My Review of KD Publishing Pro – A Software Tool for Creating, Formatting and Publishing Kindle E-books

KD Publishing Pro is a software product from Bobby Walker and Dave Guindon. It is designed to help any author create, format and publish a Kindle e-book of their own, even if they have little or no technical knowledge.

It looked to me like the sort of tool that might be useful to many of my readers, so I bought a copy myself to put it through its paces.

You download the software from the members’ area, which also has links to a video training course and various bonuses.

Downloading and installing KD Publishing Pro proved quite straightforward. When you launch the program, this is what you see…

KDDP01

You can either use KD Publishing Pro to write your e-book from scratch (in which case you click on the Create button) or you can copy and paste your content into it.

Either way, if you then click on Create Chapter, you can build up your e-book chapter by chapter. A table of contents will then be created automatically for your book containing all the chapter headings.

You can also get the software to insert a copyright page at the front automatically. The wording is standard, obviously, but you can edit it if you want to.

For creating or editing your e-book, you work on the main screen (shown below). This looks much like an ordinary word-processor..It has a good range of formatting commands at the top, including page break, insert picture, change font, and so on. An advantage of working within KD Publishing Pro is that it only allows you to use formatting permitted in Kindle e-books and (unlike Word) it won’t insert a lot of superfluous code. This should mean that your e-book doesn’t have any formatting errors.

KDPP02

A further feature is that via the Marketing tab (below), you can create promotional pages within your e-book leading to other books you have written and/or affiliate products and services you are promoting. This is all fully explained in the video training, of course.

KDPP2

Once you have your e-book finished, you can save it in Microsoft Word format (suitable for uploading to the Kindle Store) and also as a KD Publishing Pro project for easy editing in future. You can also publish directly to Amazon, once you have entered your account information and book details into the software. You can access your sales stats as well, meaning you may never actually need to log in to the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) website.

As well as the software, you get a video training course on how to use it. This is in the usual screen-capture format, and narrated by Dave Guindon. I found the videos were more than enough to get me started, though I do think a written manual might have been helpful as well.

In addition, there are various bonuses. One is a video course providing a beginner’s guide to Kindle publishing. This is pretty basic, but again if you are brand new to Kindle publishing it will bring you up to speed with how it all works. There is also a 10-module course on how to drive traffic to your book’s sales page (or anywhere else) using Pinterest.

The other bonuses are a WordPress plug-in for creating landing pages, and a QR code generator. The latter will generate QR codes that you can insert in your e-books to link to web pages of your choice (optionally including your affiliate code).

To sum up, in my view KD Publishing Pro is a valuable tool for anyone new to Kindle publishing, and also for more experienced Kindle authors seeking ways to automate and speed up some aspects of the formatting and publishing process.

One other thing I should mention is that if you purchase KD Publishing Pro, you will see a “one-time offer” for another Dave Guindon product called KD Suite. This is a set of software tools for researching and marketing Kindle e-books. It’s another high-quality product, and it is definitely worth thinking about buying it as well. (If you wish, you can see an in-depth review of KD Suite I wrote for the More Money Review website a while ago by clicking here. Note that you will need to register (free) and log in to the site in order to read the full review.)

If you have any comments or questions about KD Publishing Pro (or KD Suite), as always, do feel free to post them below.

 

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Aweber Free Guides

Two Excellent (and Free) Email Marketing Resources from Aweber

If you plan to use email to keep in touch with your fans, readers or potential clients, you’ll almost certainly need to open an account with an email marketing/autoresponder service.

These services allow you to sign up new subscribers to your list in such a way that you can never be accused of spamming people (i.e. sending unsolicited emails). A good service will also handle change of address and unsubscribe requests automatically, saving you many hours of tedious updating. They will provide detailed stats on how many people are opening your emails, clicking on the links in them, and so on. And much, much more besides.

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of Aweber, which is one of the leading email marketing platforms. I used them myself for a number of years, and would certainly do so again if I decide to launch another email newsletter.

Today, though, I want to highlight a couple of free resources from Aweber that you can download, whether or not you choose to sign up with their service.

The first is a PDF guide titled Growing Your Business with Email Marketing. Aimed at anyone who is considering using email as a marketing tool, it takes you through setting up your mailing list or newsletter, creating a sign-up form, writing and sending emails, and measuring the success of your campaigns. It’s a beautifully produced (and very well-written) guide, with lots of tips that would be useful for anyone getting started in this field or hoping to improve their skills.

The other freebie is titled What to Write in Your Emails. This consists of a seven-day email course plus 20 fill-in-the-blank email templates to make getting started even easier. The two together provide a complete introduction to email marketing, and I recommend downloading them both.

