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Check Out These Content Writing Tips from 70 Experts

Check Out These Content Writing Tips From 70 Experts

I was recently asked to contribute a writing-related tip to a blog post that was being compiled by my colleague Camilla Hallstrom. Camilla runs the popular Influence with Content copywriting blog.

The post has now been published, and it is such a comprehensive resource I thought I would share a link to it here. The title is Writing Engaging Content – 70 Powerful Expert Tips.

The 70 experts are divided into categories, as follows:

  • Entrepreneurs and Bloggers
  • Digital and Content Marketing Specialists and Strategists
  • Content Writers and Copywriters
  • Writing Experts
  • Social Media Experts
  • Branding Experts

If you’re interested, you can find me (and my tip) about half-way through, in the Content Writers and Copywriters category.

Here is a sample tip from one of my fellow experts, Kayla Hollatz, a professional copywriter and brand strategist.

My best writing tip for engaging your audience is writing in your unique brand voice. You don’t have to sound like everyone else in your industry. In fact, you shouldn’t. The more you deep dive into who you are and what you offer, the more you’ll be able to communicate that in a clear, concise way. That builds trust which then builds engagement. Also, it never hurts to sprinkle in some personality, too!

Although the article is aimed primarily at copywriters and content writers, many of the tips would apply equally in other types of writing. So it’s well worth scrolling through the advice and making notes on any parts that seem particularly relevant to you.

Camilla has also created a free writing workbook that incorporates many of the tips offered. You can download this via the blog post.

If you have any comments or questions about any of the advice in Writing Engaging Content – 70 Powerful Expert Tips, of course, please do post them below as usual.

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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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Get this free Author's Career Cheat Sheet from Crystal Lake Publishing

Free Author’s Career Guide from Crystal Lake Publishing

As some of you will know, Crystal Lake Publishing is a small (but growing) horror fiction publishing house, run by my old friend Joe Mynhardt. Joe has recently taken the leap to become a full-time publisher, so I wish him every success and satisfaction with this.

Joe has just published a free report called The Author’s Career Cheat Sheet. This is a guide to building your career as an author, focusing especially on how best to use the internet and social media to help build your platform. It also has advice on how to find inspiration, and generally how to balance writing with other areas of your life.

The report is a 12-page PDF and is well worth a read. As mentioned it is free, although you do have to provide your email address to get your hands on it. This is something I am normally a little wary about, but having known Joe for many years I can say categorically that he is not going to start spamming you!

Indeed, if you write horror or speculative fiction, signing up is likely to be a good move, as Joe will be sharing tips, advice and calls for submissions for new Crystal Lake projects, as well as info about books including authors’ guides that may be of interest to you.

Speaking of which, don’t forget that Crystal Lake currently have two open calls for submissions. I wrote about them in this blog post a few weeks ago. One is for their annual Tales from the Lake anthology, and the other is for a C.H.U.D. tribute anthology. The deadline for both of these is the end of January 2017, so don’t delay if you have something suitable.

You can request the free Author’s Career Cheat Sheet and also read the latest calls for submissions on this page of the Crystal Lake website.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, as always, feel free to leave them below – although please bear in mind that I do not work for Crystal Lake Publishing myself! If you need to get in touch with Joe and his colleagues directly, here is a link to their contact page.

And, once again, you can request the free author’s career guide on their submissions page here.

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Happy Christmas 2016!

Happy Christmas 2016!

Just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a Very Happy Christmas!

Even if you don’t celebrate the religious festival, I hope you enjoy the festive period. Thank you for reading at least some of my blog posts this year, and contributing to some interesting discussions.

Naturally, many people at this time are fully occupied with family celebrations. If you have any time on your hands over the holiday period, though – or you just need a break from the festivities – the forum at myWritersCircle.com is always open for discussions about writing, or any subject you choose in The Coffee Shop.

If you feel like doing some reading – maybe on your new Kindle or tablet – you may like to check out my post “Nine Top Ebooks About Writing That Are Free Today“. As far as I know, all these e-books are still free!

To get your writing career off to the best possible start in 2017, you might like to sign up to this free fiction writing course from FutureLearn starting in January, or prepare and submit a story for these forthcoming anthologies from Crystal Lake Publishing.

And if Santa brings you a bit of extra cash, here are links to my posts spotlighting some high-quality resources I recommend for any aspiring writer…

Geoff Shaw’s Kindling – Still the number one resource for Kindle authors.

Piggyback Publishing Profits – The guide from the prolific Amy Harrop sets out a clever method of “piggy-backing” on the success of popular titles to drive sales of your own books and ebooks..

Kindle Quiz – This sets out another approach to ebook publishing I really like. Quiz books are “hot” right now, and easy to publish for Kindle if you follow the step-by-step advice in this guide. The method combines very well with the one set out in Piggyback Publishing Profits, incidentally.

Puzzle Publishing Profits – This is another excellent guide from Amy Harrop. It reveals how you can capitalize on the huge puzzle books market, using free and low-cost resources to quickly publish titles on Amazon’s CreateSpace platform.

Essential English for Authors – This is my downloadable course about bringing your writing up to a publishable standard in the shortest time possible.

