Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Submitting eBooks to Google Books for Free Promotion

Submitting eBooks to Google Books for Free Promotion


Introduction

I'm always on the lookout for new ways to promote and sell my writing products. But some methods are so obvious that you doubt your own sanity when you finally remember and implement them.

Google Books

Google books was one of those events for me. We are all aware of Google books, the book previews that sometimes pop up when you do some searches.

Of course, Google runs these and I always thought that it was always linked to their book digitization program. Whilst this is true, they also allow authors and publishers to upload eBooks or add physical books that are then digitized and previews and searches are made available through Google.

For the books made available you can specify how much of the book anyone can see (20% is typical), they add a link to the purchase page for the book and you get the earnings from any clicks to ads associated with your book preview.

Google will also provide you with a 'search inside this book' system to embed in your own website.

Basically it's a fantastic and FREE way for you to get additional exposure for your book.

The system was originally devised for print books and books with ISBNs. However, if you download Google's Java uploader application then you can add your eBooks to the system even if they do not have an ISBN.

I would suggest that you really do need an AdSense account for this to be most worthwhile.

But if you want to sign in then go to the


Also, whilst you are there, you can sign up for Google Play, Google's equivalent to the Apple Store where you can add your eBooks in ePub format for sale through Google.

E-Junkie

E-Junkie is another hidden gem of the internet. Basically it's a product listing, shopping cart and digital delivery system that works with PayPal, Google Checkout, ClickBank and many others. It also integrates with eBay
E-junkie Shopping Cart and Digital Delivery
This is an excellent system if you want to simply add a secure purchasing system to your website or blog to sell your own eBook products.

And that is the real beauty of the system is that it can also be integrated into Blogger or other blogging systems with a simple cut and paste system. You do not need to add or configure a large shopping cart system, the E-Junkie site handles that for you.

You can also upload your content to their site and they handle secure downloads for you so that you content cannot be stolen.

You get a 1 week free trial and after that prices start from only $5 per month paid via PayPal. It's one of the cheapest and best systems I have come across. They also let you run your own affiliate program via their system.

It really is pretty cool.

So find out more about e-Junkie today.



Sunday, 28 October 2012

How to Market and Sell your Books

Marketing and Selling your Own Books


Introduction

Like many writers and authors, I love the creative, writing, process but hate the marketing that goes with it. However, if you do not market, you can never sell.

When I wrote my first cookery eBook for sale on amazon (The Big Book of Christmas Recipes) I assumed, erroneously, that just putting the book on Amazon would be enough to make sales. But I was completely wrong. People actually need to be able to find your book and to do that you actively need to market your book.

The truth is, once your book is published it becomes a product it is just line any other product at this point. Unless people know about it, it will never be found and bought. Even if you do not create a product for sale, as a writer you are still marketing yourself as a product and the same principles apply.

With my first couple of books I was really just hoping for the best... It was only when I wrote my third book for Amazon, The Big Book of Curry Recipes that I realized I had to get serous about its marketing. Truthfully, I really did not know what I was doing and the past six months have been as extreme learning curve.

In fact, I started this blog to document some of my experiences. Since I started, I have 8 eBooks selling on Amazon, I have an eBook selling on my own site and I have a book that I am finishing for a standard print publisher. Essentially I now have experience across the board of publishing with all the different highs, lows and excitements they offer.

Amazon is great, as they basically help with the advertising because of their large system. Though to get your book noticed takes time and effort on your part. But they have a +60 payment schedule, so you are paid 60 days after the month when you accrue any income. It takes a few months for sales to begin taking off, so do not expect masses of instant income. So it will probably be 4 to 6 months before you start getting regular and decent payments. Also, if you are European Amazon.com only offers cheque payments in US$ and not direct bank transfers, which is a bit silly.


Marketing Books

Selling your own eBooks can be a great way of making money, as you get all the profits. But, you are selling from a single page on your own site and getting enough traffic to that page can be a real problem. The benefits can be huge, but you need to spend time and money on advertising to make any decent sales.

Publishing a book through a standard publishing house might be a doddle... or so you might think. But if you are a first-time author the are not willing to spend any real money on marketing your book. So, in reality, you will have to do the same effort as for Amazon eBooks to get your book sold.

In all cases, a large chunk of the sales and marketing will come down to you. Below are some of my favourite methods for promoting my eBooks. I will concentrate on the eBook that I am selling myself on my own site, as that was the hardest to market. It also means that I've had to use the broadest range of marketing techniques for this eBook.


How to Market your Books

Writing your landing page is a major part of your success. Tell people about your book and what's in it. Point out why it's unique and what the benefits are. Give something away, a sample chapter is good, so that people can see the quality of your writing and production. Ensure the buyer that their purchase is safe, tell them a little about yourself and give them a guarantee. For example, see my Recipes of Africa sales page.

Once you have your sales page, you need to get people over to it so that they can buy. Publicize the page through your usual social media channels. Write about the book on your blog. Put an ad to your eBook on your blog's side-bar. If you have a website, do the same thing there. If you are selling through Amazon, make sure you author page is filled out and point people to it.

Use small ads to bring a wider audience to your product. Craigslist is excellent for this. If you have the money, buy ads through Google's AdWords program. You will have to pay money each time someone clicks on an ad (typically a few cents) but, typically, the sales you make will far outweigh the cost of the ads.

If your book is applicable to a certain trade or industry then ads in industry magazines and publications can also pay dividends. For this it's best if you have a short and snappy URL for your landing and sales page. For example, the URL to my African recipes sales page is: http://www.celtnet.org.uk/info/buy-afro-ebook.php. However, I have created a special redirection directory that is more memorable as: http://www.celtnet.org.uk/afro-book/ it is this that I use in print publications and on places like Craigslist, as it's much more memorable and looks more professional.

Get Links to Your Sales Page


Next use the standard marketing methods to get more links to your sales page. Use your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and StumbleUpon pages. Add links to any blogs and websites that you own.

Now use standard internet marketing techniques to add more links. There are a number of directories of eBooks on the web where you can add links to your sales page. Write articles about your books and add links to your sales page and use those links when you make blog comments.

Write guest blog posts (particularly if you write on the subject of your book) and add a link back to your book sales page.

Give out free copies of the eBook and ask for reviews (with links back to the sales page). Have a competition or give out free copies to the first 20 people who visit your sales page (anything to create a 'buzz').

Write an eBook and give it away. Make certain that you add links to any products you sell in that eBook. Let others give the eBook away on their sites as well (this is an excellent way of creating a 'buzz' on-line).

This is a lot of work, but if you do not do these things then you will not get any sales.

Traffic = Sales  and Sales = Money.

The take-home marketing quote here is:

Today's action = Tomorrow's success

And because I need to practice what I preach, here is the information about one of my books:


Recipes of Africa eBook
This publishing and marketing information page is brought to you in association with the Recipes of Africa eBook. With over 1000 recipes covering each and every country in Africa, this is the most comprehensive book of African recipes available anywhere.

If you love African food, or are just interested in African cookery, then the Recipes of Africa eBook is a must-buy. You get information about every region of Africa and every African country along with a selection of classic and traditional recipes from that country.

This is a must-get book for anyone interested in food. Learn about a continent that to this day remains mysterious to many people. The recipes presented here are written by someone who has travelled extensively in Africa and who is a published Author. The book is a properly-produce and published eBook and the collection is immense.

