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The Ins and Outs of Free Writing Contests (free writing contests) Free writing contests are available by the thousands. They are virtually a dime a dozen on the Internet. No matter what your niche is in the writing community there is a free writing contests out there for you. How do you know which ones to enter and which ones are legitimate? That’s simple. You do what you do best-- research. While providing the story for the free writing contest will probably be the easy part, researching the thousands of available contests will be a daunting task. If this is un-chartered water for you, you have the start at the beginning. Finding what free writing contests are available. Grab a notebook or start a word document and list the contests that are available. Beside each contest name you will want to put what kind of writing they are looking for and when it needs to be done by. By doing this first you will be able to eliminate any that do not coincide with your writing niche or with your schedule. Now the free writing contest research begins. Finding out if a contest is worthwhile and legitimate is comparable to running a background check on a person. First check the contest website. Do they have all contact information available? Do they tell you what company is hosting the contest? If they are not, you will have likely found warning number one that it is a scam. So scratch those off your list or at least move them to the bottom until you can find out more information on them. Start asking around to colleagues and writers groups. Search the writing forums and the Internet scam sites. The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to look. Once you narrowed the free writing contests down to the legitimate ones, read the contest rules and regulations. Some contests require you signing over all rights to a story even if you don’t win. Are you willing to do this? Giving up rights to you writing is a lot easier to do when you are getting something in return. After you enter there is no going back, so make sure this is what you want to do. The final thing you need to look for is if the contest is just a cover up to get you to buy services or products. This does not necessarily mean they are a scam or don’t actually award winners. It simply means that they will try to entice you to use their critiquing services or offer you a book at a reduced fee that your work will be published in. Being published sounds like a great deal but is it a book that carries prestige that people are going to see? Many authors think that writing contests will launch their career into a successful endeavor. This is not the case, especially for free writing contests. Even winning the grand prize of a smaller known contest is not going to affect your literary journey. Even though they may not springboard your career, there are good reasons to join writing contests. You will get unbiased opinions and valuable feedback from the judges. If you make it into the higher rounds, editors could also see your writing. Ultimately whether you enter a free writing contest the choice is yours. Just ask you self if the time spent writing and researching the piece you choose to enter is worth writing for free in most cases. The critique and feedback may be the most worthwhile thing you receive from the contest. But then again the judges opinions are a dime a dozen just like the contests.

How to Avoid Spam and Junk Email and Still Enjoy Freebies Free stuff is great, but when you are facing an inbox that is literally choking on spam, than you may find yourself wondering just how free your freebies really are. Spam and junk email are the unwanted consequences of cashing in on great free deals online, and it is enough to keep some people away from freebie offers entirely. Here’s the good news, however – you might not able to stop the spammers in their tracks completely, but there are a lot of things you can do to keep the annoyance caused by junk email to a minimum. Get on the defensive and reclaim the control you have over your inbox. Rule number one for cashing in on freebies is to set up a separate email account that you use only for your free stuff hunting. There are tons of web based email programs that you can join for free, and you can use these new email accounts as your point of contact for the companies from who you get freebie offers. After all, giving your email address to a company is simply part of getting freebies – that is why the company is giving away freebies in the first place. They want to collect your email address so they can email you about their products and hopefully convince you to shell out some cash for them in the future. By protecting your main email address, you can easily control the amount of spam you have to wade through when you just want to read your personal or business emails. You know that a company wants your email address in a exchange for a freebie, and you know why they want it, but what you might not know is that not all companies are created equal when it comes to it how the treat your email address. To know this, you have to check out a company’s privacy policy. Some companies will allow you to opt out of all future emails, including the ones from them, meaning in theory that your email address should never end up on any junk email solicitation list after your get your freebie. Other companies don’t let you opt out of their emails, but they let you choose whether or not they can give your address to partner companies who have products to offer that you “might be interested in.” With these companies, at least you can keep the amount of solicitations to a minimum. Still other companies follow a “no holds barred” kind of plan, in which they are allowed to share your email address with anyone they choose. These last kinds of companies are the kinds that end up loading you up with the spam, because they often sell the lists of email addresses they collect to companies that send out spam messages. Proceed with caution when a company has a policy like this one. If you can’t find a privacy policy at all on the website from which you are getting your freebie, then it might be best to move on to a different free offer. Another spam reducing trick that a lot of people miss out on is ignoring spam completely. Don’t open your spam messages, and whatever you do, don’t ask to be removed from a mailing list. That might seem like the logical way to stop the spam, but all you do when you do that is confirm to the spammers that their email is going to a real, live person. Last but not least, if even your dedicated freebie email address is gasping under the pressure of the spam, abandon it and start a new one. If you collect freebies on a regular basis, the word will eventually get out and the junk emailers will find you. Start a new address and get a clean slate.

Pertinent Advice for Negotiating Salary Your salary is a huge factor when it comes to job satisfaction and overall quality of life. That is why negotiating salary is something that you should never overlook. While many employers like to state that starting salary as if it were etched in stone, there is usually some leeway in how much you will make. Remember, what you make is going to affect your entire life. Negotiating your salary is something that you should take very seriously. There are a few things to consider before you start throwing out figures. You don’t want to lose the job you have just gotten. First of all, leave the salary negotiating for the end of the hiring process. This is important because if you agree to a lower salary earlier on in the hiring process, you will be locked into that salary. Also, as the hiring process goes on and you become more of an employee, opposed to an interview, your worth increases. If you have gone through several interviews and met a few different managers, you have been able to make an impression on a number of people. That means that several different people have measured your worth to the company. When salary negotiating comes around, you can ask for more money. With several different people discussing your salary there is a chance that your state price may win out. Before you begin negotiating salary, you should know how much you are worth. One of the most important aspects of job hunting is finding out how much your skills and talents are worth in the job market. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to market yourself better and know whether or not the employer is bluffing you. If you know that the salary they are offering you is much less than other companies offering the same position are offering, start the negotiating. Employers are always looking for a bargain. They never shoot out the high end of salary numbers. Employers start out at the bottom of the salary barrel. That means you can work to boost the salary offer. Of course, you do not want to sabotage yourself by acting too cocky but do not crumble under pressure. Be savvy in your negotiating and recognize that if the company is hiring, they need you. Yes, you may need a job, but the need is mutual. They would not be going through the interview process if there were no need of your services. Also, they obviously were impressed with your credentials. Be sure that they appreciate you will a decent salary. Know when to start salary negotiation. When the employer is explaining the job description to you, if they state a salary that is lower than you would like, let that pass. Until you have been offered the position, you do not need to worry about the salary. The first thing is to get the job. Once the offer is made and you are filling out paper work, you can start the negotiating part of the deal. It is important to know when salary negotiating is not an option. There are certain jobs that offer a set salary for certain position. If you are interviewing for a job that has a stated, set salary, you do not want to negotiate. The stated salary is the one that you will be getting if you take the job. In these cases, whether or not you are willing to settle for less is the question at hand. If the salary is too low for you to handle, get out there and find an employer that appreciates your talents.