Thursday, October 21, 2010

10 things hunters should never camouflage


So you're tromping through the woods on your way from or to your truck. You reach for your wallet. Why? Who knows? Maybe your keys are in your wallet. Maybe you need a stick of gum from your wallet. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you are taking out your camouflage wallet in the woods. Oops! There you go dropping your wallet. You've lost it! And everything else that was in your wallet. Bet you're wishing now it wasn't camouflaged, right?


Yes, we all know camouflage shotguns and rifles are hip. If they're not, then why does everybody and their brother seem to have one or want one? But imagine you are up in your deer stand and you set your longarm down or lean it against the tree while you're putting in a chew of tobacco. Agh! There goes your gun slipping off the edge of the deer stand! Now you climb down to retrieve your weapon and, guess what? You can't find it. Why? Because it blends in so well with the surroundings.

Chewing tobacco

Some brands of chewing tobacco come in a camouflage bag, or sometimes the chewer will have a special bag that's camouflage. Now what's worse than being miles away from a vehicle, out in the middle of nowhere, and losing your tobacco? Not much. Maybe getting shot in the leg. Keep your chew in a regular old bag. Probably the packaging it came in is best so you don't have to worry about losing your own personal special bag.


You don't want a camouflaged hat for one very important reason. You might get your head blown off by another hunter! Hunter orange, blaze orange, safety orange ... whatever you want to call it ... is what you should be wearing on your head if you want to keep it. Remember, safety first when it comes to hunting. Heck, safety first when it comes to any and all firearms use.


You've been out in the woods since four in the morning. You didn't even get a dang buck. Now it's late in the day and you're tired and want to go home. Where did you leave your truck? You thought it was over there, right? But now you can't find it. Why? Because you were an idiot and had your truck painted camouflage. Youwould be able to see it if you'd kept it a normal color, but now you get to have extra fun walking up and down the road looking for your vehicle.

Cell phone

You might need your cell phone in case of an emergency, so the last thing you should do is have it camouflaged. What if you are out in the woods and become injured? Or worse, wounded? Boy, that cell phone would come in handy. But you just dropped it and it's camouflaged, so you can't see it now. Good luck limping back to the truck and waving down another driver.


You should be able to look down and see your feet clearly while in the woods. Why? Safety. You should be able to see where you are walking at all times. Yes, you can look ahead to where you are about to step, but camouflaged footware doesn't help. It hinders. Just watching out for you. Don't come crying to me when you break your ankle.


If you get lost, or if you become injured, and are in the forest for a long period of time, water can become the difference between life and death. If you drop or lose your camouflaged canteen or water bottle, you might have trouble finding it again. You don't want that to happen if you are desperately in need of water.


Why make it harder to find an item you might really, really need? Sure, a camouflage flashlight in the middle of the night doesn't make much of a difference. But if you lost or misplaced your flashlight during the day, you want to be able to find it. Why? Uh, because when the night rolls around, you're going to need it.


A knife is one of the most important tools to have. Even a basic knife can cut, be used as a screwdriver and perform all kinds of other tasks ... many you won't even realize until they come up. So don't camouflage your knife. If you drop it, it'll be tough to find. And you never know when a good knife, even just a pocket knife, might come in important.

Related links
10 unusual firearms
10 unusual revolvers
10 bear safety tips

Thursday, October 7, 2010

10 signs you should dump your boyfriend

You catch him in bed with your sister
Or maybe it's your mother or your aunt or your uncle or your nephew or your best friend's third cousin from out of town. Anytime you catch your boyfriend in bed with anyone that's not you, that's a pretty good sign you should dump him right then and there, no questions asked.

He uses your credit card without asking
And lifts cash from your purse or wallet without asking. That is a sign. And no, it's not a little sign, nor even a simple street sign. It's a great big, horns blaring, lights flashing, train rolling, clowns doing tricks sign that you need to drop your boyfriend at the nearest corner. Or off the nearest bridge.

He's on the run from the law
Yes, you love him. But is it really worth putting up with all the garbage that goes along with him being on the run? The having to put all the bills in your name? The having to move every few months? The having to pay for everything with cash? You know, fun stuff like that? You still want him? Then he's all yours, and you'll face time behind bars, too, for harboring a fugitive. Good luck with that.

He's on the run from the mob
Okay, facing a jail sentence is one thing, but facing a bullet between the eyes is altogether something else. Sister, drop this loser. He's not only going to bring you down, but he's going to bring you down to the mortuary. For good.

He keeps looking at other women
Maybe you're not the jealous type and don't mind your guy checking out other chicks. But looking can lead to talking, and talking can lead to phone calls, and phone calls can lead to meeting, and that can lead to a whole lot more. Babe, correct this behavior in your man or don't come crying to me when you catch him in bed with your sister.

He keeps looking at other men
And not in a competitive, he-man sort of way. You know what I mean. He also knows the brand names of your shoes and your purse. And he likely knows the names of your perfume and eyeliner. Men generally don't know that kind of stuff. Your man, honey, is not for you. Or any other woman. Even if he won't admit it to himself.Especially if he won't admit it to himself. Have a talk with him, get him some professional help is need be, but it's over. If not now, 10 years from now when you catch him winking at the paper boy or somebody.

He disappears for long periods of time
How long? Maybe it's just a few hours here and there. Or maybe it's for a few days at a time. Whatever it is, if he can't come up with a realistic reason, with actual proof, of where he's been and what he's been doing, then you need to dump him flat. He's doing something he shouldn't be doing. It's either something illegal or something you won't approve of. Either way, drop him like a bowling ball from a helicopter.

He's drunk more than he's sober
Or maybe he's high more than he's not. That's a bad sign. No, he might not be cheating on you, but it still means he loves something else a whole heck of a lot more than he loves you. And it's only going to lead to trouble down the road. Sure, maybe now he's only drinking a case of beer a day, but in a year it might be a keg a day. That's expensive. And it brings trouble. Trouble you don't need. Dump. Him. Flat.

He works all the time but never has any money
Something's up. It might be another woman. It might be a drug habit. Or maybe he's playing the ponies too much. Whatever it happens to be, it's something that's costing a bunch of cash. Which means he's not good with money and/or has no control over how he spends money. Yes, you could be the big woman and step in and try to take charge, but that's not going to work. Somehow, some way, he's going to keep on doing whatever it is he's doing that's eating up the cash.

He spends all his time writing online
Is he really writing all the time? Or is he peeking at porn all the time? Or hooking up with someone else online? You don't know! These men are crazy these days. He could be doing anything online all the time. Heck, you hear about those people who get addicted to the Internet. It's just like a drug addiction. You need to dump this loser, and fast.

More links with attitude
10 drivers who increase my road rage
10 people at the grocery store who make me hate
Why is it phone books suck so much nowadays?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Yes, you can make a living as a fiction author

The other day I was reading a blog about fiction writing and authors. The blogger was bemoaning the fact that it's tough for fiction writers to find a paying market today. There are fewer and fewer paying magazines and online e-zines that pay anything. The economy and current changes in technology are forcing book publishers, and even literary agents, to pass on many books and authors.

I say all that is hogwash.

It's the best time ever to be a fiction writer.

What makes me say this? Several factors.

For one, that changing technology I mentioned above is mainly the recent arrival of easy digital publishing. Anyone, even a writer who has never been professionally published, can now upload their files onto Amazon at its DTP service and at Barnes and Noble's Pubit service, which makes those books available for sale to the general e-book reading public.

Also, there are several content publishing websites such as Triond where one can self publish their fiction.