Both these guides are aimed primarily at small businesses, but there is no reason why entrepreneurial writers shouldn’t make use of this method as well. It’s worked very well for me over the years!

Finally, although the guides are obviously promoting Aweber’s service, they do so in a low-key way. Much of the advice would apply equally if you prefer to use a different email marketing service. Once again, here are links to download pages for both items…

Growing Your Business with Email Marketing

What to Write in Your Emails

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

 

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The Bridport Prize Now Open for Entries!

One of the UK’s most prestigious (and best paying) writing contests, The Bridport Prize is open for entries until 31 May 2016.

The Bridport Prize was founded by Bridport Arts Centre in 1973. They say their mission is to encourage emerging writers and promote literary excellence through their competition structure.

This year there are separate contests for poems, short stories, flash fiction (under 250 words), and novels. There is a fee of £8 to £10 per entry (£20 for the novel award).

A total of over £16,000 (around $23,000) in prize money is on offer, with entry open open to all nationalities aged 16 years and over. To quote from the website…

The poem and short story categories each have a first prize of £5,000, second prize £1,000 and third prize £500. An additional 10 supplementary prizes (for each category) of £100 each are awarded.

A new category for flash fiction with a prize of £1,000 was launched in 2010. There is a second prize of £500, 3rd prize of £250 and 3 supplementary prizes of £100.

In 2014 the Peggy Chapman-Andrews first novel award, named after the Prize’s founder, was launched. The first prize is £1,000 plus a up to a year’s mentoring from The Literary Consultancy through their Chapter & Verse scheme. A runner-up prize of £500 is also offered. Three shortlisted writers will receive £100.

The Dorset Award is a prize specifically for Dorset writers. Thanks to the sponsorship of The Book Shop of Bridport, £100 is awarded to the highest placed Dorset writer in the Bridport Prize each year.

You can enter by post or via the Bridport Prize website, where further information is also available. The closing date is 31 May 2016, so don’t hang about!

 
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DreamLab

Download This Android App to Help Beat Cancer

I’m off topic today, but I wanted to let you know about an Android app called DreamLab. You can download this free to your Android smartphone or tablet, to add its computing power to a massive cancer research project.

DreamLab was developed by Vodafone Australia and the Garvan Insitute of Medical Research. While your smartphone is charging (typically overnight), the app automatically downloads genetic sequencing profiles provided by the Garvan Institute. This information is then processed using your smartphone’s CPU and sent back to the Institute to be used in cancer research.

You can even choose which type of cancer research to support — breast, ovarian, prostate or pancreatic — and can also select how much mobile data (if any) the app uses every month. Personally I use DreamLab on a tablet that doesn’t have a data connection, so I only use it with my wifi.

The app keeps track of how many hours of computing time you have donated to the project and the number of sequencing problems your device has solved. You can also see what proportion of the overall project has been completed. In the case of prostate cancer – which I am supporting – the figure is currently 17 percent, so there is still quite a long way to go!

DreamLab is a distributed computing project, which relies on volunteers donating spare processing capacity on their computers and mobile devices to a specific cause. One of the best-known such projects is SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), which uses this method to search for extra-terrestrial life by analyzing radio waves emanating from space. You can read more about this and other distributed computing projects (including DreamLab) on this Wikipedia page.

Unfortunately DreamLab isn’t currently available to Windows or iPhone users (though I gather an app for the latter is in development). If you have an Android device, however, I do hope you will consider signing up to this very worthwhile project. All you have to do is install the app and remember to start it when you put your phone/tablet on to charge. Here’s a link to the download page in Google Play.

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

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Money

How One Blogger Made £100,000 Working from Home on the Internet

I saw an interesting article last week about a UK-based blogger called Emma Drew who is making an impressive income working from home on the Internet.

A little surprisingly, the article was on the Daily Mail (UK) website. It opens as follows:

A blogger who turned to online money-making schemes to make ends meet while unemployed has been able to quit her job after earning £100,000.

Emma Drew, 28, from Littleforth, Cambridgeshire now makes around £3000 a month from activities such as mystery shopping, risk-free betting and online lotteries, which she documents on her blog From Aldi to Harrods

Her husband Tony has also been able to given up his job to work alongside Emma, and the couple were able to splash out almost £30,000 on their dream wedding and honeymoon last year without a second thought.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3553368/Blogger-earns-100-000-money-making-schemes-quits-job.html

Working from home is a particular interest of mine, and of course I write about such opportunities for my clients at More Money Review.

