The GeoRiot Link Management Platform Is Now Geniuslink

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of the GeoRiot link management platform. This lets you convert any Amazon link into a universal link that detects where a visitor is from and forwards them to their own national Amazon store – optionally with your affiliate link included. GeoRiot also works with the iTunes store, incidentally.

I was recently informed by GeoRiot that they are rebranding as Geniuslink. On their blog they explain this as follows:

The shift to Geniuslink, from GeoRiot, is a refocus on the what our service has become, and the foundation we’ve built for making it even better.    

How we got here

  • It started last May when we acquired the “geni.us” domain.  

  • In July of 2014 we launched advanced targets: the ability to fully customize the behavior of your link by easily adding custom rules based on any combination of country, device, OS, and date of click.  These were the first footsteps out of the iTunes and Amazon affiliate link space where we had been laser focused since 2009.  

  • The next major steps came in late 2014 with our beta launch of integrated tracking and retargeting pixels, allowing you to target your audience to remarket to them for future promotions.  

  • Early spring of 2015 saw the pixeling going live along with opening our geni.us links, allowing for infinite combinations of advanced targeting and pixels so our clients could create the perfect link for every promotion.  

  • Today’s launch takes the focus off of our company name and puts it squarely on our flagship service, the incredibly powerful and super intelligent geni.us links, a marketer’s best friend.  

Source: http://blog.geni.us/2015/08/25/georiot-goes-geniuslink/

So instead of visiting the old GeoRiot service to sign up for this service or manage your account, you now need to visit http://www.geni.us.

Incidentally, this change does not affect BookLinker, the other link management platform run by the company, which I wrote about in this blog post. The difference between the two services is that Geniuslink (previously GeoRiot) offers more stats and options for users, but once clicks through your links exceed 1000 a month you are charged a small fee. BookLinker offers a more basic service, but it is free no matter how many people click on your links.

For more information about these services and why I recommend them, please read this blog post about GeoRiot and this one about BookLinker. Or click through to the Geniuslink or BookLinker websites, of course.

Note that I do not receive any financial compensation for recommending these services. I simply think they are very useful resources, and I am therefore very happy to share them with my readers.

As ever, if you have any queries about this update, please do post them below.

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Review: Kindle Quiz by Alessandro Zamboni and Neil Day

Over the years I have written a lot of quiz books, mainly for my regular clients at Lagoon Games. One of the books I wrote for them is pictured above!

One thing I haven’t tried, though, is self-publishing quiz books on Kindle. So when I saw that a new guide to this subject had just been published, I immediately went to buy a copy.

Kindle Quiz is by Alessandro Zamboni and Neil Day. The main guide is a 40-page downloadable PDF. This starts by explaining the market for Kindle quiz books, then takes you step by step through researching, writing and publishing one of your own.

The manual is well written and includes plenty of screen captures where appropriate. The general method involves choosing a topic, researching it online, and coming up with some interesting quiz questions (the authors suggest at least 50). The answers are then provided in a separate chapter at the end of the book.

The manual takes you through how to publish your quiz book using Kindle Direct Publishing. I wouldn’t say it includes absolutely everything you might want to know – I’d like to have seen something about using a pen-name, for example – but the basics are pretty well covered. Of course, if you need more advice and information about publishing on Kindle, there are free guides such as this e-book from Amazon, and the KDP help pages are pretty good too. And there is always my own Kindle Kash, of course!

Based on my own experience, writing this type of book is quick and easy, and it can also be a lot of fun. I can also see that such books could potentially sell very well on Kindle, as you can easily target current “hot topics” by the judicious use of keywords in your book’s title and description.

Kindle Quiz has definitely inspired me to have a go at writing some such books myself, so watch this space! At the current low asking price – I paid $10.55 or around £6.70, a price that is slowly rising – Kindle Quiz is well worth checking out if you want an easy way to start in Kindle publishing or to add a new string to your bow.

As ever, if you have any queries about Kindle Quiz, please do post them below.

