like all WCCL products, Travel Writing Secrets is beautifully produced, and - as always with WCCL - it has been professionally written, edited and produced. The main manual (there are also various bonus items) is a full 220 pages long. It takes you through pretty much everything you need to know to get started as a travel writer. The content is well organized and crammed with useful, practical information. For example, in chapter two alone you will discover the three things travel articles MUST do, the seven types of travel article, five secrets for gathering information for your articles, and so on.

Travel Writing Secrets also covers interviewing techniques, outlining and writing skills, and how to pitch ideas to editors. And, of course, it has in-depth advice on selling your work, with details of large numbers of potential markets. There are also some clever (and little-known) ideas for turbo-charging your travel writing career, from applying the step-by-step T.R.A.V.E.L. writing model to setting up your own travel writers' network.

To see the full review on my blog, just click on Travel Writing Secrets Review. And don't forget to scroll down my review to see details of my unique special offer for people who buy Travel Writing Secrets via my link. As you'll discover, I'm giving away a downloadable half-hour instructional video plus resource file on great ways to make money online from digital photography. In my view it's the perfect accompaniment to Travel Writing Secrets, and should give you lots of ideas for ways of making money from your travel photos!

Watch out for my next post tomorrow spotlighting another great WCCL product for writers. Alternatively, you can visit WriteStreet.com today to see the whole range!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

WCCL Week: Preview

As you may be aware, this blog is sponsored by my publishers, the electronic publishing house WCCL.

WCCL also sponsors a wide range of other free services for writers, including the Mywriterscircle.com forum, the WritersFM online radio station, the Smart Writers newsletter, and so on.

Like many companies, WCCL has suffered a downturn in business due to the current world-wide recession. Although WCCL have said they are committed to continuing their support of the world-wide writing community, it is important that none of us take this for granted.

I have therefore set aside next week as WCCL Week on this blog. Each day from Monday through till Sunday, I will be highlighting one particular WCCL product that I particularly recommend for writers. I hope you may want to check out some of these products, and maybe invest a few dollars on any that are relevant to your writing interests.

For further ways of supporting WCCL during this challenging time (including one free method and another that can actually make you money!), check out this forum topic: Please Support Our Forum Sponsors.

Thank you very much on behalf of my sponsors!

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Interview With The Writers Bureau

Regular readers will know I used to be a freelance tutor and assessor for The Writers Bureau, the UK's largest distance learning school for aspiring writers.

I'm still on good terms with them, and work with them from time to time on special projects.

Anyway, I know from discussions on my forum that many people are interested in The Writers Bureau and the courses they offer. So I recently asked their Director of Studies, Mrs Diana Nadin, if she would be willing to be interviewed on this blog. I'm pleased to say she said yes.

So I wanted to ask, if you have any questions about The Writers Bureau (that aren't easily answered by visiting their website), please can you post them below as comments? I have also set up a topic on my forum for those who prefer this method of responding.

I will then choose the best questions, put them to Diana, and publish her replies. Please let me have your questions as soon as possible, and in any event by Monday 9 February. Many thanks!

* Check out also this blog post where I discuss tutored writing courses (those offered by The Writers Bureau in particular), and compare them with my own courses such as Write Any Book in Under 28 Days, published by WCCL.
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Monday, January 12, 2009

My January Sale!

January is traditionally the month for sales - and more so than ever in the current recession.

So I thought I'd do my bit and offer my best-selling course, Write Any Book in Under 28 Days, at a full $10 off the standard price for the rest of January.

The course normally sells for $49.95 - in fact, that's what it costs right now if you click through to the main sales site. If you follow the links at the end of this post, however, you can buy the CD for just $39.95 - a full 20% reduction!

In case you don't know, Write Any Book in Under 28 Days was my first course written for The WCCL Network. At its heart is my unique five-step outlining and blueprinting method, which thousands of buyers across the world have used to help create their first book (and in some cases many more...).

Quite apart from the five-step method, however, the course is also crammed with hints and tips on planning, researching, writing, editing and marketing your book, based on my own experience as the author of over 80 titles. Essentially, it's pretty much a 'brain dump' of everything I've ever learned about book writing...

The method set out in Write Any Book in Under 28 Days is suitable for writing both fiction and non-fiction books. Although the course as a whole has a slight bias towards non-fiction (which is what I mainly write), there is also a long section devoted specifically to fiction writing.

