Monday, July 16, 2018

27 Blogging Tools to Test Your Website Performance

A big part of the blogging process is managing your blog and making sure everything is working the way it should, making sure your readers get the best experience possible.

All search engines, particularly Google  are aware and want to promote websites that are easy to navigate and more importantly have an edge over the competition.

In order to maintain your place high in search engine rankings continuous testing is a must!

Without regular check ups you can quite easily lose traffic to your blog.

Your readers will notice straightaway if something is wrong with your website, this will impact their confidence in you, when this starts happening your blog readership goes down and so do your sales.

Before we get into blog testing tools here are 6 really good reasons why you should test your blog regularly:
  1. To boost confidence in your company or brand.
  2. To stay ahead of your competitors.
  3. To increase search engine rankings with a superior performing website.
  4. To build and maintain your blog readership.
  5. Maintain and grow sales and blog enquiries, as wells as ongoing interactions with your visitors.
  6. To have peace of mind.
But don't despair, in this blog post I'm going to show you 27 free blogging tools you can use to keep your blog in great shape.
This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Friday, July 13, 2018

15 Best Online Courses to Kick-Start Your Writing Business

Gone are the days of learning from a boring professor, welcome to the 21st century where you can take courses at your own speed, allowing yourself a couple of hours a week to advance your career online and start that writing business you've always wanted.

When thinking about online classes, think, sweatpants, settee and soft drink.

Let's jump right in!

Here are 15 classes you can sign up for today:

Online Courses to Start a Business

1. Start a Profitable Online Business 
Lifestyle entrepreneur, author, and high performance business coach Lewis Howes takes you through the steps to turn a passion project into a successful online brand in his business course.  Showing you how to identify great business ideas and then how to launch your business within a limited amount of time using only the tools and resources at hand.

2. Idea Validation: From Idea to Paying Customer in One Day 
Evan Kimbrell walks you step-by-step through a proven process to finding the right business idea, as well as estimating demand for your product and building an audience around your concept.

With tools, templates, tactics and actionable strategies used by Evan himself, he'll show you how to land six-figure freelance contracts to provide a service or product for paying customers in 1 day.

Online Courses to Grow Your Business

3. Make More Money and Discover Your Worth 
CreativeLive instructors Sue Bryce and Tiffany Angeles shine a light on how to price yourself, bring in higher paying clients and promote your brand to a wider audience of potential new customers.  They also show you how to turn a hindrance into an advantage, and how to be more positive with your position in the current market place.

4. Personal Branding Mastery: The System to Reinvent Yourself 
A veteran of several fortune 500 companies Silviu Marisk teaches you what it takes to build a personal brand.  Silviu teaches you how to hone your passion points, decide on your core strengths as well as develop your story on other platforms that you've chosen, as wells as make the most sense of your own core strengths and the business you want to build.

Online Business Courses for Writers and Bloggers

5. Become a Better Blogger: Content Planning (Skillshare)

Andrea Goulet-Ford will show you how to improve your blog using a three-month editorial calendar to help with your planning.

Giving you excellent advice on how to give character to your blog and stand-out from the crowd over millions of other bloggers on the internet.

6. Writing With Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer 
One of the best-selling courses on Udemy, Shani Raja has written for the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Financial Times and Bloomberg News.  With his years of experience you'll learn how to effectively improve the quality of your writing and take your writing to the next level.

7. Writing for Brands: Freelancing in the Age of Content Marketing 
Talent Development Manager Brian Maehl covers how to pitch to, write for and build an ongoing relationship with brands as a freelance writer.  In his online business course you'll discover through simple steps how to advance your writing career and even move into content marketing if you're that way inclined.

8. How to Become a Bestselling Author on Amazon Kindle 
Bestselling author of more than 20 bestsellers Tom Corson-Knowles has created this course to teach you the secrets to his publishing success.  Extensively covering the basics, writing, book cover design, Kindle formatting, publishing, marketing and financial management for authors.

Online Business Courses to Be More Productive

9. The Art of Less Doing 
Ari Meisel shows you how to accomplish all of the tasks you need to do so that you can spend more time doing the stuff you really enjoy doing throughout the day.  Providing you with easy strategies to optimise, automate and outsource all tasks in every part of your life.  Applying all of his techniques to not only your professional life but also your personal life.

10. Time Management 101
Mike Vardy self-described productiviyist will display how being productive is not that difficult.  Providing you with strategies and tools allowing you to work more effeciently.  He'll help you make the most of every day, seven days a week, removing distractions, assigning tasks, and setting priorities.

Online Courses for Freelancing

11. Going Freelance: Building and Branding a Creative Business 
Ladies Get Paid founder Claire Wasserman, and Working Not Working co-founder Justin Gignac come together to show you what it means to go freelance.  With topics on developing a strong body of work, crafting a portfolio, marketing yourself on social media, pitching, authentic networking, and setting yourself up for financial success.

12. Command the Fees You Deserve 
Business expert Ilise Benun takes creative freelancers through marketing, pricing, and booking freelance work.  Teaching you how to land clients who really value your services, how to evaluate good clients from bad ones.

Online Courses for Marketers and Bloggers

13. Market, Launch and Sell Your Next Big Thing 
Tara Gentile online marketing expert shows how you can use email and social media strategically to grow your customer base. Teaching you how to create content that draws the most appropriate clients to your brand.

14. Getting Started with Email Marketing 
Allyson Van Houten demonstrates in this free Skillshare class how to craft an email marketing strategy for your small business. Using Mailchimp for her examples, taking into consideration your goal for a campaign through decisions about the most suitable content to a step-by-step creation of an email marketing campaign.