Don't delay, get yourself a copy of the Recipes of Africa eBook today!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Ten Ways to Make Your Blog Posts More Popular

Ten Ways to Make Your Blog Posts More Popular


You've written your blog entry, you have edited and re-edited it. It's free of the standard errors, you have a nice photograph and you have divided it into readily-digestible and scannable pieces with sub-headings. Basically your blog article is absolutely as good as you can make it. You put it on your blog... and, if you are like 97% of all blog owners it gets completely ignored.

There's some high-level mathematics to do with networks as to why this is the case (it's the same mathematics that defines why some people are popular and some not). Because Google is the main search engine, Google drives this. In general, Google ranks web pages based on how unique the content is and how popular the content is.

To be found by Google in the first place, you need a link to your page. For Google to think your page is popular then you need lots of quality links to your page. This is what the internet experts call off-page SEO.

This article takes you through ten ways that you can share or publicize the link to your blog post to make it more popular and more visible on the web.

1. Share Your Posts

If you are using Blogger, then you have an option to add Twitter, Facebook and Google+ 'shares' for each of your blog posts. Make sure you have a Twitter, Facebook and Google+ account at the very least. I would also suggest a Pinterest and StumbleUpon account too. You will need to manually add your page to Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon. I would suggest also manually submitting to Twitter and Facebook. You can also get more Facebook and Tiwtter 'likes' by using your blog's RSS feed.

This will give you a number of links. Also be active in these social media sites and you will gain followers and your content will be distributed even more.

2. Use Blog Directories to Make your Blog More Popular

More links = more visitors. The formula is very simple. One way of getting more links to your blog is to submit it to blog directories. But always make certain that the directories you submit to is well established, has a good reputation and is human-reviewed.

A few to get you started include:

Blog catalog
Blog Explosion
BlogFlux

3. Article Directory Submissions

Submitting articles to article directories can also help with the traffic to our site. Both by providing links and by providing direct traffic. eZineArticles is an excellent site for this. Also try Triond and Helios. Basically create a précis (summary) of your blog post and add links (in Triond you can embed in the article, at eZineArticles you need to add at the end of the article in the form of an Author signature).

4. Use Correct Anchor Text

When you link to your article from another site, you will be doing so via a link called a back-link of the form <a href="url to your site">anchor text</a>. The 'anchor text' is where you put what's known as the anchor text. You should use descriptive text to your page here and not generic text like 'click here' as this text helps tell search engines what your site is all about.

5. Use Pinging Services

Most blogging systems create a summary of each blog post in a feed known as an RSS (really simple syndication) feed. This feed is designed to make it easy to publish information about your blog and it posts. There are services like Pingoat, Ping-o-Matic and Googleping that will automate these for you. Googleping is my favourite as you can bokmark the ping page for automated pinging later. Basically these send a 'ping' to RSS feed aggregators to say that your blog has a new post. This can give you hundreds of links and will tell anyone who follows your blog that a new entry is available.

6. Submit your Site to Search Engines

If your blog is new then it is probably a good idea to send information to the main search engines to say it's available. But if you already have links coming into your site and you use the other methods above it's unnecessary. And you do not need to do it more than once. But for your information, the links to the main search engines are below:

Add your url to Google
Submit your site to Bing
Submit your page to Yahoo

7. Yahoo Answers

This has been one of my favourites for a while. Sign-up to yahoo then spend a little time answering questions on Yahoo! Answers. Each answer allows you to put one link in your answer.

8. Google Webmaster Tools

Add Google Webmaster Tools to your site and you will be able to better monitor your site. You can also use this to tell Google about your RSS feeds (for quicker indexing) and to create sitemaps (lists of all your pages and their URLs).

9. Twitterfeed

This is one of my favourite sites. This allows you to automatically add your RSS feeds and send them to both Twitter and Facebook as updates. Each time you write a new post it will automatically be sent to twitter and facebook as a new entry.

10. Social Networking with Friends

Urge your friends and family to submit your new articles and content to their favourite social networking pages. Also, add a section at the end of your article urging your site visitors to share your blog post.


If you benefited from this article about creating popular blog posts, please share it. As always, thank you for visiting and leaving your comments.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

How to Write Articles for On-line Publishing 4: Making and Keeping Loyal Readers

How to Write an Article for On-line Publishing 4: Making and Keeping Loyal Readers

If you are like me, you are an independent writer with few means. Big sites and those with deep pockets can afford to hire writers to produce their content and SEO experts to market those articles and get backlinks for them. The rest of us, however, need to both write the content ourselves and perform the SEO to get visitors to our sites to view the content we have created. Internet marketers say that you should spend 1/3 of tour time writing content and 2/3 of your time promoting and marketing it. But how realistic is that? Particularly if you need to make a living? Personally, I have a large website that I need to extend and I have three blogs that need fresh content. I also write for another site and produce recipe books. It ends up that I put in at least 16 hours in an usual day and that's just to juggle everything that I have going at the current time. There is little time for extraneous things like link-building, SEO and social networking. In a normal day there's almost no time left over for these things. When it comes down to it, the best bet is to keep the people who like my content and regularly visit my sites eager to read more of what I write. The secret is to keep the readers that you already have... But how do you do that?

Earn your Readership's Respect

Let's face it, many articles written online are sheer, unadulterated, drivel. They ramble, they have no real point to them and impart no useful information. What's more they are full of spelling and grammatical errors. It's also why rates for authors are often low and why many people, particularly the on-line community do not value us. We get judged by the lowest common denominator.

But, just because the standard is so low, that is a real opportunity for any writer who takes their craft seriously. If you have standards and value the product you create then you will already stand out from the crowd. Anyone who produces well-researched, well-written and well-edited articles for on-line publication will begin to stand out, and quite quickly too.

If you are doing all the work yourself, then producing four or five top quality articles per week will give you far better returns than if you are churning out six or seven half-baked sloppy pieces every day. The poorer writing requires more SEO work to get visitors. Fine if you have the time and the team, but if you are working for yourself you will not have the opportunity. 

It difficult to earn a good name, that is true, but once you have a name for producing quality content you will also begin to get loyal readers. And loyal readers will tell their friends and other people. You will start to get a 'buzz' about your work and the advertising will be done for you.

Pay Attention to the Quality of Your Work

What distinguishes an excellent writer from a mediocre or even a good one is the overall quality of the work. It's paying attention to the small details. As a writer, everything you write and publish is a reflection of who and what you are. You should know how to spell and how to put together a sentence, even if you are writing to your friends on Facebook of sending a Tweet. The people who want to hire you will check these out.

You computer is your friend here. Always use a spell checker and if your system has a grammar checker use that as well. If English is your first language, you should always be able to write perfect, comprehensible, sentences. 

Personally, I am bilingual with English just edging into second place. This is a disadvantage in one way, as some things do not come naturally to me. It is an advantage in others, as I have a fascination for language and have taught myself to read Old, Medieval and Elizabethan English, abilities I use to their full when translating historic recipe books to modern English. This has been excellent for my overall vocabulary. 

You don't have to translate from historic English, but you should always read as much as you can and extend your vocabulary as much as possible. This means that you writing will not get stale and you can more easily re-word sentences to vary your style and make the content you produce more readable.

Making Articles You Write Your Own

There is so much content on the Internet today, that everyone faces the problem of copying from other sites. Wikipedia might be an useful resource, and it is licensed under a creative commons license, but if you copy wholesale from Wikipedia you will be found out and your reputation will suffer. 

