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Book: Writing Short Stories to Promote Your Novels (Writer's Craft) by Rayne Hall

Book: Writing Short Stories to Promote Your Novels (Writer's Craft) by Rayne Hall

categories: Book, Short Stories, Novel Writing, Book Promotion, Sell More Books, Writer's Craft, Creative Writing, Short Story Writing, Book Marketing, Fiction Writing


Rayne Hall

Rayne Hallabout this book: This book is part of the Writer's Craft series by Rayne Hall, aimed at writers who take their craft seriously and are working to achieve success.

Other Writer's Craft books include:
• Writing Fight Scenes
• Writing Scary Scenes
• Writing About Magic
• Writing About Villains
• Writing Dark Stories
• Twitter for Writers
• Why Does My Book Not Sell? 20 Simple Fixes
• Writing Vivid Settings
• The Word-Loss Diet
• SWOT for Writing Success
• How To Train Your Cat To Promote Your Book
and more.



A short story is the perfect tool for promoting your novel. Readers who love your story will look for more fiction by the same author.

Here are some ideas: post a story on your website as a free read or give it to another writer of the same genre to display it on their website. Publish it as a short free ebook, bolstering your list of published books. Offer it as a giveaway on blog tours. Submit it to a magazine, ezine or anthology where it will get read by lovers of your genre.

This book is structured like a workshop, based on an online class I taught. As you progress through the chapters, you'll build your story step by step, from the spark of an idea to the polished version that will wow your readers and make them eager to buy your novel.

For powerful promotion, writing a great story is not enough. It needs to be a particular kind of story to target your audience, win fans and sell books.

To get the most from this book, you should have at least one novel to promote, whether traditionally or indie-published. You need to have mastered the basics of the fiction writer's craft, though not necessarily of the short story form.

If you're a fiction writing novice or are still working on your first novel, it's too soon to follow this programme, although you may find useful inspiration.

I write British English which uses different words, syntax, spelling and punctuation than American. In some chapters I use 'he', in others 'she', but all suggestions apply to either gender.

If you enjoy writing, and if you have a novel you want to promote, you've come to the right place. Let's get started right away.



Chapter 1: THE BUILDING BLOCKS - Gathering the Materials

As your first step, you need to resolve that this new story will be a promotional tool. You'll write and market it differently than a story you sell for money.

The main principle of all kinds of promotion is this: 'Reach your target audience'.
To be an effective promotional tool, your story must be read by the kind of people who'd enjoy your novels. Therefore, your story must be similar in genre, style, and flavour.

When a reader has finished a story and enjoyed it greatly, she'll look for more fiction by the same author. She'll read your novel's sample pages on Amazon, and if they're similar to the story she enjoyed, she'll buy the book. If she finds they're different, she'll be disappointed and won't buy. Your promotional story needs to represent your novel.

Answer these questions. It's okay if some of your answers are tentative. You can fine-tune them later.

1. What is the genre and sub-genre (or combination of sub-genres) of your novel(s)?
2. What are the motifs which recur in all or most of your novels? These are elements found in most of your fiction. If you've written only one novel so far, think of motifs from that novel which you may explore from a different perspective in a future book.
Examples: vampires, single dads, honourable enemies, vengeance, conflicted loyalties, second chance at love, redemption, dogs, dragons, pirates, friends becoming lovers, dungeons, kidnapping, serial killers, addiction, natural disasters, betrayal, political repression, estranged siblings.

3. Do you have an author tagline, slogan, mini brand statement, catchphrase or something similar describing your fiction? If yes, write it down.

Gregory M. Thompson: 'It's OK to scream'.
April Grey: 'Delightfully dark and twisted'.
Kristina Circelli: 'Journeys beyond the Unknown'.

4. Describe the flavour of your novel(s) in five adjectives. This is perhaps the most important exercise you'll do in this book, so do it well. You can choose from the following adjectives or use others.

Absorbing, amusing, atmospheric, authentic, biting, charming, chaste, cheerful, chilling, classy, clever, comforting, creepy, critical, controversial, cynical, delicate, edgy, entertaining, escapist, exciting, dark, deep, disturbing, erotic, frivolous, funny, glamorous, grim, gritty, heart-warming, heart-wrenching, high-brow, hilarious, historical, horrifying, hot, humorous, inspiring, intelligent, intense, ironic, light, luscious, magical, meaningful, moral, mysterious, nostalgic, outrageous, poetic, provocative, quirky, realistic, religious, rich, romantic, sad, sarcastic, satisfying, scary, shocking, sensitive, sensuous, serious, sizzling, sophisticated, steamy, surprising, suspenseful, surreal, sweet, tear-jerking, tender, tense, terse, thought-provoking, thrilling, unsettling, uplifting, whimsical, witty, zany.

Gregory M. Thompson: 'Creepy, dark, morose, mysterious, tense'.
April Grey: 'Dark, fantastic, romantic, whimsical, weird'.
David D. Levine: 'Thoughtful, complex, varied, adventurous, fun'.
William Meikle: 'Creepy, supernatural, action-packed, fun, fast-moving'.

5. Imagine your average reader as one specific person. Narrow it down as much as you can. Of course your novels will be read by all sorts of people, but it helps to visualise one Average Reader. Who is s/he?

A fourteen-year old female Twilight fan; a forty-year-old divorced secretary with two teenaged children who loves pizza and gardening; a twenty-two year-old who devotes his free time to playing World of Warcraft and collects pictures of female warriors in gravity-defying bras.

6. What's the 'world' of your novel(s)? This is the geographic location and the period.

A fictional small town in Missouri; Victorian London; modern Tokyo; a valley in the Swiss Alps; a colony on Planet Epsilon-3.

Your promotional story needs to replicate most (though not all) of these elements. The more you can match, the better.

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