Pot of gold

Two Top Affiliate Platforms You May Not Be Aware Of

Many entrepreneurial writers (me included) earn a useful sideline income from affiliate marketing.

In case you don’t know, this is where you promote a product via a special link provided by the company or platform concerned. If anyone clicks through your link and makes a purchase, you get a proportion of the money they spend as commission.

The best known affiliate platforms include ClickBank, Commission Junction and JVZoo. You may well belong to at least one of these already. But in this article I want to focus on two other platforms that aren’t as well known, but with whom I have worked for a number of years and I know to be honest and reliable, not to mention profitable!

The first of these is the program operated by my publishers. They were previously called WCCL but following a take-over are now known as Kaleidoscope Global. They publish a wide range of products and courses for writers, including my own courses Essential English for Authors and Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. They also sell products in other niches as well, especially the self-development field. Extrovert-Me! is one example.

You can apply to become an affiliate with WCCL/SDN on their affiliate sign-up page. Within a short time your application will be checked and (probably) approved. You will then be able to obtain the HTML code for a wide range of banners and text links, all with your affiliate code embedded. All you have to do then is copy and paste this code into your web page in the appropriate place/s. Trust me, it’s not rocket science!

Once you are an affiliate with Kaleidoscope Global you can promote any of their products and will receive a commission of up to 50% for each item sold to someone who arrives at the sales page via your link. Commission is paid by Paypal a month after the sale has been made (assuming the buyer has not subsequently requested a refund). Unusually, all PayPal fees are covered  by the company, so you won’t have any deductions made.

The other affiliate platform I wanted to mention today is Inspire3. This is a company run by my old friend Karl Moore. They sell self-development products of all kinds, from The Brain Evolution System to Self Hypnosis MP3s. Again, they offer generous commissions (up to 70 percent) to their affiliates, and also run regular contests for affiliates with big cash prizes.

You can sign up as an affiliate at this Inspire3 website. Note that The Brain Evolution System, Inspire3’s flagship product, has a separate affiliate program, to which you can sign up here.

If you decide to join either of these platforms as an affiliate, can I offer a few quick hints and tips from my own experience…

1. Just putting a banner on your web page is unlikely to generate many sales. It’s much better to put a review of the product in question with your affiliate link at the end, so that people wanting to buy as a result of your recommendation will click through this to the sales page.

2. If you’re going to write a review, try to make it reasonably objective. Yes, you want people to click through your link and buy the product, but if your “review” appears to be more of an uncritical hype, some people are likely to be put off. So praise the product’s good points, by all means, but if there is anything you dislike, don’t be afraid to say so. People will trust your judgement more.

3. Consider offering an extra incentive of your own to secure the sale. For example, you could offer an extra mini-report on a topic not covered in depth in the product you are reviewing, or simply a list of relevant websites.

Good luck, and if you have any comments or questions about either of these affiliate platforms, please do post them below!

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Creative Writing

Two New Writing Competitions From The Writers Bureau

As some of you will know, for several years I was a tutor for The Writers Bureau, the UK’s leading distance learning institution for writers. I also wrote their Complete Copywriter course, and some sections of their Comprehensive Creative Writing course.

I thought you might therefore like to know that they are running two writing competitions at the moment. One is inexpensive to enter, and the other is absolutely free!

The first is their annual Short Story Writing Competition. This is for an unpublished short story on any theme of 2000 words or under. The entry fee is £5 per story for up to three stories. There is a £1 discount for entrants who are also subscribers to the Writers Bureau’s Freelance Market News newsletter.

The prizes are as follows: 1st £300, 2nd £200, 3rd £100, and 4th £50. In addition, all winners will receive a Writers Bureau course of their choice. The contest is open world-wide, and the closing date is 30 November 2015. You can enter by mail or via the Writers Bureau website.

Incidentally, this competition is being judged by my old friend (and former Writers Bureau colleague) Iain Pattison. I strongly recommend reading this recent post from his blog in which he talks about what he looks for when judging writing contests!

The other contest the Writers Bureau is running right now is for a flash fiction romance aimed at men. It’s free to enter, and the winner will receive a Writers Bureau fiction writing course.

Your story must be no more than 500 words, and it must be submitted by email by 14 October 2015. For full details, including how to enter, visit this page of the Writers Bureau website.

Good luck!

