As many of you will know, at one time I wrote a number of courses for the electronic publishing house WCCL. Probably the best known of these is Write Any Book in Under 28 Days (also known as The Nick Daws Course).
I stopped working as a writer for WCCL a few years ago, and the company has since been taken over at least twice. The current owners are a company called Kaleidoscope Global. They are still selling my courses (along with many others). They are within their rights to do so, as WCCL purchased all rights in them a number of years ago. I remain an affiliate for the company, as basically it would be mad for me not to.
I know that a number of you are also affiliates of WCCL, which enables you to earn substantial profits (typically 50%) by marketing the company’s courses and other products. So I wanted to draw your attention today to the fact that the old affiliate platform is closing down and a new one has been launched at http://affiliates.kaleidoscopeglobal.com/.
I have been in touch with Kaleidoscope and they have told me that affiliate links created using the old platform at selfdevelopment.net will not go on working for much longer. So if you have banners or text links to any WCCL products containing your affiliate code, it’s essential to register on the new Kaleidoscope Global platform and get new links there.
If you are an active affiliate you should have received an email about this from the company a few weeks ago, but if not you can contact their affiliate manager via the website.
If you are not yet an affiliate and wish to join the program, you can apply via the Kaleidoscope Global website. The company is planning to launch a range of new products in the coming months, so there should be plenty to promote.
You can also, of course, promote any of their hundreds of older products (including my courses), but be aware that some of these have been on the market for ten years or more and I don’t know when they were last updated. Of my own courses, I am only actively promoting Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and Essential English for Authors currently, as these are basically evergreen titles. You can see a sample banner for Essential English for Authors at the foot of this post.
If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please do post them below.
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If you ever suffer from the dreaded writer’s block, this product from my publishers WCCL (also known as the Self Development Network) might be of interest to you.
The Writer’s Block CD doesn’t offer advice or ideas on rediscovering creativity, nor is it (simply) a relaxation inducer. Rather, it uses a technology called binaural beats to help ‘entrain’ the mind into a creative state. To explain this, I need to start with a bit of theory.
If you’ve studied psychology (which I have, a long time ago) you’ll know scientists can measure the electrical activity in our brains using a device called an electroencephalogram (EEG).
It has been known for a long time that different mental states are associated with different patterns of electrical activity. For example, someone who is fully awake and alert will probably exhibit relatively high frequency electrical activity patterns (13-40Hz), known as beta waves. Someone in deep sleep will display low frequency activity (below 3.5Hz), known as delta waves.
The frequency most associated with creative thought is alpha (7-13Hz). Alpha waves are typically produced by people in a relaxed, but receptive, frame of mind. It seems to follow that, if you can encourage your brain to go into a high-alpha state, it should give your creativity a boost.
Unfortunately, though, you can’t achieve this simply by playing sounds at 7-13Hz. The trouble is that this is simply below most people’s hearing threshold. However, the Writer’s Block CD attempts to get around this by using ‘binaural beat’ technology. Stick with me, because I’m almost through with the theory now.
It has been discovered that if you play tones of slightly different frequencies to each ear, they combine within the brain to create a low frequency resonance. For example, if you play a tone of 320Hz in one ear and 330Hz in the other, it will create a resonance at a frequency of 10Hz – the difference between them. By using this method, the brain can be entrained into a high alpha-wave state.
So how does it work in practice? Well, the CD comes in a jewel case, and you simply load it into your music center or PC and play it.
It’s best if you listen through a pair of headphones rather than loudspeakers. As I mentioned above, the CD works by producing slightly different frequencies in each ear, and if you listen through speakers inevitably the sounds from the left and the right side will get mixed up.
I’d also advise turning up the bass quite high: some of the sounds on the CD are quite low-pitched, and it seems to me you get better results if you boost them.
And finally, close your eyes while you are listening to the CD. From the occasion when, as a psychology major, I was wired up to an EEG machine, I know that the simple act of closing your eyes can greatly boost your alpha-wave output!
