How to Become an Influencer on Pinterest

influencer

Pinterest began as a beta site just a few short years ago as a way for others to share what they love and create virtual bulletin boards for all their favorite things. Now users are amazed with the potential of the site and can’t wait to share with their friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and acquaintances. As a smart person with information to share that will be of interest to your niche audience, you stand to benefit from the millions of members that visit the site each month.

In order to pin your way to influence keep these takeaways in mind:

 

Don’t Advertise

Be more than just a company advertising a business. Think beyond advertising to create interesting and entertaining infographics and visual elements to share with your audience that they will enjoy sharing too. Create information that will pull heart strings, entice a giggle, or make people think of the data you provide in a new way.

 

Be Social

social-media

Social media, is after all, supposed to be social. Become involved in Pinterest and with the users of Pinterest. Communicate with the other users and all the creators of amazing and awe-inspiring pinboards. Share other people’s pinboards, and make useful and smart comments. It will only enhance your experience and increase your influence.

 

Be Creative

Use the virtual pinboard site as a way to express your creative side both as a business owner and as a lover of beautiful things. Even if you’re an accountant, there are ways to express numerical data in new and visual ways that will make people take notice. Let your imagination flow.

 

Remember your Audience

shopping-pinterest

When using Pinterest for marketing and advertising a product, service, website, blog, or build influence among a group — always keep the viewers and consumers in mind. Put yourself in their place every step of the way, and imagine what you would want to learn from your time on Pinterest. Remember to think in terms of solving problems and answering questions and your influence will grow.

 

Check Your Metrics

analytics

By knowing what works (and what doesn’t work) you’ll be better able to determine where to spend your time. If you check the numbers, you won’t be mistaken and waste your time on creating pinboards that no one pays attention to. Being aware of metrics will help you to increase your potential and become a true influential leader in your niche on Pinterest.

How to Format a Kindle Ebook

ebook

When is the best time to start formatting your Kindle ebook? Ideally, before you begin to write. You are most likely using MS Word but the formatting you see on your screen will not translate exactly to Kindle display. If you skip proper MS Word set up, you will guarantee yourself a frustrating time involving much back-tracking, fixing and confusion.

Forget the “normal” way you may be used to working – formatting-as-you-go, when writing. For a Kindle-intended manuscript, set your format options up ahead of time and observe the tips in this guide.

Kindle itself has published a free guide, “Building Your Book for Kindle”, which you can download to your Kindle reader. It is an excellent guide, but this one adds screen shots, clarifies steps and includes a few other juicy tips that one normally only finds out about the hard way.

Step 1. Before You Write

Performing the actions in this section should take you less than five minutes, and it can eliminate hours of frustrated hassling with Kindle .mobi formatting later.

  1. Click the File tab and select Options from the drop-down menu.

In the “Word Options” pop-up window that opens, select the Proofing hyperlink.

1-proofing

Select the Autocorrect button to the right, which appears after you’ve pressed “Proofing”.

When the “Autocorrect: English (U.S.)” popup opens up, uncheck all the check marks within it. Click OK.

Click OK again in the “Word Options” pop up. This will return you to your blank manuscript page.

  1. Now set up your Indents. It is absolutely vital you set them up this way, and not by using your Tab key or anything else. You are setting indents for the first line of every paragraph.

Click on your Page Layout tab, go to the Paragraph section and click on the little downward arrow button in the bottom, right-hand corner of that section  (highlighted below in green, with the orange arrow pointing to it).

Clicking on the little downward arrow will open up the Special drop-down menu: Select “First line”.

3-paragraph-indent

Set your indent to the standard publishing-industry 0.5” indent (or whatever custom indent you want to create).

Click OK to close the “Paragraph” popup.

  1. Next, set up your Spacing. This is for the spacing between paragraphs, so you don’t have to manually insert these.

Press your Page Layout menu tab again if you need to, and glance over until you find the Spacing section. Reset the After option to the standard publishing industry 10 point spacing (or your preferred setting).

4-spacing

(There will be nothing to close – just return to your manuscript.)

 

Step 2. What to Do With Images

Images don’t have to give you a nervous breakdown – as long as you observe the basic rules.