Yes, yes, we all know the stories about how awful self-published stories and books are. But that's changing. Sure, there is still plenty of drek out there, but more and more self-published authors are hiring professional editors to edit their work, and some are hiring professional artists and designers to do the covers for their books and e-books. The self-publishing world is changing, too, and many self-published books are better than they would have been just a few years ago, despite the stigma that sometimes goes along with self-published books.

Best yet, these self-published authors can actually make money through their digital e-books. Can one make a living at it? Yes. But there are four things a self-published author must have to succeed:


As mentioned above, a self-published author must have quality material. They must learn their craft and know it well. For some this is easy. For others, it might takes years of study and writing and reading before they are ready to publish. Most professionals attend college for several years and/or have an apprenticeship period that can last as long as a couple of years, so why shouldn't writers also give themselves at least that much time to become good at their craft? Also, it helps to know how to editor your own work and how to design book covers, though you can hire out that work or ask accomplished acquaintances to help in this regard. Remember, you want your material to be professional, because that will bring more readers and bring back readers.


Some writers are bored with marketing. Others absolutely hate it. But if you want to make a living as a writer, it's something you're going to have to do. What's the secret? There really isn't one. Different tactics work for different writers. Some writers find success with blogging, others use social networking, some by advertisements or post on others' blogs. There are tons of different ways to market yourself and your writing, many of them for little or no cost. Just keep in mind that marketing is important because you need to get your name and your books' names out there to potential readers, but always keep in mind you don't want to antagonize possible customers by spamming and being annoying online.


For many writers, this is the hardest part. The waiting. In the old, pre-digital, days, writers had to have oodles of patience. Sometimes they'd have to wait months or years just to hear back from a publisher or literary agent. Today, if you decide to go the traditional print publishing route, you still have to face all that waiting. But there is another option, and that's digitally self publishing your work. Still, you have to have patience. Once you've written your book, edited it and uploaded to online sites, and done tons of marketing, you still have to wait. Readers aren't going to just come rolling in by the hundreds. It takes time. You're going to have to keep marketing, blogging, writing more, doing whatever it takes each and every day to make sure potential readers know about your work. And guess what, eventually people will start to notice. It might take a few months, maybe even a year or so, but if you have quality material, readers will eventually take note and your sales will start coming through.


Yes, you want quality. That's most important, and it should come first. But you also want quantity. What does this mean? Basically, the more books or short stories you have online making money for you, the better chance you have of being able to make a living as a fiction author. How many e-books will it take for you to making a living writing? Who knows? It all depends upon how large an audience will come flocking to read your books. For some lucky authors, one or two books will bring in enough readers and money, but for most authors it's going to take several books. So, again, remember to be patient and to keep working at it.

Related links
New for epic fantasy fans, The Kobalos Trilogy
There's nothing wrong with writing for money
Logical Misanthropy, horror and fantasy author's blog

Sunday, September 12, 2010

10 Writing Lessons From Spaghetti Westerns

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (2-Disc Collector's Edition)"In this world there's two types of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig." - Blondie (Clint Eastwood) in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
What could this quote possibly have to do with writing? A lot. A whole lot. If you are a writer, you have to be willing to be the type of person who digs. You have to be the type of person who gets things done. Procrastination is your enemy. If you are trying to be a writer, yet you can't find yourself completing a task, perhaps you should look for another line of work. Writing is about accomplishing. If you can never complete a project, an article or short story or novel or whatever, you're not a professional writer. You're a hobbyist, at best. And the people with loaded guns? Those are your editors and publishers, and often the readers, too, who want and need you to get down in the dirt and dig, dig, dig.

"Two hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. We're gonna have to earn it." - Blondie (Clint Eastwood) in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
For most people, two hundred thousand dollars actually is quite a bit of money. But regardless of the actual dollar amount, if you are trying to be a professional writer, sooner or later you're going to have to write for money. Some people balk at that. Some seem to think any artist who is doing their craft for money is a sell-out. That's not true. Any artist doing their craft for money is a professional. And that money has to be earned.

"People with ropes around their necks don't always hang." - Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Fiction writers need to keep readers on a hook, to keep them hanging, at least until the end of a tale. This is done through building suspense, regardless of the genre of tale, through doling out certain amounts of information, usually about plot or character, but not too much information.

"The question isn't indiscreet, but the answer could be." - Colonel Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), in For a Few Dollars More
This is related to the hanging quote above. The writer doesn't want to alienate readers by cheating them, by leaving out obvious, important facts early in a tale, but can keep the reader's interest high by revealing just a little, then a little more, and a little more, and so on until the story is complete and the reader knows all the information. Just remember, don't cheat the reader.

"Every gun makes its own tune." - Blondie (Clint Eastwood) in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Every writer is different. If you read Tolstoy's War and Peace backwards and forwards for years, possibly even had it memorized, then sat down to write your own version of the tale, your version would be unique. There's a saying that there are only so many plots. That might be true, but no one has seen a plot through your eyes and through your writing style until you've got it out there for others to see. Early on in your writing, don't worry so much about being original. When you're a beginner, you need to focus on getting things done. Later on, after you've some experience, then is the time to truly focus on your own voice. Just remember, each writer is different.

"When a man with a .45 meets a man with a rifle, the man with the pistol will be a dead man." - Ramon Rojo (Gian Maria Volonte), in A Fistful of Dollars
Actually, despite how the story played out in the movie, this quote is generally true. You don't bring a handgun to a rifle match, because the guy with the handgun will be outgunned. The guy with the rifle will have better range, quite often will have more ammunition immediately available, and usually will have a more powerful weapon. Of course, there are always exceptions, but not often. What does any of this have to do with fiction writing? Know your stuff. If you're writing about weapons, whether modern or historic or firearms or blades, make sure you know what you're talking about. You don't have to be an expert marksman or sword fighter, but you should at least know enough about weapons so your readers (many of whom will know about weapons) won't laugh at you. Because those readers might not be back for your next story or book, and they won't be shy about telling their other reader friends about how much of a doofus you are. And even if you don't write about weapons, you're going to be writing about something. So, to repeat, know your stuff,

"After a meal, there's nothing like a good cigar." - Blondie (Clint Eastwood) in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Actually, I find this one quite true. I love a good cheroot after a meal. But I digress. This quote relates to writing in this manner: After the climax of your story has come to fruition, that doesn't mean the entire tale has come to an end. Hopefully your climax lead to the main resolution of the story, but there still might be some lesser things needing said, or at least worth being said. Maybe it's a short examination of the resolution's effect about a character. Whatever it may be, this denouement helps to tie up any lose ends for the story and the characters. A denouement is not always necessary, but quite often it is. One key to a solid denouement is to keep it short; readers have already got the gist of the tale, and they're ready to wrap things up. And don't cheat the readers by leaving something out.

"When two hunters go after the same prey, they usually end up shooting each other in the back." - Colonel Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), in For a Few Dollars More
This one basically means, "don't worry about what other writers are doing." Or, don't worry so much about following trends. Sure, vampire novels are really hot right now, but they might not be in a year or two. Another example would be young adult novels; those are popular right now, but will they be in six months? Maybe, maybe not. But you as a writer shouldn't worry about that, about trying to follow what's hot. Why? Because if you do so, you're likely to miss whatever window of popularity is still available for such literature. Unless you are an extremely fast writer and can have a novel done in a couple of weeks (which isn't impossible), then it's going to take you a while to write that novel. By the time the editing is finished and you've gone through a publisher or self-published, trends will likely have changed. That young adult vampire novel you wrote will possibly be considered trite or hackneyed by the time you can get it out to readers. That doesn't mean you shouldn't write such a novel, if that's what you feel inclined to do, but that you should write what you feel impelled to write, whatever it may be.

