Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Wealthy Writer Contest Winner!


In this recent blog post I launched a contest to win a copy of my course The Wealthy Writer (co-written with Ruth Barringham).

Entrants had to provide the name of their favourite writing website, along with brief details of why they liked it so much.

The closing date was last Friday, and I'm pleased to say that a winner has now been chosen. Congratulations, then, to writingpage, aka Jocelyn, whose entry number was drawn out of a hat by my partner, Jayne!

Jocelyn wins a copy of The Wealthy Writer, my and Ruth's blockbusting course on how to make money writing for the Internet. She also gets the four free bonuses I am offering to anyone buying The Wealthy Writer via my link.

I'd be very grateful if Jocelyn could forward her email address to me using my Contact Me form, so that I can arrange to send her the course and bonuses.

You can see all the competition entries in the Comments section of the original blog post. The recommended websites themselves are listed below, with hyperlinks for ease of visiting them, along with the name of the person who suggested them.

Navaneeth - Constant-Content
Magdalen Islands - Helium
Bernie Pointer - Writebuzz.com
writingpage (Jocelyn) - Nanowrimo
Anonymous - Writer Gazette
Rohi - American Zoetrope

Many thanks to everyone who entered for their suggestions and the reasons they gave for them. I'm sorry there could only be one winner, but don't forget that for a limited period I'm making The Wealthy Writer available for $10 off the normal price, with four extra bonuses as well. Please see this recent blog post for more details.

And watch out for another contest, coming to this blog very soon, with not one but TWO chances to win a copy of my brand new guide to e-book writing for profit!

Photo credit: wickedrice on Flickr.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

The Wealthy Writer Christmas Special!


Christmas is getting closer, so I've decided to make a seasonal special offer on my downloadable course (co-written with Ruth Barringham) The Wealthy Writer.

From now till Christmas, if you order The Wealthy Writer via any of the links in this post, you can get a full TEN DOLLARS off the current advertised price.

Not only that, you will also get the FOUR additional bonus reports that I only send to people ordering from me directly!

In case you haven't heard, The Wealthy Writer is a blockbusting guide to making money from your writing skills on the Internet. It covers a wide range of methods for turning your writing skills to hard cash online, including some I guarantee you won't have thought of!

For much more information about The Wealthy Writer, and an excerpt from the course, just click through any of the links in this post to go to the relevant page of my website, then follow the instructions there to get your $10 discount and claim your four extra bonuses.

Don't leave it too long, though. Like the decorations, this offer will definitely be coming down after Christmas!

* And don't forget - you still have time to enter my contest to win a FREE copy of The Wealthy Writer in my easy-to-enter blog competition. Just click here for full details!

Photo credit: krisdecurtis on Flickr.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to Make Money from Twitter with Advertising

In case there's anyone left who doesn't know, Twitter is the free micro-blogging and social networking service that's taken the world by storm.

As an enthusiastic Twitter user - click here to visit my Twitter page - I've found it great for keeping track of what's going on in the writing world and sharing useful resources I've found.

In recent weeks, though, I've been experimenting with another use for Twitter, which is as a method for making money. In particular, I've been trying out some services that offer to pay you for 'tweeting' messages from advertisers.

So I thought in this post I'd share with you my experiences with the services I've used so far...

1. Ad.ly

I heard about Ad.ly through the popular Shoemoney blog. Apparently the owner of this blog, Jeremy Schoemaker, had been paid $290 for tweeting a simple message about an upcoming TV show. I thought I'd like a slice of that myself...

Of course, Shoemoney has many thousands of followers. I signed up with Ad.ly and was offered a more modest $7 per tweet (I have around 700 followers, so I assume they operate on the basis of $10 per 1000).

This is still actually the highest fee I have been offered by any of the Twitter ad networks, though as yet - three weeks on - I am still waiting for my first paying opportunity.

Ad.ly also recently introduced a referral program, whereby you get an extra fee based on a percentage of the fees earned by anyone who signs up via your link. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you sign up with them today ;-) Just don't hold your breath waiting for opportunities to flood your Inbox.

2. Magpie

Magpie is one of the longest-standing Twitter advertising networks. I signed up, and so far am impressed with it, although again I'm still waiting for my first paying tweet.

One thing I especially like about Magpie is that you get complete control over the tweets you sent out. You can choose to preface them with ad: or use this as a suffix. Either way, it is obviously good practice to let your followers know that a particular tweet is sponsored.

Another plus for Magpie is that, if you don't think a paid-for tweet sounds right for you, you can ask the advertiser for permission to change it, so that it sounds more natural.

On Magpie I've been offered one paying tweet, for an SEO company, which I accepted. Then I waited for several days and nothing happened. So I logged back in, to discover that my Twitter account was awaiting approval by the advertiser concerned. I thought that if I was offered the opportunity and accepted it, that would be the deal done, but evidently not. Oh well, hopefully I'll be approved soon...

