Make Your Book Work Harder

Nine Top Kindle Ebooks About Writing That Are Free Today

I thought I would share with you today nine high-quality Kindle e-books about writing that are currently available free.

As far as I can tell, these titles are all permanently free, but I can’t absolutely guarantee that this will remain the case. I can only promise that all the ebooks listed below are free of charge today!

1. Reader Magnets – Build Your Author Platform And Sell More Books on Kindle by Nick Stephenson

This highly rated guide to marketing a Kindle ebook is part of a series about book marketing titled Reader Magnets. As well as the ebook itself, you also get access to Nick’s course “Find Your First 10,000 Readers” for free. That looks like a good marketing tactic in itself to me!

2. Building Your Book for Kindle by Kindle Direct Publishing

This is a free guide to writing, formatting and publishing your own ebook for Kindle from the Amazon KDP team. It’s an essential download for any aspiring Kindle author.

3. Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing by Kindle Direct Publishing

This title focuses on publishing your ebook using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. It overlaps with the previous title, but goes into more detail about the actual publishing process.

4. Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker

KDP isn’t the only game in town, of course. If you want to distribute your ebook via the iStore, Kobo, and so on, Smashwords provides a simple and cost-effective means for doing so. The 130-page Smashwords Style Guide by its founder tells you everything you need to know.

5. Smashwords Book Marketing Guide – How to Market any Book for Free by Mark Coker

This is another excellent guide from Smashwords founder Mark Coker. At about 52 pages it is quite concise, but it is packed with tips and ideas for promoting your e-book, whether it is published on Kindle, Smashwords, or elsewhere.

6. How to Write a Novel The Easy Way Using the Pulp Fiction Method by Jim Driver and Jack Davies

If writing a novel is something that interests you, this guide will give you plenty of ideas. It focuses on saving time by carefully planning and outlining your novel.

7. Make Your Book Work Harder by Nancy Hendrickson and Michelle Campbell-Scott.

This is a comprehensive (almost 200-page) guide for any self-publishing author who wants to boost their profits by publishing to multiple platforms, including audiobooks, CreateSpace, Nook/Kobo, Udemy, and more. There is also a long section setting out multiple ways to promote your book.

8. How I Sold 80,000 Books: Book Marketing for Authors by Alinka Rutkowska

This is an in-depth guide to book marketing methods, both free and paid-for. It is based around the well-known Four Ps marketing model. This stands for Product, Place, Price and Promotion.

9. Write Good or Die edited by Scott Nicholson

Write Good or Die is a collection of articles by successful published authors, including J.A. Konrath, Kevin J. Anderson, Alexandra Sokoloff, and many more. The articles cover such matters as how to develop your craft, get an agent, promote your work, embrace the digital age, and so on.

If you download any of these ebooks free of charge, it is of course a courtesy to leave a review on Amazon if you enjoyed it.

Finally, all of the above are Kindle ebooks, but that doesn’t mean you must have a Kindle device in order to read them. Amazon has free apps available for smartphones, computers (Mac and PC) and tablets, meaning that the great majority of popular platforms today are catered for.

Even though I’m a Kindle owner myself, I also have the Kindle for PC app on my desktop computer. Although I do mostly read Kindle e-books on my Kindle, sometimes with non-fiction books in particular I like to see them on a full-sized monitor.

As ever, if you have any comments or questions about this article, please do post them below.

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JImmy D. Brown's 6 Figure Cheatsheets

Download These Six Free Online Marketing Cheatsheets

If you’re an entrepreneurial writer, you’ll know how important it is to have multiple strings to your bow. And online marketing can be one good way to achieve this.

So today I’m pleased to be able to give away six online marketing “cheatsheets” created by my colleague Jimmy D. Brown.

