Category Archives: Uncategorized

Opportunities for Freelance Writers

Colorado Explorer


Colorado Explorer Magazine is monthly magazine that promotes
travel and outdoor activities around the state of Colorado.
We publish photographs, and travel and adventure stories about
places, people, and things to do around Colorado. Colorado has
some of the most majestic scenery in the world and people want
to see photographs and read the accounts of others in these
areas. The maximum word length and fees paid for each feature
article is $0.15 a word. A feature article should be between
800 and 1,400 words. The maximum word length and fees paid for
department articles are $0.10 a word. The department articles
should be between 600 and 1,000 words. (from website – has been
known to pay more per other references)


No longer accepting unsolicited material. However, if you are
a writer in central Ohio who is interested in being considered
for assignments, please submit your resume and three writing
samples which reflect our magazine’s writing style and content.
Articles run around 700 words and columns 300 words. Pays
up to 20 cents/word. Publication and website provides info
on raising children in the Columbus area. Topics include
education, health, child development, entertainment, and


Connecticut Magazine is a general interest, service and
issue-oriented magazine that covers all aspects of life in
the state–arts, politics, travel, people, business, health,
environment and newsworthy issues. No fiction or poetry.
Deadline is two months prior to publication date. Pays 20%
kill fee. Pays $750 and up for features of 2,500+ words.
Short fillers up to 300 words pay up to $200. Departments
of 500 to 1,800 words pay up to $700.


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Show the Heart and Soul of Your Work in Your Book Covers


Font Lucida

A book that is brilliantly written, but lacks a good quality cover design will sadly remain unnoticed and undiscovered.

Therefore it is absolutely crucial, especially if you are publishing your own book, to have a book cover that grabs attention.

Book Covers are often challenging to design as they should show the heart and the soul of the book in one single image and at the same time should be visually striking, appealing and represent the book’s contents.

Will your e-book cover get judged in the same way? Certainly! This is why you really need to focus on the visual design aspect of your cover, because most people will not give it a second glance if it just does not look professional.

Here are some topics you should discuss with your designer.

• Use bold or complementary colors
• Use light on dark for dramatic effects (if it fits to your book content)
• Test the cover in thumbnail size to make sure it looks good at Amazon’s website
• Use not more than different two fonts in total
• Your name and book title should be distinguished from each other by either size, color, or font
• Use not too wide vertical spaces between lines of text
• Use very few shadow, bevel, gradient or glow – keep it subtle
• Align the cover text – centre, left or right
• Place text on plain background to stand out
• Use the same fonts for all your books and readers will be able to identify them easily
• People read left to right, top to bottom. Position your elements in appropriate levels of importance.
• Never, ever, use a white background! White on white is barely visible and your book will not stick out.


Font Arial

You never get a second chance for a first good impression!

  • Don’t use “flat” text – it is almost always better to add some shadow, bevel, gradient or glow.
  • Using various colors, filters, and effects available in Illustrator and Photoshop, you or your book designer can create book titles that are both, original and effective. Remember always: Your title and its appearance is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader.

A great image on your e-book cover will undoubtedly catch your reader’s imagination, wondering what lies beyond the cover. It’s a great opportunity to draw people in.


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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


Marketing by Writing Free Content for eZines?

e-Zines and all these content farms, such as 101,, All About… are a really profitable business – alas not for the writers who create all the content, but for the owners of these websites. These content farms or eZines do not produce original content.

But why should you write for them?
Nevertheless you will profit too: Writing an article, using content from your book or blog and having a link to it, will result in traffic on your and/or on your Amazon page Author or Sales. Most e-Zines allow links, some are even up to three.

Here is a list of potential sites where you might submit your article:

For writing articles AND get paid (albeit not much) have a look at this precious blog that provides lots of links for freelance writing sources. If you can use parts of your book content in writing articles, all the better!


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What is Cloud Computing?

