Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Win a Nick Daws Novelty Book!

Regular readers of this blog will know that I write a steady stream of novelty and trivia items for various clients. I enjoy the break from my more 'serious' writing, and although I'll never get rich from this source, it provides me with a steady income.

I've just taken delivery of my authors' copies of a couple of novelty books I wrote last year, so I thought it might be fun to give one of each away as a contest prize. I'll explain the contest in just a moment. The books are 365 Ways to Have Fun at Work (pictured) and 365 Ways to Wreak Revenge. Obviously, they are both tongue-in-cheek. Here's a sample item from 365 Ways to Have Fun at Work...

Pranks

Here's an amusing little prank to lighten anyone's day. First, make a voodoo doll of your victim (it doesn't have to be particularly lifelike). Then, go up to the person and, right in front of them, start stabbing the doll with a pin. Of course, nothing will happen, and your victim will probably laugh at you. Then just take the pin and stab them in the same spot as you did the doll...

And here's one of the items in 365 Ways to Wreak Revenge...

Revenge on a Co-Worker

Let's call your target Frank. Go up to Frank, when he's talking with Dave and a group of others, and say, 'Hey, Frank, do your impression of Dave!' When Frank protests that he doesn't do an impression of Dave, you say, 'Don't be modest, you had the whole room in fits yesterday.' Then leave.

If you'd like to win either of these essential reference guides - which I'm happy to sign if you like - all you have to do is post a comment on this blog post saying which book you would like to win, and why.

I will award one copy of each title to whoever comes up with the most amusing (to me) reason for wanting the book in question in under 150 words. Please note that you can post your entry anonymously if you don't have a Google account, but it will help if you include your name so I know how to refer to you. To post your comment, just scroll down to the bottom of this post and click on Comments (yes, kind of obvious, I know...). Comments on this blog are moderated, so there will be a short delay before your entry appears.

The closing date for this contest is Friday 16 May 2008, so you should have plenty of time. Just one entry per person, please (so make it a good one).

By the way, these books are classed as novelty goods, so you can't order them from bookshops. So unless you happen to see them in the shops, this is the ONLY way you will get your hands on one!

* See this contest and many others listed at The Prize Finder website.

The contest is now closed. Results will be announced on this blog on Monday 19 May.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Review: Book Proposal Secrets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Writing Workshop in Italy

Who fancies going on a ten-day writing workshop in beautiful Bolsena, Italy? OK, I guess that's most of you then!

I've been contacted by one of the organisers of the workshop in question, the American author Teresa Cutler. You can see the details she provided below - and the best thing is, readers of this blog qualify for a special discount!

If you would like more information about the workshop and the discount for my blog readers, please email Teresa at the address at the foot of this post. Don't forget to tell her you read about this on Nick Daws' Writing Blog!

Scrivere in Italia!

Join Inkwell, Inc. & Life in Italy LLC for a ten-day writing retreat/workshop in beautiful Bolsena, Italy, October 10 - 19, 2008. Special offer for all Nick Daws writing blog readers.

This workshop has been designed for writers of all kinds - fiction, memoir, creative non-fiction, and especially travel - at early and intermediate stages of their writing careers who wish to expand their skills and enjoy Italy.

The workshop/retreat will offer talks by well-known authors including Dario Castagno and others, and professional photographers, and we will take a number of half-day tours for inspiration to towns many tourists never see, searching for the story no one else has written or the moment that sparks that story in you. Through the ancient history that gathers in every piazza, and in every voice speaking the beautiful Italian language, you will find a well-spring of ideas.

Short workshops will be offered daily and facilitated by Teresa Cutler.

Italy provides an extraordinary environment in which to create rich and vivid essays for travel writers, and the workshops will give you the tools to develop them. Additionally, Italy gives fiction characters depth, and the workshops will help move them toward their ultimate destiny.

You will have as much time to write as you need every day, and always have the choice to work instead of attend a workshop or go on a tour.

Our goal is to help participants not only develop their writing skills but to use Italy and its wonders as inspiration and as muse.

Accommodations will be at an elegant and historic hotel in Bolsena overlooking the lake, and daily workshops and seminars will be held at a centuries-old home right on Via Francigena, owned by Paolo Nascimbeni of Life in Italy. Paolo's house will be available every day, all day, for brainstorming or talking about your projects in the quaint kitchen, writing on the terrace, or discussing the day's inspirations in one of the sitting rooms. High-speed Internet is available as well.

