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April 2011
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The Tables Have Turned

For those of you who are new to the publishing game, you may be surprised to know that self-publishing was not always a preferred method of publishing. There were those who thought it would never be relevant. Today it's a different story. Now, self-publishing has become an accepted method of publishing and people are asking if traditional publishing can remain relevant. A seminar at the 2011 London Book Fair tackled the issue.          

 

(Cory) Doctorow kicked off the debate by quoting a definition offered by his editor at Tor Books: "A publisher is an institution that identifies a work, identifies an audience, and takes such steps as necessary to connect them." That, he says, suggests there will be publishers in the future. But those publishers, he noted, may not look anything like the large "monolithic" publishers of today. "Today, a prime fitness factor is the capacity to conduct a social relationship through the Internet."

 

You can read the entire article on Publishers Weekly's website: London Book Fair 2011: The Great Debate: Will Publishers Be Relevant to the Future?

 

Filmmaking Just Got More Complicated

We have reached that moment in the advancement in technology where I am forced to ask the question, "Huh?" I'm lost, especially when it comes to this aspect of the film industry. It's no longer about making a movie. It's about making a move that syncs with a smartphone or tablet app that allows you to explore the story beyond what you see on the screen. It's about creating an interactive element to your film. It's about using the Internet to raise money. Here's an example of the changing face of the film industry.       

 

The two-screen, or so-called companion viewing experience, was recently implemented at the Academy Awards via the Oscars All Access app, which gave viewers multiple camera angles within a paid app. While laptops, smartphones and tablets are all capable of the two-screen implementation - basically, using a device while watching additional programming - the ideal form factor is the tablet due to its screen size and ease of interaction.

 

You can read the entire article on MediaShift's Website: SXSW Showcases Rise of Multiplatform Storytelling and Collaborative Filmmaking

 

The New Power Couple: Weird Gaga

Okay, so they aren't dating. But Weird Al did contact Lady Gaga recently to get her permission to do a parody of her song Born This Way. Initially, she said no. Legally, Weird Al isn't required to get an artist's permission to do a parody, but he refuses to do one without it. Weird Al went on his blog and lamented the fact that he had failed to secure permission for the parody, and shortly thereafter, Lady Gaga changed her mind.

 

Yankovic's song is essentially a light-hearted goof on Gaga's penchant for outlandish costumes and high-concept performances, but it's not too surprising that the singer would object to its lyrics. Unlike the vast majority of "Weird Al" song parodies, which mainly rely on silly wordplay, "Perform This Way" is a commentary on Gaga herself. ("Got my straight jacket today, it's made of gold lamé / No, not because I'm crazy - I perform this way / I strap prime rib to my feet, cover myself with raw meat I'll bet you've never seen a skirt steak worn this way")

 

You can read the entire article on Rolling Stone's websiteHypebot.com: In Switch, Lady Gaga Will Allow Weird Al Parody

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - April 22, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - April 15, 2011

1,657 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, self-publishing, self-publishing, publishing, publishing, industry, industry, parody, parody, filmmakers, filmmakers
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I've read more and more comments lately from new authors saying they don't enjoy reading. In fact, they don't even see the value in reading when it comes to learning the craft of writing. They believe writing is an innate ability that can only be finely tuned by writing, and spending time reading is just busy work that doesn't amount to much.

 

I couldn't disagree more. To borrow the popular phrase, reading is fundamental. The blueprint to creating a book lives within existing books. The art of telling a story lives within existing books. The skill of building compelling characters lives within existing books. Don't deprive yourself of such a rich and complete resource from which to learn.

 

Reading provides you with another essential writing tool: inspiration. I remember reading Durango Street by Frank Bonham and almost immediately being struck with the desire to be a writer. I connected with the book on such a deep level that at the age of eleven, I felt the course of my life being steered toward writing books. Later, I read a few books by Stephen King and then sat down and examined his sentence structure, the language he used, and the rhythm of the prose. I picked them apart and tried to determine why I enjoyed them so much. When I decided I loved his simple style, it set the course for the kind of writer I wanted to be. I did the same with Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth, Ernest Hemingway, Harper Lee...the list goes on and on. I read the books with the intention of learning from them. I still do today.