15. SEO That Matters Tactics and Strategies for Entrepreneurs 
SEO of Moz, Rand Fishkin uses his diverse knowledge of Search Engine Optimizaton (SEO) to explain the key fundamentals of  SEO in this free course from Skillshare.  Showing you how to craft an SEO strategy for your business and tips that will help you optimize your content.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What You Need to Know About Pop Ups

With millions of people going online everyday it's not hard to understand that 70% of them feel that popups are a huge annoyance.

By the time you've finished reading this article you're going to get a pop-over before you leave.

Why do so many bloggers and website owners continue to use popups?

Pop-overs, over time have been misused, and they can also harm your traffic if they're not used properly.  But they can also bring new readers and traffic to your blog.

The simple fact is popups are a call to action that doesn't take up space in your normal flow of content, and a really good opt-in can increase your traffic email sign ups by 400%.

Utilizing the Wrong Kind of Popup

Any kind of advertising you use on your blog can disrupt your readers ability to enjoy your website, this is what Google looks for when they penalise a website.

The Three Kinds of Popups Used:

Traditional Popup - Usually opens a new browser window to display content.

Popunder - Designed not to take the focus away from the user, usually by sitting until the user moves in closer to the current window.

Popover - What most websites use, a lightbox overlay on top of site content.

Both the traditional and popunder are considered something of a distraction for most users, popping up when you're just getting into a blog post, oops!  In the early days of the internet many of these popup windows contained unrelated advertising or even worse, porn.

Popunders can often be on a delay, lying in wait like a landmine waiting to go off.  Also many websites use advertising popups with annoying audio or video in the background.

Applying Bully Tactics

You may have stumbled across language like this "Do you want 10,000 subscribers for your mailing list?" along with two options, saying something similar to this "Yes, sign me up now" and another one saying "No thanks, not today".  This is a way of shaming people to subscribe to their blog.

Have you ever succumbed to this particular tactic?  It's setup to make you believe that if you click "No" you'll be hating you're own business.

Most people don't accept that kind of ploy because it makes them less likely to click. Using that kind of stratagem will only only hurt your conversion rate but also your traffic.

Using Universal Messages

The message on your popover can become to generic and end up being no relation to what your website is all about.  This happens more often than you think online.

Some websites sell a huge assortment under one umbrella, this can be really confusing when you have a popover which only relates to one particular product.

How to Overcome Cross-Messaging?

When your audience gets this big you have to start thinking about providing a message that provides value to your customers when they're reading it.

This can be really hard to pull-off because you have to either provide different popups on different pages or a popup engine that will monitor your users and provide a popup to website users with certain characteristics.

The first option is the easiest method to use, by setting up your popups for particular items on your website pages.

Making Your Popup Ambiguous

Every popup needs to be user friendly and easy to close, otherwise your users and Google will take a disliking to your blog.

How to Make Your Popup User Friendly:
  • Leave the default corner X button to allow your users easy access to close the popup.
  • Leave two clearly marked options, one to convert the other to close, but stay away from bully text.
Keep it simple for the user, I prefer the small X in the corner option, allowing all of your readers to quickly close the popup box.

Upsetting Your Readers Experience

Giving your readers a great experience on your blog is a huge factor in wanting your readers to come back to your blog.

Here are some tips to bear in mind when you choose to set up your popover:

The Immediate Popup - Unfortunately many bloggers still use this on their websites leading to a short lived experience for many of their users.

The Time Delay Popup - With a time delay set to between 20-40 seconds after page loading, you'll gain a lot of traffic from people who read your content.

The Scroll-Triggered Popup - If you want catch your real readers and followers, the scroll trigger popup can be used when people have read half the page or to the bottom of the page.

The Exit Intent Popup - This option is often only available with paid plugins, but its also the most refined.  This can only be triggered when your reader is about to leave your blog.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Monday, July 09, 2018

3 Great Reasons to Use Fotor

Why You Need Eye Catching Images on Your Blog

An integral part of blogging is branding, creating images that people will directly connect with your blog or website.

Using images on your social media is a key part of branding and helps engage your audience potentially reaching thousands of new readers every day.

If you're already on social media you'll notice the thousands of graphics, images and videos that pass through everyday.

Some are more noticeable than others.  Every blog post requires at least one image to stand-out and rise to the top of the pile on social media channels such as Pinterest and Instagram.

1. How Can I Use Fotor to Create Images?

Fotor is an image editing application with lots of different special effects, editing, and retouching tools.  But what I really love about Fotor is the fact you can create your own image from scratch with very little to no knowledge of photo editing.  Fotor is a free to use but does also offers a Premium version which gives you even more options and effects such as watermarking and cloud storage for  your photos and images.

Use Fotor to Upgrade Your Blog Images

The success of your blog depends upon not only how it sounds but also how it looks.  There bloggers such as The Minimalists who really do go with a more utilitarian approach which works for them, and at the other end of the spectrum you have The Write Life who use a single bold colour to create their brand from.

Go Easy On Your Use of Colour

Less is definitely more when it comes to using colours.  If you can work within a particular colour pallet that's even better it can really enhance the overall appearance of your blog.

Keep to the Purpose

Clickbait is everywhere online seeking to draw your attention away, and misleading you deliberately, choose images that are relevant to your subject matter.

Personalise It

Customising images and including them in your blog posts will improve your readership and production values.

