Tips On Hiring A Proofreader

Writing a book is only one part of the publishing journey. Before you even get to the point of publishing your stories or novel, it will need to pass through the hands of a proofreader and an editor. There is a big difference between proofreading and editing, but for this article, we are going to focus on proofreading. On Reedsy, there are a lot of great proofreaders to choose from, but knowing what to look for is important regardless of the platform you end up using. Here are some of our tips that will help you hire a professional proofreader that meets your needs.

Ask For A Sample

Proofreading takes a lot of intensive attention. In fact, many people who claim to offer proofreading services simply check for plot holes or check the flow of a story. Proofreading requires intimate attention to detail that allows a person to catch spelling, syntax, grammar, and other errors in the text. It is a good idea to pick a passage from your book and send that to potential proofreaders for review. Use the same passage or page for all proofreaders you are considering so that you can easily compare the resulting samples provided.

Pay Attention to Turn Around Times

Any proofreading service that offers an insanely quick turnaround time is likely not going to do a very good job. Proofreading is more than just reading through a book, it is analyzing each sentence line by line multiple times until no more errors can be found. It is common for 100k words to take as long as a month to be properly proofread, if you have technical texts or a longer manuscript, a complete proofreading job can take even longer.

Check Reviews

Just like with any other product or service it is important to check a person’s reviews before handing over your whole book. Other clients feedback can provide great insight into their customer service and the quality of their services. Also, look for independent reviews if the only source you are given is reviews listed on their own website.

Comparing Rates

The price of proofreading can vary wildly from one place to the next. Some services may charge on a per-page basis while others may offer a flat fee based on the total number of words in your book. It is a good idea to steer clear of bottom-of-the-barrel rates no matter what your budget may be. It is well worth paying a little bit more to have your text proofread by a professional as opposed to hiring a subpar service that will allow mistakes to fall through the cracks. At the same time, the most expensive service will not always provide the best proofreaders for your buck. Compare prices between the vetted proofreaders that have completed your sample passage and then move on from there.

Only Hire A Proofreader Who Offers a Contract

With any service getting the details down on paper is the best way to ensure everyone is on the same page. The same goes for when you want to hire a professional proofreader. The contract should cover the scope of services you expect to be completed, the cost for those services, the number of words or pages in your manuscript that you would like proofed, and the cost & deadline expectations. It is also a good idea to toss in a confidentiality clause or a nondisclosure clause to ensure your work is not shared with anyone else while it is with the proofreader.

Finding The Perfect Proofreader

With our easy-to-follow tips, finding proofreaders will be easier than ever. Just make sure that your manuscript is actually ready for this part of the process before you take the plunge. Professional proofreaders are not always budget-friendly, so always go over your work on your own and complete all of your story revisions before you hire a proofreader to check your work.

How to Make Money on Etsy while Writing a Book

If you are crafting and artistic, you may have thought of how you could sell your work and earn some extra money while writing a book. Then along came Etsy, a site that makes it very easy for the creative to sell their merchandise and connect them to shoppers on the lookout for unique items. How does one earn using Etsy? Read on.

What’s Etsy?

This is the first question you need to know, especially if the term is new to you. Etsy can be defined as an online marketing platform where sellers trade “unique items.” By unique, we mean many things, including clothes, jewelry, greeting cards, or anything vintage (at least 20-years-old) or handmade. 

The platform is large and hosts well over 70million buyers and 3.6 million sellers. So whether you are a novice or a pro, all you need is something unique; the audience is already there. So get your fantastic product and utilize the insider tips you will learn from this article, and you will be good to make money in a matter of days.

How much do people make on Etsy?

If you are thinking of making some quick money like what the get-rich-fast pyramid schemes promise guys out there, Etsy may not be the place for you. This is a platform that pays people for hard work and insider tips. This means that while you don’t stand a chance of being a millionaire by selling on Etsy, you can support yourself well and do something that gives you joy.

Steps to setting up an Etsy store 

The processing of getting started on Etsy is easy, and it’s all you need. If you start worrying about many things, you may never get started. Therefore, all you need is a kickstart, and you can always finetune stuff as time goes by and you sharpen your selling tricks. 

