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June 2012

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




The Golden Age of Self-Publishing Is Driving Title Growth -somersault

Welcome to publishing 2.0, where writers have greater opportunities, and readers have more choices.


10 New Rules of Publishing -Color Your Life Published

Perhaps the biggest change of all in recent times is that the writer has more control than ever before.




What Should Go in a Pitch Video? -Projector Films

Tim Clague shares his strategies for creating a pitch video for the crowdsourcing community.


Aspiring Screenwriter: Go Hollywood or Go Indie? - Filmmaking Stuff

Selling a script in Hollywood could mean more money, but selling a script in the independent market may bring greater satisfaction.




Just Make Great Music? - Kings of A&R

The kings examine the claim by Digital News that making great music may not be the best career path for young musicians today.


Are You Reflecting on Your Goals As an Artist? - Music Think Tank

To grow as an artist, one must reflect on where you've been and where you're headed.


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


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Weekly News Roundup - June 22, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - June 15, 2012

1,357 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, author, writers, writers, blogging, blogging, promotions, promotions, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers

Once your book is out there for the world to enjoy, some of your readers are going to express their opinions via online reviews. Their comments might be glowing, savaging, or somewhere in between. Read them if you want (I don't recommend this), but tempting as it may be, do not comment on them.


I repeat: do NOT comment on reviews. Why? Because no matter how you slice it, it doesn't make you look good.


  • Responding to a negative review looks petty. If a reader doesn't like your book, he doesn't like your book. Period. Nothing you can say is going to convince him otherwise. Nothing. If anything, discounting his opinion is only going to make him badmouth your book - and maybe even you - in the real world as well as the virtual one.


  • Thanking a reader for a positive review on another website looks amateur. It can also look like you've got way too much time on your hands. You want your fans to think you're hard at work on your next book, not sitting at home in your pajamas reading your own reviews. (Disclaimer: If someone leaves a nice comment on your personal website, I think it's fine to reply with a thank you. And if someone emails you directly, you should certainly reply. I'm talking about more public forums.)


Once you add the "author" title to your résumé, people are going to look up to you, which is great. Let them! You've accomplished something that many people dream of but few actually do. Avoid tainting that hard-earned respect by responding to reviews. Remember, you deserve it!


-Maria Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

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


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Keep Track of Your Successes

Avoiding Brand Setbacks for Authors

5,472 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, reviews, author, writers, blogging, promotions

As I have learned more about Herman Melville, I've come to believe he would have been so much happier in his later life if he had existed in the current publishing age. That is to say, I think he was tailor-made for print on-demand, eBook publishing, and social media.

Melville became an overnight success after a publisher in London published his first book, Typee, in 1846. He was considered by many critics to be a rising star in the literary world. But the more he published, the more critics became disappointed with his work. As a result, his sales numbers went on a gradual career-ending slide. By the time he published Moby Dick, he'd fallen so far out of favor that he failed to sell the initial print run of 3,000 copies of the book that is now considered an American classic. Melville turned to epic poems and continued to flounder. He eventually self-published a work titled Clarel, but he was able to sell only a handful of copies. The rest were burned when he was unable to buy them from the printer. In the eyes of most of his contemporaries, Melville died a failure in the publishing industry.

If Melville were alive today and faced with these same obstacles, I like to think he would have taken to the blogosphere, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., and fared much, much better. He would have taken control of his brand and built a following that bypassed the critics that fueled his decline. He was known for taking risks with his writings, but the publishing industry of his time did not know how to deal with the things he wanted to do. Today, that would not have been a problem, because the indie author community is built for authors who take risks and creative control. Who knows? He may have even been inspired to write more and pen another Great American Novel. It's an odd thing to say about a man who perfectly captured the whaling industry of the early 1800s, but I think Herman Melville may have been born 150 years too soon.

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

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Indie Freedom!

Avoiding Brand Setbacks for Authors

1,116 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, self-publishing, writers, branding, social_media

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




Facebook for Book Marketing: Changes Are Afoot -Marketing Tips

Marketing expert Christopher Wallace takes a look at a new advertising strategy on Facebook and how it affects authors.


Coming Clean about My Twitter Success -Live Write Thrive

Thriller writer Claude Bouchard shares how he uses Twitter to promote his brand.




