28 Oct 2008

What is Fibonacci Poetry?

The term Fibonacci Poetry seems to have been coined by Gregory K. He describes how he thought up the idea:

"At the 2005 SCBWI-LA Writer’s Day, poet-novelist Ron Koertge mentioned the idea of “warming up” each day by writing haiku. To paraphrase what he said, writing haiku keeps you in tune with the importance of word choice and how you can say so much with so little… with the goal being that subconsciously you will continue to be aware of both points whenever and whatever you write.

I was intrigued, but my geeky mind immediately began to churn. Why just haiku? I wanted something that required more precision. That led me to a six line, 20 syllable poem with a syllable count by line of 1/1/2/3/5/8 – the classic Fibonacci sequence."

In an age of abbreviations the Fibonacci poem is now often shortened to a Fib, with the poet known as a Fibber. There are websites that will accept your Fibs for publication but the main purpose, at least for the originator, was to devise a closed quick yet subtle exercise to explore the richness and vividness of a few choice words.

I also saw that one comment on the Fib blog had a neat palindromic Fib, with the structure 1-1-2-3-5-8-5-3-2-1-1. Clever!

here is an example:

This
Post
Is now
At an end,
Well, I gotta shoot.
So leave a comment now my friend.

AlienSkin Magazine

AlienSkin Magazine

Published Bi-Monthly Online

Share In The Adventure

Enter the world of Speculative Fiction. Journey through our virtual magazine and plunge into the strange and unusual. Inside you'll find tales of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Leave your reality behind. Enter the realm of the unknown—where anything can happen.

AlienSkin Magazine publishes science fiction, fantasy, and horror tales that possess a speculative element We ONLY accepts Email submissions.

We DO NOT accept Simultaneous Submission, Reprints, Novel Excerpts, Serialized Stories, Snail Mail Submissions. We are not interested in stories that contain excessive blood, gore, vulgarity, erotic elements or child abuse. Nor are we interested in inflammatory hate pieces. Do not send us Flash stories under 500 words or over 1,000 words.

Limit your submission to only 2 submissions per author per month. This does not include submissions to our contests, to our micro fiction section, or our Fibonacci sequence poetry.

Flash Fiction ~ Submissions are OPEN
We pay $5.00US/story of 500 - 1,000 words.
Payment by chec or Paypal.
Our word counts are firm.
We publish 11 - 15 Flash Fiction pieces per issue.

Micro Fiction and Fibonacci Poetry also accepted but no cash payments offered, just exposure.

Please check out the AlienSkin Magazine for full submission details and any updates to their terms.

If any of the above information is out of date please let me know by leaving a comment.

26 Oct 2008

How To Help Yourself Get Your Book Published

There are so many articles with advice and tips on how to get published that what the world needs is another one! Thing is, as every writer is trying to do the same thing how can you stand out from the crowd?

Firstly, are you writing fiction or non-fiction? The two are rather different in the way they are considered by publishers. If you are a first-time fiction writer then there seems to be no short cut to actually writing the book. Unless you are already well known the chances of an advance on a novel are next to zero. Below I am going to concentrate on non-fiction writing but, if you are writing a novel within a well-defined genre then some of these tips may well help you too.

Do you need an advance?

We would all like to receive a nice fat advance for our new book! But if this is going to be your first book then you need to ask yourself whether you actually need an advance. In a sense, spending a year trying to get a publishing deal when you could have spent that time actually writing half the book can be a fruitless diversion of energy and resources. I cannot answer that question for you, but just consider how much income you already have, how long it would take to research and write the book and whether you need to take time off work in order to complete it.

Advances are usually split into three tranches; you receive a payment upon signing the contract, another one upon delivery of the manuscript and the last one when the book is actually published. There is some flexibility in the percentages of the payments so if your research is costly in terms of travelling, or you need to stop your normal job for some months, then you can negotiate for a higher first payment. Note that, if you have already written a large part of your book, then steps one and two may come in fairly quick succession. This will avoid the notorious author trap of having spent the first slice of the advance without having completed writing! Yes, it happens all the time!