Here are five simple steps to follow to get started on etsy and start selling things on the platform:

1.    Decide on what you will sell

While this may sound easy, it is probably the most challenging step of this process. This is because you might have so many ideas that you don’t know which one is viable, or you simply have no idea about what to sell. If you are full of ideas, discussing with a friend could help you decide fast. Still, if you are green and confused, you can check what other people are doing. 

Be inspired by them but do not try duplicating another person’s ideas. Remember, whatever you want to sell does not have to be something physical. People are trading on delicate items such as logos, home wall prints, and images for social media pages, and you can design all these.

2.    Choose a name for your etsy store and a logo

Once you have decided what you will sell on Etsy, it’s time you chose a name for yourself and a logo too. In choosing a name, don’t fret too hard; it doesn’t have to be complicated. Besides, you always have a chance to change the name once. Remember to run a Google search to ensure that your name is not like another in Etsy. 

Canva is an app that people use to design logos. Although it’s more like Photoshop, you use it for free! If you cannot create your logo or are not comfortable with it, visit Fiverr and get an expert to do it for you at a cost.

3.    Give your very best shot for the image of your items

On online platforms like Amazon and eBay, the photo of an item really matters. In Etsy, the same applies, and it’s even more critical. In fact, the picture carries more weight than your store name or logo, which is why you need to take clear images. When setting up the store, there is an option for downloading prototypes to help you know what your photos should look like. You can also check what others have and try making your products look similar but still unique.

4.   Save money

Now that you are set, you need some savings as people don’t sell freely on Etsy. You’ll have to pay about $10 to list an item but you can use the internet to market your store freely. The platform is competitive, and if you get noticed within the first few days, you are better placed to sell on it. Decide on the best price to sell your items, considering all the costs and profit without being greedy.

5.    Plan on postage

If you are dealing in physical products, you must plan on postage. Light items will work well with post offices. However, courier services work better for heavy items. Research and know in advance how the charges work so that you don’t charge $5 for a delivery that costs you $10. 

Once you have your products on the site, be quick to respond to orders, questions and returns; ask for reviews from your customers, and hopefully, watch your side hustle become a full-fledged career.

Rose Rosie is a writer for the personal finance website, Joy Wallet, which provides readers with useful information, resources, and tools to help maximize their financial fitness. 

Ghostwriters can bring your story to life

Imagine this scenario. Maxine was the first-ever female plumber in her area. As she progressed in her apprenticeship, nearly everyone she encountered was surprised to see a “girl plumber”. Many doubted her expertise. Over time, however, she discovered that her female clients felt much more comfortable with having a female “handyman” in their homes, and Maxine was inspired to found a company entirely staffed by the next generation of women plumbers. She gained unique insights into business and human nature in the process, and now that she’s about to retire, she is strongly considering writing her memoirs — knowing that they’ll inspire others and offer unique insights. 

The only problem? Maxine is heavily dyslexic and not that great with words — part of what drew her to plumbing in the first place. Rather than giving up on her dream, Maxine could choose to work with a ghostwriter, and still publish very successful memoirs. 

Ghostwriters are versatile professionals who are dedicated to getting other people’s stories across. Today, you can hire a ghostwriter to write anything from full-length non-fiction books to novels, and from academic papers to blog posts or strong personal statements. Ghostwriters ultimately take all your big ideas, and transform them into beautifully-written texts conveyed in your voice. Ghostwriters make story-telling accessible to everyone with the means to pay, and the nature of the teamwork that unfolds between clients and ghostwriters is often close and intimate. Hiring a ghostwriter is a legitimate way to tell your story. 

The only question is — how? How do you find the perfect ghostwriter for you?

1. Decide Precisely What Your Goals Are

Ghostwriters rely on your ideas; their aim is to convey your message in the way you want it to be told. Before you set out to find the perfect ghostwriter for you, decide, in as much detail as you can, what the final version of your work is going to look like. If you’re after a scientific article, you may provide all of the research, while your ghost will choose the words and you review them and offer feedback. If you are a busy industry expert hoping to publish a “how-to” book, you may offer an outline before allowing your ghostwriter to conduct research and in-depth interviews, If you are, like Maxine, hoping to publish your memoirs, your ghost may record the stories you tell them, and they’ll run with your experience from there. 

The more closely-defined your final goals are, the more successful a skilled ghostwriter will be in getting your unique message across. 

