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What Do You See?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 31, 2012

Writing fiction is essentially reporting on events we see in our mind's eye. In a weird, metaphysical way, we are really just writing what we see. The authenticity of our writing is only as good as the realism we dream up, even if we're dreaming up far-off fantastical worlds that couldn't possibly exist on this plane. Therefore, it's imperative that we keep our imagination in tiptop shape.


Here are three exercises I learned in various writing classes and workshops throughout my early years to keep my imagination vivid and nimble.


  1. The reimagined movie scene. Take your favorite movie scene and make it your own. The only rule here is to use the dialogue from the movie. Change everything else. You may be able to find the script somewhere online, or you can rent the movie and write down the dialogue just to make sure you get it right. Forget everything else about the scene, the setting, the costumes, and the characters themselves. It's yours to reconstruct with your imagination.
  2. Your day as told by ____. Get in the head of your favorite fictional character and let him/her/it observe a day in your life. Sit down at your computer and invoke the character's voice as you write the events of your day.
  3. The school cafeteria. For many, at least one significant memory from their childhood involves the cafeteria at their school. Build a scene around an actual school cafeteria in your past. What were the smells? What were your feelings? What were they serving? Tap into the tapestry of emotions the school cafeteria brought on, and put them into your scene.


You are the reporter of your own imagination. Try to take the time on a regular basis to exercise that imagination so you can stay on top of your game. You don't have to show these exercises to anyone - they're for you to help you hone your craft - but feel free to post them in the comments if you feel inspired!


-Richard

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


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Write It Down!

WordPlay: Line of Sight

1,180 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, writing, writing, fiction, fiction, imagination, imagination
0

I've mentioned a few times in this blog that public speaking is a great way to promote your work. Book clubs, libraries, alumni organizations, writing groups, conferences - the possibilities are numerous. However, I realize that for most people, getting up in front of an audience of any size is scary. Does the thought of public speaking make you nervous? I asked my friend Jezra Kaye, who has been helping people develop their speaking skills for nearly 20 years, for some advice for beginners. Here's what she had to say:


  1. We all worry about being judged. But remember that the audience you're speaking to wants you to succeed. They want to discover a wonderful new book or idea through your words. They're on your side.


  1. Speaking to a group is no different than speaking to one friend. As they listen to you, everyone in your audience is connecting with you as an individual, on a personal level, as if they're the only person in the room. If you speak to them the same way you would speak to one trusted and valuable friend, you'll be doing this exactly right.


  1. Good speakers make it look "natural." But the truth is, they've prepared and practiced - a lot. If you prepare your thoughts and practice out loud, this will come more and more easily every time you do it. And pretty soon, you'll be looking like a "natural" too.


There you have it, candid thoughts from an expert whose diverse client list includes CEOs, scientists, artists, authors, and entrepreneurs. If you'd like to learn more about Jezra, visit her website.


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper and It's a Waverly Life. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Want to Be a Speaker? Plan Ahead!

Small Marketing Steps: Radio

2,035 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, promoting, public_speaking
0

They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit. I know many of you are reluctant to jump into the Twitter-sphere, but this social network is a tool that can add great value to your brand. So, let's concentrate on getting in the habit of posting on Twitter once a day for 21 days. I'll even make it easy for you by giving you an idea on what to post every day. That's 21 prompts for 21 days. Feel free to use these as-is, or you can develop your own after you get those creative juices flowing and start participating in Twitter conversations.


  1. Post your favorite line from your favorite book.
  2. Link to a story about publishing.
  3. Make a quick commentary on the top news item of the day.
  4. Post a link to a cause or charity you feel strongly about.
  5. What do you love about writing?
  6. What's your number one strategy for getting over writer's block?
  7. Finish this sentence: "When I'm not writing, I'm..."
  8. Post a lyric from your favorite song.
  9. Link to a story about the craft of writing.
  10. The greatest writer of all time is...
  11. If I wasn't a writer, I'd be a...
  12. I have to write _____ words in a day to make me feel like I've accomplished something.
  13. When aliens land, I would recommend they read ____ to know what we humans are really like.
  14. When I die, I want to be remembered for...
  15. Post your favorite line from a movie.
  16. The one book I wish I had written is...
  17. I prefer (eBooks or print) because...
  18. The first book I ever read was...
  19. The most important thing for me to accomplish as a writer is...
  20. The three people, living or dead, I'd like to have dinner with are...
  21. Post a quote from your favorite author.