The cost is approximately 2000 Euros. This includes all workshop fees plus nine nights of accommodation, and breakfasts from Friday through Sunday. ** Note that for 2008 we have been able to add lunch and dinners to most days of the retreat, to help offset the cost of the rising Euro for our American clients.

Airfare to Rome and transportation from Rome to Bolsena is not included. A train from Rome to nearby Orvieto or Montefiascone is quite inexpensive and we will provide transportation from either of those towns to your hotel!

For all Nick Daws writing blog readers, a discount will apply to the tuition. Please write to Teresa at inkwell.inc.tlc-at-gmail.com for more information (change the -at- for the usual @ sign). And to apply, please fill out these forms and email them soon.

Come with us to Italy, and explore its magic while learning how to write!

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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 18, 2008

LitMatch Upgrade

I've mentioned LitMatch previously on this blog. The site offers a great free service for writers who are looking for an agent, and I know from feedback received that many of you have found it useful.

So I thought you might be interested to know that the site has recently had a complete makeover. Here's an email I received today from the founder of LitMatch, Christopher Hawkins:

LitMatch.net, the largest and most complete database of literary agents and agencies on the web, recently launched a major upgrade to their agent and agency listing pages. The new layout was designed with ease of use in mind, and brings key information to the forefront while organizing the rest in a simple, intuitive format.

The new layout features an at-a glance style, with large, friendly icons that indicate an agent or agency's submission status, if they accept email queries, and if they accept postal queries. Other important information; like response times, comments, and clients and projects; is arranged in a simple, tabbed format on the right side of the page. The tabs keep things organized and allow users to limit their view to only the information that's of most interest to them. Everything from layout to colors to fonts has been given an update for a fresh, clean look in order to make searching for a literary agent as easy and painless as possible.

"This upgrade represents a big step forward for us, and addresses some issues with the site that have been nagging me since the site launched back in September," said Christopher Hawkins, creator and lead developer of LitMatch. "We're excited about the change because it gives our listings a first-class presentation that matches the first-class quality of their content."

Other features of this upgrade include:


  • Clearer division between content areas for faster browsing and increased readability.
  • Contact information that's more prominent and easier to cut and paste into word processing programs.
  • A redesigned "Genre Information" section.
  • Flag icons that visually identify an agent's or agency's country.
  • A reformatted user summary area that keeps all queries to a given agent or agency close at hand.
  • More prominent hotlist links.
  • An updated look to the submission stats table.
  • Reformatted comments and comment entry form.

For more information, clarifications and interview requests, please contact us via email at admin-at-litmatch.net, or visit us online at www.litmatch.net.

Chris deserves to be commended for his efforts in creating a valuable - and 100% free - service for writers worldwide, and the latest changes (which have been introduced largely on the basis of feedback from members) make it even more user-friendly. If you haven't yet seen LitMatch - and you're seeking an agent, or may be in the future - I recommend checking it out today.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Redman Greenman in Concert

A few weeks ago in this post I talked about the 50th birthday party of my old friend, the poet and performer Simon Pitt.

Simon threw a great party for friends and family in a Birmingham pub. And as part of this he organised a night of cabaret-style entertainment, headlined by himself and guitarist Tony Wille, in their long-standing partnership Redman Greenman.

I was there with my video camera and recorded the whole of Simon and Tony's set. It's taken me a while (I'm new to this video lark), but I finally got the footage I shot uploaded to YouTube. So here - as promised back in January - is a taste of the entertainment we enjoyed that night. This is Redman Greenman's opening number. I thought it was a good one to post for an audience of writers, as it's called Cliches...



If you are receiving this post by email, you will need to visit my blog to watch the video.

Sorry the video is a bit dark, by the way. The pub was chock-a-block with guitars, amplifiers and who knows what, but nobody thought to bring any extra lighting...

Also, in case you're wondering, I couldn't just post the whole set on YouTube, as it was half an hour long, and the maximum duration for a YouTube video is 10 minutes. So I ended up chopping the set into eight short videos, one for each of the numbers Simon and Tony performed. If you'd like to see them all, I've created a special Redman Greenman page on my website and put them there.

