Archive for November, 2013

I’ve heard that offering your eBook for free temporarily can be a good way to gain more customer reviews. Here’s something I’m wondering about those of you who own an e-reader (Kindle, Nook, etc.):

The second annual “Reader Issue” writing contest ended on October 31st, but I wanted to tell you about another writing contest that you should enter. This fall I participated in the 24-Hour Short Story Contest and although I was not one of the winners, I had a great time preparing a finished story in such a short amount of time. For many writing contests, you have to pay to enter, and the 24-Hour Short Story Contest is no different. However, the fee is only $5, which is a great deal compared to the fees for many other writing contests. With this contest, you do not receive the topic until noon Central Time on the designated day of the contest, and then you have until noon Central Time the following day to write, revise, and email in your story.

The 24-Hour contest that I signed up for took place on September 21 and 22, 2013. Here is the topic provided for that particular contest:

She wiped her hands on her apron, peering out the window.
Red and orange leaves hurried by as the cold autumn wind
battered the small cabin. The girl should have been back
from the errand by now. At that moment, she saw the flying,
fiery red braids. The devil’s mark on her right cheek, a
constant reminder, was clearly visible, even at dusk. The
girl, breathless, burst through the wooden door.

“Ma! Come quickly!!”

An awesome detail regarding the topic is that you DO NOT have to quote these topic sentences word-for-word in your story (although you can if you want to do so). The story is merely supposed to incorporate the theme of the sentences somehow–basically, through your writing, you’re trying to show that you really did create your story in the 24 hours provided, rather than using a story you’d prepared ahead of time and then just loosely tying in the topic in some form. Besides assigning a specific topic, also gives you a word count, which varies from contest to contest. For the fall 2013 contest, the word count was 900. I wrote one story, which I seemed unable to edit below approximately 1200 words, and then wrote a second story, which my husband thought was better than the first and was within the word limit. So the story I actually submitted was the second one.

They limit the contest to 500 participants, and they give out three cash prizes ($300, $250, and $200) and 25 honorable mentions, as well as some random winners who receive small prizes. puts on this contest once per quarter, and the next one is coming up in January! Take a look at their website and consider entering this fun contest.

To those of you who entered my “Reader Issue” writing contest: I will notify the winners on or before January 1, 2014. Did you intend to submit something and miss the deadline? Start working now on your entry for my third annual “Reader Issue” writing contest! I will start accepting entries next summer–stay tuned to my website,, for details on the guidelines and the official date when I will begin accepting submissions. Thank you to all of you who participated this year!