Opportunities

ALCS March Distribution This Week!

ALCS March Distribution This Week!

If you’re a UK writer registered with the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), you may want to log in to your account this week to check whether you will be receiving a payment in their March distribution due around Friday 24 March 2017, and if so how much.

For those who don’t know, ALCS handles a range of fees and payments for writers, including photocopying fees and payments from various overseas PLR (public lending right) programmes. As long as you have one or more books, articles or stories published, you can register to receive your share. There are two distributions every year, in March and September, though for whatever reason I only ever seem to get a payment in the March one.

If you aren’t already registered with ALCS you will have to pay a one-off fee of £36, but this will be deducted from your first payment, so you shouldn’t have to pay anything up front. In any event, it is definitely worth it. My payment this year is over £120, and aside from a few novelty products most of my work is published on the internet these days!

I don’t entirely understand how ALCS payments are calculated, and gather I am not alone in this. You might therefore be interested to read this recent blog post by my near-neighbour Simon Whaley. He asked ALCS a number of questions about how the scheme works, and published the replies he received. These make interesting reading, although I still found myself somewhat confused at the end!

If you are a member of an authors’ organization such as the Society of Authors, you may find that your ALCS membership is already covered. In that case, all you need to do is register on the ALCS website, providing details of your books and so forth and a bank account into which your payments can be made.

These days I find I make more money from ALCS than from the UK PLR scheme, as for various reasons lending from public libraries has diminished considerably in recent years. It is, though, still well worth registering for PLR if you haven’t already. For more information about this, see my discussion of PLR in this recent blog post.

As ever, if you have any questions or comments about ALCS (or PLR), please do post them below and I will do my best to answer them.

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Earn a Sideline Income with Prolific Academic

Earn a Sideline Income With Prolific Academic

Here’s a sideline earning opportunity that will give your little grey cells an enjoyable workout as well.

Prolific Academic is a website that provides a platform for academic researchers across the world to conduct online studies of all types. And the best thing is that participants get paid for taking part.

Anyone is welcome to sign up, and you are then shown studies you are eligible for. They are typically in the fields of business, science, psychology and social science. Payments range from 40p to £3.00 or more. Obviously, the longer the study, the higher the payment tends to be. Helpfully, PA show you how long people take on average to complete the study and what this equates to as an hourly rate.

For most people the money will be the main attraction, but the studies themselves are interesting and varied. One I did recently involved injecting virtual mice with a virtual chemical, and then using a virtual loupe (magnifying glass) to see which ones “expressed a gene” (or more prosaically changed colour). You then had to answer some questions about what conclusions you could draw from each experiment.

Another one I enjoyed involved reading a transcript of an unfair dismissal hearing (I assume an imaginary one). You then had to decide whether the complainant had indeed been unfairly dismissed, based on legal information provided. This one took me back to the long-ago days when I worked for a while in a Citizens Advice Bureau and represented several people at tribunals myself. Interesting stuff.

Payment is made via the online payment system PayPal, so you will need to set up a PayPal account if you don’t have one already. There is a low withdrawal threshold of just £5, but if you wait till you have earned £20 or more payments are made without the usual deductions for PayPal charges. I recently received my first payment of £20.92, which came through within five days of requesting the money.

Prolific Academic is based in Oxford, England, but as far as I know anyone from anywhere in the world is welcome to join. It is definitely open to US residents. With PayPal, of course, it is easy to change money from UK pounds to US dollars, euros, and so on.

Prolific Academic also rewards members who introduce other members, so if you join and recruit your friends and family as will, you can potentially boost your earnings significantly. As you may have gathered, I am using referral links in this blog post, but am only doing so having proved to my own satisfaction that PA is genuine and they really do pay people for taking part in studies.

Finally, if you are an academic researcher yourself, you can sign up via any link in this post and Prolific will then pay you £25 towards the cost of your first study (so long as you put in at least £50 yourself).

If you have any questions or comments about Prolific Academic, as always, please do post them below.

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Crystal Lake Publishing

Call for Submissions for Two New Anthologies from Crystal Lake Publishing

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

The first of these is the annual Tales From The Lake anthology, which this year is being edited by Ben Eads. Details from the website are copied below:

TALES FROM THE LAKE: VOLUME 4

What we are looking for:

  • Non-themed short horror stories that arrests readers and leave them haunted for months to come. Stories must be original. We are not accepting reprints.

