The Power of Shorts

shorts
Photo Image by Josh Willink and blog design by Ericajean using Canva

I’m not talking about the tiny things people will be wearing on their legs this summer.

I’m talking about the incredible short fiction that is actually selling well on the Kindle and Smashwords.

Don’t believe me? Check this out:

“I know of one writer who sells collections of short pieces of erotica. She tells me she makes $15,000 a month, and expects to make more, as she releases more collections… So short stories are goldmines, these days.”[ http://www.fabfreelancewriting.com/blog/2013/06/25/writing-kindle-ficion-make-money-with-short-stories/]

Let’s Talk Short Pieces and Long Money

Just from those pieces of information, I know two things: One, short fiction is back.

Two: Writing in the popular categories(a.k.a. romance) will earn you more money as a writer.

Do I know this from personal experience?

Yes and…no.

I’ve written a story less than 150 pages for Smashwords and Barnes and Noble and it amassed about $23.00  at 0.99 per book.

Why the low sales?

Actually I received thousands of downloads when it was free. When I experimented and set it to 0.99 for a short while, it earned $23 buckaroos. Not much.

But I did not lose hope.

I began sifting through articles to find real writers who are earning an income and they are totally making a living out of this short fiction thing.

But, I don’t think it is as easy as it may seem.

Picking the Piece That Fits You

What if you don’t like writing romance? What if you are into mystery and thrillers or nonfiction?

Well, the stats are in the favor of these top four categories:

Lucky for me, I enjoy all four of these categories and regularly read the books within them. But I’ll be honest. Romance is my #1 fav hands down.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading D.K. Cassidy’s Room #42 and last year enjoyed Trish Marie Dawson’s The Station Series.

These books are fantastic and are not chunky page-wise.

In fact, Trish Marie Dawson’s The Station Series’ books, are less than 200 pages each and still I craved them enough to spend  3.99 on each book. Her first book is free.

Hopefully, knowing this is making it easier to consider writing short fiction. If not, here is more to persuade you…

I just bought D.K. Cassidy’s Sleepless book because her short read, Room 42 had me hooked to her writing.

The Key to Serving Up Your Stories

I notice a trend in pricing models too. For example, series seem to do extremely well online- especially if the first book is free.

If you want people to gobble down your books, serve them up a free appetizer and you will see your audience grow(of course this all depends on factors such as cover design, selecting the right categories for your book and great writing skills).

As a bookworm and writer I see the benefits from both ends. For one, as a reader I need to know where your stories are going and your tone in the books before I make any kind of extra purchase within the series.

C’mon even movies have trailers.

Secondly, as a writer, posting up free reads is a genius plan to get people hyped about the following books.

I heard of Kindle Singles and Kindle Worlds as well for writers to place their short stories. I am unfamiliar with these tools so please help me out if you know anything, comment below!

Want to strengthen you short story skills? Try out these powerful resources below:

The Art and Craft of the Short Story by Rick D.eMarinis

Jerz’s Literary Blog

The Seven Key Elements of Fiction

How to Write Short Stories That Sell

How to Make Real Money Selling Short Fiction

 

 

Is Fiverr a Good Site for Writers?

I decided to do a little post on my experience using Fiverr as my side hustle for money.

I was paid to post legit comments on reputable blogs and articles, and made quite a bit of money writing up promotional material for authors.

Many of you who write are probably interested in making a little extra cash and to put something on your resume, but I am telling you now, be careful with many of these sites.

Writing online can be fun and rewarding, but being careful and trying to build your own platform and brand is key here.

Okay, so let’s talk about it…

Why Did I Start Using Fiverr?

I began using Fiverr because people were talking about it.

I also wanted to make money. Simple as that.

What did I do on Fiverr?

I started out just helping people get traction for their blogs by posting well thought out comments that were keyword dense. Eventually I realized that my love of reading could be marketable too, so I would promote author’s books on my social media after reviewing it in full or in part.

Do you have to be an expert?

It is preferable.

If you are passionate and relatively good and what you do. Go for it. In my opinion we should always look into perfecting our craft and professionalism should always be high.

What can a person do on Fiverr or what makes the most money?

You can offer ANY gig on Fiverr(within legal limits of course!). From my research, the most popular gig offers are for making promotional videos. If an individual or company wants you to try their product and review it in a video, that is what seems to be selling like hot cakes on Fiverr.

