Skip navigation
Previous Next

Resources

October 2011
0

So far, we've defined what an author brand is, examined some examples of author brands, and gone over the primary online tools for building an author brand. Today, we will examine the keys to a successful author brand. The good news is they aren't too difficult to master.

 

  • Blinders - There will be days when it feels like no one is listening to you. Whether you're doing personal videos, blogs posts, or podcasts, you may feel like you would be better off screaming down a deep, dark hole. That's normal. Building an author brand takes an unfailing belief that the brand will catch on. You will find an audience. Just put your blinders on and keep moving forward.
  • Persistence - Building a blog takes volume. By volume, I mean lots of material. You need an archive of blog posts, videos, and online interactions through social media sites, and that archive needs to be deep. You only get that kind of archive by consistently putting material online. Be persistent, and the archive will grow.
  • Honesty - The author brand is nothing more than you. If you try to be something you're not, your brand will most likely fail. If you commit to being yourself, your author brand will have consistency and authenticity. Your voice will come through over and over again, and your brand will catch on.
  • Passion - Strive to put the same kind of passion you put into creating your author brand as you do writing your books. After your writing, your author brand is the second most important element of your life as an author. Your author brand is your lifeline to building relationships with readers, so give them a reason to connect with you. They will make that connection if your passion shows through.

 

As I said, these keys aren't difficult to master. They do require you to spend some time and effort, but it's a small price to pay for an effective brand. Next week, we'll finish off this series by taking a look at how to avoid pitfalls that can damage your author brand.

 

-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Branding 101: Tools for Branding

Branding 101: Examples of Author Brands

5,074 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, branding, branding, branding, branding, branding, branding, branding, branding, branding, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand
0

"What are fears but voices airy?
Whispering harm where harm is not.
And deluding the unwary
Till the fatal bolt is shot!"

- Wordsworth

 

There is one thing that the written word will always have over any other form of entertainment: its ability to stimulate the imagination. And nothing stimulates the creative mind more than fear. While movies can keep you on the edge of your seat, your imagination will always do your vision one better. Anyone who has tried to write frightening fiction will agree that one of the hardest parts of horror is creating and maintaining the feeling of suspense without giving too much away, all while keeping the reader interested and informed.

 

One of the leaders of suspenseful horror writing was not, in fact, known for his novels but for his radio programs. In 1936, Arch Oboler took over NBC's "Light's Out" radio program. One of Oboler's greatest talents was bringing the listener immediately into the story. Before every "Light's Out" program - which appropriately aired at midnight - he would remind his audience that "These 'Light's Out' stories are definitely not for the timid soul. So we tell you calmly and very sincerely, if you frighten easily, turn off your radio now."

 

And then the story began. Not in gradual steps but with a bang. One instant you're thinking to yourself, "Ha! How silly of them to think I would frighten easily," and the next you have a white-knuckle clench on your blanket or armchair.

 

In 1962, Oboler released an album called "Drop Dead! An Exercise in Horror" in which he wrote seven different types of horror stories: movie, suspense, radio, comedy, T.V., science fiction, and something he called "the ultimate." Each story latched onto some quality that made their particular genre popular. With "movie," he drew from the popularity of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, astonishing the audience with the shocking horror of a man who lives in a basement and eats only the contents of rusted metal boxes kept on shelves throughout his room. With "radio," he depended on the listener's imagination to fill in the details of a creeping darkness which consumed whoever came near it. And as for "the ultimate"? You'll have to listen to find out. What about you? Have you ever tried your hand at horror? Consider giving it a go with the following exercise.

 

Exercise: You can't scare me...

 

One of the most difficult yet effective aspects of writing horror for radio was the fact that it had to tell a richly detailed story in about 20 minutes. This meant that the script immediately dropped the audience into the heart of the tale, built suspense, and slammed to a shocking conclusion in a very short period of time. For this exercise, use what you've learned from books, movies, and even radio to start one of Oboler's seven types of horror stories. Remember that words are precious, and each sentence should quickly and succinctly get your point across. In the length of a paragraph, your readers should already feel sweat on their palms and a rapid quickening of their pulse.

 

1) Movie (visual, graphic horror)

2) Suspense (mysterious stimulation of the senses with no immediately visible antagonist)

3) Radio (your readers can't see it, so it could be anything)

4) Comedy (a little over the top - scary, but funny due to excess)

5) T.V. (using established characters a la The Twilight Zone)

6) Science Fiction (the horrors of the unknown in space)

7) The Ultimate (what's the scariest story you can imagine?)

 

-Kristin

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/KristinHeadshot_final.jpg

Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.

 

You may also be interested in...

WordPlay: A Raisin to Write

WordPlay: Universal Language

2,166 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, writers, writers, horror, horror, writing, writing, thriller, thriller, suspense, suspense, creativity, creativity, craft, craft, halloween, halloween, wordplay, wordplay
0

Don't Call This Post "Nice"

It may be the most mysterious word in the English language. It's usually meant as a compliment, but often it is perceived as an insult. What is this magic word? "Nice." That one word can derail a date before it's even started. It has the power to sever the closest of relationships. It can even cause unrest in an otherwise solid marriage. So how did such a nice word get such a bad reputation?

 

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, "nice" has its origin in Latin, coming from nescius ("ignorant, not knowing"), a compound of the stem of scire ("to know") + the prefix ne- ("not"). The word evolved from there into the Old French nice, niche, nisce ("simple, foolish, ignorant"). By the late 13th century, it was a Middle English word: nice, nyce, nys (meaning essentially "foolish, stupid, senseless").

 

You can read the entire article on PWxyz: The Worst Word in the English Language is "Nice"

 

Marketing is Just a Phone Call Away

Jonah Hill is a fairly big star these days. He starred in a movie opposite Brad Pitt. He's got his own animated series coming to network television. He's appeared in numerous top-quality comedies. Surely he can rest on his laurels. Maybe not. Hill has taken an active role in the marketing of his new film "The Sitter." When I say active, I mean active.

 

Fox recently dispersed posters across the country printed with Mr. Hill's image, the message "Need a Sitter?" and phone numbers on tear-off tabs. About 250,000 people called and nearly half left voicemails. Here comes the unusual part: Mr. Hill agreed to carry around the phone belonging to that number and randomly answer calls himself. A Fox spokesman said he had answered a few dozen times. On Wednesday, he began turning the tables and returning messages.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Will Phone Stunt for 'The Sitter' Yield Right Numbers at Box Office?


The Cristal Baschet

Musical instruments come in all shapes and sizes. They incorporate wood, steel, brass, ivory...virtually any material you can imagine. I'm familiar with your basic musical instruments, but I admit ignorance when it comes to the more exotic ones. For instance, I had never heard of a cristal baschet until reading about it in today's Los Angeles Times. Frankly, now I want to see one up close and personal.


The cristal baschet is one of the most beautiful musical instruments you will ever see, made of vibrating, tuned steel, fiberglass amplification cones and wire "whiskers" that shimmy when fingers rub the glass-rod keyboard. Film composer Cliff Martinez's version, which resides in the living room of his Topanga Canyon home, is about the size of an upright piano and is as much sculpture as instrument.