Editing Tip: Clean Edits -Videomaker

Flash frames can make your production look amateurish.


3 Low-Budget Film Traps to Consider - Filmmaker IQ

The top three ways to avoid these traps is to plan, plan, plan.




The Amanda Palmer Effect: Music Fundraising Platform Success - SoSo Active

Just how did the independent singer/songwriter raise over $1 million through crowdsourcing?


The Indie Artist Launch Plan - Music Think Tank

Consultant Jamie Leger simplifies the steps needed to get your music career off the ground.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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Weekly News Roundup - June 15, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - June 8, 2012

1,226 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, author, author, blogging, blogging, promotions, promotions, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers

I don't always use outlines when I write a book, but when I do, I usually create the outline after I've written the first 40 pages or so. When I do use an outline, the writing goes so much faster. I don't get hung up on where I'm going next because I know where I'll eventually wind up. And most of the time, the outline will even tell me how I'll get there. Here's a quick description of how I outline and make it work for me, which you might want to try out on your next book.

  1. I take 20 3x5 cards and write down chapter titles on each card. Just because I have these 20 chapters doesn't mean every chapter will make the book. It's simply an exercise to get me to think of the entire story in broad strokes.
  2. I think what I've written is in sequential order, but I'm willing to leave open the possibility I might be wrong. I spend some time arranging and rearranging the cards to get them in the most compelling order. I may even discover that a linear storyline doesn't work. I play with it and have some fun.
  3. Time to get detailed. I write short descriptions for each chapter. I'm not concerned about clean, well-written prose scribbled out on these cards. I freeform it.
  4. I rearrange the cards again. Now that I've given the chapters detail, I'm not afraid to reorder the cards. I may even find that something isn't necessary. If I do, I toss it. I may discover that what I thought was two chapters really only needs to be one, so I merge them. I have a clearer understanding of the story at this point, so this is where I nail down the final order. Keep in mind, it's only final until I decide to change it again.
  5. I put the cards where I can see them while I'm writing. I bought a corkboard and easel that sits four feet from me in my office. I often swivel around in my chair and reference the cards as I write. It has been a tremendous help.

That's my outlining process. How about you? Do you even use an outline?

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

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Outline or No Outline?

Is There Value in Formulaic Writing?

1,371 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, book, author, self-publishing, writing, outline

When you first begin a novel, it's fairly easy to remember what you've written so far. However, the deeper you get into that word count, the harder it is to keep track of everything, and you could easily find yourself amidst a jumble of confusion regarding various characters and storylines. When did she last speak to that guy? How did those two characters leave their last meeting? What month did her mom come visit?


Going back and rereading specific sections will of course refresh your memory, but that can be time-consuming. It can also interrupt your momentum, which is something you definitely don't want to do. Plus, once you have tens of thousands of words written, just finding the scene you want to re-read can be a pain.


I find that creating a chapter-by-chapter synopsis is a great way to address this issue. Each time I finish a chapter, I switch over to the synopsis and note the salient points and timeframe, then get right back to the novel. When I need to check dates, confirm conversations, review how the overall story is progressing, etc., I first consult the synopsis to locate the section in question. Then I go to the manuscript to read it.


Before I started using synopses for my drafts, I found myself rereading from the very beginning over and over and over. That approach leads to lots of editing, but not a lot of writing. Using a synopsis will help you complete your first draft faster. Then you can go back and make it better, which is my favorite part. It's much easier to edit than to stare at a blank page, right?


-Maria Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

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


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The Importance of Staying Organized

Rewrites: Make the Hardest Changes First

1,385 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: formatting, author, self-publishing, writers, synopsis

In my younger days, I used to cringe when I was in a marketing or sales meeting and the meeting leader used a car analogy to represent where we wanted to be as a brand. "Do we want to be the sedan of the industry or the sports car of the industry?" I thought it a bit cheesy to compare what we were trying to accomplish to the automobile industry, which we had nothing in common with.

Now that I'm older and wiser, I can admit that I was wrong to dismiss the use of cars as brand identifiers. It is actually an effective way to identify your brand. And, yes it is a bit corny, too, but that's okay. The car brand identifier model can help you build a brand with structure and strategy, which is a lot more effective than displaying inconsistent brand behavior through trial and error.

