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Writer's Notes - By Jeanne Dininni

WritersNotes.Net: Helping Writers Follow Their Dreams Through Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement!

Reprints: A Great Way to Increase Your Writing Income

Writers are continually looking for new ways to maximize their influence, exposure, and income—or at least they should be! One great way to do this is by selling reprints of your already-published works. This is a relatively quick, easy way to leverage the time, energy, and effort you've expended in creating these works—turning them into even greater profits—and is one secret to ensuring an ongoing income stream for your writing business.

Normally, reprints will not command top dollar—though in isolated cases, they do pay well. Without question, you will need to generate a steady stream of new writing to keep your business thriving and your profits high; yet, the smartest, most savvy freelancers recognize and use every technique they can for building maximum profit. Reselling your work can fit nicely into your comprehensive publishing plan.

While many markets seek only "original works"—a misnomer, really, because all non-plagiarized works are original (what they actually mean is previously unpublished works)—many other markets are quite amenable to considering reprints. Some publishers have limitations, however; and many pay less for reprints than they do for previously unpublished pieces. All want to know where published works have appeared before.

A Few Reprint Facts to Keep in Mind

Before offering your work for republication, check to be sure that the market to which you originally sold the work doesn't have a policy (to which you agreed at the time of sale) that prevents publication elsewhere. Some publishers require notification of your intent to publish reprints, and many reserve the right to decide whether or not to grant you permission to do so. This is always true in cases where the publisher has purchased all rights. (However, most publications seem to be fairly reasonable in administering these policies.)

You should be aware, that even those markets which return publication rights to the author after running the piece often expect the courtesy of a notice of your intent to republish. Some return publication rights to an author with certain limitations, such as allowing the author to publish the work or excerpts from the work on his/her own website but not elsewhere. So, before offering reprint rights to your piece, double-check the policy of the original market to be sure you're on steady legal and ethical ground. And, while you're at it, read the current publisher's submission guidelines carefully (which you should be doing anyway for many reasons) to be sure you understand its reprint policy, relating to both past and future publication of the work in question.

In addition to accepting reprints, some markets also allow simultaneous submissions, which should make it that much easier to resell your work—though such companies generally require notification if the piece should be accepted elsewhere. Remember: simultaneous submission and simultaneous publication are not synonymous.

Some publications are only open to submissions during certain time periods, so be sure to check their guidelines for any time limitations before submitting your work. Otherwise, it will go unread and all your time and effort will be wasted.

Also, be sure to follow the formatting requirements of the publication to which you are currently submitting—even if your piece has been published elsewhere in its present format. Unfortunately, that fact alone is no reason to assume that the market you've chosen this time will look favorably on the previous format—particularly if its guidelines say otherwise.

By following the above guidelines, you can leverage your past work into welcome new earnings with minimal time and effort. And which of us couldn't use a little extra money right nowwithout having to create an entirely new article to get it!

To your reprint success!

Do You Have a Book Inside You Struggling to Get Out?

If you've envisioned the perfect plot for a blockbuster novel or have a fantastic idea for the next non-fiction best-seller, yet have found it difficult to motivate yourself to get started or stick with it for very long, you may just find the inspiration you need by writing your book with novelist Holly Lisle.

Let Holly Help You Get Your Book Written!

Holly Lisle, an experienced author with over 30 books to her credit, who offers various courses in fiction writing at her website,, has brainstormed a fabulous idea for helping her fellow writers find the initiative to get their books written. She calls it Write a Book With Me.

A Group Writing Plan That's a Little Different

Perhaps you've participated in other community writing efforts, starting out enthusiastically enough but losing steam partway through because the high daily word-counts were difficult to maintain. You may have fallen behind and catching up simply required too much effort. If so, I have good news for you: You won't have that problem with this absolutely pressure-free group writing plan. Holly has made it almost ridiculously easy for any writer to participate and stick with the program by requiring (and I use the term loosely) a minimum of only 250 words per day, five days a week, and by not requiring that missed days' word-counts be made up later. What more could a writer ask?

A Program That's Not Just Fun but Guilt-Free

Holly also gives the reticent writer a convenient "out." Should you try her writing plan and decide it isn't for you, you simply quit—without recriminations. Here's the way Holly explains it in her "official" rules:

You acknowledge that all this has to be is fun—it isn’t work, a competition, or a form of self-flagellation—and if knocking out your words at this pace stops being fun, you walk away with no guilt.

Well, that certainly is refreshing, isn't it? Writing without guilt—and having fun doing it! I hope you'll pardon the pun when I say, "What a novel idea!"

