Easy PD Profits

Review: Easy PD Profits by Amy Harrop

Easy PD Profits is the latest product launch by the ever-prolific Amy Harrop.

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

Easy PD Profits is about making money with the aid of public domain content. As you probably know, this is content available to edit, adapt and publish as you wish without any need to pay or credit the original creator. It comes typically from old sources that are now out of copyright (though some government-produced content also falls into this category). As well as books and articles, it includes photos, drawings, illustrations, films, and more.

Easy PD Profits has two main elements, a manual and a software tool.

The manual is a 71-page PDF. As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with graphics and screen captures where relevant.

In the manual, Amy describes a range of ways you can make money from public domain content. It is organized into five blueprints:

#1-Create a Website Using PD Material
#2 Sell Image-Based Content Collections
#3 Publish Books with Public Domain Content
#4-Tap into the Hot Vintage Marketplace
#5 Sell Image-Based Physical Products

Each of these methods is described in detail with real-life examples. Any could easily become the basis for a highly profitable business on its own.

In general, the emphasis is on using the PD content as a starting point, creating books and websites combining it with original content, or selling physical products such as posters, mugs and tee-shirts that incorporate it. This approach seems eminently sensible to me, as of course you can’t claim copyright over PD content and others are free to use it as well.

As well as the manual, you get Amy’s Public Domain Dashboard software (see screen capture below). This is a simple program that will run on any Windows PC. You don’t have to install it, just save it anywhere convenient on your PC (e.g. the desktop) and double-click to launch it.

Public Domain Dashboard software

You can also use the software on a Mac, using Parallels or Wine. Video training on how to set up the software with Wine is included.

One important thing to note is that this is NOT a search engine for PD content. Rather, it is a spreadsheet-style database of sources. It is actually a collection of spreadsheets, listing sources of public domain photos, illustrations, books and other written content, and so forth. A short excerpt from the Books and Written Content list is shown below.

Public Domain Dashboard excerpt

The software is very easy and intuitive to use (help videos are provided but I doubt if most people will need them). It works online so you will need a live internet connection to use it. I guess that might be a problem for a few folk, but if you have a standard broadband connection it won’t be an issue. And it does have the big advantage that you can click on any link to open the web page in question (they open immediately in a new Internet Explorer window).

Even better, Amy promises to update the information regularly incorporating user feedback and suggestions, so the software will constantly grow in value. You may notice that there is a Suggest a Site button which you can use in a public-spirited way to upload any useful resources you discover yourself.

Other bonuses on offer with Easy PD Profits include guides to setting up an Etsy Store and how to profit from Shopify (see screen capture from the sales page below). I didn’t receive these with my preview copy, but they both look relevant and useful. As Amy says, public domain content can be a perfect starting place for creating physical products you can sell via these platforms.

In summary, Easy PD Profits is another high-quality product from Amy Harrop. It sets out an array of methods you can use to make money from public domain content.

It is currently on sale at a launch offer price of $27 (about £22), after which – as is Amy’s usual practice – the price will be rising by $10 to $37. If you are an entrepreneurial writer looking to add more income streams to your portfolio, it is definitely worth checking out.

If you have any comments or questions about Easy PD Profits, as always, please do post them below.

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Why Keeeping in Touch with Old Clients is Vital (and How Best to Do It)

Why Keeping in Touch with Old Clients is Vital (and How Best to Do It)

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am semi-retired these days.

That doesn’t mean I have stopped working altogether, though, and I wouldn’t want to.

Things have been a bit quiet over the last few months, though, so I decided to get in touch with some old clients to remind them I was still around if there was anything I could help them with.

Some didn’t reply, but others did. I got more work almost immediately from two of them, with the promise of more in future from a third. I thought it might be worth looking at what lessons can be learned from this…

One very important thing is that when you work with companies, people move on and – shock, horror! – they don’t always tell you. A new guy or girl moves into their role and doesn’t know you from Adam (or Eve). If they need a freelance, your name is unlikely to be the first one to come into their mind. Consequently, the flow of work suddenly dries up.

That was the scenario in one of the companies I got more work from. I received a reply from a woman saying that she was fairly new in the role, apologising for not getting in touch sooner, and asking if I could also do proofreading work.

Of course, I said yes, and the upshot was that I got a dozen short novelty books to proofread, along with the company’s trade catalogue. Although I am not primarily a proofreader, it is  something I am happy to do when the occasion arises. In some ways I rather enjoy correcting work someone else has produced, rather than having to write it all myself!

At the other company I got new work from, the same person was still there. He was pleased to hear from me again (he said) and mentioned that they wanted a Kindle e-book writing to help promote their seminars business. Of course, as a published Kindle author myself, I immediately volunteered my services. The result was that I got a sizeable commission to write a book on their behalf, with more projects promised in future as well.