The best way is to read several sites or content sources about a topic and then re-write the article in your own words. Personally I like to read up to 10 different sources and then I will write the article in my own words.

My personal plan of attack is this:

  1. sketch out the article
  2. research the article
  3. write a first draft of the article
  4. edit the article to a second draft
  5. leave the article over night, but re-check my research
  6. edit the article fresh the next morning
  7. edit the article to a fourth draft
  8. give the article one more check before publishing

This way I ensure that the information in the article is accurate and it's gone through sufficient steps to ensure that the article is always written in my own words.

The more knowledge you can present and the better you can present it, the more you will be known as an authority and the better your reputation will be. And a good reputation means loyal readers.

Keeping your Writing Attractive

Providing plenty of original content, all of it well written, will keep people coming back to your blog or your website. Also provide your content in an easily-digestible format. Add images where it's appropriate (Wikimedia Commons and Flickr are good sources of content that you can use as long as you give a link back to the original creator). 

If your reputation is good then you can also get images by asking for permission from other site owners. Most likely they will say yes, as long as your reputation is good and you give a link back to their site. After all, if you have a good reputation it will also reflect well on them for providing the image to you.

Keep reading, make the occasional guest posts and comment on others' blogs. This also helps maintain your reputation and gives you backlinks.

Social Networking for Increased Readership.

Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are all places where you can interact with other people and showcase your work. Some of this can be automated, but some of it requires active participation.

Blog commenting in your niche can also be an excellent place to interact socially with other writers or those who share the same interests as you. Personally I use twitterfeed.com to automatically send the content I write (via an RSS feed) to both Twitter and Facebook. I also manually add my content to Google+ and I claim my authorship of all content on Google+ so that my picture and links to my bio appear next to the content.

If you use lots of images then Pinterest is an excellent source of social networking as well. It's all about engagement. However, social networking can be an extreme time sink. So be careful how you use it. Typically I allow myself an hour in the evening to perform all the day's social marketing and networking. 

Keep Old Content Fresh

Don't let old content lapse. When you have the time look over it, re-edit and improve it and where necessary update it. Then post abut your updates. This keep old content fresh and means that it's available again for new readers.

The more of your content that you can keep current the more money, overall, you will earn. It's about making the most of your time and your effort. In addition, if you look over older content you will find errors that you did not spot before and you can fix them. This will improve your reputation and the ranking of those articles.

We all have text blindness now and again. The more familiar you are with a block of text the more your brain skims it and ignores the errors. But if you leave the content so that you forget it then you can re-examine with fresh eyes. You will be surprised at just how many errors you find. Also, the more you write the better your craft of writing will be.

See this article on keeping older content fresh for more information.

A Brief Note on SEO

If you are writing about a certain topic, then think of a short phrase that describes that topi. Those are the keywords for your article. The more you salt those keywords into your article the more chance there will be that someone searching in Google for those terms will find your article.

Ensure you use the keywords in your title and one of our subtitles. Place the keywords a couple of times in your article introduction then use the keywords again every 150 words or so in the article body.

Don't be slavish about this, it is more important that your article reads well rather than its being stuffed full of keywords.

But just think in terms of your target audience for a minute. I wrote this article as part of a series on how to write text for on-line publishing. Someone looking for such an article might use search terms like: 'writing internet articles', 'how to write internet articles', 'writing for websites', 'how to write articles', 'tips for internet articles' etc. 

If you want to perform on-page SEO then you will think of all these search terms and then place them in your article body. This will help the Search Engines know what your article is about and will help people using those terms search for your article.

Conclusion

Here are the main take-home messages from this articles:

  • Keep your articles fresh and well written to attract and keep a loyal readership
  • Pay attention to the quality of your articles, ensuring that your content is top notch and that your English spelling and usage are up to scratch
  • Pay attention to sentence structure and the rules of grammar
  • Expand your vocabulary to make your articles more readable
  • Plan your article, do your research then edit and re-edit before publication
  • Original work is what earns respect
  • Engage in social networking to let people know about your articles and to engage with your readership
  • Recognize the importance of keywords and how to use them
Whilst spelling and correct grammar are very important, remember that English is a global language. There are many styles and idioms of English. American and British English differ (and I have seen many Americans comment on 'incorrect' spelling in British English articles without realizing that there are differences). My own English is slightly idiosyncratic in that I use 18th century spelling for some things (use of 'ize' rather than 'ise' for example).

Indian English is different again and African use of English is very different (my wife is West African so I know the idiom well). You may be an expert in your own form of English, but do not instinctively criticise the usage of others unless you are absolutely certain.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

How to Write Articles for On-line Publishing 3: Ideas

How to Write an Article for On-line Publishing 3: Ideas


Welcome to the third part of my series of articles on how to write content for publishing on-line. In the first section we covered the basics of how to lay out an on-line article. In the second section, the main topic was the developing of skills and technique. In this third article the topic covered is the one that should be the easiest, but which actually proves to be most difficult for many first-time writers — ideas.

Writing Articles for On-line Publication: Finding Ideas.

Ideas are the foundation of all articles. They are the concept or topic around which the article is researched and then written. There comes a time in every writer's life when ideas evade them. Sometimes it's lack of focus, sometimes it's tiredness or being jaundiced. But for new writers, most especially, it's most commonly not being practiced in the art of writing. Ideas for what to write are all around us and the more we look and listen the more ideas will be found there.

Ideas are easy and there are few topics you can't write about. The problem is that so much content is being produced these days, few topics have not already been covered on the internet. What you bring to that topic is your unique perspective and style. You can make the subject entertaining and worth reading about, or give it a slant that makes it read uniquely.

The truth is that only people who put their own personality into their writing and make it unique and individual stand out from the general crowd.

Can you Create Brand New Content?

The answer to this is always yes... the better researched an article is, the more likely you are to find something that others missed (especially as sources are often just skimmed for internet articles). Never just go to one source (Wikipedia being the classic example). Though many articles in Wikipedia are well researched and come from multiple authors, the majority are the work of one person. They may have a personal agenda, there may be an aspect of the subject they do not know. Whatever the reason, most Wikipedia articles are incomplete.

When researching an article choose at least a dozen different sources of information and read them thoroughly. That way you can synthesize everything you have written and come up with an article that is totally your own and totally original. The subject may have been covered hundreds if not thousands of times before, buy your view on it will be completely unique. And it will be valuable because of that.

The more sources your read, the more rounded your article will be and the more authoritative it will sound. Reading a large number of sources and synthesizing them also means that you are not re-hashing what's already out there, you are filtering the information through your own brain and producing a completely new view of the subject.

This way you own the topic or story and make it completely your own.


Writing Articles for On-line Publication — Ideas — Use your Life

Your own life is always the best source of ideas. You have lived it and it will have the ring of truth about it. Even if you are writing about something else, if you can inject something from your own life and experiences it will give that note of veracity that you cannot get elsewhere.

I grew up on a farm and I obtained work writing for a pet and livestock website both writing descriptions of the animals and writing reviews of the animals. The descriptions might have been a little dry and academic, but I wrote the reviews based on my own experiences... these were peppered with anecdotes and real experiences.