 

Now, I'll assume that after you post for 21 days, you will be powerless to resist the lure of tweeting. During this time, you'll probably have started following others, accumulated your own followers, and participated in discussions about your topics. You'll notice the tweet suggestions I've given you won't change the world. But they will give people a little insight into your brand, and that's all we're trying to accomplish in this habit-forming period.

 

Let us know how it goes in the comments. Happy tweeting!

 

-Richard

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


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Better Than Twitter and Facebook

5 Tips for Promoting Your Facebook Page

2,113 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writers, blogging, twitter
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.


Books/Publishing


Fridays With Agent Kristin: Episode 7 - What is A Plot Catalyst? -Pub Rants

If you know your plot catalyst, you can develop your book pitch.


Film


Lights. Camera. Invest! Putting Filmmaking in the Portfolio -The New York Times

Sometimes your typical investor makes a few investments that are more about fun than profit.


Filmmakers Plan to Eat a Shoe to Fulfill Their Dream - Daily Local News

Believe it or not, there is a tradition of eating one's shoe in the world of filmmaking.


Music


Response -Tyler Gregory

A post that demonstrates the power of music and the internet.


Better Indie than Inny - Bud Buckley

Singer/songwriter Bud Buckley describes why it's great to be an indie musician in today's world.


-Richard

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


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Weekly News Roundup - May 18, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - May 11, 2012

1,167 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, film, film, self-publishing, self-publishing, indie, indie
2

Why Print On-Demand?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 24, 2012

A lot has changed in the publishing industry. Gone are the days of sending your manuscript to dozens of publishing companies and waiting anxiously for a reply. No longer must you give up the rights to your work in order to reach readers. Nor do you need to print thousands of books on an offset printer and store them in your garage. As an independent author, you now have a technology ally to help bring your work to life efficiently and cost-effectively: print on-demand.

 

Print on-demand (POD) is a smart choice for bringing your book to market without lots of risk or investment. If you've published your book using CreateSpace, you're already reaping the benefits of POD. If you're an author considering the indie route or a publishing veteran looking for a POD refresher, allow me to share what I find to be POD's biggest merits. Print on-demand is:

 

  • Inventory free. Welcome to the digital era! There's no need to stack your books in your closet or spend all of your money on a storage unit. With print on-demand, your book is encrypted and stored safely in digital form on our computer servers.
  • In stock. With print on-demand, your book is always in stock. Books are printed from your digital files when a customer orders them, so even if you have a sales spike, you'll be able to keep selling without worrying about how many books are warehoused in physical inventory.
  • Cost effective. Since POD books are only produced as they're ordered, you save money by not printing and storing the thousands of books often required by offset printing. Just think of what you can do with the money you aren't using on upfront bulk print runs or storage! That leftover capital could be used to market your book.
  • Environmentally friendly. With POD, copies of your book are printed only when there is a demand for them. Therefore, thousands of copies of your book aren't printed in advance with the risk of any unsold copies being thrown away or pulped. Additionally, you have the choice to use other environmentally friendly options, like paper made from recycled materials.
  • High quality. Advances in print on-demand technology have led to high-quality books with professional covers and interiors. The average reader cannot tell the difference between a trade paperback book printed traditionally and one printed on-demand.
  • Low risk. With no setup fees, and no physical inventory, you can test the market without worrying about inventory. There is little risk in making your title available on-demand.

 

Those are some of the primary benefits of this game-changing print technology. Bottom line: modern print on-demand ensures you aren't literally selling yourself short by running out of inventory or risking large investments in physical inventory. It's a good time to be an indie author!

 

-Kelly

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Kelly is a member of the CreateSpace Technical Services team. She is passionate about ISBNs, margins, and all the artistic endeavors of the writers who cross her desk.

 

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London Book Fair Sessions: Food for Thought

Indie Freedom

4,447 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, author, author, sales, sales, publishing, publishing, writing, writing, pod, pod
0

Have you ever had an idea for a story that you were sure was original? Did you envision twists and turns that were so mind-blowing that you nearly danced for joy when you thought of them? You may have even jotted down a few notes and told yourself, "I can't wait to write this story. As soon as I get back from vacation, finish that project at work, plant a garden, etc., I'll get right to it." The problem is once you finally get to it, you discover a book already exists with your plot and your twists and turns.


