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August 2012
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Do You Absolutely Need Social Media to Sell Books? - Publishing Perspectives

There are certain demographics that won't be found on social media. Does that mean authors of books for those demographics should ignore it?

 

How a Debut Author Used His Old College to Find New Readers -GalleyCat

It really is who you know. And sometimes, you may not know who you know until you ask.

 

Film

 

The Movie That Haunts You - The American Society of Cinematographers

Do you know the film that inspired you to become a filmmaker?

 

Independent Filmmaking: Passion or Profession? - Filmmaker Magazine

Has the low cost of technology and easy access to equipment helped or hurt filmmaking?

 

Music

 

How to Build a Career in Music with the Training from a Mentor - Musicians Buzz

Finding a mentor can help you jumpstart your music career, but the key is to find the right mentor.

 

How to Make a Good Music Video - MusicianCoaching.com

Music video guru Jill Kaplan shares her years of experience in matching directors with bands to create budget-friendly music videos.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 24, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - August 17, 2012

1,265 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: filmmaking, filmmaking, author, author, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, blogging, blogging, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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After I published the latest installment of my series, something very strange happened to me: I received angry emails from readers that actually made me happy. They were upset because I had ended the new book with an unresolved outcome for one of the main characters. Their biggest beef was that they knew the next book in the series was about a year away. They didn't want to wait that long to find out what happens, and I couldn't have been more flattered.

 

I decided I would have to utilize my platform to attempt to satisfy the readers who simply couldn't wait. I'm doing so by posting diary entries on my blog from the character whose fate is in question. I'm even recording myself reading the entries and using my YouTube channel as another point of delivery. In addition, I update Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks every time I post a new one. So far, the feedback has been positive, and by allowing myself to do only one entry per week, I'm not taking time away from my other writing projects.

 

I will continue to write the entries until the publication of the next book. In fact, I'm using the entries as a bridge into the next book. When the last entry is posted on my blog, I'll format the entire diary into book format and publish it, making it available for purchase as a supplement to the series.

 

I share all this with you to let you know that you can do the same thing. Maybe you can expand a subplot involving a secondary character in your book using the same strategy. Or perhaps you can explore the background story of a character you liked and build a foundation for a new book. The possibilities and potential are endless.

 

Creating supplements to a main piece of work using your existing platform is a way to build interest for your books and your brand. And I'm finding it's a lot of fun, as well.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Never Too Boring to Blog

Blog What You Know - Books!

1,301 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, author, self-publishing, writers, blogging, writing
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Creating an eBook is a great way to reach an even larger audience. However, it's important to do it right, or you risk turning off potential readers. I asked Joel Friedlander, a fellow CreateSpace contributor who is also an award-winning book designer and the author of A Self-Publisher's Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish, for the three the most common mistakes he sees indie authors make with their digital efforts. Here's what he had to say:


  1. Don't just copy the front matter from your print book. Print books often have lengthy front matter before you actually get to the content. This doesn't work well for e-books, where only a small sample is available to browsers before they buy, and if it's entirely copyright, dedication page, contents and so on, they won't get to see your awesome writing.


  1. Don't make your eBook cover too complicated. Trying to fit lots of images to represent all the themes in your book won't work very well when the cover is reduced to the size of a postage stamp. Instead, keep it simple and legible.


  1. Don't use tabs, spaces, or manual line breaks in your file. Although your manuscript might look fine to you, all of these elements will put codes into your book file that will keep it from flowing properly on an e-reader and create a book that looks unprofessional.


You'll find many of Joel's articles about book design and marketing in CreateSpace Resources. To learn more about him, visit www.TheBookDesigner.com. You can also follow Joel on Twitter (@JFbookman). In a future post, I'll ask him for his thoughts on mistakes to avoid when self-publishing a print book, so be sure to check back.


-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, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.


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How to Write an Effective Book Description

Building an Author Brand is Easy

16,439 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, formatting, formatting, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, ebooks, ebooks, writing, writing
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Every once in a while, I come across a feud between two authors that frankly makes me scratch my head. It's not the behavior on display by either author that bothers me, although it usually doesn't display the authors' best sides. The thing I find particularly puzzling is that there is a feud at all. These arguments usually start when one author criticizes another author's work. It turns out to be the first serve in a volley of escalating criticism that usually stretches beyond writing talent and, unfortunately, gets very personal.

