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.

Writing Commercial Fiction: Characters, Or Plot?

Writing Commercial Fiction: Characters, Or Plot?

As you may be aware, we’ve just launched our new plotting program, Hot Plots. Several readers asked whether can you use plotting formulas, like Polti’s Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations, when writing commercial fiction.

My response: whatever gets you through the day. I’ve never found any canned plotting formulas helpful. They’re distracting, and can be boring. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Which brings us to the ever-popular question: what comes first, character, or plot?

Character or plot, when you’re writing fiction? (Start with genre)

For commercial fiction, start with genre.

Over the years, I’ve found that students often try writing first, and want to decide on a genre later.

Tip: please don’t do this. The results aren’t pretty. Choose genre FIRST. It’s almost impossible to try and shoehorn fiction into a genre after you’ve written it. Readers come first, and they want what they want. To sell your fiction, give it to them.

Let’s say that you’ve written a novel which has a little bit of mystery, a little bit of suspense, and a little romance. You could slot your novel into any of those genres. However, it’s unlikely to appeal to masses of readers in those genres because it doesn’t have enough of what they want.

The suspense readers complain that there’s not enough suspense. The mystery people whine because there’s little mystery. And the romance folk are annoyed because you haven’t developed the romance between the characters.

Once you’ve chosen your genre, try to stick to the conventions in that genre. Otherwise — yes, you guessed it — your readers will complain.

Here’s an example. In romance fiction, it’s accepted that your lead characters don’t cheat. That’s the convention, and here’s why: there’s enough nastiness in real life. Romance readers read to escape. Cheating in a hero or heroine is unacceptable. Even if your heroine is separated from her wife-beating spouse, it’s unacceptable for her to begin a romance with your tall dark and handsome hero until the divorce.

If you’ve just got to have a cheating lead, you’re writing women’s fiction, not romance. This means that you can’t focus solely on the romance, because if you do, you won’t be satisfying the readers who read women’s fiction.

(If you’re new to writing fiction, press on. Keep writing. In your first draft, just keep moving forward. Don’t worry about anything other than writing — that always comes first. You can sort out any challenges in your final draft.)

Once you’ve chosen your genre, decide on your lead character — your primary point of view (POV) character.

Choose your genre POV character

I describe the process that works for me an my students in Hot Plots: Craft Hot-Selling Fiction in 5 Minutes (or less).

Starting with a genre, and then developing a character, works for me, because I’m lazy. I just want to get on with the writing. This means that once I have a character, I know that all I need to do is to kick the character into action, and hey presto — the plot sorts itself out. Moreover, that plot takes into account the genre conventions, because I’ve chosen the genre first.

But what if you’ve already done some plotting?

“I want to start with the plot…”

That’s fine. Whatever works. If you’ve got a great idea, and you’ve worked out the plot, that’s wonderful. Sometimes a plot just pops into your mind, like a gift from the gods, and you run with it.

You’ll find that each and every novel and short story is different. It doesn’t matter how you start, as long as you keep the genre in mind, and write entertaining material that engrosses you, and then, your readers.

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: When You Publish And No One Cares

Indie Publishing: When You Publish And No One Cares

Indie publishing offers great opportunities, but it can also break your heart. Maybe you’ve been there. You tweet and blog endlessly about: “my new book”, yada, yada… And… crickets.

You’ve just learned a great lesson. It’s a gift, I promise you.

You can rescue the situation, but pay attention now, and remember: WIIFM — what’s in it for me. No one cares about your new book — except you, your mother and your best friend. And even your mother and best friend are bored with it.

Everyone wants to know: “what’s in it for me?” Everyone. Including you. Unless you tell potential readers what’s in it for them, they don’t care that you’ve slaved for months over your book’s 103,567 words. Nor do they care that it cost you big bucks to get the book edited. Or that you spent almost $800 on a cover.

Why should they? It’s nothing to do with them.

When the “I published but no one cares” writers hire me to coach them, I listen their story of blogging, tweeting, pinning et al, and then I click on their Amazon link. And there it is. When these poor writers manage to entice readers to their product page, what do readers find?

These writers have blogged and tweeted until their eyes are sore. Their wonderful book’s description however is pitiful. It’s four lines. FOUR lines. It shouldn’t surprise me because I’ve seen it so often, but it always does.

