Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
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Friday, April 28, 2006

New Writers Internet Radio Station Launched Today!

A new Internet radio station for writers started broadcasting today. Writers FM is operated by WCCL, the publishers of my courses "Write Any Book in Under 28 Days" and "Quick Cash Writing". It features music, writing tips and in-depth interviews with various authors (including myself).

To listen in, just point your browser at http://www.writersfm.com/. When the radio station's homepage opens, click on the Listen Live tab. Windows Media Player should then launch, and after a few moments you should hear an intro by the station's smooth-talking host, Karl. After that, the current broadcast should start streaming. If you can't hear anything, make sure your speakers are switched on and the volume is turned up!

Incidentally, the station is brand new and welcomes feedback from listeners. So if you have any comments, favourable or otherwise, do put them in writing, either via the Contact Us tab on their homepage, or via this thread at my forum.

In addition, if you have achieved some success as a writer yourself - you don't have to be famous! - YOU could be the next person to be interviewed on Writers FM. It's a great chance to raise your profile, and hopefully generate a few extra sales for your books or whatever. To start the ball rolling, drop Karl a line at karl-at-myhelphub.com. Obviously, substitute an @ sign for the -at- in the address above.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Weekend in Jersey

My partner, Jayne, and I have just come back from a long weekend in Jersey. For anyone who doesn't know, Jersey is the southern-most of the British Isles, only a stone's throw from France.


I'd never been to Jersey before, but Jayne had been there in her twenties. We actually stayed in the same hotel she stayed at then, the Samares Coast in St Clement (picture above). It turned out to be an excellent choice, with comfortable rooms, excellent service, and delicious five-course meals every night. Perhaps fortunately, in view of all those calories, it had a leisure club with a swimming pool and mini-gym as well...

We hired a car for three days and explored a bit of the island (it's only nine miles by five, so you can get pretty much anywhere in an hour or two, even with the 40 mph speed limit). Among the highlights were the pretty town of Gorey, which is dominated by the historic Mont Orgeuil, one of the best-preserved castles in Britain. We also enjoyed our visit to the Jersey War Tunnels, an underground military hospital built by the Germans when the island was occupied during WW2. It now houses a fascinating (and moving) exhibition documenting life on Jersey during the occupation years.

Naturally, we had a look around the island's capital, St Helier, as well. Below is a picture of Jayne outside one of the many jewellery shops (ulp!). We came back home with a range of souvenirs, including a jar of Jersey's famous 'black butter', which contains cider, apples, treacle and licorice, among other things. I plan to have some on my breakfast toast at the weekend!


It seems to me that there is a lot to be written about the Channel Islands, and indeed Britain's many other islands too. Many Brits, in their quest for ever-more exotic holiday destinations, overlook these jewels among our own islands. And equally, the Channel Islands may not seem very exotic to us, but for folk from other countries they could represent new and interesting places to visit. OK, you'd need to get a plane from the UK (or France) to visit, but with the many low-cost airlines now operating (we went with FlyBe from Birmingham), getting there has never been easier or cheaper. Or you can, of course, take a ferry if you don't like flying.

So there you are - a great place to go for a short (or longer) break, and an interesting destination to write about as well! What more could you possibly ask?!

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Make Money From My Writing Courses!

As a follow-up to my last posting, if you have a website, did you know that you can earn a few extra bucks (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 cent. Just click here to go the sign-up page, and select "Nick Daws Course" from the drop-down list of products as the first one you want to promote. Or you can choose my other course, Quick Cash Writing, if that's what you prefer...

The only other thing you will need is a Paypal account, which WCCL 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 of these 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.

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 Lou Darvas cartooning course), not to mention their wide range of self-development products, privacy software, and more.

Finally, if you do decide to promote my course 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 short review. The advertising banners look pretty cool, but they work much better when accompanied by some text as well!

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Welcome to my 1000th Visitor!

Barring unforeseen circumstances, I'll clock up my 1000th visitor to this blog at some time today. (If you want to check whether this landmark figure has yet been reached, just scroll down to the very bottom of the page and you'll find the hit counter.)

Many of these visitors have come from my forum at Mywriterscircle.com and my publisher's writing resources website at Writestreet.com. However, a growing number are coming from links spread far and wide across the Internet. So for the benefit of any visitors who might never have heard of me before, I thought I should say a few words about who I am and what I do.

To start with the basics then, I'm a full-time professional freelance writer living in Burntwood, Staffordshire, England. I'm the author of over 40 full-length books, including Start Your Own Home-Based Business, The Internet for Writers, Living & Working in Italy, Stress-Busting, and many more. I've also written many published articles and short stories, and my work has been broadcast on TV and radio. You can read more about my publications, if you wish, on my homepage at www.nickdaws.co.uk.

