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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Guest Post: Seven Ways to Use One Article for Book Promotion

Today I'm delighted to welcome to my blog Joanna Penn, from The Creative Penn, the hugely popular blog devoted to writing, self-publishing, print-on-demand, Internet sales and promotion for authors.

Joanna is also the creator of Author 2.0, a free blueprint for authors hoping to use Web 2.0 methods for publicizing and promoting their books.

In this guest post, Joanna reveals seven ways you can use a single article to help promote your book.

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Web 2.0 technologies have empowered authors to write, publish, sell and promote their books online in many different ways. There are so many options now that utilise free software. They take some time and effort to achieve, but you can gain fantastic results.

One effective book promotion tactic is to use articles. These can be segments of your book, or an article written on the topic of your book. This works for both fiction and non-fiction. Repackage parts of your existing written work into articles of around 500-700 words each. You will also need a 'call to action' on the bottom of the article that contains your contact details and book buying information. I'd also recommend including an offer that gets people to click through, for example, 'Get Three Free Chapters Here'. Here is an example if you are unsure.

Here then are seven ways you can take one article and turn it into multiple channels for book promotion...

1. Turn it into a blog post with free services such as Wordpress or Blogger. Blog posts turn into individual web pages indexed by search engines, so each article of yours will represent a new web page.

2. Post it on, and These sites are specifically for article marketing and millions of people search them each day. People can download your work for free, but you get great exposure.

3. Post a link to it on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. This will bring people's attention to your article, and to your book if it is referenced. People can also forward your link on to others, generating a ripple effect for your promotion.

4. Add it to a collection of articles and release as a free (or paid) ebook through or Scribd. You could offer a selection of 10 articles for free download. Once you have between 70-100 articles, you will even have enough for a regular book that you can sell separately.

5. Record yourself reading the article and release it as a mini-audio or part of a regular podcast. You can record yourself using a basic microphone and the free Audacity software [ND: This is explained in detail in The Ultimate Podcasting Kit from WCCL]. You can then release it on your blog or through a network like BlogTalkRadio.

6. Make a video of yourself talking about the article and post it on YouTube and TubeMogul. You can use a basic video camera, a webcam or Flipcam. At you can even record straight to the screen. Many people use YouTube for primary search, so you need a video presence.

7. Turn it into a press release. You can reshape your article into a press release by linking it to a newsworthy subject, adding quotes, and targeting it to a specific market. Send it to journalists you have targeted for your specific book niche.

These ideas will cost you nothing in money - just your time. Multiply these by as many articles as you can write in a specific period and you will see how this can generate an effective web presence in little time!

There are many more ideas in Author 2.0 Blueprint: How to use web 2.0 tools to write, publish, sell and promote your book, available free by clicking on the link.

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Many thanks again to Joanna for a very informative post. I do highly recommend checking out her blog and her free Author 2.0 Blueprint.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Special Guest: Danielle Thorne

As previewed in this post, I am delighted today to welcome romantic/historical novelist Danielle Thorne to my blog.

Danielle is visiting as part of a Virtual Book Tour to celebrate the publication of her novel THE PRIVATEER.

Without further ado, then, let's get on with the interview...

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ND: Welcome to my blog, Danielle. Could you start by telling me how you first got into writing. What was your first published book or story?

DT: I was born with stories in my head. I won a national Honorable Mention for poetry with Scholastic in Junior High and went on to pursue poetry and then later freelancing. As a young mother I completed two manuscripts and almost had one published but it fell through. Sadly, it took a tragic car accident that almost took one of my parents to make me accept how unpredictable life is. Since then, I've researched and completed three novels of different genres in the last three years. Two are set to be released this year as an e-book and print; the third is under consideration with a New York publisher at this time.

ND: The Privateer is based in 18th Century England, but you actually live near Atlanta, Georgia. What made you choose to write about this period and setting, and how did you go about researching it?

DT: By the time I reached my thirties I didn't think there was anything left to capture my imagination! Then the film 'Master and Commander' debuted and I fell instantly in love with the Age of Sail. Patrick O'Brian is a master storyteller and I have read all of his series, and other seafaring authors, too.

Sea fiction teaches you that naval officers could be either good or bad; they didn't all fall into one category. Of course, this would apply to pirates, too. I love what Disney did with 'Pirates of the Caribbean'; they took a despicable lot of greedy, bloodthirsty criminals and made one very human. In essence, they made the act of piracy gray: Who were these men? Were they all bad guys? What were their back stories?

THE PRIVATEER is my take. It's about a man forced into piracy at a young age. He uses his intellect and ambition to escape the fate that awaited those pirates who were caught. With his pardon and years of swashbuckling experience, my character, Julius Bertrand, knows he can be of use to the British Navy and he determines to ascend society and become a success.

As we all know, nothing ever turns out as we plan it, so Bertrand has to deal with old enemies who put a bounty on his head to stop him from interfering in some nefarious plans involving diamonds.

The research was no chore. I've always loved history and dabble in UK genealogy. Besides buying books about the era and using the Internet, I spent long hours in the downtown Memphis Library reading reference books and documents from the West Indies. I probably have more pages of notes and copies filed then there are pages of THE PRIVATEER. My favorite part of research, though, was a three-day cruise through the Caribbean. To actually stand at the rail and look out over the ocean and taste the salt in the wind...that brought it all to life for me.

ND: The Privateer is being published as an e-book. Is there any special reason you chose this format rather than conventional print publication?

DT: I actually spent several months pursuing a contract in New York and met with some positive responses. It's such an oversaturated market - when you look at how many authors are trying to get their foot in the door, you appreciate the positive feedback and opportunities.

Finding a publisher that wasn't specialized in just one area was difficult. THE PRIVATEER has a broad appeal - it falls into several genres: historical, adventure, and romantic, so after some close calls I decided to test the waters with e-publishing, since I was more familiar with the process. I started at the top and quickly got a contract with Awe-Struck Publishing. They publish historicals and romances, and were very receptive to the premise of THE PRIVATEER. Looking back, it's the best thing that could have happened. These past three years I have seen e-books explode onto the scene and I am committed 100% to helping e-publishing become as accepted and understood as reading in hard copy.