1.    Place your cursor at the point you want to insert an image.  Do not leave extra spaces.

To add images to your manuscript, press the Insert menu tab and click on Picture. Then select the .jpg filename you want from the correct folder and press the “Insert” button.

5-insert-picture

 2.    All images should be center-aligned.

3.    If you have used indents, remove the indent on that paragraph alone (the “paragraph” being your image).

4.    Remember that images will display in black and white, so pick ones with clear detail, a minimum of clutter or blur and good contrast

5.    Your cover photo should have a minimum size of 600 pixels wide and 1,000 pixels deep.  Stick to that ratio.

Step 3. What Not to do…

It helps prevent costly errors if you know the following Kindle formatting prohibitions in advance.

1.    Do not copy-paste images into your manuscript.  Stick to the Insert menu.

2.    Do not include your Cover photo in your manuscript.  It needs to be uploaded separately.

3.    Do not use headers, footers or page numbers (especially in your Table of Contents). Kindle will insert these itself. If you want to type a chapter heading, click on your Home menu tab. Then simply highlight your chapter heading and apply your pre-set “Heading 1” from the Styles menu.

6-heading-1

4.    Do not use three periods at the end of a line.  Instead, use a proper ellipsis (CTRL+ALT+period).

5.    Do not use Upper Case characters while cleaning up your formatting with Find and Replace.

6.    Do not insert extra spaces, tab indents or paragraph returns. Use the Styles menu.

To reset a Style (e.g. “Heading 1” to your own custom format:

  • Highlight your desired element (e.g. “Chapter One”)
  • Right-click on the Style in the Styles menu that you are selecting (e.g. “Heading 1”)
  • When the drop-down menu appears, select “Modify”
  • When the “Modify” popup appears, select your new font and size. Click OK.

7-modify-style

7.    Do not use CTRL+C or the “Enter” key to create a page break at the end of each chapter!

Instead, press the Insert menu tab:  Then select Page Break.

8-page-break

Your end of chapter will then automatically be inserted.

Step 4. Clean Up Your Manuscript Before Uploading

Once your manuscript is finished and the final draft saved…

  • Spell-check
  • Proof for readability
  • Proof again at least two more times

Use your spell checker one last time, if you’ve made any corrections.

Now it’s time to eliminate hidden formatting – and prevent those glitches on upload you hear people complaining about.

Step 5. Clean Out Your Formatting

Before you can correct hidden formatting, you need to see it.

The easy way to see your formatting instantly is to press CTRL+SHIFT+8. You will instantly see formatting marks.  (Repeating CTRL+SHIFT+8 switches them off again.)

In the example below, extra spaces that could mess up your Kindle formatting show up as dots:  Here, they are highlighted in green.

9-formatting-symbols

The most unfamiliar symbol you will see is called a pilcrow. It signifies a paragraph return.

 10-pilcrow

Remember, we only want a single paragraph return at the end of each paragraph: Any extra spacing between paragraphs has to be set with your Style before writing – not inserted manually with the Enter key.

Use Find and Replace to replace unwanted characters.

Here is the routine you should follow…

Go to your Home menu; then select Replace for the following actions:

  1. To remove extra paragraph returns (pilcrows):  Find ^p^p – Replace with: ^p

11-find-replace-pilcrows

  1. To remove a tab (caret):

Find ^t – Replace with: [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][input nothing].

  1. To replace three periods at end of line (like this…) with a proper ellipsis (…)

Find – Replace with: CTRL+ALT+.  (Yes, that was ALT, plus a period.)

Both three dots and an ellipsis may look identical in your MS Word file – but they can really screw up your Kindle formatting, so make sure you use ellipses.

  1. To replace two spaces with one space:

Find [input two spaces] Replace with: [input one space].

  1. To remove manual page breaks:

Find ^m – Replace with [input nothing]

One final thing to always keep in mind…

Finished Kindle text on a Kindle device is fluid, constantly adjusting itself from individual reading device to individual reading device. You will never, ever get your formatting to look exactly the same for every single Kindle device version, so keep your formatting as simple as possible to allow for variations.

(Remember also that Kindle readers can choose to adjust their own font sizes!)

Step 6.  Adding Front Pages

But what about those “extra” pages that always precede the body of the book?  If you haven’t already included them, insert them into your MS Word file before the main body of your text, separating each one with a Page Break.

