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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Poets – Join in the MWC Midsummer Poetry Fest!

Regular readers will know that I was one of the founders of the online forum myWritersCircle.com, and until quite recently used to manage it.

Although I am no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the forum, I am still a member and retain a close interest in what goes on there.

So today I wanted to give you a heads-up about a special event that has just been launched on the forum. The MWC Midsummer Poetry Fest is aimed specifically at poetry writers, and includes a wide range of contests and challenges.

The events include the Poet-athalon, which requires participants to post poems in a variety of different recognised forms, and The Martini Tent, which is for poems inspired by drink! There is also a contest to find the Midsummer Poet Laureate, based on nominations and an open vote.

The events will be mainly for fun and the kudos of winning, though I understand there may be some prizes as well. You will need to be a member of myWritersCircle.com to take part, but if you are not already, joining is free and only takes a few moments. There is no cost for taking part in any of the events.

Many thanks to the poets of MWC, and especially moderator Cornelius Poe, for taking the initiative to organize this event.

Good luck, and see you at The MWC Midsummer Poetry Fest!

Picture: CC BY-NC-ND by rknickme

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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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working together

Should Writers Work With a Collaborator?

Periodically I get asked my opinion about writers working collaboratively.

It’s a topic that interests me, so I thought I’d set out some of my views here.

In principle, I like the idea of working with a collaborator. Writing can be a lonely business, so the prospect of working with someone else is attractive for the human contact aspect alone.

Plus you have someone else to bounce ideas off (many of the most successful comedy writers work in duos and I’m sure this is part of the reason). And, not least, having a collaborator means that they will do some of the work instead of you!

Of course, there are drawbacks to working with collaborators too. If you don’t get on with your partner or constantly disagree with them, the savings in time and effort may evaporate. Instead of being entirely free to pursue your own artistic vision, you may sometimes have to compromise. And any payments resulting from your labours will have to be shared with your partner instead of all going into your own pocket.

I have worked with writing partners on various occasions over the years (and am still open to the idea if the right project comes up!). The person I’ve worked with most often is my old friend, the poet and performer Simon Pitt.

One of our first collaborations was a sketch show called The Naked Apricot (a satire of the then-famous book by Dr Desmond Morris, “The Naked Ape”). This was performed by a local amateur theatre company, and in financial terms anyway was their most successful show ever (admittedly, it probably helped that we didn’t get paid a fee for it!).

More recently I collaborated with Simon on a couple of non-fiction books: Fifty Great Ideas for Creative Writing Teaching and How to Invite Any Writer, Artist or Performer Into Your School (currently out of print).

The way Simon and I work is to take a project, divide it into chapters or sections, and then allocate each of these to one of us or the other. When we have completed our assigned chapters, we pass them over to the other one to read, edit and add his own input. In addition, I tend to handle the IT-related aspects, as I’m sure Simon would agree that this is not his strongest suit.

One thing we don’t do (or at least hardly ever) is sit down together and go through our draft manuscripts line by line, word by word. Apart from being horribly time consuming, I could imagine this putting our friendship under strain. In my experience anyway, it’s easier to accept (and give) criticism in the form of a quick note rather than face to face.

My number one advice to anyone thinking of working with a collaborator is to agree how you will work together first. If your collaborator expects you to sit down and write together while you prefer to work alone and just meet for planning, marketing and so on, it’s doubtful whether the partnership will succeed.

Likewise, it’s important to discuss the proposed topic of your book, screenplay or whatever in detail, to ensure you don’t have totally different perspectives on it. That’s not to say you have to agree in advance on every point, but unless you have certain basic assumptions in common, the writing process is likely to become a test of endurance. This applies especially in fiction-writing projects.

One other important consideration is how much each person can contribute to the project. This is partly a matter of time, and partly one of skills and expertise.

Clearly, if one person has more time available for the project than the other, this could be a problem if the ultimate rewards are to be divided 50:50. You could, of course, agree a different division of the returns, but this really needs to be discussed beforehand and agreed by both partners. Attempting to negotiate a change mid-project if you think your partner isn’t pulling their weight is not an attractive prospect for either party.

As regards skills/expertise, I’ve sometimes turned down offers of collaboration when I couldn’t see what particular contribution I would be able to make to the project – how I could “add value” to it, in other words.