Identify your vehicular brand style by thinking about the associations people make with different types of cars. If you're a sports car brand, you might live life on the edge. Most people don't own sports cars to play it safe. They want to have a little fun, feel free, and perhaps test the limits. If you're a sedan, functionality is your primary concern. You're not boring, but you are a bit more serious and you take fewer risks than a sports car. There are trucks and automobiles built to get the most out of a gallon of gas. You get the idea; there are dozens of car types to choose from. Once you decide which type you are, you will have gone a long way in developing a consistent platform through which you'll showcase your brand.

So, what type of car are you?

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

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Develop a Brand Consciousness

Branding 101: The Keys to Successful Branding

1,853 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, self-publishing, writers, branding

In my last post, I shared themes I observed at Book Expo America (BEA), which took place June 5-7 in New York. I attended several educational sessions throughout the show, which focused on industry trends as well as expert tips on book publishing and marketing. Read on for key takeaways from each.

Session: Penned & Published - Self-Published Authors & Stories of Success

Four successful independent authors - Brittany Geragotelis, C.S. Marks, Theresa Ragan, and Darcie Chan - shared their experiences.

  • Brittany: After 10 years of rejection with traditional publishing, I had to change the way I thought about success. It takes a lot of time to market independently, but you have to do all of that with a traditional publisher anyway. I've started to look at myself as a brand rather than a single book. You want to build up a fanbase that will champion your work. Fans become ambassadors for your product if they believe in it.

  • C.S.: Know who your readers are, and go to places where they hang out. Never underestimate the power of the blogosphere when marketing your work.
  • Theresa: The best thing about being rejected for 19 years is you develop a very thick skin. If I get a bad review, I'm just happy someone read my book!
  • Darcie: The wonderful thing about today's publishing climate is that there are many different routes to a successful career. It's up to the writer which path to take. Just start with creating a book worth talking about.

The author panelists: (L-R) Brittany, C.S., Theresa, and Darcie

Session: The Who, What, Where, and When of Print and EBooks

Kelly Gallagher of R.R. Bowker presented interesting facts about book buyers and the state of the industry.

  • "Self-publishing is becoming a mainstream way of putting books out into the marketplace. We are entering the golden age of self-publishing. The market today is better and has more opportunity than ever before."

  • Baby boomers make up the largest part of book buyers today, followed by Gen Y, Gen X, Matures, and Gen Z.
  • About 61% of books bought by volume are females.
  • Book buyers are going online. The majority of book buyers are now turning to online retail first.
  • Leisure reading drives the market, and people read more for leisure as they age.
  • There has been a 263% increase in self-publishing in the past 5 years.

Session: Do This, Not That - The Social Media Roadmap for Authors

Social media expert Cindy Ratzlaff of BrandYou provided tips for indie authors using social media to market.

  • Focus social marketing on the author rather than individual books. "YOU are the brand. Everything you do is the brand extension."

  • Create something you can give away to people in exchange for their email addresses to build your mailing list. Consider an excerpt of your book, a monthly newsletter, educational materials, etc.

  • Everything you do through social media helps people find you in search engines. Create a blog, Facebook personal profile, Facebook fan page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel.

  • Blogs: Consistently posting two times per week will help you build an audience and engagement. Use images to illustrate your blog's content, and use keywords in the title and tags.

  • Twitter: Follow everyone who follows you, and create lists of key people in the industry using Twitter's list feature. Tweet, retweet, and converse to add value. Think about who your end users are and tweet at times you think they're online. You can figure this out by using your own internet habits.

  • YouTube: When titling your videos, think about the words people will use to search for it. Add keywords in both the description of the video and the keyword box. Also, keep videos short!

Session: Disruptive Publishing & Book Marketing with Social Media

Entrepreneur and author Jonathan Fields explains the business of book marketing for indie authors.

  • "It's an amazing time to be an author, because we are a part of a massive shift in the balance of power in publishing. When you start to build your own base of power as an indie author online, it doesn't mean you can't traditionally publish. It just means you get to choose."

  • If you want to succeed as a writer, you have to be your own enterprise. Be prepared to build your platform and your tribe."

