Mar 10, 2014

TreasurePen - Earn Money by Blogging

I stumbled upon another site that will pay you to write simple blog posts, and while I haven't published anything there yet, it looks pretty decent.  TreasurePen pays you 70% of ad revenue earned from your articles, and if you write on topics with good ad alignment, that can pay out at a decent rate.

When registering, please enter 
as the person who referred you 

You must have a Google adsense account in order to get paid, but if you already have a blog or website, you probably already have it monetized with adsense ads on it, so it's an easy task to attach your account to Treasure Pen so that you can get paid.

If you're dissatisfied with the amount you're making on your own blog, TreasurePen might be just the thing for you.  Sure, on your own blog you'll rake in 100% of any earnings from adsense, but if your blog doesn't get decent traffic, that might not amount to much.  Treasure Pen's large library of content will likely bring more traffic to the site, and 70% of decent earnings is better than 100% of next-to-nothing.

I'm going to try a few posts there to see how it works out, and I'll be sure to report back on my results.  In the meantime, if you sign up for TreasurePen, please fill in my email address ( when you register so that I'll get credit for sending you there.

Happy writing!

~ Marie Anne

Feb 15, 2014

Writing Tips: Finding Newsworthy Topics for Any Examiner Title

Photo by moppet65535

When publishing on Examiner, writers can get a boost in page views by getting articles approved as newsworthy.  Not all articles approved as such will get into the search engine news feeds, but just getting the newsworthy designation on Examiner will improve credentials.  As the dashboard meter climbs, it will cause future news articles to be reviewed more quickly and, if worthy, sent into the news feed immediately.  The latter can be a big boost if writing on a breaking news topic and you can scoop other writers..

If you write top news stories or about celebrities and other hot topics, you probably already have sources that you get information from, but what about your Examiner titles that are a little more obscure, and not generally in the news?

Tip:  Make sure you're following Examiner's criteria for writing a quality news article.

In my experience, you can find news items to write about on just about any topic.  Not everything will be headline news, but if something happened within the last 48 hours and you have a dated source to refer to, it can still be tagged as news.  Readers who share similar interests on topics you write about will be happy to read something that isn't about the latest celebrity wardrobe malfunction, or who is having whose baby, so read on to learn how to find news topicst for even the most general subjects that you write about.

Google Alerts

The Google Alerts tool is my preferred way to find newsy topics to write about since notifications are sent directly to my email, and I don't have to go digging elsewhere.  In a previous article about google alerts, I shared how it can be helpful for writers to find people who might be stealing their articles as their own, but the mechanics of setting up the google alert is the same as I explained there.

To find breaking news to write about, set up a google alert for a word or phrase that fits the topic of your Examiner titles, and choose whether you want to receive notification of anything that publishes with that word/phrase, or just news items.  You can also set how often you want to get the alert - as it happens (separate email immediately after something indexes on google), or a daily/weekly email with a compilation of everything that popped up during that timeframe.

I set mine to as it happens so that I get the most up-to-date information and can make the 48 hour window that Examiner requires for items to be considered newsworthy.

Tip:  Make a separate email folder for google alerts and use filters to direct emails directly there.  Google alerts on some topics might generate numerous emails a day, and it will be much easier to find and filter through them if they're contained in a separate folder.

Social Media

I mentioned social media sites in a post about how to find ideas to write about, and you can take the information therein and apply it to newsworthy articles as well.  If you're a celebrity writer, use interest lists on Facebook and lists on Twitter to watch for your favorite headliners to post something that might be worthy of an article.  The Facebook post or Twitter tweet with the timestamp is suitable as a source to show that you're reporting within the 48 hour window that Examiner requires for news.  Everyone and their dog has a Facebook page (including my own dogs!) and Twitter account, so you should be able to find all sorts of interesting things to write that would be considered newsworthy.

Still Not Convinced?