ND: Could you tell me a bit about your typical working day? Do you have any special writing routines or habits?

DT: I am still raising a family so my writing has to be juggled to fit a busy schedule. I write during school hours and mess around a bit in the late evening if I have things to do. However, when I am engrossed in writing a manuscript, it becomes all encompassing. There are many weeks of fast food and dirty laundry. I've been known to go up to 72 hours without sleep. As my experience grows, I am learning how to balance and organize better, so I look forward to being more productive in the future.

As far as habits, I can't do without index cards. I use them to plan, plot, take notes, you name it. My office is littered with them when they're not laid out on the floor in scene sequences. Another habit I have, and not a good one, is snacking in front of the computer screen when I get stuck on a scene. Bad idea, but putting sugar into my mouth seems to make my brain work better. THE PRIVATEER probably equates to somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen pounds of chocolate. Me and the 3 Musketeers are very close.

ND: Are there any tips or advice you would like to pass on to other aspiring novelists?

DT: When you finish something, start something else. Every manuscript is a learning process and you do get better and better. Another tip is to be open-minded about negative feedback. Some, if not most of it, is well-meant and you need to learn the difference. When you start getting the same kind of comments about your story or style, it's time to be honest with yourself. You can't learn if you don't make mistakes.

ND: What other writing projects are you working on at the moment?

DT: Getting the word out on THE PRIVATEER takes up a lot of time but I enjoy getting to know readers and authors all over the world through blogs like this. On the creative horizon is a modern day sequel to THE PRIVATEER where one of Julius Bertrand's descendants discovers a missing diary and a shipwreck - keys to a hidden treasure. Think Goonies - but all grown up with a lot more romance and smarter adventure.

And then this coming August, my contemporary romance TURTLE SOUP will be released. TURTLE SOUP is a fun short-novel set between the island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean, the Georgia Aquarium, and a fictional bakery just down the street. I've posted an excerpt of TURTLE SOUP at my website:

ND: Finally, one question I always like to ask visitors to my blog: What are your three favorite websites, and why?

DT: For absolute crazy pirate fun, you have to check out Swansbrough Manor:

These folks give whole new meaning to the phrase getting in touch with your inner pirate. Every late summer, Mr. Swansbrough begins building his pirate ship as an ADDITION to his home in Central Georgia. The Black Pearl is completed by Halloween night and the whole family and community get involved incognito - swashbuckling around giving pirate tours as visitors come out of their Swansbrough Manor Cemetery...which is actually a private home and front yard. Last year they took donations and were able to buy a kiln for the art department of their elementary school. Everything went to charity, but these pirates put on a great cemetery and pirate show that is funded from out of their own pockets.

My second favorite website would have to be for research purposes. I found more information that I ever dreamed of about Regency England and Jane Austen at Jane Austen's World:

There are even articles on flora and fauna, not to mention the little quirky things no one ever thinks to write up essays on. They have a great search function and always provide up to date programming you can catch to enrich your research.

Last, for genealogical purposes: is great and I made incredible progress with a membership from them, but I always keep on my favorites list because I spend a lot of time there. The best thing about Family Search is simply that it is free. It provides free, no-membership access to the IGI (International Genealogical Index) and has a lot more information on how to get started on genealogy and find other resources. I don't just love the history of Sail, I love my own, too!

* * *

Thank you very much to Danielle for answering my questions in such fascinating detail - I now feel much more in touch with my own inner pirate!

If you enjoyed reading about THE PRIVATEER, do check out Danielle's website - and, if you think you might enjoy reading the book, consider paying the modest fee to download it from Awe-Struck Publishing.

By the way, while exploring Danielle's website, I noticed that she has created a nifty video trailer to help promote her book. I asked Danielle how she did this. She was kind enough to provide a detailed reply, but I'll save it for another time. Something else to look forward to!

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about Danielle and her book today, and that it may have inspired you to redouble your efforts to achieve your own writing goals.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Review: Pod Publicity

Today I'm reviewing a new e-book by Heather Wallace, the full title of which is POD Publicity: How to Take a Print-on-Demand Book From Obscurity to Profitability.

POD Publicity (as I'll call it from now on) is a well-written, downloadable manual in the universal PDF format. It's 67 pages long, so quite concise.

All the URLs are hyperlinked, and I was impressed to see good use of the left-hand Bookmarks panel to provide links to the chapter and section headings. This makes finding your way around much easier than is the case in some PDF manuals.

So far as the content of POD Publicity is concerned, to borrow a well-known advertising slogan, it does exactly what it says on the tin. If you've written a POD book, it will show you a wide range of ways you can promote it. These include blogging, social networking, guest posting on other people's blogs, article writing, forum marketing, and various others.

POD Publicity doesn't tell you how to create your book, though Heather does have some advice on the best services to use, choosing a good title, and so on. Basically, though, this manual is all about publicizing your POD book, and there are some real gems here, based on Heather's experience as the author of two self-published titles, two POD books and three ebooks.

One chapter I particularly enjoyed concerns promoting your book on Amazon, using tags, Listmania lists, Amapedia, and so on. In my view the tips in this chapter - titled 'Navigating the Amazon' (LOL!) - are worth the price of the guide alone.

POD Publicity covers some similar ground to The Best-Seller Secret from my sponsors WCCL. The Best-Seller Secret is aimed at a broader market than POD Publicity, and it sets out a week-by-week pre-launch strategy. On the other hand, POD Publicity is particularly relevant to POD authors, and it offers some great additional tips, many of which are also relevant to non-POD authors.

In my view, if you're going down the POD route, POD Publicity should probably be your first buy, while with other forms of publishing and self-publishing The Best-Seller Secret might be the better choice initially. For the maximum benefit, however, I'd really recommend buying both.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Announcing a Title on eBooks Just Published

In this recent post I mentioned eBooks Just Published. I thought I'd try out the service myself, so this is my report on how I got on.

