You might remember that I wrote about Emma earlier this year in my post How One Blogger Made £100,000 Working from Home on the Internet. Emma is a UK-based blogger who writes about a vast range of ways of making money online. I have been following her for a while now, and don’t mind admitting I have learned a lot by doing so.
As a result of that post I was invited to check out another site that aims to help canny consumers save money on their shopping. This one is called Dealspotr. It is US-based, but anyone in the world is welcome to join.
The way Dealspotr works is that when you sign up you provide some basic information about the sorts of things you like to buy online (groceries, fashion, cosmetics, health/medical products, etc.). You can also subscribe to specific brands such as McDonald’s. Any time you log in, the site then shows you the latest deals in that category (see screen capture below).
Dealspotr also has an important community aspect. For example, members can vote on their favorite deals, and the deals generating most votes are highlighted in the Hot Deals or On Fire Deals categories.
As well as savings, however, you can also make money from Dealspotr, by earning points that can be redeemed for gift cards. You earn points for sharing deals, finding (curating) deals, flagging up expired or invalid deals, referring new members, commenting on deals, and various other actions. You will earn a $10 gift card for every 10,000 points you earn. And you can get your first 5,000 points (worth $5) by clicking through to Dealspotr using my link.
I have only been a member of Dealspotr for a short time but am very impressed with the concept and the sort of deals you can access via the site. It is a good example of how a website can be greatly augmented by encouraging members to engage and interact with it.
At present Dealspotr is likely to be of most interest to US residents, but many of the deals are also open to people living elsewhere. And as the site grows, I expect more and more deals targeted at people living in the UK and other countries to appear as well.
If you have any comments or questions about Dealspotr, as ever, please do post them below.
Here’s a nice (paying) opportunity for all you science fiction, fantasy and horror authors!
Broken Eye Books, a Seattle-based independent publishing house, is inviting contributions for a themed anthology series of weird horror set in or inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos. This will be a follow-up to their original Tomorrow’s Cthulhu anthology (pictured above).
The next release is Ride the Star Wind: Cthulhu, Space Opera, and the Cosmic Weird, presenting tales that combine space opera with cosmic weird horror, either set within the Cthulhu Mythos or inspired by it. On their website they say:
Send us into space, away from earth, and bring the weird! Give us adventure and wonder, spaceships and monsters, tentacles and insanity, determined struggle and starborne terror. Whether sprawling in scope or tightly focused and personal, make sure to give us a taste of the greater universe of your story, such as the culture and politics. Make us long to know more of your universe.
We want diverse stories with modern sensibilities from many different voices that show the immense and diverging possibilities ahead for weird horror. We want to forge ahead and explore the new and the strange. We are actively seeking submissions from writers from underrepresented populations. (This includes, but is not limited to, writers of any race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class, and physical or mental ability.)
We want stories that mesh space opera with cosmic weird horror.
For the elements of space opera, modern touchstones include James SA Corey (Expanse series), Ann Leckie (Imperial Radch series), Iain Banks (Culture series), Nnedi Okorafor (Binti), David Brin (Uplift trilogy), and Becky Chambers (Wayfarers series). For mixing elements of space opera and cosmic weird horror, the short story “Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette is a great touchstone. The technology level for submissions can fall anywhere in the soft- to hard-science range.
Stories should also be set within or be inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos. We want to see the Mythos continue to grow and evolve, to expand as a shared literary world and not be tied to outdated and limiting sensibilities. We are not interested in stories with bigoted, unbalanced views on race and gender.
Subversive or experimental stories are welcome.
No pastiches of previous eras for either the space opera elements or the weird horror elements.
Original, previously unpublished short stories (3,000-6,000 words) and flash fiction (1,000 words or less).
Pay rate of 8 c/w for first rights to digital, audio, and print formats in English.
Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please, let us know as soon as possible if your submission has become unavailable before you hear back from us.
Only one submission per author.
We seek both rich characters and grandiose ideas. We seek diverse characters.
For more details, including how to submit, click through to the Broken Eye Books website. The submission window is open from October 31, 2016 to January 31, 2017. They say, “The published anthology will be a mix of stories both from invited authors and from slush pile submissions. Don’t self-reject. If in doubt, submit.”
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Publisher’s Power Tool is the latest writing product to be launched by my colleague Amy Harrop and her business partner Debbie Drum. Amy and Debbie were kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…
Publisher’s Power Tool is a guide to publishing picture books for children and adults using the presentation software MIcrosoft PowerPoint (other software options are also discussed). The guide then reveals how to publish them as ebooks on Amazon’s Kindle platform and/or as print books using Amazon CreateSpace.
Publisher’s Power Tool is being sold via the popular and well-established WarriorPlus platform. The main guide is a 69-page PDF. As you would expect with any of Amy and Debbie’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with graphics and screen-captures where relevant.
The manual explains how you can capitalize on the huge market for picture books. Although children are the obvious target audience, the authors make the point that there is a sizeable market for adult picture books as well, including how-to books, humour books, and inspirational books.
The main part of the manual walks you through creating a picture book yourself with the aid of the PowerPoint software. It sets out the advantages of using PowerPoint for this purpose, including the ease with which you can create a template for publishing a series of such books. You can also easily insert pictures in bulk, which is a great time-saver. And it is also very easy to edit and rearrange the pages in a PowerPoint file, until you have your book looking exactly the way you want it.
The latter part of the manual then discusses how readers can publish and market the books themselves. Eight pages are devoted to Kindle publishing and ten pages to print publishing using CreateSpace. Clearly, covering how to do all this in detail would require a much longer book, so what Amy and Debbie have done is link to useful resources throughout the manual. Some of these are resources they have produced themselves, while others are from external websites. I understand that there may also be some extra reports and/or training videos with the finished product, although my pre-publication access only included the main manual.
The one thing that isn’t discussed in any depth is marketing your picture book (although the manual does discuss how to make the most of categories, keywords, and so on when listing your book on Amazon). Still, there is of course plenty of information about this available elsewhere on the internet, both free and paid for.
Overall, I think Publisher’s Power Tool is another excellent addition to the growing roster of writing resources published by Amy and Debbie. If you are already a confident PowerPoint user you may find some of the advice on using the software familiar, but it is still enlightening to see how the authors adapt it to this particular purpose.
Publisher’s Power Tool is currently on a launch special offer after which – as is Amy and Debbie’s usual practice – the price will be rising by $10. If you want to broaden your publishing portfolio with something that is fun and not too time-consuming, it is definitely worth checking out.
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 2015 431,626 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.