To show that you can indeed write newsworthy articles on just about any topic out there, I'll use my own articles as proof.  One of my Examiner titles is for crafts and I write a lot about crochet, since that's one craft that I know a lot about.  I have google alerts set to email me whenever the words crochet, knit, and knitting index as news on google.  None of these topics would be considered headline news, but I wrote and published these articles after receiving google alerts, and they do fit the parameters that Examiner has set forth for an article to be deemed as newsworthy:

Nebraska teen crochets through arthritis pain to help others
Norway's 'Slow TV' to feature 5-hour knitting contest
Third annual Stitch 'n Pitch scheduled during Fort Wayne Tincaps Game
Giant knitting needles and crochet hook to beat Guinness World Record

If I can write news about crocheting, you should have no trouble finding newsworthy topics to write about for your own Examiner title(s).

~ Marie Anne

Tips for Examiner Writers: Finding Article Ideas

(Photo by Ed Yourdon)

(These tips will be helpful to all article writers, not just those who publish on Examiner)

Keeping your Examiner title(s) updated with fresh content will give a boost to the rest of your portfolio within that title, but as with any other form of writing, ideas can dry up from time to time.  You can get ahead of any dry spells by knowing where to look for new ideas on topics that you write about.  Social media sites can provide fodder for any subject, so make sure to utilize them to your advantage.


If you're on Facebook, like and follow pages on topics that you write about.  You can add each topic area to a separate interest list and refer to the feed for that list instead of having posts from those pages get buried in your regular newsfeed.  Click to see more in-depth instructions on how to create and utilize interest lists on Facebook.


Similar to Facebook, you can sort through posts on Google+ by creating circles for each topic that you have an interest in.  When you find pages that you want to follow, add them to the circle(s) that you've created for that subject matter.  Clicking to look at the circle you're concerned with at that time, you'll be able to tune out general posts that might be cluttering your page/feed.


Twitter by itself is extremely difficult to follow for anyone who is following more than a handful of people.  A third party app can sort your Twitter feed into a much more manageable tool.  I like HootSuite, where I can add names to lists, then make separate streams based on those lists, or hasthags, or any number of other parameters.  If I need an idea for an article about a particular TV show, I can refer to the feed for the list I created that might include certain actors I follow, television networks, and even hashtags associated with that particular show. Glancing through that Twitter feed is sure to spark something to write about.

I'll be writing more posts with tips for article writers, so keep an eye on this blog.  If you have any questions about writing for Examiner, feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to address it in a future post.

Not writing there yet?  Click to get started writing for Examiner!

~ Marie Anne

Do you write on newsy topics?  Social media and other tools can help you find newsworthy topics to write about.

May 26, 2013

Why I hesitated to publish on Bubblews

Photo by Laurence Simon
I've been seeing my friends post on Facebook and other social networking sites about this new place to write - Bubblews - and after a cursory glance, decided it wasn't for me.  Lots of folks are publishing nonsensical junk, much of it in broken (if even that) English, and I didn't want my name hitched to that wagon.  After hearing again and again that my friends reached payout in just a short time, however, I decided to give it another look, and I'm glad I did.

Sure, there's still a lot of junk on Bubblews, but if I write something that I'm not ashamed to attach my byline to, why should I worry about what everyone else is doing?  I'm rarely without something to say, but often what's going on in my head isn't fit for any of the other places I write for and publish, so to Bubblews it goes.  There are few restrictions on Bubblews - if you think it, you can publish it.

The requirements are simple; each post need only be 400 or more characters (that's right, characters, not words), and that's only two tweets on Twitter.  Anyone can do that, and make a buck while doing so.

If you're game to give it a try, click on any of the links in this blog post to sign up, then pop on over to Facebook and let me know that you're on board so that I can help you get started towards earning money with your very first post.

~ Marie Anne

May 17, 2013

Tracking Adsense Click Information on Your Blogs

If your blogs or other websites are monetized with AdSense ads, you probably like to monitor how many clicks you get throughout the day.  The more information you have about which blogs and individual posts are getting clicks, and which ad types on those blog posts are drawing the most attention, the better you can plan a strategy for future posts and ad placement.