You'll Enjoy the Flexibility of Holly's Plan

As you can see from the points mentioned above, flexibility is the hallmark of Holly's cooperative writing plan. In fact, the most important "plus" that I see in it (aside from actually getting your book written) is that, no matter what you do, you absolutely can't fail. And, in our often stress-burdened lives, there's certainly a great deal to be said for that! (You can also join this group writing plan regardless of your book's current stage of completion--another obvious indicator of its flexibility.)

So, what are you waiting for? Check out Holly's "requirements" for participation and then get started. Now's as good a time as any—and probably better now that this super-flexible plan has been developed—to get your book written!

Holly's plan may be just what you need to free your Muse and get your creativity flowing.

Happy writing! (And I do mean happy!)

Do you have a book "in you"—one that you've always dreamed of writing but never gotten around to? Or, have you started your book, only to lose your enthusiasm part-way through? Perhaps you've joined other cooperative writing programs that were more of a challenge than you were prepared to undertake and quit soon after. I'd just love it if you'd share your experiences with us. What were the positives and negatives of the programs you've been involved with? What do you look for in such programs? Or are you a lone-wolf writer? If writing alone is your preferred modus operandi, what don't you like about writing along with others?


Books, Books Everywhere!

If you're anything like me, you've got quite a large collection of books--and that's putting it mildly! In fact, if you haven't taken stock lately, it's quite possible that you've got a much larger collection than you really need or even have enough room for. You may have writing books, textbooks, gardening books, health books, diet and nutrition books, fiction books--and all these in addition to the myriad reference books we writers would never be without.

If the above description sounds like you, you've probably noticed that your bookshelves are literally bulging with books. Or, perhaps you haven't noticed. After all, we writers are a busy lot, and it's easy for us to overlook a lot of what's going on in our environment while we're hard at work on that article, story, blog post, or chapter. Yet, it's quite possible that, while you've been busy working, your books have begun overflowing their shelves onto every convenient surface and into every available nook and cranny in your home or office, and you've simply been too busy to notice.

Now Is a Great Time to Take Stock of Your Book Collection

What better time could there be than now to pause, take stock, and consider selling some of the books you no longer need? Though parting with our beloved books can sometimes be tough, we can always benefit from cutting down on the clutter in our workspaces--as long as we make sure we hold on to those books that we really want or need. And if we can pick up a few bucks for the books we no longer need, we reap a double benefit. Makes Selling Your Books Easy

Sell Back Your Book is a U.S. website that offers instant price quotes for your books. All you'll need to do to get a price quote is enter each book's ISBN into the proper field. (Books must be in good condition, as described on the site's FAQ page, for the price quote to be valid; quotes are good for 10 days.) The company covers 100% of shipping charges on purchases over $10 and 50% on purchases under $10. It also provides a free, pre-paid shipping label, which you can print out and use to avoid paying up-front shipping charges, meaning you won't be required to wait for reimbursement later. Payment for your books is made by either PayPal or check.

Sell TextBooks and More Online at Sell Back Your Book

College or homeschool textbooks, along with many other types of books, can be sold through the Sell Back Your Books website. And while the amount offered for each book is generally modest (my offers ranged from $1.70 to $8.50, with the vast majority falling somewhere in the middle of that range), you'll be able to pick up a little money for a box of books, while clearing out your living space for you and your family. I've managed to collect a batch of books for which they're willing to pay me about $50--which I don't consider to be bad at all for a stack of books I might have gotten rid of for nothing.

If you don't mind packing up your books, taking them to the post office to ship them, and waiting until the company receives them before you receive your money, this might be a great way for you to pick up a little extra cash for something you have lying around the house anyway which you aren't even using.

Happy de-cluttering!

Did you enjoy this post? Have any thoughts to share about keeping/selling/giving away used books? Do you have a large number of books that are causing your bookshelves to burst at the seams? Or are you good about getting rid of old books before buying too many new ones? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


A Fantasy of Epic Proportions

September 14th 2008 04:11

How Would You Like to Be Famous?

As writers and/or bloggers, most of us crave public attention--or perhaps it might be a bit more modest to say that we covet the attention of our readers, and the more we attract, the better. If we were really honest, though, we might even admit that we dream, at times, of what it might be like to be swept up in a wave of intense popularity--a wave so immense that the attention leaves us reeling.

Campaign Fantasy

In this election year, as we watch the candidates engage their public along the campaign trail, our own sensitive psyches can become so easily enamored with our secret dreams of fame and grandeur. So much so, in fact, that a part of us would readily receive an announcement such as the one depicted in the following video, which my brother recently (and somewhat deviously) informed me he'd found circulating on the internet about me:

NOTE: If the video isn't visible, please click either the post title (above) or the "Add Comments" link (below).

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Well (sigh), we can all dream, can't we?

Your Own Private Campaign Fantasy

What do you think it would be like to watch this video, with your name displayed in it, instead of mine? I can tell you, it was a very strange feeling from my vantage point! If you'd like to find out (or prefer to send this video to your friends and let them find out), visit this News3Online link. I guarantee that you (or your friends) will experience a very unusual reaction.