Image Vera Kratochvil

Not only for dummies:
Some people live and die by their email. The nice thing about your email is you do not have to log into your home computer to get your email. You can log into any computer, tablet, mobile device, anywhere in the world and get the contents of your email.

Your email is not stored just on your home PC. It is accessible anywhere, hosted by your service provider granting you access from a coffee shop or even the neighbors house. This is the basic premise of cloud computing.

In the past your writing could only be saved to the computer that created it. With cloud computing, you can access that document from any PC, tablet or mobile anywhere in the world.

Cloud security continues to be the number one concern with end users, but truthfully, Facebook releases more personal info then cloud storage does.

Just as you adapted to email services, you can adapt to cloud computing. There really is no difference. Now, it’s not just your email access, rather you have access to all of your documents and images anywhere, any time.

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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Why Throw Out Your Money?

Would you like to talk with business partners, friends or family members who live at the other end of the world or just in another state – for free? Yes? 

Why don’t you do it??? Why pay AT&T, Bell or Rogers a fortune if it is not necessary?  You are almost always in reach of a laptop, tablet or computer – why not use Skype, the FREE phone? 

Skype has 670 million registered users.  I am wondering why not more.  Almost everyone in the world could use it, technically speaking.

Sounds like I am a sales rep for Skype, right? 
NO, not at all, but I am using it for over ten years, when it often had a lousy connection, when it often sounded as you were sitting in a bath tub, when the connections broke down in the middle of your conversation. 

But it got better and better and now since it was bought by Microsoft in Spring of 2011, there are no problems anymore.  It sounds like calling from a regular landline, often even better than from a cell phone.  I have a landline too, which I should cancel as my phone lays in a drawer, not used since over a year, and faxes could be send over the internet as well.

What I like best on the VoIP system? 
Not to be interrupted by phone calls from sales persons when I am working, or from other silly, unnecessary calls that could be replaced by emails – which I open when it is convenient for me.  And sometimes it is good to have a message in writing, black on white for proof…

Users can download Skype for free, to use it on Windows, Mac, Blackberry or iPhone. Registered users of Skype are identified by a unique Skype Name.  Instead of a phone number you can choose a Skype name to use on these devices.

Skype is more than an Internet phone:
You can make conference calls to talk “face to face”. Why waste time and money, have all the inconvenience of international travel when you can “meet” up to five business partners in one conference call or through Skype audio conferences, currently supporting up to 25 people at a time, including the host?

Your Grandma has no computer or Blackberry? 
Call her on her landline!  For free in the United States and Canada.  And if she lives in China or Great Britain, it costs you 1.2 cents per minute, to India 2.2 cents.

Travelling a lot?
Use Skype for WiFI and pay only for the time you are online, not the amount you download.

Would you like to open a business branch in Europe? You don’t need to hire staff yet, just get a Skype “number” there and answer your phone calls while sitting on your computer in the States.

I am wondering why not all corporations and government agencies use Skype in favor of expensive landlines and save our tax money. Skype is claimed to be a secure communication, encryption cannot be disabled, and is invisible to the user. Skype reportedly uses publicly-documented, widely trusted encryption techniques.

The downside? 
911 Emergency calls  cannot be provided by Skype.

There are other possibilities to avoid the traditional phone system by “Voice of Internet Protocol”, such as Google Voice or iMessage from Apple. More of these and why phone numbers should be abandoned:


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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Writing Contests: Read the Fine Print


Is it really worth to participate in Writing Contests?  For every offer I read, hear or get in person I always ask myself “who benefits?” and so I study always the “fine print”.  Here is an essay contest as example:

“An Essay Contest, 6 Winners Get Manuscript Critiques:
Pick one of the following stories from Book Wish Foundation’s new book, What You Wish For, and write an essay of no more than 500 words about how the wishes in the story relate to the Darfur refugees in eastern Chad. The stories were contributed for free by their authors so we could use the book’s proceeds to develop libraries in Darfur refugee camps. Essays will be judged on style, creativity, understanding of the story, and understanding of the refugees. (1)

