Call for Submissions: Romantic and Erotic Fiction

Here’s a new call for submissions of romantic and erotic fiction in various genres.

Call for Submissions

Steam Romance, a publisher of romantic and erotic fiction is looking for writers! New to this genre, but not publishing, Steam is fresh and ready to take on select stories that are just as fresh…and sexy!

We are looking for:

Short stories that are between 15k-40k words. Novels that are between 50k-100k words.

We are accepting stories in almost all genres, but will give priority to stories of the following romantic fiction or erotica categories:

  • Contemporary, especially stories with a modern, strong lead female character
  • Steampunk
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Paranormal Fantasy
  • Dystopian
  • For Men

We define romance as: love stories with strong writing, developed characters, and a solid plot. Stories should have happy endings and should depict love scenes in detail. We define erotica as: arousing stories with explicit sex scenes; generally happy stories, though not necessary to have a neat and tidy happy ending.

Source: Call for Submissions

Steam Romance is a paying market. They pay royalties on a monthly basis. The exact rate isn’t specified, although on their Write for Steam page they say, “Because we are a small publishing house, we don’t have the costs associated with running a large business. These savings get passed on to authors through higher royalty payments. Try us and compare, you’ll see we offer nearly twice what a larger publishing house will pay.”

For more information, including how to submit, click through to their Call for Submissions page. Good luck, and if you have a story accepted by them, do let me know!

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Miappi Review and Giveaway

Miappi is a new application that allows you to create a smart-looking “social media wall” on which your social media posts from various networks are automatically displayed.

The developers were kind enough to offer me a review copy of the basic WordPress version of the application, so here’s what I found…

Miappi is provided in the form of a WordPress plug-in. You can download it from this page of the WordPress.org website, or just search for Miappi from the “Add New” page of your WordPress dashboard plug-ins section. It is in the usual Zip format, and you simply have to download and activate it.

It’s a little unusual, though, in that you don’t configure it from the WordPress dashboard but rather from the Miappi web page. You have to pay for an account (though see below), which allows you to log in to your personal page and set up the application there.

With the standard WordPress version of Miappi (which costs $49 a year) you can include feeds from your Facebook profile and business pages, along with a selection from Instagram, SoundCloud, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube. I say a selection, because with this version you are allowed a maximum of four different social media feeds (which must all be connected to you personally).

Once you have configured your page, you can place the Miappi wall either in a sidebar widget or in a post by copying and pasting a bit of code from the Embed page. On this page you can also change the dimensions of the wall and various aspects of how it is displayed. You can see a sample wall I created using the feed from my Nick Daws – Freelance Writer Facebook page below.

[miappi user="ewriter" width="600px" height="600px" fontsize="14" bgcolor="#000000"]

There are other versions of Miappi available with additional features. The Business version, for example, lets you have up to eight social media feeds, including public feeds not connected to you personally. You can also have up to two feeds based on a hashtag. The cost of this is an eye-watering $149 a month, though.

And that is really my biggest reservation about Miappi. I do think it is expensive for what you get. On the other hand, if you are active in a niche with strong visual content especially, it could be a valuable resource for you.

Anyway, if you’re interested in giving Miappi a spin – and have a WordPress blog – by courtesy of the developers I have three free one-year subscriptions to give away. Just enter NDPromoCode022015 when ordering from the MIappi website to get one of these. When they’re gone, they’re gone, so don’t hang around if you’re interested in this.

The developers have also kindly given me 20 promo codes providing a 50% discount on any price plan (valid up to 30 September 2015). Just enter the following code when ordering: NDPromoCode012015.

If you have any comments or questions about Miappi, as ever, please do post them below.

 

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Guest Post: 22 Top Tools, Websites and Apps for Writers

Today I am pleased to bring you a guest post by writer James A. Rose. In his article James sets out 22 great online resources for writers, many of them free. Over to James, then…

* * *

The muse of the past was something slightly indescribable. It could be a person, a place or a state of mind. Its influence was unpredictable and arbitrary. Capturing your muse was like corralling a unicorn. In other words, it was pretty much an impossible task.

This is no longer the case thanks to our current informational and technological age. You can summon your muse at will with the same tool that most likely serves to distract you from your writing efforts. The modern gamut of technology contains more information and inspirations than we can possibly imagine, and some very clever people have found a way to make tools that organize this information in ways that are most advantageous to writers.

I’ve assembled a list of some of the most useful tools I have either used or read about. The list is divided into five sections, being Suites, Word Processing, Organization, Brainstorming, and Reference. Each item listed in each section is referenced as Desktop, Website, or Mobile App. Some of the tools listed as Desktop or Website also have a mobile app, which is noted.