Jimmy has been a leading light in the online marketing world for as long as I can remember. I have given away reports of his as bonuses with some of my writing courses (The 10-Day Ebook, for example). There is no shortage of sharks in the IM field, but Jimmy is definitely one of the good guys 🙂

The titles of the free cheatsheets are as follows:

  1. The 1-2-3 List-Building Cheatsheet
  2. The 24-Hour Product Creation Cheatsheet
  3. The Content Into Cash Cheatsheet
  4. The Hands Free Outsourcing Cheatsheet
  5. The Simple 6 Figures Cheatsheet
  6. The Traffic Master Cheatsheet

All of these are high-quality, illustrated PDFs. You can download them from this web page in the form of a single compressed Zip file.

There are no hoops to jump through, and you don’t even have to give your email address. Just scroll down to the bottom of Jimmy’s web page and you’ll find the download link there.

You might, however, want to read the page first, as this explains that the cheatsheets are just a small part of Jimmy’s new Earncome online marketing course. The full course includes modules based on each of the the cheatsheets, but going into step-by-step detail. If you order now, you will be able to benefit from the substantial launch discount.

But, as I said before, the cheatsheets themselves are free and available without any obligation. If that’s all you want, go and download them now!

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Crystal Lake Publishing

Short Stories Based on Urban Legends Wanted

My friend and former myWritersCircle moderator Joe Mynhardt is inviting stories for a new anthology to be produced by his horror fiction publishing house, Crystal Lake Publishing.

The stories should be in the style of “urban legends”. Details from the website are copied below.


Submissions Open: December 1, 2015

Submissions Close: February 29, 2016

Payment: $20

Length: 2,000 to 4,000 words (exceptional stories can have fewer, or more, words than our suggested guidelines)


We’re looking for crisp, out-of-the-box, modern, and unique urban legends that’ll be told around campfires for the next century. Give us your ghosts, faeries, cryptids, killers, and creepy kids, but tread carefully around the trap of retelling an urban legend that’s already been told. Tales from the Lake: Volume 3 is not horror-specific whatsoever, but steer clear of romance and cutesy stories. Give us a new generation of beautifully crafted urban legends that’s diverse and meaningful; something we’ve never seen before, set in places we’ve only ever dreamt of going.


It’s simple, really: Don’t give us vampires and werewolves unless you’re Anne Rice, and don’t give us zombies unless you’re Jonathan Maberry. We’re not easily offended, but the unnecessary use of graphic violence and explicit sexual encounters should be avoided unless it’s crucial to the plot. That said, the slightest hint of animal cruelty gets you an automatic rejection letter, and no exceptions will be made in this regard. Profanity is okay, just don’t overdo it.Other than that; show us what you’re made of.

Source: Submission Guidelines

For more information, including how to submit your work, visit the Crystal Lake publishing website.

Good luck if you decide to submit a story for this anthology. Do let me know if you are successful!

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Piggyback Publishing Profits

Review: Piggyback Publishing Profits by Amy Harrop

Piggyback Publishing Profits is the latest writing guide to be launched by the prolific Amy Harrop.

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

Piggyback Publishing Profits is a guide to making money by publishing e-books (or books) that, as the name indicates, piggyback on the success of popular books and movies. The main guide is a 47-page PDF.

As you would expect with any of Amy’s guides, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with screen captures (mainly of Amazon reviews) where relevant.

In the manual, Amy explains how you can make money by writing “piggyback” titles in various categories. These include study guides (like Cliff Notes), but also books aimed at book clubs, fans, businesspeople, self-help readers, and so on. In all cases, the aim is to create a short e-book (15 to 50 pages) that summarizes what is in the main title, and perhaps provides a commentary on it as well.

As Amy explains, this sort of title can appeal to busy people who want a quick way of getting to grips with the content of a book without having to read it cover to cover. But they also work as aides-memoire for those who have actually read the book, effectively sparing them the task of writing detailed notes on it themselves. And, of course, they can appeal to fans of the book (or movie) in question, who want some additional insights into it.