 

You can read the entire article on The Los Angeles Times' website: Cliff Martinez scores a strange success with 'Drive'


-Richard

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


You may also be interested in...

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - October 21, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - October 14, 2011

1,853 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, marketing, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, writing, writing, hollywood, hollywood, words, words, nice, nice
0

If you decide to independently publish, it's critical to have multiple sets of eyes review your work before pulling the trigger. I strongly recommend hiring a professional creative editor and a professional copy editor. If you don't have the budget for either, solicit input from friends, coworkers, or anyone else willing to help for nothing more than your gratitude and a signed copy of your book. (Be sure to include them in the acknowledgements!)

 

Creative editors help identify and fix problems with the major elements of your book, such as plot, character development, pacing, and style. However, not everyone is comfortable providing constructive criticism - especially to loved ones - so it's important to choose people who aren't afraid to tell it to you straight.

 

Copy editors have eagle eyes for typos, missing words, punctuation, grammar, repetition, etc. After so many hours of writing, rewriting, and tweaking, our brains begin to play tricks on our eyes, and we often see words that aren't there, or we don't see words that are. My mom proofread my most recent novel for me before I turned it over to anyone else, and she found more than 100 errors! Copyediting can be a great job for friends who want to help but aren't cut out for the "tough love" approach required to be an effective creative editor.

 

The bottom line is that when it comes time to edit your book, you need to check your ego at the door and welcome any feedback you can get - good, bad, or ugly. It's much better to hear the criticism from trusted friends now than from disappointed readers later, right?

 

-Maria

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Just Say No to Random Capitalization!

Rewrites: Make the Hardest Changes First

4,583 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, editing, editing, editing, editing, editing, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, editor, editor, editor, editor, editor, revision, revision, revision, revision, revision, craft, craft, craft, craft, craft
0

On Saturday, Oct. 22, CreateSpace attended the Self-Publishing Book Expo (SPBE) in New York City. Now in its third year, SPBE is a celebration of independent publishing that offers exhibits, panels, and educational seminars specifically created for the indie author. Hundreds of authors from around the world were in attendance (that's a lot of talent in one place!), and there was a consistently positive buzz emanating from the crowd on the exhibit floor. I attended several of SPBE's seminars in order to pass along some key takeaways from the expert presenters. Read on for my recap of each session.

 

EPublishing: A Detailed Overview of the New Process

Dan Poynter, one of the most well-known pioneers of modern self-publishing, was on-hand to share his experiences and expert advice with his peers. It was clear we could all learn a lot from his perspective on the changing industry - he's been independently publishing since 1969! Here are the takeaways from his keynote speech.

 

  • Dan: "Self-publishing is when your passion center becomes your profit center."
  • All books don't fit all people. You have to find your niche market, where you'll find the most people interested in your title. You have a dedicated core group there that is waiting for it.
  • Dan: "The bad news? The book industry is changing. The good news? The book industry is changing. If you embrace the changes, you'll see that with change comes opportunity. We can't change the direction, but we can adapt to the changes. Change will happen with or without you, so get out in front of it."
  • He presented an interesting analogy: the people who invented the automobile were not the same people who designed the buggy. The same can be said for the changing publishing model. Today's authors are eliminating the traditional gatekeepers.
  • Reviews sell books because reviews are word of mouth. The new reviewers are book bloggers, especially those in your particular category. The bloggers who are focused on specific subjects may have larger and more passionate followings of people who really care about your topic.
  • Dan: "Self-publishing is self-employment. Doing what you love, loving what you do, and calling your own shots. It has become the majority way to publish, the better way to publish, the only way to publish."

 

The Smartest Things I Learned from Self-Publishing: Tips for Success from Authors Who Have Gone Before You

Jon Fine of Amazon led a panel discussion between two successful authors: Michael Margolis, author of Believe Me and president of Get Storied, and David Lender, thriller author of Bull Street. The authors shared their strategies for pricing, marketing, and independent publishing with CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

 

  • Jon: "The means of book production have been democratized."
  • After David uploaded his books to KDP, he was approached by top agents and publishers. But because of his success, he stated, "I'm now happy to stay independently published, and I can write full-time."
  • Michael published his book in 90 days, from the first word on paper to having the book available for sale using CreateSpace. He has sold thousands of copies of the book and built a business using it as a calling card. "You can be your own media company. If you want to play your own game and you have a DIY ethos, the tools are there."
  • David provided advice on creating sellable eBooks. "The bar on eBook quality is much higher now. Your book should look perfect. If you don't have the technical capabilities to make a well-formatted eBook, use the tools available to help you."
  • David also expressed the importance of choosing the right list price. "Look at the top 100 books in your category, and compare yourself to the competition." He chose to focus on building a readership by pricing his first eBook at $.99, leading to more than 100,000 eBook sales over 9 months.
  • The panelists then turned to the topic of marketing. Michael: "Birthing your book earns you the right to stand at the starting line of another marathon: marketing it." One of his marketing tips? He gives away free digital copies of his book in exchange for email addresses, which has built his email list and expanded his audience.
  • It was suggested that authors research the reviewers of the top 100 books in a particular genre, many of whom have blogs. Authors can then ask them if they'd be interested in reviewing their books.
  • David also suggested joining some of the many writing groups on Facebook and being a part of those active communities.

 

Website Wow: Powerful Web Design to Reach Your Audience

Jeniffer Thompson, co-founder of Monkey C Media, shared valuable tips on creating a professional and effective website to support your marketing efforts.

 

  • The 3 most important aspects of SEO: Title tags with excellent keywords, well-written content, and incoming links. The more specific your keywords, the better the SEO optimization.
  • Smart design: When someone lands on your website, you have less than a second to grab their attention, because people will immediately decide if they like it or not. You should have solid and consistent navigation, draw the eye towards something important (with color, imagery, etc.), and have a clear message.
  • The color you choose should be consistent with your brand. Color evokes emotion, and you can use it to create emphasis on important pieces of your site. Power colors are red and yellow, but be careful not to overuse them, as they can fatigue the eye.
  • With text, choose web-safe, sans serif fonts that others will also have on their computers (i.e. Arial, Verdana, etc.). Be sure your fonts are consistent with your brand, and make text easy to read by using columns. "Show, don't tell" with captivating images, write engaging headlines, and include bullet points.
  • Content should be fresh and relevant. Consider featuring guest bloggers and contributors and offer valuable information and resources.
  • Jeniffer: "A website should be a funnel, with lots of powerful calls to action to encourage more navigation."
  • Create a community around your brand by engaging your audience. Be consistent, allow comments and sharing of your content, and build trust by giving away information, staying current, and being genuine. Also, be sure to invite your social media followers to your site.
  • If you decide to work with a design house, ask them about maintaining ownership of your content, timelines, and references. If you do it yourself, consider using WordPress.com (blog), WordPress.org (broader website tools), Tumblr.com, or Weebly.com. Site themes can be found at ElegantThemes.com or ThemeForest.net.
  • Google Analytics can help you track your website traffic. The hosting company of your website should also provide free traffic analytics.
  • Even if your book isn't out yet, create your website and start building your community with social media as early as possible.

