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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guest Post: Using Job Auction Sites as a Resource to Get Freelance Work


Today I'm pleased to bring you a guest post by Matthew Jackson, who writes on behalf of the job auction site PeoplePerHour.

I have used PPH myself, both as a writer seeking work and as an employer subcontracting to other writers, so I know the site well and am happy to recommend it to others.

For those who don't know, I should preface Matthew's article by explaining that job auction sites provide an online marketplace where writers (and other freelances) can bid on projects posted by would-be clients. The clients then assess the bids they have received, and offer the job to the bidder they think will be most suitable for them (based on price quoted, skill set, experience, and so on).

Over to Matthew, then!

* * *

The number of job auction websites is growing steadily, but be wary about any that ask you to pay a significant sum of money up front.

Any reputable site will have a free basic membership allowing you to try before you buy, with an option to purchase a more substantial subscription-based package with greater benefits and visibility should you decide that a particular job auction site is going to be useful to you in your search for work.

When a freelance copywriter first tries their hand at bidding on a job auction website, the natural reaction is to think that the lowest bidder will win. First things first, then: job auction sites are not eBay, and they don't just revolve around how much you bid. The lowest bidder doesn't win a commission unless they are also the best candidate. If you come in below an employer's budget and you are the person best suited to do the work, then that's a winning combination; but if your skills are mediocre and you offer the lowest bid, it's rare that you will be selected for the job. The majority of serious employers need work to be handled efficiently the first time without having to pay for a second freelance to do it properly if you don't deliver. It may surprise you to know that fewer than 7% of jobs go to the lowest bidder on job auction websites, so keep your bids realistic and in line with your normal hourly or piecework rate.

Presentation is the first and most important rule for a freelance writer when looking for any type of work, not just on a job auction website. If you are applying online, the first thing that an employer sees is your ability - or lack thereof - to grasp basic grammar, punctuation and spelling when you put in your bid. If you are looking for work as a freelance writer or copywriter, then it is expected that you can demonstrate a very high standard of written English in your bid or application. If English is not your first language, remember that you are bidding equally against those for whom it is, so you have to be sure that you can be competitive with them.

Once you have delivered work sourced through a job auction website, you will receive feedback from your client, and this leads to an increase in your ranking within the site. Essentially, the more work you do, the more you should get as a result, and the more visible your profile will be to other employers. Naturally, if a freelance copywriter has good reviews from previous jobs, it makes those offering commissions more confident in employing them, vis-a-vis those with little or no feedback.

So, the principal challenge is getting yourself onto the ladder by bidding and winning commissions and getting excellent feedback for what you have done.

As with any type of job hunting, if you stand out from the crowd with your skill set, you are putting yourself at an immediate advantage over those who are not as qualified, so never sell yourself short and always make sure that you list all your qualifications and experience relevant to the post.

If you are experienced but feel that your qualifications, or lack of them, are holding you back, try some online learning, as it's a great way in which to brush up on the practical skills that you already have. For example, if you are a freelance writer returning to work, you may want to enhance your computer knowledge and get to grips with the latest industry software which could be useful in your search for work.

The bottom line is that if you freelance, you are self-employed, and as such it is entirely your responsibility to make yourself the best possible candidate when bidding for a job, thus convincing clients that you are precisely the person that they are seeking.

If you are looking to find a website that offers freelance jobs, then PeoplePerHour is a good place to start. They have lots of different types of jobs available and there is lots of information in their blog on how to use the service and get started with your freelance career.

* * *

Thank you to Matthew for an informative and encouraging article. If you have any questions or comments for Matthew, please do post them below.

Photo Credit: MPClemens on Flickr

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seven Tips for Submitting Stories to Anthologies and Competitions

Recently I volunteered to help edit a new fundraising anthology being organized by Greg McQueen for victims of the recent flooding in Pakistan.

Hopefully, you may have seen my messages on Twitter, FaceBook and this blog about 50 Stories for Pakistan, and perhaps even submitted a story.

Helping choose and edit the stories - using the collaborative micro-blogging service Present.ly - was an enjoyable and somewhat eye-opening experience. In particular, it suggested to me certain guidelines writers might like to follow to maximize their chances of success with any similar anthologies or competitions in future.

Here then are seven tips based on my experience...

1. Submit early

On 50 Stories for Pakistan the editorial team voted on every story, giving a 'Like' to those they thought should be included. Quite simply, the stories that were up for the longest time had the best chance of achieving a lot of Likes. Later it got harder, as a few members of the editorial team dropped out for various reasons.

