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

Privacy policy

Privacy Policy for

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Start your own print magazine at no cost

Rolling Stone. Newsweek. Good Housekeeping. You've heard of them. Now you can join their ranks.

Ever wanted to own your own print magazine? Maybe you’d like to publish a fiction magazine with short stories written by your friends? Or possibly you’d like to create a niche magazine about a certain topic? Pets? Sports? Video games? Whatever?

But that costs a lot of money. Right? Right.

Not any more.

Now there’s MagCloud.

What is MagCloud? It’s a self-publishing web service.

Yeah, but what does that mean? Basically, MagCloud is a print-on-demand service.

Let me break it down for you.

You want to start a magazine, so first you’ve got to get all the stories and artwork together. Then you design your magazine and save it as a PDF file. Next you create an account on MagCloud. You upload your PDF file to MagCloud. The folks at MagCloud print out a copy of your magazine and mail it to you, and this might take a couple of weeks. Once you get the printed copy of your magazine, you look over it for any errors or what you perceive as printing or design issues. You log back onto MagCloud and make any corrections.

From then on, your magazine is available for purchase online.

And it didn’t cost you a thing.

How is this possible? Readers can order your magazine online. Since MagCloudoperates as a print-on-demand service, they only have to print out however many of your magazine has been ordered. If ten orders are put in for your publication, then MagCloud prints out ten copies and mails them out. If a thousand orders are placed, MagCloud prints those and mails them.

It’s rather simple.

And, within reason, you get to set the price for your magazine. Of course MagCloud will have some upfront fees to cover printing services, but the reader will pay for those in the price of the magazine, not you.

For example, according to the MagCloud website, the magazines available through them cost about 20 cents per page. That’s cost to the reader. So if you have a 20 page magazine, the base cost to the reader will be four dollars.

But if you want to make money, you just charge more than the base price. Let’s go back to that four dollars. That four dollars covers the printing costs, so that has to remain. All you have to do is tack on a dollar, for example, and suddenly you are making a dollar for every copy of your magazine that is sold.

It sounds simple, and it is.

So if you’re interested, start your own magazine today. The potential is even there for other projects. If you sell a product, you could create your own catalogue. Or you could make a chapbook of your short stories to give to family and friends. You could even make a promotional brochure. The ideas are only limited by your imagination.

Related articles
What is a content publishing website?
Four Places Online to Publish Your Ebook for Free

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What is a Content Publishing Website?

If you are reading this, you are on my blog. But usually my articles appear on websites published by an online content provider.

What does that mean?

Let me break it down for you.

I'm a writer. I go to one of these content publishing websites and there I write an article. Then the websites' editors or computers (some of these websites are automated) go over my article to make sure it meets their standards. If the article does meet their standards, then the article is published online.

I can make money doing this. And it doesn't cost me a thing to sign up for these content publishing sites. Many sites also publish images, video and audio. Some sites even accept fiction and poetry for publishing.

It's relatively easy. Just about anyone can do it. So why aren't more people utilizing such sites?

Because they don't pay a lot of money.

Plenty of people do try to use these content providers, but most don't hang around very long once they realize they're not making much money.

So why do I use these sites? Well, I need the money, for one thing. For another thing, I used to be a newspaper journalist, which is a career that's nearly dead right up there with the buggy salesman.

But still, if there's not a lot of money to be made, why do I use these sites? I'm an experienced writer, editor and publisher, so I've got the background. It's what I know how to do. But more importantly, right now I've got the time, the time to write and publish. So, even though there's not a lot of money to be made initially, there is money to be made in the long run.

How much money? I don't know. Probably not millions. Maybe, just maybe, enough for me to live on and to provide for my family.

It's a lot of work. At the sites I utilize, I get paid by the number of viewers who see my articles. Other sites work differently, but I prefer not to use them because I feel there is better long-term potential for me with the sites I like. But it's not easy getting people to see and read your articles. That's where the real work begins. The writing is the easy part.

So how do you get those viewers? Truth to tell, some viewers come directly from the original content publishing sites. I'm not the only writer on these sites, and we tend to look at each others' work at least some of the time. More importantly, at least for me, there are tons of networking and socializing sites out there which if utilized properly can bring viewers to one's articles.

Facebook is one. Twitter is another. You've probably heard of those. But there are also plenty of other sites. StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and SheToldMe are just a few. If used correctly, without spamming, these sites can bring hundreds and sometimes thousands of viewers to one's writings. It also doesn't hurt to have a blog, which you can also use to drive online traffic to your articles, and vice versa. And since there are more than just a few of these content publishing sites, you can use your articles from one site to link to your articles at another site, and then keep this going back and forth.

Theoretically, the potential for earnings is endless. The reality is it's a lot of work without a lot of money, at least not in the beginning.

I've been using these content publishers for about a year now, and it seems every day I'm learning something new. Also, each month my earnings have been going up and up. I have to keep at it every day, because when I slack off my earnings do too, but when I'm writing and publishing and linking every day, my earnings keep going up and up.

Another stream of revenue is through using online advertising. Basically, you place ads on pages where your content appears, then you make so much money from the original advertiser. Online advertising isn't allowed on every publishing site, but it is on enough of them. I use Google's AdSense for most of my online advertising, but other services are available, such as Chitika.

Yet another way to make money from publishing with content providers is through referrals. Referrals are where you get friends and others to sign up on one of these publishing sites and when they make money, you make money. And don't worry. These sites don't take money from your friends to pay you.

Between what I make from the advertising, referrals and what the original content publishing sites pay, I'm beginning to make fairly decent money. It's not enough to live on, but it helps pay the bills. I'm hoping in the long run it'll pay more than that.

But that's all about me. What about you?

