Find Inspiration with these Writing Exercises

If you're having trouble writing and need some stimulation to get you going.  Look no further.

First Lines

Grab a pile of your favourite novels and start reading and writing the first sentence of each one.

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

- To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand.

- The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells

1801 - I have just returned from a visit to my landlord - the solitary neighbour that I shall be trouble with.

- Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

On February 24, 1815, the lookout at Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the arrival of the three-master Pharaon, coming from Smyrna, Trieste and Naples.

- The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

Call me Ishamel.

- Moby Dick, Herman Melville

You can open any novel randomly and choose and line from it, but the power is in the first line, because this is where the author is setting the stage for you and sends out a hook to catch when you start reading.  When you start writing ask yourself "what is it about the story I'm writing that will draw in the reader?".

First Line Story Starters - Copy the first line then continue the story in your own words, for five minutes.

Word Association - Think of a word write it down, then another word that relates to the first word until you've created a chain of single words or phrases in this way.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.


How to Sell Your eBook Directly with Payhip

Thinking about self-publishing an eBook?  Not sure where to sell Your eBook?

Then this blog post may be the answer your looking for.

I've been selling my eBooks on Amazon since last year, had some sales, but got tired of being the bottom of the pile.

I started researching other avenues to sell my eBook.  Coming across websites such as:
Disadvantages of Selling Your eBook on Amazon

Don't get me wrong Amazon are great at what they do, and you do have a huge audience at your fingertips.  Which can make it easier for your book to be purchased.  Below are some of the downsides that made me change to Payhip:
  • The customers aren't really your's, you don't get to know who buys your books, so you can't market to them directly, unless you ask them to opt-in to your email list or interact with you on social media.
  • Competition is huge.  You're a small fish in a big ocean of competitors, wanting their own piece of the pie.  Without your own platform you'll go unnoticed.
  • Amazon pretty dictates how much you can sell your eBook for.  On average the price of a Kindle eBook is for $2.99 with 70% royalty.  Ebooks sold below $2.99 only bring in 35% of the sale price.
Advantages of Selling through Payhip
  • Payhip is a free platform to sell your eBooks or downloads through. 
  • You pay 5% per transaction + standard PayPal fee for every download sold.   
  • You're paid after each sale goes through instead of waiting 60-90 days to get paid from Amazon.
  • The option to offer your customers a discount in return for sharing your eBook sales link.  Giving your customer the incentive to promote your book.
  • The 'pay as you like' option lets you set a minimum price ($0 upwards) allowing your customers to pay what they want for your eBook.
  • You can offer discount codes starting at 25% off.
  • You can choose your own currency, giving you the opportunity to target a particular market more easily.
  • Payhip helps you to sell directly to your customers giving you more control.  You can decide the price and format of your books, more flexibility to offer promotions to suit your own sales strategy.
  • Give your readers the opportunity to make some money by selling your eBooks through the Payhip Affiliate scheme.  This way you can gain more customers and your readers can also make money to.
How to Upload Products on Payhip Dashboard

Click "+ add new product".

Add new product

Click "Edit" to Edit your download.

Edit product
"Click to upload product image"

Upload product image

Select a category i.e. eBook and subcategory Education etc.



15 Ingenious Gifts for Writers

Do you have friends or family that are writers, but you're not sure what to buy them on their birthdays or anniversary?

I'm going to list some really great gifts that will fulfil most writer's wants and passions when it comes to writing, see list below:

1. The Classic Moleskin Notebook

For most writer's its become something of a cliche, strangely enough when asked most would love to receive a Moleskin Classic Notebook.

A reliable sturdy notebook available in plenty of sizes and colours, helping your favourite writer look professional while out and about.

2. A Book About Writing

Writers love books, both reading and writing them.  Giving a writer a book about writing is a given.  See the five books below any writer would proudly display on their bookshelf:
3. A Night in a Hotel

Having a change of scenery can make a huge difference especially if you need to clear your head.  Surprise the writer in your life with a night in a hotel.

Try last minute deals with Expedia, Hotels.com and Kayak for booking or researching your options.

4. The Bluetooth Keyboard

For any writer on the go a keyboard like the Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard is a perfect accomplice for writing on a smartphone or tablet.

For the writer that likes to switch between devices its a great gift at under $40.

5. The Typewriter

Sounds so old fashioned in 2016, but many people envision a typical writer sitting at a desk using a typewriter to write books or articles on (all thanks to Murder She Wrote).