To remind you, eBooks Just Published is a resource for authors who want to announce their ebooks free of charge. It's not a sales site; in your announcement you have to include links to somewhere people can buy and/or download your ebook.

eBooks Just Published allows you to promote your title to a growing group of enthusiastic ebook readers, some of whom subscribe via email or RSS. You are allowed to upload a 'cover image' and up to 400 words of promotional text, which can include up to three testimonials.

The site announces both fiction and non-fiction, the only major criterion being that the ebooks are DRM-free. The normal rule is that ebooks to be announced on the site should have been published within the last six months, but during the launch period they are extending this to 18 months.

I thought I'd try out the service using my latest WCCL title Essential English for Authors. This was actually published more than six months ago but less than 18, so it qualifies under the current rules.

To announce an ebook on eBooks Just Published, you first have to register. This is free and takes only a few minutes. You'll find a link allowing you to do this near the bottom of the left-hand menu.

Once you're a registered member, you'll want to upload details of your ebook. Instructions for doing this can be found by clicking on Authors near the top of the left-hand menu (read this before you log in). I recommend printing this page out, as the process can be a bit tricky at times, and it helps if you know a bit of HTML. However, the site owner Mark Gladding is on hand to provide help if required.

It took me a morning to get my entry uploaded and displaying to my satisfaction in preview mode. A fair proportion of that time was devoted to creating a cover image to the specifications required. Otherwise, though, it all went reasonably smoothly. Here are just a few tips from my experience...

* If you're not sure how to format text when creating your announcement, try using View Source to look at the HTML of another published item on the site. For example, by doing this I discovered that the HTML tag blockquote was used for testimonials.

* A good screengrab program can be invaluable for creating your cover image. I used CaptureIt, a neat little shareware program that lets you capture any image on your screen and resize and/or manipulate it in various ways.

* There are more instructions and a checklist in the template you use to create your announcement. Scroll down the template to view this. Again, I recommend printing out the instructions in the template, as they will help you to format and upload your cover image in particular.

* Don't forget to include links to your sales page from the image and the ebook title. I used a customized tracking link provided by my publishers, so that I can see how many clicks I get from this source. Mark says he has no objection to this.

* You can preview your announcement at any time by clicking on the Preview button to the right of the template. Don't worry, only you will be able to see this! Once you are happy with how your announcement is looking, click the other button to submit it for review.

Overall, I was pleased with how my announcement turned out - you can view it here for yourself. It took me a bit longer than I expected, but I know that next time I should be able to get the job done much faster.

If you've written an ebook (even a free one), in my view you have nothing to lose, and potentially a lot of extra readers to gain, by submitting an announcement about it to eBooks Just Published.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Promotional Site for Ebook Authors

I recently heard from Australia-based Mark Gladding about his new website eBooks Just Published.

This site is a resource for authors who want to announce their ebooks for free. It also allows readers to subscribe (either via email or RSS), so that they can keep up to date with all the latest ebook releases.

The site announces both fiction and non-fiction, the only major criterion being that the ebooks are DRM-free. It's important to note, however, that eBooks Just Published is NOT a publishing or hosting site. Each ebook listed needs to include a link back to the publisher's or author's own sales site.

eBooks Just Published does not carry any advertising at the moment, so I asked Mark how he plans to make money from it. He told me that his company, Tumbywood Software, also produces the program Text2Go, which turns text to speech. He is therefore hoping that some visitors will purchase the software to listen to their ebooks on the go.

Apart from that, though, Mark says he doesn't have any other money-making plans for the site: "I really just want to make it a useful resource for authors and readers at this stage."

It's early days for eBooks Just Published, but already I'm impressed with it and plan to use it myself in the future.

One thing I've noticed as well is the number of free ebooks that are available. For example, you can download an electronic version of the excellent and thought-provoking Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (which I'm currently reading as an Amazon Vine selection) free of charge via the site.

My advice is to check out eBooks Just Published and sign up to receive the email or RSS updates. Even if you don't plan on releasing any ebooks yourself, there are some real gems already available via the site for free or modest cost. It's definitely a resource to keep a close eye on.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Free Report for WAHMs

What's a WAHM, I hear you ask. It's an acronym for Work At Home Mother - a group whose numbers are growing rapidly at the present time.

And the free report I'm talking about is called WAHM-IT! - A Work-at-Home Mother's Guide to Successfully Building a Real Business on the Net.

WAHM-IT! is written by four work-at-home mothers, who have all built their own thriving online businesses. It's a highly professional 85-page PDF produced by the SiteSell organization, publishers of the popular Site Build It website research and building tool.

As you might expect, part of the purpose of WAHM-IT! is to promote Site Build It, but there is plenty of useful information here for anyone, work-at-home mom or not, who is considering setting up an online business. In particular, the four-step C-T-P-M System provides a good framework for setting up a website and making money from it.

The report also includes several case studies of successful, money-making sites created by WAHMs. They show how the women concerned got the ideas for their sites, how long it took them to achieve success, and how they manage to fit the work in among their other domestic responsibilities. Once you've read each case study, it's fascinating to visit the site in question.

Anyway, if you're at all interested in earning money online, in my view WAHM-IT! is well worth a read - and the best thing is, you don't even have to provide your email address to get it!

* One other point I should mention - there is currently a special deal at Site Build It, where you can get a second website for just $100 more than the basic single site licence. You can give the second SBI site to anyone you like, or keep it for yourself. This offer expires at midnight on 31 October. For more info, visit the main Site Build It site and click on the Halloween Special banner.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Get More Traffic From Squidoo/Hubpages

Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm a fan of Squidoo. I wrote about it a while ago in this blog post.

Briefly, Squidoo is a free service that lets anyone create attractive-looking, single page websites, even if they have few if any skills in HTML.

