Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
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Saturday, February 28, 2009

WCCL Week: The Best Seller Secret

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, February 27, 2009

WCCL Week: Movie in a Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WCCL Week: Writer's Block CD

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

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

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

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

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

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

WCCL Week: Essential English for Authors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WCCL Week: Novel in a Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WCCL Week: Travel Writing Secrets


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, February 20, 2009

WCCL Week: Preview

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much on behalf of my sponsors!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Interview with Diana Nadin of The Writers Bureau

Today I'm pleased to welcome to my blog Mrs Diana Nadin, Director of Student Services for The Writers Bureau, the UK's leading distance-learning college for freelance writers.

As a former tutor and assessor for The Writers Bureau - and author of some sections of their comprehensive creative writing course - I have known Diana for many years, so I was delighted when she agreed to be interviewed for this blog.

I know from the number of times the subject crops up on my forum that there is a lot of interest among members in The Writers Bureau, and plenty of questions people want to ask about it. Without further ado, then, let's start trying to answer some of those questions...

ND: Welcome to my blog, Diana. Could I start by asking whether The Writers Bureau is for UK students only, or can anyone in the world enrol? Do you accept students for whom English is not their first language?

DN: Thanks, Nick - it's good to be here. In answer to your question, at The Writers Bureau we have students from all over the world. Just take a look at our website and click on Student of the Year 2009 and our 20th Anniversary Awards winners. You'll see that, although many of them are from the UK, there are also a good number from overseas.

Many come from places like India, Africa and the Caribbean where English is widely spoken. They write for both English-speaking publications and also those in their own language. However, there are other students from around the world who use the course to learn the skills they need but then write only in their own language.

ND: Who do you think can benefit most by studying with The Writers Bureau? Are there any groups of people who might be better not enrolling, or perhaps taking another course instead?

DN: We have students of all ages and from all walks of life. They are people who want to fit the course around their other commitments, whether these are work, family or social. They are often people who want to earn a good second income from their writing but aren't quite ready to give up their day job! Our courses are very flexible and that is what appeals to most people.

And those who shouldn't consider enrolling? If someone can't cope with constructive criticism or the thought of rejections from publishers and editors then they should think twice before enrolling. In fact, they should think very carefully whether they've got what it takes to be a writer.

ND: How long does it take for a student typically to complete the course? Are there any limits to how long students are allowed to take?

DN: There's no such thing as a 'typical' student. We've had people complete the course in 12 months, but many take a lot longer. One of the best things about all our courses is that you can work at your own pace, rather than having to keep up with others

ND: Here's a question from Mywriterscircle.com member Linda Jones. She wants to know how the tutors who work for The Writers Bureau are recruited, and what are the criteria for them to be given the job?

DN: There are a number of ways that we recruit tutors. These include: recommendation from other tutors; writers who see our adverts or website and contact us to ask about vacancies; and, of course, successful students. The last category is great because they are familiar with the course and how our systems work. Plus, they know what it feels like to be a distance learning student so they can empathise with the writers they are helping. And, because they're successful, they're a great advert for our methods and students find that very reassuring.

One of the main things we look for in all our tutors is that they are being published regularly so that they have current working knowledge of the markets. They also need to understand that criticism which comes over as friendly and helpful in a face-to-face situation may sound harsher in black and white. So, they have to ensure that the advice they offer is constructive and if they point out that something is wrong, be able to show how to improve it. It's all about anticipating problems that a student might face and then providing reassurance.

ND: Speaking of tutors, what happens if you don't get on with the one you are allocated? Can you change to a different tutor?

DN: We do our best to place students with a suitable tutor by asking them to complete a Personal Profile Questionnaire at the start of the course. But if this doesn't work - for whatever reason - we're more than happy to move them to someone with whom they can build up a better rapport.

ND: The Writer's Bureau is well known for offering a money-back guarantee on its courses. As I understand it, this states that if a student hasn't earned back the cost of their course by the end of it, you will refund their money. Several people have asked if this guarantee can possibly be genuine. In particular, could you explain what evidence you require before authorising a refund, and what proportion of students actually claim under the guarantee?

DN: The guarantee certainly is genuine! When a student gets to the end of the course and has not earned the equivalent of their course fee we don't quibble. All we ask is that they provide us with a selection of rejection letters or emails (about half a dozen) to prove that they have actually been approaching editors or publishers with their work. Once we've seen these we usually arrange a refund straight away.