These content publishing sites can do several things for you. Yes, they can provide you potentially interesting reading and viewing material. Also, if you are interested in writing, these sites are great for beginners. And yes, you can make a little money, just remember to be realistic about your expectations. A dollar or two a month is actually doing pretty good for someone just beginning to use online content providers.

Where do you go from here? Well, there are numerous content publishers out there, but here is a list of the ones I use (or you can check out the list to the left of this article). In an effort at full disclosure, I'll admit that those links will act as referrals for me, so if you sign up for any of these sites after clicking the links below, I'll make a little money once you start making money. Also, each site has their own rules, so make sure to look them over before you sign up. As for the quality of each of these publishers, that's for another article. Good luck!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why I Stick with Triond as an my main Online Writing Site

For those who might not know, Triond is an online site where you can publish your writings, photos, videos and sounds for free, while getting paid to do so.

I recently commented on the Triond forums about why I stick with Triond when there are other writing sites available, many which pay better than Triond. I came up with three reasons why I stay with Triond, and I thought I'd expound upon those reasons here.

The freedom
Triond allows you to publish online just about anything, with very few limitations. You can't plagiarize and you can't publish something that's already been published elsewhere, even if you should own the rights to the material. Triond also usually won't allow excessive cursing in articles submitted to it, and graphic sexual and violent content are generally not accepted. I say "usually" and "generally" because sometimes it seems anything can get through Triond's editors and automated features.

All that being said, Triond still has far fewer limitations than any of ther other online writing and publishing sites I've tried, used and in some cases continue to use.

For example, Bukisa doesn't accept fiction. Triond does. I don't publish a lot of fiction on Triond, despite the fact I'm also a fiction author, but every once in a while I'll have an older short story I've never been able to place with a magazine or ezine, and I'll want to go ahead and publish that story online. It'll end up on Triond.

Other sites, like Helium, force you to have to write to particular topics. Of course you can try to create a topic, but that's subject to approval and I've found Helium to be more trouble than it's worth when it comes to creating topics. I continue to publish there, but only if I happen to have written something that already fits into the alread-provided parameters. I don't go to Helium with an idea of starting from scratch and writing whatever I want.

And that's what Triond does for me. It allows me to write whatever I want.

The payment plan
Some sites, such as Redgage and Gather, don't pay you directly through Paypal or another online service or by check. Instead, Gather offers gift cards. Redgage offers a debit card. While I use both those sites, I find it preferable simply to have my earnings deposited into my Paypal account, which is what Triond does.

It's true many other sites pay much better than Triond, which pays according to the number of views an article earns. But a large portion of those sites pay upfront fees only. Some of those upfront fees sound enticing when compared to the seemingly paltry sums one can earn on Triond. Some of those upfront fees are as high as $5, $10, $15 and sometimes more for a story. But once you've been paid that upfront fee, you no longer receive anything more for your writing. I don't care for that. Triond might pay me less in the beginning, but in the long run I feel I'm being well-enough compensated.

Some places online, again looking at Helium, do offer some payment based upon the number of views earned by an article, but they also have a somewhat complicated payout plan that includes original articles and articles added to particular topics (though not all) chosen by Helium. Frankly, I don't want to have to think about it that much. I just want to write, get viewers and get paid for it, and not have to try to treehorn my writing into certain topics that Helium or some other site considers advantageous to them (but not necessarily advantageous or of interest to me).

One last thing about money on Triond: You can also add advertising from Google's AdSense program to your Triond articles. Believe me, it is well worth it. By using AdSense, I more than double the amount of money I make from Triond, and most other online writing sites don't provide for using AdSense (though some do).

The starting-off point
Okay, Triond doesn't pay much, but its payment plan is simple enough and hardly any restraints are forced upon my writing interests.

So what's my third reason for sticking with Triond? Because it's a great place to begin promotions. Since Triond only publishes original material, any of my articles appearing on Triond have been published there first before anywhere else. Sounds limiting? It's not, mainly because Triond provides easy connections to tons and tons of other places for linking back to your Triond articles, which brings in viewers (and thus more money). Stumblupon is one such place, as is Reddit. I also prefer to use Xomba and SheToldMe. There are tons of other sites that can be utilized for linking to your Triond articles, including socializing sites such as Facebook, Twitter and even the online classifieds site Craigslist.

It also doesn't hurt to have your own blog, or maybe even a series of blogs. Once your articles have been published on Triond, you can republish those articles on your blog. Then you can link from the blog back to your Triond articles, and vice versa. Then link to other blogs. The list could keep growing and growing. Link, link, link. That's one big key to bringing viewers to your Triond articles. You could even use sites like YouSayToo where you can bring your blogs together in one space for promotional or social purposes.

The ideas for linkage are nearly endless, only limited by your imagination and knowledge of what's available out there on the World Wide Web. Triond provides plenty of opportunities for you to link to other sites and blogs, but with some thought you can discover even more places for making connections.

Remember, Triond is just the beginning. What happens from there is up to you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Why is Jon Stewart "America's Most Trusted Newscaster?"

According to several polls over the last few years, the most well known being the June 2009 online poll by TIME Magazine, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show is the most trusted televised newscaster since Walter Cronkite.

Some bloggers have gone on to suggest this shows just how far down in the dumps America, or at least American television news, has fallen in recent years.

I personally don't think it's that bad a thing. I'm online a dozen or so times a day, which allows me to keep up with national and world news, then I check a couple of local news sites at least once a day, and then I re-cap at night with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Sure, technically, The Daily Show isn't a news program. It's supposed to be a comedy show. Yet it is always up to date with the latest daily news unless something has happened right before the show airs.

I have no facts or statistics to back this up, but since The Daily Show seems to be pretty popular, I'd have to guess a good number of Americans catch up with the news through The Daily Show. Sometimes they might even learn about something that had slipped past them during the day; I know this happens to me from time to time.