2. Submit according to the rules

These plainly stated that stories were to be submitted in the body of an email and not as attachments. And yet, astonishingly, nearly HALF of all the stories were submitted as attachments, mostly as Word or PDF files. Greg took the decision not to disqualify all such stories, though he could easily have done. Many didn't display properly on the editing site, however, or else had to be saved as attachments, which some members of the editing team couldn't open. Again, that made it difficult for such stories to achieve the requisite number of 'Likes'.

3. Think about the context

The anthology was in aid of flood victims in Pakistan, and Greg specifically asked writers to avoid submitting stories featuring violence, death or destruction. And yet a surprising number of stories broke this rule, some even featuring floods and other natural disasters. When submitting for an anthology of this nature, good taste (quite apart from the rules) really dictates that you should avoid such downbeat themes. All such stories were swiftly rejected, I'm afraid.

4. Understand what a short story is

That may sound a little harsh. And yet, quite a few of the entries weren't really short stories at all. Some read like extracts from a novel, while others resembled a book summarized in a few hundred words. Neither of these really makes for a successful short story.

It's not easy to define exactly what makes a good short story, but in my view it should have a clear beginning, middle and an end, and there should be some sense of purpose to it. Many of the rejected stories were competently written, but it was hard to see any real 'point' to them.

5. Don't submit children's stories to anthologies for adults

Stories with talking animals and Harry Potter-style academies for wizards and witches were never likely to make the cut, I'm afraid. Although there is nothing wrong with a bit of quirkiness, anything that is too obviously a children's story is unlikely to be accepted for an adult project. Better to save such stories for contests and anthologies specifically aimed at children's writers.

6. Beware of being too obscure

Some entries were simply incomprehensible (to me, at least). They might have been good in other ways, but if I didn't understand a story, I couldn't in all conscience give it my vote.

I'm not saying every story has to reveal its full meaning on one reading, but if it leaves the reader totally baffled, it's unlikely to get many votes. A good story can work on a number of levels, of course, some of which may only become apparent on re-reading. For an anthology aimed at a wide general readership, however, I think a story should provide a satisfying experience on first reading as well.

7. Consider humour

As a short story judge for other contests as well, I've often found humor to be in short supply. Many writers seem to think that stories must be filled with gloom and doom, which as a judge can get depressing after a while. Certainly, in the case of 50 Stories for Pakistan (with its rather grim context), humor was very much welcomed by all the judges. Some stories which perhaps were a little 'slight' in other respects got the nod due to the humour in them.

Congratulations, then, to the fifty writers whose stories were chosen for the anthology, and commiserations to those who missed out - some of whom were genuinely very unlucky. Personal tastes did play a part in the judging too, so don't be afraid to resubmit your work elsewhere (after reading my guidelines and giving your story another polish, of course!).

50 Stories for Pakistan will be published very shortly - watch the Big Bad Media website (run by Greg McQueen) for announcements. And please consider buying a copy of the anthology, as it is a genuinely good read, and all profits will be going to a very worthy cause.

Photo credit: Kim Piper Werker on Flickr.


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How to Get Your Blog Published on the Amazon Kindle

As you probably know, the Kindle is Amazon's digital e-book reader, which has taken the US, and then the world, by storm.

What you may not know, however, is that if you are a blogger, you can sell subscriptions to your blog via the Amazon Kindle Store, and earn a monthly fee for everyone who subscribes.

Publishing your blog to the store is actually very simple. First, you need to go to http://kindlepublishing.amazon.com to set up an account and submit your blog for approval. As far as I can see, this opportunity is only open to US and UK bloggers at the moment (and only US residents can actually subscribe to blogs), but I'm sure that will change over the coming months.

Once approved, your blog will be available in the Kindle Store within 12 to 48 hours. The Kindle gives the user full text and images from the blogs they are subscribed to, unlike a typical RSS feed which gives you only the headlines.

When submitting your blog for approval you'll need to provide the following information:

* blog title
* blog tagline
* blog description
* blog feed URL (Atom or RSS)
* an image from top of your blog (banner or masthead)
* a screenshot of your blog
* approximate posting frequency

In practice, even including the screenshots, it shouldn't take more than an hour to enter and upload the information required.

So far as payments are concerned, you'll receive 30% of the monthly blog subscription price. Amazon sets this, not you, and it's based on what they think is a fair price for their customers. For example, the subscription price for My Writing Blog was set at $1.99 a month.

