The end is nigh! What did I learn from Ether Flash Fortnight?

Well, it’s been quite a (flash) fortnight. Frenzied story-writing and rewriting for the Ether Books Flash Fortnight Challenge, blogging, and image creation. All in the midst of life as we know it, full of smelly PE kits, loom bands and sniffles. Add an organisational restructure at work into that, and it’s a heady mix. Oh, and being a runner-up in the Cheshire Prize for Literature was definitely the cherry on top!

So what did I learn from Ether Flash Fortnight? A big realisation was that promotion is hard work. Fun, but much harder than writing in my view! This week has been a steep learning curve:

  • The best time to post on different types of social media – which unfortunately isn’t always compatible with having a full-time job…search that question on the net and you will find all sorts of advice.
  • Where to find images which can be used commercially, and how to credit them. The finding was OK because I use Flickr for the featured images on the blog, and the advanced search function is great for finding images which can be modified or used commercially (Creative Commons 2.0 is your friend). But where do you stick a credit on a promotional picture, without filling it up with text? I followed the lead of Natalie Bowers and linked to a credits post.
  • Blogging more often does mean more views and follows. I’ve been blogging here at least once a day since Monday, and I was worried that people would just get bored with me going on. However, the visitor, view and follow rates has been by far the best since I started the blog. I couldn’t keep this up all the time (everyone heaves a sigh of relief), but it’s been interesting.
  • Shorter blog posts are fine. I have a bad habit of blogging long, and this week I have had to get over it!
  • Sometimes it’s good to ‘fess up. I occasionally make vague references to writing on my Facebook account, but this was the week when I posted a link and said ‘I’ve written some stories, have a look.’ And the reaction was a lot more positive than I thought it would be.
  • It’s fun, and useful, to revisit old stories with a critical eye, and I should do more of it.
  • The poor old hot potato has had to cool off this week. With work, and life, and everything else, I decided that something had to give. I have done some planning for the next stage, and normal service will be resumed shortly. Still aiming to have a first draft by the end of the year!

And the biggest learning point? Writing and promoting has kept me busy and helped to distract me from worrying about work.  It’s been great to have something else to focus on when I leave the office. It’s been such fun to see the downloads grow, and at the time of writing this I’m 7th – 7th! – in sales rankings on Ether. If you’ve read any of my stories, thank you! And if you haven’t, pay them a visit here! Do read Stolen and The Man Who Came Back, they’re feeling ever so left out.

The featured image is Treasure Chest by Tom Praison and it is shared via (of course!) Creative Commons license 2.0.

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