Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Writing competitions #amwriting

Short Story Long List
The long list for the short story category is up on the Flash 500 site. You can read the titles here. Our primary readers reported the standard of entries was extremely high and that choosing the titles to make the long list was very difficult. Well done to those who have made the long list - and good luck in the next stage of judging!
Change to Novel and Short Story Opening Dates
I have received numerous requests to remove the Novel and Short Story opening dates and just have closing dates for both categories. As a result, both categories are already open for entries - the Novel category closes at the end of October this year and the Short Story closes at the end of February 2017.
Flash Fiction Closes in Under Two Weeks
You have less than two weeks to get your entries in for this quarter's flash fiction category. The judge is Barbara Scott-Emmett. 

Spam Email Warning
Once again I have been contacted by a few people regarding emails supposedly coming from the poetry side of Flash 500. I closed the account last year, so nothing should be going out from that address. Any emails you receive from poetry@flash500.com have NOT been sent by us and should be deleted unread. Whatever you do, please don't click on the links if you receive an email from poetry@flash500.com.
For more information on our competition categories, visit the Flash 500 Homepage.
Kind regards,

Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

Monday, 14 March 2016

Why do I need an online presence? #writetip

The following question has been sent in by so many different writers in varying forms that I’ve decided to answer without attributing it to anyone in particular. Is an online presence really necessary for writers? I can understand anyone who self-publishes would need to be active online, but I want to go down the traditional publishing route. Surely my job is to write and it’s up to the publishers to do the marketing and promotional work?

If only life were that simple! To assume that traditionally published authors do nothing to help market their books is a little naïve, I’m sorry to say. Many agents specify a strong online platform before they will even open your file – in other words, a great book with fabulous characters won’t make the cut unless the author already has an online following. Ridiculous, I know, but it is increasingly the way of the world.

Fortunately, not all agents work like that. However, even if you sign up with the agent of your dreams, when he or she submits your manuscript to a publishing house and the editor falls in love with it, the marketing department will expect you to do everything possible to assist with sales – and that doesn’t just mean turning up looking earnest and intelligent for book signings!

Why should you have to do their job for them? Because if you don’t, your book probably won’t sell. Publishing houses have hundreds, probably thousands, of books to promote. They will devote time and resources to the ones that produce the best return on money spent. It’s simple economics. And this is where having an online presence is essential. The bigger the online platform, the greater the author’s potential audience, the higher sales are likely to be. The more marketing you do to increase sales, the more your publisher’s marketing department is likely to do for you.

For those who do not yet have an online presence and still need to set up in cyberspace, here is a great blog post by author Matthew Kadish: ranking the social networks

Another blog post I stumbled across recently gives some excellent advice on what not to do: 5 DUMB THINGS SMART AUTHORS DO

Good luck!

Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

Monday, 7 March 2016

Should I Celebrate? #flashfiction

A reader from Huddersfield, who asked not to be named, was recently long listed in an international competition, but she wasn’t sure if it was something she should celebrate. She writes: when I saw my name on a long list for the flash fiction competition, I was really excited, but one of my writing friends said that was probably just the list of all those who’d entered. Is that the way competitions work?

Obviously, I cannot answer for every competition around the world, but it is generally accepted that a long list is made up of the best of the entries after the first (and sometimes second, or even third) round of judging.

As I know it was the Flash 500 Competition you entered and were long listed for, I can categorically state that the long list was decided by a team of readers who waded through hundreds and hundreds of entries before picking a long list of stories to put forward for the next stage of judging.

I think, possibly, your writing friend might be suffering a little from the green-eyed monster. Celebrate your appearance on the long list – it is hard to get through the initial stages of judging in any competition. To do so in one where the entry count is so high is an achievement indeed.

Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions