Writing Fiction And Getting Read: 4 Easy Tips

Writing Fiction And Getting Read: 4 Easy Tips

Not only is writing fiction fun, today it can be very profitable indeed. You don’t need to get your book onto any bestseller lists to make a nice income. All you need is ebooks which are read.

Readers in genres like romance are voracious. They’ll read everything you write, if your books excite them.

Get read, make money

Your aim in writing short stories and novels is to be read right through to the end, particularly if you enroll your ebooks in Amazon’s KDP Select. Enrolling in Select automatically makes your ebooks available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. In KU, you’re paid for every page which readers read.

How do you get readers, and keep them reading? Let’s look at some tips.

1. Spend time on your hook — and keep up the suspense

Ideally your reader finds your hook so amazing that he must start reading… and can’t stop. A “hook” hooks readers’ attention. To keep readers reading, you need to embed your hook, and make sure that you keep hooking readers, right through the ebook.

Spend time studying the hooks in bestselling fiction. Your hook doesn’t need to be outrageous; just something which intrigues readers.

I just checked Amazon’s Top 100 bestsellers in Literature and Fiction. Currently the top ranked book is The Good Neighbor, by J.A. Banner.

From the description:

“Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald.”

Can you see the hook? It takes just two sentences, and your curiosity is aroused. Simple as it is, it’s a hook which works.

2. Keep readers guessing, and surprise them in every scene

You know that readers hate info-dumping — that is, telling too much in an indigestible lump. Info dumps stop your story dead. And there’s a bigger problem with info dumps too. When you info dump, it’s like piling all your storytelling ammunition into a heap, and then ignoring it.

Information is valuable. Dole it out sparingly. Keep readers guessing, and see if you can embed a surprise in every scene.

3. Ensure that your main character has a problem he can’t ignore

Every popular short story and novel is the story of change in the main character, or characters. If there’s no change, readers stop reading. Your characters need to grow.

We’ve talked about character flaws. In your fiction, your characters must have flaws, and they must overcome them. Your main character’s flaw can’t be trivial. It needs to be crippling, so that if he doesn’t recognize the flaw, and overcome it, he’ll be destroyed.

Genre comes to your rescue here. Most genres have tropes, which give you your flaw. In historical romance, the hardened rake is a trope, with a built-in flaw. As Maya Rodale suggests, you can turn that trope on its head, and create a virgin hero.

4. Up the ante: make everything WORSE (or better)

If your readers aren’t reading, chances are that you’re letting your characters off too easy. Don’t do that. When you write a scene, ask yourself how you can make the character’s situation WORSE.

Let’s say that you’ve written a scene in which your main character loses his job. Well done — now make it worse. Not only does he lose his job, but he’s also arrested for fraud. His fiancee calls off the wedding.

While you’re busily making things worse, make sure that your character never, ever sees himself as a victim. Disaster brings out the best in him, not the worst. (Unless you’re writing a comedy.)

Serial Fiction Bonanza: Get Readers, Get Fans — Make A Solid Income From Your Fiction FAST

Serial Fiction Bonanza: Get Readers, Get Fans — Make A Solid Income From Your Fiction FAST

Serial fiction has been around since the days of Charles Dickens. Self-publishing authors love it. Discover how to write serials in our new four week class. Coaching is included — you’re not writing alone.

By the end of the program, you’ll have published several episodes of your serial fiction. You’ll also be steadily marketing, while you’re writing and publishing.

Join us: you’ll have a lot of fun, and you’ll boost your fiction writing career.

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

Earn while you learn, with Angela’s Writing Classes..

Ebook Pricing: 3 Tips For Today

Ebook Pricing: 3 Tips For Today

Writing ebooks? If you’re a new author, you’re concerned about ebook pricing.

Established authors, who’ve built up a catalogue of titles, tend not to worry about pricing individual ebooks. They’re focused on extending their reach, and on pricing their ebook series, so that they can tempt new readers into giving their ebooks a try.

One of my students told me: “I price everything at $2.99. Short story, novel, nonfiction ebook… I don’t care. Everything’s priced the same, and I enroll everything in Select for Kindle Unlimited.” It works for him, now that Kindle Unlimited pays you according to pages read.

My own pricing system is much the same. I don’t price everything at $2.99. I price short stories at 99 cents because they’re loss leaders for series, but I vary the prices on other titles. I’m guided by what other authors in a genre are charging, but I’ll also test prices with ebooks which are selling well.

