Tag Archives: Reviews

Monsters VS Monsters: A New Collectible Card Game from Matt Jarbo

While CCGs are not really new media, Matt is a buddy of mine who I met through new media and he has been putting his heart and soul into this project for a long time. If you are into CCGs you should definitely give it a look-see (and tell him I sent ya…I don’t get anything for it, but I like people to know they have friends!)

From the site:
MvM Mission Statement:
Monsters VS. Monsters was designed with one goal in mind, to be a low-cost fun and engaging game for children ages 5-18.

MvM Story Line:
“In the middle of the 21st century, a world-wide television company decided to use its newly purchased genetic engineering division to design a new breed of combatants for an Arena based Reality TV show. The scientists chose 10 creatures of legend from around the world, and created these monsters for the show. A Bigfoot, the Wolfman, the Yeti, the Chupacabra, Loch Ness, the Mummy, a Skeleton, a Zombie, Frankenstein, and a Vampire were genetically designed in a lab. Once these monsters were born, they were trained in the habitat from the tales to become the perfect fighting machine. Monsters VS. Monsters is televised live and streamed through the internet in over 130 countries. Even though the show is loved the world over, it still ranks as the 2nd most watched show on the planet.”

Combining the simplicity of War, with the exciting elements of a dice game, MvM allows players to play an addicting game where loss can be defeated with a lucky dice roll. Each deck was designed to be a 1-2 player experience.

You can also follow Matt on Twitter and follow updates on the game.

Enjoy!

Earn Some Money and Notice at the New Docstoc

Docstoc is a neat little site for sharing professional documents, which puts the focus on essays, studies, transcripts, and articles. From the site:

Docstoc is the premier online community to find and share professional documents. Docstoc provides the platform for users and businesses to upload and share their documents with all the world, and serves as a vast repository of documents in variety of categories including legal, business, financial, technology, educational, and creative. All documents on docstoc can be easily searched, previewed and downloaded for free.

Docstoc functions as a sort of YouTube for documents, but the simple fact is that while videos are entertaining and can even be informative, documents are about business. Docstoc has sample contracts, forms, and other “getting things done” documents that will save you time and effort. You get to help publicize your work, as well, with no upload limits and a maximum file-size of 50 megabytes. They have desktop applications for uploading in bulk and allow you to store and preview your documents without sharing them.

Revenue-Sharing

Docstoc recently added some features that makes them far more attractive to writers in new media who want to add to their income stream:

Offers you a way to profit from the documents you upload. Simply sign up for DocCash and we’ll split the revenue generated by the Google Ads that run alongside your documents. Earn recurring and passive income from your documents, and get a check sent to you each month.

That’s right, Docstoc has decided share their add revenue with users. Sign up for a Google Adsense accounts, sign up for the DocCash feature, and you can get paid. This feature is not related to the license on your document, so even if you have put your work into the public domain or licensed it as Creative Commons, you an still make ongoing money on the ads running alongside your work.

This is a great program for writers like me, who sometimes write things that are more scholarly or functional. The demand for such material from online publishers is pretty low, simply because the odds of “A Treatise on Implied Definitions in Paraconsistent Logics” going viral on Twitter are pretty low. Docstoc provides a market for such pieces, allowing writers to collect residuals on work that would otherwise go unwritten or sit in a slushpile somewhere.

Full API

For all you code-monkeys out there, Docstoc also has a full API, which allows you to build your own applications for the document-based social sharing network:

Most functionality available to a user on the site can be accessed through the API. The API includes functions for registering new members, uploading, downloading, updating, and searching for documents, manipulating a member’s folder structure, and setting up ads.

Community and Fans

Finally, for those writers who enjoy social media and the benefits of social networking, Docstoc has all the normal features you would expect. You can subscribe to users, add friends, tag documents, and add reviews and ratings. There are widgets and tools for sharing documents through networks or posting on your own profiles and blog, and there is a strong community of writers and infophiles that welcomes new members.

Share Your Experiences and Links

If you have used Docstoc and have any comments on their service, I want to know! Feel free to also comment with links to your profiles and documents…we do-follow our links! Great pieces will get reviews here on WriteNewMedia, so get yourself some free traffic and, if you have DocCash activated, a chance to earn some money.