All blog subscriptions are free for the first 14 days, then they’re billed at the monthly subscription price. Blogs are updated wirelessly throughout the day.

American bloggers can choose to be paid by check or Electronic Funds Transfer. EFT carries no charge, but if you opt for a paper check and live in the US you’ll have an $8.00 fee deducted. Bloggers in the UK don't get the option of payment by EFT, but checks (or cheques in their case) are sent without charge.

If you publish a blog, in my view it's well worth applying to have it listed in Amazon’s Kindle Store. It won’t cost you a thing, might earn you some money, and in any event is great free publicity for you and your blog.

Do check out the subscription page for Nick Daws' Writing Blog at the Kindle Store. And if you add your blog as well, feel free to leave a link to the sales page in a comment below.

Photo credit: Richard Masoner on Flickr.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Guest Post: Writing and Publishing My First E-Book!

Today I'm publishing an article by Larry Nielsen, a buyer of my course The 10-Day E-Book.

Larry wanted to tell his story and reveal how he had turned the advice in the course into a published e-book of his own (the excellent How to Buy Your First Home with Confidence). I hope you enjoy reading his article.

* * *

My journey started around 2008. I was living in an upscale apartment complex in South Florida. I had a top-floor corner unit. I could open the windows and feel the cool breeze blow through. I was sitting on my super comfortable leather couch watching my big flat screen TV. I had an expensive European luxury car parked out front. What a life!

The problem was that the apartment was costing me half of my monthly income in rent alone. The car was another story. There goes another few hundred dollars down the drain each month on car payments, gas, insurance, and repairs. To make things even worse, the money I was paying to the apartment complex wasn't doing anything for me. I mean it was enabling me to live in that place but that's the extent of it. Basically it was lining someone else's pockets and making them a little bit richer each day. Did I mention that I was thousands of dollars in credit card debt? Well, I was.

The day came when I realized that this was not the life I wanted to live anymore. I didn't want to "fake it until I made it". I wanted to own my own home. I wanted that sense of pride, sense of community, and respect that comes with the esteemed title of "home owner".

I started to get my act together. I stopped using my credit cards. I started to pay them all off, little by little. I had to wait until the end of my lease to move out to avoid paying any penalties so I did that. I even sold that money-pit of a car. I had made a decision and I was going to make it happen.

I moved out of that apartment, moved in with a buddy who charged me next to nothing in rent, and started saving all that I could. While I was saving, I started researching the local real estate market. I didn't tell you this yet, but I used to be a Realtor. I wasn't anymore, though, and the real estate market changes, so I was doing my own research. I was talking to people I knew, driving around looking at the different areas and properties for sale, visiting open houses, and using the internet to search for properties for sale.

I wasn't ready to buy anything just yet, but I needed to know where I stood and what the current prices were. I worked with a couple of Realtors, and one mortgage broker, that didn't quite work out. I kept living cheap and saving money until I had enough for a down payment. I was also able to find a Realtor, through a personal referral, who was a hard worker and willing to help me find what I wanted.

It took some time, patience, and a lot of persistence, but I was able to find and purchase a home in a nice area and at a fair price. My preparation, research, and determination, along with my Realtor's help, allowed this to happen in a fairly smooth manner. I was pleased.

After I moved in I started thinking that I would like to share my experience with other first-time home buyers. I thought that my story might be able to help them stay motivated, move forward, and become home owners. I had a lot of great ideas in my head, a story to tell, and a lot of good information to share.

I had no idea how to put what was in my head onto paper, though. I had tried a couple of times. Late at night I would be sitting in front of my computer saying to myself, "I'm going to write an eBook. What's so hard about it?" I opened up my word processor software and began typing. I tried this a few times. I would usually get about a paragraph into it and realize that I had no idea how to write enough to make an entire eBook. Also, I had no idea how to structure my thoughts, to make it easier to write, and easy for readers to read.

I thought I should be able to start writing off the top of my head and keep going until I finished my eBook. When I was not able to do this, I would get a little discouraged and think that maybe an eBook author is just something that I was not meant to be.

This is no joke. One of those nights, I was surfing the Internet and came across Nick Daws' website that offered a program on "How to write and publish your eBook in 10 days or less". At first I thought, "Yeah, right." Still, I read what his site had to say. It really sounded like a good system and, better yet, it sounded like something I could understand and implement. I decided to give it a shot. I purchased his course!

I was amazed at what I found inside. Nick's course breaks down the entire process of writing an eBook. I am talking about all the way from brainstorming for ideas, researching your ideas for relevancy, determining what information your eBook will contain, organizing that information, and writing and self-editing your eBook.

