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March 2011
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Writer's block haunts most authors at some point in their careers. There's no predicting when it will hit, but when it does rear its ugly head, it usually leads to bouts of frustration that can ultimately become hours or days of depression. I've talked about utilizing meditation and aromatherapy as alternative forms of breaking writer's block, but there are other tried-and-true methods that other writers and websites suggest to break the bonds of writer's block. Here are a few of those methods from those scribes with links to their more comprehensive list of methods they use to get unblocked.

 

Michelle L. Devon: "Write about having writer's block. Seriously! Write about why you feel stuck. What is it that seems to be keeping you from writing? Free associate and write about it. When you get down to the reasons why you have writer's block, you can address them and correct them."

 

Lifehack: "Even if you can't find inspiration, it's worth the effort to write as much as possible. The simple act of writing - or typing letters - can be enough to get some people in the groove of creating again. Just sit down at your work area and start writing. Describe how you spent your day in boring detail. Copy someone else's work - extra points if you paraphrase rather than copying directly. Heck, even making a shopping list can be enough to get you used to the feeling of writing again."

 

About Freelance Writing: "Not eating can also create writer's block. This isn't an excuse to over eat or eat the wrong things, but your body does need fuel to keep the creative juices going, or even to start them."

 

eHow: "Get in your car and drive to a mall or grocery store. Watch how people interact. Is there a cute couple that catches your eye? How about an elderly person who seems like they have lived more than anyone you know? Soak in your surroundings and wonder what stories are behind the people you see."

 

Thomas Jeffries: "I need to read. That's right, no fresh air for me. No vigorous exercise. No peaceful meditation. My remedy for writer's block is a healthy dose of quality prose, maybe even some poetry. Sometimes it's something I've read before, other times I go back to the old standbys - classic pieces that never fail to inspire."

 

These resources should give you plenty of ideas to break out of the doldrums of writer's block. If you have found your own methods to reignite the writing spark, please feel free to share them with us in the comments below. Good luck and happy writing!

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Writing a Word a Day

Smell That Creativity

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Welcome to Tuesday's blog roundup. This is the day we shine the spotlight on bloggers and artists in the publishing, film and music industries.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Social Media: There's No Such Thing as Too Early - Nathan Bransford

Never were truer words written. It is never too early or late to start building your network.

 

The Delete Key: The Published Writer's Best Friend - Storytellers Unplugged

It's all about the rewrite. The pain intensifies with each word you delete, but the pain will bring you closer to a better story.

 

Film

 

Selling a Film without a Name Actor - Making the Movie

If no one has heard of the lead or the supporting cast in your film, make the story the selling point.

 

Tips on Securing Broadcast on National Public Television - the independent

Documentary filmmaker Jennifer Owensby Sanza shares her journey navigating through the public broadcasting submission process for filmmakers.

 

Music

 

The Surprising Truth about Making a Living with Music in 2011 & Beyond - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

How promising is a career in music these days? According to Bob Baker, things aren't dire as some are predicting.

 

Visual History of Hot Haircuts in Popular Music - The Curious Brain

Call it a flowchart of hairstyles. Do you have a 'do made for Rock 'n' Roll?

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 22, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 15, 2011 Edition

1,613 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, writers, writers, writing, writing, films, films, television, television, musicians, musicians, social_media, social_media
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There's no doubt that volume is a key component in driving traffic to your blog. Part-time blogs are fine if it's just a vanity project. Posting on your blog whenever the mood strikes is great for getting things off your chest, but it doesn't do a lot to expose your personal brand to a large number of people. My recommendation is to find the time to blog once a day. That may sound outrageous, and it can be a little daunting in the beginning, but like anything that takes commitment, it will get easier to do over time.

 

The number one way to increase your blogging activity is to read other blogs and news sites daily. Work it into your morning routine. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and browse the web for stories that strike your fancy. Here are some sites that provide links to the top stories of the day or their own unique commentary on the current headlines.

 

Alltop - The word Alltop is taken from "All Topics," and that's what Alltop is: a collection of websites and blogs that cover a wide range of topics. They provide a variety of categories for you to choose from. Once you select a category, you'll be directed to a page with links to blogs and websites that cover the topic you selected.