But considering Jon Stewart calls himself a comedian and apparently doesn't think of himself as a newscaster, and the fact his show is on Comedy Central, one has to wonder how Jon Stewart has become so trusted by Americans.

I believe there are three reasons.

1.) Entertainment value

This is an easy one. Americans like to be entertained. And Jon Stewart is funny. His whole show is funny. Yes, not every single episode will keep you laughing throughout, but generally the show is very good. And even when it's not so good, it will still provide a couple of chuckles.

Most of the jokes are at the expense of public figures, usually politicians or other members of news media outlets. And wouldn't you rather laugh along with the news than be scared by it? Which is usually the case if you watch CNN or FOX or any of the other news stations. At the best, most news show are depressing, at worst they'll have you shaking you're so scared of the terrorists who are going to kill you, or the government that's going to kill you, or the poisoned atmosphere that's going to kill your children ... I could go on and on.

At least Jon Stewart tries to give us some news and send us to bed without nightmares but a smile on our faces.

2.) Information value

The Daily Show is also informative, which is pretty important if you're watching it for some of its news value. The first half of the show is most often simply a cover of the big events of the day, which might not be new to most viewers, but the last part of the show usually is Stewart interviewing someone. Often he is interviewing an author pushing a new book, or sometimes it's a celebrity with a new movie, and yet other times it's a politician with an agenda. It could be any number of people for any number of reasons. But usually the person being interviewed is offering new information, or at least a new insight into something news oriented.

I've learned a good deal just by watching the various authors Stewart has interviewed, and Stewart usually goes for the authors with news impact, not just the latest thriller novelist (not that there's anything wrong with thrillers or thriller novelists).

3.) The "Truth" factor

I don't know Jon Stewart. He could be a complete bastard for all I know. But on television he comes off as a pretty likable guy. Not only is he funny, but he seems like he's trying to be helpful, and he's usually apologetic if it appears he has stepped over the line by not being fair to a guest (which is extremely rare).

So, he's likable, at least to most viewing Americans. Why is that important? Because of what I call the "Truth" factor. It appears that Jon Stewart is telling us the truth when he speaks about news and when his show comments on news and other media. Stewart doesn't come off as if he's trying to push an agenda or he's trying to sell us something, which can't be said for nearly every U.S. politician at all levels.

Stewart does seem to lean a little towards the left (politically speaking), but he doesn't come off by any means as a far lefty, but more as a moderate with leftist tendencies. And Stewart and his show don't shy from targeting those politicians who are on the left. He hits the Democrats and Republicans both pretty hard (admittedly the GOP might look a little worse on the show, but if you're honest about it, the Republicans give a lot more to work with in comedy than do the generally more-boring Democrats).

But putting aside politics, Stewart and his gang poke a lot of fun at the news media itself, especially the televised news media. And here I think is another place where The Daily Show really shines. Stewart and crew show us, quite baldly and blankly, how the news plays things up to look differently than they really are. The latest news report scaring you? Stewart's going to make fun of it. Tired of all the one-sidedness on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc? Stewart will make you laugh about it. Think C-SPAN is boring? Chuckle about it with Jon.

See, the media as a whole are supposed to be the watchdogs in America. But they've fallen down on the job the last few decades, especially over the last decade. If anything, the media has become just another part of "the system," more worried about itself and making the next buck than it is about truly, fairly covering the news.

Which is where The Daily Show steps in. Stewart has become the watchdog of the watchdogs. He keeps his eyes, and ours, glued on the happenings of not only the politicians, but of those who are supposed to be covering the politicians.

It's almost a new form of journalism, the comedy news show.

A Good Pocket Knife Can Mean a Lot

Winchester 22-01335 3-Inch Folder S/E Clip Wood Inlay Pocket KnifeI recently lost a pocket knife, the one I think of as my "daily" knife, the one I carry with me whenever I am out of the house. It's just a little Winchester pocket knife with a three inch blade I picked up at Walmart a few years ago for about six dollars. I usually keep it in my pocket, but the knife had a metal clip on its side and I decided out of the blue one day to try to use the clip. So, I clipped it onto my belt before going out to take the dog for a walk. When I got home, the knife was gone.

I think I cursed. The knife had no sentimental value to me, but it had been a trusty blade over the years, proving its worth in some fashion or other just about every day. Also, the knife had not been expensive, so it was not as if I was out much money.

Besides, I had other pocket knives. Not a ton of them, I'm not a knife collector, but I had a half dozen or so to pick from if I wanted another "daily" pocket knife.

Then I got to thinking about the pocket knives I owned. And I got to wondering why I had carried that one particular knife when I had others to choose from. It came down to the fact my Winchester knife had been durable, cheap and handy, and I hadn't carried any of my other knives because they had sentimental value for me and I had not wanted to take a chance on losing them.

One of my knives had belonged to my father. Two had belonged to my grandfather. One I bought from a Frenchman who told me a tale of having dug up the knife on the beaches of Normandy (I like to think that knife had perhaps belonged to one of the U.S. soldiers storming the beaches on D-Day, but there's nothing to prove that). Another knife had belonged to the grandfather of a friend. And yet another I had picked up about ten years ago the first time I took my wife to a Renaissance Festival.

So, I had not wanted to carry any of those knives. I still didn't, because I still didn't want to take a chance on losing them.

Digging around in a box of office supplies, a box that had never been unloaded after our last move, I came across another knife, a cheap pocket knife with a plastic body. I remembered I had carried that knife when I worked at a newspaper years earlier and I had used the knife to cut the strings on bundles of newspapers.

For the time-being, that plastic knife (though, yes, it had a steel blade) would have to do until I could find a replacement.

Still, I missed my old "daily" knife. I walk my dog every day, usually several times a day, so on our trips I've been looking for that knife. Day after day, no luck.