Since horror is the only genre of fiction defined by an emotion, your story must have the following:

  • Believable, three-dimensional characters just as real as your friends and neighbors. A real world—hitting all the senses—these characters inhabit.
  • Originality is just as important—we don’t want your version of someone else’s story from yesteryear.
  • Although our arms are wide open, we’re more interested in fiction that reflects the modern. Joe Hill, and Mercedes M. Yardley are prime examples of current dark fiction writers encapsulating the above in their work.
  • Quality of the work must be top notch! The following authors have appeared in previous Tales from The Lake anthologies: Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell, Rena Mason, Graham Masterton, Lisa Morton, Tim Lebbon, and Tim Waggoner. That’s the high-water mark you must strive for.
  • If you want to write a story about vampires, werewolves or ghosts, then your story needs to evolve that trope. You must have a unique premise. I cannot stress that enough.
  • If you wish to submit an “extreme horror” or “splatterpunk” story, that’s fine with us. However, you’ll have to make sure that your emotional foundations are solid, and your characters actually have an arch. We will not accept stories that just go for the gore and offer nothing more.

What we are not looking for:

  • Stories that are not short horror stories.
  • Novels or novellas.
  • Stories bereft of characters that readers can believe in and root for. The only exception to this rule would be the “terror tale,” which is best kept as short as possible. Think a thousand words or less.
  • Stories with flat worlds.
  • Trunk stories.
  • Stories about serial killers. It’s too cliché, and our readers demand more than a trend that has been beaten to death.
  • Speaking of trends, if you wish to write a “zombie story,” then it must be one of the most unique zombie stories ever written. This is possible, and we look forward to it.
  • To avoid too many writers writing about lakes, please keep in mind this is a non-themed anthology.
  • Any explicit abuse toward children or animals is expressly forbidden. So is any sexual abuse. This can be mentioned or remembered by your main character, but be subtle.

Source: Submission Guidelines

Submissions are open now, and end February 1, 2017. Stories should be no longer than 7,000 words. However, they say they prefer stories that are at or around 4,000 words. Payment is $0.03 USD a word via PayPal. For information on formatting and how to submit, please visit the Crystal Lake publishing website.

The other anthology is the C.H.U.D Tribute Anthology, edited by Eric S. Brown. This opens for submissions on 1 December 2016. On the website, the editor writes:

I want the language toned down or cut out entirely. No taking the Lord’s name in vain (sorry, this is a big one for me.  It’s a personal thing, but since I am the editor…)

If you have sex in your stories, keep it off-screen or mild. Gore and violence? Well, go wild, but remember the strengths of C.H.U.D. as a film are its character development and suspense.

Stories may be set before the movie, leading up to it, but they cannot do anything that would change or alter the events of the movie. Stories may even be set after the movie. Think C.H.U.D. running loose in the streets.

As mentioned, submissions open December 1 and close January 31 2017. Story length should be between 3,000 and 10,000 words. Payment is 3 cents (US) a word paid within a week of publication via PayPal. Only one submission is allowed per author, even after a rejection has been sent out.

Again, for more information and details of how to submit, please visit the Crystal Lake publishing website.

Good luck if you decide to submit a story for either of these anthologies. Do let me know if you are successful!

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My Guest Post About Making Money from Online Reviewing

Just a quickie today to let you know that I am currently guest posting on Emma Drew’s blog.

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.

My post on Emma’s blog is all about how to profit from reviewing things on the internet. It reveals various websites that will pay you for your reviews, and also looks at how you may be able to get all manner of free products as an Amazon Vine reviewer. I also discuss how you can make a steady income reviewing products and services on a blog of your own.

Anyway, I hope you will click through to my guest post How to Profit From Online Reviewing on Emma’s blog. As ever, if you have any comments or queries, please do post them below.

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Steemit: A New Social Blogging Website It Pays to Join!

I wanted to give you a heads-up today about a new social blogging website named Steemit. It only launched quite recently, and they are currently paying new users a fee (valued at around $7) just for signing up.

I am still getting my head around Steemit and how best to make use of it, but essentially it is based around the Steem cryptocurrency. You can earn Steem on the site by blogging and (just as important) commenting on other people’s blogs and voting up the best new posts. The currency you earn can be converted to Bitcoin or hard currencies such as pounds and dollars. Some people have already earned thousands of dollars via the site.

I have only just joined Steemit and am still finding my way around. One resource I have found very helpful, however, is a guide called Steem Cash, by online entrepreneur Michael X. This is currently available at an introductory price of $9. Without it, bearing in mind the complex rules about how you earn on the site, I would undoubtedly have been floundering.

Michael claims to have made $5324.74 his first week of posting content, just by “dabbling” to see if he wanted to get involved. I have no way of knowing if that is true or not, but from the screen captures (such as the one below) it certainly seems feasible.

 

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As for me, I have literally only joined today, so I can confirm that I found $7 worth of “Steem Power” in my account just for signing up. I still don’t really know what the long-term potential of Steemit is, but it certainly appears to be something any entrepreneurial writer needs to check out. There is nothing to pay (unless you want to, in order to boost your influence on the site), so you aren’t really risking anything except your time.

