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Find New Free & Royalty-free Photo Sites



It’s quite a while – actually more than three years – that I posted a list of FREE photo sites on the internet.  To keep you updated, here are more websites added, which offer free, professionally taken and Photoshop-enhanced images, together with everyday shots.  Carefully choose the resolution that you need, especially if the the image is for print of a high-quality book cover.  Some of these photo sites require registration (free), but it’s more than worth it.  Each stock site will give you the guidelines when you search for an image as to how you can use that image.

Get Our Latest Free Stock Photos Directly in Your Inbox

Royalty Free Sites:

Improve SEO Through Your Photos
There is more to it, than just placing attractive photos on your blog or website.  Here are some tips how you can optimize your photos to improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and to get more traffic to your website or blog.

Reduce the File Size of Your Photos
NOT the dimensions of the image, but the pixel size.  When you re-size a photo manually in WordPress (for example) you only change the dimensions, and the amount of pixel stays almost the same.  A file size of 1.8 MB can be easily reduced to 300 Kb without compromising the quality for the viewer.  Adobe Photoshop or Adobe “Lightroom” software can be used to re-size the photo’s pixels – not the dimension!  Important: Make a copy of your original photo BEFORE you re-size.  Otherwise it would be lost forever and you would keep only the lower pixel version. There is no way back!

Name your Photos
File593730.jpg or DSC_8405037.jpg is not helpful for Search Engine Optimization and is totally meaningless to search engines. Keywords in the photos name should be separated by hyphens, NOT underscores, and shouldn’t be squeezed into a single word, e.g. Antique-Leica-Camera.jpg.

Always Use ALT Tags
Wordpress makes it easy for you when adding photos to your text.  The fields for Title, Description, ALT and caption are build-in, so you can fill them out easily.  Search engines can’t “see” photos, but “read” keywords, that describes your image. Keywords that you use on your web page should work together with the keywords you use for your images.

Royalty-Free Image Sites
Sometimes you just can’t find what you want at the free image sites, so it’s always a good idea to play-it-safe and pick up an image from one of these Royalty-Free image sites.  It will save you a lot of hassle with copyright infringement down the road.

Get more tips how to use photos for the internet:


Patreon: How Useful is it for Writers?


can loosely be described  as a mixture of Wattpad and Kickstarter or IndieGoGo.  
If you are not already subscribed to Patreon and supporting artists and writers – or if you, as a writer, haven’t used the site to  upload chapters of your next novel, short stories, or blog articles, check out their site.

“Through Patreon, fans have given
over $100 million to creators.” 

On Patreon, the creator sets creative goals to achieve and fans pledge monthly contributions to help the creator reach those goals. Patreon takes a 5% fee from a creator’s pledges.

Writers can use the site to get funding, build a team of supportive readers and grow their writing careers. It’s NOT a get-rich scheme, the most I have seen anyone I personally followed/read receive around $600-$800 a month, but the majority of writers income range from $80-$300. And it may start slowly, once you upload your first chapters, short stories, or blog posts. Promoting your Patreon presence helps a lot to achieve financial success. Let all your social media friends and followers know about, and mention each new upload on your page – as you would do with your website or blog.
However, it’s a nice supplement that you otherwise wouldn’t have, it creates an audience, and best of all: Beta Readers. It’s a way to start a financial independent future. Plan longterm!
Read their useful  guide to starting writing projects, where they list a number of successful Patreon writers, including bloggers, short-story writers, podcasters and magazine publishers.  Release a chapter or a blog article at a time.  Anything from a poem a week to a quarterly magazine could find a home on Patreon.

Nicole Dieker, a writer at Patreon, advices in The Write Life: “What if you’re a brand-new writer?  You might not have a lot of readers yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t set up your Patreon page and get started.  Consistency in update releases, consistency in quality, consistency in audience engagement; all of these give your page a ton of validity and success, and foster a dedicated community of patrons.  Stick to a schedule of writing, whether it’s once a week, a month, whatever works best for you as a creator. You can also reblog your Patreon writing on your writer’s website or on a social blog site like Tumblr or Medium — with a link back to your Patreon page, of course!”