And it is super easy to do and make tons of money too.

Another popular gig is writing and designing. You will have to figure out your niche.

Is the pay good?

I will say this. I charged only five dollars for my gigs and once Fiverr took their cut and then Paypal took their cut, I was left with earnings of $3.92. No lie! But it added up quickly. I made probably $50 bucks or so off of my gigs when I was serious about it.

Why did I leave?

Here is the straw that is breaking the camel’s back. Poor camel!

I left because one bad review can take your popularity down a notch. I had just made top seller and one- just ONE of my customers was upset because she/he did not read my gig right.

Also, Fiverr took down one my writing gigs because it failed Terms of Service…? They did not give me details of how that happened and it was very shady how they did it too.

This does not mean Fiverr is a scam, but it made me rethink my business model.

My Journey to Freelance Writing Freedom

I don’t have all the knowledge yet on my new writing venture, but I do know this. I am tired of writing for companies that twist your money and work any kind of way just so you could earn pennies.

It is disgusting.

I now spend my days studying and honing my craft even more, submitting to literary journals and other places and getting my name out there.

If you are serious about becoming a writer-preneur then the first step is perfecting your craft and hosting it on your OWN website. I don’t have a domain yet but I will soon.

I am interested in how many of you are living your life free to write. Comment below or give this post a like!

Sincerely,

Ericajean 🙂

Thick Skin Over My Haiku, Dealing With Poetry Submissions

Hello Bloggers, readers, and writers!

A few days ago, I was hoping Frogpond would get back with me to let me know my “Stellar” haiku has made it into the online journal.

I open my email from them.

This is what I see…(Hopefully you can see it, if not, my reaction will inform you)

screenshot frogpond

My reaction:

upset cat

Needless to say I was not particularly pleased that the poetry I’ve shared with others and received great response, received a “we’ll pass” from Frogpond.

Note: With Frogpond you can submit poetry you’ve shared on social media just not on any blogs.

Also any journals and contests I mention in these posts, I’ve hyperlinked them so you can check them out too!

I will be posting regularly about poetry and other writings I am submitting this year. This is the year I buckle down and start submitting to contests, literary journals, the web, etc.

So are the people online wrong? Are they a bad judge of haiku?

Is Frogpond looking for some other kind of haiku? Does it have to be 5-7-5 strictly?

I don’t know.

What I do know is I am going over my haiku now while writing more poetry in other formats. I love haiku so I am hoping to perfect it.

How have you dealt with rejection? Comment below!

Happy writing everyone and I hope to bring back better news in the meantime 🙂

 

Andy Maslen’s ‘Persuasive Copywriting’ Applies the Art of Psychology

Persuasive Copywriting

The Psychological Art of Copywriting

Copywriting is the art of creative engaging words to rouse the emotion and attention of your potential buyer.

All over the net, including YouTube, are videos that teach you to copywrite(create ads), but if you do not know where to begin or if you are a seasoned copywriter who wants to learn how to engage your potential buyer, I suggest reading Andy Maslen’s Persuasive Copywriting: Using Psychology to Influence, Engage, and Sell.

A Book With Quizzes…Yahtzee!!!

The book is highly organized, but I chose specific chapters to read and even took the quizzes offered.

Yes, this book has self quizzes and exercises to help you on your journey to copywriting and for me that is an ultimate plus. His book shows you how to go about creating winning ad copy.

If you want to spruce up a boring subject Maslen suggests we:

  1. Interview people.
  2. Gain a fresh perspective.
  3. Focus on how the customer’s life would be so much easier with device/product.

Maslen goes deeper into the mind of a potential client as he explores our limbic system, somatic markers, and the six primary emotions(happiness, sadness, disgust, anger, fear, and surprise).

What You Will Learn About Yourself

At the very end, I took a brief quiz to see if copywriting is for me. Honestly, I love learning about copywriting and I engage in it already. If you have a blog or website and have used your writing skills to talk about a product or if you have made a video promoting a product or service, then you have engaged in copywriting.

My results showed that although I know correct English, I play it too safe.

Bummer.

I will also say this about the book. Make sure you read it thoroughly and take those exercises seriously- it is nothing to skim over.

Learn more about Andy Maslen and his Copywriting Academy.