There are two tracks on the CD: a brief intro (which you can skip if you like) and the binaural beat track, which is 35 minutes long. It starts with a low-pitched throb – a bit like having a ten-tonne truck standing on the road outside – and gradually other, higher-pitched tones are introduced over the top of this. I wouldn’t recommend playing this CD at a dinner party, but it is not unpleasant to listen to.
The advice provided with the CD is to try to relax as you listen – don’t fight against it, in other words! Personally, I use it at the start of my writing day, though impatience sometimes gets the better of me before the CD has finished and I start work while the tones are still playing.
Does it work for me? Yes, I think so. To be honest I don’t often suffer from writer’s block, but sometimes it takes a while for me to ‘get into the groove’ at the start of a writing session. I find that listening to the CD relaxes me and helps me to focus on the job in hand.
Would it work for everyone? I’m not sure, though there is plenty of evidence that binaural beats do have a real effect, and the phenomenon is increasingly used in treating (among other things) sleep disorders and chronic pain. For more information about the science involved see, for example, http://web-us.com/thescience.htm.
If you’d like to give the Writer’s Block CD a try yourself, following any of the links in this article will take you straight to the relevant web page. As with all WCCL courses and products, 24-hour customer support is available, and there is a 100% money-back guarantee.
I am still getting a lot of correspondence about these two websites with which I have been closely linked, so I thought I would take the opportunity to clarify how things stand now.
My Writing Blog was a blog that I ran from 2005 to 2014. The blog was sponsored by my publishers, WCCL, who also owned it.
The blog reverted to WCCL in January 2015 and it has not been updated since. By a quirk of the software I still receive comments that are submitted to the blog, but I no longer have the power to approve them or reply to them. I am not sure whether anyone at WCCL is currently doing this.
I would therefore suggest that you refrain from posting comments on My Writing Blog, as I will not be able to respond to them myself and cannot guarantee anyone else will either. If you wish to write to me directly, please use the Contact Me facility on my Entrepreneur Writer blog, or else leave a comment on any post here.
The My Writers Circle forum is still active, and a great place to get feedback and support from fellow writers across the world. It is, of course, entirely free to join. I am no longer involved in the day-to-day management of MWC, but remain a member and continue to actively support it.
I hope that clarifies a few things, but please feel free to post a comment below if you’re still confused about anything!
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Many entrepreneurial writers (me included) earn a useful sideline income from affiliate marketing.
In case you don’t know, this is where you promote a product via a special link provided by the company or platform concerned. If anyone clicks through your link and makes a purchase, you get a proportion of the money they spend as commission.
The best known affiliate platforms include ClickBank, Commission Junction and JVZoo. You may well belong to at least one of these already. But in this article I want to focus on two other platforms that aren’t as well known, but with whom I have worked for a number of years and I know to be honest and reliable, not to mention profitable!
The first of these is the program operated by my publishers. They were previously called WCCL but following a take-over are now known as Kaleidoscope Global. They publish a wide range of products and courses for writers, including my own courses Essential English for Authors and Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. They also sell products in other niches as well, especially the self-development field. Extrovert-Me! is one example.
You can apply to become an affiliate with WCCL/SDN on their affiliate sign-up page. Within a short time your application will be checked and (probably) approved. You will then be able to obtain the HTML code for a wide range of banners and text links, all with your affiliate code embedded. All you have to do then is copy and paste this code into your web page in the appropriate place/s. Trust me, it’s not rocket science!
Once you are an affiliate with Kaleidoscope Global you can promote any of their products and will receive a commission of up to 50% for each item sold to someone who arrives at the sales page via your link. Commission is paid by Paypal a month after the sale has been made (assuming the buyer has not subsequently requested a refund). Unusually, all PayPal fees are covered by the company, so you won’t have any deductions made.
The other affiliate platform I wanted to mention today is Inspire3. This is a company run by my old friend Karl Moore. They sell self-development products of all kinds, from The Brain Evolution System to Self Hypnosis MP3s. Again, they offer generous commissions (up to 70 percent) to their affiliates, and also run regular contests for affiliates with big cash prizes.