You can choose from:

  • A Title Page – Centered. Title of book, followed by Author name.
  • Copyright Page – Centered.

Copyright © 2013 [Your Name]

All Rights Reserved

  • Dedication – Also centered.

Formatting:  For the previous pages, use your Home tab, and select Center.  After each page, click your Insert tab; then click Page Break

The following pages should not be centered.  Instead, use justified left, ragged margin (the same as your Text body).

12-justification

  • Legal Disclaimers – If needed
  • Foreword or Preface
  • Table of Contents (TOC)
  • Prologue – Think of this as an introduction, including any explanations that are necessary on what’s about to follow; and background, if relevant.

At the very least, you need a Title Page.  (Remember, your finished Cover Page will be uploaded separately.)

Also remember: Don’t include page numbers in your TOC:  Kindle inserts them automatically, and they will change from physical Kindle viewer model to model.

To create a Table of Contents

Creating a Kindle-correct TOC is easy, if you follow these simple steps. (Remember, you shouldn’t attempt to do this until after you have completed your manuscript.)

    1. On your new page, type “Table of Contents” at the left margin.  Press Enter.
    2. Copy-select what you just typed.
    3. Go to your References tab and select Table of Contents.  From the drop-down menu, click on “Insert Table of Contents”.13-insert-toc
    4. Uncheck Show page numbers. Set Show levels: to 1.  Press OK.

14-toc-formatting

You’ve created your TOC – but there’s one more vital step you have to take!

Set a Bookmark:

  1. Copy-select the words “Table of Contents again
  2. Go to your Insert tab.  Select Bookmark.

15-setting-bookmark

  1. A popup will open.  In the Bookmark name box, type “TOC”.

16-bookmark-name

  1. Click the Add button.

Step 7.  Saving Your File

For your very last Save before proceeding to previewing and upload, save your file as a Web page, filtered.  (Press the down arrow that appears in the Save as popup and select that option from the drop-down menu.)

If it asks about “removing office tags”, check the box as a “Yes”.

And finally we arrive at the most important step…

Step 8.  Compressing Your File

The very last step you have to take: Creating a compressed file. This couldn’t be easier.

  1. Find your HTML file.
  2. Right-click on it, and select “Send to”
  3. Choose Compressed File.

And you’re ready to preview!

 

[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Images and Copyright – How and What is Safe to Publish on Your Blog?

website redesign

Creative Commons License is a group of copyright licenses that allow the use of and alteration of documents in other works, including websites and blogs. These licenses can be used in different combinations, making it possible to different uses for a variety of works.

These licenses were released by Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) in 1992 and make it easier for you to find free images that you can use on your website or blog.

 

Types of Licenses

When searching for images, you will see combinations of the following four core licenses. They are also often abbreviated and you can see the abbreviation for each license in brackets below.

  • Attribution (by): You can use image, as long as attribution for the work is provided. 
  • Non-commercial (nc): You can use the image for non-commercial purposes only. 
  • No Derivative Works (nd): You cannot create derivative works only. You cannot edit the work. 
  • Share-Alike (sa): You can make derivative works and modify the work, only if you distribute the work under the same license as the original work.

 

Possible License Combinations

There are 6 possible combinations of these licenses:

  1.  Attribution (by): It can be used for commercial purposes, derivative works can be created, but only if proper attribution is provided.
  2.  Attribution AND Non-Commercial (by + nc):  It cannot be used for commercial purposes, but derivative works can be created and proper attribution must be provided.
  3. Attribution AND No Derivatives (by + nd): It can be used for commercial purposes, but derivative works cannot be created and proper attribution must be provided.
  4.  Attribution AND Share Alike (by + sa): It can be used for commercial purposes, derivative works can be created, but only if the derivative work is released under the same license. Attribution must be provided.
  5.  Attribution AND Non-Commercial AND No Derivatives (by + nc + nd): It cannot be used for commercial purposes and no derivatives can be created. Attribution must be provided.
  6.  Attribution AND Non-Commercial AND Share-Alike (by + nc + sa): It cannot be used for commercial purposes and derivatives can be created, as long the derivative work is released under the same license. Attribution must be provided.