2. Use Fotor to Grow Your Twitter Following

The maths is pretty simple when it comes to how many followers you have, the more of the right kind of people you have following you the better.  Meaning the way you present yourself is of great importance, let's face it losing people is a doddle but keeping them is a different ball game altogether.  Here are some tips for you to start building your following on Twitter:

First Impressions Count - Create a professional cover photo a profile, this is the first impression everyone will have of you, and its really important you make a good one.  If you can use your blog colours or business branding in the banner even better.

Create Meaningful Content - If you're already a blogger chances are you doing it already.  According to research there are two different kinds of Twitter users the "Meformers" and the "Informers.

  • "Meinformers" tell the whole world about the daily goings in their lives, such as parties, holidays etc.
  • "Informers"are bloggers just like you who want to inform the world about products, books, who want to pass on valuable information to their readers.

Make Conversation - Add a question or topic your followers are interested in, something they can interact with.

Follow Like-Minded Profiles - Following other people is really important for engagement online, it allows you to retweet and interact with your audience.

Tweeting and Retweeting Is Important.  The more information you send out the more you'll get back.

Here are some interesting Tweeting facts:
  • 1-1,000 tweets has 51-100 followers
  • More than 10,000 you have 1,000 to 5,000 followers
  • If you're reaching 15,000 you'll have between 100,001 to 1 million
People like it when you retweet :)

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are a way for people to search for certain tweets so use the relevant and get hashtagging!

Build Your Cross-Referencing

Make sure you have links on all of your social media and not just Twitter, but links to your website your eBooks.  Make it easy for people to find you whichever platform their using.

3. Use Fotor to Design Your Book Covers

A really good book cover can gain a lot of sales and downloads at first glance.  It's really difficult to design a book cover that will stand out but something you can create yourself for free.

Keep It Simple

The more elaborate the book cover the less chance it has of making an impact on the buyer.  Stick to simple colours and fonts when creating your book cover.

Make Sure Your Book Cover Accommodates Your Chosen Genre

Do your own research, even better, look at what other authors have on their book covers.

Keep Your Book Cover Colour's Simple

A professional book cover designer would only choose two to three colour choices.

Imagine Your Book Cover Small

Envisage your book cover smaller and ask yourself does my book cover stand out?  If your book cover looks amazing small,  think about what it will look like full size.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Points to Consider Before You Publish Your Book

New to self-publishing?

Three points to contemplate before you publish:

Selecting a Book Size

Once you've published your eBook you may want to start looking into creating a paperback book. You to start thinking about things like 'trim size' and whether you should use creme or white paper.

But don't panic! I'm going to give you some helpful pointers to help you get to grips with the world of publishing, so you can get your paperback started.

What is the 'Trim Size'?

The 'trim size' refers actual size of the book which has been trimmed down and bound at the printer.

There are various 'trim sizes' depending upon whether your book is fiction or non-fiction, including photographs or images or category your book falls into. For example:

Mass Market

These books have to 4-1/4" x 7".  Books sold through supermarkets, airports, drugstores etc., their size is part of their appeal and the way they're distributed. Not usually self-published books.

Trade Paperbacks

These books have to be 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" to 6". Most self-published books are 6" x 9" trade paperbacks.

Manuals and Workbooks

These books are larger, 8" x 10" to 8-1/2" x 11. Usually used for instructional books and directories with detailed drawings and graphics.


Usually smaller sizes 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" most popular size. You can also find memoirs in this category and published in a similar size.

Learn about what comes next with "Ways of Being Published".

General Non-Fiction

These books are usually 6" x 9", one of the most popular sizes. Also widely used for hardback books.

Art and Photography Books

These books have no particular size to conform to. They can be big heavy books or very small. Photographers prefer a more square or nearly square shaped book.

Trim Sizes and Production

Print on demand distribution leaves you with limited sizes and choices. Here are the most popular sizes used by some of the biggest publishers.

Lightning Source

Black and White
5.06 x 7.81 inches, (198 x 129 mm)
5 x 8 inches, (203 x 127 mm)
5.25 x 8 inches, (203 x 133 mm)
5.83 x 8.27 inches, (210 x 148 mm)
5.5 x 8.5 inches, (216 x 140 mm)
6 x 9 inches, (229 x 152 mm)
6.14 x 9.21 inches, (234 x 156 mm)
7.50 x 9.25 inches, (235 x 191 mm)
6.69 x 9.61 inches, (244 x 170 mm)
7.44 x 9.69 inches, (246 x 189 mm)
7 x 10 inches, (254 x 178 mm)
8 x 10 inches, (254 x 203 mm)
8.25 x 11 inches, (280 x 210 mm)
8.5 x 11 inches, (280 x 216 mm)
8.268 x 11.693 (A4) inches, (297 x 210 mm)

Standard Colour
5.06 x 7.81 inches, (198 x 129 mm)
5 x 8 inches, (203 x 127 mm)
5.25 x 8 inches, (203 x 133 mm)
5.83 x 8.27 inches, (210 x 148 mm)
5.5 x 8.5 inches, (216 x 140 mm)
8.5 x 8.5 inches, (216 x 216 mm)
6 x 9 inches, (229 x 152 mm)
6.14 x 9.21 inches, (234 x 156 mm)
7.50 x 9.25 inches, (235 x 191 mm)
6.69 x 9.61 inches, (244 x 170 mm)
7.44 x 9.69 inches, (246 x 189 mm)
7 x 10 inches, (254 x 178 mm)
8 x 10 inches, (254 x 203 mm)
8.25 x 11 inches, (280 x 210 mm)
8.5 x 11 inches, (280 x 216 mm)
8.268 x 11.693 (A4) inches, (297 x 210 mm)