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Three Online Portfolios to Promote Your Writing

A bit ago I wrote on getting paid and my old friend Dustin over at Voodoo Knickers noted that I made it sound like getting paid is the end all, be all of writing. This is not the case at all; the astute readers among you will note I am not getting paid to blog here or on the Social Media Philosophy Project, and that my writing appears in various places on the net in the form of guest-posts and commentaries. I am also extremely active in social media and the online technology scene and am constantly putting out content of various types, all for free. Why do I do all of this? Well, it got you here, didn’t it?

As my colleague Brett Borders put it in the comments to this post:

The web is ultra-competitive and with 30,000,000 free channels for people to surf… they’re eventually only gonna be able to focus on the ones that are the most unique and interesting.

This is blunt but true. To make it in the new digital world you have to be able to get people to notice you. While social media is a great way of doing this, eventually that client or editor is going to want to see something you have written, and “7 Ways the Terminator Could Fail #terminator #fail ‘shortened link’ PLEASE RT!” isn’t going to cut it. You are going to need a portfolio, and you are going to want it public. While you can host it yourself like I do, that isn’t always an option for a starting writer, so what you need is a good site where you can host your portfolio and get noticed. Here are three sites where you can display and promote your writing online.

Behance Network

The Behance Network has a truly remarkable range of creative talents on display. They cover just about every field you can imagine and their site is very sharp and professional. From their site:

Behance is a company that designs products and services that empower the creative world to make ideas happen. Behance is founded on the principle of “Productive Creativity.” Too often, great ideas never materialize. Creative people are rarely lacking inspiration; rather, they lack effective processes and tools to make their ideas happen. The Behance team studies exceptionally productive people and teams working in creative fields. We document the methods and resources that these productive creative professionals use to push their ideas forward. We then develop products and services based on the best practices that we discover through our research.

Behance allows users to create groups called “Circles” and follow other users, similar to most social networks, but differentiates itself through its overall feel, where it tries to pull the mystique of the gallery and museum into everything they do. The work there is highly visual, but their writing section is nothing to sneer at.

Redbubble

Redbubble is a great site and up for a Webby. While they are very focused on visual design, art, and t-shirt designs, they also have a creative writing section that allows for a fast-moving, very Web 2.0 delivery. From the site:

RedBubble is a vibrant global community of people with creative interests. It’s something different for each of us:

  • a place to share the illustrations you create at night,
  • a forum to seek feedback on the story you’re writing,
  • a creative antidote to the day job,
  • lunch break entertainment,
  • a gallery to inspire,
  • a marketplace to buy and sell unique works of art and,
  • a place to be inspired by like–minded people.

RedBubble is a forum for self expression, an inclusive art gallery and a supportive and welcoming community.

While they don’t let you sell your writing, they have a great following and your writing will get seen. The community and quality of the work varies more than Behance, but that is part of the appeal of the site, which provides an more modern, anarchic online atmosphere.

TalentTrove

These are the underdogs of the list, an up-and-coming site who I was originally a bit leery of but grew on me as I delved. TalentTrove, like Behance, does a whole lot, providing just about every kind of creative amateur or professional a venue for their work. From their press kit:

TalentTrove.com is a unique platform that fuses characteristics of social networking communities and media sharing websites to form an all encompassing talent portal completely devoted to artists. Users of TalentTrove.com are provided a space to showcase their talent(s) and be heard and seen worldwide. The nature of TalentTrove.com supports an environment where people can collaborate and find other like-minded users, all the while presenting themselves to scouts and talent agents who are utilizing the site to find the next big star. A user’s homepage (called their MyStage) serves as a virtual resume where they can upload four different types of media: audio, video, images, and text.

Their site is slick and fast, full of social features, and they have started holding contests to promote the work of their users. They are also a truly international site, with users from all over the world, so for those of us (like myself) who find interaction with a lot of different personalities and ideas necessary for creative work, this might be just the site for you. They are bit younger than Behance or Redbubble, so don’t expect them to be getting a Webby or hitting the Techcrunch50 this year, but keep an eye on them, we could hear a lot of good things in the near future.

Go forth and promote yourselves!

Your homework (yes, there is homework; editors administer the exams!) is to go out, to either these sites or some other, and make your portfolio. Post the links here and the best work will get a review on thePuckWrites (paltry reward, I know, but the best I can offer). Now get out there!

