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Monday, August 10, 2009

Visit Nadine's Blog Party!

Former MWC moderator and successful author Nadine Laman is holding a Blog Party to celebrate the 100th post on her blog - and everybody is invited!

Nadine is running a series of contests and giving away signed copies of books donated by various authors (including yours truly). On her blog, she provides the following explanation of how the 'Blog Party' came to be...

...I thought I'd give away free books. Then I realized everyone might not want one of my books - they might already have all three. So I decided the winners could choose from one of my books or I would buy them an autographed book from a short list of authors I know. How's that sound?

I emailed these authors and ask if they were able to send an autographed book, if I bought one. (Meaning it did not come direct from a third party.) The amazing thing that followed was a sudden flood of emails from the authors not only saying, yes they could get a signed book out if I bought one, they have donated the book! I kid you not! Is that a fantastic group of writers/friends or what?

Above all, Nadine's Blog Party is intended to be fun for all involved - there's no money required, and nothing to sign up for. Just turn up each day and take part in the daily contest, then wait and see if you're a winner. Via Nadine's blog, you can also chat with other party-goers, including the featured authors.

I'll be giving away a copy of my new novella, The Festival on Lyris Five. I'm due to be featured on Monday 31 August, so make a note to visit on that day especially :-D

See you at Nadine's Blog Party!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review: Additional Streams of Income for Writers

Additional Streams of Income for Writers is a new downloadable guide for writers by Ireland-based Amanda Evans, the author of Ghostwriting Uncovered.

Amanda interviewed me as part of the research she undertook for her new guide, and she was kind enough to send a review copy once it was published.

Additional Streams of Income for Writers is an 87-page e-book in the customary PDF format. Amanda has written it from the perspective that in these uncertain times authors need a range of income sources in addition to money generated directly by their writing.

Additional Streams of Income for Writers covers four potential income streams, all Internet-based. They are Google AdSense, paid blogging, paid content websites, and paid advertising. As Amanda says, for most of these you will need your own blog or website. The exception is paid content sites (e.g. Helium), where you simply upload your work to the site in question and collect a share of any advertising revenues generated.

Amanda has enjoyed success with all of these, especially paid content sites (she claims to have made $400 a month from Helium alone). She shares her experience of what works and what doesn't in a style that is easy to understand and assimilate (the odd typo aside!). Screenshots are used where appropriate to clarify points, but not excessively.

Although as an experienced online writer I was familiar with much of the guide's content, Additional Streams of Income for Writers opened my eyes to several additional earning possibilities. I was particularly interested to read the section about paid advertising networks. Although I've sold some advertising space on my websites directly, I've never properly investigated the services that match up web publishers with would-be advertisers. Based on Amanda's advice, I definitely plan to look into this in more detail in future.

Additional Streams of Income for Writers concludes with the thoughts of nine freelance writers (myself included) about multiple streams of income. It's fascinating to compare their replies and discover their attitudes towards paid blogging, content sites, and so on. I've also discovered writers listed in this section whose blogs and Twitter streams I'll be following in future.

In summary, if you're a writer looking to diversify your income online, Additional Streams of Income for Writers is well worth the small investment (it's currently selling at a special launch price of just $12). None of the methods mentioned is likely to make you a fortune, but they could certainly generate a very handy sideline income.

Whether or not you decide to buy Additional Streams of Income for Writers, I also recommend checking out Amanda's blog and following her on Twitter.

* See also my course The Wealthy Writer for a broad range of methods for making money online from your writing skills!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two Paying Markets for Very Short Fiction

I know from comments on my forum that many writers enjoy trying their hand at very short (sometimes called flash) fiction.

So I thought in this post I'd spotlight a couple of paying opportunities for this type of story I've come across recently.

The first is for stories of 25 words or less for an anthology of 'Hint Fiction', to be published by W.W. Norton later this year. If you're wondering what Hint Fiction might be, the guidelines include the following explanation:

What is Hint Fiction? It's a story of 25 words or less that suggests a larger, more complex story. The thesis of the anthology is to prove that a story 25 words or less can have as much impact as a story 2,500 words or longer. The anthology will include between 100 and 150 stories. We want your best work.

It's possible to write a complete story in 25 words or less - a beginning, middle, end - but that's not Hint Fiction.

The very best Hint Fiction stories can be read many different ways.

We want stories we can read again and again and never tire of. Stories that don't pull any punches. Stories that make us think, that evoke some kind of emotional response.

The payment on offer is $25 per story for World and Audio rights. For more information, click here. Note that submissions do not open until 1 August 2009, and an email address for them will appear on the guidelines page at that time.

The other opportunity I wanted to mention is for even shorter fiction - 140 characters or less. As you may perhaps have guessed, it's for short stories to be published on the micro-blogging service Twitter.

Tweet the Meat wants horror/weird/speculative fiction stories. They say: 'No serials. No unfinished stories. You must scare us in 140 characters or less. Are you up to the challenge?'

Submissions are via email, and the submission period each week is Saturday and Sunday. Most weeks there is a set theme. One story is chosen for publication on the Tweet the Meat Twitter account every day, and the successful author is paid $1 by Paypal. For more info, visit http://tweetthemeat.blogspot.com/2009/04/submission-guidelines.html.

Good luck if you decide to submit work to either of these markets!

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Twin Keys to a Long-Term Writing Career

Someone asked me the other day how I get writing work in these recessionary times: is it through advertising, my website, my blog, Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites..?

I think they were surprised by the answer I gave. Nowadays, by far the most important source of work for me is clients I have worked with in the past, often for many years. And the next most important is personal recommendations.

I do get work offers from the other sources mentioned, but it is much less significant in financial terms. Other than maintaining an online presence, I don't advertise my writing services at all.

It comes down to two things really: the first, of course, is delivering a good service to clients, so they want to hire you again. And the second is networking, by which I mean building and cultivating a network of contacts, both online and in the 'real world'.

One obvious method of networking is to build good relationships with the publishers and editors you write for, and other writers you meet and work with. This can pay off in all sorts of ways. First, if they like you and your work, there is every chance they will come back to you for more in future.

Here's an example. Over ten years ago I answered a newspaper ad for a short story writer. I sent in a sample story, which was accepted, and ended up writing 11 more for the novelty publishing house in question. Another editor in the company saw my stories and asked if I'd like to contribute to a project he was working on. The upshot is, for that one company I've written humorous recipe books, Internet guides, quiz books, party packs, 'Cyberbabe' and 'Cyberboyfriend' CD-ROMs, online games, tee-shirt and mug slogans, and many more - all stemming from that one 'little' job ten years ago.

What's more, editors move on to new jobs, and naturally they like to bring their favorite writers with them. An example again: years ago I wrote a series of articles on business-related matters for an editor I'll call Vanessa. That went pretty well, then she got a job as editor for a personal finance newsletter, and she asked me to write regular articles for that as well. This continued for some time, and I even carried on writing for the newsletter for several years after Vanessa moved on.

Then Vanessa went freelance, and one of the assignments she got was writing a series of travel books. While she was working on those, the publisher asked her if she knew any other writers who might be interested in writing a similar book, and she put my name forward. The result was that I ended up writing two books about living and working in Italy and Germany.

Of course, networking is a two-way thing, and it works best if you can reciprocate. So I was pleased to be able to put some work Vanessa's way later with another of the mail-order publishers I work for regularly.

And here's another - slightly strange - example of how networking can pay off for all concerned. Last month, I switched roles with a fellow writer/editor called John, whom I've known for many years. Here's how it happened...

For over ten years I've been editing a series of monthly updates on investment-related topics. Most of them were written by John, though occasionally I contributed one myself.

Anyway, the publishers decided that the series finally had to end, so I thought that was both me and John out a job. Then they got back to say they were launching a newsletter on a similar topic, and would I be interested in editing it for them?

Well, because of all my other work, I didn't want to take on another major monthly commitment. But it occurred to me that John would be ideal for the role, so I recommended him to my client. The result is that John has just been appointed editor, and has asked me to write articles for him every month. So, as I say, we've swapped roles, but otherwise it's business as usual!

These things happen regularly in the writing world. In my view, delivering a good service and building up a network of fellow authors, editors and other publishing industry professionals are the two most important things any writer can do to ensure a long and successful career in this field.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Review: The $365K Blog Traffic Formula

I recently received a review copy of The $365K Blog Traffic Formula by Pawan Agrawal.

The $365K Blog Traffic Formula is a PDF manual which aims to show you how to attract 365,000 visitors to your blog in the coming year. The $365,000 earnings figure is based on the average potential value of each visitor being $1 (this might perhaps be slightly optimistic in the case of a writing blog!).

The manual comprises in-depth interviews with seven highly successful bloggers (there is also a fast-action bonus report with two more). The bloggers revealing their secrets are Chris Garrett, Daniel Scocco, Darren Rowse, Jack Humphrey, Jason Katzenback, Matt Garrett, Yaro Starek, and in the bonus report J.D. Roth and Tom Kuhlmann. Chances are, if you know anything at all about blogging, you'll recognise at least some of these names.

All of the bloggers are asked pretty much the same questions. They include:

* If you have to bring instant visitors to your blog in the next 30 minutes, what steps will you follow?

* Most bloggers like to get passive traffic... What are the one time actions we can do which will keep on bringing traffic without any effort after that?

* What's your most effective traffic generating strategy which works every time for you and gives the best return in terms of traffic regarding to your time spent?

* What are your top 3 traffic sources and how exactly do you attract traffic from each of those sources?

* Let's say you lose your name, contacts and everything. You have to start from scratch as a "nobody". What will you do then for the next 30 days so that your blog will start getting 1000 unique visitors each and every day?

Perhaps inevitably, there is some overlap between the bloggers' replies, and some of the advice is a bit predictable, but there are plenty of top-notch ideas and insights as well. I thought the last of the questions listed above, about how to get a blog up to 1000 visitors in 30 days, produced some particularly interesting answers. Matt Garrett, for example, set out a 13-point plan for achieving this goal, with some very clever tactics I may well be adopting myself in future!

The $365K Blog Traffic Formula is well written (a few excusable quirks aside) and neatly presented. Some of the interviews also include good-sized screengrabs to illustrate the points made. (As a side thought, I think one of the best reasons for buying e-books rather than printed books is that screengrabs tend to be far more readable in e-books, and you can even magnify them if you need to.)

There are many hints, tips and strategies here any blogger could put to good use to build traffic to his or her blog, regardless of its subject matter. As most of the contributors point out, however, there is no 'magic bullet' for generating huge numbers of readers overnight. Doing this does require some time and effort, but if you're willing to put these in, The $365K Blog Traffic Formula will give you plenty of powerful traffic-building ideas and strategies to apply.

Incidentally, it struck me that The $365K Blog Traffic Formula would make an ideal companion to Super Affiliate Insights by Codrut Turcanu, which I reviewed in this post recently. Both follow the same approach of interviewing leading figures in the field and publishing their replies. Once you've built up your blog's traffic following the advice in The $365K Blog Traffic Formula, Super Affiliate Insights will show you how to then use affiliate marketing to maximize your income from your visitors!

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

PayPerPost Version 4.0 Launched

I've mentioned PayPerPost a few times on this blog. It's a service that puts would-be advertisers in touch with bloggers who will write about them for a fee. Or, to look at it another way, it's a service that gives bloggers another option for earning money from their blog.

PayPerPost has just launched a brand new version 4.0, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a fresh look at it. For the moment version 4.0 is running alongside the old version 3.0, but presumably in due course (and if feedback is positive) version 4.0 will take over.

The first thing you notice about the new PayPerPost v4.0 is the simple, straightforward interface (see screengrab below). There are just two tabs, Opportunities and My Account. My Account is where you can check your earnings, change your email address, add blogs to your account, and so on.


It's also worth noting that in Version 4.0 bloggers can set the rate they are willing to accept for paid posts. This is done by clicking on the 'edit blog' icon under the My Account tab. Being able to set your own price gives more control and saves time, compared with the previous PayPerPost interface, where scrolling through pages of offers to find acceptable opportunities was the norm.

The Opportunities tab is where any paying opportunities that are available to you, and that meet your fee requirements, are displayed. If you see an opportunity you like, you can click on More Details and the full requirements will then appear.

Typically, a PayPerPost opportunity requires you to post a certain minimum number of words (e.g. 200) and include a specified link to the advertiser's website. All posts nowadays require disclosure that the post is sponsored, and how this should be done is also specified in the opportunity details (see example below).

Once you have made your post, you simply enter its permalink URL in the box provided. Once your post has been verified, payment by Paypal will follow, typically (in my experience of PayPerPost) a week or two later.

If you're looking for an additional way to monetize your blog, in my view PayPerPost is well worth considering. You can choose which opportunities to promote, and the disclosure requirement means that everything is transparent and above board. The new version 4.0 looks a marked improvement on the older one, so now should be a very good time to sign up if you haven't already. My one small criticism is that the minimum payout requirement has been raised to $50, so it's likely to take a few posts to achieve this.

Note: As you may have guessed, this post is sponsored by PayPerPost - you can even see how much I am being paid in the first screengrab! But that doesn't alter the fact that I am genuinely happy to recommend PayPerPost to any blogger who would like to add to their earnings in this way.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Free Report: 10 Ways to Make $10K

If you're looking for extra ways to make income from the Internet, here's a free report you may like to check out.

It's written by successful author and Internet entrepreneur Jimmy D. Brown, who is also author of the popular guide Small Reports Fortune. The full title is Ten Proven Ways to Make at Least $10K Every Month.

The ten methods include several that will be of particular interest to writers. They include 'Type Your Way to $10K' and 'Tweak and Flip Info Products'. The latter is particularly popular at the moment, and is a field I'm just starting to get into myself.

There are no catches, and you don't have to give your email address or sign up to a newsletter to access it. I've posted it on the popular Scribd document-sharing site, from which you can read it, download it, share it, and so on. Just click here or on any of the links in this post to visit the relevant page.

The report also includes links to resources providing in-depth information about the opportunities described, and in some cases materials you can adapt or use. These are all very reasonably priced, and should tell you everything you need to know to get started.

Even if you're only mildly curious, however, I recommend downloading Ten Proven Ways to Make at Least $10K Every Month and reading through it. Who knows, it may provide just the inspiration you need to start your very own money-making sideline!

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Review: Super Affiliate Insights

I was lucky enough this week to get my hands on a review copy of Super Affiliate Insights, the brand new downloadable guide from Internet marketing guru Codrut Turcanu.

As the name indicates, Super Affiliate Insights is all about affiliate marketing - a method of making money by advertising other people's products and services on the Internet and earning a commission on any sales you generate.

Although Super Affiliate Secrets is not directly related to writing, as I know that many of my readers are interested in affiliate marketing - and also because I was very impressed with the guide - I thought I would review it here.

I should start by saying that I'm not a complete beginner where affiliate marketing is concerned - I earn a sideline income of several thousand dollars a year by this method, notably from the WCCL affiliate program and Clickbank.

Nonetheless, I was surprised by how much I learned from this well written and attractively presented PDF manual. In fact, Codrut himself keeps a low profile in it. Instead, he has conducted in-depth interviews with five successful affiliate marketers, who reveal the secrets of their success and offer a generous range of tips and advice. The five are as follows:
  • Colleen Slater - An Aussie mother of three who spent over $10,000 on worthless products until she found the 'magic ingredient' that brought her from zero to $20,000+ per month in three years.
  • Stephen Carter - A former physicist (and published novelist) who stumbled upon the 'giveaway' secret that generates massive traffic, leads and affiliate income for him. Stephen is giving away via this manual a valuable tool for Clickbank marketers that sends notification every time you make a sale.
  • Rod Beckwith - A marketer who found a proven way to grow his lists into thousands and generate multiple streams of affiliate income without bidding on AdWords or spending a cent on advertising. Here's a clue: He's also known as Mr Joint Venture.
  • Ian del Carmen - A guy from the Philippines who discovered how to automate his entire business via outsourcing, to generate extra affiliate commissions for minimal time and effort.
  • Eric Holmlund - A programmer who found the key to unlocking ClickBank's full potential. He makes more money in a month than most people make in a full year in a salaried job.
Each of the interviews is presented in a Q & A format. The advice is wide ranging, and includes generating affiliate fees from niche marketing, blogging, website building, article writing, Squidoo, HubPages, pay-per-click advertising, and more.

At the end of each interview there is a page of questions for the reader to answer based on what they have just read, e.g. 'What is the most important piece of advice you got from this interview?' Space is provided for your answer. Although a simple idea, this is a really good device for making you think carefully about what you have learned.

All the interviews are very informative, though I particularly enjoyed the one with Colleen Slater, who talks in detail about niche marketing, blogging and article marketing. I picked up a lot of useful tips from Colleen that I will definitely be implementing myself in the months ahead.

As you might expect, there are lots of product recommendations throughout Super Affiliate Insights, with links to their sales pages; but, of course, you don't need to buy any of these items if you don't want to. The advice itself is still worth many times the modest asking price.

