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November 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


Resilience: How to Deal with Criticism and Rejection - The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn and Mark McGuinness discuss the sometimes emotionally crippling effect of bad reviews.


How Do We Find Targeted Readers? 5 Top Tips! -BadRedhead Media

Author and social media consultant Rachel Thompson gives her best advice on where to find your readers.


Film


Crowdsourcing is Creating the Cloud Filmmaking Revolution - Venture Beat

Footage and creative material for your film may be just a cloud away.


Here's Why You Should Make Your Movie or Chase Your Dream Today - Joke and Biagio

A three-minute dose of inspiration; do what you love and happiness will follow.


Music


A Case Study on Trent Reznor - Alan Cross

A look at the man who turned the music industry on its ear by making a direct connection to the fans.


Music Biz Disappointments: When Bad News Turns Good - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

When one door closes, look for another door.


-Richard

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


 

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Weekly News Roundup - November 23, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - November 16, 2012


1,136 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, music, music, self-publishing, self-publishing, films, films, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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Too Much Exposition

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 28, 2012

Are you over-explaining certain elements of your story in your novel? Nothing kills a story like heaping helpings of exposition. When you resort to telling the reader why a character is the way he or she is, or what events have led to a moment in a story, or even plainly stating essentials of your theme, you water down the literary merit of your story. More than that, you rob the reader of the opportunity of discovering these elements through organic storytelling.


Don't get me wrong; there are times when some exposition is necessary. If you are writing a book that draws on existing mythology or incorporating mythology of your own making, then a certain amount of exposition will be important as you give a "historical" perspective of the mythology. These incidences are most often seen in science fiction novels and fantasy novels. Also, if you are writing a series, a brief explanation of what's occurred in previous installments may be necessary. You would be wise to disguise these moments of exposition as efficiently as possible. Just because you need exposition doesn't give you license to engage in lazy writing. As an author, your primary objective shouldn't be to inform the readers, but for the readers to inform themselves.


When authors relay all the details of plots, characters, and themes upfront, they run the risk of burying the reader under an information dump and removing them from the story. Ask yourself two questions when you feel compelled to explain a certain element of your story: 1) is there a way to reveal the information without explaining it? And 2) is the explanation necessary at all, or is it just needless background information that you think is interesting, yet it doesn't add to the story?


When you have a choice between showing and telling, always choose showing.


-Richard

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


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Just Say It!

Don't Insult Your Readers

7,625 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, self-publishing, writers, writing, story, characters
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I recently had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Guy Kawasaki, a popular speaker and author of 10 books, including Reality Check, The Art of the Start, and Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. I told him about this blog and asked if he had any words of wisdom for my readers. With a sly chuckle, yet also speaking seriously, he said the following:


"Don't be paranoid."


I asked what he meant, and he said that authors, both traditionally and self-published, are often afraid to try anything unconventional. They think someone is going to come along, tap them on the shoulder, and say, "Hey now, you shouldn't do that."


His attitude is, "Why shouldn't I?"


An example he gave was for his most recent book, Enchantment. When he finished the first draft, he sent out a Google+ message to his hordes of followers and asked for volunteer beta readers willing to provide feedback. Several hundred people replied, and you know what Guy did? He emailed them the entire manuscript.


Yes, he emailed his entire unpublished manuscript to hundreds of strangers. For "security," all he did was ask them to check a box saying they promised not to forward it to anyone else. A simple promise, nothing more.


What happened? He got a lot of thoughtful feedback that helped him improve his book, and those who provided that feedback became emotionally invested evangelists, eager to see the book succeed. In fact, dozens of them posted positive Amazon.com reviews the very day the book came out.


Guy's idea worked out pretty well, don't you think? I may have to try it myself.


To learn more about Guy Kawasaki and his books, you can visit www.guykawasaki.com.


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

Book Marketing Tip: Make It Easy for Your Fans to Help You

602 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, writing, writing
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Publicity Stunts

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 26, 2012

We've talked about a lot of marketing and branding ideas on this blog, but there is one topic we've never really broached: publicity stunts. Publicity stunts are marketing ploys meant to be headline grabbers in and of themselves. More often than not, they are wacky or at the very least, outside the lines of conventional behavior. They have to be in order to get noticed.