What's more, Squidoo makes it easy to generate money from your site (or Lens, as Squidoo sites are properly called). You automatically get a share of the Google AdSense income generated. In addition, you can add money-making modules from, eBay, and so on. If you like, you can check out three of my lenses by clicking on the links below:

How to Write a Book Lens
Greece Travel Tips Lens
Pseudotube Business Opportunity Lens

Anyway, I recently invested $5 in a new guide that shows you how to create more effective Squidoo Lenses and Hubpages (a similar service) Hubs. It's something I'd not thought of before. I'll quote from the sales page for the report:

Step One: Create a Hubpage or Squidoo Lens.
Step Two: Do this trick.
Step Three: Start Getting Traffic Instantly!

Unlike some cheap reports I've seen recently, this 10-pager is concise and fluff-free. It's well written and illustrated with screengrabs. The 'trick' looks like something anyone who uses these services can benefit greatly from. I'm definitely planning to apply it to my own Lenses - and Hubs if I get into that (and the report recommends I should) - in future.

You can pick up your own copy of the report by clicking here.

By the way, this is one of those '100% instant commission' offers. You can sell it yourself if you have a website, or blog, or Lens/Hub, and keep 100% of the fee. So all you have to do is sell a single copy and you'll have covered the (modest) cost of your report!

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Free Copywriting Guide

Copywriting is a fundamental skill for any online writer.

Even if you don't aspire to become a highly paid copywriter yourself, you will almost certainly need some copywriting skills to sell your books and e-books, your services, and, yes, yourself, via the web.

Many writers are unfamiliar with the art of Internet copywriting, and even perhaps a little suspicious of it. However, the good news is that there are certain basic skills anyone can quite easily learn and apply.

And the even better news is that a comprehensive introductory guide to this subject called Make Your Words Sell is currently being given away free of charge.

Make Your Words Sell is by Ken Evoy (the man behind the popular Site Build It website research and building tool) and professional copywriter Joe Robson (creator of the hugely popular Newbie Club).

Make Your Words Sell explains how to write Internet sales copy that first grabs readers' attention, and then persuades and motivates them into action. Here are just some of the things it reveals:
  • How to use the 'SWAT-it-to-death' technique to master the key skills that trouble most copywriters, amateur or pro.
  • How to create the perfect USP.
  • How to write headlines that pull without hyping.
  • How to generate huge numbers of benefits for your product or service
  • How to identify the benefits that are the most important to your customers.
  • And how to word those benefits perfectly in your copy to get the sale!
Make Your Words Sell formerly sold for $29.95 (and was great value at that price). It's currently available free, with no strings attached. I don't know how long this offer will last, however - so if you're at all interested in Internet copywriting, I highly recommend visiting the Make Your Words Sell website and picking up your free copy today.
  • And don't forget too - if reading Make Your Words Sell gives you a taste for copywriting, The Ultimate Copywriter from WCCL will give you the in-depth advice you need to set yourself up as a professional Internet copywriter.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Free Guide to E-book Writing

For a writer, creating and selling an e-book can be one of the best ways to make money from the Internet.

Many writers, however, are put off by the prospect of writing for this 'unfamiliar' medium, formatting their book, setting up a sales site, attracting buyers, and so on.

I recently discovered that a comprehensive guide to this subject called Make Your Knowledge Sell is currently being given away free of charge.

Make Your Knowledge Sell is by Ken Evoy (the man behind the popular Site Build It business opportunity) and successful e-book author Monique Harris. MYKS covers everything from choosing your subject and producing your e-book, through to marketing it and automating the sales process.

MYKS formerly sold for $49.95 (and was great value at that price). It's currently available free, with no strings attached. I don't know how long this offer will last, however; so if you're at all interested in e-book writing, I strongly recommend visiting the MYKS website and picking up your free copy today.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Review: The Pro Publisher

The Pro Publisher is a brand new guide to writing, publishing and marketing a profitable e-book. As such it joins a crowded field, including How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook in as Little as 7 Days by Jim Edwards and Joe Vitale and The 24-Hour E-book Writing System by Melanie Mendelson, both of which I have reviewed in this blog.

The Pro Publisher is by the UK-based writer and e-book publisher Amin. It is sold as an instant download in the universal PDF format.

As is customary with this sort of publication, buyers get a main manual and a number of bonus items. The main manual is quite concise, weighing in at 43 single-spaced pages. Even so, it manages to pack a lot of information into those pages.

The Pro Publisher is aimed at people who want to write and sell information products (by far the best way of making money from e-books). Amin takes you through each stage of this process. He starts by showing how to research potentially profitable 'niches' for your e-books, using free keyword research tools. This is much the same method used by my own publishers, WCCL, when researching possible new titles, and I found it highly informative.

The section about writing your e-book is quite short - if you want a step-by-step method, a better choice might be Melanie Mendelson's guide, or perhaps my own Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. Nevertheless, it covers the essentials, and also looks at the alternatives of outsourcing the actual writing or using free or low-cost PLR (private label right) content and adapting it. There are some good ideas here, based on Amin's own experience.

The largest chunk of The Pro Publisher is devoted to marketing your e-book. There is some excellent advice on writing a sales letter and publishing it on the web. Like Jim Edwards and Joe Vitale, Amin recommends the popular Clickbank publishing service, and he explains the benefits of using this service, and how to make the most of it by allowing others to sell your product for you as affiliates.

Amin also goes into detail about selling your book using PPC (pay-per-click) services such as Google Adwords. This is information not provided in the other guides mentioned, and it is impressively detailed. I learned some useful things here about easy ways of creating PPC advertisements that I will definitely be applying myself. The guide also has a section about how you can attract more search engine traffic to your site, using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

As previously mentioned, as well as the main guide, buyers of The Pro Publisher also get a range of free bonus items. These include lists of directories and article sites you can use to help promote your e-book sales site (this process is explained in the main guide), along with a free mini-site template you can use to create your sales page, and another free bonus I'm not allowed to reveal here. These are all potentially valuable, although a bit more explanation of how to go about customizing the mini-site template might have been helpful.

