3 Reasons I Like Writing Short Stories

The Benefits of Writing Short Stories

As a reader I am a big fan of short stories. I tend to upload them on the kindle app on my phone and read them while I am on my way to work. I like the fact that I can start something on my morning train commute and end my journey with a smile because I have finished reading a story with its happy ever after ending.

Why I Like Writing Short Stories

As a writer, I am a huge fan of short stories and I am glad that there is an audience for this type of thing. Here are just three of the main reasons why I like writing short stories:

  1. I Can Complete My Stories
  2. I Can Get More Stories Published
  3. I Can Improve My Writing Skills

#1 – I Can Complete My Stories

When I first decided that I wanted to write a fiction book, I was overwhelmed. Most of the books that I read were between 300 – 600 pages long. I didn’t think that I would be able to write something that long.

Thankfully I discovered that people like to read short stories and so I decided to give that a try. At the moment, most of the stories I write range between 5,000 – 20,000 words. This length suits me because I know that the end is in sight and that I will actually finish the story before I get demotivated or distracted.

I expect that in the future I will want to look into writing longer stories but right now, I am happy writing shorts.

#2 – I Can Get More Stories Published

Because I know that I can get a short story completed, I am able to hit the publish button more often. When I am in the flow, it can take me 10-15 days to write a short story. That means I could get at least one new short story published every month.

That is what I am aiming to do this year. I have several books waiting to be edited. Once I have ordered book covers and written the advertising blurb, they will be good to go.

#3 – I Can Improve My Writing Skills

Writing anything is a skill that has to be learned and practised. If you want to get better at something you have to do it more often. A tennis player’s game improves due to the hours of training they put in. It is the same with writing. The more you do, the better you get. I know that I still have lots to learn.

By writing short stories, I get to try out different styles of writing and get more confident in my skills. I want to ensure that I write stories that people want to read, therefore the more I write, the better I can get at things like creating believable characters, introducing realistic dialogue and simply telling a good tale.

My Plan Going Forward

The plan is to continue and complete my Fiction Book Promotion Plan for January,  write more short stories and get them published. I will also put together short story collections, so that people can choose to buy individual books or a box-set.

As long as there is an audience interested in buying books of this length, then I am happy to create more stories to meet their needs.

Have Your Say: Do you read or write short stories? Are you a fan? I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

photo credit: Marcin Wichary via photopin (license)

4 Reasons I Like to Make Money with Amazon

Make Money with Amazon Links

How I Make Money with Amazon

One way I like to make money online is through affiliate marketing. This is when you promote and recommend products and services to others. You earn a commission if people click on your links and make a purchase.

This post is about why I recommend becoming an Amazon affiliate. I signed up several years ago and have earned commissions each month. Here are just 4 reasons why I like to make money with Amazon.

  1. It is Easy to Set Up
  2. You Can Decide On a Specific Niche or Go Wide
  3. You Can Write Yourself or Use PLR Articles
  4. The Site Can Make Money Long After You Have Set It Up

#1 – It is Easy to Set Up

Amazon-AssociatesIf you already have your own blog, then you already know how to set up a website. You purchase a domain name, decide on the hosting company you want to use and you add the style of website you like.

Amazon wants people to help promote the products they sell so they make this very easy. You can sign up and create your own affiliate account for free. A unique ID link is created for you and you can pick and choose which products you would like to promote. You add these links to your website and if people click on the link, they are taken to the product page on Amazon. If they make a purchase, you earn a commission.

The amount of money you earn will depend on the product and price. The great thing is that if the person purchases other products at the same time, you also make a commission on those.

#2 – You Can Decide On a Specific Niche or Go Wide

The first time I used Amazon affiliate links, it was for random stuff that I wrote about. After seeing what other online affiliate marketers were doing, I started up a series of super niche sites. I had almost 100 sites that sold, among other things:

  • Milk frothers  – Used to sell quite a few of theses :)
  • Toddler beds
  • Balance bikes
  • Chandelier earrings
  • Stainless steel water bottles

And plenty of other random items.

It got to be too much work keeping all these sites updated and maintained so I let them all go and now I have four sites that I am happy with. I have a toy site, a Christmas site, a Halloween site and a gifts for women type site, where I mostly pick products, books and films that I have enjoyed and I promote those.