I don't know how the universe works or where ideas come from or any of the answers to the world's great mysteries, but I do know one thing: if I have an idea, the chances are really good that another writer will have or maybe already has had the same idea. It's a phenomenon that happens all the time. A very spiritual friend once told me that we all have access to the same ideas. An idea belongs to the person who takes action.

 

So if you have an idea for a book, take action. Own that idea. Whenever you need motivation to keep writing, remember that an idea belongs to the person who takes action, and keep going. Hang on to that idea and write like your ownership of it depends on you cranking out page after page. We all have to deal with life's interruptions and obstacles that find ways to tear us away from our stories, but don't let them be roadblocks. Deal with them, and get back to your story. If you don't, you may find that someone else has claimed your idea in the ether and finished their book before you finish yours.


-Richard

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


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Getting Unstuck

Quashing Self-Doubt

1,459 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, self-publishing, ideas, writing, story
0

Recently a man I've never met, and who hadn't read or even bought my novels, emailed me asking for (free) advice on how to promote his self-published book. Overlooking his faux pas, I told him I have several consulting options available on my website and sent him a link for his review.

 

However, I wasn't super busy that morning, so just to be nice I took a quick look at his author bio online. Unfortunately, it was filled with typos and basic grammatical errors. This of course made me wonder what his book must be like, and it certainly didn't make me want to read it.

 

I decided to help him out. I copied the bio into a Word document, then pointed out the errors in tracked changes. I emailed it back to him with a nice note explaining that if potential readers can't get past his bio, they are probably not going to purchase his book. The email was professional, respectful, sincere, and free.

 

I normally charge a fair amount for this type of work, so I would have thought he would appreciate the gesture. However, he wrote back that he didn't think "a couple typos" are important and that no one reads author bios anyway.

 

He clearly missed the point, which was that I was a potential reader, and that I had read his bio first thing. It made a negative first impression. But he was completely closed to hearing any constructive criticism, and as a result I would be willing to bet he hasn't sold very many books. I know I didn't buy one.

 

Just remember, all feedback, positive or negative, is helpful!

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper and It's a Waverly Life. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Give and Take

How Not to Pitch Your Book

1,864 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, marketing, author, writers, typos, criticism
2

In today's marketing environment, the key to building an author brand is giving readers access to...well, you, the brand. Authors today rely heavily on social media to build their fan bases. That means in addition to promoting your books, you are now in the business of promoting your social media presence.


To keep it simple, I'll focus on promoting the Facebook page dedicated to your author brand. However, you'll find most of these strategies can be applied to promote your presence on other social networks as well. Here are five quick tips for promoting your Facebook page:


  1. Link your Facebook page's URL in your email signature. Email is arguably not as popular for marketing as it used to be, but you can still take advantage of its promotional possibilities. The email signature is the perfect place to link to your Facebook page because it gives people a chance to connect with you outside of the inbox.
  2. Link to your Facebook page on your blog. A separate page on my blog lists all the different ways people can contact me. I've received a number of Facebook friend requests and fans by making this information accessible on my blog. If people are already hanging around your website, chances are they're interested in seeing you on social networks as well.
  3. Include link information in your YouTube videos. You're doing videos, right? Of course you are, because we've talked a lot about how it can build your author brand! Your videos present golden opportunities to promote your Facebook page. Just include a graphic at the end of each video telling viewers where to go.
  4. Personalize your Facebook page's URL. Facebook gives you the option of creating a customized URL that can tout your brand and make it more attractive to search engines. The customized web address will look something like this: http://www.facebook.com/yourauthorname. A personalized URL is easier for fans to remember and pass along to their friends.
  5. Include your Facebook page URL in your author bio. If someone is interested enough to read your bio, you want to give them a place where they can learn more. What better place than a Facebook page to give readers direct, personal access to their new favorite author?


Building a brand sometimes feels like an around-the-clock task, but in this case, the hard part is putting the pieces in place. For instance, once you've included your Facebook page URL on your email, bio, and blog, you won't have to do it again. If you want your brand to grow, give your readers the access they expect from authors today and invite them to join your conversations in social channels. Just remember, when fans contact you, engage with them. The more you engage, the more they'll spread the word about your work.