Again, I like Magpie and can't see any reason not to join, but it's another one where you shouldn't hold your breath waiting for opportunities.

3. Sponsored Tweets

Sponsored Tweets is run by IZEA, the people behind PayPerPost, the paid blogging company.

I've had a couple of paid-for tweets from Sponsored Tweets at about $1 a throw. You can choose whether or not to accept any message, although you can't vary them in any way.

Also, until very recently there was no indication that tweets were being paid for by advertisers. Especially in view of the recent FTC ruling about bloggers having to disclose when they are being sponsored, I was uneasy about this, so I've been posting extra messages saying the previous tweet was paid for by an advertiser. However, according to an update on the Sponsored Tweets homepage, disclosure is now mandatory with all ads, so I will be happier about using this service in future.

4. RevTwt

RevTwt is apparently short for Revenue from Tweets.

This service works a little differently from the others I have mentioned. You get a choice of tweets to send out, and are paid a fixed rate for each of your followers who clicks through to the site in question. Fees vary from 5c to 20c or more per click.

RevTwt is therefore a bit like Google Adsense for Twitter. One drawback I've found with it is that a lot of the ads aren't really relevant to my readers. There seem to be lots for tooth-whiteners, for example - so if you have plenty of followers with bad teeth, you could really clean up here...

In addition, like Sponsored Tweets, until recently RevTwt ads have not included any form of disclosure. Again, however, they have just announced a change to this policy in light of the FTC ruling, which means I will probably be using them more in future.

One thing that has annoyed me a bit about these services is that they all want to know where you are based. I strongly suspect that the best-paying opps then go to US residents.

As someone living in the UK but with more US than UK followers, I find this rather ridiculous. I'm considering changing my 'Twitter address' from Staffordshire, England, to New York, to see if anyone notices!

I haven't made a fortune from Twitter advertising yet - just a few dollars - but nobody has complained either. I intend to continue the experiment for a while, but I'll be doing my best to ensure that any paid-for tweets I send out are relevant to at least a proportion of my followers. I'm relieved, also, that all of the networks appear to be implementing full disclosure now.

If you're on Twitter anyway, in my view it makes sense to check out these opportunities to get paid for using the service. All of the networks mentioned above will allow you the final say on whether any particular message goes out. Some also have an 'automated' option where you let them post anything they like, but I don't recommend this if you want to avoid losing followers in droves.

If you've tried Twitter advertising services, the ones I've listed above or any others, I'd love to hear about your experiences. Please post them as Comments below.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Tinsel Tales Flash Fiction Contest

Tinsel Tales Flash Fiction Contest
Flash fiction contests are always popular, so I thought you might like to hear about this new contest for short stories of up to 250 words on a Yuletide theme.

The Tinsel Tales Flash Fiction Contest is run by the excellent WriteLink writers community, and is open to anyone in the world.

There are cash prizes for the top three stories of 75, 50 and 25 UK pounds. There are also runner-up prizes for "Very Highly Commended" and "Highly Commended" entries.

The competition judge is Lorraine Mace, a well-known columnist and writer, and tutor with UK distance learning college (and regular clients of mine) The Writers Bureau. You can find out more about Lorraine at her website and blog.

There is a registration fee of 4.50 UKP per story, which you can pay online using Paypal or send a sterling cheque. Once you have registered you are given the choice of submitting your story immediately or at a later date. The final closing date is 31 December 2009.

Finally, I should mention that The Tinsel Tales Flash Fiction Contest is sponsored by the Festival of Writing in York, England, in April 2010. This is a major national writing event, in which several members of my forum will be participating as workshop leaders, and no doubt others will be going as visitors. I will write more about The Festival of Writing in a later post.

Good luck, and happy flash fiction writing!

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Enthusiastic Copywriter Wanted

My colleague Karl Moore, CEO of The WCCL Network (who sponsor my blog), is looking for a copywriter. In this topic on my forum, he writes:

We require an enthusiastic copywriter to help write ~30 different mailout messages to our clients.

You will need to have a lot of initiative, and be able to go running with a very lightweight specification!


We need around 90 promotional messages created (30 over three months), to be sent out to our various mailing lists -- containing special offers and other information. We will provide some of the basic information, and you will be required to fill in the blanks and produce a (short) work of art!


Required: Casual writing style, intelligence, initiative. Not required: Divas.


Drop me a line with samples at karl AT karlmoore.com if you're interested!


Thank you!


Karlos


Good luck to anyone applying for this vacancy. From my own experience I can testify that WCCL is an excellent company to work for, and they pay promptly!

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Review: Writer's Block CD from WCCL

Writer's Block CDIf you ever suffer from the dreaded writer's block, this product from my publishers (and blog sponsors) The WCCL Network might be of interest to you.