If you win, either the story’s author or the author’s literary agent will provide a one-page critique of the first 50 pages of a middle grade or young adult manuscript of your choosing. You will have six months to submit your manuscript and the agent or author will have six months from submission to provide the critique. Stories you may write about:

  • “The Protectionist,” by Meg Cabot.
  • “Pearl’s Fateful Wish,” by Jeanne DuPrau.
  • “Nell,” by Karen Hesse.
  • “The Lost Art of Letter Writing,” by Ann M. Martin.
  • “The Rules for Wishing,” by Francisco X. Stork..
  • “The Stepsister,” by Cynthia Voigt.

You may submit essays about more than one story for a chance to win more than one critique (2). Essays and winners’ manuscripts must be written in English.  To Enter:
Essays must be emailed to contest at …. no later than February 1, 2012, either pasted into the body of the email or attached as a Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or PDF file. Essays must include the name and email address of the entrant. Book Wish Foundation staff will judge the initial round of the contest and recommend finalists to the agents or authors, who will select the winners. Winners will be notified by email and announced on on or about March 1, 2012. Winners’ manuscripts must be received by September 1, 2012. Manuscript critiques will be sent to winners within six months of receipt.

Essays may be published on (3). By submitting an essay, you grant to Book Wish Foundation the right to edit, publish, copy, display, and otherwise use your essay, and to further use your name, likeness, and biographical information in advertising and promotional materials, without further compensation or permission (4), except where prohibited by law. The preceding applies to the contest essays, not winners’ manuscripts. Winners retain all rights to the manuscripts they submit for critique.(5)”

My conclusions when reading this “offer”:
To understand the story and to understand refugee camps you will have to BUY the book, it is not easily available in libraries or bookstores.

(2)     If you really want a good chance to win, you might have to write several essays – this way “donating” all your essays that will not be considered a winner.

(3)     Essays may be published on You can look at it as a donation or a way to get your name out (also is not a popular website per se) but it is not given that you have a link to your authors website.

(4)     You give them permission to alter, publish, copy the essay and use your name in ads and PR WITHOUT COMPENSATION.

(5)     Only winners retain all rights to their manuscript – also it does not specify if they are compensated in any way other then the critique.

A really clever roguish PR trick to get free content - for the agency – not for the authors.  What is really in for you as an author?  Or am I too critical?  Do you partizipate in writing contests, no matter how benefitial it is for the other party and no matter if they profit from your writing without compensatingyou?



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Are you an Author from Canada?



Found in FundsforWritiers: The Writer’s Retreat offers writers time and a remote location to pursue their professional projects. The writer will be housed in the Berton House at no cost in rent or utilities.

A monthly honorarium is provided to help cover food and other living expenses. The writer is responsible for their own telephone bill. Travel costs to and from Dawson will be covered. 

The Berton House Writers’ Retreat is located in Dawson City, Yukon Territory.

Professional Canadian writers who have one published book and are established in any creative literary discipline(s) — fiction, non-fiction, poetry, playwriting, journalism — are all encouraged to apply.

The writer is also encouraged to:

* interface with the public and the local literary community
* feature their work in local newspapers and on local radio stations
* avail themselves for interviews with local media
* hold writing workshops in the community and/or at the schools and colleges


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Writers and Artists in Residence


Seaplane Maine

Seaplane Maine

Mount Desert Island Maine

Artist-In-Residence Program at Acadia
The Artist-in-Residence Program at Acadia National Park offers professional writers, composers, and all visual and performing artists the opportunity to pursue their particular art form while surrounded by the inspiring landscape of the park. In the spring and fall, the park provides housing to participants for two-week to four-week periods.

In return, participating artists are asked to donate to the park collection a piece of work representative of their style and their stay. These creative works will be displayed on a rotating schedule or shared with the public through other appropriate means during the upcoming seasons. Artists are also asked to participate in one public program per week of their residency such as demonstrations, talks, exploratory hikes, or performances. In the fall, artists will be working with fifth and sixth grade students. Programs can be tailored to your medium, interests, and experiences, and only consume a few hours of your stay.