Selling your book starts on your book’s product page

Here’s a tip. Marketing starts with readers.

READERS. (Shouting, yes.) 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.)

And that’s not all. Google indexes Amazon too, so you’ll find readers who search Google for “paranormal mystery zombies small town cozy” will find your book. Obviously, I’m making those keywords up, but my point is: the more words on your product page, the better.

Nor are the words beneficial only for visibility, and find-ability — they’re an advertisement on Amazon, for your book. For free.

Selling your books starts on your books’ Amazon page. So — please, please… pay attention to your book’s Amazon page.

Now, back to WIIFM. And readers.

Readers read what THEY like. Collect readers who like your writing

I read a lot, every day. However, there are many forms of fiction I dislike. I’m sure there are many, many books you’d never read. Not even if you were paid to do it. Readers read for enjoyment. Or because they need to — they want information for their job, or to do something or other.

Most of Amazon’s millions of customers aren’t interested in your books. They wouldn’t read them even if they were free, forever.

However, there are readers who will LOVE your books. It’s your job to find them. That’s what all the tweeting and blogging is for — to find those readers who love what you write.

When you find them, treat them well. Treat them like your new best friends, because they are. They’re your readers, and each person on your mailing list (create a list) counts. You hope that your readers will read the books you have out now, the book you’ve just released, and books you’ll write in the future.

In the future, you can tell your readers — your mailing list — “I’ve just published my new book”, and you’ll get more than crickets in response.

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.

How To Write Commercial Fiction With Hot Plots

How To Write Commercial Fiction With Hot Plots

Today, many writers want to write commercial fiction — stories which sell. Some writers make more money in a week from their sales on the Kindle bookstore than other writers make in a year.

There’s real gold in commercial fiction. However, there are challenges.

Your biggest challenge is realizing that readers read for one thing: entertainment. They want to live your story, and feel the emotions.

The most common advice given to new novelists and short story writers is: write what you LOVE to read. It’s the best advice, because if you don’t feel what you’re writing, readers won’t feel it either and your books will fail. You truly can’t fake emotion.

If you’re a nonfiction writer, you’ll need to change your mindset from one of logic and facts to focusing on story. What makes great stories? What are readers of the various genres (mystery, romance, science fiction, New Adult, etc.) looking for?

Some of my writing students think they can’t make the switch to writing fiction, but they want to. Let’s look at why you might want to write commercial fiction.

Why write commercial fiction?

The first reason of course is money. There’s much more money in entertainment than there is in other forms of writing. (Except for copywriting.)

That said, if you focus solely on the money, you will FAIL. You need to love reading fiction, and you need to feel that writing in a genre isn’t beyond you. When you read a novel, or a story, and think to yourself: “I could write that”, you’re right. You could.

Other reasons to write commercial fiction:

  • You’re writing short stories and novels which will sell for many years. (Jane Austen’s been selling for 200 years.) Most authors who make money writing fiction never have a bestseller. They’re happy with consistent sales. Each book you write brings in an income;
  • You’re diversifying. Freelance writing can be precarious. If your best client goes broke, it affects your income. You need to hustle to replace him. Having a side income offers security;
  • You can write fiction anywhere — if you have day job, write in the mornings, or late at night. Or in your lunch hour;
  • Your fiction skills translate to other writing. I started my professional writing career writing romance novels. I knew all about emotion, so copywriting came very easily to me.

Discover the “Hot Plots” plotting and writing process

Fiction is stories. Everyone loves stories. Readers read stories for escape, to learn more about other people, and to feel specific emotions.

Stories have a shape. Over the years, you’ve been exposed to stories not only in your reading, but also on TV and at the movies. You know stories.

This means that it’s (relatively) easy for you to write them, as long as you don’t get tangled up in your words, and lose the plot. (Pun intended.)

I created the Hot Plots process for my students. I wanted a process that was easy, simple for new writers to use, as well as for more experienced writers. And fast. It had to be fast… I heard “I can’t write this…” one time too often, and boiled story creation and plotting down to five elements.