I will post again about Steemit once I have a bit more experience with the platform. Until then, as mentioned above, I do recommend the inexpensive Steem Cash guide for getting up to speed with it quickly.

As always, if you have any comments or questions about Steemit or Steem Cash, please feel free to post them below.

iconOrder Steem Cash Here!

UPDATE: I just uploaded my introductory post at https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@nikkd/hello-steemit-looking-forward-to-an-exciting-journey. If you have joined Steemit yourself, any upvotes will be much appreciated. Because of the way the site works, you could make yourself some money as well by doing so!

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Remain Tee-shirt

Lessons Learned from My First Teespring Publishing Project

In this post a few weeks ago I revealed that I had tried publishing a tee-shirt design on the popular Teespring platform.

The campaign is over, so I thought I would take this opportunity to reveal how it went and some of the lessons I learned from it.

Of course, the main aim of the campaign was to make some sort of profit. Unfortunately, the profit I made barely covered the money I spent advertising the shirt on Facebook. Still, at least I didn’t make an overall loss!

So one thing I learned straightaway is that making money on Teespring isn’t as easy as you might think. I thought I had a witty, topical idea and a snazzy design, but the great British online public (whom I targeted) thought otherwise.

Here are a few more lessons I learned along the way as well, in the hope they might help anyone else who is considering trying their hand at this…

1. In many ways Teespring is a great platform for designing tee-shirts, but some aspects of the way it works aren’t especially intuitive. For example, initially I assumed that with any design potential customers would be able to choose from the whole range of shirt colours. That is not actually the case. You have to specify what colours you want your shirt to be made available in, and there is a maximum to the number you can choose.

2. Just because your design generates interest and “likes”, it doesn’t automatically mean people will want to buy it. As you will see from the image above, my shirt had a political message, on a topic that in the UK is still generating a lot of controversy. One comment I received was that even people who sympathized with the message might feel uncomfortable going out wearing a shirt that others could find provocative.

3. You must expect and be prepared for some negative comments and even trolling. I got my fair share of this on Facebook from people on the other side of the Brexit argument. There were also some people who appeared outraged that I was attempting to make money in this way.

4. If you advertise your tee-shirt on Facebook, bear in mind that people will comment in ways you can’t control. Neither can you delete negative comments made in response to the ads. Of course I am not against freedom of speech, but it is somewhat frustrating when your carefully prepared Facebook ad on which you have spent good money is effectively defaced by abuse and obscenities.

5. if you hope to make money selling tee-shirts on Teespring, you need to have a way of targeting potential buyers as precisely as possible. Facebook can be your friend here, as you can select by interest, age-group, geographical location, and so forth. In my case I selected an audience of young people (age 20 to 30) in the UK. It quickly became apparent that this was far too broad, and my advertisement was being shown to a lot of people who disagreed with the message, to whom it came across as a red rag to a bull (see points 3 and 4, above).

So would I try tee-shirt marketing on Teespring again? The answer is yes, absolutely, but I would probably steer clear of political slogans! A lot of people who have succeeded in this field target a very precise niche market, e.g. dachshund owners. Come up with something that appeals to these people and you should have a much better chance of making a profit while avoiding a torrent of personal abuse.

I also realise that to succeed in this field you need to hone your skills in targeting people who are likely to buy your design. With my anti-Brexit shirt, I realise now that my targeting was hopelessly broad. While I could have narrowed it down a bit by targeting people interested in Europe (for example), precision targeting buyers for this shirt would still have been difficult – at any rate using Facebook advertising.

So that was my experience of setting up a tee-shirt marketing campaign on Teespring. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them below. I would also be interested to hear from anyone who has tried out this sideline moneymaking method for themselves.

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Pokemon Go

How Can Writers Make Money from Pokémon Go?

In case you hadn’t noticed, the world is in the throes of a Pokémon Go craze. People everywhere are holding their smartphones in front of their faces and scouring their neighbourhoods for Pokémon monsters!

Pokémon Go is a so-called “augmented reality” game. Players can download the app to their phones for free, and then look around their area (and even their home) for these cartoon creatures, which are superimposed on the image in their phone cameras.

CC BY by mugwumpian

Although I haven’t felt any particular urge to try the game myself, its sudden and massive popularity has intrigued me – and of course any trend like this presents golden opportunities for entrepreneurial writers.

Some possibilities would be to write and publish a Kindle e-book on some aspect of the game – here’s one example – or to create a blog or Facebook page devoted to it. This could then be monetized with affiliate links and so on.

But what if you’re like me and haven’t even played the game? No problem! Just do a search for “Pokémon Go PLR”. Already there is no shortage of private label right content you can buy for just a few dollars, then polish and edit to make it your own.