Understanding these licenses will make it easier for you to find the images that suit your needs.

 

Graphical Representation of Licenses

While some sites may use different images to indicate certain licenses, you will likely see the images used by the Creative Commons.

You will often see a CC, which stands for Creative Commons and indicates a Creative Commons license:

1-cc

Then the following images, show the 4 possible licenses that can be used in the variety of combinations mentioned earlier.

2-cc-images 

1-     Attribution (by)

2-     Non-Commercial (nc)

3-     Share-Alike (sa)

4-     No Derivatives (nd)

 

Top 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

Top 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

One of the best things about WordPress is its nearly limitless ability to expand. Whether you’re looking to add images, security, RSS feeds, social media integration or any number of other features, you can do so through plugins.

Installing a plugin takes less than 2 minutes and is completely reversible. That allows you to easily play around with all the different things your website can do while being able to undo any changes you don’t like with the click of a button.

If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll need to have a serious arsenal of plugins. These plugins will allow you to do all the things you need to do to create a truly spectacular browsing experience on your site. It’ll allow you to save time through automation and make your website shine.

Here are ten of the must have plugins that every serious blogger should have.

 

Plugin #1: Askimet

1-Askimet

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/

Though Askimet comes pre-installed with every WordPress configuration, newbies often make the mistake of not activating it.

Askimet is the #1 anti-spam tool on WordPress. Activating it is pretty simple; all you need to do is register on their site to get your own API key. Enter the key into the plugin on your site and you’re good to go. Askimet will filter out 99% of the spam your blog will receive, drastically cutting down the time needed to review comments.

Plugin #2: All in One Favicon

2-Favicon

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-favicon/

One thing new bloggers often neglect is adding a favicon. The favicon is the little icon in the browser bar, next to the title tag. Having your own favicon adds just that little flare that makes your blog look more professional, more stellar.

Creating a favicon in Photoshop, GIMP or any other image editing program is relatively simple. However, WordPress doesn’t inherently have the ability to add your favicon. So, you’ll need a plugin like All in One Favicon to do the job.

Plugin #3: All in One SEO

3-All-in-One-SEO

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

WordPress out of the box is actually quite poorly configured for SEO. The page title comes after the site name, which is terrible for keywords. Archive and category pages contain a lot of duplicate content. Some links aren’t formatted the same way (some have www, some have http://, others don’t.) Configuring all of WordPress to be SEO-friendly requires doing quite a few different things. Fortunately, plugins like All in One SEO will do most of the work for you. You’ll still have to do a few things, like internal linking, yourself. That said however, you can eliminate the vast majority of the on-page SEO work by getting a good SEO plugin.

Plugin #4: FeedBurner FeedSmith

4-Feedburner-FeedSmith

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/feedburner-setting/

By default, WordPress does have an RSS feed feature, but it may not be properly configured. Also, you won’t be able to track any statistics on your feeds. If you want to create an RSS feed that can be tracked, you’ll probably want to use Feedburner. Installing a Feedburner feed is simple with WordPress: Just signup for Feedburner, then install the plugin on your blog.

Plugin #5: Google Analytics

5-Google-Analytics

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-google-analytics/

In order for Google Analytics to work, you need to have the Google Analytics code on every page and every post on your website. By default, WordPress doesn’t have this option. You can’t just add a snippet of code to every page on your site. You could do it by editing your templates, but that’s time consuming, difficult to change and even potentially dangerous. Instead, you can simply install a plugin like “Simple Google Analytics.” Just plugin your Google Analytics ID and you’re done.

Plugin #6: PhotoDropper

6-PhotoDropper

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/photo-dropper/

If you like to add photos to your posts, you’ll love PhotoDropper. PhotoDropper allows you to browse a database of Creative Commons photographs and easily add them to your site, along with attributions, all in one click. Gone are the days when you have to browse stock photo sites or scour the internet for free license images. Now you can just pick the images you want from one easy to use gallery and it’ll automatically be dropped into your post.