One big advantage of writing and publishing books like these is that there is a large potential readership, and they will also appear high in the search results for the title in question. Done well, then, such books could potentially be very lucrative.

Amy does a good job of explaining the different options, with examples included. She provides outline templates for various types of piggyback book, including business, self-help, diet, religion and spirituality, fiction, study guides, and fan books. Advice is also provided about optimizing your e-book’s title and description, so that it appears high in Amazon’s search results.

Piggyback Publishing Profits also sets out some great tips on other ways of promoting your titles. Many of these would apply equally to other types of Kindle e-book, incidentally.

The manual also covers the tricky subject of avoiding copyright infringement. The advice Amy gives is sensible enough, though she admits she is not a lawyer and her advice is based mainly on custom and practice. She emphasizes the importance of putting a disclaimer in your book to the effect that it is unofficial/unauthorized, and recommends checking out similar books to see the wording they use. I did feel it would have been helpful if she had included some sample disclaimers herself, though.

As well as the main guide, buyers receive three additional PDF manuals as bonuses. These are Pinterest for Businesses, Marketing with Infographics and Marketing with Slideshows. These are all quite substantial guides, with a minimum of 20 pages. I found them useful and interesting.

Piggyback Publishing Profits is currently on a launch special offer, after which the price will be rising by $10. If you are interested in this opportunity, it is definitely well worth a look. It doesn’t, of course, go into the actual mechanics of publishing an e-book on Kindle, but there is plenty of good advice about this available elsewhere (Geoff Shaw’s Kindling, my number one recommended resource, for example).

If you have any comments or questions about Piggyback Publishing Profits, as always, feel free to post them below.

Piggyback Publishing Profits

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Five Things I Wish I Had Known as a New Freelance Writer

I’ve been a full-time freelance for twenty-five years now. I’ve made a few mistakes along the way, but I’ve learned a lot as well. So what advice would I give to anyone starting out on this path today? Here are five things I really wish I’d known all those years ago…

1. You Don’t Have to Know Everything

When I was beginning my writing career, I worried a lot about what I didn’t know.

Every time I came across a word I hadn’t seen before, rather than view it as an opportunity to learn something new, I took it as a further sign that my vocabulary wasn’t wide enough to succeed as a writer. (In fact, I now realise that while having a good vocabulary is definitely an asset, you could go through an entire writing career without ever knowing the meaning of palimpsest, clepsydra, ursine, and many more…)

It wasn’t just vocabulary either. I worried that I didn’t know whether I should use “toward” or “towards”, “forever” or “for ever”, “continuous” or “continual”, and many more. And I could waste a whole morning agonizing over whether I should use a dash or a colon in my opening paragraph.

What I realise now is that most of these things matter little. Quite often, either choice will be acceptable. My advice to a new writer today would be to get a good dictionary and style guide, and refer to these whenever you’re in doubt. But if you’re still not sure, just make your best guess and move on. The chances are that whatever you choose, your editor will change it anyway!

My American friends have a very good expression for this: Don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. It Pays to Specialize

There are lots of other would-be freelance writers out there, so you need to do whatever you can to make yourself stand out. For me, anyway, that has meant specializing.

Specializing has all sorts of advantages for a freelance writer. If you are regarded as an “expert” in your field, editors and publishers will turn to you when they need a writer on the subject in question. In addition, because of your perceived expertise, you may be able to charge a higher rate than an “ordinary” freelance.

Don’t just stop at one specialism, though. Try to develop a number. My specialist subjects include self-employment, advertising and PR, careers, the Internet, gambling for profit, popular psychology, English grammar, writing for profit, and several more. At least then, if there is a fall in demand for one of your specialisms (as has happened for me in recent years with careers writing), you have other strings to your bow.