Overall, The Pro Publisher is an impressive product, and a good resource for anyone hoping to get into the lucrative world of writing and publishing information products. It might not tell you every single thing you want to know, but where necessary it has links to other sites which have extra information; that's a sensible approach, and it explains how the author has managed to keep the main manual so concise. Incidentally, I particularly like the way Amin is not afraid to say which products and services have worked for him and which he considers a waste of time!

I recommend The Pro Publisher for any aspiring e-book writer/publisher, except perhaps for complete beginners.

EXTRA BONUS: As I'm a fan of The Pro Publisher, I'm going to make one of my occasional special offers on this guide. If you buy it via a link in this review, I will throw in not one but TWO extra bonus items of my own.

First of all, you'll get a copy of my exclusive 2,500-word report on how I self-published my e-book Fifty Great Ideas for Creative Writing Teaching on the top self-publishing site Starting from a finished Microsoft Word manuscript, it took me just a morning to sign up at Lulu and complete the entire e-book publishing process. In my report I reveal exactly how I did it, with some important hints and tips for publishing your own e-book at Lulu along the way.

And not only that, I'll send you a free copy of Fifty Great Ideas for Creative Writing Teaching too. This e-book is intended for teachers and writers who work in schools, but the exercises it contains could equally be used by adult writers groups and individuals. More importantly, though, you will see the actual e-book I refer to in my report in its finished form. If you want to dip your toe into self-publishing, an e-book is the quickest and easiest way to do it. My free bonuses will show you EXACTLY how to do this on the popular self-publishing site!

To claim your bonuses, just forward a copy of your Clickbank receipt for The Pro Publisher to me at (change the -at- to the usual @ sign). Please put BONUS CLAIM in the subject line. I will check your order details and send you your bonus items, normally within 24 hours (though please allow up to five days over the Easter period).

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Free Report for E-book Writers

I recently obtained the reproduction rights to a new report called 30 Writing Tips for eBook Authors, by the successful eBook author Jimmy D. Brown.

This is an informative little guide for any aspiring non-fiction writer, not only eBook authors (though it is particularly relevant to them). Here's a sample extract from the report which may give you some idea as to its quality:

25. Get More Information.

It's common for writers to get to a point where they think "what now?" You've just written everything you know about a particular subject and it still seems like something is missing. There aren't enough pages. The chapters don't fit together well. Something isn't explained quite the way it should be. Don't allow the lack of information to stop you from digging in and creating an outstanding eBook. The Internet is an open highway of information just waiting to be researched. Start out with some of the top search engines such as,, or and in the search field, type in a half dozen or so different keywords and key phrases relating to your subject.

For example: If you are writing an eBook on weight loss, you might search for...

weight loss
lose weight
weight loss articles
health and fitness
weight loss tips
nutrition tips

Your search will result in tons of information for you to start with. You'll find content sites, free eBooks, articles, reports, eCourses, message boards --just a lot of free information you can study to find new ideas. Spend a few hours (or even a few days) gathering ideas by reading through the information available all over the web. One huge part of successful writing is strong research abilities...and just flat out investing your TIME in gathering ideas.

You'll find that as you research, a LIGHT BULB will go off in your head. When it does, WRITE IT DOWN. Gather a dozen or so ideas and then plug them into your own writing.

It's always good to get a fresh perspective and see things from other folks' viewpoints.

There are a few adverts for Jimmy's longer manuals in the report, but it's easy enough to read around these, or you can click through to find out more. This free report is a good advert (in my opinion) for his full-length products.

30 Writing Tips for eBook Authors is in the universal PDF format. If you click on any of the links in this post, assuming you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed it should open in your browser window. You can also right-click on any link and save the report to the folder of your choice on your PC.

Happy eBook writing!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Station Shorts Anthology Published

I'm delighted to reveal that Station Shorts, an anthology of short fiction by members of my forum at, has just been published on You can visit the sales page here.

As the name suggests, all the stories in Station Shorts are set in the mysterious Station. This is a vast concourse occupied by fictional characters, both well known and unknown, whose authors are taking a break (or blocked) and don't therefore require them.

The idea was originally conceived by forum member Jeanette, and enthusiastically adopted by other members around the world (including the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand). This book represents the culmination of all their efforts.

The overall standard of work in Station Shorts is amazingly high (and no, I don't have any stories in it myself, though I did contribute a Foreword). You can read a sample story by 'Gyppo' titled If You Ain't Drinking... by clicking on Preview This Book on the sales page.

Finally, I should mention that Station Shorts is a 227-page printed book, and it is on sale at the very modest price of $10.80 US or 5.95 UK pounds, plus postage to anywhere in the world. All profits - not that there will be many at this price! - will be donated to the human rights charity Amnesty International.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Blogging for Storytellers

...That's the title of a new downloadable report in PDF format by member Nelodra (real name Leah Witmond). And the good news is that it's completely free of charge. You can get your copy by clicking on this link to the download page at

Leah enjoys creating short stories based on characters she creates in the computer game Sims 2. You can see a number of her stories - and tales by other Sims 2 aficionados - at Leah's Sim Tales website. In her new report, she provides a detailed, step-by-step guide for anyone who would like to follow in her footsteps.

Of course, not everyone will want to write fiction about Sims 2 characters. In her report, however, Leah has provided a handy guide to setting up a blog using the popular (and free) Blogger platform, and much of her advice would be just as relevant if you are thinking of starting a more conventional blog or ficblog using Blogger. I particularly appreciated the generous use of screengrabs illustrating what you should be seeing on your computer at each stage.

Congratulations to Leah on creating her report and making it available free to the online writing community. And, incidentally, I've also had lots of good feedback on my free 'Christmas Gift' report about devising and selling ideas for movies - click here to read my blog post about this - so I've decided to leave the link up a bit longer. By the end of next week I will definitely remove it, however, so if you're at all interested in this subject, please get your copy now!

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Review: How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook in as Little as 7 Days

How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook in as Little as 7 Days is a downloadable guide by Internet marketing expert Jim Edwards and copywriting guru Joe Vitale (recently interviewed on WritersFM ).