I also recently wrote an article about a new drug found in black mamba venom. Now, the article came from the field of academia, but it was written for a general audience and as I had worked with black mambas in the past I was able to add my own experiences about how scary these snakes are and their behaviour. This has become one of my most viewed articles.

Both my wife and I love chillies and I grow strange and uncommon chillies in the house. I wrote an article about chilli growing, how you look after the plants, how you fertilize the flowers and how you keep the hot peppers protected through the winter.

Those are just some of my experiences. I also write about wild food on my recipes blog and once a week I like to go out foraging. Then I write about my experiences, with a picture if possible and a recipe that I made from what I foraged. The experiences go directly into the blog and I get a very easy article out of it.

And, as you can see, I have just illustrated this article with my own experience. Something that makes this article unique and which you will not get anywhere else. This article is now unique and it really wasn't hard to do.

Writing Articles for On-line Publication — Ideas — Read, Read, Read

The importance of reading for all authors cannot be over-stressed. You do your research by reading, you find out what others are writing about and you hone your style. Reading lets you know what others are writing about and what topics are hot right now. 

Reading is also what makes you an expert in a field. If you write about science, photography, cookery, cars, gaming... whatever your interest is... then you should subscribe to at least a couple of magazines in that field. This is not to copy the content (that is plagiarizm), but to find out what topics are hot and to get the scoop on new developments in the field. This is how experts become experts.

By reading you also find out the upcoming trends or upcoming events in a given field. Be that fashion, trade shows, technology events, etc. 

Reading also gives a vital boost to those who’re less versed in the rules of the English language and correct punctuation. These are vital elements of writing knowledge which are often lacking in many internet articles.


Writing Articles for On-line Publication — Ideas — TV and Radio


As a writer, you no longer have the luxury of watching the TV or listening to the Radio simply for enjoyment. Whatever you see or hear might lead to an idea for an article. Maybe a local news story leads to a thought about a new story. You could develop a crime report into a story about unsolved crimes in your region. Maybe a report on a new technology provides an idea on a story about how new technologies are developed.

Perhaps a feature on a daytime show gives you ideas about an unusual hobby people have. 

Just remember that once your article is published it can have a lifetime of many years. Do not make the mistake of following the current Internet trend for making fun of the dead, the dying or the sick. Once your articles are published they go out into the world where anyone, and indeed, everyone can view them. Your handling of a story, no matter how despised the subject or individual covered, reflects on you — the creator — not them. Remember to make use of your humanity and pay respect to the people about whom you write.

Keep your eyes open for subjects being researched, and news and reviews about the weird and wonderful. Ask yourself what spin you can put on stories in the news. What ideas do they give you? Maybe that piece on global warming and weather weirding can give you an idea about a story in your area or even a global survey of extreme weather effects?

Writing Articles for On-line Publication — Ideas — Make your Day Job Work for You

Just like your life, your work and your hobbies are a goldmine of writing ideas. Maybe you can use something from your current or your previous work. Perhaps your are a wonderful cook or a green-thumbed gardener. 

IF you are studying for a qualification, can you give advice to others on how to study?

Are you a mother, or a stay-at-home dad? Write about your experiences, others would love to hear about your insights.

Based on your experience you will have literally hundreds of article ideas (in fact the articles will already be written in your own head) based on your personal experiences.

For example, I started my website, Celtnet based on writing about Celtic Gods, and interest of mine. This led me to writing about ancient and historic recipes. The recipe section of the site grew until it became the website for African recipes

Over four years I grew an interest into a hobby and a hobby into a way of making a living. All because I started writing articles that interested me. The writing snwoballed and I ended up with a large website.

Basically I became an expert in my hobby and my hobby became my day job. My website is now the go-to place for African Recipes, British Recipes and Wild Food recipes. Which is not something I expected when I started out.

And there is another secret. As a writer, you do not have to write for other people to make money. You can also write for yourself.


Conclusion:

How to Write an Article


  • Put a little of yourself in everything you write.
  • Use multiple sources for researching your articles.
  • Real life will provide you with your best and most original ideas
  • Prolific reading gives you ideas for writing and improves your writing
  • Use stories in the media to come up with new ideas
  • Use the experiences of your day job to inform others
  • Use your hobby as a source of articles.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

How to Write an Article for On-line Publishing 2: Developing your Skills and Technique

How to Write an Article for On-line Publishing 2: Developing your Skills and Technique

The first part of this series on How to Write an Article for On-line Publishing was mostly about presenting your content in a way that internet readers can easily scan and digest. This second article goes more into the nitty-gritty of writing the content itself.


Develop your Writing Skills

There are tens of thousands of articles being published on the internet every day. But when you go and look at them, the truth is that most are just a bit 'samey'. The content is superficial, the language is often a bit stilted and many are variants of other articles already on the internet.

If you can write unique content that's well written, correctly spelled and grammatically correct, they you're already a long way towards getting your content noticed. The other thing is to find your 'voice'. Your writing should reflect who you are. It should flow naturally and have something of your character and personality in it.

Talk to your site's visitors... For me, that is part of the key. Write as if you were having a conversation with a site visitor. Make your work easy to understand and get your points across. This really will make your work stand out. So many sites buy their content and it's always written in the third person and impersonal. It may be grammatically correct and in proper English (or, more likely, American). But to my mind it's bland filler.

If you can write good English with a distinctive voice then you are already head and shoulders above the competition. To me this is one of the reasons that blogs are so successful today. Blogs have a personal voice and they address the site's visitor. They do not contain mass-produced filler content. Each one is unique.

But even if you have the voice, there are always things you can do to improve your writing. You need to write clearly and succinctly, but you also need to vary your expressions and language. Try not to use the same words in adjacent, or even in the same sentences. This means broadening your vocabulary so that you can use as many synonyms as possible (different words with the same meaning).

English is one of the world's languages with the broadest vocabulary of words. Of course, you do not have to be Shakespeare (the English speaker with the largest known vocabulary) you can buy a thesaurus. This is a collection of words and their synonyms. Most modern computer systems also come with in-built thesauri that you can use.

Here's a very simple example to illustrate what I mean:

My mother and father are the best, most supportive, mother and father that anyone could wish for.

My mother and father are the best, most supportive, parents that anyone could wish for.

This is a very simple example, I admit, but it demonstrates clearly how using a little thought and eliminating the repetition makes the sentence read so much better. If you use Microsoft Word for your writing then you can right click (or Command Click) in the centre of a word to bring up the thesaurus.

It may be my Welsh heritage, but I prefer using a book to look up words, be it my trusty Oxford English Dictionary or my Roget's Thesaurus (if you are American, use the Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus).


Lay your Article out Nicely

The internet is a visual medium and web designers are really only just getting to grips with that. It may have its own design rules, but producing web content is like producing any other content and layout is a very important part of that.

If you can, use pictures or video to bolster your words. The importance of images on-line cannot be stressed enough. Google will use them to illustrate search results if available, sites like Pinterest use them to link to pages. Web surfers love them and they draw the attention to your content.

Of course, not all articles are suited to illustration. This article would be a good example of one that does not need illustration. But on my main site, when I am writing about <a href="http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/ancient/wild-food-guide.php">Wild Foods</a>, for example illustrations and pictures are critical. They are needed to help identify the plant and are needed to show which part of a plant is edible.

When using images they need to be appropriately scaled and optimized for delivery over the internet. Internet surfers are impatient and images can increase web page download sizes significantly. This is a big topic, and I will deal with images in a later article.