Suites

Scrivener – (Desktop)

Scrivener is a complete suite of writing tools with the purpose of easing the burden of organizing the complex information sets required for long documents. Some key features include index cards, outlining, research archival and access, style templates, progress tracking and much more. This is my personal favorite writing tool. After using it for a while, I don’t know how I got along without it.

Writer’s Blocks – (Desktop)

Writer’s Blocks gives the author total control over their long form document with a wide variety of tools for organization, formatting and research. This software uses blocks with drag and drop ability as the basis for research and document structuring. This program is a little over priced and Scrivener is better in my opinion.

Snowflake Pro – (Desktop)

Snowflake Pro is a program based on the Snowflake writing method created by Randy Ingermanson. This software puts you through a series of paces with clearly defined steps to help the author visualize story progression. This process could be very helpful to some writers but the interface and features of the program are quite basic. Perhaps used in conjunction with another more robust tool, Snowflake Pro could be quite useful, but still overpriced.

MasterWriter – (Desktop)

MasterWriter is perhaps more suited to songwriters and poets due to its heavy focus on vocabulary tools. Features include rhymes, phrases, synonyms, culture references (mostly drawn from Wikipedia), basic organization, and more. The pricing is monthly, yearly or bi-yearly. I suppose this is due to the regular updating of the reference tools. Master Writer could be a convenient tool but unnecessary for most of us. Several browser tabs open to some excellent websites could perform the same service for free.

yWriter – (Desktop)

YWriter is a fairly basic and free novel deconstruction tool in the vein of Scrivener and Writer’s Blocks. Organize scenes, chapters, characters, and storyboards with some drag and drop functionality and progress tracking. YWriter is a great tool for authors that may be considering organization software but are unsure of the level of benefit in regards to productivity. If the author deems this program useful then maybe upgrade to one of the other paid options.

Word Processing

WriteRoom – (Desktop)

Reasonably priced and exclusively for Mac, WriteRoom touts its ability to provide a distraction free writing platform with a very basic user interface. It basically attempts to recreate the experience of using a typewriter or a computer in the early eighties. I’ve never been distracted by the tool bar at the top of Word but if you are, this may be exactly what you need.

Write Monkey – (Desktop)

Though not affiliated with each other, WriteMonkey is basically a free Windows version of WriteRoom.

iA Writer Pro – (Mobile App)

IA Writer Pro is an app that attempts to recreate desktop word processing functionality on a mobile device and it does a pretty good job. Also a desktop application for Mac, this app is one of the most efficient mobile word processing programs I have used. This program includes a very clean interface for those that get distracted by a lot of buttons and options, and it is compatible with MS Word.

IOS: Yes

Android: Yes

Dragon Dictation – (Mobile App)

You’ve probably heard of Dragon desktop software by now but may not be aware that they have an app. Well, of course they do. It works great and allows for easy copy and pasting into almost any popular word processing application. Carrying a notepad everywhere can be cumbersome and it is not always convenient to take out the phone and start texting. This app is the perfect solution.

IOS: Yes

Android: Yes, but only allows you to use your phone to dictate to your PC.

Organization

Text Block Writer – (Desktop)

Text Block Writer is a free tool for organizing virtual index cards. It’s pretty basic but gets the job done. Be careful when downloading this program. Some locations have been reported to include malware or adware with the file. I cannot provide a link but CNET is usually reputable.

Index Card – (Mobile App)

Index Card is a corkboard IOS app that obviously allows you to organize ideas with virtual index cards. Color coding, versatile labeling and sharing capabilities make this a fabulous app for writers on the go.

IOS: Yes

Android: No

Mindmeister – (Website)

Mindmeister.com is a high quality mind mapping tool. Mind mapping can be a great way to break down a complicated task such as writing a novel. Free accounts are available and the paid accounts are very affordable. There are plenty of mind mapping tools online, some of which are free with the cost equating quality, but MindMeister is one of the best.

IOS: Yes

Android: Yes

Mind Node – (Mobile App)

Mind Node is a beautiful mind mapping app for IOS. It is a very versatile program with an interface well suited for mobile use.

IOS: Yes

Android: No

WorkFlowy – (Website)

WorkFlowy.com is an outline and list creation tool. It has a clean and simple interface, and is free for personal use.

IOS: Yes

Android: Yes

Story Tracker – (Mobile App)

Story Tracker is an IOS app that will allow you to track every place, either online or off, to where you have submitted your work. This can be a submission to a marketplace, journal, magazine, blog or a publishing house for example. You can keep detailed notes on all your work and where it’s been distributed.