Clearly then, while not all my old clients replied positively, enough did to make this a very worthwhile exercise. Here are a few more points you might like to consider if you find yourself in a similar position to the one I was in…

  • If it’s been a year or two since you last worked for a client, it’s quite likely your previous contact will have moved on, so start by briefly introducing yourself and mentioning projects you have worked on in the past.
  • It may also be a good idea to write to the company’s main email address rather than one that belonged to your previous contact. Or at least, copy it to that address also.
  • If you have a good pretext for contacting a business, don’t hesitate to use this. In one case a company had promised to send me an author’s copy of a print book I had written for them, but I  never received this. So I wrote politely to ask if I could be sent it now. I also reminded them that I was available for other work if required. I got an immediate reply apologising for the oversight and promising to send me three copies of the book (which they did). They didn’t have any work for me straight away, but promised I would be top of the list if anything else came up. So I would say I am definitely back on their radar now.
  • Another good pretext for contacting a new client is if you are now offering a new service, e.g. blogging or social media work.
  • You could also write to let them know if, for example, you have launched a new blog or website (and this might be of interest to them). As you may know, I recently launched a personal finance blog called Pounds & Sense, and I mentioned this in several cases. It certainly generated a degree of interest, although I didn’t get any work related to it directly.
  • Remember as well that a client may not realise the full range of skills you have to offer, especially if you have acquired new ones since last working for them. So it’s always good to remind them what you can do. In the case of the company mentioned above, they evidently hadn’t realised I could also do proofreading work. I fully expect to receive quite a lot more work of that nature from them in the coming months.

Finally, since I’m on this subject, I do still have some spare capacity at the moment – so if you have any writing, editing or proofreading work you need doing, please get in touch!

And if you have any comments or questions about this post – or any other ideas for generating work from old clients – do post them below.

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Next Great Horror Writer Contest

The Next Great Horror Writer Contest

If writing horror fiction is your thing, here’s a contest you won’t want to miss.

The Next Great Horror Writer Contest is open to any aspiring horror writer over the age of 18. The contest is for new writers, so you must not have had a story of over 10,000 words published by a publishing house already (although self-published authors are eligible).

The contest is being run by the HorrorAddicts.net website, and is free to enter. It is being judged by a panel of professional horror writers, publishers and editors.

The first prize is pretty impressive. The winner will receive:

  • a novel/book contract with leading indie publishers Crystal Lake Publishing
  • a free edit of a novel up to 50,000 words
  • a short story contract with the HorrorAddicts.net “Horror Bites” series
  • a horror writer gift box – ‘supplies and inspiration for the Next Great Horror Writer’

There are other prizes as well, including audio drama production, podcast interviews, more short story contracts, and so on. The contest will proceed through a series of ‘challenges’ designed to select the final winner, with prizes being awarded to the winners of each stage. The challenges will take place from March 2017 to October 2017.

The closing date for entering The Next Great Horror Writer is 1 March 2017. At this stage you simply have to submit the online entry form and a 100-word story. The rules say you must ‘have a full-length novel or novella ready to pitch to a publishing house’ but you aren’t required to submit this with your entry. Clearly, you should have a novel at least in progress so you will be in a position to benefit if you are lucky enough to win the first prize. However, definitely don’t be put off if you don’t have a full-length novel ready to submit now!

For more information about The Next Great Horror Writer Contest, click through any of the links in this post. You can also complete the online application form on the web page.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, as always, feel free to leave them below. I wish you the very best of luck if you decide to enter this contest. 🙂

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book covers

Two New Writing Books for Your Reference Library

Today I wanted to share with you news of two new writing books by colleagues of mine that have just been published.

The first one is The Business of Writing by Simon Whaley. As the name indicates, this is a guide to the business aspects of writing, from taxation to pen-names, author contracts to press trip protocols. The full table of contents is copied below.BOWContentsSimon is a UK-based freelance writer who lives in Shropshire, not a million miles from me. The book does therefore have a UK focus, especially when it comes to matters such as taxation. Much of the content would apply equally if you live elsewhere, though.

Simon also has a blog called The Business of Writing, which is well worth reading. He writes a column by that name too in the UK-based Writing Magazine (great branding, Simon!).

Much of the content of the book is based on articles published in Simon’s magazine column. As you might expect it is very well written and edited, and other writers (including me) are quoted extensively.

The Business of Writing is available from Amazon as a Kindle e-book and I understand a Createspace print version may be in the pipeline too. Highly recommended for UK writers in particular.

The other book I wanted to mention today is 50 More Mistakes Beginner Writers Make by UK-based writer Alex Gazzola. This does have some similarities with Simon Whaley’s book, as it concerns (primarily) business aspects of writing, but actually there is very little overlap between the two titles.

The content of 50 More Mistakes Beginner Writers Make is drawn mainly from Alex’s popular blog Mistakes Writers Make. The content is therefore organized into 50 short chapters (each corresponding to a blog post). Every chapter discusses one specific mistake, from Over-Politeness to Going Scattergun. Again, I have copied the table of contents below (with apologies that I couldn’t quite fit in the last two articles).

50 More Mistakes Writers Make

50 More Mistakes Beginner Writers Make is available as a Kindle e-book only, and is a follow up to Alex’s original 50 Mistakes Beginner Writers Make. Although written primarily for a UK readership, most of it would work just as well for writers living elsewhere.

I hope you will check out both these books and consider adding them to your library. They are down-to-earth and highly readable practical guides, by two UK professional writers who have both built very successful freelance careers. They are also, incidentally, two of the nicest people you could hope to meet.

As ever, if you have any questions or comments about either of these books, please do post them below,.

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