-Richard

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


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Reverse Journaling for Your Brand

Setting Goals for Your Brand

7,760 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, self-publishing, self-publishing, self-publishing, self-publishing, facebook, facebook, facebook, facebook, brand, brand, brand, brand, social_media, social_media, social_media, social_media
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Author Blogging 101: Finding Time for Blogging -The Book Designer

Make the time for blogging without losing your mind.

 

50 Most Inspiring Quotes about Books and Reading -Ebook Friendly

Looking for a little inspiration? Your search is over.

 

Film

 

Once More for Safety: Why You Should Always Do Two Takes -Making the Movie

Unless you want to be the next Ed Wood, one take is never enough.

 

The Shaky Cam Trend - Filmmaking.net

Is shaky camera work an admirable artistic choice or a fad that needs to go away?

 

Music

 

Fan Funding, DIY Artists and Classical Music News -MusicianCoaching.com

A potpourri of music news with an interesting take on fan funding and the decline of the music executive.

 

How to Hack Years Off the Music Marketing Hustle - Promote Your Music

A handy little tutorial on how to give cool stuff away to attract free publicity.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - May 11, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - May 4, 2012

1,253 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, books, books, authors, authors, music, music, movies, movies, writers, writers, promotions, promotions, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
0

Like everything else in the book market, winning a book award can be competitive. In some awards competitions, your book can be up against hundreds or even thousands of other titles, so it's important that it stands out from the crowd. While certain aspects of the contest - like the books you're competing against - are out of your control, you can focus on entering your best possible work. Here are five quick tips to boost your chance of becoming a winner.

 

1. Appearance

Yes, books ARE judged by their covers! Just like a book lover shopping at a bookstore, many book awards judges pick up a book and rate all of its aspects, inside and out. They look at the whole product, judging both the appearance of the book and the quality of the writing. Your book should have an eye-catching cover, a well-structured interior design, and above all it should look professional. This goes for print and eBooks, so be sure to put the time and effort into creating a nice-looking product.

 

2. Quality of Writing

First, an award-winning book must present a well-crafted plot, message, or source of information. Your book must be relevant to others and provide a unique viewpoint and/or voice. You'll have a greater chance of awards success if your book is something the judges haven't seen millions of times before.

 

Then, and perhaps most importantly, your book must be properly edited. Errors distract judges and readers alike and are the sign of an amateur book.

 

Remember that the first page is vital; start with a sentence that intrigues the reader and promises a worthwhile read. Also, make sure there are no mistakes or awkward sentences on the first page, or judges will be unlikely to continue reading.

 

3. Choose the Right Category

Most book awards have categories for entry, usually based on genre. If your book doesn't seem custom-made for a particular category, do some research. Look at past winners in multiple categories to see if your book shares similarities, and pick up to three potential categories that suit your book. If you just can't decide, call or email the awards director. Many awards directors and judges are able to offer advice and will help you choose the category (or categories!) that work best for you.

 

4. Scout the Competition

You may not know who is entering the competition this year, but you can look at past winners to ensure your book is the same caliber of (or better than!) former competitors. Check out winners' design, topics, and even the authors' careers to see how you and your book will measure up. If you have time before the entry deadline, you can even make some tweaks to your book to help it stand out in the crowd.


5. Be Prepared

Before you send in your submission, be well aware of the rules of the award, which you can usually find on the award website. Look into entry deadlines, publication requirements, the details of the judging process, and so forth. The better you understand the award and its workings, the better chance you have of being selected a winner. Make sure your book, entry information, and participation is up to par and you'll be miles ahead of the less familiar entrants and those who don't follow all of the instructions.

 

Mastering these five areas before submitting your book can give you an advantage over the competition and get you one step closer to a winning entry. Remember, even if you don't win an award it doesn't mean you have a bad book. Look to the winners to see how you might be able to improve your book for next time.

 

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  Jillian Bergsma, for Independent Publisher

 

This post was written for CreateSpace by Independent Publisher. Visit www.IndependentPublisher.com for more information and articles about book awards and the independent publishing movement. IndependentPublisher.com is owned and operated by Jenkins Group Inc. of Traverse City, Michigan, a publishing and marketing services firm founded in 1988.

 

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Why Enter Book Awards?

Everyone Needs an Editor!