 

Authors are not rivals. We don't succeed at the expense of another author. In fact, an argument can be made that the more one author succeeds, the greater the general interest in books, and thus the more all authors benefit. When readers discover a book they love, they are hungry to find more like it. In short, we authors need as many authors as possible to succeed to keep the love for books spreading with each generation.

 

If you find yourself on the receiving end of some unkind criticism from another author, here's my advice: ignore it. Responding will create an unmanageable loop that will zap you of your time and perhaps even bury your creativity. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, "Even Hemingway (or any literary master of your choice) had critics." Then move on.

 

If you're an author and you feel the need to openly criticize another author, my advice is not to do it. There are too many ways it could backfire on you and cast your brand in a bad light. I've read books that didn't appeal to me, and I've shared my opinions with close friends and family in an offline environment. But beyond that, I'd never disrespect another writer by publicly criticizing them. Call it a professional courtesy or simply just being polite. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I can live with that if it means authors can be more productive by supporting one another.

 

-Richard

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

 

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What Should You Blog About?

Remember to Say Thank You

1,284 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, self-publishing, writers, writing, criticism
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.


Books/Publishing


How Far is Too Far? - Extreme Book Marketing Efforts by Joan Rivers - Self Publishing Advisor

If negative publicity is purposely orchestrated by the author, can it be bad?


Pastors Are a Huge Book-Buying Market -Somersault

An interesting look at a loyal book-buying segment of the population.


Film


A Writer and His Characters... - My Film Moments

Sometimes being a storyteller means you have to be ruthless.


Filmmaking on a Budget: 5 Camcorders under $2,000 - USA Today

USA Today behind the lens of five camcorders that won't break your shoestring budget.


Music


The Raspy Voice...Cool Sound or Vocal Suicide? - Judy Rodman

Sure it sounds great, but could that rasp you're straining for being doing permanent damage to your singing voice?


How To Write Guitar Solos Using Your Favorite Singer's Voice - Musicians Buzz

When all your guitar solos start sounding the same, here's a method that will help you expand your rhythmic horizons.


-Richard

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


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Weekly News Roundup - August 17, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - August 10, 2012

1,063 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, books, books, authors, authors, music, music, film, film, writers, writers, writing, writing
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Tone is something we storytellers hear a great deal about from writing experts and mentors. We are told that setting the proper tone is crucial to holding the reader's attention. The problem that I've experienced with this nugget of information is that it usually doesn't come with the definition of tone as it applies to novels. Let's see if we can shed some light on the topic.

 

An online search using the phrase "What is tone in a novel?" produced a list of sources that provided a fairly consistent definition of the idea. The overwhelming consensus boiled down to this very simple explanation: tone isn't what is said, but how it is said in a novel. For example: The book The Dog of the South by Charles Portis is about a husband trying to track down his wife and her lover. That concept could be delivered in a variety of different ways. It could be a sad exploration of the couple's failed marriage, or it could be a story filled with tension that culminates in a violent confrontation. Portis creates a comedic series of missteps that result in the main character realizing he hadn't been living the life he wanted.

 

The tone of that book came from the narrator's voice. While he never recognized the humor in the story he was telling, his mostly calm acceptance and willing participation in the absurdity around him, gives the book a comedic tone. It's as if the narrator is not in on the joke he is telling.

 

In my view, the reason The Dog of the South is a great story is because the tone is consistent throughout the book. Portis never loses sight of the fact that his main character is the subject of an ongoing joke. That fact dictates how the character interacts with other characters and tells the story of his misadventures.

 

It may seem simplistic to say that tone is how you say something, not what you say, but it's accurate. In her article "Idiosyncratic Tone in the Novel," writer Wendy Voorsanger put it this way:

 

Tone is the emotional color or musical pitch of a novel. It's typically a feeling or atmosphere a writer establishes and maintains through an entire piece of writing. It's not what is being said or done - it's how it's said or done. It's the words on the page: their rhythm, grammar, diction, sound, and sequence.

 

Now that we've established what tone is, I leave you with this question: can you identify the tone of your own novel?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Be a Rule-breaker

Outlining Your Book

2,334 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, author, author, self-publishing, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, craft, craft, craft, tone, tone, tone
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I've become a fan of both The Voice and The Biggest Loser. Yes, it is true. However, the grammar on both shows' latest seasons has me pulling my hair out.

