Tag Archives: publishing

To Offer it Free or Not – Marketing Your Work

Free BooksAs with everything to do with the art of writing, publishing and marketing books, there are different views on the worth of offering your books free.

Some will argue that you should not work for free.  And, in essence, that is what you are doing when you offer your books free.  You have spent countless hours writing, editing, perfecting, and polishing your writing.  You chose the perfect cover, formatted the book for eBook, and finally are rewarded with seeing your hard work available to the world.

Of course, you want some monetary gain from all that hard work.  Who wouldn’t?

But, unless you are already a well-known author, will the world even know you exist?  Will they (the readers) buy your book when you are an unknown quantity to them?  When there are so many badly written, badly edited, and just plain bad, stories out there, the reader needs to have a reason to want to invest their money in your book.

Possibly one of the more appealings ways to an author is the free sample chapters.  However you get that out there, through posting them on social media, allowing partial sample downloads on Smashwords, or ther means.  Free samples let the reader get sucked into the story, and just as they get hooked they are cut off with no option except to stop there or get your book.

I see offering books free as a marketing tool.  Companies do it with other types of products all the time, offering try me samples in the hope you will love it enought to buy it.  The buy one-get one free offer.  Buy that and we’ll toss this in with it.  Get one month free.  Even the grocery stores get in on the action with their free sample days.  These are all teasers to encourage you to buy or try their product.

If there is one thing everyone loves, it is getting something for free.

How many books have you passed over buying because you didn’t know if you would like the author?  The write up on the back cover looks good, the cover art is enticing, but you just don’t know.  So you decide instead to buy that new book by the author you love.

This does not mean you have to give it away free forever.  Offer it free for a limited time. With so many companies marketing other products by this method, it must work.  Otherwise, they would invest that marketing money in other ways to market their products.  You can always offer it free again if it suits your needs.

You can also offer limited time coupon codes so that those who get the code can read it free while others have to purchase it.  Coupon codes can be used in a targeted marketing campaign.  For example, let’s say you are publishing a humor book suitable for grade school kids about survival while camping with scout groups.  Offer the coupon code to your local scout groups, giving the kids the eBook free.  If they read it and love it, they’ll tell their friends about it.  Target book clubs for your genre.  If your book is about gardening, offer the coupon code for free limited time download of your book to a few garden clubs.

Knowing they got something free that others have to pay for makes people feel special.  They feel like they got a prize, they feel superior, they feel a small sense of empowerment.  They feel like they matter just a little bit more.  They feel like someone cares.  Each feels special in a different way, depending on their personality.  It doesn’t matter how they feel special, you made them feel that way and they like you more for it.

The hardest part of selling books is getting readers to know it exists. If free offers help, then it is worth it.  The first job of selling your book is getting someone to read it.  If you did your job right in writing the book, then they will do your second job for you – getting them to talk about it.

People talk about books and share information on them for three reasons:

(1) They loved it,

(2) They found it controversial and it got their blood boiling,

(3) They hated it.

Nobody talks about the book that isn’t noteworthy.  They also won’t talk about it if they haven’t read it or even heard of it.  If they loved it, they will talk about it, and they also will want to read more.

Another way to get free samples of your work into your potential readers’ hands is short stories.  Offer short stories for free eBook download.  Blog them, Facebook them, share them.

Consider this:  work together with another author who writes similar stories in the same genre.  You both offer a free short story written by the other with the purchase of your book.  Both authors have a vested interest in promoting the books, one to earn the royalties and the other to get their reader audience to grow through the free short story.

Always remember to plug your other work.  Whether a book or a short story, free or for a price, always remember to include a plug for other published work that is available.

Every piece has to be your best.  Whether free or not, a 100 word flash fiction or 150,000 novel; every bit of writing you put out there needs to be good.  Advertising yourself with mediocre short stories will not increase your readership.

However you choose to market your work, the goal is the same – getting potential readers and buyers to notice you in a sea of possible authors.

L. V. where the bodies areGaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions?

Watch for book 2 of the McAllister series coming soon at Second Wind Publishing, LLC:  The McAllister Farm.  The secret behind the bodies is revealed.