Publicity stunts are an iffy proposition for a number of reasons. It they are too innocuous, they won't get noticed. If they are too bold, you may get noticed for the wrong reasons. Finding a balance between harmless and daring is the trick, and most people don't find it. An example of a creative, fairly risk-free publicity stunt in the world of publishing took place at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2009. The German publisher Eichborn attached small banners with the company name, logo, and booth number to 200 flies and released them inside the convention center. The banners were attached with wax and they eventually fell off. The stunt got them a lot of attention and visitors to their booth. But they also probably received a few annoyed complaints because they released flies in a busy convention center.


I have never attempted a publicity stunt for my books, and I have no intention of ever attempting one. They are too fraught with too many potential drawbacks. Frankly, I don't trust myself in finding that balance between harmless and daring. What about you? Do you have any experience with either a successful or unsuccessful publicity stunt?


-Richard

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

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


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Take Control with Marketing Central

Guerrilla Book Marketing Tactic

2,395 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, promotion, promotion, publicity, publicity, branding, 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


The Recipe for Writing a Bestseller [Infographic] - Ebook Friendly

The secret to writing a bestseller is...? See the infographic to find out.


Sell More Fiction by Activating the Power of Book Clubs -Jane Friedman

Author Rob Eagar dishes on how to get an "in" with the Book Clubs.


Film


How to Break into the Film Industry - Working PA

Breaking into film is difficult from any level. The key is to overcome the rejections by outlasting them.


Jai Arjun Singh: Aural Storytelling - Business Standard

If people notice your film's cinematography, art direction, wardrobe, etc., does that mean you've failed as a storyteller?


Music


Making It in Music - The Lefsetz Letter

Some hard truths that include gems like: "If you want a career in music you must do your best to be necessary."


Billboard Adds Streaming Music Services and Digital Sales to Several Major Music Charts - The Future of Music

If you needed any more proof that times are changing in the music industry, here it is.


-Richard

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

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - November 16, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - November 9, 2012

926 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, films, films, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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Start at the End

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 21, 2012

When I was a kid and we ate out at a family restaurant, they invariably had a paper placemat with a maze on it. For a kid in those days, eating out was a big deal, and eating out at place with interactive placemats was a monumental deal. You'd sit with a crayon in hand and stare at the maze, realizing that once you chose a path, there was no going back because it's impossible to erase crayon. After numerous missteps, I discovered out of frustration that, for whatever reason, the maze was easier if I tried to solve it backward.

 

It shouldn't have been. The route is the same either way. The twists and turns are merely inverted twins of their forward selves. The degree of difficulty should have been the same either way. I should have failed just as miserably going the "wrong" way as I did going the "right" way.


Looking back on it now, it wasn't that the mazes were difficult; it was the pressure of finding the end of the maze without taking the incorrect route using a permanent writing utensil. Getting to the end was just too daunting. But starting at the end took that pressure away. The path became suddenly clear. It practically popped off the placemat.


I share this trauma and triumph from my childhood to ask this: is it possible you've been approaching that manuscript you can't complete from the wrong direction? Perhaps you shouldn't be writing from beginning to end, but from end to beginning. Or at the very least, you could find the end before you write another page and draw yourself a clear path to the end you've already discovered.


The point is there is more than one way to write a manuscript and successfully complete a maze. If you've tried the conventional way and keep running into roadblocks, switch to unconventional methods. You may find a better path to the end.


-Richard

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


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The Rituals of a Writer's Life

Don't Let Fear Stop You from Completing Your Book

834 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, self-publishing, writers, writing, storyline
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I began my career as an indie author. Today, I'd like to share two mistakes I made when working with a professional designer that cost me a LOT of money. I hope you can learn from my experiences and avoid making these mistakes with your book.


1. Proofread your manuscript while you can still make changes.


I wanted my novel to look as professional as possible, so I paid a graphic designer to lay it out using the same design software that traditional publishing houses use. He did a fantastic job, and I was extremely pleased. When he was done, I printed out five copies of the manuscript and asked friends to catch any small typos I'd overlooked in the countless times I'd read it myself.


They found more than 100 errors. Yes, more than 100!


I don't own design software, much less know how to use it, so to correct all those typos, I had to call up the designer and go over them on the phone one by one. This was a process that took several hours. Hours! I was paying the guy $75 an hour, so that quickly added up.