 

BoingBoing - This is a website started by science fiction author Cory Doctorow as a side project. It has since grown into a full-fledged source of news and information covering topics such as technology, gadgets, culture, games, entertainment, science, business, art and design, video, and more.

 

Mashable - Think of Mashable as all things technology. Want to know when the next greatest thing in social media is coming out? Mashable will probably be the first to report it. Want to know who the new YouTube star is or the latest author to make the most of new media strategies? Mashable will most likely be the first to bring them to your attention.

 

There are plenty of other sites to choose from, but these are the ones I utilize most. If the top stories of the day are what interest you most, you can visit sites like Yahoo.com and MSN.com for a list of the biggest news stories. Whichever sites you visit most often, use them to ignite the blogger inside of you and spend about 30 minutes a day writing a post for your own blog.

 

Which blogs do you read most often and why?

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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The Short and Long of Blog Posts

Need to Blog, but Short on Time?

3,068 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, blog, blog, blog, promotion, promotion, promotion, blogging, blogging, blogging, musicians, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, filmmakers, branding, branding, branding
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Could an E-book Look Like a Book?

 

There are those who are squarely in the print book camp. They are die-hard fans of the printed page and in most cases they loathe the e-book craze. And then there are the gadget guys and gals who love their e-readers. The very idea that they can download books from the internet from virtually anywhere at any time of the day sets their head spinning with sheer delight. The two methods of reading are separated by a great chasm of technology, but will that always be the case? What if a blank book with hundreds of pages of blank electronic paper could digitally morph into the book of your choice? Could e-books of the future look like the print books of today?

 

The object in your hands looks and feels like a book. The pages feel like paper. You flip through them, and all the words are there waiting for you; there's no waiting for a screen to refresh. The object might even be made, with a judicious dash of library-scented accord from my favorite perfume shop, to smell like the books you grew up with. You can make notes on the pages if you wish, provided you use the special digital pen attached by means of a thin ribbon to the spine.

 

You can read the entire article on The Millions' website: The Chameleon Machine

 

The Making of a Writing Partnership

 

The duo who brought you Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are back with a new comedy called Paul. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have been friends since 1993, and they've acted together plenty of times, but they've never written together before. They decided to put their science fiction geek credentials to good use and write the space alien send off. What they found is that being writing partners is different from being friends.

 

"It's very hard writing collaboratively," says Pegg. "When you have three ideas in a row which your partner has gone, 'Eh, I dunno,' you start to feel that it's personal." Frost jumps in: "Why do you hate me?" "Why aren't I allowed to have an idea?" continues Pegg. "The next thing you wanna do is just have an idea cause you haven't had an idea in 20 minutes. Even if it's not very good, and then you get annoyed at yourself for being petty and then there's 10 minutes of [cursing]." "Then someone will say, 'Cuppa tea?'" says Frost.

 

You can read the entire article on The Los Angeles Times' website: 'Paul': Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on droid noises, chest hair and pink-mist romance

 

Classical Music Hits the Pop Charts

 

At one time, the music of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms was the popular music of the time. In essence, they were pop stars. Today, our pop stars look quite a bit different. They wear crazy clothes. Sport crazy hairdos...okay, so maybe they're not that different. But music has changed, and the pop music of yesteryear is now the classical music of our time. They are of two different worlds and never the twain shall meet...not so fast. Alessandro Striggio's 1566 mass has hit the charts in the U.K.

 

Several years ago, the work, Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno, was rediscovered in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, where it had been miscatalogued. In 2007, it was given its first modern performance at London's BBC Proms. Now, a new recording of the work has made its debut on the pop charts at number 68, beating the likes of Bon Jovi, George Harrison and Eminem.

 

You can read the entire article on The Independent's website: Lost choral masterpiece finally finds a home... in the pop charts

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - March 18, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - March 11, 2011

1,668 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, technology, technology, writing, writing, e-book, e-book, classical, classical
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There have been times when I sit down to write and jump off the tracks with a subplot or two. They take on a life of their own, and after hours - sometimes days - of working them into the main storyline, I realize I've just been wasting my time. Or have I?

 

Could that subplot have a second life? After all, it was compelling enough to toy with and develop. I felt that it had value at some point. So why am I now going to turn my back on it? That subplot could be the seed for a new book!