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Other links to purchase L.V. Gaudet’s books

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary

https://angiesdiary.com/bookoftheweek-web/081-botwoct262014.html

Follow L. V. Gaudet:

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The First-Ever by A.J. McCarthy

I’m a newbie. This is my first-ever blog. But, since this seems to be a period of many first-evers for me, I think I’m probably up for it. After all, I had my first-ever phone conversation with a book publisher a few months ago. It was followed by my first-ever offer of publication, with two more following quickly on its heels. This, of course, led to a few other very pleasant first-evers, and I can hardly wait for the rest.

However, for now, I am dealing with the blog. How should I approach it? Throw in my first chapter? No, it’s too soon for that. Should I try to portray myself as a scholarly, experienced author, quoting Shakespeare or Hemingway? No, I don’t think I would be able to pull that off.

The truth is, I have never referred to myself as an author even though I have been writing for years. Until I had an actual contract in hand from a real publisher I couldn’t bring myself to associate my name with that elite group. I felt like a pretender to the throne. Even now, with only a contract and a book waiting to be published, I’m not shouting to the hills that I am an author. I still don’t have a copy in hand to use as proof.

Since I came on board with Second Wind Publishing I have been regularly checking out the website, the blog and the authors. And, even though I have never met any of them in person and only a few by e-mail, for some reason, I feel an affinity with the group. I feel like I will be joining a family. As in any family, each one of us will have our different techniques, our different way of approaching challenges, our unique personalities, but that doesn’t mean we can’t live harmoniously and learn from each other.

The last part of that statement is currently my biggest challenge. I have a lot of learning to do. I have to learn the processes involved in publishing a book, from the editing to the cover art. I have to learn to think like an author. But, perhaps most of all, I have to learn how to market my novel, or at least do as much as I can to help. I have to become a more diligent Facebook person. I need to learn to tweet, post, like, and share on a regular basis.

For now, I am learning to blog. I have read many blogs in the past, but have never been an active participant. For my first-ever I feel it’s premature to offer my first chapter, and my other experiences as an author are too limited to speak of as yet. So I will begin by telling you a little about myself.

I am a married mother of two beautiful girls, Rachel and Brianna, aged 21 and 17 respectively. Since they are the bright point of my life I’m sure I will be writing about them frequently in future posts. I live just north of Quebec City, Canada, and I work as the vice-president of finance for a manufacturing company. My name is followed by the initials CPA CMA which identify me as an accountant with a specialty in management accounting. My husband, Steve, works in computers and donates a large amount of his time as a volunteer fire chief in the small municipality where we live. I consider this to be my real life.

My fantasy life has only just begun to bear fruit. It began about 10 years ago, when I decided to try my hand at writing, and I discovered a new activity which was surprisingly enjoyable. Over the years, I built a small inventory of books that live communally and passively on my computer. I sent out submissions, mostly to agents, to no avail. Last summer, I pulled out ‘Betrayal’, a manuscript I had written years ago, dusted it off, and reached out to a different segment of the publishing community, the small publishers.

To my great delight, I received three offers for Betrayal. A decision had to be made, and I have to say, a lot of my deliberation was based on my gut-feeling. And that is where Second Wind Publishing comes in.

I have a feeling I will be joining a new, exciting, and accepting family. So far, I have been very fortunate with my families, both immediate and extended. My hope is that this new group of people, most of whom I will never meet in person, will become a different type of family. Some will inspire me to write better, some will help me to focus my energies where they should be focused, some will point out my mistakes, and some will applaud my successes, however large or small they may be.

Another decision to make (heavy sigh). What will my next blog be about? Will it be time for the first chapter? Should I post a picture of my dog and rant about how cute he is? Maybe I’ll think about it a bit longer and I’ll send out a tweet to let you know what’s coming next.

***

A.J. McCarthy is the author of Betrayal, a suspense thriller published by Second Wind Publishing.

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If a Story Is In You: A Writer’s Dream by Nicole Eva Fraser

faulkner yellow if a story is in you it has to come outI started writing as a kid and my dream was always to be a published writer. When I was 10, I wrote a 50-page book called Night of Wonder about a girl who time-traveled in her sleep.

