Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
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Friday, July 30, 2010

The Just Write Blog Carnival

As many of you will know, blog carnivals are regular online events where links to interesting blog posts are shared.

Blog carnivals can be great for getting up-to-date info on their specialist topic. And equally, they can provide a great method for bringing your own blog posts to a wider readership.

I wanted to give a mention today, therefore, to the Just Write Blog Carnival, which is hosted on the Incurable Disease of Writing Blog, run by the redoubtable Missy Frye.

I've been supporting this carnival for the last few months, and I'm extremely impressed with it. It appears like clockwork every Friday, and is more reliable (and frequent) than any other writing-related blog carnival I've come across.

Posts are listed in a dozen or so categories, including Book Reviews, Freelance, Encouragement for Writers, Screenwriting, Writing Mechanics, and so on. There are typically 12 to 20 fresh posts in each edition of the carnival, and there is always interesting reading to be found.

I'd also like to recommend the Just Write Blog Carnival as a great one to try if you're new to blog carnivals and have a writing-related blog yourself. Just click here to go to the submission form, and enter details of the post you would like to see in the next edition. Don't forget to choose a category from the list provided.

In addition, if you don't have a post of your own that you want to promote but have seen another you like from someone else, you are encouraged to submit that as well. You can submit more than one link to each edition of the carnival if you like.

Do take a look at the latest edition of the Just Write Blog Carnival at least - and if you have your own writing blog, try submitting one of your own recent posts (make it a good one!).

And please spread the word about the Just Write Blog Carnival as well - the more people who publicize it, the more useful it will become for all its readers and contributors!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Three Great Free E-Books from Site Build It!

Site Build It!
My recent post about free e-books on blogging from John Chow attracted a lot of interest. So I thought today I'd share another resource you might find useful.

This is a set of three free e-books on different aspects of writing and copywriting from the Site Build It organization.

The first of these, Make Your Knowledge Sell, is a guide to e-book writing by Ken Evoy (the founder of Site Build It) and successful e-book author Monique Harris. MYKS covers everything from choosing your subject and producing your e-book, through to marketing it and automating the sales process.

MYKS formerly sold for $49.95, but it's now available free, with no strings attached. There are no hidden fees and you don't even have to give your email address, so I strongly recommend visiting the MYKS website and picking up your free copy today.

The other two guides are also available free from the MYKS website - just scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll come to them.

Make Your Content PREsell shows you how to write to connect with your website visitors, to start building a relationship with them prior to selling them anything. It's particularly relevant to anyone involved in affiliate marketing.

The other e-book, Make Your Words Sell, is basically a guide to copywriting. As you'll gather, it follows on logically from the previous guide.

All of these guides contain great info for anyone who is involved in writing for the net. Of course, part of their purpose is to help promote the Site Build It training course and business opportunity. This is a well-established and reputable offering for anyone who wants to get a money-making website set up with the minimum time and effort. However, all three guides are well worth reading whether or not you decide to invest in Site Build It.

* Don't forget - if you're interested in e-book writing, my 10-Day E-Book course is a complete step-by-step guide to writing, editing, publishing and marketing your first e-book. It's currently available at a $20 discount and with three extra bonus reports via my homepage!

Photo credit: tnarik on Flickr.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

The Problogger Seven Link Challenge

Problogger 7 Link Challenge
This post was written for Problogger’s 7 link challenge. Here is my list of seven links and a little bit about each...

* This blog’s first post was on November 30 2005. I've written another 590 posts since then!

* The post I enjoyed writing the most was my recent Three Ways to Make Money With Fiverr. I really enjoyed researching this article and adding screengrabs to illustrate it. I also got a kick out of the fact that a number of people commented or emailed to say how useful they had found it.

* A post which had a great discussion was Should Writers Work for Peanuts? It's a subject I feel quite strongly about, and so did many readers.

* A post on another site that I wish I had written is How to Get Things Done When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed by Darren Rowse on Problogger. I know from messages I receive that many aspiring writers feel overwhelmed at times, and this post contains some great advice from a man who really has been there and got the tee-shirt.

* My most helpful post is probably Ten Top Tips on Grammar and Punctuation. Though I'm cheating a little here, as this is actually a list of ten different posts I have made on this subject!

* The post title I am most proud of is Tense in Fiction. Even though this was written three years ago, it still gets a stream of search-engine traffic, and is short and to the point.

* A post I wish more people had read is Interview With New Novelist Ali Cooper. Ali took the trouble to provide some very detailed and informative answers to my questions, and I'm a little disappointed more people didn't read it and post comments or questions.

