Archives for January 2017

How to Make (More) Money With Writing?

Make-Money-With-Writing


No matter if you sold the publishing rights for your book or if you are self-publishing: The dominant question is how to earn money with your art.  Only those who have written a book know how much time and effort such an endeavor requires.  It starts with the research, the outline for the work, the writing and then the revising and many rounds of editing.

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Efforts and Demands of Publishing Books
The so-called “published” authors – who receive only 8 -12% royalties, and maybe not even an advance for their title – hold their breath until they receive their royalty statements. And the self-publishers?  They have to invest first into a professional editor, a cover designer, a book lay-outer or ebook formatter, maybe a distribution company.  And then the most important tasks: the creation of a professional author platform, the book marketing, and promotion – all this while writing the next book.
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There are two questions coming up: How can you wring the most royalties out from your book.  And how to make money from writing – other than books to quit a full-time job.

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Several Ways to Monetize Your Books
Ask yourself if you choose all avenues to make more money from your books:

Distribution to More Retailers
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify! No business has only one retailer (customer) to sell to. Upload your book (or use a distributor) to all sales channels and all countries.

Sell From Your Own Website
Nowhere else would you receive such high revenues as for book sales on your own website. Inexpensive and easy to install e-commerce programs all you to sell print and digital versions of your books.

Audio Books
Re-purpose your manuscript and make more out of it than just a book and an e-book. Why not additionally create an audio-book from your novel or even from non-fiction? Audio-Books became immensely popular! 

Hardcover
It is much easier to get a book into libraries if it’s published in hardcover format instead of a paperback print. POD and distributor company IngramSpark offers hardcover book production to self-publishers at affordable prices and in small quantities, compared to commercial printers.

Foreign Rights
Licensing your works in different formats and countries is another income stream. You can set up all the information about your book, including prices for different formats and contract clauses on digital platforms – easy to find for agents and publishers around the world.

Copy Royalties
You could be paid twice for your book… There are services in many countries that will help maximize your royalty income for the secondary use (such as copying) of your works. Becoming a member is in most countries FREE! In Canada, join “Access Copyright”. In the United States, the CCC, the Copyright Clearance Center compensates publishers and creators/writers for the use of their work, in Great Britain the ALCS,  and in Germany it is “VG Wort”.
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Writers Are Often Too Focused on Books
You are NOT naive to think you could earn a living with writing – something you love. The promise of creativity and personal freedom attracts many writers.  This has lots of advantages, such as choosing when and where you work, and with whom. However, to make money with books only takes a while, often a long while… Better not only rely on writing books – rather on WRITING.
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Do What You Love Most: Writing
Book Marketing, promoting and spending lots of times on Social Media is not something that authors cherish.  But what about promoting books with writing?  You can do what you love most and at the same time, you get paid.  You know how to write a novel, but you also need to learn how to write shorter pieces and how to write for the web where readers have shorter attention spans.  All these skills can be acquired at on- and off-line classes, at workshops through writers associations and beta reading groups, book fair programs, writers conferences etc.  And certainly at college classes.

  • Writing more books
  • Writing short stories
  • Writing prequels
  • Writing sequels
  • Writing blog articles
  • Writing guest blogs
  • Writing for literary contests
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“Commercial” Writing Possibilities:

  • Writing magazine features
  • Writing newspaper articles
  • Writing copy for websites
  • Writing resumes and cover letters
  • Writing sales copy

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Leverage Your Former Writing
Many of these opportunities do not require to create completely new stories or articles. In many cases, you can leverage your books and blogs, divide chapters, rewrite them a bit, shorten, or add new content to “repurpose” your inventory.  Another way is to use the content of your research and create new stories or articles.  Just to give you an example how you can re-purpose research and content of your novel, that may take place in medieval Great Britain or a travelogue you wrote about a trip to Europe: 

You could for example write an article about horse staples in the UK for equestrian magazines, about one of the fantastic gardens in Great Britain to garden magazines, how to travel on a budget to European cities for a frugal living magazine, bike riding paths in Denmark to a bike magazine, a feature about pumpkin seed pressing in Austria for gourmet magazines, an article about a historic flax or wool mill in France for a sewing or craft magazine, a photo feature that you took in a boutique hotel for a fine interior magazine, how to dress for city trips without looking like a tourist for fashion or lifestyle magazines.  The possibilities are endless…

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Here are some of the editorial and writing services you can provide from the quiet of your own home:

• Copyediting. This is where fact-checking takes place, and where grammatical, stylistic and typographical errors are caught.

• Proofreading. This is the last stop for a “finished” piece. The proof-reader makes sure the copyediting changes have been properly made and no new errors are created in the process.

• Indexing. There are indexing courses available and you can get indexing software.

• Developmental editing. A developmental editor works with a manuscript on big-picture things like organization and content issues.

• Book doctoring. This is an editorial service provided for manuscripts written by experts. They create a manuscript as best they can and then a book doctor puts it into publishable shape.

• Ghost Writing. As a ghost writer, you actually do the research and write the book and someone else’s name is attached as the author.

• Copywriting. Also known as business writing, this is writing that promotes a product or a service.

• Book writing. Do you have an expertise in something professional, such as accounting or interior decorating? Or personally, like knitting? Why not write a book about it?

• Magazine article writing. Magazines and newspapers are a great way to get your writing published before tackling the daunting task of writing a whole book.

• Web page content provider. Providing content for a web site is a good way to make some money writing.

Marketing Copy Writer If you can write copy that gets people excited about purchasing what your client has to sell, you can make good money in this business.

