Friday Un-Fun Facts- Your Identity

September 15, 2017

If you haven’t heard about the HUGE Equifax breach which included personal information, like social security numbers, for almost half of the people in the United States, then you need to pay attention to these two items!Equifax-Data-Breach








Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.

August 4, 2011

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.  ~Author Unknown


By: Stacey Purcell

I wish I could say that I wrote those two sentences in the title of my blog, but I didn’t. They were written by the amazingly talented Joss Whedon who also wrote Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Firefly. This is a wonderful example of a short story. A really, really short story.  It is said that Ernest Hemingway wrote one using only six words. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” He also claimed that it was his best piece in a very large body of work.

Short stories are on the rise in popularity. So much so, Amazon is attributing this burgeoning market to pushing their stock up to above $200 a share.


That’s a pretty good statistic. If that didn’t get your attention, try this. David Baldacci recently wrote a short story called No Time Left. It sold 50,000 copies in its first week! Times are changing and we need to be flexible enough to change with it. It wasn’t so long ago that the only way to sell short stories was to bundle them together and sell them in an anthology or to sell them to a magazine. It was a slowly dying breed. Things are different now!

Short stories have caught on everywhere and I want to be a part of that market. Last week, I shared with you about my “mash up” experience. Three of my friends and I have taken turns putting together a story. No plans. No talking about it. Just write and see where it goes.

Now, we’re trying to figure out the best way to edit and re-write the parts that need help. This is proving to be a bit difficult. Finding common free-time in four very active adults’ schedules is next to impossible. Plan No. 2- We’re going to edit in the same round table fashion as we wrote it. I’ll keep you posted with our success…or maybe there will be Plan No. 3. Regardless of the plan chosen to do the painful edits, it’s been a fun and very creative moment for our group, The Usual Suspects. We’re hoping to put it up for sale as soon as it’s polished.

So what is a short story? It’s a story that can, obviously, have very few words. That being said, the six word tale won’t be a hot selling commodity any time soon. The typical short story can be found to have anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 ish words. They represent all genres and seem to sell really well for $0.99.

An author friend of mine has an e-publisher that only handles her short stories and she produces one every other month. Over time, she will have quite an inventory of product out there! She was also smart enough to write groups of stories around different themes so she could easily compile them into anthologies. That’s good writing and good marketing! Those stories will be a source of solid income over the next several years as the desire to have well written stories people can easily read on their phone or e-reader increases. The Director, Hamish Hamilton, at Simon Prosser Publishing stated, “The short story form is better suited to the demands of modern life than the novel.”

This phenomenon is not just happening in the U.S., it’s very popular in the U.K. A British newspaper called The Sunday Times has begun the EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.

The prize?

30,000 pounds. (That’s over $65,000)


That’s a pretty good prize. And if that didn’t get your attention, then I give up!


One last really short story: Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.-William Shatner

Make Sure You Have A Tribe In Your Pocket!

June 9, 2011

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.  Robert Benchley


Let's go viral with our marketing

If you are a writer and you want to make money with your books, then you are a business. This is the message that comes through loud and clear as I criss cross the internet researching how other people have become successful selling their books. It is a discipline.

Once you’ve adjusted to this mind shift, then you can get on with the business of marketing yourself and your book. The first move is to create a road map of how you will go about selling your book. Building a successful business requires capital. I know this is a delicate topic, but one that needs to be met head-on. If you think you can do this without spending something, then you are selling yourself a load of rubbish. How much are you willing to spend on marketing? How about products or services of other people? What is necessary to meet your goal? This does not mean a lot of money needs to be set aside, it only means that this should be a well thought out process.

Once a realistic budget has been set, tap into your social networking circles. This is easier said than done. Research shows that the more people see your ad, the more they trust the product. Don’t post your ad one time and wait for the money to roll in. It takes a minimum of seven times for your ad to be viewed before it becomes effective. It is suggested that you run the ad once a week for 2 months. This is, of course, after you have built this social platform into a marketing machine that welcomes your ads.

Marketing your book into a best seller is far easier if you have a large platform from which to spring off. Trissa Tismal calls this platform, a fan base or a tribe. Simply put, it is a group of people interested in what you have to say and love your work. How do you build an online tribe that acts as a sturdy platform? Building this group must be a priority that can start well before you’ve finished your first piece of work. A writer must use the 90/10 rule. When you are connecting with people on or off line, then expect to give them value rich content 90% of the time while trying to sell your book only 10% of the time. I thought this was an extremely useful guideline that Ms. Tismal shared and it makes a lot of sense.

Be generous. Share your knowledge. Be there to offer information to others. This creates a sense of trust and appreciation between you and your tribe. Another way to do this is to connect people within your network. Introduce them to each other if you think they will benefit from it. People will be impressed that you thought about them enough to make this gesture. Above sharing your knowledge and connecting people together, be very generous sharing your heartfelt wishes with them. Cheer them on if they’ve been successful and support them if they need a kind word. Sharing emotions establishes a greater sense of community and trust.

Once that platform is established, try giving people a free sampling of your book. Set up your website or the messaging system of your social network where visitors can give their name and email address so they can download a few chapters of your story. Ms. Tismal even suggests that you can be creative and give out something other than your book that will bring in people and give them a sense of what you do. I believe this is a strategic bit of advice because for every person who gives you their email and reads your material, they then become new members of your tribe. You will be able to communicate with them regularly through email, articles, teleseminars etc.

Don’t forget to let your friends and family that aren’t on social networking sites be included in your efforts. Use a phone call, an email or the old fashioned letter in the mail to let them know about your book. You can ask them to put in a good word for you with their friends and to make a referral sale. You CAN go viral on and off the computer, it just takes effort. My friend, Melissa Ohnoutka, joined her mother’s book club after they read her book (on her mother’s urging). They, in turn, told their friends how much they liked it and how enjoyable it was to have Melissa come to their club. It’s much like a pebble dropping in a pond and the concentric circles spreading out across the still water. The pebble is our effort and it will bring results that reach far beyond our little corner of the world.