I have printed out my own copy of Super Affiliate Insights, and already it's covered in notes of things I intend to implement or investigate soon. If you are at all interested in affiliate marketing as a sideline or even a full-time business, I strongly recommend taking a closer look at this info-packed guide.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Get Your Free Issue of Freelance Market News!

Freelance Market News is a printed, monthly newsletter of market information for writers.

It's produced and published by The Writers Bureau, the UK's leading distance-learning college for freelance writers. Some of you will know that I used to be a tutor for The Writers Bureau, and also wrote some of their course material.

Anyway, I thought readers of this blog might like to know that the Freelance Market News website has just been updated - and as part of this they have uploaded a recent sample issue of the newsletter as a PDF.

The sample issue is January 2009, so it's almost bang up to date! If you click through to the Freelance Market News site and click on the image in the left-hand column, assuming you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, it should open in your browser. You can then see all 16 pages, and even print them out if you like. See what I mean about getting your own free issue?!

Freelance Market News lists dozens of market opportunities and competitions. It also has articles, letters, adverts, and so on. The listings are primarily UK-based, but there is also a page of 'overseas' markets. If you're a freelance writer looking for more outlets for your work, it's a very useful resource.

Subscribing to Freelance Market News cost 29 UKP a year (11 issues) or 17 UKP for six issues. Somewhat surprisingly, the price is the same whether you're in the UK or overseas. Subscribers also get a range of other benefits, including free and discounted competition entries, a free appraisal of their writing, and so on.

Whether or not you choose to subscribe to Freelance Market News - and as you'll gather I do recommend it - I hope you enjoy reading your free issue!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

UK Comedy Writers Wanted

My friend and near-neighbour Linda Jones is looking for UK writers to contribute humorous short stories - and possibly non-fiction and poetry as well - for an anthology titled (provisionally) TwitterTitters.

The anthology is being organised and publicised via the micro-blogging service Twitter (hence the name, of course). It will be self-published on Lulu.com, with all profits going to the British charity Comic Relief. Nobody involved, contributors or organisers, will receive any payment.

Linda intends that the anthology will be published on Red Nose Day, which this year is 13th March. She is looking for people to get involved in various ways. On her newly set up TwitterTitters blog, she writes that people can:
* Contribute a story/ask others to contribute a story, piece of prose or poem. Help spread the word!

* Publicise the call for submissions (via Twitter, your blog, your media coverage of Comic Relief or Twitter, please?)

* Help choose the writing to be included. Please get in touch if you feel you can bring something to this role. I'd like there to be a small but perfectly formed 'expert panel'.

* Help me get my head round the possibility of any celebrity backing. I'm following various celebrity tweeters. One is an absolute favourite of mine, but I'm afraid I come over a bit star-struck, and the thought of asking Mr [Rob] Brydon if he could lend his support has me breaking out in a cold sweat.
If you are interested in contributing to the anthology, or helping out in any of the other ways listed, check out the TwitterTitters blog and contact Linda via her Twitter homepage. You can also find her email contact details on this page of her Freelance Writing Tips blog.

And even if you aren't able to get involved directly yourself (if you don't live in the UK, for example), you can still help by spreading word of the project, via your blog, Twitter, etc. - and, of course, by buying the anthology once it's published.

Don't leave it too long if you want to submit work, though. The closing date is 4 pm on Friday February 20th.

Good luck, and happy Twitter-tittering!

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Adult Anecdotes Wanted for Anthology

I was recently contacted by Sue Moorcroft of Accent Press, regarding an anthology she is editing.

Sue asked if I could publicize her call for submissions, so I am posting it here without further comment ;-)

With the working title, Who's Chewing Toffees? this anthology is scheduled for publication in time for Christmas 2010. A collection of funny, bawdy or astonishing true life stories connected to the sex act, Who's Chewing Toffees? aims to tap into the irresistible humour of getting caught, getting caught out, beginning it, ending it, what happened in between or almost anything else you can think of.

Sue is open to submissions from now until the end of November 2009. Anecdotes can be first or third person, your own experiences or someone else's (but please change names to protect the innocent!) Make your writing lively and entertaining. All successful contributors will receive a copy of the book.

Send your stories to Sue Moorcroft by e-mail: anecdoteanthology-AT-googlemail.com; or by post: Anecdote Anthology, 51 Pytchley Road, Kettering, Northants, NN15 6ND, UK.

Also needed is a cartoonist to illustrate the book. The project would suit someone who is prepared to work for a modest flat fee in order to have the book in her or his portfolio. Please contact Sue as above.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How One Writer Made $1246 in 24 Hours on Helium

A while ago in this post I wrote about Helium (then called Helium Knowledge), a website that pays writers a portion of the advertising revenue generated by the articles they post there.

In my article I wrote that Helium was open to any writer, though with payment by advertising revenue share only, you were unlikely to make a fortune from it. However, this article by Peter Johns suggests that I may have been wrong on the latter score.

As you will see from his article, Johns really did make $1246 in 24 hours, from an article about credit cards. This happened after the article 'went viral', with people urging their friends and colleagues to read it in an ever-widening circle.

It wasn't just luck, though. As he explains in his article, Johns spent some time crafting a title that he hoped would pique people's curiosity and impel them to read more. He also posted a link to the article on the social bookmarking website Reddit, where others viewed it, liked it, and voted it up to the front page.

Johns' experience is food for thought for anyone who thinks sites such as Helium are a waste of time. He admits that not all his articles have earned anything like the amount made by this one (and remember, that $1246 was just on the first day - it's still presumably making money for him now). However, he lists five other short articles that have made him from $10 to $30 to date, so he is obviously doing something right.

One thing Johns' article does indicate is the importance of promoting your articles on Helium and similar sites such as Qassia, rather than simply posting them and waiting for visitors to come. As well as Reddit, other social bookmarking sites such as Delicious and StumbleUpon are well worth trying for this purpose as well.

As far me, I'm planning to dust down my old Helium account I've never done much with, and start posting on it again!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Book on Obama Inauguration Seeks Contributors

I heard recently from my friends at WEbook.com, the collaborative writing website, that they are planning a new, printed book about Barack Obama's Inauguration as US President on January 20th (next Tuesday).

They are invitinthe 44th President of the United States...Bara...Image by jmtimages via Flickrg anyone interested to contribute an article for possible inclusion in the book. All profits from sales will go to a nonprofit educational and publishing organisation, 826 National. I've reproduced below the information sheet they sent me, including where to submit your work.

Make History on Jan 20 2009:
True Stories, Real People, One Day


On January 20, 2009, the United States will inaugurate Barack Obama as its forty-fourth president. Millions will flock to Washington, and countless more will mark the event in their hometowns.
WEbook.com, the home of community-sourced books, will publish a collection of inauguration stories, told by real people in their own words.

Jan 20 2009: True Stories, Real People, One Day represents a new approach to documenting history, made possible by WEbook.com's innovative online writing and social media platform. Never before has a publisher had access to so many voices so quickly around such a noteworthy event. This is Community-Sourced History: by the people, for the people.

Will this be a printed book?

Yes!

Leveraging the speed and agility of the internet and digital printing by CreateSpace (an Amazon company), the printed book will be available within two weeks of the inauguration. Books will be sold on WEbook.com and Amazon.com for $9.99. WEbook will donate all profits from the project - and ask its authors to donate their royalties - to 826 National (www.826National.org), a nonprofit tutoring, writing, and publishing organization with locations in seven cities across the country. Their goal is to assist students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills, and to help teachers get their classes excited about writing

Get Involved

You can add your voice to Jan 20 2009: True Stories, Real People, One Day by sharing your story of your anticipation of, participation in, and reflection on inauguration day. The deadline for short (500 word max) submissions is midnight EST, January 21. Submit online at www.webook.com/jan20.

If you know other writers who might be interested in being part of this community-sourced history, spread the word or email jan20-at-WEbook.com.

About WEbook

WEbook.com is an online community where writers, readers, and 'feedbackers' create great books and cast their votes to make their favorite undiscovered writers the next published authors. WEbook is an innovative avenue for new and established writers to find an audience, tapping the wisdom of the crowd to create a unique new form of creative work: community-sourced books.

In early February 2009, WEbook will release its first published community-sourced guide, 101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do. This 'manthology' - comprising valuable lessons like 'How to Fight a Bear' and 'How to Sneak into Cuba' - was written by 28 authors working on WEbook.com, with help from hundreds of others who shared their insights along the way. What's next? Thrillers, fantasy novels, mysteries, children's books, and more - all written, refined, read, and rated by WEbook users.


You might also like to read this guest post on my blog last year by Melissa Jones, Content Manager of WEbook.com, which explains in more detail how this innovative site works. One of these days I shall definitely get around to joining myself!
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

QNA: A Nice Little Earner...

...But only if you're in the UK for the moment. Sorry!

I've been a member of the QNA online survey panel for several years now, and during that time I've earned hundreds of pounds in Amazon vouchers from them by completing short (typically five or six questions) online surveys.

Reward vouchers arrive almost instantly, and active members are also entered in a monthly prize draw. No fee is required to join. QNA are by a distance the best firm in the online survey field I have ever found.

QNA are currently looking to expand their panel, so this is a good time to apply to them. As mentioned above, you do have to be UK-based (though this may change in future). Also, you must be in business in some capacity. You can be running your own business (and yes, freelance writers do qualify) or working in a managerial capacity for someone else. They probably won't accept you if you're unemployed, a student or a homemaker, unfortunately.

As stated, the rewards comprise vouchers from Amazon, usually for 5 or 10 pounds. That may not sound a lot, but surveys can typically be completed in five minutes or less. You can also choose to receive vouchers from other major retailers, or donate your fees to charity. Personally I ask for Amazon vouchers, as they are almost as good as cash as far as I'm concerned - there's always something I want from Amazon!

The company behind QNA is Vanson Bourne, a well-known market research company in the technology and business-to-business field. Based on my experience, if you're eligible to join their panel, I'd say signing up should be a no-brainer.

For more info, and to apply to join, just click on this link.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Opportunity for a UK Scriptwriter

If you're a young, aspiring scriptwriter in the UK, or you happen to know one, you might be interested in this contest - launched today - to join the writing team for the E4 youth drama series Skins. And yes, the successful writer will get paid!

My contact at E4 says:

We are looking for some of the country's finest young talent to help us with a very special project.

E4 and Company pictures are about to go into production on an online mini episode of Skins that will coincide with the launch of Series 3 on E4. The episode will be produced by the Skins crew and will feature some of the main cast - but we've got four very important roles that still need to be filled. This role is part of a bigger team - it is just 1 of 4 roles available - with everything at e4.com

In order to produce this webisode we're looking for a writer to join the team. This role will be selected and mentored by Company pictures and the person will get to play a vital role in the production of the film.

We're looking for people aged 18 to 23 who have got the drive, ambition and most of all, talent to get involved with the UK's biggest youth show. Maybe they've got similar work experience, maybe they're studying something creative at college or uni, or maybe they just have a talent that's clamouring to get out - these are the kinds of people we are looking for!

To apply, you have to submit a short (max. 1600 words) comedy-drama script. Your script should NOT use any existing Skins characters. It should contain a minimum of three characters, and use a maximum of five locations. Here's a video from a Skins scriptwriter offering some advice for anyone thinking of entering...



And here's the current TV ad...



For further information on this opportunity, click here to visit the contest website. The opportunity is also being discussed on this topic on my forum. The deadline for entries is 6 pm on 9 December 2008, so don't delay too long!

P.S. There are also competitions to recruit a director, costume designer and production designer - see the Skins website for more details.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Save Money on Your Christmas Shopping!

With Christmas (and Thanksgiving in the US and Canada), this can be an expensive time of the year - all the more so in these credit-crunched times.

So I thought I'd mention a new type of website that has become very popular recently. These are cashback shopping sites, and they give you back some of your money every time you shop through them. They may also pay you just for using a free online service or signing up for a free trial.

The way cashback shopping sites work is that they sign up as affiliates with a range of online merchants. As you may know, many merchants pay affiliates a fee for any business they drive their way. Rather than keep all these fees, cashback sites return some or all of this money to the actual buyer.

There are various cashback shopping sites, but I thought I'd draw your attention to a particularly good one Jayne (my partner) showed me recently, which I just joined myself. It's called TopCashBack, and you can visit it by clicking through any of the links in this post or on the banner at the end.

TopCashBack returns ALL of the affiliate commission it earns when you shop via the links on its website. They even top this up themselves for active users, meaning you can earn up to 110% cashback, paid to you by Paypal.

You can get rebates from lots of well-known and lesser-known online merchants, including eBay, Marks & Spencer, Comet, Argos and National Express (though not Amazon, unfortunately). I made myself an easy 6.50 UKP by signing up for a month's free trial with the credit reference service Experian and then cancelling my subscription before the month was up.

Joining TopCashBack is, of course, free. And yes, they do have a sort of affiliate program. If you introduce a friend and they then earn over 5 UKP in cashback, you get a payment of 2.50 UKP for introducing them. Obviously you won't get rich from this, but it's a nice extra bonus.

Unfortunately TopCashBack is only available in the UK, but there are similar services in other countries. If you live in the US or Canada, for example, try www.mrrebates.com.

* And don't forget, if you have a blog or a website yourself, you can sign up as an affiliate with my publishers WCCL and earn yourself a generous commission any time someone makes a purchase after visiting via your link. See this blog post for more info!

100% Cashback

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

FieldReport Update

In this blog post a few weeks ago I talked about FieldReport, a new, ongoing online writing contest and writers community.

FieldReport was - and still is - offering big cash prizes for true-life stories, with no entry fees required.

Anyway, I've been asked to remind readers that the final submissions deadline for the January prizes is coming up soon (Nov 15 2008), so now is the time to send in your stories.

There are 20 categories you can choose from, but according to data received from my informant, two categories in which there haven't been as many good submissions so far are Real Breaking News and Sport/Challenge. So if you have a good true story in either of these categories, your chances of success could be better than you think.

Also, if you know any teenagers - or you are one - they are looking for the best submission by a teenage writer in the TeenReport category. There is a special $25,000 prize for the best story in this category.

FieldReport is open to anyone in the world. The monthly category prizes are worth $1,000, with a monthly $4,000 prize for the top-rated story in any category. Not only that, on January 5 2009 the best overall submission as voted for by FieldReport members will be awarded the $250,000 Grand Prize.

So get your thinking cap on, and get over to the FieldReport website today. And if you win, remember who sent you ;-)

UPDATE: I've just heard that FieldReport's final submission deadline has been extended till 31 December 2008.

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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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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pseudotube Update

A few weeks ago in this post I mentioned the Pseudotube sideline business opportunity. There have been a few developments about this, so I thought I should take the opportunity to update you.

To recap briefly, Pseudotube offers the chance to run a video-based website - such as my own Funny Animal Videos site - with no programming required. These sites can then generate income from a range of sources, including Google AdSense.

You can join Pseudotube at various levels, from free up to Enterprise level, which costs $499 a year. With a free account, you get 50% of all the advertising income generated by your site, rising to 100% at Enterprise level.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested to know that it is now even easier to start a free Pseudotube site. Previously you had to buy a suitable domain name and arrange for the nameservers to be pointed at Pseudotube. With the new arrangement this is no longer required - you get a subdomain of the main Pseudotube site with a URL of your choice such as www.yoursitename.pseudotube.com.

This means you can literally have a free site up and running in five minutes. All you have to do then is drive some traffic to it. As a matter of interest, the site achieving the highest number of visits on the Pseudotube network right now is a free one. My own site, I'm pleased to say, has just crept in to the top ten.

I have updated my Pseudotube Squidoo Lens to reflect the latest changes, so do check it out if you would like more info. As a result of feedback received I've also enlarged the screengrab image on the Lens, and added some sample videos from my own Pseudotube site at the bottom.

Good luck if you decide to pursue this opportunity. But even if you don't, if you have a website or blog, bear in mind that you can arrange a free, automatic link swap with all or any of the sites in the Pseudotube network. Again, please see my Pseudotube Lens for more info about this.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

How Can Writers Survive the Credit Crunch?

The world seems to be in a topsy-turvy state right now, with banks folding left, right and centre, or else being propped up uncomfortably by national governments.

The knock-on effects of the 'credit crunch' are hard to predict, but one thing that's certain is that sadly a lot more jobs are going to be lost in the coming months.

I'm no economist, but I'd like to offer my 2c worth here on how writers can best survive and even prosper in these tough times. In particular, I'd like to offer two pieces of practical advice...

The first is to diversify. In times of recession (which is where the world seems to be headed right now) no business is safe. And in the publishing world, many are already feeling the pinch as people cut back on 'luxuries' such as books.

So it must make sense to have a variety of sources of income. If books are your main writing interest, then, consider trying your hand at articles and short stories as well. Conversely, if you're mainly an article writer, why not look at other options as well, e.g. writing an e-book and selling it on the Internet?

In my view, every writer should have a broad portfolio of projects. This might, for example, include books, articles, short stories, Internet writing, comedy writing, TV scriptwriting, advertising copywriting, and so on. That way, if a particular market vanishes or a regular client goes to the wall, you still have plenty of other irons in the fire.