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Start Writing Fiction

Geoff Shaw’s Kindling – Still the Most Comprehensive Guide for New Kindle Authors

In the course of my work as a reviewer for More Money Review, I get to see a lot of guides to making money from writing ebooks for the Amazon Kindle.

One thing that has struck me, however, is how limited many of these are. Typically they only cover writing one type of ebook (e.g. niche nonfiction) and often they gloss over or omit entirely very important issues such as formatting.

Frequently I find myself in reviews recommending that anyone considering buying the product in question consider getting Kindling instead. So today I thought I’d devote a little time to reviewing it.

Kindling is a resource for anyone interested in writing Kindle ebooks for profit. It is created and run by New Zealander Geoff Shaw. The members’ website contains information, training and advice on all aspects of writing, publishing and promoting your ebooks on the Kindle platform.

KIndling Homepage

Kindling Homepage

As you can see from the screen capture above, the site wouldn’t win any design awards, but it is neatly and clearly set out, with the main menu running down the left of the screen. There are really too many sections to list here, but here are some of the main ones to give you a flavor…

  • Formatting
  • Author Training
  • Fiction Writing
  • Non-Fiction
  • Romance/Erotica
  • Episodic Books
  • Children’s Books
  • Promotion
  • Branding
  • Outsourcing
  • Recipe
  • Niche
  • Tricktion (a course-within-a-course about tricks for writing fiction)

Each of these typically has around a dozen sub-sections, which themselves may be anywhere from a single page to five or more.

The actual content is a mixture of audio files, videos and written content. It’s all produced by Geoff himself, and definitely has his own personal stamp. You will be well accustomed to his Kiwi accent by the time you’ve studied it all!

The training is clear and authoritative. Geoff is a successful Kindle author (writing under various pen names) and he draws on this experience in the advice and information he provides. Unlike many in the bizopps field who release products in different niches every week, Geoff focuses solely on Kindling, and has done so since it was first launched three years ago.

Unusually among Kindle training products (which tend to focus on nonfiction), Kindling has a lot of content on writing fiction, from short stories to novels. Geoff strongly recommends writing fiction if you want to make money from Kindle, and even if you’ve never considered this before, reading his tips and advice may well inspire you to try your hand at it.

Another feature I like about Kindling is that the content is continuously revised and expanded. E-book publishing is a fast-changing field, so it’s good to know that whatever new developments occur in future, the content will be updated to reflect this.

I also like the fact that this is not a monthly membership. Once you have paid the one-off fee, you have lifetime access, including all future upgrades.

As well as the website itself, you get access to an active Facebook members group where all issues relating to Kindle e-book writing are discussed. Geoff himself is also available at any time to answer questions by email.

Overall, Kindling (still) gets my highest recommendation as the most complete and up-to-date training resource on Kindle publishing that I’ve come across. If you’re serious about making money as a Kindle author, it is likely to prove a very worthwhile investment. I’ve certainly never regretted the money I spent on joining.

And yes, I do still recommend my own Kindle Kash course (published by WCCL) as well. I freely admit that it is not as comprehensive as Kindling, though. Also, as a standalone product, it is not updated as regularly as Kindling. Though on the plus side, it is a bit cheaper, of course!

If you have any comments or questions about Kindling (or Kindle Kash), as ever, please feel free to post them below.

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Contributors Wanted for New Charity Anthology in Support of Refugees

My colleague Greg McQueen – with whom I worked a few years ago on an anthology in aid of earthquake victims in Haiti – has just launched a new anthology project aimed at supporting refugees in Europe. The working title for the anthology is Refugees Welcome.

In this video, he explains the background to the project and how it will work:

On the website, Greg says:

The #RefugeesWelcome Anthology is a collection of short stories that aims to raise further awareness and support for refugees seeking safety and asylum in countries all across Europe.

From a practical point of view, the anthology also aims to raise money for the European Refugee Crisis Appeal run by the British Red Cross.

The British Red Cross provides resources on the ground giving food, water, and medical care where it is needed. In this case, it is for desperate families who have no choice but to risk their lives to flee war and persecution to seek asylum and safety wherever they can find it.

If you would like to contribute to The #RefugeesWelcome Anthology you can do so as a writer and as an editor or reader.

If you are interested in assisting this excellent cause – as a contributor, editor or proofreader – Greg asks that you first sign up at the Coboox website, which is the platform Greg is using to help compile the anthology.