To your great--if short-lived--fame!

Did you enjoy this post? Have any thoughts? What do you think your reaction would be to receiving a message that this video was circulating the internet about you? Have you watched your own version of the video? If so, how did it make you feel? If not, do you plan to? Why or why not? Have you sent it to someone you know? What was this person's reaction?

Please note: If the StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking buttons aren't visible, please click the "Add Comments" link beneath this post. Thanks!


Some Health Facts to Get a Writer Thinking—About Bananas!

An e-mail that's making the rounds right now lists all the health benefits of the banana—which turns out to be a food that’s pretty-much under-appreciated. I found it quite fascinating to note that a number of the health benefits of this yellow-jacketed fruit are particularly applicable to the physical and mental faculties that help the writer more effectively engage in those activities that are essential to his or her craft.

Better Brain Power—and More!

Apparently, bananas can boost your brain power, increase your energy level, lower your blood pressure, calm your nerves, and decrease stress—all very helpful to the working writer! Of course, better overall health is as good for the writer as it is for everyone else, so all the other health benefits that bananas provide can help us keep our bodies in optimal running condition, providing better overall support to our minds for the task ahead!

Optimize the “Business” of Writing—With Bananas!

Because deadlines can’t wait, our busy schedules and frequent marathon writing sessions often cause us to eat a less-than-ideal diet. Here’s where the banana can come to our rescue, providing a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other health-building nutrients to keep us going longer and stronger, while simultaneously contributing to more acute mental processes. This can be helpful for the real nuts-and-bolts work of organizing our thoughts, doing our research, analyzing our data, planning our written work, handling the actual mechanics of writing, and editing our work into a finished piece.

Calm Your Nerves and Release Your Creativity—With Tryptophan!

It might even be argued that the tryptophan that bananas contain, which triggers the production of serotonin in our brains, causing feelings of calmness, relaxation, and well-being, is beneficial to our imaginations, putting us into a state of mind that’s more conducive to creativity. This creative state can help us to conceive bigger, better, more abundant ideas, write with greater flair, and create a better rapport—a real connection—with our readers.

Bananas: A Quick and Easy Brain and Body Building Snack

And who could ask for a quicker, easier snack! When we’re immersed in a really involved writing project, it can be quite tempting to grab whatever snack happens to be handy when those hunger pangs strike; and too often that turns out to be something that isn’t very good for our health. The banana provides a great alternative to chips and other non-nutritious snack foods.

Bananas do a body good!* And I think the writer can find some really valid reasons for making them a part of his or her daily writing routine!

An E-Mail Worth Passing On

The e-mail listing the many benefits of this extraordinary fruit follows:

The Amazing Banana

A professor at The Binscarth School For Higher Learning physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression "going bananas" is from the effects of bananas on the brain. Read on:

Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!!

This is interesting. After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be re balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"


PS: Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time! I will add one here; want a quick shine on our shoes? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe, and polish with a dry cloth. Amazing fruit!

One more PS: Even roses love bananas. For those of you that have roses, place banana peel strips about an inch below the dirt all around the rose bush. Good fertilizer. It sure is amazing!

So, what are you waiting for? Hurry to the nearest market and buy some!

Happy—and healthy—writing!

*This statement is not intended to apply to those who are allergic or otherwise sensitive to bananas or who suffer from kidney disease or other medical conditions which prevent the body from properly metabolizing potassium.

PLEASE NOTE: This post is not intended to constitute medical advice and should not be construed to suggest that anyone stop taking medication or other medical treatments prescribed by their physician without the advice of that physician.

Did you enjoy this post? Have any thoughts to share? What foods have you found to be especially conducive to creativity and brain power? We'd love to hear your thoughts!

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A Super Bowl Sunday Satire

In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, which has become somewhat of an American institution, I've decided to post a piece I wrote some years back--one which expresses a rather unconventional "perspective' on America's favorite sport and one which I hope will bring a few laughs to my readers--whether you happen to love the sport or the sportsman!


Just Suppose:
A Sport's Spouse's Alternative to the Super Bowl
By Jeanne Dininni

A Bright Idea!

One Sunday my husband and his friend Rod were watching a pre-Super Bowl game on TV. "What's so unusual about that?" you ask. Well, nothing, really--except that, from the kitchen, I could hear him ask Rod, "So, who're you gonna vote for?" Quaint way of putting it, I thought at first. But that deceptively simple question really got me thinking.

Just suppose...

Instead of making those poor guys go to all the trouble of actually playing the games, what if we simply held an election to vote in the most popular team? (This just might be the proverbial revolutionary new idea whose time has come.) In any event, it would certainly make life simpler for a lot of people.