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How to Find Freelance Gigs?
The secret to getting your foot in the door is being tenacious about chasing down all writing opportunities. And also to have professional profiles on social media, especially on LinkedIn. These websites offer information, suggestions, and encouragement:

http://www.placesforwriters.com

http://www.theopedproject.org/

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com

https://www.freelancer.com

https://www.upwork.com/o/jobs/browse/c/writing/

http://writersweekly.com/freelance-writing-jobs

http://contently.net/what-is-contently/

https://thewritelife.com/find-freelance-writing-jobs/#.mujrjzo:VsY

http://beafreelanceblogger.com/forum/jobs/

http://www.fundsforwriters.com

http://www.fwointl.com

http://www.mediabistro.com

http://www.writingjobsource.com

11 Websites to Find Freelance Writing Jobs

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The Good News:

Instead of desperately trying to sell your book via social media or advertisements, you can do the same through writing: short stories, prequels, magazine articles, guest blogs, writing contests etc.  It is more fun, you get automatically more readers, and you create a huge portfolio of your work.  Plus you get paid – and you promote your books in the byline.  With the same investment of time, you earn faster and way more money than with writing only books.  Plus: the more you write, the better you get.

There are certainly more ways of full-time earnings for writers, which are the subject of the next blog article.  Stay tuned!
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More links and tips can be found in our upcoming book:

“111 Tips on How to Make Money with Writing”

 

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Why and How to Sell Foreign Rights

Manarola-Italy

For small publishers and author-publishers, the thought of selling their book rights or their short stories internationally might be a scary one.  Especially if they are not familiar with foreign right sales or haven’t attended any of the large book fairs in Europe, such as the (Frankfurt Book Fair, Leipziger Buchmesse, London or Bologna Book Fair, or the ones in Dubai or Asia.

Exploiting international rights became easier than ever for author-publishers.  Writers can now engage with readers and licensees worldwide without even leaving their office.  Authors and publishers can either:

  • License their English-language or translation rights to traditional publishers located abroad – or
  • sell their book in English (or translated) directly through local distributors.
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Some Facts concerning Foreign Rights:

  • Publishers are going global to find growth.
  • Marketing plays an important role in foreign rights sales.
  • Foreign rights revenue is both, a global opportunity and a sales challenge.
  • In Germany for example, translation rights are around 40% (mostly from English).
  • English books have an advantage, as English is spoken by around 750 million people (first and second language) around.

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So, how can you, as an author or small publisher earn more money from licensing your works in different formats and countries?  Imagine you can set up all the information about your book, including prices for different formats and contract clauses on digital platforms…
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Global Rights Network Platforms
Selling the rights to your books can be a lucrative business, putting local versions of your writing into the hands of readers all around the world.  The predominance of book fairs and back-and-forth negotiations between rights agents and editors left a gap for literary rights-holders.  Now there are online marketplaces for the 365 days 24/7 trading of book and journal rights available.  Publishers of all sizes, including self-publishers, can make their book’s rights available for sale from several online profiles.  It allows authors to sell their rights based on their own terms, growing income, and in many cases, creating totally new income streams!
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What are these new Digital Platforms Doing?
Automated rights selling systems, allow you to make titles available for rights transactions – worldwide – with little up-front work!

  • Set up your prices for rights by language, territory, format (paperback, hardcover, ebook or audio) and length of the deal.
  • Swap out the standard contract for your own – if you choose.
  • Reactivate your dormant backlist titles for rights sales and create a whole new income stream without interrupting your current rights-selling attempts through sub-agents and at book fairs!
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Detail Your Book’s Rights.
Decide to use the digital platform’s contract or your own. You even receive helpful hints from the digital platforms if you’re using your own contract. At PubMatch, for example, you create multipliers for different formats and contract lengths. The multipliers will tell the system to increase the amount you’ll receive for a specific format or length.
For example, if you value hardcover twice as much as paperback, put “1” for paperback and “2” for hardcover.  To negotiate each deal as it comes, put the letter “M” instead of a number.  Putting the letter M means you will be contacted with the potential buyer’s information.  After researching the potential buyer, you will be able to assign a price and complete the contract.

Choose the language, exclusivity, territory, formats available (choose one or all), contract lengths available (choose one option or many), and other contract terms like print run and royalty percentage.  Detail your individual rights available for individual titles or groups of titles that have all the same rights available.

The base price you assign will be your minimum price (or your multiplier of 1) and will go up based on your multipliers and what formats you’ve made available.
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How Much Does it Cost?
Once set up, your rights will be available for sale within 48 hours and you can start selling immediately after they’re live!  Several membership levels offer a variety of service options and features, some are starting as low as $30 for a year.  See a video with short explanations about one of the foreign rights platforms.

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These are the Main Players:
IPR License is an online global publishing network where you can find authors, book publishers, agents and book rights professionals from across the globe. It is a Marketplace for publishers to trade foreign rights globally.  The platform offers the opportunity to monetise or find the best new content in a global marketplace.  It also acts as a copyright hub, making it easier to locate copyright holders to clear permission for use of their work.

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What Rights Could a Publisher Buy?  IPR lists the most common rights usually bought by foreign publishers:

  • Print Rights
  • Right to publish in print format.
  • Digital Rights
  • Right to publish in digital format.
  • First Serialization
  • Rights common to high-profile non-fiction. They are usually sold to newspapers/magazines prior to publication.
  • Second Serialization
  • These rights are similar to First Serial – except that they happen later.
  • TV, Film & Dramatisation
  • Rights cover companies who want to dramatize your work for television, film or radio play.
  • Digest
  • Right to cover publication of condensed or abridged versions of your book.
  • Radio & TV Straight Reading
  • A straight reading for Radio and TV is different from a TV or film dramatization and can be sold separately.
  • Book Club: Right for Book Clubs to receive high discounts from publishers in exchange for committing to a certain number of copies.
  • Audio: Right to record the full, verbatim text of your book for sale on tape, CD or digital download.  Abridged rights can also be sold.
  • Large Print: Right to print in large print format for those unable to access regular print.
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In case you prefer to work with a foreign rights agency, there is the New York-based Trident Media Group, which has the largest dedicated foreign rights department in the literary agency business and a record unmatched by any other literary marketplace – according to their statements.  They accept submissions from authors, agents, and publishers who would like to take part in Trident’s foreign rights or audio offerings. Other foreign rights agencies would be the KnightAgency or NelsonAgency.  Choose your foreign rights agent carefully!

