What’s your favorite topic to blog on?

The greatest thing about blogging is the chance to put down whatever you want, whenever you want.

The topics are endless. The opinions and ideas even more so. It’s great to see the free exchange of those ideas and opinions on blogs throughout the world, especially on wordpress which does such a great job of giving us a forum to express those ideas.

With so many topics, what’s your favorite to blog about? Do you prefer diving into the world of make believe,  writing flash fiction, serial fiction or out and out stories.

Or do you prefer sticking to non-fiction, whether it be opining on current events or just offering insight to how you view the world.

Or maybe you prefer telling your stories in pictures, using photos you’ve taken or photos you’ve found across the web and just wanting to share those with everyone because of their beauty. The Daily Post has so many great suggestions and such great insight on what to blog about and how to make that blog look better, and just had a post of where to track down free, usable photos to better that blog.

Do you prefer writing poems? Short snippets of words that convey wide, expansive ideas? Or maybe you prefer longer odes, carrying your readers deep inside your mind.

Or maybe, like me, you love responding to prompts. It’s a great way to see what others write and to challenge yourself to do what the prompt requests. It’s fun to see if you can keep within the constraints of those prompts.

And while those are just a few of the popular topics, they aren’t even close to scratching the surface of all the topics we writers blog about.

So what’s your favorite topic?

Advertisements

Sale of the century

An “Odd” contraption is this week’s centerpiece for Sunday Photo Fiction, a weekly journey that has writers delving into their imaginations to create flash fiction in 200 words or fewer. So let’s see what we come up with.

“I can’t believe it,” Farmer Joe hooped after watching the stranger drive off. “Sam Hell, I thought there was no way in tarnation that contraption would sell!”

His wife watched the pickup truck disappear around the bend.

“Joe,” she said, “now that it’s gone, will you tell me what that was?”

Farmer Joe started laughing with a merriment his wife hadn’t heard in years.

“What’s so funny, honey?” she asked.

“You don’t know what that was?” he asked back.

“No, I don’t.”

“Well, you ain’t the only one,” he smiled. “I’ve never known what it was. It’s been here since we moved in forty-two years ago. I’ve fiddled with it multiple times over the years. Never was able to get it to do nothing. Never moved for me no matter what dials and switches I pushed and pulled. So it’s just been settin’ there.”

“Did he know what it was?” she asked.

“Nope,” Joe answered. “Said he liked the way it looked. Thought it might look nice in a ‘gallery’ I think he called it.”

“Well I’ll be,” his wife smiled, thinking of the man in his fancy clothes. “City folk, they just don’t make no sense.”

On my way to the Gateway to the West

Heading to St. Louis tomorrow with an old friend I haven’t seen in years.

ImageNeither of us has been there before and we’ve both got ideas of what to see. Besides indulging in the city’s renowned sports scene, we’ll have to see the Arch and are planning on doing the Budweiser tour.

But we’re always looking for suggestions too. If anyone has recommendations for good barbecue, preferably ribs, please let me know.

Can’t believe he and I will be going to a playoff hockey game for one of the NHL’s oldest rivalries, not to mention getting to see the new Busch Stadium. 

The Arch itself has been a landmark I’ve waited a long time to see. Should be a blast. 

A much-needed walk

Sunday Photo Fiction goes in a different direction this week and it’s a big challenge — like wandering through the desert itself…

I set the rake down. Perfect, I thought as a giant sigh of peacefulness left my lungs.

“Jones!”

The cry came from my boss’s office. My heart skipped a beat.

I looked  at the miniature oasis on my desk and at the pebbles leading from one end to the other. I imagined jumping from rock to rock, nearing the end of a treacherous journey across the Gobi.

“JONES!”

The muscles in my shoulders tightened. My breathing shortened.

My hand itched to pick up the rake. I needed to move the pebbles. I had to adjust the plants. I had to sift the sand.