You can sign up as an affiliate at this Inspire3 website. Note that The Brain Evolution System, Inspire3’s flagship product, has a separate affiliate program, to which you can sign up here.
If you decide to join either of these platforms as an affiliate, can I offer a few quick hints and tips from my own experience…
1. Just putting a banner on your web page is unlikely to generate many sales. It’s much better to put a review of the product in question with your affiliate link at the end, so that people wanting to buy as a result of your recommendation will click through this to the sales page.
2. If you’re going to write a review, try to make it reasonably objective. Yes, you want people to click through your link and buy the product, but if your “review” appears to be more of an uncritical hype, some people are likely to be put off. So praise the product’s good points, by all means, but if there is anything you dislike, don’t be afraid to say so. People will trust your judgement more.
3. Consider offering an extra incentive of your own to secure the sale. For example, you could offer an extra mini-report on a topic not covered in depth in the product you are reviewing, or simply a list of relevant websites.
Good luck, and if you have any comments or questions about either of these affiliate platforms, please do post them below!
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I am probably best known online as the author of a number of writing courses that I created for the electronic publishing house WCCL (also known as The Self Development Network).
I am no longer working with WCCL (except as an affiliate) but I still get lots of queries about these courses. So I thought today I would take the opportunity to highlight one of them…
Write Any Book in Under 28 Days (also referred to as The Nick Daws Course) is the first course I ever wrote for WCCL. It’s also the first they ever published. Nowadays they offer over seventy products in a range of categories, but this course is the one that started it all!
Although I have written a dozen other courses since, in many ways Write Any Book in Under 28 Days is still my favourite. It could be sub-titled “Everything I know about writing a book”. It is packed with tips and advice based on my experience as the author of over 100 books, most of which were traditionally published. At its heart is my unique four-step system of outlining and “blueprinting”, which thousands of new writers have used successfully to create their first books.
The course has, as you might expect, been updated a few times, but thankfully much of the content is “evergreen”, so it doesn’t actually date that quickly. It is aimed primarily at non-fiction writers, but there is a substantial section on fiction writing within it. My only slight reservation is that, as far as I’m aware, the publishers haven’t updated the bonus items for a while, but that doesn’t affect the value of the course itself, in my opinion.
Write Any Book in Under 28 Days is shipped on a CD that runs in Microsoft Windows. I know that’s slightly less convenient than the usual instant download, but when it was first launched the course was pirated remorselessly, so WCCL had to take this action to protect it from copyright thieves.
So there will be a little wait before you can access the course content, but it will – I promise – be worth it!
I’ve published an extract below, to give you a taster. It comes from the section of Module Two about getting ideas. Note that, like the whole of the CD, it is written in US rather than UK English.
Start by thinking about your job (and if you’re a student, a carer, a home-maker, a full-time parent or an unpaid volunteer worker, that counts just as well). Think about whether there are aspects of this that would be of interest to ordinary people, or people who do similar jobs to you (or would like to). Remember, you don’t have to be an ‘expert’ now – you can always research what you don’t know later. But clearly it helps if you already know something about your subject. And by the very fact of doing a certain job, you already know more than the great majority of the population about this subject.
However, suppose your job doesn’t suggest many ideas – or you simply don’t find it interesting or exciting enough to inspire you. Try thinking about jobs you have done in the past. Think about your hobbies and leisure interests, from baseball to gourmet cookery, astronomy to travel. Could any of these provide the inspiration for a book?
And think about experiences you have gone through in your life. The topics below (an expanded version of the list in Module One) have formed the basis of many thousands of books already. How many of these could you write about from experience yourself?
