Back to Writing

Well, well, well. How things go full circle. I came into Internet Marketing in 2006 after trying my hand at writing short stories and even got three quarters of the way through a full length novel but not getting anywhere with them. Well, now I’m going back to writing and this time around, its a lot easier.

Easier in the publishing department, at least. I can now publish books electronically via Amazon so people can download them onto their Kindle readers for a fair price. I can also publish via Smashwords to get the same book formatted onto just about every other kind of electronic reader in existence.

So it doesn’t matter whether you own a Kindle, iPad, Android powered tablet or an old fashioned (!) laptop PC or Mac. You can download my books. If you want to read them, that is. Maybe you will, may you won’t. Chances are this will start slowly and gradually build up over time. That’s fine by me, as I’m not in any hurry.

Oh, before you read too far down, this is not going to be a “how to” post, there are some really good blog posts that explain and discuss the mechanics of self publishing electronic books (see below for the links). Ok, you have to read further to get the links, so you’ll just have to put up with my ramblings to get there!

Where was I? Oh yes, the reason for switching back to writing. I still make my living from Internet Marketing, so its not as if I’m desperate to claw money to me. I do just fine with what I already have. But for me, its just not enough.

I have a short attention span and am always trying new things. I get bored with old things fast and want to inject some new interest juice into my life often. Internet Marketing was (and still is) interesting to me because its constantly changing. It takes a lot of continued learning to stay on top of things, which is good for me.

Several days ago, I got a fire lit under my backside when my good friend from New Zealand, Lis wrote on her blog a post that talked about HubPages is a Train Wreck – And The Next Big Thing, the next big thing being publishing ebooks on the Kindle and how it was possible to use my own existing website content to reformat into books. She has since written several more posts to explain how this is all done, which you can read on her blog: Passive Income Online. Lis has also published her own travel ebook (check out her blog for more details).

Around the same time, the other Brit ex-pat Internet Marketer living here in Sunny Spain (and up a mountain, too) Dave wrote his post on the same subject at Inspiration: Publish Books On The Kindle, which also brought another friend from Australia into the discussion, Tracey Edwards, who it turns out had beaten us all to the starting gate and is already a published author.

All of that, in the space of a few days was just too much for yours truly to ignore. My first thought was to grab a set of weight loss articles that I have on a certain website of mine and put them all together into a massive 50k+ word ebook with 100 weight loss tips.

Why not? The content is already written, I own it because I wrote it. But conversations with the others made me rethink and I took Lis’s suggestion that it would be better to split the book up into 5 volumes. Marketing tactics would come into play by putting the first book up either really cheap (99c) or even free to get some interest moving and then to price the other 4 at maybe $2.99 each. So that’s what I did. Or am doing.

The first book is now live on both Amazon and Smashwords for 99c. I think that’s pretty cheap for over 10k words in 20 chapters worth of solid, useful weight loss advice and tips. Um, you may have noticed the shameless plug over on the top right of this page… that’s the book cover and the link to both Amazon and Smashwords if you have an inkling you might just want to grab a copy to see what its all about!

The other 4 books are going to be drip fed out a week or so apart to let the momentum build slowly.

So that’s where I am right now. The plan is to put out some more non-fiction in the weight loss niche, since I just so happen to have rather a good, in-depth level of knowledge in that area, what with spending several years as a qualified hypnotherapist in the UK specializing in weight loss as well as anti-smoking and hypno-analysis (psychoanalysis).

I also want to get back to the fiction I was writing a few years ago and jump start that side of things. Its another avenue of potentially good revenue plus its something that interests me, I enjoy doing and I’m pretty good at (ok, enough of the smug conceit).

The only dilemma for me was what name to publish under. Most writers use a pen name and I have been wrestling with how to do this. I’ve spent 5 years branding myself with my real name, so I don’t want to waste that. At the same time, I have a crappy surname that doesn’t really instil a sense of “coolness” that a good fiction writer must portray. The solution?

I’m going with a pen name, at least for my fiction books and short stories. Name to be announced when I’ve dreamed up a suitably “cool” one. For the weight loss and other non-faction, I’m publishing under my own name.

There, a whole post about writing and not a single “how to” in sight. S’there!

Terry Didcott

Is Anyone Tired of Writing Useless Garbage Yet?

So 2010 is drawing to a close and countless words have been written by many to fill the world wide web with so much utter garbage that its a wonder anyone cares any more. I’m not sure I can blame anyone for this as it is only in response to what people seem to think the search engines want.