What do publishers want?

From my experience, publishers rarely know what they actually want - they just know what they want when they see it! This is typical reactive behaviour but perhaps understandable when one is forced to look at hundreds of potential books. It is similar to market research questionnaires that often ask the same question prompted and unprompted, to see the difference between what people recall compared to what they can remember. Publishers work in a similar way, so you as the author need to prompt them into not only looking at your work but also reading it and feeling good about it.

The minimum publishers will ask for when considering a work of non-fiction is a one-page summary of the whole book - what it's about, why it's important and who will buy it - plus a list of chapters and a paragraph summary for each chapter, and also one whole chapter written (to show you can write). This is the bare minimum and should be considered as your sales brochure. Indeed, as any author knows, printing and posting a whole manuscript to many agents and publishers can become very expensive. I have seen that publishers themselves know this to be expensive and so when they are promoting a new book at one of the major book fairs they will often produce small brochures; they are known as "blads" (Basic Layout And Design). The blad is a sales brochure that publishers use to sell to other publishers for co-editions and translations. Especially if the book is illustrated, the blad is a small advert showing the look and feel and style of the new book and is around 20 pages or so. It also costs a fraction of the price to produce.

Turn your proposal into a blad

So, there is no reason for you as an author not to create your own blad with all the details listed above. It will probably be a little longer than the standard 20-page brochure, but it will be a lot shorter and cheaper to produce than a full manuscript. If your book demands illustrations then it is critical you include some examples. The honest truth is that if an agent or publisher does not like your blad then they probably won't like the manuscript either. But there is nothing more powerful than having a reader ask for more! If you send a whole manuscript then the agent can take it or leave it. If, however, you send your publishing brochure and they like it, then you are in a powerful position to negotiate a deal and an advance to complete your masterpiece. It also gives the publisher some input into your overall content.

A book, or rather, a non-fiction book has to be considered more an industrial product than a work of art. By this I mean that many people will have an input into the final look of the book. It is still your book but there will be editors and designers who take pride in seeing a little bit of themselves in the final object. By presenting a taster of your book you're showing that you know what you're talking about and can do so eloquently, whilst also leaving open that some of your themes or chapters could be under discussion. Listen to such advice as you never know, you may have missed something important.

Go forth and multiply

So now that you're armed with the essence of your book distilled into the perfect sales brochure, what do you do then? This really depends on the subject matter of your book. Is it a travel book, a history book, or maybe cookery or science or education? Whatever the subject area is, there will be a culture around that topic. A lot of agents and publishers actively seek out new talent. Many established writers already have their favourite agent or publishers so the publishing industry is always looking outside of their box. It may not seem like it reading one rejection letter after another, but that's where there is nothing more persuasive than personal contact. The art here is to make it seem as if they found you!

Your chosen subject area of expertise will no doubt have cultural events such as exhibitions, fairs, conferences, lectures and so on. Go there, be seen, and talk to people. This is, after all, something you are interested in, and passionate about. Don't be a bore trying to sell your book to everyone you meet, just enjoy the event but keep your publishing radar switched on. Take copies of your blad with you but be judicious about who you give them to. Writing is a competitive sport so avoid handing out copies to other authors in the same field. This may seem cynical but assuming as we are that this is your first book then you are not in a strong position regarding any possible plagiarism.

There will often be publishers at fairs and conferences - if it is a good conference there will definitely be publishers there. This is perfect! You are in your element, surrounded by people interested in the same things as you, with publishers trying to sell books on your favourite subject. The person you really need to speak to is the editor in your field. The sales staff are there to sell books that have already been published but the editor is always looking to the future. Be enthusiastic, but not desperate. You're an expert, you have a great idea, you have proof that you can write, just ease up and make friends. Swap business cards (oh yeah, get yourself some cheap business cards), hand over your blad and see where it leads. Whatever happens, you have made a very important step forward. You have direct contact details of an editor and he or she now knows who you are. You will at the very least get a considered and honest judgement of your work, rather than a standard letter, and if they like what they hear you're on your way to your first book contract.