 

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Download 2.6 Million Images from Books Published Over the Last 500 Years

If you’re looking for free images you can use in books, e-books, blog posts, and so on, you might like to know that a new source of 2.6 million images just came on-stream. This article from the Open Culture website explains:

Thanks to Kalev Leetaru, a Yahoo! Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University, you can now head over to a new collection at Flickr and search through an archive of 2.6 million public domain images, all extracted from books, magazines and newspapers published over a 500 year period. Eventually this archive will grow to 14.6 million images.

This new Flickr archive accomplishes something quite important. While other projects (e.g., Google Books) have digitized books and focused on text — on printed words — this project concentrates on images. Leetaru told the BBC, “For all these years all the libraries have been digitizing their books, but they have been putting them up as PDFs or text searchable works.” “They have been focusing on the books as a collection of words. This inverts that.”

Source: Download for Free 2.6 Million Images from Books Published Over Last 500 Years on Flickr | Open Culture

The article also lists a number of other public domain photo collections, so it’s well worth reading down to the end. They include a million images from the British Library that are free to use and remix.

The featured image above this post comes from the new Flickr archive. It is an advertisement from “Gleanings in Bee Culture”, December 1, 1916.

Happy image searching!

 

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SBI! for WP homepage

SBI! for WP – A New WordPress Training Program and Plugin

Regular readers will know that I am a writer and bizopps reviewer for the UK-based More Money Review website.

Many of the products I review are average at best, but occasionally I come across one so good that I feel it is worth drawing to the attention of readers of this blog as well.

SBI! for WP is one such case. It comes from the Canadian SiteSell organization, who also produce the long-established SBI! website building and training product. As the name implies, SBI! for WP incorporates the best of SBI! into a new product aimed at new and fledgling WordPress users.

WordPress is, of course, a hugely popular blogging platform. And because of the ease with which it can be customized, it’s also used to create many other types of website, from sales and marketing pages to review sites, online stores to authority sites. Entrepreneur Writer and More Money Review both use WordPress to power them, incidentally.

One drawback with WordPress is that there can be quite a steep learning curve. SBI! for WP aims to get round this by providing an in-depth, structured training program, divided into ten “daily” lessons (though some lessons may well take longer than a day to complete). You also get access to a huge online library of “Tips and Tricks” articles, and another library of ways of making money from your WordPress site.

Apart from the training, you also get access to BrainstormIt! This is a powerful research tool which helps you research concepts for your site and then specific keywords you can target in your content. It also shows you which keywords (and phrases) may have the best money-making potential with Google AdSense.

SBI! for WP is reasonably priced, and what I really like is that you can try the entire course (and plugin) free of charge for 30 days. You don’t even have to hand over your credit card number.

If you have any interest at all in learning about WordPress and setting up a WordPress website, in my view SBI! for WP is well worth considering, therefore. Even as a moderately experienced WordPress user, I have picked up a lot of useful tips and information from it.

If you would like to read my full, in-depth review of SBI! for WP on the More Money Review website, you can do so by clicking on this link. Note that you will need to open an account on MMR and log in to read the full review, but this is free and only takes a moment.

And if you want to take up the current 30-day free trial offer, just click through any of the SBI! for WP links in this article.

As ever, if you have any queries about SBI! for WP, please do post them below.

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Guest Post: How to Write Your Single Book Into a Wildly Successful Book Series

Today I have a syndicated guest post for you from author and writing coach Earma Brown. In her article, Earma looks at various ways you can turn one (non-fiction) book into a money-spinning series…

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Are you planning to write just one book? Wait! Before you decide, at least let me show you how easy it is to make your single book into a series of books. By the way, publishers love book series and readers become fanatical over a serial of books.

Begin to change your thinking. Don’t look at your book as a one time thing or a one title event. Begin to look at it as the beginning of your successful author journey. If you are looking for an easier journey, more rewards and more profits with a series of books, follow the tips below:

1. Slash your huge book into separate books. The easiest way to do this is to separate your book into chunks, chapters, sections and parts. Writing this way will allow you to divide and conquer. You can easily take the chunks or sections and divide them into several books. Your readers will love that you made your book such an easy read and buy each one of them.