 

When you are facing writer's block or beating your head against the wall on what the plotline of your next book should be, why not visit the ghosts of subplots past and test their durability. Start by writing a one-page synopsis built around the subplot to see if you can build an entire story from it. No one is going to see this synopsis, so don't worry about typos or spelling or perfect grammar. Just let your thoughts flow.

 

Once you have a page, tear it down paragraph by paragraph until you have a single sentence that fully describes your subplot. If you have gotten this far, you have turned your subplot into a fully functioning plot, and you have your next book idea! You can even do this with subplots that you used for books you've already published. In this case, they will be building blocks for sequels.

 

The lesson here is don't throw any idea away. You never know when old, unused subplots, or even ramblings written on a cocktail napkin, will come in handy. Remember, even Mother Nature needs time to turn coal into diamonds.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 4: Reinforce the Muse, Develop Sub-plots, Map the Remaining Chapters

You Have More Than One Book Inside of You

1,518 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, writers, writing, plot, craft
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Welcome to Tuesday's blog roundup. This is the day we shine the spotlight on bloggers and artists in the publishing, film and music industries.

 

Books/Publishing

 

The Challenges of Being a Newly-Published Author - Self-Publishing Review

Self-published author David Crowley explores the difficulties and complexities of having a second title on the market.

 

Writing Workshop: The Ransom Note Version - Los Angeles Times

And now for something completely different...and fun! A writing workshop like no other.

 

Film

 

Indie Filmmakers Must Operate Like Small Businesses to Succeed - Examiner

It may sound obvious, but it is worth repeating. You may be involved in an artistic endeavor, but filmmaking is still a business.

 

DSLR Film-making with Philip Bloom - cnet

Philip Bloom is one of the premiere DSLR filmmakers out there today, and he's dishing out some of his secrets of the trade.

 

Music

 

Singing While Playing (at the Hard Part) - Music After 50

It's a little bit harder than walking and chewing gum at the same time. Judy Rodman gives her tips on how to sing and play at the same time.

 

How Can You Drive Your Fans From Offline to Online? - music think tank

Having a real world gig is great, but how do you get those attending your show to visit your website and download your music?

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 15, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 8, 2011 Edition

1,664 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, filmmaking, filmmaking, promotion, promotion, writers, writers, writing, writing, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, singing, singing
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I'll admit to being confused about the optimal word count for an average blog post. I am of the mindset that people today have a short attention span, and it's easy for them to pass on a lengthy blog post and move on to another blog. I personally have a short attention span that is scared away by lengthy posts. If the writing is exceptional, I may stick it out, but my general response to long blog posts is to run away screaming into the virtual world.

 

On the other hand, too many short posts can give your blog the appearance of being frivolous and forgettable. Short posts are tempting because they're easy and less time-consuming, but they do very little in helping you establish an effective personal brand. On my personal blog, I have posted very short posts, but I try to spread them out between more substantial posts.

 

So what is a good blog post length? My experience as both a reader and writer of blogs is that posts between 250 and 600 words are best. Some will say that you can go as long as 1,000 words, but I personally think that's overdoing it. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts have found that posts that hit the 250-word range are ranked higher than blog posts that are shorter or longer. Don't beat yourself up if you fall short of that mark or if you go over. Just use it as a benchmark as you write. If you have something to say that is significantly longer, consider breaking it up into a series of posts.

 

Writing blog posts is certainly more art than science. Just write within your comfort zone, and over time you'll find your rhythm and hit the word count that fits your style and schedule. The primary objective is to use the blog to build your personal brand. Have fun with it and blog away.

 

(Fun fact: the body of this blog post - minus this sentence - is 319 words!)

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Authors' Four Structural Essentials for Blogs

Need to Blog, but Short on Time?

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The Unfinished Works of Genius

 

We've all been there: you work and work and work on a new manuscript. You connect with the characters, and you have moments of absolute elation at certain bits of dialogue or twists you create along the way. But then something goes wrong. Either the story derails, or you lose the enthusiasm you once had for the material. You stop working on the book and sometimes you don't even know why. The New York Times explored the phenomenon recently.