Take the teams, themselves, for instance. Everybody knows that football is one of the most dangerous of contact sports. Think how many sports-related injuries could be prevented each year by the implementation of this new "scoring system." (Really. I do think I just might have something here.)

Kicking or Kicking Back?

And just think how much easier these same players would have it if they weren't forced to contend with the rigors (and almost legendary deprivations) of spring training. They'd no longer be required to "get in shape" for the upcoming season. Instead of perfecting kicking, they could practice kicking back. They'd be free to eat and drink whatever they liked and as much as they liked, to party as often as they liked, and stay out as late as they liked--all notorious no-nos during training. (At least, they'd finally be able to do these things without guilt.) And the incredible pressure to mentally outfox and physically outmaneuver the opposing team out on the field would suddenly be blissfully absent. What more could an athlete ask for? Sounds like "football player's heaven" to me.

Of course, there is the small matter of the "thrill of competition," which is, presumably, one of the main reasons players choose the sport to begin with. But, isn't facing off at the ballot box every bit as competitive as facing off on the playing field? Of course it is. I will concede, however, that winning an election might not be quite as thrilling as scoring that winning touchdown as the last seconds tick away on the clock (though George W. Bush might not agree with me on that one.) But life is full of trade-offs. We can't have everything.

And yes, there's also that little matter of the second reason so many athletic types become football players (or, for that matter, engage in any physically demanding sport): precisely because they are athletic types. They thrive on the rigorous, rough-and-tumble physical exertion inherent in the game. On this "score" I can only respond, with complete candor and (I think) a good deal of reason, that, whether they realize it or not, they're much better off displaying their physical prowess by adopting other, more innocuous (and even, perhaps, more productive) exercise regimens.

I can think of quite a few suitable activities for the displaced jock, myself, in fact. How about calisthenics? Isometrics. Jogging. Jumping rope. (They already do those?) Well, aerobics, then. As any woman knows, this form of exercise is very beneficial for the heart, not to mention the physique. (Oh, OK, scratch aerobics.)

Shining Examples of Responsible Manhood!

Better still would be mowing the lawn, washing the car, painting the living room, or building a deck. (These would truly endear them to all the sports wives of America, to whose husbands they would become a shining example of responsible manhood.) I will admit that these last four activities do lack a little something in the area of excitement, but (as any truly honest husband can tell you), this is more than compensated for by the unparalleled feeling of accomplishment engendered by their successful completion. (No?) Well, I suppose they could try mountain climbing. Or rappelling. Maybe skydiving?

At any rate, let's face it. It is in their own best interests to stop killing themselves (and each other) out there on the field. One hardly expects them to realize it, of course. People--particularly the proud and stubborn male of the species--rarely recognize what's good for them at the time. (We women have known that for centuries.) And someone has to make such decisions. So why shouldn't we women be the ones to do it? As I see it, men are simply too close to the subject to be expected to make a rational decision about it.
Now, let's be forthright about this. Even our own husbands' lives would be greatly simplified by the adoption of the new system of voting in the winning team--though they'd never admit it in a million football seasons.

A Penny Saved Makes a Happy Wife!

For one thing, they'd save a small fortune on all the tee shirts, caps, emblems, and other memorabilia that have become such an integral part of modern America's favorite sport. Not to mention the monumental mounds of fattening foods they compulsively consume during the pre-game shows, the two-plus-hour-long games, and the endless after-game commentaries. (This adds up to some serious snacking.)

The savings would be even greater for those who prefer to watch their favorite sport on wide-screen TV while sipping a cool one with their buddies at the local bar (with the added benefit of sparing many a domestic squabble arising from all those hours of elbow tipping.) And who could even begin to calculate the monetary value of the losing bets that slip through far too many foolish fingers each year on Super Bowl Sunday?

It is, of course, the truly fanatical football fan, the one who must actually attend the game in person, with all the varied (and considerable) expenses that entails (i.e., tickets, transportation, souvenirs, and yes, highly overpriced snacks at the stadium) who would realize the greatest savings of all. Think how much more money these guys would have to spend on more worthwhile endeavors (like changing the oil, buying new drapes or upholstery, or taking their wives out to dinner...dancing...the theater!)

Is There Life After Football?

And what about time? Imagine how much more the average armchair athlete could do on a Sunday afternoon if he didn't spend it glued to the TV set. He might take a placid stroll through the park, go for an invigorating jog, or pedal a bicycle for a few muscle-strengthening miles (that is, if he hasn't forgotten how.) It would work wonders for his health and fitness. Why, he might actually even venture out into the yard occasionally and toss a real, three-dimensional pigskin around for a while with his very own hands (and just maybe--wonder of wonders--with his very own kids!) That would certainly be a novel idea.