 

Beyond the benefits reading provides writers, I think it's essential to our credibility as creators of books. I have had mothers come up to me and say, "My son really enjoyed your books. Do you have any suggestions for me on other books that are similar to yours?" I'm able to answer that question because I've read books that are similar to mine that I enjoyed immensely. In this situation, I'm like any other reader. I love to tell people about a good book I've read. Imagine what those parents would think if I tried to explain to them that I don't read.

 

So my advice to you is read. Read for pleasure. Read to satisfy your passion. But most of all, read to become a better writer.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Overwriting? Just Say It!

Creative Writing Exercises

1,681 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, writers, writing, reading, 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

 

10 Good Grammar Resources - Writing Forward

You can never have too many good grammar resources. Use them wisely and write well.

 

How to Craft Compelling Characters - Writer's Digest

David Corbett explores his "foolproof" method for building rich, deep characters.

 

Film

 

Just Get On With It - Projector Films

Is writing for online film projects markedly different than writing for the screen (big or small)?  Filmmaker Tim Clague shares his views on the topic.

 

Lessons Learned on a Microbudget Horror Film - Filmmaking.net

Filmmaker Trevor Munday shares the lessons he learned working behind the camera for the first time.

 

Music

 

Prince Says Life Would Be Better Without Covers... - digital music news

The petite purple-clad pop poet isn't too thrilled that other artists can legally cover his songs without his permission.

 

Monster Records: 3D Model Puzzles from Old Vinyl Records - Indie Music Tech

A cool way to recycle all those old Captain and Tennille records.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - April 19, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - April 12, 2011 Edition

1,976 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, writers, writers, writing, writing, characters, characters, musicians, musicians, craft, craft, screenwriting, screenwriting, filmmakers, filmmakers, grammar, grammar
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There was a reality TV show on not too long ago featuring a gentleman who was labeled a millionaire. He went into an impoverished area without telling people his identity. He lived in this area for a week or so and then revealed who he was by handing out checks to some of the needy folks he met. It was touching.

 

But then the gentleman, an author and marketing consultant by trade, used the event to market himself. He sent out e-mails to his client list announcing his act of kindness. He used the "as seen on TV" label on marketing materials. He turned this wonderfully kind and seemingly selfless act into a marketing blitz that revealed his true motives. He was in it for the marketing opportunity. In my view, his brand was tarnished, maybe irreparably so.

 

He will no doubt get an immediate bump from the show and marketing campaign. But over time, it could damage his reputation, especially if he continues to use it as a marketing ploy. People grow weary of self-congratulatory behavior. And since nothing really goes away in the virtual world, his attempts to capitalize on his act of altruism will live on forever.

 

What's the lesson here? Well, my mother raised me to be a big proponent of helping others. It doesn't have to be grand gestures. Use your talents, like writing for instance, to give to others, even if it's just writing advice on the CreateSpace Community boards. Give...and then give some more. But here's the important part: don't expect anything in return. Building a personal brand isn't about capitalizing on your acts of kindness. Your personal brand comes from bestowing the acts of kindness in the first place.

 

Incidentally, if giving isn't in your nature, don't feel like you have to do it. People and circumstances are different, so it certainly doesn't make you a bad person. If you try to force yourself to behave in a way that's not authentic, it's not going to help your personal brand. Just be you. If giving is in your nature, go for it. Just be sure to do it because you love it, not for the marketing.

 

-Richard

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

 

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The Big "Do Not" of Book Marketing

Do I Really Have to Self-promote?

