One of the most difficult challenges for writers is how to
grow followers on our platforms. We are told by the “writing experts” that we
must have a strong following to be successful.
And you know what, they are correct.
Writers Unite! wants to help you gain followers by
broadening the reach that you have as an author. We are creating a monthly “Write the Story”
prompt designed to be shared by not only on your blog but across Writers
Unite!’s platforms as well. Those of you with good followings now will
hopefully find followers you didn’t have before and will be helping your less-experienced
Here’s the plan:
You write a story of 3000 words or less (doesn’t matter, can be 50 words or a poem) and post it on the author site that you want to promote. Please edit these stories. We will do minor editing but if the story is not well-written WU! reserves the right to reject publishing it.
Send the story and link to the site via FB Messenger to Deborah Ratliff, or email at email@example.com. Include Write the Story on the first line of the message or as the subject of the email.
WU! will post your story on our blog and share across our platforms, FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. WU! will also add the story to the Write the Story page on our blog where it will be available to read along with the other stories.
We do ask that you share the link to the WU! Write the Story page so that your followers can also read the works of your fellow writers.
The idea is to generate increased traffic for all. May take some time but it will happen if you participate. The other perk of this exercise is that you will also have a blog publishing credit for your work.
So… the January prompt is below… write the story!
DO NOT post your story to this prompt, The idea is to have your STORY or poem published on your site, the WU! blog and shared to gain followers for your writing. We will not accept a one or two line caption. For the most part, we are fiction writers and poets…. please write a story or poem, not a caption.
If you have any questions regarding this, you may ask the question in the comments.
2018 was a great year for Writers Unite! We achieved
our goal of publishing not one but two anthologies, Realm of Magic and Realm
of Romance. Both books did quite well in a market saturated with
anthologies and that is a testament to the level of talent among the members.
Our WU! blog on
Wordpress continues to grow and we were fortunate to have many guess articles
as well as admin contributions to the blog.
The Twitter following is growing daily. In addition, many of our authors
have appeared on “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” as admin and radio host Paul Reeves
continues to support the writing community.
This new year will continue to bring you the content we hope
you enjoy, Grammar Thursday, writing prompts, articles about writing from
members and admins, and more new members, as our growth has remained quite steady.
We will continue our association with “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” on Impact Radio USA bringing you
interviews discussing writing and with authors. Our third anthology Realm of Mystery will be published in
the first quarter of the year and another anthology will be announced in
mid-February or March.
WU! would like to help you get exposure for your writing and
build your platforms in 2019. We are beginning two new activities to start that
effort… one of which begins today.
Our first activity is called Write the Story.
We know one of the hardest things to do is drive traffic to
your blogs, webpages, FB author pages, and other platforms. I won’t go into
detail here but one the first of each month we will offer a photo/word prompt
for you to write a short story, which you may post on you blog, webpage, etc.
We will post the story and the link to your blog, webpage, etc. on the WU! blog
and share the story and link across all our platforms. The idea is to drive
traffic to you as we cross post the links. You can re-blog, and re-Tweet our
posts while we post your links. More content and a wider reach bring followers. Please look for the post with complete
Also, as Instagram is becoming a strong player in building a
following, we would like to offer you the opportunity to send us quotes from your
novels or work in progress and links to your point of sale or blog/website/FB
author page and we will post them on Instagram and other platforms as well. The
image create will be yours to use on your own platforms as well. More on this
in the coming days.
There will be other new activities as we go along, but our focus
will always be on mentoring the novice and experienced writer. We are always
Dickens’s A Christmas Carol has become an iconic fixture in our celebration of the holiday. Everyone has their favorite movie version of this story of goodwill to all men and redemption for one man. However, to read the novel is to experience the true depth of character and spirit that Dickens intended.
“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens, in full Charles John Huffam Dickens, (born February 7, 1812, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England—died June 9, 1870, Gad’s Hill, near Chatham, Kent), English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian era. His many volumes include such works as A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend.
Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity
during his lifetime than had any previous author. Much in his work could appeal
to the simple and the sophisticated, to the poor and to the queen, and technological developments as
well as the qualities of his work enabled his fame to spread worldwide very
quickly. His long career saw fluctuations in the reception and sales of
individual novels, but none of them was negligible or uncharacteristic or
disregarded, and, though he is now admired for aspects and phases of his work
that were given less weight by his contemporaries, his popularity has never
ceased. The most abundantly comic of English authors, he was much more than a
great entertainer. The range, compassion, and intelligence of his apprehension of his society and
its shortcomings enriched his novels and made him both one of the great forces
in 19th-century literature and
an influential spokesman of the conscience of his age.
Romance. The word alone conjures up a myriad of emotions depending on the state of our relationships, but the fact is, romance creates intense reactions. Whether we are overjoyed because we are with the one we love or heartbroken over a loss, romance has fueled our imagination from the beginning of time.
Writers Unite! chose romance for our second Realm anthology because the genre is the world’s most popular. From innocent to the most intimate of stories, there is something to please everyone. With an international membership of 45,000 writers from all walks of life, the admins had no doubt the members would rise to the occasion and provide excellent stories about love gained and lost.