How to Apply
Applications for the program are accepted beginning October 1 and must be received by January 7 for consideration for the following season.

Catoctin Mountain Artist-In-Residence

This program offers visual, literary, and performing artists an opportunity to work in a natural and historic setting to advance art, nature, and history education and appreciation.

The Artist-In-Residence will spend two weeks immersed in the natural and cultural resources of the Catoctin Mountains. During this residency, the artist will produce a novel work and share the artistic process with the public.

The Catoctin Forest Alliance conservation area (namely: Catoctin Mountain and areas within two miles of its base, from the Pennsylvania border to the edge of Frederick) boasts many compelling subjects. Here the artist may find many historic sites, farms, quaint villages, rivers and streams, waterfalls, lakes, and other scenic views.

There are three residencies each year in May, August, and October.
Spring and Fall accommodations are in a historic log cabin in the woods of Catoctin Mountain Park. The cabin is rustic, but includes fully equipped kitchen and bath. Laundry facilities are available for the artist.
Amateur and professional artists of two- and three-dimensional arts, photographers, videographers, writers, and poets are encouraged to apply. In the future, we expect to open the program to musicians and other performing artists.

The Catoctin Forest Alliance will accept applications no later than January 15 for spring and summer residencies, and no later than June 15 for fall residencies.


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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Uncategorized


Bravo ! Amazon ! Finally !

Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire

Suddenly e-books are much better looking…

Amazon released its Kindle Fire, and the company is already working on tweaking its vast collection of eBooks for maximum compatibility with the Kindle Fire. 

Amazon is retiring its MOBI format in favour of the new .KF8 format (or Kindle Format 8), including support for 150 new formatting tags, which include HTML5 and CSS support.

The eCommerce giant had in the past used and supported Mobi 7. 

HTML5 is quickly becoming the new web standard so it is not a total surprise to hear that Amazon is moving in this direction.  Amazon will convert all existing content into the .KF8 format, and users also have the option of updating existing titles they have on their Kindle ebook readers and Kindle readers on other mobile platforms.

Amazon is also releasing a new set of Kindle Publishing Guidelines, which ebook authors and publishers should take into consideration when building their content for distribution via Amazon!

This is where a professional formatting / conversion company gives helpful support to authors and self-publishers. Publishers will also need to update their titles in order to use the new format.

The new Amazon Kindle format will ideally support a wider array of devices, and not just Amazon’s proprietary Kindle ebook reader. The new format also allows for more versatile formatting, as well as a more portable format. The company is said to be looking for a replacement for its .MOBI format, and this seems to be it.




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Try this: Chime.In

UberMedia CEO Bill Gross has launched his new content-based social network, The serial entrepreneur said in an interview with that he is an avid user of all other social media services.  But existing social networks have two problems: relevance and monetization. What he has created is a new interest-based network that doesn’t compete with existing social networks, and where partizipants can monetize.

“Gross: The fundamental unit of conversation in this new network is called a “chime,” and it is 250 characters and an image (or more) plus links and polls. You can also tag it with interests or topics.  We want to focus more on niches of interest.

We also have an API that allows developers to extend the range of things that can be included in a chime, so you can run an auction inside a chime — you can actually do e-commerce right within the platform, so if you have two tickets for the game you can sell them right there. We are opening up those abilities to developers, which I think will be a big driver of monetization.

You can see what we call a “chime-line”, which you can sort by time or by the number of “likes” or the number of comments. That way, the good stuff rises to the top. You can also follow people — but instead of just following everything, you can do what we call a “selective follow,” and choose just the topics you want to follow in their stream.

I think the only way we are going to have good communities is if someone puts work into them — and the only way someone is going to do that is either because it’s a labor of love or because there is an economic incentive. So we are trying to help give them that. And if people create great communities then that will draw people to the network.