Be aware that most agents charge 20% commission (and sometimes even 25%) on foreign sales.

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Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote in one of her blogs: “All the “Foreign Rights” agent does, is to compile a new releases list (usually three times a year) and send it to all the foreign rights agents they partner with. Yes, if you’re one of the big bestsellers, the agent will hand-sell your book to the foreign rights agent, but usually, foreign publishers will come calling anyway.

Some agents actually go to overseas book fairs and talk to foreign rights publishers.  The agent pitches their agency and then hands the publisher a list of available works.  That’s all.

The Solution: “You can handle your foreign rights yourself, faster, better, and without losing any copyright or having someone to pay handsomely.  This world is very small now. You can contact foreign publishers directly.”
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Writer Douglas Smith gives this advice:
“The Definition of a Valid Foreign Language Market: A market that accepts unsolicited submissions in English of stories that first appeared in English language markets, and translates them at no cost to the author. Response times can also be very long. But remember that you can submit simultaneously to several of these markets since the rights that they purchase are specific to their language and don’t conflict with other foreign markets. In addition, most will respond to email queries regarding the status of your submission.”

He offers a valuable “Foreign Market List” of over 70 markets, sorted by countries, on his website. “Before you run to the list and grab a market, first read his great pieces of advice here how to choose where to submit your writing.

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Should You Write for Magazines and Newspapers?

.Magazine-Writing

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Many authors are totally focused on writing books and overlook magazine-writing, trying to get “published” or to self-publish only books and nothing else.  They dream of seeing their own novel in bookstores.  However, there are many benefits from writing for magazines.

Excerpt from our upcoming book: “How to Make More Money With Writing”.

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If you write articles, you reach more people than with books. Your book may sell 5,000 copies.  Certainly, some books turn into bestsellers, but with more than 500,000 new books a year – many books are fortunate to sell 5,000 copies.  With one article, you can reach millions of people.  As you write for magazines, it will give you increased confidence that you can write for publication, meet word limits and deadlines.

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A fiction author recently was pondering if it is worth to write magazine articles and asked me if he should not better use his time to write for his own blog or website.  My answer: “Well, it depends on how many subscribers and readers your website or blog has…  Should your blog have less than a million readers per month, consider to write for these magazines with enormous readership numbers, such as:

  • AARP The Magazine 21,931,184
  • Better Homes And Gardens 7,624,505
  • Reader’s Digest 5,241,484
  • Good Housekeeping 4,396,795
  • National Geographic 4,001,937
  • People Magazine 3,690,031
  • Southern Living 2,824,751
  • O, The Oprah Magazine 2,417,589
  • Huffington Post 43 Million per month
  • Salon.com 7,7 Million per month
  • Travel & Leisure 950,000 magazine readers per month
  • Delta Sky Magazine over 5 Million Readers per month

Source: Wikipedia and Nielsen Report
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Newspapers:

  • US Newspaper’s Daily Circulation:
  • The Wall Street Journal 2,378,827
  • The New York Times at 1,865,318
  • USA Today 1,674,306

If only one percent of their readership finds your article and the byline with your name, website and book info … it’s worth to write for them.  Authors might not be able to pay these magazines and newspapers ads, but having a by-line and often even get paid for an article is worth to send a pitch to their editors.
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How to Prepare for Magazine Writing
Helpful tips on how to pitch to magazine editors: Most important is to get to know and understand the magazine before you query, read 10 issues back.  You need to get a feel for magazine’s tone and readership to ensure that your query “fits” the publication.

Make a list of editors at prestigious magazines, blogs, and newspapers.  Send your pitch to dozens of editors at suitable media outlets.  However, editors change positions and publications with amazing speed.  Call the magazine and confirm the name and title of the editor you’re pitching to.
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Very important: Learn how to write a query for magazines.  
Mention your background and experience and demonstrate why you’re pitching this article.  Just because you find a subject fascinating doesn’t mean the editor will, too.  Keep the magazine’s readers in mind as you pitch an idea.  Why does this story concern them?  Why will they want to read it?  Include facts, statistics or quotes, or to name experts you plan to interview for the story lets the editor know you’ve already done your homework about the topic.

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If you can’t convincingly describe your subject, your approach and your qualifications in a page-long letter, chances are your query is too long or too general.  Your topic should be narrow enough so that you’re able to address it in the suggested word length.  Many magazines only want queries and don’t accepted completed manuscripts.

And last but not least: a query that’s easy to read and contains no typos or misspellings says that you’re a professional.  Don’t forget a catchy byline at the end of the article with two links to your book or website.  Offer your best photographs to illustrate your articles.

You do not have to write totally new articles, take what you have, re-write it a bit, add or subtract an introduction and conclusion.  The research for your books and often parts of your manuscript can be used for articles – in a huge variety of magazines and newspapers.  You can use published articles as clips to show to potential publishers and clients in all writing areas.
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You will receive traffic, money, and credibility as a writer, and you will get a huge audience that you could never reach with your blog and Social Media alone!

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Read the Contract – Word for Word
It’s is a binding legal document, just as a home loan or an employment contract! Many writers simply accept the contracts they receive.  They are afraid to try to negotiate with a publisher, or they’re not sure how to approach the issue.  While some contracts are easy to understand, most have at least one or more sections or clause that seems designed to confuse:

  • Exclusivity
  • Electronic rights
  • Legal Responsibilities
  • All-Rights Contracts

Contracts are written for the benefit of publishers, they will grab as many rights as possible…while you as the writer want to keep as much as you can, or be paid handsomely for the rights you do assign.  Once you know how to ask for contract changes, you’re more likely to get the contracts you want.
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More Resources:

How to Write a Query Letter:
http://www.worldwidefreelance.com/how-to-write-a-query-letter-wql-5/

Publishing Contract Checklist
http://www.right-writing.com/checklist.html

Six Rules for More Agreeable Agreements
http://www.right-writing.com/cruddy.html

http://boostblogtraffic.com/write-for-magazines/

http://money.howstuffworks.com/magazine-writing.htm

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/free-brilliant-book-marketing-to-a-million-audience/

http://www.wikihow.com/Become-a-Magazine-Writer-from-Scratch

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/writing-for-magazines/

http://goinswriter.com/how-to-get-published-in-a-magazine/

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/writing-freelance-for-magazines/

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/freelance-writing-for-childrens-magazines/

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/smart-authors-get-paid-for-marketing-their-books/

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Easy eBook Formatting and Distribution

Can you imagine to upload your ebook manuscript as a Word document within 2-3 minutes (including the sign-up process) to an ebook distributor?  That you get your manuscript formatted for free, and find your book at Apple iBooks, B&N, Kobo, Tolino (in Europe), and several other online retailers within 24 hrs?