2. Finding Ghostwriter Candidates

Although a significant portion of the books and articles you read in your daily life will primarily be produced by ghostwriters, these professionals can be hard to find. Due to the sensitive nature of their work, ghostwriters may keep a low profile and sign non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from discussing their past work. 

If you are a high-profile professional looking for a ghostwriter to produce non-fiction for you, asking around in your own professional circles can be an excellent way to connect you to skilled ghostwriters. Those who don’t have this advantage can, however, turn to the internet to find a ghostwriter. You may find ghostwriter candidates by scouring the internet for ghostwriters within your target genre or niche, and there are even a few dedicated ghostwriter marketplaces. You can also, however, simply search for professional writers, review their portfolios, and approach those you feel a connection to about your ideas. Many experienced and highly-skilled writers could potentially be willing to engage in ghostwriting, and this path has the added advantage that the ghost will also have writing published under their own names, which you can then review. 

Finding a ghostwriter isn’t easy, but it can be a highly rewarding way to share your voice with the world. Don’t compromise, and keep looking until you find a ghostwriter you are comfortable with.

How to become a professional proofreader

The road to becoming a proofreader is one that requires careful planning. You need to cover the below-mentioned steps and do your best in every aspect. It might take time to get recognized and start getting gigs, but it will be worth it. Proofreaders are in high demand because a lot of people can write or want to write – but not all can proofread.

Being a professional proofreader gives you the chance to improve other people’s manuscripts and drafts. It’s a great responsibility so it’s only natural that you do your preparation first to avoid any nasty surprises later.

A proofreader’s proficiency isn’t typically judged by their work. “I proofread this particular book” doesn’t allow potential clients to measure your abilities. Therefore, you have to throw most of your weight into the preparation and qualification aspect.

Let’s see the 7-step journey of finding proofreading jobs.

Step 0: The qualifications and education you need

The right qualifications and education are very important. Many clients select between proofreaders based on these factors alone. A master’s in English or publishing will be great.

Step 1: Finding a job vs. being a freelancer

There are two ways you can go about things.

Being a freelancer allows you to set your own prices and work at your own time slot. This, however, comes with no promise of constant pay or work. A larger agency might be a better choice if you’re looking for financial stability and a constant stream of work.

If you go for a job then the employer might take a proofreading test after checking your qualifications. Do mock tests to better prepare yourself.

Step 2: Know the game

Know to proofread inside out. Read books on the art of proofreading. It’s so much more than just checking grammar and spelling errors.

You need to make valuable additions to a manuscript, provide the author with your insights, and point out otherwise hard-to-spot errors and awkward mistakes.

For example, if you are going to be reviewing fiction then it’s part of your job to also check for consistency and any plot holes.

Step 3: Proofread manuscripts for free to hone your skills

You can start to build your portfolio and accumulate experience by proofreading for free.

  • Proofread your own writing or older manuscripts.
  • Ask your friends if they have something in need of proofreading.
  • Advertise your free proofreading service on social media.
  • Find literature online such as fanfictions or short stories by unpublished authors and proofread them. First ask for permission, of course, unless if you’re doing it purely for practice and you won’t be sharing the work as part of your proofreading portfolio. 

Step 4: Competitor analysis 

Have competitors or inspirations. Follow them routinely and find out how they do what they do. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should follow proofreading agencies as they don’t make their work open to the public.

What this means is following proofreaders for tips and tricks. Also, read plenty of books from reputable publishers – they are of course proofread. Try to find manuscripts for the same and compare the two.

Step 5: Work on a USP

Have a USP. What do you offer that others don’t?

This is completely personal and depends on your skills. You can’t make it big without USPs in most cases.

Step 6: Get your own platform online and chalk out the pricing

If you’re going the freelancer route then it’s important to have your own platform. It’s typical for proofreaders to advertise their services with free social media pages but professionals always have websites.

This is also the time when you chalk out the pricing details. Approximate the expenses after factoring in software and PC costs, education, bills, and a profit. You will be able to arrive at an hourly rate pretty easily with this. 

Step 7: Advertise and market your service

The last step is to put yourself out there. List yourself on freelancing websites. Have a social media presence. Perhaps spending a little on ads will net you good returns.

Marketing can be done both organically and with paid ads – the choice is up to you.

Do You Have What it Takes to Become a Literary Agent?