2. Confirm the trim size you want.


Trim size is the length and width of your book. I chose one and relayed that choice to my designer (same guy as above), and then requested a sample in that size. When the book arrived, I decided it was too large to hold in one hand comfortably. I asked the designer to shrink it just a bit, but he told me that wasn't possible with the design software he was using. In other words, if I wanted to change the trim size, he was going to have to start from scratch - and charge me again.


In the end I had him change it, but it cost me a pretty penny.


The lesson learned? Use professionals to lay out your book, but before it's converted into a format you can't change yourself or for free, be sure it's exactly the way you want it.


-Maria

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

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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Three Mistakes to Avoid When Self-publishing an eBook

Three Mistakes to Avoid When Self-publishing a Print Book

5,666 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, design, editing, proofreading, self-publishing, writers, writing
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Occasionally, I am asked how my social media advertising efforts are going. My response is that I don't participate in social media advertising. This answer is often met with confused stares and indignant assurances that all I do is talk about advertising on social media. In truth, I've rarely written about the topic. I've written a number of posts about marketing via social media, but that's a much different animal. Yes, there is a difference between advertising and marketing.


Marketing is the process; advertising is a promotional element within that process. Put another way, marketing is the recipe, and advertising is an optional ingredient in that recipe. Advertising is a narrowly defined (and usually paid) message aimed at a targeted audience for a finite period of time. In many cases, the advertisement tries to engender immediate appeal. Some even call for action or highlight a limited-time offer. In order to be effective, that narrowly defined message must be seen over and over again. It may take 7-10 exposures to an ad before a consumer will act.


On social media sites, when I refer to marketing, I'm mostly talking about your ability to interact with and engage your readers. You can advertise on a number of the social media sites, but it is not free. A lot of the sites allow you to place a small ad targeted at your specific demographic. The amount you spend on such an ad usually depends on how many people click on it.


Personally, I don't advertise on social media sites. For my situation, marketing (engaging) on social media just makes more sense. However, some authors find it to be an effective sales tool, so you may want to consider whether advertising is a good fit for your readers and your budget. If you decide to advertise on social media, you shouldn't neglect your marketing; I think you'll find that active engagement with your followers pays off best in the long run.


-Richard

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

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


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Marketing: Begin with Your Strengths

Interact, Interact, Interact!

4,852 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, self-publishing, writers, writing
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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 to Stay Motivated to Write Consistently and Produce Content - The Future of Ink

Make a straightforward resolution to overcome those woefully uncreative days.


Be Afraid -A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

Joe Konrath discusses his decision to self-publish a horror novel, and he gives an inside look at sales figures for the book.

 

Film


A Case Study in How to Release Your Short Film Online - ReelSEO

Filmmakers Andrew Allen and Jason Sondhi reveal their online strategy to get their short film viewed by a large audience.


Eli Roth Hails Virtues of DIY Filmmaking - Variety

The man who produced a movie about a hostile hostel talks about the importance of looking out for yourself at every turn in the film industry.


Music


How to Market Your Music: Blogs - Total Instrument Insurance

Blogs are great tools for building your band's brand.


5 Lyric Videos that Got it Right: Creativity is Key - musicgoat

Save your fans the trouble of looking up the words of your song by producing a creative video featuring the lyrics.


-Richard

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

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


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Weekly News Roundup - November 9, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - November 2, 2012

928 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, films, films, musicians, musicians
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Over the past two weeks, hundreds of thousands of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) participants have been working on the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. In our previous blog, we introduced you to some of the authors who work at CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing who are taking the NaNoWriMo challenge in their free time. Let's check back in with them!


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Margaret, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 16,000

What is your book about?

My novel takes a different spin on the romance formula. In my book, the heroine's best friend returns from her time abroad with a surprising memento: an English boyfriend. The heroine is skeptical about love - and the situation in general, rightfully - but she eventually agrees to marry her friend's man so he can stay in the country. Soon, romance leaks into the marriage, and the boyfriend is hiding a thing or two about why he left England so quickly.


Have you hit any writer's block?