Going super niche enabled me to learn how to create links quickly and how to write product reviews. But it did get overwhelming so I cut back.

#3 – You Can Write Yourself or Use PLR Articles

If you like to write and find it easy, then creating a collection of product review articles and adding your Amazon affiliate links will be a breeze. I find it quite relaxing to look at a product page, pick out the highlights of the item and write down my thoughts.

If you don’t like to write or don’t wish to, there are plenty of ways to get the content you need. One cost effective way is to use PLR content. These are articles that have been written by professionals and are sold at affordable prices. You can choose to use the articles as they come or you can re-write the content in your own voice.

The good news is that the research has been done for you. You can then add the information to your website, add your Amazon links and hit the publish button.

I have my own PLR site with articles covering a range of topics. I haven’t added any new content for a while but I still make sales now and again. The content available is mostly evergreen.

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#4 – The Site Can Make Money Long After You Have Set It Up

One of the biggest advantages to setting up a website with Amazon product links is that once you have published those posts, your site can continue to make money without any further input from you.

Over the last year, I think I added maybe one or two new posts to my Amazon affiliate sites but I still made money each and every month from people finding my posts and clicking over to Amazon via my links. It is always nice to know that you can still reap financial rewards from work you have done in the past.

My Plans for This Year

In my 2016 yearly income report, I mentioned how much I made from my Amazon sites.

Click Here & Subscribe to Get Access To My Income Report

Well this year I want to do even better. This means I am going to add more content to each of my sites. I have articles sitting on my computer that I purchased from some great PLR providers, just like Ruth Pound at Content Shortcuts. I just never got round to uploading and publishing those posts.

This month I hope to add at least one new post to each of my four sites. The more posts with my links that I have out there for the search engines to find, the more opportunities I will have of making some lovely commissions. Wish me luck :)

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Have Your Say: Do you have any Amazon affiliate sites? Do you have any advice that could help increase commissions and revenue? I would love you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

My Fiction Book Promotion Plan for January

my-book-promotion-plan-for-january

The Journey of a Fiction Writer – It’s All Trial and Error

So I have written collection of short stories and I would like to make some money from them. The most important thing I have to do is let the world know that these short stories exist. So I need to figure out how to promote them. This is the plan that I have come up with.

My 4-Point Book Promotion Plan

By being a member of several Facebook groups and writing forums I have learned how different writers have promoted their work and found their audience. I have no idea if these things will work for me but the only way to find out is to give it a try.

Here are the 4 things I did in order to set up my book promotion schedule for January:

  1. I Created a Permafree Book Offering
  2. I Created a Free Gift Offer
  3. I Created a Way to Capture Emails
  4. I Chose 3 Promotional Websites to Promote My Book

#1 – I Created a Permafree Book Offering

At the moment I have published 5 short stories under my pen name. They are stand-alone stories and the theme is love. The first story is about 5,000 words long and was written in order to be the free book offer. Once I was able to make it Permafree (which means that it is free to download from Amazon), I knew I wanted to use this as part of my marketing and promotion.

During the month of December 2016, the book was downloaded about 30 times without any promotion. Now it will be interesting to see how many downloads I get after this month’s promotion.

#2 – I Created a Free Gift Offer

Sometimes it is not enough to offer just one free story. There are many writers who also advertise a FREE GIFT OFFER in their Permafree book. This is a great way to capture the emails of potential customers. If they like your first story, they may be curious to read your next one and will happily provide their information. Once you have the email, you can actively engage with them to see if they are interested in purchasing other stories.

I wrote another short story and have set this up as my free gift offer.

#3 – I Created a Way to Capture Emails

If you want to get people’s email addresses, you need to use the right tools and the system I use is Aweber. You can sign up for a 30 day free trial and then there is a monthly fee. It is possible to collect emails with or without having a website.

I decided to create a simple sign up form that isn’t linked to my author website. I did this because it was quicker and meant I was less likely to procrastinate about getting the page set up as Aweber does that for you.

I just had to add the link to the back of my book so that people can click on it and sign up.

#4 – I Chose 3 Promotional Websites to Promote My Book

There are lots of different websites and services that will promote your book. They all vary in prices and have their own criteria about the type of books they accept. Some will take any and all books, some will only promote a specific genre and others will only promote books of a certain length and with the right amount of Amazon reviews.