1,923 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, promotion, promotions, charity
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Authors and Agents Offer Advice

For those of you who don't know, Amanda Hocking is the self-published author who made headlines for selling tens of thousands books on Kindle. The feat led to a $2 million publishing deal. While self-published authors like me are asking how she did it, others in the industry are asking what's she's going to do next and giving her advice on how she should proceed. Author Garth Stein says this:

 

Good luck, Amanda. Having a publisher to deal with marketing and publicity is wonderful in concept, but remember that no one loves your book as much as you do. My publisher Harper sent me on tours and launched plenty of great marketing initiatives, and they have been terrifically supportive of The Art of Racing in the Rain. But having done this before, I wanted to do more; after Harper was finished, I stayed on the road, pretty much non-stop, for the first 2-1/2 years after publication, much of it at my own expense and with me doing all the organizing. And now, nearly three years after publication, I still spend hours a week attending to business, e-mails, ongoing initiatives, and book clubs and such.

 

You can read the entire article on The Book Deal: Advice for Amanda Hocking from authors and agents

 

He's Back...Almost

What the world needs now is an action movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Okay, not so much needs, but wants. Okay not so much the world, but me. I'll admit to being a fan of action movies and no one did them better than Arnold. He's tough and strong and has a uniquely Arnold way of delivering a totally gratuitous action-packed line. But alas, Arnold gave up the movies to govern the state of California, and it's been a while since he's graced the big screen. Now that he's free from the constraints of politics, will he be packing on the muscle to do more movies?

 

On Thursday, sitting on a red, alligator-skin chair in his Santa Monica office, Schwarzenegger was the picture of confidence as he munched on mixed nuts and predicted that he would be on set of his next feature film by the end of the year. "The calls are coming in," he said and while he wouldn't comment specifically his team hints that first leading-man work since 2003 would be in Korean director Kim Ji-woon's English-language debut "The Last Stand" (about a small-town lawman hunting down a Mexican drug kingpin) or perhaps Antoine Fuqua's "The Tomb" (about a prison designer who is locked up inside one his own high-tech designs).

 

You can read the entire article on Los Angeles Times' Website: Arnold Schwarzenegger is looking for some action

 

The Boss to the Rescue?

What do you do when you feel like your university's reputation has taken a hit because officials invited a reality star on campus? You invite someone with a little more prestige and panache to help raise your dignity score just a bit. And if you're students at Rutgers University in New Jersey and the reality star in question was Snooki, you bring out the big guns and call on The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen.    

 

Some students at New Jersey's largest university believe Bruce Springsteen is their salvation. They have started a Facebook campaign called "Let's Bring the Boss to Rutgers!" to counteract fallout from a recent appearance by Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi. The Rutgers University Programming Association paid the "Jersey Shore" reality TV star $32,000 to answer questions. That's $2,000 more than Rutgers will pay Nobel-winning novelist Toni Morrison to deliver the commencement address next month.

 

You can read the entire article on Yahoo! News: Rutgers students seek Springsteen to bolster image

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - April 15, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - April 8, 2011

1,766 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, self-publishing, self-publishing, industry, industry, actors, actors
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Very early on in my pursuit to hone my craft as a writer, a professor gave me the best advice I've ever received. I was in a creative writing class in college listening to the instructor read a student's assignment out loud. In the middle of one particular piece, she stopped and groaned. Looking both apologetic and irritated, she set the paper down and said, "Just say it!" The class went uncomfortably silent, and I could tell that all of us (save one poor soul) were thinking the same thing, "Thank God that wasn't my story."

 

The instructor's momentary loss of patience sparked a discussion in class about overwriting. In my opinion, it is the number one affliction of beginning writers. Some writers seem to have an irresistible urge to prove their worth as writers. They choose to do that by stacking paragraphs full of dense words, constructed in such a way that readers would need to review the material multiple times in order to understand it. With overwriting, the goal appears to be to outsmart the reader.

 

I hate to admit it, but I am as guilty of this practice as any writer. Even today with a pile of manuscripts under my belt, I will read something I've written and involuntarily shout, "Just say it!" How you say something isn't nearly as important as what you say. The real proof of a writer's worth is his or her ability to compose a story in the simplest way possible. The real achievement is turning something simple into something totally unique. 