This is one of the top-selling guides for would-be e-book authors, so I thought it was high time I got round to reviewing it. It is aimed mainly at people who want to make money by selling "how-to" type e-books on the Internet. As I can testify from my own experience, this is probably the biggest market for e-books right now, though the sales of fiction e-books (e-novels, if you like) are gradually increasing as well.

I had no problems ordering and downloading How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook in as Little as 7 Days from the sales site. Indeed, Jim and Joe have gone to great lengths to make this process painless, even for people who haven't bought this type of product before. I was impressed to receive an e-mail containing frequently asked questions about the downloading process as soon as I ordered. Of course, this probably helps reduce anguished emails to their helpdesk as well!

The manual itself is in the universal PDF format, and it is well written and attractively set out. I was also pleased to see that all the hyperlinks had been made active (not always the case in PDF e-books). It's an impressive 202 pages long, though this does include some of the advertised "bonus items".

As the name suggests, How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook in as Little as 7 Days takes you through every stage of devising, producing and selling an e-book. The authors talk at some length about finding a suitable niche in the market, and this section did remind me somewhat of the corresponding section in my Write Any Book in Under 28 Days course. It's all good stuff, though I didn't find any great surprises in it.

What impressed me more was the section where Jim and Joe analyze the ten reasons why people buy e-books. This makes fascinating reading, and as I went through, it started to give me ideas for new e-books I could write in the future.

At the heart of the guide is where the authors reveal their "7 Day" method for actually writing an e-book. It would be unfair to give away too much about this, but one thing I particularly like is the advice to write the sales page for your e-book first! That's a great idea, and will help you focus your mind on what your e-book needs to include to appeal to its target readership.

Day 7 of the "7 Day" method is when you publish your e-book. There is some excellent advice here, though if you are new to e-commerce, it may not be enough on its own to get your sales site up and running. But the basic advice on writing sales copy and structuring your website is sound, and links are included to other sites and resources that can help you with the practical aspects.

The bonus items include interviews with a number of successful e-book entrepreneurs, and these are all well worth reading - not only for the nuggets of advice they impart, but also to inspire you to try to emulate their success. There are also several short reports, including one which reveals how you can set yourself up to handle credit card payments with a single $50 payment. I don't suppose I'm giving away too much if I reveal that this is by selling your e-book via the popular Clickbank service.

How does How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook in as Little as 7 Days compare with The 24-Hour Ebook Writing System by Melanie Mendelson, which I reviewed a while ago in this post ? As you might expect, the two titles overlap somewhat. Both are very good, and I particularly like the way Melanie's guide incorporates free outlining and PDF-creating software. However, How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook in as Little as 7 Days contains a lot more advice about marketing your e-book, a topic which Melanie's guide barely touches.

As regular readers will know, if possible I like to throw in a bonus for purchasers of items I review on this blog (and like). With How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook in as Little as 7 Days, therefore, I'm giving away a copy of another manual titled "Getting Started With Clickbank". I didn't write this myself - it's by someone with a much greater knowledge of Clickbank publishing than I possess - but I liked it so much I bought the reproduction rights to it. If you're thinking of publishing your e-book with Clickbank - and you could do a lot worse - this guide will get you off to the best possible start.

To get this free gift from me, just order How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook in as Little as 7 Days via one of the links in this review, then forward your email receipt to me at (change the -at- to the usual @ sign). Put the words BONUS CLAIM in the subject line. Once I have verified your order, I will email details of how you can download your free bonus report.

Happy e-book writing!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Review: How to Get a Free Cruise

If you've listened to the interview with Anna Rushton on WritersFM, you'l know that Ms Rushton regularly enjoys free cruises just for giving talks about creative writing to the other passengers.

As a cruise enthusiast myself, this idea holds considerable attractions for me. But I've never done anything about it until now because I wasn't sure how to apply or what exactly the terms were.

However, I've just been reading a guide which sets it all out in black and white. How to Get a Free Cruise is a downloadable e-book by Daniel Hall, who has cruised the world as an online speaker and is now teaching others to do the same.

From reading Daniel's guide, I now know that most cruise lines employ guest speakers to give between two and four one-hour talks during a typical seven-day cruise. Apart from when you are lecturing, you are treated exactly like any other passenger, so you get free food, free entertainment, and unrestricted use of the ship's leisure facilities. OK, you aren't paid a fee, but in effect you get a free holiday worth thousands of dollars.

One other thing that had put me off applying before is that I assumed only the lecturer would get the free cruise (and I could hardly leave Jayne behind!). In fact, however, Daniel reveals that you are normally allowed to bring at least one travelling companion with you free of charge. They have no duties, and are free to lie back and enjoy the cruise.

How to Get a Free Cruise is in the universal PDF format and weighs in at a quite hefty 138 pages. At its heart is an eight-step plan for getting work as a cruise ship speaker. This covers pretty much everything you need to know, and if you follow it to the letter, in my view it would be hard to fail to get an offer of work.

Incidentally, this isn't just an opportunity for writers. It seems that cruise ships need people to give talks and presentations on all sorts of subjects, from real estate investment to arts and crafts. They also need speakers who can talk on subjects related to the destinations the ship is visiting.

How to Get a Free Cruise has an extra chapter about how to get work via cruise speaker agencies. These agencies can provide a shortcut to finding work as a speaker, though with the drawback that you have to pay them a fee for their services!

Buyers of Daniel's guide also get a range of bonuses, including tips on preparing and giving talks, and audio interviews with the proprietors of five (yes, five!) leading cruise ship speaker agencies. These are useful and interesting to listen to, even if you plan to apply under your own steam rather than via an agency.

How to Get a Free Cruise is well written - in a slightly homespun way - and is packed with useful info, including details of all the leading cruise lines that employ guest speakers, along with website URLs, contact details, and so on. One other thing I like about it is that - unlike many PDF e-books you buy - it makes good use of the left-hand bookmarks pane. This makes it very easy to navigate (no pun intended) from one section to another.