2. Put your overflow information into a second book. Gather all the overflow research material. You know all the extra information discovered that wouldn’t fit into your first book. Put it in order and develop it into a separate book. For example, if one of your chapters is becoming bloated with information overload consider marking it for book two. There’s no better time to start collecting information for book two than when you are organizing book one.

3. Poll your readers for a key point they want to know more about. Expound on a point your readers show interest in knowing more about. If you don’t know already, try to discover their problems and write the solutions in the next book. Handle this well and your sequel may sell better than the previous book.

4. Select a sub-topic to do further research. Do more research on one of your book’s sub-topics. Take a sub-topic that you only touched on in the first book and cover if fully in the sequel. Your readers will love the additional information and anticipate buying the next volume.

5. Write a companion book for the original book. You can excerpt sections from your first book, insert groups of checklists, discussion or reflection questions and voila you have a study guide or workbook.

6. Develop a meditation or journal book. Gather quotes related to your book’s topic and pair them with excerpts from your original book to put in a meditation book or devotional. Or create a journal with quotes from your original books in the corner of each lined page of the journal. You can number them according to weeks, days or lessons. For example, 52 weeks of inspiring thoughts or 365 days of inspirational thoughts from your book’s topic.

7. Repurpose your material for a different audience. Plan another edition of your book for a different audience than the original book. Remember the Chicken Soup for Teen-Agers, Prisoners, Mothers and so on sold better than the original Chicken Soup for the Soul. The original book was for a more general audience. Find out how you can target your audience even more and you may discover a better selling market within a general market.

If you don’t change your thinking, your book could end up being a tiny drop in the scheme of life. Instead plan a wildly successful series of books and make the splash you’re destined to make. You may feel you can’t dream that big. No worries; start with the simple tips above. Expand your thinking. Dream a bigger dream and write your single book into a plethora of books. I look forward to seeing your name in print many times.

Byline: Earma Brown, 12 year author and business owner helps small business owners and writers who want to write their best book now! Earma mentors other writers and business professionals through her monthly ezine “iScribe.” Send any email to iscribe@bookwritinghelp.com for free mini-course “Jumpstart Writing Your Book” or visit her at How to Write a Book

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Earma_Brown

* * *

Thank you to Earma for a thought-provoking, inspirational article. There are some great ideas here any non-fiction author can apply.

You might also like to read the recent guest post here by Iain Pattison on how he turned a book of short stories into a successful series when his original book stopped selling. This principle works with fiction as well!

If you have any comments or questions about this post, as ever, please do leave them below.

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Canvakala box

Review: CanvaKala WordPress Photo Editing Plugin

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about the new CanvaKala photo editing (and photo selection) plugin by Jai Sharma, Ankur Shukla and Raul Mellado. As a WordPress blogger myself, I decided to buy a copy for my own use and to review it for my readers. So here’s what I found…

CanvaKala is being promoted as a “Photoshop for WordPress”. It allows you to search online for images you can use on your blog (or elsewhere) with Creative Commons reproduction rights. It also lets you download these images to your blog, edit them in various ways, and then publish them.

CanvaKala is sold via the JVZoo platform. To access your purchase you first have to negotiate three attempted upsells or “One Time Offers”. This is always a bit irritating, but obviously you can click on “No thanks” if you don’t want them.

The first is for the Pro version, which has various extra features compared with the standard one, and let’s you search a wider range of image sources. The second is for the Developer version, which lets you use the plug-in on websites built for your clients. And finally, the third is for three other plug-ins, those being Tweetpressr, PinPressr and FB Video Pressr. I decided to pass on all of these.

Once you have turned down the OTOs (or accepted them) you can access your purchase. The CanvaKala plug-in is in the standard zip format, and it can be uploaded in the normal way from the WordPress dashboard. Once you have activated it, you can start using it almost immediately. The only thing you have to do first is add API codes from two of the image sources, Pixabay and Flickr. This is straightforward enough, and helpfully links are provided to the relevant application pages. The other two image sources in the standard version, Open Clip Art and Instagram, do not require API access.