So those are my seven posts. If you've enjoyed reading about them (and, I hope, visiting the posts concerned), why not do the same for your own blog? Here is a link to the rules again. Once you've written your post, do feel free to publicize it in a comment below.

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds on Flickr.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Myriad Question...

I was recently asked by a buyer of my Essential English for Authors course about the word 'myriad'. In particular, they wanted to know whether you should use the preposition 'of' after it or not.

This is quite an interesting question, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it here.

Myriad (from the Greek) originally meant 10,000, but in modern English it is used to indicate an indefinite large number. One general rule is that myriad should only be used to describe something countable. So the following sentence would generally be regarded as incorrect...

The folder contained a myriad of correspondence.

The following version would be preferable:

The folder contained a myriad of letters.

Whether you should put the word 'of' after myriad is actually a subject of some controversy. Some authorities take the view that myriad means 'a large number of', so there is no need to put another 'of' after it.

But others, harking back to the word's original meaning of 10,000, believe that 'of' should indeed be added. This is one of those issues where - as a writer or editor - it's impossible to be 'right' in everyone's eyes. Unless one usage or the other is specified in your publisher's house-style guide, the best you can really hope for is to be consistent.

Finally, myriad can also be used as an adjective, while myriads is used only as a noun. So you could write:

The myriad words in the English language are both a challenge and an opportunity for writers. [myriad = adjective]


The myriads of words in the English language are both a challenge and an opportunity for writers. [myriads = noun]

Some people go as far as to say that you should only ever use 'myriad' as an adjective and myriads as the noun. This is highly arguable from a grammatical perspective, although there is something to be said for adopting the approach when writing or editing, as it removes any confusion over whether to use 'of' after myriad (the noun) or not.

I hope that goes some way to answering this question, and doesn't just raise a myriad more!

Photo credit: The Parthenon in Athens, by caribb on Flickr.

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

MWC Prize Sonnet Contest: The Winners!

I am pleased to be able to announce the winners of the myWritersCircle Prize Sonnet Contest, as launched in this blog post.

The standard of entries was impressively high, but the judges (Amie Saramelkonian and Mark Hoffmann) were unanimous in their choice of winner. Many congratulations, then, to Jayne Osborn, whose first prize winning sonnet is reproduced below...

The Rendezvous

First time: What preconceptions of this tryst?
- A nice hotel for lunch, a cosy chat?
(In her naïvety, no more than that.)
She met him; God, no way could she resist
from yielding to temptation once they’d kissed!
They ate, the urge increasing while they sat,
beyond the reach of any thermostat,
both knowing that this hunger would persist.

The bedroom: First, they shut the world outside,
then talked and laughed a while, and drank champagne.
They made love with intensity; both tried
to rationalise it – neither could explain.
They left the hotel, sad but satisfied,
each wondering if they’d get the chance again.

The judges comments about this poem were as follows: 'Best fit to the form, and most natural use of language. Pleasing rhythm and sonics, good use of occasional enjambment, good pace.'

Congratulations again to Jayne, who wins her choice of any of my WCCL writing courses, as set out in my earlier blog post.

Our runner-up was MWC regular and 'Hero Member' Eric Biggs. Here is his poem...

Dad's First Moonlighting

My father worked on steel-bound railroad trains
where engines brought their solid cars to sight
and hobos eating tin-can stew from drains
looked up to see them blare beyond the night.

Dad loved to make the Ninety-Nine go roll,
to cut the dark and outline all the trees
in silver mist and vibes of burning coal,
the fuel he shoveled high up as his knees.

Yet grandpa wanted dad to quit the train
to set line type with inky thumbs of blue.
So dad tried both, the road and news again -
the demon came and left off from his crew.

But when dad started work at grandpa's press,
a stroke soon killed him from the add-on stress

The judges said about this, 'Most original subject matter of the entries received. Strains a bit in terms of wording, but conveys some clear imagery that is appropriate to the theme.'

Eric wins a copy of The Poetry Dictionary by John Drury, a reference guide for poets and aspiring poets, published by Writers Digest Books. I will be sending this to Eric directly, through the good offices of

Finally, our third prize winner was Valerie Albrighton. Her sonnet is reproduced below...


Red poppies in profusion blotched the fringe
Of paths that led through golding fields of wheat;
Beneath blue skies and yellow sun's fierce singe
Grasshoppers sang in dusty August heat.
One evening in a shaded sandy lane
You taught me how to mount and ride a bike -
A skill you'd mastered long since with no pain
But which my parents thought unladylike.
Freed from restraint, I sped down country hills
To labour up the tedious balancing slope;
As outrider you guarded me from spills
Or dropped behind to let the traffic cope.
Without you I would not have dared to try;
With your lifelong encouragement, I fly.

