Monday, July 31, 2017

Things To Do Before You Self-Publish Your Ebook

Before you self-publish your eBook here are a few things to consider before you publish.

1. How to Format Your eBook

Different services require different formats, which can be a little awkward at times.  Technology is changing almost daily these days, so you need to be on your toes and know what to expect when your self-publishing.

Below are the most used formats for eBooks:

PDF: Not easily displayed on grayscale devices and difficult to convert for standard eBook formats.

MOBI: Perfect for Amazon Kindle, even though EPUB works just as well.

EPUB: The global standard for eBooks, working smoothly on most devices. While you're not able to directly create an EPUB file on Word there is software you can use to convert your file.

Which ever file type is required for self-publishing your eBook they all require their own particular formatting.  you'll need to do your homework when it comes to formatting your eBook though.

There are some service providers that are customer service oriented that would help take the pressure off  such as Draft2Digital and BookBaby.  If you're eBook contains a lot of illustrations and has a particular layout you could look into hiring an independent company such as eBookPartnership.

Below are some tools for formatting and converting your eBook:
Find out more with this highly rated course created by Karen Prince - Format in Microsoft Word and Convert to eBook in Calibre.

When it comes to eBook cover design, often a plain design will stand out more than a flashy cover. This is because your cover may be seen in black and white, grayscale, colour, high resolution, low resolution, thumbnail size or full size.  It may be worth getting a professional to create your cover for you.

You can format your eBook for free with Google Docs

Step-by-step instructions to format your eBook in Google Docs

1. Click on "file" button.

2. Click "new".

3. This is the blank page to start your eBook.

4. Centre and bold your "Title".

5. Add a "subtitle" if  you have on, just below and in the centre as your "Title".

6. Enter document name in "top left hand corner".

7.  Arrange your "front matter"  this includes your the name of your book,  the author, the publisher, copyright and disclaimer.  You can centre or left justify and make it bold as you see fit.

2. How to Hyperlink your Table of Contents

Create a Link to a bookmark

A bookmark is only useful when you link to it.  See below to create your own link to a bookmark:
  1. Highlight the chapter you'd like to link from.  You can also just click anywhere in your document to create a link there.
  2. Click the Insert drop-down menu and select Link.... or click the link icon in the toolbar.
  3. In the 'Edit Link' window, select the 'Bookmark' option to see the bookmarks you've create.
  4. Click the bookmark you'd like to link to.
  5. Click ok.

If you need to edit or remove the link, click it and 'Go to link' window appears.  In this window you can see the bookmark you're linking to, and the Change and Remove links.

Create a bookmark in a document

To create a bookmark in your document, follow these steps:
  1. Click where you want to place the bookmark in your document.
  2. Click the Insert drop-down menu.
  3. Select Bookmark.

3. How to Create Fabulous Front and Back Matter for Your eBook

The key factors in any self published book (eBook) is the front and back matter.  This can make your eBook look professional and a quality product.

Follow my tips below to create your front and back matter:

Front Matter

Copyright Page

Depending upon the publisher or authors, this page can vary.  See below for the template with the information required:

Copyright © 2015 Helen Bolam

All rights reserved.

Published by Vine Leaves Press 2015

Newcastle,  United Kingdom

No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Under no circumstances may any part of this book be photocopied for resale.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and situations within its pages and places or persons, living or dead, is unintentional and co-incidental. [Remove this bit if your book is nonfiction. If it’s a memoir, you may like to insert: Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.]

About the Author

This is pretty self explanatory, many authors choose to put this in the back of their eBook.  Keep it short and sweet and make sure you include your website URL:

By Author Name

List all of the other eBooks or books you've published under these category headings: Non fiction; Fiction; Poetry.

Title - Page 1

Your title and author name.  Place them in the centre of the page in a large clear font.


If you're self publishing through Amazon Kindle you'll be given an ISBN on the back cover.

Dedication Page

You can make this detailed or as simple as you feel e.g. For Bill, and a reason why.  You could include quotes from other authors that are relevant to your subject.  Remember to centre your dedication.

Order of Front Matter

Page 1: Praise (or About the Author)
Page 2: Blank
Page 3: Also by Author name
Page 4: Credits Page (input information)
Page 5: Title Page
Page 6: Blank
Page 7: Dedication
Page 8: Blank
Page 9: Blank

Remember to start your first page on an odd number.

Back Matter

You can include a lot of things in the back of your eBook.

Here are some popular things:
  • Authors note
  • Acknowledgements
  • Adverts or upcoming titles
  • Sample excerpts from upcoming titles
  • Call to connect with you on your website or social media platforms
  • Call to sign up to your newsletter
There is no correct order for any of the above.  Be as creative as you feel.  The Acknowledgements page generally comes after the end of your story or non fiction content.

4. Create an eBook  Cover with PicMonkey

Your eBook is written, edited and ready to go. You need a simple book cover to catch your readers attention.

Step 1

Find a picture

An image that will explain what your book is about. Make sure you get your image from a public domain site. Better still take your own photo!

Step 2

Upload a photo

Upload your photo to Picmonkey and begin designing your cover. Go to design and click on butterfly icon (overlays), select your own cover image.

Choose your effects

Step 3

Edit your photo

You can resize or give your photo a special effect.

Step 4

Create your book title

Use the "Tt" icon to add your text.

Step 5

Change your cover size

A good choice for fiction covers is 600 x 800, also do your research if your self-publishing and find out which size is best.