We allow anyone — individuals, celebrities, brands — to create a rich-media page and monetize that themselves. If someone wants to sell ads on their page, 100 percent of the revenue from those ad sales goes to him or her. If she/he wants us to sell the ads for her/him, then it’s a 50-percent revenue share “  – unlike all the other social media where the site cashes 100%, and then cashes again when the enterprise is sold for millions…

Have a look at interests in
such as book writing, photography, e-books, self-publishing, Book Design & Layout etc. among hundreds of others.



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The UGLY Duckling



Book Store

Book Store


I just read a marvelous book on self-publishing and I would have given it a 5-star review for its content, but it was – against the own advice of the authors – not copy-edited, not even spell-checked – and the layout was not done professionally. While reading these errors were so disturbing, that I will give it not more than a 3 or 4-star review.

“It doesn’t cost any more to produce a good-looking book than it does to produce a bad-looking one” Joel Friedlander wrote in his great blog about sloppy, self-published books:

This is true for both, paper books and e-books that are often shambles from a book design point of view.

But not only that, these self-published books often lack the basics, such as putting them through word spelling, copy editing, beta-reading and having done a professional layout (and converting, if it is an e-book), rather than just smash-word it on the cheap.

Another blogger wrote:
“Needless to say, poor quality e-books are becoming something of an embarrassment for publishers trying to convince readers to pay a premium for downloads (as Kassia Kroszer recently pointed out in Publishing Perspectives: it is hard to justify higher e-book prices when the product simply isn’t up to scratch), and clearly it’s an issue publishers need to address sooner rather than later if they want win this argument.

The problem of substandard e-books partially stems from the fact that many publishers currently lack the means and expertise (and, to some extent, the will) to produce high quality e-book editions themselves. Their workflow and production process are set up for print, so the quickest way to create e-book files has been to outsource the job to third parties, inevitably with very little quality control.”

If self-published authors want to be taken seriously, and compete with paper books (both, hard and soft cover) from commercial publishers, they need to offer seriously edited book content and also a professional book layout.



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Your e-Book on Flickr

Traumberuf Pilot?

Traumberuf Pilot?

Sign up at the Flickr website and open an account (free).

Take the cover of your e-book in several versions and sizes and load them up at the Flickr website.  Write lots! of good tags to describe these photos of your e-book. Flickr  allows you to up to 75 tags to each photo. Which means: 75 possibilities for people to find, and learn about your e-book.

Tags for e-book photos could be for sample: E-Reading, Kindle, Sony, Kobo, Nook, ereading, e-books, ebooks, ebook online, book cover, digital display, electronic book, information medium, publishing, reading, text, textbook, internet, author, technology, books, education, literature, paper, media, writer, self-publishing, e-Reader, writing news, tablet computer, iPad, e-book conversion,  … and most important: the title of your book and content words (tags) in various versions.

For even more exposure of your e-book photos (but only if the cover is really professionally designed and in high-resolution) join the Amber Group.

A free and easy way to show your e-book to the world!

P.S. The book cover image above is a (German) title that I wrote years ago and very successfully self-published and marketed. I will publish it as an e-book next month.




Hyper Smash


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The Very Short History of e-Books

E-Readers were not exactly a hit when they were introduced in the 1990s – maybe to a general skepticism about the technology, maybe to their high prices and clumsy technology?

Only after the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader with their more book-like appearance thanks to e-ink technology, were launched in 2007, that the device and subsequently with it, e-books really took off.


Kindle and Hardcover Book
Kindle and Hardcover Book

From then on sales of e-books rocketed more than 1,000 percent over the next  years, from only $32 million in 2006 to $441 million in 2010, to more than $1 billion, prognosed for 2011. If it would not be for some of the big publishing houses with their reluctance to e-books and fixed-price requirements in countries like Japan or Germany, the numbers could be double already.