But what if you see a dollar amount on your AdSence report, but can't figure out which blog it came from, or which ad someone clicked on?  You can look on google analytics if you have it installed on your blogs, but if you have several blogs and don't even know which blog to start with, you'll still have to do some super-sleuthing.

I have each of my blogs listed as URL channels on AdSense, so if someone clicks an advertisement, it's usually right there on the AdSense home page and I don't have to dig for the information I need.  Every so often, though,  I'll see the monetary value earned, but none of my URL channels show a click.  Huh?  How can that be?  I've checked and double-checked to make sure that I didn't forget to add a URL channel for a blog, but nope, they're all accounted for.  I won't tell you how much this has bothered me, not knowing where those pennies came from, but suffice it to say that I spent way more time that I should have trying to figure it out, before getting frustrated and moving on to something else.

This morning I noticed that I had a click worth more than my average earnings, but again, none of my blogs was listed as having a click.  I really wanted to find where that one came from and started clicking around the various tabs on AdSense and bingo, I found the solution.

From the main AdSense page, I clicked on full report, and from there, clicked the drop-down menu for add dimension, then chose sites.  Well whatdya know, there it was.  One of my blogs was listed, but with a extension, which I'm assuming is the United Kingdom version of blogger.  Apparently when someone outside of the U.S. views a blogger-hosted blog, they will see it with the extension that is appropriate for their neck of the woods, and not simply the that we would see here in the states.

You can add other dimensions to that report such as ad types, ad size, etc, which will give you more information about which ads have been clicked, helping you determine future strategy.

I hope this information will be useful to at least one poor soul out there who has been tearing his or her hair out like I have.

~ Marie Anne

May 6, 2013

How to Use Pinterest to Promote Your Business

Putting your work on Pinterest is a great way to get it in front of large groups of people you might not otherwise have access to.  Every time someone repins a pin, the reach gets wider, and there's no limit to how far it can go.  But how do you utilize Pinterest to the maximum advantage?
We're all visual creatures, so having a great photo to pin with your work is key, whether it be a craft project, or your writing.  If your article doesn't already have an eye-catching photo worth pinning, you can pin it using another photo very easily.  If you have a blog on Google's Blogger, it's a cinch to add a pin it button to your post so that others can share it for you too.

There are many tips and tricks to maximize your reach on Pinterest, how to attract more customers, how to make your pins more appealing, etc., and Melanie Duncan is offering them to you at no cost.

The founder of Entrepreneuress Academy, Melanie is providing a free webinar class to teach you how to use Pinterest to advance your business and reach more customers and readers.  The webinar will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 6-8, 2013 and there is no cost to sign up.  With an early morning and evening time slot available over all three days, there's no reason not to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Using Pinterest in the most basic sense is simple, but by using the power of pinning, you can make every pin count.

~ Marie Anne

Like this post?  Feel free to share it.

Mar 22, 2013

Are Challenges Good for Everyone?

Photo by Ed Yourdan
Challenges can be motivating, but they can also be a detriment if you take on more than you should.  Are you guilty of the latter?

Meeting a goal is a big deal, but if the carrot dangling in front of you isn't worth the effort expended, why are you doing it?  

If your goal is health and fitness, any step in the right direction is worth it, but don't set your goals too high right out of the gate or you risk disappointment and losing whatever ground you've gained right from the start.  

Taking on a challenge just for the sake of a challenge is fine for some who need the push to do a particular thing, and if you have lots of extra time on your hands, knock yourself out.  But if your challenge doesn't benefit you monetarily, physically, or psychologically, why are you doing it?

What prompted this post is the A-Z Blogging Challenge.  I did it one year with four blogs (including this one) and it about killed me. I did it because I wanted to be able to say I did.  Big deal.  It brought me no extra income, no long-term increase in readership, nothing tangible.  I got to display a badge on my blog.  Wow.  The challenge is designed to get people posting to their blog on a more consistent basis, and that works well for some, but it did nothing for me (but of course that doesn't mean it won't work for you).  All four of those blogs got 26 posts in the 30 days in April (every day except  Sunday), but have been all but dormant since.  