*Book received for free from Netgalley for my unbiased opinion.

5/5 Stars

Book Details:

Persuasive Copywriting, Andy Maslen

Kogan Page(2015)

ISBN: 978-0-7494-7399-0

e-ISBN: 978-0-7494-7400-3

Get Inspired by Unique Poets and Their Stories

Unprocessed, not cropped. This was taken in Rikugi-en, a magnificent garden of the Edo period, built by Yoshiyasu Yanagisawa, a favorite of the Shogun Tunayoshi Tokugawa, as his villa in 1702. The name, Rikugi-en, came from "six elements ...
Red leaves are gone| Photography by ionushi

 

Ever wonder about the glorious life of a poet?

Okay, glorious is too big of a word to use, but Poets & Writers is  Breaking the Silence by featuring their debut poets who are very good at what they do, and the truth is this: If you want to be a poet or anything, it may take years and you may have to do it alongside your day job.

I consider myself a poet/writer, but let’s get real here. I have not been invited to weddings to recite my beautifully crafted sonnets and my poetry books have seen less than $20 in sales…..

I am still a poet.

Reading books of poetry and how to write poetry has helped me unlock some pretty cool stanzas in the past as well as finding inspiration in anything from sick baby birds under a bridge to plasticity of an old brain.

Explore:  Two enemies of a poet and how to combat them!

But what encouraged me after reading P&W’s debut poets was the fact that for nearly all of them, it took years to complete their manuscripts and then months before publishing.

Each poet is unique in their own way and I love it. I even had a chance to listen to Sally Wen Mao’s poems from Mad Honey and if that doesn’t inspire you, I’m not sure what will. She reaches in and explores the flora and fauna and mysteriously connects it to us humans. Very raw.

This new season will have me poeming more than ever. There is so much music, so many stories I’ve been exposed to.

How are your poetry journeys coming along? 🙂

 

 

Tracking an Author: My No Edit Approach All Year Long

Today’s guest columnist on WD was Ted Boone and he wrote an excellent article on the “No Edit” approach to NanoWriMo. Here is what he says,

It’s not a bad plan. Turning off your inner editor during the month of November is often what aspiring novelists need. Getting bogged down in editing can often result in never finishing the manuscript in the first place. Editing is the bane of momentum.

Except, of course, when it’s not.

My confession?

I edit during NaNoWriMo.(Read more on NanoWriMo Pre Work)

He(as well as other commenters) concluded that some editing is not a horrible thing.

My opinion?

Do what you want. But know this: NanoWriMo is around the corner and if you have failed meeting the goal the last three years like I have, then you need to have a plan. The plan can include knowing who your characters are and their motivations before November 1st.

As you write, it is okay to edit. But when should you edit? I edit mine after writing the first 1,000 words or after each chapter.

If you think about it, this can be applied to all the months of the year. November is special because we are all in it together for 30 days and it has helped some authors achieve great success from what I hear so its great and I am so ready for NanoWriMo 2014!

NaNo WriMo: The inception of a story grows by November 1

Creative Writing
Image taken by creative_writing_by_uNfOrGiVenLaMb.jpg

November 1st is almost here and my entire body knows NaNo is here, it is forcing my brain to hear the voices of the characters ever more clearly and I can’t jot down notes fast enough. The beauty of it though, is while I am daydreaming and note-taking, there are cover design images filtering in my mind. Ever been through that? You think of a story and you can see what it will “grow up” and become instantly?

The time has come to really buckle down. Right now I urge you writers to begin thinking of your plots, your characters and their motivations- in my opinion this will make for smooth writing in the beginning and you will reach that 50k. I am cheering myself on and I am cheering on all of you who are cracking your knuckles and await 11/1/2013.

More exciting things are happening this year: the holidays, family gathering, birthdays- but what can be more exciting then knowing you have fulfilled your 50,000 word count and can possibly hold your book in your hands by next year? Or if you find an agent, you could be HarperCollins’ or David C. Cook’s next gem in the industry?

Just sayin’.

Meanwhile, check out my new and classic Nanowrimo blog posts for resources, inspiration and other stuff.

If you found this blog post at least somewhat helpful, share with your friends, Tweet them, email them or G+ or simply liking will suffice. Any questions? Feel free to post here or contact me.

🙂