Then, this morning, I got up earlier than usual, mainly because I had gone to bed earlier than usual the night before because I had not been feeling well. Since I was up early, I decided I'd go ahead and take the beagle for a walk before the day became too hot. We followed our usual path, the one we had traveled the day I lost my knife.

We had been walking perhaps a mile when the morning sun caught on something ahead of us, something glinting on the ground.

I thought, Could that be my knife?

I rushed ahead.

Sure enough, it was my trusty Winchester pocket knife. There was a little dirt on it and some smudged places, but thankfully there was no rust even though there had been rain the day before. I was happy as could be. It almost felt like providence, as if someone was looking down upon me from above and had given me a little treasure for the day. Yes, I thanked God for letting me find my little pocket knife.

Then I took the knife home, cleaned it, oiled it, sharpened it and placed it back in my pocket where it currently resides. And where it will stay. It's a good knife, but the clip on it isn't worth a darn.

10 Health Benefits of Sex

  1. Headaches: Yes, believe it or not, sex can help with the pain of headaches. During sex, endorphins are released into the body that act as a natural, weak morphine. Which helps to relieve pain in the body, including pain from headaches. So never buy into that old saying, "Not tonight, honey. I have a headache."
  2. General fitness: Yes, sex is a workout, just like if you went to the gym and lifted some light weights or did a short jog. During sex, you are working some of your body's muscles, and the blood gets to pumping and flowing better, taking oxygen throughout the body.
  3. Losing weight: Did you know sex actually burns calories? It does. 150 calories approximately every half an hour. So, theoretically, the more sex you have, the more weight you'll lose. Now that's got to be an incentive.
  4. Germ immunity: This one might sound like a stretch, but it's not. The act of sex releases an antibody into the body, which helps fight against all kinds of germs, especially germs from the common cold. And the more sex, the more of the antibody is released. So, basically, those who are having lots of sex have fewer illnesses. Though that's probably not something you'll see in any health care plan from Congress.
  5. Prostate cancer: A study from Australia suggests men who frequently have some form of sex reduce their chances of having prostate cancer later in life. Again, the more sex, the lower chance of suffering when older.
  6. Sleep: Men are often accused of falling asleep soon after sex, and studies show there's some truth to this, but it's also true for women (they just don't like to admit it). Sex not only relaxes the body, but the endorphins it releases allows the body to rest well, allowing a person to enter a nice sleep if they allow it, almost like a form of self hypnosis.
  7. Healthy skin: Okay, now how does this work? Easy enough. Sex releases the hormone DHEA into the body, and this hormone from the inside naturally helps to clean skin and keep skin more shiny and healthy looking. Worried about pimples? Try sex! Hey, it couldn't hurt.
  8. Brain power: Yep, the more sex you have, the better your brain works. The reason behind this is that sex gets the blood flowing in the body, which not only helps to clean the blood, but also sends extra blood to the brain, which helps the brain to work better. Makes you wonder about Einstein, doesn't it?
  9. Stress: This one should seem fairly obvious. Sex tires you out and releases endorphins (which make you feel better) and hormones into the body (which also makes you feel better) all the while getting you blood up. Once sex is finished, you'll be more relaxed than ever. Studies have even shown that people who have sex frequently suffer less from stress not only immediately after sex, but also on a daily basis and throughout the day. So lighten up!
  10. Intimacy: Sex in a monogamous relationship has been shown in numerous studies to increase one's ability to be intimate with others, specifically one's special other, thus improving overall mental well being. Unfortunately for those who are promiscuous, studies have shown just the opposite for those with many and multiple partners.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Writing

How can a writer be greedy? You write. You sell your writing. You make money from it. Where does the greed come in? Is it possible to make too much money as a writer? Well, I'm not talking about money here, not specifically, at least. When it comes to greed, a writer can be greedy by not being willing to pass along advice and tips to others who are trying to be writers. Admittedly a writer who has "made it" can't spend all of his or her time mentoring others, and maybe they don't have the time to blog or come up with a Web site about writing, but they shouldn't always shy away from questions asked them by those who have had less success. Because who knows? That kid at your book signing might turn out to be a big-time editor in ten years and he or she will remember if you snubbed them.

This might be the most common of writers' sins. Sloth. Laziness. Never getting things done that need to be done. We've all been there, right? You've always got something else to do besides writing. Walk the dog. Wash the car. Pay the bills. Play a video game. All of it is a temptation to keep us away from writing. Sometimes things have to be done instead of writing because those things are important, but often enough we're just looking for an excuse not to write. Maybe we're not in the mood. Maybe we don't feel good. Or maybe we're just being lazy. Write. And write everyday. Work out a writing schedule. And stick to it. That will beat the monster that is sloth.

Can a writer commit to sin of wrath, as it pertains to writing? Sure! At least verbally. How often have you seen or heard of one writer going out of his or her way to bash another writer? It happens all the time on the Web, especially among those who are still trying to be professional writers. Yes, there are certain writers I like and certain writers I don't like, but I try not to publicly bash any writers (though what goes on in e-mails and IMs is not for the general public). Not only is it taking the high road not to bash other writers, it's also smart. If you insult some big-name writer, they might hear about it and remember your name. Then a few years later that writer happens to be the editor of an anthology you're trying to get into. What's going to happen? You can guess. And it's also not smart to insult writers who haven't made it big. You never know, they might be next year's bestseller.

A little bit of envy can be a good thing. It builds competition. But envy taken to extremes can become dangerous. For on thing, a writer doesn't want to be so envious of another writer he starts to emulate that writers style. It will sound fake on the page, believe me. You need your own style, and if you don't have it now, you'll eventually work into it naturally. For another thing, a writer shouldn't become so envious of another writer that she tries to shoot that writer down publicly in an attempt to bring down someone who "has gotten too full of themselves." That's not your job, as a writer or as a human being. Anyone who thinks too much of themselves will eventually be brought down to Earth or they'll eventually die (hey, we all do whether you like it or not) and then won't be a problem any more. Badmouthing others just makes you look insecure, at best, and you don't need that type of reputation as a writer.