 

Authors, always sensitive creatures, might abandon a book in a fit of despair, as Stephenie Meyer initially did in 2008 with her "Twilight" spinoff "Midnight Sun," which she declared herself "too sad" to finish after 12 chapters leaked to the Internet. More dramatically, in 1925 Evelyn Waugh burned his unpublished first novel, "The Temple at Thatch," and attempted to drown himself in the sea after a friend gave it a bad review. (Stung by jellyfish, Waugh soon returned to shore.) More dramatically still, Nikolai Gogol died a mere 10 days after burning the manuscript of "Dead Souls II," for the second time.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Why Do Writers Abandon Novels?

 

The Lines Keep On Blurring

 

Multimedia strategies are here. Games are being turned into films, and films are being turned into games. Technologies are creating more and more opportunities for filmmakers to earn money for their films, even if they do it in the video game world. How much have the lines blurred? The Tribeca Film Institute has created a grant to fund films that wed with new media.

 

The idea, says the group, is to let filmmakers and game makers better showcase works that go hand in hand together. "One of the things we want to do with this is connect people," says Beth Janson, executive director of the Tribeca Film Institute tells Gamasutra. "We want to connect filmmakers with developers who understand the two worlds. That's what's exciting about this. These two worlds are coming closer and closer together. We definitely want to encourage those sorts of actions."

 

You can read the entire article on Gamasutra: Interview: Why The Tribeca Film Institute Turned Its Attention To Gaming

 

Addicted to Celebrity Swag

 

It seems we admire...like...love our celebrities so much that we want to own their stuff. And we don't just want their stuff. We want their well-used, unclean stuff. We can't help it. We deem an object more personally valuable if it was actually used by a celebrity, and for some reason, we want our celebrities to be slovenly enough to not wash their belongings before they put them up for auction.

 

The most important factor seemed to be the degree of "celebrity contagion." The Yale team found that a sweater owned by a popular celebrity became more valuable to people if they learned it had actually been worn by their idol. But if the sweater had subsequently been cleaned and sterilized, it seemed less valuable to the fans, apparently because the celebrity's essence had somehow been removed. "Our results suggest that physical contact with a celebrity boosts the value of an object, so people will pay extra for a guitar that Eric Clapton played, or even held in his hands," said Paul Bloom, who did the experiments at Yale along with George E. Newman and Gil Diesendruck.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Urge to Own That Clapton Guitar Is Contagious, Scientists Find

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - March 11, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - March 4, 2011

1,651 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, filmmaking, filmmaking, writers, writers, writing, writing, manuscript, manuscript, multimedia, multimedia, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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We've all been there, staring at the computer screen, our ring fingers resting on the 'L' key and ready to type, only to stop and ponder, "Should I use 'lie' or 'lay' here?" And there it is: another writer foiled by the often confusing and twisted rules of the English language. It's likely that if you ask three people when to use lie or lay, you will get three different answers. With the exception of using lie to describe an untruth, the two words are often misused. So let us strip away the mystery of the lie/lay conundrum.

 

Lie is an intransitive verb, meaning there is no direct object involved. For instance, you don't lie the object down. It is a complete verb. Lay is a transitive verb. In the case of a transitive verb, a direct object is required. You must lay the object down. Lay needs the object to be correct.

 

The real confusion starts when we look at the various tenses of the words. Let's break the two words down.

 

Lie

  • Present tense - Lie
  • Past tense - Lay
  • Past participle - Lain

 

Lay

  • Present tense - Lay
  • Past tense - Laid
  • Past participle - Laid

 

You can see why we writers get confused when the past tense of one of the words is also the present tense of the other word. What's a writer to do? Here are some examples to help:

 

Lie

  • I lie down every afternoon after lunch.
  • I lay down yesterday after lunch.
  • I have lain down after lunch before.

 

Lay

  • I lay the book on the desk.
  • I laid the book on the desk.
  • I've laid the book on the desk many times before. 

 

It's easy to see the difference in the two words in these examples. The forms of lie aren't followed by an object, while the forms of lay are followed by an object (in this case, a book).

 

To be sure, the lie/lay riddle isn't the only thing that trips writers up. The complexity of the English language, with all its exceptions, is the number one reason you should always work with an editor before publishing a book for public consumption. Mistakes are made by brilliant writers, but they can be avoided. If you'd like more information on the lie/lay puzzle or other confusing words, check out Grammar-Quizzes.com.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Does Grammar Matter?