Patreon, like Kickstarter, gives creators the opportunity to offer rewards at various levels of pledge support.  “The most common mistake is a soft launch, which means, telling no one and assuming that the patrons will just come flying in.
Patreon recommends launching with a plan “fear not: we give you a plan!” and having one major objective: make sure every one of your fans knows that you have a Patreon page.”

Get supplemental, but consistent income for your creations, from fans who pay you on Patreon.  Give your patrons special rewards like exclusive content or behind-the-scenes peeks of upcoming work.


Why and How to Create a Hardcover Book


The most common choice for self-publishers when releasing a new title or edition is either an ebook or a paperback version of their title: the production is fast and inexpensive, if done through a Print-on-Demand (POD) service company.
It requires only the expense for a professional book lay-outer or a software program if you are skilled and patient.


Why a Hardcover Version of Your Book?
A hardcover or hardback is a book, bound with a thick protective cover, with usually a paper dust jacket over the main cover.  The aim of hardcover books is protection and durability.   These books are mainly for long-term use.  The paper used is long-lasting acid-free type.  This paper has a pH value of 7 (neutral) which makes it highly durable.  The pages are stitched and glued to the spine.

There are situations when it is better to have a hard cover version available, such as for a special gift, or when you are approaching TV stations or magazine/newspaper editors due to an interview or a review of your book.

If you want to sell books to libraries, then it’s almost a requirement to have a hardcover version – or it is at least a good selling point.  And with good reason: library books go through dozens, if not hundreds of hands.

If you are writing book series, you can “bundle” them, obtain a new ISBN, and create a hardcover version out of two or three paperbacks.

Photo books, also often called coffee table books, would look ridiculous in paperback. They are almost always created as hardcover books.

Last but not least, the margins for hardcovers are much higher than for paperbacks. While the print- and binding costs might be a bit higher (mostly 30 – 40%) the recommended retail prices are almost always double the price of a paperback.


  • Is your book likely to be popular and used as a reference work or will it likely become a bestseller? Then choose hardback first.
  • Is your book testing the waters, a first off print run, a specialist topic? Choose softcover first.
  • Are you trying to keep down the costs of your print run? If so, choose softcover print first.
  • What are your readers likely to prefer?

Who Offers Hardcover Books in Small Quantities?

Certainly book printers. However, the costs are prohibitive if you are only ordering a dozen books.  Printing larger amounts of hardcovers makes only sense if an author has already hundreds or thousands of books – maybe through a crowd funding campaign.
You might work with IngramSpark for the creation and distribution of your paperbacks.  For example if you are fed up with CreateSpace, or if you want a better distribution channel than CS offers.

As you can find out with the help of IngramSparks’ Print and Shipping Calculator, in many cases you will earn double the revenue with a hardcover book, even if you deduct the wholesale discount for retailers and bookstores.
Start with small print runs, to make sure you are not left with surplus stock.  Announce your hardcover version before you place your print order, and set it up on Amazon, Apple, and other online retailers for pre-order – possible at Amazon three  months and at Apple iBooks twelve months in advance.

Marketing Benefits of Hardcover Books

A prime reason to produce a hardback edition is to use them as delightful gifts at any special events in your calendar.  It’s a great way to add a second launch for your title, if a paperback was your first book edition.  Build up momentum for your work once again.  It not only shows you are serious, and invested in your work, but it is also a way to attract new readers, who are drawn to fabulous titles.  It does not need to go as far as David Barringer writes, “The marketing of hardcover books has gone hard-core consumerist, tricking out books into luxury objects and personality accessories”.

Having a hardback edition of your title set up and enabled for distribution on your IngramSpark account also allows bookstores more choice in which format to stock your book in. With the launch of ipage®, bookstores now have more opportunity to order from Ingram’s catalogue of over 14 million titles, and with free shipping on orders going to a UK address, they benefit from ordering directly from Ingram.

The Economist wrote: “Some recent releases have sold more copies in hardback than paperback, as paperback readers turn to e-books.  Some in the industry think that e-books may eventually replace paperbacks.  But many are confident that the sturdy hardback will endure.”

Hardcover books are really worth considering!