At a self-trial, I experienced just that.  After reading several positive articles during the last two years from a variety of authors, I wanted to see it myself.  Now I can second all of their praise!

Formatting a book and submitting it to all the different platforms (besides Amazon) can be tedious work.  Apple’s iBooks require even the use of a Mac computer.  And to “put all your eggs in one basket” is not an option for smart self-publishers.  So how do you get your books to Barnes&Noble, Kobo, iBooks or (in Europe) to Tolino users?  An aggregator (distributor) will help authors to achieve this.
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All Sales Channels Open for this eBook:
I uploaded the manuscript .docx “Helping Refugees on a Greek Island” for this pro-bono ebook to raise funds – author Charmaine Craig – on January 17 and not even 24 hours later I got the message that the book is already available at B&N, Kobo and Tolino (a European Online Retailer)

Barnes & Noble – Published on Jan. 18, 2017, 5:17 p.m.

Kobo – Submitted to Distributor on Jan. 17, 2017, 8:32 p.m.

Tolino – Published on Jan. 18, 2017, 5 a.m.

eBooks in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland:
eBooks distributed by D2D are available for example at:

It has been said that Tolino controls 42% of the German-speaking (including Switzerland and Austria) e-Book market, which is the third largest English-language e-Book market in the world.

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Why use conversion distributor/aggregator D2D:

  • No up-front fees – D2D is absolutely free: for conversions, and for upload to online retailers
  • Self-publishers get daily sales reporting
  • Draft2Digital pays monthly by EFT, cheque or Paypal
  • Commission, once the book is sold, is 10% from list price
  • Authors don’t have to wait until $100 are reached to get your cheque ($25 is the threshold)
  • Receive only one revenue check a month instead of a couple of checks from different platforms.
  • D2D offers FREE ebook conversion – which can save you a lot of time or money.  File output is in ePub, but you can also download a .mobi version.
  • Books can be uploaded and sold on Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Tolino, Inktera etc

However, I suggest to upload to Amazon directly, as it is easier to create and maintain your author page there – even if D2D one day might distribute to Amazon. This is true for all distributors or aggregators, as they are called.

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Seriously Service-Oriented
D2D does not charge authors to update book files with corrections, be it the book’s content or the book project data, and that’s a big winner for self-published authors. Authors can also choose which channels to use for distribution.

You can call D2D and talk with a human person about any issues or questions you may have.  They pick up the phone right away, and a competent person answers your questions.  Unlike at Amazon, where a clueless call center rep gives you the impression they couldn’t care less – after you waited already twenty minutes or longer for the next available “customer service” person.  Or even worse: CreateSpace where I wait since over a week for an answer to my email.

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Draft2Digital only requires your text in a Word document with chapter headings styled in Header 1 and body text in Normal.  Draft2Digital sends a confirmation email every time your title is successfully uploaded on an online retailer’s site, with a link to your book’s sales page.

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NEVER place your book to only one online retailer!
Learn also how you can get a free single link to all online bookstores where your title is listed at D2D:  Thanks for this tip via an article by author Derek Haines.

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Amazon USA vs the Rest of the World

Amazon


Are We Amazon’s Foreign Aliens?  I mean WE: readers and writers, Amazon customers/book suppliers, from Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland …  Why are we treated by Amazon as second-class citizens in this global Internet
world?  Sounds like Donald Trumps’ slogan: Make America Great Again (and let others pay for it).
Do foreign customers/writers not have the same value for this American company?  Here are several issues that writers and publishers encounter at Amazon.

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AMAZON is NOT International!
The company is touted as one of the world’s largest suppliers and a pioneer in the online business. In many aspects, such as eReaders and eBook uploading they really are. Amazon also insists on being customer-service centric – which I mostly agree with. However, the way their foreign suppliers (writers), who are also all Amazon customers, are treated – compared to American writers – is not right!  So many perks that US citizens receive from Amazon are not available for the rest of the world.
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Countdown Deals ONLY for US and UK Customers!
When authors place their books into the Kindle CountDown program, the promotion is only available for U.S. and U.K. citizens.  I remember when I ran my book Conflicted Hearts on that promo that I had no evidence of it being on sale.  The deal was not showing up, even when I went over to Amazon.com.
I questioned Amazon and all that I was told that it was on sale, and they sent me a screenshot to prove it.

This doesn’t help us when we are putting our books on promotion and paying for advertising to help boost sales and ALL THE OTHER COUNTRY’S readers are told it’s on sale, but they can’t have that Countdown price.  Read the whole story here

Amazon Rules: Can I use Kindle Countdown Deals if I live outside of the U.S. or UK, like Italy or Japan?

Yes, but your Kindle Countdown Deals promotion will only be available for Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.   Customers for example from Germany, India, and Australia will not see the promotions at this time…

Let me give you seven more examples:

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Issue #1 Gift Cards
NEVER, ever send a gift card from the USA to a friend in another country when they don’t have an Amazon.com account.  This gift card cannot be redeemed!

You spend money, Amazon makes money – and your friend is out of luck and mad at you or Amazon, or both.

You could sue Amazon theoretically for a number of reasons (e.g. for unfair business practices) or report them to the FTC.  After all, if they cash in, they have to deliver, otherwise, it would be fraud!