 

Building an Audience

This session focused on building relationships with target audiences and effectively promoting your book. Speakers were Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts; Dan Blank of We Grow Media; Seale Ballenger of HarperCollins; and Jennifer Wilkov, book consultant and host of the "Your Book Is Your Hook!" radio show.

 

  • Trade outlets like Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, and Library Journal can be beneficial for trying to get book reviews to create industry awareness. Book bloggers are an important resource for reviews, because they are typically genre-specific and they like to be ahead of the curve. Examples are Fresh Fiction, Mediabistro, and Book Reporter.
  • Consider writing opinion/editorial pieces (especially if you write nonfiction) and submitting them to the press.
  • Social media: Facebook is a community that gives you a permanent place to store information, whereas Twitter is more news-oriented and of-the-moment. Use them to build you community and communicate to it. If you can't do all the social media channels, just pick one. If you focus on getting good at one, it will make it that much easier for you to build your other marketing areas.
  • If you want to get into corporate or nonprofit partnerships, go after those most relevant to you and your books. When contacting them, first emphasize the benefits for the company and how you will achieve success for their brand rather than focusing on your book. Also consider partnerships with other groups/associations or authors.
  • Reach out to book clubs to build your audience, keeping in mind that many are genre-specific and have blogs where they may feature you or your content.
  • Research what other people are talking about in your industry, and determine what you will say that's different, interesting, and unique. This will help you communicate in social channels and when networking with authors on other sites to build your connections.
  • Jennifer: "In book marketing, you have to cut through the clutter. Make it short, make it concise, make it fun, and make it effective."

 

The Reviews Are In: Why Book Reviews Matter

Representatives from well-known review sources offered tips on why book reviews continue to be an important aspect of book marketing. Speakers included Julie Eakin of ForeWord Reviews, Perry Crowe of Kirkus Indie, Patti Thorn of BlueInk Review, and Cevin Bryerman of Publishers Weekly.

 

  • Why do book reviews matter? Cevin: "It doesn't matter where you get your reviews; they will help you sell more books because they are given out by professionals who understand what matters to readers."
  • Patti: "A book review is important because it helps distinguish your book from all the other books out there. It gives your book the credibility of a third-party source, which validates to readers that spending hours reading your book is worth their time."
  • Perry spoke to reviews' ability to give readers a succinct summation and authors an easily-digestible nugget of information to use in promotions, while Julie reminded us that reviews can help you improve your book.
  • To increase your chances of getting a review, send in endorsements from fellow authors in your genre or experts in your field. If possible, make your book stand out with a unique promotion or a personal note. Follow the submission guidelines of each review source, and tell them what's special about the book.
  • Reviewers are chosen based on their specialty reviewing books in a particular category. This is to "give each book its best chance to get a good review" and so the reviewer can compare quality to other books in the genre. They also hire reviewers who understand the writing craft and how to communicate feedback to other writers.
  • Authors should be sure to submit professional-looking books in a "good package," with high-quality printing and editing. They recommend a unique, well-designed cover that also fits in with the landscape of other professional books on the market.

 

That's all for now, folks. I hope you've found something here you might be able to apply to your own publishing and marketing efforts. To all the authors, experts, organizers, and professionals we met: thanks for another great event celebrating indie authorship. As always, I'm looking forward to the next exciting chapter in the self-publishing success story!

 

-Amanda

Amanda is the editor of CreateSpace's educational resources and social media channels.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

BEA Recap: Day 1 - The DIY Revolution

BEA Recap: Day 6 - A Business Model for Your Boo

4,641 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, book, book, book, book, reviews, reviews, reviews, reviews, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, indie, indie, indie, indie, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, craft, craft, craft, craft, branding, branding, branding, branding
0

Carrying on with our topic of utilizing the chunking method to write a book, let's set aside the storyline for today and focus on characters, specifically your focal-point characters. Traditionally, these individuals are referred to as your hero and your villain, or your protagonist and antagonist. Now, throughout the history of literature, virtually every angle has been taken when it comes to the hero and the villain. For our purposes, let's focus on a simple model, bad guy versus good guy.

 

Your chunking assignment for this element of your book is to not only flesh out each character, but also their relationship. Personally, I prefer when the hero and villain are more similar than different. That somehow makes the relationship scarier and more interesting to me. To that end, you might try writing a character sketch of each of them from the point of view of the other. What do they despise about each other? What do they see as each other's weaknesses and strengths? What do they admire about each other? These are notes that may never make it to your book, but they can give you a better sense of how the hero and villain will interact with each other within the confines of your story.

 

When the character sketches are complete, take the beginning and ending elements we worked on last week and reshape them to sync up with your new character sketches. Remember, we're taking a nonlinear approach to the construction of this novel. Such a tactic will require you to rewrite a little more on the frontend than usual, but it should save you major rewrites on the backend.

 

Once your focal-point characters are done, move on to the other main and secondary characters. Again, you might try having both your hero and villain describe them for you. Why are they important to the story? How will they serve the story? If physical attributes are important to you, flesh them out with this exercise.

 

Next week, we'll talk about the inciting incident where our hero and villain meet.

 

-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Chunking Method Part 2: The Opening & Closing

Use the Chunking Method to Write Your Book

1,932 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, writers, writers, writing, writing, characters, characters, craft, craft
0

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


Are You a Word Nerd? Take This Quiz. - Writer's Digest


Do you let people know when they use the wrong word? Do you have a habit of pointing out misspellings? You might be a word nerd.


What Makes a Book Great? - Salon.com


Why does one book deserve a literary prize over other books? How can we say one book is the best?

 

Film


Dude, Where's My Audience? Audience-Building Tips for Filmmakers - Mastering Film


Learn how to embrace the self-promoter inside you.


Researching Macro Trends -Kino-Eye.com


What changes can filmmakers expect? Kino-eye interviewed some people in the industry to predict the future.


Music


Breathing for Singers - From the front of the choir


The act of singing can prevent you from breathing naturally and affect your performance. Learn how to breathe naturally.


The Secret Behind Hit Songs - The Musical Trinity Part 1: Engineering - Hypebot.com


Hypebot examines engineering, songwriting, and arrangement to uncover what's behind a hit song.


-Richard

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


You may also be interested in...


Tuesday's Blog Roundup - October 18, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - October 11, 2011 Edition

1,892 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, writers, writers, writing, writing, industry, industry, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, grammar, grammar, audience, audience, singing, singing
0

Over the last two weeks, we've defined what an author brand is and looked at a few examples of author brands. Today, let's look at what tools will be most useful to you for building your brand. If you frequent this blog, what we discuss here won't shock you. These are online branding tools, and they are relatively inexpensive to implement. They will cost you time, and I know today's writers have limited amounts of time to give, but devoting time to building your brand is too crucial to ignore. Building a solid brand is something that can't usually be achieved overnight, but using these tools consistently over time will help establish your brand.


