Have a Fiction Blog? Try Sharing on Reddit

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Image Source: Eva Blue. Check her out on flickr!

Like any blogger, I’m always searching for new ways to grow my audience. Nevertheless, as a fiction blogger I understand my needs are quite different from others. My target audience is readers who love fiction. While several social media sites have allowed me to connect with other writers and feel like I’m part of a community, there’s always that challenge to attract visitors to my latest posts.

Enter Reddit. I only started using Reddit this year, and found this to be a great place to share my latest stories. If you’re unfamiliar with Reddit, it’s a social networking site where users can submit links and posts. Everything submitted is organized under categories called “subreddits.” Trust me, you can find a subreddit for anything. Looking for world news? There’s a subreddit for that. Want to join in-depth discussions on the Pokemon universe? There’s a subreddit for that. See where I’m going with this?

I sought out Subreddits that I thought targeted the same audience I wanted for my fiction. While the number of visitors is relatively small (alright, very small), I highly recommend Reddit for fiction bloggers starting out. Furthermore, Reddit allows users to leave comments, so you also benefit from direct feedback.

Disclaimer: Reddit is very strict about spamming subreddits with your posts. The general rule, according to kissmetrics, is that only one out of ten submissions can be of your own content. Overposting can result in your account being banned, so it’s important to adhere to this rule. It’s also important to read the rules of each subreddit and structure your post accordingly.

With all that being said, Below are a two subreddits that I’ve used to share my stories:

  • r/shortstories

    For people who enjoy writing and sharing short stories, I highly recommend this subreddit. Users have the ability to share stories as a text submission or through a link. You are required to tag your post with the appropriate genre (e.g. Horror, Science Fiction). This subreddit does ask you to comment on three other posts before leaving one of your own, and I think that’s completely reasonable.

  • r/fiction

    This is very similar to the short story subreddit with the added ability to post longer works of fiction such as novels and plays. While there are fewer subscribers than the short stories subreddit, there are no comment requirements.

I know I’ve only listed two subreddits, but the advantage is that these subscribers match my audience. I’m continuing to explore other subreddits, and I’ll post those I find are useful.

Has anyone had any good or bad luck using Reddit? Does anyone have any other advice for us writing blogger? Leave a comment below!

This post is part of a new series I’m dedicating to sharing my experiences as a fiction blogger. Feel free to leave any questions or suggestions on what you’d like my next topic to be!

Animal Crackers

The thunderstorm ended, so I went to the grocery store – a five minute walk if I got lucky with the traffic light. Otherwise the time would jump up to six minutes because I was on the wrong side of the intersection. An additional minute isn’t a huge deal, I got that, but it was enough time for someone to strike up a conversation with me when I wasn’t up for one.

“Why are you wearing a beanie in June?” the guy waiting next to me asked. He was on a blue framed bike and his helmet was covered in Avery stickers.

“The AC at my place is cranked down to sixty.”

“Why so cold?”

“That’s how my landlord wants it. He lives with me.”

“That sucks, dude,” he said. He then adjusted the helmet’s neck strap. The light turned green and the guy peddled away.

I had fifteen dollars for groceries to get me through the next four days. Buying in bulk got you the best deal, at least where I lived, and at least for some things like brown rice and peanut butter. No need for bottled water, that’s what faucets were for. I also ran out of chips and cookies the day before. I had rediscovered my love for animal crackers and the grocery store sold them by the jug. Only that night the jugs were no longer on sale.

Ten people waited before me in the self check out line. I looked to the cashier stations and saw they all were free. The guy working the closest cashier station waved me over.

“What’s with the beanie?” he asked.

“The AC at my place is cranked down to sixty. I forgot I had this on when I left,” I said.

“Why so cold?”

“My landlord wants it –.” I stopped because the cashier was laughing. He reached underneath the register and placed the helmet covered in Avery stickers on his head.

“I didn’t even recognize you,” I said.

“No worries man, if it wasn’t for your beanie I wouldn’t have recognized you either.”

I nodded and watched him scan the rice and peanut butter and corn chips I bought instead of the animal crackers in a jug.

“You find everything you need?” he asked.

“When are those jugs of animal crackers going back on sale?” I asked.

“Not sure, if they were on sale last week I don’t think they’ll be back on for a while.”

I paid and he handed me the plastic bag with my food. Outside the sky was gray again from the storm clouds that were coming from over the mountains.

Back at the house the AC was still cranked down to sixty. I put the food away and sat on the couch for several hours, through the storm. I thought about going back to the store without my beanie and back to the cashier with a jug of animal crackers, just to see if he would recognize me, just to see if the animal crackers happened to be on sale.

Boss, Let’s Talk About Skipping My Birthday

Because no one has good office birthday party ideas…

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Boss, we need to talk about skipping my birthday this year.

I know you’re planning on something, I know you want it to be a surprise.  Let me just say it’s no surprise. You sent me the Outlook Invite for tomorrow with the subject “Quick Touch-base.” We’re having our touch-base today, right now.