Content, content and more content!

So this is a post about what happened to good, useful content. The kind of thing I used to write a lot of (and still do in certain areas). Although lately, in order to keep up with the madding crowd, I’ve had to switch from intelligent writing to banging out as many 300-400 word articles that are barely passable just to keep my online business on an even keel.

It seems that the importance of writing highly factual, interesting and grammatically perfect thousand word plus articles has been long forgotten in the manic clamber to infest the web with billions of words that make little more sense than a drunk on a soapbox. No one seems to even care any more, at least not those who are scrambling over each other to see who can win the race up the SERPs to grab the traffic and the cash that often, but not always, comes with it.

Internet marketers will know what I’m talking about, whereas the rest of the world will be scratching their heads. What is all this double dutch?

Well, without going into the whys and wherefores of why we do what we do, part of the jib requires the getting of backlinks to our websites that make us money. The way to do that most effectively is to have those backlinks inserted in published articles on related websites to our own that are “anchored” with the “keywords” that we are targeting in the search engine results. Its a tough game that most fail at, while the few who succeed are constantly in need of finding more content to put those links in and spread them as far and wide as possible.

This is how the game is played and those with the greatest resources will get the greatest number of those coveted backlinks by outsourcing most of the work and relying on that outsourced labour to deliver what they are being paid for. It can be likened to throwing as much mud at the wall as you can in the hope that some of it sticks. Those that don’t have such great resources will have to rely on guile and skill to make their links count. This is also a part of the game and the one that separates the successes from the failures.

You see, some of us can write pretty quickly and produce enough articles to place manually much more effectively than those who outsource can, because they are relying on bulk and are not so concerned over the quality of that work. So it boils down to a battle between quality and quantity. Who wins?

Well, experience has taught me that quality can compete with quantity and in the long run will win out. The problem is that it isn’t as simple as throwing all the mud at once and then sitting back waiting for the money to roll in. To keep the money coming, you have to keep slinging the mud. Quantity vs quality then takes on a different guise where quantity stays in front of quality through sheer volume.

I’m not overly troubled by this, as the websites that pay my wages are sufficiently robust to stand up to the pressure from the content mega-mudslingers, because my quality keeps me in contention with the quantity merchants. But as I already mentioned, this is really only meaningful to Internet Marketers, whereas to anyone else, this is still so much gobbledygook and nonsense.

A bit like all that mud, or useless garbage that is weighing down the web that surfers are finding themselves more increasingly struggling to wade through to find anything of value to read.

So here’s wishing all of you a Happy and Prosperous New Year, whether any of this makes sense to you or not!

Terry Didcott

Write Something!

I’ve been so busy lately with building my other sites up with content that I’ve neglected this one and I suppose I really shouldn’t as its supposed to be my personal window onto the cyber world where I can be just me. That is the me who is not constantly hammering away at making a living online from all that writing and website building!

So what can I reveal in here that is happening my own little corner of the world? Well, I don’t really want to give too much personal info away as I believe a person’s personal life should remain just that. After all, if I’d really craved the limelight and wanted every Tom, Dickhead and Harry to know everything about me, I would have pushed myself into the media world and tried to make a name for myself. Nope, that stuff is for the beautiful people to have all to themselves and they’re welcome to it.

I like a quiet life and that’s pretty much what I live, except for those times when I get together with the band and play a gig… Yes, I’m back in the music scene here on the Costa del Sol after an 18 month layoff and playing in a band that tends to attract big biker gigs here! Oh, yes there is a big biker scene down here and there are a good few places where they love to get together and have big events, for which they like to have a loud band that plays our brand of rock/blues loud and gritty!

But apart from that, family life remains quiet, relatively private and very, very nice.

So what about the online business? I thought you’d never ask!

Well, I have had my best year to date so far and all that hard work is paying off from multiple sources and a variety of websites that have struck fairly rich veins in their relative niches. Other than that, I’m not really going to go on about how I do it or why. I’ll leave that for a post in one of my Internet Marketing blogs if I ever get around to it. If you are wondering, I don’t post much in them either as they don’t make much money, as it seems that particular niche is tougher than I want to be bothered with right now.

That’s about all I’m going to say right now, because the time it takes me to write a post in here (that will earn me nada) I can be writing an article for one of my niche sites that will make me some decent coin. I know what I’d rather be doing!

Hasta luego…

Terry Didcott