  • Combining blogging, Twitter, and Facebook gives you a powerful network of individuals who will eventually buy your book. Over time, you build trust, credibility, and likeability.

  • To build a platform on Pinterest, think of who your primary audience is. Create pinboards about what they're interested in. Build a following based on the types of topics your audience cares about. After that, you can pin your book.

  • Build your online marketing platform in advance so that when your book comes out, you already have a buying audience. You should constantly test new, innovative ways to market.

  • "The single best thing you can do to market is to write a book so amazing that people can't shut up about it." The second best thing is to spend a lot of time giving. Give people something of value to take away from their relationship with you, such as a video, manifesto, etc. Ask yourself how you can provide more value that is linked to your book. This creates a bigger offer that goes beyond selling a book, which in turn creates a greater perceived value for the book.

Session: How to Create Content that Blows Minds and Attracts a Crowd

Corbett Barr knows a lot about creating successful online businesses. His tips for creating great online content might help boost your blog's audience.

  • Blogging is about creating and sharing great content, first and foremost. Social media and SEO are ineffective without it. Marketing is just a multiplier of your content. The more epic your content, the more effective your marketing will be."

  • Great content doesn't just happen to us. It takes time and dedication that lots of people aren't prepared for.

  • Cultivate your creativity. Talent is not bestowed upon us, it's earned. Most people give up because their work isn't meeting their own quality standards. You shouldn't quit, it takes a while, and that's normal. It's okay to not know it all. "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." - Sir Ken Robinson

  • Experiment like crazy. The quality of your practice matters just as much as the quantity. "Challenge yourself every single day to try new things and get better. Otherwise, there is no growth." You have to experiment wildly in order to find what works. Don't play it safe with your content (write longer/shorter posts, partner with someone new, include multimedia, etc.).

Session: What the Next Generation Thinks: New Voices in Publishing Speak Out

Students (Kristin Vorce, Lavanya Narasimhan, Maleri Sevier, and Matt Albrecht) in the NYU publishing program offered their thoughts on the book industry.

  • Kristin: "People often ask if I prefer print or eBooks, but it doesn't really matter. To me, it's all about convenience."

  • Maleri: Word-of-mouth is still the main way I get advice on what to read, but I'm also getting recommendations on social media channels now.

  • Lavanya: Authenticity is important in social media. Are you doing it just for marketing, or do you want to actually build a relationship with your followers? The extra added interaction and connection you make creates more avid fans.

That's a wrap! Thanks for reading these blog recaps and for following our live updates on Facebook and Twitter. Keep an eye out for CreateSpace at future industry events and trade shows. I look forward to sharing what I learn with you in this blog and on social media, and perhaps even meeting you in person at an event. Cheers!


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

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BEA Part of It: Book Expo America Recap

London Calling: The Book Fair Recap

1,461 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, author, author, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers

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


Two Innovations That Changed Book Publishing -Self Publishing Coach

Joel Friedlander takes a look at technological advances that changed publishing.

7 Ways to Get Super Focused When You Need It -Michael Hyatt

None of us are immune to the lure of distractions, especially those of us who identify as creative.


The Emerging Skills Needed by Film Publicists -Sheri Candler

With changing technologies and growing opportunities, filmmakers must wear many hats. Versatility is the key to success.

6 Filmmaking Tips from Wes Anderson - Film School Rejects

One of the filmmaker's tips is to put Bill Murray in your film if you want to be successful. The other five tips are a bit more practical.


Learning Vocal Style - What You Must Master - Judy Rodman

Even when you are singing, diction counts.

The Jezabels Model DIY Success -

Australian Rock band Jezabels describe how they made it in the music industry without a major label.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

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Weekly News Roundup - June 8, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - June 1, 2012

1,113 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, film, film, self-publishing, self-publishing, movies, movies

Frank Sinatra famously advised us to "start spreading the news" in his song about the Big Apple. I'm here to do just that by keying you in on happenings from last week's Book Expo America (BEA) in New York City.

BEA is North America's largest book industry event. It gathers publishing professionals, retailers, and authors from all corners of the industry in one place for three days to talk the business of books. CreateSpace has exhibited at BEA for several years running, but the 2012 show was buzzing with more excitement and change than ever.