And, of course, there is no reason why you can't have some non-writing-related sidelines as well. When I started out as a full-time freelance writer, many moons ago, I also sold copyright-free artwork packs by mail order. That business eventually died as electronic clip-art became the norm, but in my early days I was very grateful for the extra income it provided. Nowadays, the Internet offers lots of potential sideline-earning opportunities - check out my Pseudotube site and my Squidoo Lens which explains about it, for example.

Moving on, my second piece of advice is to invest in the best and safest place you possibly can: yourself!

In uncertain times, you need to build up your palette of skills, to increase your employability (if you're seeking a job) or offer a wider range of services (if you work for yourself). Learning new skills can also provide a means for earning extra cash in its own right.

So it's important to invest some time - and, yes, money as well - in developing your skills. A writer seeking to diversify might want to build (or improve) their skills in other areas of writing, such as comedy writing, self-publishing, TV or movie scriptwriting, copywriting, travel writing, and so on. If you're interested in any of these, by the way, you could do a lot worse than check out WCCL's WriteStreet website.

It's also worth developing skills in related areas, e.g. HTML and website design. These days I do a lot of work writing content for company websites. While I'm never going to be an expert web designer, I know enough HTML to insert formatting codes, check hyperlinks, and so on. Allying this with my writing skills has helped to generate a lot of extra work for me. There are courses you can take at many local colleges, or by distance learning, or online. One free resource for learning HTML I highly recommend is PageTutor.

But whatever method you choose, the returns from investing in yourself can be far greater than any stock market investment, and with far less risk. I think that the twin methods of diversifying and investing in yourself should be at the heart of every writer's strategy for surviving the current economic crisis.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Free Contest for Writers Bureau Students

If you are, or ever have been, a student with The Writers Bureau (the UK's largest distance learning college for writers), here's an opportunity you should definitely check out.

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, The Writers Bureau are offering 2000 UK pounds' worth of prizes in their new article-writing contest.

The main condition is that entrants must have taken a course with The Writers Bureau at some point in the last 20 years.

Entry is free, and the prizes are 1000 UKP for the winner, 500 UKP for second place, 200 UKP for third place, and 50 UKP for six runners-up.

Article must be between 700 and 1400 words, and reveal how the author's Writers Bureau course has helped them develop as a writer and how it contributed to their writing career. No prizes for guessing that The Writers Bureau are hoping to get some good new testimonials out of this!

For more information, and to print out an entry form, click here to visit the competition website. The closing date is 31 December 2008, and the winners will be announced on 1 February 2009.

By the way, I used to be a tutor for The Writers Bureau, and also wrote some of their course material. If you want a writing course that includes one-to-one feedback from a personal tutor, in my view they are well worth considering. For more of my musings on this topic, see my blog post Some Thoughts About Writing Courses.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FieldReport: A New Market for True-Life Stories

If you enjoy writing (and/or reading) true-life personal experience stories, FieldReport is a new website you should definitely plan on visiting soon.

FieldReport, which is run from San Francisco, is partly an ongoing writing contest, partly a growing community of writers.

As mentioned above, FieldReport publishes true-life stories, with a maximum length of 2000 words. Stories are rated by other members, and the top-rated story in each category every month receives a $1,000 prize. Winning category stories also become eligible for the annual grand prizes of up to $250,000. The categories are as follows:
  • Breaking News
  • 36 Hours
  • Teen Report
  • Animal Beings
  • Brush With Fame
  • Crisis Mode
  • Food & Drink
  • Friends & Family
  • Home & Garden & Auto
  • Love & Hate
  • Life & Me
  • Music & Arts
  • Oddball Events
  • On the Job
  • Parenting & Pregnancy
  • Spirituality & Religion
  • Sport & Challenge
  • Style & Beauty & Body
  • Travel & Nature
  • Witness to History
  • Adult Experience
Teen Report is restricted to teenagers, while the Adult Experience category is open only to those aged 18 and over.

Perhaps the best - and most surprising - thing about FieldReport is that no entry fees are required. You do, however, have to earn 'review credits' by reading and rating other members' work before you can submit a story of your own.

With its generous prizes and membership-based judging process, FieldReport is definitely well worth a look. I was also pleased to see that, although they only want original articles, you can still submit work if it has only previously been published on a personal blog or in a print publication with a circulation of under 1,000.

There is a lot to view on the FieldReport site, so a good place to get your bearings is their Quick Start Page. I also recommend reading the comprehensive list of frequently asked questions.

Finally, in accordance with my usual policy on this blog, I would like to disclose that I am receiving a small incentive (an Amazon voucher) for writing this post. This has not, however, influenced my review of FieldReport in any way. I do strongly recommend checking the site out.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Short Story Radio Update

About a year ago I wrote this post about Short Story Radio, a new web-based radio station operating from the UK and devoted to recording and broadcasting original short stories.

Since then, I'm pleased to say, Short Story Radio has gone from strength to strength. The website now looks more professional, and they are starting to pay writers of stories featured on the site. Here is an update I received recently from Ian Skillicorn, the station manager...

Over the past year we have been developing relationships with writers and many writing organisations. The latest additions to the website are recordings from three winners of the New Writing Partnership's Escalator Prize, for writers in the East of England. This summer we redesigned the website and added some new features.

I am pleased to tell you that we are now in a position to pay a writers' fee for stories that will appear on the site. At present we are approaching writers ourselves rather than taking unsolicited stories, but hope to be able to have an open submission round in the near future.

Our next project is a series of short stories that have been recorded specifically for hospital radio and will be available to hospital radio stations around the UK and beyond. The first four stories will be available for radio, and on our website, later this month. They are by award winning writer Sue Moorcroft, whose stories have appeared in many national magazines, and are read by Tamara Kennedy, whose acting career includes 14 years in Take The High Road and roles in Taggart and Monarch of the Glen.


In addition, I noticed that Short Story Radio is currently running a competition for a short story of under 3000 words in one of the following categories: drama/romance, historical fiction/memoir, humour, magic realism, mystery/thriller, science fiction.

The first-prize winner will get their story professionally recorded for broadcast on Short Story Radio, a free website worth 250 UK pounds (around $400), and five CD copies of their story for personal use. The closing date is 31 October 2008.

There is an entry fee of 8 UKP (around $14) per story in this competition, which in my view is a bit on the steep side. However, stories for Short Story Radio are recorded by professional actors, and I guess their services don't come cheap!

If you enjoy writing - and reading/listening to - short stories, Short Story Radio is well worth checking out.

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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 Amazon.com, 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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Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Pseudotube Sideline Business Opportunity

In these uncertain economic times we all need a few extra strings to our bow. And recently I added another to mine by partnering with Pseudotube.

Pseudotube offers anyone the chance to set up their own free or low-cost video-based website, with no technical skills required.

Why would you want to do this? Well, in case you hadn't noticed, video is huge on the net right now. Sites such as YouTube get millions of hits every day. People are looking for an alternative to the dull, repetitive pap that passes for entertainment on mainstream TV. Online video sites give them something fresh and different.

Pseudotube gives anyone the chance to set up their own video site in the niche of their choice, and get a share of this online action. No technical skills are required - all the behind the-scenes programming has been done for you. Essentially, all you have to do is choose videos for your site from YouTube and other video-sharing sites, and promote your site to get visitors. You can then profit in various ways, e.g. with Google AdSense and affiliate ads for relevant products from ClickBank.

Anyway, if you're at all interested in learning more, I've set up a new Squidoo lens where I've tried to explain how Pseudotube works as clearly as possible. Just click on this link to find out more.

Even if you aren't interested in setting up your own Pseudotube site, however, it's still worth visiting my lens if you have a blog or website. The reason is that you can set up a free link exchange between your own site/s and one or all of the video sites in the growing Pseudotube network. Again, my Squidoo lens explains how to do this. Although it's straightforward once you understand what's required, in my view the instructions aren't as clear as they ought to be, so I've tried to explain them a bit better in my lens.

If nothing else, though, do check out my own Pseudotube website at www.cute-animal-videos.com! As you'll see, I picked a topic I thought would have world-wide appeal :)

I did think of setting up a site about writing, but I wasn't sure if video was the ideal medium for this. So, if you want to set up your own writing-related Pseudotube website, the field is currently wide open for you!

P.S. If you do decide to set up a Pseudotube site, drop me a line via my homepage and I'll send you a few hints and tips from my own experience.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Writer Wanted for Rude Books

One of my regular clients, Lagoon Games, is looking for a writer with teaching experience for a new project. Here is the ad they asked me to publicize:

Publisher compiling funny translation book of rude words and phrases for kids. If there is anyone who has experience of teaching younger kids languages and what falls within the boundaries of acceptance for an age group under 13, please contact Nikole Bamford at nikole-at-lagoongames.com.

The languages will be French, Spanish, German and Chinese - you don't have to know all these but a knowledge of phonetics would also help. This is a paid project.


Good luck if you decide to apply for this. Lagoon are regular clients of mine, and nice people to work with. The company is UK-based but their biggest market is the US, so I would assume that as long as you have the skills they want for this job, you could be based anywhere in the world.

Update 28 August 2008: Nikole tells me this vacancy is still open. It's a good - and paying - opportunity for any writer with some language teaching experience. Even if you're not sure if you qualify, it's well worth emailing Nikole to enquire. I can confirm that she doesn't bite!

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Contributions wanted for The Forever Story

I've just heard about a new collaborative writing project called The Forever Story.

The project launches today and aims to create the world's longest collectively written story. There are no fees on offer for writers, however; instead the project aims to raise a large sum of money for children with autism.

The money will be donated by the telecoms company TalkTalk. For every contribution to the story via the website at www.theforeverstory.com, TalkTalk will donate 1 UK pound (around $2 US) to the British children's autism charity Treehouse. The project press release explains:

There are around 100,000 children with Autism in the UK, with around half a million family members directly affected by the condition. We want to raise awareness of the work Treehouse does to alleviate the often huge financial and emotional pressures associated with looking after a child with Autism and raise the much needed money so their work can continue.

TalkTalk's donation target is 50,000 UKP, and to achieve that they are giving people the opportunity to write alongside some very well-known writers. The first 35 words have been written by Nick Hornby (author of About A Boy and other popular books and novels) and are as follows:

For the first nineteen years of his life, Johnny Razor wasn't Johnny Razor at all. He was Malcolm Weatherly, and he was born in Mile End Underground station on the night of 17th September 1940.

Anyone is welcome to continue the story by adding another 35 words or so at the website www.theforeverstory.com. Do just be sure to read (and/or listen to) as many of the preceding contributions as possible, so that your contribution fits in and makes sense.


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Free Holiday Reading

Just a quickie to recommend that, if you're after some free holiday reading, you point your browser at the newly launched website www.blogaholidayread.co.uk today.

The site is operated by Penguin Books (UK). They say:

Blog a Holiday Read, the perfect excuse to put your feet up, relax, and escape into one of Penguin's Top 500 bestselling fiction titles, guaranteed to get the nation talking, and you yearning for a break to soak up some top reads. Here's how it works:

Sign up and, if you're quick enough, you'll become one of the lucky people to receive a randomly chosen, FREE Penguin in the post. Plus you'll be the first to review it here, enabling the blog, and comments, to begin!


You can see the books being promoted on the website - there's a wide range, from Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years to The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Of course, you don't get to choose which book you receive, but I guess that's part of the fun ;-)

As you may gather from the quote above, if you want to participate in this promotion, you are meant to read the book and submit a review to the Holiday Read Blog within six weeks of receiving it.

As far as I can tell this promotion is open to anyone in the world. In any event, you are asked to enter the country you live in when registering. Don't hang about, though, as this promotion will close as soon as all the free books have been allocated.

Good luck, and I hope you get a book you like!

P.S. I've just heard that I've been allocated Your Blue-Eyed Boy by Helen Dunmore - 'A compelling and passionate psychological thriller'. Sounds good to me!

P.P.S. If you apply and are successful, why not add a comment here letting me and other readers know which book you are getting?

P.P.S.S. Just heard they are fully subscribed already, within a few hours of my posting about it. Very sorry if you tried and missed out.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Writers Bureau Poetry & Short Story Contest

There is still just time to enter the 2008 Poetry and Short Story Competition run by my old friends at The Writers Bureau.

For those who don't know, The Writers Bureau is the UK's leading distance learning college for writers. In days gone by I was a freelance tutor and assessor for them, and I also wrote some of their course material.

The competition is for short stories no longer than 2000 words and poems of up to 40 lines. There is an entry fee of 5 UKP or 9 USD per entry, unless you also happen to subscribe to their newsletter Freelance Market News, in which case reduced fees of 4 UKP/7 USD apply. Work may be on any subject or theme, but should not have been previously published.

The top prize in each category is 1,000 UKP (almost 2,000 USD). There are also nine further prizes in each category, comprising 400, 200, 100 and six prizes of 50 UKP.

The judge for the poetry competition is Alison Chisholm, while for short stories it is Iain Pattison. I know Iain in particular quite well (buyers of my Quick Cash Writing course can read one his excellent stories in the Short Stories module), and you might perhaps be interested to check out this old issue of my E-Writer newsletter, where I set out some of Iain's own advice to people entering short story contests. It's always useful to know what the judge of a writing competition is looking for!

Finally, the closing date is 30 June 2008, so you'll need to get your entry in pretty soon. Here's another link to the full competition details.

Good luck!

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Free Short Story Contest

I thought some of you might be interested in this free short story contest, which is sponsored by the DIY self-publishing company Wordclay.

They are actually running two parallel contests, one for a single short story and the other for a short story collection. To enter the latter, you have to have enough short stories to fill the pages of a 48-page book. The maximum length for a single story is 5,000 words.

There are some good prizes on offer for a free contest, including $500 for the winner in each category and $250 for the runner-up. There are also prizes of publication in book form by the sponsors for the other short-listed entries. You do have to register at the site before you can enter, but there is no obligation to buy anything. The closing date is 11.59 pm ET on 31 May 2008 (i.e. before 1 June 2008), so you have about a week to get your story (or stories) in. Once again, here is a link for further details.

Good luck if you decide to enter this contest!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

A New Reason to be an Amazon Reviewer

I've just found out a good reason for reviewing products at the Amazon online store - you may receive an invitation to join their new Amazon Vine program and get books, DVDs and so on free of charge. Here's the first paragraph of an email I got from them this morning...

As one of our most valued customer reviewers, we would like to offer you a special invitation to join an exciting new Amazon program called Amazon Vine. As a member of this exclusive community, you will have access to pre-release and new products across various Amazon categories, and the opportunity to be among the very first to review them. There is no cost to you to participate or to receive Vine products. We are simply asking for your time in writing reviews for the products you select from the program.

The email goes on to explain that members of Amazon Vine receive a monthly newsletter listing items that are available for review. You simply choose the items you want, and they are sent to you free.

I was quite surprised to receive this invitation, as I've only ever reviewed about a dozen items on
Amazon.co.uk (and no, they're not my own books!). But I've bought quite a lot of stuff from them over the years, and am also an affiliate of theirs, so maybe that had some influence too.

I understand that the Amazon Vine program also operates in the US, though I'm not sure about other areas such as France and Germany.

I tend to review items on Amazon I have strong feelings about, perhaps where I disagree with other reviewers and want to 'set the record straight'. Of course, you don't get paid for reviewing on Amazon, but there is nothing to stop you adapting your reviews and publishing them on your blog or website if you wish (which, again, I have done on occasion).

Anyway, I'm grateful to Amazon for offering me this opportunity, and look forward to receiving my first list of free items available for review soon!

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Guest Post: All About WEbook

I'm pleased to introduce a guest post today from Melissa Jones, Content Manager of WEbook.com and author of the WEbook blog.

For those who don't know, WEbook is a community writing, editing and publishing project. It aims to use the power of the internet to bring writers together and get them to pool their talents in collaborative writing ventures.

I'm convinced that projects such as WEbook are going to become very big indeed in the years ahead, as new ways of working together creatively with the aid of the net are explored and developed. WEbook offers any writer the opportunity to get involved and see for themselves how online collaboration can work in practice. But perhaps I'd better move aside and let Melissa explain more...

WEbook: The People's Publisher - by Melissa Jones

It's no secret that the traditional publishing industry is - how can I put this? - a bit behind the times.

Every year, a handful of editors select a handful of books and, through massive marketing and PR, attempt to turn them into blockbusters. How they decide which books to promote heavily is largely guess-work; as William Strachan, editor in chief at Carroll & Graf Publishers said in a 2007 New York Times article, "Nobody has the key." That same article points out that, while publishers use the internet to market to their readers, "information rarely flows the other way - from readers back to the editors."

Enter WEbook.com, the people's publisher. Founded by Itai Kohavi, author of two novels and a children's book, WEbook is based on a radically different model, bringing together the best elements of social networking, crowd-sourcing, and web technology to change the way books are written and published. At WEbook, essentially, the readers are the editors.

So what can you do at WEbook?

