ALCS March Distribution This Week!

ALCS March Distribution This Week!

If you’re a UK writer registered with the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), you may want to log in to your account this week to check whether you will be receiving a payment in their March distribution due around Friday 24 March 2017, and if so how much.

For those who don’t know, ALCS handles a range of fees and payments for writers, including photocopying fees and payments from various overseas PLR (public lending right) programmes. As long as you have one or more books, articles or stories published, you can register to receive your share. There are two distributions every year, in March and September, though for whatever reason I only ever seem to get a payment in the March one.

If you aren’t already registered with ALCS you will have to pay a one-off fee of £36, but this will be deducted from your first payment, so you shouldn’t have to pay anything up front. In any event, it is definitely worth it. My payment this year is over £120, and aside from a few novelty products most of my work is published on the internet these days!

I don’t entirely understand how ALCS payments are calculated, and gather I am not alone in this. You might therefore be interested to read this recent blog post by my near-neighbour Simon Whaley. He asked ALCS a number of questions about how the scheme works, and published the replies he received. These make interesting reading, although I still found myself somewhat confused at the end!

If you are a member of an authors’ organization such as the Society of Authors, you may find that your ALCS membership is already covered. In that case, all you need to do is register on the ALCS website, providing details of your books and so forth and a bank account into which your payments can be made.

These days I find I make more money from ALCS than from the UK PLR scheme, as for various reasons lending from public libraries has diminished considerably in recent years. It is, though, still well worth registering for PLR if you haven’t already. For more information about this, see my discussion of PLR in this recent blog post.

As ever, if you have any questions or comments about ALCS (or PLR), please do post them below and I will do my best to answer them.

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Easy PD Profits

Review: Easy PD Profits by Amy Harrop

Easy PD Profits is the latest product launch by the ever-prolific Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful self-published author, and publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me pre-launch review access, so here’s what I found…

Easy PD Profits is about making money with the aid of public domain content. As you probably know, this is content available to edit, adapt and publish as you wish without any need to pay or credit the original creator. It comes typically from old sources that are now out of copyright (though some government-produced content also falls into this category). As well as books and articles, it includes photos, drawings, illustrations, films, and more.

Easy PD Profits has two main elements, a manual and a software tool.

The manual is a 71-page PDF. As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with graphics and screen captures where relevant.

In the manual, Amy describes a range of ways you can make money from public domain content. It is organized into five blueprints:

#1-Create a Website Using PD Material
#2 Sell Image-Based Content Collections
#3 Publish Books with Public Domain Content
#4-Tap into the Hot Vintage Marketplace
#5 Sell Image-Based Physical Products

Each of these methods is described in detail with real-life examples. Any could easily become the basis for a highly profitable business on its own.

In general, the emphasis is on using the PD content as a starting point, creating books and websites combining it with original content, or selling physical products such as posters, mugs and tee-shirts that incorporate it. This approach seems eminently sensible to me, as of course you can’t claim copyright over PD content and others are free to use it as well.

As well as the manual, you get Amy’s Public Domain Dashboard software (see screen capture below). This is a simple program that will run on any Windows PC. You don’t have to install it, just save it anywhere convenient on your PC (e.g. the desktop) and double-click to launch it.

Public Domain Dashboard software

You can also use the software on a Mac, using Parallels or Wine. Video training on how to set up the software with Wine is included.

One important thing to note is that this is NOT a search engine for PD content. Rather, it is a spreadsheet-style database of sources. It is actually a collection of spreadsheets, listing sources of public domain photos, illustrations, books and other written content, and so forth. A short excerpt from the Books and Written Content list is shown below.

Public Domain Dashboard excerpt

The software is very easy and intuitive to use (help videos are provided but I doubt if most people will need them). It works online so you will need a live internet connection to use it. I guess that might be a problem for a few folk, but if you have a standard broadband connection it won’t be an issue. And it does have the big advantage that you can click on any link to open the web page in question (they open immediately in a new Internet Explorer window).