I think it’s important to know how your skills and expertise are going to mesh with your writing partner, and what input each of you expects from the other. Ideally there will be a synergy when you have complementary skills and expertise. But if one partner doesn’t have any distinctive contribution they can make, the project is unlikely to survive through to completion.

Finally, if you do decide to go ahead, it’s worth looking into the growing range of online resources that can facilitate working collaboratively.

One tool I have used quite a bit is Google Drive. This free platform lets you publish documents on the web where they can be viewed and, if you allow it, edited by other selected individuals (i.e. your writing partner/s).

This means it is feasible to work collaboratively with people in other countries and even other continents. I used Google Drive when planning and writing The Wealthy Writer, the downloadable course on making money writing for online markets I co-wrote with Ruth Barringham, who lives in Australia. The Wealthy Writer is a little outdated now, by the way, which is why I don’t actively promote it any more.

So what are your thoughts on collaboration? Do you actively seek out writing partners, or does the idea fill you with horror? I’d love to hear your views and experiences! Please post your thoughts below as usual.

Note: This post is an updated version of one first published a few years ago on my old blog at www.mywritingblog.com. 

Nick Daws Course

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Cashback Websites

Save Money and Make Money with Cashback Websites

As I’ve said before on this blog, all entrepreneurial writers need a few strings to their bow. So today I thought I’d feature an easy way of saving/making money that anyone can apply. That method is, of course, cashback websites.

I shall mainly be discussing the top two UK cashback websites, Quidco and Top Cashback. The UK is where I live, and I can speak from personal experience about these sites. But of course, there are cashback websites serving other countries as well, and I’ll refer to such sites briefly at the end.

The concept behind cashback sites is that they are free to join and provide links to a range of online retailers. When a member clicks through one of these links and makes a purchase (or performs some other action) the cashback site receives a commission from the retailer. Rather than keep all this for themselves, the sites return some or all of the commission they get to the member in question.

So if, for example, you need car insurance, you could click through to a broker’s website from the cashback site. If you then buy a policy from that broker, some or all of the commission paid to the cashback website is credited to your account.

I have been a member of the two UK sites mentioned above for several years now, and have made hundreds of pounds from both. Via Quidco, for example, I recently made £110 in commission when I clicked through their link to the Nutmeg financial services website and opened an investment account. Although described as cashback, really this was more like a bonus, as the money I invested with Nutmeg does of course remain mine and I can get it back at any time. My Nutmeg investment has actually risen in value by £450 since I invested a few months ago, so this has clearly been a worthwhile investment in more ways than one!

With Top Cashback I recently pocketed a more modest £40 cashback by switching my gas/electricity provider using a comparison service listed on the website (the cashback came from the comparison service rather than the energy provider). I shall be saving around £500 a year by switching provider, so again the cashback feels more like a bonus than the return of any money I have spent.

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of cashback websites. If you are a resident of the UK, I highly recommend signing up with both Quidco and Top Cashback, as they compete feverishly with each other to offer the best deals.

If you would like to join Top Cashback, or simply see what it is all about, please click on this referral link (yes, you can also earn a small sum if a friend clicks through your link, joins Top Cashback and earns the qualifying amount). Click here to join Quidco and you can earn even more cashback from their huge range of retailers as well.

There really is nothing to lose and unlimited savings/earnings to be enjoyed, so click through both of the links above and sign up now.

Finally, if you live outside the UK, there are cashback websites in many other countries as well (for example, Top Cashback now has a US operation, Top Cashback USA). Just do a Google search for “cashback website” plus your country’s name and see what results come up. Or check out this article on the MakeUseOf website which lists a number of such sites serving the US. Read the comments section below the MakeUseOf article for a range of international cashback sites as well.

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

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Nick Daws

An Interview with Nick Daws!

A few months ago I was asked by my friend and former Writers Bureau colleague Iain Pattison, a UK humorist and short story writer, if he could interview me for his email newsletter. I duly obliged, and his subscribers apparently enjoyed reading it.

For various reasons Iain doesn’t archive old newsletters on his blog, so (with Iain’s approval) I thought I would republish the interview here. The version below is basically as it appeared in Iain’s newsletter, with just a few minor updates and amendments. I hope you enjoy reading it…

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The Festival on Lyris FiveNick Daws is a professional freelance writer and editor, age 60. He lives in the English town of Burntwood, near Lichfield in Staffordshire. He has written well over 100 books, mainly on business-related subjects. He has also produced copy for packaging, novelty products, greeting cards, games, advertisements, training guides, and more. He enjoys writing fiction too, and his humorous sci-fi novella The Festival on Lyris Five (pictured, right) can be downloaded from Amazon’s Kindle store.

