Your Kindle Publishing Plan: Turbocharge It With Short Stories

Your Kindle Publishing Plan: Turbocharge It With Short Stories

The big benefit of Kindle publishing is that there’s no middle man anywhere. No client to tell you what to write. No publisher, ditto. There’s just you. Books take time to write however.

Formerly, novelists were considered prolific if they managed a book a year. Today, many Kindle authors aim to publish a novel at least once every quarter. They also aim to boost their presence on the Kindle Store with a regular short story publishing program.

Several readers have asked me for my best short story tips. I gave you five useful tips way back in 2013. I’ve updated the post, and was surprised that there wasn’t anything I wanted to change.

Here are those tips.

  1. Start with a character who’s got a problem
  2. Play fair: no dreams
  3. Get to the point, but not too quickly
  4. Consider the genre
  5. Write short stories/ READ short stories

GENRE is vital (tip 4), if you want to make money

Pay special attention to GENRE. When readers look for entertainment, they’re looking for a certain type of story. When you pick a hot genre, you’re giving readers what they want — that’s the essence of marketing.

Take a look at the Best Sellers in Fiction, on Amazon. A few examples of literary fiction sneaked in there, but mostly it’s genre fiction all the way.

An aside. If you want to write literary fiction, make sure you’ve got a few years to spare. Firstly to write your novel, and then to find an agent and publisher, and wait for them to publish your book. Five years sounds about right.

I’ve got nothing against literary fiction, but if you want to make a career of fiction, please realize that you’re writing entertainments. Readers read for an emotional charge, and for escape from their daily lives, so they read genre (commercial) fiction. End digression. :-)

The “Short Stories” category on Amazon: choose an additional genre

Occasionally someone asks me why their short story isn’t selling. I look it up on Amazon, and check the category. Usually, they’ve posted it to Amazon’s “Short Stories” category, and nowhere else. Choose an additional category — your story’s genre. Better yet, consider category FIRST, before you start writing.

I’ve just checked Short Stories on Amazon, and it’s packed solid with erotica. There’s a clue there, somewhere. :-)

In my own writing I tend to avoid the Short Stories category. Amazon only allows you to choose two categories, so I choose the most appropriate for the genre; I add short story, or novella to the title, and emphasize it in the description as well.

Publish short stories regularly: it boosts all your fiction

When I’m working with students, I suggest that they look on short fiction as being free advertising.

A short story takes only a few hours to write, and it sells forever. Readers who enjoy your story will check out your other fiction. They may even check out your website and join your mailing list. You can get big results from just a few hours of writing. Have fun. :-)

Story Power: short stories made easy

Story Power

Story Power — insider secrets of writing short stories and making them work for you: writing serials, and series.

Write with me: over four weeks, you’ll discover HOW to not only write short fiction, but also make money at it. I make a very nice income ghostwriting fiction for clients, and also selling my own short fiction under various genre pen names.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Fiction Writing Pitfalls: Beware Nodding, And Wandering Eyes

Fiction Writing Pitfalls: Beware Nodding, And Wandering Eyes

Fiction writing has its pitfalls, and some of them can be unintentionally humorous. Your characters can get what I can “the nods”, like TV reporters’ noddies:

“The noddies consist of nods and other similar “listening gestures” made by the interviewer. If only one camera is available at the interview site, then these shots are recorded after the actual interview takes place.”

When you’re reading what you’ve written a day or two later, you feel like slapping your characters to knock some sense into them… :-)

Another pitfall is wandering eyeballs. Your characters are forever gazing at something or other. They meet each other’s gazes, and stare at each other.

In real life, most people don’t stare at others. It’s discourteous — staring people in the eye mostly happens in the movies.

The noddies are OK in your first draft

Noddies are fine in your first draft.

In How to Write Scenes in Novels and Short Stories, I gave you an easy way to write scenes, so that something actually happens in your scenes.

How to Write Scenes in Novels and Short Stories
How to Write Scenes in Novels and Short Stories

When you use this process for writing scenes, your characters will get the noddies, and that’s OK. You can fix it the next day, when you read through your scene. Or you can fix it in your next draft.

Wandering eyes are OK too, in first draft material, so don’t be obsessive when you’re trying to get the story down. You can fix irritating character behavior in your next draft.