After I dropped out of college, I was a busy working mom with small children, so I wrote at night when my kids were sleeping—a screenplay and a 300-page novel. At the time, nobody in publishing was interested in my work. I threw the screenplay and novel away. But my dream lived on.

When my kids were older, I went back to college at night to study writing. I had some great professors, learned a lot, won the college writing award, and started on a new novel. I thought I was all set.

So I went to writers’ conferences to meet the New York agents and editors. But to them, I was a nobody, a zero from Cleveland. My stories didn’t matter and the industry bigwigs didn’t even want to hear them.

Helping other people helped me stay positive. I got active as an adult-literacy volunteer. As I taught my students to read and write, they inspired me with their life stories of strength and their dreams of better things ahead.

I started ghostwriting for friends. I developed the creative reading method Peace Through Fiction, and led PTF story-sharing sessions around the country. I helped bring StoryCorps to Cleveland to record the stories of students, founders, staff, and tutors at Project Learn, the adult-literacy organization where I served.

Successful in my day job, I accrued over 20 years of full-time editorial experience as a writer and senior creative consultant in a major corporate writing studio. I won awards for my creativity and innovation. But all my successes were linked to the corporation.

I just couldn’t let go of my personal dream, my passion, my drive to be a published writer in my own right, telling the stories I wanted the world to hear.

So when my employer offered tuition reimbursement for graduate school, I got into a master of fine arts program for creative writing. I knew the program would make me a better writer and consultant; I hoped it might help me make some publishing contacts, too.

Eventually, things worked out. A professor recommended me to his publisher—Second Wind. They published my first novel in 2013, and my second novel is coming in March 2015.

At last I had arrived! I’d proven myself, beaten the publishing odds, and become an industry insider. The future was in my hands. Success!

But people kept asking me things like “Is your book a bestseller yet? Are you famous now?” And since my answers were no, I started to wonder if I’d failed.

Then I thought about the readers who have written to thank me ever since my first novel got published. My writing covers a lot of sensitive topics and it helps these readers feel understood and less alone.

Hearing from my readers made me realize something. My dream to be a published writer wasn’t ever about making money or getting famous. It was always about the fact that our stories matter, and it’s important to share them.

Nicole Eva Fraser is the author of The Hardest Thing in This World, released by Second Wind Publishing in October 2013, and I Don’t Think It’s That Simple, forthcoming in March 2015.

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A Picture for Some Words

It has been said that one picture is worth a 1000 words. At the end of this post I will show you a picture for 100,000 words. Actually The Telephone Killer is a mere 85,000 words, but at one time it was more than 120,000 words.

Some years ago, in the dark recess of my numb mind, an idea swirled around and in that swirling found other ideas that attached themselves to it. Then, suddenly it was no longer just one or a few little ideas, but a whole, big idea and it was no longer content to be trapped in my mind. It had to get out. Through vague mental promises and absurd hopes it convinced another part of my mind to let it out – make it into a story.

It was not easy. Sometimes the idea had to almost force me to continue working on the process that would let the complete idea out. The idea knew the whole idea had to come out, not just little bits and pieces of it.

Finally, there it was, but no one seemed interested except friends who will almost always tell you something you did is good, even when it isn’t.

English: Cooking pudding: The black pudding is...

You’ve been there. You’ve been a guest at a meal that was just horrible, but you thank the host telling them their special pudding was delicious when it looked and tasted like warmed-over swamp mud.

But sometimes with a little bit more of this, and a lot less of that, that thing that tasted like swamp mud can be made to be, if not delicious, at least acceptable.

In the realm of story ideas that adding a little and taking away a lot to make something acceptable is called editing. And so you edit, over and over again until you’re pretty sure you have the ingredients right and that is when you invite total strangers to sample your pudding. That is called the query.

Sometimes the person you asked to sample your pudding will say something like, “Yes, it is good, but I don’t think I can cook it on my stove.” Usually the strangers just say, “No! Not for my menu.” They don’t tell you if they think it is good or bad, just “No.”