IOS: Yes

Android: No

Brainstorming

Story Starters – (Website)

TheStoryStarters.com is a neat website with a simple premise. Just click the button and it generates a story idea. That’s all there is to it. Whether this will really be useful to you a writer is questionable. The ideas are randomly generated by a computer and some of the ideas can be pretty wacky, but it’s fun and free so go check it out.

The Imagination Prompt Generator – (Website)

At Creativity-Portal.com you will find the Imagination Prompt Generator. Click the button and receive randomly generated prompts and questions to provoke your writer’s imagination. This may not be a great source for a novel premise but is fun nonetheless. This tool is really better for writing project ideas to improve skills but it could spark an idea for a great story.

The Brainstormer – (Mobile App)

The Brainstormer is a fun IOS app created by Andrew Bosley that randomly combines a noun, a setting, and a concept. Click the button and wheel spins to generate potential story ideas. Sometimes this idea will be pretty farfetched but sometimes the wheel presents a compelling premise. The app also features a character builder, a world builder and a creature builder. It’s great fun.

IOS: Yes

Android: No

Lists for Writers – (Mobile App)

Lists for Writers is an app on multiple platforms that compiles lists of names, personalities, plots, settings, action verbs, occupations and much more. This is a very useful tool for overcoming writer’s block.

IOS: Yes

Android: Yes

Storyometer – (Mobile App)

Storyometer is another IOS app that aids in overcoming writer’s block. It can randomly present names and ideas or present prompts in question form to induce brainstorming. This app is cheap, fun and quite useful if you’re stuck.

IOS: Yes

Android: No

Reference

VisuWords – (Website)

I love this site. VisuWords.com uses a graphical chart to show relationships between words through definitions, synonyms and grammar. The chart is color coded and can be manipulated with your mouse. This is just a great website for learning or writing.

WordBook – (Mobile App)

Wordbook is a dictionary and thesaurus app that features recorded pronunciation, etymologies, a spell checker, and much more. This is one of the best vocabulary reference apps I have seen to date and would recommend it as an indispensable tool for writers.

IOS: Yes

Android: Yes

I hope you found this list useful and are able to use it to advance your writing skills and career. Whether you need assistance with organization, vocabulary, editing, or ideas; a tool exists. Or should I say there’s an app for that? The advent of self-publishing technology and tools such as those listed above means this is a great time to be a writer. Until the day when you can purchase a little flying robot that hovers over your shoulder while providing inspiration and guidance, these tools can be your muse on demand.

 James A. Rose is a writer for InstantPublisher.com, a full-service self-publishing company with 100% of all work performed in-house. We have been helping authors realize their dreams for the past 14 years. Whether you’re printing a novel, how-to book, manual, brochure or any type of book you can imagine, our step-by-step instructions make publishing your own book simple and easy.

Facebook.com/InstantPublisher

Twitter.com/instntpublisher

 * * *

Many thanks to James for an interesting and valuable post. If you are anything like me, some of these resources will be familiar to you, while others may be new. Do take a few moments to check them out.

And, of course, if you have any comments or questions – for James or myself – please do post them below.

 Wordcloud courtesy of Word It Out.

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Passive Publishing System

New Launch: Passive Publishing System

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Amy Harrop, a successful Kindle author and publisher of many guides and software products for authors.

I thought you might therefore like to know that her latest product, Passive Publishing System, has just gone live. Written with Rob Howard and Deb Drum, it reveals how authors can cash in on two alternative publishing platforms to Kindle, the iBookstore and Scribd. PPS is a combination software tool and training course that finds popular niches with high interest and low competition on these platforms.

  • iBookstore – The iBookstore is now the #2 digital publishing platform (behind Kindle) but it has about 1/10th of the competition (depending on the niche/category). Amy claims it is easy to make sales on this platform, with no marketing needed.
  • Scribd – Scribd is now a subscription platform similar to Kindle Unlimited and Oyster. Amy says that publishers who place their books on this platform (you can’t do it directly for their subscription program, but Amy shows you how in the training) make easy sales, again with no marketing needed.
The included PPS software does keyword, niche, and competition analysis specifically for these two platforms. The product also includes complete training on how to easily publish to both, as many people have no idea how to get their content into these marketplaces.
 
I hope to review Passive Publishing System here before too long, but because I am currently undergoing some medical treatment time is a bit short at the moment. PPS is currently available at a launch price of just $27. This will be going up to $37 very soon, so it’s definitely a good idea to check out the info page now if you think this product may be of interest to you.
 