2,070 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, self-publishing, self-publishing, writing, writing, awards, awards
1

Writing is not a "one size fits all" kind of occupation. A writing process that helps one author thrive and be incredibly productive can cause another author to struggle and fail miserably. That's why I'm not a big fan of the hard-and-fast rules some writers have put out lately. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of rules. I just think it's more conducive for writers to set and follow the rules that work for them.


That being said, here are my rules. Feel free to ignore them if they don't work for your individual style. If you find one or two that matches your style, you are more than welcome to adopt and adapt them as you see fit.


  1. Forget the moral of the story. I have tried to write stories before that conveyed a deep, underlying message. I failed miserably. Why? Because I tried to shoehorn my message into every nook and cranny of the story. It just came off as artificial, and it made writing feel like a chore. The day I decided to set that strategy aside and just tell a story was the most liberating day of my writing life. My goal from the beginning of the story to the end was to just describe how the characters got from point A to point B. That was it. I just let my characters be themselves and left myself out of the story. The odd thing is that I discovered that a moral of the story magically appeared. It was there without me even trying. And what's more, there are multiple themes that readers have discovered independent of me.
  2. Word count doesn't matter. I used to tell myself that I had to write 1,000 words a day. It was a well-meaning goal I set that turned into an obstacle to writing. I had to force myself to write, and it became something I dreaded as much as doing the dishes or mowing the lawn. The day I told myself, "Just write one word," was the day I fell in love with writing again. There was no stress, no expectations, and no risk of failure. Now I always sit down with the goal to write one word. I have far exceeded that goal every time, and I've completed five books using that strategy.
  3. Write in intervals. An extension of the "one word" goal is my interval writing strategy. After I write my one word, I inevitably get into a flow. I check the word count as I write at that point and, depending on how I feel that day, I force myself to stop at a certain count. Sometimes it's 250 words, sometimes 500, sometimes 2,000. It really is a spontaneous choice, but once I make the commitment to stop, I make a hard stop within five or ten words on either side of my maximum. I then get up and do something to distract myself from the story for 30 to 45 minutes. After that time, I return to the computer and continue to write, again setting a stopping point. I've done this four to five times in a day, and those have been some of my most productive days. I've hit in excess of 6,000 words in a single day using this strategy.


These are three of my rules that help me be a better writer. I'd love to learn more about your process. What are your rules for writing? Whether it's a rule about productivity or style, others may benefit from your knowledge if you share it below in the comments.


-Richard

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


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3 Rules for Writing a Scene

Is There Value in Formulaic Writing?

3,705 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, author, author, writers, writers, writing, writing
0

Several posts back, I discussed how first-time novelists tend to create characters who sound the same, which can make it hard for the reader to know who's talking. Today, I want to address a few other dialogue mistakes:

 

  • Having more than one character speak in a single paragraph
  • Putting a beat in from someone who isn't speaking in that paragraph
  • Putting in a beat at the end of one paragraph and starting the next paragraph with the related dialogue

 

I just finished two books, one self-published and one published traditionally. Both authors committed the above offenses so often that I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who was saying what. It was incredibly annoying, and it often kept me from focusing on the story. Here's an example from each, with a few words changed to protect the guilty:

 

From the self-published book:

 

"Karen, I've been waiting up for you all night. Where were you?" Brian asked. Karen looked at him.

 

"Do you know how old I am?" To Brian, it was a strange question.

 

"Old enough to know it's not your place to ask." Brian put his hands by his side. "What do you have to say to that?"


"Nothing," he mumbled.


What? I still am not sure who is saying what here.


From the traditionally published book:


"To be honest, things have been pretty good with him," I said. "Except when he acted like a jerk at that wedding we went to last weekend. And I feel all guilty for that, like it was my fault."


"It wasn't your fault," Becky said. "And he shouldn't make you feel that way." I shot a look at her. She held up her hands in surrender. "Okay, I admit it, I'm impressed. He's been spending every weekend with you. Even I wouldn't do that." I made a face at her.


"I know, he's been great."


Again, what? Who exactly is talking here?

 

If you want to keep your dialogue clear, make it obvious who is speaking. A good professional editor should be able to catch these sorts of things to make your book more readable.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper and It's a Waverly Life. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Look Who's Talking

WordPlay: A Casual Conversation

2,714 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, editing, writing, dialogue
0

This post is for the friends and family of authors everywhere. If you're an author reading this, share the link to this post with them. I have something they need to hear. Trust me, you'll thank me later.