Half a world away, another mind, one that abides in the bright light of seeking is willing to take chances, comes across the sample I sent him and says, “Send me the whole thing.” That man was Mike Simpson at Second Wind Publishing.

Eventually that leads to signing a contract, some more editing and creating the cover.

The idea of a good for a good cover is that it stand out from the hundreds of others on the bookstore shelf and then make the person want to take a closer look.

I think this cover art does that. So here it is!

Tracy Beltran at Second Wind Publishing did it.

The latest word is that the murder mystery The Telephone Killer will be released December 11, 2012.

Check back with us.

More later – Thank you!

Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by Second Wind Publishing will be out in December, 2012.

Visit me at Paul’s Books

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The Nasally Conundrum by J J Dare

A long time ago, I gave bad advice to someone. It only changed this person’s life for a blink, but it changed mine forever.

Over the years, I’ve talked to a few people about it and the general consensus was this person was going to veer in a different direction in life and what I had to say at the time was only a feathery nudge, not a full-fledged push. However, at the time it felt as if I was responsible for the course change.

As I grow older and a tiny bit wiser, I realize most people take advice in one ear and out the other. If my advice proves correct and they don’t act on it, I’ll sometimes get a “You were right” acknowledgment. Being right rarely makes me feel good for more than a few seconds.

Advice and encouragement are two different animals. Advice tends to deal with conflicting situations in a person’s life. Encouragement is the cheering squad after a person makes a decision. I like to be the cheerleader rather than the coach.

Advice relies on expertise in a field. I rebel somewhat when it comes to experts, even when I believe I am one. After all, what was correct one hundred years ago or even yesterday is not necessarily correct today.

In addition, individuals have different needs and goals. What works for one may not work for another. Expert advice should be tailored, but I imagine most experts would not take kindly to altering their cemented opinions for different people.

Encouragement is the after party. “You can do this” sounds so much better than “I told you so.” The planted seedling is sprouting and you get to be an attentive gardener. As an encourager, you are not directly responsible for the success of the plant. Victory or defeat is ultimately up to the plant.

I try not to give opinionated advice; I try to offer only suggestions. I’m glad to declare my children still listen to me, but they make their own decisions. My only expertise comes from the course of my own life. If someone looks at my history and can relate in a way that is helpful to them, I’m glad.

My history includes my adventures in writing. The cold fact remains that my writing is what it is. I can’t change how I tell a tale. Even when I write in different genres, my style bleeds through.

A while back, in half jest I told my publisher that I knew how to disappear and live under the grid. I’d learned how from all the research I’d done when writing my books. He told me that he’d know my writing style no matter what name I chose to write under.

The way we, the authors, write is unique to each of  us. In the immortal words of Popeye, “I yam what I yam.” So is everyone else no matter how much we want to change how they write or walk or eat or anything else.

Advice, suggestions and opinions, whether directed to me or coming from me, have merit. But, even when I put myself in another person’s shoes, I am not that person. There are too many unknown nuances and variables in individuals. The way I handle wanted and unwanted advice and opinions is to mix them all together like cake batter, put the mixture in a pan in the oven and bake it for the best.

So, my peoples, the moral to this tale is I fight the urge to give irrevocable opinions which end up making me sound like a nasally pompous ass. I’m working hard to be an ebb and flow counselor. I’m attempting to overcome the part of human nature that wants the accolades due for correctly telling the future of another.

In honor of my live and let live attitude today, I feel the need to let my hippy side loose for a quick second:

Don’t let your own self-righteousness drag you down.

Fly a little freer and lighten the heavy load of your opinion.

Right on, man. Right on.

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and triple digit works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

Facebook addiction

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Thank You, Roy Batty by J J Dare

There are so many good stories out there that never see more than a glimmer of light. The sheer magnitude of the written word could probably cover the earth’s surface a couple of times over.  A story that’s culled from the herd of millions is a sort of miracle.

It takes courage to submit a story, long or short, for review. The 99% possibility it will be turned down can either make you crumble or toughen your skin.

