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September 2013
4

Bad reviews can be like a punch to the heart. Sometimes even mediocre reviews pack a bit of a wallop that can stagger the ego. But this may surprise you: at times even good reviews are a little tough to handle - not because they're devastating, but for an entirely different reason.

 

Don't get me wrong. I love positive reviews, and I get a warm, tingly feeling from head to toe when I get one. When I'm feeling especially low, I may even hop onto one of my books' Amazon.com pages and read a few of the better reviews to raise my spirits. But positive reviews do come with potential pitfalls.

 

I was once given a fantastic review by a mother who was ecstatic that her son had completed one of my books from cover to cover. She normally couldn't get him to read, but somehow she had talked him into reading my book, and he actually enjoyed it. Had she stopped her review at that point, I would have been left happy and satisfied, but she went on to compliment me for not using excessive profanity.

 

That last little comment terrified me because I happened to be working on a new book that was chockfull of profanity. The story called for it, and I knew it to the very core of my writer's soul, yet I immediately started second-guessing myself. I went through the pages of the new book and tried to soften the language. A reader/fan/mother had reached out to me and specifically complimented my ability to tell a story without excessive profanity. How could I not at the very least entertain the notion of trying to meet her expectations again?

 

In the end, I carried on with the style of writing I had established before I read the positive review. It was tempting to try to please this reader. She had been so flattering and so kind. But had I given in and played it safe, I would have ultimately published a bland story that wouldn't have pleased anyone.

 

So what's the lesson here? Bask in the glow of a positive review. Tell your family and friends about it. Do a happy dance. Celebrate, but don't let it influence your next project. If you do, you run the risk of writing without passion. That's not good for you, the story, or your readers.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Use Good Judgment When Asking for Reviews

Considering a Reader's Suggestion

5,538 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, reviews, writers, writing
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

4 Reasons You Need a Business Plan for Your Book - Writer's Digest

Embrace the entrepreneur inside of you.

 

The Secret to Writing Faster -Backspace

Could the secret to writing faster be ditching technology?

 

Film

 

5 Tips for Creating Your Own Film or Series - backstage

It takes a team to make a film.

 

Joss Whedon on Filmmaking - BAFTA - Filmmaker IQ

From Buffy to The Avengers, Joss Whedon has proven he knows his stuff.

                                    

Music

 

3 Surprising Reasons House Concerts Are Great For Selling Merch and Making New Fans - Musicgoat

It might be time to invite a few hundred of your closest friends over and have a party.

 

Busy Voices: Quick Tabata Exercise for Physical Stamina -Judy Rodman

One must exercise the entire body to keep one's voice physically fit.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - September 20, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - September 13, 2013

3,344 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, selling, book, music, filmmaking, film, author, movies, writers, writing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media
9

In a story, you have a Point A and a Point B. These two points are payoff moments that send your story in a certain direction and rock your readers' worlds. They're the parts everyone will be talking about. As a writer, you feel especially proud about the development of these two points in your story. They came out perfectly. But what about the other stuff, the part of your story that got you from point A to point B?

 

Elmore Leonard famously called these the "boring parts," and he handled them by not handling them. He left them out of his story. Now, his genre, the crime novel, allowed for that kind of tactic. There isn't a lot of minutiae in crime novels. The tone calls for a fast pace that allows the readers to fill in a lot of the unsaid action. How a character gets from the elevator to the front door of his apartment isn't necessary to write unless something of note is revealed about the plot in that short trip. 

 

Even if you aren't a crime novelist, there's a lesson here: if you include minutiae, make it count. Be sure it reveals something about the characters, plot or setting. Personally, I don't object to the "boring parts" as long as they are written well. Those parts can help readers become immersed in the story. A good writer can sneak them in without the reader noticing. The more I know about how a character traverses a hallway, the greater the chance I may find myself walking down the hallway with him.