Having a Baby
Bringing Up Children
Living With Teenagers
Dealing With Bereavement
Being A Student
Shopping for Bargains
Coping With Divorce
Buying/Selling a House
Learning to Drive
Buying a Car
Extending Your Home
Making Your Own Clothes
Designing a Garden
Getting a Job
Starting Your Own Business
Negotiating a Payrise
Managing Your Time
Travelling With Children
Investing Your Money
Remember, the experience itself is just a starting point. From the list above, take ‘Being a Student’, for example. Here are just a few ideas for books which might derive from this:
Leaving home: a guide for young people
Study skills for students
Improve your memory
How to work your way through college
Cooking for cash-strapped students
The Internet for students
Making the most of student life
Hmm. I might have a go at one or two of these myself! Seriously, the point I am making is that most people have the seeds for hundreds, probably thousands, of books within them already. All you need to do is spend a little time thinking about your life – things you do now and things you have done in the past – and consider how your knowledge and experience might be of interest to others.
And here’s a further idea to make your idea even more attractive to potential readers and publishers: develop your own technology around it! And no, I don’t mean you have to produce some clever gadget to accompany your book. By technology I mean a plan or system around which you can structure your book (or part of it).
An acronym is a good example of what I’m talking about here. For those who don’t know, an acronym is a word made up from the initial letters of other words or phrases. It acts as an aide memoire for the words concerned, and in many cases forms the basis for a set of guidelines or instructions. For example, advertising copywriters are often taught that any ad they write should meet the AIDA requirements. These are as follows:
1. ATTRACT the reader’s ATTENTION
2. Arouse INTEREST
3. Create DEMAND for the product or service
4. Prompt the reader to ACTION
Acronyms aren’t the only example of a technology you could invent for your book. The truth is, ANY original idea can work as long as it is snappy, easy to remember, and preferably contains at least a granule of truth! One example is Declan Treacy, the writer and entrepreneur behind ‘Clear Your Desk Day’. Treacy’s Big Idea (in a nutshell) was to tell harassed executives they could handle incoming paperwork more efficiently by assessing each item as it came in and allocating it to one of four categories: act on, pass on, file or bin. From this simple concept he created a world-wide best-seller, an international business organization and a highly paid career lecturing on the subject of managing your paperwork.
Or, if you want another example, take Stephen Covey. His book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was based around a system for developing personal effectiveness through seven ‘habits’ or principles. None of these is exactly rocket science – for example, the first is ‘Be Proactive’ and the second ‘Begin with the End in Mind’. Covey’s Seven Habits have been widely adopted by consultants and trainers, and were even incorporated by Microsoft into some of their software (e.g. Microsoft Outlook). Covey’s book has been translated into 32 different languages and has sold over 6 million copies to date. First published in 1989, it is still riding high in the best-seller lists today.
All very well, you may say, but I’m not an international business guru – maybe I don’t even want to become one. It doesn’t matter! Whatever area you plan to write about, create your own technology around it. Say you’re going to produce a book about bringing up teenagers (a subject I know nothing about, by the way). A few moments’ thought gave me the acronym RAILS, made up as follows:
Give SPACE (or SUPPORT)
As we’ll see in the next section, an acronym can also help provide the title for your book. In the above example, one obvious possibility would be Keep Your Teenager on the RAILS. I must admit, I can easily imagine this climbing high in Amazon.com’s Top Sellers list! I don’t think I’ll be writing it myself, even so – but if any reader wants to pick up the idea and run with it, I’ll be happy to settle for 10 per cent of your royalties!
Finally, suppose you want to write fiction rather than non-fiction. The same principle applies – use your own experience as a starting point, and build on this using your imagination and research. For example: a friend of mine writes detective novels from a police perspective; I believe they’re called police procedurals by those in the know. He doesn’t have a police background himself and wrote his first novel entirely from his own imagination, aided by a little research from books. He particularly treasures one glowing review from a police magazine which congratulates him on the authenticity of his characters!
Of course, the real point is that people are the same the world over, whatever the occupation they happen to work in: some are conscientious, others slapdash; some are sociable, others solitary; some court trouble, others aim to avoid it. The same would doubtless be true in medieval times, the present day or the far future. All writers have to do is start from their own experience of the world and the people in it, and extend this.
As I said above, I hope this will give you a flavour (or flavor) of what Write Any Book in Under 28 Days is about. It is (still) a course I’m very proud of, and I recommend it if you would like advice and guidance on writing a full-length book.