Also, I know you’re doing this to build camaraderie within our department, and I respect your effort. Sales are down, and everyone’s a bit nervous. Let me just say that walking into your office with fourteen others crammed inside does nothing to help. Oh, our summer intern started today? Make that fifteen.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of tension within our department right now. Jason and Will aren’t speaking to each other, not after that meeting with our VP. Will blames Jason for screwing up the presentation, and Jason claims the charts in the PowerPoint were inaccurate. Oh that’s right, you were at the meeting. How did I hear about how poorly it went?

Anyways, let’s talk about that cake. You know I have a gluten allergy, which means you already asked Tina to pick up Italian Ice. No one wants Italian Ice, especially me. There’s nothing happy about people awkwardly singing Happy Birthday over a single tub of Italian Ice topped with a single burning candle. Oh, birthday candles aren’t allowed in the building anymore? I forgot the fire chief visited this week, did anyone mention the sparks coming from the photocopiers in the closet space?

And the comments people will make about how there’s no real cake. I’m a hard working guy, wrists sore from the hours I spend number-crunching in Excel, and the last thing I want is to have people resent me because they can’t have cake from Baked by Melissa. You know Donna still thinks I’m making the whole celiac thing up? You know at the holiday party I saw her down glass after class of hot chocolate even though she claims to be lactose intolerant?

Also, I’m turning twenty-six. Yes, thanks again, but drawing attention to this only means that Jason will try to get us out for drinks at the pub downstairs. He’s a good guy, but I really don’t feel like hearing about the daughter that he never sees and how he has no life anymore. He’s only twenty-nine, and that’s a bit too much reality for me to handle, especially on my birthday.

Let’s not forget the company-wide birthday celebration that happens once a month. Honestly, that’s enough for me. We all file in, grab a slice of cake – or a Klondike Bar for someone like me – and leave, simple as that. Nothing like a bit of childhood nostalgia to help me forget where I am. Sorry, that slipped out, I’m very happy to be working here.
Oh, you’re concerned that no one will know that it’s actually my birthday? That’s alright, Sandra from HR knows. I started working here the day after my birthday four years ago, and I’m expecting an email from her to discuss how our company’s health insurance works.

I know you mean well, but if you really care about my well-being, as well as my future at this company, you will skip my birthday this year. What am I doing to celebrate after work? Nothing too much. Probably just go with my roommates for some falafel and then hit up a bar or two. Which bars? I’m not sure, we’ll just wing It. Yes, I’ll text you where we are if it’s not too late.

#AmWritingChallenge – Days 1-10

This month I’m participating in the #AmWritingChallenge on Instagram. In case you haven’t heard of it, each day you take a photo of something related to your life as a writer. I’ve provided the list below:

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Today I decided to post my photos and captions from the first ten days of the challenge. Feel free to leave comments below. Also share links to your own photos if you’re participating in the challenge too!

Follow me on Instagram at Life_Of_Dude

Day 1 – From Where I Write

Now that it’s warm outside, I write on the couch in our backyard.

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Day 2 – A Page From Your Manuscript

I write short stories, and this is from a current work in progress

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Day 3 – What You Drink When You Write

I drink coffee and water while writing. I save the whiskey until after 6…

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Day  4 – Procrastination Device

Mine is my laptop, so I can watch YouTube videos

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Day 5 – Inspirational Quote

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Day 6 – Morning Habit

Most mornings I go to the coffee shop to get some work and writing done

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Day 7 – You computer

Pretty self-explanatory. Does the site on the screen look familiar?

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Day 8 – Neglected Project

This is a short story I started a year ago and never finished. Hoping to revisit it soon.

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Day 9 – Shelfie!

My shelf runs along my dresser…

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Day 10 – Your Published Works

My flash fiction piece “Bandleader Bob” was featured on the Drabble last month – new 100 word stories published everyday!

Lisa Edamame

It was a cool and cloudless Saturday evening. Yes, I’m starting this story this way because this is the truth. I’m not lying, unlike my co-worker who fixed me up with Lisa. She was a sweet girl, really. We shared a bowl of edamame. She requested brown rice instead of white to go with her chicken teriyaki. We talked without pause, until I excused myself to give Connor a call.

“How’s everything going buddy?” he asked.

“Everything’s great. Perfect. Peachy,” I said.

“She’s great, isn’t she?”

I said nothing.

“Ah, you know I don’t always get your sarcasm,” he said.

“Obviously.”

“So what’s wrong with her?”

“With her? Nothing. No problem at all. She’s sweet, we both have an extreme dislike for pears.”

“I’d tell her the same thing I’ve told you. You dislike them because you disliked them as children. If you give them another chance -”

“She’s married.”

Connor said nothing. I looked down the street and saw a guy dressed in a colonial costume. He stopped at the corner, removed a hat from the sack he was carrying and placed it in front of him.

“What do you mean she’s married?” Connor asked.

“How didn’t you know she was married?”

“I swear I didn’t.”

“I know you didn’t.”

“Really? You believe me?”

“Yeah I do.”

“That’s good. I wonder why she agreed to go out with you-”

“She thinks I can get her a job, that’s why.”

Again Connor said nothing. I looked down and saw the same guy, now wearing a white wig. Only the wig was too large and covered his entire forehead. Performers like him were common downtown. The week before I saw Elmo, only the eyes were unevenly glued on the face and caused a lot of children to cry.