This year I signed up with just one blog, but decided last night that I was going to pull myself out of the challenge this morning.  I write articles for pay, and that's where my time needs to be devoted.  I only have so much in me each day to get things done, so I need to use that time wisely.

I am, however, going to be using the challenge in a different way.  My goal for April will be to write and publish an article each day for either Examiner or YCN, like I mentioned in this post.  I try to publish every day anyway, but some days it doesn't happen, whereas other days I might post two or more articles.  Taking up the A-Z Challenge for article writing just puts a different spin on it, striving to come up with an article topic that corresponds with a particular letter, rather than any old thing I pull out of the sky. My goal of writing every day really hasn't changed, but this small challenge will actually put money in my pocket.  Article writing is what pays the bills, so that's where I need to put my attention.  I won't get a shiny badge to display anywhere upon completion, but I will get the same satisfaction of having met a goal, and earn a few bucks to boot.

So don't give up on goals and challenges, but do look at why you're doing them and what you will gain from taking them on, and, more importantly, what you stand to lose.

~ Marie Anne

Mar 8, 2013

The AtoZ Challenge Can Benefit All Writers, Not Just Bloggers

(Photo by Muffet)
The AtoZ Blogging Challenge is set to kick off again on April 1, 2103 as a way to get bloggers everywhere thinking outside of the box by posting every day of the month (except Sunday) on a topic that corresponds with the letter of the day.  The challenge can take up a lot of time and you'll have to determine if it's worth it to you, but what if you're a writer, but not a blogger?  Can the AtoZ Challenge still be of benefit to you?


Depending on how you tackle the challenge, it can still give you the nudge you need, no matter the writing venue.

If you're a writer who publishes on Examiner, YCN, or any one of the many other sites, use the basic idea of the challenge to get the creative juices flowing for article topics in the same manner.  You can't sign up for the official challenge if you don't have a blog, so just challenge yourself for the sheer benefit of seeing if you can do it, or work with a group of other writers and ask them to come along for the ride.  You might not get a special badge to display upon completion, but it can still be rewarding in other ways, either monetarily, or by helping you develop good writing habits.

I'm a member of a Facebook group for Examiners and I've thrown down the gauntlet there, and many of us will be trying to come up with an article topic to write about that corresponds to the daily A-Z Challenge.  There are no hard and fast rules and there will be no prize for those who complete, but we're using it as an exercise to help us publish more frequently.  The challenge can be adapted to other writing scenarios as well.

If you write content for other clients -- for their web site, pamphlets, etc. -- you can still use the A-Z idea when your list of ideas runs dry.

Do you write fiction?  Try to fit every letter of the alphabet into your novel or eBook in some way.  You don't have to devote an entire chapter to every letter, but it should be easy enough to incorporate the words apple, baby, and cat somewhere in your work.  Your main character could be seeking some quiet solitude on Q  day, washing their hands on W  day, have an X-ray on X  day, wearing a yellow shirt on Y  day, taking the kids to the zoo on Z  day.  Again, the modified challenge is just a tool to get the writing juices flowing, and who knows where M  day might take you?

So even if you don't have a blog, you can still enlist others to join you in a modified version that fits your particular scenario. Think of it as a sort of writing prompt and toss the idea out there to your writing group and see who bites.

Or simply go fishing alone.  On F day, of course.

~ Marie Anne

Mar 6, 2013

Is the AtoZ Challenge Worth Your Time as a Blogger?

If you've been blogging for any time at all, no doubt you've heard of the annual AtoZ Blogging Challenge that goes on every April, with the 2013 challenge starting on Monday, April 1.  The idea is to make a blog post every day (except Sunday), crafting your post on a topic that corresponds with the letter of the day.  It's a lot of work and can also be fun, but is it worth it for the amount of time and effort involved?