Write Any Book in Under 28 Days – My top-selling writing course, which has been used by thousands of writers to plan and write a full-length book of their own.

Any of the above would be a great investment for your writing career in 2017.

Once again, I do hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and a happy and creative new year. Thank you for being a valued reader of Entrepreneur Writer.

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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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Dealspotr – A New Deal Spotting Site Open to Everyone!

In this post a few weeks ago I talked about Top Cashback and Quidco, two websites that offer the opportunity to get money back on a huge range of online shopping deals.

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 website

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.

Join Dealspotr here and get 5000 points straight away!

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Publisher's Power Tool

Review: Publisher’s Power Tool

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.

If you have any comments or questions about Publisher’s Power Tool, as always, please do post them below.

 

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Win an iPad Pro in this Free Contest from Aweber

As part of their current Today Is Your Day promotion, my colleagues at the autoresponder service Aweber are running a free giveaway with an iPad Pro as the top prize.

It’s effectively a prize draw. You can get one entry just by signing up to their This Is Your Day mailing list, and a further four entries by sharing your own Today Is Your Day story on social media. Some examples of existing entries are shown in the screen capture from the website below.

This Is Your Day examples

As you may gather, the idea behind Today Is Your Day is to inspire people to try something new, whether to grow their business or start a money-making sideline (or side hustle in the modern parlance).

Aweber are also offering free mini-guides to a range of projects that could fit this description, from starting a podcast to creating your own online course. My earlier post Today Is Your Day: A Free Resources Set for Entrepreneurs from Aweber discusses this in more detail, of course.

As well as the chance of winning an iPad, every entrant can also download a range of free smartphone, desktop and tablet wallpapers to help keep them focused and inspired.

Enter your email address on the contest page and as well as one entry in the giveaway you will also receive an email with a link to the free wallpapers. The contest ends on September 30, 2016, with the winners to be announced on October 3, 2016.

The contest and wallpapers are provided free and without obligation, although obviously Aweber hope that you will sign up to their service if you haven’t already. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I do recommend Aweber if you are looking for a service to help run an email list or newsletter on your behalf.

Good luck in the Today Is Your Day contest and, as ever, if you have any queries or comments, please do post them below.

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Words'worth cover

Review: Words’Worth – A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Serious Editing

Words’Worth – A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Serious Editing is a book by Jane Riddell, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle e-book form. Jane was kind enough to send me a review copy, so here are my thoughts…

Words’Worth (as I’ll call it for short) is a concise (54-page) guide for fiction writers who wish to edit their own work (or have no other option). The main content is set out in three chapters: Overview Editing, Line-by-line Editing, and Pace.

The idea is that you use the advice in the book as a kind of checklist once your first draft has been completed. The chapter on Overview Editing covers such matters as locating the reader in time, avoiding melodrama, and providing breaks from tension. Each item is described in a paragraph or two, and in most cases examples are given as well.

The chapter on line-by-line editing covers the sorts of thing typically covered in traditional copy editing, including avoiding cliches, using strong verb forms, active rather than passive voice, and so on. Finally, the chapter about Pace covers such matters as varying sentence length and deleting unnecessary adverbs and adjectives.

I thought that the advice was sound and the plentiful examples were helpful. If I was being picky I would say that there could have been a bit more about the key areas of viewpoint and showing not telling (writing in scenes, in other words). While the need to avoid telling after showing is covered, the fundamental principle of showing rather than telling isn’t discussed in any depth. That is a relatively minor criticism, though.

New fiction writers should find Words’Worth an invaluable guide to making their writing as tight and compelling as possible. Old hands will find much of the advice familiar, but the book can still serve as a useful checklist and aide memoire.

Words’Worth is not, of course, any substitute for a developmental editor: someone who can assess your book’s basic structure and suggest ways it can be revised and improved. For many new authors accessing such an individual may be difficult or impossible, however.

Likewise, this is not a proofreading guide, and some common mistakes in new writers’ work (the omission of the vocative comma, for example) aren’t covered here. If you’ll excuse a quick plug for my own work, you might find my own guide Essential English for Authors useful in this respect.

Nonetheless, Words’Worth is a book that new fiction writers in particular will find extremely helpful, and at its modest asking price it will definitely be a valuable addition to their resources library.

 

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Today is Your Day

Today Is Your Day: a free resources set for entrepreneurs from Aweber

My colleagues at the leading autoresponder and mailing list service Aweber have recently released a new (and free) set of resources aimed at entrepreneurial businesses and individuals.

These resources are collectively called “Today Is Your Day”. Each one provides a checklist for completing one particular task to help boost your bottom line, from creating a YouTube video to growing your email audience, creating captivating images to growing your podcast. Banners linking to each resource are published below…

 

 

 
Take the first step towards growing your podcast

 

 

These resources are provided free and without obligation, although obviously Aweber hope that you will sign up to their service if you haven’t already. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I do recommend Aweber if you are looking for a service to help run an email list or newsletter on your behalf.

The checklists are quite concise but provide a practical step-by-step guide to what you should be doing to achieve each of the objectives listed. Links are provided to other useful resources as well.

As ever, if you have any queries or comments, please do post them below.

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