Or you could try to talk to them, what a writer friend did.  She got a much higher complementary gift card thanks to an empathic rep.  See her blog about this ordeal.
However, she is not alone: Browsing the Amazon forums, I found many similar stories like this:

“Amazon, I have an issue as people keep sending me gift cards from different countries:
– my account is from the UK, the UK account has some balance
– I ship to NL where I used to live (this was before Amazon.nl existed.)
– I received an amazon.de card recently which cannot be added to the UK one.
– currently, I live in Japan and cannot order with my UK account
So the bottom line is: I have money from an Amazon.de gift card someone sent me.
The rest of my leftover gift money is on the UK account and I cannot order something from the Amazon Japan website!
What’s going on and why is Amazon naming itself Amazon when it’s so local. It’s actually a local store and nothing global to it.”
Several forum members answered:

“This is an international organization! Why isn’t it possible to transfer amazon gift cards and money between different accounts?  Of course, I cannot ship from UK or DE to Japan.  This is a great con and I cannot see any pro’s here whatsoever.”

“If Amazon is watching this: please allow gift cards to be interchanged and used in all of your different global sites, e.g. https://amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk, amazon.it and so on.  This will increase your revenue as well as your customer satisfaction.  Thank you”

“Unfortunately, the gift card will likely not be usable. I got a gift certificate from Amazon Germany and it will not let me spend it without a valid German bank account which, as an American, I obviously don’t have. The sender tried to get a refund, but it said it was “already redeemed” despite my not being able to spend it.  So Amazon.de basically “absorbed” the money and now no one can use it.”

“Amazon, like Apple, is embarrassingly incompetent when it comes to handling international transactions like this.  You would think that in a world where almost everyone has friends in other countries, international powerhouses like Amazon and Apple would jump at the chance to allow people to send gifts to their customers abroad.  But they make it almost impossible for normal users.  I’m sure this is not intentional, maybe just incompetence on the part of Amazon’s managers and programmers.”

And sending a book as a gift from Canada?  No luck here either!  What’s easy and frequently done by US customers is not possible for Canadian Amazon customers…

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Issue #2 Book Reviews
One of the most unpleasant issues for authors are the book reviews: they are only showing up in the countries where the reviewer has an account.
Book Reviews are possible only “by country”.  Unless the reviewer goes into the other country sites.  However, this might not be possible anymore, since Amazon requires now a $50 purchase – done at least 48hrs (and earlier) before the review.
How can anyone get a sufficient amount of reviews in Canada or Germany or India when 95% of all books are sold in the USA, and only customers of these countries can review?  I get all my reviews in the USA and almost none anywhere else.
The book content and the reviews/critique are not less valid, just because they are sold, read, and reviewed in other countries.  Amazon seems to take care only for their American authors.

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Issue #3 “Amazon Categories” vs. BISAC
Amazon makes even a difference in the categories for books!!! between USA, the UK, and other countries.  See a genre screen shot by author Derek Haines: Great Britain has fewer categories than the USA.
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Issue #4 Services by Country
Amazon states: “When you enroll your title in KDP Select, it will be included in Kindle Unlimited for customers in the U.S.A., U.K., Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and India.
The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) is for customers in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Japan.”
Which means only readers in these countries can lend a book for 14 days, but not the readers in Canada, Spain, the Netherlands or Italy for example.

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Issue #5 Author Pages in Other Countries
“Published Authors” or those who go through a distributor service have tremendous difficulties to create author pages on other country sites than the country where they live. USA (home country) and the UK are fine, but what about France, Germany etc.
I am just trying to challenge this with Amazon.  Not sure if the issue will be successfully concluded.

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Issue #6 Amazon Prime
The company currently offers Amazon Prime (renamed Amazon Premium in several markets) in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria.  While US customers get the full program, Canadians don’t have access to Amazon Instant Video (as are customers in France), music streaming and free Kindle books or magazines.  Germany: in some locales, Amazon Prime offers same-day delivery, but it costs U.S. $54 yr – it’s not free like in the US.

Italy and Spain: Amazon Prime consists only of photo storage, free delivery, and not much else.  Great Britain gets mostly the same benefits as US Prime customers, but for a much higher price.  Read the full comparison here.

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Issue #7 Goodreads, an Amazon Company
Are Goodreads Deals available for international users? Nope!
 ***Currently, Goodreads DEALS are only available for U.S. members***, and we’re working closely with a number of partners to make sure that we can consistently offer the best Deals.”
What this means: Goodreads/Amazon members in the USA get great deals on books, while readers in other countries – and certainly the book’s authors – are left out.  Why should authors and readers from other countries join Goodreads?  To be treated that unfair?
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If Amazon doesn’t go really, earnestly global and doesn’t see www for what it is: the Worldwide Web, they will lose customer trust.  Amazon just improved the book pre-order process for authors, making it easier for self-publishers.  There might be hope they will be one day become a truly international company, and iron out these dividing issues between local and international.

Oh, yes, and while we are at it: Please improve your KDP “support” –  which is notoriously clueless and unhelpful.  Start with a training program for your reps, in order to have your much-touted customer-centric service spread to your suppliers (authors) as well!  Thanks!

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IngramSpark for POD and Book Distribution?

IngramSpark-POD

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There are some good reasons to choose IngramSpark for POD: They offer stunning colors, sharp graphics, and crisp text, such as for children’s books, travel guides, cookbooks, graphic novels – all at prices comparable to black-and-white.  And: they produce even hardcover books!

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Book distribution is via LightningSource/Ingram which is connected to a global distribution network of 40,000+ booksellers around the world – in stores and online. Ingram has printing facilities in the UK, Australia, and partner agreements in other countries.  However, most brick-and-mortar stores will order it if a customer requests the title, but they won’t stock it automatically.