Premium Colour
5.5 x 8.5 inches, (216 x 140 mm)
8.5 x 8.5 inches, (216 x 216 mm)
6 x 9 inches, (229 x 152 mm)
6.14 x 9.21 inches, (234 x 156 mm)
7 x 10 inches, (254 x 178 mm)
8 x 10 inches, (254 x 203 mm)
8.5 x 11 inches, (280 x 216 mm)


Full-colour interior books:
5 x 8 inches, (12.7 x 20.32 centimetres)*
5.06 x 7.81 inches, (12.9 x 19.8 centimetres)
5.25 x 8 inches, (13.335 x 20.32 centimetres)
5.5 x 8.5 inches, (13.97 x 21.59 centimetres)
6 x 9 inches, (15.24 x 22.86 centimetres)*
6.14 x 9.21 inches, (15.6 x 23.4 centimetres)*
6.69 x 9.61 inches, (17 x 24.4 centimetres)
7 x 10 inches, (17.78 x 25.4 centimetres)*
7.44 x 9.69 inches, (18.9 x 24.6 centimetres)
7.5 x 9.25 inches, (19.1 x 23.5 centimetres)
8 x 10 inches, (20.32 x 25.4 centimetres)*
8.25 x 6 inches, (20.955 x 15.24 centimetres)
8.25 x 8.25 inches, (20.955 x 20.955 centimetres)
8.5 x 8.5 inches, (21.59 x 21.59 centimetres)*
8.5 x 11 inches, (21.59 x 27.94 centimetres)*

Black and white interior books:
5 x 8 inches, (12.7 x 20.32 centimetres)*
5.06 x 7.81 inches, (12.9 x 19.8 centimetres)*
5.25 x 8 inches, (13.335 x 20.32 centimetres)*
5.5 x 8.5 inches, (13.97 x 21.59 centimetres)*
6 x 9 inches, (15.24 x 22.86 centimetres)*
6.14 x 9.21 inches, (15.6 x 23.4 centimetres)*
6.69 x 9.61 inches, (17 x 24.4 centimetres)*
7 x 10 inches, (17.78 x 25.4 centimetres)*
7.44 x 9.69 inches, (18.9 x 24.6 centimetres)*
7.5 x 9.25 inches, (19.1 x 23.5 centimetres)*
8 x 10 inches, (20.32 x 25.4 centimetres)*
8.25 x 6 inches, (20.955 x 15.24 centimetres)
8.25 x 8.25 inches, (20.955 x 20.955 centimetres)
8.5 x 8.5 inches, (21.59 x 21.59 centimetres)
8.5 x 11 inches, (21.59 x 27.94 centimetres)*

Many of the above sizes are "industry standards" so can be found with Createspace and Lightning Sources.


5 x 8 in. (13 x 20 cm)
6 x 9 in. (15 x 23 cm)
7 x 7 in. (18 x 18 cm)
8 x 10 in. (20 x 25 cm)
10 x 8 in. (25 x 20 cm)
12 x 12 in. (30 x 30 cm)
13 x 11 in. (33 x 28 cm)


Black and white only
5.5 x 8.5 in. (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
4.25 x 6.87 in. (10.79 x 17.45 cm)

Full-colour only
12.75 x 10.75 in. (32.39 x 27.31 cm)
12 x 12 in. (30 x 30 cm)

Black and white or full-colour books
8.5 x 11 in. (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
5.83 x 8.26 in. (A5) (14.81 x 20.98 cm)
6 x 9 in. (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
6.13 x 9.21 in. (15.6 x 23.4 cm)
6.625 x 10.25 in. (16.83 x 26.04 cm)
7.44 x 9.68 in. (18.9 x 24.59 cm)
7.5 x 7.5 in. (19 x 19 cm)
8.26 x 11.69 in. (A4) (20.98 x 29.69 cm)
8.5 x 8.5 in. (21.59 x 21.59 cm)
9 x 7 in. (22.86 x 17.78 cm)
8.25 x 10.75 in. (20.96 x 27.31 cm)

Things to Consider When Choosing Paper

A good choice for non-fiction, novels and memoirs would be creme coloured paper. It's kinder on the eyes when being read for long-stretches.

CreateSpace and Lightning Source both offer creme paper in sizes 5.25″ x 8″, 5.5″ x 8.5″, or 6″ x 9″. Any other sizes only offer white paper.

What is a Good Size for My Book?

The most commonly used sizes for self-publishers are 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ or 6″ x 9". These sizes work for a variety of different kinds of books.  If your book falls into the above categories, then you'll have no problems with these sizes. If you're finding it difficult you need to:

Choose a different size if:

  • your book falls into a different category, such as a workbook
  • if your book needs a larger size for functional reasons
  • you want to stand out in your chosen category

The Phenomena of the Blank Page

Having blank pages in a book can seem really weird at times, but its not something that we think about that often.  Buy or borrow any hardcover or paperback and you'll stumble across blank pages in the front or back of the book.

Why is this? You might ask.

According to publishers it's to do with signatures, which is just industry spiel for groups of pages that printers cut to assemble a book.  You can have as many as four blank pages.  If the manuscript it 200 pages it may be a perfect fit.  An uneven number like 203 means there's more likely to be pages leftover from the signatures.

Design Observation

Many book designers will offset this expense by playing around with character spacing.  This is called kerning, by simply reducing the space between two specific characters throughout a book, can add up to an entire saved page.

Filling in the space

Many publishers prefer to fill that unused space with checklists of the author's work, portions from other books, illustrations.  Non-fiction publications such as manuals and textbooks may add the phrase "This page is intentionally left blank", to alert the reader that they're not missing any necessary information.