And finally, just in case you're interested in booking Redman Greenman or want to offer them a multi-million dollar recording contract, you can contact them via the web page of Tony Wille (Redman). Or, of course, I'll be more than happy to pass any messages on.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Beedle the Bard Writing Contest

Harry Potter fans will know all about Beedle the Bard, and they are the target audience for this new, international writing contest, which is being sponsored by Amazon online bookstores. Here's part of their email I received...

As someone who has purchased a Harry Potter book from Amazon.co.uk, you might like to know about the Beedle the Bard Ballad Writing Contest. Muggles 13 and older in 24 countries are invited to submit a creative, English-language piece of 100 words or less on one of three Harry Potter themes. The winner will receive a Grand Prize including a trip for two to London to spend a weekend with The Tales of Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling's handcrafted book of fairy tales.

The Grand Prize includes transport to London, two nights' lodging at a London hotel, and an expense allowance. In addition, each of the finalists from the two age groups will receive an Amazon Gift Certificate in the amount of $1,000.

The contest is in two categories, one for those aged 13 to 17, the other for those aged 18 and over. To enter, you have to answer one of the following three questions creatively in 100 words or less:

* What songs do wizards use to celebrate birthdays?
* What sports do wizards play besides Quidditch?
* What have you learned from the Harry Potter series that you use in everyday life?

You can read full details at http://tinyurl.com/6mv2s7 . If that shortcut link doesn't work, just go to the Books page of your local Amazon store and you should see a link there.

Finally, note that the closing date for submissions is April 22, so you don't have huge amounts of time if you want to enter.

Good luck!

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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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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Review: Travel Writing Secrets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck, and happy travel writing!

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Visit to Guernsey

At the end of March, Jayne and I enjoyed a short break in Guernsey. I thought perhaps you might like to hear a little bit about it, and see some of the photos I took.

For those who don't know, Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands, a small group of islands between Britain and France. Guernsey (like the other Channel Islands) is a British Crown dependency, though it's not part of the United Kingdom. Guernsey is the second largest Channel Island after Jersey, which we visited a couple of years ago (see this post).

We stayed at a hotel called the Bon Port, which is in the parish of St Martins, in the south-east of the island. Being so early in the season, it was very quiet. Indeed, on our first night we were the only guests in the hotel! It was a good break, though, and great to be out and about breathing the sea air rather than sitting in front of my computer as usual.

Although the weather could fairly be described as mixed (at one point we were caught in a hailstorm!), we didn't let it stop us seeing what the island had to offer. We had a day in St Peterport, the capital, where we spent some time exploring the historic Castle Cornet and its museums.

On another day, when the weather was bad, we took the rep's advice and hopped on a number 7 bus, which took us all around the island for just 60p (about $1). This was a great way of seeing the whole of the island's coastline. It illustrates how small Guernsey is that, even with regular stops and starts, the entire circuit took little over an hour.

Photos, then. Here's a picture of the two of us enjoying breakfast at the hotel. Note the freesias, for which Guernsey is famous.


Here's one of several tableaux in the museum at Castle Cornet, showing how the castle barracks might have looked in the 18th century (I think). And yes, we did ask if it was OK to take photos!


This is a tea-room which we discovered while walking along the cliff path from the hotel. Those mugs of hot chocolate were very welcome!


You can see more of the photos I took in Guernsey on my Picasa album page.

Finally, here's a video clip of the view from the balcony of our hotel room. It's not the most exciting video you'll ever see, and the quality isn't great, but it may give you some idea why we thought it was well worth paying the extra for a sea view!


If you are receiving this post by email, you will need to visit my blog to watch the video.

Incidentally, if anyone else is thinking of visiting Guernsey, I do recommend the Bon Port. Not only does it have a great location with spectacular views, the food is also first rate. It is a little bit remote, however, so if you're not keen on walking I'd recommend hiring a car, or else booking somewhere a little closer to the main bus routes!

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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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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Two Writing Resource Websites to Check Out

I thought today I'd draw your attention to a couple of websites that include useful advice and resources for writers.

The first of these, Writing Resources, is actually run by my partner, Jayne. She's updated it in the last few days, adding a range of new resources to the large selection already included on the site. There are some great tools for writers listed here (including my own courses, naturally!). Do check it out if you have a moment.