With Kindle becoming ever more competitive, and recent changes to Kindle Unlimited potentially making it less remunerative for authors, all e-book writers owe it to themselves to investigate alternative publishing platforms. Kindle is definitely NOT the only game in town now, and in future you may well find that other platforms such as the iBookstore and Scribd (not to mention Udemy) prove more profitable. In any event, they represent additional potential profit streams no entrepreneurial author should ignore!
 
If you have any comments or questions about Passive Publishing System, as ever, please do leave them below.
 
UPDATE MARCH 2016Passive Publishing System has just been updated and relaunched. See my new blog post and review here.
 
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Short Stories with Strong Female Protagonists Wanted by Metasagas Press

Those of you who write fantasy or science fiction might be interested in this opportunity from Metasagas Press. For their new anthology Futuristica (Volume 1) they want stories of 3,000 to 10,000 words, and are paying a decent 6c a word. More information from their website can be found below…

Submissions Guidelines & Payment Information

We pay 6 cents per word against a pro rata share of royalties. We buy first rights and exclusive eBook rights for 6 months after the date of publication. We do not purchase reprints. We accept simultaneous submissions. Manuscripts should be in standard manuscript format. Manuscripts should be between 3,000 and 10,000 words. No prior publishing experience is required.

Story Criteria

Story content must be original. We do not accept fan fiction or derivative works. We prize diversity, specifically stories that include multicultural backgrounds or lead characters of atypical ethnic origins. Basically, while we have nothing against heterosexual white American males, we feel they are already adequately represented in science fiction and we want stories about the rest of humanity. We are interested in character-oriented fiction.

Women Positive

Not every princess needs saving. We want stories with awesome female protagonists. Zoë Washburn? YES! Princess Leia? Definitely! That blonde girl from The Temple of Doom? No! Bella? Hahahaha. No.

Sex Positive

If it isn’t consensual, it isn’t sex. Can the story contain sexual content? Absolutely! However, the sexual content should be integral to the story, but not the whole story. Does there have to be sex in the story? Nope. No demeaning sex acts. No rape. Period.

Science Positive

Stories should explore science fiction, scientific fantasy, space opera, emerging technologies, etc… We have a preference for near future, near Earth settings. No high fantasy, please. No dragons or dinosaurs, unless they also have lasers.

Source: SUBMISSIONS | Metasagas Press

Stories can be submitted via the form on the website. The last date to submit stories for consideration is 31 August 2015.

Good luck!

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Spotlight: Blogging for Writers

In this series of posts, I’m highlighting a number of my downloadable writing courses.

Today I’m focusing on Blogging for Writers, which (like many of my courses) is published by WCCL (also known as The Self Development Network).

Blogging for Writers is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know to leverage your writing skills to maximum effect as a blogger.

Whether you want to attract more readers, generate more book sales, or get more clients for your writing and editing services, blogging has the power to do this. And the same applies if you’re hoping to join the growing ranks of authors such as Zoe Margolis and Tom Reynolds, whose blogs have been spun-off into best-selling books and even TV series.

On the other hand, if you simply want to earn a sideline (or even full-time) income to supplement your writing earnings, blogging can do this for you too. And yes, I’m definitely speaking from experience here 😉

Blogging for Writers is intended both for complete newcomers to blogging and for those who may already have a blog and now want to move up a level and unleash the full power of this highly writer-friendly medium.

And here’s a true confession for you. I only actually discovered that BFW had been published when a reader of my Facebook Page, Charles Olsen, posted the following message:

“Almost finished going through your book ‘Blogging for Writers’ for the first time, preparing to set up a new blogging site. I am finding a lot of great ideas there, so many things that I would never have thought of on my own.” 

You can check out Charles’ message, and his follow-up where he talks more about the benefits he is enjoying from the course, by clicking here. And, by the way, you can see how astonished I was to discover that the course was out and I hadn’t known!

Blogging for Writers covers pretty much everything you need to know about blogging from a writer’s perspective. The main manual has eight substantial chapters, each with screengrab illustrations. The chapters are as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Easy Ways to Make Money Blogging
  3. Setting Up Your Own Blog
  4. What to Blog About
  5. From Blog to Book
  6. Monetizing Your Blog
  7. Attracting Readers
  8. Onward and Upward

You also get a range of free bonuses, including my unique 4-Week Blogging Action Plan (to take you “from blogging zero to blogging hero”, as WCCL’s copywriter neatly puts it!), my guide to writing irresistible blog post titles, a list of 50 niche blog topics with big earning potential, and more.

There is plenty more about Blogging for Writers, including the specifics of what each module covers, on my publisher’s information page, so please click through any of the links in this post to find out more.

And, of course, if you have any comments or questions about Blogging for Writers, please feel free to post them below!

 

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