If you increase the price of an ebook, you may make more money at a certain price point, even if you sell fewer ebooks.

As my friend does, I enroll everything in Kindle Unlimited (KU).

WrittenWord Media offers an excellent article on pricing ebooks:

“An author who wants to maximize a financial return on their marketing dollars will use a different pricing strategy than an author who wants to acquire the most new readers. Both goals are undoubtedly part of your marketing plan. Which strategy you deploy depends on which goal applies to the specific title you’re promoting.”

Four tips for ebook pricing today

Most authors want to make money from their ebooks, and they want to increase their readership too. It’s possible to do both.

Let’s look at some ebook pricing tips.

1. Avoid “free” for standalone ebooks, and short series

Free, or low priced ebooks, don’t always convert to sales, or to increasing your readership.

Readers can get all the free titles they want to download in most genres, so “free” has gone from a useful marketing tool, to a tool you need to handle carefully.

Keep in mind too, that Kindle Unlimited allows a subscriber to read as many ebooks as he likes for free. Not all ebooks are in KU, of course, and many of Amazon’s country sites don’t offer KU.

2. If you’re pricing above or below other indie authors in a category, have a reason

Let’s say that other authors in your genre are charging 99 cents for ebooks which are part of a series, and you want to charge $2.99 for each episode of your ten-episode series. Could that work for you?

It’s impossible to say. Try it, and see. That’s always what I suggest when authors ask about pricing — try it, and see.

Keep careful notes of your experiments.

3. Choose an ebook price quickly, change it slowly

You can change the price of an ebook; no price is set in stone. However, ebooks take time to find their level.

Let’s say that you’re selling a standalone novel. You published it a couple of months ago. Sales are slow. You decide to lower the price… should you?

If you’re hoping that changing the price will suddenly turn your sleeper into a hot title, pricing it lower may have little effect. Who knows why a title doesn’t sell? You feel it’s your best work, and are disappointed. You want to do something, anything, to kick this title along. So you lower the price.

It may work. On the other hand, your sleeper title may suddenly take off. A year after publication, it suddenly starts selling. That happened to one of my sleepers. I have no idea why. The title wasn’t in a popular genre, either.

4. Advertise titles which are selling well

Sell what’s selling. If a title sells well, consider turning it into a series — if it works, it works. You can also give titles which sell a push with advertising.

If a title isn’t selling, you may kickstart it with advertising, but on the other hand, you may not. Avoid spending big on titles which don’t sell. You may be tossing good money after bad.

Ebook Dominance: sell more copies of your ebooks, every day

Ebook Dominance: Market and SELL Your Ebooks In Just 15 Minutes A Day

Discover the marketing secrets of bestselling authors — you can market in minutes, from the comfort of your sofa…

How would you feel if your sales doubled, then tripled — and then YOU hit the Kindle hot sellers’ lists?

Ebook Dominance helps you to turbocharge your marketing, and sell more ebooks today.

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

Earn while you learn, with Angela’s Writing Classes..

5 Bestselling Fiction Tips: Start With Heart

5 Bestselling Fiction Tips: Start With Heart

Want to write bestselling fiction? There’s one simple rule: keep readers reading. Authors have more challenges with story beginnings than they do with anything else, except perhaps the dreaded middle of a novel.

Start with heart: that is, focus on emotion, always. This usually means conflict. Readers will only read if they’re engaged — if they care about your characters.

Not only do story beginnings slow authors down, because they’ve heard that first pages are “important”, but they also they encourage bad habits.

Bad habits to avoid when starting a new novel, short story, or novella

Let’s look at some bad habits, then we’ll look at some tips to help you to overcome them.

Bad habits include:

  • Micro-managing your inspiration in your first draft. In your initial draft, all that matters is that you start your story. Chances are you’ll delete the first few scenes later anyway;
  • Explaining too much. Info-dumping in your first few scenes (or at any time);
  • Starting with a dramatic scene. Yes, you want to start with a bang, but your readers need to care about the people involved, otherwise they stop caring — and reading;
  • Reworking your first chapter, or scene — rereading, rereading and editing the material into oblivion (the cure? NO EDITING in first drafts).
  • Introducing too many characters in your first few scenes. Introduce your leads asap, but avoid naming too many characters too soon;
  • Meandering — start your story’s engine as soon as you can.