"Sometimes the dead can be more useful than the living." - Joe (Clint Eastwood), in A Fistful of Dollars
Learn from the classical masters of literature. Sure, their writing styles are outdated and will seem boring to many modern readers, but they can still teach a lot about plotting and characterization. Literary masterpieces are often also quite strong at helping to teach writers how to emotional involve readers, which is always important. You want those readers to like your writing, right? Then make them become emotionally involved with your characters, and those readers will love you and will be back for your next book or story.

"When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk." - Tuco (Eli Wallach), in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Talking about writing isn't writing. Reading isn't writing. Only writing is writing. If you want to be a professional writer, you have to write. Don't forget that. Getting the writing done is half the job. The rest is editing and promotions and all kinds of other stuff. But remember, you have to have the writing part done before you can move ahead with the rest.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Money should flow to the writer, but always?

Among fiction writers there is an old saying that "money should always flow to the writer." Basically, this means fiction writers should be paid by publishers, and should not pay their own money to be published.

It's become a cliche.

However, most times it is true.

That old saying is basically an attack against vanity publishing, in which a publisher charges the writer to be published. By many fiction writers, this is considered a scam, and they're not necessarily wrong. If a writer is paying to be published, the publisher is making their money from writers, not from the readers, and that's not really publishing, at least not traditional publishing.

Until recently, most self-publishing ventures were some form or other of vanity publishing, and have long been looked down upon by more traditional writers and publishers.

But technology has changed much in the book publishing world in the last few years. Digital books are exploding, becoming more and more popular by the day. With digital publishing of e-books, writers can now publish their own works online at sites such as Smashwords or for e-reader devices such as the Kindle by Amazon without having to lay down any cash because these companies make their money through percentages of sales of the writers' e-books.

The writer doesn't have to shell out any money, the companies distributing the e-books make money, and everyone's happy. Right?

No, not really. Technically, this new wave of digital publishing is still self publishing, though it's no longer vanity publishing because the writer doesn't have to pay to be published. Unfortunately, self publishing raises the hackles of a lot of people, many of them working within the traditional print publishing field.

But not everyone. Some writers and even editors and publishers are joining in this wave of digital publishing.

The arguments on blogs, boards and forums become quite heated at times, but the truth of the matter is that the technology is here to stay. Currently there is nothing to stop a writer from digitally self-publishing their own work, despite a number of people frowning upon it.

It's also generally looked down upon for writers to spend any of their own money to promote their own work. The publisher is traditionally supposed to take care of that.

But does that thinking hold with today's technology?

Not entirely.

Yes, money should flow to the writer, and yes, writers should not pay to be published.

But guess what? Once a writer begins publishing their own works, they are no longer just a writer. They are also a publisher.

Which means, maybe there's nothing wrong with a writer spending his or her own money for promotions, marketing, etc.

Please don't get me wrong. I don't believe writers should go out and spend tons of money to get published or to purchase advertising or anything like that. But I also feel writers shouldn't limit themselves because of some stigma of spending their own money to promote their business.

Because a self-published writer is indeed endeavoring upon a business. In the U.S., if you make more than $600 a year from your writing, that's a business. If you make less than $600, that's a hobby.

One secret successful writers have learned is that the writing is the easy part (and often the most fun part). It's the promotions that's the real hard work. Promoting one's own writing, especially in an appropriate manner that is not spamming potential readers, takes a lot of time and effort. In fact, it can take more time to promote a book than it can to write the book!

Again, I'm not advocating writers spending a bunch of money. But I am suggesting writers consider doing some research into promotions, then possibly spending wisely. Remember another old saying, "if it's too good to be true, it probably is." So beware of all the scams trying to take your money, because plenty of them are out there.

Related links
New for epic fantasy fans, The Kobalos Trilogy
Writing for a Living, a blog for online writers
Logical Misanthropy, horror and fantasy author's blog

Thursday, August 12, 2010

50 ways to annoy Triond writers

  1. Copying a Triond writer’s articles. It’s called plagiarism. It’s illegal, as well as immoral.
  2. Copying their article titles. This one’s just silly.
  3. Copying the subject matter of one of their articles. This one isn’t as bad as others, but it still shows a lack of consideration, if nothing else. Also, the time element has to be taken into account. If two articles with the same subjects are published within a day of one another, it’s kind of cheesy. But if several months or years have passed, no harm, no foul.
  4. Posting tons and tons of your own links on the Triond forums.
  5. Posting tons and tons of anyone’s links on the Triond forums.
  6. Trash talking another writer on the forums when they’ve done nothing wrong. Are you 14 and still in junior high?
  7. Leaving spam on article comments.
  8. Leaving tons of links to your own articles on another’s articles.
  9. Messaging another Triond writer and begging them to read your articles.
  10. Messaging another Triond writer more than once and asking them to “friend” you on Triond.
  11. Messaging another Triond writer more than once and begging them to “friend” you on any other site.
  12. Trash talking Triond for stupid reasons on the forums. There are, at times, legitimate reasons to be upset with Triond. Most reasons on the forums aren’t legitimate. They’re stupid, and make you sound petty and stupid.
  13. Lying in the forums about how you’ve made tons and tons of money on Triond. It’s old. It’s boring. And it’s hardly ever true. You look like a fool, at best. And anyone who spends a fair amount of time on Triond already has a pretty good idea of who the big earners are. You’re not one of them.
  14. Posting your referral links to other sites in the Triond forums, without pointing out it’s a referral link. We’re not stupid. We don’t mind helping out someone from time to time, just not those who are trying to trick us.
  15. Writing stupid articles and having them do very, very well. This one’s not your fault. You got lucky. It just annoys the rest of us.
  16. Writing really good articles that make money. Yes, the rest of us are still jealous.
  17. Going to another site and trash talking Triond writers. Then returning to Triond and acting as if nothing has happened. Many Triond writers use more than one site. They’ll know.
  18. Trying to police the Triond forums. I’m the first to admit, the forums have a lot of garbage. But in all the years Triond has been around, the staff has shown next to no interest in policing the forums. Neither should you. It is what it is.
  19. Going to another site and trash talking Triond, then coming right back to Triond to publish your articles. This one makes you look like an imbecile. As always, there are legitimate gripes with Triond. Just be intelligent in what you complain about.
  20. Trying to write in English when you don’t know the language very well. This is another one that really isn’t your fault. You’ve got to learn, right? But feeding out bad English doesn’t improve your chances of drawing viewers, and it hurts the heads of the rest of us trying to read it. Suggestion: Don’t try to write in English on Triond until you know the language better. Or perhaps there are sites similar to Triond that allow other languages? Just an idea.
  21. Being bigoted against those who can’t write English very well.
  22. Blowing up on the forums about your personal religious/anti-religious/spiritual/political/whatever beliefs. We don’t care.
  23. Not accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
  24. Writing about the same subject matter. All. The. Time. No one wants to tell you what to write, but come on. It gets boring after a while.
  25. Posing as an expert when you’re not. Other writers will catch on to this. How? Because some of them really are experts.
  26. Talking on and on about how “real writers do it for the love of writing or to express themselves, NOT for the money.” No. You’re wrong. And you’re an idiot. Real writers write because they love writing, enjoy expressing themselves AND want to make money, if not a living, through their writing. Anything else is a hobby, not a calling.
  27. Pretending to be someone you’re not on Triond. Sooner or later others will catch on.
  28. Commenting on the Triond forums under multiple user names. Again, others will catch on.
  29. Being overly promotional on Triond. It’s okay to post a link every once in a while, or from time to time to mention whatever it is you’re selling, but doing it often is annoying. Others will shut you out, and this won’t help you sell whatever it is you’re selling. Annoy enough people, or the wrong people, and they’ll make it their personal goal to attack you and your product on Triond and beyond. That doesn’t do you any good.
  30. Not helping beginning Triond writers. Sometimes it’s fun to be flippant on the Triond forums, but it also doesn’t hurt to help out the newbies. You were a newbie once, remember? If the newbies get a little help, they’ll soon add to the Triond community instead of slinking away or worse, by becoming annoying.
  31. Leaving extremely brief, almost unrelated comments on Triond articles. They’re usually something like “Nice article.” These comments scream “I’ve read your articles, so please read mine!” If you have something to say, say it. If not, just click the “Like It” button and move one.
  32. Posting on the forums that you have some new way to make others money, if not out-and-out rich. Everyone has seen your scam or whatever other kind of BS you’ve got going on. We know. We will avoid you like the plague.
  33. Screaming “censorship!” No. Censorship is what a government does. Private entities, such as individuals and businesses, do not have to publish your garbage. You can write it all you want, and you can find other ways to publish it if you so desire, but you don’t have the right to force anyone to publish anything of yours.
  34. Bad language. Oh, wait, who the f*ck am I kidding?
  35. Complaining about how little money you make from Triond.
  36. Especially if all you write are poems or religious articles.
  37. Or post images on Picable.
  38. Bad speling. It cun be enfuriating. Especialy considring Triond is spposed to catch this klnd of thang.
  39. Being the grammar police. Triond is basically a free for all. We write what we want. You don’t have to read it.
  40. Writing poetry.
  41. Then begging others to read it.
  42. Begging others to read anything you’ve written. Learn the word “promotions.” Begging and spamming are not involved.
  43. Acting like a know-it-all. No one knows it all at Triond. Okay, maybe one or two people. But you’re not them.
  44. Going on the forums and acting as if you are a Triond employee. It’s been done. A billion times. And it wasn’t cute the first 500.
  45. Complaining about how much work Triond is, and you should be making more money. No one forced you to come here. Spend your time job hunting if you want to make money.
  46. If you actually work for Triond, one way to tick off writers is by cutting their pay. Without telling them about it.
  47. Coming up with a list of 50 ways to annoy Triond writers.
  48. Writing a follow-up article titled something like “50 ways to be nice to Triond writers” or some such nonsense.
  49. Coming up short on your lists.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Online writers have to know when to cut back