One example is Pokémon Go 101 PLR from Jenn Elizabeth. This is a well produced report that covers everything people need to know about playing Pokémon Go. As it is PLR, you can use it in any way you wish, including breaking it down into blog posts, or editing it and publishing it as a Kindle e-book.

If you want a lot more ideas for profiting from Pokémon Go, my colleague, authority marketing innovator Barb Ling, has just released a quick one-page cheatsheet on how to make the most from this trend. It’s currently on dimesale, but at the time of writing still available for under four dollars. As well as ideas for content you could produce, it also includes multiple ways to make money from your content.

Barb also offers a number of optional upgrades, including:

  • 17 additional techniques for profiting from Pokémon Go.
  • her trademark Pokémon Go Product Solution Templates
  • 75 customized Pokeball viral social media images (blank, FB Live templates and Periscope templates)
  • resources to become a top Pokémon Go authority
  • and you’ll also be offered $200 and $250 off her popular bootcamps

For more information on Barb’s Pokémon Go cheatsheet, please click here.

BaPokemonGoLogorb has been making a living online for many years, and is a prolific producer of money-making content and reports. I always keep a close eye on what she says, and I think she is bang on the money with this. If you’re an entrepreneurial writer, this is definitely something you should be checking out.

Good luck if you take action to profit from the Pokémon Go craze. If you have any questions or comments, do feel free to leave them below. And if you go ahead and produce a PG-related product, you are very welcome to leave a link to it in the comments on this post as well!

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Property Crowdfunding: An Investment Opportunity for Everyone

Regular readers will know that my main writing clients these days are More Money Review. I review business opportunities and also write articles for their website and newsletter.

One thing I have written a lot about recently is the extra income possibilities offered by crowdfunding. This is something I have developed a particular interest in, so I thought today I would say a bit about one particular aspect, property crowdfunding.

Clearly, I appreciate that not all readers of my blog will be interested in investment opportunities just now, but you never know when a competition prize or big advance from a mainstream publishing house may arrive (see this recent guest post from author Iain Maitland for some inspiration). And, more prosaically, you may inherit some money and be looking for more interesting and lucrative investment opportunities than simply putting it in a savings account for the derisory levels of interest currently on offer.

Why Property Crowdfunding?

Investing in bricks and mortar has long been a favourite strategy of the wealthy. Property owners get a double benefit: rent from tenants for as long as they own the property, and – in most cases – a healthy profit if they choose to sell.

Of course, property doesn’t come cheap. And even if you can stretch to buying a modest house or flat for investment purposes, you are taking the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket. As a result, many people of more modest means have concluded that property investment is not for them.

Crowdfunding is changing all that, however. A growing number of platforms now exist that allow ordinary folk the chance to buy a share in an investment property for as little as £50. Investors then receive a proportion of the rental income generated, and also get a share of the profit when and if the property is sold.

I now have investments via three different property crowdfunding platforms – a block of flats in Torquay in which I own a small share is pictured above! – but in this post I want to focus on one platform in particular, the UK-based Property Partner. This was only launched in January 2015, and has swiftly become the UK’s largest property crowdfunding website. They have over 6,235 investors, who between them have invested over £24 million in properties across the UK. Non-UK investors are welcome to join Property Partner too, so long as the legal system in their country permits it. Unfortunately, US residents are not able to invest this way at the moment.

One big attraction of Property Partner is that they have an active secondary market. That means investors can offer part or all of their portfolio for sale at any time.

Obviously, to sell your shares in a property you will need a buyer, but Property Partner say that so long as they are priced reasonably (i.e. at or below the current official price) shares normally sell within 72 hours. By contrast, other property crowdfunding platforms such as The House Crowd and CrowdLords do not run secondary markets, though they say they will always help would-be sellers find a buyer if required.

Another attraction of Property Partner is that dividends are paid monthly, unlike other platforms which typically pay annually. Money from dividends builds up in your account, and you can either withdraw it or reinvest it in other properties. When you add that you can get started on Property Partner for as little as £50, it is not all that surprising to me that they have enjoyed such success.

Clearly, I’m not saying that everyone should invest in Property Partner – that depends on your personal circumstances and investment goals, and you should always take professional advice if you have any doubts before investing. But if you are looking for a property crowdfunding platform to invest with, in my view they should definitely be at or near the top of your list.

Finally, as a further incentive, if you join Property Partner via any of the links in this article and invest at least £1,000, you will receive an extra £50 (and so will I!). This is a special promotion and may of course be withdrawn at any time. I am not aware of any plans to end this offer currently, but if that happens I will of course amend this post accordingly.

Good luck, and if you have any comments or questions about property crowdfunding and/or Property Partner, please do post them below.

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