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Showing posts from September, 2008

September 2008: Monthly Post Recap

What Is the Difference Between Hardcover and Paperback?

Today, my reader, Rahman contacted me with a doubt:

Dear Lenin, would you explain why there are two types of books: hardcover and paperback?
This is quite a simple affair and there are explanatory articles to be found at various places on the Net. Here is my addition.

Hardcover

A hardcover aka hardback is a book bound with thick protective cover, with usually a paper or leather dust jacket over the main cover. The aim of hardcover is protection and durability. These books are mainly for long-term use and collectors’ editions. Hardcover books last far longer than the corresponding paperbacks. They do not get damaged easily thus making them perfect for reference guides, great literary works, etc.

In addition, there is a difference in the type of paper used to print hardcover books. The paper used is long-lasting acid-free type. Acid-free paper has a pH value of 7 (neutral) which makes it highly durable. The papers are stitched and glued to the spine.

Hardbacks are prepared for commercial …

How to Build Your Successful Freelance Writing Career and Quit Your Day Job?

Internet has revolutionized business in every way. The business of freelance writing is no different. Today, freelancers can make a living through Internet, by creating content for various freelance websites and independent clients from anywhere in the world. Here we will see various ways writers are earning enough money from the Internet to quit their day jobs.

Part I: Freelance Writing Websites

Writers can start their business and build a portfolio through any of the several freelance writing sites out there. Some of them are reviewed here.

1. Constant-Content

Constant Content is obviously the leader in providing website content to thousands of clients worldwide. Here, writers with some experience can submit content on any topic of their choice and set a fixed price on these articles to sell them to prospective clients. The author earns sixty five per cent of the sale earnings.

If the customers don't find articles they are looking for, they can request for content to the whole wr…

How to Make Your Blog Posts Look More Professional?

Here are some ways you can look the most professional on your blog posts. A blog’s look and feel is mainly in its articles, the content. So, make your blog’s content follow a professional code of typography to make it look stunning.

The Title Capitalization

One thing that you can look most unprofessional is by not adopting a proper capitalization to your titles. If you look at the article titles in CuteWriting, you know that each important word in the title is capitalized. This is a guideline to follow.

“How to prepare chicken 65” is a worse title than “How to Prepare Chicken 65?”.

Here, you should follow a general code. I capitalize all important words on the title, which excludes articles and two-letter prepositions. However, I capitalize words like ‘Is’, ‘Are’ etc. I don’t capitalize ‘and’ while I do ‘Not’. While these guidelines are different for different people, it is advisable that you set a standard for your blog and follow it strictly.

Examples:

How Not to Prepare a Good Meal?
W…

Google's Latest Updates & Cuil Competition

Google announced their new ventures yesterday. They have started a new blog: The Content Central that focuses on the core aspects of SEO and content management for top organizations. Check it out regularly and you are sure to hit strategies on increasing your audience.

Another update by Google published on their main blog is about the content submission website. You know you can submit your URL to Google through their Submit URL site. This site is completely revamped now, with facility to include URL, sitemap, and your business listing, directly, with help articles on various categories.

With these new machines, Google is way ahead of competition, and I believe their quest to categorize and give access to all information available on the Internet will be successful.

Cuil vs. Google

There is a recent buzz about a new search engine called Cuil, which people predicted strongly would beat Google in its game. The search engine was started by Google’s former employees themselves, with an anno…

Creative Writing: Crafting Characters With Emotional Appeal in Mind

When you read the greatest fiction works ever, have you ever asked what was so compelling about them that you not only kept reading it, but you ended up reading all other major works of the writer? It may well be because the writer touched your emotional quotient quite a bit.

Every reader has a unique taste. Some like to read suspense thrillers, some tender love stories, and some others dark horror and bloodshed stories. That’s why there are all sorts of genres out there. When a writer gives you what exactly you want, you will keep reading. Here we come to the emotional appeal.

Character Imperfection

Perfect characters may not always be the upshot of a writer’s deliberation. It may well be due to ignorance. Usually the upcoming writers take it for granted that if they create perfect characters, they will be able to garner a bigger audience. It is not true. You have to ask yourself what a character would do in a particular situation. Perfect characters—perfect gunmen, perfect detectives,…

Google Tries to Make the World a Better Place by Giving Away Ten Million Dollars!