If you're a writer like me who utilizes some of the online content publishing websites, time is precious to you. How so? Because these sites do not pay much money, and it takes a lot of work not only to write your own articles but also to promote those articles.

For beginning online writers, it's best early on to try out at least a half dozen of these sites, perhaps even more. Eventually the writer should find a site that works best for himself or herself, a site that fits all their needs and is easy to use for them.

For me, the site that best fits all my current needs is Triond, though I have my quibbles about Triond. I also routinely use Bukisa, RedGage, Gather, Xomba and, until recently, Helium. Over the last year that I've been blogging and writing regularly online, I've tried out another half dozen sites, but I've always come back to a core group.

However, I've decided it's time to cut back and to utilize fewer sites, probably just Triond and Bukisa.


Because time is essential to me. Writing is not a hobby for me. It's how I make a living, how my bills are paid and my family gets fed. And since I can't magically create more time, I have to focus on what's essential, on what works for me as a writer.

As I mentioned, I no longer use Helium for writing and publishing. Helium is a great site. In fact, it's one of the better paying content publishing sites out there. But Helium also takes up a lot of time. Not only do you have to write and promote your own articles, but to make money at Helium you also have to spend lots of time reading and reviewing others' writings. Sorry, but I don't have time for that.

RedGage is a nice site, and I like it a lot, but the site pays you through a gift card. Initially the idea of the gift card sounds cool because it works just like a debit card. However, the problem I've found is that after you've had the card for six months, you are charged a fee of roughly $3 per month just to keep the card. While $3 isn't a lot, RedGage isn't exactly a site where I make a lot of money each month. In other words, I would almost be writing at RedGage for free. Sorry, time to move on.

The other sites I mentioned, and other sites I've tried out in the past, have their good sides and bad sides, but they don't pay enough in my opinion or they make it too difficult to make any money at all. So, time to move on.

Yes, there are those who will argue that Triond also is not an easy site with which to make money. And that's true. But I've already spent more than a year on Triond and I've built up an audience there and have learned how to use Triond well enough to bring me in some money. I also like that I can link my AdSense account with Triond, which makes me even more money. Adding AdSense is a huge bonus for me.

Also, there might be those who ask why I'm sticking with Bukisa since Bukisa also doesn't pay well. The reason: Because Bukisa brings a fair number of viewers each month to my Triond articles through my links. Simple enough, yes?

Writers have to make adjustments, and more importantly, they have to know when and why to make those adjustments. If new content publishing sites spring up, or if the old sites make major changes, I'll probably give them a try. But for now, I'm sticking with what works for me. If you're a writer, try out your own things, then stick with what works for you.

Just remember that sometimes you have to make a change.

More writing links.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

100 ways to show I love you

  1. Dance together with music.
  2. Dance together without music.
  3. Give roses. Out of the blue. For no reason.
  4. Give chocolates. Anytime.
  5. Leave short, romantic notes about the house.
  6. Write a sappy love poem and leave it for your loved one in a special place where you know they'll find it.
  7. Sing a song for your loved one.
  8. Play a musical instrument for your loved one.
  9. Bake cookies together.
  10. Jewelry is always nice.
  11. Read poetry to the one you love.
  12. Take a carriage ride together, preferably through a park or other wooded area.
  13. Be there for the good times.
  14. And the bad.
  15. Carve your names on an old tree.
  16. Hold hands.
  17. Cry during a movie.
  18. Go on a picnic together.
  19. Take a day hike to a romantic spot.
  20. Go simple. Go old fashioned. Dinner and a movie.
  21. Give a single rose.
  22. Have a movie date night at home. You make the popcorn.
  23. Teddy bears are quite popular.
  24. Just talk.
  25. And pay attention to what the other one says.
  26. Give coupons for free a back massage.
  27. Give a back massage.
  28. Smile when he or she enters the room.
  29. Always say goodbyes.
  30. Shovel the sidewalk when it snows.
  31. Leave a trail of rose petals from the front door to a pleasant surprise, perhaps a hot bath or special dinner.
  32. Sing together.
  33. Sip cocoa together by a fire.
  34. Go on a vacation together. Just the two of you.
  35. Make dinner.
  36. And don't complain about it.
  37. Foot massages are often popular.
  38. Take dancing classes together.
  39. Take cooking classes together.
  40. Teach a class together.
  41. Spend a weekend together at a bed and breakfast.
  42. Leave a rose and love note on his or her windshield.
  43. Send an e-mail from work that says you miss them.
  44. Say, "You are the best thing to ever happen to me."
  45. Let him or her take a nap while you answer the phone, run the errands, take care of the kids, etc.
  46. Write a romance novel or poetry collection about your significant other. Have it bound and/or published. Give them a signed copy with the words "I love you" written above your signature.
  47. Laugh together.
  48. Cry together.
  49. Do something fun together.
  50. Snuggle.
  51. Especially when watching TV.
  52. Wash all the laundry in the house.
  53. Sleep in together.
  54. Rub noses.
  55. Go for long walks together.
  56. Make love, not sex.
  57. Say something nice to him or her.
  58. Compliment him or her.
  59. Look at old photos together.
  60. Take out the garbage. Without being asked.
  61. Thank his or her parents for bringing them into the world.
  62. Create a blog about how much you love them.
  63. Play his or her favorite board game together.
  64. Go house hunting together. Even if you aren't buying a house.
  65. Go for a long Sunday drive.
  66. Go bicycling together.
  67. Watch sunsets together.
  68. Surprise him or her with a night out on the town.
  69. Whisper sweet nothings in their ear.
  70. Go shopping together at his or her favorite store.
  71. Sit in the same room and quietly read books with one another.
  72. Do house chores together.
  73. Work in the yard together.
  74. A good hug can mean a lot.
  75. Call a radio station and have his or her favorite song dedicated over the air.
  76. Slip a secret note into his or her pocket.
  77. Make a present. Yes, with your own hands.
  78. Share secrets about your childhoods.
  79. Lay atop a grassy hill and watch the stars together.
  80. Read bedtime stories to them.
  81. Play footsie under the table.
  82. Play footsie on the couch.
  83. Just play footsie.
  84. Throw them a surprise party.
  85. Go parachuting together.
  86. Watch soap operas together.
  87. A favorite is "All My Children." Pretend you're Kindle and Zack.
  88. Make a scrap book together.
  89. Take care of them when he or she is ill.
  90. Walk the dog(s) together.
  91. Go jogging together.
  92. Caresses.
  93. Sit close together.
  94. Did I mention chocolate? Yes? That's fine. Chocolate deserves two spots.
  95. Take them out for ice cream.
  96. Bring home their favorite ice cream.
  97. Make their favorite ice cream at home.
  98. Really, just about anything including ice cream will do.
  99. Say, "I love you."
  100. More than once a day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Too Many Links Can Ruin Online Articles