When you’re writing short stories you’ll only use four of those elements. Your plots grow organically, and the process begins when you create a genre character, in just a minute. Yep, one minute. It’s fast. :-)

Enjoy. My sincere hope is that even if you think that you can’t write commercial fiction (“I don’t have any imagination” or similar) Hot Plots will show you that you can, and that it’s the most fun you’ve ever had.

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.

Blogging For Writers: 4 Platform Tips

Blogging For Writers: 4 Platform Tips

I’m a huge fan of blogging. Over some 16 years of blogging, I’ve run hundreds of blogs. Yes, hundreds, literally. At least once a week, someone asks me about blogging for writers — which platform is best?

Of course, there’s no “best”. There’s what’s easiest, fastest, and the best option for you, at that time. Your needs will change, so it’s best not to be too wedded to any individual platform.

Over the years, I’ve become totally convinced of that. Some writer gets told “you must use WordPress, on your own hosting account”, and the poor writer never gets beyond that. He never sets up his blog, because there’s too much to learn.

TNW’s just published an article on the best blogging platforms:

“Here’s our ultimate guide to the best places for getting your blog set up for the first time, or as a new home for those who are tired of what they’re already using.”

That post gives you an excellent overview of today’s wide choice of platforms. They’re all good. You’re looking for the one that’s good for you, at this time.

Consider these tips before you choose.

1. Chose the simplest platform: only content matters (and content is portable)

You’re a Kindle author — or you aspire to be. You’ve heard that blogging helps you to make sales. (It does.) You want to set up a blog.

Or, you’re a freelancer who wants to get better clients. You need a blog.

Vital: remember that the goal of blogging IS NOT BLOGGING. (And yes, I’m shouting.) Your goal is selling Kindle books, or getting great clients, or whatever it is that you want.

So forget “the best” blogging platform. Choose the one that’s simplest. Currently, my own choice for a simple blog would be WordPress.com. Or Blogger.com. Here’s why. Both services make it easy to move your content elsewhere when it’s time to do that.

I like Medium. You create an account, and start blogging. However, it has challenges when it comes to moving your content easily and simply.

Its branding is overbearing too. Here’s my URL on Medium: https://medium.com/@angee Totally useless. (It uses my Twitter name.)

Which brings us to an important point: use your own name (or whichever pen name you’re promoting) in the URL of your blog on whichever platform you choose. Medium doesn’t allow that, as far as I know, which makes it pretty much useless as a promotional platform for writers.

Be aware that I’m not suggesting that you can’t use Medium. But be aware of its severe limitations too. Your aim with blogging is to promote your name (or pen name.)

2. Choose a FREE platform for your first blog (move elsewhere, later, and only if you must)

Generally speaking, I’m all for you spending money on domains and hosting, and other blogging essentials. However, that comes later, when you see what results you’re getting from a free account.

Once you know what your results are, you’ll also know what you need. It’s impossible to know what you need, before you’ve been blogging for at least six months, preferably a year.

You can move your content to your own host, when you have real and pressing reasons to do that.

Don’t be too eager. Hosting accounts bring their own problems. You’ve got to be careful of what you do. You can get spammed, hacked… You don’t need that aggravation, until the benefits far outweigh any aggravation.

Which brings us to…

3. Three words: audience, audience, audience!

You know I’m passionate when I use an exclamation point, because I hate them.

As we’ve said, blogging helps you to achieve your goals. You’re blogging for a specific audience, always.

If you’re promoting your Kindle books, you have an audience. You may have several audiences, across several topics if you’re writing nonfiction, or several genres, if you’re writing fiction.

If you stick with one name, stick with one blog. Your name needs to be in the URL, as we mentioned above.

Using a pen name? Create a blog for it, on a free platform, until you know your needs for that name.

4. Treat all blogging advice (including these tips) with suspicion

I started blogging when blogging was unusual for writers. I’ve never considered it “blogging”, as such. To me, blogging is always instant publishing. That point of view has worked for me. It helped me to ignore the shrieks of horror (“you’re writing for free, the world is ending”) in the early years.

It’s also helped me to ignore the constant unwanted advice — variations on: “you should be doing (whatever the new thing was at that moment)” throughout the years.

I know how blogging works for me. You’ll discover how it works for you, too. You’re a writer. Blogging is instant publication. It will work for you as a writer, as long as you trust yourself, and your writing.

Happy writing…. :-)

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.