And just think--we heretofore longsuffering sports spouses might actually be able to enjoy, once again, a lazy, quiet, peaceful, and solitary Super Bowl Sunday, perhaps doing a little reading, working a crossword, or watching a meaningful movie--a women's movie...(sigh)...

"What's that, Dear? Yes, I'm making the shopping list for the Big Day. What was it you wanted again? Popcorn...Pretzels...Chips... Dip...Cold Cuts...Cheese...French Bread...

"For how many?!"

Oh, boy. Here we go again...


Have a Great Super Bowl Sunday!

Thanks so much for reading my tongue-in-cheek look at the Super Bowl--from the perspective of the ever-patient, always-faithful, incredibly longsuffering sports spouse!

Hope the guys won't take this lighthearted piece more seriously than I intended but that they will receive it in the spirit of good fun in which it was written! And may each and every one of you enjoy a fantastic Super Bowl Sunday 2008! (Ladies, hang tough! It'll all be over soon, and your man will be happy you gave him permission to enjoy it! Just make sure he helps you clean up after the party!)

Go, Team!

Did you enjoy this post? Have any Super Bowl thoughts or experiences of your own that you'd like to share? We'd love to hear them!


Google Research Study Participants Sought

Would you be interested in participating in a Google Research Study and getting paid to do it? If so, check out the link that follows. It will take you to a site where you'll be able to fill out the Google User Experience Research Form--the first step in the process. The form asks for various information about you to help Google decide whether--and when--you might be a suitable candidate for a particular study. In addition to the info requested on the main form, you'll be asked for information about the types of products you use, though you needn't have used Google products in the past to qualify. The opportunity to try new Google software and other products to participate in a study could actually prove quite fascinating and enlightening.

Study Types and Compensation Details

You'll need to be 18 or older to participate in a study, and there are various study types/research-gathering methods you may opt into (or out of): traveling to a Google office, participating by phone, having a Google researcher come to you (field study), or participating remotely by computer over the internet.

Google pays $75 per hour for time spent with a researcher, either in person or on the phone. Most surveys take about one-and-a-half hours. For surveys filled out online, compensation varies, depending on the length of the survey.

No Guarantees

Google does warn, however, that there's no guarantee that you'll be chosen to participate in a study simply because you've filled out the form and that, if you are chosen, it could be some time before you're contacted to take part in a study. (I can vouch for this statement, because it's been four months since I applied and I've heard nothing as yet. Of course, that may not be the case for you, so I think it would probably be worth applying if you're at all interested. The worst that could happen would be that you'd never be contacted.)

For Further Information

Further information about the program can be found by visiting the Google Research Study FAQ page, which will answer many of the questions you may have about the program.

I originally learned about this opportunity at Net Hustlin' in Get Paid to Try Google Products.

It Might Just Be Worth a Try

Why not check it out. If you're contacted and offered the opportunity to participate, great! You'll not only earn a few bucks but possibly help shape future Google products. And if you're not invited to participate, you've lost little more than a few minutes of your time reading the info, filling out the form, and learning some fascinating info about the way Google does its market research. And that's an education in itself.

Good luck!

Did you enjoy this post? Have anything to add? Ever participate in a Google Research Study and want to share your experience? We'd love to hear about it!


Describe Me in One Word: A Meme

November 29th 2007 16:35

A Simple but Fascinating Meme

Picked up a really simple meme at Krissy Knox's Sometimes I Think blog. It came from her post called (appropriately enough) Describe Me in One Word.

The rules for this meme are very simple: I had to think of a single word to describe Krissy (It can be tough to describe someone in only one word!) and leave it in a comment on her blog. Then, I had to write a post on my blog inviting my readers to do the same by describing me in only one word, leaving that word in my comments section, and posting the meme to their own blogs.

It's really one of the simplest memes I've ever seen, and it will hardly take you any time at all to come up with your word, write up a comment, and then create a very short entry on your own blog.

I'm tagging you! Are you game? (Don't forget to stop back by and leave a link to your post once you've written it, so we can drop by and join in the fun of describing you in only one word!)

Yours in a word,

P.S. I seem to recall Joanna Young bringing up a similar meme quite a while back, which I somehow never managed to get around to doing, because I was so busy at the time and there were other components to her meme besides the single-word description. My apologies, Joanna! I'll have to take a journey back in time and see if I can manage that one sometime soon--if you haven't totally given up on me by now!

This is not a sponsored post.

Did you enjoy this post? What do you think of this meme? Want to play along? Please leave a comment!


Writer's Notes' Recent Emphasis on Free Giving Sites

I'm sure you've noticed that a number of my recent posts have been philanthropic in nature--though I've done my best to keep these relevant to the general topic of Writer's Notes. In addition, most have involved free giving opportunities through click-to-give, search-to-give, or test-your-vocabulary-to-give sites. This post is no different.