Use Good Grammar in your Writing

Whenever you are writing then you should always use good grammar. The truth is that good grammar is the foundation of all good writing. No matter what medium you are writing for, getting the grammar correct is an essential part of generating excellent content.

If your grammar is not that great, use on-line English courses. You will also have access to your computers built-in grammar check. Use this if you are not certain. They are not perfect, but they will point out the major errors. Just do not follow them slavishly. Under certain conditions you can break certain grammatical rules if breaking them makes the text flow better.

Others will probably disagree with me on this point, but I am a poet first and a writer of prose second. Poetry is about the sound and flow of language and to achieve that you may need to subvert the rules every now and then. Still, if you do not know the rules in the first place, you will not know that you are bending them so you cannot truly judge the effect you are achieving and why.


Above all, Be True to Yourself

Your writing worth is judged by what you say and how you say it. The most important feature of your writing should be the ability to clearly transmit your thoughts to your reader. It is not about being clever and using long words (unless you are writing technical articles where words have more specific meanings than in general conversation).

If you are a writer then you want people to follow what you write and be hungry for the next instalment. To do this you have to put yourself into your writing and you need to not only express yourself clearly, you also need to put your personality into your words.

Paint the scene with your words. This is both about clarity and being vivid in your writing. If you are describing something try and make that come alive for your readership.

Make your article useful, ensure it solves a problem for your users.

Give your site visitors something to laugh at. Humans find humour very important in forming bonds of friendship.


Sketch, Research, Edit and Re-edit

An article is a product and it needs to be designed just like any other product. That might sound a little mechanical for what is thought of as a 'creative' process. But if you are writing for a living, following a proper writing methodology allows you to get far more done with better results.

This process works with any kind of writing, but it is even more important for technical or factual pieces where the information you present absolutely has to be correct.

I typically start by selecting a topic and then making a quick sketch of the article and the topics I want to cover. After that I go away and do my research. I note the research sources and I read everything carefully.

Once all the research is done, I sit down and write the first draft of the article. After that I compare the article to the research material to make certain that all the facts are correct. I then go back to the article and edit it for spelling, grammar, content and flow.

But don't make the article too dry. Put in your own thoughts and experience into the article. If you have an illustrative anecdote, include this as well.

Even after you have published your article, review it and its content every now and then. Things change and you may find that what you thought was a fact is no longer so. There are also domain experts out there, one of these may point out a flaw in what you have written. If this happens, thank them, research what they said and if it turns out to be true go back and amend what you wrote.

Your articles are your store-front and you need to be know as someone who produces accurate, well written and grammatically correct content.

Don't Forget to Read

Just as there are rules to writing, it cannot be forgotten that writing is an art-form. And the way to study the art of writing is to read. All good writers are avid and voracious readers as well.

The act of reading will improve your vocabulary and it will help improve your skills. By reading in your own domain you see what topics are hot and you can see what successful writers are doing. You find out what topics they are covering and how they craft their articles.

If another writer is successful, then emulating them can give you a leg-up for your own content.

Reading also gives you insights into the fine craft of writing. It will help you spot the difference between good and bad sentence structures or great and mediocre writing. Even if you just start our as a mediocre web content provider, reading will help you hone your skills to become a fine writer and eventually a great writer.

Don't forget to write.

Even if you do not have a project on the go at the moment, write every day. Get in the habit of doing writing exercises. These can be anything you like, but all the better if they are not part of your normal writing routine. I tend to write poetry first thing in the morning, then I edit the previous day's articles and then I write new content.

This gives each day a structure and prevents me from going into a rut. I've also found this to be by far the best way of overcoming or eliminating writer's block.

Summary:

  • Learn new words and extend your vocabulary. Use thesauri to stop yourself from repeating words in the same or adjacent sentences.
  • Pay attention to the layout of your articles. Break your work up into easily digestible and scannable chunks. Attractive layout and proper use of images makes web content far more attractive.
  • Use good grammar. Check and re-check your spelling and grammar in each article you write.
  • Express yourself as skilfully and clearly as possible. Make certain that your work is easy to read and understand.
  • Ensure you get your facts right. Do your research before you write your articles then check the facts you present in your article against the original sources.
  • Keep on reading. The more you read, the better you will write.
  • Don't stop writing. Even if you have no assignments, write for fun.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Adsense for Search as a Blog Revenue Stream

It's not just placing ads on your site that allows you to earn money from AdSense. There is also AdSense for search. For this you place a code snippet, provided by Google that enables in individually-coded search panel for your blog or site.

Basically, AdSense for Search places a search box on your blog or site that allows your visitors to find information posted on your site, or on related sites. This then calls up a page of results with ads and you earn money from clicks and purchases on those ads. It's an additional revenue stream that you get just for putting a small code snippet on your pages. What's not to love?

Implementing 'Adsense for Search' on Your Site:

1. Ensure that the search panel is easy to find. Top right of every page is the recommended location.
2. Put a search box at the top and at the bottom of your pages. This ensures that there is more chance of one being used.
3. If you can, integrate the results pages into your own site. That way, the users stay longer on your pages.
4. For the results pages, arrange the ads at the top of the page (particularly if you're putting the results in your own content).
5. Customise the search results page so that it matches with the colours of your site. If you have a header or banner, add this to the search results page.


How to Get the Code

This can be a little fiddly to implement, so I have gone through all the stages on this blog for you. The steps below are based on how I implemented the code for this site.

First log in to our Adsense account then click on 'Adsense for Search'. This will bring up a page that has the following parameters:

Search type — this allows you to select your own site and any other sites of interest, or you can choose the entire web. For me, the option you chose depends on the maturity of your site and how much content you have. It also depends on how many sites you have. But if you are just starting out on your blog, use the default of the 'entire web'. You can always go back and adjust the settings later.

Optional Keywords — these keywords affect the precise niche in which the search results come back in. This is important if you use the 'entire web' option above. For example, is you run a food blog and you want people to search for pots, then without keywords you may get back cooking pots, but you will also get plant pots. But if you use the keywords 'cookery, recipes, food, chefs' for example, they you only get back results for cooking pots. This provides your site's users with a much better experience as the search results are geared exactly for what they're searching for.

Set Site Language and Country

Set a Channel — with any ad-based system, particularly in Google, it's always good to add a custom channel. That way, when you later change your search system you can compare what you had and what you've changed to see which system works best for you.

Look and Feel — Customize the search box and the results page to fit in with the look and feel of your blog or site. Always make sure that the search box itself is as long as practical to allow for complex queries.

Where the Results Page Opens — If at all possible, open the results within your own site, as this means that visitors stay for longer on your site. Now it's not possible to do this by default on Blogger and if you want to do this you need to set up one of the 'pages' in blogger to accept the results. This is quite complicated and beyond the scope of this article, but it can be done. However, to keep things simple, if you are using the Blogger platform open the search results on Google instead (don't worry, you can still monetize the results).

If you have chosen the option to open the results in your own page, go to your blog or website and create a blank page where the header and sidebars are populated, but the body is open. If possible use a standalone page, but if you cannot, create a blank post page and give it a title like 'Recipes Google Search'. Anything that is related to your site will be fine.

Publish the page, but keep it open.

For Blogger users, you can either create a stand-alone page or you can open in Google.