It might be a great honor to represent authors and help them make the most of their careers, but even a cursory glance at the industry reveals that being a literary agent isn’t for the faint of heart. Often, you’ll have to work another part-time (or even full-time) job to pay the bills while you wait for your commissions, and that’s after you’ve taken years to learn the craft by doing internships and rising through the ranks. 

Many aspiring literary agents burn out and change course before they even make it to agent — so before you begin climbing that ladder, you should ask yourself if you truly have what it takes to become a successful literary agent. 

Literary agents are widely read and authentically passionate about literature and writing. They’re deeply familiar with almost anything that’s ever been published in the genre they’re interested in working in, as well as up-to-date on current trends, both of which will help them recognize winning manuscripts. They’re likely to have been a literature major or have a degree in a related field, and literary agents may have started as editors. Some are aspiring authors themselves. A burning and undying love of books is an obvious job requirement, but these aren’t the only skills you’ll need to make it as a literary agent. 

Literary agents also need to be incredibly strong communicators — and we’re not talking about putting pen to paper, but about being able to get your foot in the door with the right editors, and making it through tough negotiations with publishing houses. That’s why the best literary agents are often extroverts who are naturally gifted at networking. As literary agents have an extremely close partnership with the authors they represent, they’ll also be true team players who are able to offer constructive criticism in a tactful but clear manner.

If you have what it takes to become a literary agent and stay in it for the long haul, you will have a high tolerance for technical and complex legal documents and a lot of patience, as well as a genuine entrepreneurial spirit. You’ll need that business sense to help your clients get their dream book deals, of course, but also to be able to cope with the risks you take on. As a literary agent, you will, after all, only get paid when your clients land a deal with a publisher and get their advance. 

On that note, while some literary agents do get salaries, that’s far from the norm in the industry. Not everyone is willing, whether on a financial or emotional level, to put up with the uncertainty that is inherent in this business. A dream of becoming a literary agent may be worth pursuing if you have a solid Plan B — a side gig you can rely on, permanently or while your career takes off — or if you’re the sort of person who thrives on risk, because it motivates you to work that much harder. If the idea of, for instance, simultaneously building your reputation as a literary agent and also being a freelance editor or an English teacher, doesn’t put you off, and working brutally long hours to achieve your dream thrills you, you may have the perfect personality to be a literary agent.

Are you still at university, or are you a serious autodidact? Courses that will help you develop the skill set all the best literary agents have stretch far beyond the realm of literature. Exploring psychology and negotiating skills, taking a business class, and even studying to be a paralegal (because of the contracts you handle as a literary agent) will all steer you in the right direction. 

Many literary agents have degrees in literature, communications, business, English, or creative writing — but even with a degree in your pocket, you should be fully prepared to start with a (frequently unpaid) internship at a literary agency and then to work your way up very gradually as you learn the ropes from your mentors. This is where aspiring literary agents begin their long road of becoming intimately familiar with the book publishing industry and building the connections they will need to get their future clients the book deals they’re dreaming of. 

Do you have what it takes to be a midwife to the authors of tomorrow?

Three Things to Know about Literary Copyrights

When it comes to literary copyright is there are several things that you want to know. Lots of people worry when they start sharing their work as a writer that it is going to get co-opted by someone else and published under their name. That’s why they are often unwilling to share their work in writing workshops or online for fear that someone that they’ve asked for a critique from will try to pass off their work as their own. But that is unlikely to happen and the reasons for that have to do with understanding literary copyright.

Do You Actually Have to Register a Copyright?

The truth is you do not actually have to register a copyright for your book or short story in order to for it to be yours. As soon as your short story or novel is published to some medium, whether that be through a traditional publisher or through any of the independent publishing platforms that are out there, your work is automatically copyrighted. You do not even have to put the word copyrighted on the page anywhere. In fact, when you send your work to an editor or agent, anywhere in the USA from an editor in New York to an illustrator in Los Angeles they will often see this as the work of an amateur since they know that your work is protected. You can even email your short story or novel to yourself or uploaded to Google drive or some other medium and that will allow you to prove that it is your work as well.

What Are the Benefits of Registering a Copyright Anyway?