  • Blogs: It's my old standby. You should be blogging on a regular basis. Your blog is your space to shine. Your posts will showcase your writing and your personality. It's your free and unfettered universe.
  • Video: Talking on camera is tough. It's just not a natural act for most of us, so implementing this tool will take some getting used to, but it is time well spent. A video gives your brand a face and a voice. It makes your brand more dynamic. It will do more than showcase your personality; it will give your personality life. It's unlikely that you will become a video star overnight, but with practice, who knows?
  • Podcasts: Online radio programming is a growing industry. Technology-wise, it doesn't require a lot of equipment or setup. Many authors create a regularly scheduled podcast where they talk about various topics and interview guests. Podcasts are usually more successful if they have a consistent theme.
  • Social Media: Twitter and Facebook are branding building juggernauts. They provide you with an easy way to interact with friends and fans. Social media is often misused as a "marketing" tool in that too many companies and individuals use it to sell themselves and their products. I believe strongly that social media sites are built for connecting with people, not selling them something. It requires a two-way conversation that will feel like a personal relationship. Start a dialogue about your books and talk about your writing, but remember you are addressing "friends," not customers.

 

I was going to wrap up this post by saying "That's it," but that makes it sound like the combination of these is an instant branding solution. It's not instant. It takes time, but it is inexpensive and easy. Building an author brand isn't splitting an atom; it's just you being you over and over again.

 

Next week, we'll talk about the keys to successful author branding.

 

-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Branding 101: Examples of Author Brands

Branding 101: What is Author Branding?

4,445 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, branding, branding, branding, branding, branding, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand
0

In life and writing, there are many things that we naturally take for granted. For example, we expect most people to know what an orange tastes like, but what if they don't? How would you describe the taste of citrus to someone who has never tasted it before? The hurdle for a writer, in this case, is "showing" readers what citrus tastes like instead of "telling" them. This allows readers to create a more solid image in their minds instead of a vague impression. Great stories draw the reader into a mentally visible and tangible world, hence the reason for one of creative writing's main mantras: show, don't tell.

 

Not long ago, National Public Radio ran a story on an unusual fruit called a "pawpaw." While the reporter did a great job of giving a sense of place by playing clips of background noises as the reporter followed her guide through the woods to a nearby pawpaw tree, she didn't really give a very detailed description of the fruit. Sure, she described the taste and the fact that it has a large seed, but the listener was never really offered a clear idea of what the fruit looks like. Having never seen a pawpaw before, I found myself wondering exactly what it would look like if I came across one in the woods. After coming up with several unusual images, I began thinking about fruits that we see in everyday life.

 

If someone has never seen an apple before, how would you describe it? What about a banana, or a pear? There might even be a fruit or vegetable native to your region of the world that many people have never seen or even heard of. What would you compare it to? How would you describe the taste, the touch, the scent to someone who's never experienced it before? How would you "show" instead of "tell"? And that brings us to today's creative writing exercise:

 

Exercise: A berry nice description...

 

It's early morning and the mist is just starting to fade in the waist-high fields of grass and underbrush around you. You're all set for a nice long walk in the tranquility of the woods. About two hours into your walk, you stop to rest. As you pause, you casually take in the scenery and suddenly notice a very unusual-looking fruit lying just to the side of the path. You pick it up and examine it, then glance around to see where it came from. A quick scan shows that they're growing on a nearby tree, and from the look of the happy and fat squirrels scurrying around nearby, it's possible that the fruit is edible.

 

In a few lines, show us the fruit you found. What does it look like? Smell like? Feel like? Would you taste it? What does the tree look like that it's growing from? What would you compare it to - another fruit or something entirely different? Did you expect to find something like it growing here? If it's a new fruit entirely, what would you name it? Allow your imagination to blossom!

 

-Kristin

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/KristinHeadshot_final.jpg

Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

WordPlay: Universal Language

WordPlay: Exactly the Way a Bowling Ball Wouldn't

2,342 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, creativity, creativity, creativity, craft, craft, craft, descriptions, descriptions, descriptions, wordplay, wordplay, wordplay
0

The Ever-widening Door to Publication

There was a time when the entrance to the publishing world was a narrow door through which only a select few were allowed to pass. That didn't mean that those who had the door slammed in their faces didn't deserve to be published. It just meant that there wasn't enough room or money to accommodate everyone. If not for the digital age, publishing may never have changed. Today, access to publishing has gone from a narrow door to a virtual expressway. Michael Hyatt explores the changing face of publishing.

 

When I started writing, it also seemed like everyone else was in control. I prepared a book proposal, then waited for a publisher to offer me a contract. I wrote the manuscript, then waited for booksellers to order the book. I published the book, the waited for the media to book me. We spent a lot of time waiting. And then waiting some more. And, if we didn't get picked, it wasn't our fault (or so we thought). But something extraordinary has happened in the last decade - even more so in the last three years. The power has shifted.

 

You can read the entire article on Michael Hyatt's website: 4 Reasons It's Easier Than Ever to Be an Author

 

When Oil and Water Mix in Hollywood

Making a movie is hard. Making a movie within the confines of the Hollywood system can be, at times, almost impossible. Case in point: Anna Paquin (star of HBO's True Blood) is appearing in a new film titled Margaret. It's hard to even call this movie new because it was shot in 2006. Legal issues and changing tides stalled the movie's release. The troubles that plagued the film have really opened the eyes of some filmmakers.

 

Reading about Margaret, it's amazing that any movies get made. The story quotes insurer Michael Harper saying, "This business is so crazy. It's an art form and a business and we're trying to mix oil and water all the time." And people on both sides have gigantic egos. They fight and clash and sometimes you still get a great movie (consider Apocalypse Now) but often you get an embarrassing mess on the screen.

 

You can read the entire article on the Forbes' website: A Hollywood Cautionary Tale Starring Anna Paquin


Charity, the Other Marketing Tool

Kid Rock is set to do some concerts to raise money for his foundation. The foundation will concentrate on raising money for local organizations. In this case, "local" refers to every town where Kid Rock will perform. Music marketer Hisham Dahud thinks it's not only great for the communities, it's also great for Kid Rock's brand. He believes there are lessons to be learned here from the standpoint of marketing.


By aligning your music with a greater good, fans and non-fans alike will be more inclined to support you because you're representing something higher than yourself. Socially conscious activities raise awareness to issues that many people might initially assume that most musicians, particularly rock stars like Kid Rock, don't typically care about.


You can read the entire article on Hypebot.com: Lessons Learned From Kid Rock's Charity Tour


-Richard

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


You may also be interested in...

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - October 14, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - October 7, 2011

2,037 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, marketing, marketing, filmmaking, filmmaking, film, film, indie, indie, publishing, publishing, hollywood, hollywood, musicians, musicians, charity, charity
0

Keep Your Chin Up!

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 20, 2011

If you're reading this blog, it's because publishing a book is very important to you, whether you do it independently or with the help of a traditional publisher. In fact, it might be the most important thing you've ever done or will ever do. It's definitely the most important thing I've ever done, and I'm extremely proud of being an author.

 

While you may be extremely passionate about your title of "author," however, not everyone is going to feel the same way. In fact, no matter who publishes your book, it's important to remember that no one is going to care more about it than you do.

 

As you set out to promote your book, you're going to expose yourself to rejection. Not everyone is going to call or email you back. Not every review is going to be great. A lot of your own friends probably won't even buy a copy. But if you let any of that affect your motivation, you're going to run into trouble.