We were not disappointed.
As you read the wonderful stories included, remember that these excellent writers had restrictions. The stories are limited to 5000 words or less. Writing a complete story in so few words is an art, and there are artists among us. As we read through the entries, we laughed and cried, and you will too. Keep the tissues handy!
I don’t believe in writing ‘rules’ because there aren’t any. There are NO laws governing writing because even ‘rules’ on grammar and usage keep changing over time. What doesn’t change is the infinite variations on the writing process based on individual writers and their need to communicate with the written word.
But if I have to impart any advice to writers it would be the following:
1) Don’t write to perfection. There will be a few but very rare times when something comes out the first time and doesn’t require any significant editing. Most of the time, your writing will require multiple rounds of editing to make it work well.
2) Remember, you can always revise later. As one of my all-time favorite authors Nora Roberts once said, “You can’t revise a blank page.” Get it down first so you can revise and edit. Because revisions and edits are a fact-of-life with writing.
3) Edit and revise but don’t beat the crap out of yourself in the process. I know so many writers who write and edit while beating themselves up at the same time. Yes, there are times when you’ll read something and not have any idea what you were trying to say. But unless you were writing drunk, high, or seriously messed-up, cut yourself some slack.
4) Try to understand that writing is purely subjective. What one person likes someone else won’t. Accept that as a fact of life and try to figure out what it is that works, or doesn’t work for you.
5) Writing days can be up and down. Some days the words will flow out of you like a water tap turned on full. And sometimes it will be a trickle. And some days the tap will be dry. Yes, you can push yourself but if the writing isn’t flowing, you might need to take a step back to try and figure out why.
6) Don’t adhere to absolutes with writing. For some writers, adverbs don’t work at all and for some writers they’re good friends that can be very useful. Personally, I don’t have a problem with adverbs though I do make sure they serve a purpose and aren’t just marshmallow fluff.
7) Don’t compare yourself to other writers. You’ll always fall short sooner or later and then you’ll feel bad and probably not be able to write. I believe every writer has to figure things out for themselves and you have to do what’s best for you.
8) Read your work out loud to yourself. I believe in this because when you read something out loud not only do you hear the rhythm of your words, you’ll also catch a lot of mistakes, too.
9) Know that with writing, like anything else you do in life, you will get better over time if you keep at it. Because if you keep learning, you’ll push yourself to go further and deeper and your writing will get better because of that.
10) Don’t let Fear stop you from writing. This is advice I really need to take myself but knowing that I’ve retreated from my writing because of Fear is the first step in moving away from it. Don’t let the bullies and jerks of this world ruin writing for you, and don’t give them any power over you.
QUOTES:“As far as I’m concerned, a really great comic-book story is every bit as creative and important as a great story done in any other form of the media.”—Stan Lee
Stan Lee Biography
Television Producer, Producer, Author, Editor, Publisher (1922–2018)
Stan Lee was a revered comic-book creator who co-launched superheroes like the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and the X-Men for Marvel Comics.
Born in New York City on December 28, 1922, Stan Lee went on to work for the company that would eventually become Marvel Comics. With artist Jack Kirby, Lee launched the superhero team the Fantastic Four in 1961, and was soon responsible for creating popular characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk and Thor. Lee later worked in a number of comic-related business and multimedia ventures.
Early Life and Career
Stanley Martin Lieber was born on December 28, 1922, in New York City to Romanian immigrants Celia and Jack Lieber. With part of his childhood spent during the Great Depression, Lieber and his younger brother, Larry, watched his parents struggle to make ends meet for the family.
Lieber, who later shortened his name to “Lee” as a writer, went on to be hired as an office assistant at Timely Comics in 1939 and became an interim editor for the company in the early 1940s. Lee also served domestically in the Army during World War II, working as a writer and illustrator.
Co-creating the Fantastic Four
In the early ’60s, Lee was called upon by his boss to create a series for Marvel Comics(Timely’s new name) that could compete with rival DC Comics’ hit title Justice League of America. Citing writing influences like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne, and following the encouragement of his wife, Joan, Lee did away with some of the usual superhero conventions. Hence, with artist and co-creator Jack Kirby, the Fantastic Four was born in 1961.
Hulk, Spider-Man and More Join Marvel’s Lineup
Following the success of the Fantastic Four, a slew of new characters soon sprung from Lee and his Marvel cohorts, including the Hulk, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Daredevil and the X-Men.
Lee was particularly known for his dynamism with copy and for imbuing his characters with a sense of humanity, tackling real-world issues like bigotry and drug use, which would influence comics for decades. An outgoing, humorous showman, he also developed a number of slogans as part of his shtick, including a Latin-derived call to rise, “Excelsior!”
Marvel Comics became a highly popular franchise, and Stan Lee was promoted to editorial director and publisher in 1972. He later moved to the West Coast to be involved in Marvel’s film ventures and eventually became chairman emeritus.