Anyway, if you'd like more information, just click through any of the links to Write Any Book in Under 28 Days in this article to visit the main sales page. Don't buy there, though! Instead, click on this link to pay at the discount price using your credit card, or click here to pay at a discount using Paypal. All prices include free world-wide shipping.

Good luck, and I hope you'll soon be joining the many other happy buyers of Write Any Book in Under 28 Days who are now enjoying all the satisfactions and benefits of being published authors. Don't forget, also, to check out the page of unsolicited testimonials the course has generated!

P.S. The discount links will be removed at the start of February, so please don't delay too long if you're thinking of buying!
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Have you visited Karlblog.com?

My good friend and publisher Karl Moore is on a mission at the moment - to increase the readership of his self-development blog at www.karlblog.com.

In his latest post he has asked all his readers to spread the word about his blog, so this is my small contribution.

For those who don't know, Karl is the author of several best-selling computer programming books. He is also the founder and Managing Director of White Cliff, a multi-million dollar new media group, which publishes several of my writing courses via its online publishing arm, The WCCL Network.

His blog, though, is devoted to self-development, and specifically to inspiring his readers to overcome all obstacles and achieve more (both spiritually and materially) in their lives.

If you haven't seen Karl Blog.com, I do strongly recommend that you visit today and take a few minutes to explore some of Karl's posts.

And if you feel that a regular dose of Karl-style inspiration would be helpful for you, you can subscribe via email using the box in the top-right hand corner of every Karl Blog.com page. Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS/XML using the links in the blog's right-hand sidebar, or simply add the site to your Favorites list.

Karl is aiming to boost his subscriber numbers by at least 20 percent by Christmas. I hope you may wish to help him to achieve his goal.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Anonymeister Review

In this post I'm reviewing The Anonymeister, the latest software release from my publishers, The WCCL Network.

The Anonymeister is an anonymous web browser. In other words, it lets you browse the web anonymously, without leaving any trace behind you. It's part of WCCL's range of computer privacy software, of which you can read more on their Privacy Central website.

Why might a writer want to use an anonymous browser? I can think of a number of reasons...

* You are researching the website of a competitor, either on your own behalf or on behalf of a client, and don't want them to know you have visited.

* You are a well-known author or celebrity, and don't wish your web browsing history to become public knowledge.

* You are researching a sensitive subject, and don't wish to alert the authorities to your interest.

* You want to visit a website that is normally barred to people in your country.

The Anonymeister (and the very similar Best Anonymous Browser, also available from WCCL) provides a straightforward, non-techy method for anyone to browse the web anonymously, without the need for any programming or configuration.

You can read more about how The Anonymeister works on the website, but briefly it routes all of your web traffic through two servers in the Tor anonymity network. This ensures that your IP address is completely hidden from the outside world. According to WCCL, it can't even be traced by law enforcement agencies.

I found the software easy to install, and just like any other browser to use. The Anonymeister uses a customized version of the popular Firefox browser. If you currently use Firefox you can still use your normal version as well, but you can't have it running at the same time as The Anonymeister. You can, however, have Internet Explorer running simultaneously if you like.

As well as letting you surf anonymously via the Tor network, The Anonymeister also ensures that any trace of your browsing history is erased as soon as you close it. In this way, your privacy is preserved both on the web and on your own machine.

The Anonymeister also has some extra Firefox plug-ins preinstalled, e.g. AdBlock Plus, which automatically blocks most adverts from showing on the pages you browse. Of course, you can uninstall or deactivate these plug-ins if you wish.

I found that The Anonymeister appeared to work well at preserving my privacy. There are various sites you can visit (e.g. this one) which will show you the IP number and location of your computer. A good test is to visit one of these sites using The Anonymeister and see what location and IP number it shows for you, and then visit again via your normal browser for comparison purposes.

I did find The Anonymeister slower than my usual browser, so I wouldn't personally use it all the time. From time to time, too, it produces some unexpected results. For example, this morning I tried to visit www.google.com via The Anonymeister. I must have shown up to Google as being in Germany, because www.google.de opened instead! Still, this does illustrate the efficiency of the software.

Overall, I was impressed with how well The Anonymeister worked for me. If you need a quick, simple way of browsing the web anonymously, it's worth a look.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

New Products From WCCL

Many of you will know that this blog is sponsored by the electronic publishing house WCCL. They also sponsor my forum and the online radio station WritersFM.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested to hear about a couple of new products that have just been released by WCCL, even though neither is aimed directly at writers.

