Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
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Monday, March 31, 2014

How I Got My Best-Paid Writing Job Ever Last Week Through Amazon!

OK, I'm cheating a bit in the title of this post, but only very slightly.

Basically what happened is that Amazon sent me a £1200 (roughly $2000) mattress in exchange for reviewing it.

Considering that my reviews are typically around 150 words, that works out as as a rate of £8,000 or $13,333 per 1000 words. If only all my writing work was that well paid!

As some of you may have guessed by now, I'm an Amazon Vine reviewer. Every month or so, Amazon send me a list of products that are available for review. They range from books and toys through to widescreen TVs, lawn mowers and (as mentioned above) luxury mattresses. As long as they have some left in stock at the time you apply, they will send it to you in exchange for a review. Naturally, you are able to keep the item in question.

When I started out some years ago as an Amazon Vine reviewer - or Vine Voice as they are generally called - Amazon was still primarily an online bookseller, and the products on offer reflected that. In recent years as the store has diversified the range of items available to reviewers has broadened as well. As a matter of interest, here are links to my reviews for a few products I have reviewed for Amazon Vine (UK) over the last year or so.

Nessie Microphone
Prestige Cookware Set
Zyliss Herb Tool Cutter
Leifheit Clothes Dryer
Managing Your Investment Portfolio for Dummies book

Pretty varied, I think you'll agree. About the only things that don't come up are Kindle e-books. You also don't see many music CDs or entertainment DVDs.

Obviously, if you wanted to, you could sell your Amazon Vine items after reviewing them (maybe on eBay). I haven't done so yet, although I would be tempted to with the potentially lethal herb tool cutter in the list above!

The bad news with Amazon Vine is that you can't just submit an application. It's an invitation-only gig, so you have to wait for the call to come. On their website Amazon offer the following advice for would-be Vine Voices...
How can I join the program?

Amazon Vine is an invitation-only program. Vine Voices are selected based on several criteria, but primarily on the helpfulness of their reviews as judged by all other customers and by their demonstrated interest in the types of products that are featured in the program. Customers who consistently write helpful reviews and develop a reputation for expertise in specific product categories are most likely to be invited into the program.

How are Vine Voices selected?

We want the Voice program to reflect the best of our growing body of customer reviewers. We invite reviewers to participate in the Vine program based on feedback from other customers. A reviewer's rank is determined by the overall helpfulness of all their reviews, factoring in the number of reviews they have written. More weight is given to recent reviews. For more information in how reviewer rankings are determined, please visit How Ranking Works

Ultimately, Vine Voices become eligible based on the value and trust other Amazon.com customers place in the Voices' ability to provide helpful and insightful reviews. In addition to the reviewer rank, we also weigh customers' demonstrated interest in products similar to those enrolled in the Vine program. This facilitates product reviews by people who are familiar with the category they belong to. For example if a Vine Voice mostly purchases and/or reviews home and garden products, it is more likely they will be offered similar products.
If you want to become a Vine Voice, therefore, there is no easy shortcut. You need to write high-quality reviews that get good feedback (and "helpful" votes) from Amazon customers. Your reviews should be honest and authentic, and answer the sorts of questions a potential buyer might ask before purchasing. If you keep doing this and build up a portfolio of well-regarded reviews, there is every chance that sooner or later Amazon will invite you to join the program.

There are a few more tips on becoming a Vine Voice in this article by Bakari Chavanu on the MakeUseOf website - so I recommend reading this as well if being a Vine reviewer is something that appeals to you.

One point Bakari makes with which I strongly agree is that the most popular items in the Vine emails get snapped up very quickly. If and when you're accepted, it's therefore a good idea to set up a mail rule to ensure that you are alerted as soon as a Vine email arrives. I find that mine (from Amazon UK, of course) tend to arrive mid-evening, often at about 8 pm. This can be a nuisance as I'm not always at my computer at this hour - so if anyone knows how you can set up a  rule in Gmail to issue a shrill audio alarm when a Vine email arrives, I'd be very pleased to hear from you!