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Four Sites to Sell Your Writing Online

Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Ll...

Real writers get paid.

You hear me? Remember this, always. Want to know when you can call yourself a writer? The first time you get paid to write. I know this sounds mercenary as hell, but think it through. Carpenters get paid. Plumbers get paid. Surgeons get paid. Only in the creative fields do we say that someone can (and should) pursue the field, with all of the effort and study necessary to do it well, simply for the love of it, without expecting compensation of any kind. Too many of us help other people make money with our writing for free. This is unacceptable.

Hemingway got paid.

Show me the money.

I have already covered places to bid for freelance writing jobs, and I stand by what I said there, they are great sites and allow you to bid on some good jobs. The problem is that you have no way to assure yourself of an income on your terms and schedule. You may or may not win the bid, and there are people out there willing to write for next to nothing on those sites, ready to underbid you. Sometimes you just need the cash, sometimes you don’t want to deal with the bidding, and sometimes you already have things written that you can sell, and you need places where you know you can get paid.

Associated Content

Associated Content allows users to both submit articles for them to make an offer on and puts out calls for specific articles for writers to claim. From their site:

AC’s platform enables anyone to participate in the new content economy by publishing content on any topic, in any format (text, video, audio and images), and connects that content to consumers, partners and advertisers.

Downsides: The pay is very low. Upsides: You get traffic payoffs from them, so if your articles do well you will get ongoing payments. This site is perfect for the beginning writer who just needs to get some credits under their belt.

Bright Hub

Bright Hub focuses on tech and science articles and has a set payment per article. You apply for a contract with them and then join a team of writers working within a specific channel. From their site:

With an expert writer network and an active community of life-long enthusiasts Bright Hub provides a level of technology transparency rarely seen in high tech. The team of writers and managing editors utilize deep domain expertise to focus on creating valuable information for both novice and advanced consumers. With a content inventory of thousands of science and technology articles, software and hardware reviews, buyer’s guides, blog entries and forum discussions, Bright Hub is able to provide readers with a dependable resource to make informative technology decisions.

Downsides: You have quotas to meet and the editors can be demanding. Upsides: Bright Hub is solid, dependable work, you can work in multiple channels (though you end up having multiple editors, each with their own expectations and personality), and you are able to set your timetable by their schedule. While it is not going to make you rich, writers can make a full-time living from Bright Hub if they are motivated.

Demand Studios

Demand Studios is a subsidiary of Demand Media, and is a bit of a cross between Associated Content and Bright Hub. You apply for a position and once you get your contract you are able to claim or suggest articles from their internal menu. Each kind of article has a set price, and you claim and write what you want. There is a limit to how many you can claim at a time, but that limit increases as you write for them regularly. From their site:

Demand Studios enables talented freelancers to create valuable content, reach an audience of millions and earn money. Qualified content specialists can take part in the process, from making high-quality titles to editing finished content. We currently employ writers, filmmakers, copy editors, transcribers and title proofers, and we offer unique promotional opportunities for experts in all disciplines.

Downsides: Sometimes articles take a long time to get approved, meaning you can’t accept more assignments; this can really mess up your working timetable. Upsides: Demand is another low paying but dependable writing gig. You know you can make money there whenever you need to, and you can, once you can claim enough articles at a time, make a living from them.

Constant Content

Constant Content is a clearing house, allowing people to purchase and sell online content among themselves. Writers can sell different rights to their work to content publishers hungry for fresh content. From their site:

Constant-Content is a consignment shop for articles and pictures. Publishers can peruse the archive of articles, find the articles that they are looking for or use our system to reach out to authors and publish a request for new articles on your topic. Keeping content fresh on any site can be a lot of work, especially if you’re aiming to post new content very regularly. Constant-Content has a massive archive of articles and a community of writers who are keen to fulfill your content needs.

Constant-Content is unique in that we do not allow search engines to index our articles. As a consequence, when you purchase a unique or full rights license for one of our articles you can be certain that you will be the first on the Internet to post this article and you will receive the benefits of having unique, interesting and link-worthy content.

Upsides: You can get paid much more, sell work you already have sitting around, and get your work published all over the web. Downsides: Your work might not sell at all.

Tell me more.