 

I understand I might be in the minority. We live in an abbreviated world where things are said in 140 characters and the number 8 is used to spell words like "gr8," so the "boring parts" of a novel may be relics of a bygone age of storytelling. Readers have a growing expectation for writers to get to the point. I think there can be a compromise: eliminate those parts if you find they're slowing your story down, but don't cut them for the sake of cutting them. Leave them in if that's what your writer's heart tells you.

 

How about you? How do you handle the "boring parts" of a novel?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Nix Unnecessary Words

Writing Tip: Keep the Story Moving Forward

9,713 Views 9 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: editing, self-publishing, writing, drafts, development, craft
3

One of the first things I ask people about when I give workshops on book marketing is their networks. Oftentimes, authors reply with, "I don't have one." But that's not true, because everyone has some sort of network. Here are some ways to find yours:

 

1. Where did you go to school?

 

Tap into high school and college alumni networks on Facebook and LinkedIn. There are also tons of regional college alumni clubs out there, as well as national college alumni magazines, and all of them would be interested to hear that you're an author. For those organizations that have newsletters, provide the editor with a brief description of your book, a high-resolution cover image, a short author bio, and your headshot. Also, be sure to note what your connection is with that particular institution. You'd be surprised where that might lead. If you were in a fraternity or sorority, the Greek system also has strong alumni networks.

 

2. How do you spend your free time?

 

Everyone has at least one hobby! Do you play a sport? An instrument? Do you sing? Knit? Paint? Quilt? Are you in any social or business networking groups? Whatever it is that you do when you're not working, there are organizations filled with like-minded individuals. Many of them will have newsletters that would appreciate hearing from you, especially if your book has something to do with their field of interest. A simple internet search can get you started. Meetup.com is another way to find people who share your interests.

 

3. What is your heritage?

 

Are you an immigrant? Were you born in the United States but have parents who weren't? Are you Greek-American? Irish-American? Indian-American? Whatever your bloodline or personal history, there are groups out there full of people with similar backgrounds, so get online and start reaching out!

 

4. Where do you work/have you worked?

 

LinkedIn is a great way to track down former colleagues. If you've worked with a group of people, the simple fact that you've written a book is newsworthy, so be sure to tell them.

 

Marketing a book takes effort, and your networks are a good place to start. You already have something in common with those audiences, so it'll be easier to make a connection that could add to your readership.

 

-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: Hold On to Your Contacts

Book Marketing Tip: Be Resourceful

10,483 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, writers, promotions, social_networking, social_media, marketing_strategy, fanbase
4

I'd like to tell you how wonderful I am. I'm an excellent writer. I've won too many awards to list. I've sold a bunch of books. I can do 10 pushups without a break, and while I can't run a four-minute mile, I can drive it in about a minute and a half from a dead stop. 

 

In case you think I've lost my mind, let me assure you I'm just trying to make a point. If you take to social media to build your brand, you can't do it in a heavy-handed fashion. You have to steer clear of the "me-me-me" approach. Social media is all about building a community. Instead of making it entirely about you, make it about your friends, followers, and readers. They are the ones who will ultimately be responsible for your success, so treat them accordingly.

 

I often see authors focus on themselves. I get it. It's their platform, and they are there to draw attention to themselves and their books. But in today's social media driven world, your brand is the centerpiece of a community. Your role as an author may be what brought your community together, but there are many parts and personalities that you should take the time and effort to highlight.

 

With the community focus in mind, consider trying one of these tactics: Allow a fan to take over your blog for the day with guest posts. Include a "fan of the week" post on Facebook or Twitter. Share or retweet your followers' links that resonate with you. In other words, find ways to share the spotlight with the people who support your career. By doing so, you give your fans greater reason to participate in your community, and they will be more apt to share their positive experience with their friends, followers, and families.     

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Include Calls to Action

Considering a Reader's Suggestion

10,004 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: selling, writers, readers, writing, community, fans, social_networking, social_media
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

4 Ways to Cultivate Fan Activists to Help with Word of Mouth Marketing -Marketing Tips

Author and branding expert Eric Thomas reveals his secrets to finding superfans who love spreading the word.                                                    

 

In Book Marketing, Sometimes Less is More! -Self Publishing Coach

Author AFN Clarke discusses his experience with advertising his books.