The first is called Internet History Cleaner. WCCL describe this as the world's most powerful privacy tool. With just a single keystroke, this software will automatically erase Internet history for Internet Explorer or Firefox, wipe clean all Windows history, and erase all popular program histories.

Internet History Cleaner is one of WCCL's growing range of Internet security and privacy products. Visit their Privacy Central website to see the whole set.

The other new product is of particular relevance to UK citizens. It's a new guide all about the British medical environment called NHS Secrets.

NHS Secrets is packed with tips on how to get healthcare from the NHS on a par with private health, including how to access shorter waiting lists, how to get free dentistry, and even how to get free cosmetic surgery. The author is an expert on how to get maximum value for money from the NHS - which, remember, YOU pay for via your taxes.

As with all WCCL products, 100% satisfaction guarantees apply, and 24/7 support is available from their customer support website at www.myhelphub.com.

If you've bought any WCCL products in the past, you'll know that the quality is uniformly excellent and the customer service first rate. If you could benefit from either of these products, in my view it's well worth checking them out now while the launch discounts still apply.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Getting Customer Support for My Courses

I shan't be around a great deal over the next couple of weeks, so I thought it might be a good time to remind you of the best way to get customer support for my writing courses and manuals and other products published by WCCL.

If you have any queries, either before or after buying, by far the best thing to do is visit WCCL's customer support website at www.myhelphub.com and raise a ticket there.

This is very easy to do - just click on 'Contact Us For Support' and fill in the online form, then click the box at the bottom of the form to submit it. You will be allocated a unique ticket number, and can log in to Myhelphub at any time using this number to see if your query has been answered.

The kinds of question Myhelphub routinely answer include:

* I've lost - or never knew - my password.
* I can't access the contents of the CD.
* When was my CD sent out?
* What do I do if my CD doesnt arrive?
* Will [name of product] work on a Mac?
* Will you supply CDs to my country?
* How long will it take my CD to arrive?
* I have an idea for a new WCCL product.
* And so on...

Myhelphub is staffed 24/7, and they aim to reply to all queries within 24 hours (most are answered much sooner than that). If you need help with any WCCL product - and certainly if you need technical support - I strongly recommend that you contact them rather than me!

Just one other point I'd like to stress, though - you must use the ticket system to contact them. Myhelphub are not set up to receive emails. The reason for this is that nowadays email is simply not a reliable enough medium to use for this purpose.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Review: Novel in a Month

Novel in a Month is the latest in WCCL's range of products and courses for writers, which also includes my courses Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and Quick Cash Writing.

Novel in a Month is written by Dan Strauss, Senior Editor of the WCCL Network and a successful author/novelist himself.

The course is provided on CD-ROM in the universal PDF format. It is therefore suitable for all computing platforms: Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux.

Like all WCCL products, Novel in a Month is beautifully produced, and it has clearly been professionally written and edited. The main manual (I'll get to the bonuses later) takes you step by step through everything you need to know to write a novel in the shortest possible time. Not surprisingly, I guess, the method set out in Novel in a Month bears a close resemblance to the one I set out in Write Any Book in Under 28 Days (though, of course, the latter is aimed primarily at people who want to write a non-fiction book).

I don't suppose I'm giving away too much if I reveal that the system described in Novel in a Month involves writing your first draft in three weeks, then editing it in the fourth. There is also a preliminary stage of planning and outlining, which takes up the first day or two.

Novel in a Month is packed with hints, tips and guidelines for novelists. Among the things I particularly liked were the 'population index' chart for developing characters, and Dan's P.L.O.T. plotting method, neither of which I had seen before.

Indeed, I thought Novel in a Month was particularly strong on plot and plotting methods. As well as the P.L.O.T. system, the course includes five top tips for plotting your novel, six universal plot archetypes, and so forth. My only slight reservation concerns the index card system that Dan advocates as an aid to plotting. Don't get me wrong, it's a great system, but personally I'd much prefer to work on my PC rather than start fiddling about with bits of cardboard. Still, it wouldn't be hard to adapt Dan's system to something a little more 21st century.

Other areas discussed in depth include dialogue, characterization, pacing, editing, viewpoint, writing in scenes ('show, don't tell'), and descriptive writing. Dan (correctly) emphasizes the importance of economy of style and resisting the temptation to overwrite. I can't help thinking, however, that he might have chosen a better example of this art than the late US science fiction author Isaac Asimov, entertaining though some of his short stories undoubtedly are (have you tried reading any of his 'Foundation' novels, though?). Perhaps I'm being a bit picky, however!