I resisted. It wasn’t time to dive back into that other world. Soon. After I endured whatever idiotic idea my boss had come up with this time.

I wondered what it would be like to stand up and take my meditation outside and never return.

“JONES, NOW! GET IN HERE!”

I think I’ll rebuild my desert under that big oak I saw in the park on my way to work this morning.

“Keep on yelling, Bossman,” I mumbled, collecting my personal items from my desk. “It won’t do you any good.”

The long road forward

An interesting photo here. Much to ponder. Plenty to take in. A beautiful morning. Now, to write about it in this week’s edition of Sunday Photo Fiction.

Sunday Photo Fiction

I stopped at the edge of town. The road veered eastward, giving me no other choice. I set my bag down and turned to look one last time at the village that raised me.

But my time had come. I was ready to become a man. Venture into life. Explore the unknown. Find out what was around that eastward bend.

No one was pushing me out of town. My folks weren’t telling me I had to move out. There was no rush for me to leave. Yet I had to.

I’d vowed not to return until the time was right. I needed to move on. Make some money. Make Mom proud. Show Dad I could do what I set my mind to. Take my lumps and get back again.

I stretched my arms wide. Twisted at the waist. Drew in the deepest of breaths to smell the fresh, spring morn.

I picked up my bag, turned around and walked home.

Tomorrow. That would be best.

Epublishing: Smashwords vs. Amazon

With the recent self-publication of my first novel “The Soul Detective,” a reader of my blog noticed the link from my novel on my home page takes those interested to Smashwords.

The reader asked why I chose Smashwords over Amazon.

The short answer was I didn’t. I actually went with both. But because I used Smashwords first, I linked to that website first. Since this reader asked about it, I thought I might detail the differences that separate the two for any other writers going the self-publication route, specifically via epublishing.

When researching the best sites and methods to go about epublishing, I stumbled across Smashwords. Several other blogs suggested checking it out. So I obviously did.

I instantly loved it. Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, comes across as someone who generally wants writers to be successful, whether it’s financially, philosophically or just plain happily to produce an ebook.

Coker’s desire to help writers epublish is evident in the painstaking length he’s gone to to help writers publish to Smashwords. Coker published the Smashwords Style Guide, a completely free step-by-step guidebook to publishing on Smashwords. The effort put forth in the guidebook is wonderfully helpful.

The reason Coker and Smashwords does this is twofold:

1. To make sure readers who’ve gone to lengths to download and read your book are rewarded with an easy-to-read ebook;

2. To make sure that the biggest ebook retailers (Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Sony, Diesel) distribute your book. Smashwords acts as a distributor to ship your books to all those other ebook retailers. That means, that simply by following the guidebook, you just need to publish to Smashwords (correctly as the style guide indicates) and Smashwords will in turn distribute to all those retailers.

Now, with Amazon, Amazon does not distribute to all those retailers. However, Amazon and its Kindle are the most widely used ebook outlet. Smashwords and Amazon work together a little bit in that some (albeit very few) ebooks from Smashwords are distributed to Amazon. Regardless, Smashwords does make publications available on its site for Kindle users, so even if you were to opt to solely publish at Smashwords (though it doesn’t makes sense to), Kindle readers can still find your work of art at SW.

Amazon also has step-by-step instructions to epublish to its site, Kindle Direct Publishing. However, it didn’t seem to be quite as in depth, nor did I really need it because after following the guides set down by Smashwords, I had already pretty much done everything KDP requires.

Beyond those steps for the two, they start to vary. Amazon has plenty of options for printing hard copies of your novels. They also have a number of paid options to help produce your book, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Smashwords has helpful tips and insights, but they don’t go to the length Amazon does because that’s not the goal at SW. They want an author to write and enjoy their writing. Naturally, they want you to sell some books too because they (like any ebook retailer) get their cut.

So when choosing where to publish, use the best outlets available to you. For me, it seems like both of these sites provided great options.