Even better, Amy promises to update the information regularly incorporating user feedback and suggestions, so the software will constantly grow in value. You may notice that there is a Suggest a Site button which you can use in a public-spirited way to upload any useful resources you discover yourself.

Other bonuses on offer with Easy PD Profits include guides to setting up an Etsy Store and how to profit from Shopify (see screen capture from the sales page below). I didn’t receive these with my preview copy, but they both look relevant and useful. As Amy says, public domain content can be a perfect starting place for creating physical products you can sell via these platforms.

In summary, Easy PD Profits is another high-quality product from Amy Harrop. It sets out an array of methods you can use to make money from public domain content.

It is currently on sale at a launch offer price of $27 (about £22), after which – as is Amy’s usual practice – the price will be rising by $10 to $37. If you are an entrepreneurial writer looking to add more income streams to your portfolio, it is definitely worth checking out.

If you have any comments or questions about Easy PD Profits, as always, please do post them below.

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Why Keeeping in Touch with Old Clients is Vital (and How Best to Do It)

Why Keeping in Touch with Old Clients is Vital (and How Best to Do It)

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am semi-retired these days.

That doesn’t mean I have stopped working altogether, though, and I wouldn’t want to.

Things have been a bit quiet over the last few months, though, so I decided to get in touch with some old clients to remind them I was still around if there was anything I could help them with.

Some didn’t reply, but others did. I got more work almost immediately from two of them, with the promise of more in future from a third. I thought it might be worth looking at what lessons can be learned from this…

One very important thing is that when you work with companies, people move on and – shock, horror! – they don’t always tell you. A new guy or girl moves into their role and doesn’t know you from Adam (or Eve). If they need a freelance, your name is unlikely to be the first one to come into their mind. Consequently, the flow of work suddenly dries up.

That was the scenario in one of the companies I got more work from. I received a reply from a woman saying that she was fairly new in the role, apologising for not getting in touch sooner, and asking if I could also do proofreading work.

Of course, I said yes, and the upshot was that I got a dozen short novelty books to proofread, along with the company’s trade catalogue. Although I am not primarily a proofreader, it is  something I am happy to do when the occasion arises. In some ways I rather enjoy correcting work someone else has produced, rather than having to write it all myself!

At the other company I got new work from, the same person was still there. He was pleased to hear from me again (he said) and mentioned that they wanted a Kindle e-book writing to help promote their seminars business. Of course, as a published Kindle author myself, I immediately volunteered my services. The result was that I got a sizeable commission to write a book on their behalf, with more projects promised in future as well.

Clearly then, while not all my old clients replied positively, enough did to make this a very worthwhile exercise. Here are a few more points you might like to consider if you find yourself in a similar position to the one I was in…

  • If it’s been a year or two since you last worked for a client, it’s quite likely your previous contact will have moved on, so start by briefly introducing yourself and mentioning projects you have worked on in the past.
  • It may also be a good idea to write to the company’s main email address rather than one that belonged to your previous contact. Or at least, copy it to that address also.
  • If you have a good pretext for contacting a business, don’t hesitate to use this. In one case a company had promised to send me an author’s copy of a print book I had written for them, but I  never received this. So I wrote politely to ask if I could be sent it now. I also reminded them that I was available for other work if required. I got an immediate reply apologising for the oversight and promising to send me three copies of the book (which they did). They didn’t have any work for me straight away, but promised I would be top of the list if anything else came up. So I would say I am definitely back on their radar now.
  • Another good pretext for contacting a new client is if you are now offering a new service, e.g. blogging or social media work.
  • You could also write to let them know if, for example, you have launched a new blog or website (and this might be of interest to them). As you may know, I recently launched a personal finance blog called Pounds & Sense, and I mentioned this in several cases. It certainly generated a degree of interest, although I didn’t get any work related to it directly.
  • Remember as well that a client may not realise the full range of skills you have to offer, especially if you have acquired new ones since last working for them. So it’s always good to remind them what you can do. In the case of the company mentioned above, they evidently hadn’t realised I could also do proofreading work. I fully expect to receive quite a lot more work of that nature from them in the coming months.