Some author's request blank pages in their books, to keep in line with tradition.

Selecting a Font for Your Book

Fonts, are an important part of publishing any paperback book.  So which fonts should you choose?

When desktop publishing started, way back in the 1980s, computers' were able to use graphics that were more accurate, sort of "what you see is what you get" kind of display.  Creating familiar fonts for computer users all over the world.

Times New Roman and Arial are the most popular of these fonts, but they're a bit of a mixed bag for all creators and customers alike.

These fonts have been set to "default", spreading everywhere whether they're appropriate or not.

The Dilemma with Defaults

Times New Roman was designed in 1931 by Stanley Morrison for use in the Times London Newspaper.

Original designed to be read in a newspaper its set width and other internal properties were always determined to be read in the confines of a newspaper, but not in the generous space of a book.

One of the most popular fonts of recent times is Arial, whose origins come from the font Helvetica.  They only typeface to have a movie made about it.  Not intended for readers unused to seeing whole books set in sans serif fonts.

Better Graphics, Better Fonts

Fortunately technology has moved on and become more sophisticated and so has it users.  There has been a massive explosion in new fonts from new designers.

A lot of these fonts are based on the older designs dating back as far as the late 15th century.

This is where the family of "oldstyle" comes from.

Identifying Oldstyle Fonts

Calligraphers and scribes, before the invention of printing, would use these fonts by writing them out by hand.

These "oldstyle" fonts have the kind of characteristics perfect for book composition.

They can be easily identified by their characteristics:

Tilted axis

Round letters like "O" and "C" have both thicker and thinner strokes.  They a tilted axis, if you drew a line threough them they would be slightly off-center.  Emulating the square-tipped pen the scribes would use.

Moderate stroke variation

No huge variation on the thin and thick strokes, they don't tend to vary that much.  They were also written with square-tipped pens creating a variable stroke with each character.

Rounded or bracketed serifs

Serifs have strokes like the "legs" on an "i" or they make letters look more decorative.  The scribes would leave a tiny flourish after each stroke.  They make words more readable.

Best Fonts For Paperback Books


A classic old style font created by Claude Garamond in the 16th century France.  Many other similar typefaces have been created including the popular Sabon.


This font derived from William Caslon, one England,s first printers.  A very good choice for book publishers.

Janson Text

Emanating from the Netherlands in the 17th century.


The most popular old style font off all time is Palatino.  A hugely over-exposed font, a font used by Mackintosh, back in the day.

Which Font Should I use?

If you have real flair for design then you'll have no problem matching up your font with your book design.

Typesetting with a PC won't give you the sophisticated hyphenation or elegant control over your type.

By choosing the right typeface at the start, you'll create a more readable book and also accomodate book publishing practices.

Learn ""How to Write a Book and Become a Best Selling Author"..

What is DRM?

File Protection

If you've just started writing and want to start selling your eBooks the question of eBook file protection is something that affects all authors.

What is DRM? 

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a standardized approach to copyright protection of digital media such as eBooks.  Basically it's a lock that is placed on a digital file which is tied to the person who purchased it.  Often its applied as a wrapper around the eBook file or part of the packaage of the eBook file.  The valid owner can only open the file if their device or software has the correct key.

Purpose of DRM

DRM is setup to prevent any unauthorised redistribution of digtial media and inhibit the methods that consumers can copy any content they've purchased.  DRM was originally established in response to the illegal distribution of digital media through peer-to-peer file exchange programs.  Within each digital download is an embedded code that prevents copying, stipulating a time period the content can be accessed or cap the number of devices the media can be installed on.

DRM Systems Used in the eBook Marketplace

Currently there are three systems being used by the dominant eBook seller's:

Amazon employs its own DRM to Kindle eBooks, this means you can't sell an eBook directly from your own website.

Apple administers its FairPlay DRM to its files bought from the iBookstore, Just like Amazon its only compatible with its own devices and software.

Adobe's system, Adobe Digital Editions Protection Technology (ADEPT), is presently being used by retailers such as Sony, B & N, Kobo, and Overdrive.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Selling Your eBook: 5 Alternatives to Kindle Publishing

After you've written and edited your eBook  you'll discover huge satisfaction from publishing and selling it.

Congratulations!  If you've already done this, I understand the effort and time it takes to do those things and how time consuming it can be just trying to write and produce something worth reading.

So look no further if you're ready to sell your eBook and start gleaning the rewards of your labour and pay these sites a visit:


Blurb is a really great platform to both create and sell your eBooks on.

Blurb allows you to sell your eBooks on both Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Apple iBook Store.  It also has some pretty cool software to create and style your eBook before selling to the public.

You can sell all kinds of photograph books and magazines as well as publishing and printing paperback books.

I've never sold any of my eBooks with but I do know that they've been around since 2006 and have a good reputation, so I would definitely check them out.

Feiyr offers distribution for both musicians and writers and will sell on platforms such as Google Play, Amazon, iBookStore and Thalia.

You can register for free but you do need to pay small account activation fee of £9.90.

A popular place to sell your digital products, with some useful built-in tools and features along with an easy-to-use dashboard to manage your communication, orders and sales.

The downside with is that you have to manually deliver your eBook after you've sold it.  You also have to log in fairly regularly to keep your profile open, to prevent deactivation of any products or services your might be selling.

The other drawback of selling eBooks is the $1 taken from each sale.  This leaves you with $4 on a $5 sale.

On the upside is a huge platform with a massive audience and plenty of scope for making profit on your eBooks.

