Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Flash Fiction Can Make You a Better Writer (and Where to Find It)

by Fred Johnson,  @FredBobJohn

In our non-stop world of tweets, tags, and text messages, it’s often difficult to find the time and motivation to sit down and read (let alone write!) a full-length novel. Even short stories can fall flat in terms of their ability to reflect the pure speed and transience of modern life.

Enter flash fiction. This relatively modern form describes very short fiction, with pieces normally clocking it at below a thousand words. With so few words to play with, writers of flash fiction have to cram meaning and emotion into as few words as possible. The most famous example is commonly attributed to Ernest Hemingway and is only six words long:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Powerful stuff indeed. But here’s the kicker: flash fiction, beyond being a pleasure to read, can make you a better writer, no matter what you’re writing.

This is because flash fiction is all about using every last word and wasting no space whatsoever, which is an incredibly important skill for a writer to cultivate. Learning the value of brevity can help you get better, whether you’re writing short stories, novels, articles, blog posts, reviews, commercial copy… anything really.

Even better, flash fiction takes very little time to read and write. You can embrace brevity and write flash fiction during your break at work, on the bus, or before you go to bed. Better still, it can be a great way to test out ideas or to dip a toe into a different genre–if one piece doesn’t work, it’s no big deal, but if another does, you can develop that piece and use it as the foundation for a longer text.

With all this in mind, here are some great platforms and communities to help encourage you, give you some inspiration, and provide some top-notch reading material. Continue reading How Flash Fiction Can Make You a Better Writer (and Where to Find It)

Amazon Author Insights

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Amazon Author Insights is a new author-facing  Tumblr site to help both new and established writers find writing-related resources and Amazon services for writers in one spot.

I was asked by Amazon to be a beta-tester for the site and to contribute some of its content (here are a couple of my posts on building an author platform and Kindle Instant Preview).

There are tabs for writers looking for information on writing, publishing, and marketing.

Amazon Tools and Services Page

One of the most helpful things about the site are the links to Amazon’s tools and services. I’ve always felt as if it was tricky to find everything Amazon offers all in one place (out of sight, out of mind for me.)

Although I’d heard about Amazon’s free screenwriting tool online, for instance, I’d never run across it, despite the time I spend on Amazon.  I think that’s because when I’m on Amazon, I’m either on Author Central or KDP bookshelf/reports and not searching the site.  I’m no screenwriter, but it was interesting to see they offered peer collaboration, auto-formatting (a nice plus), and the ability to submit finished scripts directly to Amazon Studios.  For scripts in the brainstorming stages, they also offer Amazon Storybuilder. Continue reading Amazon Author Insights

Twitterific Writing Links

Bluebird with beak open and 'Twitterific Writing Links' by ElizabethSCraig superimposed on the image

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

A weekly roundup of the best writing links from around the web.

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 40,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

Have you visited the WKB lately?  Check out the new redesign where you can browse by category, and see the character and location name generators! 

Business / Miscellaneous

Continue reading Twitterific Writing Links

Selling to Readers on Etsy

Two women browse walls of books in an independent bookstore--an image to demonstrate how writers can sell on Etsy

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I’ve always heard that smart writers think beyond the story in terms of book marketing. Publishing expert Richard Nash has called it the”commodification of the book” as cited in this interview with Jane Friedman.  He mentions methods of connecting with super fans in the post. But I was always more interested in the personalization of books (signed copies, personal inscriptions) or maybe book-related merchandise.

In a recent Facebook post, Mark Williams of The International Indie Author mentioned selling on e-commerce site Etsy.  I had never in a million years considered making my books available on Etsy. Etsy is the site where I buy crafts and jewelry for my daughter or sister or other family member. And yet…I know writing is a craft. Somehow it just didn’t connect with me that I could set up a shop there.

Things to consider:  Continue reading Selling to Readers on Etsy

Gaining Newsletter Subscribers With Instafreebie

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig 

I’ve been using InstaFreebie since July of last year, but my use was limited to a convenient method of distributing free ebooks to readers or reviewers (and having InstaFreebie’s support to assist readers with any problems).

A short while afterward, I started using InstaFreebie as part of organized multi-author giveaways (there was an author assistant for a group of cozy writers who set it up).  I was in a couple of those and my mailing list grew to the point where I needed to get a paid account with MailChimp.

After reading numerous posts on how InstaFreebie was helpful, long-term, for growing a newsletter list, I decided to alter my approach on the account. I’m not one of those who likes to send out lots of emails to my newsletter list, so I decided to use InstaFreebie as more of a discovery tool. (And I’d like to note that I’m not affiliated with InstaFreebie in any way.)

I started their 30-day free trial, integrated InstaFreebie to my MailChimp list (they provide directions on how to do this).  Then I promptly forgot about it. Continue reading Gaining Newsletter Subscribers With Instafreebie