Finally, since I’m on this subject, I do still have some spare capacity at the moment – so if you have any writing, editing or proofreading work you need doing, please get in touch!

And if you have any comments or questions about this post – or any other ideas for generating work from old clients – do post them below.

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Next Great Horror Writer Contest

The Next Great Horror Writer Contest

If writing horror fiction is your thing, here’s a contest you won’t want to miss.

The Next Great Horror Writer Contest is open to any aspiring horror writer over the age of 18. The contest is for new writers, so you must not have had a story of over 10,000 words published by a publishing house already (although self-published authors are eligible).

The contest is being run by the HorrorAddicts.net website, and is free to enter. It is being judged by a panel of professional horror writers, publishers and editors.

The first prize is pretty impressive. The winner will receive:

  • a novel/book contract with leading indie publishers Crystal Lake Publishing
  • a free edit of a novel up to 50,000 words
  • a short story contract with the HorrorAddicts.net “Horror Bites” series
  • a horror writer gift box – ‘supplies and inspiration for the Next Great Horror Writer’

There are other prizes as well, including audio drama production, podcast interviews, more short story contracts, and so on. The contest will proceed through a series of ‘challenges’ designed to select the final winner, with prizes being awarded to the winners of each stage. The challenges will take place from March 2017 to October 2017.

The closing date for entering The Next Great Horror Writer is 1 March 2017. At this stage you simply have to submit the online entry form and a 100-word story. The rules say you must ‘have a full-length novel or novella ready to pitch to a publishing house’ but you aren’t required to submit this with your entry. Clearly, you should have a novel at least in progress so you will be in a position to benefit if you are lucky enough to win the first prize. However, definitely don’t be put off if you don’t have a full-length novel ready to submit now!

For more information about The Next Great Horror Writer Contest, click through any of the links in this post. You can also complete the online application form on the web page.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, as always, feel free to leave them below. I wish you the very best of luck if you decide to enter this contest. 🙂

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book covers

Two New Writing Books for Your Reference Library

Today I wanted to share with you news of two new writing books by colleagues of mine that have just been published.

The first one is The Business of Writing by Simon Whaley. As the name indicates, this is a guide to the business aspects of writing, from taxation to pen-names, author contracts to press trip protocols. The full table of contents is copied below.BOWContentsSimon is a UK-based freelance writer who lives in Shropshire, not a million miles from me. The book does therefore have a UK focus, especially when it comes to matters such as taxation. Much of the content would apply equally if you live elsewhere, though.

Simon also has a blog called The Business of Writing, which is well worth reading. He writes a column by that name too in the UK-based Writing Magazine (great branding, Simon!).

Much of the content of the book is based on articles published in Simon’s magazine column. As you might expect it is very well written and edited, and other writers (including me) are quoted extensively.

The Business of Writing is available from Amazon as a Kindle e-book and I understand a Createspace print version may be in the pipeline too. Highly recommended for UK writers in particular.

The other book I wanted to mention today is 50 More Mistakes Beginner Writers Make by UK-based writer Alex Gazzola. This does have some similarities with Simon Whaley’s book, as it concerns (primarily) business aspects of writing, but actually there is very little overlap between the two titles.

The content of 50 More Mistakes Beginner Writers Make is drawn mainly from Alex’s popular blog Mistakes Writers Make. The content is therefore organized into 50 short chapters (each corresponding to a blog post). Every chapter discusses one specific mistake, from Over-Politeness to Going Scattergun. Again, I have copied the table of contents below (with apologies that I couldn’t quite fit in the last two articles).