Step 6

Extra effects
You can add any extra effects you feel may be needed. Also save your cover before adding text, just in case something goes wrong.

Try Picmonkey today!

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 28, 2017

Eleven Steps to Write and Publish an eBook

Finding the time to write an eBook around your life or blog can be really difficult. The ongoing task of building relationships with other bloggers, writing guest posts, responding to every comment that comes your way, can be quite a handful. So even thinking about fitting the time to write an eBook seems insane.

In your mind you have all the plus points added together know how beneficial it would be.

On top of all of your other writing its quite a task to sit down and create an eBook of more than 25 pages, editing, proof-reading it. At the end of the day you want a well-written eBook, informative and interesting. So how do you do it?

Follow this 12-step guide and start writing your eBook today:

Step One - The Idea

Without an idea your eBook is dead in the water. Take the first step and make notes about things that pop into your mind. An important component about writing in general is to get your name out there and noticed on the Internet and use it as a platform for selling your eBook.

Pick a Topic

In any kind of writing research is your friend, so take your time and read books, magazines and articles on your chosen subject. The Internet has a wealth of information for you to tap into. Life experience is a great place to start and if you're passionate about something even better. It's worth knowing that your average eBook is about 25 pages long.

Writing Preparation

Buy a notebook, something you can carry around with you while you're out and about. Ideas can come at some strange times during the day, having a notebook at hand is a life saver. You'll find you spend a long time thinking about it at your PC, but not nothing will come into your mind.

Keep your eye on the time it takes you write, each day that goes by needs to be spent doing something constructive to do with your eBook. This can be writing, developing your blog or writing out your marketing strategy.

A good start is to write an outline on your chosen subject, this will help get your thought's in order. Jot down your chapter headings, you can always rearrange them in the order you want them in later.

Keep all distractions to a minimum, mobile phones, Ipad's etc things with social media that will pull you away from your task and will cost you time. Switch them off. You'll be amazed what a couple of hours without distraction can for your writing.

Once you start typing out your eBook, remember to create a new file and save as you go along. This will save you frustration if you do end up losing your work.

Step Two - Notify Your Readers

Tell your followers on Twitter, Google+ and on your blog that your writing an eBook. Inform them it'll be ready in a couple of weeks.

Let your readers know in a newsletter, share a sense of excitment about the upcoming release, get a buzz going.

Step Three - The Writing Part

Write from the perspective of your target audience, and define who it is you're writing for, that way you can connect with your audience. Make writing a good habit, use and develop it. This is your opportunity to pass your own insight into the things you're most passionate about.

Every writer's worst nightmare is 'writer's block', when you go to write/type something and there's nothing in your mind. Don't get overwhelmed by your task, do it in bite sized chunks.

Write in draft form, keep it simple and stay away from formatting your document. You can do that later on when you eBook is close to completion.  The same goes for editing, wait until the end, your main aim is to have a draft copy of your eBook, you'll have plenty of time later to make it pretty.

Saving your document throughout and putting in on a memory stick will pay off and ensure you don't lose the manuscript you've created

Choose a finishing date, a date in your calendar your ready to sell it by. This should all coincide with your blog/website.

Step Four - Edit and Name Your eBook

At this point a small celebration is in order, you've written your draft, done your research and the end is in sight.

This is where proofreading comes in, read it over and over in your head to hear how it sounds. I like to print my manuscript out and read it over. It's so easy for things to get missed on a computer screen.

Check your grammar and spelling, don't leave it up to the spellchecker. I never completely trust my spellchecker. Make it your best work but also bare in mind it'll never be perfect. You have a date in your diary to keep, so stick to it and get it done.

The Perfect Title

Waiting until the end to pick a title is a great because you have a fresh perspective on what you've written.

Your book may have taken a different twist to the way you imagined. Had you chosen a title at the beginning it may no longer fit with what you've written now.

Step Five - Formatting Your eBook

My choice was to use Word, it's simple and easy to use for fiction and non-fiction titles alike, Images and photo's can easily be uploaded.

Your eBook will be read on a variety of devices, mobile phones, Nooks, PCs, Kindles, laptops and tablets. The page and font size will vary to the original document so keep it simple and clean.

Step Six - Preparation
  • Don't Use 
  • Page numbers (some devices allocate page numbers based on the preference of the owner, eBook files don't have a universal page number) 
  • Advertising and promotion - Don't promote other competitors if your publishing with other websites. Use your website/blog, Facebook to promote yourself 
  • Headers and footers 
  • Background images and colour's along with borders aren't recommended. Text will look feint on a grey scale e reading device 
  • Drop caps at the beginning of each chapter 
  • Different colour text 
  • Multi column's, stick to a single column layout 
  • Text boxes - If a large font size is being used, the text box may run onto the next page 
Your page size is irrelevant - letter or A4 is fine. Use standard settings for your margins.

Step Seven - Formatting Your Manuscript 

  • Don't use multiple spaces or tabs 
  • Use a single paragraph break, not double paragraph breaks 
  • Separate sections and sub-sections with a central break 
  • Separate chapters with a page break, don't use multiple returns to move to the next page 
  • Styling Fonts and Text 
  • Choose Arial, Georgia and Times New Roman for the main body of text 
  • 10, 11 or 12 pt is great for the main body of text 
  • Use block text 
  • Use single line spacing 
  • Use bold, italics and ALL CAPS to make things stand out 
Step Eight - Add Images and Front and Back Matter

Images can be used but take into account the following:
  • Some e readers don't display colour, but only display grey scale 
  • Insert images into your manuscript as separate files (GIF, TIFF, PDF, PNG and JPG) are all fine to use 
  • Don't float images left or right of text. Keep them in their own line instead 
Your eBook Cover

You can pay someone else to create one for you or you can create your own, this is all down to money. Keep it simple, I can't stress this enough. Amazon provide an eBook cover maker for you. With this you can create your own without the harassment of looking for images.