The Writer's Block CD doesn't offer advice or ideas on rediscovering creativity, nor is it (simply) a relaxation inducer. Rather, it uses a technology called binaural beats to help 'entrain' the mind into a creative state. To explain this, I need to start with a bit of theory.

If you've studied psychology (which I have - a long time ago!), you'll know scientists can measure the electrical activity in our brains using a device called an electroencephalogram (EEG).

It has been known for a long time that different mental states are associated with different patterns of electrical activity. For example, someone who is fully awake and alert will probably exhibit relatively high frequency electrical activity patterns (13-40Hz), known as beta waves. Someone in deep sleep will display low frequency activity (below 3.5Hz), known as delta waves.

The frequency most associated with creative thought is alpha (7-13Hz). Alpha waves are typically produced by people in a relaxed, but receptive, frame of mind. It seems to follow that, if you can encourage your brain to go into a high-alpha state, it should give your creativity a boost.

Unfortunately, though, you can't achieve this simply by playing sounds at 7-13Hz. The trouble is that this is simply below most people's hearing threshold. However, the Writer's Block CD attempts to get around this by using 'binaural beat' technology. Stick with me, because I'm almost through with the theory now.

It has been discovered that if you play tones of slightly different frequencies to each ear, they combine within the brain to create a low frequency resonance. For example, if you play a tone of 320Hz in one ear and 330Hz in the other, it will create a resonance at a frequency of 10Hz - the difference between them. By using this method, the brain can be entrained into a high alpha-wave state.

So how does it work in practice? Well, the CD comes in a jewel case, and you simply load it into your music center or PC and play it.

It's best if you listen through a pair of headphones rather than loudspeakers. As I mentioned above, the CD works by producing slightly different frequencies in each ear, and if you listen through speakers inevitably the sounds from the left and the right side will get mixed up.

I'd also advise turning up the bass quite high: some of the sounds on the CD are quite low-pitched, and it seems to me you get better results if you boost them.

And finally, close your eyes while you are listening to the CD. From the occasion when, as a psychology major, I was wired up to an EEG machine, I know that the simple act of closing your eyes can greatly boost your alpha-wave output!

There are two tracks on the CD: a brief intro (which you can skip if you like) and the binaural beat track, which is 35 minutes long. It starts with a low-pitched throb - a bit like having a ten-tonne truck standing on the road outside – and gradually other, higher-pitched tones are introduced over the top of this. I wouldn't recommend playing this CD at a dinner party, but it is not unpleasant to listen to.

The advice provided with the CD is to try to relax as you listen - don't fight against it, in other words! Personally, I use it at the start of my writing day, though impatience sometimes gets the better of me before the CD has finished and I start work while the tones are still playing.

Does it work for me? Yes, I think so. To be honest I don't often suffer from writer's block, but sometimes it takes a while for me to 'get into the groove' at the start of a writing session. I find that listening to the CD relaxes me and helps me to focus on the job in hand.

Would it work for everyone? I'm not sure, though there is plenty of evidence that binaural beats do have a real effect, and the phenomenon is increasingly used in treating (among other things) sleep disorders and chronic pain. Binaural beats are also a key component in the Brain Evolution System, also marketed by WCCL, which I revewed a few months ago in this blog post.

For more information about the science involved see, for example, http://web-us.com/thescience.htm.

If you'd like to give the Writer's Block CD a try yourself, the following URL will take you straight to the relevant web page: http://www.writers-block-cd.com. As with all WCCL courses and products, 24-hour customer support is available from My Help Hub, and there is a 100% money-back guarantee.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Win The Wealthy Writer!

The Wealthy Writer is a downloadable course on making money from writing on the Internet. It was co-written by me and Internet writer/publisher Ruth Barringham.

In my brand new competition, I'm giving away a copy of The Wealthy Writer to the winner. What's more, he or she will also receive the four extra bonuses I am giving to people who order The Wealthy Writer via my website. You can see what exactly these are by clicking on any of The Wealthy Writer links in this post.

Here's what you have to do to stand a chance of winning. The Wealthy Writer is all about writing for the Internet, so to enter this competition I'd like you to submit the name and URL of your favorite writing website, together with an explanation of why you like it so much in under 100 words.

If your favorite site was My Writers Circle, for example, your entry might be as follows...

My Writers Circle - www.mywriterscircle.com

I've been a member of this writing forum for over two years and really enjoy the friendly atmosphere. It's a great place for getting feedback on your writing, asking and answering questions, and shooting the breeze with your fellow authors.


Here are the other rules of the contest - I've tried to keep them as simple and straightforward as possible.

1. Anyone from anywhere in the world is welcome to enter.

2. Entries should be submitted in the form of comments on this blog post.

3. You can nominate any blog or website you like, as long as it is useful in some way to writers. Please do NOT include affiliate links, though.