That's not all, either. The way his course is written, it makes the whole thing super easy. Even a beginning writer can understand it and make it work for them. I followed his course to the letter and wrote, edited, and published my very first eBook in just 10 days. Like I said, this is no joke. It really worked for me. I was able to take all of that information in my head, write it down, organize it, and turn it into a structured, published eBook, "How to Buy Your First Home with Confidence"!

After you get your eBook written, Nick shows you how to get it published, how to promote it, and offers you plenty of free resources along the way. I used most of the free resources as well that saved me hundreds of dollars compared to what I would have spent if I had paid for those same services somewhere else.

I can't say enough good things about Nick's 10-Day-eBook Course. It's worth the money and worth your time. I also think it should be mentioned that Nick didn't pay me or offer me any compensation to write this. I just want you to know that if you are thinking of writing an eBook and just don't know where or how to start, you need to take a look at Nick's course.

Here's to health, happiness, eBooks, and home ownership! CHEERS!

Sincerely, Larry Nielsen
Author - "How to Buy Your First Home with Confidence"
Website: http://www.homewithconfidence.com
Blog: http://homewithconfidence.blogspot.com

* * *

Thanks very much to Larry for taking the trouble to write down his story and submit it to me.

I'm touched and delighted by his kind comments about my 10-Day E-Book course, and hope his well-written and informative manual achieves the success (and sales) it deserves. If you have any comments or questions for Larry, please do post them below.

And, of course, if you're about to buy your first home or know someone who is, I highly recommend investing a few dollars in How to Buy Your First Home with Confidence. It could easily save you a few thousand further down the line!

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Self-Publishing Central - New on myWritersCircle!


Just wanted to let you know that my forum at www.mywriterscircle.com now has a dedicated board for self-publishers and others thinking of going down this route.

Self-Publishing Central is intended for discussing anything related to self-publishing, e-book publishing, and POD (Publish On Demand). On this board, you can...

* ask (and answer) questions about self-publishing
* announce your new book, e-book or POD book to the world
* recruit affiliates to help sell your book
* request help building sales websites
* share ideas for publicizing and promoting self-published titles
* invite collaborators or seek out service providers
* ask about selling via ClickBank, Amazon, and so on

Having researched this subject recently, I discovered that there are few places online where new self-publishers who are still learning the ropes can ask questions and promote their books in a friendly, supportive environment - so I hope Self-Publishing Central will fill an important gap.

If you're a member of myWritersCircle you can start using Self-Publishing Central immediately. If not, it's easy to join - just click on Register near the top of the forum homepage and follow the on-screen instructions. There's no charge (naturally), and you'll be joining a friendly, active forum with over 20,000 members world-wide.

Buyers of WCCL's Self-Publishing Secrets and my own 10-Day E-Book are especially invited to use the new board to raise any points they may be unsure about while working through these courses, and announce their new titles to the world. But all self-publishing writers are very welcome to post here.

See you at Self-Publishing Central!

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review: Make Money Editing From Home

I recently received a review copy of this e-book by Michael LaRocca, a member of my forum at www.mywriterscircle.com.

Michael lives in Asia, where he makes a full-time living from proofreading and editing (though he does admit that he is helped by the lower cost of living there).

At just 28 pages, Make Money Editing From Home is quite concise, but it is full of interesting insights into how Michael makes his green (or whatever color the currency may be over there).

As you might expect, the book is well written, in a chatty, entertaining style. I should present one note of caution at the outset, however - this is NOT a guide to how to proofread or edit - Michael assumes you have those skills already. Rather, it is a guide to how to get work, negotiate rates, boost your earnings, and so on.

Michael starts by telling us a bit about his own background, and how he ended up a professional freelance proofreader and editor (this is actually quite an interesting tale). He goes on to reveal the top two freelance job sites for finding work in this field. This is followed by a discussion about building your own website to market your services, and how to promote it via search engines and directories.

A very interesting chapter covers a website Michael uses as a backup source of work when he doesn't have anything else on. This pays less than his normal work (apparently), but Michael says there are always jobs available there, though you need to be an experienced editor to be accepted. If that applies to you, however, this is definitely a site you'll want to check out.

The manual concludes with a selection of tips and resources. The latter include a link to a free PDF about using the tracking feature in Microsoft Word, which - as Michael says - you might find useful to give to any writing clients who are unfamiliar with this.