I've used in the past to give away free downloads.  A complete e-commerce solution for bloggers and website owners.

You can sell 5 items for free, but you're required to pay processing and transactions fees, 2.9% + 30 ¢.  If you want to sell more eBooks they have different pricing structures to accommodate what you need.

Payhip is my chosen platform to sell my eBooks from.  You don't need to pay any monthly or set-up fees.  Only a 5% commission per sale + PayPal standard fee.

A Final Word

Don't just take my word for it, go and try them for yourself.  Every writer has different requirements so its worth experimenting and finding out for yourself what really works.

If you can think of any websites of experience you want to share, let me know in the comments below.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Sentences

How to Write a Sentence

All sentences contain one subject and one verb expressing a complete thought. Always starting with a capital letter and ending with punctuation which is either full-stop(.), a question mark (?), or an exclamation mark (!).
  • He walks. 
  • She likes pears. 
  • Where are you going? 
  • Ruth studies French. 
Often sentences have hidden subjects which is understood to be you. These are orders or commands telling the audience to do something i.e. (you) + do something.
  • Open the door. 
  • Close the door. 
  • Be quiet! 
  • Please try harder. 
There are complete sentences that do not follow the grammatical patterns or structures, but are considered complete sentences. These are understood when spoken or written. See examples below.
  • Goodbye! 
  • Pardon! 
  • How do you do. 
  • How cruel it is. 
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Four Types of Sentences

Sentences can be classified into four types: exclamatory, imperative, interrogative and declarative sentences.

Exclamatory Sentences

An exclamatory sentence shows a strong feeling or statement like surprise, anger or a greeting.
  • That's great! 
  • How interesting! 
  • What a beautiful day. 
Imperative Sentences

These sentences are orders or commands, telling the readers to do something. Putting You into the sentence.
  • Be smart and flexible 
  • Don't park your lorry over there. 
  • Finish your assignment. 
Declarative Sentences

These sentences can be either positive or negative, and also called statements. These sentences inform or tell their audience something. 
  • The plane has two engines. 
  • The phone needs charging. 
  • I'm not going to the party. 
Interrogative Sentences

Interrogative sentences ask for information feedback from the audience, listeners or readers. 
  • Are you a pilot? 
  • Where is your hotel? 
  • The video is interested isn't it? 

How Long Should a Sentence Be?

The length of your sentence should automatically be adapted to fit the subject you are describing.

Using a long description can add a sense of relaxation and slowing time down. Shorter sentences are quick and punchy, good for describing dramatic events and action.

Here are a few examples:

"The History lesson seemed, to Kevin to be dragging on forever, as Mrs Bane's voice dragged on and on, it its weary, low monotone, about the apparently fascinating life of Henry V, who seemed to Kevin, to be unhealthily and unnaturally interested in scenes of death and decay".

"The waves crashed. The moon shone brightly. All else was silent on the deserted beach. From the distance came the sound of thunder".

Sentence Rhythm

Using short sentences repeatedly will create choppy, staccato rhythm. Longer sentences have more fluidity, along with a fluent rhythm.

In Summary:

Long Sentences:

Slow, descriptive or explanatory.

Creating a sense of relaxation, flow, or time slowing.

Using a long sentence can create rhythm and a fluent style.

Short Sentences:

Great for action, or dramatic lines. For example, 'a shot rang out'.

Short sentences create quick punchy rhythm.

Sentence Structure

Once you start varying the length of your sentence you should also try varying their construction.

A simple technique is to put in the occasional adverb before the subject or verb.

For example:

"He walked carefully".

Change it to:

"Carefully he walked".

Remember to always create variety.

Removing 'he did this' or 'he did that' gets rid of all repetition and creates variation. Instead 'he saw a picture above the fireplace' becomes, 'above the fireplace hung a picture'.

Often sentences with subject kept to the end are often called 'suspenseful', because the reader has to see who or what the subject is. You can create effects by using these suspenseful sentences.

For example: "Donna ran through the long crowded corridors, where her school mates stopped to stare at her, out through the big double doors at the front of the school and down the main road that led to her home".

This sentence can become more effective by putting the subject (Donna) and her verb (ran) at the end:

"Through the long-crowded corridors, where her schoolmates stopped to stare at her, out through the big double doors at the front of the school, and down the main road that led to her home Donna ran".

The Five Elements of a Sentence

There are five elements to a sentence these help to form various types and structures of sentences which include adverbials, verbs, objects, complements and adverbials.

1. Subjects

These can either perform an action or tell what the sentences are about. They can be either nouns, pronouns, noun phrases, noun clauses or a group words functioning as a noun. These subjects can be identified as complete, simple or compound subjects.

Complete Subjects

A complete subject includes the noun (simple subject) and its modifiers. Its a noun clause or phrase.
  • A woman walking into a mall. 
  • A short man opening the door for her. 
  • What the woman is looking for is his interest. 
Simple Subjects

The single noun or pronoun is the Simple Subject which performs the action or tells what the sentence is about.
  • He studies hard. 
  • She is doing her assignment. 
  • A teacher is in the classroom. 
Compound Subject

A Compound subject includes two or more nouns joined together by conjunction "and". 
  • A pilot and his passengers are on the plane. 
  • Water and food are your basic needs. 
  • What we say and how we say it are important for communication.
2. Verbs

Expressed actions or states of being are all verbs. You have action verbs or state verbs. 
  • The police are catching a thief. (Action) 
  • She had robbed a man. (Action) 
  • He looked scared and frightened. (State) 
  • He felt sick for a few weeks. (State) 
3. Objects

Objects accept the action from either subjects or verbs. There are three different kinds of objects: objects of prepositions, direct objects and indirect objects. These objects can be pronouns, nouns, noun phrases, noun clauses, infinitive phrases, infinitives, gerunds or gerund phrases.