What’s the quirkiest thing that’s ever happened to you?

Inadvertently appearing on Greek national television would be up there. I was on holiday on a Greek island with my late partner Jayne, when a UK tour company suddenly collapsed, leaving thousands of British tourists stranded. Jayne and I were walking along the seafront one morning when we saw someone pointing a large camera in our direction. The next day we noticed many of the locals staring at us. We later discovered via an English barman that Greek TV had shown pictures of us as background to the news story – I suppose they must have thought we looked like typical British tourists. Ironically we weren’t even affected by the collapse, as we had travelled with a different company.

What word or phrase do you overuse?

Great.

Peanut butter – crunchie or smooth?

Crunchy every time.

What’s the most surprising thing anyone’s ever said about your work?

“I was pleased to find out you weren’t dead yet.”

What first inspired you to write?

When I was about eight my favourite teacher put us all into pairs and asked us to write a story collaboratively. My friend Tim and I became totally immersed in this project and continued to pursue it for months afterwards, by which time it was turning into a novel! That experience gave me an appetite for writing which has never left me.

Writer’s block – real deal, or just an excuse to skive?

As a professional freelance writer I can’t really afford to have writer’s block. Very occasionally I will have a day when for whatever reason the words won’t come, and on that day I’ll go out for a walk or find something else to do instead. But I can’t afford to have too many days like that or the unpaid bills would start to pile up!

Who’s your favourite author? Why?

It depends when you ask me and what I have just been reading. But the late American sci-fi author Roger Zelazny would certainly be among them. Not only was he a great storyteller, he created wonderful characters and had a lyrical, almost poetic turn of phrase. Being able to combine all of those skills in one is a rare talent, in my experience.

Worst meal you ever ate?

A lunch consisting of home-made cottage pie, made for me by a friend. It didn’t really taste of anything, but worse than that it was a blazing hot summer’s day and all I really wanted was salad. But seeing as it had been made specially for me I dutifully ate it and attempted to look grateful!

How do you cope with rejection?

Philosophically.

I’m long enough in the tooth to know that you can’t please everyone, and in the world of writing personal taste plays a very large role. I never take rejection personally. I know my own strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and if someone rejects my work, I assume it just wasn’t right for them.

What makes you laugh?

Fawlty Towers.

Corrie or EastEnders?

Corrie.

Game of Thrones – hip or hype?

Never watched it. I did start reading the books years ago, well before the TV series. I got through the first book and most of the second, and then decided I had had enough. All the characters seem unpleasant and impossible to identify with, and I especially dislike what in my view is the misogynistic portrayal of the female characters. George R.R. Martin wrote some excellent short stories and books earlier in his career, but I don’t like this particular series, and therefore have no interest in watching the show.

Your biggest vice?

Sweet things. Chocolate, puddings, ice cream, you name it. I know I need to cut back for the sake of my waistline, but turning down a chocolate ice cream sundae just isn’t in my nature.

Do you believe in ghosts? Do they believe in you?

Yes, I do. I have seen ghosts, and have spoken to people who I am sure had seen them too. Whether the ghosts believe in me I really couldn’t say.

What makes you fume?

Not much these days. Getting steamed up seldom achieves anything and is bad for your blood pressure!

If you were given four sentences to plug your latest project, what would you say?

Entrepreneur Writer is my new blog. It’s aimed at writers and aspiring writers, especially those who have an entrepreneurial streak. I’m particularly interested in exploring new and different ways writers can apply their skills to boost their income, often via the Internet. Please do check it out at www.entrepreneurwriter.net.

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I hope you enjoyed the interview. Many thanks to Iain for allowing me to republish it.

Do check out Iain’s very entertaining blog if you have a moment. And don’t forget to sign up for his email newsletter while you’re there, of course!

As ever, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them below.

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Dear Michael Love Dad

Keep Believing! One Day Your Dream May Come True

Today I am pleased to bring you an inspirational guest post by UK freelance writer Iain Maitland.

