With the publishing landscape changing, there is a heavy focus on the author platform. As writers, we are no longer required to just write. We need to write, master social media, maintain a spiffy website, and populate a blog. We have to become real people to our readers and potential readers. The world requires more of us, and with twenty-four hours running out much faster than they used to, it can be tough to keep up.
Guess what can help. I’ll give you a minute.
You got it! flash fiction.
At least half of my blog is comprised of flash fiction pieces. I whip them up in response to prompts, to get to know characters better, and to test out plot ideas and writing styles. What better way to do all of that than to write it out, then put it into the world for feedback?
The top benefits of sharing flash fiction on a writer blog are:
- Readers have a chance to sample your work
- You can solicit feedback from readers
- People can easily share your work
- You have something to post about on your social media accounts
There are many ways to keep your audience engaged on your blog. To keep readers coming back for more of your flash fiction, you need to bring consistency of both quality and timing. Maybe you write short pieces on weekends, so you can post them, properly polished, on Tuesdays. Become a part of your readers’ routines, and you can only do that if you have a routine yourself, and you stick with it.
You can get creative with your flash fiction, and come up with ways to amp up the excitement about your weekly posts. Maybe you’d like to focus on one character for six weeks. Just make sure the character is one your readers will want to keep up with. You may create a flash fiction serial, and use cliffhangers to keep them coming back. The possibilities are endless. With just a few hundred words, you can feel free to experiment. Be daring. Test out the craziest ideas that come to you. Remember that you don’t have to commit to any of them long-term. If something doesn’t work for you, your readers, or your blog, let it go and try something else.
Engage With Your Readers
Your reader engagement can skyrocket if you position your flash fiction posts in the ideal way. Ask your readers what they think about John. Ask them if he should end up with Kate or Nancy, and why. Give them the opportunity to communicate with you. This can increase their buy-in to your story, and develop a stronger connection to you as a writer. If you are working on a manuscript for publication, you can use your flash fiction to drop hints about plot twists, and get your audience excited about your upcoming work.
When you post your flash fiction pieces, be sure to tag them appropriately, and use a special category for them. It’s also a good idea to create a quick link option for people visiting your website or blog to go straight to your short pieces. Make it easy for them to find your stories, and move from one to the next.
Promote Your Work
Of course, you can’t forget to promote your shiny new flash fiction pieces on your social media accounts. Share a link along with a teaser line, or even the prompt you used to write it. Give your followers reasons to read it by giving away just enough to pique their interests, but leave enough out to draw them to the link. You want clicks to your blog, readers’ eyes on your writing, and a lively comment section, so make sure each step leads them to the next.
Be sure to give yourself a day or two to edit your flash fiction piece before you post it. You want to put only your best work out there. Consider each piece to be a paid advertisement for your next book. It needs to sell you as a skilled writer, and be indicative of the work you produce. Once it’s posted, remember to share, share, share. Get your friends and fellow writers to leave comments to get people started, and have them share your work on their own social media platforms. If your flash fiction is tasty, readers will be convinced that your book is a smorgasbord of awesome, so go for it!
Alicia Audrey is a writer, editor, blogger and social and political commentator living and working in Nassau, Bahamas. She enjoys writing flash fiction, and is currently working on a women’s fiction novel entitled The Whispering Willow. She prides herself on keeping the local post office open by sending far too many penpal letters and packages to friends and strangers alike on a weekly basis. Her favourite things include journals, tea, cupcakes, sarcasm, challenges, and autumn. She tweets her musings to everyone, but no one in particular, as @_AliciaAudrey.