Shepherding the Rise of a Blockbuster Industry
Lee has become involved in a variety of multimedia projects while also serving as an ambassador for Marvel, even though he has filed lawsuits against the company and been the subject of debate over appropriate compensation for comic creators. The writer has seen Marvel develop into an entity that has inspired blockbuster film entertainment like the Iron Man,X-Men, Thor and The Avengers franchises.
Lee started intellectual-property company POW! Entertainment in 2001 and the following year published his autobiography, Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee. Later in the decade he received a Medal of Arts honor from President George W. Bush and launched the History Channel show Stan Lee’s Superhumans, a series that looked at people with remarkable skills and abilities.
2012 saw more new ventures. Lee co-wrote a graphic novel, Romeo and Juliet: The War, which landed on The New York Times‘ best-seller list and launched a YouTube channel, Stan Lee’s World of Heroes, which features comic, comedy and sci-fi content. At the end of the year, the ever-active Lee turned 90.
Later Health Problems, Legal Battles & Death
Lee endured the loss of his wife of nearly 70 years, Joan, in July 2017. He then gave fans a scare when he checked into a hospital for an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath the following January. However, the comic book titan was discharged shortly afterward, and announced he was ready to resume a full schedule with the latest Marvel feature, Black Panther, soon to be released.
Although things seemed to be humming along nicely for Lee and the Marvel universe, an April 2018 feature in The Hollywood Reporter painted a far different story. According to the publication, Lee’s daughter J.C. and other insiders were engaged in a battle over care of the 95-year-old and the future of his estate, the sides pitting Lee against one another and inducing him to dismiss formerly trusted associates. The piece also described J.C.’s tempestuous relationship with Lee, including an incident in which she physically assaulted both of her elderly parents.
Lee died on November 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
When you think of indie publishing or self-publishing, what’s usually the first thing that comes to mind? You usually think—not quite as professional, right? Maybe not as much earning potential? Well, I’m glad you stopped in because we are going to break these misconceptions today! One thing that traditional publishing does have the advantage of is that it is a bit easier to become nationally recognized through a traditional publishing house, but we will cover that in Part Three of this series.
Issue One: I won’t be taken seriously as a self-published author.
This is something that many indie authors fear. We struggle with it and convince ourselves that we need to keep sending manuscripts to big publishing houses so we aren’t “settling” for indie publishers. Well, let’s talk about that for a minute.
Self-publishing is quickly moving to the foreground for a lot of reasons. There are some who will say that a self-published author isn’t a professional writer. The main reason for that is they don’t gain the preconceived success that comes with traditional publishing. But that’s all it is—perception. There are writers with book deals who are just scraping by, and there are self-published writers who are raking in upwards of forty thousand a month. I don’t know about you, but I would call that success! It all lies in your perception and the work you are willing to put in. If you don’t see yourself as a professional writer (even if you have a day job), then you won’t put in the work of a professional writer. Ultimately, if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, then you need to take yourself seriously and work hard at honing your craft and producing your best work! Which brings us to the advantages of indie publishing.
Issue Two: There’s not as much earning potential.
This is so far from the truth it hurts! The reason this is a popular notion is because of the instant accreditation you can get through a traditional publishing house. Publications and critics will see traditional publishing as a sign of quality because the work comes from a credible source. So you will have initial purchase orders, but as we covered in part one, purchase orders don’t necessarily translate into sales. Let’s look at how indie royalties work.
There are two ways you can go—completely self-published where you handle every aspect of creation, publishing, and marketing, or there are indie publishers who pick up some of the legwork. We will delve into the differences between the two in the next part of this series. Either way you go, the royalties end up pretty similar. Amazon royalties can vary depending on where and how you are publishing.
Through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you can sell print books. After their cut is taken out for printing costs and a little to wet their beak, you are left with around 23-35% profit. Which isn’t bad when you consider that you won’t have an agent taking 15% of your profit from sales.
For ebooks through KDP, as long as you are priced between $2.99 and $10, you will profit a whopping 70% of your sales—something you will never see from a traditional publisher. With population growth and the widespread use of the internet and social media, that leaves you with literally billions of people that you can potentially reach. That’s easier said than done, though. That is why it is of the utmost importance that you build your marketing skills and practice them daily!
With an indie publishing company, you will, on average, keep a flat rate of your profits, and it can vary from 40%–60% of your sales. You also get the benefit of purchasing physical copies of your own book at cost, not retail price. So, with that being the case, say you decide to sell your book at $5 a piece. With 60% profit, you will make $3 per book sold. Meaning you will only need to sell 333,333 copies of your book to make a million dollars. I say only, but we all know that isn’t easy, either. However, it’s a lot better than the 1.3 million copies you would need to sell to make a million with a traditional publisher.
Some benefits that I didn’t cover are that when you completely self-publish, you retain all of your rights and are free to do what you want with your work. This could come in handy in a lot of scenarios. Also, the rate of publication is exponentially quicker. You can have your book on the market in a very short time after the final edits are complete. As you can see, there are many benefits to self-publishing—it just takes a little more work than traditional publishing. So, if you are willing to put in the work, then you will be poised to reap the benefits!
Thank you for reading, and stay inspired! Stay tuned for Part Three in our Benefits of Indie Publishing.