 

I have a newsletter to which people subscribe on my site, and I send one out every few weeks or so. No matter how many new people sign up, the occasional "unsubscribe" notification always hurts my feelings. I know it shouldn't bother me, but it does! So believe me, I know this advice isn't easy to take. Just remember the old adage: you can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.

 

When it comes to book marketing, the best advice I can offer is this: try a lot of things, focus on what seems to work, and stay positive. And when you feel down, remember this: No matter what, you've written a book. So be proud of yourself!

 

-Maria

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

The Power of a Personal Connection

Get Reviews for Your Indie Book

2,378 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, indie, indie, indie, indie, indie, indie, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, publishing, publishing, publishing, publishing, publishing, publishing, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection
0

Last week, we explored the chunking method of writing. In short, chunking is just breaking up the task of writing into small, manageable tasks. That doesn't mean you need to take a linear approach to writing your story. You can write out of order and piece your book together when all the elements are completed. Granted, it's not an approach that will work for everybody, but there are those who prefer tackling the key segments of the story and then structuring details afterward.

 

For my money, the opening and the closing are the most important components of a novel. Now, I'm not suggesting that once you nail the perfect opening and closing that you phone in the rest of the book. I'm simply saying that first impressions and conclusions resonate with readers more than anything else. If you nail the opening and the closing, you're likely to gain not just a fan, but a fan who will spread the word for you.

 

Using the chunking method, find a quiet moment and brainstorm how your book will begin and how it will end. Take the "storm" part of that word at its meaning: be unpredictable and chaotic. Record whatever your mind's eye sees. There is no right or wrong here. You shouldn't even be concerned at this point if a thought is coherent. Just get it on paper and sort it out later. Once you have a rough sketch of the opening and closing, ask yourself how you will tie these two elements together. In effect, your beginning and ending should fit together, closing a circle.

 

Of course, there isn't a bureau of writing that is going to arrest you if you decide to alter the opening and closing after you develop the body of your story. Always be willing to adapt as you create, but using this method does give you a point 'A' and a point 'B' from which to build. All you have to do now is find the best route to get from one to the other.

 

Next week, we'll look at chunking and characterization.

 

-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Use the Chunking Method to Write Your Book

Rewrites: Make the Hardest Changes First

2,080 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, craft, craft, craft
0

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

 

Optimize Marketing Copy for Mobile - Somersault

 

Just because it's a digital device that allows users to go online doesn't mean the normal rules of online marketing apply to mobile devices.

 

Essential Matters - Editors Only

 

Elements of story and writing that may get overlooked by some writers.

 

Film

 

The Camera Lies, You Know - a MOON Brothers film

 

No one knew how to work a camera's tendency to "lie" better than Alfred Hitchcock.

 

Make Filmmaking Your Business -Filmmaking Stuff

 

More than anything, it takes patience and endurance to make a film.

 

Music

 

4 Essential Prerequisites for Creativity - Heather Fenoughty

 

Award-winning composer and sound designer Heather Fenoughty gives her formula for creating a creative environment.


Five Things to Look For in a Music Manager - The Musician's Guide

 

Do you expect the person that manages your band to be just as talented as your bandmates?

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - October 11, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - October 4, 2011 Edition

 

1,796 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, marketing, marketing, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, writers, writers, writing, writing, creativity, creativity, musicians, musicians, camera, camera
1

Last week, we defined what an author brand is. This week, let's take a look at some author brands that, in my opinion, are working. While I am familiar with most of the names on this list, I purposely picked one at random from The Internet Writing Journal to see how easy the author's brand was to identify. These brands were easy to recognize because the authors made them clear through active, transparent online presences that reflect their personalities. In some cases, they've used video and audio along with their blogs to showcase their brands. Read on for a closer look at each author's brand.

 

  • John Scalzi - John is information central for serious science fiction fans. He has a no-holds-barred blogging style and does not hide his opinions on anything, from movies to politics and everything in between. He was a blogger long before he became a novelist, so he was on the cutting edge of the medium before other more established authors jumped in to the fray. The best thing about John is he is not afraid to pull back the curtain and let you see the machinery behind his life and profession. I would identify John's brand as the "op-ed" brand. He's smart and witty and has the talent to ignite comments on his posts.
  • JA Konrath - Konrath is another early adopter of the blogging format. He began his blog to document the pursuit of his dream to become a professional writer. He built a strong following as he opened up about the difficulties and struggles he endured on his way to publishing his first book. Since then, he's become an incredibly successful author, particularly in the indie market. He is one of the few authors who will show you how many books he's sold and how much money he made from each sale. He does it to educate others with similar dreams. Konrath has perfected the "teacher" brand. He backs up his knowledge with detailed facts and really gives readers an education about the publishing industry from his perspective.
  • Seth Godin - Seth is the marketing guru's guru. He's written numerous books on marketing and branding. He's been a featured speaker at a TED conference. In short, if you ever research ways to sell a product (including books), you will probably see Seth's name pop up over and over again. His brand is the "expert" brand. He knows his stuff, and is eager to share his knowledge. This differs from the "teacher" brand somewhat in that Seth provides more broad-spectrum information that applies to many different industries.
  • Debbie Ridpath Ohi - Debbie is the author I was not familiar with. As I said, I chose her name at random from a list, and I'm pleased to say I had no problem identifying her brand. Debbie is an illustrator and writer by trade. Her specialty is children's books and her online persona matches her potential audience. She features stories about ComiCon and even writes about a trip to the Charles Shultz museum. She engages her community by being an active member of it. Debbie's brand is the "fan/doer" brand. She is clearly a fan of the industry she is in, and she's not afraid to express her enthusiasm.

 

These are just four examples of author brands. I urge you to visit the The Internet Writing Journal and visit a few more of the websites and blogs to examine how some of your contemporaries are branding themselves. The best way to learn in this case is to observe and emulate until you find a style that fits you.

 

Next week, we'll take a look at branding tools.

 

-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Branding 101: What is Author Branding?

Branding vs. Marketing for Authors

5,362 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, promotion, promotion, promotion, brand, brand, brand, branding, branding, branding, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand
0

"Harvey found his French of no recognized Bank brand, and his conversation was limited to nods and grins. But Tom Platt waved his arms and got along swimmingly...


'How was it my French didn't go, and your sign-talk did?' Harvey demanded when the barter had been distributed.


'Sign-talk!' Platt guffawed. 'Well, yes, 'twas sign-talk, but a heap older'n your French, Harve.'


-Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

 

Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where we can't communicate with someone either because of language barriers or other impediments. This doesn't mean that we can't get the gist of what he or she is trying to convey, however. In fact, a study conducted in the 1960s by psychologist Paul Eckman showed that there are six visible emotions which are interpreted the same way around the world: anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, and surprise. And these are all emotions you can show readers in your writing.


Given the opportunity to travel to a place where you don't speak the local language, how do you think you would fare at communicating? Would you be able to convey your needs or wants without words? Would you be able to get an idea of what the locals are saying to you just by their facial expressions and hand gestures? Picturing this may help you think of creative ways to show readers the behavior and feelings of your characters without relying on dialogue.