50 More Mistakes Writers Make

50 More Mistakes Beginner Writers Make is available as a Kindle e-book only, and is a follow up to Alex’s original 50 Mistakes Beginner Writers Make. Although written primarily for a UK readership, most of it would work just as well for writers living elsewhere.

I hope you will check out both these books and consider adding them to your library. They are down-to-earth and highly readable practical guides, by two UK professional writers who have both built very successful freelance careers. They are also, incidentally, two of the nicest people you could hope to meet.

As ever, if you have any questions or comments about either of these books, please do post them below,.

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UK PLR Statements Now Available

2015/16 UK PLR Statements Now Available

If you’re a UK author registered for PLR, you can now check your earnings for 2015/16 on the UK PLR website. Just log in here and click on Statements.

This year (covering July 2015 to June 2016) they are paying 7.82 pence per library loan, a slight increase on last year. Payment will be made between 13 and 22 February 2017, in accordance with your payment instructions.

For those who don’t know, PLR (in this context) stands for Public Lending Right. The UK PLR Office distributes money to UK authors based on the number of times their books have been borrowed from public libraries in Britain (and now also the Republic of Ireland) in the last year. This money is paid to authors as compensation for their presumed lost royalties on sales.

All UK authors are eligible for PLR (even if they don’t currently live in Britain), but you do have to register with the UK PLR Office first. If you’re a UK author with at least one published book to your name, therefore, you should sign up immediately to get what is due to you.

Non-UK nationals cannot claim from the UK PLR Office, but many other countries (though not the USA) have schemes in place to compensate writers for library lending. Australia, for example, has what appears to be quite a generous program, though payments are based on the estimated number of copies of an author’s book in libraries, not total loans. For more information on PLR schemes worldwide, visit the PLR International website.

In many countries there are also reciprocal arrangements to compensate non-nationals for lending in the country concerned. In Britain this is co-ordinated by ALCS (the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society), and UK authors should also register separately with them. ALCS also collect and pay photocopying fees due to UK authors, incidentally.

I always find it interesting to study my PLR statement. I was pleased to see that, rather to my surprise, my payment has gone up this year. This is despite the fact that library lending generally is down due to the inexorable rise of the internet and cutbacks in the public library service.

My most borrowed books, Advertising for the Small Business and Start Your Own Home-Based Business, were published quite a few years ago and are undoubtedly out of date now, but they were still borrowed over 1000 times between them. By contrast, almost nobody is borrowing my Living and Working in books (e.g. Living and Working in Germany), perhaps because new editions of these books by other authors are now available. Or maybe it means that these days people are more interested in starting small businesses than going to work abroad!

Over the years I have made literally thousands of pounds from PLR and ALCS payments – in the case of some books I have earned more from these sources than I have in publisher fees or royalties. So if you’re a UK author, it is definitely worth taking the few minutes needed to register yourself and your book/s with UK PLR and ALCS.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, or PLR in general, please do post them below.

 

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Get this free Author's Career Cheat Sheet from Crystal Lake Publishing

Free Author’s Career Guide from Crystal Lake Publishing

As some of you will know, Crystal Lake Publishing is a small (but growing) horror fiction publishing house, run by my old friend Joe Mynhardt. Joe has recently taken the leap to become a full-time publisher, so I wish him every success and satisfaction with this.

Joe has just published a free report called The Author’s Career Cheat Sheet. This is a guide to building your career as an author, focusing especially on how best to use the internet and social media to help build your platform. It also has advice on how to find inspiration, and generally how to balance writing with other areas of your life.

The report is a 12-page PDF and is well worth a read. As mentioned it is free, although you do have to provide your email address to get your hands on it. This is something I am normally a little wary about, but having known Joe for many years I can say categorically that he is not going to start spamming you!

Indeed, if you write horror or speculative fiction, signing up is likely to be a good move, as Joe will be sharing tips, advice and calls for submissions for new Crystal Lake projects, as well as info about books including authors’ guides that may be of interest to you.

