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Getting Your Name Out There -- Part One

This is a tough name for an article because the topic could fill up an entire book. However, in our case, we'll just concentrate on a few options at a time. This week we'll look at some online options. The basic premise is this… these are places you can leave your stories, have people read them, and get feedback.

Five Minute Stories

Five Minute Stories

This is an unusual site. First off, it's based in the UK. Which, if you think about it, is a good way to get your name out in the international market. It's a bit like a flash-fiction site, but I couldn't find any specific limits on story length. I noted some stories went up to the 1,700-word range. Occasionally, they were broken up into multiple parts. The first thing you might notice is the site is designed for smartphone use. So, if you're looking at it on your PC, it'll seem quite small. It can make the stories somewhat difficult to read, due to the small text size. But, since there are 2.5 billion smartphones in use… roughly one for every person on the planet, it represents a fairly big marketplace. The site includes both fiction and non-fiction. I noticed recently, one of the fiction pieces was a take-off on the poem 'Twas The Night Before Christmas. I guess this is a popular topic idea. There is no cost to read the stories, but they are looking for people to subscribe.

Tale Foundry

Tale Foundry

The Tale Foundry site has started a writing group. Each Monday they put up a writing prompt and let people write stories and submit them in the comments. This can be a bit tricky as you have to open the comments to read them. There is a limit on the site, 250-350 words. This definitely puts them in the flash fiction range. Although some of the writers just put in single scenes for longer stories. They don't charge to post your stories or scenes, but they do operate on a review to play basis. Their rules require you to review at least two other author's submissions before you can submit one of your own. I did it myself. Getting in doesn't seem to be a problem.

What impressed me most about this site is the 50 to 300 entries they get every week. These are people putting up a story or a scene without receiving any money for the submission… they are merely getting their stories read. Many times you see the same authors putting in a story every week on this site! Sigh.

A Word About Online Reviews

Putting yourself out there… online… to be reviewed is a tricky business. It's like asking your neighbors to take potshots and your children and grandchildren as they run to catch the school bus. Amazingly, massive numbers of people do not have a problem with this. They don't see your work as you do, something akin to your children. So, they fire away with no pity. You may find, as well, the feedback is less useful than you'd get at LCRW. Here's an example. I posted a work online, only to get a reviewer who complained about my use of a single word in the text. Trouble is, the word they had a problem with doesn't appear in my story at all… not even once. So, be prepared, some of the feedback may be useful, but others are a frustrating waste of your time.

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