Using CanvaKala is then just a matter of clicking on the relevant tab when you are creating a post (or a page) in WordPress. A new window then opens allowing you to search any of the image sources by keyword. You can select which sources to use (or all of them). You can also select whether you want images that don’t (or do) require attribution, and whether they allow modification or not. I was pleased to see that the issue of reproduction rights is taken seriously, and impressed that if you choose an image that requires attribution a small bar is added at the foot of the image with the appropriate info and a link.

You can also edit your selected image in multiple ways. Resizing is an obvious one. Using a slider control you can increase or decrease the size by up to 200 percent. I was a bit concerned that this might not be enough in some cases, but the helpful support staff told me that you can enter any pixel size you choose in the appropriate box and the image will resize to that. Again, impressive.

There are lots of other editing options as well, even with the standard version I bought. You can add a variety of Instagram-style special effects, e.g. sepia, grayscale and emboss. There are also various manual adjustments you can make, including blur, brightness, gamma, and a dozen or so more. You can insert text, shapes and other images, and add various styles of border. You can draw freehand over images if you like, and finally you can use Photoshop-like layers to move page elements over or under others.

You can either publish your image directly into your post, download it, or add it to the WordPress gallery. For the average user, there are probably more than enough editing options, although as mentioned there is also a Pro version with many more.

On the minus side, the editing tools are rather basic compared with PhotoShop and similar programs, and you can’t save a project to continue working on it later. That’s not likely to matter most of the time of course, as you will only be working with one image at a time. It does mean you have to do all your image editing in one session, though, before going on to do something else. In fairness, CanvaKala does do a lot of things that Photo Shop and similar programs don’t, e.g. Creative Commons image search.

Overall, I think CanvaKala is a great tool for quickly finding images to use in your posts and editing them, but despite the claims on the sales page it is not a complete substitute for a graphics program. Especially at the low launch price, however, it is undoubtedly a valuable resource to have on your WordPress blog/s.

UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2015 – Since I wrote this review, my copy of CanvaKala has been updated four times (this is done semi-automatically in WordPress – you just have to approve the update). Various additional features have been added. These include the ability to import images for editing from your WordPress gallery and (even more usefully) the ability to upload any image you like from your own computer. CanvaKala is also now fully integrated with the popular YouZign design software. I am impressed that that the developers continue to refine and improve the software, and new features are still being added. If you’re a WordPress blogger, CanvaKala is now very close to being a “must have”.

If you have any comments or questions about CanvaKala, as ever, please do post them below.

 

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My Top 10 Tips for Making the Most of Online Writing Forums

As many of you will know, I was co-founder of the forum myWritersCircle, and responsible for its day-to-day management for nearly ten years. I’m also a regular visitor to several other writing forums.

I believe forums can be a great resource for writers, but in my experience many people don’t use them to their full potential, while others are put off by the mistaken belief that they are somehow too complicated, or even elitist.

So here are my top ten tips for writers who have yet to sample the delights of online writers’ forums, to help you get the most from them…

1. Spend a little while getting to know the forum before you start posting. Read a range of posts to gauge the level and see if you would feel comfortable there or not.

2. Read, especially, any etiquette guidelines that are provided – those for myWritersCircle can be viewed here. This will help you avoid inadvertently getting off on the wrong foot.

3. Most forums have a board for new members to introduce themselves, and this should be where you make your first post. On myWritersCircle it is called the Welcome Board. Introduce yourself here, and tell other members a bit about your writing interests and experiences.

4. Getting feedback on your writing can be one of the main benefits of joining a forum. Before you post any of your own work, however, it’s a good idea to read and comment on a few contributions from other members. Not only is this a simple courtesy, it will help you think about how best to present your own work when the time comes.

5. Don’t be too thin-skinned. Some forum members can be quite forthright in their criticisms (although personal abuse should not be expected or tolerated). Remember that, while praise is always nice, it is only through criticism of our work that we learn to improve.