You've seen them. They're those articles that have tons and tons of links in them. Some of them can even seem like they are nothing but links.

It's annoying, isn't it?

First off, it can be jarring to the eye. All those links pop out at you, and with limited use can help to drive traffic to the link. But when there are seemingly nothing but links, all those bright colors and underlined text can strain the eyesight. That's not good for readers, and they're not going to like it. Which lessens the chances they'll click on the link anyway.

Too many links can also make it difficult to read an article because the reader won't know what is important. A link on a particular word or string of words can take a reader to more information, possibly adding to the original article. But too many links can leave the reader unsure as what is important, which link to click. And most readers aren't going to bother trying to follow every link because that is time consuming and just plain silly.

If you are an article writer and you have a lot of links you feel are important to an article, collect the links and add them in a box or sidebar to one side of the article, or perhaps inserted in a colored box within the article. This is more pleasing to the eye and allows the reader to look over the list so they can decide what is important to them. Remember to give your readers options, because it gives them a sense of control; otherwise they feel they are being controlled and they're likely to move on to someone else's articles.

And you don't want readers to move on to someone else's articles.

Why? Because you need your readers. If you write for money, you need your readers to help pay the bills. If you write for the love of writing, you need your readers to provide feedback and hopefully to help pay your ego.

Otherwise, why write. Right?

Yep, here are some links

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Online writers have to be willing to experiment

Let's say you write online for Triond. But you're not happy with the money you're making there. So you go over to a similar site, Bukisa, and you try publishing some articles there. Still not happy with the money. What do you do next?

It seems a lot of writers throw up their arms and give up at this point. No, you're not going to get rich writing for online content publishing sites, but there is money to be made. And quitting won't get it done.

First, you could try even more online writing sites. Do a search. There are plenty of them available. Try some of them out. Perhaps you'll like what they have to offer.

Still, if you're not going as many readers and as much money as you would like, there are still things to be done.

Try using social networking sites to promote your writing. Facebook and Twitter are obvious choices.

Another helpful option is to use online linking sites such as Reddit and StumbleUpon where you can place links to your favorite websites, including your own articles, in hopes of drawing in viewers. The key on these sites is to take an active role in the sites and not just spamming your own work. Join some groups on the sites. Leave comments on others' links and articles. Make friends. That will slowly begin to draw readers to your articles.

And you don't have to change writing sites if you don't want. If you like Triond, stick with Triond. But even here you can experiment with different ways to draw in viewers.

Another option is to write for more than one site. Try writing for three or four, or possibly more if you have the time. This will allow you to judge the benefits of each site, and eventually you might settle for one of them over the others or perhaps you'll figure out which one is best for you to place most of your focus upon.

Online writing isn't easy. You have to be willing to take chances. Some of those chances will fail big time for you, but others will pay off. It's all about experimentation.

So get out there and get to experimenting! Don't be afraid to try something new.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Triond allows profile pics to be short videos

In case you are a writer for the Triond online content publishing site and you haven't caught the latest news on the site, you can now turn your profile image into a short, 17 second, video of yourself. How do you do this? Hopefully you've got a camera. That's a good place to start. What's next? For the lowdown, check out the Triond blog.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The greatest of God's gifts: The Dog

DogA dog is a fine thing. Treated well, it will be your best friend. In fact, a dog can be better than a best friend. It will never empty your bank account nor steal from you. It will not try to sleep with your significant other. A dog will not become angry with you and speak words that are hurtful.

A dog can keep you warm on a cold winter's night. But it will give you your space on a warm night.

A dog can be your companion through thick and thin. When times are good, a dog can be there to wag its tail and share in your enjoyment. When times are tough, a dog can be there to give you a lick on the hand as a way to offer comfort, or it will simply curl up at your feet while staring up to you show someone cares.

Depending upon the breed, a dog might or might not take your last morsel of food, but that is within a dog's nature. You can't blame the animal for not being able to ignore its nose and its nature. Besides, it would only take your last bite of food if freely given or if left out in the open. And if your last bite of food is left out in the open, it must not have been that important to you.

All a dog asks for is a little food and water and some attention from time to time. A gentle pat or a good scratching will be enough to begin building trust, and that followed with a snack or two can increase that trust to true friendship.

Dogs can even be good workers. They can hunt for food. They can offer security as protectors.

Yes, some dogs are mean and can be dangerous even to the point of deadliness. Almost always these are dogs that have been cruelly mistreated by humans to the point of making the animal a monster. A monster created a monster.

And wolves are not dogs. They're just distant relatives. They don't count.

A dog might be the animal most like a human, or at least the animal which has the most good qualities alike with a human. Monkeys and apes might share more DNA with humans, and dolphins might be far more intelligent than your average dog, but neither approaches the levels of care and friendship and loyalty a dog can contain.

There's nothing wrong with cats, nor rabbits, either. Some people are cat people. Some dog people. Some rabbit people, or people for some other kind of animal. But no other animal, perhaps not even the horse, can share the same levels of love as the dog.

And it's true a dog can be dirty and stinky and wallow in some of the nastiest filth there is to find. But that is one of the reason's I say they are more like humans than any other animal.

Also, dogs are better than children. Dogs don't talk back. You don't have to pay for their college. You don't have to worry about them moving back home. A dog won't bring home friends who will eat everything in the refrigerator.

Thank you, Lord, for dogs. They make our lives that much more tolerable by their very simplicity and their love.

Related links

Beagles make great pets

Is a Weimaraner the right dog for you?

