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December 2013
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Happy New Year! Don't you just love January? I do. It's time for fresh starts, new beginnings, and the boundless sense of possibility that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning and see what the new year has to offer!

 

If finishing a book is on your list of goals for 2014, January is a great time to start. Or if you're already in the thick of the creative process, now is a perfect time to reenergize. All writers struggle to stay productive at one time or another. (Believe me; I do too.) It comes with the territory, and at times the lack of motivation can seem insurmountable. But you can't give up. If you want to be an author, you can never give up.

 

To keep yourself on track, I suggest setting a reasonable daily goal for your writing. For me that is 1,000 words, but for you it might be less (or more) depending on what else you have going on in your life, not to mention how fast you write. However, I recommend writing no fewer than 500 words per day to stay productive.

 

After you set that daily quota, the next step is to stick with it. Just like committing to a diet and exercise program to get healthy, you have to be consistent to see results. Increments of 500 add up quickly, and if you keep working at it, in just a few weeks you'll see how far you've come. In my experience, getting started is the hardest part of writing a book, because that's where the voice of doubt is the loudest. But if you tune it out and push forward, you'll get there.

 

If you write just 500 words a day beginning today, by St. Patrick's Day you'll be sitting pretty on a good body of work. It won't be fully developed, and it will probably be far from complete, but you'll be well on your way to finishing a book, and you'll be proud of yourself as a result. Trust me. Now get writing!

 

-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, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Writing Takes Discipline

Four Forms of Creativity Fuel

4,264 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers
3

The criminal profiler has become a popular character in today's thriller and mystery genres. The concept is simple: It is this character's job to identify the types of behaviors and characteristics that various types of criminals exhibit. Once the authorities know what type of person is behind the crimes, finding the perpetrator is easier.

 

So here's my question to you: Have you put together a profile of your typical reader? Do you know their hobbies? Do you know their hangouts? Do you know if they're male or female, married, single, etc.? If you knew these things, imagine how much simpler your marketing efforts would be. Common sense suggests it's easier to find someone when you know who you're looking for.

 

Finding this kind of information does require some research, but that research is at your fingertips these days. For example, if you do an Internet search for "Who reads mysteries?" you'll get a slew of posts and articles on the topic. Building a reader profile has never been easier. In large part, you can even start by examining your situation and lifestyle. You are a fan of your genre, are you not? Are you married or single? Do you have children? You get the idea. You can use yourself as a base model of your reader profile and expand it as you do more research.

 

I suggest even creating a document where you record all the information you find on your genre's typical reader. As you collect data, develop a simple description of the typical person who reads books in your genre. Once you know who you're looking for, it's much easier to find that person and market to them.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Find Smaller Markets to Sell More Books

It's Not Just a Hobby, It's a Marketing Opportunity

21,689 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Blog Carnival: Marketing Tips for Authors -Marketing Tips for Authors

A collection of links to posts on all-things books and publishing.         

                                                    

Too Much Vertical Space in Your Manuscript? -The Book Deal

Are you including enough writing in your writing?

 

Film

                                                        

Achieving That Film Look - New Channel Media Blog

Tips and tricks on how to give a digital image that film look.

                                          

Why All Film Directors Need To Know How to Act - NoamKroll.com

Having experience as an actor will allow you to communicate better on set. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Becoming a Better Singer - MusicianCoaching.com

Renowned vocal coach Linda Septien shares her thoughts on the art of singing.

 

Does Music Make You Smarter? (The Mozart Effect) -Maestro Musicians

Has music given you better spatial temporal reasoning?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 20, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - December 13, 2013

3,049 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, music, filmmaking, indie, movies, writers, writing, films, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media
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A new year is upon us. By now, the shock of outlasting the Mayan calendar should be wearing off, and you are raring to kick your book marketing into high gear. You want to build that brand and sell, sell, sell. 

 

Where should you start? My advice is to commit to making 2014 the year of participation. This is the year where you will earnestly and enthusiastically engage with your fan base. The fans are the ones who are doing the hard work for you by telling their friends, followers, and family about your book. The more you interact with them, the more passionate they'll be about their mission to help you and your book succeed.

 

This is a pretty simple concept. Mingle. Start a conversation through a social media site and keep it going for as long as you can. Post on your blog and respond to comments by ending each one with a question. Get to know the people who are fans of your work. You might even want to start a birthday log of the fans you hear from the most. Reach out to them, let them know you're creating a calendar of birthdays for your most ardent supporters and then follow through by sending them birthday wishes at the appropriate time - via email if you can, because that's a bit more personal than doing it via Facebook or Twitter. This is just one idea; the point is to take advantage of every opportunity to interact with your community, no matter how large or small.

 

This is your brand's year. Make it a success by participating in your community. Engage your fans.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Include Calls to Action

Tips for Engaging Your Readers Online

4,030 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, writers, readers, social_media, engage, fan_base, engaging_readers
3

I receive a lot of email from authors who have questions about how to market their books. When the emails are well-written, I naturally assume that their books are probably also well-written. I know we're never supposed to assume anything, but if the authors show attention to detail in their emails to me, it seems logical to presume their books have also been carefully edited - and thus worth reading.

 

One detail that makes me smile is when authors correctly use "its" and "it's." The difference between the two can be extremely confusing because, while most nouns require use of an apostrophe to denote possession (e.g. "this is Maria's blog"), the possessive of "it" does not.