In addition to the main guide, you get five additional bonus items. These are as follows:

1. Getting Dialogue Down - a mini-guide to writing convincing (and correctly punctuated) dialogue.

2. How to Get Free Publicity for Your Novel - a 15-page guide showing how to get your book promoted on a shoe-string budget.

3. How to Get Celebrity Endorsements for Your Novel - if you've bought my Write Any Book in Under 28 Days course you'll know this already - but if not, the advice in this report will tell you exactly how to put this powerful technique to good use.

4. The Hottest Agents in the US and UK - this bonus guide contains over 40 pages of agent contact details, e-mail addresses, websites, guidelines, requirements, and so on.

5. 33 Techniques for Fine-Tuning Your Fiction - personally I think this is the most important and valuable of the bonuses. It shows you how to fine-tune your novel so that it stands out from the competition. Applying these 'advanced' techniques could make all the difference between having your book rejected and getting it accepted for publication.

Overall, Novel in a Month gets my recommendation as the most comprehensive course I have seen on writing a novel in the shortest possible time. If you are thinking of joining in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November, it could be the ideal guide to have at your side and on your PC. But even if you don't intend to try writing a complete novel in a month, it would still be a very useful guide to plotting and writing your first best-seller!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

More WCCL Sites on Writers Digest Top 101 List

As many of you will know, this blog is sponsored by the electronic public house WCCL, who also publish many of my writing courses.

In this recent post, I mentioned that another WCCL-sponsored site, my forum at Mywriterscircle.com, had just been voted into the Writers Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers list for 2008.

Well, I've just discovered that two other WCCL sites are also in the Writers Digest list. In case you've not seen them, I thought I'd mention them both here.

WritersFM is WCCL's free online radio station for writers. The station broadcasts 24/7 via the Internet, with a mixture of interviews with successful writers, laid-back music, and writing tips and advice (and, by the way, no advertisements).

Among the writers you can hear on WritersFM are historical novelist Bernard Cornwell, British politician-turned-writer Edwina Currie, US screenwriting guru Syd Field, and many more (including yours truly).

You can either just tune in to the station and listen to what is currently playing, or download most of the interviews from the podcasts page. Note that either way, you will need to have a broadband/DSL Internet connection. WritersFM doesn't work on dial-up, unfortunately.

The other WCCL site in the Writers Digest 101 list is WriteStreet, or Trent Steele's Write Street as it's described on the list. This is actually WCCL's writing portal. Here you can find details of all of the company's writing products and courses, along with other book and product recommendations, inspirational quotes, articles about writing, and so on.

Also from WriteStreet you can subscribe to WCCL's free Smart Writers email newsletter, and help yourself to a range of valuable free gifts just for signing up. Smart Writers includes articles about writing, along with reviews of the latest writing products. Of course, you can unsubscribe any time if you don't like it and still keep all the free gifts.

I hope you will try visiting both these sites, to see why they were voted on to the Writers Digest list by writers themselves.

And if you'd like to vote to keep any of them on the list for 2009, you can do so by sending an email nominating the site in question to writersdig@fwpubs.com with "101 Websites" as the subject line. The closing date for nominations for the 2009 list is 1 January 2009.

And yes, a vote for this blog would be very much appreciated too!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Review: Book Proposal Secrets

Book Proposal Secrets is the latest in WCCL's range of products and courses for writers, which also includes my courses Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and Quick Cash Writing.

The author of Book Proposal Secrets is Mel McIntyre, who has also written several other WCCL courses (and will soon catch up with me as WCCL's most prolific author of writing courses!). It is provided as an instant download in the universal PDF format. It is therefore suitable for all computing platforms, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Book Proposal Secrets is password-protected, but that's only a minor inconvenience. Once you have opened it, you can print out all or any of the pages as you wish.

Like all WCCL products, Book Proposal Secrets is beautifully produced, and it has clearly been professionally written and edited. The main manual (I'll get to the bonus items later) is 61 pages long, and takes you step by step through everything you need to know to create a book proposal that should knock the socks off a potential publisher.

For those who don't know, I should explain that writing a proposal is an alternative method to trying to sell a completed book. The method has the big advantage that if you can 'hook' an agent or publisher with your book proposal, you may be able to get a contract before you have even written the book itself. At the very least, if you get an expression of interest, you can go ahead and write the book with every expectation that it will be published. And even if you have already written your book, many publishers and agents nowadays prefer to receive a proposal initially rather than the whole manuscript.