 

This isn't just advice on improving your craft as a writer. It's a great way to get around writer's block, too. If you're at the keyboard and the words aren't flowing, take a deep breath and then shout, "Just say it!" You may find that your fingers will pound out a simple translation of your thoughts, and your story will be better for it.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Creative Writing Exercises

A Guy, a Girl and a Bad Critique

3,862 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, craft, craft, craft, writer's_block, writer's_block, writer's_block
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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

 

Three Books for The Grammar Lover In Your Life - NPR

The best thing about the rules of the English language is that they are always changing. Oh, wait, that's the worst part.

 

What Grabs Readers and What Keeps Them - deCOMPOSE

He had me at "Train wrecks grab people's attention. Having someone on board keeps their attention."

 

Film

 

George Lucas: 3D Film-making is the New Colour - Walesonline

Is the master of science fiction right? Will everything be done in 3D in the future? At the risk of the wrath of Lucas, I hope he's wrong.        

 

Crowd Sourcing Funds New Independent Film - Buffalo 123

Do you have funding for your next film? Have you tried crowd sourcing to raise funds?

 

Music

 

Amazing Drummer - Only 3 or 4 Years Old on the Drums - Amazing Drummer

I had to watch this video three times to makes sure it was real. Then I watched it three more times just because I was enjoying myself so much.

 

Is The Music Revolution Over? - Mr. Tunes

Has the music industry lost out to the gaming and social network sites? Mr. Tunes has some thoughts on the subject.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - April 12, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - April 5, 2011 Edition

1,855 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, writers, writers, readers, readers, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, grammar, grammar, 3d, 3d, crowdsourcing, crowdsourcing
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It has come to this: today's authors have to branch out. As a writer, I'm not necessarily happy about it, but this is the literary hand we've been dealt. Writing books is our primary focus, but in order to supplement our incomes and get noticed at the same time, we must enter the world of merchandising.

 

I know, I know, it sounds gimmicky. I mean Ernest Hemingway would have never stooped to hocking "The Old Man and the Sea" T-shirts on cruise ships, and you'll never even see contemporary authors like Cormac McCarthy selling bumper stickers that say "The Road" at convenience stores just off the interstate. But their brands superseded the age of the internet. For those of us trying to get noticed in a web 2.0 world, we may have to adopt a more aggressive merchandising strategy.

 

I once sat next to an author at Book Expo America to do a signing, and all I brought was my books. She brought her books, some buttons, coffee cups, pens, ties, canvas bags, etc. I kind of chuckled when I saw all the swag she had, but people ate it up. She had a line longer than most authors during our signing period, and during the show the next few days, I saw people wearing her buttons and using her bags. She was getting free advertising.

 

It was gimmicky, and it was brilliant. She sells books - not just because of her merchandising efforts, but they certainly help. Other authors I know sell T-shirts on their websites. I know others still who are developing smartphone apps. Because of the internet, the possibilities are virtually endless. You just have to be a little creative and find the right merchandise for your book. Here's an article in the Wall Street Journal that addresses the issue: How Authors Move Their Own Merchandise.

 

Keep in mind, gimmicky doesn't necessarily mean tacky. Don't compromise your integrity with your merchandise, but once you commit to doing it, you can't do it begrudgingly. Do it with a smile on your face. You're an author. Embrace it. Heck, you can even sell a T-shirt that proclaims it for you.

 

Happy merchandising!

 

-Richard

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

 

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Branding vs. Marketing for Authors

Does Silly Sell?

1,923 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, promotion, promotions, branding, merchandise
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Lights, Camera, Action: 3 Words that Aren't Just for the Film Industry Anymore

Being an author today is a lot like being on a tightrope and juggling three chainsaws while doing your taxes and putting on ice skates. There is a lot to do besides the writing. There's the editing and the designing and the blogging and the social networking and the book trailer...Wait, you mean you don't have a book trailer? Author Rye Barcott isn't crazy about them, but he recognizes their importance.

 

Book trailers are relatively recent additions to the literary world. Most of the authors I know detest the very idea of them. We pour our souls into creating a book, a piece of work that can take people deep into places, problems, and things that matter...Can a few minutes on a screen really do justice to such a rich experience? I don't think so. Yet I realize that book trailers are important to me as a reader. I watch them when they appear on Amazon or B&N.com, and for books I don't know much about, the trailer often influences my decision to buy.