Stories for the anthology need to be under 3000 words and have a positive, upbeat theme. To quote from the website again:

We want stories of any genre that are about happiness, friendship, community, and humanity. Stories with a dash of humour and lots of hope. Stories that somehow shine a light of hope in a dark situation.
* We DO NOT want stories about death, destruction, or war.
* Stories must be submitted through the Coboox system. We will not accept submissions via email.

The deadline for submitting short stories is 1st October 2015, so don’t delay if you have something suitable. Proofreaders and editors are also needed straight away.

I shall be working as a volunteer editor on this project myself, so look forward to working with you if you get involved, and maybe reading your work if you contribute a story.

Once again, here is the link to sign up in any capacity. Once you have done that, you will be able to see full information about this project.

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Time to Start Planning for NaNoWriMo!

Once again, it’s that time of year to start planning for NaNoWriMo.

For anyone who may not know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in a month, and it comes around every November.

From humble beginnings in 1999, when there were just 21 participants, NaNoWriMo has grown into a world-wide phenomenon. In 2013 (the last year for which stats are available) 310,095 people took part, and the numbers this year are expected to be even greater.

There is no entry fee for NaNoWriMo (though donations are always welcome), and no prizes either. Essentially, it is a challenge to help you write that novel you had always meant to write but keep putting off.

By registering with NaNoWriMo, you are joining a world-wide community of writers who are all seeking to achieve the same end, and are thus able to encourage and support one another.

This year a number of members of the myWritersCircle forum (which I co-founded) have registered for NaNoWriMo already, and more will no doubt follow. If you are looking for some ‘buddies’ to share notes and compare progress with, check out this forum topic.

Although there are no prizes for completing a novel for NaNoWriMo, if you do (and you have to prove it by uploading your work to the NaNoWriMo site), you will be able to download an official ‘Winner’ web badge and a PDF Winner’s Certificate, which you can print out.

And, of course, you will have the first draft of a novel you should be able to polish and submit for possible publication (or publish yourself).

There are lots of useful resources on the NaNoWriMo website, including wordcount widgets, web badges, flyers for downloading, motivational articles, and much more. There is also a busy forum where you can compare notes with other participants.

NaNoWriMo is also, by the way, a great opportunity to apply the techniques taught in my publisher WCCL’s Novel in a Month course, or indeed my own Write Any Book in Under 28 Days.

I’d like to wish you the very best of luck if you do decide to register for NaNoWriMo. Please do post a note below if you succeed in completing the challenge!

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BBC Writers Room

Script Room: Your Chance to Submit a Drama Script for Consideration by the BBC

The BBC is currently accepting submissions of unagented/unsolicited drama scripts for any platform (not just TV or radio). Below is an excerpt from their Writers Room site:

BBC Writersroom Script Room | Deadline: 24 September 2015 at 5pm
BBC Writersroom’s regular window for unsolicited scripts is open between 10am on 7th September and 5pm on 24th September 2015 for Drama scripts (TV, film, radio, stage or online).
**Please note this Script Room will close at 5pm on Thursday 24th September. No late submissions will be accepted.
** Submit your script to our E-Submissions system by following this link from 10am on Monday 7th September.
Read the FAQs for our E-Submissions system. If you have not submitted a script to us online before, you will have the opportunity to set up a new account when you come to submit your script.
**Please ensure you leave adequate time to complete the process**
Writers will be asked to submit:
*1 drama script of at least 30 minutes / pages in length for TV, Film, Radio, Stage or Online*
*A brief bio of your writing to date (up to 1 paragraph)
*If you are submitting an episode script for a series/serial, you may also attach a brief outline (1-3 pages) of further episodes and the series/serial as a whole. This should be attached as a separate PDF document to your script.
*Your script should be a saved as a single PDF document of no more than 10MB in size.
*If you are submitting a sample script for Children’s TV, Radio 4’s 15 Minute Dramas or Online, you are welcome to submit 2 x 15 min episodes as a single PDF document.

Source: BBC – Script Room 10 (Drama) – BBC Writersroom – Writers Room

This is a great opportunity for new and as yet undiscovered scriptwriters to have their work considered by the BBC. Note that the deadline is 24 September 2015, so you will need to move quickly to take advantage of this. Click through the link above for more information.

