"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Saturday, June 27, 2020

June Scribbler Box: Pacing

The June box from Scribbler has arrivedYou can learn about previous boxes, and why I subscribed by clicking the "Scribbler" link in the labels below.

As always, the first thing you see upon opening the box is a writing exercise/contest postcard. Each month provides a new challenge for writers to practice. The deadline for this month is July 13th. 

The "Curated Writerly Gifts" this month include a "Tell Your Story" pin, a "Future Bestseller" notepad, a bookmark featuring this months book, a bag of "Citrus Chamomile" tea, and a "Writing Around the House" prompts and story ideas writing map.

As usual, this box also came with an inside look at the publishing process for this months author, and an exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional: Eliza Swift, Senior Editor of Children's and Young Adult Books at Sourcebooks. There is also a collectible 'Writing Passport' with the author discussing this months theme which is PACING.

This months new release is LITTLE CREEPING THINGS by Chelsea Ichaso.

A compulsively readable debut with a narrator you just can't trust, perfect for fans of Natasha Preston.

As a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that's what she's been told. She can't remember anything from that day. She's pretty sure she didn't mean to do it. She's a victim too. But her town's bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down. In Melody's eyes, Cassidy is a murderer and always will be.
When Cassidy overhears what sounded like an abduction and Melody goes missing, Cassidy knows she should go to the cops, but... She recently joked about how much she'd like to get rid of Melody. She even planned out the perfect way to do it. It's up to Cassidy to figure out what really happened, because if she comes forward without a suspect, she knows people will point fingers at her. Again. And she can't let that happen.
But the truth behind Melody's disappearance will set the whole town ablaze.
If you'd like to see learn about previous boxes, click on the "Scribbler" link in the labels below.

Do you subscribe to any boxing services? What do you recommend? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Monday, June 22, 2020

5 Reasons to Write Short, Plus 20 More

The ability to write a short story, and write it well, is invaluable to any author. Writers can benefit from regularly immersing themselves in short fiction. I'm sure you've heard the adage "the best way to build a career as a writer is to write a lot."

So, here are 5 of my reasons you should be writing short fiction,k plus thoughts from other authors:

1. Variety - many authors will tell you to only write in one genre, but I disagree. If you're not sure what style you prefer, or if you want to try a variety, short stories are a great place to attempt new works without committing to novel length. If you're like me, you end up with more ideas for stories than you ever have time to address. Shorter works allows you to explore more story lines. The more you produce, the more likely you are to show up in someone's Amazon or Goodreads feed - such as through the "Customers who bought or read this, also recommend..." feature. So, having more ways they can find you—that is, more books and more short stories—means that readers are more likely to remember you and eventually they’re more likely to buy. For more information on the length of various genres, see Word Count Woes.

2. Hone Skills - Whether your attempting that new genre, a different time period, or writing from a different POV (for example gender or ethnic based) short stories can be the answer. Since they are less of a commitment than a full novel, you can experiment, practice, and attempt to tackle new skills. Because they are so short, all of you weaknesses are magnified. While this is extremely annoying, it helps you pinpoint exactly what you have problems with when it comes to writing style or idea development. It also forces you to find a way to fix these problems, which not only results in a good short story, but will also help you later on in future projects. Writing is a process of continual learning and growth, and even the failed experiments can help you become a better writer and build better relationships with your readers.

3. Platform Expansion - writing more frequently (more short stories) allows you the opportunity to submit to more markets, or self-publish a larger number, thus building your platform by reaching larger numbers of audiences. The more you write, the easier it is for people to find you. I've expanded on this idea within the other four points.

4. Multiple Price Points - Readers are a mixed bag when it comes to what they are willing to spend money to purchase. If you offer a variety of lengths and price points, you are more likely to reach a wider audience. For instance, some audiences refuse to buy works from a single unfamiliar author so they are more likely to pay the price of an anthology (anywhere from $0.99 to $29.99) to try multiple authors. Some readers refuse to pay more than a dollar while other refuse to buy something that cheap believing there is a reason the price is so low (i.e. it's garbage). So, if you can publish both traditionally and self, but at multiple price points then you are more likely to find yourself in a variety of reader’s budgets therefore eliminating any excuses not to buy. Once you’ve written a bunch of short stories, you can collect them into an anthology of your own. For more information on the price of various length pieces, see Counting the Cost of Words.

