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Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below. There will be no written prompt.

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2016.

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Greetings scribblers, scribes, pixel pounders, and ink slingers! The Admins at Indies Unlimited have sojourned across the great expanse of the interwebz to bring you the finest shade-grown, fair trade, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free tidbits for your infotainment pleasure. So, knock the cat off your lap and prepare to be smartified.

  1. Amy Collins shares some excellent thoughts on how to keep your followers engaged without marketing them to death.
  2.  Correct usage of symbols is important. Incorrect usage can undermine the authority of a writer. Mark Nichol provides guidance on the correct usage of raised symbols.
  3. Stay vigilant. As long as there is a dime to be made from a gullible author, predators will continue to flourish. Writer Beware puts out a new Vanity Publisher alert.
  4. One frequently given piece of writerly advice is along the lines of “Learn to write well by reading well-written books.” But we can also learn from mistakes. Dana Sitar posits 4 ways reading bad writing can make your writing better.
  5. And in a long overdue explanation, Jenna Blum illuminates Productive Procrastination.

That’s it for this week. Be sure to tune in next Friday as we tackle the philosophical question of the ages: If a glass spills in the forest, was it half full or half empty?

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Hey authors – are you enrolled in KDP Select? Then this is for you. Hey readers – do you have a Kindle Unlimited membership? Then this is for you, too! Scroll on down – you can get all these books for FREE. Not sure what Kindle Unlimited is? Our Lynne Cantwell tells you right here. So…

Readers: look in the comment section below. If you see a book that interests you, click over and reserve your copy. How easy is that? (If you don’t see the book covers, adjust your browser’s adblock settings.)

Authors: if you have a book enrolled in KDP Select, that means it’s available through the Amazon.com Kindle Unlimited Program. Post your book’s info FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW. Authors who do not follow instructions will have their comments deleted.

We will convert your link to a clickable book cover. Do not attempt to insert an image in comments on your own. Just put the following information in the comment section:

1. Book title
2. Author name
3. A one sentence blurb (tweetable in length – longer descriptions will be deleted)
4. The Amazon link to purchase the book
5. The normal price so readers can see what they’re saving!
6. Limit 5 books per author

Then let your friends and fans know your book is being featured here today. Use the share buttons below, or copy the link in the address bar above and share the news on your favorite social media platforms. The more, the merrier, right?

So let’s give it a try, shall we? Please make sure to follow the RULES above. Now, go ahead and tell the world about your free read. IU is a safe-for-work site. PLEASE do not post links to erotica, religious, or political titles.

[Note: if the book cover images below do not display properly, please check your AdBlock settings.]

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Indies Unlimited by Administrators - 3d ago

When is the last time you had that much fun? Probably not since the last Thrifty Thursday. It’s okay -we’re back. Fill up that Kindle now with the free and 99 cent eBook deals right here on Thrifty Thursday!

Readers: look in the comment section below. If you see one you like, click over and buy it. How easy is that? (If you don’t see the book covers, adjust your browser’s adblock settings.)

Authors: if you have a book priced at 99¢ or less (that’s right, post your free eBooks here, too!), follow the instructions below and post it right in the comment section. Got more than one bargain book? Go ahead and post up to five titles but only one book and ONE link per comment please!

We will convert your link to a clickable book cover. Do not attempt to insert an image in comments on your own. Just put the following information in the comment section:

1. Book title
2. Author name
3. A one sentence blurb (~140 characters – longer descriptions will be deleted)
4. ONE link to purchase the book (only secure retail sites – Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, or Apple/iStore)
5. Whether your book is free or 99 cents (and for how long/what dates)
6. Limit FIVE books per author.

Then let your friends and fans know your book is available here today. Use the share buttons below, or copy the link in the address bar above and share the news on your favorite social media platforms. The more, the merrier, right?

So let’s give it a try, shall we? Please make sure to follow the RULES above. Now, go ahead and tell the world about your cheap read. IU is a safe-for-work site. PLEASE do not post links to erotica, religious, or political titles – they will be deleted without notice. Kindle Unlimited books do NOT go here. If you want to advertise a KU book, you may do so on Kindle Unlimited Fridays. Thank you.

[Note: if the book cover images below do not display properly, please check your AdBlock settings.]

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It’s that time again…time to choose your favorite flash fiction story of the week! It’s all up to you now – only one can win Flash Fiction Readers’ Choice Champion honors. It’s super easy – choose your favorite and cast your vote below.

Check out this week’s entries here. Make your decision, then use those share buttons at the bottom of the post to spread the word. Attention Authors: It is okay if you ask people to vote for you!

Voting polls close Thursday at 5 PM Pacific time. If the poll doesn’t close on time, any votes received after 5 pm will be removed.

REMINDER – entries over the 250 limit are disqualified.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

NOTE: Entrants whose submissions exceed the 250 word limit will be disqualified even if they win. ONE VOTE PER PERSON, please. Duplicate votes will be deleted. The results displayed above are unofficial until verified by administration.