4. Please include your name or nickname with your entry, so I have some way of identifying the author (this is particularly important if you submit your comment as 'Anonymous'). Only one entry per person, please.

5. The closing date is Friday 27 November at 17:00 GMT. The winner will be announced on my blog on Monday 30 November, or as soon as practicable after that date.

6. The winning entry will be chosen by a random drawing of all eligible entries. People nominating websites and blogs run by WCCL or myself will not stand any greater chance of winning!

I hope through this competition to discover some writing websites I might not have seen before, and to compile a useful resource list for all writers. So even though there will only be one winner of The Wealthy Writer, everyone will win, if you see what I mean!

If you have any queries, feel free to post them below or contact me via my blog contact form.

I'm really looking forward to seeing your entry!


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Thursday, November 05, 2009

WCCL Affiliate Contest Winner Announced!

In this recent blog post I discussed the affiliate program run by my publishers (and blog sponsors), The WCCL Network.

The post also mentioned that WCCL were holding a contest for their top-selling affiliate in October. It wasn't me (sniff!) but the winner has just been announced. It was Thomas Herold of the Dream Manifesto website.

You can hear a half-hour interview with Thomas by WCCL's Karl Moore by clicking on the image below...


Thomas's earnings from promoting WCCL's products are pretty staggering. As winner of the contest, he earned 10% of ALL affiliate earnings across the whole network in October, giving him a substantial five-figure sum. And that's in addition to his OWN five-figure affiliate earnings in the month in question!

The interview with Thomas is interesting and informative. Here are a few things I picked up through listening to it...

* Thomas has earned much of his affiliate money by GIVING AWAY a free report from his website.

* He is a big believer in building a community of people who are interested in using the products in question, and ensuring you give them the information they want. Do this, says Thomas, and sales will flow almost automatically.

* You need to be polite but persistent. Most people do not buy the first time they are exposed to a new product.

* Self-development products sell extremely well. Both Thomas and Karl agreed about this.

* Dream Manifesto has its own two-tier affiliate program which would be a good match for anyone who promotes to the self-development market. This link should take you directly to the affiliates sign-up page.

If you're a WCCL affiliate and wondering what you can do to help boost your earnings, I highly recommend listening to this interview. And if you're involved in ANY sort of affiliate marketing (e.g. via ClickBank), I recommend listening anyway. Anyone who can earn over $10,000 a month from affiliate sales alone is surely worth half an hour of your time!

And don't forget, also, if you would like to sign up as an affiliate with WCCL and help to promote my writing courses and other products, you can do so via this page of my blog.

Happy affiliate selling!

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Should Writers Work for Peanuts?


Here's a query I received from a reader the other day...

While looking for freelance work, I see a LOT of offers for 4-500 word articles, and they pay $1.00 apiece. Are these legit? Or even worth it? It seems like a scam, but these postings seem to be the majority of job postings these days. Thanks for your help.

Here's an expanded version of my reply to that reader. First of all, he is quite right. There are lots of 'job offers' on the Internet paying that sort of money or even less. Just do a search on 'bloggers wanted', for instance, and I can guarantee you'll find hundreds.

These opportunities (though I hesitate to dignify them by that name) are normally posted by small-scale entrepreneurs looking to get content for their websites and blogs as quickly and cheaply as possible. They are more concerned with quantity than quality, hence the very low rates of pay.

There is a free market for writers, and people can offer whatever fee they like. It doesn't mean they are scams (a much over-used word on the net). However, I can't really see why any self-respecting writer would want to accept such low-paid work. Indeed, here are two good reasons why I think you should give them a very wide berth...

1. By accepting such low rates of pay, you legimitize the exploitation of writers. If no writer accepted such rates, website owners and others would have no alternative but to offer more realistic fees.

2. You could make more money by writing the articles for yourself, putting them on a free Blogger blog (which takes five minutes to set up), and add some Google AdSense ads to make money. If you're able to drive even a modest amount of traffic to your blog, you will soon earn more than the minuscule fees on offer, and it will carry on for months or years.

If you don't even want to do this, there are various sites that will publish your articles and share the advertising revenue generated with you. Helium is one very popular article-publishing site, while ScribeSeeker is a new venture currently paying writers 90 percent of advertising revenue generated. Several other such sites are discussed in detail in my course The Wealthy Writer, by the way.

You are unlikely to make a fortune from these sites. Nevertheless, if you compare the potential returns with offers of $1 for 500 words, they suddenly look a lot more attractive. And, as mentioned, they will go on paying you month after month, whilst if you work for someone paying you $1 per article, that is all you will ever get. Meanwhile, your client will probably just have posted your article on his site and be making the money from it you could have earned yourself.

Those are my thoughts anyway. Do you agree? Please leave any comments below!

Photo credit: mape_s on Flickr

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