CreateSpace managing director Libby Johnson McKee gives one of several in-booth presentations during the show.

Here are a few topics that set tongues wagging:

  1. Indie Publishing is Top of the List. Did you catch Bowker's annual report on the publishing industry? The report states print book output grew 6% last year, "driven almost exclusively by a strong self-publishing market." At the pre-BEA uPublishU indie event, Bowker's Kelly Gallagher also reported a 263% increase in self-publishing over the past 5 years and said more than 211,000 indie titles were published in 2011.
  2. Authors Succeed Independently. Authors are increasingly taking control of their publishing destinies. Theresa Ragan has sold more than 300,000 books on her own. Previously published authors are also strapping on vagabond shoes and straying from traditional routes. One such author, James Altucher, recently wrote a thought-provoking article about "choosing yourself." The authors we talked to at BEA echoed these sentiments; many were savvy entrepreneurs aware of the publishing opportunities available to them, and they came prepared with goals to build their brands.
  3. Books Are Alive and Well. According to Publishers Weekly, BEA attendance was up 5% in 2012, and experts in sessions I attended reported industry growth. People are definitely still reading! In fact, the convenience and affordability of eBooks are resulting in people reading more. Also, print media is still the go-to format to reach the largest and most diverse set of readers. In one session, young publishing professionals expressed ambivalence about the eBook vs. print book debate; they just want the ability to choose whatever format they want when they read.

So, if New York is the city that never sleeps, it makes sense that everyone - indie and traditional publishers, retailers, service providers, etc. - is working tirelessly to succeed in the industry. But who will end up king of the hill in this ever-changing landscape? My money's on the authors!

Our team at the CreateSpace & Kindle Direct Publishing booth. We love authors!

Thanks for reading! Watch for my next post with a few takeaways from the industry and educational sessions!


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


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London Calling: The Book Fair Recap

London Book Fair Sessions: Food for Thought

3,922 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, author, author, bea, bea

The First-Line Ritual

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 13, 2012

We have so much more to offer than the first lines of our books, but like it or not, a tremendous amount of importance is placed on the first line. For some readers, it is enough to convince them to buy or pass on your book. As cliché as it sounds, you get only one chance to make a good (or compelling) first impression. The first line is something to which you will want to give considerable time and attention.

In my case, the first line isn't just something that hooks the reader to continue reading; it's something that can motivate me to keep writing. At any one time, I have dozens of stories streaming through my easily distracted brain. However, they don't really find footing and take off until the first line for the story is perfectly crafted. Here's my usual process for finding the first line that will drive me to write and compel others to read:

  1. I write it in a sloppy freeform style. It's a little more streamlined than brainstorming, meaning I see what I'm writing; I just don't know how to describe it as of yet. I typically get this done in about 30 words or so. At this point, I save the document and walk away.
  2. Days later, I return to that clunky mess and tear it apart. I eliminate things that don't particularly move me. I do a total rewrite, normally cutting about 30% of the original jumble of words. I save the document as a separate file and close up shop for the day.
  3. By the next day, I'm eager to get back to it because I was able to cut so much the day before. For reasons unknown to me, when I can bring myself to happily cut something I've written, I feel like I'm progressing with the story. It's an oxymoron that truly illustrates the concept of quality over quantity. Now I'm ready to cut it even more. The challenge for me at this point is to use as few words as possible in the opening line and still have it establish tone. My ultimate goal as a writer is to be able to write an effective first line that is one word long, but I'm not nearly at that point. My shortest to date is two words. If you take all my books into account, I average about six words in my opening line.

I'm not saying that shorter is better. Long first lines can work too. Short just happens to work for me as a writer. It keeps things simple, and that's the way I like it.

What about you? What is your first line ritual?

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

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Take Action (Before Someone Else Does)

My Writing Rules, Which You are Free to Ignore

1,741 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, formatting, formatting, author, author, writing, writing

Last night I went to dinner with a friend. As we perused the menu, I noticed the following section:


french fries

sweet potato fries

vidalia onion rings

spicy broccoli rabe & parmesan

brussels sprouts with orange and sage

jalapeno cheddar grits

I pointed to the list and asked my friend, "If we ordered all of these, how much would it cost?"