UK Authors: Kindle Storyteller Prize £20,000


Are you a British author?  Did you just finish a new work? Why not enter this competition?  
Amazon UK invites authors: “Recognizing literary excellence, the Kindle UK Storyteller contest is open until 19th May 2017.  The winning author will receive a £20,000 cash prize, and be recognized at a central London award ceremony this summer.
The Kindle Storyteller prize is open to submissions of new English language books from all authors and genres.  Titles must be previously unpublished, a minimum of 5,000 words with no upper word limit and be available as an eBOOK and in PRINT.

Storyteller FAQ:
How is the Winning Book Selected?
Readers will play a significant role in the competition, with the award shortlist compiled based on customer ratings for the titles, followed by an esteemed panel of judges – made up of both Amazon experts and literary authorities – selecting the Kindle Storyteller 2017 winner.

Who can Enter?
Subject to certain restrictions set out in the Terms and Conditions, the prize is open to anyone over the age of 18 who enrol their book through Kindle Direct Publishing on between 20th February and 19th May 2017.

All titles must be entered into the KDP Select programme and must be available as an eBook and in print for the entry period to be considered. For more information, authors can visit

Can any Book be Entered?
Yes! All entries must be previously unpublished and a minimum of 5,000 words with no upper word limit.

How can you Enter Your Book Into the Prize?
The Kindle Storyteller prize is open to submissions of new English language books from all authors and genres, and all entries must be submitted using Kindle Direct Publishing with the exact phrase: “StorytellerUK2017” in the ‘keywords’ metadata field when the title is enrolled.
Titles must be previously unpublished. Kindle Storyteller opens for entries on 20th of February until 19th May 2017, and titles must be entered into the KDP Select programme during the entry period to be considered.

How Will the Winning Book Selected?
Readers will play a significant role in the competition, with the award shortlist compiled based on customer ratings for the titles, followed by an esteemed panel of judges – made up of both Amazon experts and literary authorities – selecting the Kindle Storyteller 2017 winner.  The shortlist will be announced in the beginning of June. The judges will be announced soon. The panel will be made up of industry experts within and external to Amazon.

How Will the Winning Author be Recognized?
The prize will be announced at a central London ceremony in July, with the winning author being rewarded with a cash prize of £20,000 and a marketing campaign to support the book on, as well as the opportunity to have their book translated for international sales.
What is KDP Select?
KDP Select is an optional programme that gives authors the opportunity to reach more readers and earn more money. Enrolling in KDP Select grants authors access to a set of promotional tools, including Kindle Unlimited, Free Book Promotion (readers worldwide can get your book free for a limited time) and Kindle Countdown Deals in the US and UK (limited time promotional discounting for your book). In order to be eligible to win the Kindle Storyteller competition titles must be enrolled into the KDP Select programme.

According to the fine print, especially: “readers will play a significant role in the competition, with the award shortlist compiled based on CUSTOMER RATINGS for the titles” the work needs to be fantastic.  But even more, it needs to show fantastic ratings too!  If you are planning to participate in the contest, work hard on getting lots of reader support and reviews.  Only an early on successful book has a chance to win.
IMPORTANT: don’t forget to add: “StorytellerUK2017” in the ‘keywords’ metadata field.  

Good Luck!


Gifts for Your Reader Friends & Supporters


I know it’s a while until next Christmas, but there are many occasions during the year, such as organizing a book launch, book signings, writer’s conferences, book fairs etc. where you can show your appreciation to readers, bloggers, and all kind of supporters for your literary endeavour.  Business cards and bookmarks are familiar items to hand-out, but they are not really gifts.

Other occasions, like free beta readings / book critique and other help, such as organizing book signing events for your novel do require a small present.  Why not something that reminds these readers of your book – and their friends and family too?

There are many present ideas for your readers, book lovers, friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, book clubs and visitors or fans:

  • Bookmarks
  • Postcards
  • Key Rings
  • Mouse Pads
  • Fridge Magnets
  • Coffee Mugs
  • Tote Bags
  • Business Card Cases
  • Once you have written a dozen books, you can even create a calendar – a gift with high-visibility!