I know there are a lot of other sites out there, these are just the ones that I like best and think are the best way for starting writers to establish themselves, get some credits, and most of all…get paid.

What about you? Tell me about your favorite sites to sell your work and I will feature them in a later post and give you credit.

Update (4-5-09)

It seems that Associated Content doesn’t pay out to non-U.S. residents. You just get traffic residuals.

Who is eligible to be paid?
You must be at least 18 years old to be paid by Associated Content. If you are also citizen or legal resident of the United States, you are eligible for both Upfront and Performance Payments. If you are not a citizen of legal resident of the United States, you are only eligible for Performance Payments due to U.S. tax regulations.

How very self-centered of them. I would like to apologize. I know that a lot of my readers are outside the US (that’s right, I’m watching you! *peers around*) and I don’t want to lead you wrong. My job is to help you get your career as writers going, and a non-paying client is exactly what I am trying to steer you away from. So please be advised:

Associated Content only pays residents of the United States of America. Non-US writers should seek other entry-level markets.

Special thanks to my buddy Mark Dykeman for the tip. He’s written for Louis Gray and Mashable and is an overall smart guy who says smart things. Check him out over at Broadcasting Brain or follow Mark on Twitter.

  • New Revenue-Sharing Content Site: Bukisa (onlinepublishing.suite101.com)
  • How To Find More Ghostwriting Jobs (ghostwritinguncovered.com)
  • Are You A Greedy Writer? (ghostwritinguncovered.com)
  • A Freelance Writer’s First Experience With Elance (danaprince.blogspot.com)
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Find Twitterers by Topic, Interests, Company, and Location with TwitterPacks

Well, it finally had to happen. Twitter is mainstream.

Twitter, and social media in general, have become mainstream. It gets talked about on international television, reported on in the mainstream media, and the service is enjoying the surge in users that all this attention has brought. But there remains a problem for all these new users…how do you find who to follow and gain followers yourself who are going to tweet about things that interest you? The answers are out there, but being new to the social media scene, many of these new users get disillusioned quickly and end up leaving in frustration. Abandoned Twitter pages abound with 8 tweets, all along the lines of “Hello? Is anyone out there? Is this thing on?”, leaving a ghost-town where new microbloggers could have been.

Always use the right tools for the right job.

There are various tools out there for automatically finding new people to follow and to list yourself. Recently @kevinrose released WeFollow, a user-driven directory of twitterers using hashtags. Another popular tool is Mr. Tweet, which uses various methods for suggesting followers based on their streams. These tools have their place, but I dislike their simplicity and passiveness. I like to browse, and sometimes hashtags, however useful, are just not good categories for finding what you are interested in. Because of all of this I like Twitterpacks a great deal, and wanted to do a little write-up on it because I don’t see it mentioned or discussed very much and it really is a nice little project that deserves some mention and respect.

What Twitterpacks is.

TwitterPacks is a wiki (built on PBWiki) where users can register and add their own link to their Twitter page and a short line about who you are (if you wish). The wiki breaks people up into categories like topics they cover, interests, location, company, and whatever other categories people want to add. Like any wiki, it is what the users make it, and this wiki has a community of users that have built a simple directory that they keep as neat and clean as possible.

By itself, this would be nothing more than a list of links and, while better than just blindly following people, makes the task a chore, especially when you are getting started and want to follow a large group in a particular region or industry. However, TwitterPacks has dealt with that, supplying a script they call Autopack, which allows you to select an entire category and follow them (or unfollow them) all at once. While the script does require your password, it passes it off directly to the Twitter API without creating any kind of account or login on-site. I have used the site for months with no issues and no one has ever said a thing about security problems, so I don’t have a problem recommending the site, but be aware that any application that requires you to use your password can be a security risk. Be careful.

What TwitterPacks is not.

TwitterPacks is not a flashy, pretty, AJAX-driven service where you “set it and forget it”. It takes some work to find all the places you wish to be listed, make the entries, and save the edits for each page. You do have to actually find the topics you are interested in and use the Autopack feature manually. The Autopack script is also limited, as it is being served from a donated server, and can very slow in returning large requests. On very large follow or unfollow commands it can time-out, and if you don’t make sure your own account isn’t somewhere on the list it can produce errors. As a user-driven community, TwitterPacks is funded by donations, and we all know how problematic that can be. All of these things make Twitterpacks a bit of work, and while I highly recommend it, know that it is by no means perfect.