The Brother is still one of the best selling typewriters around, or you could go for the more classic Royal Epoch Portable Manual Typewriter.

Both Typewriters are a snip at under $200 and might be the tool to defy your favourite writers distractions.

6. An Astute Coffee Mug

You can keep your number one writer stay amused and caffeinated with a clever coffee mug.

My favourites are:

Does your best-loved writer have a particular style? And love jewellery.

Why not get them a necklace inspired by the works of Jane Austen or William Shakespeare.

8. The Noise Cancelling Earphones

Some writers thrive on a bit of background music while they write.

Why not give the writer in your life noise cancelling earphones like this option from Bose, helping to boost their productivity.

9. The Planner

The Tools4Wisdom Planner will help your writer get organised and stay inspired.

The Tools4Wisdom Planner has been created for emphasising the planning and daily schedule required for any writer with a busy life.

Focusing on yearly and monthly goals this planner is both an organisational tool and part life coach on paper.

10. The Writer's Toolbox

The Writer's Toolbox contains exercises, creative games to inspire the writing side of the brain.

Jamie Cat Callan created this product and receives endless reviews about how his kit has helped so many writers develop new plot ideas.

11. The Waterproof Notepad (Aqua Notes)

Many writers get their best ideas at the most inopportune times, like the shower.

This ingenious 40-sheet waterproof mountable pad, allows writers to jot these ideas down while their singing in the shower.

12. The Writer Emergency Pack

This deck of cards will help any writer with their writer's block woes.

13. The Writer's Block

Why not give your favourite writer a Writer's Block as a little distraction.

This clever block also serves as a puzzle that turns into a writing pad once you solve it.

14. The Edgar Allen Poe air freshener

You can freshen up your car with some "Poe Pourri".

The Edgar Allen Poe air freshener is perfect for any literary nerd.  (According to reviews, it smells pretty good to).

15. The High-Tech Pen

This LED pen is perfect for writing late at night in the dark.  Or why not try a Spy Pen that records audio and video.  This Livescribe Smartpen is a great little investment at $120, and will save notes and audio recordings directly to your computer.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.


Selling Your eBook: 5 Alternatives to Amazon Kindle Publishing

After you've written and edited your eBook  you'll discover huge satisfaction from publishing and selling it.

Congratulations!  If you've already done this, I understand the effort and time it takes to do those things and how time consuming it can be, trying to write and produce something worth reading.

So look no further if you're ready to sell your eBook and start gleaning the rewards of your labour and pay these sites a visit:

1. Blurb.com

Blurb is a really great platform to both create and sell your eBooks on.

Blurb allows you to sell your eBooks on both Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Apple iBook Store.  It also has some pretty cool software to create and style your eBook before selling to the public.

You can sell all kinds of photograph books and magazines as well as publishing and printing paperback books.

2. Feiyr.com

I've never sold any of my eBooks with Feiyr.com but I do know that they've been around since 2006 and have a good reputation, so I would definitely check them out.

You can register for free but you do need to pay small account activation fee of £9.90.

3. Fiverr.com

A popular place to sell your digital products, it features some useful built-in tools and features along with a dashboard to manage your communication, orders and sales.

The downside with Fiverr.com is that you have to manually deliver your eBook after you've sold it.  You also have to log in fairly regularly to keep your profile open, to prevent deactivation of any products or services your might be selling.

The other drawback of selling eBooks is the $1 taken from each sale.  This leaves you with $4 on a $5 sale.

On the upside Fiverr.com is a huge platform with a massive audience and plenty of scope for making profit on your eBooks.

4. Selz.com

I've used Selz.com in the past to give away free downloads.  Selz is a complete ecommerce solution for bloggers and website owners.

You can sell 5 items for free, but you're required to pay processing and transactions fees, 2.9% + 30 ¢.  If you want to sell more eBooks they have different pricing structures to accommodate what you need.

5.  Payhip.com

Payhip is my chosen platform to sell my eBooks from.  You don't need to pay any monthly or set-up fees.  Only a 5% commission per sale + PayPal standard fee.

I'll be going into greater detail about setting up your own bookstore in future blog posts, and let you know how I manage with Payhip.com.

Don't just take my word for it, go and try them for yourself.  Every writer has different requirements so its worth experimenting and finding out for yourself what really works.

If you can think of any websites of experience you want to share, let me know in the comments below.

Happy Blogging!