10 Dog Walking Tips

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lessons learned from a year writing on Triond

I first signed up with Triond in May of 2009 after researching many different online content publishing sites. Like many others who had come before me, I was hoping to be able to make money with Triond through my online writing. Initially I had hoped my 20 years of experience as a newspaper journalist would help me jump to the top of the pack of Triond writers, but while I've done okay, I wouldn't claim to be the best or even the most prolific writer on Triond.

My first lesson


What did I learn first on Triond? That getting views for one's articles is no easy task (and views are important because that's how you make money). Sure, I've signed up for plenty of social and linking networking sites such as StumbleUpon, Reddit, SheToldMe and others. Those sites do help, sometimes tremendously, but there's more work involved in gaining viewers than just adding a link to some site. For one thing, you have to spend time on those sites commenting on others' links, making friends, being social and hanging out; if you don't, you're not likely to get very many views.

It also doesn't hurt to utilize other writing sites, such as Bukisa or Gather or RedGage or other sites, because on most sites you can link back and forth between articles which can help drive traffic from one site to another. The key though is not to put a bunch of links in your articles, especially ones that are not appropriate, because this will look like spamming and will drive readers away. Two or three article links at the end of, or throughout, one of your articles is generally appropriate.

Quality isn't everything


When it comes to Triond, quality writing is not the key to success. I learned that very early. So what is the key to success? Quantity can help, but it's not a given having a bunch of articles on Triond will necessarily bring you a bunch of readers.

What draws readers are articles that are interesting to them. Sometimes such an article can be a simple how-to article, or a health article. Other times it can be an article that's tantalizing, the practically screams weirdness or unorthodoxy. It takes some experimentation here to find what works best for any given Triond writer; health articles and articles about writing tend to work pretty well for me, but I've also had good luck writing about movies, firearms and sometimes goofball stuff that just popped into my head one day.

Sorry, but I've seen no evidence that fiction or poetry does well at all on Triond. If you are using Triond in hopes of making money on your poems or short stories, it's probably not going to happen. Still, Triond can be a good place for beginning writers to get feedback on their writing.



Thank all that's holy for AdSense. I have used Google's AdSense for my blogs, but my online earnings really took off a few months ago when Triond began allowing its writer to earn from AdSense in their Triond articles. I easily make three times more money using AdSense with Triond than I do with Triond alone.

I know some who report having bad experiences with AdSense or who don't like some of Google's rules, but so far I have no complaints. Each month my earnings on AdSense have been double what they were the month before. I hope that trend continues.



Since making money through Triond was and remains one of my goals, I've also learned that publishing steadily on Triond helps to increase my readership (and thus my money intake). While I said above that quantity isn't so important, I will backtrack a little and suggest publishing at least one article a day does help to increase viewership.

I've noticed that if I go several days without publishing on Triond, overall my general number of views will wilt. But every day when I publish at least one article, the viewership of my other articles tend to go up some. I'm not sure if this is because readers are checking out my other articles or if those who publish often on Triond are given some kind of deference. Either way, writing and publishing every day does seem to help.
But what doesn't help much, at least in my experience, is publishing ten articles a day. Yes, it helped early on when I was starting at Triond, but over time it seemed if I published a bunch of articles in one day, I would end up getting fewer viewers overall.

A goal, then, should be to keep focus, to try to write and publish at least one article every single day.

Writing for money


I want to add here that while I do write for money, I don't write ONLY for money. I write because I like to. And because I'm decent at it. I'm also experienced at writing and editing. As I've said elsewhere, my professional experience as a writing might not always shine through on Triond, but that's because I allow myself a huge amount of leeway on Triond that I wouldn't in other, more professional venues. Why? Because quality isn't everything on Triond. Remember?

In closing


These are just a few of things I've learned on Triond during the last year. I've learned plenty of other lessons, such as that the Triond forums are pretty much a waste of time unless you're just wanting to hang out and shoot the breeze with some folks; the forums will help you to make friends on Triond, but they're not usually going to net you a whole bunch of readers to your articles.

But as I said, I've learned other lessons. To go into detail about them all would triple the length of this article, and I don't want to put you, the reader, through that. But if you are another Triond writer who has a question, please feel free to send me an e-mail or private message and I'll answer the best I can. I don't consider myself a Triond expert, but I don't mind helping other writers, so much so I've even created this blog for online content writers.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Should online content writers also blog?

Many writers turn to online content publishing sites as a way to make money or to simply express themselves and find readers. In many ways, this is a niche that has been filled by blogs over the last decade or so. Traditionally many bloggers started their own blog in hopes of making some money, but some just wanted to write and to be read.

But with more and more writers turning to content publishing sites, the question has to be raised of should these writer also blog. Often writers turn to content publishing sites because it is easy to get started and there is often a direct way to make money (though usually not a lot of money, at least not with a lot of work).

Still, it's pretty easy to start a blog. However, it's not as easy to make money from a blog. While some content publishing sites pay directly, making money from a blog is a different story. Generally bloggers have to sign up with various advertising services, then place advertisements on their blog; the hope if lots of viewers will come to the blog and click on the advertising links so the blogger will make money.

It often doesn't work out this way. Making money through blogging takes time and effort. It's work. Writing blog posts is the easy part. The hard part is drawing readers to your blog.

Still, online content writers are usually on the prowl anyway for potential readers. Many of these writers utilize various networking and linking sites in hopes of drawing those readers. The work is similar, if not often the same, as what needs to be done to bring viewers to a blog.

So, if you're already doing the work, why not also blog?

There are reasons not to blog. It's more work, for one thing. If an online writer is already busy writing for various content sites and is also busy promoting their online writing, it adds to their workload if they have another site and/or articles to promote. Also, as pointed out above, it can be difficult to make money through a blog; even if you draw in viewers, that doesn't mean they're going to click on the advertisements. Writing for a content site, such as Triond or Bukisa, that pays directly per article views can be enticing for many writers because it means they still have to get the readers but they don't have to worry about what the readers do once they get to an article or page.

However, all that being said, it's already a lot of work trying to get viewers and to make money as an online content writer. In my opinion, as one of these writers, I'm already doing much of the work that could be related to blogging. So why not blog? Yes, it will be a little more work, but I don't believe it'll be so much more work that it can't pay off eventually.

Patience is the key. Building an audience takes time, and if you can get a steady number of readers every day going to your blog, chances are some of them are going to click on your advertisements. Or they might link to your blog from their own blog or another site, which could bring even more readers. Building that audience takes time, but it might just be worth it in the long run.

Despite the claims of many sites on the Web, there are no get-rich-quick schemes that work. If you're a blogger and/or an online content provider, you've got to be willing to put in the work to draw in an audience.

So, I'll keep writing for these content sites and I'll keep blogging. Besides, blogging adds one more way I can find readers and make money, and I can use my blog to link to my online articles and my articles to link to my blogs. It only makes sense to me.

Related links
How many blogs should an online writer have?
Promote Your Writing by Promoting Others
Writing for a Living, a blog for online writers

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How many blogs should an online writer have?

So you've been writing on some of the content publishing sites for a while. Your starting to make a little money. Not big money, but enough money that you see potential to make more. Maybe you've tried out other content publishing sites, spreading your writing out further on the Web in hopes of drawing more readers and making money. You've plugged in AdSense, and possibly are using some other online advertising sites. Again, there's a little money rolling in, but not big money.

Or perhaps you aren't interested in the money-making aspects of online writing. Maybe you just feel the need to express yourself and to have others read your work and possibly to comment upon it.

