Inkers Con and 5 IG Hacks

Inkers Con and 5 IG Hacks

I am on the mailing list for Alessandra Torre and she sent out a super helpful email last week.  I wanted to make sure you get access to what she shared.  (Let me go ahead and say here, I am not an affiliate for Inkers Con or Alessandra Torre.  I just really enjoy all of the the information she shares)

Lately, I have been looking for ways to be more productive on my Instagram Profile.  Well, when I got this email from her I knew it was good stuff and had to share it.

There is a video and a downloadable cheat sheet.  Here is the link:  Alessandra Torre’s 5 IG Hacks

She teaches you how to:

  1. Quiz your readers
  2. Use your desktop
  3. Post text-only story posts
  4. Create Peekaboo Images that tease readers with future covers, WIPs or teasers.
  5. Use the Creator Profile
    Plus the *bonus* hack: Using the countdown timer!

While you’re on her site, you may want to check out her Inkers Con Conference.  I attended the digital conference last year and it was awesome.  I have learned so much and having it in digital format has been really nice because I’m able to rewatch the videos.

Some of the things I learned were:

  • Marketing Strategies for KU
  • Everything about Goodreads
  • How to have a successful backlist
  • and my favorite, Newsletter Success

How do you use Instagram?

Do you have some hacks on using Instagram?  Please comment below!

Inkers Con and 5 IG Hacks


How Do I Write Short?

How Do I Write Short?

How Do I Write Short?

I get asked that a lot.  I guess I hadn’t thought about it – that people may find writing short stories challenging.  But to some it is.

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about why I write short and tips to help people that want to write short.

Why I Write Short

I wish I could say I had this planned out from the beginning.  That I knew I would write short stories and they would take off like they have.  But I didn’t.

I started writing short stories because for years I thought about writing.  But every time I sat down to write, I either got discouraged and couldn’t write or I would start and lose interest in the story.  Thinking about writing a whole book was overwhelming to me.

I’ve always been an avid reader.  I started reading shorter romance stories and LOVED them.  I didn’t need thirty pages of sex scenes.  I really liked reading shorter stories and decided maybe I could try it too.

Writing short stories came easy for me.  Well, not easy, but definitely easier than writing a whole novel.

Why Should You Write Short

Here are the top reasons why you should write short:

-Easier to outline and write a short story than a full length novel

-It takes less time to write a short story than a full length novel

-You are able to produce more books at a faster rate

Should Everyone Write Short

Absolutely not!  If you are able to write a full length novel, go for it.  If you are just starting out and struggling planning out a whole book, then yes, I say give writing short a try.

Tips for Writing Short

1-Write an outline and stick to it (as much as you can)

2-Start in the middle of an action.  This puts the reader right into the middle of things and gets the story moving quickly.  Here’s an example from my book, Trust Me:


That is the first thought that goes through my mind when I see her lying on my porch.

I knew pulling into my long winding driveway that there was something off.  The short hairs at the nape of my neck were standing up.  The closer I got to the house, the more intense that feeling became.

2-If you have to give historical details, do it briefly.

3-You don’t have to describe everything!  Yes, it’s important that you give details that help build the story, but you don’t have to include everything.  I once received a review that said ‘love your books.  Do I care what color the dress was? No.’  This sums it up really.  Should I have put the color of the dress in – YES.  But this is an example of how I don’t go into great detail.

4-Transition of scenes do not need big explanations.  I may end one chapter with a sex scene and then the next chapter begins a few weeks later.  You may want to refer to what has happened to help build a relationship between the two characters.

5-Limit your characters.  When you are writing short, you can’t have a lot of characters.  It gets to be too much.

6-You can tell.  I know people tell you all the time that you should show, not tell.  Well, in a short story, sometimes you don’t have any other option but to TELL!  So show when you can, but if you can’t, then TELL.

7-Don’t have a plot and a bunch of sub plots.  If you are writing a short story, you usually stick to one plot.  Full length novels are able to have multiple subplots.  It is easier to have one plot in a short story.