 

Let's begin with The Voice, in which the judges begin with their backs to the singing contestants and only turn around if they like what they hear. One of the judges last season repeatedly uttered a cringe-inducing variation of the following statement:

 

"Whenever I heard you sing, I just knew I had to turn my chair around."

 

WRONG.


Whenever is used to indicate something that happened, or happens, with regularity over time. Following are some correct examples.

 

Past tense:

  • Whenever our parents took us to the zoo, my sister and I always headed straight for the giraffes.
  • Whenever my brother had a day off, he and I would try to catch a matinee.

 

Present tense:

  • Whenever I have free time, I squeeze in an afternoon nap.
  • Whenever she sings that song, I get chills.


When is used to indicate something that happened, or happens, just once. Following are some correct examples.

 

Past tense:

 

  • When I arrived that morning, I had no idea what to expect.
  • When I heard you sing, I just knew I had to turn my chair around.

 

Present tense:

 

  • When I see him, I will give him your message.
  • When we're done playing soccer, let's go for a beer.

 

Let's move on to The Biggest Loser, where a contestant had come to terms with her grandmother getting voted off the show. She told the camera she was "okay with it whenever it happened."

 

I wasn't! You see why?

 

-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, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Grammar Gaffes of Olympic Proportions

Avoiding Word Confusion

2,086 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, self-publishing, writers, writing, craft, grammar
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The author brand is a unique entity in the world of marketing because it is both commercial and personal. It's commercial in that the author brand is used to sell books. There's no denying that we authors showcase our brands in an effort to encourage the reading public to buy our latest novel or non-fiction title. But at the same time, our brand isn't test marketed and paraded in front of focus groups in order to strike the perfect note with readers. Our author brand represents who we are, and that makes it wholly personal.

 

In other words, you don't choose your author brand. Your author brand chooses you. Now, you can try to do things the hard way and choose your author brand, but that's a difficult strategy to sustain. Being somebody you think your readers want you to be in order to gain popularity and sell more books may be fun at first, but it will lose its charm fairly quickly and ultimately brand you as inauthentic. In essence, it's the Milli Vanilli approach to branding.

 

People wrongly assume that style trumps substance when it comes to branding. Your author brand's style shouldn't be manufactured. It should stem from the substance of your brand. That's really all you have to remember; substance comes first when you are building an author brand. If you ever find yourself trying to construct a blog post or social media update or video that reflects a style that doesn't feel authentic, stop. You are trying to force your brand to be something it's not. You are trying to choose your brand. Don't. Let your author brand choose you. It's so much easier, and so much more rewarding.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Can You Have More Than One Brand?

Building an Author Brand is Easy

1,602 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, author, promotion, writers, writing, branding
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Dodging the Yada Yada Yada in Novels - Huffington Post

Avoid chasing readers away by bogging your characters down with too much angst and details.

 

How to Create Your Own Day to Promote Your Book, Business or Cause -Color Your Life Published

Could the secret to successfully promoting your book be creating your own holiday?

 

Film

 

How to Select Lenses for DSLR Filmmaking - Light Stalking

Lenses that allow you to take full advantage of the breathtaking images produced by DSLR cameras.

 

6 Filmmaking Tips Directly from Indie Pioneer Jon Jost - Film School Rejects

Tip number one: know every aspect of filmmaking by doing it yourself.

 

Music

 

Facebook: The Preferred Social Login for Music [CHART] - Audiolicious.tv

Facebook was the leading social network ID for logins across the internet, including music sites.

 

Pack Your Live Shows & Rock Your Local Music Scene - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Get people who will spend money to see your shows and make the venue happy.

 

-Richard

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

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Weekly News Roundup - August 10, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - August 3, 2012

1,023 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: book, book, music, music, author, author, movies, movies, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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Michael Crichton once famously said that "Books aren't written, they're rewritten." Never a truer word has been spoken. The problem is that too many beginning authors think that rewriting simply means cleaning up prose and knocking out typos. Rewriting is more or less re-engineering the story. You may find that paragraphs, pages, or chapters simply don't work, or they would work better somewhere else in the story. You may find a particular character that threads through your entire story doesn't work, and you have to get rid of him or her. In short, rewriting should be a process of destroying and rebuilding what you've written.