If that's the case, it's time for a blog. Or if you have one already, it's time to get to work publishing on your blog and marketing it.

Again, you've added a little advertising to your blog. It means a little more money. Still, you're not getting rich, but it all adds up. You're blogging every so often, enough to draw a handful of readers to you blog every day.

But you want more readers. Or maybe you want to make more money.

What to do?

Time for another blog!

Well, maybe. Maybe not. Blogging can be a lot of fun, and it is a source of making some money, but it's also a lot of work.

If you are considering having more than one blog, you have to ask yourself if you really have that many strong interests. The key to a successful blog is to write about a topic not only of which you are familiar, but also in which you have personal interests. That helps to draw readers and, hopefully, to make you a little money.

Another big factor is time management. Do you have the time to write on more than one blog regularly? When a blog is just starting out, you should probably try to have at least one post a day. Don't worry, you won't have to keep up that pace forever, but early on a blog needs as many solid posts as it can get in order to draw the interest of potential viewers. More posts also means your blog will be more noticed by search engines.

Also, you need to keep in mind if you have more than one blog, your blogs should not focus too closely on similar topics, otherwise the blogs are competing against one another for readers. What you want are blogs with different topics, or at least topics that might be related but not so much as to harm your readership. For example, yes, it would probably be okay to have a blog on book reviews and another on writing. On the flip side, you probably wouldn't want more than one blog about video games unless each blog focuses on a particular game or gaming era.

Sometimes a blog's focus can be too narrow. Again using video games as an example, if you were to focus on one particular game, you should probably make sure it's a very popular game. Otherwise, no viewers. And no money. Or you could blog about the one particular game while realizing the game will eventually lose its attraction to many gamers as they move on to other games, all the while planning on this blog being only a temporary blog.

What's a temporary blog? It's when you keep up with for a limited time period, anything from a few months to just a few years. They can be popular for a while, depending upon their topic, and they can bring in a little money. An example here would be a blog about the popular ABC television show LOST. The show is now finished, in re-runs, but while it was live on the air there were plenty of blogs about it. What's to happen to those blogs now? Most will remain, still drawing a few viewers and possibly bringing in some money, but for the most part the activity on those blogs will dwindle. There's nothing wrong with that. It was fun while it lasted.

So, you're going to have more than one blog. How many is the right number? You'll have to figure that out. Blogs come and go all the time, so don't feel too disappointed if you've tried a blog for a while, it doesn't do much for you and you have to kill it or permanently leave it alone. Some professional bloggers will try a dozen or more different blogs before settling on a few favorites that are bringing in the most money. You could try that route.

You want an exact number, or a range, on the number of blogs you should have? I'd suggest no more than six, and that's probably pushing things. If you are just starting out blogging, you probably shouldn't have more than two or three. Always remember, you can add (or delete, for that matter) a blog at any time.

And keep in mind the more blogs you have, the more work it's going to take you. Honestly, writing is the easy part. It's all the marketing and promotional work that is the really hard work. You might be able to sit down and churn out a few articles in a matter of minutes, but it's going to take a whole lot longer than that to draw attention to your blog.

But that doesn't mean it can't be done. And remember to keep it fun!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

For Online Writers, Adsense Makes Sense

If you didn't know, AdSense is a Google program that enables users to place advertising on websites. The user makes money from this. The advertisements can be placed on personal sites, such as blogs, but in some instances the ads can also be placed on content publishing websites (basically a site where you write an article, it gets published online, then hopefully you can draw in readers).

The rules for each content publishing website are different. Some allow such advertising, others don't. Generally speaking, if you place an AdSense advertisement on one of your personal pages, you keep all the money made from the advertising. On content publishing sites, you usually split the money with the site.

How do you make money from AdSense? First you need to draw viewers to your pages, whether a blog or an article you've written. But that alone won't make you money. What you need to happen is for the viewers to click on the ads on your pages. This is called pay-per-click advertising, and this is where you make your money. The more people who click on ads on your pages, the more money you will make. And before you get too excited, yes, Google has rules set up so that you can't go to one of your own pages and sit there clicking ads all day long. And no, you can't hide this from them. They'll know.

How much money can you make? It all depends. Some advertising pays more. Some hardly pays at all. A lot of it will depend upon the content on your page, because AdSense will attempt to match up appropriate ads with a page's content. Some days you might not make any money, or you might make a few cents. Other days you might make ten dollars or more. Theoretically, the amount of money you make is unlimited because any number of people could view your pages and click on the ads.

The trick here is to drive traffic to your pages. You want people to see your pages, because the more people who view your blog or read your articles, the better chance you have of some of them clicking on ads and making you money.

One particular online content publishing site that accommodates its users with AdSense is Triond. Another is Xomba. Infopirate does the same. Even the online linking site SheToldMe lets its users use Adsense, as does YouSayToo, a blog sharing site.

But some online content providers, meaning mostly writers, are skeptical of using AdSense. Some seem intimidated by another website with which they have to become familiar, AdSense itself. Others don't like some of the rules of AdSense (though I've personally not found those rules overly strict). Some writers even have horror stories about AdSense, or at least they've heard horror stories about AdSense.

It is true that AdSense does not payout until you have reached at least $100 earned from AdSense advertising. It's also true you have to have a bank account. So, I can seem some hesitation and limitations for those reason.

But the truth is, if you can use AdSense, you should. Nay, you must.


Well, if you're not intersted in making money off the content you publish online, don't worry about it. In fact, you can probably stop reading this article if you've made it this far.

But if you are interested in making money from AdSense, then read on.

Here's why I suggest AdSense for online writers: AdSense has more than tripled the amount of money I make each month from my online writing. Not only that, but during the six months I've been using AdSense, the amount of money I make from AdSense has doubled each month.

See where I'm going?

At this rate, in a year I could be making four or five figures a month from AdSense alone.

Of course something could change or could go wrong. I'm a skeptic. I fully expect at some point that my AdSense earnings will level out. I just hope it doesn't happen for a few more months. Or it's also possible my earnings will continue to go up, but at a much lower rate.

But there are ways of dealing with this. There are ways I can help. I can keep writing, which builds my online content. I currently have five blogs, so I can make sure those are updated and I can keep trying to drive traffic to them.

It's really up to me. And as of yet, I've seen no reason not to use AdSense.

It only makes sense.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sometimes a writer has to take a break

You've been slaving away for weeks on your novel, or maybe you've been keeping busy writing a few online articles every day. Or possibly you have several blogs which you try to keep updated as often as possible.

It's work, a lot of work. You can get burned out on it. But that's not what you want to happen.

What to do?

You could take a break. There's nothing wrong with that, though some writers don't like it because it halts their momentum. Some writers need to write every day to keep feeling like they are accomplishing something, to keep from feeling as if they are lettings themselves down. The big fear here is that a break of one day will lead to a break of two days, which eventually could lead to a break of a week or a month or forever. Some writers need that daily motivation. Others don't, able to temporarily drop a project then pick it back up in a few days or weeks.

If you fear taking a break, another choice would be to shift gears and try something different, perhaps something entirely new. If you write lots of news articles online, perhaps trying your hand at poetry could help prevent any possibilities of burnout. Or if you write a lot of prose fiction, maybe you should try your hand at screenwriting. There are lots of possibilities.

The type of break you take, however, is up to you. Just keep your regular projects in the back of your mind and go ahead and change gears for a while. You might discover a new project that brings you joy that might also be lucrative. You could also find that taking a break helps to rejuvenate your mental muscles, giving you new ideas you might not have thought of otherwise.