25 Oct 2008

Writing for eHow

At eHow, we invite all of our members to make money from the articles they publish online. Through the Writer Compensation Program, anyone* can get paid for the original articles they contribute to eHow. It's FREE to join eHow, and FREE to enroll in the Writer Compensation Program... so what are you waiting for? Join eHow today and start making money writing How To articles!

How To Earn Money Writing How To Articles

At eHow you don’t have to be a professional writer to earn cash for your writing; you just have to be knowledgeable about a topic and passionate enough to share your writing with the world. Join eHow’s Writer Compensation Program, write How To articles about what you know, and start making money today!

* Must be a U.S resident, age 18 or older with valid tax payer identification.

==

Sadly, if you are not a resident of the USA then forget about eHow. You can, of course, use it as a marketing tool to promote your writing, just like any other article directory. As they pay using Paypal there seems no good reason not to accept writers from other countries, but that's just how it is.

If you are a US resident then this brief snippet from eHow FAQ will be of interest.

==

Q. What is my payment based on?

A. You get paid per article. Your article's earning potential can be based on a combination of several elements, including the amount of times it's been viewed and its category. The more useful your articles are to the reader, the more money you could make. Check out our tips and guidelines, like adding photos, and eHow's most-requested topics page for How To ideas.

Q. How soon will I get paid after I submit each article?

A. All payments for work displayed on your My Earnings page during that month will be deposited into your personal PayPal account before the end of the following month. If you earn less than $10 over the year, you'll be paid via PayPal at year's end. Once you've joined eHow's Writer's Compensation Program, you can keep track of how much money you've earned by visiting your My Earnings page.

Q. What is the pay range per article?

A. Technically, there is no pay range per article. Simply put: The more useful your articles are to readers, the more money you could make. One good way to attract a larger audience and possibly make more money is by adding photos to your articles. Our tips and guidelines and eHow's most-requested topics page will help you get started.

==

Therefore, unlike other online publishing websites a writer really has no idea of how much an article could earn nor will earn. I cannot find any formula that would serve as a useful guide.

On the plus side, eHow gets a lot of traffic. As of writing, Alexa ranks it at 550, and eHow is currently getting nearly double the reach of AssociatedContent. So whether you're doing it for the money or as a marketing tool, eHow is worth submitting to.

18 Oct 2008

Earn Writing Articles for Digital Bits Skeptic

Mission Statement of Digital Bits Skeptic

To publish quality articles promoting skepticism and critical thinking.

To educate the public on topics important to the skeptical and critical thought community.

To provide a forum for people to share their articles and debate respectfully with others.

To pay writers for published work, ensuring professional, community-built articles that span a wide range of topics.

Digital Bits Skeptic is looking for articles promoting skepticism and critical thinking. Using a broad definition, remember the Digital Bits Skeptic tagline: “Skepticism and critical thinking in a world of new age, religion and credulous pop culture”.

So you’re interested in writing? Great! We’d love to have you. Browse through the site to get a feel for topics and writing styles, or see the “About DBS” page for topic ideas. Then continue reading here for submission details.

Briefly,

1) Your article idea must be approved before we will agree to publish it. Contact us by email with your idea.

2) The article can’t have been published anywhere else on the Internet. “Published” includes being on the Internet in any form, including forum or blog posts.

3) Article length must be at least 500 words.

4) Author payment of $20 USD will occur after publication. PayPal is preferred.

6 Oct 2008

Scribd For Free Documents And Marketing

Scribd is a essentially a document publication platform. Launched in March 2007, it now boasts more words than Wikipedia, and is in the top 300 websites in the world. As a writer, there are two main ways you can use Scribd.