Plugin #7: WP Super Cache

7-WP-Super-Cache

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-super-cache/

WP Super Cache is a plugin that can drastically speed up the load time of your WordPress site. Did you know that every time you load a page from a WordPress site, the server has to generate that site from scratch? Unlike a static HTML site, WordPress pages have to be dynamically generated from scratch every time. That takes a lot of processing power and can take a lot of time. What WP Super Cache does is “cache” certain bits of information on the user site, so it doesn’t have to be loaded again with every page load. It can also do other minor things, like combine your CSS and JavaScript files so that your site loads faster. All around, if you want to speed up your site, there’s no better plugin than WP Super Cache.

Plugin #8: Add Link to Facebook

8-Add-Link-to-Facebook

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/add-link-to-facebook/

Add Link to Facebook is an easy to use plugin that allows you to integrate Facebook with your WordPress site. Don’t let the name fool you. It does a whole lot more than just let you add links. You can add like button, share buttons, comments and a whole lot more. With today’s massive social media trend, if you’re not on Facebook, you’re seriously missing out.

Plugin #9: Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

9-YARPP

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/yet-another-related-posts-plugin/

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is ironically named, as the plugin is actually the highest rated related post plugin on WordPress. If you’re looking for a plugin that’ll allow you to cross-link your site quickly and in a visually pleasing manner, look no further. This plugin is simple to install and simple to use, but adds a ton of functionality and creates a link box that looks great.

Plugin #10: Better WP Security

10-Better-WP-Security

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/better-wp-security/

WordPress security is something that isn’t discussed often enough. It’s extremely common for WordPress sites to get hacked. It’s not that WordPress isn’t secure, it’s just that WordPress depends on so many outside factors – Plugins, themes, servers, databases – That securing the whole package is extremely difficult. Better WP Security can handle a lot of this for you. It’ll help you secure your database, your PHP files, your .htaccess files and more. It’s not a bulletproof security package, but if you don’t have any security installed this package will be a vast improvement.

 

There you have it. If you’re serious about blogging, you absolutely must have these ten plugins. You’ll rank better, your content will go more viral, your site will be more secure and your blog will look better.

Best 10 Graphics and Photo Editing Tools for Business Owners

photo-editing

If you’re running an online business, you’re going to need a lot of graphics. You’re going to need header images, favicon images, background images, navigation images, eBook covers, product images, banner ads and more.

Sure, you could outsource some of the work. If you’re not a graphic designer, you should probably outsource the extremely difficult aspects of graphics editing. Also, anything that needs to be done by hand (such as a sketched out logo) should be outsourced, unless you have the drawing skills.

However, basic image editing is absolutely a skill that every online business owner should know. If you need simple edits done to an image or if you need to put together your own graphical navigation bar, that should be something you can just do yourself in an hour or two.

In addition to costing money, outsourcing takes a lot of time and attention. You have to find someone to do the gig, you have to wait for the project and you have to make sure they follow through. There are plenty of places for the ball to get dropped.

For simple or fast gigs, you should be able to just do it yourself. There are plenty of tools both online and offline that make this task simple and easy. Here are the top 10 graphics and photo editing tools for online business owners.

 

Tool #1: Adobe Photoshop

 1-Adobe-Photoshop

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop.html

When it comes to image editing programs, Adobe is the crème of the crop. The king of kings, the queen of hearts.

Whether you want to color correct an image, retouch a photo, design a banner from scratch or create a brand new eBook cover, Adobe Photoshop has all the tools and capabilities you need to make it happen.

That said, Adobe Photoshop has many barriers. For one, it’s difficult to master. You can learn the basics of the software in about a month, but to really learn it in and out could easily take as long as a year.

It’s also one of the most expensive software packages on the market.

If you’re willing to put in the time and the money, Adobe Photoshop wins out, bar none. If not however, one of the other tools on this list may work better for you.

Tool #2: Adobe Illustrator

 2-Adobe-Illustrator

http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator.html

Adobe Illustrator is Adobe Photoshop’s close cousin, with one big difference: Illustrator edits in vectors, while Photoshop edits in raster.

What’s the difference?

Raster editing is when you’re editing an image in pixel-graphics form. The image editing software knows the color value of every pixel in the image. When you edit the image, you’re editing its pixels.

Vector editing works with lines. These lines are saved as mathematical equations. When you edit a vector image file, you’re editing the mathematics underlying the graphics, which changes how it’s rendered.