Look and Feel of the Search Results — There is a huge array of ways that you can customize the search results. Indeed, there is a palette of over 200 colours to choose from. Play around with these until the search results look exactly as you want them to.

If you are publishing directly to Google you will also be asked if you want to add a custom logo to the search results page.

Almost Finished

Now click on the box to agree to Google's terms and conditions, name your search (you need a different name for each one) then click on 'submit and get code'. If you are not publishing to Google you will also need to paste in the URL for your results page.

You will get a small snippet of code divided into two pieces. The first piece of the code defines the search box and the second snippet of code defines the results page.

Now paste the search box code into your Blog or Website template. Top right for the first search box and bottom for the second are the best places.

After this paste the second piece of code into your search results page and save this. Publish everything and your search system should be good to go.

If you are using Blogger and you want to show your results in Google, then you will just get a single piece of code. This needs to be pasted into your Blogger template code.

Go into your blog’s layout page and ‘add a gadget’.

Choose the ‘HTML/JavaScript’ gadget.

Add this where you want the search panel to appear on your blog (we said the top right hand is the best place for it to be).

Paste the code you copied from the AdSense for Search page into the ‘content’ space of your HTML/Javascript gadget and save this.

You now have a fully-functional search system enabled for your blog or site and the search results are linked to your AdSense account. You now have another way to monetize your blog or website.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Make AdSense Work for You — Tips for Small-scale Bloggers

There are lots of sites out there aimed at large-scale blogs and sites that will teach you how to make $10 000 or more every month from Google's advertising platform, AdSense. For this you need either a couple of large authority sites or a network of blogs or small niche sites, each with lots of content. You can achieve this, but you will need to buy content. That is beyond the scope of this article. Here I will focus on helping small-scale bloggers to make their first check from AdSense. 

The information given here has been taken directly from Google's website (text and video tutorials) and from my own learnings over the years (I have over ten years' experience with AdSense now). I've also used this Blog as my test-bed to make certain that what I say is still current.

1. Where to Place your Ads

Lost of research has been done on how people look at web pages and where their eyes linger. These regions are called 'hotspots'. There is also the experience of what happens when a person first comes to your website.

The truth is that ads perform better if they're the first thing that an user sees on a web page. The best place to put ads, in terms of getting clicks, is if they're the first thing that you site visitor sees — that means 'above the fold', before they are forced down to read the main content of your site.

However, having a page with nothing but ads on it will put lots of people off and they may well leave your site. Admittedly, I have put an ad at the top of this page, as an illustration of several points I am going to make. But it's only a single ad. Typically I will put an ad in the header and an ad on the left hand side, but other ads will be embedded in the text.

This means there is real text for people to read and to draw them into the article. But sometimes I will put the first ad lower down and use a picture where the rectangular ad is on this page. Though an ad on the top left of the page works very well as it's the first place a human eye goes to glean information. This is the way we read human faces and we transfer that method of scanning to everything we do.

Place your Ads in your Text

Placing your ads within your text makes it far more likely that a site visitor will take note of your ads (by contrast, if you place ads on the right-hand sidebar they will typically be ignored). Now, most Blogger templates won't directly allow you to do this. But, you can add code and HTML in your Blogger article (just hit the HTML button to turn on code editing).

If you embed your ad in a floating 'div' you can then make your text flow around your ad even in Blogger:


If you embed your ad in a floating 'div' you can then make your text flow around your ad even in Blogger:

<div style="background: #fff; float: left; margin: 0; padding: 0; width: 340px;">
xxxxxxxxxxxx
</div>

Just put the AdSense code between the two lines of code above (where the XXXXXes are) then paste into the HTML of your blog where you want the ad to go. This version of the code aligns to the left and allows the text to flow around it. Change the 'left' to 'right' if you want the ad on the right hand side of your page. Also change the 340px to be the width of your ad with a little margin. For example, if you ad is 160 pixels wide, then set: width: 165px.


Place an Ad at the Bottom of Your Content


The best performing ads are typically at the top and in the middle of your content, but it's always good to put an ad unit at the bottom as this catches those readers who make it all the way through your article.

Place a links ad by your site's links. This is one that I particularly like. As well as the large display ads Google also has 'link ads'. These are small ads that are just a series of links. They are either vertical or horizontal. The vertical ones work well in the section that you use for your site's links. The horizontal ones work well in the header or footer.


2. Make your AdSense Ad Units Perform Better

In general, the bigger ad units tend to work better. I use 336x280 large rectangles, 160x600 vertical banner and 728x90 horizontal banners in the main. Basically you want your ads to look prominent, but you do not want to swamp your content with ads. It's a bit of a balancing act and only trying different sizes and formats within your blog will let you get ads that you are happy with.

Don't over-filter our AdSense ads. Google allows you to exclude (block) certain content or certain providers when you set-up your AdSense account. This allows you to exclude some of the more family unfriendly ads (like gambling). But the more you filter, the fewer ads your site will get and the worse the ads will pay. Typically I use filtering to exclude ads from advertisers that pay peanuts for advertising space.

Describe and Promote your Site. In your AdSense account, Google allows you to describe your site (or sites). You can also create channels, or groups of ads for specific topics or pages. I use these for my Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas content on my main website. Then I say that the pages that these ads are on will be about this holiday content. This gives me better and more focussed ads for those pages.

The more information you can give an advertiser about yourself and your site's content the more likely they are to pick your site to show their ads on.

Enable Text, Image and Video Ads. It is often tempting to just use text-based ads on your site, as there are more ads. But image and video ads may actually make you more money. They are dynamic and stand out, and the advertiser pays more for these ads, so you will earn more per click. In addition, the more the ads change the less likely your site visitors are to ignore the ads because they have become over-familiar with them.

3. Find out which Ads Work Best for Your Site

Test, Test and Test Again. Because you can give even individual ads their own channels in AdSense you can see a report for how each and every ad performs on your site. This means that you can easily test ad formats and ad placement.

Each and every site is different and what works for my content will not work for yours. The only way you can find out what types of ad perform best for you is to test, test, test. Look at the stats the AdSense system provides. Find out which pages and which ads are performing best then adjust your ads and ad placement based on your content.

I have a friend running a second-hand camera blog where the really tiny ads work best (though this is a rare occurrence).


Conclusion — To Recap

Here is a checklist for you when placing Ads on your site

Are your AdSense units up and running?
Have you placed the ads on your site's hotspots?
Have you enabled tracking and analysis so you can do everything to optimize your ads?
Have you set up channels for your individual ads and pages?
Have you described your site and channels fully?

For extra income, have you enabled AdSense for Search on your site? (The next article will cover this in detail).



Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Keeping Old Blog Content Fresh

Keeping Old Blog Content Fresh



One big problem with blogs is that the content is time based, older content gets shuffled to the base of the pile as new content gets written.

It's very easy, as a result, for older (but still relevant) content to become 'stale'. There are several ways of combating this. If some of your pages fall into a them then write a blog post about them, provide links to all the pages in the theme then place a link to the master page you've just created on your navigation bar.

Another way to bring old content back to peoples' notice is to write an update about it. This is particularly important for content that gets lots of visitors.

On my Celtnet Recipes Blog site, I have a post about Cooking with Rowan Berries that has received over 3000 views. This is one of the most popular posts on the whole blog and so I keep the post fresh by adding a link page to all my wild food recipes and by posting new updates like a new rowan berry post whilst linking back to the original article.