Further down the line you can always pay for someone else to do it for you, when you've got some money in your pocket.

About the Author and Author's Note

This gives you the opportunity to write about yourself and promote yourself in the process.

Step Nine - Add Links

Providing the Internet connection is on these links will work automatically on an e reader device, so make sure your website and social networks get a mention
Use Word's hyperlinking and bookmarking to link from one place in the manuscript to another

Step Ten - Pricing Your eBook

Go on Amazon, one of the biggest platforms for selling your eBook. They offer various ways of making an income from your eBook. In the long run it will get your book out there and put money your pocket.

Start by selling it for $0.99 that way you'll gain an audience for other books you want to sell later.

As a writer its good to start small, build an audience that will be buy your book. Unless your an established writer its pointless setting your price high. People need to connect with you on your blog/website before they open their wallet's and spend.

Step Eleven - Distribution and Marketing Your eBook

I recommend selling through Amazon Kindle Publishing, Smashwords, Kobo. This way, you have a platform with thousands of people at your finger tips. It's also secure and VAT is taken care of.

Write blog posts telling your readers all about your eBook, along with the cover image you've created (try Picmonkey).

Tell the world! Send emails, tweet about it, ask for retweets, tell your friends. Try writing a press release.

Let me know if this has been helpful, or if you have any questions.

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 26, 2017

Create an eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing, Publishing and Selling Your eBook

How do I write an eBook?

A question a lot of would-be authors ask everyday. Actually sitting down thinking of a subject or even thinking about writing a work of fiction seems really hard to a lot of people.

Why There's No Catch to Writing a Book
Anyone can write a book, there is no financial or physical resources required to do so. If you're looking to publish your book, that's a different matter altogether. Books have been written in all kinds of strange places from prison cells to trains.

Do I Need to be Good at English Language to Write a Book?

It doesn't matter how bad your grammar or spelling may be, you're in good company. You'd be joined by the likes of Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, the list goes on. If you really want to get serious, it requires thought, work and a whole lot of effort.

Getting Started

If you're wondering how to get started in your publishing career its no surprise that we live in a digital age, so many free resources are already at your fingertips. Companies such as Amazon provide a ready-made platform with software to process and bring your books to life. There's no need to look for a publishing house you can send your manuscript straight to print without worrying about where to get the financial help to do so.

Again it takes time and effort to make your book legible and relate able to your audience. Are you the kind of writer that's only in it for the fame and wealth.There's no magic wand that can be waved to make sure your book is a bestseller. Once you've written your book you have to spend the time promoting your book and get word out that you're an author, making sure people know who you are, otherwise all of your hard work is dead in the water.

These days you don't have to be a great writer to sell books. That can clearly be seen by Amazons list of bestsellers.

What You Need to Know Before You Publish Your eBook

Before you publish your eBook you need to know about the services on offer and a little bit about the history of self-publishing.

The services below will publish and distribute your eBook files, but require you to do all of the preparation and uploading of your files.

  • Draft2Digital - Cost $0. Distribution to everyone else. 
  • Amazon KDP - Cost $0. eBook distribution in Amazon. 
  • IngramSpark - Cost $49. Distribution everywhere but Amazon. 
  • CreateSpace - Cost $0. Print Distribution to Amazon. 
  • BookBaby - Cost eBook conversion and distribution $199. 

A Bit of History

In the old days of self-publishing a substantial amount of money was required to invest with a so-called "vanity" press.

By the late 90's this all changed with the arrival of POD (print-on-demand) allowing books to be printed one at a time. These companies offered low-cost self-publishing to all. Their costs were low because the only expense incurred was that of book creation. These companies (iUniverse, Xlibris and Author House) (were merged and became Author Solutions) authors would sell only a few dozen copies at best.

Developments Since 2007
With the rise of eBooks traditional publishing has been transformed. US book sales comprise of 30-35% of eBook sales. Online retailers sell 60% of US book sales (both print and digital), principally through Amazon. You can sell your eBook to the world without a third party helping you.

If you're publishing and selling your eBook yourself POD publishers are no longer relevant to your self-publishing success.

In today's online retail distribution you get the same retail distribution as you would with a traditional publishing house. Through the above mentioned services. Most of which is free. With every copy sold the retailer takes a cut, the same applies to a distributor, they take their cut to.

Ask yourself these three questions before you publish:
  1. How will you reach your readers online? 
  2. Is your book illustrated? 
  3. Is colour required? 
There may be significant challenges when you create and distribute through various channels.

What do your readers prefer, digital or print?

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit your half-way to succeeding online. If you already have a platform as an established blogger it will stand you in good stead in the long run. Don't expect immediate sales, instead sales snowballing gradually over time.

Understanding E-Publishing Services

The most important thing to understand about e-publishing retailers is that they're not publishers. They take no responsibility for your work quality, or any rights to your work. Here are three aspects of major services:

1 No technical expertise required - You're given free automated tools to convert and upload your files. Along with free tutorials and guides to make sure your files are formatted properly.