  • Read and Review. WEbook has hundreds of active projects, including collections of articles on everything from the first year of teaching to the first sexual experience. Find a project you're interested in, and read and give feedback to others' work.
  • Write. Contribute a new story, poem, or article to an existing project. Or, if you have a book idea of your own, start a new project. You'll be able to decide whether you want to write your book by yourself, get feedback from other WEbookers, or invite your friends to contribute.
  • Connect. Project forums allow you to brainstorm about your ideas, solicit research or other assistance, or just chat about writing. You can also connect with other writers on the site-wide forums, and by joining a group.
  • Get Published. When a book is completed, it can be submitted for publication. WEbook isn't about choices made by one or two folks behind their desks. Instead, the entire WEbook community votes on which books are worthy. WEbook will consider the highest-rated books for publication, and authors get a 50% share of profits from book sales.

While community votes will ultimately determine what goes to press, we're particularly excited about a few projects that are creating a lot of buzz, both on and off the site. Ex-Pat Journal chronicles the adventures of WEbookers in Thailand, Korea, Costa Rica, France, Cambodia, Nigeria, and - wait for it - Canada. 101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do is the ultimate guide to guydom, covering cooking a steak to fighting a bear. And Nano Stories challenges writers to create a dramatic arc in 500 words or less.

For a low-pressure entry point to the site, try Haiku Life Stories or The Writing Salon. If you feel like settling in for a good read, you'll be pleased to find quite a few brave souls writing novels on WEbook. I recommend checking out The Open, a tale of vengeance and golf; A Case of Judgment, which puts a modern spin on a classic horror tale; and In the Wake of the Enchantress, a historical novel set in the early days of World War I.

WEbook recently published its first book, Pandora, a romantic thriller written by 34 writers, editors, and other contributors - including me! (once you buy the book, flip to chapters 17 and 26 to read my contribution). If you want to check out the first few chapters for free you can read them here or text the word "webook" to phone number 41411 on your mobile and read them on your very own web-enabled phone. WEbook launched to the public in mid-April. Since then, the number of active projects has grown at a feverish pace, with more new work added every day.

We'll be opening our first voting cycle in the coming months. For now, drop by the site to read, give feedback, and write, and to connect with a fast-growing network of like-minded folks out to revolutionize the publishing world.

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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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Friday, April 11, 2008

Who wants to take over a writing blog?

No, not this one! My colleague and near-neighbour Linda Jones is looking for someone to take over her Freelance Writing Tips blog. In a post made yesterday, she writes:

Time is against me. As much as I would love to continue with this blog, and have plenty of information and ideas that I could upload, it's just not happening.

I think the small matter of having a family to spend time with, and a company to run has something to do with this. If you are interested in taking the baton (is that the expression? Oh you know what I mean!) then please get in touch.

Linda says she has made no attempt to monetize her blog, other than setting up an Amazon bookshop. However, this is certainly an area that could be developed in future.

If you are interested in taking over an attractive-looking blog which has already built up a solid readership, please contact Linda directly via her blog.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Hardline Online Magazine Open for Contributions

Hardline Magazine is a new monthly online publication created by and for writers. It features both fiction and non-fiction writing: short stories, poetry, reviews and articles.

Hardline Magazine is co-edited by two members of my forum, Steve Sweeney and Ken Preston. The poetry editor is Amie Saramelkonian (whom forum members may know better as our moderator Saturnine).

The magazine exists primarily to showcase the work of unpublished, and self published, writers. It's free to view, and they are not currently paying any fees to contributors. There are, however, plans to run a contest in each issue, with prizes for the winning authors.

Even though it is non-paying, the editors are adamant that quality will be key to the success of the magazine. They write: 'Hardline has to be a project that bears the hallmark of quality - it will benefit no-one if the quality of writing is negligible. So, if you are going to submit a piece of work to Hardline, be it fiction or nonfiction, it needs to be tight, well-written and compelling. Hardline needs to showcase good writing if it's to gain attention, and a reading audience - please help us to help you. We eagerly await your contributions.'

Hardline Magazine is already attracting interest from established authors and publishers, thanks partly to groups that have been set up at the major social networking sites such as Bebo, Facebook, Technorati, and (especially) MySpace. According to Steve Sweeney, even before its official launch the Hardline Magazine website was attracting around 100 'hits' a day, and this figure is sure to go on rising.

If you are interested in submitting work to Hardline Magazine - and Steve has just put out a call for short stories for issue two - take a look at the launch issue, then go to the Contact page to see where your submissions and enquiries should be directed. Note that Hardline Magazine will soon be moving to a new, permanent home at www.hardlinemagazine.com.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Writers at Large: Prisons

In this new series of articles, I'll be discussing some of the many opportunities that exist for writers to make a sideline income talking about writing and encouraging others to write. In this first article I'm looking at writer-in-prison work.

I should start by saying that all these articles are written primarily with reference to the UK, which is where I live. Most will apply to a greater or lesser extent in other countries as well, but you will need to do your own research here.

The UK Prison Service has a long tradition of inviting writers (and other artists) into prisons. The role involves encouraging prisoners with an interest in writing to explore and develop this. Writers in prisons typically run writing groups and classes, and also offer one-to-one advice and support. They may give readings of their own work, and also take on projects such as producing an anthology or display of prisoners' writing.

Another aspect can involve collaborating with other freelancers, such as musicians, actors and visual artists. A collaborative project might, for example, involve writing, producing and performing a play or even a musical. The ultimate aim, of course, is to enrich the day-to-day experience of the inmates, and hopefully make it less likely they will re-offend when they are released.

Many people (including me, I admit) find the thought of working in a prison rather daunting. However, most writers I know who have done this have found it a rewarding and enjoyable experience. As a writer in prison, you won't be expected to try to 'convert' the inmates to writing. Rather, in most cases you will work with a small group of prisoners who have expressed an interest in creative writing. With lots of time on their hands, writing can be a popular pastime, and one which can be therapeutic for the individuals concerned in coming to terms with the situation they find themselves in.

Writer-in-prison work in the UK is reasonably paid, though you won't get rich. Typically, you will be employed for three days a week, for a period of three to twelve months (which may be extended). The sort of fee I have seen offered is 20,000 UK pounds (around $38,000 US) a year, pro rata. So if you were employed for a year working three days a week, you would receive 12,000 pounds, plus travel and any other out-of-pocket expenses. This is just an example, and in practice you might get paid more or less than this.

In my experience, the best place to find ads for writer-in-prison jobs in the UK is the Guardian newspaper - check out the Creative & Media pages on Mondays, or you could do a search in their jobs section.

You don't need to be a 'household name' to get work as a writer in prison, though obviously you need some sort of track record as a writer. All types of writer are required, and this can be a good opportunity for poets, who can otherwise struggle to find paying outlets for their talents. Indeed, many of the people I know who have done this type of work - e.g. my old friend Gary Boswell - are primarily poets, though Gary is also a talented short-story and non-fiction writer.

Finally - and this is why I started this series with a look at prison work - there is currently a call for writers to work in prisons in Lancashire. The organisation concerned, Litfest, writes:

We are running six short-term residencies across Lancashire prisons during April and May 2008 for the Offenders Learning and Skills Council at Lancaster and Morecambe College. These residencies will work with offenders to produce new writing, audio recordings and artwork to be broadcast on BBC Radio Lancashire and exhibited across the county and online throughout 2008.

We want to recruit 6 writers to take part in an initial training and development programme to both equip them with the skills and understanding to work in prisons, and to develop a model for working collaboratively with visual and sound artists.

Writers will be selected from this initial programme to work on the residencies. There are bursaries and travel expenses available to attend the training and development sessions and writers fees for those working on the residencies.


For more information about this, and details of how to apply, please see this topic on my forum. Note that the closing date for applications is 14 March 2008, so you will need to move quite swiftly if you are interested.

In future 'Writers at Large' articles I will look at the opportunities that exist for writers in other fields, including schools, adult education, writers circles/conferences and in the community.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Advice on Becoming an About.com Subject Guide

I've written a few times in this blog (most recently here) about the opportunities for freelance writers and editors with the giant About.com website.

For those who don't know, About.com Guides are home-based freelances who take responsibility for a particular content area on the About.com site. Guides are expected to build up 'their' sites by sourcing (and writing) articles, adding links, hosting web-based discussions, and so on.

Payment is based on the advertising revenue generated by your site, but as long as you fulfil the company's requirements they guarantee you will earn a minimum of $725 a month. Maximum earnings are unlimited, based on a percentage of advertising turnover - according to the About.com website, they have some Guides who earn in excess of $100,000 a year. You can see a list of the current vacancies for Guides here.

Anyway, my main reason for writing about this again today is that, via the excellent TrafficJam website, I discovered this blog article on getting a job as an About.com guide, from someone who has actually been through the application process. It's quite short, but if you're thinking of applying for this opportunity (and at an earlier stage in my freelance career it's something I would have seriously considered) there's some very solid advice here.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Qassia: A New Revenue-Sharing Website

I recently signed up with Qassia, a new revenue-sharing content site that also operates as a web directory.

Like certain other sites such as Helium Knowledge, Qassia lets anyone upload articles to its website. Unlike most other such sites, however, you then receive a full 100 per cent of the advertising revenue generated by the Google AdSense ads displayed beside your own content (most other services split the revenue from advertising 50:50 or less).

Content on Qassia is called 'intel' (short for intelligence). Intel can be anything from full-length articles to an interesting fact. One of the many innovative features of Qassia is that new intel is rated by other Qassia members. The average rating given to your intel determines how high it appears in search results in the Qassia web directory for the topic in question.

As well as giving you the advertising revenue generated by your intel, Qassia also allows you to include a link back to your own website (or any website of your choice) on the same page as each piece of intel you contribute. This could help drive extra traffic to your site, and should also help boost your site's ranking in the search engines. As you may know, most search engines rate a website's popularity according to the number of incoming links it has, especially when these links are non-reciprocal (as is the case with Qassia).

Qassia operates in its own internal currency called Qassia Dollars. These are earned by posting intel and by rating intel posted by other members. Qassia Dollars cannot currently be converted directly into cash, but you can allocate your Qassia Dollars to any number of websites you want to promote. The more Qassia Dollars you allocate to any particular site, the higher up the Qassia rankings it appears. I must admit I don't fully understand this yet, but no doubt all will become clear in due course!

I'm still getting the hang of Qassia, but I can already see it has the potential to become huge. In some ways it reminds me of Kwickee, the mobile phone content publishing company I was involved with a few years ago (see this link for historical information!). Kwickee was ultimately unsuccessful, but in my work as a group editor for them I saw hundreds of articles submitted, many of which I think would now be prime candidates for Qassia. Articles about local tourist attractions (as were many of the Kwickee articles I edited) are a case in point - so if you wrote any of these for Kwickee, this could be the perfect outlet for them. On the other hand, I'm not sure that Qassia is really a suitable place for posting fiction.

Qassia is still in pre-launch phase, and currently you can only join at the invitation of an existing member. However, I'm more than happy to invite any reader of this blog to join through me! Just click on any of the Qassia links in this post, and follow the on-screen instructions to sign up. It's free of charge, of course. I found it all reasonably intuitive, but if you have any problems, do feel free to run them past me and I'll help if I can.

Oh, and look out for my first bit of intel, my recipe for the Greek vegetarian speciality briam! And yes, this did start life as a Kwickee article!

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Write a TV Ad for a Book!

In my blog last year I mentioned a contest held by thriller writer Dean Koontz to promote his new book The Good Guy. Contestants had to write and produce a 30-second video trailer for the book. All entries appeared on the video-sharing site YouTube, and as far as I know the winning entry was broadcast on US TV.

Well, UK publishers Little, Brown have decided to use a similar method to promote the new crime novel by the American author Patricia Cornwell, Book of the Dead. They are running a competition for people to create a 20-second TV ad for this book. Entrants have to shoot their own 20-second video, and/or submit a script and/or a storyboard for an ad (so you can still enter even if you don't own a video camera). The contest is only open to people in the UK and Eire, unfortunately, and you must be over 18.

Submissions must include a product shot (included in the competition kit) for a minimum of 5 seconds, so you really only have to come up with a 15-second advertisement. There is a top prize of 2500 UK pounds for the winning entry, which will be chosen by Patricia Cornwell herself from a shortlist of six.

For more details, and to download a competition kit, visit www.bookofthedead.hyptv.com. The closing date is Friday 29 February.

Good luck!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Thoughts on the Simpleology Blogging Course

In my post yesterday I mentioned this new course on blogging for fun and profit. As I said in that post, the course is currently being given away free to anyone who has a blog, so long as they mention it in a blog post. I promised I'd let you know a bit more about the course after I'd evaluated it, so here's what I thought...

To start with, accessing the course proved more tricky than I expected. As you may know if you've taken up this offer, once you've placed the pre-written post on your blog, you then have to enter the URL on this web page. I assumed after doing this that I would 'simply' be taken to the course material, but not a bit of it. Instead I was taken through a series of steps that involved confirming that I wanted to sign up with Simpleology, setting a user-name and password, viewing a 'one-time offer' of something or the other, and being invited to download various items of free software.

Indeed, so laborious was the process that I was on the point of deleting my original post and apologising to anyone who had acted upon it. However, after jumping through all these hoops, I did eventually arrive at a page where I could access the free blogging course. And I have to say, it's very well done and informative.

The core of the course comprises 15 lessons. Each of these lessons is around five minutes and plays in a browser window (you DON'T need to download any special software to watch them). The lessons start with the absolute basics - i.e. what is a blog? - and move on through topics such as what to blog about, what blogging software to use, how to attract more readers, how to make money from your blog, and so on. Nowadays I'm quite an experienced blogger, but there were a number of suggestions that I hadn't thought of, and I definitely plan to act on these in the months ahead.

Alongside each lesson, there is an interactive quiz you can take to test your understanding of the points covered. You can also download the lessons in printable (PDF) format and as audio files (for listening to on your MP3 player). Some bonus materials are included as well, including interviews with a number of well-known bloggers in the Internet Marketing field.

Overall, it's a highly professional course, and if you have a blog I do recommend checking it out now while it's still free. But - as mentioned above - do be aware that accessing it will involve negotiating what seemed to me an excessive number of hurdles. It's worth noting that you don't have to accept ANY of the offers made to you or download any of Simpleology's proprietary software in order to view the course. Once you're logged in to the Simpleology 'WebCockpit' page, you'll see a heading 'Daily Targets' at the top left. The blogging course can be found in the right-hand column under Electives. Click on Blogging, and the course material will all be set out for you.

Finally, I should say that Simpleology appears to be a personal development system for organising your life, and in particular your business. Their logo has the strap-line 'The Simple Science of Getting What You Want'. By signing up to view the free course, you also become a member of Simpleology, and get access to a lot more course material as well. Personally I haven't looked into this - I'm not sure it's quite my thing really - but if you're interested in learning more, obviously the opportunity is there for you.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Free Multi-Media Course for Bloggers

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fifty Pounds an Hour Entering Consumer Contests!

I'm talking mainly to my readers in the UK and Republic of Ireland in this post, so I hope the rest of you out there will bear with me. Your turn will come again soon!

If you're in either of these countries, did you happen to see the new TV show on UK Channel 5 last night titled It Pays to Watch? It's on at 7.30 pm on Wednesdays, and features Martin Lewis, the renowned personal finance campaigner.

Martin runs the excellent Moneysaving Expert website. If you haven't already, by the way, you really should sign up here for his free weekly email of money-saving (and money-making) tips. You can also read about the TV show, and view an extended online version, at the It Pays to Watch website.

Anyway, the show was very interesting - if a little frenetic at times - but one thing that especially caught my eye was when they interviewed a guy called Glynn Olive. Since he retired from the police force in 2007, Glynn has been spending an hour a day simply entering consumer competitions. During that time he has apparently won over 6000 UK pounds' (about $12000 US) worth of prizes. Some of these, such as a holiday at a five-star hotel in Malta, he and his family enjoyed - but others they didn't want, such as a Kymco motor scooter, he sold on for cash.

Martin Lewis worked out that, in effect, Glynn's hobby was earning him a staggering fifty pounds ($100 US) an hour. In fact, because in the UK prizes won in consumer contests are normally tax-free, this is the equivalent of a much higher rate of pay in a normal job. It's food for thought, isn't it?

Entering consumer contests has long been a sideline interest of mine, and over the years I've won various prizes, from a Mediterranean cruise to a crate of lager. I particularly favour the sort of contest which includes a tie-breaker slogan, e.g. where you have to complete a line such as "I love eating Australian apples every day because..." in 15 words or less.

These sort of contests are great for writers, because you really can use your professional skills to give you an edge over most of the other entrants. Here's an example of one such contest running online at the moment, so you can see what I mean. Note that these contests often require you to answer one or two other questions as well, but almost always these are very easy. Really, it all comes down to who can write the best "tie-breaker" slogan.

Unfortunately, this sort of contest is mainly open to people in the UK, and to a lesser extent in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Elsewhere in the world - e.g. the USA - sweepstakes abound, but because there is little skill in entering these, you have no opportunity to apply your writing abilities, and your chances of winning are therefore much less.

Anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity to mention that entering consumer contests is a topic covered in my Quick Cash Writing course and, in much more depth, in my new course How to Win Contests. If you want to know all about entering consumer contests, how to devise winning slogans, essential online (and off-line) resources for "compers", and much more, you really should check them out. How to Win Contests does also discuss sweepstakes, but as mentioned above you can't do a lot to improve your chances of winning these. There are a few things, however, and naturally in my full course I reveal them :)

Good luck, and I hope you're soon earning the equivalent of fifty pounds an hour!

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Another New Opportunity to Make Money From Your Website

My post a few weeks ago about Money4Banners generated a lot of interest, so I thought you might perhaps be interested to hear about another new opportunity to make a bit of painless extra income from your blog or website.

WidgetBucks works in a similar way to Google AdSense. You copy and paste some special code into your website HTML. A banner advert is then displayed on your site, and every time someone clicks on it, you get paid a fee. As with AdSense, you can choose from a range of different banner sizes and colour schemes. You can also choose the type of ad displayed (e.g. video games), or let WidgetBucks analyze your site and automatically display ads that are relevant to the site's content. The latter method is how Google AdSense works, of course.

So what advantages does WidgetBucks have over AdSense? Well, as mentioned, unlike AdSense you can choose the type of ads displayed. The ads themselves tend to be a bit jazzier than those generated by AdSense, and the WidgetBucks site is more user-friendly. And they are giving all new publishers a sign-up bonus of $25 (admittedly, you do have to earn another $25 before you can withdraw this, but I guess that's only fair). The ads themselves supposedly pay about twice what AdSense do. And finally, they have an affiliate program where you can introduce new members and get 10% of whatever they earn in the first year. So, to me anyway, it looks a pretty good deal all round!

If you'd like to see what a typical WidgetBucks ad looks like, I've put one on this page of my Stop Spam Email site - it's under the paragraph about E-Cloaker. Just a word of caution, however. I'm finding that the ads show up in Internet Explorer, but I don't see them in Firefox. Also, the main WidgetBucks site doesn't display correctly in Firefox on my PC, so again it's probably best to view it using Explorer. Hopefully WidgetBucks will address this issue soon.

Anyway, if you have a website or a blog - both are equally welcome - and you'd like to generate a bit of extra cash from banner advertising, it's well worth checking out WidgetBucks. Note that you will need to apply including details of your blog or website, and wait (about 12 hours in my case) for your application to be approved. As far as I can see, most mainstream sites will be accepted, but understandably there are some exclusions, notably sites with "adult" content.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Christmas Gift to You!

It's nearly Christmas, and I'm in a generous mood. So I've decided to offer a free gift to every reader of my blog. It's a copy of my unique mini-report "How to Make Big Bucks Selling Your Movie Idea to Hollywood".

This report is based on the module about selling ideas for films and TV shows in my course Quick Cash Writing. It explains how, if you have a great idea for a movie, you may be able to get a Hollywood "insider" to pitch it to the studios on your behalf. If your idea is optioned you will pick up a fee of at least $5,000, and much more if the movie is put into production. And no, you don't have to write the screenplay yourself!

There are no strings attached. The report is available for you to download now, free, gratis and for nothing. It's in the universal RT Just click on this link [SORRY, LINK DELETED!] and it should open in a separate window in your word processing software. You can then read it, print it out, or save it to your own PC by selecting "Save As" and saving to a folder of your choice.

But please, if you want to do this, don't leave it too long. I can only leave this offer up until Christmas, after which you will again only be able to obtain the report if you buy WCCL's blockbusting Write a Movie in a Month course via my blog review (or, in a slightly different form, if you buy my Quick Cash Writing course).

And speaking of Write a Movie in a Month, if you're interested in screenwriting you can still take advantage of my special offer on this amazing CD-ROM. Just click on this link to read my blog review, and scroll down to see the offer details (which include both a $20 discount and further bonus items).

Happy Christmas, and happy screenwriting!

SORRY, this offer has now closed. Hope you got to download the report in time! If not, you can still get it, but only if you buy WCCL's blockbusting Write a Movie in a Month course via my blog review (or, in a slightly different form, if you buy my Quick Cash Writing course).

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Congratulations to our latest prize-winner!

Many congratulations to Mywriterscircle.com member Bry, who won our recent contest to write a short verse about the forum with the following ditty:

My writers circle, prose and poetry is their game
If you want to know more then Nick is the name.


Queries and questions answered by members
Stickies and posts, sites to remember.

Coffee shop and chat rooms there for the bidding

Newbies and hero's all lifting the lidding.


A club for writers, well I certainly feel part
A world wide web of knowledge that gets to the heart.

So here's to the circle and long may it reign
The site with a body as well as a brain.

Great effort, Bry, and I like the last couplet especially. Your verse was a worthy winner, even if there weren't many (OK, any!) competing entries.

Bry wins a year's subscription to SpellCheckPlus Pro, the professional version of the free online spelling and grammar checker SpellCheckPlus, discussed in my recent blog post. As part of his prize, he also gets a complimentary subscription to the French language version of the site, Bon Patron Pro.

We still have one more subscription to SpellCheckPlus Pro to give away (again including the Bon Patron Pro subscription as well), so this time we're simply donating it to whoever posts message number 115000 on the forum. Please see this topic for more information.

Good luck, and happy forum posting!

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another Record-Breaking Month

My forum at www.mywriterscircle.com is becoming ever more popular. Already in November we have smashed the previous record for the number of posts in a month. The old record was 7774, but in November we're already up to 8446, with one more day still to go!

If you haven't yet joined my forum, therefore, do give it a try. It's free and easy to do, and you will then be able to post any writing-related questions you may have, put up extracts of your work for feedback from other members, and generally enjoy belonging to a friendly, world-wide online writing community. Just go to www.mywriterscircle.com and click on Register to get started.

You will also be able to take part in our regular prize competitions, such as the current contest to win a year's subscription to SpellCheckPlus Pro. The closing date for this one is tomorrow, so there's still time to enter. Just click on this link to go straight to the topic concerned, though note that you will need to be a logged-in member to post your entry.

Finally, even if you don't want to register yet, it's still well worth reading our Writers Wanted board, as a number of interesting opportunities for writers have been posted there recently by long-standing member Linda Jones. They include details of an in-flight magazine looking for article pitches, a UK non-fiction book publisher inviting submissions, and a very interesting opportunity for a fiction writer to get involved in film work. Thanks for all the great market info, Linda!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Three Days Left!

A quick reminder that you have just three days left to enter the contest on my forum at www.mywriterscircle.com to win a year's subscription to SpellCheckPlus Pro.

All you have to do is write a short verse about Mywriterscircle.com and post it in this topic. Any verse-form may be used, with an upper limit of 14 lines. The judges will be Karl Moore of WCCL and myself, and we will each pick our favourite of the entries submitted. Each winner will then receive a prize (we have two to give away in total).

Forum members can post their entries as a reply in this forum topic, which also includes the full rules. Any comments or questions about the contest can be posted in this other topic.

The closing date is Friday 30 November at 12 noon GMT - so have fun, and get writing!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Earn a Sideline Income from your Website

If you have your own website - and in my view every writer should - here's an opportunity to earn a little extra from it.

I should say at once that this opportunity, Money4Banners, does not require any financial outlay. Rather, you are required to place three small advertising banners on three different pages of your website. In practice that just means copying and pasting a bit of code supplied by Money4Banners into your website HTML.

Assuming your site is approved - and it almost certainly will be - you will then receive a fee of 10 UK pounds ($20 US) on acceptance, and 5 UK pounds ($10 US) every month for as long as you keep the ads running. Payments can be taken either in cash (via Paypal) or in Amazon vouchers.

I admit five pounds a month might not sound a fortune, but that's 60 pounds a year, every year, that you wouldn't otherwise have. I've been a member of the program run by Money4Banners' parent company for over two years now, so I can testify that it really is that easy, and you really do get paid. You can see a sample of the sort of ads they use on the homepage of my anti-spam website (it's the insurance ad about half-way down).

OK, if you don't have a website or you faint at the sight of HTML, this opportunity might not be for you. But if you have a site and don't mind adding a few extra banners - in locations of your own choice - this scheme could cover all your hosting costs and a bit more besides.

By the way, I asked and was told that the Money4Banners scheme is available to anyone, anywhere in the world.

P.S. If you don't yet have your own website, I highly recommend The Newbie Club First Website Builder, which will show you everything you need to know to build a professional-looking site using free tools.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Job Vacancy With WCCL

Thought you might like to know that my colleague Karl Moore of the electronic publishing house WCCL is looking for a Marketing Assistant/PA, to help with a range of online promotions they have planned.

On this topic in my forum, Karl writes: "You'll need to be devilishly intelligent, friendly as a cup of tea, and with writing skills to blow me away. You'll also need to be friendly, approachable, and great on the phone."

So, as Karl says, just your standard run-of-the-mill job requirement there...

If you are interested, drop Karl a line at karl-at-karlmoore.com (change the -at- to an @ sign as usual), putting KARL MOORE in the subject line.

Good luck if you decide to apply for this job. Who knows, you could end up helping to promote my courses!

Update 27 November 2007 - I've just heard that this vacancy has been filled. Sorry!

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Monday, November 12, 2007

A Lesser-Known Market for Writers

On my recent trip to Venice I passed some of the journey reading the in-flight magazine provided by the airline (easyJet).

Perhaps surprisingly for a budget airline, easyJet produce a very nice in-flight magazine - it's simply called easyJet Inflight. As I flipped through it, I was struck by the number of articles that could have been - and probably were - written by freelances. Here are a few that particularly caught my eye (yes, I took the mag away with me - it does say on the front 'Your Free Copy to Keep').

Smarter Not Harder - This article in the Business section looks at 'smart working' - a term which describes alternatives to the traditional 9 to 5, including home-working, tele-commuting, flexible hours, and so on. The article has a Europe-wide perspective, and advocates smart working as beneficial to individuals, their employers, and society as a whole.

Truffle Hounds - This is a lighter article about the UK's first training school for truffle dogs, where they are trained to sniff out this much-prized delicacy.

White Goes Green - This article argues that skiers need to be more aware of the environmental impact of their sport, and sets out some tips on how to be a greener skier.

Any of these articles - and many others in this 180-page monthly magazine - could easily have been researched and written by a competent freelance. It's worth noting that in-flight magazines are generally produced by contract publishing companies rather than the airlines themselves. The easyJet magazine is published on behalf of easyJet by London-based Ink Publishing, who also produce magazines for a wide range of other airlines, including RyanAir, Midwest Airlines, China Air, and so on.

If you have a good idea for an in-flight magazine article, it would certainly be worth submitting a query letter and outline to the publisher concerned, be it Ink Publishing or someone else. Articles with a cosmopolitan outlook targeted at regular travellers should have a good chance of success with both budget and regular airline magazines. Ideas for features based on the destinations the airlines in question fly to could also go down well, particularly if you can find an unusual angle on a popular destination.

Good luck, and enjoy your flight!

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Win a Copy of WhiteSmoke's Writing Software!

Here's a special contest for members of my forum only! As you'll know from my last post, we just clocked up 100,000 posts. Well, we've now arranged with our friends at WhiteSmoke to give away a copy of their popular writing software to whoever creates post number 101,000!

For those who don't know, WhiteSmoke is a program that aims to help users produce better-written documents. It does this by analyzing the spelling, punctuation and grammar in any document, then suggesting corrections and possible improvements. If you missed it, you can read my full review of WhiteSmoke's software here (though note that this does not mention some of the new features added recently, such as the built-in dictionary).

This contest is already generating lots of interest on the forum, and there are now only a few hundred posts to go until the magic 101,000 is reached. See this topic where the contest is being discussed!

Finally, I should mention that WhiteSmoke currently have a special 'Birthday Offer' running. As it's the company's birthday, they are offering everyone who buys their standard software the opportunity to buy any two of the 'pro' versions as well for just $1 each. The pro versions are designed to apply a particular style, and among the choices you can get a creative writing version and a business version. This offer represents a saving of over $100 on the full price. For more info, see my review or click on the banner below to go straight to the WhiteSmoke site.

Good luck in the contest, and get posting!


Whitesmoke all-in-one tool

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More Opportunities at About.com

The giant About.com website is actively looking for new Subject Guides right now. I noticed they had even placed an advertisement for UK Guides in my Sunday newspaper last week.

For those who don't know, About.com Guides are home-based freelances who take responsibility for a particular content area on the About.com site. Guides are expected to build up 'their' sites by sourcing (and writing) articles, adding links, hosting web-based discussions, and so on.

Payment is based on the advertising revenue generated by your site, but as long as you fulfil the company's requirements they guarantee you will earn a minimum of $725 a month. Maximum earnings are unlimited, based on a percentage of advertising turnover - according to the About.com website, they have some Guides who earn in excess of $100,000 a year. Good writing skills are required, along with knowledge of your chosen subject area, but training in the necessary technical skills is provided. Although for most Guides the work is part-time, it is a serious commitment, and you must expect to devote at least 10 to 20 hours a week to it.

Here is a selection of topics for which About.com is currently looking for Guides:

19th Century History
ADD/ADHD
All-Terrain Vehicles
Alzheimer's Disease
American Food
Animal Rights
Anthropology
Arabic Language
Arrhythmia

And I haven't even got past the A's!

For the benefit of my UK readers, here are a few topics specifically for this country:

Birmingham, England
Brighton, England
UK Cars
UK Cricket
UK Dance Music
UK Football
UK Gossip
UK Home Business
UK Reality TV

Usefully, for each available topic, the information page now displays a panel showing the candidate profile the company is looking for.

Anyone can apply to be a Guide. Qualified applicants with proven expertise in a topic are accepted into Prep, which is a 17 day-long self-guided online training program. During Prep, prospective Guides become familiar with About.com's tools and demonstrate their knowledge by building sample sites. Experienced editors evaluate these sample sites and choose the most qualified applicant for the topic concerned.

If I was just starting out as a freelance writer, I would definitely want to look into the About.com opportunity. It's a good chance to earn a steady income from researching and writing about a subject that interests you. In addition, you'll immediately get a high profile in that subject on the web, and you'll learn some useful technical skills too. For full details, visit http://beaguide.about.com.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Flash Fiction Contest Deadline Approaching!

I just wanted to remind you that the WCCL Flash Fiction Contest closes in two days time, on 31 August 2007 at 12 noon GMT.

The contest is to write a short story in exactly 100 words - no more, no less - which includes the following six words: mirror, subliminal, genius, white, cliff, clepsydra. In addition, you will need to provide a title of up to 15 words (this does not count towards the 100 words for the story).

Entry is free, and the best three stories submitted will win prizes of the popular WriteItNow novel-writing software from Ravenshead Services. This is the full version, which normally sells for $39.62 (US Dollars) or 19.95 UK Pounds. The winning stories will also be published on my blog and forum.

For full details of the contest, and how to enter, please click on this link. The results will be announced by the end of September. I don't think I'm giving away too much by saying that so far we have only received about 40 entries, so if you can come up with a compelling 100-word story that meets all the requirements set out above, you really do have every chance of scooping a prize.

Good luck, and happy flash fiction writing!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another Site Paying for Articles...

In yesterday's post I wrote about Helium Knowledge, a well-established site which is now offering writers opportunities to produce articles for a fixed fee rather than just a share of advertising revenue.

Well, I've now discovered another website offering a similar opportunity. Matrixmails is unlike Helium in that it is not primarily a writers site. Rather, it offers members the opportunity to earn a sideline income reading advertiser emails, signing up for offers, playing online games, and so on. However, it has just added "get paid to write" to its list of opportunities for members.

They are looking for articles on any subject from the categories listed on the site (currently online gaming and web hosting), and are paying $3 to $30 for each article, minimum 500 words. Unlike Helium Knowledge, they will accept any number of articles on the set topics as long as they meet their quality requirements. Articles have to include at least 2 or 3 keywords from a list provided.

At first, you can only submit one article per category. Once the article has been approved or rejected, you are then allowed to submit another article for the same category. Matrixmails say this limitation may be removed from "preferred writers" who have a minimum of three articles already approved. Once you become a preferred writer, you are allowed to submit up to 10 articles per category at the same time. Matrixmails say they are looking to work with writers who can provide quality articles in the long run.

As with the Helium Knowledge Marketplace, this is a brand new opportunity, and there are definite first-mover advantages for writers who sign up now. As mentioned above, apart from the article writing, you can also make money on Matrixmails from reading advertiser emails, signing up for free trials, and so on, if you wish.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Helium Knowledge Expands Opportunities for Writers

Helium Knowledge is a writing website that's been around for a while - you may even have seen ads for it on this blog or my forum. The site pays writers a portion of the advertising revenue generated by the articles they post on it.

Helium Knowledge is open to any writer, though with payment by advertising revenue share only, you were unlikely to make a fortune on it. Helium Knowledge was discussed recently in this topic on my forum.

Recently Helium Knowledge has become a little more exciting, however. They've just launched Helium Marketplace, where brand-name publishers post details of articles they need freelance writers for. They are paying at least $16 per article, with some paying $50, and others going as high as $170. Articles are normally 500 to 1000 words, though some of those currently requested are as short as 250.

