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

Writing For a Result

Its probably about time I went back to grass roots and wrote a post about writing, which is what I do! This one is not of the tutorial type, nor is it probably going to inspire anyone to get into this business unless they are already determined that it is what they want to do.

Let’s just get a few things straight, before I get started. I’m not going to be talking about writing novels or writing editorials for magazines, newspapers or journals. Not even content writing for assignments with other website owners. This is about writing for myself (or in your case, yourself).

First of all, you have to know why you would want to write for yourself. You can’t pay yourself for the finished result and if you are not going to sell it to someone else, then you might be forgiven for wondering why you would even do it! To illustrate that point, I’m going to tell you why I do it.

In the beginning, when I started in this business towards the end of 2006, I built one real website, which was my hypnosis site (www.hypnosic.com) as this was my profession back in the 1990s and I wanted to recreate the free site I built back in 1996 and improve on it with my own domain. My plan was to once again sell my own hypnosis CDs online, a side to my business that actually worked for a while back in 1996! For the record, I didn’t sell enough (it was cassettes then) and dropped the idea. Mmmm.

Come back to 2006 and I felt there was more to the Internet than just trying to sell a few CDs. So I also built a collection of free blogs on a variety of subjects and started writing posts in the belief that if I put enough content out there in the web-o-sphere, then I would eventually attract readers and that would attract advertisers to my blogs and I would make pots of money and retire to a beach somewhere. Oh, just a mo… that sounds a little like The Internet Marketing Dream!

Of course, I failed to make a dent in the money making side of that plan but this time, I didn’t give up. I could see the potential despite all the scamming IM gurus that were milking noobs like cash cows and was thankful that I didn’t get sucked into that side of the business. I got lucky in a way and was gifted with a pre-launch free copy of a marketing ebook called My Secret Articles by a well respected and honest marketer called Steven Wagenheim. It taught me a lot of what I needed to know and how to avoid the pitfalls that trap so many other newcomers to this business. It covered just about everything from Affiliate Marketing to basic SEO and the many ways of promoting an online business. It was my bible in those dark days when there was not much else available.

One of the most important things I learned from Steven was how to write articles that I could sell. I started selling them via Constant Content and made some money but made more by attracting some paying clients who liked my work. That was great for a while as it meant I could make my living directly from the Internet doing something I enjoyed doing.

Like most things with me, I soon get disillusioned with certain things that don’t do enough to keep my interest. Writing was okay, but I soon realised that in order to keep earning money, I needed to keep writing. if I stopped writing, I stopped earning money. On the other hand, if I were to build more websites and promote them in the right way, I would attract organic search traffic that would buy whatever that website was selling. I had already bumped into Griz and Vic by this time and could see the way in which they were making a killing with this model. The trick was to work very hard at it because there was no easy way.

It was like looking over the fence at the greener grass on the other side, except I knew with full conviction that the grass on that other side really was greener.

I made the decision to put more of my efforts into building more and better websites that were better targeted to selling things that people wanted to buy. Then I went about finding affiliate programs that would enable me to promote products that I would earn commission for selling them. All the while, I kept writing to pay the bills while I watched my passive income start to trickle in. I should also mention Adsense here, as some of the websites were laid out better for that kind of PPC income and some started to attract income from that quarter.

But things were growing way too slowly. The sites I was building were not ranking well enough in Google to attract the traffic that would mean plenty of sales and/or clicks. I started devoting more of my writing time to building up those sites as well as some supporting sites that were built around what is known as long tail keywords (longer phrases that people search for regularly in the search engines) so they could also rank for their own terms and then send links to the main sites in their relevant niches.

This started to show promise as some sites started to rank better and with more original content and backlinks, were starting to outrank some of the top sites for certain keywords. It was still taking a long time to really happen, but I could see that light at the end of the very long tunnel and being a tenacious bloke, I just kept on and on hammering away at it. I was writing a huge amount of articles, using Hub Pages, Ezine, Infobarrel, Squidoo and other free places to build mini-sites that could send links and traffic to my main sites. The number of original articles I have written for this, to date must register in the several thousands. I lost count of them all some time ago.

The result so far is that I now devote nearly all my time to writing articles for my own websites, blogs and those mini-site places and am rewarded with a full time income from those websites. I haven’t stopped, by the way. There is plenty more to do and more money to be made from further expansion and a ton of more work in writing, building and promoting.

That’s why I succeed in a business where so many fail. Because I know what I have to do and I do it. Its hard work and most people will shy away from hard work, but if you want to make a success of this business and make a full time income from the Internet, then its the only way that is going to happen. Working hard and writing for a result is my way.

Terry Didcott