 

You can read the entire article on Mashable.com: Why Book Trailers Are Now Essential to the Publishing Industry

 

Is There Job Security in Hollywood?

You have to figure that a proven track record of raking in tons of money for a Hollywood studio means you can pretty much write your own ticket, right? You're the big cheese that brings in the big dough. There's no need to keep looking in the want ads. Well, the recent ousting of a Warner Brothers studio executive who was behind films that collectively made billions of dollars has some people in the industry wondering if there's any such thing as job security in Hollywood.

 

The upshot, say longtime industry watchers, is that Hollywood's clubby, insular business culture is fraying as studios grow ever more corporate and answer to multinational companies that either don't know the customs of Hollywood or don't care about them. Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner all answer to bosses in New York. Walt Disney Studios is the sole major film operation that has a local owner.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: In Hollywood, a Decade of Hits Is No Longer Enough

 

Are You Busking?

I learned a new word. Busking is the act of performing on the street for money. Now, as a writer, there's very little call for me to type on my laptop in public. I've done it before, but no one's ever given me a quarter for it. But some musicians have a lot of success busking. In fact, musician Chris Seth Jackson says that it might even be a crucial ingredient to earning a living as a musician.

 

Physically busking in one area is limited to only that one city and the people only walking by at that particular time. YouTube is global and timeless. Record yourself playing your music daily and throw it out to the world on YouTube. Record yourself while you're busking on the street. At the end of your YouTube busking, add a call to action. Give a link to your website and ask for 25 cents. On your site, provide people a way to donate a small amount of money to you. PayPal has options for micro transactions. Use it! The good ol' long tail theory could net you a bit of cash over the life of this YouTube post.

 

You can read the entire article on How to Run a Band: Want To Make $50,000 a Year In Music? Start With One Dollar a Day

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - April 8, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - April 1, 2011

1,673 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, filmmaking, filmmaking, promotion, promotion, trailer, trailer, promotions, promotions, hollywood, hollywood, performing, performing, musicians, musicians, book_trailer, book_trailer
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I am a horror and thriller writer, but I can definitively say that I am not a cannibal or a cold-blooded murderer. Heck, I rarely even yell at people. How then can I write such awful and terrible people into my fictional stories? The bad guys I write about do some very ugly things. So ugly, in fact, that I've had friends ask me in horror, "How could you write something like that?"

 

The simple answer is that the story called for it. I can't write a story without conflict, and bad guys create conflict. They can't do that nicely. They can't do that with special care so as to not offend anyone. They have to be shockingly bad in order for the reader to be invested in their demise. That's what storytellers do: they push the boundaries and explore the darker side in an effort to give readers an emotional experience.

 

As a writer, you have to go to places where you wouldn't normally go and reveal them in ways no one else has. That's your job. You can put yourself in your writing, but you also have to go beyond that. You have to write people and behaviors that are foreign to you without reservation. In order for the story to be authentic, you should be objective in the way you write, even if you're writing something really, really unseemly and bad.

 

Now just because you have license to include immoral and despicable behavior in your work of fiction, you should not do it gratuitously. There still has to be a reason for the bad things your characters do. Their actions have to lend themselves to the story. Otherwise the reader will likely throw the book down in disgust. But when you do find it necessary to write something untoward in order to advance the story, don't feel self-conscious about it. Just remember, you are not what you write!

 

-Richard

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

 

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Write What You Want to Know

Should You Be Loyal to Your Characters or Your Readers?

894 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, writers, writing, conflict, 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

 

 

Famous Authors and Their Typewriters - Flavorwire

This is a fun site. See if you can spot your favorite author sitting behind his or her typewriter. 

 

 

What I've Learned from Judging Writing Contests - Jody Hedlund

Author Jody Hedlund shares her experiences as a judge in a writing contest. What did she learn? She learned she could spot those authors who are on the verge of making it.

 

 

Film

 

 

Film Commission to Present Symposium on First Female Filmmaker - Fort Lee Patch

She began her film career in the 1890s. She owned a studio and produced hundreds of films. Do you know her name?