This keeps that old post fresh and keeps the number of views going up.

If a post is successful, then it's successful because people like it and it's providing good information. Help people find the post and increase its overall popularity by adding links to it in articles you write and in your other on-line properties. The more links, the more popular it is and the better it will rank in the search engines.

You do check on your blog's pageviews don't you... and you do know which pages are getting most traffic, right?

If a page is popular put a link to it on your links section or, even better, create a Pages of Note or Popular Pages section on your sidebar and add links to all your popular pages there. In essence, this is basic blog SEO. If you've done something well, make sure people know about it.

Earn Money from Hard-copy Publications

How to Earn Extra Income as a Writer


If you are a writer, then you are a writer...

Personally I divide my time writing copy for on-line, eBooks and physical print books. Physical print books are great because you get an advance, but they can also create real headaches as your manuscript can be lying on an editor's desk (or in their inbox) for months before they get around to it. And even then you may get rejected. My worst so far has been 13 months' wait.

Whilst you are waiting, you are not earning. This means that you need to earn money some other way. Earning on-line is always good, but sometimes you can hardly get more than $10 for an article or a blog post. There are also on-line job boards where you can go for job offers (see my article on 15 quality job boards for freelance writers to see a list of these).


But remember that the good-old print publishing industry is still out there. There are still thousands of magazines of all kinds that need new and fresh content on a regular basis. You can write for them as well.

Most have an on-line version of the magazine with contact details. Typically you will need to buy a few back copies of the magazine to see the style of articles they require and what topics they cover. This way you can gauge what type of content they publish and properly target your submission by writing on topics they like and use the house style.

Always check a few back copies to determine what they publish and make sure you know the current editor's name (this way you send your material to the right person). You can also make certain that they actually do accept unsolicited material for publication. There is no point sending an article to a magazine that will not accept it, or which only use in-house authors.

Below are links to comprehensive lists of magazines from the US, UK and Canada:

UK magazine listing

US magazine listing

Canadian magazine listing


This way you have plenty of material to research where you can submit your articles to. There will be familiar names in there, as well as newer publications that you may never have heard of, but which are well worth checking out.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

How to Write an Article for On-line Publishing

How to Write an Article to be Published On-line

Introduction


The basic rules of writing an article to be be published on-line are the same as writing an article for anywhere else. Pick you topic, research your topic then write out your article in an orderly fashion. Set the article aside for a while then go back and edit or rework the article where needed.

However, if you are writing for an on-line publication like a blog, an article directory or a website there are some differences that you really need to be aware of. People surfing the web for information tend to skim article content more than when reading printed articles.

This article goes through some of the basic methods to write better on-line articles. Making  more readable for your audience and giving you more views and more revenues as a result.

Best Practices for On-line Articles

People coming to websites looking for content are often looking for something specific. At other times they are just casually 'browsing' to look for something interesting. This means that on-line articles are frequently very quickly scanned for something useful. For your articles to be enjoyed, you need to make them as accessible to rapid skimming as possible. This means that you need to break your on-line articles in readily-read blocks with images, headings and subheadings.

Below are some of the best practices you can use for on-line articles:

Use Pictures to Illustrate your Articles

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. A good picture can be used to illustrate a point without using too many words. Humans are visual animals an it takes much less effort to process a picture (or even a drawing or chart) compared to the same information written out in words.

There are lots of on-line picture libraries for free and paid for content. But the truth is that lots of these look stage and unreal. It is always better if you can provide your own photograph. This is fresh content, it looks fresh, it is unique to you and you own the copyright. It is also something else that you could potentially sell.

All journalism courses tell prospective authors to always carry a camera with them. And, you can consider blogging and article writing as a form of journalism. I write lots of information about wild food and the natural world and whenever I step out of the house I always have a camera on me. It's even easier to do this these days as mobile phones have such good cameras.

When illustrating your articles, it's usual practice to put the first image on the top left of the frame. This is fine, but don't put any other images on the left hand side of your page. In the West we scan pages from left to right and if you put any content on the left that breaks the flow of text this makes the page much more difficult to read.

Separate your Articles into Distinct Sections

Because the majority of your site's visitors are only just scanning your pages, make this easier for them by breaking your text into well defined sections. Give each section a meaningful header and make the header stand out by using bold or even a different font.

Giving your article well-defined and meaningful headers also helps with SEO as these headers are also defined as headers in the code and the search engines will mine them for keywords.

The practice of splitting your article into 'sections' will also help with your writing. Each section should be a well defined topic. If you were writing lots of run-on paragraphs these sections (your main thoughts on a topic, in effect) would be scattered through the text and hard to find. If they are easy to spot then the effect is more focussed.

Always Edit your Copy

When you write an article you should always go back to edit the text of the article. If you are going to be a writer and an author, then you need to understand that writing is a craft. No-one writes perfect copy every time. Only by going back over what you have written can you improve the spelling, grammar and overall flow of your work. 

Also remember that the more closely associated you are with the text the more difficult it is for you to spot the errors in it. Personally, I like to write something on one day and edit it lightly. Then I leave it and edit it again the following day when I can look at it with fresh eyes. Most articles go through at least four rounds of editing and even then some errors fall through the net.

The better your article reads and the fewer mistakes there are in it, the more likely it is that someone will take it seriously and will sit down to read the whole thing.

Use Bullet Points for Easier Skimming

Bullet points make it very easy to skim the main salient points of an article. This allows you to express yourself as succinctly as possible. Bullet points also allow you to highlight the main point in an article so that a reader has easy access to them.


Use Revision Blocks

Though not always necessary, I would say that these are essential for tutorial or instructional articles. This ensures that your reader can always take something away from your articles. If the reader does not have enough time or inclination to work their way through the main text body of the article, you can still provide the main points for the reader to take away.

This has two purposes. First of all, it sets you up as an authority. Your work is well researched and worth reading. Second, it encourages the reader to come back and read your copy properly. If the revision blocks have good content, then the entire article will have good content too.


Conclusion

Writing on-line content is always all about getting people to read that content. You want users to come back, you want search engines to index your content and you want people to post links to your content. The more useful and well written you can make it, the better.

Revision Points:

  1. Use pictures to illustrate the main points of an on-line article
  2. Write your articles in logical sections based on the main ideas
  3. Bold headings make the article easier to skim and help with SEO
  4. Edit and re-edit your work until your are happy with it. The better it is written, the more likely it is to be read.
  5. Bullet points help a reader skim through an article to glean the most important concepts
  6. Revision blocks give a summary of your article that anyone can easily access
  7. Break up the left hand margin of your text as little as possible. Doing so makes the article harder to read.
If you liked 'How to Write an Article for On-line Publishing', please share it on your favourite networking sites. As always, thank you for visiting Dyfed's Adventures in Publishing and for leaving your comments. If you have any questions please leave them in the comment box too. 


On to Part 2....


Thursday, 4 October 2012

15 Quality Job Boards for Freelance Writers


Let's face it, finding jobs as a freelance writer can be tough. But there are jobs out there, if you know how to find them. 

I am a writer, and I have been where you are now. But I am also a researcher, it's in my nature and in my training as a scientist. So, when I was looking for jobs, I did my research, looking for anywhere and everywhere that writing jobs could be found. 

I looked at forums, jobs boards and specialist writers' sites. I tried them out, wrote them up and filed them away. Now, for the first time, I am going to share the information I have gleaned with you and here you will find the best of all the job boards where authors and writers can find work.