If you have any comments or questions about Amazon Vine, feel free to post them below and I'll do my best to answer them. And, of course, if you liked this post, please take a moment to share it on Facebook, Twitter and/or other social media. Thank you!

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Video Authority Author

https://www.warriorplus.com/o/a/pysm98/ywfcm

Video Authority Author is a new training course for authors on how they can use video to build their personal brand and generate more sales of their books/e-books.

The course author is professional book marketing consultant and speaker Miss Krizia. She is also known as Miss K or just Krizia (which is how I'll be referring to her here).

Video Authority Author has just been launched at a special offer price on the Warrior Forum, where it is generating a lot of buzz. I therefore decided to buy a copy myself, to see what all the fuss was about.

Video Authority Author is (fittingly enough) a video training course, though some PDF resources are also provided. There are a couple of OTOs (one time offers) to negotiate when buying. The first is an advanced course on creating viral videos, while the second - more expensive - is for personal coaching.

Once you have declined or accepted these offers, you will then be able to register for access to the members area, where you can access the training you have purchased.

There are four main modules, each of which includes several videos. Module 1 is titled Video Authority Author Training.

In this introductory module Krazia sets out the many benefits to authors of creating promotional videos. She makes the point that these go way beyond selling more books, e.g. providing a stepping stone to highly paid public speaking and consultancy roles. This module certainly gave me food for thought, and made me realize that I really must do more video work myself.

Module 2 sets out a step-by-step strategy for incorporating video into your next book launch. This is where you see the role video can play as part of your wider marketing strategy. Again, I found it quite eye-opening.

Module 3 is where Krazia gets down to specifics. In a series of shorter videos she takes you through setting up your YouTube channel, with in-depth advice on everything from whether you should link your channel to a new GMail account to which options to select during the sign-up process. If you are new to YouTube marketing you will want to watch these videos closely, making notes as appropriate.

Finally, Module 4 is described as Core Video Training. This is where Krazia talks about creating your videos. Rather than an entirely DIY approach, for best results she recommends hiring a professional video editor. She reveals her own method for finding suitably qualified candidates who are nonetheless affordable.

Module 4 goes on to discuss how to come up with ideas for your videos, the best locations to use, how to create the perfect background, and so on. Krazia also reveals how to keep your costs down by sourcing royalty-free music, images, animations, and so on. She emphasizes the importance of branding your video to make it look professional and make a long-lasting impact on viewers.

Buyers also get four additional bonuses. These are (1) a video production calendar, (2) essential video recording training, (3) a model video disclaimer (anyone you interview in a video should be asked to sign one of these), and (4) two animated clips you can add to your videos to entice viewers to sign up to your mailing list.

Overall, I thought Video Authority Author was an excellent course for any writer who is serious about building their platform using video and is prepared to spend a bit of money (though not a fortune) to get professional-looking results.

Krazia herself has enjoyed considerable success in this field, and in the course videos she shares her knowledge and experience generously. My one slight criticism is that the members area isn't the best designed I have seen. It's rather sprawling, and it may take you a little while to find your way around. There is a lot in there, though, so it really is worth making the effort to familiarize yourself with!

As mentioned at the start, Video Authority Author has just been launched at a low introductory price. Krazia says that once the launch period is over it will be going up substantially, which I can quite believe. So if you are interested in accessing this training at the lowest possible price, I strongly recommend buying now rather than later.

If you have any comments or questions about Video Authority Author, as ever, please feel free to post them below and I will do my best to answer them.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New: KD Fiction Writing Class and Challenge from Rob Howard

http://nikkd.robhoward.zaxaa.com/s/262952185767

I wanted to give you a heads-up today about a new online class and challenge for fiction writers starting shortly

KD Fiction Class is a combined fiction writing training course and a challenge to write a novel in 30 days.