He studied the options for a moment and then said, "Thirty-six dollars."

I shook my head. "Actually, it would be six dollars."

"Huh?" was his response.

I explained that without a hyphen in "six-dollar sides," the menu lists six sides that cost one dollar each. The hyphen removes the ambiguity.

"Ah," he said. "You're right. I'm just so used to seeing things like that without a hyphen that I don't even notice anymore."

His comment made me a little sad, because I knew he was speaking the truth. So many people today just don't seem to care about using hyphens properly. But they matter. In a past post, I gave an example I see every single day: the omission of a hyphen in the term "small-business owner." Without the hyphen, you are talking about an owner of businesses who happen to be a small person.

I know a hyphen is just a little line on your computer screen. But it makes a big difference, so it should matter! Especially to small-business owners who are tall. Or restaurant owners who don't want to sell six plates of food for a grand total of six dollars.

-Maria Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

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

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They Should Have Paid Attention in English Class

Misuse of "Myself"

2,712 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, writing, grammar, hyphen

A few weeks ago, I received a comment on one of my blog posts that I felt was a bit...profane. As a rule, profanity does not bother me. I've been known to engage in it from time to time, but I felt that this particular comment went too far with the "adult" language, mainly because it was used to disparage the person I had written about in my blog post.

The commenter had entered his email account when leaving the comment (an option on my blog), so I contacted him and indicated that I was going to edit the excessive profanity in the comment because I felt it was a bit unfair to the subject of the blog post. I wouldn't change the spirit of the comment, just some of the objectionable language. I received a reply that described me using even more profane language. My response back to this person was that I welcomed the comments, but in the end, it was my blog and I'd edit comments as I saw fit.

When you utilize a branding platform like a blog, how you manage it is just as important as the original content it yields. You are the king of your blog domain. I encourage you to rule over it as such.

Everything on that blog reflects your brand. Make sure the comments other people leave stay within your branding parameters. Mistakes are made. It's possible that an offensive, brand-damaging comment by a visitor could be attributed to you. I'm not saying you shouldn't allow spirited debate. You should. I would just advise trying to keep things civil when you see a debate start to heat up. Be the moderator, and keep your "house" as clean as you'd like it to be for your brand.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

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Does Blogger Equal Journalist?

Embrace the Leader Within

1,645 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, author, blogging, promotions, branding

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




Brand Marketing -Self Publishing Coach

Heather Hart discusses the importance of your author brand.


Know Your Brand Advocates -somersault

There are fans of your brand, and then there are advocates of your brand.




Tips for Low-Budget Independent Filmmaking Success -The Beat

Filmmaker Ken Simpson talks micro-budget filmmaking.


How to Brand Yourself as a Filmmaker - Filmmaking Stuff

Using your brand to build trust with your target audience.




$250,000 in Music Career Investment? With A Catch... - Promote Your Music

An interesting interview with Tom Callahan, the man who turned down $250,000 on Shark Tank to help launch the band he manages.


Marketing Plan Tactics For Independent Musicians - Part 3 of 3: Content Is King - music think tank

Music marketing in today's virtual world is a 24/7 job. There is no downtime.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

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Weekly News Roundup - June 1, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - May 25, 2012

1,123 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, author, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers

Building Character

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 6, 2012

Last week, I discussed ways to practice the craft of writing through storytelling exercises. This week, let's look at a few exercises that will help us develop full, rich characters. One of these I developed myself, but the others were introduced to me by other writers.

  1. Eating pancakes. This one comes from my mother. She once told me that you shouldn't decide if you can spend the rest of your life with someone until you've seen them eat pancakes. Her theory was that you can learn everything you need to know about a person just by the way they consume the carb-loaded breakfast staple. What type of pancake they ordered, what toppings they chose, what utensils they used, how they applied the all revealed something about that person's character. With that in mind, write a scene with a character you want to know and describe their pancake-consuming habits. Include every detail as if you are sitting across the table from him or her.
  2. Giving a eulogy. We talked before about writing an obituary for your main character. This exercise is a little bit different. Pretend your character has been charged with giving a eulogy for his or her best friend. Follow the character from the moment they're asked to deliver the eulogy to the point they exit the funeral home.
  3. Facebook status. This is something new I've just come across. Pretend your character has a Facebook page. What were his or her last three updates? You can focus on whatever aspect of your character's life you think will give you the greatest insight into who they really are: relationships, work, family, etc.