 

 

Do Not Quit Before the World Opens Its Eyes - Film Courage

Not every great piece of art was appreciated in the beginning. Sometimes it takes time for people to recognize brilliance.

 

 

Music

 

 

How to Make Music Bloggers and Web Site Owners Ignore You - Renegade Producer

The Renegade Producer gives his best advice as an industry blogger on how to capture his attention if you want him to listen to your music.

 

 

Bands Date Brands to Meet Fans - Music Industry Newswire

We've all heard of product placement in TV shows and films, but is there a place for it in music? Can bands get into the business of brand integration?

 

 

-Richard

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

 

 

You may also be interested in...

 

 

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - April 5, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 29, 2011 Edition

1,776 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, writers, writers, writing, writing, contests, contests, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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Personally, I like to think I am above all things pop culture. There are so many other things going on in the world that deserve my attention. World peace, world hunger, and other important world stuff...They all merit more of my time than the viral video that's currently blowing up on the internet or the celebrity who is acting a bit on the strange side. I shouldn't care about such things. I mustn't care about such things. I won't care about such things.

 

 

Aw, who am I kidding? I do care about that silly stuff, and so should you. Why? Because pop culture has long coattails that you can ride as a blogger. Those stories that you get tired of seeing all over the place are the kind of stories that can drive traffic to your blog. Those readers who find your blog because they're hunting down more information on the latest pop culture sensation can be converted to regular visitors if they like what they read. What they're reading is your take on the story, which in turn gives them their first glimpse into your brand.

 

 

I'll often write posts about how fed up I am about being inundated with information on pop culture events or phenomenon, and this will inevitably lead to someone posting a comment stating that they couldn't agree more. This kind of interaction opens a dialogue between you and your readers, giving you the opportunity to make a personal connection with your audience. Pop culture is something we all love to hate and can't get enough of (even while we're saying we can't take anymore).

 

 

As painful as it can be, I think it's a good idea for artists to act as commentators on pop culture. Look at it as an opportunity to bring a voice of reason and class to an otherwise inane topic. Write about the important issues as well, but make some space for those topics that probably won't change the world. Like it or not, they result in hits on your blog and, ultimately, help your product.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Resources to Help You Blog Daily

Bloggers, Ask Yourselves These Five Questions

2,153 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, blog, promotion, blogging, musicians, filmmakers, branding
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With Great Opportunity Comes Great Responsibility

 

Just because the barriers to publishing are gone doesn't mean the writing doesn't matter. The writing matters. Granted, so does the marketing. Unfortunately, good writing alone doesn't ensure success. The reclusive author may be a relic of the non-internet world. Those who don't build and cultivate relationships on social networks and using other online strategies will most likely go unnoticed. My advice: market tirelessly and write brilliantly. That way, you'll deserve the success you find. Laura Miller of Salon.com weighs in on the changing responsibilities of authors.

 

 

It has become a mantra that today's author - whether self- or conventionally published - must learn to promote his or her books. Some, like Eisler and Hocking, happen to be good at it, but many aren't. People often become writers because they're introverted or awkward in personal encounters and have poured everything they want to say to the world into their work. What usually gets lost in the perpetual refrain about authors becoming their own marketers is that there's no particular connection between writing talent and a gift for self-promotion.

 

 

You can read the entire article on Salon.com's website: Author, sell thyself

 

 

Two Thumbs Up to Roger Ebert for Getting It Right

 

We've seen a lot of changes in home entertainment over the years. I didn't have cable TV until I was 12 years old. Now, I get TV shows on my phone. The sad thing is the picture on my phone is better than the picture on my family's TV when I was a kid. Who could have foreseen the almost miraculous changes in TV and movies in such a short period of time? Roger Ebert, that's who. Here's what he said in an interview in 1987.

 

 

We will have high-definition, wide-screen television sets and a push-button dialing system to order the movie you want at the time you want it. You'll not go to a video store but instead order a movie on demand and then pay for it. Videocassette tapes as we know them now will be obsolete both for showing prerecorded movies and for recording movies.