 

In my mind, the number one thing you want to be on the lookout for when rewriting is redundancy. I'm not just talking about repeating passages or phrases; I'm talking about two different characters that may be too similar to one another, or even scenes that have striking similarities. Writing a book takes a lot of time. Many, many days pass from the moment you type the first word to the time you type "The End," and you may unknowingly repeat yourself in some form or fashion.

 

I am certainly guilty of redundancy. I tend to focus a lot of action and character development on meals. That's great, as long as it's not overdone. If it happens over and over again in my book, it says more about me as the author than it does the actual characters in the book. When I rewrite, that's one of the things I look out for. Have I used food as a catalyst too much? If the answer is yes, I change the scene to balance it out.

 

Be brutal on yourself during rewrites. Tear the story down now so readers won't do it after it's published.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Use the Chunking Method to Write Your Book

The First-Line Ritual

1,552 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, self-publishing, help, writers, rewriting
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Think about the friends you find most interesting and why. Maybe it's the way they tell stories at dinner parties, or how they express themselves over email, or even how they craft their comments on other people's Facebook status updates. Chances are the people you enjoy being around the most tend to use colorful, descriptive language that makes you laugh, cry, think, or all of the above.


I highly doubt they use many clichés.


Clichés are boring, and using clichés make for boring dialogue. When your characters interact with each other, their conversations should jump off the page and pull the reader right in. You want your readers to become fully engaged and excited to be a part of your characters' world, if only temporarily.


Look at the difference in the following sentences, which essentially convey the same information:


A) "He put his arms around me, and as I became lost in his eyes, my heart skipped a beat."

B) "He put his arms around me, and when I finally managed to look up at him, I think I momentarily forget my own name."


Or these two:


A) "You shouldn't have counted your chickens before they hatched," he said with a smirk.

B) He looked at me and laughed. "Now you're left with a bunch of dead chickens in a shell, my friend. Good luck with that."


Which of the above characters would you like to hear more from?


If your characters come across as cardboard, your readers are going to lose interest in them. Well-written dialogue sounds like real people, and unless they're really good looking, boring people don't get invited to hang out very often.


-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, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Just Say It!

Look Who's Talking

1,760 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, self-publishing, writers, writing, dialogue
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I was watching TV recently, and a commercial for James Patterson popped up on my set. I stopped to take notice because it's not every day you see a commercial for an author on TV. This is because the cost of commercial airtime is usually cost prohibitive. But Patterson is a special case; his brand generates millions of dollars in sales.


This particular commercial promoted two books by Patterson. One fell within the thriller genre he is associated with, but the other was for a book that was clearly geared toward middle schoolers. The pairing of the two in a single commercial seemed a bit odd at first, but then it became clear that Patterson is assuming parents and grandparents of middle school-aged children read his thrillers. Why not get them to buy a book for themselves and their child or grandchild while they're at it? Take a look:




The other aspect of the commercial I find fascinating is that Patterson was more or less showcasing two separate brands in one commercial. That's the only way I can describe it. The two books were so different in scope and made for two different audiences, that it requires two versions of Patterson to pull it off.


So, can an author have two different brands? When you're as recognizable as Patterson with access to the type of budget he operates under, it is a bit easier than for an author in the early stages of his or her career. Building one brand is hard enough, but building two would be twice as hard. My advice would be to focus all your efforts on building a single author brand. As your success grows - and your marketing budget grows along with it - then consider pursuing an additional brand.


What do you think? Can a new author successfully juggle two brands?


-Richard

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


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Branding 101: The Keys to Successful Branding

Be Authentic to Build Your Brand

1,388 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, self-publishing, promotion, writers, branding
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

10 Social Media Tricks You Can Use to Boost Visibility Today - Mequoda

Amanda MacArthur lays out her strategies for utilizing social media.

 

Passive Guy Speaks -The Book Designer

Publishing blogger David Vandagriff discusses publishing, blogging, and more.

 

Film

 

Film-making, the Times They are A-Changing. Monsters 2010 - Mike's Film Talk

Is the digital revolution good or bad for filmmaking?

 

4 Tips for Filming Improvised Scenes - Dare Dreamer Magazine

Sometimes the best way to make a scene work is to go off script.

 

Music

 

What's Better Than an Interview with One Music Marketing Superhero? - Promote Your Music

Brian Thompson and Bob Baker dole out their best advice in this edifying interview.