Bookmarks are around for centuries and are used to mark the page were a reader ended.  They are thin markers, commonly made of card, thin metal, leatherette, or fabric.  Show the cover of your book(s) at the top or bottom.  You certainly want the reader to visit your website or blog, so don’t forget to add the URL and a link to your Amazon author page.

Personalized custom mouse pads: How fantastic would it be to have your book’s photo printed onto a mouse pad, a gift that reminds every day of your books. How about giving a photo mouse pad to your favourite reader so they can show off to their friends. Or to those who help you most promoting your books.

Creating a tote bag for your mum to go shopping, or for your siblings to go to school or to the beach to carry their belongings in style.

Photo gifts, showing the cover of one of your books, are by far one of the best gifts to give to readers, colleagues, friends and family. I am sure, these novel products will delight all the avid readers in your life.

More Tips:
Bookmarks, cards, magnets and other gift ideas with a smooth surface should have a QR code so people can scan and buy your book directly from the item.
Ask not only your business card printer, also search the Internet for price/quality comparisons, and get half a dozen quotes at least.

I am sure, these novel products will delight all the avid readers in your life.

Suppliers of “Bookish” Customized Gifts:



Writers Conferences in 2017

Writer's Conference

Here is an excerpt from a very long list of popular writer’s conferences, writing retreats, and literary group meetings that are taking place in the United States in 2017.
You might ask: “Why should I attend a writer’s conference?  You will learn and gain so much in these events that you should not postpone it to the later stages of your writing career.  The main benefit of attending a writers retreat or conference is the opportunity to meet editors, agents, publishers and other writers.  Widening your circle of connections in the literary world can help you mark your own presence as an author.  You will  learn about the publishing industry, and how to get your book published / author-published.

Chanticleer Authors Conference began in 2013 with an Awards Ceremony, a Book Fair, and a Vision. The goal is to give authors the tools they need to drive discoverability, cultivate readership and increase sales. Set on beautiful Bellingham Bay, in the Pacific Northwest, the conference is weekend of learning, cooperation & fun – a three day book fair, and networking!
Mar 31 – Apr 2, 2017

The Henderson Writers’ Group, proud host of The Las Vegas Writers Conference, would like to welcome all writers, authors and anyone who would like to workshop and pitch their work to Agents in fabulous Las Vegas.  Join several Writing Professionals, Agents, Publishers and Marketing Experts for a weekend of workshops and discussions about the publishing industry.  Quaint setting limited to 150 attendees, which gives EVERYONE a chance to pitch to top professional agents.  Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall.
April 20 – 22, 2017.

An all-inclusive writing workshop near Yosemite National Park.  Start (or perfect) your novel in one of the most beautiful places on earth!
The Yosemite Writing Retreats are fiction writing workshops for both new and established writers, located just 10 minutes from Yosemite National Park.  The writing workshop covers the technical craft of writing fiction along with exercises and peer critique.
May 5 – 7, 2017
Since 1972, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference has been connecting writers with mentors, agents and editors. Every summer, writers in many genres from around the world gather to participate in a magical week of intensive work focused on story, voice, craft, marketing, and networking with fellow writers and publishing professionals. The conference has hosted a legacy of America’s best writers during the last 45 years.
June 18 – 23, 2017!


Join authors, editors and agents who have a passion for the art and craft of writing. Jackson Hole Writers Conference attendees are young and old, veterans and novices who do it “for the love of the writing.” Fifty percent of our registrants return year after year.
Workshops from novelists, creative non-fiction writers, poets, agents, and editors. Whatever your interest, you will learn more than the nuts and bolts of the writing profession, from cultivating ideas to making the sale. Our goal is to help our writers get published.
Attendees enjoy access to agents, editors, and writing faculty.
Jun 22 – 24, 2017

Writer’s Retreat Workshop:  Create one-on-one with brilliant instruction oriented authors, agents and editors, with plenty of quiet time to focus on your work.  The WRITERS RETREAT WORKSHOP is an intensive learning experience for small groups of serious-minded writers who are committed to improving and completing their novels for submission. For those who consider their writing a vital part of their lives, one they wish to develop as fully as possible, WRW provides the ideal experience.