I should maybe clarify that this is a NOT a free challenge like NaNoWriMo. However, you do get a lot for your money. All course members will receive at least four one-hour online fiction writing classes, along with a library of valuable resources, a dedicated Facebook Group for asking (and answering) questions, and so on.

KD Fiction Class is the brainchild of my colleague Rob Howard, a successful freelance writer and writing teacher. The event begins on 1 April 2014, but the price goes up by $50 in under 18 hours, so if you want to benefit from the early-bird price, I strongly recommend signing up now. Here's a link to the main information page.

As a matter of interest, I notice that Rob is using Christopher Vogler's book The Writer's Journey as the set book for his classes. This book (which I have myself and recommend) sets out the basics of the popular Hero's Journey plotting method.

The Hero's Journey is something I discuss in my own CD-based course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. It's not the only way to plot a novel, of course, but it can work very well for thrillers especially.

But even if you don't use it to plot your book directly, you can still use elements from the Hero's Journey (e.g. the character archetypes) to enrich and expand your fiction. I expect Rob will cover this in his classes, but it's all in Write Any Book in Under 28 Days too, if you want to check that out!

Most importantly, though, if you think you could benefit from KD Fiction Class, don't hang around. It will still be good value at the full price which applies from tomorrow, but why pay an extra fifty bucks if you don't have to?

Happy fiction writing!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest Post: Paragraphing Dialogue

Today I have a syndicated guest post for you by Jen Matera from the excellent Write Divas blog.

In her article, Jen sets out some good advice for punctuating and setting out dialogue. This is an area where many new writers struggle, and even experienced writers can have problems.

Over to Jen, then...
* * *

Divas on Dialogue: Paragraphing Dialogue (via http://writedivas.com)
Paragraphing Dialogue ~oOo~ “It’s not fair,” Brittany whined, stomping her foot and throwing her backpack on the floor. “You never let me do anything.” Her mother lifted her head and stopped sewing. “You’re right. I never let you do anything…

* * *

Thank you very much to Jen for a useful and interesting article.

In general I agree with all her advice. The one thing I would disagree with is the paragraph including the lines below...  
 "You’re right. I never let you do anything." She rolled her eyes before continuing. "I make you slave around here day and night, and you never have any fun..." 
To me, while it might not actually be ungrammatical,  'before continuing' is clunky here.

For one thing it is telling rather than showing. It also causes the reader to do a double-take, as she wonders for a moment why it is followed by a full stop rather than a comma (though this is, as I said, not ungrammatical if you regard 'continuing' in this context as intransitive). But most importantly, it is unnecessary. I would therefore simply omit it...
 "You’re right. I never let you do anything." She rolled her eyes. "I make you slave around here day and night, and you never have any fun..." 
 I think that's much better. You may disagree, of course!

Thank you to Jen for allowing me to reproduce her article here. If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Windows 8 is Bad News for Multi-Tasking Writers

Windows 8 Preview Menu by Ceo1O17, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Ceo1O17

Some of you will know that earlier this year I had to upgrade to a new computer after my old one showed signs of hard drive failure (which subsequently happened).

In fact my old PC didn't owe me anything, as it was seven years old and ran on Windows Vista.

As I wrote in this blog post, I bought a new, customized PC from a UK company named Dino PC. Among other things, they gave me a choice of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 for the operating system.

Although I'd heard bad things about the latest Windows incarnation, as mainstream support for Windows 7 is apparently ending next year I decided I had better bite the bullet and get the latest version.

I've been using Windows 8.1 for about two months now, so I thought you might be interested in my impressions.

To start with the positives, it is much faster to launch than Windows Vista (the system on my old computer), and so far anyway appears quite stable. That is about the extent of the good news as far as I'm concerned, though.

It's no secret that Windows 8 was designed primarily for tablet and other touchscreen device users. Its default Modern UI (user interface) is designed for launching full-screen apps, and it does that pretty well. If you're a desktop user, and especially one who uses your computer to multi-task, that may well be a hindrance rather than a benefit to you, though.