Publish on Scribd

Scribd is a kind of democratic library - anybody can self-publish their articles, essays and books. Creating an account is free and you can upload documents in a variety of formats. Many documents are little more than advertorials, informational articles whose main task is to market the services or websites of the writer. There is no way currently to earn money directly from this, but it can be part of an overall marketing strategy and I think Scribd should be included alongside other article directories. One thing I have noticed recently is that all documents are now crawled by search engine bots, so that the actual texts are now indexed including, of course, your links back to your site.

Scribd for Writing Ideas

There are also many books on Scribd, including many out of copyright, as well as research papers, transcripts and lengthy essays. If you are stuck for a writing idea and are tired of trawling the news feeds, then Scribd can be another source of inspiration. You could write a book review, or summarize technical papers, or write a commentary on an essay. With millions of documents available there is no lack of choice. Treat it as your personal library.

iPaper, The Scribd Document Platform

Scribd could be just another document directory, but they have also developed their own document reader, iPaper. This is similar to Google's book reader and enables one single platform to read different document types. Just like YouTube, the iPaper can also be embedded into a website so that users can read the document without leaving your site. The advantage of Adobe's Acrobat Reader is that the documents are a fraction of the size and hence faster to view. I think this is especially useful if you have created a complicated image-rich content, such as a magazine article, which can be very time-consuming to duplicate as a web page.

Overall, I have found Scribd a good source of texts and a useful place to post polished lengthy articles. Just like when YouTube started, there seems no obvious way that the owners make any money, so expect increased advertising at some point. For the moment, the experience is clean!

5 Oct 2008

Make Money Writing and Social Bookmarking at Xomba

Xomba is a very interesting mixture of articles and social bookmarks. Like some article directories, you can submit articles and receive a share of the advertising revenue. these are known as Xombytes in the Xomba lexicon. But unlike any other article directory I have seen, Xomba also allows you to create quick bookmarks to other sites you like or wish to promote. These Xomblurbs just require a quick summary of the content and a link. You can also add comments to both articles and bookmarks, as well as vote on your favourites.

One of the joys of Xomba is that you could be earning money on articles you haven't even written yet!

In the course of researching an article, we often come across interesting information or websites that we bookmark and note down for future articles. On Xomba, you can create a quick Xomblurb in a minute and earn some income before going back and writing your full article, which you can then submit as a Xombyte.

Income is shared 50-50 between you and the website owners. You will need your own AdSense account and the Xomba script rotates the adverts so that yours will be shown half the time, and if somebody clicks one of the adverts the income is yours. This means your income is part of your total AdSense account rather than waiting for the website owners to send payment. By creating a custom channel you can even check that your adverts are actually appearing at around half the number of page views.

Even better, Xomba also has a referral system with which you can also earn 10% of the income of your affiliates forever. I think the creators of Xomba have latched onto an important model. There are many members who use it on a daily basis, thereby creating instant readership. As I said at the top, it combines income from article writing with a social networking and bookmarking environment.

On Writing Online

This website is dedicated to writers and would-be writers setting out to earn some money from writing online. If content is king then writers are the king-makers. No website can succeed without a strong content and dedicated visitors. Whether you are taking your first tentative steps towards writing, or are already having some success and earning money, we hope to have something of interest for you.

There are two main features we will highlight: Resources and Articles.

There are some article websites where you can earn money directly, such as Associated Content and Xomba. There are others that are basically article directories and your earnings are made indirectly by driving traffic to your own website or blog. Our resources will cover all these different platforms, from direct income generating sites to marketing and content creation.

Our articles will try to bring together the collective wisdom of the internet's writers. Just to show that those article directories can work, we will have a mixture of in-house articles and syndicated content with our comments. Even if we may disagree with a writer, their ideas may well work for you.

We hope you will find On Writing Online stimulating and profitable.

On Writing Online