The fix: focus on your characters’ thoughts

Characters who sigh a lot are a hassle too. Just this morning, I realized that the main character in one of my current novels in progress is the Queen of the Dramatic Sigh. That’s OK, I’ll stop her sighing from now on, and will fix the problem while I’m editing.

Generally speaking, when your fictional characters get nods, wondering eyes, sighs, and other twitches, you can fix it by focusing on their emotions.

Ask yourself how each character’s feeling in a scene. A physical tic like a sigh reveals thoughts. What’s she thinking, and feeling? Write down her thoughts. Don’t describe the emotion — readers will get what the emotion is, from the character’s thoughts.

Keep writing — every writer has these kinds of challenges

When you find yourself with a bunch of characters twitching away, don’t despair. It’s fine — it happens to every writer. All our fictional characters behave in this way. Never concern yourself with pitfalls like this when you’re writing — all that matters is that you get the words down.

You can — and you will — fix the madness later.

Have fun. :-)

Hot Plots: Craft Hot-Selling Fiction in 5 Minutes (or less)

How To Write Commercial Fiction With Hot Plots

The big secret of making money from your fiction is writing a lot. And publishing strategically and consistently. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program ensures that authors can make money from short stories, and all kinds of fiction. Moreover, whatever you’re publishing, you have a global audience.

You’re about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you’re writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. Discover Hot Plots.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Indie Publishing Makes Sense (Keep Your Profits)

Indie Publishing Makes Sense (Keep Your Profits)

Listen up, if you’re writing a book, or want to write one. Indie publishing makes sense FOR YOU. It isn’t merely the option for those authors “who couldn’t get a publishing contract anyway.”

It makes sense for every writer, because… it’s your hard work. No one else’s. Why would you want to make publishers and agents rich? Where were they when the page (or computer screen) was blank?

When I published this post, Indie Publishing: When You Publish And No One Cares, I got several messages from authors whose point was that it was better to opt for traditional publication rather than self-publish, because “the publisher does all that stuff.” By “stuff” they meant everything, not just book promotion.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I did neither. I simply replied: “You may be right.”

It’s not my job to educate authors who’ve never dealt with big publishers. They’ll learn. I just hope their experiences don’t kill their love of writing.

In the end, your publishing future depends on you. On whether you trust yourself.

Is a 13-book, $3.4 million, 10-year deal, a good offer?

Many authors would consider that it is. And in traditional publishing terms, maybe it is.

For indie publishers, however, as The Passive Voice points out:

“At 1,000 books per title per month, these sales would generate about $327,000 per year in indie royalties for Scalzi (no agent necessary). If we increased the sales of these 13 books to a more-healthy five-figure annual total based on 2,000 copies per title per month, Scalzi would be looking at $653,000 per year in royalties. And, unlike advances, which will cut off after the last book is published, that $600K+ per year won’t fall off a cliff after ten years.”

Indie publishing isn’t rocket science

It’s not hard to self-publish your books. You do need a little confidence in yourself, so maybe it isn’t for everyone. More and more traditionally published authors are making the switch to indie publishing however, because they have more control over what they publish and when, and they keep their hard-earned profits.

It all comes down to trust… who do you trust?

If you trust a publisher to “do all that stuff”, then by all means, go the traditional publishing route. See what results you get — but don’t give the publisher an option on your next book.

On the other hand, if you trust yourself, then go the indie publishing route. It’s a lot faster — and more fun. And it may just be more profitable too.

Sell Kindle Ebooks: Write Bestselling Genre Fiction & Nonfiction FAST

Sell Kindle Ebooks: Write Bestselling Genre Fiction & Nonfiction FAST

Sell Kindle Ebooks is a comprehensive self-publishing program which helps you to make the most of your talents. Take advantage of the power of Amazon to write both genre fiction, AND nonfiction. It’s time to develop a publishing program, and tell your day job goodbye.

You receive everything you need to become a publisher of both fiction and nonfiction.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Your Creative Business: 5 Tips To Overcome Your Fears

Your Creative Business: 5 Tips To Overcome Your Fears

At least once a week, I receive a message from a writer who enjoys writing, and would love to make money from his creativity. But his fears get in the way. Let’s look at five tips to help you to overcome your fears, and develop your own creative business.