 

Film

 

Film School Thru Commentaries - Filmmaking.net

Kevin Smith explores who does and doesn't need to go to film school in the world of filmmaking.

 

5 Things You Should Know About DSLR Film Making - Raindance

Meet the camera that is changing independent filmmaking.

                                    

Music

 

#10 Change with Bob Baker - #BBTD

Music marketing guru Bob Baker talks succeeding, failing, and all the hurdles in between.

 

Great Advice from Sting's Guitarist -Ashley J. Saunders

Dominic Miller discusses the proper way to hold a guitar.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - September 13, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - September 6, 2013

3,424 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, selling, book, music, filmmaking, self-publishing, movies, writers, publishing, writing, book_marketing, films, musicians, filmmakers, social_media
3

In 1958, the incomparable George Plimpton interviewed the equally incomparable Ernest Hemingway in the spring edition of the Paris Review. It's a fascinating interview, and I highly recommend it. There are a lot of great morsels of sage advice for writers. The most useful in my opinion is the following:

 

You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.

 

I found the advice so useful that I've incorporated it into my own routine. It was not easy to follow in the beginning. It turns out it takes as much discipline to stop writing as it does to start. There is a natural inclination to write until the well is dry. Having an idea and seeing it come alive on the page is an exhilarating feeling. It is energizing to experience the unfolding of a story.  In short, the creative process gets you jazzed. 

 

Stopping when you know what is going to happen next is a lot like slamming on the brakes when you're traveling at 100 miles per hour in a car hauling a heavy load. It just doesn't seem prudent. The first night I followed Hemingway's advice, I couldn't sleep. I felt as if the character I had left hanging in the middle of a dicey situation was standing at my bedside pleading with me to get up and finish the scene. I fought the urge until morning, and then hopped out of bed and wrote with an incredible vigor.

 

Over the weeks and months since incorporating this strategy, stopping has become easier, and I've learned to shut down long enough to get some much needed sleep. The enthusiasm to get back to the story is still there when I wake up. Hemingway's advice has worked for me, and if you're looking for a new approach to your writing routine, I highly recommend you give it a try. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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That Wise Old Doubt

When to Walk Away from a Story

4,280 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: editing, self-publishing, writers, writing, drafts, writing_process, craft
0

Several posts back, I explained the concept of showing vs. telling by using the example of an online dating profile to demonstrate the difference. Today, I'd like to delve into a key reason why it's important to show and not tell your readers.

 

Being told is annoying!

 

I just read a novel by a world-famous author who has sold hundreds of millions of books around the world, which admittedly is hundreds of millions more than I have sold. However, despite her success and fame, I wanted to throw this particular novel out the window, and I might have done so had I not been on an airplane while reading it.

 

Here's what drove me nuts: Over and over, the author told me about the wonderful, loving, supportive relationships the protagonist enjoyed with her husband and daughter, often repeating herself as she did so – and by repeating herself I mean literally using the exact same phrases. If being told the relationships were wonderful, loving, and supportive wasn't irritating enough (there were no examples to show me, just descriptions to tell me), over and over the author repeated herself to make her point. Did I mention that over and over she repeated herself to make her point? Yep, over and over she repeated herself to make her point.

 

See how irritating that is?

 

In addition to the tediousness of reading the same thing page after page after page after page, the repetition made me feel as if the author thought I wasn't smart enough to "get it" the first time. But I am smart enough, and so are most readers. So take my experience to heart, and when you're writing your own novel, give your readers some credit, and let them figure things out for themselves. I suspect they'll appreciate you for doing so.