2 Non-exclusive and at-will - You have the option to edit or remove your files at any time. Allowing you to change the cover, price and description. You can use other services to sell through on your own website.

3 No upfront fee - It's rare to pay an upfront fee. With a distributor such a BookBaby you earn 100% net and pay $199 for conversion and retail distribution.

Again by using these services you don't forfeit any rights to your work.

The Two Essential Groups of E-Publishing Services
Most e-publishing services fall into one of these categories:

Single Channel Distribution - These services which are also distributors will distribute your work through one channel or device. Offering no assistance in preparing your files, accepting a wide range of file types. Some examples: KDP and Nook Press.

Multiple Channel Distribution - These services act as a middleman and push your work out to multiple distributors and retailers. You deal with only one service, most well-known of these are Draft2Digital, Pronoun, BookBaby and Smaswords.

Great Reasons Why You Should Have an Author Platform

Not every writer likes the idea of a personal brand, that's understandable. Especially if you don't like talking about yourself or your achievements.

Branding doesn't have to be daunting or scary. After all you're showcasing your own stories and expertise, and building trust with your audience.

Strengthening your author brand is a key element to your success in today's marketplace. Once you've built it, it's yours and no one can take that away from you.

Why You Need to Invest in Your Brand

You can see the contrast between time spent building a brand, and an author that hasn't bothered to invest in the necessary resources for developing their own personal online presence.  Think of it like this, your brand is like your business card, and along with your book(s), your brand helps to build your credibility and open doors to future projects.  If you're in it for the long haul, you need to commit to a branding strategy as soon as your first book is published.

Standing Out From the Crowd is Pivotal

You need to spend time and energy on your brand, in order for you to "stand from the crowd", finding a niche for yourself. Separating yourself and helping you to stand out making you different from any other author out there.  You are your biggest competition. You won't need to worry about your rivals, you can use that energy to build your brand instead.  You have total control over your branding, so you don't need to be worried about how you'll be perceived in the market.

Ask yourself is your brand compatible and true to you?

You Can Take Charge of Your Own Branding with Social Media

In the current digital age you can take charge of your branding though social media, using a myriad of tools. Proactively maintaining, building and protecting your own brand name in the public eye by credibly investing the time.  If you can spend the time you have the opportunity to build a following. Focusing your effort with a plan and assigned time you can become an expert in your industry.

Gain some inspiration by setting yourself some goals (solving problems, making your family proud).

Branding Demonstrates Your Market Value

Building and investing time in your brand gives you the opportunity to gain more clout with online reviews, publishing and writing other books and building your business.  Both your book and brand can be the portal to other entrepreneurial pursuits including revenue streams, services and book.  Take advantage of your brand and discover how you can broaden your horizons. Help your audience understand who you are through your brand so they can make an informed buying decision.

Along with your following you'll discover an audience interested in what you have to say, and in buying from you. Enhancing your brand for publishers and agents.

Is it worth it?

All of the effort, time and money spent will be well worth it. No one can take that away from you. You'll gain trust and new relationship's through your brand. Done properly, you'll gain as much out of it as you put into it.

Pricing Your eBook

If you're a fairly new author like me, pricing your eBook can be a challenge.

To be honest with you it's difficult to know what to charge, whether you should go cheaper or more expensive, there are many thoughts on both sides on pricing your eBook. Especially when you've spent all of that time and effort creating your eBook. So here are some important points to ponder when you price your eBook:

Most new eBook authors and independent novelists start their price point at $2.99. It's often argued as being really cheap and devaluing to the work put in. So your competition will most likely be around that price range or lower. So the more well-known and trusted you are the higher price you can charge.

Amazon Kindle book sales are huge these days, accounting for at least 60-70% of all eBook sales in the US. Having an Amazon author page is helpful for sales because this may be the only page your reader will look at before buying your book. If you have reviews they also help towards the sale of your eBook, watched closely by all those in the business for visibility and sales.

If you charge $2.99 or over Amazon offer you a 70% commission on all sales of your eBooks. Anything below that and the commission falls to a measly 35%. Which is why so many authors switch their price between 99 cents and $2.99. This helps maximise profit at the low price point. Pushing them onto bestsellers lists.

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 21, 2017

5 Writing Courses That Could Change Your Life

If you're new to writing or already published, there's no harm in improving your craft.  There isn't a writer out there that isn't learning new things and putting them to good use. There are many components to be learnt as well as practised, and plenty of online courses available to help sharpen your talents.

I'm going to round up 5 of the best in this article, showing you their strengths and weaknesses, areas of focus that will come together and help you make the right choice.  Not just sticking to one particular area of writing, instead covering a few different areas.  Areas you've never thought of looking into that you might find interesting or want to research more in-depth yourself.  So from intermediate back to beginner these courses or for all no matter your budget.

1. Kindle Secrets: How I Wrote a Best Selling eBook In 72 hours

Benjamin Wilson Amazon Bestseller, reveals the simplest, and quickest strategies to becoming a bestseller, and making an extra $10,000 over the next 12 months.  Use his step-by-step proven blueprint that he and many other authors have used to create $10,000 Best Selling Amazon Kindle eBooks in only 72 hours.

Duration: 3.5 hours  Supplemental Sources: 9 Articles   Lectures: 44

2.  Travel Writing: Explore the World & Publish Your Stories!

Former editor of Rick Steves' Europe and writing coach Dave Fox teaches you skills that will evolve and get even better over time as you keep writing.  You'll gain a clear understanding of the techniques professional writers use to write captivating travel essays, and you'll discover your own unique writing voice.