I have a particular interest in working with new writers, and for some years was a tutor for The Writers Bureau, the UK's leading distance learning college for writers (I also wrote parts of the Writers Bureau course).

Among my recent projects are two electronic courses for writers published by WCCL, who also sponsor this blog and my forum. "Write Any Book in Under 28 Days" is my guide to writing a book in the quickest possible time that has taken the Internet by storm. At its core is my five-step method of outlining and blueprinting, which makes the actual writing process almost as simple as joining the dots! The course is also crammed with hints and tips on book writing (both fiction and non-fiction) from my own experience. Much of the advice in this course is simply unavailable elsewhere.

If you'd like more info about "Write Any Book in Under 28 Days", you can read a lengthy extract on my homepage at www.nickdaws.co.uk/writeany.htm, or you can go directly to my publisher's sales page at www.writequickly.com. And while you're there, don't forget to check out just some of the many unsolicited testimonials that pour in every week!

My other WCCL course, Quick Cash Writing, complements my "28 Days" course perfectly. This course is designed for anyone who wants to start making money from freelance writing as soon as possible. It covers a huge range of shorter outlets, from readers' letters to fillers, articles to short stories, comedy sketches to ideas for TV shows and movies. It's a big, big course, and it comes with a huge range of free bonus software as well.

Again, if you'd like more info about "Quick Cash Writing", you can read an extract on my homepage at www.nickdaws.co.uk/qcw.htm, or you can go directly to my publisher's sales page at www.quickcashwriting.com.

Finally, even if you don't want to buy either of my courses (yet!), can I recommend that you check out my forum at Mywriterscircle.com? I'm proud to have helped launch this thriving online community. Not only can you post extracts of your work here for review by other members, you can ask any writing-related questions you like, view the latest opportunities for writers on the "Writers Wanted" board, or just while away a few minutes in the Coffee Shop. And best of all, it's absolutely free! I'll hope to see you there soon...

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What's a worn?

Recently I've been reading Stephen King's latest bestseller "Cell". As you'd expect it's a tautly written thriller, though dark even by Stephen King standards. However, one thing that spoiled it a bit for me was the number of proofreading errors I noticed.

For example, on page 323 a character says "I think there was a worn in the original program". The first time I read this I thought a word had been omitted - a worn what? - then I realised that it should have been "worm" (for those who don't know, it's a kind of computer virus).

This kind of thing seems to happen increasingly in books nowadays - presumably it's a sign of cash-strapped publishers cutting a few corners. But it does mean that proofreading your own work has never been more essential. So I thought I'd offer a few hints and tips on proofreading for writers.

My first advice is to leave it as long as possible between finishing a piece of writing and proofreading it. If you've just finished writing a book or article, you are still too close to the material to proofread it. Your eyes will see what your brain expects to see, rather than what is actually there. You need to put the text away for a while, and then approach it with fresh eyes.

My second piece of advice is NEVER proofread on screen. I don't know why exactly, but you can read a piece of text a dozen times on screen and not see anything wrong with it, yet as soon as you have a printed-out version in front of you, you notice a glaring mistake on the third line. If you hate the 'waste of paper' this entails, you can always print on the back of previously printed pages.

Thirdly, if at all possible, read through the text not once but twice. The first time read for sense, checking for possible omissions, passages that don’t make sense, inconsistencies (e.g. the same name spelt differently on different pages), and so on. Then go through a second time looking for mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation.

In proofreading an eye for detail is essential, and experienced proofreaders train themselves to notice errors and omissions the average reader will often miss. This means you must read slowly and carefully, taking in every letter of every word, and considering spelling, punctuation, etc. Proofreading is the direct opposite to speed reading!

Even so, there is a lot to be said for getting someone else to proofread your work as well, especially if you are planning to self-publish. Apart from anything else, we all have our blind spots. For example, for many years I was convinced that smooth was spelt with a final 'e' and restaurateur had an 'n' in it.

A professional freelance proofreader need not be expensive. As readers of my E-Writer newsletter will know, my colleagues Philip and Nona Langley offer a very competitive service from their base in Australia. They say: "Our aim is to be so darned good at what we do, to give so much better service than any other proofreader on the planet, that we become the automatic "recommended proofreader of choice" for people like you."

The Langleys have done proofreading jobs for well-known e-book authors such as Joe Vitale, Declan Dunn, Larry Dotson, Chayden Bates, and many others. They can proofread either in US or UK English. And the best news is that for a limited period they are offering an exclusive 10% discount to readers of my blog and newsletter. To take advantage of this offer, or just to find out more, visit http://nd.perfect-proofreading.com.

Happy proofreading!

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