It should be mentioned that this method is best suited to writers of non-fiction books, however. A new novelist would be highly unlikely to sell a book on the basis of a proposal and outline alone (though it's been known!).

Anyway, Book Proposal Secrets explains exactly how to craft the perfect book proposal. At its core is the author's ten-step method for creating and structuring your proposal - from Step 1, 'The Hook', through to Step 10, 'The Query Letter'. Mel explains how to write each section of your proposal, with links to other useful resources where appropriate. The advice is given with particular reference to the US market, but most of it would apply equally to writers in the UK and other parts of the world as well.

In addition to the main guide, you get various bonus items. These include a set of book proposal templates you can use to help produce proposals for a number of different types of book. These include how-to and self-help books, gift books, sales and marketing books and true crime books, as well as a generic book proposal template. These set out exactly what items your proposal should contain for the genre in question, though it must be said that several of them are actually quite similar!

You also get a bonus guide titled 'People you MUST know to get published'. This doesn't list agents and publishers as you might expect, but rather points you to various resources and (especially) websites that have the relevant information on them. This is a sensible approach, as contact details for agents and publishers are constantly changing. It therefore makes sense to list specialist websites that publish this info, rather than compiling a directory that would swiftly go out of date. Some of the websites listed in the bonus guide are free, but others charge a modest subscription.

The other bonus is a guide to 'power words' to punch up your proposal. This sounds quite useful, though as I haven't seen this particular item (it was only added to the package after I received my review copy) I can't actually tell you any more about it!

Overall, Book Proposal Secrets is the most complete guide to writing book proposals I have seen, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know how to produce a professional-looking proposal that has the best possible chance of being accepted. My only slight criticism is that I would like to have seen a few more examples of successful proposals that resulted in a publishing contract being offered. Still, maybe that's something for the next edition!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

10 Things You May Not Know About The WCCL Network

In this blog I quite often refer to my publishers, The WCCL Network. However, from the feedback I get I know that there are still quite a few misunderstandings about them. So I thought I would take this opportunity to cast a little more light on WCCL (as I'll call them for short from now on).

1. WCCL is the online arm of White Cliff Computing Limited, an international new media group. And despite what some people think, I am not employed by WCCL, and I certainly don't own them!

2. The Managing Director of WCCL is Karl Moore. Karl is an author of two published books on computer programming. He is also a self-development guru of international renown. As well as his homepage, he has a blog at www.karlblog.com and a self-development forum at www.karlforum.com.

3. WCCL is an online publishing company. As such it is quite different from Clickbank, which is simply a self-publishing platform. All WCCL courses, manuals and software products are commissioned from specialist authors and software designers. All WCCL courses and manuals are professionally edited, designed and produced.

4. WCCL currently offers nearly 100 different product lines, in categories including Writers & Artists, Self-Development, Internet Business Tools, Computer Privacy tools, Windows Utilities, and UK Driving Products. In total they sell nearly 2000 different products.

5. WCCL runs one of the best affiliate programs on the internet. If you have a blog or website, you can sign up with them to promote any (or all) of their products. You will then receive a generous commission any time someone makes a purchase via your link. See my blog post about this for more info.

6. WCCL also provides a range of free services for writers. These include the forum Mywriterscircle.com (which I run in partnership with them), the internet radio station WritersFM, the writers chat room at www.mywriterschat.com, and the free Smart Writers newsletter. In addition, this blog is sponsored by WCCL.

7. WCCL are always happy to consider proposals for new courses and manuals that will fit into their portfolio. If you have an idea for such a product (or, indeed, already have such a product) you are welcome to submit a proposal and outline to them in the normal way. If they like your idea, they will make you an offer. I shan't provide contact details here, as I wouldn't like them to be inundated; but if you are keen, I'm sure you can soon discover this information for yourself.

8. WCCL also have a number of free giveaways. These include the writers' giveaway site, the self-growth giveaway, the software giveaway, and their free Motivator software. Thousands of dollars of free software are available from these sites. You may have to sign up to receive a newsletter as a condition of obtaining it, but you can of course unsubscribe at any time.

9. WCCL provide a free online helpdesk service at www.myhelphub.com. This operates 24/7, and offers advice and assistance to buyers of all WCCL products (you won't find anything like this at Clickbank, by the way!).