 

 

You can read the entire article on The Los Angeles Times' Website: Roger Ebert predicted the future of the movies in 1987

 

 

Non-linear Marketing

 

The internet has introduced something to the music industry that has shaken its foundation. That something is lack of control. There used to be a separation between musicians and fans that the industry took advantage of by shaping the relationship between their artists and fans. The internet has removed that separation and successful musicians are interacting with their fan base like never before. According to Bas Grasmayer of Hypebot.com, that interaction is a major component of music sales today.

 

 

This is where you start stimulating the non-linear communication. Treat every listener as a guest to your house party. If you don't introduce them to others, you'll be the center of attention all the time, but you can't talk to everyone at the same time, so people are likely to get bored and leave. The key to a successful party is connecting the strangers, so they can have fun together. You're still the center of the ecosystem, but you're not the only person to communicate to. The communication becomes non-linear!

 

 

You can read the entire article on Hypebot.com: The Ecosystem Approach: Introducing Non-Linear Music Marketing for the Digital Age

 

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - April 1, 2011

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

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This is a follow-up to my post titled He said I used the word "said" too much. Attribution in writing is an obsession of mine. To me, the word an author chooses to use to attribute dialogue to a character is a huge indicator of style. There is a temptation for some writers to want to mix things up. They come to the point in the writing day where they just can't stand to use the word "said" anymore. It's monotonous. It feels lazy. It even seems to lack any kind of creative challenge. But after grappling with this issue for years, I've come to the conclusion that using a substitution for the word "said" may not be the right thing to do. I say this as someone who's been guilty in the past of throwing in a number of alternatives.

 

It's common in industry editorial circles to rein in writers and nix all the surrogate words, inserting the old tried-and-true "said" in their place. Why? Here's Elmore Leonard's reasoning from The New York Times:

 

 

The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with ''she asseverated,'' and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.

 

 

In other words, it takes the reader out of the story. It took me a while to see it Leonard's way, but he's right. I just finished a new book, and I only used the word "said" to attribute the dialogue to a character. I did it consciously, and what I discovered was that it was far more creatively challenging for me to stick to this rule than to substitute at will. I discovered creative ways to structure the story that didn't require the dialogue to be attributed to a character; the speaker would be obvious to the reader from the flow of the story.

 

 

I'm not one to say outright that it is the mark of a novice writer to use alternatives for "said." I see it more as a matter of style; however, I'm now firmly ensconced in the "said" camp. If you haven't explored the issue, I encourage you to give it some thought. What is your preferred method of dialogue attribution?

 

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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He said I used the word "said" too much

The Greatest Example of "Show It. Don't Say It."

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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

 

Riverton Woman Says Editing 'Potter' Books Was Top-secret Job - SJ-R.Com

Sure she got to see the Harry Potter books before everyone else, but she couldn't tell anyone.

 

Is the Short Story Really the Novel's Poor Relation? - Guardian Book Blog

Do short stories have a place in today's world? Frankly, they may be more relevant today than at any other time.

 

Film

 

What if Star Wars Had Never Existed? - Guardian Film Blog

Would we even know what outer space looks like without George Lucas? Sure there was that whole Apollo project thing at NASA, but those spaceships weren't nearly as cool.

 

Independent Filmmaking - A Creative Labor of Love - Ai InSite

Studio films may have major financing, but independent filmmakers have much more freedom to make the films they want to make.

 

Music

 

Two Ways to Rehearse for Best Vocal Performance - Judy Rodman

Train your voice and your mind to get the optimum performance.

 

Open a Piano, Literally, as a First Step in Learning to Read Music - Music After 50

"Every Goat Breaks Down Fences." Trust me; it makes sense if you read the post.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 29, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 22, 2011 Edition

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If you frequent this blog, you know by now that I am a big fan of author blogs. I am of the opinion that if you have a book on the market, you have a need for your own personal space on the internet where you dynamically showcase your author brand. There is no better way to do that than with your own blog.