The judges said: 'Good fit to form, imagery and theme with broad appeal, and no obvious straining.'

Valerie wins a copy of the MWC Winter of Our Mixed Content e-book anthology, packed with great writing by myWritersCircle members.

Many congratulations to all our winners, and commiserations to those who didn't quite make the winners' rostrum this time. I hope you enjoyed the challenge anyway, and that it may have (re)ignited your interest in creating poems in this traditional form.

Many thanks also to our judges, Amie and Mark, and to MWC moderator Don Blinebry, who handled the administration of the contest with admirable efficiency.

Watch out for more prize contests on myWritersCircle before too long!

Photo credit: McBeth on Flickr.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

John Chow's Blog Profit Camp Now Open

A few weeks ago I mentioned the two free e-books about blogging that were being given away by the highly successful entrepreneur-blogger John Chow.

These e-books are still available and well worth reading if you haven't already (and you're interested in making money from blogging, of course).

One reason John gave away these e-books was to promote his online training course, Blog Profit Camp. This has opened for enrolments today for four days only - so if the e-books have whetted your appetite and you're interested in taking the complete course, you might want to visit the Blog Profit Camp Registration Page now.

Blog Profit Camp is a twelve-week interactive course that promises to show you step by step how to make big money with blogging. John started blogging in December 2005, and within two years took his blog from zero earnings to making over $40,000 per month. Today he runs one of the biggest and most profitable blogs in the world, with over 100,000 RSS readers and over 56,000 people following him on Twitter.

In this new course, John promises to detail everything you need to do in order to achieve the same level of success. You will be given all the tools needed, and you'll have direct access to John and his team to answer any questions you may have.

The first round of registration is limited to 150 students. In view of the interest the free e-books have generated, the program is sure to sell out quickly, so the sooner you sign up, the better your chances of getting in. Blog Profit Camp is covered by a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee.

As an extra fast-action incentive, John is giving away reviews on his blog to the first 50 students to sign up. Companies pay $500 for a review on John's blog, but if you're among the first 50 to order Blog Profit Camp, you'll get the review for free.

Finally, if you enrol on Blog Profit Camp via any of my links in this post I will receive a commission, so I'm offering a little extra incentive of my own. Just let me know when you've signed up and I'll send you my own unique mini-report on a little-known niche-blogging strategy that virtually guarantees traffic to your blog. Please use my Contact Me form and put BPC Bonus as the subject. I will then verify your purchase and send your mini-report.

Happy blogging!

Photo credit: Swansea Photographer on Flickr

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

How To Books Competition and Article-Writing Opportunity

Here's an interesting opportunity for those of you who (like me) write how-to articles.

Oxford-based How To Books are holding a competition in July to celebrate the launch of the new authors' area on their website.

How To Books, for anyone who may not know, are well-established UK publishers of concise, practical guides on a huge range of topics. Their books cover everything from How to Write for Television to How to Buy a Home in Spain. Not all of their titles nowadays start with 'How To', by the way!

In early 2009, How To Books took the radical decision to make the content of all their books available free online at Rather than being paid by the word, authors were to receive a share of the advertising revenue their books generated.

More recently, How To Books took the decision to open up the site to articles as well. Some of these are written by How To Books' existing authors, but anyone is free to submit work. If an article is accepted by the site's professional editors, the author is paid a quarterly royalty based on the advertising revenue their work generates.

In the current competition, How To Books are offering a prize of £200 (around $300 US) for the best article submitted through the website in July. Articles must help readers do something practical, but can be on any of the subject areas covered by How To Books. These include Abroad, Business, Careers, Family, Learning, Money, Property, Wellbeing and Writing. Browse the site to get some ideas!

The competition is open to anyone in the world, as long as they are over the age of 18. You can also enter multiple articles - as long as they are original - and each will be considered for the prize. Most articles are around 300 to 500 words, although you can go longer if your subject warrants it. More information can be found in the site's writers' guidelines and the competition terms and conditions.

To submit an article, you simply have to register on the Write For Us page and follow the on-screen instructions. All articles submitted in July will be automatically considered for the prize.

One thing I particularly like about this competition is that, although there is only one prize on offer, anyone who has an article accepted for publication will receive royalties from the advertising displayed around it. Articles on this high-profile site will also help establish your writing credentials, and you can include a link to your homepage if you wish as well.

Good luck if you decide to submit an article. But at the very least, do check out the How To Books website when you get a chance, as there is some great, free reading to be found there!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: As from 1 August 2010, How To Books are no longer paying royalties to the authors of articles published on their site. Please see my comments below for more information.

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