I have reached some parts in the story that require extensive research, which is just not something time will allow. My solution has been to write through these scenes as much as possible to get the main points on paper. That way, I have the basic information there to build on, but I can still go back later to improve the authenticity of the text.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

I started off really strong, doing the necessary word count per day, if not more. Then, I hit a week where life happened; work or other commitments overtook my writing time. Since then, I've been trying to catch up and get ahead before Thanksgiving.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

My technique so far has been to think of this project as a skeleton. I'm building a firm foundation that I can put muscle on later.


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Phoebe, Kindle Direct Publishing

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 11,336

What is your book about?

My book is about LGBT space pirates! It came to me pretty last-minute as I was thinking about what kinds of books I've enjoyed reading in the past and hadn't seen enough of recently.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

No matter how much you try to get the rest of the world to leave you alone to write, there's always stuff that comes up to distract you. I think I've taken care of the big stuff that has come up, though, and I'm looking forward to getting back on track with my word count.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

Stick with it! Being behind at the halfway point can be disheartening, but there's still plenty of time to hit 50K! The "Words Per Day To Finish On Time" stat on my NaNoWriMo page is very reassuring (and helpful); I know I can manage 2K/day.


Zach, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 15,000


What is your book about?

My book is a modern science fiction work about a government program which selects and trains children with special abilities.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

Probably the biggest challenge so far has been getting in the mindset and devoting more time to writing. Finding the extra time - and some days, the motivation - is difficult. But I try to spend time each day planning out what I want to write so that when I sit down, I can really just go with the flow. Showers, commuting, and before I fall asleep are all great times to think of new ideas and get a layout in my head.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

One of the most fun things I've found in writing this is the research. If a location I'm using includes a huge forest or mountain or something geographic, I'm immediately online trying to find a suitable site. If a character uses a computer, drives a car, etc., then I get to try and figure out what they would use. Asking questions like "Is this character a Mac user?" is something that's fun to work through, and it helps me build better characters.


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Katy, Kindle Direct Publishing

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 7,000

What is your book about?

I'm gravitating between two projects: one's a YA novel about an emotionally repressed girl who gets sucked into a world of magically-reanimated corpses, unicorn-run organized crime syndicates, and a man who steals people's vitality via Polaroid shots. The other project is fan fiction for one of my favorite television shows, because I have a lot of feelings about preexisting fictional characters.


Have you hit any writer's block?

Definitely. I have a two-pronged approach to writer's block depending on the issue I'm facing. If I'm just having problems with a scene, switching scenes solves it. If I'm having problems writing at all, I go do something physical; while I do that, I let myself think about ways to solve whatever it is that's making it hard for a scene to progress. Adding movement to my thought process helps a lot.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

The first few times I did NaNo, I beat myself up for not sticking with the 1.6K/day regimen, and then when I didn't finish, I beat myself up for it more. I'm really pleased with the general zen I've got about it now. I may be 14K behind where I should be, but dang it, I'm 7K ahead of nothing at all.


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

Jonny, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 1,250

What is your book about?

I chose to use my dreams as inspiration. My goal was to develop a dream log and elaborate on it to create a narrative. Unfortunately, I have not been able to recall my dreams since the start of the month. I then thought it would be interesting to write elaborate dream-like scenarios. I have been using my yoga practice and philosophy and other daily inspirations to help build a narrative.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

Time. Between yoga, chores, wrangling a child discovering to walk, and work, it has been difficult to stay up an extra hour to write. One of the themes of my book explores the influence and restrictions time has on our lives and thoughts, and how we would act and think if that influence wasn't present. This is not the case, at least in this reality.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

NaNoWriMo is a lofty goal in itself, and just setting out to do it feels like an accomplishment. I would love to have written more at this point, but with some groundwork in place it may be easier to at least contribute every day. I typically write sporadically, from a haiku to a short story, once a day to once a month. If I end up with a short story or novel, I will be pleased that I tried and created something new.


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

Andrea, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 5,000

What is your book about?

My book is a comedic memoir about growing up Irish in South Boston, MA. I'm a storyteller by nature; I tell and write what I know.


How much time per day are you spending writing?

I don't know if you would call it writing, as much as rewriting over and over and over again. I spend up to an hour or two (not including all the time going over it in my head and not actively on paper).


Have you hit any writer's block?

Whenever I have hit writer's block, I have always found it best to go back to the beginning when it was simple and when the voice was the most raw, but fresh. That's when what I was trying to say was the most honest.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

Everyone should be proud of him or herself at this point for even taking on this challenge. It's a great way to get to know your fellow authors and share in the passion of the written word.