A Good Writer Can Ruin a Good Story

5,059 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, craft, craft, craft, craft, craft, craft, grammar, grammar, grammar, grammar, grammar, grammar
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Welcome to Tuesday's blog roundup. This is the day we shine the spotlight on bloggers and artists in the publishing, film and music industries.

 

Books/Publishing

 

The Future of the Novelist - There are No Rules

Have we entered the golden age of self-publishing? Writer's Digest's Jane Friedman has an interesting post about the state of the industry and rising self-publishing stars.

 

Some Things That Need to Be Said - Amanda Hocking's Blog

Speaking of self-publishing rising stars, Amanda Hocking dishes on her recent notoriety and talks about how she feels about all the attention.

 

Film

 

Anatomy of a Scene: The Building Blocks of a Memorable Movie - Filmmaking.net

Have you written a screenplay with just a collection of scenes, or does one scene build on the other, tying them all together?

 

Spider Mounted Boom Pole: DIY - Indy Mogul: Backyard FX

How are you fixed for sound on your production? The Indy Mogul guys show you how to make your very own boom pole.

 

Music

 

Understand How a Drum's Size Affects Its Sound - You can become an Amazing Drummer

Big drums, small drums, deep drums...do you know what sounds your drums make?

 

Adapted to Music, or Addicted to It? - San Francisco Classical Voice

According to science, you might not be listening to music simply because you're feeling blue. You may be doing it for the hormone rush.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 8, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 1, 2011 Edition

1,566 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, self-publishing, self-publishing, sound, sound, films, films
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There are many nuances to self-publishing, but one thing remains constant: with self-publishing, you (the author) are the publisher. Therefore, even if you have a single title that you are trying to sell, you are in the business of publishing. And as such, you owe it to yourself to stay on top of trends and developments in the industry. Thankfully, that no longer means you have to subscribe to fairly expensive trade magazines. In our internet culture, the news of the day in the publishing world is at your fingertips through many helpful online blogs. Here are few of my favorites:

 

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing - This blog is the brain child of thriller author and Kindle superstar J.A. Konrath. Konrath began the blog in the early days of his publishing adventures to help his fellow writers, and he's continued to regularly update it over the years as he successfully navigated the twists and turns of the industry. The blog is a must-read for both newbies and veterans of the publishing game.

 

GalleyCat - This website provides short commentary on the big publishing news of the day and also provides links to the original source material. It's a great site to get a sense of what everyone else is talking about in the publishing industry.

 

PWxyz - This is Publishers Weekly's blog. Publishers Weekly is a respectable trade magazine that gave birth to the granddaddy of all publishing sites. The main site is great, but I enjoy PWxyz much more. It has style, personality, and a ton of useful information. PWxyz does opinion posts, but its most popular posts come from its PW Morning Report, which is a list of usually five to eight publishing stories from around the globe.

 

There Are No Rules - This is Writer's Digest's blog that is maintained by Jane Friedman. Jane knows her stuff, and she has a lot of well-informed friends in the publishing industry. She also does a Twitter round-up every week that lists the best publishing tweets from the previous week.

 

These are just four of the blogs I frequent. There are others I read, but only on a semi-regular basis. You will discover that visiting these sites regularly and clicking on their links to other stories around the internet will give you many new sources of publishing information that you can add to your favorites list. Happy surfing!

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Polls on Your Blog Can Attract Traffic and Engage Visitors

Need to Blog, but Short on Time?

1,764 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, self-publishing, resources, blogging, publishing, blogs, industry
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A Different Kind of Posting

 

An unknown writer in New York has decided to serialize his book by posting it one page at a time. I call that a fairly extreme tactic. What makes it more extreme is he isn't posting the pages on the internet; he's posting it on lampposts. Yes, you read correctly. Lampposts in New York's East Village are playing host to a single page from the unknown writer's book. Not everyone is a fan of the idea.

 

Although no author has yet publicly taken credit for the work, the East Village had no shortage of opinions about it. "Honestly, I don't like the idea. I hate it when people just post things everywhere," said Joe Curanhj, 42, owner of Stromboli Pizza, located right in front of the lamppost bearing Page 8. "They have the Internet, why don't they use that?"