The trouble is that Windows 8 apps typically fill the whole screen, and there is no easy way to run multiple apps at once and/or switch between them. If you have a widescreen monitor like me, in effect it is wasted, as once you're in an app there is no taskbar for switching to other files, apps or programs. All you can really do is use that one app or close it.

I first became aware of this problem with the Windows 8 PDF reader app. In my work for clients such as More Money Review I often have to review PDF manuals. That means I am constantly switching between Word and one or more PDFs.

That's no problem in older versions of Windows, but if you're using the Windows 8 PDF app, you can forget about it. Your PDF opens all right, but it fills the whole screen, and there is no easy way to open multiple PDFs and other programs, or switch between them. Also, the PDF app has very few features. It allows you to open and read PDFs, but that's about all.

In the end I installed Foxit Reader, a free program that turned out pretty much ideal for my purposes. It's a proper program rather than a tablet app, and it can do all the things that I need and many more.

That was a native Windows 8 app, but what is even more worrying is when third-party software created for Windows 8 turns out to be an app as well. An example is the free Kindle for PC. I initially made the mistake of downloading the Windows 8 version from Amazon, but this turned out to be an app that opened in full-screen and could not be used for multi-tasking. Not a problem if you're simply using it to read an e-book on your tablet, but useless when you are reviewing e-books or using them for background research.

In the end I found a solution, although it wasn't exactly intuitive. I uninstalled the Windows 8 version of Kindle for PC and installed the older Windows 7 version instead. This worked with no problems at all and is fine for multi-tasking. I even like its icon more!

I really do hope that other software developers don't fall into the trap of thinking that all Windows 8 users want are full-screen apps.

This issue has particular implications for writers, who frequently multi-task in the course of their work, having two, three or more programs running simultaneously and switching regularly between them. The Windows 8 developers don't seem to have considered this segment of their market at all.

Admittedly, Windows 8.1 does make a few grudging concessions to desktop users and other multi-taskers. You can now set a more conventional Windows desktop with small icons as the default. This means (for the most part) you no longer have to put up with the dreaded Modern UI. There is still no proper Start button, though, and there are many irritating quirks. For example, messages occasionally come up telling you to tap the screen to perform some action. If I tried this on my monitor, all I would get is a bruised knuckle!

It seems to me that Microsoft made a serious mistake in designing this version of its operating system specifically for tablet users, only belatedly adding a few tweaks to make it marginally more usable for desktop users. They should have produced two separate versions, one for touchscreen owners who use their devices primarily for entertainment, and another one for the rest of us (especially those who work on their computers and want/need to multi-task).

Tempting though it is to uninstall the ugly and unloved Windows 8 and revert to the more popular Windows 7, I don't intend to do this. I am, however, seriously considering investing in one of the low-cost Start Menu replacements that have emerged, such as Start8. I also recommend this article that sets out a number of other modifications you can make to Windows 8 to make it a little more user-friendly.

I understand that Microsoft is planning on making further changes to Windows 8 based on the mainly negative feedback it has received, so I will await further developments with interest. In the meantime, I am just about managing to work with Windows 8 but don't find it any significant improvement on the (also widely disliked) Windows Vista, let alone Windows 7.

So that's my view of Windows 8 based on two months' experience, but what do YOU think of Microsoft's latest operating system? Please post your views or comments below!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crowdfunding a Debut Novel - One Writer's Story

http://igg.me/at/the-infernal-aether/x/6432405

Today I'm pleased to bring you a guest post by UK novelist Pete Oxley.

Pete is a member of my forum at www.mywriterscircle.com. When I heard via the forum that he was using the crowdfunding website Indiegogo to finance the publication of his debut novel The Infernal Aether, I was immediately intrigued.

So I asked Pete if he would like to contribute a guest post for my blog detailing his experiences to date. He kindly agreed, so here it is.