The main difference is that vector graphics can be scaled up infinitely large without losing resolution. You could design a vector graphic for a tiny logo, but while retaining the ability to blow it up to billboard size without losing any resolution.

Generally, you want to use vector graphics for logos or images that you want to use across multiple mediums. Everything else should be done with raster editing, as raster is generally more powerful.


Tool #3: GIMP

 3-GIMP

http://www.gimp.org/

GIMP is widely recognized as the #1 alternative to Photoshop. Unlike Photoshop however, GIMP is 100% free.

GIMP is licensed under the GNU open source license. It can do everything from color correcting to photo manipulation. It might not have some of the bells and whistles that Photoshop does, like perspective editing or fancy filters, but for everyday image editing GIMP can definitely get you where you need to go.

Tool #4: Paint.net

4-Paint-Net

Paint.net (which isn’t located at paint.net – It’s at http://www.getpaint.net) is yet another free downloadable image editing program. It’s a close second to GIMP on the market.

Paint.net isn’t open source like GIMP. Instead, it was developed initially as an alternative to Paint, the original graphics editing program that came with early versions of Windows. It was developed under the tutelage of a Microsoft developer. Today it’s supported by donations.

Tool #5: Editor.pho.to

5-Editor-Pho-To

http://editor.pho.to/

Editor.pho.to is an online editor that’s fantastic for quick and easy edits.

It can zoom in and out of photos, rotate photos, resize photos, crop photos, apply simple color corrections, apply artistic effects and add text.

You won’t be able to do anything fancy, like blur out just the background of a person or make someone look younger. For quick and dirty edits however, the tool is fantastic.

Tool #6: Pixia

 6-Pixia

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/mighty/knight/

Pixia and Phierha were image editing tools first created in Japanese, then ported over to English once they got extremely popular online.

Because of Pixia’s unique background, it works a little differently than the rest of the photo editing programs. Pixia is fantastic for creating cartoons, graphics or other simple yet stylistic images from scratch. If you’re looking to edit realistic photos however, it’s probably not the tool of choice.

Tool #7: Da Font

 7-Da-Font

http://www.dafont.com/

If you’re looking to create a cool looking text graphic, look no further than Da Font. Da Font is the net’s largest font database. What makes this site really cool is that you can type your text in right there on the site and it’ll generate an image of that text.

All you need to do is find the font you want, then type in your text and screenshot the image or save it. Then you can put it in your banners, your site design, your brochures or anywhere else you want to use the font.

Tool #8: Microsoft Excel

8-Excel

http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/excel/

If you have Microsoft Office, you already have a fantastic tool for generating graphics for your website. If you’re looking to put up any kind of data – For example, for infographics or for analyzing industry trends – Microsoft Excel really does the job.

Recent versions of Excel come with the ability to publish all kinds of 3D graphics, charts, graphs and other goodies. All of them look highly professional.

Tool #9: Pixlr

 9-Pixlr

http://pixlr.com/

Pixlr is a full featured image editor that works entirely on the internet. It works very much like Photoshop. Even the interface looks a lot like Photoshop.

Pixlr uses layers of graphics to render the final image, which means you can do some pretty complex effects with Pixlr.

Tool #10: Splashup

10-Splashup

http://www.splashup.com/

Finally, we have Splashup. Much like Pixlr, Splashup is a free online photo editor that works a lot like Photoshop. It also uses layered graphics, giving you a lot of leeway to create interesting effects.

Unlike Pixlr, Splashtop supports different blend modes and opacities on different layers. This makes more complicated effects easier to perform.

 

These are the ten top tools on the market today for editing or creating graphics, photos and images if you run an online business.

How to Use Public Domain Content for Digital Books

online_searchOne of the easiest ways to get high quality content to turn into digital books for Kindle, iBooks, Nook or any other digital ebook store is to repurpose content that is free of copyright, or public domain works. By using content in the public domain, you can just use content that was created by someone else for your digital ebook. This guide will who you how to use public domain content for digital books.

Locating Copyright Free Works

 

The first thing you need to do is find the public domain works. While these suggestions are intended to be compliant with U.S. copyright law, you should always do your due diligence to ensure content is in the public domain.