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. I never really thought about sharing anything I’d written. It was, after all, just me writing fiction and having fun doing it. My stories were like a private library I shared with only a few people.

It all changed in 2001 when I stumbled upon a celebrity’s website asking for short story submissions. His reasons were altruistic; he liked to read good, quirky stories and wanted to share them with the world.

What? Someone besides concerned family members wanted to read the strange tales I’d written? Do I dare send a perfect stranger one of my babies? I took the plunge and submitted my first one; it was accepted and published online.

Subsequent stories and poetry followed over the course of the next two years (yes, I write poems at times. And music, scripts, bills, sermons, excuses, screenplays – heck, I’ve written in just about every form out there). It was exciting to see my name online and read the encouraging comments others made about my writing.

I joined a group of writers from around the world who kept Rutger Hauer’s short story section alive. It was a fun, exciting time to pen a tale and watch it walk onto an online world stage. I never thought I’d see my work in the public arena. I was hooked.

We were sad when that part of the website was retired. For a lot of us, this was the only outlet to publicly display our works. When this section was no longer online, it was the kick to begin my public writing career.

There are so many stories in the writing world that deserve to be heard. When you’re picked from the multitude and your story is published, it’s one of the greatest rushes in the world.

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and thirty-plus works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

Facebook addiction

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Do You Hear What I Hear? by J J Dare

We all want someone to listen to us when we have something to say. No matter if the subject matter is banal, benign, or boorish, there is a foot-stomping part of us that wants to be heard and acknowledged.

In addition to the auditory audience, cyberspace allows us to reach unlimited listeners. Social networking sites and blogs are our pulpits. The internet is a mega megaphone.

Writers want to be heard, too. What we write is a reflection of ourselves and we share that on a different listening sphere. You may forget my spoken word, but my written word lives forever.

Buy a book and hear what an author has to say.

Support Independent Publishers.

Occupy your local Independent Bookstore.

In honor of listening instead of pontificating, I’m going to shut up now and entertain you with some random pictures (each has its own unique story, but that’s for another day):

Central Park Squirrel caught in the act

John Wayne was here

Gumby Interrupted

My rakish dad (on the right)

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

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Young Adult Novel – A First Attempt – by Deborah J Ledford

I’m taking a breather from writing my suspense thriller series to attempt a Young Adult novel. This is a first for me on several levels. Although a majority of my stories that appear in print publications and anthologies are considered traditional mysteries, and many of them feature kids, these characters have strictly been secondary characters.

You writers out there know it’s impossible to ignore the words screaming in your head to be written, or the characters urging you to write about them. This time around two teenagers have captured my imagination—and there’s no denying them.

I attended a YA panel at the ThrillerFest Conference last month and asked who determines if a novel will be offered as a YA book or for the adult market. I mentioned John Hart’s The Last Child as an example. This fantastic novel features a 13-year-old boy in search of his sister’s killer, and yet is not marketed as a YA novel. It seems to be up to the publisher as to which category a novel will be exhibited. The darkness in tone seems to be a determining factor as well.

In order to figure out what is an unknown market to me I’ve been reading published novels to make sure I’m on track. The Hunger Games is a fantastic book in Suzanne Collins’ series—and yet it is quite dark and doom an gloom sets the pace. Sophie Littlefield makes a departure from her compelling A Bad Day For… mystery series with her YA novel Banished, and her dystopia series beginning with Rebirth.

The little novel I’m writing is much different than any of these books mentioned, yet I hope it will be of interest to younger readers looking for a bit of an escape. I know it has been one for me, and a pleasure to write as well.

How about you out there? Writers, do you enjoy departing from what you normally write to work on words of a different genre? And you readers, does it matter to you when one of your favorite authors presents a book other than what they normally write for you?

Deborah J Ledford’s latest suspense thriller novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing.