6. Be careful about advertising. Forum members (and owners) can get very touchy about this. New members who see this as a great opportunity to advertise their wares are likely to get short shrift from other members. On myWritersCircle members are allowed to advertise writing-related products and services in their signature text (a small message that appears below any message they post) and once only on the forum itself. Posts promoting non-writing-related items are likely to be viewed as spam and deleted.

7. Be nice to the moderators. On most forums (including myWritersCircle) moderators are regular members who have volunteered in a public-spirited way to help keep things running smoothly. They have certain extra powers, e.g. the ability to delete or edit any post. If you need help or advice, the mods will be happy to provide it. Equally, if any members are causing disruption on the forum, they will take action to warn or, if necessary, ban them.

8. Remember that forums rely on give and take. If you want feedback on your writing, you will be more likely to get it if you also take the time to read and comment on other people’s (see also item 4, above).

9. Forums aren’t just for getting feedback, though. If you have a writing-related question, they can be great places for getting them answered by other members. Questions can cover anything from the use of grammar and punctuation to the effects of different poisons!

10. And finally, if you’re looking for writing-related jobs and opportunities, forums can be great places to look. On myWritersCircle there is a Writers Wanted board specifically for this purpose. Writers Wanted can also be used if you are looking for a collaborator or someone to interview for an article.

I hope you find the above tips helpful. And if you’re now ready to give an online writers’ forum a try, I’ll hope to see you on myWritersCircle sometime soon!

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

Note: This is an updated version of an evergreen post that first appeared on my old blog at myWritingBlog.com in February 2010.

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Hypnosis Live

Choose Your Free Self Hypnosis MP3 From Inspire3

In this recent post I revealed how you can get a free “Eliminate Stress” MP3 from my friends at the self-development company Inspire3. They are doing this to promote their new Hypnosis Live online store.

I have just heard they have introduced a new – and arguably better – offer, where you can get any one of seven of their top-selling self-hypnosis MP3s for free. You can choose from:

  • Achieve Your Goals
  • Attitude of Gratitude
  • Eliminate Stress
  • Law of Attraction
  • Find Your Life Purpose
  • Positive Thinking
  • Visualization Success

As with the other offer (which also includes a free e-book The 18 Rules to Happiness by my old friend Karl Moore), there is no obligation to buy anything. The aim of the promo is simply to raise awareness of the Hypnosis Live online store. Through this site you can buy self-hypnosis MP3s designed to assist with a huge range of issues, from boosting intuition to stopping smoking, improving your self-esteem to overcoming stage fright.

  • There is even a session titled Be a Better Writer, which uses the power of hypnosis and neurolinguistic programming (NLP) to boost your writing skills and “unleash your inner Shakespeare”.

There are almost 200 different sessions on offer in the Hypnosis Online store, in the following categories:

  • Mental Skills
  • Mindset
  • Emotions
  • Fear, Worry, Anxiety
  • Health
  • Self Growth
  • Personal Improvement
  • Body Improvement
  • Adult

All sessions are professionally recorded by qualified hypnotherapist and master NLP practitioner Julie-Ann Amos. They are available as instant downloads as soon as you’ve purchased. Most last 40 minutes, and you can listen to them as many times as you want (or need).

Naturally, as the sessions take the form of audio MP3 files, you can play them on any computer, tablet or smartphone, or on a dedicated MP3 player. The use of headphones or earphones is recommended.

There is an FAQs page here if there is anything else you need to know. Otherwise, here again is the link to click to claim this free offer.

As always, comments or questions are very welcome – please do post them below.

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Review: Writing Columns That Editors Can’t Resist

I was recently offered the opportunity to review this online course by Luuk Koelman, a professional columnist from the Netherlands.

The subject of column-writing isn’t widely discussed, and yet it has many attractions for writers. Most importantly, if you get a gig as a columnist, you have a guaranteed source of work for weeks, months, perhaps even years.

In addition, unlike journalists, columnists have a licence to write about pretty much anything they like – as long as it entertains readers, of course. Neither are columnists expected to perform in-depth research, interview people, and so on. As indicated above, their role is primarily to entertain, as opposed to journalists, whose job is to inform.