Never in history have so many people had so much information, so many tools at their disposal, so many ways of making good ideas come to life. Yet at the same time, so many people, of all walks of life, could use so much help, in both little ways and big.

In the midst of this, new studies are reinforcing the simple wisdom that beyond a certain very basic level of material wealth, the only thing that increases individual happiness over time is helping other people.

Google
So says Google, announcing their new venture to help make the world a better place.

Ten to the power of a hundred, Googol, and now Google, has launched the website: Project10tothe100.com, celebrating its tenth year. Through this site, you can submit to Google your ideas to change the word to a better place. Five of the final ideas selected will get each a couple of million dollars, which will be used to fund the idea.

What is Project 10 to the 100th? It’s the new Google venture. They want you to send in your ideas as …

How Should a Creative Writer's Workplace Be?

I wrote my first two published novels, Carrie and ’Salem’s Lot, in the laundry room of a doublewide trailer, pounding away on my wife’s portable Olivetti typewriter and balancing a child’s desk on my thighs.

Stephen King, On Writing
When you have fully grown to a writer, an ordinary room may not be enough for you to write well. Here are some guidelines on choosing the right room and building it up into a great workplace. Don’t you see, it’s an art to build your ordinary room to a tasteful writer’s workplace.

If you visit my writing room, you will know how terrible it is. My home is almost always noisy right outside my room. If I close the door, the room will get hot within minutes; the temperature will go above 45 degrees centigrade (113 degree Fahrenheit). There is only a fan and no air conditioner. So, I will have to open either the door or the window in order to get some fresh air; otherwise, the room will be oppressive and I will be sweating. Also, if I open the door, the noise fr…

Sergey Brin's Blog: Too.blogspot.com

Did you know that Google’s founder, Sergey Brin started his new blog? Yes he did. The address is too.blogspot.com. It's known that the name of the blog is linked to Sergey's work outside of Google. It’s just over five days ago that it went live. I was rather slow to catch up this news. Anyway, a news is a news.

Sergey (35) started Google with Larry Page in 1997. It is now the world's biggest search engine and the most visited site on the planet.

Sergey Brin’s first post itself related to his being more prone to Parkinson’s disease due to a genetic disorder. Google confirmed Sergey Brin’s blog by September 18, and the news was spread by Google SEO specialist, Mr Matt Cutts.

Related Entry:

Google's Amazing Journey in the Internet World

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

How to Compose Professional Emails: Some Guidelines

This post is by the request of Mr Subramaniyan, who queried:
Lenin, would you please write a post on how to write a good official email?
Email has become almost the most important way of communication on the Net. And today, most of the Internet users start their daily life checking their latest emails and marking which to reply and which to store. That’s why there is this great competition going on in the email provider industry in terms of storage, speed, etc. How many of us, still, follow the correct guidelines in professional email communication? So few, an appalling secret. When you grow to a professional blogger or writer, you are expected to comply with the rules in your official communications. You can be informal on your personal communications, but not in professional!

The Language and Grammar

Do we actually write in correct grammar in our official emails? How many of us have quite a well-formatted language in our communication? I must confess even I have erred quite a number o…

Complete Google Adsense Policy Guidelines Not to Get Your Account Blocked

Today, one of my readers, Subramaniyan asked me a question: Dear Lenin, can we have Amazon ads with Google Adsense on the same page?
I thought, the answer to this should be more elaborate, and hence I started this post to bust all your doubts about Adsense. In this article, we will see what exactly is allowed according to the latest Adsense terms and what is not.

Invalid Impressions

As you well know, invalid clicks and impressions are not at all allowed. But this goes a bit deeper. In order to get traffic, you may get into traffic exchange programs such as Bravenet. Traffic exchange is a black-hat technique to get visitors. Also, it is quite useless (since most visitors are not targeted). Some traffic exchange programs are even automated, which means, when you visit a site, another site is loaded in a pop-up or pop-under. If you participate in any such programs, it will generate an impression (loading of one block of ad is one impression; you get paid for ad impressions) for your Adsen…

Cross Metaphors and Similes: Useful Figures of Speech

You may remember a recent article that appeared here about similes and metaphors. Well, here is an addition to it. You can have similes and metaphors that cross each other.