Dear friends and family of an author,


You may be asking yourself what you can do to help the scribe in your life achieve his or her dream of publishing stardom, or even just help them receive a modest, steady income from writing. The answer is simple. It doesn't take money. It doesn't even take a lot of time. It takes one, teeny, tiny, easy little thing from you.


All the author in your life needs is for you to spread the word about his or her book.


That's it. Tell your coworkers. Tell the members of your softball team. Make an announcement at your next book club, PTA meeting, or alumni gathering. Tell everyone you know about the author in your life and the book he or she has written.


Chances are you're connected to dozens or hundreds or even thousands of people on Twitter and/or Facebook. Do they know about the author in your life? Have you posted a link to the author's website, blog, or book's detail page? It's so easy, yet so huge. You may very well be sharing a link with that one person who will be the tipping point for the author in your life, that individual who spurs the word-of-mouth marketing cycle that launches the book into the stratosphere and leads to publishing success.


So please, spread the word. It's such an easy thing to do, but it is the most important thing you can do for the author in your life.


Sincerely,

Richard


-Richard

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


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It's Never Too Early to Get a Little Help from Your Friends

How to Manage Your Volunteer Sales Force

2,884 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, author, writers, writing, promotions
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Voice Makes It Interesting -Editors Only

The language you choose says a lot about the voice of your characters.

 

Ads to Appear on Book Covers -China Daily

Ads are popping up on Chinese book covers. Good idea or bad idea? Trend or fad? Could this catch on in the Western world?

 

Film

 

Adventures in DSLR Filmmaking: Using 4 Different Cameras to Shoot 'Off Label' -Indiewire

The DSLR filmmaking revolution is officially in full swing.

 

Is Crossmedia Film's Next Wave? - Movie City News

If you're not thinking multi-platform as a filmmaker, you may be leaving some potential income on the table.

 

Music

 

Your Facebook Page is Not a Website -hostbaby

Chris Bolton explains why you are selling yourself short if you don't have a dedicated website for your music.

 

Crowd Funding of Music Projects - Traexs.com

Looking for funding for your next recording session or music festival? Here's a handy list of crowdsourcing sites for musicians.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - May 4, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - April 27, 2012

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A writing partner - or coauthor, collaborator, etc. - is someone with whom you're working on a single writing project. I have two examples of working with a writing partner in my life. The first, while not contentious or unpleasant in any way, was unsuccessful. The second was both successful and personally rewarding, even though there were times when we didn't see eye-to-eye. So, why did one work and the other didn't? The problem was me.


In my first attempt, I suppressed my writing instincts in favor of maintaining a harmonious relationship with my writing partner. While he has never stated as much, looking back, I sense that he did the same thing. Both of us waited for the other to take the lead. We talked for hours about structure and ideas, but we never really got past writing a handful of pages. We were stalled virtually from the beginning.

 

The second attempt started through a casual conversation with a friend. There was no stated purpose of writing something together. I wrote some pages based on that conversation and gave them to my friend. My friend then gave some suggestions on the pages, and I took notes. I wrote more pages, and received more suggestions. I wrote more pages, and my friend added more ideas to the manuscript. We didn't always agree, but we talked through the disagreements and moved forward.

 

What was the difference? I took the lead the second time around, and I accepted that it was a collaborative effort. This wasn't my story. This was our story. If you're working with a partner, my suggestion is that one of you do the bulk of the first draft writing. The other team member's job is to basically add his or her voice to the draft either as it's being written or when it's completed. The important thing is to get your idea on paper in story form. The person doing the writing has to accept that this isn't just his or her project alone. It is a team effort. Don't be afraid to disagree, but don't let the disagreements kill the story. If you talk it out, you can get past any bump in the writing road.

 

Writing with a partner can be awkward and unnatural in the beginning, but don't let that stop you from attempting it at some point in your writing career. Once you get past the "getting to know each other" stage, it can be rewarding and fun, and you can learn a lot about yourself as a writer in the process.

 

Have you ever worked with a writing partner or collaborator? What are your tips for making it a successful relationship?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Why Did You Write Your Story?

How to be a Confident Writer

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Do you use an outline when you write? That's by far one of the most common questions I get asked from indie authors. It's a great question, but a hard one to answer. Why? Because the best reply I can give is...sort of.