 

25 Example Websites of Big Background/Minimal Web Designs for Inspiration - Brandshank.com

Need tips on how to design your band's website? Look no further.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 3, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - July 27, 2012

1,145 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, marketing, author, author, writers, writers, blogging, blogging, musicians, musicians, social_media, social_media
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I love watching the Olympics. Gymnastics? Incredible. Swimming? Unbelievable. Diving? Don't get me started! Over the past two weeks, I've spent many hours being dazzled by athletes in a variety of sports. It's simply amazing what they're able to do with their bodies.


During all those perfect performances, however, I've been subjected to a lot of imperfect grammar from athletes, coaches, and commentators alike. Following are examples of some of the types of blunders I've heard so far:


Commentator: "Her and the other central defender have great chemistry."

Should have said: "She and the other central defender have great chemistry."


Swimmer: "I knew it was going to be a tight race. They always are, between him and I."

Should have said: "I knew it was going to be a tight race. They always are, between him and me."


Coach: "There's kids sitting in front of the TV now, girls that want to be Missy Franklin."

Should have said: "There are kids sitting in front of the TV now, girls who want to be Missy Franklin."


Commentator: "This time her and the other forward were very close together."

Should have said: "This time she and the other forward were very close together."


And the GOLD MEDAL for most egregious grammar gaffe goes to a soccer commentator. In the Olympic spirit of good sportsmanship in this post, this commentator, along with the other offenders, shall remain nameless.


She said: "This is a great opportunity for she and her teammates to make a statement."

Should have said: "This is a great opportunity for her and her teammates to make a statement."


I can forgive athletes or coaches for making the above mistakes, but professional commentators? Come on! If you're going to get paid to speak on TV, there's no excuse for bad grammar.


-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, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

3,433 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, writers, writing, grammar
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Be a Rule-breaker

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 8, 2012

I'm a Cormac McCarthy fan. I'm of the opinion that he is one of the greatest writers of our time. I wish I had a tenth of a fraction of a minuscule piece of the talent he possesses. But this isn't a post about how McCarthy influenced me as a writer. This post is about how he influenced me as a rule-breaker, or at the very least, made me feel less guilty about breaking rules.


If you ever pick up a book by Cormac McCarthy, you will be struck right away by something missing from his characters' dialogue: quotation marks. The man just does not use them. There are times when he doesn't even identify who is speaking. He trusts that the reader will figure it out. This lack of convention is startling at first, and it takes some getting used to.


So in the spirit of one of my idols, here are a few writing rules that I regularly break:


  1. Ending a sentence with a preposition - Much to the horror of every English instructor I have ever had, I do it without apologies. As we creep further into a future with gloriously blended cultures, the rules on ending a sentence in a preposition have shifted a bit. It has become accepted in the proper context. Primarily, people are less prone to object in creative circles. However, I do have an aversion to ending a sentence with "at." It's just not necessary.
  2. Beginning a sentence with a conjunction - I have been to Conjunction Junction, and I realize it's preferred that I reserve the use of a conjunction to joining two sentences together. But sometimes I like starting a sentence with a conjunction. It just has a more dramatic effect and adds to the style of the story. I avoid doing it too much for fear of lessening its impact.
  3. Splitting infinitives - I am known to recklessly split infinitives. An infinitive is a bare verb that usually comes with the word "to" in front of it. For example, "to split" is what's known as a full infinitive. You'll notice that I split that infinitive with the adverb "recklessly." Perhaps the most famous split infinitive is uttered at the beginning of the original Star Trek by Captain Kirk: "To boldly go where no man has gone before." English teacher after English teacher used it as an example of what not to do when writing. Turns out, it's not an official rule of grammar. Even if it were, I'd split infinitives as if there were no tomorrow.

 


Those are some of the rules I've shunned. What about you? What rules do you flout?


-Richard

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


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My Writing Rules, Which You are Free to Ignore

Is There Value in Formulaic Writing?

1,999 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, writers
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In my previous posts, I covered why you should consider entering book awards, tips to increase your chances of winning, and the submission process. Today, I'll share a few ways you can use them to market yourself and your book if you are lucky enough to win or place in a book awards competition.


There are plenty of ways to use your new status to your advantage. An award can help your title's credibility, but first you have to let your readers know that you're a winner. Below are a few tips to get the word out and the ball rolling.