The other site I wanted to mention is brand new. It's called Chapter 1 Page 1, and it's been created by Mike Dodds from my forum (where he calls himself Toxophilus). Chapter 1 Page 1 is obviously still a work in progress, but already there are some useful resources on the site. Check out this article called 20 Ways To Keep Your Writing Inspiration And Creativity High, for example.

By the way, Mike is keen to get feedback on his site, so that he can improve it. If you can spare a moment to send him your comments, he would be most grateful, therefore. You can email him at info-at-chapter1page1.com. Change the -at- to the usual @ sign, of course!

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More Interviews on WritersFM

My colleague Karl Moore of the online radio station WritersFM has been extremely busy. As I mentioned in this post, he recently interviewed the British author Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and a dozen other published novels.

Well, now in short order he has added two more interviews. The first is with Jean Macleod, the 100-year old Mills & Boon romance author. Karl chats with her about her 130 novels, life during the war, and the secret to longevity!

And the other new interviewee is Francine Silverman, author of "Book Marketing from A-Z" and editor of the Book Promotion Newsletter. As you might expect, Francine offers some great advice on getting your book into the spotlight.

To hear any of these interviews, you can either wait for them to come round on the station's normal rotation, download them as podcasts, or (probably the easiest option) stream them from the radio station's Podcasts page. As with all WritersFM broadcasts, you will need to have a broadband/DSL Internet connection. WritersFM doesn't work on dial-up, I'm afraid!

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My April Bonus Shower!

It's April. And in Britain anyway, it's that time when you get beautiful spring sunshine mixed with April showers. Unlike the rest of the year, when all you get here is constant rain ;-)

Joking aside, though, it's a bright, optimistic time, and I'm feeling in a generous mood. So I want to make a very special offer to readers of this blog. Buy any of my courses published by WCCL from the list below during April, and I'll shower you with not one, not two, but THREE extra bonus items.

My WCCL writing courses are as follows...

Write Any Book in Under 28 Days - This is my original, best-selling course, sold on CD-ROM. It is packed with hints and tips for writing any book in the shortest possible time.

Quick Cash Writing - This downloadable course is designed for people who want to start earning money from writing as soon as possible. It's a massive course and covers a huge range of writing outlets, from readers' letters and fillers to articles and greeting card slogans.

Essential English for Authors - This is my newest course. It is designed to help bring your written English up to a publishable standard in the shortest possible time.

How to Win Contests - This course, aimed primarily at people in the UK and Eire, reveals the secrets of winning consumer competitions, especially those that require completion of a 'tie-breaker' slogan.

Buy any of these courses by clicking on the relevant link above and I will send you ALL of the following bonuses...

1. My mini-report How to Make Big Bucks Selling Movie Ideas to Hollywood. OK, this is speculative, but it really is possible to devise and sell movie ideas in two or three sentences, and you can have a lot of fun trying to do so. My report explains all!

2. My mini-report on how to self-publish an e-book on Lulu.com. No technical skills required! It's possible for anyone to publish an e-book using the Lulu.com site and then get paid every time someone downloads a copy. This unique report reveals exactly how it's done!

3. My e-book (co-written with Simon Pitt) Fifty Great Ideas for Creative Writing Teaching. This is an actual e-book published on the Lulu.com site. It's aimed at teachers and writers who work in schools, but the exercises could just as well be adapted by writers' groups and individual writers.

And, what the heck, I'll throw in a fourth bonus item as well. That's a full, downloadable copy of my electronic tutorial Short Story Acumen. This is my complete guide to writing short stories for fun and profit. This is still being sold for 24.99 UKP (around $50 US) elsewhere on the web, but for April only I'll add it to my list of bonuses when you buy any of my courses.

I should just mention, though. Short Story Acumen was written a few years ago, so the market info is rather out of date now (though the writing advice is still cutting edge, of course!). Also, it was written for an earlier version of the Windows operating system, so I can't guarantee it will work with Vista in particular. But it's only one of my bonus items, after all!

To claim your bonuses - which I reckon are genuinely worth at least $100 in total - just send a copy of your email receipt showing the purchase of any of my courses listed above to AprilShower-at-nickdaws.co.uk (change the -at- to the usual @ sign) with BONUS CLAIM in the subject line. As soon as I have verified your order, I will get back to you with details of how you can receive your free bonuses.

Enjoy your writing, and watch out for those April showers!

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