All work focuses on your novel, so while you work on your story’s structure, our dedicated staff will be available to brainstorm with you and meet 1-1 throughout the week.  In small group sessions, while learning how to diagnose your own and others’ style strengths and weaknesses, you’ll also boost your editing skills.  Private rooms, three meals daily, course materials: everything included.  You’ll attend class each morning and be taught WRW’s in-depth course for crafting your novel, of any genre, for publication.
May 6 – 13, 2017

The Catamaran Writing conference will be held at the Robert Louis Stevenson School located on the 17 Mile Dr in Pebble Beach, California, from August 6th to the 10th, 2017.  Registration includes four nights lodging at the Robert Louis Stevenson campus on 17-Mile Drive, 12 meals, 4 morning sessions of literary workshops in a small group of 7-12 participants, daily literary themed excursions, as well as daily craft lectures, and nightly receptions and presentations.
August 6 – 10, 2017

Big Sur on Cape Cod: ABLA brings top tier professionals together with both beginner and seasoned writers on the east coast in picturesque Cape Cod. Space is limited. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned writer, don’t miss this incredible opportunity. Program Focus: Children’s, Young Adult
Sep 22 – 24, 2017

Each year, the Florida Writer’s Circuit puts four writers on tour through the state of Florida over two weeks, visiting nine schools on the east and west coasts of Florida.  One Circuit week is held in the spring and one week in the fall for each writer.
The Florida Literary Arts Coalition’s Florida Writers Circuit hosts literary readings by published authors across several cities in Florida, pairing these readings with discussions and Q&A sessions. This allows time for writers to meet, share ideas, develop their craft and celebrate their successes, additionally allowing the public to experience new and creative literature while gaining insight to the creative process.

Learn More About Writing and Publishing
Manuscript critiques are an important part of writer conferences, providing a way for authors, to discuss their work one-on-one with experienced writers, editors and agents.  Learn even more about the craft of writing and gain an understanding of book business realities. Recharge your Batteries!  Return from the event motivated, relaxed and eager to sit down and write more!

See more YEARLY writer conferences here:



SECRET CINEMAS – Only 4 days left …


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Secret Cinemas: 10 Erotic Movie Fantasies

Giveaway for US Goodreads Members – ends March 10
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Opening SECRET CINEMAS, you are entering a world of sexual fantasy, passion and pleasure where you can explore and experience the powerful, captivating realm of erotic sexual adventures and escapades. Get it either for free as a print version at the Goodreads giveaway or order the eBook version at Amazon for $2.99



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Additional Earnings with Wattpad



What about earning some pocket money – even before you novel is published?  Through the Wattpad “Futures” program, interested writers can supplement their income with little effort. The program helps writers earn money by inserting ads between chapters of their Wattpad story.  Every time a reader views an ad, the writer earns money.

Let’s compare it with other reader/writer platforms, such as Goodreads, Facebook or Spotify, which also have advertisements on each page. They won’t give you a cent…

Maybe worth thinking about joining Wattpad if you are not already a member, especially when you are writing in the Young Adult, Sci-Fi, FanFiction or Romance categories. Don’t forget: “Wattpadders” are avid readers!  It will certainly not work from the first time you are uploading a chapter to Wattpad, and might even take several months – until you have enough followers.

Margaret Atwood, world-known best seller novelist and poet, Booker Prize winner is only one of two million authors, who upload single chapters or more to Readers have the chance to read, enjoy and critique manuscripts – mostly before authors finish and pre-edit them.

Canadian-based, founded in 2007, was initially providing a mobile platform for public domain works from Project Gutenberg. Within two years, the Wattpad app had been downloaded 5 million times.  Writers post work in chapters, which tend to be short, to make them suitable mobile.  Wattpad is entirely free for all of its users which means that authors are actually giving their work away for free – no sales on the Wattpad site!  However if your readers ask you, send them a list with links to all your sales pages.