  1. Author Bio: Adding "award-winning author" to your bio is a wonderful feeling, but it also can help boost your credibility and influence a reader's purchasing decisions. You can (and should) market yourself as a winner in your book's author bio, in online sales channels such as Amazon.com, at speaking events, and anywhere else your bio is featured. Be sure to call out which specific award you won.
  2. Book: If you've won or placed in a particularly noteworthy award, one of the most effective ways of marketing it is putting the award logo or sticker on your book. Most big awards have a whole host of merchandise available to jazz up your book, so consider investing in award seals for your cover. If you attend a lot of events and distribute hard copies of your book, you may want to choose a sticker, but if you make most of your sales online, you can add a digital version of the seal or logo to your book's cover file.
  3. Media and Affiliated Organizations: You can promote your win locally and nationally with press releases, interviews, articles, and blogs. Send a press release to your local media outlets, including newspapers, magazines, broadcast TV stations, and radio stations. If your book fits into a certain genre or niche, try contacting affiliated local and national organizations with news of your award (e.g. if you write a book about recovering from cancer, you could contact the American Cancer Society).
  4. Personal Website, Blogs, and Social Media: Create a separate section on your website to post your latest author news or awards and accolades. Here, you can include press releases, photos, and information about the award. Circulate the buzz on your blog and any websites you write for, and then ask your other writer friends to do the same. You can also utilize Twitter and Facebook to inform your fans of the win and keep them up to date with your success stories. Just be careful not to overdo it in social media; your fans want to hear about your success, but you will earn and keep more followers in the long run by remaining humble.
  5. Proposals and Pitch Letters: If you're trying to secure interest from libraries, publishers, or additional sales outlets, highlighting your award can give you a leg up on the competition. As you might expect, the phrase "award-winning book" will catch the eye of whoever is reading your pitch letter. You should mention the reputation of the award, your category, and where you placed (all of this can be done in a sentence or two).


Book awards are a great credibility builder for you and your title, and winning or placing can add extra fuel to your marketing machine.


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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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1

We've discussed social media and blogging at length on this blog. Both are important planks in your online platform, but simply starting a blog and having a social media account isn't enough. You have to use them on a regular basis, and you should be actively distributing original content - or content created by you that has not been featured anywhere else on the web - if you want to build your brand.

 

Original content is invaluable for many reasons. Perhaps the most obvious reason original content is the key to building your brand is because it reflects who YOU are better than shared content. It showcases your style, your words, and your image as you intended. There's no filter that may attach your brand to something you didn't intend, and you are actively adding your voice to the online conversation on a particular topic. Or, even better, you're starting a new conversation altogether. Don't get me wrong: shared content has its place, especially if you find something particularly interesting and think your fans will too. I share a lot of non-original content on my blog and social media sites (giving credit, of course), but I also make it a point to create original content that is unique to my brand.

 

Another reason you should strive to provide as much original content as you can on your platform is it positions you as the original source should it go viral. If you craft content in such a way that people feel compelled to share it via a link on their social network or on their blog, then you're exposed to the friends and followers in their inner circle. In other words, your brand awareness grows beyond your current reach.

 

Finally, original content contributes to better search engine optimization (SEO) in that it helps you climb up search rankings. Most search engines tend to catalog pages more favorably if they feature original content versus simply sharing a link or reposting from another blog.

 

It is not easy finding the time to create original content for you online platform, but it is worth making the time to do. Your brand relies on it and your book sales will benefit from it.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Authors' Four Structural Essentials for Blogs

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0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

10 Top Tips and Other Great Ideas for Creating Your Audio Book - Color Your Life Published

A well produced audio book can help improve sales overall.

 

Fifty Shades of Greenbacks -SlushPile.net

While the writer of this post didn't take the author's advance into account, the spirit of this post is dead on: it takes a long time to get paid in the traditional publishing world.

 

Film

 

Collaborating in Film: A Love/Hate Relationship - All About Indie Filmmaking

Two heads are better than one...except when they bang into each other over creative differences.

 

5 Tips for Filmmaking on the Fly - Filmmaking Stuff

It's all about having the resources and great source material.

 

Music

 

Brilliant Marketing Idea: Present a Brag About Your [...] Day!-Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Invite other musicians and bands to promote their work using your online platform.