5. PromotionGiving away copies of your work is an excellent strategy to win new readers. But what if you don’t have a series of novels where you can make the first book free? Or you don’t want to give away a thousand copies of your novel just to get 35 paying buyers? Short stories are the best way to promote yourself, or a new release. You can post short stories on your blog to draw new readers, offer story downloads to newsletter readers, and offer Kindle freebies to build your readership.

Interested what other short story authors think? Check out these four articles:

Monday, June 15, 2020

2020 Summer Literary Trips

Due to the apocalyptic like events of 2020, we currently are not planning any big trips this year. My regular followers know that I love adding little literary stops to each of my vacations if I don't outright plan an ENTIRE literary tour de force.

Since we aren't stopping anywhere new for a while, we've been enjoying looking back at all of the literary stops we've made in the past. Curious what locations have attracted us? Check out these locales:

17 New Orleans French Quarter Literary Hot Spots
26 Days of Literary Scotland
7 Austin, Texas Literary Locations
10 Italian Literary Hot Spots
10 Places You Can Drink Like Your Favorite Writer
10 Reading Venues Worth a Visit
7 Literary Locations to Visit With Kids
5 Writers Homes for Literary Vacations
Poe Museum

6 Authors and Their Literary Stops in Southern California
The Haunted Book Shop

How about you? Have you taken, or would you recommend any literary visits?

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

22 Pet Publications Open for Submission

To the left is a picture of the baby I lost a year ago in May. This dachshund was named Dulcinea - Dulci for short. Bonus points if you get the literary reference.

We recently adopted a new Dachshund baby (below) and my girls decided to name her Bella. You don't get as many Bonus points if you get the literary reference for this one.

Curious what type of pets writers prefer? I did a little research and found many of them have loved cats, dogs, and other usual household pets. However, just as many of them have preferred unusual, or endangered, ones including ravens and peacocks.

To find out what pets make the best partners for writers, or to peruse photographs of famous duos, try one of the six articles below :

The Best Pet for a Writers Health and Well-being
Adorable Pictures of Famous Writers and Their Pets

Literary Pets

Writers and Their Pets

Literary Figures and Their Wild Pets

Authors and Their Pets - Pinterest Photos

Do you want to write about your pets? Check out these 22 opportunities:

Dog Writers Association of America - http://www.wideopenpets.com/contributors/ 

Life Lessons from your Cat or Dog - http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics 

Simply Pets Lifestyle - https://www.simplypetslifestyle.com/submission-guidelines

Wide Open - https://www.wideopenmediagroup.com/careers/

18 more pet publications - https://thewritelife.com/pet-publications/

What type of pets do you have? What name did you pick and why? Did you figure out the literary references for my dogs names?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

IWSG: A Writers Secret

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

JUNE QUESTION Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

MY ANSWER: I LOVE to read and write romance - voraciously. Why might this be considered a secret? The truth is, while I have written A LOT more romance than any other genre, I haven't attempted to publish most of it. I'm not sure why - perhaps academic stigma? Most of what I have published has been nonfiction, science fiction, horror, etc. - you know - serious genres. I think somewhere along the way, I've subconsciously picked up the idea that to be taken seriously as a professor, teacher, etc. I must steer clear of "cheap, tawdry, smut". I still can't figure out how Romance causes this negative backlash. Ok, so there is the erotic genre, but I'm talking about sweet, or soft core, romance - nothing centered on on what happens (or should happen) behind closed doors. Most of the romances I've written I'm completely comfortable sharing with my mom and daughters, but not the rest of the world.

Why do you think romance has this stigma? Do you think it's a legitimate concern? Do you have any secrets?