 

In order to display the brand that is you, you need to know yourself. As funny as that may sound, there are a lot of people who aren't really in touch with themselves. As a result, they misrepresent their personal brand on their own blog, and in the process, they create a flat, dispassionate brand.

 

So, here are five questions to ask yourself to help you fine tune and shape your personal brand:

 

  1. Are you funny? This may be a difficult question for you to answer, because most people believe they have a good sense of humor yet not everyone does. So, dig deep on this one and make an honest evaluation of your ability to make people laugh.
  2. Do you care if other people think you are funny? You may be the kind of person who doesn't care what people think about your sense of humor. It doesn't define you. That speaks of a kind of confidence that could be infectious in a blog environment.
  3. Are you political? Let's face it, political issues can spark a lot of debate and heat up a blog like nothing else. If you have no interest in politics, however, don't write about that on your blog just because you think it will bring in visitors. Your goal is to be authentic. Forcing yourself to write about something on your blog just for the purpose of increasing traffic is transparent and ineffective. Be yourself, and the traffic will come.
  4. What are you passionate about? This is the meat of it. Your blog will gain readers if you write about what drives you. What is your passion?
  5. What is on your "bucket list"? What are all the things you want to do before you die? Sit down and make a long list of things you think will give your life meaning. This is a great way to identify and tap into your passions. Nothing is out of reach.

 

Once you answer these questions, you should have a pretty good idea of who you are and what your blogging style should be as you move forward. Know thyself and your personal brand will flourish.

 

What questions did I miss that will help you tap into yourself and create an authentic personal brand?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Evaluating Your Author Brand

Authors' Four Structural Essentials for Blogs

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The Final Chapter

 

We've all been there. You fall in love with a book as you're reading it. It may even seem less like a book and more like an event. This book is your new favorite. You can't wait to tell your friends and family about the book, and then...you get to the last chapter and it falls completely apart. It seems to happen more frequently with books that cover social issues. The set-up is insightful, but the solution chapter doesn't hit the mark.

 

The weakness of last chapters is in large part a function of the sheer difficulty of devising answers to complex social problems that are sound, practicable and not blindingly obvious. Besides, those who give the most subtle diagnoses may not have the problem-solving disposition needed to come up with concrete, practical recommendations.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Why Last Chapters Disappoint

 

The Informed Audience

 

There was a day when filmmakers created a film and showed it to an audience that had no clue how movies were made. They didn't know the work that was involved. They didn't know the commitment it requires to take a movie from script to screen. They didn't appreciate the process behind making a film. Those days are gone.

 

While some see audience as the faceless mass waiting to be entertained or reduced to eyeballs needing to be captured, (Jay) Rosen points out that audiences now have the means and ability to make their own work...more people will have a newfound respect for those with talent (it isn't easy to create content worthy of an audience) and a network of creators can be harnessed to spread work much further than an expensive ad campaign can do.

 

You can read the entire article on ACTORSandCREW's website: Who Wants To Understand the Power of Little Networks?

 

All They Need is Love?

 

The Beatles were a legendary band because they got along so well, right? They created brilliant songs out of their utter love for each other, right? The music came from their heart, and their hearts were always working in concert to craft historical pop songs...right? Not really. According to a new book by authors Richard Courtney and George Cassidy, at least some of their collaboration was born out of strife.

 

THE Beatles were stymied. During a 1968 recording session, they couldn't find a suitable introduction to "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," a song written by Paul McCartney. John Lennon didn't much like the song, and, after several hours, he stormed out of the studio. When he returned, he strode to the piano and banged out several chords, then added petulantly, "Here's your intro!" "All eyes shifted to Paul, expecting rejection, perhaps an outburst," according to a new book, "Come Together: The Business Wisdom of The Beatles." (Turner Publishing, $24.95). Instead, McCartney defused the tension with this: "That's quite good, actually." Lennon's chords, pounded out in a fit of pique, make up the song's now-famous opening.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Whisper Words of Business Wisdom

 

-Richard

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

 

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

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

1,671 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, music, music, chapter, chapter, filmmakers, filmmakers, songwriting, songwriting, audience, audience

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