Click to Give Free Books to Children Around the Globe

I've discovered a site, via my blogging friend Lillie Ammann, which donates free books to children around the world and also helps build schools in impoverished parts of the globe through revenue raised via its advertisers in response to free clicks by visitors to the site. This is one more opportunity to give an intellectual and literary hand to those in need without the necessity of donating money. What an excellent idea!

Click to Support The Literacy Site

The Literacy Site is part of a bank of click-to-give sites that I discovered through an article written by Lillie, entitled How to Be a Philanthropist with No Money and Only Ten Minutes a Day. The Literacy Site allows you to take part in their two programs which help bring literacy to the poorest populations around the globe: Room to Read and First Book.

Room to Read Program

One of The Literacy Site's programs is the Room to Read program. Room to Read provides books for children through its Local Language Publishing Program and builds adequate schools in rural areas of the developing world, through its School Room Program.

The mission statement of the Room to Read program follows:

Room to Read partners with local communities throughout the developing world to establish schools, libraries, and other educational infrastructure. We seek to intervene early in the lives of children in the belief that education is a lifelong gift that empowers people to ultimately improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries, and future generations. Through the opportunities that only an education can provide, we strive to break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time.

First Book Program

The other program offered by The Literacy Site, is the First Book program, which is dedicated to getting books into the hands of disadvantaged children. After Hurrican Katrina, First Book launched Book Relief, with a goal of providing over five million new books to those so seriously affected by the devastation as well as those organizations involved in the rebuilding effort. So far, 3.5 million books have been distributed through the Book Relief program.

Here's what The Literacy Site has to say about itself and its First Book program:

Since its launch in November 2004, visitors to The Literacy Site have helped generate over a million new books for children from low-income families. Our non-profit partner First Book helps convert clicks at The Literacy Site into actual books in the hands of children.

Other Convenient Opportunities for Free Giving

When you visit The Free Literacy Site, you'll notice that it's part of a bank of other free click-to-give sites: The Hunger Site, The Breast Cancer Site,* The Child Health Site, The Rain Forest Site, and The Animal Rescue Site. Each of these sites offers help and support to different worthy causes and relief efforts, and their convenient shared location on the same website makes it easy for you to click to help all six causes at the same time. (Note: you'll also have access to all six of these sites when you click the link to The Literacy Site, above.)

When you visit these sites, within minutes--or less--you'll be able to help feed the hungry, provide free mammograms* for poor women, give free health care to poor children, protect a portion of endangered rain forest habitat, rescue and provide free food and care for stray animals--and all this in addition to the free books and school facilities you'll be helping to provide for underprivileged children through The Literacy Site!

Wouldn't that be worth a few minutes of your time each day? If enough of us join together in the effort to help these worthy causes, we could really make a difference. It won't cost us a penny, and the effort involved would be less than the effort it takes to write an article, post a blog entry, or even leave a comment.

I'm in. How about you?

*Note: During the month of November, if the funding goal of 500 mammograms is reached, The Breast Cancer Site will donate an ultrasound machine to a hospital in South Africa through funding provided by its charitable partner, As of today (Nov. 11th), visitors to the site have brought contributions to 31% of the goal. So, please click daily to help the people of South Africa receive their ultrasound machine!

Did you enjoy this post? Learn anything new? Have anything to add? Join the conversation!


"Search Kindly" and Help a Worthy Cause

November 8th 2007 09:24

Search Kindly: The Site Where Research = Charity

The next time you need to research an article, blog post, book, or story, why not use Search Kindly and donate to a worthy cause at the same time? Search Kindly is a website that offers Google search capability with a twist: Each time you complete your Google search from the site instead of anywhere else, you actually donate money for free to a worthy charitable organization.

Why Search Kindly?

The people who run the site have this to say about themselves and their innovative way of raising money for charity:

Search Kindly is a non-profit organization dedicated to the idea of micro-volunteerism and micro-philanthropy. A lot of people doing a little is better than a few people doing a lot.

They also explain why they've chosen to use a site that offers Google search as their vehicle for fundraising:

The whole point of Search Kindly is to take something that you'd be doing anyway, like surfing the Internet, and turn it into a really meaningful action.

Sounds like a fantastic idea, to me.

How Does Search Kindly Work?

The charity which receives each month's donations is chosen via voting by the site's visitors during the month prior to the one in which the donations are distributed. So, not only are you able to give without money, but you're also able to help decide who receives your gift.

Search Kindly posts a list of organizations from which you can choose when you place your vote (which you may do once every eight hours). There are currently six charitable groups vying for December's funds. Each organization title in the list links to a description of the group and its work. During the first three weeks of the month, open voting takes place among all six charities to determine the top two. These two remain in the running during the fourth week, at which time the site's users vote for their favorite of the two and thereby choose the recipient of the next month's proceeds.