If you choose to pursue going after an official copyright anyway there are a few benefits that can be derived from it. Essentially, you will be getting what is called a super copyright. When your work is published by traditional book publisher, you’re going to get a copyright anyway because that is how publishers do business and how lawyers recommend that they go about it. Formally registering a copyright definitely would give you leverage in court if someone were ever to try to claim that your work is there. If you have an official copyright and you see someone for plagiarism, then the damages and compensation that you received could be greater because of the fact that you have an official copyright. You shouldn’t have to worry about any legitimate editors or agents trying to plagiarize material. Sometimes other writers do this, but almost never has an editor or agent that is legitimate been accused of this.

What about a “Poor Man’s Copyright”?

You may have heard of the poor man’s copyright when you mail something to yourself in order to prove that it is yours. This used to be done through the snail mail process. However, today you can just as easily get the same sort of copyright by uploading your work to something like Google drive or by simply emailing it to yourself. This proves that it is your work at a particular date stamp.

Pros & Cons of Adding Pictures to a Children’s Book

One of the decisions that you are going to have to make is whether or not to add pictures to your children’s book. This will depend upon several factors such as whether you have access to the artwork in the first place and what age group you are targeting. Some age groups are almost required to have pictures if you want them to sell while others can do without them. Let’s take a look at some of those factors now.

Traditional versus Self-Publishing

One of the things that may make a difference is whether you are publishing through traditional means or self-publishing. If you are asking how to publish a children’s book through traditional means, then you’re going to have very little control over whether or not your books have pictures. If they are in those age groups where pictures are required, then your publisher will hire out for an artist to create the pictures. For chapter books and easy readers, your publisher may still contract out for some sketches to add your book. If you are self-publishing, then you have to make those decisions yourself. Of course, you also have to do all of the acquisition work to get those pictures.

Are You the Artist?

If you are an artist, then you definitely have an advantage over authors that have written a book but have no artistic talent. If you can paint or draw pictures yourself that will go with your book, then you won’t have to worry about hiring someone to create them, paying them money to commission the work or what rights you get for doing so. Many children’s book authors are also artists and they create their own artwork to go with their books. If you are publishing traditionally, then it will still be up to the publisher whether or not your own drawings will be included with the book or whether they want to contract out to someone else.

What Age Group is Your Book Targeted Towards?

You also need to consider which age group your book is targeted towards. For example, board books and picture books are required to have pictures. That is, after all, the definition of that type of book. Even easy readers and chapter books should have some pictures in them because children are transitioning from those picture books to books with a lot more words and having books with no pictures can be rather intimidating. For older children, pictures are not strictly necessary.

Print Book or eBook Format

You also need to consider whether you are publishing your book in print or e-book format. If you are publishing in print, you are going to have a lot easier time formatting your book, but it is also going to cost you more with a traditional service like print on demand. Color pictures can add several dollars your cost whenever someone orders one of your books. This is not the case with e-books, but it can be tricky to do the formatting to your pictures display properly.

Where to Find 2019 Writing Contests

There are a lot of places the public a few one point 2019 writing contest. Some of them are going to be listed online, but others are to be more difficult to find. The most prominent ones are the ones that are talked about the most, but there may be smaller ones were the competition is a lot thinner and where the prices are still worth it. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can find writing contest.

Professional Writer’s Association Forums

One of the best places that you can look is on the forum of your genre specific professional writers association. For example, the Horror Writers of America have their own form and you can check it out in see if there’s a thread where people list contest that they’ve heard about.

Writer’s Magazines

Writer’s Magazines are one of the top resource when it comes to finding out whether or not there are any contest worth entering happening this year. These periodicals make it their business to know which writing contests are coming up and especially which ones are best for the aspiring writers that they target.

Social Media Feeds

Social Media is another great places you can find writing contest. If you search social media feeds for writing contests, there’s a good chance that you will see ones coming up as the organization behind them announces them. Not every organization will promote the contest on Facebook and Twitter, but the majority of them do, so you can check their regularly for updates.

Online Search

Looking online is also an option when you’re trying to find writing contest. The problem is that many of the websites that this writing contest did always differentiate between ones that were held for the last few years, ones that were held once last year and the current better contests. You’ll have to look at each deadline manually and see if they are holding any this year and if you are still eligible to enter the contest.

Schools & Libraries

Ask your local librarian or someone at your high school or college if they know of any upcoming contests. A lot of times, librarians will get advance notice on these contests in the form of posters or flyers that they can post up around the library. The same goes for schools when it comes to contests that high school and college students are eligible for. There are usually quite a few contests available for high school students and they can include things like poetry, playwright, fiction, nonfiction and even song lyrics in some cases.