Quite a few of the money-making opportunities Emma pursues I also do myself, or at least I have some knowledge of.

I thought it might therefore be of interest to add my own thoughts, and also include hyperlinks where appropriate (for the most part these are not included in the Mail Online article). I have adapted the list of headings below from Emma’s Top Tips list in the article. Note that not all of these may be suitable for people living outside the UK.

  1. Blogging

Obviously this is something I do through my Entrepreneur Writer blog. I also ran My Writing Blog for nearly ten years on behalf of my publishers, WCCL.

Like Emma, I make money from my blogs in various ways. The most important is affiliate marketing. I do this in (I hope) a fairly low-key way, with occasional banner ads and affiliate links to products I recommend.

I don’t make a fortune from this, but some reviews have undoubtedly been remunerative. One review on my old blog (for the Brain Evolution System by Inspire3, if you’re interested) has made me over £5000 in commission since it was written.

I also have Google AdSense ads on my blog, although as they aren’t very prominent you would have to look quite hard to find them! Nonetheless, they earn me a few pounds a month as well.

I notice that Emma has about six different blogs, all targeted at extra income seekers. That seems a good way to boost your earnings, although of course it does involve a lot of extra work.

2. Matched Betting

This is one of those methods you can only apply if you live in a country where online gambling is legal. The idea is to make use of bookmakers’ special offers to generate a guaranteed profit. This is tax free in the UK.

To give you an example, a bookmaker might offer a £20 free bet as an incentive to sign up for an account on their website. Using the matched betting method, you bet on the opposite outcome as well on a different website, adjusting the stakes so that whatever happens you are guaranteed an overall profit. Emma has a more in-depth explanation of how the method works on her blog, incidentally.

I have only ever used this method in a small way myself, but it is perfectly do-able, and gives the lie to the oft-repeated claim that you can’t take money from the bookmakers. You do need to be well organised and resist the temptation to place any speculative bets, however. In addition, over time the number of opportunities may diminish as you use up more and more of the bookies’ introductory offers.

Nonetheless, Emma seems to be making this method work for her. As well as the service she mentions, many members of the More Money Review website recommend another well-established advisory service called Bonus Bagging.

3. Complete Online Surveys

This is another genuine online moneymaking opportunity, but the rates of return vary considerably. In some cases you can end up being paid as little as 50p for a survey that takes over an hour to complete.

As I value my time more highly than that, I don’t generally do online surveys now. Still, if you have the time to spare, they can certainly provide a bit of pocket money. Here are links to Prolific Academic and MintVine, two survey sites recommended by Emma in the article.

4. Mystery Shopping and Research

This is a money-making method I haven’t tried, but the opportunities are certainly there for those who are interested. Nowadays they are typically based on smartphone apps, so if you don’t have one of these your options may be limited.

There are various apps you can download free of charge to help you make money. You are unlikely to make a fortune from any of these, but they can generate a useful sideline income for you.

Yoobic is one of a number of apps that pay smartphone users for performing simple research tasks in shops and other retail outlets. For example, you might be asked to take photos of products or rank a store’s marketing displays.

Missions (as Yoobic refer to them) typically pay between £4 and £8 for 10 minutes’ work, with payments via PayPal. If this prospect appeals, download the app from the iTunes store or Google Play, create an account, and search for missions near you. You can reserve up to ten jobs at a time, and must complete them by the stated deadline.

Streetspotr is another app for both iOS and Android that connects market research clients with users who carry out small tasks. Most tasks pay about £5, though some offer as much as £15. Jobs can involve anything from photographing supermarket product displays or checking restaurant menus to ordering a hot drink in a muffin shop!

Some apps are for iPhone users only. One such is Field Agent. Missions are sent via the app, and can include checking product prices in stores, taking photos, writing reviews, and so on. The company typically pays £4.50 per task, but it can be between £2 and £10.

Task 360, another iPhone app from the same firm, offers a wider range of tasks, and typically pays £5 to £10 for 15 minutes’ work. To download Field Agent and/or Task 360, just search for them in the iTunes store.

If you enjoy sharing your opinions, VoxPopMe could be for you. They will pay you for recording short (15–60 second) video clips on set topics on your smartphone. Payment is via Paypal once you reach £10. Both Android and iOS versions are available. One possible downside to VoxPopMe is that they say that they may use your video for their clients or themselves, and that they own the intellectual property in your video the moment you upload it.

Finally, Quostodian pays you to read offers and occasionally download an app onto your phone. You can earn extra by referring your friends and family too. The minimum payout is £10 via Paypal or BACS, with payments processed weekly. Unusually, in addition to iOS and Android, this app is available for Windows phones and Blackberries too.