According to Wikipedia:  

  • 85% of its traffic and usage comes from mobile devices
  • the site has almost 40 million unique visitors per month
  • there are over 100,000 story uploads per day
  • there have been over two million writers

Writers reach a global audience of millions of readers.
There’s nothing worse than writing a great book and then struggling to find readers. Other social networks aren’t wired for long-form reading like Wattpad.   Wattpad’s reader community of over 40 million people are hungry for great stories and spend 13 billion minutes per month on Wattpad.  At Wattpad, readers make up 90% of our community. This means that for every one writer there are ten readers.

At Wattpad you don’t have to have a finished manuscript to post and share your work. And in fact, it’s better if you don’t.  Serialization is what works best on Wattpad.  Think of your work like a television show.  Authors retain all rights to their work and are protected by copyright law in areas such as distribution, performance, and creation of the work.

Featured Story List and Contests
Wattpad also has a Featured Story list, which promotes content reviewed and approved by staff and an editorial review board. Many of these featured stories are written by self-published and professional writers from different genres.
Wattpad holds several smaller contests a year and one major one. The large annual contest is called “The Watty Awards”. Contests are open to anyone who has a Wattpad account.

Wattpad, in collaboration with Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet/novelist/literary critic, held the “Attys”; the first major poetry contest offering a chance to poets on Wattpad to compete against each other in one of two categories, either as an “Enthusiast” or a “Competitor”.

Wattpad “After Dark”
Read the steamiest romance stories for all passions and persuasions. If you love Romance novels or 50 Shades of Grey, you’ll love After Dark

Mature Romance includes, but is not limited to, Erotic Romance, Steamy Romance, New Adult, LGBTQ, Erotica, Dark Romance, and BDSM.  Get a free iTunes app and download steamy book chapters.

Making Money With a Kind of Affiliate Program.
Wattpad Futures gives the platform’s more than 2.3 million writers a chance to earn income in-story.  “In-story ads are placed strategically in chapter breaks of some of the most popular stories on the platform.”

Through the Wattpad Futures program, writers can choose to insert ads between chapters of their Wattpad story; every time a reader views an ad, the writer earns money.  
The more times the ad is viewed, the more you’ll get paid.  So, to optimize your earnings, keep updating your stories and continue engaging with the readers who support you!   

Porter Anderson of Publishing Perspectives explains: “ When an ad is available between chapters of a work on the platform, what the reader sees is an invitation to view it.  Writers are paid according to views. 90 percent of readers are engaging on mobile.  The Toronto, Canada, based “Wattpad Stars” is a stable of particularly popular writers on the platform.  More than $1 million was paid out to them last year, company officials say, for their abilities to draw traffic to their writings.”
“Readers have always encouraged their favorite storytellers with messages, comments, and votes.  Now, they can support Wattpad writers in a way that increases the writer’s income, without having to pay out of pocket.”
Wattpad Stars, an Accelerator for Top Writers.
The program helps writers take their skills to the next level, and provides brands and publishers with an opportunity to tap into Wattpad’s roster of talented digital influencers.
Wattpad describes their program that improves writers careers: “Wattpad Stars” are commissioned by top brands to write stories that entertain and engage audiences and some even see their work in print or as screen adaptations.  They also receive marketing and support from Wattpad to increase their presence and advance their careers.

if You Are Not a Member Yet…
Wattpad was established in 2006.  Today it has more than 45 million members spending an average of thirty minutes on the platform per visit.  There are more than 130,000 signups daily.  The service is offered in English, Spanish, Danish, Polish, Italian, Swedish, German, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Catalan, a total of more than 50 languages.

See how to get started on Wattpad


How to Run a Successful Crowd-Funding Campaign


In this series how you can earn more money as a writer, the following Crowdfunding article is NOT about getting rich, but rather how to get funds for your publishing project. It’s not meant to improve your personal income.

Crowdfunding is an amazing opportunity for authors to focus on: raising funds pre-publication, collecting pre-orders and testing market viability, finding their first readers and fans, getting feedback and future book reviewers.

Crowdfunding is an alternative way to bring in money for your book project. It could be for the print run; the layout and design; a marketing or publicity campaign; research that requires travel… just about anything. It’s free money to you, with a few strings attached…
For example: making sure rewards get out to donors in time,  and that you do what you say you are going to do, and certainly to declare it as taxable income and to pay your taxes. The expenses that authors incur in creating a book should more than offset the income so don’t get hung up on this. The good news is that you don’t have to pay it back and you have money to invest further.