1. Develop a “baby steps” mindset: do one thing at a time

Mindfulness is all the rage these days. You don’t have to practice meditation to get the gist of mindfulness — although meditating couldn’t hurt. Basically, mindfulness is just common sense: it’s focused concentration. You stay focused on what you’re doing at this precise moment, and nothing else. When you do that, your fears can’t overwhelm you.

Is it a challenge? Yes, and no. Yes, because we live in a crazy culture and aren’t used to paying attention to just one thing. And no, because when you’re distracted — and you will be distracted — you simply bring your attention back to what you’re concentrating on.

For example, in our second tip below, you look at what you’ve written in the past year (or more, if you’ve been writing for a while.) You attempt to match your writing with what buyers are looking for.

Here’s what will happen when you do this. You’ll open a folder on your computer, and before you’ve looked at a single document, you’re distracted by your inner editor, who kvetches: are you mad, no one will ever pay for your writing… you don’t know what you’re doing… etc.

Expect these kinds of distractions. Most of your distractions will be from your inner editor.

People will distract you too. Someone will knock on your office door, or your kids will ask you to do something, or your partner will announce that it’s time to take the dog for a walk.

Tell them: “Not right now. Later.” Then just go back to what you’re doing.

Chunk every project down into small tasks, and whenever you’re distracted (distractions will happen many, many times at first), acknowledge each distraction, and go back to your small task.

If you take baby steps, one small task after another, you’ll strengthen your ability to concentrate. This eliminates fear, because your fears never get a chance to grow.

2. Match what you like to write, with writing services for which buyers pay

Let’s say that you’ve been writing short stories. No one will pay for them, will they?

Yes, they will. You can upload your short stories onto Amazon. Alternatively, you use the writing skills you’ve developed writing short stories, and can create Web content. Content marketing is hot today. Companies buy content to use as promotion.

3. Shy? Sell products, instead of writing services

Perhaps you’re shy. Many writers are. The thought of facing clients and doing presentations makes you quail. That’s fine. Create products, and sell them.

You can sell Web content, short stories, novels… Amazon’s Kindle Store is a boon for writers, but you can go beyond the Kindle Store too, and sell your products on the Web.

All that’s required is that you write, and focus. (See our first tip. Concentrate on one thing at a time. Baby steps.)

4. Make connections, and get paid more

The more people who know you, the more your creative business will grow. For example, early in the 1990s, I wrote for several tech magazines. I loved it, because I loved playing with computers and software — I still do.

My byline appeared in magazines, so acquisitions editors at publishing companies approached me. I contributed chapters to several tech books. Then I was hired as a ghostwriter on several projects. And then I was hired to write business books.

The more connections you make, the more you’ll be approached by people who see your name. That’s always been the case.

Making connections is simple. Approach people, or get your name out there, and wait for them to approach you.

5. Approach businesses, rather than publications — and don’t allow manipulation

Apropos of making connections — approach businesses, rather than publications.

Publications tend to manipulate writers.

Several writers have shared their experiences with publications. Not only do some publications expect you write the article you’re assigned, you’re also expected to promote the piece: through your social media accounts, and by asking for links from other websites.

Read your contracts carefully. Your social media accounts are valuable. They’ve taken time and energy to grow. Charge for promotion on your accounts; don’t promote for free.

Generally speaking, companies won’t try to rip you off as much as publications will. If you’ve got social media accounts, they’ll pay you for promotions.

Today, if you love to write, you can develop your own creative business. All that stands in the way is you. Ignore your inner editor. Focus on baby steps, and you’ll overcome your fears.

Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits

Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits

Want to turn your writing into a creative business? Over the past few months, we’ve had many queries asking when the Your Creative Business coaching program would return, and we’re happy to announce that it’s back. Get started today: put your creativity to work.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Write Fiction For Kindle: 5 Tips

Write Fiction For Kindle: 5 Tips

A reader asked an interesting question: “When you write fiction for KDP, is it different from writing fiction for print?” (KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing. And by “for print” she meant for traditional publishing, via a literary agent and publisher, etc.)

It made me think, and realize that yes indeed, there are differences, and those differences are important if you want to sell books. (Let’s call Kindle ebooks “books”, for simplicity. That’s what they are, and today, a “book” is likely to be an ebook, a print book, an audio book etc.)

Let’s look at five tips to help you to write successful Kindle books. These tips work for nonfiction, as well as fiction.