Overall, Make Money Editing From Home is a valuable guide for anyone looking to establish themselves as a freelance proofreader/editor working for a world-wide clientele. You could argue that $25 is a bit pricey for just 28 pages, but on the other hand just one job gained by following Michael's advice would cover this and more.

Disclosure Notice: I do not have any commercial link with Michael LaRocca, and will not receive any financial recompense from sales of his e-book.



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Monday, October 11, 2010

How To Books Monthly Article-Writing Contest

A few weeks ago I posted about the How To Books Article Writing Contest and Opportunity. I said then that it was an interesting opportunity for anyone who liked to write how-to articles.

Well, How To Books have now decided to make the contest a regular monthly event. They are kicking off this month with three £50 (around $75) prizes for the three best articles submitted in October via the site. I am told that next month there will be one £100 prize (around $150), and after that it will alternate.

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 will be automatically considered for that month's prize.

In my earlier post I said that anyone who had an article accepted for publication on the How To Books website would receive royalties from the advertising displayed around it. Unfortunately this is no longer the case (if you want to know why, read the comments section of my earlier post). Articles published on this high-profile site will, however, help establish your writing credentials, and you can include a link to your homepage if you wish. So even if you don't win one of the monthly prizes, you can still gain some benefit from having your work published on the site.

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


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Thursday, October 07, 2010

How to Earn at Least $100 a Day Writing Articles


Today I'm delighted to bring you a guest post from successful online publisher and author Ruth Barringham.

Ruth was my co-author on The Wealthy Writer, our comprehensive guide to making money writing for online markets (published by WCCL). In this post she talks about one of her areas of special expertise, earning money from article writing.

Take it away, Ruth...

* * *

There is no question that earning money from writing articles is easy. And $100 a day is the very least you should be earning.

But there's a catch...

You have to actually write the articles AND they need to contain useful, quality information. But your articles don't have to be long and can be as little as 400-600 words.

Any good writer can earn money writing articles. Here are the top 10 ways to do it:

1. Writing Articles for Magazines and Websites

The old traditional way of making money writing articles for magazines was (and still is) a great way to do it. Magazine editors are always looking for great content. And if your work is good, it's possible to earn $200 to $400 just from one 1,000-2,000 word article. And now, with so many online magazines, websites and blogs starting up all the time, the market for articles has more than doubled.

2. Writing Articles for Your Own Website

Starting up your own website or blog means you can write all your own content. And when you monetize your site with Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements and affiliate products, the more pages your site has, the more money you can earn.

You can also offer a subscription to a regular newsletter to keep visitors returning to your site for the latest updates.

3. Writing and Selling PLR Articles

Some people can't (or don't want to) write their own articles and so they will buy PLR (Private Label Rights) articles instead.

PLR articles are usually sold in batches of around 10-100 niche articles. Usually no more than 50 batches are sold of the same articles, so as not to flood the market.

These articles are sold without copyright, which means whoever buys them can use them or change them any way they want.

As a writer, selling bundles of PLR articles can be very lucrative. And you can sell them directly from your own website.

4. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a very popular and profitable way to earn money from writing articles. You simply find a product you want to sell for commission, write an article (review) about the product, and upload it to your website along with your affiliate link.

But as a word of warning, it's far better to only affiliate to products that you believe are good, to keep the trust of your customers.

5. Writing for Article Directories

Writing articles for article directories is by far the best way to get visitors to your website or blog.

Other website owners are always looking for articles to publish on their sites or blogs. So if you're regularly uploading articles to the article directories, they will soon start appearing all over the Internet along with a link back to your website.

6. Paying Article Sites

There are some article sites that you can join that have a revenue-sharing scheme. This means that they will place Pay Per Click ads on your article pages on their site and share the income they generate with you.

Some article sites even let you advertise your affiliate products on your article pages too.

Some of these sites are HubPages, Squidoo, Suite 101, BellaOnline (a women-only site) and About.com.

7. Writing Reports and Ebooks

Writing articles can be the same as writing reports and ebooks. The only real difference is that you put more information in the articles and each one becomes a chapter in a report or ebook.

Once you start writing articles regularly, your mind will constantly spark with more ideas of what to write about. And you can easily turn all these ideas into a report or ebook.

Ebooks and reports are instantly downloadable and you can use a payment service such as PayPal to deal with credit card payments for you.

8. Print Books

Ebooks are great because there are no production costs (except time) and the selling process can be 100% automated.

But some customers might still prefer to buy a printed copy of your book. If you don't want to get caught up with printing and shipping physical copies of your book, you can use a free POD publishing site such as LuLu to offer a printed alternative.