Good luck, and happy scriptwriting 🙂

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Sign Up Now For Your PayPal.Me Address

If you’re an online freelance writer like me, it’s pretty much a given that you need a PayPal account. Many magazines/publishers/clients pay only via PayPal, and that applies especially if you are in a different country from them.

The usual method is that you provide your PayPal-registered email address and the client then arranges payment using this. But PayPal recently introduced a new method call PayPal.Me, which allows you to send anyone wanting to pay you to a dedicated link instead. To quote from their FAQs Page:

PayPal.Me is a faster, easier way to get paid through PayPal. Just share your very own PayPal.Me link (paypal.me/YourName) with your friends and family, and they can send you money for lunch, chip in for a group gift or any other reason they need to pay you back.

Got your own business? Set up a PayPal.Me/YourBusiness link and get paid quickly for the goods or services you sell. Your customers will love the ease and enjoy PayPal Buyer Protection on eligible items.

Your friends and customers don’t have to know your email address or mobile phone number, or even have the PayPal app. They just tap on your link, go to your PayPal.Me page, type in the amount and send the money.

PayPal.Me is open to anyone with a PayPal account of any type (personal, premier or business). There is no charge for setting up a PayPal.Me link.

One big advantage of this method is that it allows you to keep your email address private. It’s always a bad idea to publish your email address online in case it is picked up by spammers (and sooner or later it will be). But there is nothing to stop you publishing your PayPal.me link anywhere. Want to make a small donation to show your appreciation for this blog, for example? Just go to http://paypal.me/nickdaws and donate away 😀

You can also, of course, include your PayPal.Me link in an email or social media message. The recipient can then just click to go to your “payment page”, which is quick and professional-looking.

One other thing you can do is append a figure to your link to request a specific amount. Click on http://paypal.me/nickdaws/5 and the payment page will open with an amount of £5 already filled in. Try it and see!

Incidentally, as far as I can tell, the currency shown in such cases is your default or primary currency, and there doesn’t appear to be any way of changing this. As my primary currency is UK pounds, I can’t therefore create a link requesting a payment of $5 US. It would, though, be easy enough for a visitor to my payment link to change the currency to dollars, euro, or something else if they wish.

Anyway, if you have a PayPal account, I highly recommend clicking through to PayPal.Me as soon as possible and claiming the PayPal.Me link you want. Once you have this, it will be yours for life, but right now, it’s first come, first served. I was pleased and relieved to get the suffix nickdaws before anyone else claimed it!

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


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Linking to Entrepreneur Writer

Someone asked me the other day if I had any objection to them linking from their site to this one. The answer – to them and anyone else who might be wondering – is no objection at all.

All links to Entrepreneur Writer are very much appreciated, as it helps boost the site’s search engine ranking and ensures that more people can find it.

This is especially important to me, since if you search for my name (and related terms) on the internet, at or near the top of the results you are likely to see myWritingBlog.com. I ran that blog for nearly ten years on behalf of my publishers, WCCL, but ownership of the blog has now reverted to them and it hasn’t been updated since December 2014. It follows that I would much prefer it if people searching for me are now directed to this site instead!

I know that over the years a lot of people have kindly put links on their blogs and websites to my old blog. If you are one of those people, can I ask you to do me a big favour and change that link to Entrepreneur Writer instead? Not only will this help me, your visitors might appreciate being directed to a writing blog that is being actively updated rather than one that seems to have been mothballed!

And I am, of course, happy to reciprocate as well (something I couldn’t easily do with my old blog, as I didn’t own it). If you have a writing-related blog I am happy to list it on my Links Page. Drop me a line via my Contact Me page including any info you might like me to put about your website/blog and I’ll be happy to include that as well.

Finally, while I am talking about administrative matters, a quick reminder of some new features that have been added to this blog over the last few months. For one thing, if you want to be notified of new posts as soon as they are made, you can sign up in the box in the right-hand column. I promise I won’t use your email for any purpose except to send you notifications of new posts.

Also, if you like any post and wish to share it on social media (please do!) you will find “Share This” icons at the foot of each post to make this process easier. And at the foot of most posts you will now find links to one or more “related posts”, which you might also find of interest.

Thank you very much for your interest in Entrepreneur Writer. As ever, if you have any comments or queries, please do leave them below.

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