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Post's website: 'Light' reading

 

Why Studios are Giving First-Time Directors $100,000,000+ Budgets

 

There was a time when Hollywood studio execs wanted their first-time directors to cut their teeth on small-to-modest budget films. It made sense. They didn't know what a new director was actually capable of, so they were cautious. But times have changed. Today, first-time directors are getting big budget films as their first gigs. Some budgets are even approaching $200 million. Why the change in philosophy?

 

During the past five years, though, technology has enabled rookie directors to hone their skills via FinalCut Pro, digital-video cameras and other state-of-the-art effects tools from a young age, prompting budget-cautious studios to salivate over what they can put on screen for a price. Gareth Edwards, for instance, made his indie sci-fi film Monsters for a few hundred thousand dollars, even though it looked much more expensive. He's now up to direct Godzilla for Warner Bros.

 

You can read the entire article on The Hollywood Reporter's website: Why the Studios Are Trusting Untested Directors for Major Jobs

 

All of a Sudden, Investors are Flocking to Digital Music Companies

 

Most articles you read about companies offering digital music downloads focus on their inability to make much of a profit. Finding investors for these companies has never been easy. Until now. For reasons unknown or not quite understood by many experts, investors are pouring some big money into some of these companies. Needless to say, it's a welcome development for most.

 

But more bullish investors point to technological developments and shifts in consumer behavior as signs that the business is about to turn a corner. These changes include the migration of digital media libraries from personal computers to the remote storage of the "cloud," as well as the explosive success of smartphone applications.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Investors Are Drawn Anew to Digital Music

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - March 4, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - February 25, 2011

1,550 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, book, book, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, digital, digital, directing, directing, filmmakers, filmmakers
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Ahhh, week five is here. You've invested a month of writing and you've developed your story and characters. As they say in the writing world, you're over the hump. On this week's agenda: reading what you've written, listing the pros and cons in your work, and conferring with your reader.

 

Invest in printer ink - I know we're moving toward a more paperless society, yet with this particular phase of the writing process, I like to print out the pages I've written. I then find a spot where I'm alone and out of earshot of other human beings, and I read what I've written out loud. It usually takes a long time, and I may split the task up over a few days, but I stick with it until I read the last word. I also do it with a red pen in hand, and I cover these pages with so much red ink, they look like they're bleeding.

 

Strengths/weaknesses - After you've read and slashed your manuscript to pieces, it's time to look at it the way that a publisher would. Is the story, as written, worth investing your time? If you weren't the author and had money to invest in your story, would you? To answer these questions, make the reliable two-column list, where you write out the manuscript's strengths versus its weaknesses. Remember you're not looking at it as the author. You're looking at it as the publisher. Try to separate the emotional investment you've made as the writer of the manuscript from the contents of the manuscript itself.

 

Confer with your reader - During week two, we chose a reader to evaluate our work. It's likely the reader isn't up to speed on all the pages you've written thus far, but he or she has probably read enough to where you're able to compare notes with each other. Take your reader out to dinner and discuss the story. Make it a long dinner, because you may need to coax some things out of them. Giving criticism isn't an easy thing to do for most people, so make a promise to your reader and to yourself that you won't take negative feedback personally. If it helps, go to dinner and maintain the mindset of the publisher, not the writer.

 

We'll leave this series on the life of a manuscript here for now. You may be close to finishing, or you may be weeks away. Everyone works at an individual pace, and I'd like to stress that there is no right or wrong way to write a book. As far as I'm concerned, as long as you're writing, you're headed in the right direction. Good luck and happy writing!

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 4: Reinforce the Muse, Develop Sub-plots, Map the Remaining Chapters

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 3: Edit and Post the First Paragraph, Evaluate Progress, Tweet as Your Main Character

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Welcome to Tuesday's blog roundup. This is the day we shine the spotlight on bloggers and artists in the publishing, film and music industries.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Johnny Temple: 'You Can't Keep All Your Eggs in One Basket' - GalleyCat

Publisher Johnny Temple learned the best way to thrive is to find multiple streams of income.

 

Modes of Imagining the Writer of the Future - The Millions

Technology isn't just changing the way we're reading. It's changing the way we're writing.

 

Film

 

The High-Octane Life of a Hollywood Stuntman - Time

They're the unsung heroes of big action films. You've know their work, but you probably don't know their names. Now's your chance to meet a Hollywood stuntman.