 

Exercise: Pardon my French...

 

Imagine this. You're walking down an ancient cobbled street in a small French village. Villagers going about their morning chores nod and smile as you pass, and you're considering a trip to the open-air market when a sudden noise in a nearby alley stops you in your tracks.

 

The alleyway can't be any wider than both of your arms outstretched, but a narrow balcony juts out from the slouching stone building on the right. On it, an elderly woman is gesturing wildly, a piece of garnet-colored silk clutched in one hand. Below, a young man reaches his arms to the sky, alternately waving his hands at the old woman and sweeping them in wide circles overhead. The woman props her fists on her ample hips and shakes her head strongly. Her hand flutters outward and for a moment the cloth waves in the air, the sun catching the detail of what appears to be a fine pattern embroidered in gold. A torrent of native French echoes against the alley walls, and you can hear each word with clarity, but you don't understand a bit of it.

 

What do you think they're discussing? You can see their facial expressions and their arm movements. You can hear their voices and the undulations in their tones, but their native dialect is too thick to interpret. Using what you've observed, what do you think is happening between the young man and the old woman?

 

-Kristin

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/KristinHeadshot_final.jpg

Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

WordPlay: Exactly the Way a Bowling Ball Wouldn't

WordPlay: Anachronisms in Writing

2,287 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, creativity, creativity, creativity, creativity, creativity, craft, craft, craft, craft, craft, wordplay, wordplay, wordplay, wordplay, wordplay
0

The New and Improved Exorcist

Proving it's never too late to change, The Exorcist, a book published more than 40 years ago, has been given a bit of a facelift by its author, William Peter Blatty. The 83-year-old author who scared the wits out everyone who dared read his book about a young girl possessed by the devil made a few changes to dialogue and added a new scene for the anniversary edition, and he says, despite the success the original version achieved, this is the version for which he wants to be remembered.

 

The first time I had cause to read my novel after publication was about a dozen years ago when I was asked to do the narration for the audio book. Reading prose aloud is the test of the rhythm of the lines, and at times as I was reading I was mildly appalled by what I had written as contrasted to what I freshly realized I should have written; once, in fact, I broke up the producer and the sound mixer (who was one of the Doobie Brothers, by the way) by breaking off my reading to erupt, "Who wrote this dreck?!"

 

You can read the entire article on The Huffington Post: "The Exorcist" Author William Peter Blatty On Revisiting His Most Famous Work

 

It's a Hard Knock Life, but Does Anyone Care?

The major attraction for a lot of microbudget films used to be the stories about the making of the movie themselves. Filmmakers endured hardships and made sacrifices to get their films made. Some slept in their cars. Others maxed out their credit cards, while still others even signed up to be guinea pigs for pay in scientific studies just to raise the money to make their films. That was the 90s, before the digital age. To some, those hard luck stories are played out.

 

"You came to realise, as indie films started to mature, that the director's story was a major part of the marketing," says Ted Hope, producer of early films by Ang Lee, Hartley and Edward Burns. But then appearances can be deceptive. The cost of El Mariachi and Clerks, for example, rose by at least $200,000 each after post-production and publicity costs, which is not so good for the microbudget myth. Hope believes the lifespan of the old hard-luck stories may be at an end. "The credit card thing stopped being interesting," he says. "The budget level stopped being interesting. The diversity of the movies was no longer a selling point because there were so many of them."

 

You can read the entire article on The Guardian's website: Cheap shots: Microbudget film-makers


The Direct-to-Fan Movement

The internet has opened up a lot of opportunities for bands. It's provided them with a channel to sell their music. It's given them an inexpensive platform to promote all their wares. It's even given them direct access to their fans. For those who don't remember a time before going online, it used to be a rare thing for bands and their management to so easily access their fans. Now it's not only easy, it's proving to be one of the most effective promotional strategies used today.


When the Pixies, the reunited stars of 1980s alt-rock, decided recently to play a special show in Los Angeles, they wanted to make sure their biggest local followers were invited first. So last Thursday morning, the band sent e-mail messages to 8,031 fans with Southern California ZIP codes, announcing the show and alerting them that "tickets are on sale RIGHT NOW." All 1,200 tickets for the show, at the Music Box on Nov. 19, were sold in about an hour, said Richard Jones, the band's manager.


You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Online Tools Help Bands Do Business


-Richard

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


You may also be interested in...

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - October 7, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - September 30, 2011

1,779 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, filmmaking, filmmaking, indie, indie, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
0

Just Say It!

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 13, 2011

In recent posts, I've talked about dialogue and the importance of using beats, and about how many first-time authors struggle with the tendency to tell their readers instead of showing them. This issue pops up a lot in dialogue, where we often see sentences like the following:


  • "Of course I'll go," she replied.
  • "But that's against the law," he argued.
  • "I need a raise," she demanded.
  • "It's time to go," he insisted.
  • "How about we go for a hike?" I suggested.


Writing like this can be extremely irritating if it happens too much. To make your dialogue clear and clean, just use "said" or nothing at all. The reader doesn't need to be told that John is replying, answering, countering, demanding, insisting, or suggesting. All the reader needs to know is what John SAID. The language and beats you use around it are enough.


Look at the difference in quality between these two sentences:


A) "I think I'm in love with you," he declared nervously.


B) He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and went for it. "I think I'm in love with you," he said.


And these two:


A) "That's not even true," she responded sarcastically.


B) "That's not even true," she said, rolling her eyes.


Or these two:


A) "You really must try my pie," she insisted.


B) She held a fork full of pie up to my face and refused to move until I took a bite. "You really must try it," she said.


"Said" (or "say" if you write in the present tense) will disappear for the readers and allow them to become immersed in the story. Immersion, not irritation. Now that's what you want!


-Maria

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

You may also be interested in...


Look Who's Talking

Turn the Beat Around

2,784 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, characters, characters, characters, characters, characters, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialog, dialog, dialog, dialog, dialog
0

Paralysis by analysis is the biggest stumbling block for most writers, especially in the early days of a book project. Writing long-form works like novels can be both intimidating and frustrating at times. There are so many moving parts to build and maintain that it can turn the process of writing a book into something that causes pain, and that should never be the case.

 

The solution for getting past the overwhelming task of writing a novel is to break the undertaking down into small, manageable segments called chunks. The concept of The Chunking Method is not new. I have touched on it before in these blogs, but it's worth diving into a little deeper.

 

Chunking has been commonly applied to memorization techniques. In order to memorize a phone number the first time, you usually automatically break the number into separate chunks in order to commit it to memory. You may not even realize you're doing it. For our purposes, we're taking the same concept of breaking a long-form object down into smaller, easily handled sections. In essence, we're giving the task of writing a kind of kinetic rhythm that can remove any self-doubt you may have about your ability to complete a novel. It can become as natural to you as memorizing a phone number.

 

As author Iain Broome puts it:

 

The key is not to worry about your big climax. Instead, split your project into chunks and eat them up, gradually, one by one as you go. Set smaller, shorter, easier to envision goals and meet them on a regular basis. Do the stuff you can do.