Pride is a sin a number of writer can be accused of, specifically a handful of writers who have made it into the big time as professionals. I won't name names, but the fans and readers know who they are. A bit of pride is a good thing. One should feel pride about their work. But pride taken to the point of arrogance is beyond silly, it's just stupid. No matter how well you write and how big your writing career becomes, you're still a human being just like everyone else. You still have to sleep, eat, go to the restroom, etc. Just because you've won an award or signed a book deal doesn't mean you're so hot you should look down upon others and treat them badly. Writing might be important, perhaps extremely important in your life, but it's not the only thing there is. And remember the old saying of "what goes around, comes around." Snub the guy working on your car, and he might tack on a few hidden fees to your bill. Be prissy with the girl in line in front of you at the store, and she might recognize you and go home and start a Web site about how awful a person you are. Honk your horn at the car in front of you, and it might turn out to be a friend or a family member.

To many, lust is the worst of sins, and that can apply to writers as well. How does lust apply to writers? Plagiarism. Stealing of another's work. When you like someone else's work so much you just have to have it and use it under your own name, that's partially lust (though sloth and greed and envy could apply as well). Plagiarism is one of the worst of writers' sins, even in this oh so modern age of the Internet. Writing is work. A writer owns his or her work (unless they've sold their copyright, that is). Using their work as yourself is stealing, plain and simple. Stealing out of want can be lust. Don't do it. If caught, you'll burn.

Gluttony is often thought of as eating or drinking to much, but that's only one form of gluttony. Some writers can be accused of eating or drinking too much, and sitting in front of a keyboard all day long doesn't exactly burn away the calories. This might seem a silly sin for writers, but it does apply. It suggests you need to take a break from your writing from time to time, though not necessarily a long break. A break of a few minutes every hour or so might be enough for you. Or perhaps you're one of those writers who produces in bulk, writing voraciously for several days, but then needs several days off. Either is fine, but give yourself some time away from writing. Yes, this will help to burn those calories, but it also can help to keep your mind clear. And as an extra note, there was a tradition among fiction writers (though it seems to be dying out today) of heavy drinking. You don't need alcohol to be a good writer, or even to be a writer. In fact, alcohol is much more likely to lead to bad writing. And in can kill you if not taken in moderation.

What Does It Take to Write a Novel?

This is a big one for many would-be novelists. Time. There never seems to be enough of it, does there? It takes time to write a novel, sometimes a lot of time. And you don't have any. Well, you're going to have to find it if you ever want to finish writing a novel. Keep in mind that novel writing is not a sprint, but more of an endurance race. With the exception of some experienced and self-trained professional writers, the simple act of typing out a novel can take months or even years, and that's not including time spent plotting, coming up with characters, etc.

But you can find the time. Even if it's only five minutes a day, you can write a novel. It might take you a year, but so what? At the end of the year you will have your novel.

Try to set yourself a reasonable goal. If you're starting out, I'd suggest begin by trying to write for only 15 minutes a day. Or perhaps set yourself a length goal by trying to write just 500 words a day. If you can keep this up day in an day out, eventually you will have finished your novel. If you can manage to write 1,000 words a day, in a few months you will have a decent length for a novel, and in a year you would have a really long novel.

It can be done. Work at finding the time. Everyone can find a free ten minutes in their day.

Along with time, you also need focus and patience to write a novel. That book isn't going to be written over night. For some writers, focus is easy to maintain because they have a natural love for their topic that is strong enough to see them through. Other writers, while still loving their topic, are sometimes distracted by other ideas for stories, real life and a thousand other things.

The key here is to work at remaining focused. That's one reason I suggest beginning novelists should try to write every single day. It helps to keep that focus. The repetition builds familiarity, and soon you will sit down to right every day without even thinking, "Hey, do I have time to write today?" You'll naturally make the time.

You also need perseverance to finish a novel. I consider this separate from focus because you can remain focused for short periods of time, but perseverance is the key to longer projects, such as writing a novel.

How do you achieve this? A big part of it can be that repetition I mentioned above. Write every day, no matter what. Also, keep the excitement alive. How do you do this? Force out thoughts of other writing ideas. Join a writing critique group. Talk with some close friends about your big project. Just don't let talking become all you do. Make sure to write.

The basics
Here I'm talking about things like spelling and grammar and punctuation. If you don't know these, learn. That might sound a little harsh, but it's also the truth. You don't have to be the next Shakespeare, but you should at least have the basics down pretty good.

One reason to write is to be read. No one is going to finish reading your stuff if they can't ... well, if they can't read it. All those language rules you learned in school might seem silly, but they are important for writers because they allow the writer to share a common vision with potential readers.

And once you become an expert? Then you can break the rules, mainly because you'll know when and how. But wait until you're an expert.

Sounds like something out of religion, right? It is. But I'm not talking about forgiving others (though that can be important, too). I'm talking about forgiving yourself. For what? For making those spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes.

If that sounds hypocritical of me after I mentioned those things above, it's not meant to. You need to know those basics. But you also shouldn't be a perfectionist when it comes to writing.

Yes, you want your writing to be perfect. That's what editing and proofreading are for, things you need to be doing once you've finished the writing part of your novel (you didn't think that was all there was to it, did you?). Don't worry so much about your mistakes while you're doing the actual writing part. Just remember to catch those mistakes later.