Within Your Local Community

Check within the local Chamber of Commerce or other source of information within your city or town. There may be writing contests that specifically apply to people that live in your city, county or state. There may be contest that are open to those that are willing to write about the state that you live in as well.

How to Use the Hero’s Journey as a Writing Exercise

How to Use the Hero’s Journey as a Writing ExerciseImage result for Hero’s Journey

Joseph Campbell introduced us to “The Hero’s Journey” a writing outline that describes many of the popular works of fiction currently on the shelves or in the movie bin. Some of the best known pieces of writing or motion picture magic have most, if not all, elements of the Hero’s Journey including Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. But you can actually use the Hero’s Journey as an exercise if you want. Make some delicious dessert using a modern ice cream maker, and let’s talk about some ways to do just that.

Ordinary World: Write a page about the ordinary world that a character might live in. If you don’t have a character, just make up a name and then describe their world.

Call to Adventure: Take your character to the moment when they are faced with a choice, and write the internal dialogue that they experience when trying to make that choice.

Refusal of the Call: Heroes often refuse the call-to-action at least once. Remember when Obi-Wan told Luke he must become a Jedi and Luke refused? Write your character’s refusal.

Meeting with the Mentor: Sometimes, these steps appear out of order. For example, Luke Skywalker met with his mentor before he refused the call. You can write it however you like.

Crossing the First Threshold: This is where you can write the hero embarking on his or her adventure.

Tests, Allies, Enemies: Choose a confrontation with an enemy, a first meeting with an ally or a test that your hero must face and write about it as an exercise.

Approach: Write about how your character approaches the main quest. Think about what they might have learned and how prepared they are for it.

Ordeal: Now, write a scene where your character is in the thick of the action. They are accomplishing the goal of the quest. They are overcoming the obstacles that stand in their way.

Reward: When your character finally defeats the enemy and gets the reward, how will they react? What will they do next? Most importantly, how has the experience changed them? Write a scene where your character has won the day and think about what sort of things they might be saying to themselves and how they might be feeling.

The Road Back: This is the very beginning of the last stage of your climax. Your hero is on a journey and has accomplished the goal of that journey. But there is still some loose ends that need to be tied up. They have to be written a clear and accessible exit from the world of the quest to the real world.

Resurrection Hero: The final scene in your climax should show the character changing drastically so that they are finally able to accomplish the tasks that are required to complete the final encounter – even if it is with themselves.

Return with Elixir: Finally, write about your character’s reception, all of the people who didn’t believe they could do it, and the celebration that ensues from them saving the world.


For more writing exercises, check out Reedsy

EBook Formatting Choices: MOBI

EBook Formatting Choices: MOBI

If you are familiar at all with Amazon’s proprietary eBook device: the Kindle, then you are likely familiar with the MOBI format as well. The .mobi format is the most common format out there for Kindle books. There are a few third-party applications that can read the .mobi format, but for the most part, if you have a .mobi file, you have to have a Kindle to read it. The ironic part is however, that if you get a .mobi file that wasn’t downloaded from Amazon, it can be rather difficult to get it to load up into your Kindle. Still, if you want to have the format that is recognized by Amazon Kindle, such as being placed in the Kindle Select Program where people can borrow your books and where you can do free book promotions, then you want to have the .mobi format. If you need more help with the .mobi format, check out Onsite in 60.

Where the MOBI Format can be used

So, where exactly can the MOBI format be used? Unfortunately, it can only be used with Amazon devices like Kindles. The Kindle device is one of the most advanced electronic readers out there, and publishing your book in this format is going to give you a ready-made audience and system is already set up for you to promote your book; that does not always mean that it is the best option out there. There are a lot of things to consider before you decide to place your book in the Kindle Select program, including whether or not you want to give your book exclusivity and conform to Amazon’s pricing models.

The Kindle Select Program

There are definitely some advantages that come with the Kindle Select Program. You are able to price your book at least $2.99 and be able to earn a 70 percent royalty on those books. But that also means the need to keep your book exclusive to Amazon. When the company set up those rules, they knew what they were doing. If you make your book exclusive on Amazon, and it becomes extremely popular, they are going to be the only ones that carry it for a certain period of time. That means all of the sales will come to them. If you go to other retailers, then you’re not going to get the benefits that joining the Kindle Select program offers.