Duration: 3.5 hours  Supplemental Sources: 9 articles  Lectures: 32

3.  Writing Novels That Move: Write Page Turning Fiction

Writing Fiction that Moves, created by Sally Apokedak and Abby R will show you how to write compelling short hooks for your query letters, and you'll learn how to plot a satisfying story that takes a character from point A to point B while keeping readers eagerly turning pages all the way.

Duration: 1 hour  Supplemental Sources: 11 + 16 Articles  Lectures: 33

4.  Professional Technical Writing: Advance Your Writing Skills

Learn the principles of technical writing from a professional Fortune 100 technical writer who has been writing technical documents since 1998.  Selected as one of the "100 Best Jobs" in America, it performs an irreplaceable support function in many sectors and provides a stable and consistent way for writers to earn a good living.

Duration: 5 hours  Supplemental Sources: 53 + 1 Article  Lectures: 92

5. Business & Technical Writing Immersion

With a systematic approach to the art of effective, persuasive business and financial writing Business Writing Immersion will teach you 12 steps and almost 60 practical techniques to help you produce documents that succeed every time.  For every writing technique, the course provides tutorial with exercises and thoughtful answers. 

Duration: 4.5 hours  Lectures: 38

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 17, 2017

10 Reasons Why You Should Use Bluehost for Your Business

Are you looking for a simple run-down of all of the things you want to see in a self-hosting platform?

Well look no further, give me 5 minutes of your time and I'll give 10 need-to-know facts about Bluehost that will help answer your questions.

It takes a while to wrap your head around of all the information that's out there about Bluehost webhosting, but I'm going to let the facts speak for themselves.

Bluehost have been around since 2003 and host over 2 million websites.  Being on of the most popular, shared hosting, inexpensive options available on the market today.

Originally they just offered shared hosting plans, but now they provide a variety of services and domains including, cloud hosting, as well as a variety of hosting options including hosting for WooCommerce and WordPress.

Here are the 10 really good reasons why you should choose Bluehost:

1. Inexpensive Hosting

With some of the cheapest hosting plans around, starting at $2.95/month you can't get much cheaper than that.

2. Approved By WordPress

WordPress currently one of the largest hosting platforms recommends Bluehost.  Indirectly sponsored by WordPress in many of their conferences.

3.  Honest Money Back Guarantee

With a 30 day full refund policy, Bluehost stick rigidly to their guns.  With no hidden fees or penalties, since this is a monthly plan and no term commitments.

4. Exceptional Uptime

Bluehost is known for its excellent uptime, giving 99.6% outage time in a month (equates to 4 hours out of a month).

5.  Security is First Concern

Bluehost offers all of its customer secure shell access (SSH) so web developers and administration can access files securely.  Their tools of choice are Spam Hammer, Apache Span Assassin and Spam Experts.

Other features include IP address blacklist, email account and user account filters, password protected directories, manage digital certificates and Private keys.

6. 24/7 User Support Portal

With a knowledge database, tutorials and technical support 24 hours a day you'll have no problem solving your problems.

7.  Affiliate Program

Free to sign up and one of the most wanted affiliate programs, anyone can sign up and start making money straight away with their website.

8. Array of Hosting Packages

Providing four plans to cover all website and blog needs.  You can choose from:

Basic Plan

$2.95/month Basic Plan, ideal for newbies. A popular option for bloggers.

Plus Plan

$5.45/month, this plan offers unlimited websites, storage, email accounts, email storage and add-on domains.

Prime Plan

$5.45/month, great for website owners who want more space.  Offers the same features as plus plan with over $80 of extras.

Business Pro Plan

$13.95/month, the same at Prime package with high performance server and much more!

9.  Site Transfer Plan

For $149.99 you can completely migrate up to 5 websites and 20 email accounts, associated databases.  An uninterrupted transition and review is provided to verify everything is functioning as it should.

10.  The Extras

Some notable extras include a free domain name for the first year, advertising credits for businesses and bloggers alike, to use on websites such as Google Adwords, Bing and many others.

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 14, 2017

Essential Grammar and Punctuation

Why you need writing tips to make you a better writer

The world we live in today is run, in part, by writers.  With so many changes happening  on a daily basis, a large number of those are written up by writers of every kind.  To help organisations, companies and governments etc.

Whether you're an author or a content writer you need the right tips to get the best results.  The quality and effectiveness of your writing will, to an extent, be impacted by your writing.  It doesn't hurt to go over and refresh some of your grammar and punctuation knowledge every once in a while.

Writing Errors: How to use the apostrophe

Are you making these writing mistakes? 

The apostrophe and its use is not as difficult as it sounds.  Once you understand it and study it you can't go wrong.

The apostrophe

1. Using an apostrophe in a contraction

Apostrophe's can be shown with at least one letter left out.  This is called contraction - contracting two words into one word.


If Bob had asked me to join the spy ring, I would of said, "No way".


If Bob had asked me to join the spy ring, I would've said, "No way".

Also right

If Bob had asked me to join the spy ring, I would have said, "No way".

Notice how the third example flows better and reads more like a conversation.

2. Using an apostrophe to show ownership.

To show ownership you add an apostrophe then an 's'.

The pen of my uncle
instead use 
My uncle's pen

The letters of the lovers
instead use
The lovers' letters

Bottom line is if the ownership is for one person add an apostrophe and an 's'.

