Category Archives: Writing News and Updates

Book Order Arrival

A couple of weeks ago I put in an order for 20 copies of my book, so that I could sell them to friends, family, and locals. Guess what showed up at my door yesterday!

Twenty copies of Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One, all laid out and lookin' pretty!

Don’t they look nice? I was so happy when I found that art to use on the cover. I was able to buy the rights to it fairly cheaply, along with a couple of similar pieces of different times of day, for volumes two and three, once they’re ready. (Volume Two will probably come out before Christmas 2011, but I’m not sure exactly when.)

I was a little concerned that 20 would be too many, and that I wouldn’t be able to sell them all, but 15 of them are already accounted for. I’m trying to get them into people’s hands ASAP. If you know me personally or live near Victoria, BC, and want to put in a claim on one of the remaining 5, send me an email or a Facebook message and I’ll put one aside for you.

The cost of the book in-person is $15, which includes a $3 shipping charge. That saves you up to $5 on shipping if you order it online, depending on where you live.

50WS Valentine’s Day Contest Overview

Shortly before the release of Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One, I announced that FiftyWordStories.com would be holding a Valentine’s Day contest, where the winner would receive a free copy of my ebook. Today is Valentine’s Day, which means that the contest results have been posted.

Rammy’s winning entry, Sisters, earned the prize by being cute, sweet, and clever. I really like the twist on the “always and forever” phrase, and I’m a sucker for stories that create expectations for the reader and then undermine them, which is something Sisters does very well.

Daniel’s Robot Romance is just really funny, and that’s why I picked it as the first runner up. It’s especially good, I find, when you read the story out loud with a robot voice and a “sassy” voice. The story has earned some legitimate laugh-out-loud moments from people I’ve read it to!

I like the poeticism and originality of Derek Mullanari’s story, Binary Love, which earned the second runner up. I know how tough it is to evoke real emotion in 50 words, and I think Derek did a really good job of it, while using a unique setting and characters.

Beyond these three stories, there were a lot of great entires. In total, 22 different people sent in 29 different stories, which, to me, means the contest was a big success. Thank you so much to everyone who entered! I hope to see more stories from all of you in the future.

50WS Week in Review

This has been a very exciting week for me creatively. On Monday I released Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One, a collection of 100 stories from my first year of writing at FiftyWordStories.com.

In conjunction with the book release, I made this a special guest week and posted guest stories from MCM of 1889.ca, Woody Tondorf of Elevator Show and The Morning After, Justin Boyd of LeftHandedToons, John Funk from The Escapist, and Graham, Tally, and Jer from LoadingReadyRun. Getting all of these great guests to write stories for me was really fun, and resulted in not only some great stories, but also the highest-traffic week in site history. Everybody wins!

So how have sales gone? Pretty great, actually. Not including “in-person request” orders, I’ve already surpassed my initial (admittedly a bit modest) sales target. I’m on my way to doubling it, if you include friends and family.

I had no idea what to expect in terms of sales, but here are a couple of trends that I’ve noticed so far:

–I’ve had more people ask to buy the book from me in person than I expected. This has led me to put in a “bulk” order of 20 books so that I can save people a bit on shipping, and so that I’ll have a small stock around for other locals (people from Vancouver or Vancouver Island), or for special events.

–Ebook sales from my site are roughly even with sales through the Kindle Store. I’m glad of this, but I’d also be thrilled to see the Kindle Store sales increase a bit, because it’s also an avenue for reaching more people who may not have heard of the site. If people who have bought the ebook want to leave reviews on the Kindle Store, I’d really appreciate it.

–Specifically mentioning the book on Twitter and Facebook seems to elicit some real response and sales. But don’t worry; I’m not going to keep spamming it all over the place. Moderation in all things!

I’m looking forward to getting back to the regular routine of story posting, but of course, first there’s the Valentine’s Day contest!

Thank you to everyone who has been following the site, and my blog.

The Plunge

Tomorrow I take the plunge.

The FiftyWordStories.com Store is now online, and the first two products (Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One in print and ebook) have been posted, but tomorrow I’ll flip the switch and begin allowing purchases.

How well is this going to go over? I honestly have no idea. I have a few personal goals and targets for how many copies I think I can sell, but I’m keeping my expectations pretty low. To be honest, I’ve just had a lot of fun putting the book together and setting the store up, even though it’s been a lot of long, hard work. The task has, in many ways, been its own reward. As long as that continues to be the case, any actual sales I make will be pure gravy.