* * *

Crowdfunding, funding a project through a large group of people over the internet, is increasingly being used to raise finance for a variety of things, from new inventions to bands' latest albums. Can this also be used to help the independent author get their novel published professionally? 

Why crowdfund?

There are a number of costs involved in getting a book published, including editing, cover art and formatting. That is before any marketing and advertising costs are factored in.

Of course, if an author is signed up to a traditional publisher then they would cover some or all of these costs. But how can the independent, unsigned author manage it?

There have historically been two options. One is the do-it-yourself option, which can often result in something which is unprofessional and amateurish at best, unreadable at worst. The alternative is vanity publishing, where an organisation edits and publishes the book for a fee. Unfortunately this option all too often ends up with the author ending up with a garage full of books which will never be read. 

How can crowdfunding help?

Campaigns typically work by funders effectively pre-ordering the book; as a result, the author with a successful fund-raising will always sell some copies. This could increase their profile and increase the likelihood of more sales.

Done right, a successful campaign that has been planned properly would also involve a number of professionals who not only know how to get a book edited, formatted and published but also would be invested in the project's success. After all, if the book becomes a hit, then they would benefit from basking in its reflected glory. 

Lessons learnt

A few months ago I started my own journey to see whether I could use crowdfunding as a way to help me achieve my dream of unleashing my debut novel on an unsuspecting public. The campaign went live last week and the results so far are encouraging, with a team lined up and my project already 33% toward its funding target. So what lessons have I learnt so far? 

1) Create a buzz and a profile

If no-one knows about your book or what your writing is like, then why would they spend money investing in it? So make sure you get as much of your writing out there as possible. Over the past year I have been posting the first draft in instalments on a number of websites, linking all my updates to as many social networks as possible - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, not to mention my own blog.

This has been a scary and risky step, but a very effective one; slowly but surely I have been not only getting some incredibly useful feedback on my writing, but also have started to build up interest in my story.

2) Keep up a dialogue with your readers

When people comment on your work, make sure you do them the courtesy of a reply. With any luck you'll start to generate some good discussion and people will want to come back time and time again to see what you have to say.

3) Get that first draft under your belt

Before you start your crowdfunding campaign, make sure you have at least a first draft done and dusted. Getting over that initial step done can be a very time-consuming process and while investors will understand that they have to wait a few months for the editing and formatting to be done, only the most patient would be happy to wait for the 12 months plus that most people spend in hammering out that painful first draft.

4) Choose your platform wisely

As I hinted above, there are plenty of options in terms of crowdfunding platforms, all of which have their relative merits. Key things to consider when making your choice include:
  • What type of campaigns do they host and which are most popular?
  • How easy is it for people to pay?
  • How easy is it for you to set up your campaign and what support do they provide throughout? 
  • What tools do they provide to help you promote your campaign? 
  • How will you be able to let people know about it and how will they find it?
5) Have a budget

You need to be clear about what you're asking for and how much each element is going to cost. This is important not only from a logistical point of view - you don't want to run out of money partway through - but also people are much more likely to invest in a project that is clearly well thought-out.

This can be a bit of a minefield, especially in terms of deciding on whom to use for the various elements - editing, cover art, etc. I will be honest and say that I did not really have the first clue where to turn, and so for my campaign I used the services of Fictivity Press, who have walked me through the entire process, identifying whom to use for what and coordinating the whole crowdfunding process. They even sorted out the promotional video below - a key (if terrifying!) part of the campaign.


6) Don't be afraid to shout about it!

Finally, when you do launch your campaign you'll need to drum up as much interest as possible.

Whilst you should absolutely use all the promotional opportunities which the internet and social media provide, do not overlook the simplest method - your friends and family. For me, this meant plucking up quite a bit of courage - what if they laughed at me? what if they hated it? - but it has proven to be highly effective. Not only that, but I've been overwhelmed and more than a little touched by the support I've received.