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About four years ago I told you about an organization called Project Wonderful that was an alternative to Google Adsense for selling advertising space on your blog or website.  (Yeah, I’m amazed I’ve been around for four years, too.) It continued to work well for me after that post. Unfortunately, last month I received an email announcing that they were shutting down. I found part of their explanation disconcerting, for its more far-reaching implications, assuming they’re correct. This excerpt is the part that got me thinking.

We’d hoped that would be enough, but in the past several years, the internet has changed. Large sites like Facebook do all they can to keep readers on their network, rather than sending that traffic out to individual websites. As such, many readers – who used to visit dozens if not hundreds of websites a day – now visit only a few sites, and things like the indie “blogosphere” (remember that?) are disappearing. We’re hopeful that individual creators can adapt – either by embracing these walled gardens in a way that protects themselves, or by finding other ways to draw attention to their work – but as a network founded on supporting independent websites, our options were limited.

I’m guessing many of you aren’t concerned with ads on your websites, but the implications of getting attention for your books via your website with affordable advertising are a problem. Couple that with the issue regarding Facebook, that many of your followers seldom, if ever, see the things you post, and getting eyeballs on things promoting your books is getting more and more difficult. (Or more and more expensive.) Doing what you can to get newsletter subscribers is one obvious step to keep those who are definitely interested easier to connect with. But getting their attention to begin with is a problem

I know many of you have had some success advertising on Amazon, but just a few days ago I had one friend who is an avid, high-volume reader complain about Amazon’s advertising, saying they were targeting her with things she wasn’t interested in and that also boughts, which she had used for suggestions often in the past, were way down on the page, and sometimes didn’t even show up. (One more item authors have tried to use in the past, getting on the right also boughts, is now not as effective.)

I may be a curmudgeon, but I try not to complain because things change. They always have and always will. To survive, we have to adapt. But I thought many of you would have ideas and we could potentially get a good discussion going on this subject. Do you agree with the contention that it is becoming more difficult to get attention to your books via websites and blogs? Are the things that worked for you in the past continuing to work, or not? What have you done in response? What’s working and what isn’t?

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Our overworked administrator is getting a well-deserved break today, so we figured you all might like to take this time to exercise your writing chops.

Therefore, here’s a writing prompt for you; do as you wish – short story, flash fiction, poem, what have you. There is no deadline or word count restriction. Just write. (Comments are closed – write on your own.)

This week’s word: EGREGIOUS

Use it however you’d like: as the title, in a sentence, or as inspiration. Ready, set, write!

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Mary Kay Bonfante is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning story:

Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Yankee Doodle Doggie
by Mary Kay Bonfante

Rafael, my loyal person, had died. It broke my heart. Then his children tried to sell me with the house. When that didn’t work, some big doofus brought me to a shopping mall and left me tied to a parking sign.

What betrayal! Finally someone untied me, and I was passed from person to person, until Lucy, a kind lady, brought me home.

Lucy lived in a tall building with many stairs, doors and smells. We climbed almost to the top.

Inside, I found a soft rug to lie down on. I could be comfortable here, but I missed Rafael. After awhile, Lucy became my new person, and I wanted to stay with her.

Then came a knock on the door. “You can’t keep the dog,” said the man, handing Lucy a letter.

Lucy made many phone calls. She was trying to find me another home! Didn’t she want me? But then I saw her crying.

We went to the park, with a flag and a camera. Then we came home, and when she was finished, she had a stack of posters:

WOULDN’T YOU LOVE THIS YANKEE DOODLE DOGGIE?

Lucy was holding me, in tears. When we went out to hang the posters, she also knocked on doors, asking, “Do you have apartments available? Do you allow dogs?”

Before long, Lucy stopped crying, and we were moving out. She really wanted to keep me! I am her Yankee Doodle doggie, and my forever name is Dandy.

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Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below. There will be no written prompt.

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2016.

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Greetings authors, writers, novelists, and aspirants! The Admins at Indies Unlimited have walked up and down the length of the information superhighway gathering the freshest and most fragrant information for your infotainment. Prepare your brains for upload and squint a little so the light doesn’t hurt your eyes.

  1. What’s out? Zombies. What’s in? Vikings. Yes, that’s right, Vikings are all the rage as far as you know, and fortunately for you, there is a tremendous likelihood that your work already contains a smattering of Viking words. Daily Writing Tips provides an illuminating list of 30 Viking words in common use in the English language.
  2.  Is there a more maligned and reviled punctuation mark than the poor semicolon? One would think no semicolon has ever survived the brutality of an editor’s critical and uncompromising eye. Yet, the semicolon does have its proper place even today as Adam O’Fallon Price points out.
  3. In recognition that tomorrow is Bastille Day, we turn to the knowledgeable and always-entertaining Grammar Girl to answer the question that is bound to be on everyone’s mind: why do people say “Pardon my French?”
  4. The indefatigable David Gaughran undertakes the task of debunking some common misconceptions about “The Amazon Algorithm.”
  5. Finally, over at the Creative Penn, Damon Suede offers some great thoughts on writing memorable characters through strong language and action.

That’s it for this week. Be sure to tune in each Friday morning for more Indie Author Newsbreak. Next week, we answer the question on everyone’s mind: How can someone be discombobulated without having been combobulated at some point before?

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