One of those advantages is the ability to price your book to zero for five days out of every 90 days. What that means is that for those days that the book is on promotion it will be promoted for free on Amazon. If you have a series, people will buy the first book in your series for nothing; and there is a decent chance that they will buy the second book as well – as well as any other additional books – because they read the first one and became intrigued. You also are able to take advantage of certain programs like the Kindle Singles program. You can also enlist your book in the borrowing service that Kindle offers – Kindle Unlimited. This service pays you for each page that someone reads.

How To Write Your Story On Your Next Big Idea

So now you know the fandom in which you are going to write your story. You have narrowed down your story ideas to one or two plots and subplots. You have steeped yourself in your chosen fandom. All that remains is to finally start writing your fic.

Organize your notes

The first thing you will want to do is organize your notes, depending on the complexity of your story ideas. If you are anything like me, you will have snippets of dialogue written down on the backs of receipts.

You scribbled the name of an article or website address that had some information you want to include in the story at the bottom of a grocery list. It’s a lot more useful to have these sorts of things either written down on a three-by-five card or set up in a word processor document. Organizing your notes does not have to involve sorting bits and pieces of paper into stacks.

Whether you want to write a short piece of fanfiction and have everything just so or a four hundred page novel that is going to take you weeks or even months to write, making that process easier is a good idea. There are several free or inexpensive software programs that can help you organize everything. Reedsy also has great self-publishing tools that you can use if you need more resources.

Evernote is one such free online tool. It allows you to input your notes into one place that you can access later on any device whenever you need it. FreeMind is another free online resource that can help you organize your thoughts through a technique called mind mapping. Neither of these will help you much if you’re planning on writing a drabble or other very short story. But if you are thinking about a novella or longer, they might be worth your time and drive space.

Decide on the length and type of story you want to write

Your fic can be a short story, novella, or novel. It can be flash fiction or an epic. It can be serialized and shared as a WIP or “work in progress.” It can be an entire series of novels all posted at once for your readers to binge on over a weekend. It can be a one-hundred-word drabble or a one hundred-thousand-word novel. It all depends on how much of a story you want to tell and how much detail you want to put into it.

Drabbles are a favorite type of story. They are so short they don’t have a more traditional story structure with a beginning, middle, and end. Even so, they are still stories. The drabble packs a lot of punch into very few words. When I started writing fanfiction years ago, a fic was only called a drabble if it consisted of exactly one hundred words, no more, no less. Now, the drabble is still quite short, but it can be as long as four or five hundred words. Drabbles are actually quite popular now. Take, for example, the RWBY fanfiction on Commaful. You’ll find the stories are often very short and sweet with some elements of plot and just endless hours of entertainment. You can also look at smaller fandoms like Danger Man fanfics and the 6th Day on and AO3 to see more examples.

Drabbles, twit-fics — stories of 140 characters that can be shared on Twitter in just one post — and three-sentence fics are challenging to write, but doing it successfully can be as rewarding as writing that novel. And they take a lot less time to write. With just one hundred words, you can get a sense of character, setting, history. Perhaps more importantly, you also can have all the elements of a good story: conflicts, goals, and your character’s motivation. Below is an example of a traditional drabble I wrote several years ago. I received a prompt from a friend. They wanted a brief Star Trek fic based on the recent movie reboot and starring James Kirk. Pike’s challenge echoed in Jim’s head. Yes, Lieutenant George Kirk saved hundreds of lives, was a genuine hero. His youngest son decidedly was not. But didn’t heroes usually die being heroes? Just like his dad? The dive bar and others like it were everyday things for Jim. Was that what he wanted? To live and die in a backwater, lurching from one bar fight to the next? He swiped at the blood on his chin, looked at the dull red smear on his thumb, then pushed up from the table.

He wasn’t ready to roll over and die just yet.

Besides the length of your story, you will need to decide what type of fic you are going to write. It is not at all uncommon for a fic to be what is known as “slice of life” or a “PWP.” These are two types of story that will not necessarily have a real plot. In that regard, they can be somewhat easier to write. But both types of fic are fun to write and read.