Did this help you?

I hope this helps you.  But if you still have questions, send me an email:

I will update this list with any questions I get!

Tips to Writing Short

Tips to Writing Short

Tips to Writing Short


My Book Is Not Selling… Now What?

My Book Is Not Selling… Now What?

I get asked this a lot.  My book is not selling… now what?

And sometimes this happens.  I have books I had to change the cover on, change the subtitle, change the keywords, and more!  Below I am going to share with you all the things I look at when I don’t have a book that sells well.

Book Cover

How does your cover compare to the other books in your category?  Is it comparable?  Does it stand out – in a good way?  I always like to look at the top twenty books in my category to see if I need to make changes to my book cover.

Here is a perfect example.  For my Knox Dude Ranch Series, the second book is my least selling book in the series.  In my opinion, it is 100% because of the cover.  It doesn’t really reflect the series or even my style of books.  So, I know I need to change this cover.  Which I will be doing soon!

Be My Cowboy In Love With A Cowboy Last Chance Cowboy


Is the Title and Subtitle GOOD?  You want a catchy title and a subtitle that tells what the book is about?  Does your’s do that?


Did you put too much information in your blurb?  You want it to be catchy!  And you want the reader to WANT MORE when they read your blurb.  So, ask yourself, do you have a good blurb?


If you’ve read my blog at all, you will know that I am big on the importance of KEYWORDS.  I attribute a lot of my success to using AWESOME keywords.  So make sure you are using good keywords.  You can read my post on keywords here:

Best Product for Keywords

Need my help with Keywords


Did your book get placed into the right categories?  If not, change the two categories you selected when you uploaded your book.  You can also add categories, just send amazon an email to let them know what categories you want to be added to.  KDP Publisher also can help you choose a good category.

Newsletter and Social Media

Did you send your new release announcement to your subscribe list?  Did you resend to any unopens?  Did you post your release on all of your social media accounts?  I don’t care if you only have 5 subscribers or 5 followers, you should always let them know – build a relationship with your readers!  I go into this more HERE!


Are you getting a lot or even a few bad reviews?  If you are, are they legitimate reasons?  Does your book need proofread, edited, etc.  If so, make the changes and get your book back up there!

How long has it been since your last book?

Honestly, if you only have a few books out, my best suggestion is to keep writing.  Amazon Kindle Unlimited readers (especially) are voracious readers.  They like to know that you are an author with a big back list and that you are going to keep putting books out.  Unless you plan to put down money for marketing, this is the best way to gain traction – KEEP WRITING!

I hope this helps you!  If you have a question, send me an email!


Why I Love Convertkit

Why I Love Convertkit

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link)

Is Convertkit a Good Email Marketing Tool for Authors?

YES!  There are so many things I can do with Convertkit!  I feel like it gives me more information about my subscribers (readers) and that in itself is a gold mine!

What are my favorite things about Convertkit?

1 – When you set up a form, you can set it up to automatically tag a subscriber.  What does that mean?  Well, I can have the subscriber tag themselves as a subscriber of Author Hope Ford and/or Short Story Side Hustle.  So when I send out broadcasts to my readers, I choose to send to my Author Hope Ford tag.  When I send to people that want to learn about writing, I choose my Short Story Side Hustle tag.  Do you have multiple pen names?  You can do the same with those.

2 – If I have two pen names, I can use one account for both.  I can tag them like above, but also even send emails from different email addresses.

3 – Automations!!! When a subscriber joins, I can set up an automation for their tag to go to a sequence.  Read more about my Welcome Sequence HERE!

4 – Resending unopened emails is easy!  You click a button!  I love this feature.  I never used to do this, now for every broadcast I send, I wait a few days and send the same email to the subscribers that did not open the first one.  In my latest broadcast, my 1st email had a open rate of 53%.  My second (resend) email had an open rate of 24%.  Imagine all those subscribers I would be missing if I didn’t send that 2nd email!