10. Finally, WCCL have an active program of charitable giving. Among other things, in the last year they have donated sheep and beehives to help develop starving towns in Africa and the East, provided over 6,550 cups of food to feed thousands of starving children, given over 2,500 UK pounds in food to starving and abused cats and dogs in north-east England, organized free relaxation workshops for thousands of nurses in British Columbia, Canada, and provided food for rescued wild horses at the Black Beauty Ranch, Texas. So if you buy any product from WCCL (including any of my courses!), you can be confident that some of your money will be going to support these and other excellent causes!

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Review: Travel Writing Secrets

Travel Writing Secrets is the latest in WCCL's range of products and courses for writers, which also includes my courses Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and Quick Cash Writing.

The author of Travel Writing Secrets is Mel McIntyre, who has also written several other WCCL courses. It is provided on CD-ROM in the universal PDF format. It is therefore suitable for all computing platforms, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Travel Writing Secrets is password-protected, but that's only a minor inconvenience. Once you have opened it, you can print out all or any of the pages as you wish.

Like all WCCL products, Travel Writing Secrets is beautifully produced, and it has clearly been professionally written and edited. The main manual (I'll get to the bonus items later) is a substantial 220 pages long. It takes you through pretty much everything you need to know to get started as a travel writer. The content is well organised and crammed with useful, practical information. For example, in chapter two alone you will discover the three things travel articles MUST do, the seven types of travel article, and five secrets for gathering information for your articles.

Travel Writing Secrets also covers interviewing techniques, outlining and writing skills, and how to pitch ideas to editors. And it has in-depth advice on marketing your work, with details of large numbers of potential markets, mainly in the US and the UK. The market info, which is largely in a separate 'bonus' guide, includes website details (with links to contributors' guidelines where available) and unpublicised email addresses to which you can submit your queries. This is invaluable information; and obviously as the guide has just been published, it is currently bang up to date.

If I was to make one very small criticism, it is that Travel Writing Secrets is strongly orientated towards selling travel articles to newspapers and magazines. Nothing wrong with that, but I might like to have seen a little more about selling your work to travel companies, for their brochures and so on. This is referred to as a possibility in the manual, but no more. I'd also like to have seen more details about how you can get yourself invited on free press trips to exotic destinations by travel companies and their PR agencies. Well, I can dream, can't I?!

As well as the main manual, you get a range of bonuses. These include the markets guide I have already mentioned, a guide to writing query letters (the best way to get commissions), and a set of 'templates' that take you step by step through writing three different types of travel article. The latter would be great for beginners who are still feeling their way, though later on you might prefer to dispense with them or adapt them to your personal style.

Another bonus is a guide to taking travel photographs that sell. Obviously, your chances of selling a travel article will be much better if you can offer photos as well, and this bonus manual is packed with hints and tips on how to do this. It's all good stuff, although rather surprisingly it doesn't include any actual photographs!

Overall, Travel Writing Secrets gets my recommendation as a comprehensive introduction to the exciting world of travel writing. Just about everything you need to know is here, written in a chatty, entertaining style, with real-life examples to back up the points made. If travel writing appeals to you, I'd recommend ordering a copy today. Your first commission should cover the modest sale price several times over.

BONUS! Readers of this blog seem to like my special bonuses, so I'm offering one for Travel Writing Secrets as well. I've been able to source a half-hour downloadable video that explains how you can make money from your digital photos, even if - like me - you're far from being an expert photographer. The video reveals a range of websites that will let you make money from ANY photo (with a few obvious exceptions), as well as setting out some ingenious strategies for putting your photographic skills to profitable use.

The video has been produced to a high standard by an Internet marketer called Dr. C, and I have had to pay a fee to get the rights to it. However, it seemed to me an excellent match with Travel Writing Secrets, as it sets out a range of extra ways you can profit from your travel photos (and any others you take).

I'm giving away the video to anyone buying Travel Writing Secrets via a link in this review. It will play on your computer in the free Windows Media Player, and also includes a text file with URLs for all the sites referred to in the video (and other useful links). To claim this extra bonus from me, just forward a copy of your email receipt showing the purchase of Travel Writing Secrets to travel-at-nickdaws.co.uk (change the -at- to the usual @ sign). I will then get back to you with instructions for downloading your extra bonuses. Of course, these are in addition to the usual bonuses being offered at the Travel Writing Secrets website.

Good luck, and happy travel writing!

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Review: The Ultimate Copywriter

The Ultimate Copywriter is the latest in WCCL's range of products and courses for writers, which also includes my courses Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and Quick Cash Writing.