As well as descriptions of each site and what you can expect there, I've also tried to give some information on the quality of jobs posted and the frequency with which those jobs are updated.




FreelanceWritingGigs is one of the best websites out there for freelance writers. It is a general writing site where writing resources and guides are added almost daily. It also has a 'writing gigs' category that regularly features jobs from various job boards.

This is updated daily and most of the jobs are well-paying. However, quite a few of the jobs posted are taken directly from Craigslist.


2. Freelance Writer's Den Junk-free Job Board


This has to be one of the best of all the available writers' job sites. The site and the jobs board was created by Carol Tice and each job is vetted to remove the junk and low-paying jobs. This means that the job quality here is very high and it's updated just about every day.

There is one drawback, in that membership is $25 per month. But for the lack of spam and low-quality jobs this is worth paying. The fee also means that you tend to have only serious writers here, so your chance of actually getting a job is much higher.

Carol is a serious writer who maintains that no writer should be paid less than $50 per article and this is a rule she applies to the board. So you get much better paying jobs here as well.

I am a member of this site myself, and I get a significant portion of my earnings from this site.



3. FreelanceSwitch Jobs Board


The FreelanceSwitch site has to be one of the most popular freelance writers' site on the internet. The jobs board is also very popular. It's mostly aimed at programmers and developers, but there are a large number of writing jobs posted. 

There are a number of resources available, like an hourly rate calculator and eBooks. You can even subscribe to the jobs RSS feed. However, one drawback is that need to pay $7 just to apply for a job.

The jobs and pay rates are excellent, but new jobs are not posted very frequently.




4. Krop Jobs Board


Though mainly aimed at web designers and programmers, there are a number of writing jobs on here. The jobs are all of good quality, but are not updated that frequently.

There is an excellent search engine and you can find writer-related keywords using search terms like: "writer", "copywriter", "content writer", "article", "freelance writer", "technical writer" etc.

You can also subscribe to the jobs via email, based on the keyword searches so that you only get notified of articles that are potentially of interest to you.



5. Sologigs Jobs Board


This is a jobs board for professionals. However, there is a writer-related category. This is a very active jobs board with a lot of offers.

Most of the offers aren't bad, but you will have to weed out a few silly ones before applying.


6. WritingCareer Jobs


This is updated very frequently, but a lot of the jobs are taken from other freelance bidding sites. This means that there is a whole range of pricing, some of them being silly.

You will need to do quite a bit of digging, but there are a few quality jobs available as long as you did hard enough.



7. SimplyHired


This is a general freelance directory that has a writing section. Writer jobs are only added occasionally, but the jobs that do come up are of high quality.

There is a comprehensive search system and an alerting system. So you an sign-up and then set up an alert when a job that might interest you comes along.



8. FlexJobs Writer Jobs


This is a premium jobs board that offers professional jobs. They are updated very frequently and there are plenty of offers.

It is a paid-for jobs board, however, and you will be required to pay a monthly fee of about $5 before you can apply for jobs.

There are lots of jobs here and they cater to most specialities.



9. FreelanceWriting.com


This is another quality site with lots of freelance writing jobs. The jobs pay well and are updated every Tuesday. Either visit the site every Tuesday to look at the new jobs. Or, more conveniently, subscribe to the newsletter and get the jobs postings delivered straight to your inbox.

Job offers on this board invariably pay well.



10. Whisperjobs 


There are lots of jobs which are updated frequently. However, quality can be very variable and you should be careful which jobs you are applying to, so that you are not under-paid.




11. Freelancer.com


Freelancer is a general freelance site. Jobs are updated very frequently (sometimes by the minute). The sign-up process is lengthy and you have a limited number of jobs you can apply to each month (unless you upgrade your account by paying).

Jobs can be very variable, from the high-quality to the poorly paying and there is a bidding process that typically lasts a week.



12. ProBlogger Jobs Board


If you are a blogger then the problogger jobs board is one of the best sources of employment. New jobs are added regularly (typically 1 new job a day).

The majority of the jobs are blog related, but you do get more general writing jobs appearing every now and then. Most pay rates are reasonable. But, like all general jobs boards you will see some people offering little or nothing for jobs.


13. JournalismJobs.com


This is a freelance job board that mainly caters for journalistic-style work, but which also a number of quality general writing jobs.

Unfortunately, the jobs are buried within the site. It's best to use the search function to find them.

14. BloggingPro Jobs Board


This is very similar to the ProBlogger board mentioned above, but with more general writing jobs. Pay typically isn't that bad (depending on skills, of course).



15. VirtualVocations.com Job Board


Whilst not as sophisticated as the other jobs boards listed above, it does contain a lot of offers. It might take a while for you to find exactly what best suits you, but the jobs are there.



Be Realistic


Applying for jobs on the boards above is a great move towards increasing your income. However, you really should understand that applying for a job is no guarantee of acceptance.

The boards are very popular as it is, and you are probably reading this post along with thousands of other people. The secret to getting a good offer is to apply to as many of the jobs on the board above as you think you're qualified for. 

Like everything in this life, you have to put the effort into the jobs boards to get results. 

If you know of any other jobs boards, then please use the comment system below to bring them to others' attention.

Quite a lot of effort has gone into producing this article, please help spread the word about it by posting to Google+, Facebook and Twitter. This ensures that more people benefit from it and it helps to motivate me to write more content.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Kindle eBook Profits, the Guide to Writing Kindle eBooks that Sell and to Marketing Them

I don't often endorse products on this blog, but sometimes, just sometimes, products come across my desk that I really cannot ignore.

As someone who regularly publishes eBooks on Amazon for the Kindle platform, I was astonished when the eBook Kindle eBook Profits was brought to my attention. From the blurb, this looked like the eBook everyone who wants to publish successfully on Amazon really needed.

The cover price of $45 was a bit steep, but I decided to give it a go to see what was on offer. The tagline for the eBook says that it's: The Complete, Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write a Successful Kindle Ebook from Start to Finish.

But enough of the hype, what does the book actually provide, and is it for you?

The book comes from the viewpoint of how you can write a book for publishing via the Amazon eBook store that will sell. Think of it as teaching you to be a ghostwriter for your own product.

The book goes through how you can do your research to find what information people are actively searching for so that you can find a topic to write about where people are hungry for the book.

Once the book is written on that topic, you are taken step by step on how to produce a kindle eBook, and then you are taken through how to market your book so that it gets noticed.

Marketing topics covered include:

How to Beat the Top 10 Positions for Your Kindle eBook Category
Do These 5 Things to Get People to Buy Your Book
How to Get Your Book to the Bestsellers List in a Category



Buy Now

This information is gold. The eBook is marketed as: the ONLY guide you’ll need to start earning a RECURRING income from Amazon and I have to agree. Marketing is the area that typically lets us authors down and here you get a complete guide as to how to effectively plan the launch of your book, as well as marketing it for the long term.

The marketing techniques contained in Kindle eBook Profits are a must-read for every author. The style of writing a book to a topic guaranteed to sell might not be my kind of writing. But if you really want to make money, it will almost certainly work.

This book is not cheap, and it's not long, but I guarantee that you will glean important information from it. And if you are like me, it will begin to pay for itself in a few weeks.

I urge you to get a copy of Kindle eBook Profits right now and start putting into practice the information contained therein.


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