 

-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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Avoid Word Repetition

Writing Takes Discipline

2,871 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: writers, readers, writing, drafts, writing_process, craft, character_development, show_vs_tell
0

You have readers, but do you have a volunteer sales force? Readers who enjoyed your books may want to be part of your word-of-mouth campaign, but you might not be giving them the tools to do so. Time to give them calls to action, which can elicit passive or active responses:

 

1. Invite Readers to Sign Up for Updates (Passive)

This call to action invites readers to sign up to learn more about you and your work. On your blog or website, you should have a highly visible button that directs them to an online form, email address, or social media group where they can sign up to receive updates from you. If they are part of a social media environment, you'll want to reach out frequently, even if it's just a quote of the day. If you've set up an email newsletter, your updates won't be as frequent, but you'll still be reaching them about author and/or book activity on a semi-regular basis.

 

This is a common practice in the world of marketing, so you're not reinventing the wheel. You're just enabling readers to continue connecting with you after they've closed your book.

 

2. Invite Readers to Spread the Word (Active)

This call to action is for readers you'd call "superfans." They're the ones who will sign up to spread the word about your books (your "street team," if you will). A call to action for them would be an invitation to join your word-of-mouth campaign.

 

These readers are your volunteer sales force, so give them information about how they can help. Making a personal appearance? Ask these fans to spread the word, particularly if they live in the area where you will be appearing. Released a new video book trailer? Ask your team to share it with their friends and followers. New book coming out? Tell them how they can help to get the word out. Your goal is to make it easy for those readers who want to be part of your team to take action.

 

Remember to regularly thank these superfans for their dedication. You could offer other rewards as well. Perhaps they could be beta readers for your next book, or you could offer them signed copies of your books. The point is to make them feel special for being part of your inner circle and helping you out.

 

One or both of these calls to action will give readers an opportunity to get more involved with you and your books. Have you given your fans that call to action?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Find Advocates with Free Books

The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

7,420 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, selling, writers, promotions, fans, social_media, marketing_strategy
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

5 Steps for Restarting Your Book Marketing Efforts after a Break -Duolit

What to do when building your brand has taken a backseat to living your life.

                                       

Goodreads for Authors with Patrick Brown -The Creative Penn

The director of author marketing and community manager at Goodreads shares some valuable insights for authors about the online community of readers.

 

Film

 

The New Marketing Model for Filmmakers - AdPulp.com

A look at the world of online media for filmmakers that goes beyond YouTube.

 

Equity Crowdfunding, a New Financing Opportunity for Independent Filmmakers - Filmlinker

Is this a viable new financing strategy for independent filmmakers?

                                    

Music

 

The War of Art: Resistance and the Music Producer - Renegade Producer

How to battle that little voice in your head that's trying to hold you back from taking chances.

 

How Streaming Affects Music Revenue Growth -Hypebot.com

Are the latest music streaming statistics signaling a growth in music revenue?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - September 6, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 30, 2013

3,152 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, marketing, book, music, self-publishing, indie, movies, writers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media, crowdsourcing
1

Good dialogue has a rhythm to it. As you read it, you can feel its flow. You can imagine the stops and starts, the highs and lows, the tonality and the emotion - and you can sense it all without the author telling you when the speaker is mad or happy or tired. All of that is in the rhythm of the dialogue.

 

In order to create that kind of rhythm, character development is of paramount importance. If you've put in the work of creating multidimensional characters and you've given the reader a real sense of what drives a character at any given moment, the reader will take that information, apply it to the dialogue and extrapolate the rhythm. 

 

Stephen King advises against the liberal use of "ly" words (adverbs). He feels that it shows timid writing that suggests an author lacks confidence in his or her own ability. Very often, these adverbs appear either before or after a line of dialogue. 

 

"Give me the money,"John said angrily. 

 

Jane cleared her throat and said nervously, "I don't have the money." 

 

Neither example is terrible, and taken out of context, the "ly" words are helpful. But within the body of a novel, where you've established that "John" in this example is prone to anger and has been searching for the money, it's unnecessary to tell the reader that he angrily asked for it. In addition, you may have established that "Jane" spent the money and has been dreading the moment she would be asked for it. The reader doesn't need to know that she nervously responded to John's demand.

 

Spend the time to develop your characters so you can ditch the adverbs and give your dialogue rhythm. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Use Adverbs Sparingly, Especially in Dialogue

What Do Your Characters Want?