 

Every author is different, but here's what I've found works for me: before I begin a novel (I'm currently working on my fourth), I jot down bullet points of the basic situation/premise and some interesting things that could happen along the way. The bullet points aren't detailed, but they give me an idea of how the story begins and where it may go. Once I feel comfortable with that, I start writing.

 

And you know what I've found? Once I start writing, I don't look at the bullet points at all. I mean AT ALL. The story tends to take on a life of its own, and when that happens I know it's good, so I don't want to mess with it by looking back at my notes and trying to force something I thought should happen.

 

This approach is reflected in my personal life. For example, my friend Rosie is going to Peru in a few months, and the other day we were talking about how she already has the trip planned. I don't just mean the cities she's going to visit; I mean she has every day of the trip planned. That's just how her mind works. When I travel, I usually wake up in the morning, pull out my guide book, and over breakfast decide what I'm going to do that day. I may have a general idea of what I'd like to see while I'm in town, but I don't like to be too restricted in the details. (Rosie and I would probably not travel well together!)

 

The lesson here is that writing a novel is an art, not a science, so there's really no right or wrong answer. Do what works for YOU, and it will all work out in the end.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper and It's a Waverly Life. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Chunking Method Part 5: Outline

Is There Value in Formulaic Writing?

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The concept of brand oversaturation sounds vaguely implausible for many of us in the process of building our brands, but if we are pursuing brand nirvana, we benefit from examining what happens when a brand is overexposed. In other words, let's learn how to avoid the problem instead of overcoming it.

 

We are indie authors. Part of our charm, if you will, is that we exist outside of the traditional establishment. Readers feel a certain level of pride when they discover us because by doing so they've demonstrated their own independence, and perhaps they're even among the first to discover a great new talent. The more popular we become, the greater the chance we will lose the luster that comes with the spirit of independence. What is a poor indie author to do?

 

Believe it or not, overexposure isn't a brand-killer in and of itself. Overexposure hurts flimsy, inauthentic brands built on shtick or trends of the moment. That's because more exposure comes with more scrutiny. The more people who take a look under the hood, the greater the chance flimsy brands will ultimately fail.

 

To avoid damage from oversaturating your brand, try not to hook your brand to a trend, especially one you don't necessarily believe in. Authentic, multi-dimensional brands can withstand the intensity that comes with being under the spotlight. If your brand is build on authenticity, the indie fans who discovered you will remain your fans no matter how popular you get. Brand authenticity is why The Grateful Dead became iconic without losing their indie following.

 

One last word on avoiding brand oversaturation: I believe if you commit yourself to learning your craft, you will elude the sting of overexposure. No one ever tires of high-quality writing!

 

-Richard

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

 

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Branding 101: Brand Sabotage

Reverse Journaling for Your Brand

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Weekly News Roundup - May 4, 2012


Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.


Books/Publishing


Henry David Thoreau Video Game Gets $40,000 NEA Grant -GalleyCat

Turns out the video game world is pretty versatile as far as source material goes.


Make Your Mark at a Book Industry Trade Show By Steve Piacente -Marketing Tips

Self-published author Steve Piacente gives his secrets to having a successful trade show experience.


Film


Professional Film Actor - Importance of Understanding Filmmaking -Yahoo! Voices

If your desire is to be in front of the camera, it may help your career to you know the responsibilities of everyone on a set.


6 Filmmaking Tips from David Fincher - Film School Rejects

You may want to bone up on your ballet if you want to be a successful filmmaker.


Music


Bluegrass to English Translations -Bluegrass Today

Chris Jones helps newcomers to bluegrass music speak the language of his favorite genre in this fun piece.


Creative Music Marketing: Jonathan Coulton, Animal Collective, BecomingAPoet - Hypebot.com

It certainly helps when a fan creates a viral video for you.



-Richard

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


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Weekly News Roundup - April 27, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - April 20, 2012

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Let's all take a moment to reflect on why we're here. We all write for different reasons. Some of us do it because we love to write, and some of us do it because we are compelled to write. Some of us do it because we were inspired by some event in our lives, while still others write to accomplish a specific goal. There are a virtual endless number of reasons authors write. The point is we all have our reasons for writing our story or stories.