 

How to Improve Engagement on Facebook - Brandshank.com

It's all about posting PICTURES.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - July 27, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - July 20, 2012

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0

English is a complicated language. There are those pesky homographs, homophones, and homonyms that trip up even the most seasoned authors tapping out pages at blazing speeds. The changing tide of technology brings with it new rules on things like vocative case and the serial comma. There's not even a consensus anymore on whether a preposition belongs at the end of a sentence or not. The shaky and ever-evolving foundation of the English language is enough to make a writer's head spin.


One of the major stumbling blocks caused by the layered nuances of English is word confusion. Every writer has faced the problem of choosing between affect and effect or that and which or among and amongst. For the most part, it's imperative to choose the right word in order to avoid emails lambasting you for choosing the wrong one. Before I provide you with a link to sites that will help you avoid word confusion, let's take a look at these three examples:


  • Affect vs. Effect - The bad news is both words can be either a verb or a noun. The good news is that in most cases affect is used as a verb and effect is used as a noun. Affect means to influence something and effect essentially is a result or consequence of an action. When you affect something, you have an effect on that thing.


  • That vs. Which - Some people don't even know there's a time to use that and a time to use which. They think they're interchangeable. Just because I know that doesn't mean I always get it right. The that/which rule is complicated, but Grammar Girl has simplified it somewhat: ...use that before a restrictive clause and which before everything else." She defines a restrictive clause as follows: A restrictive clause is just part of a sentence that you can't get rid of because it specifically restricts some other part of the sentence..."Gems that sparkle often elicit forgiveness." ...The words that sparkle restrict the kind of gems you're talking about. Without them, the meaning of the sentence would change. Without them, you'd be saying that all gems elicit forgiveness, not just the gems that sparkle.


  • Among vs. Amongst - This is the easiest one to clear up. There is no difference between the two. They can be used interchangeably. Among is the most commonly used word, and Amongst is the more formal word. Which one is called for is entirely up to the occasion and/or your writing style.


Here are three websites to bookmark and use as part of your writing arsenal on your next project. You should be able to find your way through any future word confusion.


Grammar Girl on Quick and Dirty Tips

Confusing Words

Daily Writing Tips


-Richard

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

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Imply vs. Infer

Refer vs. Recommend

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0

I recently had dinner with my friend Lauren Lyons Cole, a certified financial planner based here in New York City. She's gaining quite a following, as evidenced by this feature in the New York Times.

 

Lauren mentioned that she was planning to write a book, which didn't surprise me given how much knowledge she has to share. However, what did surprise me - in a good way - was how much she's already done for a book that hasn't yet been written. "I've wanted to write a book for two years now, but instead of diving headfirst into the manuscript, I first focused on building my brand and my network," she told me.

 

Lauren hasn't yet decided if she's going to pursue traditional or self-publishing, but no matter who ends up publishing her book, here are five things she's already done to help with marketing (in her words):

 

  1. Get quoted as an expert in the media. Make connections with journalists who cover your field. No need to pay for expensive PR; just be genuine and trustworthy and the journalists will be happy to use you as a source. It's mutually beneficial. Respond quickly to any requests they send you!
  2. Target respected publications. It's almost always more beneficial to be quoted in the NY Times than your local news. Send story ideas to journalists who write for a publication you'd like to be quoted in. Journalists are often looking for fresh ideas. Again, it's mutually beneficial. Just don't be annoying or waste their time.
  3. Carve out a niche for yourself and differentiate yourself from your peers. Don't necessarily write about what people would expect. That makes it easier to market your book. Gain real life experience in the angle you want to take. (For example: I focus on helping people make more money rather than frugal living tips.)
  4. Find a platform. Build relationships with groups that will help you promote your book. This could be speaking at conferences or writing guest posts for your favorite blogs. The more readers (or attendees) the better. The more people who see your book (and you), the more people will buy it.
  5. Audition for reality TV shows (I mainly think this is funny). Personally, I'm hoping to be on Amazing Race. I figure that's a great way to promote my book. And if not, at least I'll get to travel and compete for a million dollars.

 

Lauren wisely recognizes that when it comes to marketing non-fiction, having a solid author platform is critical. So take her advice: If you know you can write a great book, first spend time developing an audience that you think will buy it.

 

-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, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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What Should You Blog About?

What Should Authors Tweet?

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