5 –  If you add a link in your email, you can tag it.  This is great!  For example, when I send an email out letting my subscribers know that there is a new release, I include a link for US purchase, CA Purchase and AU Purchase.  When I set a tag for each of these, it tells me how many people clicked on each link!  This is great feedback on your readers!

6 – Inthe last email tool I used, I had big beautiful pictures, columns and layouts.  Convertkit is not that way.  They have sleek, simple designs.  At first I thought I wouldn’t like it.  But they have statistics and information on why their designs are better for avoiding spam and increasing your rates.  My new release I email had a 10% increase on open rates and a 8% increase on click rates.(compared to the previous week’s email from another provider)

I hope you found this information helpful.  Even if you don’t use Convertkit, I do hope you use the different tools your email service provides (tagging, automation, and resending).  I plan on updating this list as I go!  I’m still learning!  Please let me know if you have any questions.

If you would like to get Converkit, Click Here!

Why I Love Convertkit

ConvertKit for Authors

Email Marketing For Authors
Email Marketing for Authors

Email Marketing for Authors

What is Email Marketing?

Very Simply put – It is sending information via email to your subscribers.

Should Authors Do Email Marketing?

Absolutely. Every author should have a subscriber list.  These are people that join your newsletter because they enjoyed reading your book.  Even if you only have five subscribers, you should be nurturing your list.  And I don’t mean sell them something every time you send them something.  Talk to them, get to know them and build a relationship with them.

Well, I have Facebook – why would I need to do a newsletter?

Great Question!  I attended a conference recently and they talked about this.  Let me show you numbers that amazed me.  These are actual numbers from an author.  The author has 31,000 followers on Facebook.  They posted 13 posts and had 230 clicks.  The same author has 29,000 subscribers, they sent two emails to their list and had 1,806 clicks.  Email marketing works.

Should I Have An Email Welcome Sequence?

Yes!  When a subscriber joins, why do they do it?  Because they like your books and want to know more!  In your Welcome Sequence, you should send 5-6 emails where you get to know your readers – ask them what they like to read, ask them which of your books is their favorite.  You don’t know how much this will help you in the future planning of your books.  You can also promote your books, but remember the 80/20 rule.  80% get to know them and 20% promote.   This increases engagement.  Check it out!  Here are my open and click rates!


Here is an example of what I put in my Welcome Sequence:

Email 1:

This is a ‘Welcome to my Newsletter’ email.  Thank them for joining you and give them a link to your Amazon Author page.

Email 2:

Do you have a group on Facebook?  Or do you do most of your posting and notifications on Instagram.  Share the link to one of these and tell them why they should join.  Also, let them know what you like to read.  Tell them who your favorite authors are.  Then ask them who they like to read.  Have them hit reply and let you know.

Email 3:

Tell them more about you!  Give them a list of 10 things that are interesting about you.  Then ask them to hit reply and tell you about them.  Get the engagement going!

Email 4:

Ask them to tell you what they like to read.  In my Facebook group, I asked a question about what my readers liked to read about (alpha men, older men, stepbrother taboo, cowboys, fireman, military – whatever!) and I plotted a whole series on their answers.  So not only do you get ideas, but you also get to know your readers better!

Email 5:

Tell them what you are up to.  Are you traveling?  What are your summer vacation plans?  Just let them get to know you!  Then ask them for a favor!  You will find that people love to help!  Ask them to leave a review for one of your books and give them a link to your Amazon Author page.

IMPORTANT!  When a subscriber emails you, please email them back!  This is very important!

My Welcome Sequence is Over, Now What?

You should send a newsletter to your subscribers when you have a cover reveal, a new release, or coming soon!  Decide on a schedule and stick to it!  However, don’t lose your engagement that you have already built with them.  Make sure they know how important they are to you.

What Email Service Tool Do I Use?

I use Convertkit and LOVE it!  Read more about it HERE!

Email Marketing For Authors

Welcome Sequence for Authors

Email Marketing for Authors