I chose to use the three following services

  • Bknights from Fiverr.com
  • Choosy Bookworm
  • Bookshark

I decided to schedule the promotions one week apart. I did this so that I could have a way of measuring the effectiveness of each service. I will be able to calculate how many books are downloaded and see which service is the most cost effective. I have no way of knowing if this is the best strategy so it will be a case of trial and error. I won’t know if it is right or wrong unless I give it a go. So I am giving it a go.

I will report back on the results in a future post.

That’s The Plan

So that is my 4-Point Promotional Plan for My Short Story this January. There are two things I would like to gain from this experiment.  One of my goals for January 2017 is to add 100 subscribers to my author email list. . At the moment it consists of two people – both are me. Lol.

The second great thing would be if this promotional strategy leads to some actual sales of my other stories. We shall have to wait and see. I am a little nervous about this but excited too. Wish me luck.

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Have Your Say: Have you heard of or used any of the books services mentioned above? Were you happy with your results? I would love you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

photo credit: iamWing_ The devil’s smile via photopin (license)

My Goals for January 2017

my-goals-for-jan-2017My Goals for January 2017

We have now entered a brand new year and as always, it feels like a fresh new start and a brand new beginning. That is how I am viewing this month. I have lots of things that I want to get done and I am excited to get down to some serious work.

My aim for the year is to build up a full-time income from my writing and blogging endeavours. Here are 5 goals that I will be working on this month and how I intend to achieve them.

What I Aim To Achieve in January 2017

#1 – To Add 100 New Subscribers to This Blog’s Email List

#2 – To Add 100 New Subscribers to My Author Email List

#3 – To Publish 1 Post Per Week on This Blog

#4 – To Publish a New Short Story on Amazon

#5 – To Write and Complete a New Short Story

How Will I Achieve These Goals?

#1 – To Add 100 New Subscribers to This Blog’s Email List

I will publish and promote the 4 new blog posts that I add here. I will create an opt-in offer that people will be interested in seeing. I will comment on other blogs which will help to bring traffic here. I will increase my use of social media.

#2 – To Add 100 New Subscribers to My Author Email List

I will sign up to at least two different promotion sites to promote the free book in the series, which should get good download numbers. I will add a free book download offer at the front and back of this book.

#3 – To Publish 1 Post Per Week on This Blog

I already had a brainstorming session to figure out the type of posts I wanted to write. So now I have a list to choose from. I will draft my posts in good time and schedule them in good time too. This should keep me on track and prevent panic and last minute publishing nightmares.

#4 – To Publish a New Short Story on Amazon

I have a couple of short stories that need to be edited. I want to complete the edit for at least one of them and get it published before the month is over.

#5 – To Write and Complete a New Short Story

I will continue to write short stories for my Pen Name. I already have the outline. It is just a matter of sitting down and doing the work. At the moment I write during my lunch break and am able to produce around 1000 – 1500 words at a time. I know I can do it. I just have to get on and DO IT!!

What Do You Think?

It will be interesting to report back on these 5 goals. I already know that I have a few days where I will not be able to do any writing work. That means I have to organise my time and work on a plan to ensure that I get stuff done in good time. Gaining 100 subscribers is a very lofty goal and the number actually scares me. But, what is that saying, “Go big or Go Home!” Something like that. Hehehehe :)

Interested in My 2016 Income Report?

I thought it would be interesting to look at how and where I made money online during 2016. I say that this is interesting because I earned money from 4 different areas where I hardly did any work. These earnings came from the work I had already done in the previous years.

I also earned some cash from my short stories, again, with very little promotion. I thought I would do a short summary so that I would be able to compare the results of 2016 to 2017. I have added this post to my Resources Page.

PLEASE NOTE: if you are on my email list – the link is in the email I sent :)

Interested? Simply subscribe on the Resources Page and I will send you the link to that post.

That’s It for Now

If you have decided to make 2017 the best year ever, I wish you all the luck in the world. It’s gonna take some work but I know that we can do it if we make a plan, stay motivated and enjoy the process.

*The pic is me in Cuba last year. One goal I was finally able to tick off my list :)

Have Your Say: Have you set yourself some goals for January 2017? Do you know how you are going to achieve them? I would love to hear about your own plans for your life and business. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.