 

Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at the process of chunking as it applies to writing. It can be used at every phase of the novel's development: characterization, plotting, editing, etc. If you've been stuck on a project, chunking just might be your solution to completing that novel.

 

-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Rewrites: Make the Hardest Changes First

The Great American Novel

3,580 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, novel, novel, novel, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing
0

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

 

Does Great Science Require Great Science Fiction? - Big Think

 

Is the world of science fiction a jumping-off point for scientific advancements? Do the guys in lab coats need laptop jockeys to know what to do next?

 

Writers: How to Open With a Bang! - The Book Designer

 

Are you blowing your readers' minds with your opening? Or are you easing them into your story?

 

Film

 

Why Produce First Indie Movie Yourself - Consolidated Films

 

Who's more passionate about your film project than you? Making yourself the producer may be the best way to get it made.

 

10 Things You NEED To Know About Your Characters -The Athletic Nerd

 

Ten questions to ask yourself about your characters. How well do you know them?

 

Music

 

Facebook Marketing for Musicians - Musician Coaching

 

Social media expert Amy Porterfield gives her best advice on how musicians can build their brands on Facebook.

 

Bands and Musicians! Here's A Great Google+ Music Marketing Circle For You - Musicgoat.com

 

A Google+ circle of active music marketing gurus.

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - October 4, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - September 27, 2011 Edition

2,042 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, marketing, marketing, indie, indie, sci-fi, sci-fi, writers, writers, writing, writing, opening, opening, characters, characters, facebook, facebook, producers, producers, science_fiction, science_fiction, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
1

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a self-published author that lamented the difficulty of marketing a book. I replied that I too found marketing difficult. My solution was to just concentrate on author branding. I'll explain what I meant by that in a moment, but first I want to tell you what happened the next day. I saw a comment on one of my blog posts from an author who wanted to know how someone is supposed to market a book with very little time and money. My solution again is to concentrate on author branding. Between the email and the comment, I realized it might be time to do some in-depth posts on author branding.

 

We've discussed branding plenty of times before on this blog, but perhaps we didn't go deep enough. Starting from the basics, a brand, as defined by the American Marketing Association is:

 

...a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas; often, it refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both directly relating to its use, and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary." (Added definition) "A brand often includes an explicit logo, fonts, color schemes, symbols, sound which may be developed to represent implicit values, ideas, and even personality."

 

In our world - the world of the author - the last item attributed to the definition of a brand is the seminal piece of our branding efforts. Personality is king in the realm of author branding. When I told the self-published author I had switched my focus from the sometimes daunting task of marketing to the much more defined task of branding, what I meant was that I was concentrating my efforts on showcasing my personality. Why? Because marketing without brand recognition is like putting the cart before the horse in my opinion. Why would a consumer buy from an unknown brand? In addition to brand focus being strategically practical, it is also financially practical. I can brand at a relatively low cost. A computer and high-speed internet connection is all I really need to start building my author brand.

 

So for our purposes, let us define the author brand as a public representation of an author's personality that is easily showcased using inexpensive and cost-effective means.

 

Next week, we will dissect a few examples of some author brands and look for common, repeatable methods of branding.

 

-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Branding vs. Marketing for Authors

Evaluating Your Author Brand

9,210 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, promotion, promotion, promotion, brand, brand, brand, branding, branding, branding, author_brand, author_brand, author_brand
0

In 1999, the Washington Post held a contest asking readers to send in the worst analogies they had ever written. The results were prolific, and there were so many good/bad ones that the newspaper ended up adding several extra entries to their list of the top 25. Some of the more memorable lines included:


  • He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
  • The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  • He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.


And one of my favorites:


  • The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.


Analogies can be difficult to write, especially when you're trying to come up with something deep and meaningful and the only phrases that come to mind are clichéd and overused, such as "like a fish out of water" or "as dumb as a box of rocks." When you run into one of these instances while writing, it can often create a roadblock in your writing process. As you ponder over the best way to phrase how beautiful a character's eyes look in the sunlight or how impossible a task might be for our hero, you lose your train of thought and the creative process comes to an ugly and unceremonious halt.


Sometimes the best thing to do when you run into a writing road block is to act like it's not even there; kind of like how the Duke brothers ignored "road closed" signs at least once an episode. Just plow through it and deal with it later. If you feel that the right words just aren't coming to you, that the right comparisons aren't springing up like grass on a hot summer day, then just let it go. You can come back to it later, and the right words will often strike you at the oddest time. In fact, that was one of the best pieces of advice I ever received in writing classes: always, always, carry a working pen and paper with you. You never know when inspiration will strike.


Writing a good analogy is like...


Flexing your creative comparison muscles is a great way to get in the writing mood. Or it could drive you nuts. Either way, it makes you think outside of the box and helps to strengthen your analogy prowess. Try writing an analogy for one or two of the following examples:


  • The way a body of water looks at dawn
  • How a full bookcase looks and/or sounds when it tips over
  • The first time you tried your favorite dessert
  • How a child cries
  • How a jogger runs down the street
  • How a politician speaks
  • The sound an old door makes as it opens
  • Walking down a path covered in autumn leaves
  • The storm outside when you're home alone


-Kristin

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/KristinHeadshot_final.jpg

Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.


You may also be interested in...

WordPlay: Anachronisms in Writing

WordPlay: Welcome, Writers!

2,245 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, writers, writers, writing, writing, craft, craft, wordplay, wordplay
0

Science Looks for Evidence of Shelley's Waking Dream

Writers find inspiration in virtually every nook and cranny of life. Wherever our minds go, so does our habit of observation and power of embellishment. Rarely does the source of a writer's inspiration reach mythical status like Mary Shelley's claim that her idea for Frankenstein came from a waking dream. The idea sounded so convenient and otherworldly that many doubted it was true. In her dream-like state, she claimed to vividly recall a "bright and shining moon." Professor Donald Olsen, an astronomer, decided to use his skills to determine if even that part of her story was true.


"Some scholars are very skeptical, they even call her a liar," Olson said. "But we see no reason, either in the science or in the primary sources, to doubt Mary Shelley's account...We verified when the moon would have shone on her window, which is when she first came up with the idea for the story we know as Frankenstein...we determined that a bright, gibbous moon would have cleared the hillside to shine right into Shelley's bedroom window just before 2 a.m. on June 16...This indicates her famous "waking dream" that gave birth to Frankenstein's famous monster occurred between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on June 16," he said.


You can read the entire article on Yahoo.com: Scientist: Sky confirms "shining moon" behind Frankenstein


Montana is a State and a Movie Studio

What do you do with a film that features the beauty and history of Montana? Well, if you are a resident of Montana, you get behind the film anyway you can. The good folks of the Big Sky country have kicked in everything from money, to labor, to acting, to virtually everything needed by the filmmakers of Winter in the Blood, an independent film based on the James Welch novel of the same name. It's a unique financing model that only occurs with small movies that are passion projects more than anything else.


Brimming with so much vibrant Montana history and connections that the good wishes of the entire state have lined up behind it, "Winter" is the quintessential little film that has used what one crew member called "smoke and mirrors and miracles" to get made. A genuine passion project for everyone it's touched (including Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who made his plane available to fly in potential financiers and visited the set over the Labor Day weekend), the film got on its feet against considerable odds.