However, we do ask tutors to keep an eye on students as they work their way through the course to ensure that they are following advice and are not rushing through their studies. It's a two-way thing! And, as a number of our students know, it's not getting to the end of the course that's important, because many of them start earning from their writing before this point.

Only a very small percentage of students claim under the guarantee. There are a number of reasons for this. To be absolutely honest with your readers, some students join the course but don't work through all the assignments for whatever reason. Others reach the end and feel that they have had so much enjoyment from the course and support from their tutors that they decide not to take advantage of the guarantee. Those that work at the course generally start earning from their writing. Then it's the small number who are left that receive their refund under the terms of the guarantee!

ND: What one piece of advice would you give to new students to ensure that they get the most from their course with The Writers Bureau?

DN: I think probably the best piece of advice I can give is to be open minded and willing to take on board your tutor's comments. Talking of being open minded, if you want to succeed as a writer you need to be willing to tackle quite a range of different kinds of writing. Many people start with us wanting to concentrate on fiction. They have a go - somewhat reluctantly - at writing articles, and they're hooked!

And can I cheat and squeeze in another piece of advice? Make sure you do your market research thoroughly - and have a definite market in mind when you start writing.

ND: I'd be interested to know what are The Writer's Bureau's future plans. In particular, as we're conducting this interview online, do you have any plans to develop your website and/or to offer more courses online?

DN: We've actually got quite a lot of plans in the pipeline. We're currently having our website re-developed. When it's finished there will be a student area with a forum, a resource area with lots of links to useful writing sites, and students will be able to access their first modules online while waiting for their course material to arrive.

We're also starting up a new ezine edited by students and with content written by students. Calls have already gone out in our free monthly email magazine Ezeewriter for suggestions for a name. An editor has been appointed - but this is not a permanent position and other students will be given the opportunity to volunteer.

As regards courses, we have three new ones in the pipeline. The first is Writing Competitions - the Way to Win. This provides advice on poetry, short story and article writing competitions from Alison Chisholm and Iain Pattison - giving you the opportunity to have some of your competition entries critiqued. There is a Proof Reading Course, written for us by Simon Whaley, and the Complete Copywriter Course, written by you, Nick! So, as you can see, we've got plenty of plans for the next couple of months.

ND: Thanks, Diana. Finally, do you have any advice for current Writers Bureau students who may have any queries, or potential students who are still wondering whether to enrol?

DN: If you're already a student and you've got any queries about your course, then get in touch with one of our Student Advisors by email at studentservices-AT-writersbureau.com - they'll be happy to help you. [NOTE FROM ND: Please change the -AT- in the email address above to the usual @ symbol - I present email addresses this way on my blog to stop them being harvested by spammers.]

If you're still wondering whether to enrol, you can get advice by emailing us at the same address - or why not send for the course so that you can have a good look at it during the 15-day trial period? It's the best way we can think of to help you decide whether one of our courses is right for you!

ND: Many thanks for taking the trouble to answer my questions today in such detail, Diana.

DN: You're very welcome!

Finally, as Diana has let the cat out of the bag, I guess it's OK to reveal that I am currently half-way through writing a course on copywriting for The Writers Bureau. All being well, this will be out later this year. It will be a printed course aimed primarily at UK writers, with a series of assignments to be assessed by personal tutors (not me personally). I hope anyone wanting to learn more about copywriting (and, especially, freelancing in this field) will find it helpful.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Online Community for Independent Authors and Publishers

I wanted to alert you today to a brand new online community for independent authors and publishers.

Publetariat launched earlier this month. It describes itself as an online news hub and community. Although it's still early days, I can already see this site becoming an important and influential resource for anyone with an interest in writing or publishing.

Here are just some of the things you will find on Publetariat, in the site's own words...
  • News about independent authorship & publishing
  • Insightful and practical articles from experts in Print On Demand (POD), ebook publishing, book promotion, author services, social media, online video, podcasting, and more!
  • Words of wisdom from successful independent authors and publishers
  • Trip reports from relevant conferences and events
  • Reviews of relevant products and services
  • Member profile pages where you can promote yourself, your sites and your published works
  • Member blogs
  • A moderated community forum
I was fortunate to be invited to set up a contributor account for Publetariat in the pre-launch period. You can see my first article for Publetariat (based on an earlier blog post) by clicking here.