3. When you shouldn't use apostrophes.

Abbreviations don't require apostrophes.

CDs, DVDs and CVs, that's why they're written in capital letters.  Adding an 's' implies that you mean lots of them.

Below are 4 sentences for you to correct.  You can read the answers after them to correct check what you've written.

1. He kept his childrens' bedroom furniture long after they left home for college.

2. Her table and chairs got wet because of the flood which hit her village during the last nights storm.

3. The girls' skateboard was broken, so she asked her brother to fix it.

4. My sister doesn't think she can make it to my party tonight.  She's got to work instead.


1. He kept his children's bedroom furniture long after they left home for college.

2. Her table and chairs got wet because of the flood which hit her village during the last night's storm.

3. The girls' skateboard was broken, so she asked her brother to fix it.

4. My sister doesn't think she can make it to my party tonight.  She's got to work instead.

Writing Errors: Punctuation Part I

Are you making these writing mistakes with punctuation?

This is a basic break down of the problems writers have with punctuation.  It's pretty basic but it should help you with its every day use.

When you should use exclamation marks

Exclamation marks are used to show someone is shouting, adding an exclamation mark shows the sound effect.

Here are some examples:

His dog was huge!
What a massive dog!

My parents' anniversary is today.
Happy anniversary, Mum and Dad!


Full stops and ellipses

A full stop is used to end a sentence.


If I go out early in the morning.

If I go out early in the morning, I could catch the first bus into town.

The first sentence was too short, the second sentence was complete and deserved a full stop.

Using ellipsis

While full stops end a sentence, ellipsis are used to show something is to be continued or trailing off.

Having only 3 dots (...) ellipsis is used just before a full stop.

Quick note:


Using brackets

Brackets can be used in a variety of different ways:

Use brackets to include questions or qualifications within a text.

I had a great time during my visit to America last year.  I had the most fun at a rodeo I saw om Texas last year (or was it Alabama?)

Use brackets around numbers, if you need to write a list.

Use brackets as an interruption within a sentence.

Writing Errors: Punctuation Part II

Are you making these writing mistakes? 

In this article we'll look at the use of the hyphen, semi-colon and colon.  All of the points covered in this article are for those people that may be unsure are may be just want a quick refresher of the use of grammar and punctuation.

When should you use the colon?

Below are two examples of when you should use a colon:

1. Introducing a list, use colon.


I have very little time to learn the language:  my new job starts in six weeks.

All three of their children are involved in the arts: Richard is a sculptor, Diane is a pianist, and Julie is a theatre director.

2. Breaking up a long sentence, use a colon.

If more than one sentence follows a colon capitalise the first word following the colon.


He made three points: First, the company was losing over a million dollars each month.  Second, the stock price was lower than it had ever been.  Third, no banks were willing to loan the company any more money.

When to use a semi-colon

Below are two instances using a semi-colon:

1. Semi-colons can be used to separate lists where more information is given about a particular item.


Some people write with a word processor; others write with a pen or pencil.

2. Semi colons can be used to join two sentences which are connected.


The ants on the picnic scene were noticeably slow; they had started to eat the cheese.

When should you use a hyphen?

Sometimes mistakenly used as a dash, the hyphen is used when you want to shorten the pause between words, a dash on the other hand lengthens the pause.

1. Make a meaning clearer with a hyphen.


Yesterday we had a two-hour long tutorial.

2. Use a hyphen to link words together to make a compound adjective.


State-of-the-art design

3. Change the meaning of a word with a hyphen.


I asked to re-take the driving test because the instructor's wig made be lose my concentration.

4. Break up a word at the end of a live with a hyphen

Remember the small rule of not breaking up one syllable words (like pawn, step etc) peoples names, words that are already compound words and other proper nouns.  Also never divide a word leaving only one or two letters on one line e.g. 'res-pect', not 're-spect'.

Here are three sentences to correct in your own time.  See the answers below and check how you did.

1. I asked my tutor to remark the test because I was not happy with the 'D' she gave me.

2. His sister in law, a well known blogger, made her fortune writing about personal accounting on the web.

3. In this lesson we discussed the following. Colons, semi-colons; and hyphens.


1. I asked my tutor to re-mark the test because I was not happy with the 'D' she gave me.

2. His sister-in-law, a well-known blogger, made her fortune writing about personal accounting on the web.

3. In this lesson we discussed the following: Colons, semi-colons and hyphens.

How to use inverted commas, capital letters and brackets

This is a quick reminder about the use of brackets, capital letters and inverted commas.

1. Using quotation marks or inverted commas.

Mostly used to enclose direct speech or a quotation mark.


My boss said to me "You were paid last week."

"Are you going to finish that?"  Shrek asked Fiona.

2. Using inverted commas to enclose quotations.


I was terrified the first time I read Stephen King's 'The Stand'.

Using brackets

1. Brackets are used to enclose a statement inserted into a sentence.


My friend persisted for months (even though I expressed no interest) about joining a dance class.

2. Brackets are useful for enclosing numbers.


A knowledge of SEO

(1) Content writing is king as far as SEO is tightly in place.

(2) Excellent material will go unread unless people know its there.

Using capital letters

1. Start a sentence with a capital letter.

2. Start a proper noun (Johnson, England, Jupiter) with a capital letter.

3. A capital letter should always be used to start days of the week and months of the year.

When should you use commas?