Indirect Objects

Indirect objects tells who the direct object is to or for, its the recipient of the action. 
  • Johnny lent me some cash last month. 
  • She sent her son a card. 
  • The officer allows the robber a phone call. 
Direct Objects

A Direct object receives the direct action from a verb.
  • We are in discussion about the planning permission. 
  • I understand what she said. 
  • The man unlocked his mobile phone successfully. 
Objects of Prepositions

The preposition and its object form the prepositional phrase which can be used as an adjective or adverb in a sentence. 
  • The lamp is on the table. 
  • He is in the classroom. 
  • We decided not to vote for her. 
4. Complements

Subjects or objects are complete by a Complement. Complements which complete the meaning of a subject are subject complements and those which complete the meaning of an object or object complements.

Noun or adjectives can be Subject complements, completing the meaning of a subject. If the subject complement is a noun, it's called the predicate nominee, when its an adjective it's a predictive adjective. Subject complement goes after a linking verb.
  • They are sailors. 
  • He has a big nose. 
  • The dog looks happy. 
Object Complements

Objects complements can be either adjective or noun, they complete the meaning of an object.
  • The country appointed him President. 
  • The woman painted her house pink. 
  • She left the door open. 
5. Adverbials

Adverbs give more information about the verb.

Adverbs can be used to say how something happens or how something is done.
  • The children were playing quietly. 
  • She was riding fast as possible. 
Adverbs can be used to say where something happens.
  • I saw her there. 
  • We met in Paris. 
Adverbs can be used to say how often something happens. 
  • They start work at four o'clock. 
  • They usually go to work by bike. 
Adverbs can be used to show how certain we about something.

  • Perhaps it might rain.
  • She is definitely coming to the party.

Writing a complicated sentence can be difficult to some writers, and being able to write rich and varied sentences is a skill in itself.  Being aware of simple, compound and complex sentences can help you vary the sentences in your own writing.

Simple Sentences

Simple sentences contain the most basic elements that make up a sentence: subject, verb and a completed thought.

1. Sam waited for the train
"Sam" = subject, "waited" = verb

2. The car was late
"The car" = subject, "was" = verb

3. Kathryn and Helen took the bus.
"Kathryn and Helen" = compound subject, "took" = verb

Using compound subjects such as compound verbs, prepositional phrases (such as "at the bust station"), and many other elements help lengthen simple sentences, but simple sentences can be very short sometimes.  Writing with too many simple sentences can make your writing seem "choppy" and prevent you writing smoothly.

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences are made up pf two independent clauses (complete sentences) which are connected to one another with a coordinating conjunction.  Coordinating conjunctions are easily remembered if you remember words such as "FAN BOYS".
  • For
  • And
  • Nor
  • But
  • Or
  • Yet
  • So
Here are some examples of compound sentences:
  • Kevin waited for the train, but the train was late.
  • I looked for Helen and Kathryn at the train station, but they arrived at the station before noon and left on the train before I arrived.
  • Kathryn and Helen left on the train before I arrived, so I did not see them at the train station.
Sometimes compound sentences can be overused, while coordinating conjunctions are really useful for connecting sentences together.  Coordinating conjunctions may indicate some type of relationship between two independent clauses in a sentence, they sometimes do not indicate much of a relationship.  Using the word "and" only adds one independent clause to another, but does not indicate how two parts of a sentence is logically related.  Using too many compound sentences with "and" can weaken a sentence and your writing.

Using complex sentences you can be more clear and specific about established relationships.

Complex Sentences

Complex sentences are made up of one or more dependent clauses and an independent clause.  Dependent clause is similar to an independent clause, or a complete sentence, but lacks one of the elements that would make it a complete sentence.

Examples of dependent clauses:
  • because Helen and Kathryn arrived at the train station before noon
  • while he waited at the train station
  • after they left on the train
The above dependent clauses cannot stand alone as a sentence, but can be added to an independent clause forming a complex sentence.

A dependent clause begins with subordinating conjunctions.  See some of the most common subordinating conjunctions:
  • while
  • wherever
  • whereas
  • whenever
  • when
  • until
  • unless
  • though
  • since
  • if
  • even though
  • before
  • because
  • as
  • although
  • after
Complex sentences join independent clauses with one or more dependent clauses.

Dependent clauses can go first in a sentence, followed by an independent clause, like the following:
  1. Because Helen and Kathryn arrived at the train station before noon, I did not see them at the station.
  2. While we waited at the bus station, Sam realised that the bus was late.
  3. After they left on the train , Helen and Kathryn realised that Sam was waiting at the train station.
Equally the independent clauses can go first in the sentence, followed by the dependent clause, like the following:
  1. I did not see them at the station because Helen and Kathryn arrived at the train station before noon.
  2. Sam realised that the bus was late while he waited at the train station.
  3. Helen and Kathryn realised Sam was waiting at the bus station after they left on the train.
Sentences that are complex are often more effective because they indicate clearer and more specific relationships between the main parts of the sentence.  For instance the word "before" tells the reader that one thing develops before another.  Words such as "although" sends a more complex relationship than a word such as "and" conveys.

Learn English grammar through lectures and listening and speaking practice, so you can confidently speak English with English Grammar Launch.

Simple Tips to Remember

❃ Avoid beginning a sentence with "and" or "but" or other coordinating conjunctions.  These words normally join parts of a sentence together, not begin a new sentence.