Speaking of which, don’t forget that Crystal Lake currently have two open calls for submissions. I wrote about them in this blog post a few weeks ago. One is for their annual Tales from the Lake anthology, and the other is for a C.H.U.D. tribute anthology. The deadline for both of these is the end of January 2017, so don’t delay if you have something suitable.

You can request the free Author’s Career Cheat Sheet and also read the latest calls for submissions on this page of the Crystal Lake website.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, as always, feel free to leave them below – although please bear in mind that I do not work for Crystal Lake Publishing myself! If you need to get in touch with Joe and his colleagues directly, here is a link to their contact page.

And, once again, you can request the free author’s career guide on their submissions page here.

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AmaSuite 5: New Version of this Top Quality Amazon Research Product

AmaSuite 5: New Version of this Top Quality Amazon Research Tool

Regular readers will know that until recently I was chief bizopps reviewer for More Money Review.

By the end of my time working with MMR – and I am incidentally still on very good terms with them – I had reviewed several hundred home-business opportunities in a wide range of categories, from Kindle publishing courses to multi-level marketing schemes.

During this time I saw plenty of bad and ugly products, but not so many that were good. As a reviewer you soon get to know who the good developers are and who are the ones you need to avoid with the proverbial ten-foot barge-pole.

Anyway, Dave Guindon and his business partner Chris Guthrie are definitely in the ‘good’ category. They aren’t as prolific as some other developers, but when they do release a product it is almost always the best in its class. They routinely over-deliver to an astonishing degree. Their KD Suite of market research software for Kindle authors is something I have raved about in the past, for example.

Today, however, I wanted to draw your attention to another of their products, AmaSuite, which is just about to come out in its fifth iteration. This is a market research product (and training) for anyone interested in selling physical products on Amazon, either their own or as affiliates.

I reviewed an earlier version of AmaSuite (AmaSuite 3) for More Money Review a while ago. Here’s a link to my in-depth review there. Note that to read the whole review you will need to be a registered member and logged in, but registering is free and only takes a few moments. I have reproduced the conclusion to my review below…

Overall, I was highly impressed with AmaSuite 3. If you’re serious about making money as an Amazon affiliate, and willing to put some work in to make it happen, AmaSuite 3 will undoubtedly prove a valuable resource for you.

I was impressed with Dave Guindon’s earlier product KD Suite (also reviewed on More Money Review) and in my view AmaSuite 3 builds on the lessons he learned from that. It is a highly professional, multi-featured product that should provide you with all the tools and training you need to make a growing income as an Amazon affiliate.

The latest version of the software, AmaSuite 5, now has five main components, as opposed to the three in Amasuite 3 that I reviewed. Briefly, they are as follows:

Top Product Analyzer – This tool lists and analyzes the 100 best-selling products in the most popular 100 categories on both Amazon UK and Amazon.com.

Search Analyzer – This shows you the most popular products on Amazon for any given search phrase.

Keyword Analyzer – This extracts the exact keywords people are searching for right now by using four of the major online e-commerce websites in the world.

Review Analyzer – This tool helps you come up with ideas for white-label products you could create yourself, by analyzing reviews of existing products and highlighting feature requests and suggestions for improvement. You can then use this data to develop your own rival products that meet these requests and address the criticisms.

AliAnalyzer – This tool works with the popular AliExpress platform to discover best-selling products there and identify products you could dropship from your own e-commerce site.

I can’t really do justice to all the things these software tools can do for you in this post, so I highly recommend visiting the AmaSuite 5 offer page and reading the full in-depth descriptions there.

The software is by no means the end of it either. You also get two full-length training courses, one about making money as an Amazon affiliate, and the other about selling your own physical products on Amazon (which is where the really big money lies, of course).

And finally you get membership of their ‘AmaGroup’ on Facebook, where you can discuss how to make the most of AmaSuite with over 6000 other users.