The use of the comma in sentences is not always clear, I probably use the comma too much at times.  It's useful to point out that too many commas can slow down an article or story and may even put your reader off.

1. Before your quotation marks for direct speech a comma should be used.


Daniella said, "I really like that jumper.  Does it come in pink?"

2. When you're writing a list use a comma.


I've almost packed my suitcase for my holiday, but I still need to put in some shirts, a hat, sun cream, sandals and my toiletry bag.

3. Separate two or more adjectives which refer to a particular noun with a comma.


Her curries tend to be tasteless, cold, thick and chewy.

4. When you put a phrase into a sentence to give more explanation, use a comma.


When he broke my black stilettos, which were brand new, I became very upset.

The correct time to use a full stop

One of the easiest punctuation marks to use, and is used at the end of a sentence/thought and also commands the longest pause.

1. Use a full stop at the end of a sentence.

A full stop ends a sentence as everyone knows.  A capital letter is then used to start a new sentence.

2. Use a full stop after an abbreviation.

Using a full stop after an abbreviation, a capital letter doesn't need to start the next word unless it's a proper noun, which will naturally require a capital letter.

Writing Errors: How to use nouns, verbs, pronouns and adjectives

There are eight different parts to speech in the English language.  When you start to grasp these different parts you can start to understand how sentences are joined together, making them readable and enabling you to punctuate any sentence.

These eight parts consist of nouns, verbs, pronouns, and adjectives.


You can define a noun as person, place or thing.  With the exception for example of love, which isn't a concrete thing that can't be seen or held, but plainly exists, so this is also a noun.

You can divide nouns into two categories: common and proper nouns.  A proper noun is the name of a person or place that is capitalised (Plymouth College, Rachel Smith, etc.).  A common noun is a name that isn't capitalised (school, chair, book, etc.).


A verb can describe an action or state of being.  It's important to understand that verbs are not only action verbs: walk, run, jump, play, sing etc.

They can also be linking verbs, which don't express action, but instead express classification, identity or existence (Common linking verbs are is, am, was, were and verb phrases which end in being, be, been).


You can use a pronoun, to replace a noun.  For example, you could say "Peter likes pie" you can substitute Peter with "He".  Writers should only use a pronoun after a noun has been used first because it needs to be clear which noun the pronoun is replacing.


An adjective is used to change a noun or pronoun.  Basically it provides more information about a place, thing or person.  For example, in the sentence Harry is tall, skinny mantall and skinny are the adjectives used to describe Harry.

Writing Error: How to use adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections


Very similar to an adjective, an adverb modifies a verb, an adjective or any other adverb.  In this example Lucy ran quickly towards the fence, because the word quickly describes how she ran.


The relationship between a noun or pronoun can be described with a preposition.  This relationship is usually directional, temporal or spatial.  As an example John walked towards the gate, the word towards is the preposition showing direction.  When pronouns, prepositions and nouns are linked together they create word groups, which are referred to as prepositional phrases.  In the preceding example, towards the gate is a prepositional phrase.


You can link words or parts of sentences together with a conjunction.  There are four contrasting types of conjunction: Correlative, adverb, subordinating and coordinating.
  • Correlative conjunctions combine a coordinating conjunction with another word (e.g: In the sentence both Peter and I are having a difficult time with the homework, both... and are the correlative conjunctions.)
  • Conjunctive adverbs are erratic words used to connect one sentence to another.  Ordinary conjunctive verbs include in addition, additionally, also, moreover, consequently, also, furthermore, instead, otherwise, for example, for instance, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, conversely, accordingly, therefore, generally, in other words, in fact, in conclusion and finally.#
  • Subordinating conjunctions start at the beginning of subordinate clauses and are usually used to connect the subordinate clause to the rest of the sentence (furthermore can be referred to as the independent clause).  Natural subordinating conjunctions can include although, as, after, before, because, even though, once, if, rather than, that, since, though, until, unless, whenever, when, while, whereas.
  • Coordinating conjunctions you can connect similar words or independent clauses (sentences) together with for, and, or, yet, so. FANBOYS is the acronym often referred to for coordinating conjunctions.

A word added to a sentence to convey emotion and not grammatically related to any other part of the sentence, this is an interjection.  You can use them as a single word sentence (e.g. Wow!).  Seldom used in academic writing, their use should be avoided.

Parentheses, acronyms and abbreviations how to use them

Consistently used in pairs, parentheses, allow a writer to provide additional information.  This might include a fragment, a single word, or multiple complete sentences.

The material inside the parentheses does not need to be grammatically integral to the surrounding sentence.  If the material is changed the sentence must be amended.  You can avoid this by reading your sentence without parenthetical content.  If it feels right the parentheses are acceptable, if not, the punctuation must be changed.

Incorrect: The prime minister (and his secretary) were expected to arrive by 11.00 a.m.

Correct: The Prime Minister (and his secretary) travelled by private jet.

Arrangement of other punctuation

When the closing punctuation mark for the sentence is placed inside the closing parentheses, the sentence stands on its own.


The idea that theoretical physics can be taught without reference to complex mathematics is patently absurd. (But don't tell that to the publishers of such mathematics-free books - or the people who buy them).

In a larger sentence parenthetical content occurs at the end and the closing punctuation mark for the sentence is placed outside the closing parenthesis.


After four weeks on set, the cast was fed up with his direction (or, rather, lack of direction).

In a larger sentence parenthetical content occurs in the middle and the surrounding punctuation should be placed outside the parentheses, as it would be if the parenthetical content were not there.