“You told her I had openings in my department,” I said.

“Because you do.”

“Not yet, not until next week. No one’s supposed to know until after our meeting next week.”

“I didn’t know.”

“My own team doesn’t even know yet.”

“You haven’t told your team yet?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“That’s beside the point. You shouldn’t have told anyone that my department’s getting restructured.”

“You’re right, I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“Now I’m worried she might say something.”

“She’s not that type of woman. You’ll be fine, just tell her the truth.”

The man in the colonial costume started shouting at the people who walked passed him.

“How do you know? You just met her at the tech conference last week.”

“Alright, I don’t know, would you rather me tell you that?”

“I should just get back inside,” I said.

“Alright buddy, and you should’ve told your team what’s going on already.”

I hung up my phone and watched the man shout and wave his hands.

“What are you wearing?” he said to the college guys walking by in jeans. “Those carriages seem to be driving themselves,” he said while pointing to the cars driving by.

“What is that device in your hand?” he said. “Yes you, come over here,” he said, pointing to me. I walked over. “I saw you talking into it. Can it hear you? Does it talk back?”

I told him it was called a “Lisa,” after its inventor, Lisa Edamame. After all, why did that guy deserve the truth from me, when I couldn’t give it to my team?

The Dogs

Outside the tables were surrounded by chairs occupied by those who wanted nothing more than to enjoy the sunshine. Or so I thought. Some opened the umbrellas and adjusted the position of the metal chairs they sat in. Was the sun a little too bright? The sky a little too blue?

Some of the tabletops were covered with plates of egg biscuit sandwiches, the coffee shop’s special. Others were covered with black coffee mugs and glass tea pots. The Sunday paper was spread out on another, pulled apart by section. as if it were a tablecloth.

Underneath all the tables and chairs lay the dogs. Retrievers and terriers and pugs, just as diverse as their owners above them. They were calm and quiet; trained and obedient. Some were on leads though most were not.

Sometimes I’d look one in the eye and sometimes I’d get a tail wag in return. Most of the time they’d stare at me for a moment, maybe lift and tilt their head, and then rest back on the concrete.

Last week I took the same seat like any other Sunday. I sipped my coffee and watched a few friends at a table a few feet away. The raised their glasses in a toast. The coffee shop was the closest thing to a brunch spot In this town. Their glasses clanked and a lab barked. Then a basset hound, followed by a Saint Bernard. Then the others. The owners bent over to try to calm down the larger ones. An older woman set her dog in her lap. Others screamed at theirs to shut the hell up.

Eventually they did shut up. Nobody knew what really happened. I didn’t, not until now, thinking it over in that same spot. The dogs were scared, yes, but maybe not just because of the glasses. What if that was the breaking point? What if all along, the sun was a little too bright? The sky just a little too blue?

Procrastination

Because every writer has trouble with procrastination…

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We sat on the sofa underneath the wooden awning attached to the back of our house. We were procrastinating.

I had an assignment due at midnight. Six hundred words on the value of going to business school. The latest ranking of the nation’s top business school was released the day before – the first of several to be released that year. It was a little after eight, and I found the sunset, the breeze against my skin and the squirrel running up the oak tree to be much more interesting.

“I’m taking the job, it makes the most sense,” Justin said. He held his phone and rubbed its case as if there was a stain. The job, an assistant manager at his uncle’s liquor store, was offered to him that morning. He had to decide by midnight..

“But I really don’t want to work for my Uncle,” he said. “I promised myself that I’d never work for my uncle.”

“We’ve all lied to ourselves,” I said. The sky turned a deep orange and I couldn’t see the squirrel in the oak tree anymore. I could hear it, though. I listened to the squirrel because I found the sudden, quick sounds it made to be much more interesting.

“The money isn’t bad, and I’m sure my Uncle would let me take the summer holidays off.”

“Just call him and say you’re gonna take the job,” I said. “You know you are.”

Justin stood up and tossed his phone on the sofa. “And you just write the article. How hard is it? Take the top schools, look up some facts and that’s it.”

“They want me to tell a story,” I said.

“And you write fiction, so what’s the big deal?”

“I wonder if most people find the school rankings more interesting than the actual experience of college. I’d say so.” I pulled my legs onto the sofa and tossed Justin his phone.

“You must have hated business school,” my roommate said. He went into the house and I heard him on the phone, telling his uncle he would take the job.

I didn’t hate it. Business school was good to me, it was what I needed at the time. Something practical, because I didn’t know what I really wanted to do. I wanted to believe I was a corporate man, but I knew I was lying to myself.

And that’s when it hit me. It wasn’t inspiration, but something like relief. I knew I found the angle to the piece due in a couple hours. But I also knew in another moment or so, the angle I found I would consider self-pitying or narcissistic.

By ten-thirty I had no choice but to write. The idea I was on at that moment was the topic for the article. I wrote it and sent it off. I felt proud and I felt scared. I told myself it was great and I told myself it was awful. I also knew I had another piece due the following midnight, and I couldn’t wait to be back on the sofa, finding things that were much more interesting.