❃ It is acceptable to start a sentence with "because" as long as the sentence is complete (such as "Because Helen and Kathryn arrived at the train station before noon, I did not see them at the station").

Subjects and Verbs What are They?

Verbs are action words such as eat, sleep, talk, walk, buy all verbs.
Subjects are the thing or person doing the action of the verb.

  • I eat.
  • The dog sleeps.
  • Harry talks a lot.
  • They run for the bus.
The Rules of Subject and Verb Agreement

1. A subject verb agreement means the subject and verb must agree in number.  This means both need to be singular or both need to be plural.

The cat meows when she is angry.  The cats meow when they are angry.

2. The words that come between the subject and verb do not affect agreement.

The cat, who is chewing on my slipper, is usually very good.

3. Prepositional phrases between verbs and subjects don't usually affect agreement.

The colours of the rainbow are beautiful.

4. Sentences starting with "there" or "here", the subject will always be placed after the verb, care needs to be taken to identify it correctly.

There is a problem with the spreadsheet. Here are the papers you requested.

5. In questions, subjects don't always come before verbs.  Make sure you identify the subject before deciding on the proper verb form to use.

Where are the pieces of the jigsaw?

6.  A plural verb is required if two subjects are joined by "and".

The  cow and pig are jumping over the moon.

7. If two subjects are separated by "and" and refer to the same person, the verb is singular.

Black beans and rice is my mom's favourite dish.

8.  When the words "each," "every," or "no" comes before the subject, the verb is singular.

No drinking or smoking allowed.  Every man and woman is required to check in.

9.  When the subjects are both singular and are connected by the words "or," "nor," "neither/nor," "either/or," and "not only/but also" the verb is singular.

Mary or Harry is to blame for the accident.

10. Objects and prepositions only factor into the decision of plural or singular verbs forms is when noun and pronoun subjects like "some," "half," "none," "more," or "all" are followed by a prepositional phrase.  The object of the preposition determines the form of the verb.

All of the chicken is gone.  All of the chickens are gone.

11.  A singular verb is usually used for units of measurement or time.

Three quarts of oil was required to get the car started.

12.  If both subjects are plural and are connected by the words "or," "nor," "neither/nor," and "not only/but also" the verb is plural.

Cats and dogs are available at the pound.

13.  If the words "or," "nor," "neither/nor," "either/or." and "not only/but also" are connected to one singular subject and one plural, you use the verb form of the subject that is the nearest verb.

Either the lions or the bear has escaped from the zoo.  Neither lion nor the bears have escaped from the zoo.

14.  Indefinite pronouns typically take singular verbs.  Everybody wants to be loved.

15.  Other than the pronouns "few," "many," "several," "both,"all," and "some" that always take the plural form.

Few were left alive after the crash.

16.  Two infinitives separated by "and" they take the plural form of the verb.

To walk and to chew gum require great skill.

17.  If gerunds are used as the subject of a sentence, they take the singular form of the verb, except when they are linked by "and," they take the plural form.

Standing in the mud was a bad idea.  Swimming in the sea and playing the flute are my hobbies.

18.  Shared nouns like "herd," "senate," "class," and "crowd," usually take a singular verb form.

The herd is stampeding.

19.  The titles of books, movies and novels, etc. are treated as singular and take a singular verb.

Forrest Gump is a movie starring Tom Hanks.

20.  Final Rule - Always remember, only the subject affects the verb!

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

How to Write an Awesome Author Bio

Writing your author bio can feel like you're having your teeth pulled.  Yet the importance of having a skilfully constructed bio on your Amazon author page can often mean a loss of sales.

Why a loss of sales?  Because your author bio is a small window into your life and gives your readers an insight into who you are.

Unless your Stephen King or Ian Fleming people have no clue who you are.

When it comes to buying a book people rely on a book description, book reviews and author bio to decide whether or not to purchase the book.

It's true that you need a catchy book title and eye catching book cover, but those elements alone won't keep your readers there.

Your author bio is a key opportunity to connect with your audience and potential readers.  If you want to sell more books you need a good author bio.

Here are my 7 top tips for writing an awesome author bio:

1. Always Use The Third Person

Writing about yourself in the third person is a bit strange but the main advantage is that you come across as being a lot less cocky when you list your accomplishments.

2. Keep Your Author Bio Short and Sweet

Aim for 75 words and don't go over 150, give people a bit sized bio they can scan through.  If they can skim through your bio they can hit the buy button even quicker!

3. Treat it Like a Business Card

Give readers your website and social media information.  Leaving more breadcrumbs to your website.

4. Your Opportunity to Brag

Use your bio to list your greatest writing achievements, adding the most relevant accomplishment first.

5. Look to Other Authors for Inspiration

Start looking at authors in similar fields to you and see what kind of biography they have.  Here are some examples:

✦ Bria Quinlan

✦ William Zinsser

✦ Roy Peter Clark

✦ Gail Carson Levine

✦ Natalie Goldberg

6. Use Your Credibility to Give Your Bio Some Weight

Awards should be relevant to your chosen subject should always be used.  Always update your bio as your life changes and more awards start coming in.

7. If Your Degree is Relevant Use It

If you're writing books about psychology and you have a BA or Ph.D. use it.

Author Bio Template

Author bio's come in all different kinds of sizes, there is no one size fits all.  Try using the checklist below to get you started:

✳ Start with a punchy intro

✳ Present your industry/field area of authority

✳ Build trustworthiness without grandstanding

✳ Add your own personal touch

Finish with a CTA (call to action)

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