1-copyright-gov-guideOlder Works

Generally speaking, any work that was published before 1923 is copyright free. Because of a law enacted in 1998, works created in 1923 will become public domain in 2019. In 2020, works created in 1924 will have their copyright expire and so forth.

There are certain circumstances where older works, published after 1923 might also be in the public domain.

For more information, review the U.S. Copyright Office guide here:

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ22.pdf

 

U.S. Government Works

One place to look is government websites. Any document published by the US government is free of copyright, but be aware that if documents were created under government contract with a 3rd party, they are protected by copyright.

You should also be aware that many logos and emblems, while not protected by copyright, are protected by other laws.

Still, if you do your homework right, you’ll find many government websites will have some top notch content up for grabs completely free.  From detailed reports on improving health to high resolution photos of the galaxy, from declassified cold war documents to environmental health reports, all of it is public domain. You just have to dig.

Look through the websites of various government institutions that are related to your field. You can also try searching with “inurl:.gov” to do a search only through government websites.

 2-inurl

Public Domain Archives

Another place you can look for public domain content are public domain archives. One of the most popular ones is Gutenberg.org. Just make sure you do your own research to check that the content really is copyright free before you use it.

 3-project-gutenbergy

Second Hand Bookstores

One last place to look for public domain works is to try and locate truly unique and rare works that are no longer protected by copyright. These are public domain books that haven’t been digitized and aren’t being used by anyone else right now. If you can locate such a physical book and have it transcribed, you’ll literally be the only person on the internet with that book.

You can find these old physical books at local used and arcane bookstores, as well as some internet stores that specialize in older books.

 

Make Sure You’re Compliant with the Ebook Store Where You Plan to Publish

 

Before publishing your works on the Kindle, the iBookstore and the Nook store, make sure your work is compliant with their policies on public domain works.

At the time of this writing, you can publish on the Nook store without restrictions. Kindle stores allow public domain works, but will only give you 35% of the royalties instead of 70%. They also require that the works are either annotated, illustrated or translated to be considered. The iBookstore allows public domain works, but requires documented permission from the creators of the content.

Resources:

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A2OHLJURFVK57Q

http://www.apple.com/itunes/content-providers/book-faq.html

http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=support

 

How to Adapt Public Domain Works

 

Just publishing a piece of public domain work on these digital bookstores is not a great way to get buyers. For one, there’s a good chance someone else has published it already. Also, many of these books are outdated, don’t have photos or use an older or more formal version of English.

In order to launch a public domain work that’ll actually sell, you need to adapt it. By adapting it, you make the work your own. You add value to it, rather than just use what’s already there. You greatly increase your chances of success.

Here are a few different ways to adapt public domain works.

Add an Action Plan

For “how to” books, add an action plan.

For example, Chapter 1 might talk about the basics of how to train a dog. At the end of the chapter, add your own “action plan” that tells people exactly what to do. Do this for every chapter.

You can then rename the book to something more action-oriented. For example, instead of “Dog Training 101,” you could call your book “A Step by Step Plan for Dog Training.”

 

Add Images

Add relevant images to an older book. For example, if the book is talking about dog training, hire an artist to draw out all the various tricks and positions you want to teach your dog.

There are a lot of different ways you can get images. You can use stock images. You can hire an artist. You can even do it yourself.

 

Add Step by Step Photos

At least once every chapter, add “step by step” photos.

You know those safety cards behind every airplane seat? Remember how every instruction is illustrated with cartoons, step by step?

Do something similar. If you’re publishing a fishing book, make an image that visually shows how to bait a hook.

 

Add Sidebars

You can add a lot of value to a book just by adding sidebars. A sidebar could include miscellaneous tips on the side, warning labels, references or just about any way you can think of to help facilitate the book’s content.

One great example of this is the “For Dummies” book series. They make ample use of sidebars to give warnings, extra tips, background information and a whole host of other kinds of information.

You could just add these sidebars to public domain works and make the work your own.

 

Make Dry Text Fun to Read

A lot of public domain works have great ideas and great content, but sound very dry. You can make it a lot better just by rewriting the text in an easier to read, more fun way.

Sometimes all you really need to do is rewrite old English to modern English. At other times, you might want to add in your own brand of personality.