9. Write Articles for Clients

If you don't want to get involved in the whole website-building side of things and you're happy writing articles for other people, there are several ways you can go about finding clients.

The easiest way is to bid for jobs on sites like Elance. This site has writing jobs advertised that you can bid on and state what you're prepared to do and how much you charge.

Classified ad sites such as Craigslist have hundreds of writing jobs advertised (both temporary and long term), but you usually need a resume to apply for these or have your own website you can direct them to.

Alternatively, you can advertise your own writing services on freelance sites.

But you really need to have your own website, because this is the best place to advertise your writing services.

10. All of the Above!

All the 9 ways listed above are great for earning money from writing articles. But there's no denying the fact that if you do them all, your article writing income will explode.

Just imagine if you had PLR articles, affiliate products and your own ebooks selling from your own website. Then add to this selling printed books, earning shared revenue, income from PPC ads, having your articles published in magazines and on websites every week, as well as receiving regular assignments from writing clients.

If you can't earn a minimum of $100/day from all this, then you're really not trying.

------------------------------

Ruth Barringham is a writer and author from Brisbane, Australia. She runs a website for writers at http://writeaholics.net, and is co-author of The Wealthy Writer.

* * *

Thanks again to Ruth for an interesting and inspiring article. If you have any comments or questions for Ruth, please do leave them as comments below!

Photo credit: Refracted Moments on Flickr.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Paper.li - Start Your Own Daily Newspaper from Twitter

Paper.li is a new, free service I discovered recently.

If you're on Twitter it will automatically create a newspaper-style website based on the links shared by you AND the people you follow on Twitter over the last 24 hours.

For Twitter users, Paper.li has two big attractions. First of all, it gives you a daily summary of the most popular links shared on your network. This is useful if, like me, you follow quite a lot of people and inevitably miss some interesting tweets.

The other attraction of Paper.li is that you can promote your newspaper to other readers, using Twitter, FaceBook, and so on. If you use Twitter at least in part as a marketing/PR tool, this is great for attracting more interest for your tweets and more followers to your Twitter account.

Setting up your newspaper is almost ridiculously easy. Just go to the Paper.li website and click on Create a Paper in the top right-hand corner. You will then be able create an account using your Twitter ID. Once you have done this, you will see the page below...

Paper.li daily newspaper website

As you can see, you have three options. To create a daily newspaper based on your own Twitter account, just enter your Twitter username in the left-hand box and click on Create. You can also create newspapers based on a Twitter hashtag or a Twitter @list.

And, amazingly, that's all there is to it! It takes a while for the service to create your first issue, but after that it continues to do so on a daily cycle. You can choose to have Paper.li send you an email every time a new issue is published. You can also set it to send out automatic notifications to all your Twitter followers.

I've been using Paper.li for a couple of weeks now to create the Nick Daws Daily, and am impressed with the amount of interest and comment it has been generating. I've also been getting messages from people whose articles are quoted in the newspaper thanking me for the mention - actually slightly embarrassing, as their inclusion was of course entirely automatic.

Indeed, that is perhaps the slight drawback with Paper.li as a broadcasting medium. While it's very easy to set up, you have no direct control over what goes into it. This depends entirely on whom you follow and how popular they and their tweets are. The service automatically chooses the most popular (presumably the most retweeted) links to create the stories featured in your paper.

In my case, while I mainly follow people in the writing world, there are also some personal friends, clients, Internet marketing gurus, musicians, media people, celebrities, news services, and so on. Consequently, the stories that get served up are pretty varied, and the 'headlines' aren't always the stories I would have chosen personally, based on the interests of most of my followers.

If you want to use Paper.li mainly as a broadcasting medium, there would be a case for restricting the people you follow on Twitter to those whose tweets would be of clear interest to most of your other followers (your target market, as it were). You could maybe then have a separate Twitter account for your wider circle of interests. This obviously complicates matters, but applications such as Tweetdeck do cater for users with multiple accounts, and a growing number of people are now doing this. Maybe I will at some stage myself, but for now readers of my newspaper will see stories from the full range of people I follow on my Twitter account, obscure prog rock bands and all!

So that's the lowdown on Paper.li and the Nick Daws Daily. For the time being I'm pleased with the response it has been getting, so I definitely plan to keep it running for a while yet. If you're on Twitter, in my view Paper.li is definitely a service well worth checking out.

* Have you tried Paper.li and what do you think of it? Have you any tips for getting the most from the service? Please post any comments below!

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