How Long Should Your Story Be?

“One common question asked by many writers is: “How long should my story be?”

The simplest answer is: As long as it takes to tell the whole story.

However, there are certain word lengths that editors prefer to see when submitting work.”

Continue reading at Even if you’re an indie writer, it’s a great idea to know how to classify your work.

Short Sips, Featuring Yours Truly, is Available Now!

Short Sips just hit Amazon! I’ve been waiting ever so patiently for this one to be published.

Hah, not really. I’m not a patient person.

Anyway, this collection is the only place you’ll find my story, “If It’s an If”. It’s a little different than my usual; this one is more subtle, but just as chilling. It’s one of my favourites, not least because this was the story that got me started in publishing. Awww…

It’s Read an EBook Week!

Haven’t tried e-books yet?

This week Smashwords is hosting Read an E-Book Week. What does it mean? Thousands of independent authors, like me, have put our work on sale.

We’ve done it because e-books are a great way to try out a new author. Because we want you to step outside the rules of traditional publishing and see what it’s like when authors control their own work. Independent authors set our own rules and publish our own truths, without having to bend to the will of publishers. You get a pure story, as it was meant to be read, as the author envisioned it.

Supporting indie authors means you’ll see more unique voices than you would through traditional publishing. Indies have more freedom to experiment with new formats, new ideas, and new niches that traditional publishing simply doesn’t have the resources to support.

It’s exciting, and if you haven’t tried e-books before, this is your time.

This week only, my Dark Side collection is on sale for 25% off. Don’t have an e-reader? Don’t worry; you can read it right on the site at Smashwords.

Click on the cover to get your own copy of Dark Side: Seven Repulsive Stories, and use coupon code REW25 to get 25% off at checkout.

New Story, FEED, Now Available!

“He’s got that look in his eyes again, the one that only brings trouble. “Buddy,” I warn him, “cool it.”

I know he can hear me, at least on some level, but the part of him I can see is all glassy eyes and stiff body. He’s just like a hound, when he gets like this, and I get that feeling in my gut again. I know something’s going down, and soon.

My brother bobs his head absently to the music from the juke. It’s some of that C&W bullshit he’s always playing on the truck radio. I can’t stand it, myself, all heartbreak and such. Life has enough problems, believe you me, without adding more.

I know all about that.

Buddy’s leaning forward on his stool a little. His massive gut pushes up against the high table but he don’t seem to notice. The bar’s crowded tonight, men drinking off the week. Some came with their own woman. Some came with another man’s.

I get that feeling, and I know he’s seen her.”

Click on the cover to purchase, 99¢ on Amazon.

The Things the Reader Won’t See

This weekend flew by too fast, as weekends do.
I spent an enormous amount of time doing writerly things: writing (of course), cover design (ask me about recolouring an image pixel-by-pixel), formatting, editing, exploring some publicity options and looking for freelance work.

Do I feel like I got enough done?


There’s such an incredible amount of behind-the-scenes work for indie writers. If I want someone to read my stuff, I have to polish it myself, upload it myself, advertise it myself, proof it, read and reread it myself.

Is it worth it?


One day I hope to make this my living. One day I will. But not if I let the little things drag me down and overwhelm me. I have to want it more than the tiredness, the lack of time, the frustration.

If this looks like complaining, don’t worry. It’s not. I don’t have enough time or energy to complain. This is just me laying out the obstacles and vowing to crush them to dust.

5 Things I’ve Learned As an Indie Writer

I’ve really only been doing the publishing thing since mid last year, so I’m sure there are things I’m doing wrong that I haven’t even caught yet. But here’s a sample of some lessons I’ve learned:

1. Do it (mostly) yourself. This is first on my list because it’s my biggest mistake. I had been trusting a third party distributor to take care of submitting all my work to Amazon, iTunes, etc. I didn’t realize, and they didn’t tell me that they had stopped distributing to certain markets (permanently? I don’t even know.) Anyway, I didn’t catch on until I read it somewhere else, and lo and behold, my stuff’s been missing from a major market this whole time. I should have gotten off my lazy ass to format and upload these stories myself. I missed out on months of potential exposure. Don’t do that.

2. There are people who have been doing it better, longer. It’s so, so hard not to hold myself up against other indies. I want my work out there, en masse, and it was hard at first not to run myself ragged trying to “keep up” with the “competition”. But there’s no way to compete with the back catalogue of a writer who’s been publishing for years already. You can write as fast as you like, and they’ll be putting out new stuff just as fast. Besides, the volume of work means nothing; it’s the quality. It took me a surprisingly long time to realize that.

3. Readers will read what they like. Period. It doesn’t matter if there are a zillion zombie stories. If someone likes zombie stories, they’re…wait for it…going to read zombie stories. A good story is a good story, and there’s room in the niches if you have a great, unique tale. You don’t have to be there first. You just have to be good.

4. Write what you want to read. Okay, check it out: I know we’re all “supposed” to read literature. We’re supposed to be cultured and erudite and know who Ishmael is. I get it. But most of the classics I’ve read bore me. I don’t get into ladies-and-carriages-and-tea unless someone dies a horrifying death. I like horror; it’s the one thing I come back to again and again. When I read, personally, I’m there to enjoy myself. You may be different. But life’s too short to read books you don’t like, and it follows that you shouldn’t force yourself to write them, either.

5. Don’t be humble. I’m putting this one here mostly as a reminder to myself. I don’t mean be a jackass; I mean don’t be afraid to talk yourself up a little here and there. It’s awkward, for me at least, to talk about my writing to people (in person). I’m surprisingly shy in certain situations, and to me it feels like I’m being pushy if I talk about my work for sale. The funny thing, though, is that I can’t very well expect people to read my stuff unless they know it exists. It’s something I’m working on.

Any other indies want to chime in? What have you discovered so far?

Judge a Book By Its Cover

I love, love, love pulp covers. Whether they were for comics or cheap paperback novels, the lurid covers spoke of dread and danger. Monsters and shadowy villains lurking around corners hinted at impending doom. I remember reading horror comics that looked like these, and they heavily influenced my tastes in horror.

I mean really, how great are these?

Side note: I specifically remember reading a comic featuring Death menacing a man in his dreams, and it culminated in him waking to find a miniature Death digging a grave in the man’s own chest. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

For countless more vintage and pulp covers, check out Cover Browser, the best website I’d never heard of.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Photo via Happy Housewives Club, which is a FANTASTIC site, btw.

I have always struggled with organization, and frankly, if don’t make a list, I will be sorting baby pictures or writing out greeting cards in three minutes flat. I’ve always been envious of people who run their homes with military efficiency. You know the people I am talking about; those folk who aren’t afraid of their closets and actually know what is in every drawer. Show-offs :P.

Yet, I have to say that just because something is our nature doesn’t mean that we are to be a victim to our innate shortcomings. In fact, Bob Mayer gave a really interesting exercise in his Warrior Writer Workshop. He said to look at your Myers-Briggs personality…then look at the opposite of your personality, and likely that is the area you need the most work. I am going to take it…

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Dark Side: Seven Repulsive Stories

My first collection of scary tales is now available! Get all seven of my current e-releases for a low package price. Contains the stories:

Dump Room
Mr Buster’s Bodies
Better Fat Than Dead

and my most disturbing story yet, What’s Inside

Yeah. That last one raises some eyebrows.