Writing Columns That Editors Can’t Resist is hosted on Fedora, a course-building platform I hadn’t come across before – it’s not as well-known as Udemy, for example. It has a smart, professional-looking interface, however, and I found signing up quite straightforward.

Once you have enrolled as a student, the course content is set out in a menu on the left, while the actual learning materials appear in the centre of the screen when selected (see screen capture below).

 Columns01

The course content is delivered through  a series of short, whiteboard-style video lectures. After watching these, you can then read (though not download) a PDF of the script. Luuk advises students to watch the videos initially, then read the PDFs, then perhaps watch the video again.

He suggests studying no more than two or three lectures per day. As there are 37 lectures, that means it would take you around 12 to 18 days to complete the course. I must admit my own inclination would be to proceed a bit faster than that, as many of the lectures are no more than two or three minutes long.

The course content is well written and interesting. Luuk obviously knows his field well. He explains clearly what is (and is not) a column, and the best way to approach writing one. There is lots of good advice on planning and structuring a column, which I found particularly interesting (I will read my favourite newspaper and magazine columns with a much more analytical eye in future!). His advice on polishing and editing is very pertinent as well.

Luuk makes no claim that this is an easy route to fame and fortune, though he does set out various approaches to marketing yourself and your columns. He also suggests applying for columnist positions on websites – not for the money (most don’t pay anything) but for the practice and to help get your name known. It does seem to me that this is closely related to guest blogging. My own inclination would be to combine it with maintaining a blog of your own, which you can then monetize if you wish with Google AdSense, affiliate ads, and so on. Just my personal perspective, I guess.

As well as the lectures, there are various bonus materials, including an e-book of the entire course content. This is very useful for reference, although again you can’t download it (I assume for copyright-protection reasons). You also get a list of 24 writing tools, many of which I hadn’t come across before and definitely intend to check out. And finally, there is a step-by-step checklist against which to evaluate your own columns.

Overall, I liked Writing Columns That Editors Can’t Resist and found it practical and informative. For anyone interested in becoming a columnist, it will undoubtedly provide a lot of valuable advice and information.

In addition to the teaching materials, it would have been good to see some actual example columns by Luuk himself. I would also like to have seen more practical exercises for students. And finally, it would be nice if there was some way for students to interact with one another, as would of course be the case with a “real life” course.

As it is, I can’t help feeling that what you have here is basically an e-book which has been converted into bite-sized video presentations. It’s a very good e-book, but I’d like to see it made a bit more interactive and “hands on”. The bonus checklist does do this to some extent, but maybe Luuk could also offer to provide feedback on one sample column submitted by each student. Just a suggestion, obviously!

Nonetheless, if column writing is something that appeals to you and you would like to learn more about it from a successful, professional columnist, I definitely recommend Writing Columns That Editors Can’t Resist. It should give you all the grounding you need to get started in this exciting and enjoyable field.

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

Wordcloud courtesy of Word It Out.

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Aweber logo

Why I Switched My Mailing List Service From YMLP to Aweber

Today I am bringing you an “evergreen” post from my old blog at myWritingBlog.com (which has now reverted to its owners, WCCL, and is no longer being updated).

The post below concerns an important topic for any entrepreneurial writer, which is running your own mailing list. I have updated it slightly, but essentially it is the same as when I first published it in 2013.

There is an old saying in online marketing that, “The money is in the list”. If you have a list of people who have signed up willingly to receive updates from you, this can be a great way to build interest in your work, and hence increase the chance of sales.

If you’re going to build such a list, though, one thing you MUST have is a subscription to a mailing list service. Among other things, such a service will provide you with the means to generate subscription forms for your blog or website, and automatically process subscribe and unsubscribe requests, change of address notifications, and so on. Trust me, once you have more than a dozen subscribers on your list, you do NOT want to have to do all this manually!

In my post below, I set out my reasons for switching from my previous mailing list service, YMLP, to Aweber. All the points set out in this article – which generated a lot of interest at the time – still apply today. I hope you find it an interesting read…

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I’m slightly off topic today. But as many of you will have an online presence yourselves, I hope you will find the topic of mailing list services of at least some interest!