The Ultimate Copywriter is by professional copywriter Mel McIntyre, also known as Top Copy Guy. It is provided on CD-ROM in both PDF and audio (MP3) format. It is therefore suitable for all computing platforms, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux.

The first thing I noticed about The Ultimate Copywriter is that it is very well written. Some advertising copywriters I know seem unable to write in normal English, but that is evidently not the case with Mel McIntyre. The content is neatly set out, and (like all WCCL products) it has clearly been professionally designed and edited. The usual 24-hour customer support is available from WCCL's dedicated help site at www.myhelphub.com.

The main part of The Ultimate Copywriter is a substantial manual of over 180 pages. It is divided into eight sections, plus appendices. It begins by explaining what copywriting is, and how writers can break into this lucrative field. After that, it gets down to the nitty-gritty of how to write good advertising copy.

The manual covers various copywriting tasks. Three that are discussed in particular detail are writing copy for websites, writing a sales letter, and writing a press release. Other avenues such as article writing are also covered, though in less detail.

The advice in the guide is backed up with copious examples. Mel has written and/or edited advertising copy for WCCL, and I found it especially interesting to read his in-depth analysis of the website sales copy for their Write a Movie in a Month course. Mel shows how the '15-point sales letter formula' described in his guide was used to create and structure the web page in question. As this is one of WCCL's best-selling products, it certainly appears to have worked.

There are not one but two sections devoted to how to get work as a copywriter, and these will be of particular interest to new copywriters. I found Mel's advice - and the examples of how he got his first copywriting jobs - quite inspiring, and I will definitely be trying out some of these strategies myself. He also lists a number of websites that regularly advertise opportunities for copywriters, including several I was previously unaware of.

How does The Ultimate Copywriter compare with WCCL's other copywriting guide, Power Copywriting by Bob Serling, which I reviewed in this blog post a few months ago? The most obvious difference is that The Ultimate Copywriter is aimed four-square at writers who want to break into this field. Power Copywriting is good, but it has a different target readership. It is basically a tool for website owners and entrepreneurs who want to write their own copy. The Ultimate Copywriter also covers a wider range of copywriting tasks than Power Copywriting, which is basically all about creating website sales pages.

In fact, though, you don't have to choose between them, as if you buy The Ultimate Copywriter, for the launch period at least you will get Power Copywriting thrown in free, along with various other special bonuses. Considering that The Ultimate Copywriter is currently selling for almost the same price as Power Copywriting, this looks like a good deal to me.

Do I have any criticisms of The Ultimate Copywriter? To be honest, very few. It is a well written, comprehensive guide, and most aspects of freelance copywriting are covered. There is perhaps a slight bias towards online copywriting, but I guess this is understandable in a guide sold via the Internet! The online marketplace is of course huge and growing every day, but it might have been nice to see a bit more about the 'traditional' opportunities for copywriters that still exist, e.g. writing brochures, leaflets and newspaper ads.

Still, this is only a minor criticism. If you want a guide that will get you started in the exciting world of freelance copywriting, I highly recommend The Ultimate Copywriter, especially with the range of free bonus items currently on offer.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Products From WCCL

As you may know, this blog and my forum are both sponsored by The WCCL Network. WCCL also publish several writing courses of mine, including Quick Cash Writing and Write Any Book in Under 28 Days.

WCCL publish high-quality courses, manuals and software in a range of fields. I thought you might perhaps be interested to hear about some new products they have released recently, even though none of these is directly writing related.

As the name indicates, Watch TV on Your PC lets you watch TV from around the world via the Internet. You can also use it to tune in to thousands of Internet radio stations, as well as web cams, videos, and more.

Watch TV on Your PC works on any Windows computer (including Vista). No TV tuner card or any other hardware is required - all you have to do is install the software on your PC and decide what you want to watch first. Of course, as with all WCCL products, there is free, unlimited customer support available 24/7, and with Watch TV on Your PC you also get free lifetime updates.

I must admit, however, what surprised me most about this software was the price. WCCL are currently selling it for just $14.95 US or 7.95 UK pounds. This is a lifetime fee - unlike most similar services, no monthly subscriptions are required.

If you like the idea of watching TV from around the world - including sporting events that in your own country may only be available on pay-to-view - Watch TV on Your PC has to be worth a look.

Moving on, WCCL have always specialised in privacy and security software, and they've recently introduced a new and improved undelete tool called Undelete File Recovery.

As you may know, even when you delete a file from your PC and empty the Recycle Bin, the file remains on your computer's hard drive until eventually it is over-writen. In this 'deleted' form it is normally invisible, but with the correct software it can still be viewed and - if you wish - recovered.

