Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Three-Act Business Card

Today I welcome Alasdair Stuart to my humble blog. Please give him a very warm welcome, and leave comments to show appreciation for his article!

Hello, I'm Alasdair and I'm a writer. I love being a writer because it allows me to tell stories, to entertain in a way which is simultaneously massively personal and completely distant. That dichotomy fascinates me; the fact that a text is a neutral space that the writer creates and the reader interacts with and interrogates and shares in that dialogue, making it something their own, something so unique it'll change when they read it again. I can wax lyrical about that for hours, or about narrative theory, or about how The Fast and Furious movies are really cyberpunk films, or how Kimball Cho on The Mentalist is so calm because he's omnipotent and already knows how it'll end.

I'm a writer, and so are millions of other people.

Writing is incredibly hard, and getting your writing noticed is even harder. As a result, if you want to get noticed you can't just be great, you have to be tenacious and creative and most of all, brave. The good news is, there's a way to get your creativity noticed, get your work out in the world, maybe even make some money and all you have to do is be just a little bit brave. Even better, other people have done it before you so it works. Even better than that? It weaponises the short story into something genuinely unique, something people will remember you for; what I like to call the Three-Act business card.

Take a short story. Chances are you've got one that is ready and written, but sitting in a drawer or on your computer. Take a look at it, polish it up and get it ready. Do what you have to do, beta readers, rewrites, a writer's circle - whatever works. Act 1.

Upload the work to It's a free e-publishing site that allows you to sell your work for, at minimum, 99 cents. You can choose what format it's published in, design a cover, tag it so it can be found and upload the file. You retain the rights to it as well and are free to put it up anywhere else. Do it. Upload the file. Act 2.

Tell people. If you don't have a Facebook or Twitter account, get them and use them. If you already do? Tell people that you've got a piece up on for 99 cents or however much you've decided to ask for it. Tell them more than once if you can. If you get the chance, see which other authors you know use the site. Talk to them. Talk about their work and chances are they'll do the same. If they're friends of yours then talk about collaborating, put the collaboration out, sell it and talk about it. Act 3.

That last one is the most important, because no one will notice you if you don't tell them where you are. No one gets discovered unless they make themselves available, no one gets a thing without either asking for it or sticking their hand up and going 'Me! ME!' when someone asks for something. Do not be a wallflower, do not be shy, show up, because interesting things happen when you do. Authors like Jake Bible, Paul Cooley and Scott Roche are using to get their work out into the world and are building names for themselves by doing so with Jake's work in particular attracting a lot of attention on and Kindle. Each of them has a unique voice, each of them has a bunch of work up on and each of them has used the Three-Act Business Card to get themselves out in the world, to get noticed. It WORKS!

So, get your stories on Kindle, get it on, or on any of the other sites because then it's out there in the world where it and you deserve to be. If you decide to do that, or if you already have, put a link in the comments. You never know who might end up reading your work.

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