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Writing Contests & Novel Awards

Writing contests are a fun way to stretch your skills and maybe win some clout. It's great to add to your bio in a query letter and some of the prizes aren't too shabby either.

Many writing contests cost a small fee to enter, which can be a deterrent to a lot of starving artists. But the small fee can return great benefits and the extra incentive to not waste your money ensures you work your ass off on your entry.

But you'll be pleased to hear, as I was, that the first short-story contest in the list is FREE to enter!

Support Indie Authors
FREE to enter. Enter multiple times, if you like. 3,000-word limit, has a Halloween theme and a couple of requirements.

WriteMichigan
Sorry, this one's only for us Michiganders. $10 entry fee, 3,000-word limit.

Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge
Every week, IU hosts a 250-word flash fiction challenge. FREE to enter.

Writer's Digest
Short-story & poetry contest with lots of categories to enter under. $30 for the first entry,…

New Book Launch & Giveaway: Lesser Evils

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I've been talking about it for 2 years and finally got my act together and published it!

Enter to win an e-copy by signing up for my newsletter. You'll probably get approximately one email a year with information on new releases and giveaways. Nothing too intrusive.

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"To protect her sister, Abby Fraser became an outlaw. Handcuffed and lost in the desert, she’s rescued by Dalton Laine, a gun-slinging rancher. He claims to have rescued her out of the goodness of his heart, but Abby soon realizes she’s not the only one keeping dangerous secrets.

Dalton spent the last five years dedicated to revenge. Throwing in with a pretty spitfire wasn't part of the plan. Neither was the hope she makes him feel. Now Dalton begins to wonder if there may be a future for him after all.

He provides her a convenient alibi, pretending to be her husband and hiring her on at his ranch until it's safe for her to move on. That's all it was supposed to be.

But the worst secrets never stay b…

Seafaring Adventure Romance eBook FREE

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Betrayed by her family, then kidnapped by pirates, Rachel is having a rough time.

But she’s not giving up. The ship’s Captain, and his dangerously handsome first mate, have no ill intentions toward her; in fact they accept her into the crew. Rachel adapts to her new seafaring life and all its adventures, including sword fights, rival pirate ships and a trip to the New World that will change her life forever.
Get ebook Nautical Miles free here July 15-19!

How to Hire a Cover Designer

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There are a thousand ways to get cover art for your book. Here is just one: Fiverr.com

I considered 99designs and Behance, but you can't beat the prices at Fiverr. Graphic design jobs starting at just $5! You'll probably get what you pay for so I don't necessarily recommend hiring a $5 job. I set my sights between $15 and $50 and scoped out a huge array of designers.

Check out designers' portfolios and make sure you read their reviews. 
In addition to perusing designers' ads, you can post your gig like a Wanted Ad and request for sellers to approach you.

I hired a designer and waited with bated breath, only for the deadline to come and go with not a single word from them. I messaged them thrice and still no answer. Luckily, you can cancel the order at any time and get a refund (in Fiverr store credit).

But I got a special 20% off coupon from the site for the designer's no-show.

The second designer I hired for $35 for an ebook + print cover package with 3 shutt…

Conferences, Community & Beta Readers

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The importance of Community can be hard to understand for people in a quiet, lonely profession such as writing. Most of our work is done sitting at a computer or typewriter in a room by ourselves.

For an introvert such as myself, to whom loud noises for long periods of time is like torture, reaching out to people is simply Not Done. But I got a wild hair and decided to attend the Upper Peninsula Publishers & Authors Conference in Marquette last month.

I was inspired, I was motivated and I learned a whole lot. But perhaps most importantly, I talked to people. Listened to their journeys, their lessons learned through experience. Simply sharing this passion with people made me excited to get my own writing moving again.

I realized how critical outside perspectives are. We tend to disregard a stranger's opinion about our affairs because how could they know? They haven't been living it. But that's just the point. They have enough distance that they can see things objective…

Persistence in Publishing

I'm reading Ryan Holiday's The Obstacle is The Way. (And of course applying it to my own life as I send out queries to literary agents in hopes of getting my novel published.)

It's not as engaging as his book Ego is the Enemy, which literally made me cry, but still thought-provoking. It speaks of the obstacles, the roadblocks, the problems we all face when we have a goal we're striving toward. The tagline: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph.

Some people have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve extraordinary feats, such as General Grant in the Civil War and of course Thomas Edison testing six thousand filaments to invent the light bulb.

We're not shooting for such grand heights as reuniting the United States of America (even if it needs it right now) but we all have obstacles and goals too. My goal is to make a living as an author. The self-published route to that hasn't been panning out, so I've returned to the traditional publish…

Support Indie Authors Free Book Bash

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Do you get that buzzing, sweaty-palm excitement that I do at the mention of FREE BOOKS?

That means you're a bibliophile too!

Check out the Free and Discounted book sale hosted by the Indie Author group, Support for Indie Authors, from October 28 to October 31. Over 75 free and discounted books in a wide range of genres; you're sure to find something you'll love!

*cough* Nautical Miles will be FREE October 28th only! Pick it up and support indie authors!