Clicking on How to Get a Free Cruise will take you to a website where you can apply for a free 18-page report which explains this opportunity in more detail. Once you have received this, you then get a link to the main info page. If you'd rather see the free report before you provide your details, however, I've saved a copy on my website: just click on Free Cruise Speaker Report and it should open immediately in Adobe Acrobat Reader, or right-click and choose Save Target As to save the report to the folder of your choice.

I appreciate that this opportunity won't appeal to everybody - I wouldn't recommend cruising if you get sea-sick, for example! But if you like the idea of enjoying regular free luxury holidays in exchange for a small amount of enjoyable work, How to Get a Free Cruise will almost certainly provide you with your "passport".

See you on the high seas!

Late Addition - I've just found out about a new website that, for a small fee, will submit your CV to over 300 cruise companies. They also have a free email newsletter with vacancy information and so on you can sign up to. Please click here for more details.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Review: Copywriting for the Web

Copywriting for the Web is a new mini-guide by professional copywriter Mario De la Cruz. It is one of the growing number of low-price $7 guides that has hit the web recently, largely as a result of Jonathan Leger's Seven Dollar Secrets e-book and script that I reviewed in this blog a few months ago.

Copywriting for the Web is a 39-page e-book in the standard PDF format. You can download it immediately from the website. The content is divided into 15 short chapters, as follows:

Chapter 1 - Why Writing Copy for the Web is Different
Chapter 2 - Visitors Are Important to You
Chapter 3 - Plan in Order to Succeed
Chapter 4 - How to Write Effective Copy for theWeb
Chapter 5 - How to Find Effective Keywords and Keyword Phrases
Chapter 6 - Keep it Short and Sweet
Chapter 7 - Other Essential Components for GoodCopywriting
Chapter 8 - Get a Headline that Grabs
Chapter 9 - How to Go About Writing a Headline
Chapter 10 - Test the Tone of Your Headlines
Chapter 11 - Make Your Text Links Look the Same
Chapter 12 - Be Positive from Beginning to End
Chapter 13 - Adding Value with Copywriting Articles
Chapter 14 - Make Money with This Report

The guide is aimed principally at entrepreneurs and Internet marketers who need to write copy for their own websites, but most of the advice would also be relevant to writers who wish to branch out into copywriting.

Although it is a concise guide, there is plenty of useful information here. The author is a successful website copywriter, and he clearly has a good grasp of what does and doesn't work online. I thought the advice on how to format website copy was particularly useful, and the chapter about the importance of giving your text links a consistent look is something every website designer and copywriter should be compelled to read!

Do I have any criticisms? Well, a few. One is that the author assumes that the reader will have some basic knowledge of website building. If you don't know what meta-tags are, for example, you will need to seek elsewhere for this information. Mario does discuss meta-tags, alternate text tags, heading tags, and so on from a copywriting perspective, but he doesn't explain what they are or where in your website HTML you would expect to find them.

In addition, the guide suffers from a severe lack of examples. Obviously in a $7 product you shouldn't expect too much, but it would have been nice to see a few examples of good and bad website copywriting. Some illustrations wouldn't have gone amiss either.

If you are starting out as a website copywriter, this guide will give you some useful tips. It's a long way from being comprehensive, but at least it sets out the main points to aim for and points to avoid. There are also links within the guide to other useful resources for copywriters.

Finally, in common with most of the $7 guides, Copywriting for the Web includes an affiliate program paying 100% commission. In other words, once you have bought the guide, you can if you wish sell it via your own website and keep 100% of the purchase price. Note that you will need to have a Paypal account before you can do this.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Adobe Digital Editions - a Cautionary Tale

I buy a lot of e-books, mainly in the fields of writing and Internet marketing, but also for research purposes. In general I find e-books are good value for money, and I like the fact that I can get my hands on my purchase immediately.

Well, usually. Recently I purchased an e-book to help with background research on a book I'm currently working on. The e-book came from a company called Ebook Impressions and it was listed as being available in "Adobe Reader" format. I assumed from this that it would be in the standard PDF format, which can of course be opened in the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program.

I was wrong, however. When I first attempted to download my purchase, all I got was a small file called ebx.etd. My computer couldn't open this, and I had no idea what it was.

Checking on the FAQ pages of the Ebook Impressions website, I read the following advice about this problem: "This typically indicates that you did not install Adobe Reader before you attempted to download your e-book."

Well, I did have Adobe Reader, but I knew it wasn't the most recent version. So, deciding that this could be the problem, I went to the Adobe website and downloaded version 8 of Adobe Reader, the most recent available. Then I tried downloading my e-book again.

More seemed to happen this time. The Adobe Digital Editions web page opened and invited me to install and launch its Digital Editions software. I didn't appear to have any choice, so I went ahead. After a few moments another web page opened with a black background, showing thumbnails of all the PDF files on my computer. All very interesting, but there was still no sign of the e-book I had ordered.

So I decided the time had come to contact Ebook Impressions' helpdesk. Here's the reply I received: "I am sorry you are having difficulties. Adobe Reader released their new version 8 and sometimes this affects our Adobe Reader ebooks. The best thing to do is uninstall Adobe v8 and install the older version Adobe v7, use the link below and select 'select version' - XP. Click 'Continue' and you should then see v7.0.9 download this version." And the appropriate link was provided.

As you may imagine I was getting a bit fed up by now, but I duly uninstalled Adobe v8 and attempted to install v7.0.9 instead. Unfortunately my computer wasn't having any of it. Each time I attempted to download the older version of the program, the installation process failed half-way through. I decided I had better cut my losses and reinstall v8, but now I had the same problem with this - for whatever reason, it now appeared impossible to install ANY version of Adobe Reader on my computer.

To cut a long story short, after a week without any means of reading PDF files, by persistence and scouring the Internet for help, I eventually managed to reinstall Adobe Reader Version 8. It works fine, but I STILL can't download my e-book. So I have given up, and asked Ebook Impressions for a refund.