Now we'd like to hear from you! What's your current word count? Has your novel taken any unexpected turns? Do you have any advice for the CreateSpace and KDP authors?


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NaNoWriMo 2012: The CreateSpace & KDP Chronicles, Part 1

2,129 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, createspace, writers, writing, nanowrimo, craft
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I have a friend who is witty, smart, and charming. He's just an all-around interesting guy. One day, he asked me to read something he had written, and I happily agreed because I fully expected it to be brilliant. It wasn't. It wasn't bad; it was technically very good. He presented his vision in a clear manner. Everything was there that should have been, and then some. That was the problem. EVERYTHING was there. I did not connect with his style. He wrote long, very involved prose that frankly needed to be read twice in some cases to make sure you didn't miss anything. It was the complete opposite of the style in which I write.


As I prepared myself to tell him what I thought of his manuscript, I fretted over what I would say. As I said, it was not bad. It just wasn't my style. I didn't feel it was necessarily fair of me to impose my writing philosophy on him. So, I put off my critique as long as I could. When I couldn't put it off any longer, I started off with a list of positives I found in the story. His characters were very well thought-out, and he had a solid story structure. Then we started talking about our different styles: long prose versus short, blunt sentences. I realized after our conversation that both of us had viable writing styles, and he realized after we spoke that the audience for his book was limited because of his writing style.


I bring this situation up to ask two questions: 1) Where do you stand on the two differing styles? And 2) How do you go about critiquing a friend's work when it's something you don't particularly like?


-Richard

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

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What Is the Tone of Your Novel?

Save the Wordsmithing for Later

1,343 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, self-publishing, writers, writing, writing_style
1

While I have a traditional book deal now, I began my career as a self-published author. As you indie authors out there know all too well, that meant that in addition to everything else, I had to do all the marketing on my own.


As part of my strategy, I reached out to both book clubs and bloggers early on. For clubs near me, I offered to come to their meetings if they chose my novel. For book bloggers, I offered to send them a copy in hopes that they would enjoy it and write favorably about it. (They also could have hated it, but that's the risk you take when you write a novel.)


The first book club organizer to say yes to me was Jennifer van der Kleut. I attended her club, had a great time, and kept in touch. One of the early bloggers to agree to review my book was a woman named Tonya Plank. After that, I stayed in touch with her as well. I kept both women updated on the progress I was making with my book, including the eventual exciting news that I'd landed a contract.


It's a good thing I did.


Jennifer started freelancing for AOL's Patch network, and Tonya began writing for The Huffington Post. Both were impressed by the success I'd had with my self-published book, and the following articles resulted:


Jennifer's Patch.com article


Tonya's Huffington Post article


Jennifer wrote her Patch.com article last year, but she has become such a fan that she also attended the launch party for my most recent novel. This time she recorded a video.


Click here to watch the Patch.com video.


As the above examples demonstrate, things rarely happen overnight in marketing. It's a process that builds on itself, so hold on to the contacts you make along the way.


-Maria

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

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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Book Marketing Tip: Make It Easy for Your Fans to Help You

More Easy Book Marketing Tips

3,796 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, selling, selling, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, blogging, blogging, writing, writing
1

We've talked quite a bit about interacting on a regular basis with your friends, followers, and fans. Connecting with your readers on a regular basis has the potential to turn them into more than just casual contacts; it could potentially turn them into a volunteer sales force.

 

To fully utilize this sales force, you need to engage them as a sales force. If you've never worked in sales before, allow me to give you a little insight into what it's like. A sales staff isn't just handed a product and given the task to sell it. They are involved in the planning and the strategic steps it takes to sell a product. They are the people on the front lines. It only makes sense to seek their input before moving forward with a marketing plan.

 

With that in mind, I regularly take to my blog, Facebook, or Twitter and ask for input from my friends, followers, and fans about possible marketing ideas. If I have an idea for a contest, I'll ask for their input. If I have a couple of cover designs, I'll ask for their feedback. If I need help spreading the word about a giveaway or a new book release, they are the first ones I turn to for ideas. I'm fortunate to have a smart group of people who provide me with invaluable feedback. I'm sure you have the same type of volunteer sales force at your disposal just waiting to be engaged. The more you connect with them, the more ownership and pride they take in your success.