They may not have much plot, but they can enrich your experience of a character or setting in your favorite fandom. In a slice-of-life fic, you might write about a character’s or group of characters’ typical day. A PWP, which stands for “plot, what plot?” is usually little more than an extended scene. A PWP will, for example, show a character’s reaction to something we did not get to see in canon or titillate the reader with a more sensual scene. “Fix-it” fics do just that.

They fix something. They take a perceived flaw in the original source material, such as the death of a beloved character, and — as the name implies — fix it. An alternative universe or AU fic will involve the same characters as in canon, but they alter the setting in some way, either minor or major. Something as subtle as a character not answering a phone call or as major as shifting the characters from your chosen fandom to our modern world can cause that change. Alternate universe fics can be either character-based or plot-based.

AU settings seem to happen more often with a character-based fic because of the challenge of keeping that character true to the original in spite of the sometimes drastic difference in setting. A “high school” or a “college” AU is a popular type of alternate universe that puts the canon characters into a modern high school or college setting. In many cases, large numbers of AU fics come about because the canon is closed.

AUs allow for a wider playing field. The Hunger Games is a good example of a fandom with a great deal of both character-based and alternate universe fanfic. The world of Panem and Katniss Everdeen is currently a closed canon. (There are rumors, though, that movie producers want to create a series of prequels to the canon events. If that happens, it could become an open canon again.) Of the more than 8,600 works on one popular fanfiction archive, almost 2,000 of them are one flavor or another of alternate universe. The largest number of AU Hunger Games fics are between “alternate universe — modern setting” and “alternate universe — canon divergence.”

Put your story down on “paper” and walk away

Once you have organized your notes, you know what you want to write, and you have worked out some kind of a plan, it’s time to write.

Get that story down on paper, even if it is only virtual paper made up of bits and bytes. If you want to write a longer fic, it can help to put together an outline beforehand, although it is not necessary. Many of us write by the seat of our pants, letting the characters and their reactions dictate the story. Others need that story roadmap to function. But no matter how you go about writing your fic, the important part is to write it.

As with organizing your notes, there are also several free programs and apps available online that can help you write your fic.

They won’t actually write it for you, but they can help to focus and avoid distractions while you write that first draft. FocusWriter is one of my favorites. I first downloaded it when I needed a word processing program I could install on my new laptop. I didn’t have the money for Microsoft Word. I later discovered that Focus Writer is a great way to keep me from surfing the internet when I want to write. Of course, when you first write that fic, you can always use good old-fashioned pencil and paper. Just like with FocusWriter, pencil and paper will keep you away from that time suck we call the internet. And, too, if you write your first draft on paper, you will automatically start editing when you type it into whatever word processor you might use. Some websites will even allow you to type your fic directly into the posting interface. This allows you to skip the word processing software altogether. Whether it takes you just a few minutes to write your fic or it takes you a week — or even more — after you write it, take a break.

The longer the fic, the longer that break might need to be. Just walk away. That way you can give your brain a chance to process what you have written and your eyes a chance to rest. When you come back to it, that break will help you to see what you have written in a new light. You will pick up those missing or extra words. You’ll fix the misspellings your word processor can’t because the words are not misspelled; they are actually the wrong word. Words like “loose” and “lose” or “breath” and “breathe” fall into this category.

Read what you wrote and edit, edit, edit

When you return to your computer, read your fic as though you are the online fan who just stumbled across this beautiful new story. If you have not done so already, be sure you run spell check and make those more obvious corrections. Read your fic again. Chances are good you will see places where you could have phrased things better. You’ll find paragraphs where you rambled, and now you can pare them down to something easier to read. For this stage, too, there are free apps that can help you improve your writing.

Hemingway and Grammarly are two of my favorites, both available for download or as websites where you can upload your fic. You can either cut and paste or upload your story directly to these sites to analyze for grammar and word usage. Hemingway will highlight possible problem areas in different colors for different problems. Blue is for excessive use of adverbs, green for passive voice.

Purple will give you suggestions for ways to simplify a phrase. Grammarly tells you straight up what to fix in your grammar. It explains why something you have written is wrong as well as, in the paid version, giving you suggestions for better word choices.

If you make a lot of edits during this stage, you might want to take another break and start the process over again. Keep repeating the process until you have a fic that does not make you cringe. Eventually, you will be satisfied with the story, and that’s where step 5 comes in.