Any Helium Knowledge member is welcome to write these articles. Just click on Marketplace in the left-hand menu of the site, then click on the name of any publisher that interests you from the list that appears. Details of the article/s they currently require will be displayed. If you fancy trying your hand at any of them, click on the article title and a new page will open, including a box in which you can enter your article text.

Obviously, it is likely that several members will try writing the article in question, and the publishers will choose the one they like best. Only that person will receive the guaranteed fee. It's worth noting, however, that even if your article isn't chosen, it will stay on the site as part of your Helium portfolio, earning you an income each time somebody reads it. In addition, some publishers are offering "consolation prizes" for the best articles that don't get selected.

Writing for the Helium Knowledge Marketplace might not be quite as good as getting a definite commission, but if you're just setting out it offers a great way of getting your name known to a world-wide readership. In addition, successful authors may be commissioned to write additional articles by the publishers concerned. I should perhaps add that Helium Knowledge is free to join.

In my view Helium Knowledge, and its new Marketplace in particular, is well worth a look if article writing is something that appeals to you.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Have You Seen Yuwie?

Yuwie is the latest social networking website, following on from others such as MySpace and Facebook. However, it's unusual in that it shares the revenues it generates with its members, on the basis that the more you use it, the more money you make.

The Yuwie site is rapidly climbing the Alexa ratings (Alexa gives you one opinion about the popularity of a site). It's already made it into Alexa's top 3,000 sites on the Web, despite only just having been launched.

The way Yuwie works is that you join for free and get credited with one page view every time you visit a page on the site (even just to update your profile). They pay you for referral page views too, down 10 levels, so if you introduce just one or two people and they do the same, you can end up getting thousands of page views every day. Each month they announce their payout per thousand page views, and you get paid accordingly.

It's early days with Yuwie, and too early yet to say how successful it will prove. But if you're interested in earning a pain-free sideline income and the other benefits of joining a social networking site (e.g. your own free blog), Yuwie is well worth a look. And it won't cost you one red cent either!

Incidentally, if you're interested in earning a sideline income, check out also my recent posts about The Marketing Pond and AGLOCO (both also free of charge).

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Short Story Radio Open for Submissions

Short Story Radio is a new Internet radio station seeking short stories to be professionally recorded and broadcast via the website. Here's an extract from an email about the service I received from the station manager, Ian Skillicorn:

We invite writers to submit previously unpublished stories and we choose a selection of the best to be recorded and broadcast on our website. All our chosen stories are recorded by professional actors; with music added for extra atmosphere, each recorded story is brought to life by our creative team.

There is no fee for submitting a story and recording and transmission fees for chosen stories are paid for by shortstoryradio.com.

Stories are available to listeners for six months and the writers of chosen stories receive a profile in the Our Writers section of the website. Visitors to shortstoryradio.com are increasing every week. We have had over 40,000 visitors to the website since we began in 2006. Many of our listeners are fellow writers and we also have thousands of English Language students from around the world who like to listen to our stories to practise their listening comprehension skills, while being entertained at the same time.

I checked out the website myself. I'd have to say I don't think it looks as professional as WCCL's Internet radio station WritersFM, but when I tried listening to some of the stories I was favourably impressed. Short Story Radio uses a neat little online audio player which seems to work very well, and the recording quality of the stories is excellent.

One thing that did concern me a bit was that writers do not get paid for having their stories broadcast on Short Story Radio. I asked Ian about this, and he replied as follows:

I appreciate your query about fees for writers. We aim to provide a platform for writers to have a professional broadcast of their story that otherwise would not be possible, which is why rather than offering a fee, we are covering all costs including bandwith, recording, editing, music clearance etc. With all these associated costs it simply wouldn't be possible to pay for stories and keep the website going. However, as we grow we do hope to explore commercial opportunities for the stories, through which everyone involved could be paid royalties.

So there you are. If you're looking for a platform for your short stories and don't mind not getting paid, Short Story Radio is worth checking out. Submissions are being accepted from now till September 12 2007 - here's a direct link to the submissions page. Although in general I think writers should be paid for their efforts, I can understand that funds may be tight at the moment. Hopefully as the service becomes more established, Short Story Radio may be able to start offering payments to their writers.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

WCCL Flash Fiction Contest

I'm pleased to announce that my publishers WCCL, in association with Ravenshead Services, are running a flash fiction contest. What we want you to do is write a short story in exactly 100 words - no more, no less - which includes the following six words: mirror, subliminal, genius, white, cliff, clepsydra. In addition, you will need to provide a title of up to 15 words (this does not count towards the 100 words for the story).

Entry is free, and the best three stories submitted will win prizes of the popular WriteItNow novel-writing software from Ravenshead Services. This is the full version, which normally sells for $39.62 (US Dollars) or 19.95 UK Pounds. The winning stories will also be published on my blog and forum.

WriteItNow is available for both PCs and Macs. Among its many features, it includes a built-in word processor to write and store a complete novel (or novels). It will also keep background details of characters, events, locations and ideas, display charts of events and relationships, generate characters, names and ideas, and much more. It's basically a complete, all-in-one tool for planning, organizing and writing your novel. If you wish, you can download a free demo version from the WriteItNow website. This can do everything the full version can, except save stories and use add-ons.

I will be judging the contest myself, with a little help from my colleague Karl Moore at WCCL. We will be looking for a complete, entertaining and beautifully written short story, in which every one of the 100 words really does count. For more advice on writing flash fiction, check out the Wikipedia article referenced above, and also this excellent short article by Jason Gurley on the Writing World website. Don't forget that you must include the six words mentioned above as well!

The competition closing date is 31 August 2007 at 12 noon GMT, so you have plenty of time to get your entry in. Please send it by email to Contest-at-nickdaws.co.uk (change the -at- for the usual @ symbol). Include the story in the body of your email (no attachments), and put the title of your story in the subject line. Please do NOT put anything else in the email apart from your story, as we will be judging the contest anonymously. Only one entry is allowed per person.

The winning entrants will be notified at the email address they used to submit the story after judging has been completed, which will be at the end of September. Please don't use an email address you know you will be changing in the next two months, therefore!

If you have any queries or comments about this contest, don't send them to the email address above, as this is for contest entries only and messages will not be read until after the contest closing date. Please post them on my forum at the following topic: http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=9924.0

It just remains for me to wish you the very best of luck!

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Earn Extra Cash Promoting My Writing Courses!

If you have a website, did you know that you can earn a steady sideline income (plus my undying gratitude) by promoting my writing courses on it?

All you need to do is sign up as an affiliate with my publishers, WCCL. This is a simple process and won't cost you a bean. Just click here to go to the sign-up page, and select "Nick Daws Course" from the drop-down list of products as the first one you want to promote. This is the best-selling course also known as "Write Any Book in Under 28 Days". It's designed for anyone who wants to write a book, fiction or non-fiction, in the shortest possible time.

If you prefer, of course, you can choose one of my other popular courses. Quick Cash Writing explains how anyone can start earning money from writing as quickly as possible, while How to Win Contests is my brand new guide to winning cash, free holidays and consumer goods from entering competitions, contests and sweepstakes.

The only other thing you will need to become a WCCL affiliate is a Paypal account, which the company will use to send your commission payments. If you don't already have a Paypal account (they are widely used on the auction site eBay), you can sign up for one free of charge by clicking here.

Once you are an affiliate, you will have access to a wide range of banners and text links you can use on your site. Each will include your special affiliate code, so for everyone who clicks through to the sales site via your link and buys a course, you will get a commission payment. WCCL pays generous commissions of up to 50% of the sales price. They send you an email every time you make a sale, and (assuming a refund hasn't been requested) you get your commission 35 days later. Again, you will receive email notifications of payment from both WCCL and Paypal.

What's more, once you are a WCCL affiliate, you don't just have to promote my courses. You can, if you wish, promote any of WCCL's other courses (e.g. the blockbusting Write a Movie in a Month), not to mention their wide range of self-development products, Windows utilities, hypnosis downloads, privacy software, driving guides, and much more.

If you do decide to promote my courses on your website, here's a quick hint. By far the best way to get people to click through to the sales site is to tell them a bit about it in your own words, or even write a review. The advertising banners look pretty cool, but they work much better when accompanied by some text as well!

Even if you don't have a website now, you can easily set one up using the free Squidoo service, as I described in this post a few weeks ago. Or you can open a Google Adwords account and place ads for the courses on Google and other search engines. This will involve a certain amount of expenditure, but with WCCL's generous commissions it's not difficult to generate a net profit (I've been using this method myself for several years). I recommend the top-selling Googlecash manual if you would like a step-by-step guide to this.

Finally, I should mention that WCCL operate a two-tier referral system. Whenever someone visits one of their sites through your affiliate link and signs up as an affiliate themselves, you automatically receive 5% commission on ALL their future sales. There's nothing to lose and everything to gain, so why not click here now to sign up?

Good luck, and thank you very much for helping to promote my courses!

Advertisement follows/...

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Get your online college degrees at the Capella University and Walden University! Learn about education courses and writing programs.


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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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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More Opportunities for Writers

Several new opportunities for writers have been posted recently on the Writers Wanted board of my forum, so I thought I'd quickly run through them.

First up, my regular clients Lagoon are looking for a UK-based maths teacher or educational author to write a multiple-choice quiz book based on National Curriculum requirements. You will need a good knowledge of Key Stage 2 Maths.

If you are interested, apply to Nikole Bamford at nikolebamford-at-thelagoongroup.com. Obviously, change the -at- in the email address to the usual @ symbol.

Lagoon are leading publishers of novelty and quiz book titles. They pay a flat fee rather than royalties. I have written dozens of products for them over the years, and they are always a pleasure to work with. If you apply to Nikole, do say hello to her from me!

The second opportunity was posted by our long-standing member Smiley, and again it is most likely to be of interest to UK authors. Indeed, it will only be relevant if you live in the south-west (or are willing to move there), as the job is in Exeter. The advert is copied below:

Experience of creative writing? Strong proof reading skills? Passionate about the English language? If so read on...
We have an exciting and highly unusual opportunity for someone with strong language skills to join a growing company in their Exeter offices. You will be providing assistance to the Editorial Manager, and ideally will have some creative writing experience. A strong team ethic is required, along with some previous office administration experience for this busy and varied post. You will be liaising with clients, planning work schedules and writing short stories/activity books, etc. for a children's market. This is truly a unique opportunity for Exeter, and if you have a natural ability with words, or perhaps an English degree - don't delay - apply immediately!

Click on this link - kindly provided by Smiley - to visit the job site where this vacancy is being advertised. If you're looking for a full-time writing position and are lucky enough to live in the Exeter area, it should be your dream job, I'd have thought!

The next opportunity is open to anyone in the world. A US-based publishing house is currently seeking submissions of short stories from 2000 to 5000 words for a new anthology to be titled One Step Beyond: Rocking Tales of the Fantastical. As the name suggests, stories should be in the fantasy genre, with a rock 'n' roll element. This is a paying market, and the final deadline is October 1 (submissions by August 1 preferred). For more info, click here to visit the relevant topic on my forum.

Finally, my colleague Suzie Harris is in the process of launching her own online women's magazine. Quite a few forum members have already signed up as contributors, but if you're interested I'm sure it's not too late to get in touch! The magazine will be called Perfume and Lace, and the website is already up and running. Here's a link to the topic on my forum where the magazine is being discussed.

Good luck if you decide to apply for any of these opportunities!

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

AGLOCO Viewbar Now Available

A few weeks ago in this blog I mentioned a new sideline opportunity called AGLOCO. AGLOCO were offering people the opportunity to get paid for having low-key adverts displayed in a viewbar at the bottom (or top) of their screen any time they were browsing the Internet.

Well, it's taken a little longer than expected, but at last the AGLOGO viewbar has been released. I received an email from the company this morning with full download instructions. I've saved it on this Google Documents page if you wish to read it.

I followed the instructions and downloaded the viewbar without any difficulty. Here's a screengrab showing how it looks on my PC (click on the image to see a larger version). The viewbar is down at the foot of the screen, just above the Windows XP taskbar. I think you'll agree it's not too intrusive.

Adverts aren't yet being served (to me, anyway), but AGLOCO assure me I am already starting to earn hours. The ads will appear in the main area of the viewbar, to the left. There is also a search box, allowing you to search using Google or a range of other search engines, whatever page you may be on. The 'gear' icon on the far right gives access to your Internet Explorer and Firefox Favorites lists, as well as tools such as Calculator and Calendar. Finally, the down arrow lets you minimise the viewbar so that it no longer appears on your screen. Of course, with the viewbar minimised, you won't get credited by AGLOCO for your browsing.

Overall then, everything seems to be going well. The maximum you can currently be credited for by AGLOCO is 5 hours a month, which certainly won't be a problem for me (I'll do that in a day or two!).

If you've already joined AGLOCO and received their email, I recommend you go and download the viewbar as soon as possible - the quicker you have it, the quicker you'll start earning! If you've not received the email, it's still worth logging in to your AGLOCO account and seeing if a link to download the viewbar is available. Read the email I saved here for full instructions. If there is no download link visible when you log in, it just means you will need to wait a little longer to get your viewbar.

Finally, if you haven't yet joined AGLOCO and you're looking for a painless, cost-free way to earn a sideline income, do read my original post and click through one of the links in it, or click here to go directly to the AGLOCO application page. Even better, join The Marketing Pond and join AGLOCO through this - AGLOCO is one of the top programs they recommend. Here is a link to my original post about The Marketing Pond.

Happy browsing!

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Monday, June 04, 2007

24-Hour Short Story Contest

If you enjoy writing short stories, here's a contest with a difference that may interest you.

The contest is run by the freelance writing ezine Writers Weekly. The difference (compared with most such contests) is that the topic will not be made known to writers until 24 hours before the deadline. In other words, once you know the topic required, you will then have just 24 hours to write and submit your story.

There are a lot of things I like about this contest. One is that it is limited to just 500 entries (once that figure has been reached, no further pre-registrations will be accepted). In addition, there are over 85 prizes, so you really do have a decent chance of winning something. And finally, the entry fee is a modest $5 (about 2.50 UK pounds), and anyone in the world is welcome to enter.

As with the contest theme, the word count will not be revealed until 24 hours before the deadline. The organisers say that this is to stop people writing their story in advance, then just making a few minor changes to incorporate the set topic.

The start time for the next quarterly contest is 28 July 2007 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) Central Time. If you fancy a writing challenge - and know you will have some time available on 28/29 July! - in my view it's well worth checking out this contest. Don't forget, though, to scroll down the contest information page to read the FAQs and tips for entrants.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

The Blog Route to Publication

I've said it before here, but blogs are HOT in the publishing world right now!

An ever-growing roster of books have been commissioned from blogs. They include Blood, Sweat and Tea by London ambulanceman Tom Reynolds, Abandoned: The true story of a girl who didn't belong by Anya Peters (which is about homelessness), and the explicit Girl With a One-Track Mind by Abby Lee (real name Zoe Margolis).

I was reminded of this again a few days ago, when my colleague (and purchaser of my Write Any Book in Under 28 Days course) Dr Suzanne Harris told me that she has a publisher interested in her new blog at http://dresstokillonebay.blogspot.com. The blog is described as 'A woman's guide to buying clothes on a budget'. It's a great-looking blog - do check it out - but perhaps the most impressive thing is that it has only been going for a few weeks.

So if you have a blog, it's worth thinking about approaching a few publishers to see if they are interested in turning it into a book. And even if you don't have a blog, there's nothing to stop you starting one. Use the free Blogger service, for example, and you could have a blog up and running in ten minutes - no programming skills required.

Finally, if you're wondering where to start in the quest to find a publisher for your blog, one company you could consider is the UK-based Friday Project. They are actively looking for books based on blogs or websites, and say they will consider both fiction and non-fiction.

Happy blogging!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Do You Squidoo?

In the last few weeks I've been exploring a new - and free - service called Squidoo. I say new, but it's actually been around since March 2006. I've only just discovered it myself!

Squidoo makes it easy for anyone to set up a single page website on any topic they wish. These one-page sites are referred to as lenses. Lenses can be about anything, including people and places, hobbies and sports, jobs and activities, and so on. As single page sites, lenses aren't intended to hold huge amounts of content; more emphasis is placed on recommending and then pointing to content on the web.

Users who create lenses are called 'lensmasters'. Lensmasters build up their lenses from a range of modules provided by Squidoo. There is a biography module, an introduction module, a 'Write' module for text, a poll module for incorporating opinion polls, a guestbook module, a links module, and so on. You simply choose the modules you want, fill in the necessary content, and click to publish.

There are two aspects of Squidoo that make it of particular interest to writers. First, no technical expertise is needed to build your lens. You don't need to know any HTML (although if you know a little, it will help you add some extra bells and whistles). You simply build up your lens by adding modules and arranging them as required.

The other attraction of Squidoo is that it gives writers the opportunity to earn from their expertise. All lenses have Google AdSense ads on their pages, and lensmasters get a share of the income generated from this. Of course, that's similar to Suite101, which I discussed here recently.