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Another Benefit is that IngramSpark Bought Aer.io.
This acquisition is a great opportunity to sell on your own website and allow Ingram to do order fulfillment. The Bookseller wrote last month how Ingram’s concept works out:
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  • For standard Web operations: “Embed a storefront on your site. Share and sell in social streams. Add Buy buttons to existing pages.”
  • For social media in-stream sales: “Share products on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. The cart and checkout are included.”
  • Even for brick-and-mortar stores: “Extend your product selection with an Aer.io storefront. We’ll pick, pack, and ship to your customer’s door.”

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Prices for POD at IngramSpark are slightly higher than at CreateSpace, as they charge a set-up fee, but customers say their print quality is pretty good, plus international distribution is really excellent!  There is another perk at IngramSpark: Once the book is approved for production, they will automatically send a pre-order information to their list of retailers, libraries, and more. Ingram will start scheduling the book to be printed ten days before the launch date to ensure that pre-orders are received by then.
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Discount for Book Stores
At IngramSpark you can choose between 40% or 55% discount for distribution to bookstores – while CreateSpace takes 60% (and only for Amazon 40%).  If you don’t want to have your book stocked in every brick-and-mortar store, choose your 40% discount at Spark.  That means with every book sold, you will earn way more than with CreateSpace.

If you want to see your title in bookstores, you will need the 55% discount – as stores want to get a true industry-standard discount and also: the books are then returnable. Which might be a bit of a risk…  Another solution – which quite a few self-publishers use – is to have CreateSpace for Amazon sales, but IngramSpark for distribution to other stores.

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Excerpt from Guidelines to Upload Your Book
Interior files:

  • Must be uploaded as a separate file from the cover PDFs created using the “save as” function from MS Word are not supported!
  • Use single-page format (1-up per page) Do not include crop, registration, or printer marks
  • All fonts must be embedded Make sure the final page is blank
  • Must include CMYK images at/72dpi or higher.
  • CMYK value should not exceed 240%. Elements should not be built in “Registration”.
  • All spot colors with/without transparencies must be converted to CMYK.
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Cover Files:

  • Resolution 300 dpi
  • Color Space: CMYK

A very detailed instruction manual helps authors to navigate the uploading of their manuscripts.

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One Important Advice
Buy your own ISBN!  Unless this will be your only book you ever publish or unless you don’t care if you are considered the publisher, and unless you don’t want it to list in the worldwide list of books available.

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Read also:

Author G. Giammatteo’s comparison of IngramSpark and CreateSpace
http://selfpublishingadvice.org/watchdog-ingram-spark-vs-createspace-for-self-publishing-print-books/

Author Melinda Clayton: Moving Print Book Files from CreateSpace to IngramSpark
http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2016/12/14/moving-print-book-files-from-createspace-to-ingramspark/

 

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Quick Overview of Printing with CreateSpace

Beta-Readers


While eBooks and Audio-Books are very popular, offering print books is almost a must!  Beside larger quantities at traditional printing and digital printing, Print-on-Demand is the most economically way of creating print titles. For self-publishers and small imprint, CreateSpace is a popular supplier and distributor.

CreateSpace is Amazon’s POD subsidiary and provides the most competitively priced Print-on-Demand service: If an author-publisher delivers a perfectly prepared PDF manuscript it is almost free to set-up the print book. Just the proof copy has to be purchased, and the postage.  So, for less than $10 the book production can start – a very tiny investment.
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Reasons for Print Books:

  • The majority of book buyers still chooses printed books
  • You can offer review copies to newspaper/magazine or book reviewers
  • To be hosted at local media / TV – interviewers who want to show a copy of your book
  • To sell your book easier to libraries
  • To participate in a Goodreads Giveaway
  • To sell your book to those who love paper books
  • If you write non-fiction – it is almost a must to offer it in paper as well
  • With an ISBN number you can get listed with Bowker at worldwide bookstores
  • Physical books are just nicer to give on Christmas or birthdays

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Benefits of Print-on-Demand with CreateSpace 
Your book remains in-stock, without inventory, made on-demand when customers order. Other advantages are:

  • Fast and reliable distribution to Amazon.
  • Fast and affordable shipping to US customers.
  • Shipping “review copies” to bloggers and/or for giveaways such as on Goodreads.
  • This do-it-yourself option for authors charges no setup fee and proofs cost only the print price for an individual book.
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A video and calculator let you figure out how much you will make every time your book is manufactured.  Decide the size, color(s) and numbers of pages to learn how much revenue you will earn.  CreateSpace takes 40% when you sell on Amazon, and 60% for expanded distribution (other online stores, libraries or bookstores).

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Book Description
Each book will have its own page on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es and Amazon.it.  Your book description can have up to 4,000 characters or about 760 words.
After you have approved your proof copy and made your book available for sale, you may change only your book’s description, keywords, BISAC category, and list price.  You can update this information through your CreateSpace account; please allow up to five to seven business days for this information to update on your book’s Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Amazon Europe detail pages.

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No Advertising Whatsoever
You won’t find a phone number, email or social media address, or website of an author in a trade-published book.  The same is true for books produced and distributed by CreateSpace.  You won’t get the same promotion benefits in print that you get in eBooks.  Details what else to consider can be found on CreateSpace website:

  • Phone numbers, physical mail addresses, e-mail addresses, or website URLs.
  • Availability, price, condition, alternative ordering information (such as links to other websites for placing orders), or alternative shipping offers (such as free shipping).
  • Spoilers (information that reveals plot elements crucial to the suspense, mystery, or surprise ending of a story).
  • Reviews, quotes, or testimonials.(Editorial Review section excluded)
  • Solicitations for positive customer reviews.
  • Pornographic, obscene, or offensive content.
  • Advertisements, promotional material, or watermarks on images, photos, or videos.
  • Time-sensitive information (i.e., dates of promotional tours, seminars, lectures, etc.).
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Two Book Distribution Options:

  • Standard Distribution
  • Delivers to Amazon.com, as well as Amazon.ca.
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  • Amazon’s European websites including Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.es, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it. Customers ordering from Amazon’s European websites can take advantage of Free Super Saver Shipping, One-Day-Shipping, and Prime savings.
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  • CreateSpace eStore
    CreateSpace handles the cart, credit card processing, and fulfillment of your customer’s orders.
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  • Expanded Distribution
    These additional sales channels make your book available for order to online retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, and distributors within the United States.

