Your story must be composed of exactly fifty words, not including the title.
Your story must have a Valentine’s Day theme.
Your story must include the phrase “always and forever”.
Stories will be judged on their overall quality and creativity, and on how well they use the provided prompts. Make every word count, and think unconventionally: I want to smile, sigh, laugh, or have some other kind of emotional reaction.
The three best stories, as judged by myself, will be posted to the site on February 14, 2011, and the writer of the best story will receive the Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One ebook bundle (containing all three available file formats) via email.
Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Valentine’s Day Contest” in the subject area. Include the story, a title, and a brief biography (one or two sentences) in the body of your email. Limit three entered stories per person. Entries close on February 11, 2011, at 11:59 PM Pacific time.
If you don’t have a lot of spending money lying around, this could be your chance to get your (electronic) hands on over five thousand words of microfiction. So get writing!
Now, due to some helpful guidance from a friend of mine, I’ve created an edition of Volume One that will be supported natively by the Kindle, and will be available to buy from the Kindle Store. That ups the digital availability of the book at launch to three different formats (PDF, .ePub, and .mobi), so no matter what kind of e-reader you have, or whether you just want to read it on your computer screen, you should be accommodated.
The .mobi format of Volume One will sell for $4, the same price as the other digital formats.
After months and months of hints, teasing, waiting, and delays, the release date for Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One has finally been set. The book will be available on January 31, 2011, and will cost $12 (plus shipping) in print, or $4 electronically.
Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One is a perfect-bound, six-inch by nine-inch book containing 58 pages of original content.
Volume One contains 100 of the best stories I wrote on this site during my first year of work (February 22, 2009, to February 22, 2010). But I’m not just selling you a bunch of stories that you could read for free: most of the stories in the book have been improved in some way, whether that means the adjustment of a few words, a change in title, or a major rewrite. I’m really pleased with the improvements I’ve made to the stories contained in this book, and I think you’ll notice an upgrade in writing quality, as a whole. The book also includes bonus content in the form of some of my best nanofiction (stories written to fit within a single Twitter post), as well as a “Tips and Tricks” section that contains a plethora of pointers designed to help you write your own microfiction, based on my experience over the past two years.
There will be three ways to buy Volume One:
1) You will be able to order a copy of Volume One in print for $12 plus shipping via Lulu.com. There will be a link to my Lulu storefront from the FiftyWordStories.com Store.
2) You will be able to purchase and download a Volume One ebook bundle directly from the FiftyWordStories.com Store for $4. This bundle will include all three available ebook formats (PDF, ePub, and mobi), as well as a high-quality image of the cover. I’m not going to force anyone to pay multiple times to get the ebook in multiple formats.
3) You will be able to buy a Kindle-viewable version of the book directly from the Kindle Store for $4. I realize that it seems a little strange to offer this when you can buy all three formats bundled together for the same price, but a lot of people feel comfortable buying from the Kindle Store, so I want to make that option available. I recommend buying the bundle, not only because you get all of the formats together, but also because I receive more money that way, instead of surrendering a large part of my proceeds to Amazon. However, if you contact me and I am able to verify that you bought the book from the Kindle Store, I will send you the other formats, as well.
This book represents months of work in story selection, rewrites, formatting, layout, and cover design. I’d estimate that I’ve put close to a hundred hours into Volume One, not including the original time it took to write all the stories. I’m so close to pushing it out the door, and I’m really proud of the final product! I hope you enjoy it.
I’m planning a bit of extra fanfare for Launch Day, and I’ll keep you updated on what that’s going to look like during the lead-up to January 31.