As you will gather, I’m a big fan of AmaSuite. I appreciate it won’t be for everyone, but if Amazon selling or affiliate marketing is something that interests you, in my opinion buying Amasuite 5 is a no-brainer.

AmaSuite 5 Launch Discount Offer

I am pleased to say that Dave Guindon has kindly allowed me to offer a special launch discount to my blog readers. From now until the closing date of Friday 13 January you will be able to claim a huge $100 discount on the entire product if you order AmaSuite 5 via my link. After 13 January 2017 this offer will no longer be available, so please don’t delay if this product could be of value to you.

As ever, if you have any comments or questions about AmaSuite 5, please do post them below and I will do my best to answer them.

 

 

 

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Happy New Year 2017!

Happy New Year 2017!

Just wanted to wish every reader of Entrepreneur Writer a happy, creative and prosperous 2017!

I do hope this is the year when you achieve, or at least start to achieve, all of your writing ambitions.

I’m looking forward to sharing more writing tips, advice, resources, market information and more with you in the year ahead. So if you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe via the box in the right-hand column to ensure that you never miss a post 🙂

Don’t forget, too, to follow me on Twitter. I regularly use this to share details of useful websites and resources that I don’t always have time to post about here. And if you really want to stay connected, you can also sign up to follow me on my official Facebook Page and Google Plus.

I also recently added this blog to the increasingly popular Bloglovin platform. If you are a member of this free service you can get all my latest posts delivered to you with your updates (and any other blogs you follow on the platform as well, of course!). Just click through this link to sign up.

Finally, you haven’t yet seen it (and especially if you live in the UK) do check out my new personal finance blog Pounds and Sense. If you are looking to save money, make money or invest money in 2017, I guarantee you’ll find some eye-opening tips and information.

Once again, I wish you a very happy and creative new year.

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Happy Christmas 2016!

Happy Christmas 2016!

Just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a Very Happy Christmas!

Even if you don’t celebrate the religious festival, I hope you enjoy the festive period. Thank you for reading at least some of my blog posts this year, and contributing to some interesting discussions.

Naturally, many people at this time are fully occupied with family celebrations. If you have any time on your hands over the holiday period, though – or you just need a break from the festivities – the forum at myWritersCircle.com is always open for discussions about writing, or any subject you choose in The Coffee Shop.

If you feel like doing some reading – maybe on your new Kindle or tablet – you may like to check out my post “Nine Top Ebooks About Writing That Are Free Today“. As far as I know, all these e-books are still free!

To get your writing career off to the best possible start in 2017, you might like to sign up to this free fiction writing course from FutureLearn starting in January, or prepare and submit a story for these forthcoming anthologies from Crystal Lake Publishing.

And if Santa brings you a bit of extra cash, here are links to my posts spotlighting some high-quality resources I recommend for any aspiring writer…

Geoff Shaw’s Kindling – Still the number one resource for Kindle authors.

Piggyback Publishing Profits – The guide from the prolific Amy Harrop sets out a clever method of “piggy-backing” on the success of popular titles to drive sales of your own books and ebooks..

Kindle Quiz – This sets out another approach to ebook publishing I really like. Quiz books are “hot” right now, and easy to publish for Kindle if you follow the step-by-step advice in this guide. The method combines very well with the one set out in Piggyback Publishing Profits, incidentally.

Puzzle Publishing Profits – This is another excellent guide from Amy Harrop. It reveals how you can capitalize on the huge puzzle books market, using free and low-cost resources to quickly publish titles on Amazon’s CreateSpace platform.

Essential English for Authors – This is my downloadable course about bringing your writing up to a publishable standard in the shortest time possible.

Write Any Book in Under 28 Days – My top-selling writing course, which has been used by thousands of writers to plan and write a full-length book of their own.

Any of the above would be a great investment for your writing career in 2017.

Once again, I do hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and a happy and creative new year. Thank you for being a valued reader of Entrepreneur Writer.

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