 

Dialect Coaching: Recommendations for Actors & Filmmakers - trilby jeeves

So you've written the part of an Irish character, but there isn't an actor with an Irish accent within a reasonable distance to play it? Never fear! The dialect coach is here!

 

Music

 

How Not To Practice - Getting There

Don't rush. Drop the bad habits. Be patient, and you're on your way.

 

A Simple Guide to Vocal Warmups - Music After 50

Did you know that you can fatigue your voice using improper warm-up techniques? Luckily, Judy Rodman shows the right way to get your voice ready for a performance.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 1, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - February 22, 2011 Edition

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Is there a difference between branding and marketing? If you don't know, don't worry; sometimes even marketing professionals don't know the difference. As someone who is trying to sell a book in a very competitive market, you should educate yourself on the differences between branding and marketing. You'll find each has distinctive aspects that are fairly obvious once you've learned them. In short, branding is the packaging, and marketing is the method used to present that brand to the world. It's really that simple.

 

Your brand is the image you want to project. It includes things like your author photo, the style and design of your website, the type of blog you host, and interactions you have with fans on social networking sites. Basically, each time you consider whether something is consistent with your image, you're taking your brand into account.

 

When you're trying to decide how to showcase your brand, your marketing efforts are also being taken into consideration. Will you be concentrating your resources on using Web 2.0 tools, mainstream media outlets, or using a combination of the two? Will direct mail marketing be part of your plan? Every method you use to get your brand in front of the customer falls under the category of marketing.

 

For our purpose as authors, when we build our brands, we have to know ourselves. This somewhat differs with corporate brands. Corporations often manufacture brands, factoring in research based on demographics, yet when you're doing that type of brand-building as an independent author, the end results are sometimes flimsy or inauthentic. However, when putting your marketing strategy together, knowing the demographic you want to target helps greatly; that way you're able to design your marketing plan with these details in mind. You can't deliver your brand to a certain audience if you don't know much about the people you're targeting.

 

As you move forward, first and foremost you're going to want to establish your brand. Establishing a marketing strategy without a definitive brand wouldn't be the best use of your valuable time. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Before you identify your demographic, find yourself!

 

Good luck with building your brand and marketing your message!

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Do I Really Have to Self-promote?

Do You Need a Brand or a Personal Brand?

3,953 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, branding, branding, branding, branding, branding, branding, branding
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Blogging is Ripe for the Picking

 

It seems sites like Facebook and Twitter are quelling today's youth's desire to keep and maintain blogs. They don't have the time to tweet, update their Facebook status, text, IM and blog. Something had to give, and blogs are what they've decided to ditch. This could mean the blogosphere is about to get a lot less crowded. With fewer blogs jamming the information superhighway, some of the traffic may get diverted to those of us who are committed to blogging.

 

The Internet and American Life Project at the Pew Research Center found that from 2006 to 2009, blogging among children ages 12 to 17 fell by half; now 14 percent of children those ages who use the Internet have blogs. Among 18-to-33-year-olds, the project said in a report last year, blogging dropped two percentage points in 2010 from two years earlier. Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter

 

Canada's Queen of Independence

 

Ingrid Veninger has turned her filmmaking passion into a family affair. She's written, produced and directed a movie starring her son and another one starring her daughter. But these aren't home movies shot in an effort to trick her kids into spending fun family time. These are honest-to-goodness features that have been doing well in the film festival circuits.

 

Eight years ago, she started her own company, pUNK Films, with the ambitious motto "Nothing is impossible." The company has already made six shorts and four feature films, including Only and Modra. She made Only, starring her son, Jacob, as a boy who has a chance encounter with a girl at a motel in Parry Sound, Ont., for $20,000 by maxing out four credit cards. She used a borrowed digital camera, and everyone in the cast and crew was paid a flat fee of $100. She submitted a DVD to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where audiences and reviewers were enthusiastic. Invitations to other festivals followed.

 

You can read the entire article on The Global and Mail's website: Ingrid Veninger: the DIY queen of Canadian filmmaking

 

The Record Store That's Bucking the Odds

 

Record stores are relics of the past, right? There's just no room for them in today's Web 2.0 world, right? They're romantic constructs of yesteryear, right? Wrong. Believe it or not, some record stores are doing quite well even in an economy that's fueled by ecommerce. In fact, one indie record store in Long Beach, California just moved into a new storefront that doubled its square footage.