Most business ideas in the world are funded because they have the ability to make someone else’s money. That’s what investment is, what lending is. If raising money isn’t your strength – and you don’t have access to a favorite grandma with oodles of cash to spare – you may just want to set your sights on becoming the next crowdfunding success story.
Supporters of your crowdfunding campaign are your (future) customers!  Crowdfunding is a way to pre-order books before they are produced and invaluable for a startup author-publisher.  Too often, authors write books before knowing the depth of their reader base. Crowdfunding means you have readers before your book is published.


Create Buzz for Your Book:
Conducting a crowdfunding campaign is a great way to land interest and support around a book pre-publication, an essential part of the overall success of a book. This allows authors to collect pre-orders for their book during their crowdfunding campaign.  The ability to collect pre-orders provides authors with an already active audience – and often reviewers – to jumpstart the success of their book once it’s published. Top crowdfunding sites are Kickstarter,







Since the site launched in 2009, Kickstarter projects have attracted total pledges of over three billion US-dollars.  The second successful site is IndieGoGo.

Carefully Read the Instructions!
You might have followed this IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign where 108,654 people raised €1,930,577 – almost 2 Million Euros in only 8 days.  On the second day, the IndieGoGo server broke down from the number of visitors to Thom Feeney’s site.  It could have been one of the most successful campaigns if … Yes, if Thom Feeney would have chosen “flexible funding”, one of the greatest features on IndieGoGo – and available at IndieGoGo – not on Kickstarter for example.
Using “flexible funding”, allows you to receive at least the funds that are donated, even if the target could not be reached.  So, DO READ their user tips before you sign up.   The same is true for funding of a non-profit cause.  Why pay high fees at Gofundme if you can get the same campaign at IndieGoGo and collect donations for a cause, without having to pay a high fee?
Success: How to Promote Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Quite a few authors had a successful campaign, securing funds to self-publish and print their e-books for the paper book market, others to print beautiful “coffee table books” featuring stunning photos.  IndieGogo takes 4% of your earnings if you reach your goal and 9% if you don’t.  Kickstarter is all or nothing.  If you don’t reach your goal – no money is exchanged, and backers receive their money back.  But if you do reach your goal you get the full amount minus 5% (and mines the bank transaction fees).

A successful crowdfunding campaign is a proof that a readership exists for your book.  Publishing means you have to sell books, and a crowdfunding campaign is a cheap way for you to test the waters.  If you create an interesting campaign, crowdfunding sites will promote it additionally and let the message go viral.

The term is crowdfunding means: You need a crowd to fund your idea.

There are several groups you’ll need to include in your marketing strategy, and each of these will require a different approach:

  • The new reader audience you want to attract
  • Any subscribers, followers, or fans in your social media world
  • Your existing personal network of friends and family
  • Acquaintances like co-workers and neighbors

Checking your email contacts, Facebook and Twitter friends and Google+ or LinkedIn communities for those who may help to support your campaign.  Make sure you are reaching out in a personal way and month in advance to genuinely reconnect.  No one would want to get an email from somebody they haven’t spoken with in three years, asking to “please support my campaign.”

Divide your lists between friends, family, acquaintances and business associates. Send different messages to each of these groups.  You wouldn’t send the same note about supporting your crowdfunding project to a business associate as you would to a family member or a good friend.  Evaluate who could help to spread the word about your campaign.

Identify people who could help promote your campaign. Maybe they are willing to post your campaign on their Facebook page, or mention your campaign in their email newsletter.  Try to find groups that have the same goals as you do. They’ will be the most motivated to support your efforts.

Only a small percentage – maximal 20% of any fan base – will actually donate.  So, the more followers and fans you can gather, the better your chances of success. Spend time to build a larger following. Google+, Facebook,  and Twitter are the key channels for the promotion of your campaign.

Once you collect the first 30% of your goal from your inner circle, cast your net wider to capture more influencers and target-audience members.  Be sure to include the media in your hard launch.  Offer a free article or small excerpt of your book to your local newspapers and neighborhood weekly’s, and include a line or two about your campaign.   Use press releases, social networks and buzz, created by early supporters to help increase your exposure and attract more backers.