Donations are generated through the site's advertising, and 100% of proceeds raised are donated to the chosen charity each month. Last month (October) $913.35 was raised for Wildlife Direct, and the goal for this month is $1,000, which will be donated to Blood: Water Mission. (As of this writing, $180.60 has been raised so far this month.)

Which Groups Can I Choose Among for December's Donation?

Charitable organizations in the running for Next month's donation are the following:

-Covenant House
-Friends of Bonobos
-Boma Fund
-Cows for Kids
-Marion Medical Mission
-Save Darfur Coalition

Visit the site to learn more about these organizations and their work and to enter your vote for the charity of your choice. Then, why not start using Search Kindly for all your internet research?

As they say on the website, "If you're going to search, why not Search Kindly?"

Let's Search Kindly together!

Did you enjoy this post? Have any input? Any questions? Please feel free to comment!


A Kaleidoscope of Intriguing Content

September 27th 2007 07:59

A Very Gracious Blogger Shares Some Link Love

Cindy, at Kaleidoscope, penned a very gracious post about my Alienation ABCs blog post, linking to both my blog and my alienation post; so I thought I'd return the favor and send a little link love her way, since her blog (appropriately) contains a fascinating kaleidoscope of content, which is sure to bring a smile to your face or make you think. Many thanks, Cindy, for spreading the word about my post! I truly do appreciate it!

A Kaleidoscope of Content

While not specifically related to writing, Cindy's blog provides a welcome break from routine writing tasks--a few entertaining moments of rest and relaxation amid the rigors of the writing life--helping to renew your inspiration and igniting that spark of imagination that can refresh your viewpoint for your next project.

One post that I found especially entertaining was "Dear Tech Support", a post which humorously equates wives with computer software. Check it out. Very imaginative!

Another funny, philosophical post is Dust If You Must.... If you hate housework as much as I do, you'll love this one! You'll truly appreciate the permission it grants you to do other, more important things instead!

The Sky Was on Fire contains two breathtaking sunset photos captured in Cindy's backyard, and for all you lovers of nature's beauty, is definitely worth the price of admission!

For the Christians among us, Cell Phone vs. Bible will definitely get us thinking about where our priorities lie!

A Little Bit of Everything

Cindy's blog has a little bit of everything: posts to make us laugh, posts to make us smile, posts to make us cheer, photos to make us ooh and aah--and much more. It's a safe place to kick back and relax at the end of a trying day--or even in the middle of one--and simply enjoy some entertaining, inspiring, or thought-provoking content.

Check out Kaleidoscope. It just might be the lift you need to get you through the day!


Did you enjoy this post? Have anything to add? Your comments are always welcome!


Here are a few more great quotes on writing critics and writing criticism, just in case you could use another dose of humor, wisdom, irony, or wit. Some of these literary tidbits are serious, some hilarious, some straightforward and some oh so barbed--but all are worth the read!

The best thing you can do about critics is never say a word. In the end you have the last say, and they know it. ~Tennessee Williams~

The critic should describe and not prescribe. ~Eugene Ionesco~

The only really difficult thing about a poem is the critic's explanation of it. ~Frank Moore Colby~

I don't read my reviews, I measure them. ~Joseph Conrad~

Critics of literature have the same essential function as teachers of literature: this is not to direct the judgment of the audience, but to assist the audience in those disciplines of reading on which any meaningful judgment must rest. ~Mark Schorer~

Critics sometimes appear to be addressing themselves to works other than those I remember writing. ~Joyce Carol Oates~

People ask you for criticism but they only want praise. ~W. Somerset Maugham~

When I have to praise a writer, I usually do it by attacking his enemies. ~H.L. Mencken~

One of the greatest creations of the human mind is the art of reviewing books without ever having to read them. ~G. C. Lichtenberg~

Ideal dramatic criticism is unqualified appreciation. ~Oscar Wilde~

Criticism can be instructive in the sense that it gives readers, including the author of the book, some information about the critic's intelligence, or honesty, or both. ~Vladimir Nabokov~

And, finally, for any writer who may need a bit of an antidote to criticism, here's a list of some great ingredients to mix together to make your elixir:

Confronted by an absolutely infuriating review it is sometimes helpful for the victim to do a little personal research on the critic. Is there any truth to the rumor that he had no formal education beyond the age of eleven? In any event, is he able to construct a simple English sentence? Do his participles dangle? When moved to lyricism does he write "I had a fun time"? Was he ever arrested for burglary? I don't know that you will prove anything this way, but it is perfectly harmless and quite soothing. ~Jean Kerr~

Here's to the writing life--despite the critics!