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Submission Rules for Your Book to CreateSpace:
To upload your book to CreateSpace you will enter most of your book’s metadata directly within your account on your Project Homepage:

  • title and subtitle,
  • author name,
  • book description,
  • trim size,
  • paper color, etc.
  • Some of your book’s metadata, like page count, will auto-populate when your files are submitted.
  • Color Images: Resolution: 300 DPI or higher
  • Format: JPEG (JPEG Photoshop compression level with quality 10 or higher), or TIFF
  • Spine Text and Barcodes: CreateSpace only prints spine text on books with more than 130 pages. Text on larger spines must be sized to fit the spine, with at least 0.0625″ of space between the text and the edge of the spine.
  • All covers must have a 300 DPI barcode on the back cover, and the barcode must be at least 1.5″ wide and .9″ high.
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More Tips:
To get help with submissions, use their online chat system. If you make an error, simply upload a new file at no charge. There are also several YouTube videos that show you exactly how to upload your PDF file to CreateSpace.

Do use your own ISBN – do not buy it from CS.
Bowker is the official distributor and only when you buy it there, you will be the publisher!
CS offers to sell you an ISBN for $99 that you can put your own imprint on. If you spend another $196 you can buy 10 of them from Bowker!

Order at least two proof copies of your book – things never look the same on screen as they do in print.  You don’t have to read the whole book word for word, but thumb through all the pages to make sure the interior of your print book looks professional.  Have another person (or several) carefully look trough your proof copy as well. The cost for a proof copy is the same as the cost of a single book, plus shipping and handling.

Ordering Print Copies of Your Own Book
Orders you place for your title are “Member Orders.”  When you order copies of your own book, you pay just the fixed and per-page charges plus shipping and handling.  Use their calculator to see your per-book, proof order cost, and shipping and handling costs. How revenues (wrongly called “royalties) are calculated can be found in detail at this CreateSpace page: https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/Royalties.jsp

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Helping Refugees: eBook to Raise Funds

xhelping_refugeesv2_72dpi "Most of us wish for a happy, healthy and prosperous year and it is ever more important here.  Syrian families displaced by war wish for peace and wonder about when the day comes that the war is over if they will have a place to go back to.” . For the last two years, Canadian volunteer Charmaine Craig helped war refugees in Greece.  This winter she went to Lebanon were huge tent cities house hundred-thousands of Syrian people, who lost their homes, jobs, schools and often many family members to this five-year war.  They have to live in tents in the middle of winter! .

This eBook is intended to raise funds to help families and to provide them with food and warmth. It shows how volunteers helped stranded war refugees on the island of Kos, in Greece

. “Families live in abject poverty in camps here in the Beqaa Valley. They have barely enough food to survive let alone for proper nutrition.  And, children run around in sandals and light jackets when it is freezing outside.  So many children and elderly will end up sick this winter.  There are over 1400 informal settlement camps scattered on farmer fields throughout the valley.  Not every settlement receives aid. A lot of NGO’s will not work here due to safety concerns.  Here at Salam LADC we try to reach the most vulnerable.  We have done many distributions in my short time here and the relief and joy it brings to the people is very gratifying.  We provide food bags with enough staples for one month for each family and heating fuel to help keep them warm. “ Charmaine wrote:  “I am very happy to work with Salam LADC. I can see they do so much good here with their projects. But as they are a small grassroots NGO their funding is provided by us, the volunteers, and our networks. THANK YOU Please do also help with a donation to GoFundMe Winter 2016 Campaign If you buy the book, please leave a review, thanks.  


How to Apply for a Free Writer Residency

California-Residency

 

The good news: One proposal in three is typically funded! Late Winter and early spring are good times to apply for Writer Grants, which includes fellowships, workshops, residencies, travel expenses, sometimes even meals or small allowances … and not only in North America but worldwide. Here are some examples:

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EstNordEst at St Lawrence River Near Quebec City, Canada
Three residencies are offered per year, in the spring, summer, and fall. Up to four artists and a curator or a writer may participate in each residence, eight weeks for the artists, four weeks for the curator or the writer.
Curators and writers receive a 583$ stipend and free lodging for the four-week period of the residence. A 260$ writer’s fee will also be paid for texts on the residency produced for publication by Est-Nord-Est (250 words per artist). Curators and writers have access to an individual studio space, documentation on the artists, certain electronic equipment, logistical support… and a bicycle.
The artists and writers share a collective house next door to the Est-Nord-Est studios. It has five bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, two bathrooms and a laundry room.
http://estnordest.org/residency

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Kerouac House Residency
The Kerouac Project provides four residencies a year to writers of any stripe or age, living anywhere in the world.  You will be judged on the quality of the writing sample you submit.  Each residency consists of approximately a three months stay in the cottage where Jack Kerouac wrote his novel Dharma Bums.  Utilities and a food stipend of $1,000 are included.  As writer-in-residence, all you are required to do is live in the Kerouac House during your residency, work on your writing project, and participate in two events—a Welcome Potluck dinner for you, and a Final Reading of your work at the Kerouac House at the end of your residency. $30 application fee.
http://www.kerouacproject.org/submissions/

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Ucross Foundation Residency
The Ucross Foundation Residency Program offers the gift of time and space to competitively selected individuals working in all artistic disciplines. The Foundation strives to provide a respectful, comfortable and productive environment, freeing artists from the pressures and distractions of daily life.
The Ucross Foundation provides free living accommodations, individual work space, and uninterrupted time to approximately 85 individuals each year. Residencies vary in length from two weeks to six weeks. At any one time, there are up to nine individuals in residence, a mix of visual artists, writers, and composers. In most cases, studios are separate from living quarters.
Lunch and dinners are prepared Mo to Fri by a professional chef with ample provisions on hand for breakfasts and weekends. Lunches are delivered to individual studio doors; group dinners take place at 6 p.m.
http://www.ucrossfoundation.org/residency-program/