 

-Richard

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

 

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How to Connect with Your Readers

Book Marketing Tip: Make It Easy for Your Fans to Help You

1,771 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, author, promotion, sales, writers
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.


Books/Publishing


The Top 7 Tips to Advertise Your Book! - BadRedhead Media

New media expert and author Rachel Thompson reveals free and extremely inexpensive ways to get the word out about your book.


12 Days of Book Sales: A Dozen Holiday Book Promotion Ideas -duolit

Toni of the duolit team shares her marketing tips and tricks for the holiday season.


Film


Social Media for Filmmakers - Moviola

Newmediafilmfestival.com founder Susan Johnston discusses strategies to increase awareness of your social media presence.


Independent Filmmaking - Character and Casting - NOHO Arts District

Filmmaker Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros takes a look at the joys and pitfalls of bringing your characters to life via your casting choices.


Music


Become a Music Entrepreneur - MusicianCoaching.com

The digital music revolution means greater opportunities for artists who think like entrepreneurs.


5 Simple Ways to Get More Likes on Your Facebook Fan Page - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Bob provides simple solutions for finding more "likes" for your Facebook page.


-Richard

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


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Weekly News Roundup - November 2, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - October 26, 2012

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This is really a never-ending discussion among writers. Must one write every day to improve one's writing? It truly is a case where you either strongly agree with the notion or strongly disagree. The great Erskine Caldwell was asked in an interview in The Paris Review if he thought being a journalist helped his writing career, and this was his answer:


Yes. It was really good training because it compelled me to write something every day whether I felt like it or not. So in that way even writing obituaries helps fiction writing.


I am of the view that I've never stopped writing since the day I decided that's what I wanted to do with my life. Forget writing every day; I feel like I write every minute of every day. Too many people think of writing as the physical act of putting something down on paper or on a computer screen. That's the act of recording a story. And it's important for completing a book. But the writing process continuously clicks away in a writer's head.


In the past, I have been in business meetings with a faraway look in my eyes hearing nothing being said in the room. Why? Because I was constructing a story in my head. I've drifted in the middle of conversations, at funerals, during television programs. You name an event where it's more appropriate that I be present than constructing the next scene in a story, and I've chosen the story every time. I'm fully aware that it's a social faux pas. I just can't help myself. I'm a writer.


The physical act of writing does help with the mechanics of writing, but the actual plotting, character development, dialogue, etc. can be improved upon without the need to type or write it out. So, what do you think? Do writers ever stop writing? Does one need to engage in the physical act of writing daily in order to improve?


-Richard

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


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Increase Your Productivity with Interval Writing

Four Forms of Creativity Fuel

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My friend Karen McQuestion, whose best-selling novels include A Scattered Life, Easily Amused, and The Long Way Home, is my hero. Why? Because her fans LOVE her. I asked for her secret to connecting with readers, and here's what she had to say:

 

The personal touch

 

I love to give away my books and at various times I've done drawings on my blog, Facebook, and Goodreads. When I mail the books to the winners, I always add a note saying I hope they enjoy the book and if so, I'd love to hear their thoughts via a review on Amazon, if they have the time. People seem to enjoy the personal connection with the author and many of them do post reviews as well, which is no small thing.

 

Think like a reader

 

I started having more success with book sales when I started thinking like a reader instead of a sales person. To that end, I participated on message boards as a reader, never mentioning my books. I did however, have my books listed in my signature line. If anyone was interested they could check them out and if not, that was okay too. Talking about books online was an easy thing to do even for an introvert like myself. I got some great book recommendations, and also received some wonderful comments about my own books, which was immensely gratifying.

 

Always respond

 

Facebook, Twitter, e-mails, blog comments - sometimes social media can be overwhelming! Still, if someone has taken the time to let me know they enjoyed one of my books, or even just to wish me well, I make a point to thank them. I don't take any of my readers (or potential readers) for granted. If they've gone to the trouble to contact me, I figure that responding is the least I can do.