Any others?

Tools like this are invaluable in building a strong social media presence and personal brand, an ongoing concern for anyone who wants to be able to make it in new media. I mentioned a few of my favorite tools, but I know of dozens I didn’t mention and I am sure there are many more. What are your faves?

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Top 4 Freelance Sites for Writers

Writers gotta work, and thus we gotta find the work. Read on for the top four sites I have found for finding freelance writing work online!

Warning:

There are a lot of job sites out there, and plenty of scams and exploitive pay as well. There is also a seedy underbelly of internet writers, who work for less than a penny a word and “write” a thousand versions of the same piece of content using programs called spinners (I refuse to link to this scum). These people feed a piece of original content in and the program rewrites it with synonyms. It looks disjointed and awful, but they don’t care. It passes copyscape.

These services generally cost money to get anything useful out of, around 9-12 dollars a month US.

That said, lets get to it.

Elance

Elance is where I get most of my best jobs. There is plenty of bad jobs and jobs where you can’t understand what they want you to do (this is why they need writers, I suppose), but there are some real gems as well. I got my current favorite gig, writing the lore and designing the character classes for Ghostees!, an upcoming MMORPG, from Elance.

They have a full escrow service, which protects both you and the client, and record all dealings through a private message board. The fee is very reasonable, and the various features are useful and focus on taking care of you, including making sure your taxes are prepared properly for all money earned through their service. Highly recommended.

Guru

Guru is a lot like Elance. In fact, it is almost a clone, in format, pricing, and services. The main difference seems to be the quality of jobs, which seems lower, and the overall functionality of their resume system.

I would recommend Guru, but only in addition to Elance, not alone.

iFreelance

iFreelance really, really wants to be like Elance and Guru. They have the look, they have the format, and they certainly have the pricing. The problem is that their site barely works. It’s very hard to search for jobs, the resume page has an irritating scrolling banner of your portfolio file’s icons, and there are very few jobs. In addition, they seem to let people set jobs to expire in months, so bidding on anything is pointless. By the time a job is close enough to expiring for me to know whether I will have the time to work it for the money they are paying, it has 3 months worth of bids. This is just poor infrastructure.

However, a certain sector of jobs seem to come here and nowhere else, so I still suggest opening an account with them.

GetAFreelancer

If a iFreelance is a wannabe Elance, GetAFreelancer is CraigsList on steroids. You can bid for free (up to 15 bids) but you get access to better jobs through getting a “gold account”, which is about the normal price for all of these services. The interface is awful, the search functions laughable, and the resume section almost non-existent…but it has some great jobs on it, and they usually don’t require a “gold account” to bid on.

Recommended if you can deal with the interface. If you want glitz, go for one of the others.

Final Words

My advice is to have accounts on all of these, if you can spare the cash. The reason for this is simple economics. The clients need one or maybe a few jobs done. They only need to have one account they pay for to post jobs, and as long as it is a reasonably good site they are assured of finding a provider. Providers, on the other hand, always need access to continuous good jobs. Thus the client’s best choice is to have one account, while for the provider it is best to have an account on each. Thus if there are four great jobs you can handle at once, but each of the clients go to a different service, you can get one job or all four depending on where you have accounts.

That’s all till next time. Let me know if you have found any other good freelance sites…I might have missed a few.

Keep reading and writing!

Twitter as Social Aggregator and Lifestreamer

Make Twitter Your Social Aggregator: Create An Extended Profile

I am a big fan of Twitter, and until now I have been living with FriendFeed, which doesn’t really meet all my needs, for a lifestreaming service. I am going to be trying out this template for making an extended Twitter profile I found at Mashable (of which I am also a big fan). I will present my findings. Hopefully, this will finally solve my lifestreaming issues.

Also: stay tuned for more changes in the website!

Distributed Insanity

i am neurotic.

This has got to be one of the more interesting social projects I have seen going on. A collection of people describing their personal insanity in their own terms and anonymously, free of being defined away by the structures of psychiatric power.

This is one of the things I think is so powerful about the Internet…it makes it possible for people to find new ways of being that break out of the structures of power and behavior that have been handed to them since their birth. It always makes me wonder what else is possible.