Byline: Pete Oxley is a freelance writer and business manager who lives in the English Home Counties. He enjoys reading and writing in a wide range of areas, but his main passions are sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction and steampunk. His crowdfunding campaign for his debut novel, The Infernal Aether, is currently live on this page of Indiegogo, in conjunction with Fictivity Press.

* * *

Many thanks to Pete for a thought-provoking article, which only serves to confirm my view that crowdfunding is becoming a method of growing importance for authors who want to publish their books and e-books to the highest professional standard.

As a matter of interest (and disclosure) I invested $5 in Pete's campaign myself. This entitles me to an e-book copy of his novel once it is published. More importantly, though, I wanted to experience how crowdfunding works from an investor's point of view. For both these reasons (and supporting a member of my forum too) it seemed an excellent use for five bucks!

If you have any questions or comments for Pete (or me), as always, please do post them below.

And, of course, if you would like to support Pete's campaign as well, just click through to this page of the Indiegogo website, read about the incentives on offer, and click on through to make your investment!

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Guest Post: Pros and Cons of Writing a Series

Today I have a syndicated guest post for you by Jen Matera from the excellent Write Divas blog.

In her article, Jen examines the pros and cons for authors of writing a series. This is a strategy more and more authors are adopting, but as Jen points out it does have some potential drawbacks as well as advantages...

* * *

Divas on Writing: Pros and Cons of Writing a Series (via http://writedivas.com)
Divas on Writing: Pros and Cons of Writing a Series ~oOo~ I read a lot. Mostly romance, like I’ve probably mentioned a million times before, but I’ve been known to stray to young adult and mysteries, too. I’ve found recently that I read a lot…

* * *

Thank you to Jen for a thought-provoking article. I do agree with most of the points she makes.

Personally I don't see why head-hopping should be a particular problem in series fiction, though. As long as you stick to the standard convention of portraying every scene through the eyes of a single viewpoint character, you shouldn't really encounter any issues.

Readers often enjoy it when a character they met as a main (viewpoint) character in a previous book turn up as a minor (non-viewpoint) character in another. Stephen King and Kelley Armstrong are two popular authors who do this regularly without any confusion of viewpoint.

If you have any comments or questions about this article, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Facebook Marketing Guide for Authors - Free Today!

http://georiot.co/1OJv 
I wanted to give you a heads-up today about a brand new guide to Facebook marketing for authors (see cover image above).

It has just been launched on Kindle by my friends at the book promotion service BookBuzzr (who also run the Freado e-book games/discovery service).

The book's full title is 2014 Facebook Marketing Guide for Authors and it's by BookBuzzr founder Vikramaditya Narayan.

I was one of the authors who provided feedback on earlier versions of this book, and the publishers were therefore kind enough to send me a pre-publication copy.
 
The 2014 Facebook Marketing Guide for Authors is a comprehensive guide, divided into five main 'steps'. These are as follows...

1. Define Your Goals
2. Find Your Readers and Your Power Readers
3. Set Up Your Page
4. Engage with Posts and Conversations
5. Advertise for Likes, Engagement and Conversions

Each step is a discussed under a series of sub-headings, many of which focus on one specific item of advice (e.g. 'Don't Boost Posts'). As you may have gathered, both free and paid-for promotional methods are covered.

The book is well written and designed, with screen-capture illustrations where relevant. It goes into plenty of detail, and I don't mind admitting I learned a lot from it. For example, I was intrigued to find out about Dark Posts, which are a certain type of paid Facebook advertising, and not nearly as sinister as they sound!

Obviously the free and paid-for services available from BookBuzzr get a good plug in the book, but you definitely don't need to use them to benefit from this guide (although I do recommend them myself).

There is also an FAQ at the end of the book in which questions about Facebook marketing submitted by writers (including myself) are answered.

The 2014 Facebook Marketing Guide for Authors is currently on a free launch promotion. I don't know how long this will continue, so if this subject is of interest to you, I'd recommend downloading it straight away. Even after the free promo, however, it should still more than justify the modest investment required.