You can read the entire article on The Los Angeles Times' website: On the Set: It's taken a state to make 'Winter in the Blood'


Can a Car Company Drive the Indie Music Scene?

The car company Scion has incorporated a unique marketing strategy that steers them away from celebrity endorsements and Madison Avenue advertising campaigns. Scion decided that they will get more bang for the buck by sponsoring indie bands in what some might call fringe genres. The philosophy is to catch the wave before it crests and build a loyal following by being there from the beginning.


Over the years, Scion has paid for dozens of indie bands to make recordings and videos, and it has put on hundreds of small events like the Roxy show, which the company said cost about $10,000. In its search for ever more marginal forms of music, it supports heavy metal and garage-rock bands, as well as obscure dance subgenres like dubstep and moombahton (a style loosely related to reggaetón). The idea, according to Jeri Yoshizu, Scion's manager of sales promotions and the architect of its cultural strategy, is to build good will through many small actions rather than a few large ones.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Backing Indie Bands to Sell Cars

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - September 30, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - September 23, 2011

1,025 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, indie, indie, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
0

A few posts back, I talked about using dialogue to bring characters to life. Today, I'd like to discuss the importance of using beats. A "beat" is a description of the physical action a character makes while speaking, and good beats can bring your characters to life and make your dialogue pop right off the page. Beats can also help you show your readers instead of telling them. (Misuse of show, not tell is a common mistake many first-time authors make. Remember that readers don't like to be told what to think!)


Here are three examples of the power of a good beat. Which of the following sentences make you feel more connected to what is happening?


EXAMPLE #1:


A) "I told you, I'm not going!" John shouted, furious.

B) John slammed his fist on the table, his nostrils flaring. "I told you, I'm not going!"


John is clearly angry. But in example A, we know this because we are told so. In example B, we know this because we are shown it.


EXAMPLE #2:


A) "You're really not going?" Karen said, incredulous.

B) Karen's jaw dropped. "You're really not going?"


We know Karen is incredulous, but why do we know this? Do you see the difference between A and B? In A, we're told what to think, and in B, we're left to decide on our own what to think.


EXAMPLE #3:


A) "No, because I can't be with you after what you did," John said with disdain.

B) John slowly nodded his head, still glaring at her. "No, because I can't be with you after what you did."


Which of these do you think better shows the reader what's happening?


Well-placed beats make your writing richer, fuller, and better. And good writing, like good teaching, engages your readers and lets them draw their own conclusions.


-Maria


https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

You may also be interested in...


Look Who's Talking

Reexamining Dialogue Attribution

2,747 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, action, action, writers, writers, writing, writing, beats, beats, craft, craft, dialogue, dialogue
2

What is the Great American Novel? And, more importantly, should a writer in this country set out to write the next one? The first question is relatively easy to answer. The Great American Novel is a well-written book that encapsulates the culture and spirit of any given time in America. The writer who writes such a novel will, no doubt, find immortality.


Most writers have a competitive spirit. However, they aren't necessarily in competition with other writers - they're usually in competition with themselves. They have a burning desire to top themselves. Very few writers start writing a book with the dream of making it as good as the last one they wrote. Instead, each book has to be better than last. And that's all well and good?healthy, even.


However, I don't believe writers should be in competition with history. That is to say, a writer is likely to fail if they set out to write the Great American Novel. The writing becomes an external endeavor at that point, meaning the writer who sets out to write the Great American Novel is setting out to please and astonish the reader when he or she should be serving the story. A writer's first priority should always be to satisfy that fictional internal world he or she is creating. 


If you want to write the Great American Novel, your best strategy is to not try to write the Great American Novel. Write your story. Infuse the plot and characters with your perspective. Pull back the curtains and write honestly. This article in The Daily Beast by Malcolm Jones illustrates what happens to writers who try to write the Great American Novel: Is the Great American Novel Destroying Novelists?


I'd love to hear which book you consider to be the Great American Novel. For me, it's No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. Share your opinions in the comments section!


-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


You may also be interested in...


Does Screenplay Structure Work for Novels?

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 5: Read What You've Written, List the Pros and Cons, Confer with Your Reader

2,980 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, novel, novel, novel, novel, novel, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, craft, craft, craft, craft, craft
0

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


7 Ways to Perfect Your Writing "Tone" - Writer's Digest


Does your book have the right attitude? The wrong tone could destroy an otherwise great story.


Grammar PSA: Stop Abusing the Word 'Literally' - GalleyCat


I literally couldn't be happier someone wrote this article. Okay, I probably could be happier, but you get the point.


Film


The Microbudget Conversation: Unpaid Crew Vs. Under-Paid Crew - Filmmaker


You'll likely never work harder than on a film shoot. So is doing it for the experience enough, or do you need some kind of compensation, however small, for your time?


Can Only Indies Make Truly Romantic Movies? -IndieWire


When you're forced to consider the audience and studio before you shoot, can you really make a romantic film that doesn't feel controlled and contrived?


Music


The Right Mindframe for Acquiring Fans - Music Think Tank


Can you keep the right marketing attitude in pursuit of that critical mass that will take your music over the top?


5 Tips for Breathing in the Vocal Booth - Judy Rodman


Proper breathing is everything when it comes to vocal control. Vocal coach Judy Rodman gives you her tips on breathing.


-Richard

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


You may also be interested in...


Tuesday's Blog Roundup - September 27, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - September 20, 2011 Edition

1,276 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, filmmaking, filmmaking, promotion, promotion, independent, independent, indie, indie, writers, writers, writing, writing, filmmakers, filmmakers, grammar, grammar
0

I'm tired. I'm busy. My head is devoid of any original thoughts. These are all excuses I've used to not write a blog post. There are days when I just don't want to blog. I know it's important to help keep my brand active and I know it helps me sell books in the long run, but sometimes it's just not in the cards for me. Try as I might, I can't bring myself to do it.


Luckily, I currently have more than 1,100 blog posts in my archives that are just ripe for reposting. That's the benefit of making a long-term commitment to blogging. I have a history that I can dig up every once in a while and reflect on those blog posts from bygone days. Is it cheating? Technically, maybe, but ultimately it allows me to keep my blog active. And besides, I like to think of it as showcasing my greatest hits.


Obviously reposting isn't something you want to overdo. If you've only been blogging a week, you may not want to take up the practice of reposting just yet. You are going to have to pay your dues in the beginning. I'd recommend giving yourself six months of solid posting before you consider trying the repost strategy. It's a good idea to always begin a repost with a short note identifying it as such and giving the original date of the post. That way, your regular visitors won't resent you for making them read something they've already committed to memory.


The bottom line here is that you shouldn't feel bad for recycling old material occasionally. You're allowed to as long as you don't abuse the reposting privilege. If you're tired, busy, or your head is empty, take a break and repost a blast from your blogging past.


-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


You may also be interested in...


Embrace the Leader Within

Blog About What You Know - Books!

2,229 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, blog, promotion, blogging, promotions, blogs, branding

Actions