Remember, part of our duty as authors is to practice our craft - to grow and evolve as authors by becoming better and better storytellers through exercises designed to hone our skills. We owe it to our readers and to our characters!

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

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My friend Nancy Ancowitz is a business communication coach and author of Self-Promotion for Introverts®: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead. I asked if she'd be willing to share some marketing tips for introverted authors, and she graciously agreed. Here's what she had to say:

Do you break out in a cold sweat at the thought of tooting your own horn, but enjoy singing the praises of others? That's fine (and really common!). Then help promote one another's wares. You don't have many friends, especially who are authors? Fine too. That's where social media, your alumni organization, your volunteer work buddies, and acquaintances from your other circles come in. Look to help others by offering valuable information, insights, and introductions - and ask for help too.

Use your introvert's advantages by:


  • Researching - Become knowledgeable about the market for your book (your readers, your competitors, how your work is different).
  • Listening - By keeping your ear to the ground, you'll gather good intel.
  • Building relationships over time, one at a time with social media mavens, journalists, avid readers of books like yours, and other authors.
  • Writing your heart out!


You have endless tools at your disposal - and most of them are already familiar to you. Position yourself as an expert on the likes of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Pen reviews, blog and guest blog, and share updates on YouTube. Enter your book for awards. Write targeted notes to bloggers and editors introducing them to your book. If public speaking doesn't give you night sweats, give a talk or two, not to mention podcast and radio interviews. Ask other authors for testimonials. Cross-promote with authors whose works are complementary to yours. Don't forget that e-mail is still a great way to reach your fans. If you're good with the occasional meeting, attend or organize Meetups and Tweetups - not to mention online Google+ Hangouts.

The list of visibility-raising activities for you and your book goes on and on. The key is to make your own list and take action. Pick the promotional activities you like best - or find least objectionable! - and become the steward of a visibility program for yourself and your book. Of course, use the power of your pen (or thumbs!) to describe your book in snappy ways so it stands out from the crowd.

To learn more about Nancy, visit


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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


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Many moons ago, I did two blogposts outlining strategies for approaching daytime TV talk shows, and I provided links to a few of the shows' websites. Today, I'd like to steer you in a different direction. YouTube has a group of readers that call themselves "Booktubers." They post various videos about books. In old-world terms, it's sort of like a high-tech version of a book club. These Booktubers have their own channels, and they usually subscribe to the channels of other Booktubers. Why not approach a Booktuber about reviewing your book? If you find one or two that want to review your book, by extension, your book pops up on the radar screen of the other Booktubers.

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  • TheBookVlogger - Booklover Lindsay Mead is a veteran of the book vlogging world. She's had her channel up and running since November of 2010, and she currently has 585 subscribers. As of this writing, she has 107 videos uploaded. Appropriate material: a wide variety of fiction.
  • 27Chapters - Gwen is a fan of books, namely The Hunger Games. She currently has 47 subscribers, which isn't bad considering her channel is only six months old. Appropriate material: young adult.
  • HeathersBookReview - Heather has more than 200 subscribers. Her channel is only six months old, but she's fairly prolific with over 20 videos uploaded. That's just slightly less than a video a week. Appropriate material: young adult.
  • AurasBookBox - Aura formed her channel a little over a year ago, and she currently has more than 800 subscribers. She has 56 videos uploaded featuring book reviews and book-related topics. Appropriate material: thrillers.
  • BunnyCates - Bunny has been vlogging since July 2009. She's a lover of all things books, and she has 123 videos under her belt with 409 subscribers. Appropriate material: a wide variety of fiction.
  • BookishDays - This is a group of book reviewers. Here's their description of the channel that started just a few weeks ago: This is a brand new collab channel, featuring seven booktubers! We will be starting on Monday, May 21! We will be doing weekly topics/discussions. Look on the right-hand sidebar to go to each personal channel of everybody on BookishDays! This is a channel worth tracking because in just a few weeks they've amassed 137 subscribers. Appropriate material: to be determined.

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