My advice to a new writer would be to start with an area you know a lot about, or have a particular interest in, and make it your business to become an “expert” in that field. Write a few articles about it, perhaps for low-paying markets when you’re getting started. Once you have published some work on your specialism, people will start to regard you as an expert in it, and more work is likely to follow. By researching more articles and talking to “real” experts, you will build up your store of knowledge, until you really are something of an expert in your chosen field. It’s worked for me, anyway 😉

3. Don’t Take Criticism Too Seriously

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to constructive feedback on your work. However, you should evaluate it carefully and be prepared to reject it if you don’t agree with it.

Remember that judgements about quality (or otherwise) are often subjective. There’s a story I tell in my CD course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days about a time when I regularly wrote careers information articles for a large UK publishing house. These were basically four-page articles about different jobs.

I submitted my articles to one particular editor at the publishing house. Invariably they came back to me covered in red ink, with insertions, deletions and transpositions all over the place. I tried to learn from her comments and improve, but still every time the articles came back changed almost beyond recognition. She still put the edited articles through, but I honestly felt like a schoolboy whose report card read, “Could do better”.

Then I got a new editor – a man this time, as it happens. I submitted my latest article to him, and waited for it to come back to me covered in red ink as usual. And waited. And waited. So eventually I phoned him up and asked what had happened to my article. “Oh that,” he said, sounding surprised I had even mentioned it. “It was fine, so I put it through for publication.”

The truth is that in writing, as in life, everyone has different views of what is good and what is bad. So listen to criticism by all means, but try to evaluate it objectively, and always feel free to reject it if you think it’s wrong. And never, ever, take criticism personally.

4. You’ve GOT to Put Yourself About!

However good a writer you are, no publisher or editor is going to beat a path to your door. Especially when you are starting out, you must be prepared to send off torrents of query letters, emails, book proposals, and so on. Look for publishers seeking writers – the Writers Wanted board at is one good place to start – and if a vacancy looks interesting, fire off an application.

Put yourself about in the flesh too. Join your local writers’ circle, go on writers’ courses and conferences, volunteer to give talks, and run classes in adult education. In the online world, set up a writing homepage and/or a blog, and join at least one writers forum. And sign up at social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and FaceBook. All of this will help raise your profile as a writer, and make it more likely that potential clients will get in touch with you.

And also under this heading I’d add, build up your network of useful contacts. These can come from all sorts of places: fellow writers you meet, proofreaders and editors you work with, folk you meet on courses, people you interview for articles, people you connect with via online services such as Twitter, and so on. Nowadays, at least half of all the new writing opportunities that come my way do so as a result of networking.

5. Enthusiasm isn’t Everything – Maybe Just 90%…

OK, I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here, but one thing experience (mine and other people’s) has taught me is that enthusiasm will carry you a long way as a writer. I’m sure it’s true in other fields as well, but clients generally are more inclined to hire writers who are enthusiastic about their work rather than those who seem simply to be going through the motions.

Obviously, you DO need in addition the writing skills and other qualities to deliver a good job. Without enthusiasm, however, you will probably never get the chance to demonstrate that you have these skills and qualities.

Look at it this way. If an editor gets two applications, one from someone who is relatively inexperienced but brimming with enthusiasm, the other from someone with an impressive CV who sounds as though they could barely be bothered to get of bed this morning, nine times out of ten it’s the writer with the enthusiasm who will get the gig, even if they may not have as much experience. It’s human nature that we all respond better to people who have a positive attitude themselves.

So before sending off an application for any writing job, ask yourself honestly: Do I really sound as if I want this job? Do I appear excited by the prospect of working with this company? Can the client see that I am bursting with ideas and raring to do a good job for him? Or, conversely, does my application sound half-hearted? Does it sound as though I don’t really expect to get the job, and don’t much care one way or the other? If the latter is the case, hit “Delete” and start again. You MUST, MUST, MUST convey enthusiasm in all your applications and proposals!

If you have any other useful hints or tips for new writers, feel free to add them below as comments.

Happy writing!

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