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They say that everybody's a critic, and to a certain extent this is very true. And if true for the average person, it is even more so for the writer. To a writer, criticism is a fact of life! Those who might not be able to do any better themselves simply love to pick apart every paragraph...every sentence...every phrase...every word written--as long as it's written by someone else!

But, what else should a writer expect? After all, we, as writers repeatedly make ourselves vulnerable to the whims and caprices, the opinions and judgments, the beliefs, perspectives, and presuppositions of every individual who reads our work! By boldly putting our thoughts, ideas, feelings, and opinions out there for all the world to weigh against their own experiences, their own feelings, and their own individual knowledge--as well as the wider body of knowledge, pseudo-knowledge, experience, and pure conjecture that surrounds us--we attract and even at times invite criticism.

But this is OK! We can take it--and hopefully we can at the same time learn not to take it to heart! Whatever their intent, our critics can teach us a great deal--as much about ourselves as they can about our work! If nothing else, they can teach us something about grace under fire...about turning the other cheek...about persevering despite all odds...and about transforming temporary failure into ultimate success!

So, let's say Thanks to critics everywhere! If nothing else, they give us the determination to keep continually challenge steadily improve our skills. And, if all else fails, they at least give us one possibly unintended gift: publicity!

Here are a few enlightening quotes by famous writers on critics and criticism:

A man must serve his time at every trade save censure--critics all are ready made. ~Lord Byron~

A dramatic critic is a man who leaves no turn unstoned. ~George Bernard Shaw~

A good writer is not, per se, a good book critic. No more than a good drunk is automatically a good bartender. ~Jim Bishop~

Has anybody ever seen a drama critic in the daytime? Of course not. They come out after dark, up to no good. ~P.G. Wodehouse~

Those who write ill, and they who ne'er durst write,
Turn critics out of mere revenge and spite. ~John Dryden~

The good critic is he who narrates the adventures of his soul among masterpieces. ~Anatole France~

Nature fits all her children with something to do,
He who would write and can't write, can surely review. ~James Russell Lowell~

Critic, n. A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him. ~Ambrose Bierce~

Every good poet includes a critic, but the reverse will not hold. ~William Shenstone~

To literary critics a book is assumed to be guilty until it proves itself innocent. ~Nelson Algren~

A bad review by a man I admire hurts terribly. ~Anthony Burgess~

Time is the only critic without ambition. ~John Steinbeck~

I love criticism just so long as it's unqualified praise. ~Noel Coward~

Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing the open sea. ~John Updike~

The main use in criticism is in showing the manner of man the critic is. ~Frank Moore Colby~

And, finally, this gem:

I never read a book before reviewing it. It prejudices me so. ~Sydney Smith~

Hope these quotations, from some of the best writing minds that history has produced have made you smile or chuckle...consider or reflect. I always find it fascinating to read the differing viewpoints of a whole array of writers on a single specific topic--and the more intricately related to the writing craft, the better!

Till next time,

Did you enjoy this post? Don't leave me lonely--Please comment!


Writers, as a rule, tend to have a great deal to say about many subjects--and writing is no exception. Here are a few pearls of wisdom on the writing craft from some of history's most prolific authors:

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Red Smith~

Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out. ~Samuel Johnson~

A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. That is too much of a temptation to the editor. ~Ring Lardner~

Writing is a wholetime job: no professional writer can afford only to write when he feels like it. ~W. Somerset Maugham~

The secret of popular writing is never to put more on a given page than the common reader can lap off it with no strain WHATSOEVER on his habitually slack attention. ~Ezra Pound~

Better to write for yourself and have no public than write for the public and have no self. ~Cyril Connolly~

If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by people who move their lips when they're reading to themselves. ~Don Marquis~

In composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other word you have written; you have no idea what vigor it will give to your style. ~Sydney Smith~

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short. ~Henry David Thoreau~

There are no dull subjects. There are only dull writers. ~H.L. Mencken~

You can write about anything, and if you write well enough, even the reader with no intrinsic interest in the subject will become involved. ~Tracy Kidder~

The wastepaper basket is the writer's best friend. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer~

When I sit at my table to write, I never know what it's going to be till I'm under way. I trust inspiration, which sometimes comes and sometimes doesn't. But I don't sit back waiting for it. I work every day. ~Alberto Moravia~

It's not wise to violate the rules until you know how to observe them. ~T. S. Eliot~

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. ~Mark Twain~

The secret of good writing is to say an old thing a new way or to say a new thing an old way. ~Richard Harding Davis~

Well, dear Aspiring Writer, now that you've read all this practical advice, all these clever witticisms, and all these words of inspiration penned by wordsmiths who have actually accomplished what you may only dream of, there's only one thing left for you to do if you'd like to join their ranks: WRITE!

Literarily Yours,

Did you enjoy this post? Don't leave me lonely--Please comment!


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