(Photo by juliejordanscott)
Whether it's worth it to you as a blogger to take up the challenge or not will depend on your personal goals.  The AtoZ Challenge can help you increase your readership to an extent, but people aren't likely to come back when the challenge is over unless you give them content that they find interesting.  It's ok to post a photo with a short blurb occasionally during the month-long challenge, but if that's all you do for 30 days, you aren't likely to retain the readers once April comes to a close.  If you just want to say that you completed the challenge, then it doesn't really matter what you post, I suppose.

If you're blogging to make a buck, you should be a bit more discerning in what you post each day in order to give your readers something meaningful, a reason to come back.   Get ahead of the game well before the start date by writing down the letters A-Z on a calendar, in a notebook, or a file on your computer and start thinking of topic ideas now.  You can take it even further by writing blog posts ahead of time and scheduling them to post on the appropriate day.

Remember, though, that it's unlikely you'll earn any money from people clicking ads on your blog during the challenge, as many entrants will click on the blogs just to comment in the hope that you'll follow it back to their blog.  Most won't do more than skim your post, much less click an advertisement.  If you have a compelling title and first few lines of your post that can draw your read in, it can still be beneficial in the long run.

The AtoZ Blogging Challenge is good for bloggers who need a push to publish more often as there is a certain degree of accountability in joining such a large group.  Posting frequently keeps your blog fresh in the eyes of the search engines, and the challenge may be just the push that some people need to be more consistent.  If you can make yourself blog daily throughout the challenge, you'll likely pick up good habits that can continue long after it's over.

If you already write full-time and can't squeeze in even an extra few minutes each day for something without a guaranteed return of the time invested, the challenge might not be for you.

I did my first challenge with four blogs, this one included.  It was fun, and while very challenging, I did make it through the entire month on all four of them.  Will I do it again?  No, not with four blogs.  I have a hard enough time keeping up with the paid writing that I need to do without throwing in more distractions throughout my day.  I've decided that I will do it this year with just my newest blog --- Gettin' Fit in My Fifties, because it's a blog that is important to me personally, and I think I'll have some things worth sharing.

Whatever you decide about the A-Z Challenge --- happy writing!

~ Marie Anne

Jan 20, 2013

So You Want to Write Children's Books

If you're a writer, you're probably no different than the rest of us and have thought about taking your keyboard off into different directions.  Article writing might pay the bills, but perhaps you've always thought about delving into fiction, or if you're already a fiction writer, you might have wanted to switch gears and try a different genre.  Have any of us NOT thought we'd be great at writing children's books?

Sounds easy, right?  Kid's books are generally shorter than adult novels, and they don't need big words, so those things alone should have us pumping out children's lit at lightning speed, no?


I'm finding out that there's a lot more to writing books for kids than I ever would have thought.

I'm the type that gets an idea in my head to do something and then I want to do it.  Now.  Little research or forethought, just jump right in with both feet and make it happen.  As you can imagine, I rarely have any amount of success when I take on a project in that manner.  So ... I thought I'd like to try my hand (fingers?) at writing some form of children's fiction, and since I honestly know nothing about where to start, I'm doing a little homework.  There's hope for me yet!

In one quick search this morning, I've already found a valuable tool that I think will help me along this path, or perhaps make me realize that this isn't the road I really want to take after all.  That site is Children's Book Insider at

I'm not getting paid to plug Children's Book Insider, but after just a short time poking around this morning, I can see where I'll be spending much more time there, and thought others might benefit from taking a peek too.  Everything I've seen so far is free, but I can't say for certain that there aren't things that they'll encourage you to purchase down the road, but I haven't found that to be the case yet.  Already I've downloaded an incredible eBook filled with information on how to get started, with links to videos that are just as helpful as the text.  I'm tickled that within the first seconds of my researching, I landed on something that has it all.

If you've ever thought about writing children's books, or even if you've already started out on your own, you WILL learn something at CBI ... guaranteed.

Happy writing!

~ Marie Anne