My story starts about ten years ago – before the days of this blog – when I set up an email service called E-Writer to provide a means of keeping in touch with my readers and clients.

E-Writer was irregular at first, but eventually it settled into a monthly e-newsletter, and I kept it running like that till the start of this year. You could subscribe via my homepage at www.nickdaws.co.uk and ultimately it had around 1200 subscribers.

One of my resolutions for 2013 was to look again at how I communicate with my readers – and where the newsletter was concerned, I soon realized it was time for a change.

It seemed to me that in this fast-moving world the whole concept of a monthly newsletter was looking a bit dated. I wanted a way of contacting readers as soon as I had something interesting to tell them, rather than wait till the end of the month and send a lengthy digest, some of which would likely be out of date already.

For E-Writer I had always used the mailing list service YMLP (which stands for Your Mailing List Provider). They had always provided a good service, but for the new E-Writer Updates service I envisaged, I could see that they would be less suitable.

For one thing, while YMLP allow you to mail lists of up to 1000 free, each time you send out a mailing the total number is added to your monthly usage.

So if you had 600 subscribers, you could mail them free once a month, but if you wanted to mail them twice that would put you on 1200, above the free allowance, meaning you had to pay to upgrade. YMLP’s charges are not extortionate, but if you were mailing two or three times a week, you would swiftly have to upgrade your account to a much more expensive tier.

YMLP is also relatively limited in the range of features it offers. While you can use it to send out newsletters, for example, you can’t really set it up as an autoresponder. So after some investigation I decided to switch to the most popular service in online marketing circles, AWeber.

Aweber doesn’t offer a free starter service, but one big attraction of going with them is that charging is based purely on the size of your list. That means even if you mail your subscribers every day, it will cost no more than if you mail them once a month (incidentally, this is one reason why if you join an AWeber list, you are likely to hear from the list owner quite frequently!).

Aweber offers many other features as well. As mentioned above, you can set up autoreponders. For example, when someone first signs up to your list, you can arrange to send them a series of messages at pre-set intervals (your choice) perhaps going into more detail about the products and services you offer. I haven’t actually done this myself yet, but it’s certainly on my ‘to do’ list.

Like all such services, Aweber provide the means for people to sign up to your list using the industry-standard (and spam-proof) double opt-in process. They also offer a wide range of sign-up boxes which you can add to your blog or website by copying and pasting a bit of HTML. And, of course, they ensure that subscribers can change the email address at which they receive your mailings – or unsubscribe – by automatically adding such links at the foot of every mailing.

One lesser-known feature of Aweber that I really like is that any time you do a mailing, an archive page containing the message is created (and hosted) by Aweber, and you can also set it up to share these pages via Twitter and Facebook. These pages are indexed by the search engines, and several times recently I have seen them high up in Google results.

If you promote yourself or your books online, you really should have a list to keep in touch with your readers and prospective clients. And, of course, in any mailing you can promote not only your own products and services, but also those of any other businesses with which you are an affiliate (e.g. Amazon). In my view, Aweber is an excellent choice for this purpose, and possibly the best.

In any event, if you fancy giving Aweber a try, I’ve arranged for readers of my blog to test-drive their service free of charge (and without obligation). Just enter your details on the form below and click on Free Test Drive. Aweber will then send you some emails so that you can learn more about what they offer and experience their service first-hand.

Email marketing made easy.

Want to get an email marketing campaign up and
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Incidentally, if you’re looking for a low-cost (or free) service that will work with less frequent mailouts – such as a monthly newsletter – I do still recommend YMLP. If you wish to try it for yourself, just visit http://ymlp.com/psignup_promo and enter the promo code 266CJ1. You will then receive a 15% discount on their normal pricing for as long as you remain a member. For non-profit organisations in particular, I reckon that YMLP would be a good choice.

I hope you find this article helpful and will consider setting up a mailing list of your own. If you have any comments or questions about AWeber, YMLP or mailing list services generally, please do post them below.

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