After you've written a fair amount, perhaps once you've finished your first novel, you'll naturally pick up a system for editing that works best for you. But in the early days, I'm suggesting you take it easy on yourself. But also keep in mind you have that editing work to do. Don't think for second you can shrug that work off onto someone else.

Writing, not publishing
In this article, I was strictly taking about writing a novel. Getting a novel published, whether professionally or if you become a self-publisher, takes a lot more work. Maybe I'll write about that another time.

Good luck with your novel!

Comparing The Top E-reader Devices, From The Kindle and Beyond

First off, let me say (for those who might not already know) there are dozens upon dozens of ways to read electronic books (ebooks) nowadays. You can go to Web sites such as Smashwords and download ebooks directly to your computer. You can use the Stanza application to read ebooks on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Increasingly, you can purchase e-readers, hardware devices specifically made for reading ebooks and other electronic materials, such as electronic versions of magazines and newspapers. Below are basics on some of the more popular of the e-reader devices. Before you purchase an e-reader, make sure to further investigate the particular device in which you are interested, and to do some comparisons online because you might get lucky and find what you want at a cheaper price.

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)There are actually three different versions of the Kindle, all produced and sold by Amazon. The original Kindle e-reading device hit the market in November 2007. Since February 2009, the original has been supplanted by the Kindle 2 and, since May 2009, the Kindle DX. The Kindle, all three versions, are almost assuredly the best known and most popular of all e-reading devices, at least as of this writing in February 2010. With a Kindle, you can go to the Kindle Store and purchase ebooks, electronic newspapers, magazines, and even some blogs.

So, there's three Kindles. What are the differences between the three? The original is a wireless reading device with a 6 inch screen and enough memory to store about 200 non-illustrated books; this first generation Kindle is no longer being manufactured, though you can sometimes still find them being sold (new and used) by some online retailers from a price of about $259. The Kindle 2 has several improvements over the original, including longer battery life and enough memory to store more than 1,000 non-illustrated books, though the price is also at about $259. The Kindle DX is a larger version of the Kindle with a 9.7 inch display screen and enough memory to store approximately 3,500 non-illustrated books; the Kindle DX is market for those who want a larger viewing screen, and is especially helpful for readers of newspapers and magazine who are more familiar with seeing the print versions of their favorite reading products in a larger venue. The price of the Kindle DX is currently at about $459.

If you don't have a Kindle, there are still other ways to read ebooks available for the Kindle. If you have a iPhone or iPod Touch, go to the iPhone Apps Store and check out the Kindle app. Amazon has even released Kindle for PC software, so you can download Kindle ebooks and read them on your computer.

Why have a Kindle?
Well, it's very popular, if you like fitting in with the crowd. Also, its been around for a few years now, so many of the bugs and glitches have already been worked out. Plus, you'll have access to Amazon's Kindle Store, which has tons and tons and tons of books available. The Kindle devices are relatively easy to use. The downsides are that you can't download ebooks onto a Kindle from any other site than Amazon and the Amazon files are protected so you can't pass them along to friends with a Kindle. My guess would be eventually Amazon is going to have to open up a little more and allow such things, but who knows when that will happen?

The Nook is an e-reader provided by Barnes and Noble. If you are one of those folks who likes touch-screen technology, the Nook could be right for you, because the Nook doesn't have an external keyboard.

The Nook is still a little on shaky ground. Early reviews groused that the software was somewhat flaky, though the Nook slowly seems to be finding its market with a price currently at $259.

The Nook is the first e-reader device to use the Android platform, which is a mobile operating system somewhat akin to Linux kernel.

Apple iPad MB292LL/A Tablet (16GB, Wifi)This Apple device isn't technically an e-reader. It's a tablet computer, which means it uses touch-screen technology without an external, physical keyboard. But the iPad has drawn comparisons to e-readers, mainly because this Apple device, through use of apps like those on the iPhone and iPod Touch, will be an excellent reading device for magazines and newspapers because of its 9.7 inch full color screen. The iPad is scheduled to go on sale in March 2010 and is supposed to have a starting price of $499.

Sony Reader
Sony Digital Reader Pocket Edition - Silver (PRS300SC)Over the last several years, Sony has been selling several different e-reader devices, all called Sony Readers but with slightly different names. As of this writing, Sony is selling the Reader Pocket Edition ($179), the Reader Touch Edition ($299) and the Reader Daily Edition ($399). As you can guess, the higher the price, the more and better features, though I won't go into all of them for purposes of brevity. However, a number of reviews have complained the Sony Readers have glare problems with their screens. Of note, some libraries (including the New York Public Library) have ebooks available, and apparently the Sony Readers can connect with those libraries for you to download those books for free.

The Future
What the future holds for ebooks, publishing and e-readers is anyone's guess. The Kindle still holds sway for the most part, but Spring Design is looking to release the Alex in the next few months, and it's drawing plenty of buzz for its multiple capabilities.

Also, don't forget that just because you don't have or can't afford an e-reader doesn't mean you can't read books electronically. If you have a home computer, or access to a computer, you can go to sites such as Smashwords and download many ebooks for free and other ebooks at relatively cheap prices. At Smashwords, the ebooks even come in multiple formats, from pdf to text to more, so don't worry about compatibility issues.

I Hate Automatic Phone Services

I punch in the phone number on my phone.

The phone rings a couple of times.

Voice on phone: Hello, this is We Are Idiots Utility Service. Thank you for calling. Have you heard about our new fast-check service where you can give us direct access to all of your bank accounts, credit cards and online accounts so we can directly remove your money whenever we want without informing you beforehand that it's going to happen except in a very general way in the small print of the form you initially signed with out company? If not, please sign up for it today and enjoy all the wonderful advantages of having us take your money whenever we want! Have you checked out our Web site at If not, please check out the site because many of our services are available there for free (except for the multitude of extra charges we won't tell you about). How may we help you today? If you want to pay your bill (give us money), please press ONE. If you want check on the status of your account, please press TWO. If you need to report an outage in your service, please press SEVEN, NINE, FOUR, TWO, ONE followed by the POUND sign. For any other needs, please hang up and go away.