If anyone who knows me personally would like to save a couple of dollars, I can get a bulk shipping discount, so send me an email at tim@fiftywordstories.com before buying and I’ll try to make that happen.

Monetizing a Hobby

It’s a strange thing, trying to apply a business model to what has, until now, been purely a creative outlet. I’ve been running FiftyWordStories.com for almost two years, and during that time I’ve posted over 500 stories, almost 100 of which have been written by guest authors. It’s been so much fun hearing from and talking to readers, and watching visitor numbers slowly but steadily rise.

And now I’m trying to turn my hobby into a business.

Well, sort of. It’s very important to me that FiftyWordStories.com is a source of entertainment first, and a store second. I’ve been running the site completely out-of-pocket for two years, and I have no problem continuing to do so, but I feel that I have a product that’s worth something, and I hope other people agree.

So on Sunday, I’ll be launching the FiftyWordStories.com Store, integrated into FiftyWordStories.com, and on Monday I’ll put Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One on sale. Here’s how it’s going to work.

I’ve been releasing some information about how the book will be available, and a little bit of that has changed. On Monday morning, you’ll have the following options:

1) You will be able to order a copy of Volume One in print for $12 plus shipping via Lulu.com. There will be a link to my Lulu storefront from the FiftyWordStories.com Store.

2) You will be able to purchase and download a Volume One ebook bundle directly from the FiftyWordStories.com Store for $4. This bundle will include all three available ebook formats (PDF, ePub, and mobi), as well as a high-quality image of the cover. I’m not going to force anyone to pay multiple times to get the ebook in multiple formats.

3) You will be able to buy a Kindle-viewable version of the book directly from the Kindle Store for $4. I realize that it seems a little strange to offer this when you can buy all three formats bundled together for the same price, but a lot of people feel comfortable buying from the Kindle Store, so I want to make that option available. I recommend buying the bundle, not only because you get all of the formats together, but also because I receive more money that way, instead of surrendering a large part of my proceeds to Amazon. However, if you contact me and I am able to verify that you bought the book from the Kindle Store, I will send you the other formats, as well.

This is what I’ll be offering at the beginning. I had mentioned previously that it would be possible to buy the book in print from Amazon and digitally from the iBookstore, but as things have developed and I’ve done a bit of research, I’ve determined that both of those options aren’t likely to be worthwhile.

I have some ideas for where things could go from here, but it’s all going to depend on how people respond to the book. A strong response may push me to make my stories available in some new ways, but if there isn’t much response, then I may have to rethink how I’m going to go about this. Time will tell.

Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One

Excited about my soon-to-be-released book, Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One? Not nearly as excited as I am!

Well, ok. Maybe you haven’t even heard of FiftyWordStories.com before. It’s the website I created where I post a new story containing exactly fifty words every single weekday. I launched the site on February 22, 2009, and posted a new story every day (including weekends) for a year, and began my second year’s worth of stories in July 2010. (Year Two is halfway to being complete!)

Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One, available January 31, 2011.

Last summer I also began working on putting together a book containing the best stories from my first year. I put a ton of work into it, then thought I had lost the files, then found them back again, and finally managed to polish everything up into a completed state. I designed a book cover using some royalty-free art that I purchased through fotolia.com, taught myself how to format an ePub, and, just this week, announced the release date as January 31, 2011!

The completed book has the 100 best stories I wrote during Year 1. It also includes an assortment of nanofiction stories, which are stories that fit within a single post on Twitter, as well as several pages of tips and suggestions to help you write your own microfiction.

I put a ton of time into this book, and I’m really proud of what I’ve created.

You can get all the details of how it can be obtained on the FiftyWordStories.com release details news post.

I don’t want to promise anything that I may not follow through on, but yes, I did name this book Volume One for a reason. Now that I’ve put one book together, I feel that much more confident in my ability to assemble another one, and I’ve spent the past six months writing a whole bunch of new stories with which I can do just that. So assuming that I finish this current year of writing, and that Volume One performs well enough to make selling another volume worthwhile, there should be a Volume Two sometime between the end of Year Two and, let’s say, Christmas 2011 (with the release date dependent on what’s going on in my life, of course).

After that, who knows? Trilogy, anyone? Heh, now I’m just getting way ahead of myself!