 

To learn more about Karen's books, visit www.karenmcquestion.com or follow her on Twitter: @KarenMcQuestion. (If you'd like to follow me, it's @MariaMurnane)


-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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Book Marketing Tip: Make It Easy for Your Fans to Help You

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

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It seems like we are inundated every day with new ways to market online. I know this because I'm usually the one doing the inundating. I've told you to start and maintain a blog, get involved in social media, create a weekly podcast, become a guest blogger, make online videos, and tweet, tweet, tweet. The list goes on and on.

 

There are just so many ways to market yourself online, it's hard to know where to start. It can be overwhelming and prevent a lot of authors from taking action. I had a difficult time with it in the beginning. It was never my heart's desire to have a blog, create videos, or post status updates on Facebook. Months passed before I took action. My thought process was that the writing would win out. Once enough people read the book, marketing wouldn't be necessary...right?


I couldn't have been more wrong. Writing definitely matters, and I think it's the most important aspect of your brand, but it must be supplemented with additional marketing efforts. Ignoring that fact does nothing but cheat you out of finding readers.


So where do you start? Start with your strengths. It's really not any more complicated than that. If you enjoy talking about topics for an extended period of time, create a podcast. If quick interactions with old friends and new fans is more your style, start with social media. If hamming it up in front of a camera for 3-5 minutes fits your personality, let personal videos be your starting point.


The important thing is to get started. Don't let yourself get bogged down by choices and the thought that you need to do everything at once. Start with one strategy and over time, when you get your marketing legs, you can delve into the other strategies and tools.


-Richard

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

 

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Build Your Brand with Original Content

Authors' Four Structural Essentials for Blogs

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

8 Simple Tips to Write Better - Writer's Digest

Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to become a better writer.


The Importance of Your Personal Brand -Marketing Tips

Developing your personal brand is a never-ending process.

 

Film

 

How to Make a Web Series - Filmmaking Stuff

Creating a web series may be a perfect way to build your filmmaking brand.


Who Shot Film? - Tales from the Cutting Room Floor

Now that Fujifilm has announced it will no longer produce 35mm film stock, is shooting on film truly in danger of disappearing?

 

Music

 

5 Unique Ways to Market Your Music Online - Musicgoat.com

Musicgoat.com unveils what they believe to be the best-kept secrets for marketing music online.

 

Why "Post Your Twitter or Facebook Page" Discussions Don't Work - music think tank

There is a more effective way to get followers online, but it takes a little work.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - October 26, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - October 19, 2012

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Around the world, hundreds of thousands of authors are beginning National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It's a month of furious writing to reach a 50,000-word goal in 30 days, and authors at CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing are getting in on the action. CreateSpace and KDP employees Andrea, Katy, Zach, Phoebe, Jonny, and Margaret are taking the challenge and will be using their free time to write those novels alongside you. We'll document their experiences here as they start the contest, race towards the finish, and work to hit that goal. You might even see similarities between your experience and theirs; if so, let us know in the comments!


Without further ado, meet the CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing authors!


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Andrea, CreateSpace


I was born and raised in South Boston, MA and am a Northern transplant to Charleston, S.C. I am a proud community actor and will audition for anything comedic. I write mostly as a form of therapy; it's a wonderful outlet. I write what I know, which is mostly about my crazy family...crazy in a funny way (mostly)!

What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

Our authors. I have procrastinated for years to finish my project. Every day, I work with authors who are not only plugging away at day jobs and other day-to-day responsibilities, but are still finding time to write. I want to be that motivated and finally finish my own project that has been 10 years in the making.


What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

This is a hard one for me; I want to divide 50,000 by 30 and make sure I hit that mark each day, but I know life will happen. I also have the worst habit of not wanting to write until I want to write. I'm hoping to find daily inspiration and stay motivated.


Anything else you want to add?

I'm scared I won't finish! But I'm also scared that I will. Will this be my Harper Lee? She wrote one killer book that still rings true today, but never wrote again. Really, though, I would be happy if just a handful of people read this book I'm composing and it makes them laugh.


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Katy, Kindle Direct Publishing


I've worked at Amazon for a year and a half. I'm a huge word nerd who likes dark humor, dry wit, and rewatching Hot Fuzz monthly. I read voraciously, watch too much genre television, game, and love to travel - though in a party of adventurers I'm typically the person left standing at the mouth of the cave going, "Guys? Guuuuuys? I'm not sure if we should be doing this...." I've made my peace with it. Adventures always need a fuddy-duddy.