1. Kindle books are focused, and SHORT: focus when you write

Before Amazon launched Kindle, markets for short stories were pretty much non-existent. Kindle readers changed that. Today, if you write fiction, and aren’t writing short stories, you’re missing a good market.

You can reach that market via Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (KU) program. It’s had big effect on self-publishers: it can help you to build your brand as an author. You do this by creating shorter books, specifically for KU.

If you’re writing fiction, write short stories, or shorter works if you’re writing nonfiction.

2. Write in series: you need visibility on the Kindle Store

Series books, and serials, sell well. Readers enjoy them, and if they enjoy one book in your series, you can sell more books in that series.

Series also increase your visibilily; this applies to nonfiction, as well as fiction.

3. Publish FAST: get an idea, and write it, don’t dither (someone will beat you to it)

Today, you don’t need to shop proposals around to publishers. You just write your book. Once you have an idea you think will sell, write a short story, or a short non-fiction book. If the book sells, capitalize on your idea by writing more stories, or more books on your topic.

4. Think readers: meta data helps your books to be found

“Meta” data is data about your book. It’s the title, the description, and the keywords you use to lead readers to your book. Few authors pay enough attention to their meta data.

We talked about meta data in this post, Indie Publishing: When You Publish And No One Cares:

Once you get readers to your book’s page, give them something to read — reasons to buy your book. Amazon gives you 4000 characters (around 800 words). Use them.

Not only do those 800 words lift your chances of being found on Amazon, Amazon does you a big favor. It assesses your description, and gives your book more categories. (Once your book’s been up for a week or two, scroll down to the bottom of the page to see what categories Amazon’s chosen.)

Pay attention to the meta data when you upload your books — it’s vital.

5. Bake in promotion: front matter, back matter, and your website

Every book you publish helps you to sell other books you’ve published. Use the front matter, and back matter of your book for promotion.

In the front matter, just after your copyright notice, invite readers to your website, so that they can join your mailing list. In the back matter, add Amazon links to other books you’ve published. That’s painless promotion. It costs you nothing at all, and no further effort.

Use these five tips — they’ll help you to sell more books. They might give you ideas for more books you can write, too.

Story Power: short stories made easy

Story Power

Story Power — insider secrets of writing short stories and making them work for you: writing serials, and series.

Write with me: over four weeks, you’ll discover HOW to not only write short fiction, but also make money at it. I make a very nice income ghostwriting fiction for clients, and also selling my own short fiction under various genre pen names.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Indie Publishing And Money

Indie Publishing And Money

We’ve released our new fiction plotting guide, Hot Plots. So freelance writers have been asking about indie publishing and money — can you really make a living as a self-published author?

The short answer is: yes, you can. The only proviso is that you write stuff that people want to read. 😉 We’ve been talking about writing commercial fiction this week, to help you to write fiction which sells.

Apropos of which, Author Earnings reports that 69% of the 50,000 top-selling ebooks on Amazon are genre fiction. So if you want to make money, that’s what you’ll write.

You don’t need to take it on faith that writers are making money spinning stories out of their imagination.

Indie authors quitting their day jobs

The Passive Voice blog’s been asking authors to share their “I quit my day job” stories in a series of posts. All those posts received massive comments, so you can see that yes, indeed, people are making a good living writing fiction and self-publishing it.

Mike Shreeve shared his story too, and tells you:

“What it takes to go from $9061.59/month in royalties to just over $60,000/month is royalties in just 2 short months…”

Can YOU write fiction?

When writers ask me “can you really make money writing fiction?”, they’re asking me whether it’s possible for them.

I ask these writers what they read. If they read fiction, and enjoy it, and have a favorite genre that they read for pleasure, I ask them whether they can see themselves writing these kinds of books?

If you can see yourself doing it, you can.

Beyond that, it’s impossible to give you any guarantees. That applies to all forms of writing. If you want to make a go of any form of writing — and you know that you won’t give up, no matter what — of course you can make a living at it.

You need to keep reading, and keep writing. And keep publishing, of course.

Hot Plots: Craft Hot-Selling Fiction in 5 Minutes (or less)

How To Write Commercial Fiction With Hot Plots

The big secret of making money from your fiction is writing a lot. And publishing strategically and consistently. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program ensures that authors can make money from short stories, and all kinds of fiction. Moreover, whatever you’re publishing, you have a global audience.

You’re about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you’re writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. Discover Hot Plots.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.