6,321 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, author, writers, writing, craft, dialogue, grammar
0

When I was writing my first novel, I was so excited to see my own words on the page that I ended up with several scenes that didn't have much at all to do with the main plot. After I signed with an agent, she pointed out this tendency to wander and had me cut a lot. I mean, a LOT. It was painful to hit the delete key, but I realized she was right. (Click here to read my post on what to do with scenes you cut.)

 

When you're writing a novel, it's important to always keep the story moving forward. If you go off on tangents that have nothing to do with the plot or aren't going to somehow tie back into it later, your readers are going to get confused or bored, and they may stop reading entirely.

 

I recently finished reading a murder mystery that veered off in several directions with new characters who seemed interesting enough, but then they all disappeared and never wound their way back into the story. When the killer was revealed and the book was over, instead of feeling satisfied, I found myself scratching my head and thinking, "But what happened to that little blonde girl on the side of the road? And why didn't I find out what the deal was with that creepy truck driver guy? And where did that wise old lady from the restaurant go?"

 

It felt almost as if the author didn't finish writing the book. Having subplots can keep a novel interesting, but they need to keep the overall story moving forward. If they go nowhere, your story goes nowhere, and your readers might end up going somewhere else for their next book.

 

-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 Comes after the Conflict?

Overwriting? Just Say It!

6,804 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, plot, craft
2

Claim Your Genre

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 9, 2013

Have you fully embraced your genre? Have you established yourself as a go-to source in your genre? When a reader is looking for a reliable opinion or information about a book in your genre, is there a chance that reader will turn to you or stumble upon your brand because of your status as an expert or enthusiast?

 

If you answered no to one or more of the questions above, you might be selling yourself short and missing an opportunity to solidify your author brand. But don't worry - it's never too late to become a central figure in your selected genre. All you have to do is raise your profile. Here are a few suggestions to do just that.

 

  1. Review books in your genre - You are most likely an avid reader in the genre in which you write, and there are undoubtedly authors and books you love. Tell the world with a killer review. Share your opinions as if your brand depends on it.

  2. Review authors in your genre - You have a platform. Use that platform to showcase your favorite authors. You can do an email interview; set up a Skype interview; or if the author is nearby, grab your camera and head over to his or her writing spot to do an interview you can upload to a video sharing site.

  3. Turn your blog over to authors in your genre - Invite both new and established authors to do a guest post on your blog. Give them a theme to write about, provide them with a short introductory paragraph, and then let them do what they do best: write. Chances are they'll reciprocate. Authors who support one another tend to have more success.

 

Be that guy! Be the one readers look to for reliable information on your genre. If you increase the prominence of your brand in your genre, you raise both your own stature as an author and that of your books.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Expand Your Reach by Teaching

Make Your Brand Engaging

6,155 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotions, genre
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How Did I Get So Many Reviews Of 'Broken Pieces?' -BadRedHead Media

How one author managed to get more than 140 reviews for her indie title.    

                                       

Networking Tips for Shy Authors -The BookBaby Blog

A guide to take your networking from the virtual world to the real world.

 

Film

 

Creative Things to Do When an Actor Won't Return for a Sequel - Den of Geek

How do you do the sequel to your indie hit without the same actors?

 

Is Crowdfunding Changing the Game for Filmmakers? A Q&A with Spike Lee - Huffington Post

The legendary indie filmmaker looks at the changing world of film financing. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

The Game of Music Knowledge - The Musicians Guide

Are you making music career choices based on emotion or reason?

 

5 Tips on How to Get More Followers on Instagram -musicgoat.com

Lest we forget, Instagram can be a potent marketing tool. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 30, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 23, 2013

3,477 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, reviews, music, filmmaking, film, author, self-publishing, indie, movies, writers, writing, promotions, social_networking, musicians, filmmakers, branding, social_media
3

It's okay to walk away from a story. In fact, it may be good to walk away from a story. Writing is a hollow endeavor without perspective, and sometimes it's hard to gain that perspective when you're in the middle of constructing a story. Sure you're adding pages, and sure it feels like you're moving forward, but things aren't always what they seem.