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Bogliasco Foundation
Bogliasco, Italy. Residencies of an average of 32 days for qualified persons engaged in advanced creative work or scholarly research in archaeology, architecture, classics, dance, film/video, history, landscape architecture, literature, music, philosophy, theater, and visual arts.
The Residency provides housing, meals, and studios. Artist are responsible for travel, materials, and any additional living expenses.
http://www.bfny.org/english/fellowships.cfm

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How to Apply for Grants, Fellowships, and Residencies
Successful proposals are not done in an afternoon. They require strategic planning, research, preparing the proposal, building an evaluation plan, and follow-up. But once you are over the learning curve, all your following proposals will be a breeze.
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1. Study the organization and successful grants, fellowships or residency applications. You can see the “language” they prefer and get an idea what type of projects were successful. Learn and understand the meanings of the vocabulary being used in grant guidelines. It’s important how well your written presentation answers their questions.
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2. Show an interest in the Funders’ organization, call them for further information and find out the name of the person you should address the proposal if it is not stated specifically.

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3. Create your proposal in a way for the funding organization to conclude it will fulfill their philanthropic mission. Offer a concise plan to fill a need or solve a problem.
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3. Adhere strict to their guidelines, help them to evaluate your proposal easily. Your reader (decision maker) will evaluate your plan according to what you are proposing. And how your project can benefit others.
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4. Provide a detailed budget and outline how the funds will be used.
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5. Show them what you can do and how your past experience will help you achieve your objectives with this grant.
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6. Explain in detail what you or your organization does and why the grantor can trust you to handle the project and money appropriately.
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7. Add an executive summary written in non-technical language, or include your own glossary of terms, explaining technical language used in the proposal.
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8. Write it in a positive language.
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9. Break your plan down into specific steps that are tied to a specific, well-designed timeline.
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10. State exactly how you will evaluate your success and how you will follow up. Show your long-term vision and that the project is “sustainable.”
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Study the organization and successful grants. Some of them make samples of grant proposals they have funded online available. You can see the “language” they prefer and get an idea what type of projects were successful. Learn and understand the meanings of the vocabulary being used in grant guidelines. It’s important how well your written presentation answers their questions. Check out Res Artis website periodically. It can be sorted by deadlines or countries, however not all offers in this list are free, some are paid retreats. Good luck!
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Short excerpt from our upcoming book: 111 Tips to Make Money With Writing.

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Why Writing for Airline Magazines?

 

Airline-Magazine

Almost every passenger reads during the flight through the magazine that is tucked into the seat in front of them. Many even take them home. Which means, with more than 250 in-flight magazines, there are lots of possibilities for professional writers to freelance for airline magazines.  Airline magazines have always been good patrons for freelance writers.

When the travel industry is succeeding, there are even more opportunities in the sector. Benefits of writing for airlines include:

  • high circulations of In-flight magazines
  • a wide reach
  • and a long shelf life

Airline magazines are a fantastic addition to your portfolio of published articles. Once you’ve been published in an in-flight magazine it is much easier to get assignments from other prestigious magazines.

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What Types of Content do They Purchase?
In-flight magazines purchase many travel articles.  They also have a diverse range of content that includes general interest pieces as well as articles on business, entertainment, health, and lifestyle.  However, there should be some connection to the destinations to which the airline flies.
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Getting a Foot in the Door.
If you are just starting out as a freelance writer, you will not have much chance of getting published in an in-flight magazine. Editors prefer to work with experienced, professional writers who have solid credentials.
If you have not yet built up a solid portfolio of magazine credits, begin by writing for local publications or target smaller magazines. Once you get some pieces published in local publications, raise the bar and target some regional publications. In the USA alone there are hundreds of smaller magazines freelance writers can write for.

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A few airline magazines in North America include writer guidelines on their websites, but the majority, in other parts of the world do not publish their guidelines online. You certainly can write the editor a friendly note to request a copy of their writers guidelines.

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Research the In-flight Magazine
Many airlines make media kits available from their websites. Use it to find out a lot about the airline’s passengers – and therefore about the audience for the in-flight magazine.  It also shows the editorial mission and calendar. Find the airline’s destinations / routes in the media kit as well.  In-flight magazines typically pay writers from $0.70 to $1.00 per word, and sometimes even more.

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Read as Many Magazines as Possible
Most airline magazines are available online. Study all the issues for the past twelve, better twenty months and figure out:

  • What features does the magazine include?
  • What writing styles?
  • Lengths of articles?
  • Which destinations did the magazine cover already?
  • What hasn’t been covered for a while, or at all?
  • What is the editor(s) name(s) and title(s) from the Impressum / Masthead of the digital edition, or from the Contact webpage for the publication.

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The audience on an airline flight is much more diverse than at other publications, and their magazines must cater to this diversity.  The content is chosen for their passengers to remain happy and calm.  Editors look for content that will entertain and relax their readers, not being controversial.

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More Tips What to Pitch
Freelance specialist Gary McLaren: “Pitch a specific idea to an in-flight magazine, and not only a destination. Try to think of an idea that is seasonal or timely for a particular month. But pitch it six months in advance and consider the editorial calendar.”

“Alternatively, try to think of an “evergreen” idea, since in-flight magazines tend to have long lead times, and it may take them some time to consider your idea and respond. Follow the news for airlines in which you are interested. One of the best times to pitch a story is when the airline announces a new route.”

“Editors of in-flight magazines receive plenty of queries every week. However, many of those queries are from writers who do not research the publication properly! If you do, you have much better chances.”
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Read also: How to Get Freelance Writing Jobs for Airlines – Lots of Tips and Links
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/5844/

How to Pitch to an In-flight Magazine
http://www.worldwidefreelance.com/how-to-write-a-query-letter-wql-5/

Author Gary McLaren offers: The Inflight Magazines Report, a listing of 250 inflight magazines with all details.
http://www.inflight-magazines.com/inflight-magazines-report/

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