We verified his law degree (Harvard, class of 2010), but his work history remains unconfirmed.

When parentheses occurs in the middle of a larger sentence, it should never be capitalised or end with a period - nevertheless a question mark or exclamation point is acceptable.


We verified his law degree (none of us thought he was lying about that) but not his billion-dollar verdict against Exxon (how gullible did he think we were?).

Abbreviations and acronyms

When you first use an abbreviation or acronym the full term can be provided in parentheses.


Harry Gardner has been appointed CKO (chief knowledge officer) of the merged company.

An acronym or abbreviation, on reverse, can be provided in parentheses upon its first use, and then used in place of full term in the remainder of the document


In conducting the study, researchers relied on position emission tomography (PET) and, to a lesser extent, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Em dash how to use it

It's not hard to understand why most writers love using em dashes, like most tools they're unique.

The difference between em dash and en dash

Em dashes differ in appearance, mostly because its named after its length-about the same length as a capital M.  En dash its alphabetical cousin is about the same width as the capital N.


When most other punctuation seems awkward, em dash saves the day.  For example, em dashes can replace parentheses at the end of a sentence, or when multiple commas appear in a parenthetical sentence.


After a split second of hesitation, the goal keeper leaped for the ball (or, rather; limped for it).

After a split second of hesitation, the goal keeper leaped for the ball-or; rather; limped for it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How to Sell Digital Downloads with Blogger

I know that most bloggers prefer platforms such as Wordpress, but my personal preference is Blogger.  It has an easy-to-use dashboard and HTML that you can customise to your hearts content. I'm going to show you some tips and tricks to enable you to sell downloadable products on your blog.

When it comes to e-commerce there's no shortage of options already out there.  They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but finding the right one that suits your blogs needs can be a little challenging.

When you're choosing a platform to sell your digital files from you need an effective setup and instant delivery.  You also need to consider pricing structure and think about the kind of features that will help you to sell your products, such as coupon codes and offers.

See below some helpful tips to help you decide:

How to Sell Digital Downloads and eBooks online with no budget:

1. Start a free blog using a platform such as blogger, tumblr, or any other free services out there.
2. Choose a topic and start generating content, build your traffic and authority online.
3. Create your own eBook, start giving it away for free.
4. Write more eBooks around your chosen topic and sell them independently through your website using Payhip.

What are the Choices for Payment Integration?

If you want to start selling your own downloads their are various companies you can use to do this:

Payhip - A company I've used in the past that's easy to integrate and who offer coupons and discounts to tempt your readers.  Also Selz and Gumroad both really good services for selling digital downloads.

When you sign up to Payhip you can use the Individual account which offers 5% + merchant fees on every download you sell.  That's a really great deal of your on a shoestring budget.

How to Use Payhip on Your Blogger Blog

You can upload your dowload's directly through Payhips dashboard.  If you're already use to customising your blog you'll have no problem adding your images and downloads on Payhip.

1. Sign up with Payhip
2. In dashboard +Add New Product
3. Upload your PDF document file.
4. Upload your image
5. Then save

You've created your first online store!

Creating a Service and Using Cognito Forms

There are numerous ways to make money blogging, creating your own service is one of them. Whether your a SEO expert, content writer or coach you can create a service to help other bloggers and businesses.

If you're selling a service you can use Cognito forms which integrates Stripe into its form for receiving payment.  I recently discovered Cognito forms, when I was searching for a free platform to create a form for my business.

To receive payments you can use Stripe and integrate it with your payment form.

All of these things can be tailored to your own needs, you need to find out and discover what works for you and your blog. The best way to do this is to try things out, if it doesn't work you can always change things later on.

What tools do you use on your website?  Share in the comments.

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 10, 2017

Four Steps to Converting Your Blog Traffic into Affiliate Sales

Every affiliate marketer wants more traffic to make more sales and sell more products. However, the real truth is having lots of traffic doesn't always translate to affiliate sales.

What you need are the customers most interested in the products you sell in order for your traffic to convert into paid customers.  There's something wrong if you have plenty of website traffic and no sales.

You can find below four important points to help you get the most conversions from your current affiliate links:

Step One

Find the Right Kind of Customer

Interested visitor's and visitor's just passing are two very different kinds of traffic, you need to target the group of people that want your products and affiliate links your promoting.

You need to be careful in the way you target your blog posts and articles.  You need to choose specific keywords to help target your audience and bring in highly targeted traffic.

Step Two

You Need to Connect More Effectively to Your Target Audience

This is the hard part, being able to communicate and get your message across to your audience and do it in such a way that they'll click on your links and buy your products.

If you're not attracting the right kind of visitor you need to evaluate your content and discover where it is that you're going wrong.

Maybe you need to be more personable, tell a story share your daily life more.  By communicating more effectively you can connect with the audience on a personal level, earning their trust and compelling them to buy your affiliate products.

Step Three

Make Your Website User Friendly

Create an experience for your website visitors, help them find what they're looking for.

Try out some of these useful tips:

Introduce a sense of urgency (encouraging visitor's to buy instantly)
Include elements of trust to build credibility
Make your call-to-action easily seen
Simple strategy to follow - AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)
Create easy navigation
Give your pages a focal point with the products you're selling
Limit distractions.

Step Four

Record Results

Use your analytics to accurately measure your website traffic and clicks.  If you know where your website traffic is coming from it will help you understand your sales strategy and be able to maximise conversions.

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