I push a button, randomly, because nothing in that message was slightly helpful and did not come near approaching dealing with any of the problems I am currently facing.

A new voice on phone: Hello! This is We Are Idiots Utility Service. Thank you for calling. Have you heard about our new credit card billing option? It allows us to access your credit card information and provide it to any of our employees at the switch tap of a few computer buttons. If you haven't signed up for this service, please do so by accessing our Web site online. Also, do you know about our new Rewards program which allows you to spend thousands of dollars with us and receive two cents in return? If not, sign up for this service at our Web site online. If you need to make arrangements to pay your bill, please press ONE. If you need report what you believe is a billing error, please hang up and go away. For all other matters, please wait and an operator will be with you shortly.

So I wait. Seven songs and 45 minutes later, no one has answered.

I am tempted to hang up, but I push the ZERO button in hopes of getting a company operator.


A couple of clicking noises.

Then the phone rings a couple of times.

Yet another new voice on phone: Hello! This is We Are Idiots Utility Service. Have you heard about our new dog walking service? If you bring your pooch to one of our local branches, we will walk your dog and let it loose in traffic, all while accepting a hefty payment from you. If you are in dire need of this service, please contact us via our Web site and sign up for the service there. How about our chocolate ice cream service? Not heard of it? If you come down to one of our local branches, we charge only a minimal fee for you to stand there and watch one of our employees eat chocolate ice cream while you wait and wait and wait and receive no service. For all other matters, please press POUND.

I press POUND.

Music plays. For three hours.

Finally ...

Still yet another new voice: Hello! This is We Are Idiots Utility Service. Have you heard about our ---

At this point I hang up.

10 Sites to Help with Your Job Search

Does working on a college or university campus sound appealing to you? Don't worry that you have to be a college professor or have four degrees to work on a campus. Colleges all have other jobs that need filled, from administrative assistants to janitors to police dispatchers and more. And, of course, there are job listings for those teaching positions. HigherEdJobs is the perfect place to find employment at a college or university anywhere in the U.S. or even internationally.
Perhaps you like the idea of working or volunteering in the non-profit sector. This Web site lists all kinds of jobs from all over the U.S. Maybe you would like to work for the American Red Cross? Or how about finding a job with a smaller, lesser-known, grass-roots organization? This is the place to find those jobs, as well as some government jobs. But there's more than just job listings on this site. You can also donate to your favorite organizations, and you can join the forums to voice your opinions.

Doe you have a background in manufacturing? What about plumbing, machine operations or any number of blue collar jobs? This site could be for you. You'll not only find plenty of listings for blue collar work with many, many companies, but you can also use this site to read some free magazines, check on the latest employment trends, build an online portfolio and more.

Ever work in a bank? Or want to? Or maybe you think being a bank teller doesn't sound very exciting. That's okay, because this site has more than just bank teller positions. Listed are loan processing jobs, executive positions and even bank jobs that aren't necessarily tied directly into money, such as janitorial work or computer technology, etc. Just one more potential tool in your job hunt. And even if you don't think you would be interested in working for a bank, I suggest spending some time perusing sites such as this anyway. Why? Because you might be surprised at some of the job listings. Maybe you don't think you'd want to work for some place, in this example a bank, but you might find a job in the field that suits you perfectly. In these tough times, you've got to think outside the box.

Hospital Jobs Online
Hospitals are another place you might not think has a job for you, but hospitals employ a lot more people than just doctors and nurses. With this site you can find job postings for administration, food services, file clerks, security, public relations and a whole lot more. Hospitals offer plenty of opportunities, so don't miss out by not considering them.

grocery Hire
Grocery stores always seem to have some kind of job openings, from cashiers to department managers to store managers and other positions. This site can help you find a job in the grocery business, though this site focuses almost entirely upon the U.S. Again, remember to think out of the box. Sometimes grocery stores need help in the pharmacy, or need security folks. There's lots of potential if you keep an open mind.

Environmental Jobs and Careers
With all the talk in the media about green jobs, you'd think there would be a job site just for employment in that field. There is. This one. There are all kinds of different types of jobs here, from community relations to engineering to legal work and much, much more. Think green! And find a job.

Do you think you've got potential for Hollywood? Do you think it's time for you to live your dreams? Maybe so. And starnow can help. This site lists plenty of casting calls for actors, as well as other positions within the film and TV industries. Think about being a stage hand. Or maybe you're a dancer or musician. Reality TV sound like your thing? Check out this site.
Whether you're an independent driver with your own rig or you're an experienced drive currently without a job, this site can help to line up your next gig, or possibly even regular, full-time work. Tons of companies are listed here, companies who need drivers to take to the roads to deliver goods. Most job listings are for the U.S., but there are also listings for Canada, Puerto Rico and a few other places.

This is basically a job site for hospitality careers. And what kind of careers are those? Hotels, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, resorts, cruise ships, etc. Many jobs are going to be hourly, but there are also plenty of listings for management positions, if that should interest you. Lots of variety here, so don't be afraid to look around some at all the different possibilities.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

10 Job Sites for Writers
As a former newspaper professional, I've been using this Web site for years. Of course newspaper jobs are quite scarce nowadays what with new technology and the depressing economy, but isn't only for newspaper jobs. You can also find jobs for online media, non-profits, TV, radio, and much more. Plenty of professional writing, editing and desktop publishing jobs can be found here. Most jobs listed here are in the United States, but there are sometimes listing for other countries.