It means, you can make a boat look like a fish, and a fish look like a boat:

We found the boats in the distance, floating slowly like freshwater fish.
We found the swift fish moving like boats.


This way, you can save a lot of space and time, while achieving good comparisons.

Here are some more of them:

I found the weekend uninspiring as a dragging movie.
I found the movie dragging as a weekend without action.

It drizzled long and apparently unending as a snail in move.
The snail’s movement was as long and unending as a drizzle.

A surrounding army is a coiling Anaconda. Once in, there is no escape.
A coiling Anaconda is like a surrounding army. Once in, there is no escape.

An expert works as slowly and methodically as a beaver building its bridge.
A beaver building its bridge is as slow and methodical as an expert in a…

Copywriting: How to Persuade the Most Intolerant Customer

In the world of sales, you come across customers selling to whom is a real pain. They want to make absolutely sure of the product before they purchase it. Haven’t you found customers who read the entire manual before making a decision, and ask the most unlikely questions at the salesperson? In the world of copywriting, the situation is no different. Here are the persuasion techniques you can use on your ad copies to sell to the most intolerant customers.

1. A Gripping Title

The backbone of a great ad copy is its title. Even the search engine traffic is highly dependant on the title of the post. Hence, you got to have all keywords on the title as well as get the attention of the customers.

For instance, “Purchase the Best Forex Trading Software Program out There!” won’t be an efficient ad copy title for a Forex trading software you are promoting. However, it is good in terms of SEO, since all required keywords are appearing on the title. To attract customer attention, the title should …

Expandable Post Summaries on Blogger Using JavaScript

I hope you read the first part of this article, in which the normal way of expanding post summaries was discussed as a result of a reader query. Here we will see a better, more effective way to expand your post summaries—using JavaScript.

Haven’t you seen professional blogs in which the home page has a number of posts with only summaries and a ‘Read More’ or ‘Continue Reading’ link at the bottom? This is one of the signs of a good blog design. Blogger, by default, doesn’t offer this feature. So, we will see how we can make this available with a JavaScript tweak. Blogger help also has provided the same script.

1. Adding The Expansion Style

In the New Blogger template, go to Layout->Edit HTML and find the tag, <b:skin><![CDATA[. After this tag, add the following code:

.fullpost
{
display:inline;
}
.summary
{
display: none;
}
2. The Expansion JavaScript

Now, you have to add the following JavaScript snippet in the <head> tag, right before the <b:skin> tag.

<script…

How to Add a Contact Form to Your Blog?

If you have subscribed to comments yesterday, you might have seen Bonoriau’s comment:
Can you teach me how to add a contact form to blogs?
So, here is the answer.

Many bloggers have already used several sites for contact form building and they have posted in-depth tutorials for this. You will be able to find quite a few of them yourself. Here is my addition.

A contact form is indeed essential for a professional blog. A sign that the blog is professional. There are a number of services, which allow you to paste a customized contact form to your own blog. Here are some of them.

Part I: Free Contact Forms

There are a number of free online contact form builders, which have pretty much built in templates for contact forms. In this first part, we will see some of them.

1. EmailMeForm

This is my choice for professional contact forms. You can do pretty much great customization with this application. Go to emailmeform.com and sign up. You can start a new contact form after signing up and you can …

Expandable Post Summaries on Blogger

One of my readers, Chris contacted me with a question:
A few days ago, when I checked your blog, it had this cute feature; there were teasers (previews) for each post, with links to expand to the full post. I have a Blogger blog myself, and I would like to implement this feature. Could you post directions for this?

Thanks
Chris
Well, Chris, the standard term for the post teasers is Expandable Post Summaries. In self-hosted blogs, this feature is prevalent and it is also an indication of professional blog design. Or it has been made so by widespread use of this feature in professional blogs. In Blogger blogs, this feature is not available directly from the dashboard. However, a minor Blogger tweak can give you this effect. Though there is official Blogger help for this tweak, it is not rated understandable by most people.

What You Should Know Before You Do This

There is a catch to expandable post summaries, however, which made me get rid of this a few days ago. Through this, though only t…