Iain is an old friend of mine, whom I first met many years ago when he was editing a newsletter called Personal & Finance Confidential, for which I was a contributor.

In his article, Iain reveals how, after many years as a struggling freelance, a book deal catapulted him into the big time.

Over to Iain, then…

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This is an article for aspiring writers, especially those with a dream.

This is not a how-to article.

It is not going to make you money.

What it will do is to give you hope – it’s never too late to achieve what you want.

I’ve been a freelance writer for 30 years, turning my hand to all sorts of articles, from curing hay fever by putting Vaseline up your nose to making money from Forex trading. What I’ve always really wanted to do is to be a ‘proper’ writer with a literary agent and a big-time publisher.

I had a go at various books now and then over the years and time passed by and nothing ever worked. I turned 54 last year and thought I’d drift into retirement with, between you and me, plenty of regrets.

And then something rather magical took place.

I’d written this book, Dear Michael, Love Dad – it’s a funny, sad and emotional story of my relationship with my eldest son. Think Dear Lupin or maybe Love Nina.

I sent it to lots of agents. They all turned it down. I sent it to every publisher I could find. They turned it down too. I then pretty much gave up.

Cue a magical moment. An agent, Clare, suggested we meet for breakfast. She loved the book and would pitch it to publishers. The next morning, within an hour or two, a publisher, Hannah, said she loved it as well. They’d publish it.

This was the same book that so many agents and publishers had turned down. Rejection after rejection after rejection; to the point where I doubted that I had any writing ability at all.

Yet now, same book remember, I was a wonderful writer, capable of moving people to tears and to laughing out loud.

Roll forward nine months to today, early July 2016, and I’m not sure if the book is going to be a best-seller, but it’s certainly going to do rather well. Charlie, ‘Dear Lupin’, Mortimer has said it is, ‘wonderful, moving, humorous…extremely poignant’ and that has been a big boost.

We have lots of interviews and features coming out across the press later this month, with an appearance on ITV This Morning booked on 27 July. There will be plenty of media coverage going through the summer.

I am now, almost overnight, that ‘proper’ writer I always wanted to be with an agent and a big-time publisher who has optioned a follow-up to Dear Michael, Love Dad.

I am about to start writing a stage play with a well-known actor (who may well play me) and this will see the light of day later next year.

I have a thriller, Sweet William, coming out next year too and that, it’s been suggested, will be a best-seller.

So it happened – is happening right now – for me; and, who knows, it could happen for you too. You just need to believe and keep going. And one day…

Find Out MoreIain Maitland

Here is the book: http://geni.us/2TT5o (universal Amazon link)

Here is the story: http://www.yellowkitebooks.co.uk/parenting/your-child-depression-what-you-need- to-know/

And here’s me if you want to get in touch: www.iainmaitland.net and www.twitter.com/iainmaitland

Iain Maitland

Nick Daws again: I really enjoyed reading Iain’s original article, and asked if he could follow it up by setting out some tips for writers wanting to follow in his footsteps. Once again, he came up trumps. Here is what he wrote…

Here’s my ‘how-to’ advice based on my own experiences…

* Write the whole damn book. If you don’t have a track record, the agent and publisher will want to see the complete manuscript.

* Discover similar books, either online or in Waterstones etc. The closest books to mine were ‘Dear Lupin’ and ‘Love Nina’.

* Google – you may have to dip deep – to find the agents and publishers of these books; I found leads on Linkedin and Facebook.

* Approach agents and publishers by email, with an outline of the book and a sample chapter. Keep it short and to the point. Don’t try to be smart or clever.

* Learn to accept rejection. You need a thick skin! Most will not reply. Those that do will send a template response. Few will engage.

* Take advice – when an agent does engage, listen to what they say. Dear Michael, Love Dad was rejected as a funny book but accepted once I’d woven in the bittersweet story of my eldest son’s depression and recovery.

* Remember the good news – you only need to be accepted once. You will get ignored and rebuffed over and over again. You may well doubt yourself. Your heart may break. But you have a talent and a story to tell. You only need one agent and one publisher; it will all roll on from there.

* Don’t get cross with agents and publishers who seem dismissive. They get bombarded. Publishing is a small world and you will cross paths again; not easy if you’ve called them a flipping idiot (or similar).