  • Emma’s number one recommendation for mystery shopping gigs is Market Force. She also recommends the website usability testing service What Users Do.

5. Write an E-book for Sale on Amazon

Clearly this is something that I do and recommend myself. You are unlikely to make a fortune publishing Kindle e-books (though it’s been known), but even a moderately successful title can generate a useful sideline income for you for years to come.

Two of my own Kindle e-books you might like to check out are my humorous sci-fi novella “The Festival on Lyris Five” and my guide for writers “Three Great Techniques for Plotting Your Novel or Screenplay“.

Basic advice on how to write a Kindle e-book can be found on the Kindle Direct Publishing website. For more in-depth advice, my number one recommendation is (of course) Geoff Shaw’s Kindling.

6. Free Lottery Websites

A growing number of websites offer the opportunity to enter free daily or weekly prize draws, with the prizes financed by advertising. You simply register for each site and enter the details required, whether it’s your postcode, your birthdate, your phone number, or whatever. Then all you have to do is check them every day to see if you have won. Here are some of the top such websites:

Free Postcode Lottery

The Selfie Lottery

Lucky Phone

Ashleigh Money Saver

Date of Birth Lotto

Note that these lottery sites are generally open to UK residents only, but if you live elsewhere a search for “free online lottery” may prove productive.

7. Investment

The main site Emma refers to in this category is RateSetter. This is a person-to-person (P2P) or crowdlending service. In the case of RateSetter, you will be lending money to businesses rather than individuals (as with Zopa).

With all such services, your money is lent to a number of borrowers, and you receive interest plus return of your capital as the loan is repaid. Lending to businesses is arguably riskier than lending to individuals, but the potential returns are greater.

I don’t actually use RateSetter, but I do belong to a similar service called The Lending Crowd. I currently have around £1000 lent out to about 40 businesses, at an average interest rate of around 11%. So far there have been no defaults, but if this did happen I would still be doing a lot better than with a bank savings account.

Of course, the drawback of this type of service is that if you need all your money back quickly, it won’t be as straightforward as with an ordinary savings account. Nonetheless, in my view (and experience) if you have a bit of money you can afford to lock away for a while, this type of service can offer much better returns than a standard bank account.

  • As mentioned, my own experience is with The Lending Crowd, and I am therefore happy to recommend them. However, RateSetter (as mentioned in the article) are a well-established company and currently offering a bonus of £100 with investments of £1000 and over, so they are definitely worth considering as well.

8. Buying and Selling

Although this is referred to in the article, it doesn’t say very much about it. But of course buying and selling, typically using online auction sites such as eBay, is a very popular way of making money from home.

Many people (including myself) start by selling things from around their home that they no longer require. If you want to turn this into a sideline business, of course, you will need to buy products cheaply (e.g. from a wholesaler) and sell them on for profit.

An excellent resource I recommend for online auction traders is Salehoo. This is both a directory of suppliers and a comprehensive training programme. You can read my full blog review of Salehoo here.

9. Reviewing

I’ve already mentioned that I make some money publishing reviews on this blog. In addition, I am paid by my clients at More Money Review to review home business opportunities.

Additionally, I am an Amazon Vine reviewer. That means Amazon offer me a wide range of products to review. In exchange for doing this, I get to keep the product in question. Over the years I have received some quite valuable products, including a lawnmower, a vacuum cleaner, and a £1000 mattress.

Unfortunately you can’t just apply to become an Amazon Vine reviewer. You have to wait for the call! However, if you regularly post product reviews on Amazon, there is a good chance you may be asked.

One thing I discovered from the Mail Online article is that there is a growing number of websites where you may be able to get free or heavily discounted goods in exchange for reviewing them on Amazon. The site mentioned in the article is AmzReviews. This is only open to UK residents, but you can find a long list of sites seeking reviewers for Amazon on this webpage.

10. Freelance Writing

Finally in the article Emma mentions freelance writing. This is obviously something I do as well, and it is still by a distance my largest source of income. I have a small number of regular clients, and others I work for occasionally when required.

I can’t really go into detail here about how to get freelance writing work, but one tip would be to apply proactively to any publishers or other potential clients you think you could provide a service to. To sustain a career as a freelance writer you really need a few clients who will keep you going with regular work rather than an endless stream of one-off projects. Any of the latter that arise will then be icing on the cake for you.

This post has gone on rather longer than I anticipated, but I hope you found it interesting. In addition, I do recommend reading the Mail Online article that inspired it, and also clicking through to read Emma Drew’s blog.

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

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