Enter Undelete File Recovery. This powerful program will instantly display hundreds of deleted files from any drive on your computer. Full details of the files are shown, and you can even preview them to see what they contain. Then all you have to do is choose which files to restore with the aid of the Recovery Wizard.

Undelete File Recovery is currently available for just $24.95 (around 13 UKP). What's more, right now buyers also get a completely free copy of WCCL's powerful Backup Magic software, which makes backing up all your important files a piece of cake. This one looks like another no-brainer to me ;-)

Moving on again, my colleague Karl Moore has been raving on his blog recently about The Quantum Cookbook, WCCL's brand new guide to the hot topic of manifesting (it was even mentioned recently on the UK soap opera Coronation Street!). The term manifesting is used to describe the process of reordering your personal reality to obtain the things you want. It's also sometimes referred to as The Law of Attraction.

The concept of manifesting has been around for many years, but The Quantum Cookbook brings it firmly into the 21st century. Written by self-development expert Bradley Thompson, it includes a 140-page manual crammed with little-known tricks and techniques for manifesting anything - from a new house to a soulmate, from a new car to more money. Buyers also get bonus CDs, interviews with celebrities who have successfully used the manifesting technique, and more.

I'll be honest, I'm normally more than a little sceptical when I see these sort of claims being made. But I've always thought that people do, to a large extent, make their own luck. It seems to me that what this guide does is try to explain how this process operates and set out strategies you can use to make it work for you.

Anyway, if you're interested, it's all explained on The Quantum Cookbook website - and, of course, WCCL's usual money-back guarantee applies.

Lastly, I appreciate that most readers of this blog are primarily interested in writing. That being the case, you might just like to check out WCCL's WriteStreet website, which lists all their writing-related products and services (including my courses), and Smart Writers, their free email newsletter for writers.

Happy writing!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Join My Marketing Team!

If you have a website and/or a blog, did you know that you can earn yourself a sideline income helping to promote my courses including The Wealthy Writer, Quick Cash Writing and Write Any Book in Under 28 Days? Not to mention the huge range of other courses and products sold by my publishers, WCCL.

The way you do this is by signing up as an affiliate with WCCL, which you can do on their affiliate sign-up page. Once you are a WCCL affiliate you can promote any of their products, and will receive a commission of up to 40% for each item sold to someone who arrives at the sales page via your link. Commission is paid by Paypal a month after the sale has been made (assuming the buyer has not subsequently requested a refund).

It's very easy to become a WCCL affiliate. You complete the simple application form on the affiliate sign-up page and submit this. Within a short time your application will be checked and (probably) approved. You will then be able to obtain the HTML code for a wide range of banners and text links, all with your affilate code embedded. All you have to do then is copy and paste this code into your web page in the appropriate place/s. Trust me, it's not rocket science!

If you decide to do this, can I offer a few quick hints and tips from my own experience:

1. Just putting a banner on your web page is unlikely to generate many sales. It's much better to put a review of the product in question with your affiliate link at the end, so that people wanting to buy as a result of your recommendation will click through this to the sales page.

2. If you're going to write a review, try to make it reasonably objective. Yes, you want people to click through your link and buy the product, but if your "review" appears to be more of an uncritical hype, some people are likely to be put off. So praise the product's good points, by all means, but if there is anything you dislike, don't be afraid to say so. People will trust your judgement more.

3. Consider offering an extra incentive of your own to secure the sale. For example, you could offer an extra mini-report on a topic not covered in depth in the product you are reviewing, or simply a list of relevant websites. See my review of Write A Movie in a Month for an example of how I have used this technique. Obviously, you will need to ask people to send you a copy of their email sales receipt so that you can send them their bonus after they have bought the product.

Finally, if you sign up to sell one or more of my courses AND publish a review, please do write and let me know (use the Contact Me link at www.nickdaws.co.uk). I will then give your review page a mention in my blog, forum and/or email newsletter. This may or may not generate extra sales for you, but it will certainly bring you extra traffic you wouldn't have had otherwise.

Good luck, and welcome to my team!

NEW - JUNE 2008: WCCL have just announced that henceforth they will be paying affiliates commission on up-sells to customers they have introduced. So if a customer goes on to buy a series of other products as well, you would get a steady stream of affiliate commissions. As far as I know, this makes them pretty much unique among affiliate networks. You certainly won't get THAT from ClickBank!

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