If you are worried about taking that break from writing, realizing suffering a burnout could be worse than the break. One day you could wake up and scream "I just can't write today!" Or it could be a gradual process, your mind and spirit worn down a little more each day until you become numb and immobile, unable to type another word on your keyboard or to put pen to paper. It happens. It's scary. That's why taking a break, choosing a different path for a while, can be a good thing. It ultimately helps to keep you on track while giving the mind a little relaxation time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How often should you update your blog?

So, you've got your blog set up. You've written a few posts. You've gone to a bunch of different linking, social network and promotions sites to get out the word on your blog. You've e-mailed all your friends and family and asked them to check it out.

Then you sit and wait and hope for traffic. Maybe you just want others to know what you think on certain topics. Maybe you want others to critique your writing. Or maybe you're trying to become a professional blogger. All of us have different reasons for blogging.

But the beginning can be tough for a blogger. You're not likely to get a lot of traffic. Sure, with some patience and hard work others will begin to take notice and you'll start getting some traffic. But until then, you can almost hear the crickets chirping somewhere in the distance during the night.

At this point, a lot of bloggers will decide it's time to post more stories or articles on their blog. After all, if there's more content, shouldn't more readers soon be following?

Not likely, actually. The writing is the easy part. The promotions is the hard part. Getting the word out about your blog can be one of the most time-consuming, and sometimes frustrating, tasks with which a blogger has to cope. There are things you can do, such as studying and implementing SEO, having your blog listed at online directories, linking to other blogs, etc. Truly one of the best things you can do at this point is to leave posts on other people's blogs, especially early on.

But you want to write! That's why you've got a blog, after all. Just show a little patience.

Early on in a blog's life, you probably only need to post a new article about once a week, maybe twice a week if your topic is timely. If you're not getting a lot of traffic early on, it makes little sense to keep putting up more and more articles. No one is going to see them. What little traffic you do have might check back in a few days or a week to see if you've updated, so it's not a bad idea to blog at least once a week, but lots and lots of blog posts will look like what it is: desperation. And you don't want to look desperate. It will drive away potential readers.

Once you begin to see some regular traffic, maybe a regular viewership of 20 or so a day, you can maybe post two or three times a week, if you want. But really, a couple of times a week should likely be your maximum. Keep in mind there are a lot of blogs out there, and most readers won't have the time or the inclination to want to check out your blog every single day.

Eventually, however, with some luck and hard work, you might bet one of those fortunate blogs that begins to have a readership in the thousands every day. What to do then?

I still wouldn't suggest blogging every day, that is unless you are writing a news blog of some sort that has to be up-to-the-minute on news for some industry or interest. Three to four blog posts a week should do it. Yes, your readers will want content, but keep them guessing just a bit. Even if they check in several times a day to find out what's the latest on your blog, the anticipation will keep them guessing and coming back for more.

But that's only if you have a hugely popular blog. The rest of us should probably only blog once or twice a week.

If you still have the inclination to blog every day, I suggest starting up more than one blog. Pick several different topics, then start a blog for each of them. If you grow bored with one of them after a while, you can always delete the blog.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A day in the life of a content publishing writer

I have a file on my desktop. Actually, a have a bunch of files on my desktop. But this one particular file is my workflow schedule for the day. It tells me what I should be doing that day.

See, I'm a writer. I write at home for a living. I write for blogs . I write for content publishing websites . I write guest posts on other people's blogs . It's what I do. It's how I make a living. I'm not getting rich, but it's not a bad time. I write about books . I write about video games . I write about beer . And, of course, I write about writing .

Back to this file on my desktop. It holds my schedule for the week, broken down by the seven days. This schedule allows me to keep track of what I should be doing each day. With five blogs, guest postings, six regular content writing sites, fiction writing and other odds-and-ends writing gigs, it's not easy to keep track of everything I do and need to do.

That's why the schedule exists. It allows me to keep track of what I need to be doing.

The morning

So, first thing I do in the morning is check that schedule.

Then I check my earnings from AdSense , an advertising site for online content.

Next are my e-mails. I run through them to see if there's anything I need to do immediately or anyone I need to get back to.

After that I head on over to Triond . Triond isn't necessarily the best nor worst content publishing site on the Web, but it fits my needs perfectly. It's sort of my home base for most of my online writing projects. Since you can only publish new material at Triond, I start there.

Usually by early morning on Triond any articles I wrote the day before for the site have been published. I get to work doing some linking and promotions. I copy and paste and do a little rewriting and place my articles on other content publishing sites, such as RedGage and Bukisa , though there are others I use. I also make sure to place links to my Triond articles on networking and linking sites like Twitter and Reddit and Hitmarks , and there are several other sites, too.

I then get around to updating my blogs.

All that takes at least an hour, sometimes a little longer. I usually take a short break. Eat breakfast. Walk the dog. Whatever.

Mid day

Then I'm sitting in front of the computer once more.

I check my e-mails again.

The next two to four hours are spent doing mostly promotions work for my online writings. I go to at least 10 blogs and leave a message post or two. I go back to the networking and linking sites I utilize for Triond and make sure to post some messages, do some tweeting, whathaveyou , mainly so I won't seem like a spammer on these sites but also because it does indeed help to drive traffic to my articles (which is important because that's how I make money). I check out some articles on Triond and similar sites, sometimes leaving a post, and I'll briefly run through the Triond forums.

Sometimes I'll check in with Amazon to see how some of my ebooks are selling.

Now it's time for another break. Often this break is a long one. I'll have to run to the store for the wife, or I'll have bills to pay or other errands to run. This is usually the time of day when I get other things done.

Late day

I'm usually doing promotions work and checking email again for at least an hour, often times more like two or three hours. Promotions is really a big key. I honestly get more views on my articles, and more AdSense dollars, through my promotions work than I do through my actual writing.

At this point I begin to do some Web exploration. Are there any other writing sites I need to know about? Are there any blogs I should be reading? Any new linking sites? Advertising sites? Promotional sites? This can take an hour, sometimes less, depending on whether or not I'm signing up for any new sites. I also check in with various websites that often include news that could be of not only interest to me, but to my writing.
Another short break. Maybe a late lunch or early dinner.

Night time

I usually do some email checking and Adsense checking and short glancings at promotional sites, etc.
You have to be wondering, when does this guy do any actual writing?

Usually about now, late in the day or late at night. I only write a couple of actual articles a day, at least one for Triond and sometimes one for a blog. Sometimes I have a guest post I have to do for someone else's blog. Sometimes I've got some other kind of writing to do. At very rare times I will write more than just a couple of articles, but that's usually just if I'm in the mood to write something.

Then, late at night, I do some fiction writing. This is normally how I end my day, other than reading a little before going to bed. Sometimes I'll check in with my blogs and with AdSense just before nodding off.

Winding down

So, that's my day. Nothing special, but it keeps me busy and brings in a little money. It's full-time work, and it's not easy, though by far it's not the worst job in the world. I get to write for a living. I can't ask more than that.

But what's to be learned from all this, other than I spend a ton of time in front of a computer?

To make it as an online writer, you need to be organized. Which is why I have a schedule for each day and I try to stick with it. And you need to try to avoid distractions throughout the day; sure, you have other things to do, but I try to work them in between my writing and promoting.

If you decide to give online writing and blogging a try, keep in mind it's not easy. To make money at it, even a little money or at least more than a mere pittance, takes a lot of work. It's a full-time job. And it takes a while to begin making money, sometimes even a couple of years.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

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