 

Those reasons can sometimes get lost in the oftentimes complicated and time-consuming efforts required of the modern author trying to find his or her place in the publishing world. We can lose sight of why we decided to write in the first place when we get focused on things like sales and reviews and publicity. When I first published, I checked for new reviews every half hour and sales numbers every hour. Invariably, I was deeply disappointed by the lack of both. I was so disappointed that it affected what I love to do: write. That ghost of doubt was always popping up in my creative process and scaring me away from new projects.

 

It wasn't until I realized that I write because I love it that I was able to vanquish those doubts and crank out another story. So, I pass along this learning to you. In the end, don't make it about sales or reviews. Make it about the writing. Embrace the origins of your desire to write and keep those as your primary focus moving forward. If you remain true to them, you will have already succeeded.

 

Tell me, why is it that you write?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Unlocking Writer's Block

How to be a Confident Writer

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If you're not sure what the passive voice is, the title of this blog post should give you an idea.


In the active voice, someone or something is doing something to someone or something.


  • I opened the door.
  • She murdered him.
  • He sang the song.


In the passive voice, something is being done to someone or something.


  • The door was opened by me.
  • He was murdered by her.
  • The song was sung by him.


Passive voice is bland, weak, and annoying. It's even more annoying when there is no attribution to the action being done. For example:


  • The body was carried upstairs.
  • The speech was viewed as a disappointment.
  • The day was remembered fondly.


Who carried the body? Who didn't like the speech? Who remembered the day? I want to know the answers to these questions! Too much passive tense means too much unaccountability, which will eventually bore your readers.


Compare the following two paragraphs. Which one do you think is stronger?


Her excitement woke her up before her alarm. She enjoyed a long, hot shower, then prepared breakfast. Over a plate of eggs and toast she read the newspaper, then headed to the closet to select the perfect interview outfit.


She was woken up by her excitement before her alarm. After a long, hot shower was enjoyed by her, breakfast was prepared. Over a plate of eggs and toast the newspaper was read, and then she headed to the closet so the perfect interview outfit could be selected.


Yikes. Which one of these women would YOU want to hire?


Whether you're writing a book, a speech, or even an email, make sure the passive tense is avoided by you. You could also just avoid the passive tense.


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper and It's a Waverly Life. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Refer vs. Recommend

Is There Value in Formulaic Writing?

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Sometimes smart authors do inexplicable things to harm their brands. A brand is so hard to build and so easy to damage. There's nothing that says you can't overcome brand setbacks, but in my mind, it's just easier to avoid those little pitfalls that can lead to big setbacks.


What are those pitfalls? A number of examples come to mind, but rather than calling out specific authors, let's look at some general behaviors that have potential to ding your author brand.


  1. Reviewing your own book. It's a practice done for various reasons that, to me, are all bad. Some authors give themselves a positive review under a different name in order to counteract negative reviews. Other authors review their own books multiple times under many different names in order to give their title greater credibility. Whatever the reason, the truth has a way of surfacing, and misleading readers by posting illegitimate reviews could do irreparable damage to your brand.
  2. Bashing a reviewer. Bad reviews happen. I've gotten them. Great authors have gotten them. Books that have changed my life have gotten them. It's an undeniable truth: not everyone is going to like the same thing. Authors shouldn't attack a reviewer for giving a bad review, no matter how cleverly worded the response or how justified he or she feels. Getting into a public tiff with a reviewer never looks good on the author, so it's best just to let it pass.\
  3. Encouraging others to do your bidding. If you acquire a fan base, don't misuse them. Believe it or not, some very successful authors have been caught encouraging their fans to publicly disparage a reviewer who gives them an unfavorable review. When word got out, the result was a dip in sales and a mountain of bad press for the author that is forever archived online.
  4. Publicly resenting another's success. Some books that have skyrocketed to the tops of bestseller lists have left me scratching my head, but it would do me no good as an author to unload my scathing opinions to my online friends and followers. In fact, it could come off as petty and risk alienating my audience. Remember the undeniable truth from above: not everyone is going to like the same thing. Also, there's room at the top for everybody, so avoid making the case for your success by criticizing someone else's.


As independent authors, we have the power to control our brands and avoid these setbacks. Over the years, I've learned that publishing success comes with patience. Avoid the temptation to take shortcuts or react to negativity. Your day will come, and your brand will be stronger for it.


-Richard

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


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Setting Goals for Your Brand

Be Authentic to Build Your Brand

2,569 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, marketing, author, author, self-publishing, self-publishing, indie, indie, promotions, promotions, branding, branding

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