In addition, however, it is possible to incorporate a range of other money-making modules into your lenses. For example, the Amazon.com module will display books and other products relevant to your chosen topic. If anyone buys a book from Amazon via your link, the commission is split between you and Squidoo. There are also money-making modules for eBay, CafePress and other online stores.

I'm a beginner at Squidoo (and not particularly technical), but in a very short time I was able to build my first two lenses. Greece Travel Tips is a lens containing tips for anyone planning on going to Greece for the first time. This was done mainly for fun, to see how easy (or otherwise) it would be. My other lens is called How to Write a Book, and as you might guess is promoting my course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. I'd estimate that each lens took me no more than two hours to create.

Based on my experience so far, I'd definitely recommend Squidoo as worthy of your attention if you're looking for ways to make money writing for the web. If you decide to give it a go, click on this referral link to get started and you will receive an extra $5 bonus from Squidoo once you have earned your first $15 (and so will I!).

If you'd like more info about Squidoo, there are a couple of guides I'd recommend. First of all, those of you who took my recommendation and joined The Marketing Pond can download a free guide called 'How to Use Squidoo' from the Products section. A more comprehensive guide called SquidooBlueprint is available for just $9.97 (around 5 UK pounds) from this website. SquidooBlueprint goes into much more detail about making money from Squidoo, and I recommend buying it if you hope to earn an income from the site. You can even sell the guide yourself once you've bought it and get 100% commission on every sale.

See you on Squidoo!

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Writing for Suite101

From the stats for my blog, I know that a post I wrote a few months ago about opportunities for subject guides on the giant About.com website has generated more interest than almost any other. Incidentally, there are still opportunities at About.com, and if you click on the following link you can read my original post about this.

Today I thought I'd mention another opportunity that is similar in some ways to About.com. Suite101 is looking for freelances to write articles about a huge range of topics (3,000, in fact). On their website they say they require:

* Entertaining, aspiring, and ahead-of-the-curve non-fiction freelance writers, veteran print journalists/authors republishing work online to build Web portfolios.
* Insiders, aficionados, enthusiasts, experts, opinion-makers.
* Freelance writers willing to publish a minimum of 10 articles over 3 months and granting exclusive electronic rights for 1 year, shared rights thereafter.

You can read their full writers' guidelines here.

The not-so-good news about Suite101 is that, unlike About.com, there are no minimum income guarantees. Writers get paid a share of the income generated by the Google AdSense ads on the web pages where their articles are hosted. For those who don't know, these are the small 'ads by Google' you will see on many sites, including this blog and my forum. When someone clicks on an ad, the advertiser pays a fee to Google, which Google then shares with the owner of the site concerned. So in the case of Suite101, the fees deriving from any click will be split three ways, between Google, Suite101 and the author. Don't expect to earn a fortune, therefore!

On the other hand, it is probably easier to get accepted by Suite101, and the commitment required is less. In addition, if your articles are well received you can apply for promotion to Feature Writer status, which earns you a revenue bonus of up to 30% plus various other privileges (explained on the Suite101 website).

If you decide to try writing for Suite101, one tip would be to concentrate on business-related topics such as insurance, real estate, finance, and so on. More advertisers want to advertise on pages devoted to these topics, so the fees paid per click on AdSense ads can be much higher. Clicks on ads related to freelance writing, as I can testify from personal experience, pay the site owner very little!

Good luck if you decide to apply for this opportunity.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Marketing Pond

In my post last week you may remember I mentioned a website called The Marketing Pond. This had been recommended to me by my colleague Sandy Mather as a good (and free) resource for anyone seeking to make a sideline income on the Internet.

Well, I duly joined The Marketing Pond and have been impressed by what I found. Essentially, the site lists several dozen websites under four main headings: Free Opportunity (the AGLOCO viewbar), Free Advertising, Easy Money and Click to Earn Programs. You can see the full list by clicking here.

These opportunities are the ones currently recommended by The Marketing Pond, and you can sign up with any of them via the links on the site. However, joining The Marketing Pond offers many other benefits as well.

To start with, you get access to a forum, where members discuss their experiences with the programs listed and reveal their methods for getting the most out of them. Members also get access to free resources, reports and products from the members' area. And you get regular emails from the site's founder, Valerie Underhill, with updates on all the opportunities.

One other big attraction, however, is that as soon as you join, you are given your own unique referral URL for The Marketing Pond. If anyone visits The Marketing Pond via your link and joins any of the programs listed, you will automatically be credited as the referrer. As many of the programs pay commission for referrals, sometimes down through several levels, this means you have the potential to earn ever-growing sums of money just by referring people to The Marketing Pond via your personal link.

I should say at once that you're unlikely to make a fortune via The Marketing Pond, but if you spend an hour or so a day on it, Valerie reckons that earning $500 to $1,000 a month should be perfectly attainable - potentially much more if some of the people you recruit to the multi-level programs recruit large numbers of new members themselves.

If you decide to give The Marketing Pond a try, I recommend signing up with all the opportunities, even if you don't have the time or the inclination to pursue every one individually. The thing is, once you've joined a program and entered your membership details on the Marketing Pond site, if anyone else comes via your link and joins one of the other programs, you will be credited as their referrer and get commission on any fees they generate. But if you haven't joined that program, any commission generated will presumably just go to The Marketing Pond instead.

If you only have time to join one or two of the sites listed, I'd recommend at least signing up with AGLOCO, even though the release of the viewbar software has been delayed. Click here to see my original post about AGLOCO. Another opportunity I like the look of is Clix Sense, a very professional looking site that pays you for reading adverts.

My colleague Sandy Mather, who has been a member of The Marketing Pond longer than I have, recommends myLot and Link Referral as two programs particularly suited to writers. I especially like myLot, as on this site you can get paid for joining in online discussions or starting your own. See the myLot website for more details.

Anyway, if you decide to try The Marketing Pond, I wish you every success with it. It's all free, so you can't really go that far wrong. There's also lots of useful advice and information available via the links in the left-hand menu. In particular, you should read 'Start Here', 'Ponder' and 'Newbie', the last of which explains all the programs listed in more detail.

Happy clicking!

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

AGLOCO and Adbux

A little while ago in this blog post I talked about AGLOCO, a new sideline money-making opportunity. As you may recall, joining AGLOCO is free. Members are issued with a 'viewbar' which displays advertisements in the corner of their screen while they are surfing the net. In exchange for this, they receive a share of the fees and commissions paid by advertisers.

When I first mentioned AGLOCO, the program was still in pre-launch. However, I have just received an email stating that the viewbar is now being made available to everyone who has registered. To avoid crashing their servers, AGLOCO are sending download details by email to groups of people in the order in which they registered. As soon as you have downloaded your viewbar, you can start earning money from the program.

If you have already registered with AGLOCO, you should have received your explanatory email by now - but in case it was eaten by the spam filters, I have republished it at this website. You may also want to read the email if you haven't yet registered and would like to find out more about how the program will work.

I also wanted to mention a new sideline-earning opportunity I found out about recently that appears to complement AGLOCO very well. Adbux doesn't require you to download a viewbar. Rather, you are provided with a list of websites and paid a guaranteed fee of $0.01 for viewing each site for 30 seconds. You can also earn $0.01 for each website your referrals visit. Payments are issued via PayPal on a daily basis. You only need to earn $5 to request a payment, which should be easily attainable even if you don't choose to refer other members.

Adbux (like AGLOCO) seems to offer the potential for generating a handy sideline income without any risk or financial outlay. In both cases the best returns will be made by those who refer other members, but there is certainly no need to do this in order to benefit from the programs. AGLOCO possibly has the greater long-term earning potential, but Adbux has the advantage that you can see exactly how much you are earning from day one.

New Addition - 2 May 2007

I am grateful to my colleague Sandy Mather for mentioning to me that there have been some criticisms of the Adbux program, with reports of some payouts being delayed. I would therefore advise caution in pursuing this opportunity. I am still a member and will report in due course on how I get on.

In addition, Sandy recommended to me a resource called The Marketing Pond. This free-to-join website lists a large number of sideline-earning opportunities, all of which have been checked out by the Marketing Pond team. If you are interested in earning a little extra from your browsing, it's well worth a look. I'll post more about The Marketing Pond when I've had a chance to check it out in a bit more detail.

Postscript: I've just heard that The Marketing Pond have restored Adbux to their list of recommended programs.

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Monday, April 30, 2007

New Promotional Opportunity

A new website offering to help promote authors to UK publishers is launching shortly - and they are offering members of my forum the opportunity to join for free during the launch period.

The site is called OnlyOneChapter.com, and is all about "discovering and promoting new writing talent". According to the team behind the site, OnlyOneChapter.com already has numerous publishers supporting it, and is designed:
- to promote potential authors and their manuscripts in the form of only one chapter
- for publishers to discover new talent online
- for publishers and authors to promote new releases

The launch opportunity is only open to a limited number of people. If you would like to promote your work to UK publishers, you are asked to send the following by email: first chapter (max 4,000 words, double spaced, Roman 12pt); brief (i.e. blurb) - max. 100 words; synopsis - max. 2,000 words; and a mini-biography and photo. All of these should be in Microsoft Word (.doc) format. For more information, and to find the email address to submit your work, please visit this topic on my forum. Already some questions from members about the new site have been answered here.

Obviously at this stage it is difficult to know how successful this new site is likely to prove, but as there is no charge for submitting your work, it has to be worth looking into. Incidentally, the team behind OnlyOneChapter.com say that they have no objection to people submitting chapters that are already on view elsewhere on the web.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Cat Tales Wanted!

Here's an interesting opportunity for any other cat lovers among you. The US-based Wildside Press, which also publishes Fantasy Magazine and Weird Tales, is launching a new magazine called Cat Tales. They are seeking fantasy and suspense stories of 500 to 5,000 words involving cats.

In their guidelines they say: "Cats must be portrayed in a positive light. No talking cats -- yes, this is a firm rule. Payment is 3 cents/word for First North American Serial Rights. Submissions go to: Wildside Press, Attn: Cat Tales editor, 9710 Traville Gateway Dr. #234, Rockville MD 20850, USA."

I can't see anything on the website regarding whether they accept electronic submissions, but if you wish you could always try sending them a query via their Contact Us page.

Good luck if you decide to submit a story to this market. Incidentally, the picture above shows my cat Ronnie.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Free Sideline Moneymaking Opportunity

OK, this isn't writing related, but I wanted to give you a quick "heads up" about a new sideline earning opportunity you might be interested in. It's free to join, Internet based, and would be suitable for any writer who regularly makes use of the Internet.

The opportunity in question is AGLOCO. This company is actually reviving a concept that at one time was extremely popular and successful, but became a victim of the dotcom crash.

Back in 1998, an eternity in Internet terms, a company called AllAdvantage came up with the revolutionary idea of sharing advertising revenue with viewers, on the theory that creating a huge viewer base would attract more advertising. The business released a small "viewbar" downloaded by members which showed ads in the corner of your monitor. They paid you around 20 cents for every hour you had the bar open, and a few cents for every hour surfed by anyone you referred. Unfortunately the dotcom crash meant the company only lasted about a year, although they still managed to pay all outstanding commission.

Now, from the ashes of AllAdvantage, comes AGLOCO. This time, some of the original AllAdvantage founders have joined with Stanford MBAs and are doing things differently to avoid making the same mistakes as in the past. The new viewbar will not be paying a flat fee per hour, but will give members a share of all income the viewbar generates. This income will derive from fees and commissions paid by advertisers.

The viewbar software is currently in final testing, with plans to launch in the next week or so. It will be released to AGLOCO members on a first come, first served basis, according to the date you signed up to be a member - so the sooner you sign up, the sooner you will be able to download the viewbar and start accumulating online hours.

Considering it's free and could generate a significant income for no more than having a few ads displayed on your screen, I would definitely recommend taking a look at AGLOCO. You can find out more by clicking on any of the links in this post. In addition, you can read an in-depth report on the business model and projected earning levels by clicking here.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

More Opportunities with Survival Books

My former publishers, Survival Books, are seeking more writers for their new series of "Culture Wise" books. They are currently looking for people to write titles about the following countries:

Mexico
Thailand
Scotland
Sweden
Russia
Cuba
Belgium
Korea

Survival Books are a thriving, London-based, independent publishing house. They publish in-depth handbooks for people who will be moving to the country concerned to work or to retire. They do not publish travel guides.

Ideally they want authors who live and work in the country concerned, but if you have lived in one of the countries above recently and know it well, it would be worth applying also.

Survival Books pay their authors at a set rate per 1,000 words, not by royalties. Rates are negotiable, but reasonable for the amount of work involved.

If you are interested, please drop the publisher, Peter Read, a line at peterread-at-survivalbooks.net (change the -at- to the usual @ mark). Please mention that you heard about this opportunity via Nick Daws' writing blog.

NEW ADDITION - 19 APRIL 2007 - Peter has just told me that all these vacancies have now been filled, so no further applications are required. More opportunities will be posted later this year.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Win a Codd Bottle!

As a bit of Easter fun - and to help promote my new course on how to win competitions - my publisher Karl Moore has just launched a new contest on his blog.

It's a chance to win a codd bottle - and if you don't know what that is, you need to watch his recent video blog on the origin of the term "codswallop" at the URL below:

http://www.karlblog.com/blog/2007/04/friday-factoid-video-codswallop.html

Full details of the contest are in Karl's next blog post, or here is a direct link:

http://www.karlblog.com/blog/2007/04/my-happy-easter-competition.html

To win the contest, you have to complete a slogan provided by Karl. Naturally, people who have bought my new course will be at a considerable advantage here!

The closing date is Monday April 9.

Good luck!

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Could You Be a Radio Host?

My publishers, WCCL, who already run several online radio stations including WritersFM, are setting up a brand new radio site online - and they're looking for a host.

They say: "If you've got a sharp wit and a knack for banter, and would be interested in wasting a little time all in the name of good fun, then why not get in touch?"

There's no fee, unfortunately, but it should be an interesting and enjoyable part-time project to be involved with (and, of course, it would make an impressive addition to your CV/resume). You can be based anywhere in the world, as radio interviews are normally conducted by phone or VOIP.

My colleague Karl Moore is heading up this project. If you're interested, drop him a line at karl-at-myhelphub.com (change the -at- for the usual @ sign) and tell him a bit about yourself. Karl will share further details of the project with you directly.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

An Opportunity for Children's Writers

I was interested to see the following item on the excellent Writelink website...

New media development company Sevenspiral Limited is seeking fresh and quirky children's stories, including those suitable for early teens, for development into graphic novels. We are creating a series of 'mobisode' comics for mobile phones, for broadcast partners across Europe. We will be able to storyboard and illustrate, plus add music to, your original work. We are looking for material across all genres, particularly work which could have a strong character, and those with a strong potential for soundtrack.

Stories selected to be used will receive a flat fee when sold onto a broadcaster, but we cannot pay up front fees for new work before receiving.

If interested, please contact Will Pearson, Creative Director of Sevenspiral Limited, for more information, using the contacts page of our website http://www.sevenspiral.co.uk .
You can read more about Sevenspiral on their website, although I couldn't find any more in the way of guidelines for writers. I guess if you're interested, the thing to do is e-mail Will Pearson for more information.

Incidentally, the project reminds me a bit of the ultimately unsuccessful Kwickee mobile phone publishing service I was involved with a couple of years ago. They also planned to offer fiction (and non-fiction) to people's mobile (cell) phones, but were never able to find enough customers. Possibly now the market is ready for this new initiative. In any event, I am sure they are doing the right thing by targeting young people, as they are the heaviest users of mobile phones.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Win A Fortune From Consumer Competitions, Contests And Sweepstakes

That's the full official title of my brand new course just published by WCCL, though as it's a bit of a mouthful I'll refer to it by its shorter title of How to Win Contests from now on!

As buyers of my course Quick Cash Writing will know, I have an enjoyable and profitable sideline entering consumer competitions. I regularly collect prizes large and small just by writing a few words on an entry form and sending it in.

You see, the type of competition I most enjoy - and which is discussed in detail in my new course - requires you to produce as part of your entry a so-called tie-breaker slogan. But really, in such competitions, the slogan is the only thing that matters (the preliminary tasks are usually quite straightforward). Write a good slogan, and there is every chance that YOUR name will pop up on the winners' list!

I believe that this is an opportunity that no-one with a smidgeon of writing talent can afford to ignore. So in How to Win Contests I've set out in detail my never-before-revealed strategies for winning consumer contests. I've covered everything you need to know, from how to find out about contests to how to avoid being disqualified, where to get help on the Internet to how to improve your chances in sweepstakes and mail-ins.

I cover all the preliminary tasks you may be asked to perform in detail - yes, most are straightforward, but there are still pitfalls to catch out the unwary. And - most importantly of all - I show you how to come up with slogans that will knock the judges' socks off! I've examined many thousands of winning slogans and analysed the categories they fall into - and in my new course I reveal a range of easy-to-apply techniques you can use to come up with similar slogans, or even better ones!