Anyway, I thought I would share this sad tale with you. I'm not blaming Ebook Impressions especially, but it appears that Adobe Digital Editions is a new technology that simply cannot be relied upon to deliver on its promises. I think that e-bookstores using this platform should make it quite clear that this is how their e-books are delivered (or not). Ebook Impressions and other e-bookstores I have seen simply quote "Adobe Reader", which suggested to me (and I'm sure many other potential customers) that buyers would receive an ordinary PDF file that they could open in Adobe Acrobat Reader without any hassles.

So I would say, if you're thinking of buying an e-book and the store quotes "Adobe Reader" format, check if they mean Adobe Digital Editions, and if they do be very wary. Eventually, perhaps, this technology will be perfected and deliver untold benefits for readers and publishers, but right now in many cases it simply doesn't work.

And in case anyone is wondering, my courses such as Quick Cash Writing and other WCCL publications are delivered in good old plain PDF format, not Digital Editions!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Review: The Cheat's Guide to Instant Genius

The Cheat's Guide to Instant Genius is a brand new product released by my publishers, WCCL. It's supplied on CD, and at its heart is a 147-page e-book in the universal PDF format.

Instant Genius, as I'll call it from now on, is essentially a comprehensive self-development guide. As it says in the introduction, "It shows you how to act, think and behave like a genius, giving you techniques and tips on accessing your creativity, improving your memory, accelerating your reading speed, and increasing your overall brain power."

As a psychology graduate and someone with a life-long interest in self development, I found the range of advice and techniques in this guide fascinating. Some of the techniques, e.g. those in the memory chapter, were familiar to me, but many others were new. I was especially intrigued by the chapter on NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), with its advice on how to create instant rapport with anyone, and the following chapter titled "The Persuasion Equation", which sets out some devilishly clever methods for getting other people to see things your way. There are some powerful techniques here that you should definitely be aware of, not only to use yourself, but in case they are ever used against you.

As writers, of course, we want to know how to boost our creativity and our facility with words, and Instant Genius covers these areas as well. There is also a section about Speed Reading, which provides a complete step-by-step guide to mastering this skill. The manual also covers mind mapping, a system of note-making that combines right- and left-brain skills. I regularly use mind mapping for planning writing projects, so can vouch personally for the effectiveness of this method.

Apart from the main course manual, you also get a wide range of bonus items, including free mind-mapping software, bluffer's guides to Shakespeare, Classical Music and the Great Writers, an inspirational audio meditation session, and many more.

Are there any drawbacks to Instant Genius? Well, it would have been nice if the table of contents at the front of the manual had included page numbers, preferably with hyperlinks to the sections concerned. As it is, navigating around the manual can be a bit frustrating at times. Also, I would like to have seen a few more illustrations, especially in the mind mapping section. The effectiveness of mind maps depends to a large extent on their visual impact, so it seems a little odd not to see any reproduced in the chapter concerned.

Still, these are relatively minor quibbles. There are masses of material here to set you on the road to "instant genius", and it is of course easy to follow up any topic that interests you by reference to the Internet (you can, for example, easily find full-colour examples of mind maps just by entering the term in a search engine). References to further information are also provided from within the manual.

Instant Genius is currently available at a discounted launch price - for more info, just click on any of the links in this review. Before you do, however, I'd like to make my own very special offer to you. Buy Instant Genius via one of my links, and I will also throw in an additional bonus item of my own. This is "Secrets of Improving Your Memory", an in-depth report I wrote for another publisher a year or two ago, which features several powerful (and little-known) memory-boosting techniques. Just email your receipt for Instant Genius to me at (change the -at- to the usual @ mark). I will verify your order and send you my report, normally within 24 hours.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Review: Seven Dollar Secrets

Seven Dollar Secrets is a brand new e-book by Jonathan Leger. I heard about it via The S-Files, the writing blog of my friend and writing colleague Suzie Harris.

The sub-title of Seven Dollar Secrets is 'How to sell infoproducts for only $7 and make a lot of money doing it'. As you'll gather, the price of the manual is just $7, or around 4 UK pounds.

In Seven Dollar Secrets, Jonathan Leger makes a persuasive case for writing and selling low-cost e-books for profit. He points out that, if you are selling your report for just $7, it doesn't have to be very long (Leger suggests around 30 pages). He also argues that you don't have to be a hotshot copywriter to get people to part with just 7 bucks, and the rate of refund requests is far lower than with more expensive products.

One thing Leger doesn't go into any detail about in 7 Dollar Secrets is how to actually devise and write your e-book. If you need advice on that subject, I'd recommend my course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days, or the excellent 24-Hour E-Book Writing System by Melanie Mendelson.

However, where Leger's guide really does score is in providing a very clever marketing system you can use to sell your e-book and have others sell it on your behalf. Let me try to explain...

Anyone buying Seven Dollar Secrets gets the right to become an affiliate for the report themselves and earn 100 per cent of the profits from any sales they generate. That means if you buy this e-book and sell a single copy of it via your website or email newsletter, you will get the entire $7 you spent back. Sell more than that, and it's pure profit. All payments are made instantly using the online payment system Paypal.

Not only that, however, if you buy Seven Dollar Secrets, you also get the scripts needed to set up a similar promotion for your own e-book. These are quite straightforward to set up, or you can pay a modest fee to get the job done for you (details are in the report). You can then set up an identical promotion for your own e-book, giving buyers the chance to sell your report themselves and keep all of the profits.

At this point you might be saying, "OK, I can see that's a good incentive for people to buy my report, but doesn't it mean I won't get any money from the sales generated by my affiliates?" Well, yes, in a way it does, but Leger makes two important points about this. First of all, you can embed affiliate links to other relevant products and services in your report. If a buyer purchases via one of these, you will get your usual affiliate commission. And secondly, for every sale that is made by you OR an affiliate, you will receive an e-mail address which you can subsequently use to make other offers.

Overall, Seven Dollar Secrets is well written and sets out a method any writer could use to start selling their own information products. For $7 it's well worth a read, but possibly the main value comes from the scripts that are bundled with it. Anyway, I definitely plan to give the method a try, so watch out for my first $7 e-book, coming this way very soon!

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