I have also set up my own profile page on Publetariat: you can view this by clicking on Nick Daws' Profile. I am finding that this page is already ranking high in Google for a range of searches including my name, and it is generating extra traffic to this blog as a result.

If you have any interest in writing or publishing, I highly recommend visiting Publetariat and registering (free) as a member. Not only is this going to be a resource of ever-increasing value to writers and publishers, it offers many potential opportunities for networking with others in the independent publishing field.

What's more, the site's already-high ranking in the search engines suggests that it should also be valuable for attracting extra traffic to your blog or website, if you have one. So, once you've registered as a member, don't neglect to start creating your profile.

See you on Publetariat!

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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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Friday, February 06, 2009

PLR Payday for UK Authors

My bank balance is several hundred pounds better off today, thanks to my annual PLR payment.

For those who don't know, PLR stands for Public Lending Right. The UK PLR Office distributes money to UK authors based on the number of times their books have been borrowed from public libraries in Britain in the last year.

This year they are paying 5.98 pence per library loan. This money is paid to authors as 'compensation' for their presumed lost royalties on sales.

All UK authors are eligible for PLR (even if they don't currently live in Britain), but you do have to register with the PLR Office first. If you're a UK author with at least one published book to your name, therefore, you should sign up immediately to get what is due to you. The PLR website is at www.plr.uk.com.

Non-UK nationals cannot claim from the UK PLR Office, but many other countries (though not the USA as far as I know) have similar schemes in place to compensate writers for library lending. In many countries there are also reciprocal arrangements to compensate non-nationals for lending in the country concerned. In Britain this is co-ordinated by ALCS (the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society), and UK authors should also register separately with them.

Over the years I have made literally thousands of pounds from PLR payments; in the case of some books I have earned more from PLR than I have in publisher fees or royalties. So it is well worth taking a few minutes to register yourself and your book/s at the PLR Office website. Otherwise, you really are leaving money on the table!

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Guest Post: The Business of Writing

Today I'm pleased to bring you a guest post by my old friend and former Writers Bureau colleague Carol Anne Strange.

Carol Anne is the founder of writers' jobs and opportunities website Write This Moment, and a published author with over 20 years' experience. She also wrote the popular guide Self-Publishing Secrets, published by WCCL. In this article she provides a few insights on how to increase your chances of securing writing commissions...

Even at the best of times, writing can be a challenging profession, so it helps to marry your creativity with some good old-fashioned business sense to increase your chances of achieving a fruitful freelance writing life.

Whether you write fiction or non-fiction for commercial publication, here are a few important pointers to help you succeed in the business of writing:

1. Be Professional. Let your creativity forge your writing but develop a business outlook if you aim to profit from your words. Be the ultimate professional from start to completion. It will increase your chances of gaining commissions and contracts.

2. Follow Guidelines. In running Write This Moment, editors tell me that their biggest grumble is about writers failing to adhere to the guidelines or simple instructions provided. Lack of attention to detail can cost a writer a valuable commission, so take time to follow the editor's requests.

3. Write for Your Audience. Whether you're writing a novel, feature, script, filler or business copy, always write with your audience/readers in mind. That means researching your target media and writing to suit their requirements. When you deliver what your audience wants, then you are more likely to succeed.

4. Be Organized. Create a daily to-do list and establish priorities. What needs to be done? Tick off the items on your list as you go along. It's great for motivation. Also, keep your writing space reasonably tidy. A bit of chaos is fine providing that you're not wasting valuable writing hours looking for notes, pens or books you've mislaid.

5. Seize Opportunities. Sitting back won't bring writing jobs to your door. You have to look for the opportunities and seize them. If you're struggling to find work, think laterally. Consider how you can put your writing skills to other uses. For example, could you offer copywriting services to specific businesses using any particular expertise? Could you use your knowledge to write and run a course? How about offering a biography/ghostwriting service? How about speech or greetings card writing? Don't limit yourself. Look at all the options and focus on your strengths.

It has to be said that writing is highly competitive, especially in these difficult economic times, but there is a diverse range of opportunities available. With changes in publishing and the explosion in digital media, many more exciting possibilities are now open to writers than ever before. So, be business-like in your approach and focus on creating a positive impression. It will make a difference.

I wish you every success in your writing career.

Carol Anne Strange

SPECIAL OFFER

Carol has kindly offered readers of my blog a special bonus. Subscribe to her writers' jobs and opportunities website Write This Moment and you will receive a PDF copy of 75 Mini Motivators for Writers absolutely FREE.

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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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