What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

I function best within constraints, particularly when it comes to writing, so NaNoWriMo's perfect for me. I always have oodles of ideas bashing around my head, but I never take the time to commit any of them to paper. The competitive and social aspects of NaNo (even if I'm competing against myself!) give me that extra oomph to tackle one or more of those ideas a year.


Is this your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran?

I'm a seasoned veteran, but I've never won the war.


What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

My plan is the gratuitous application of Write or Die while commuting. Write or Die is a program that harasses you if you stop typing - with punishments as innocuous as flashing red lights across your computer screen or as terrible as the mode that will start eating your words with no chance of recovery if you stop typing for long enough. It's terrifying, but also a fabulous motivator.


Anything else you want to add?

The most effective thing I've done during NaNo is plot out what I wanted to write each day before I sit down to write it. That way, when I have those horrible moments of "ACK CRAP WHAT NEXT?!" I have a general idea. I'm sure this is old hat to tons of people, but it took me waaay too many years to grasp that it was vital to the process for me.


 

Zach, CreateSpace

 

I began writing in elementary school and took many classes about writing both fiction and nonfiction through middle school, high school, and college. While initially I wrote poetry, I found I liked reading and writing fiction more. My hope is to eventually publish the work I'll be doing this month.


What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

I was inspired to participate this year because I have been neglecting my writing for a while due to work, school, and sometimes a lack of motivation. After working with so many authors who participated in NaNoWriMo last year, I decided this was the perfect time to start writing again.

 

Is this your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran?

I've participated in NaNoWriMo twice before, to varying degrees of success.

 

What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

When I was first introduced to NaNoWriMo, the best advice I received was that the goal isn't a coherent, final story; it's just the idea of consistent work. One problem I run into is that I get part of a story done, but then begin to edit and revise parts, rather than pressing forward. My goal here is to keep the flow going and sort out the details in December.


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Phoebe, Kindle Direct Publishing

 

I've been with Amazon just over 7 years, working in a variety of positions mainly connected with Amazon's digital endeavors. When I'm not working (or writing) you can usually find me going to pub trivia in the evenings or playing video games.

What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year for the same reason I've done it every year since 2006 - whether I sail happily across the finish line or flame out on day 2, it's incredible fun and a much-needed reminder that yes, this whole "writing" thing can really happen, but only if I make it happen.

 

Is this your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran?

This will be my seventh year of NaNo and I'm hoping to get my win ratio over 50% for the first time since my first year.

 

What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

The key for me is minimizing distractions, maximizing writing opportunities, and getting my engine running in the first week. A couple of my best assets in years past have been GetYarny.com and a trusty netbook with monster battery life.


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Jonny, CreateSpace

 

I live in beautiful Charleston, S.C. with my partner and my daughter. I am exploring pescetarianism as an alternative to being a vegetarian, because how can you not eat seafood in Charleston? I enjoy writing, yoga, paddleboard surfing, graphic design, and creating music. My favorite authors are Emerson, Thoreau, and Chopra.

What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

November is going to be a whirlwind month for me, as I have committed to completing a month-long yoga challenge, growing a moustache for Movember, building a small online storefront, and pushing myself creatively through writing.

 

Is this your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran?

This is my first time participating in NaNoWriMo, and I am excited to see where it takes me.

 

What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

At this point, I have taken to heart that this be a pure spark of creativity from day one. I have only come up with two thoughts and a potential title, and I have restricted all other planning or thought on the subject. Ideally, I will produce about 2,000 words a day and everything else will fall into place.


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Margaret, CreateSpace

 

I'm a native South Floridian and work on CreateSpace's editorial team. When I'm not reading and writing for work, I am reading and writing for pleasure...or chasing the impossible dream of finding the perfect sandwich. But that's not what my book is about.

What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

I've been mulling over some book ideas for a year or so. I love working in editing and helping authors' manuscripts come together, but a full day of work can make it tough to do the heavy lifting on my own projects when I get home. I knew I really needed some motivation to get these ideas in process and hold myself to a deadline to come out with a workable draft.

 

Is this your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran?

First time. Go easy on me, NaNoWriMo.

 

What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

In the immortal words of Tim Gunn, "Make it work."


 

We also want to hear from you! How are you preparing for NaNoWriMo? What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words?

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