The Write Jobs
This site tends to focus on media publishing employment, but it also has links to technical and medical writing jobs. This site also has links to other resources for writers, including advice from professionals. The Write Jobs is part of a network that also includes The Write News, a news site about writing, and Writers Write, a "one-stop resource about books, writing and publishing," according to the Web site.

Online Writing Jobs
Online Writing Jobshas thousands of jobs to search through, mostly for the freelance writer. Here you can find everything from ghostwriting gigs, to book writing, editing, copywriting, blogging, journalism and loads more. A number of the search links will take you to craigslist postings, but that's okay since you're getting a one-stop site for searching those craigslist writing jobs.
Want to get paid to blog? If so, this place can help you along your path. Not only are blogging jobs listed, but there are also advertising jobs, design jobs, and others to search from. You can even list yourself under the "Bloggers for Hire" section, or just catch up on some of the latest news concerning professional bloggers.

Media Bistro
As the new infers, this site has a little bit of everything for the writer, including jobs searches. Catch up on the latest media news, find out about conferences, connect with other professionals, or, of course, do a job search. You'll find plenty of journalism jobs listed here, but also jobs at universities, advertising agencies and other places. Really, Media Bistro has so much to offer, it's more than just an employment search engine.

Folio is a magazine for, well, it's for the magazine industry. If you want to find employment at a magazine, this is a good place to start. But there's also plenty of other interesting things on this site, such as magazine industry news, events, Webinars, and so much more I could keep going on for a long time. Your best bet is to check out this place.
Maybe you are looking for work in the book publishing industry. This is the site for that. Most of the job listings are for the United States, but you will find some for India, Britain and other countries. Spend some time looking over these job listings, because it can open your eyes to all the different possibilities for employment within the book publishing world.

Speaking of the world, here's a site for those not in the U.S. This is a media news site for those in Great Britain. Plenty of newspaper jobs are listed here, but you can also search employment for radio, TV and magazines. You can also read articles, or join a discussion to voice your opinion or just to have a nice chat.

This site is sort of a search engine for publishing jobs. You can use the search tool to find jobs listed in local media from all kinds of cities. I've had hit-and-miss success with using this site, but I'm not overly familiar with it, yet. One good thing about this site is it doesn't stick with just part of the publishing industry, but includes book publishers, online, newspapers and more.

The Freelance Writing Jobs Network
Another place on the Web that's more than just a place for looking for work. Of course you can look for jobs here, mostly freelance writing gigs, though there are some regular, full-time jobs. But there's so much more to do here, too. Catch up on writing news. Be a little social and leave some comments. Read some helpful articles. All this to enjoy in one place on the Internet.

Need a Job? These 10 Basic Sites Can Help Your Search

This is one of the oldest Web sites for job searches. Monster allows you to look anywhere in the world for a job, though it's probably best known for its job hunting abilities in the United States. You can use the site only for basic job searches, or you can sign up with Monster and post your resume, post a cover letter, seek resume-writing help and more. One great thing is signing up with Monster won't cost you anything.

Yahoo! hotjobs
If you already use Yahoo! for e-mail or other services, why not check out their offerings for your job hunt? Of course you can do the basic search, but you can also upload a resume, use a salary calculator, network with other professionals and perform tons and tons of other tasks that can help you find that next employer.

This site lets you look for jobs, post resumes, seek advice, etc. Sounds pretty familiar by now, right? Well, this site also has the added benefit of being linked with plenty of newspapers in the U.S., which means those jobs listed in many newspaper classified sections are also making it to Careerbuilder.

This is the official job hunting site for federal government jobs in the United States. This site not only lets you look for those government positions, but it also can provide information on the seeming mysteries of the federal hiring process, which obviously will be different depending upon which branch or department of government you're applying to work for.

Indeed is one of my favorite job search engines. Why? Because it is a one-stop search engine for many, many other jobs sites. In fact, several other of the other job sites on this list can all be searched together on Indeed. This particular site even scours some college and corporate sites for open position. But remember, never put all your trust into one job-hunting site online. Why? Read on.

Simply Hired
This site is much like Indeed. It allows you to search multiple other job sites all at the same time. What's interesting here is that I've done the exact same searches, multiple times and different dates, on both Indeed and Simply Hired and the results of the two sites do not match exactly. What this means is each site misses some jobs. And it means each site will have some listings the other one won't. So, to repeat, use more than one site for your employment search.
Another basic job hunting site. Perhaps, but you need to know about as many sites as possible. I like this site because it is one of the easier ones to use, in my opinion. Even the main page has a map of the United States, and you can click on each individual state to look for jobs there. What's easier than that?

Craiglistis a lot like the old-fashioned classified advertisements in your hometown newspaper. You go to the site and there are all kinds of classified listings, everything from yard sales to personals to housing and more. Including jobs. Yep, there are jobs listed on Craigslist, full-time jobs and part-time jobs and temporary gigs and everything between. If you don't like any of your local listings, and are willing to move, you can also check out the listings in other cities and states and even other parts of the world. Just be careful. There are lots of scammers out there, and sometimes they lurk on job hunting sites.

Maybe you're not in the United States, or you are but want a job elsewhere. That's where Eurojobs can be of aid. This Web site purports to be "the only multi-country site for jobs in Europe." So use it to find those jobs in France, Germany, Britain, Spain and elsewhere. You can do your basic search, or you can join the site for other benefits.

Maybe you need a job, but you are tired of wading through listings of executive jobs and nursing jobs an doctor's jobs, etc. You get the picture. You just need a job, you don't need to be the boss or to run a hospital. Snagajob might be the place for you. This is a place where tons of normal, everyday jobs are listed for normal, everyday folk. You know, jobs that pay by the hour. You can search around the country or in your own region. Plenty of restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores and the like have jobs listed here, but you might be surprised at many other places that have jobs listed. Worth checking out.