New supporters will be more likely to contribute funds, once they can see that you have momentum and a solid base of donations.  Good luck!



Lots of Benefits for Writing Guest Blogs


If you read enough blogs in the writing and publishing field – which every writer should – you will find the names of successful writers over and over – writing content for others.  Their articles are almost always ending with a short bio and a link to their books or their website.
While it takes dedication to consistently write great posts, the benefits far outweigh the time investment:  Guest posting means writing articles or blog posts for other websites. There are numerous websites that require authentic and originally written posts on topics which are relevant to their website. At the same time, the guest writer might have a website that has some relevance to the blogging site, thus allowing for a mutual benefit:

  • A great advantage of guest blogging for others increases your exposure to more readers, while at the same time is helping you build your brand.
  • An author who has been published on relevant sites will most likely be seen as more credible than someone who has not written guest posts at all.
  • Increased website traffic is one of the main reasons why many writers choose to begin guest blogging.
  • Many websites allow writers to submit a bio and/or their social media profile URLs to be published at the end of the post. These links drive referral traffic and boost organic search engine rankings
  • Don’t forget the social media exposure from sharing buttons on these blogs
  • Many blog owners allow you to take the guest blog after a month and post it also on your own website.

Why Would Anyone Write 500 Guest Blog Posts on LinkedIn?
This is just what media specialist Bruce Kasanoff did: Using social media to attract new clients, a highly efficient and effective strategy, but only if your mindset is to help people first and to sell a distant second.

He explains further that engagement matters far more than views, which means Likes, Shares, and Comments.  “On LinkedIn, you can see the identity of everyone who Likes, Shares, or Comments on your articles.  The Internet is plagued by trolls, but LinkedIn has very few of them.  I can’t name another business site that attracts so many smart, perceptive and interactive professionals.  When I pose a question, I get often dozens or even hundreds of thoughtful answers.”

Another benefit: Everything you publish on LinkedIn is seen by your (professional) followers, and you can send it out via Twitter and Facebook to their social media accounts. It certainly helps to have lots of LinkedIn followers in the area of your writing.

Tips on How to Write Guest Blogs:

Follow the Guidelines
It seems obvious, but too many writers don’t follow the guidelines – at all. Don’t wonder when there is no answer to inquiries. Editors don’t waste their time to email you back with a link to their submission rules. Just as editors vary from one publication to another, so do guidelines.

Word count matters.
This is usually non-negotiable. Some publications state that any submissions over the word count won’t even be read. Guidelines clarify necessary items, such as a title, a bio, a PayPal account, or links to social media platforms. The guidelines also state whether to submit in the body of an email, as an attachment, or through a special format.

Study their writing styles, content, and the writer’s voice.
The better you match your pitch to the blog you want to write for, the greater your chances of success.

Important Reminder: How to Write a Web Guest Blog
Reading from a digital device is different from reading a book – and so is writing!

Being a Welcomed Guest Blogger
When you write guest posts for someone else, do the following:

  • Link to the post from your blog (or re-blog)
  • Promote it on Twitter and Facebook – several times per week
  • Thank the blog owner for the opportunity
  • Stick around and respond to comments on the post

Writer Blogs That Pay for Guest Posts
Write Naked:
The Dollar Stretcher:
Scary Mommy:
Make a Living Writing:

More Listings:

Write Guest Posts for High-Traffic Blogs
There is a great number of blogs which are almost online magazines, containing generally high-quality posts and are high-traffic with outstanding rankings in search engines.  These blogs may or may not pay contributors.  However, they will provide fantastic visibility for the author and can be used for the writer’s portfolio:

Writing Blogs

Freelancing Blogs

Business/Small Business Blogs

Freelancing Blogs

Blogging Theme Blogs

Travel Blogs

Book & Literature Blogs

Position yourself as an authority and well-known name in the literary and publishing industry.  Get lots of reader traffic backlinks to your own website and improve your Search Engine Rankings. Best of all: Have fun writing!
Excerpt from our upcoming book: How to Make More Money With Writing


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