If you have my course Quick Cash Writing, you'll have seen the module where I talk about consumer competitions. Many people have written to me saying that this has given them a start in this field, but asking if I can go into more detail. So in this course, which as far as I'm aware is unique, I've held nothing back. I reveal all the techniques I've used successfully over the years to win prizes ranging from a crate of beer to a Mediterranean cruise.

If you would like to see further information about How to Win Contests, including an extract from the course material, just click on any of the links in this post to go to the relevant page of my website. My website page also includes banners that will take you through to my publisher's sales site if you wish to order.

Just a couple of other things I wanted to mention about my new course. First, it isn't so much a manual as a complete kit to get you started at winning competitions in the shortest possible time. So as well as the main instructional material, you also get my Treasure Chest of Winning Slogans, a 40-page list of winning slogans from recent competitions to learn from and adapt in your own entries. AND you get a copy of the special template I use myself to help generate slogan ideas, AND you get a lifetime subscription to my exclusive email newsletter for competition fans, Winning Lines.

Because the course has only just been launched, my publishers are currently offering it at a giveaway price. However, once the launch period is over, this will DEFINITELY go up. So please, if you want to purchase How to Win Contests at the lowest possible price, order your copy today!

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Dean Koontz Book Trailer Contest

It's a little-known fact that I'm a big Dean Koontz fan. I subscribe to his entertaining email newsletter, which you can do via his website if you like.

That's how I heard about his brand new competition with a $5,000 top prize. To win you have to create a 30-second book trailer based on reading two pre-publication chapters of Dean's forthcoming novel, The Good Guy. As his publishers say on the competition page, the trailer that best brings the book alive for potential readers will win the grand prize.

You can download the first two chapters of The Good Guy from the competition page, along with the "Essentials Packet" that provides everything else you need to enter the contest. All you have to do then is write and shoot your trailer and upload it to the video-sharing site YouTube. The deadline is May 1 2007.

I appreciate that to enter this contest you will need video-making as well as writing skills, but there are still lots of things I like about it. One of them is that everybody who enters wins a prize - a free "I Shot The Good Guy" tee-shirt. Also, as well as the $5,000 grand prize, there are two runner-up prizes of sets of signed, limited edition Dean Koontz novels, with a value of approximately $1,000.

Anyway, I'm not much of a videographer, but this contest has definitely grabbed my interest. Jayne (my partner) is a Dean fan as well, so we're considering entering a video together, and tossing a coin to see who gets the tee-shirt. If you decide to enter too, maybe we'll see you on YouTube?

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

One-Minute Plays Wanted!

If play-writing is your thing, here's an interesting opportunity for you. Submissions of one-minute plays are currently being sought for an International Festival titled 'Gone in 60 Secs'. Here's what they say on their website at www.screamingmediaproductions.com.

Now in its third international year, Screaming Media Productions have once again teamed up with Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate College and Brooklyn College New York to present 'GI60', the world's only 'International Interactive Theatre Festival'. In May and June of this year both Harrogate Theatre and Brooklyn College will host an evening of new theatre. Each venue will premiere fifty new plays, each lasting no more than sixty seconds in length. Actors at Brooklyn College and Harrogate Theatre will perform the plays, which will be recorded and then made available for viewing or download via the screaming media website for a period of up to one year. 'GI60' celebrates new writing by providing a creative platform to a diverse range of people of all ages from around the world. If you have an idea, why not write a play? It's open to anybody and it couldn't be easier...
Full details can be viewed on the Screaming Media site, but briefly the main rules are (1) plays must last no longer than 60 seconds, (2) all plays must be totally original and the author's own work, and (3) the cast size may not exceed 12 actors. All entries must be submitted by email, and the deadline is Saturday 14 April.

The downside is that there are no prizes on offer apart from having your work performed, but then again these are only one-minute plays we're talking about. It's an interesting challenge and a chance to get a bit of free publicity if you're a winner, not to mention an eye-catching addition to your writing CV/resume. So if you agree with the Bard that "the play's the thing", why not give it a try?!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Postcards From Hell

Postcards From Hell is a new, paying market for short horror stories (around 500 words). Information about it was originally posted on my forum by Country4Gal, otherwise known as Alice.

Payment for accepted stories is a flat rate of $50 US per story. They are asking for both print and electronic publication rights for one year from the date of publication, but after that all rights revert to you. Here's what they say about the sort of stories they are looking for:
These are Postcards from Hell, so make your story hellish. No, we're not just interested in stories about demons and devils, or zombies or werewolves or vampires, although all these things are nice. Hell has many layers, each one unique, and several are often mistaken for real life. So hell might be a child's closet or the trunk of a car or the muddy bank of a river in India. But keep in mind that we have a sense of humor around here. The most interesting person in Paradise Lost was The Boss. If we couldn't laugh, this really would be hell. We're not especially looking for funny stories, but if your story makes us chuckle, we won't immediately toss it in the Lake of Fire.

I highly recommend reading the whole of the Postcards From Hell website, not only because it will give you a better idea of what they are looking for, but also it is quite an amusing read (check out the photo of the three-headed golden retriever who guards their electronic domain!).

Finally, do visit as well this topic on my forum, where this opportunity is currently being discussed.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Review: Self Publishing Secrets

Self Publishing Secrets is a recent addition to WCCL's range of electronic courses for writers, which also includes my own Quick Cash Writing and Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. It 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.

SPS (as I'll call it from now on) is available as an instant download. What you get for your money is a 140-page-plus searchable manual. As you'd expect from a WCCL production, it's attractively designed and professionally written and edited.

When you launch SPS, the Index page will open. This sets out the entire contents of the manual, with links to the main chapters and all the sub-sections (there are getting on for 100 of these). You can return here from any other page of the manual by clicking on 'Back to Main' at the foot of every page. Incidentally, you can also search for any term in the manual by clicking on the search icon at the very top of the screen.

The manual is divided into nine chapters as follows: 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.

SPS makes a persuasive case for self publishing as an alternative to seeking out a conventional publisher. In particular, the author points out that self publishing is NOT the same as vanity press. Modern print-on-demand and e-book technology has made self publishing for profit a realistic and achievable target for many writers. And, as Carol Ann points out, a growing number of authors have self published initially then had their books picked up and bought for large sums by mainstream publishers.

Where SPS is particularly strong is 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! Inevitably, it can't go into the same degree of detail when it comes to exactly how you turn your manuscript into an attractive-looking book, though it does set out all the important points you will need to consider.

Overall, I am happy to recommend Self Publishing Secrets to any author who wants to get an insight into self publishing their work, especially as it is currently on sale at the ultra-low offer price of just $25.95, or around 14 UK pounds.

However, I like to make sure readers of my blog always get the best deal going, so if you order via one of the links in this review, I'm going to 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 Lulu.com. 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 very 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 world's favourite self-publishing website!

To claim your bonuses, just forward a copy of your order confirmation email for Self Publishing Secrets to me at SPS-at-nickdaws.co.uk (change the -at- to the usual @ sign). Please put FREE BONUS CLAIM in the subject line. I will check your order details and send you your bonus items, normally within 24 hours.

Happy self publishing!

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Opportunities for Short Story Writers

A few interesting-looking opportunities for short story writers have been posted on the Writers Wanted board of my forum recently, so in case you've missed them I thought I'd draw them to your attention today.

First up, Gyppo (also known as John) was kind enough to post some info about a competition for a seriously short story being held by BBC Radio Four to celebrate World Book Day.

Your story must comprise exactly 100 words, no more, no less, and incorporate the following six words: bodies, experiments, bacon, organic, fire, paper (apparently the contest theme was suggested by a recent interview with surrealist film-maker David Lynch).

You can enter free via the website - just click here to go straight to the relevant page. Fifty UK pounds in book tokens is the first and only prize, and the top three entries will be read out on air. The closing date is Midnight GMT on March 12 2007.

By the way, this competition has been the subject of some discussion on my forum, and you can go directly to the relevant topic here.

Secondly, WritersWeekly.com is holding a 24-Hour Short Story Contest. Basically, you pay a $5 entry fee to register now, then on the start date (April 21 2007) you are emailed the topic of the contest. You then have 24 hours to write and submit your story by email.

It's a nice little challenge, and limited to 500 entrants. There are also over 85 prizes on offer, so if you can turn out a half-way decent story you have a pretty good chance of winning something. You can read full details of the contest here.

Finally, the quarterly US magazine Glimmer Train says it is looking for 'emotonally affecting, literary short fiction.' Stories may be up to 12,000 words in length, and writers can submit up to three in any one reading month (the next reading month is April). There are no reading fees for standard submissions.

Glimmer Train pays a standard fee of $700 for first publication rights. In addition, they run regular contests for new writers, very short stories, and so on. Entry fees are payable for these contests, but the prizes on offer to the winners are higher than the (still substantial) $700 fee paid for standard submissions.

Full guidelines can be found at www.glimmertrain.com/writguid1.html. If you're serious about your short story writing, this looks like a market you should definitely check out.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

More Opportunities with Survival Books

Further to my recent post on this subject, I have had another email from Peter Read, the publisher at Survival Books. He is now looking for writers for "Culture & Customs" books for Mexico, South Africa and Thailand.

If you are interested, please drop Peter a line initially stating where you live and providing some information about your writing background. His email address is peterread-at-survivalbooks.net (change the -at- to the usual @ sign). You will need to live and work in the country concerned for at least some of the time, or to have done so very recently.

This is a genuine opportunity to write a book and get paid for it by a successful, London-based, independent publishing company. Payment is per 1,000 words rather than by royalties.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Closing Soon...

It's nearly the end of another month, so I thought I'd highlight a few opportunities that close at the end of February.

First of all, the 25% discount on WhiteSmoke's writing software comes to an end. Just to remind you, WhiteSmoke is a program that aims to help its users produce better-written documents. It does this by analyzing the spelling, punctuation and grammar in any document, and then suggesting corrections and possible improvements. You can read my full review of WhiteSmoke's software here, and you will also find details of how to claim your 25% discount.

Secondly, the Creme de la Crime opportunity for aspiring crime writers also closes at the end of the month. This UK publishing house is looking for new crime writers whose careers they can help launch. Applicants have to submit a 500-word synopsis and the opening 5,000 words of a crime novel which will eventually total 70-80,000 words. Check out also this article I wrote about Creme de la Crime last month on this blog.

Finally, the I Publish Press contest also closes this month. This is for a full-length work of fiction of 60,000-120,000 words, including novels, short story collections and long narrative poems. There has been some discussion of this contest at this topic on my forum, or you can go straight to the info page here.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

More About About.com

My post a few days ago about vacancies for Guides with the About.com network has attracted a lot of interest. So I just wanted to mention that a former About.com guide has recently registered at Mywriterscircle.com and has offered to answer any questions would-be Guides might have.

If you click on this link, it will take you straight to the relevant topic on the forum. If you wish you can contact Pat privately using the forum's Personal Messaging system, but personally I would prefer to see questions asked and answered on the forum itself, so we can all read and learn from them.

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City Bonuses Time for UK Writers

If you're a UK author with at least one published book and you're registered for PLR, you should have received your annual statement by now, with payment due in the first week of February. (It's one of the little ironies of the system that while you receive your statement in January, you don't get your hands on the cash till a few days after the 31 January deadline for paying your self-employed tax bill).

For those who don't know, PLR stands for Public Lending Right. It is a payment made to UK authors out of central funding to compensate them every time one of their books is borrowed from a public library. I recently saw the payments described as City bonuses for writers - though there isn't really much comparison, as the most an author is allowed to receive is 6,600 pounds (about $12,000 US), compared with the millions earned in bonuses by top traders. Most authors, naturally, get far less than the 6,600 pounds maximum.

Even so, if you're a UK author with at least one full-length book to your name, you should certainly register with the PLR office to claim what's due to you. The PLR website is at www.plr.uk.com, and you can apply online if you wish.

While you're about it, too, don't forget to register with ALCS (the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society). ALCS pays money to UK authors for a range of things, most notably when their books are photocopied. They also distribute fees paid by other countries in respect of library lending, photocopying and so in in the countries concerned. The ALCS site is at www.alcs.co.uk.

This year I'm getting about 500 pounds from PLR and a further 150 pounds (estimated figure) from ALCS. This is money in addition to the royalties I get from book sales, and though it's not a huge sum, it comes in very handy at this (expensive) time of year.

Non-UK nationals cannot claim from either of these bodies, but many other countries (though not the USA as far as I know) have similar schemes in place to compensate writers for library lending and so on.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Deadline 31 January...

A number of writing-related deadlines are coming up at the end of this month. It's only a week away, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to review them.

Firstly, if you want to take up my special offer for buyers of WCCL's new "Write a Movie in a Month" course, this will be closing at the end of January. In particular, I have been told I MUST stop giving away my Short Story Acumen tutorial to people buying the Movie course via one of my links.

So if you want to get your hands on this ground-breaking CD course, plus my two free reports, plus my software recommendation, plus a copy of my Short Story Acumen tutorial, you have just a week to place your order. Here's a link to my review of Write a Movie in a Month, along with details of my special offer and how to claim your free bonuses. If your ambition is to write for the movies, I guarantee it's the best offer you'll see all year!

Secondly, WhiteSmoke have told me that the 25% special discount on all their writing software must also end this month. This is the biggest discount WhiteSmoke have ever given and there is no knowing when (or if) it will be repeated. So again, if you want to buy this popular software, which corrects errors in your writing and suggests ways in which it can be improved, see my review of WhiteSmoke for further details.

There are also a few anthologies and other opportunities that are closing their doors at the end of January. Here are some details, along with links to the relevant items on my forum:

Erotic Short Stories
This e-publishing company is seeking erotic short stories of 12,000 to 15,000 words for publication in electronic and print form. Payment is by royalties on sales.

Literary Appraisers Wanted
Experienced writers and writing teachers are required to provide professional appraisals of work by new writers. You probably need to be UK-based for this.

Short Story Anthology
This new publishing house is seeking contributions of short stories in any genre.

As mentioned above, the deadline for all of these is 31 January 2007. Good luck!

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Monday, January 22, 2007

My Concrete Poetry Challenge

I'm looking for an example of concrete poetry for an e-book I'm currently writing, and it occurred to me that this would be a good opportunity to set a challenge for readers of this blog and members of my forum at www.mywriterscircle.com.

For those who don't know, concrete poetry is a term used to describe poems in which the shape of the poem and the way the words are arranged on the page contributes to the overall effect. If you're unsure what I mean, a quick search for "concrete poetry" on Google should turn up plenty of info (and examples) for you.

The e-book will be aimed at teachers, and I'm looking for something fairly straightforward. Humour would be a bonus, but isn't essential. Basically, what I want is a good example of concrete poetry so that teachers understand what it is and can perhaps use the poem as an example for their pupils. It should also be something I can reproduce without too much difficulty in e-book format. Obviously, all entrants will retain the copyright in their poems.

The winning poem will be used in the e-book (which I'm co-writing with the poet Simon Pitt) and full credit will be given to the author, including a link to their website if they have one. And, naturally, the winner will receive a free copy of the finished e-book as well.

The deadline is next Friday, 26 January, at 12 noon GMT. For more info, see this topic on my forum:

www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=7160.0.

The above is also the place to post your entry. Note that to enter the challenge you will need to be a registered member of the forum and logged in, but registering is free and takes only a few moments.

Incidentally, even if you're not interested in contributing a poem, I recommend clicking on the above link to view the amazing entries that have been submitted already. There are some great examples in the shape of a ship, a human being, and a beach hut. I'm starting to think maybe I should also publish a separate anthology of concrete poetry!

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Could You Be a Guide?

Recently I've been updating my Quick Cash Writing course, and I happened to notice that the giant About.com website has a lot of vacancies for Guides right now.

About.com Guides take responsibility for a particular content area. Guides are expected to build up 'their' sites by sourcing (and writing) articles, adding links, hosting web-based discussions, and so on.

Payment is based on the advertising revenue generated by your site, but as long as you fulfil the company's requirements there are certain minimum guarantees. Maximum earnings are unlimited, based on a percentage of advertising turnover. The average time commitment is 10 to 20 hours per week. Good writing skills are required, along with knowledge of your chosen subject area, but training in the necessary technical skills is provided. Here is just a selection of topics for which About.com is currently looking for Guides:
Alzheimer's Disease
All-terrain Vehicles
Animal Rights
Arrhythmias
Astrology
Bicycling
Biotech/Biomedical
Bladder Cancer
Bowling
Buddhism
Charlotte, NC
Chicago
China Online
Classic Movies
Contraception
Customizing Cars

And that's just the A to C's!

Anyone can apply to be a Guide. Qualified applicants with proven expertise in a topic are accepted into Prep, which is a 17 day-long self-guided online training program. During Prep, prospective Guides become familiar with About.com's tools and demonstrate their knowledge by building sample sites. Experienced editors evaluate these sample sites and choose the most qualified applicant for the topic concerned.

If I was just starting out as a freelance writer, I would definitely want to look in to the About.com opportunity. It's a good chance to earn a steady income from researching and writing about a subject that interests you. In addition you'll immediately get a high profile in that subject on the web, and you'll learn some useful technical skills too. For full details, visit http://beaguide.about.com.

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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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