If you're looking for ideas for promoting your book or e-book through the hugely powerful medium of Facebook, the 2014 Facebook Marketing Guide for Authors should prove an invaluable resource for you.

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Thursday, March 06, 2014

Review: Kindle Top 100 Paid Bestseller Cracked

http://www.warriorplus.com/w/a/m589w

Kindle Top 100 Paid Bestseller Cracked is a new product for Kindle authors recently launched by UK author Mavis Amouzou-Akue (aka Jenny Collins).

I reviewed Mavis's other (excellent) guide, KDP Select Cracked, in this blog post a few weeks ago.

Mavis was kind enough to offer me a review copy of Kindle Top 100 Paid Bestseller Cracked, so here's what I found...

The main manual is a 17-page PDF. It sets out a seven-step strategy for writing, publishing and marketing a Kindle e-book (fiction or non-fiction) so that it gets into the Kindle Top 100 Paid Bestseller lists in at least one category.

Like KDP Select Cracked, the manual is well written and illustrated with screen captures where appropriate. Don't expect vast amounts of detail in 17 pages, though. For each of the seven steps, Mavis provides concise advice together with hyperlinks to online videos and articles for more information.

The product consists of a  main manual and an accompanying case studies document, both of which are contained in a compressed Zip file.

Possibly the most useful section is where Mavis sets out her recommended strategy for getting your e-book into the Amazon Kindle Top 100 Bestseller lists (as promised in the title). She has two specific recommendations, both of which do involve some expenditure. But the longer-term benefits (and sales) generated by raising your book's profile this way will hopefully repay your investment many times over.

The accompanying case studies manual consists mainly of screen captures demonstrating the success of Mavis's strategy in boosting her own books into the Top 100 lists. It's hard to argue with success, although you won't learn too much new just by reading it.

I think that of the two guides by Mavis I have reviewed, KDP Select Cracked is probably the better one, as the advice it provides is more specific and detailed, and you get more useful bonuses with it as well (e.g. her 40-page Kindle Marketing and Publishing Newbie Guide).

In fairness, KDP Top 100 Paid Bestseller Cracked does set out a good general strategy for making money as a Kindle publisher (although you have to fill in the details yourself by following links to the resources provided). And I do definitely intend to check out the promotional tools and resources recommended. For under $10 it's a decent enough resource, but to me not as strong a product as KDP Select Cracked.

If you have any comments or questions about Kindle Top 100 Paid Bestseller Cracked (or KDP Select Cracked), as always, feel free to post them below.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Free Fiction Writing Course from FutureLearn


FutureLearn is a UK-based educational initiative that offers short online courses from British and international universities free of charge

There are dozens of courses currently on offer on the FutureLearn website, but one that particularly caught my eye was Start Writing Fiction from The Open University (a well-respected UK distance learning institution).

Start Writing Fiction is intended for anyone with an interest in starting to write fiction or improving their fiction writing. It doesn't require any previous experience of studying the subject.

On the website, it says:
This practical, hands-on course aims to help you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters.

You will listen to established writers talk about how they started writing and consider the rituals of writing and the importance of keeping a journal. You’ll learn how to develop your ideas and the importance of reflecting on writing and editing, and you’ll hear other writers talking about their approaches to research and consider ways of turning events into a plot.

You’ll also have the opportunity to review and comment on the work of fellow writers, and receive peer feedback on your own story, learning the importance of reading as a writer and how to receive and respond to feedback.
The Start Writing Fiction course will be run by Dr Derek Neale and starts on 28 April 2014. It will run for eight weeks, and require a commitment of around three hours a week.

The course is free of charge and open to anyone anywhere in the world. For more information (including a video trailer) and to register, visit the Start Writing Fiction information page of the FutureLearn website.

Don't forget to leave a message below if you sign up for the course, by the way, so that other readers who are also enrolled can look out for you.

Happy fiction writing!


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