How to write great story beginnings

1. Don’t begin at the beginning

If you’re nervous about your story’s beginning, leave it. There’s no law which states that you must write your fiction chronologically.

Start with a later scene. You don’t have to introduce your characters before you understand them yourself. Watch your characters act, as you write, then go back and write the first few scenes later.

2. Avoid flashbacks and flash forwards: focus on scenes

Avoid lengthy flashbacks. They stop your story cold, and they’re rarely necessary. If you must have a flashback because your story hinges on something or other, give it an entire scene, or a chapter to itself. Start the scene with: “Twenty years earlier…”

Impatient readers will skim it anyway, to get back to the story. You may take that scene out in later drafts, or find an easier way to integrate the information.

3. Start your engine — get to the point and set up your story

It’s vital that something happens in the beginning of your story. New authors tend to go on for thousands of words, with nothing much happening.

What’s the point of your story? Let’s say it’s “elderly billionaire murdered for his millions, suspects include his trophy wife, three ex-wives and his five children. My Clever Sleuth (MCS) solves the mystery, and gets a promotion.”

Introduce MCS. Let readers see him in action. Then MCS gets called to the murder scene.

Or, you could start with the victim. Show him being nasty to his children, stripping an ex-wife or two of her income, and firing a few thousand people. Then introduce MCS, show him in action… then he hears about the billionaire’s murder.

Focus on action, and ensure that your characters act. Passive characters drain the life out of your story. Whiners, complainers, and victims, ditto. Eliminate all passive characters. If you’re writing New Adult fiction, you can get away with your heroine being a passive complaining victim. Maybe.

However, writing passive characters can develop into a bad habit, so avoid passivity, no matter what genre you’re writing.

Readers always just want to get on with it. They want action, so…

4. Focus on ACTION. Create characters who act: passive characters are annoying (except perhaps in the New Adult genre)

Action means events. However, these aren’t disconnected events. They’re always directly related to your story. In life, things happen which are disconnected — someone breaks into your home, you lose your job, you go out to dinner…

In fiction, everything’s related to the point — your story. Nothing just happens. Things happen for a reason, and those events alter whatever follows.

5. Everyone’s fighting with everyone else: add conflict on every page

Just as events happen for a reason, conflict is always for a reason too. In your first draft, you may write along for chapters on end and have no idea why two characters are fighting. Your subconscious knows. Suddenly all will become plain, and you’ll realize that you need to add a scene or two in your next draft, to set up this conflict, and intensify it.

In later drafts, intensify all conflict.

Remember: emotion. You feel the emotion, characters experience it and react, and you keep readers reading.

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.

Earn while you learn, with Angela’s Writing Classes..

Kindle Unlimited: Back In, Sales Jump

Kindle Unlimited: Back In, Sales Jump

The new Kindle Unlimited inspired considerable angst. Like other authors, I wasn’t sure what effect “pages read” would have on sales.

I have different pen names for different fictional genres. Whenever I published a story, I automatically enroll it in KDP Select. Enrolling in Select makes the ebooks available in Kindle Unlimited (KU).

Kindle Unlimited was a good deal. Here’s why. Sales. Although KU readers could read the ebooks for free, other readers bought the ebooks. No matter how much, or how little, Amazon paid for pages read, readers were buying the ebooks too.

Happy days — no matter how cynical we can be about “visibility”, it seems that KU does indeed make ebooks more visible, and this leads to more sales.

So when KU changed, I decided to leave my fiction enrolled in Select to see what happened. However, I also decided that I’d hedge my bets by not enrolling newly published fiction in Select. I’d “go wide” with those new ebooks, publishing to other ebook retailers.

Kindle Unlimited sells ebooks

I’ve published several ebooks over this past month, ignoring Select. I always meant to go wide with them, but I got busy, and had no time to publish the ebooks elsewhere.

Last week, I checked the sales on the new ebooks. They seemed slow. With established pen names, you have an audience, so I couldn’t work out why the slowdown occurred. With one ebook, I was entering a new genre. The pen name was completely new. Three weeks after publishing that ebook… crickets. Not a single sale for that ebook. How was that even possible?

To my mind, the reason was KDP Select. I hadn’t done any advertising for the new ebooks, so the miserable sales seemed to be because the ebooks just weren’t visible to enough readers, because they weren’t in KU.

I decided the heck with it, and enrolled all the newly published fiction in KDP Select… and… made sales.