 

I've had many times where I will shoot out of the gates with a story idea, and I will write for weeks and weeks feeling really good about where I'm going, but then things start to waver. I begin to harbor doubts about the story for which I once had so much passion. The premise no longer excites me. The character development seems uninspired, and the dialogue seems forced.  Instead of feeling uplifted when I sit down to write, I feel like I'm undertaking a pointless task.

 

What is an author to do when met with such drudgery? Personally, I have to walk away from the story. I leave it and move on to something else. Sometimes months will pass before I return to it, and I always seem to get back to it the same way. I'll recall that story out of the blue and wonder why my excitement waned. I'll open the file and start reading. What I find, more times than not, is that I was so entrenched with where I wanted to go with the story that I refused to see it any other way. By leaving it for a period of time, I let go of that set path and find a better way to proceed. I gain a new perspective, and my passion for the story returns.

 

If a story isn't working, leave it alone. Start writing something else. Give yourself a break from your own expectations of what a story should be. Don't be a victim of your ambitions. When you come back to the project, you will more than likely discover a fresh, more suitable path for the story you walked away from.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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That Wise Old Doubt

How to Get Through the First Draft

3,959 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, editing, writers, writing, drafts, development, craft
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Having a newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with your readers, but you want to make sure it's something they look forward to and not just another addition to their already-full inboxes. Here are some suggestions for how to do it right:

 

  • DO use a professional newsletter program such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or other email marketing tools. MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, and Constant Contact's monthly fees are quite low. The programs are easy to use and allow you to insert logos and imagery consistent with your branding. They also allow people to subscribe (and unsubscribe) easily, which means that you have a real list of people who want to hear from you. I'm on a few blind-copy email lists that always end with "If you want me to take you off this mailing list, just let me know." I find that awkward because I don't want to be on the lists but also don't want to reply to the authors directly and ask to be removed, so I just mark them as spam.

 

  • DON'T automatically add everyone you meet to your mailing list. You can certainly tell me about it, and if I want to be on it I will subscribe, and if you want to be on mine, I hope you will do the same. In my opinion, adding people without their permission is unprofessional.

 

  • DO keep your newsletters short and sweet. One of my author friends has a bi-monthly newsletter that is always so long and text-heavy that I rarely get through the first paragraph. It's just too much! People are BUSY, so keep what you send them brief and to the point.

 

  • DON'T send too many. I attended a conference once where a speaker suggested sending two newsletters a week! I completely disagree. (I also didn't subscribe to her list because I didn't want to be flooded with messages.) I send about one a month so I have truly meaningful news to share.

 

-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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We often speak of branding on this blog. Branding has been around as long as people have had things they've wanted to sell to other people. It's not a new concept. The invention of the Internet, however, has caused the idea of branding to spread into nearly every nook and cranny of society, and it's changed the way branding is done.

 

Engagement is your most powerful branding tool. It doesn't matter how active you are on your blog or on social media or whatever virtual medium in which you participate. If you're not engaging with your readers, you're not effectively branding.

 

I have an author friend on Facebook who is excellent at engaging his fan base. He does so by frequently asking his Facebook friends to help him with research for his latest book. His books contain military aspects, and he often needs to know proper policy and procedure in order to give his book authenticity. He invariably gets a dozen or so comments. The interesting thing is not all of them directly address his question; in fact, many of them are "can't wait for your next book" type comments.

 

I've conducted polls to engage readers. I've asked for opinions on cover design. I've even asked readers for feedback on career trajectory. I'm always pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic responses I get.

 

The Internet has taken the idea of branding from a corporate construct to a community project. Your community of readers wants to feel involved in your brand. They want to have ownership in your success. By actively engaging them, you are building a brand that doesn't just reflect you; it reflects your community of readers. Give them an opportunity to participate.

 

-Richard

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

 

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