* Assume you are right and they are wrong and keep going – whisper it quietly, but one Hodder publisher turned my book down, another later accepted it with enthusiasm.

I am happy to chat! You can email me at Imaitland@aol.com.

Join me at www.twitter.com/iainmaitland

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Thank you very much to Iain for an interesting and inspirational article. Do follow him if you are on Twitter, and check out his book and homepage.

And, as ever, if you have any questions or comments, for Iain or myself, please do post them below.

 

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Pop Culture Publishing Profits

Review: Pop Culture Publishing Profits

Pop Culture Publishing Profits is the latest writing guide to be launched by the prolific Amy Harrop.

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

Pop Culture Publishing Profits is a guide to making money by publishing e-books (or books) that leverage the popularity of high-profile movies, TV shows, video games, and so on. The main guide is a 41-page PDF.

As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with screen captures (mainly of Amazon reviews) where relevant.

In the manual, Amy explains how you can capitalize on the huge interest in popular culture. She reveals how you can create books and e-books that will appeal to people interested in the shows and products concerned. One example she gives is a Kindle e-book on the subject of The Vikings, which appeared to have been written to cash in on the popularity of the TV show of the same name.

The big advantage of writing and publishing books related to popular culture is that there is a large group of people interested in these matters, who in many cases are actively seeking more information about them. If you can publish a book that comes up high in the results when they are searching (either online or on Amazon), you could potentially generate a lot of sales.

Amy discusses a variety of niches in which this could work. As well as the movies, TV shows and video games mentioned above, she includes politics, sport, music and books. Unfortunately (from an author’s perspective!) the latter is not as big a niche as the others mentioned, but it is certainly possible to write books/e-books that capitalize on the popularity of current or forthcoming titles.

Speaking of which, one thing that impressed me about Pop Culture Publishing Profits was how Amy reveals ways to find out about forthcoming productions likely to have lots of people talking about them. Certainly, if you can write a book that ties in with the next blockbusting movie (for example), you could be on the way to generating large numbers of sales.

Although the guide is fairly concise, it includes links to other resources – some by Amy, some by other people – covering specific issues and questions. There is a link to some additional training by Amy herself on how to get reviews for your books, for example.

The manual also covers the tricky subject of avoiding copyright and trademark infringement. Amy advises writers to use public domain content as much as possible, e.g. if a forthcoming movie is based on an old fairytale which is out of copyright, you could publish your own version of the tale by adapting a public domain version. Note that Amazon won’t allow you to simply republish public domain content, so you will need to rewrite/adapt it in some way to make it original.

As well as the main guide, there are various bonuses. These include a publishing guide, writing outlines for a variety of books, and a research and writing guide to help you publish quickly.

In summary, Pop Culture Publishing Profits contains some eye-opening ideas and information, and has definitely inspired me to think about trying this approach myself. It is currently on a launch special offer, after which the price will be rising to $27. If you are interested in this opportunity, it is well worth a look. It doesn’t go into the actual mechanics of publishing a book or e-book, but there is plenty of good advice about this available elsewhere (Geoff Shaw’s Kindling, my number one recommended resource for Kindle e-book authors, for example).

If you have any comments or questions about Pop Culture Publishing Profits, as always, please do post them below.

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Remain Tee-shirt

My First Teespring Publishing Project!

As you may know, Teespring is a website that lets you design and publish tee-shirts and other garments and make money if they sell.

It’s a site I’ve known about for a while, but never got around to exploring. But after the result of the recent Brexit referendum here in the UK, I saw a golden opportunity to try it out for myself.

As you doubtless know, the outcome of the Referendum was a narrow (52 to 48 percent) vote for Britain to leave the EU. A lot of people who voted for Remain (which includes me) were shocked and disappointed by this, all the more so when some of the consequences of this decision started to become apparent.

So I decided to try my hand at designing a tee-shirt on Teespring aimed at disappointed Remain voters. You can see the result above and click through here to visit the Teespring sales page. The campaign will run for seven days from today, and I am promoting it in various ways (including some paid Facebook advertising).

I am doing this as an experiment as much as anything, and will report back in due course on the results I obtain. I must say that I was impressed by how easy it was to design my shirt on Teespring and set up a campaign for it, but of course the real test will be whether anyone wants to buy it!

  • Have you tried making money as a Teespring publisher? I’d love to hear how you got on! Please post any comments or questions below.
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