Your mileage may vary, of course. I’m not suggesting that Kindle Unlimited solves all problems. However my short-lived experiment suggests that it does bring visibility.

I’m not alone:

”I knew within a week that I’d made the right decision to join KU. My KU ebooks saw an immediate boost in ranking. Not only were the page-reads mounting, but the sales of those ebooks were also on the rise!”

Try your own experiments, to see what works for your ebooks.

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.

Write Hot Scenes For Bestselling Fiction: 5 Magical Tips

Hot Scenes Deliver Bestselling Fiction: 5 Magical Tips

New authors struggle with their scenes. They know that when you write powerful scenes, readers respond, and the result is bestselling fiction.

Bestselling authors are masters of their scenes. Their prose may be less than elegant, but it delivers an emotional punch. It’s always amusing when unsuccessful writers sneer at bestselling authors, whining that a certain bestselling author “can’t write” and doesn’t “deserve” success. This is nonsense.

As I’ve said many times: let go of the words in your fiction. Focus on FEELING.

If you focus on emotions, literary snobs may sneer, but you can laugh all the way to the proverbial bank. Emotion is delivered in scenes: the action’s happening now, and readers are engaged.

One of the biggest challenges for new authors is getting a handle on scenes. So, let’s do that today.

Scenes are the building blocks of your fiction

In the 21st century, every reader understands drama.

TV and movie stories are delivered in scenes. If you want lots of readers, you need to learn to deliver your stories in scenes too.

Readers are impatient. They just want the story. Deliver. Show, rather than tell. “Showing” means writing in scenes.

Here’s a graphic to help you to write hot scenes.

How to Write Scenes in Novels and Short Stories

Now let’s look at the elements which make up a scene.

Scene elements: how to set a scene

Here are the five elements of a hot scene.

1. Where and when, time and place: a scene plays out, NOW

Scenes are set somewhere. On a beach. In a warehouse. In a penthouse apartment. On a train… a plane… in a car.

Think of each of your scenes as a scene in a movie. Your point of view (POV) character in your scene is your camera. Orient your readers, so that they know where they are, and with whom they’re there.

Please don’t stop the action to do this. Use sensory elements (see below) to establish your scenes.

2. Characters have goals

Every character in your scene has a goal. And a secret. We all want things, all the time. Your fictional characters ACT on their goals. Their actions lead to conflict with other characters.

3. Character goals lead to: action, conflict, suspense… DRAMA

It’s often easier to study scenes while watching a movie. There’s less chance you’ll get lost in the words. So watch a movie, with a pen and paper. Pause the action when a scene ends, and replay the scene. Analyze it.

Work out what the characters’ goals are in the scene.

4. Sensory elements: sight, sound, hearing, touch: your readers LIVE your scenes

Ground your scenes in reality. What does your POV character hear? What’s he touching? Provide sensory details, so that readers can live the scenes with your characters.

5. Emotion, via characters’ thoughts, to help readers to FEEL

Consider this sentence.

He told her: “You deserve to die.”

Dramatic? Not unless your POV character thinks, and reacts. Reveal your POV character’s thoughts when he hears the statement. If you can do that, your readers will live the scene with the character. They’ll  be there with him.

Fence in your scenes…

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to dilute the effect of a scene, and wander off the point. Write down one, and at the most three, things you want a reader to experience in a scene.

This means:

  • NO flashbacks during a scene;
  • No extraneous characters (limit the characters in most scenes. Battle and crowd scenes are the exception. Maintain the POV’s character’s focus. What’s he seeing and doing? Feeling? Thinking?)
  • NO tangents. Maintain your POV character’s focus. Let’s say that your POV character has been kidnapped. He’s unlikely to think about a dinner party that’s coming up in three days. New authors go off on strange tangents in scenes all the time. DON’T. Be there with your character, thinking what he’s thinking, and feeling it.
  • NO head-hopping: one POV per scene. Many bestselling authors head-hop. (That is, they change their POV character in the course of a scene.) You can do it too, once you’re a bestseller. It’s all too easy to confuse readers, so don’t do it until you’re selling thousands of copies of your fiction every day.

Writing hot scenes will become second nature to you

Initially, you’ll feel as if there’s a lot to remember in scenes. Over time, you won’t need to think about the elements. Adding them becomes natural, and automatic.

Enjoy writing scenes. Hot scenes are the building blocks of bestselling fiction — they’re entertaining to write, as well as to read. 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.