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My First “Published” Writing – by Norm Brown

When I was a senior in high school, my English class put together a collection of poems, musings, and miscellaneous creations in a small publication entitled “Inspiration.” It was just for us. I don’t think anyone outside that class ever saw the thin stapled document. While rummaging through boxes in my bedroom closet recently, I came across my old yellowed copy. It doesn’t look as fresh and impressive as it once seemed, but then neither do I. My contribution to the publication was a short fantasy about an alien investigation of my high school (old PNG). It was originally written as a class assignment to produce a satirical article. For what it’s worth, I guess you could say this was the first writing of mine to be published—well sort of published.

The materials have faded so much that the pages can no longer be accurately scanned. This morning I retyped the article into a Word doc exactly as I found it, resisting the impulse to edit what I had so hurriedly written long ago. So please excuse any mistakes that either young Norman or old Norm may have made. For those too young to remember the pre-computer days, each teacher at my school was required to fill out an absentee slip at the beginning of each class and post it on a clip just outside the classroom door. My article was inspired by a comment by Mr. Humphreys, my Social Studies teacher. Noticing a student standing just outside the door waiting for the absentee slip, he complained that it seemed like that was the only really important part of his job.

Purpose of School Attendance

After concealing my interplanetary vehicle in what appeared to be a huge collection of discarded metallic objects, which at one time may have resembled some manner of vehicles, I proceeded to carry out my orders. The assignment which I had received for the day seemed quite simple. I was merely to observe and determine why youthful earthlings spend so much time in this building known commonly as a public school. The fact that these beings spend a great portion of their short lives in such structures had aroused the curiosity of my superiors.

Therefore, with full intent to solve the puzzling mystery, I approached the passageway that led to a small room called “the office.” Inside the room were several people, most of them loitering about, seemingly awaiting the arrival of some great person. Across the tiny room at some sort of counter was an adult female earthling who seemed to be actively enjoying her hobby, which appeared to be the collection of tiny white pieces of paper. These interesting objects were brought to her in great number by an army of young assistants, who traveled the entire length and width of the building in search of the vital scraps of paper.

Upon following one of the assistants on her frantic search, I discovered the source of these invaluable tidbits. Apparently these little pieces of paper, referred to as “absentee slips,” sprouted from the facing of every door in the building. The able assistant merely snatched the paper from the door and hurriedly delivered it to the collector in the “office.” This deed, however, failed to rid the door of the plague, for within one hour another paper had grown from the exact location, and the door had to be pruned again.

This, I conclude, is the purpose of the great attendance in these school buildings. Without this large number of youthful assistants, the collector in the “office” could never control the growth of the little pieces of paper, and the building would surely be destroyed.

Norm Brown is the author of the suspense novel Carpet Ride, published by Secondwind Publishing, LLC.

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Cloud Publishing – Another Opportunity by Deborah J Ledford

Yet another publishing opportunity is gaining popularity for writers and readers. Shaw’s iPulp.com is a perfect example of the next generation in providing published material. Essentially Cloud Publishing is the movement of data without cluttering your own PC, laptop or reading device.

iPulp’s version of Cloud Publishing allows you to purchase a story or book, then read the text on your device of choice: Windows 7,Vista, XP, MacOS, your iPhone, iPad, iTouch, Android smart phones and tables, Blackberry and Nokia smart phones.

The material is housed literally in a cloud, available for you to access at any time, from anywhere you have wireless access. You merely sign in to your account, then select from your shelf the item you wish to read.

At iPulp, customers purchase “tokens” in twenty-five cent increments. Prices vary depending only upon on length of the story. Many are in the seventy-five cent price point.

One of my stories is featured on iPulp now. “Loose End” was originally published in the Desert Sleuths Chapter Sisters in Crime Anthology How NOT to Survive a Vacation. And more stories from this collection will be added weekly until all 18 stories appear. “Loose End” will cost you a quarter.

Quite a lot of vintage noir stories are on the iPulp shelves at the moment, but they have over 500 stories to choose from in every genre you can imagine.

If any of you writers out there have as few as three short stories with a similar theme, iPulp may be the perfect venue for you. They prefer stories that have been previously published and you as the author must return the rights in order to offer your stories to iPulp. You will need an original cover that goes with the theme of your stories and you can add more stories to the corresponding cover.

This is the future of publishing, folks. Learn as much about this trend as you can.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing.

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