If you don’t want to do this all yourself, you can outsource it quite inexpensively.

 

Translations

Introducing a popular work in another language can be a great way to bring new life to a public domain work. By publishing in different languages you can reach different audiences.

 

Publishing Your Book

 

Once you’ve found the public domain work, you’ve checked to make sure it’s compliant with the store you want to release it on and you’ve added value by making your own adaptation, the last step is to go ahead and publish it.

Rename the book or give the book a new spin. For example, instead of “Think and Grow Rich,” a popular wealth building book that’s now in the public domain, you might call your derivative work “Think and Grow Rich: The Updated Action Pack.”

Then just package your book, upload it and you’re done!

How to Plan an Event Using Pinterest

Plan-Event-Pinterest

Planning an event involves juggling many different balls and handling a lot of different people. If you happen to be a visual person, one of the most creative ways to help you manage this whole process is Pinterest.

Pinterest is an online photo sharing tool that works a lot like a virtual corkboard. Just “pin” up pictures of what you want to organize on this virtual corkboard and share it with other people, who may also want to pin up ideas for your event.

Here are some suggestions on how to plan an event using Pinterest.

Step 1: Create a Board

To create a board, click “Add” in the upper right corner.

1-Click-Add

Click “Create a Board.”

2-Create-Board

Enter your board’s details. If you are planning a public event and want to build interest for your event, choose a name that is very descriptive and something interested parties would be interested in. For example, if you’re organizing a business seminar, use seminar’s name and planned date for the event. Or if you’re planning your wedding and want to build up excitement, use the name of the bride and groom.

 3-Board-Details

Step 2: Install the Pin It Button

Throughout the process of planning an event, you’re going to have to pin a lot of images. While you can pin each image individually by uploading it or pointing to a web address, the fastest method by far is by installing the Pin It button.

To install the Pin It button, click “About” then “Pin It Button.”

 4-Pin-It-Button

Drag your Pin It Button to your bookmarks.

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This will allow you to use the “Pin It” at the top of your browser to pin photos from whatever page you happen to be visiting.

Step 3: Create Boards for Each Category

What are some of the most important things you need to organize and share in your event?

For a party, you might want to have:

  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Music

For planning a business seminar, you might want to have:

  • Guest speakers
  • Location (hotels, conference halls, etc)
  • Food
  • Equipment (microphones, projectors, etc)

 6-Example

Before you begin, brainstorm a list of categories that you will need to plan and then proceed to create boards for all those categories. That will make it easier to pin as you start getting into the groove of researching ideas. All you have to do is pin and keep going.

 

Step 4: Add Pins to Your Board

To add pins to your board, simply navigate to a relevant webpage and click “Pin It.” Choose the image you want to pin, then select its board and give it a description. If you plan to collaborate on your panning, make sure to list some pros/cons or reasons for wanting to consider the particular item.

 7-Add-Image

Rinse and repeat until you’ve pinned up all kinds of interesting or useful photographs on your various boards.

Step 5: Invite Collaborators

Few events are organized by single individuals. Instead, most events are organized by people brainstorming. One of the best ways to use Pinterest is to have other people also add photos and ideas to your Pinterest boards.

To invite others, click “Edit” under the board in which you want collaborators.

8-Click-Edit

Select “Me and Contributors” under “Who can pin?” Then add the names of the people who you want to participate.

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Step 6: More Ways to Use Pinterest for Planning Your Event

There are so many ways you can use Pinterest to help plan your event. You can …

  • Help brainstorm ideas. For example, if you’re picking flowers, you can pin 30 different kinds of flowers that you might consider. Take a vote or simply get some feedback if the end decision belongs to you.
  • Create a photo guestbook. Pin a picture of everyone who is attending or who you want to attend.
  • Create to-do lists. For example, you could create a Pinterest board that has only photos of things that you need to buy before the event.
  • Activities. Use the Pinterest board to show people what kind of activities they might expect.
  • Brainstorm. Use a Pinterest board just for sharing wacky ideas.
  • Share photos after. After the event, have everyone pin up their photos. It’s much more efficient than hoping everyone will tag everyone in their Facebook uploads.

Pinterest is a powerful tool for planning, managing and hosting an event. Use it to help make the whole process smoother, easier and more creative.