Now book stores and publishers are going to have to reinvent themselves, as every book ever written being stored at virtually no cost and delivered instantly on demand. Why would consumers need all the hassle of limited store hours, crowded parking lots and out-of-stock titles.  And why should stores return almost half of new books, just because they are not sold in big numbers within a few months? Imagine the impact on resources and the environment that was caused by this practice within the last 60 years.

Why do authors need a publisher? Why don’t they just sign directly with Amazon, cutting out the middlemen – as more and more bestseller authors are doing -  and receiving ten times the royalty? Or even one step further as J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series does, offering the e-books on her own website, yielding 100% of the e-book proceeds.


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You Never Get a Second Chance

….. for a First Good Impression!


Book Marketing - Elevator Pitch

Tips for a Winning Elevator Pitch

What is an Elevator Pitch? This is the 30-60 second description of your book and why someone should work with you. It’s called an “Elevator Pitch” because it describes the challenge: “How would you explain your book or your business, if fate placed you in an elevator with your dream prospect and you only had the time it takes to get from the top of the building to the bottom?”

The purpose of an elevator pitch is not to close a deal. It’s to interest the other person in continuing to talk, or to get someone to want to hear more. That’s IT. There is no other purpose. It is one of the most important parts of the marketing strategy for your book (business).

• Your pitch should be 30 to 60 seconds, and it needs to end with a question, “call to action” or other appropriate closer. Consider a generic closer such as, “Does that sound like something you would look at or that interests you?” That lets the listener respond and if they are interested, they will ask questions. • Content is as important as your delivery. If the content of a pitch is uninspiring or uninteresting it won’t matter if it’s well-delivered and the perfect length.

• There are differences between verbal and written pitches, between the way people speak and the way they write. Many people have trouble with this. But as a writer you are able to write a dialogue then you are also able to tell your elevator pitch to someone in a natural and conversional way.

• Show your passion. Act like a parent showing off pictures of their newborn or their star little children’s fashion model. If you’re not excited about your project, nobody else will be.

• Use your time wisely. Most people are way too busy and constantly overloaded with information. They have to make quick decisions about what deserves their attention and what doesn’t. Grab their attention, work hard at making your pitch as compelling or intriguing as possible.

You never know when you are going to come across someone who will ask, “What’s your book about?” At conferences, there are mealtimes, hallway chatting times and countless other times when someone might ask you this question. Always have yours ready! Always be prepared: you never have a second chance for a first good impression!



Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Uncategorized


Not Yet Convinced to E-Publish?



You CAN make money with e-publishing.
There are authors that made already a million with their e-books, but also authors that barely sell a hundred books per year – it all depends on the quality of your book(s) including cover art, layout and reviews – and how well they are marketed. Same how it works with paper books.

There is overhead cost in e-publishing.
Like paper books, e-books need proof-reading, editing, lay-out, cover design, an ISBN number plus converting in various e-book formats for e-Readers and most important: Marketing.

Editing is essential.
Some e-book authors don’t do it to save money, and some e-publishers do it minimal or not at all. But proof-reading and professionally editing is the most important part in publishing.

E-publishers have to invest in e-books.
…or they will fail.  Just because authors are rarely paid any advance (but rather higher royalties) doesn’t mean there are no investments to make. 

It is not so much easier to get your book out with a reputable e-publisher.
Professional e-publishing houses have their standards to carefully pick their authors in order to deliver quality literature. I am here not talking about vanity publishers that are also to be found in this field and easily can be recognized by charging authors beforehand. I read a good advice: “As an author the only place you should be signing a check is on the back to cash it.” 

It can be a stepping stone to traditional publishing.
Yes, there are e-book authors that have been picked up by the “big six” publishers – but with e-books becoming common-place as do e-Reader devices, in the future e-book publishing will for sure overtake paper book publishing – and the “big six” are coming along with it.

More and more people read e-books.
Also paper books will stay with us, there are many practical reasons for e-books: We don’t need to carry heavy stacks of books to the cottage or on the plane. And we can read at night in bed without using a bedstand lamp (my dog hates bright light in the bed room ;-)


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