 

Someone apparently forgot to tell store owner Rand Foster that people pluck their music from the clouds now, rather than exchange cash for it in bricks-and-mortar emporiums such as Fingerprints. Not only has Foster's indie venture survived 18 years of a drastically changing retail environment, but the soft-spoken entrepreneur also just doubled Fingerprints' footprint, moving to this space two times bigger than its longtime Belmont Shores home. His key? Making the store a destination for a devoted clientele. "It's not memorable where you buy the record on top of the charts," Foster says. "When you buy something you've never heard of that becomes a favorite record, or you buy a record you've been looking for 10 years, you remember that store."

 

You can read the entire article on The Los Angeles Times' website: Fingerprints record store: Thriving despite music industry woes

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - February 25, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - February 18, 2011

1,607 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, cd, cd, indie, indie, blogging, blogging, filmmakers, filmmakers, branding, branding
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Wow! We're already on week four. For me, this is the first commitment benchmark. If I make it four weeks into a manuscript, I'm more than likely going to see it through to the end. It means I'm intrigued by how the story is developing, and like a reader discovering a good story for the first time, I'm compelled to keep going. Here's what's on tap for this week:

 

Reinforcing the muse - Something sparked you to begin writing this book...a moment, a person, a song. Whatever the muse was that got you going, take some time to reinforce it this week. Find a picture that represents the object that gave you the impetus to start writing this story. It may sound like an insignificant exercise, but there have been times when I've struggled to write another word (or the first word of the day in some cases). I've found that focusing on that picture that represents my muse sparks an image or idea on how to move forward. It's a great motivational tool.

 

Sub-plots anyone? - By now you may have noticed that a few unplanned sub-plots have popped up in your story. You may not even be sure where they came from - they just felt like organic elements to the overall story at the time you wrote them. This is a perfectly natural part of the writing process, but that doesn't mean they're a necessary one. And, if they're not necessary, you don't want them in your story. Take a careful look at these developing subplots and honestly assess their value before you go any further. Do they add to the main plot? Can they help you tie up loose ends, or give you that twist you were looking for? Be bold and brutal in your assessment of these subplots because they can make a good story better - or worse.

 

The road map yet traveled - You've got a good chunk of the book written. You've gotten some feedback from friends, followers, and family. You've picked apart your sub-plots. You're now ready to fill in the gaps on the remaining chapters. You can take the time now to create a fairly detailed road map on the remaining chapters. Once you do, you should notice the actual writing will proceed at a much faster clip. It's much easier to get where you're going if you have a map.

 

That's it for this week. Come back next week, when I'll talk about reading out loud, listing strengths and weakness, and conferring with your readers.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 3: Edit and Post the First Paragraph, Evaluate Progress, Tweet as Your Main Character

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 2: Genre, Word Count, Finding a Reader, Announcing Intentions

1,854 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, writers, writing, manuscript, craft
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Welcome to Tuesday's blog roundup. This is the day we shine the spotlight on bloggers and artists in the publishing, film and music industries.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Self-publishing and Social Networking - Self-Publishing Review

Self-published author Myne Whitman finds an unexpected side-effect to her social media strategy for her book. She's become addicted to Facebook.

 

More Books Published Every Year Due to POD and Digital Publishing - Teleread

The book industry continues to grow due to more and more independent books being published each year.

 

Film

 

Creative Kids Making Films - Fox 23 News

Youth FX is a program that is introducing filmmaking to inner city kids, and their films are opening to packed houses.

 

The Lazy Actor - Shoot Yourself (with a camera silly) - ACTORSandCREW

Actress Mercedes Rose discusses how the internet is opening up more opportunities for actors. Her advice for fellow actors? Invest in a flip camera.

 

Music

 

10 Music Marketing Insights - Music Producers Forum

The internet is full of marketing opportunities for independent artists. Are you taking advantage of them?

 

Your Story: A Powerful Way to Connect with Music Fans - The Buzz Factor

Musicians can sell their music by making personal connections with fans, not just through the music, but through personal stories on their blogs and social media sites.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - February 22, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - February 15, 2011 Edition

1,495 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, marketing, marketing, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, self-publishing, self-publishing, pod, pod, filmmakers, filmmakers, social_media, social_media

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