 

Here are some examples:

 

CORRECT:

I'm wondering if you have any tips for how I can promote my novel, XYZ. It's a story about a family in the South and its battle with alcoholism.

 

INCORRECT:

I'm wondering if you have any tips for how I can promote my novel, XYZ. It's a story about a family in the South and it's battle with alcoholism.

 

CORRECT:

I'm having trouble getting my book noticed despite its appeal to teenagers. Would you recommend hiring a publicist?

 

INCORRECT:

I'm having trouble getting my book noticed despite it's appeal to teenagers. Would you recommend hiring a publicist?

 

When I receive messages that correctly use its and it's, I immediately notice the author's grasp of grammar - and take the book more seriously as a result. It makes a good impression, and that's what you want to do when you're promoting your book.

 

Just yesterday I saw a crowdsourcing campaign for a woman trying to get funding for her novel. Unfortunately, the summary of it was riddled with grammatical errors, which made me feel bad for her because I knew it would hamper her efforts, no matter how amazing her book might be. On the flip side, paying attention to detail will help create a positive first impression, which can open doors for you and your 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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Grammar Tip: She and I, Not Her and I

The Dreaded "Who vs. Whom"

4,208 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, editing, writing, grammar
3

Hearing from a fan via email or social media is usually a thrill. There is no better feeling than absorbing their praise and feeling your ego inflate in the process. It's hard not to smile and think, "Yeah, they're completely right. I am that good." Then there are those emails you get from people who aren't fans. They've found something so egregious with what you've written that they feel the need to contact you and let you know just how egregious it was. Recently, I was on the receiving end of such an email and it threw me for a bit of a loop. 

 

The person objected to a word I had used, not in the book itself, but in the description of the book. She admitted to not having read my book. She had just seen it online. She felt so offended by this word that she felt the need to contact me. She started off the email by saying, "I know you probably won't take the time to reply, but..." before going on to describe her complaint in detail.

 

At first, I rolled my eyes because the word is not profane, nor could it be construed in any way as a slur of some kind. It was a perfectly innocent word that I actually used because I felt like it accurately, yet sensitively conveyed what I wanted to say.

 

I read her email several times before I decided to reply. I wanted to make sure that I gave her opinion every consideration, and I did. That doesn't mean I agreed with her, and I very politely let her know that while I appreciated her point of view, I wouldn't be making any changes to the description anytime soon. She replied letting me know that she was grateful for my response. She was disappointed that we couldn't see eye-to-eye, but she understood that I had to do what I felt was right.

 

The exchange taught me a valuable lesson that all authors can apply: disagreements don't have to be ugly arguments. They can be thoughtful debates between people. Don't blow your stack when someone challenges you on your writing. Consider their point, give them a well-reasoned reply, and thank them for the opportunity to address their concerns. That's it. You'll feel better about yourself, and you may even make a new friend in the process.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Who Do You Write For?

Make It Easy for Readers to Find You

3,475 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writers, readers, writing, criticism, fanbase
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Write Effective Tweets -The Passive Voice

Even tweets need headlines.        

                                                    

How to Be a Good Guest Blogger -Catherine, Caffeinated

Guest blogging can be a great brand-building tool, but take the owner of the blog into consideration first.

 

Film

                                                        

Why Filmmakers Must Establish a Production Company - Filmmaking Stuff

Forming your own production company is an essential part of your filmmaking career.

                                          

I've Covered 300 Spec Scripts for 5 Different Companies and Assembled My Findings into a Snazzy Infographic - Imgur

A script reader reveals why 8 out of the 300 scripts he read received a recommend. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Hashtag Music Marketing - How to Use Hashtags to Promote Your Music - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

A look into the mystery that is the hashtag and all its apparent marketing magic.

 

Think You Have a Tight Diaphragm? Think Again -Judy Rodman

Turns out singing from the diaphragm is a bad idea.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 13, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - December 6, 2013

3,501 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink
4

The Marketing Maze

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 18, 2013

Let's face it, marketing a book is hard. It's not rocket science or brain surgery hard, but it is "finding your way through a maze" hard. Sometimes you snake your way through the confusing twists and turns and find your way to the other side without a problem. And, other times, you take wrong turn after wrong turn before you finally reach your destination.

 

The thing you don't want to do is to stop trying to find your way. You're allowed to make mistakes. If you do take a wrong turn, simply turn around and look for another way. Don't be afraid to move forward because you've gone the wrong way in the past; pick a direction and go. You have time, because with print on-demand, your book will never go out of print.

 

There are some things you can do to help yourself navigate the maze:

  1. Know your genre. Study what other authors in your genre are doing to market their books to the demographics you want to reach.

  2. Know yourself. Be honest with how much and what you can do. If there's a skill set you want to learn to help you market your book, factor that into your journey.

  3. Know your book. If you can describe your book in one sentence, pitching your book will be much easier for you.

  4. Know where your readers gather. Likeminded readers often find a place like Goodreads to talk about their favorite books, and they're eager to make recommendations to their fellow devotees.  

 

Yes, marketing a book is hard, but it doesn't have to be unrewarding. As long as you're learning and keeping your eyes open, you'll find a formula that works for you. Just continue your trek through the maze, and you'll get there. 

 

-Richard

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


 

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Promote Your Book with Goodreads

The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

8,797 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, book_marketing, author_brand, marketing_strategy
1

A character arc is a fancy way of explaining how a character changes throughout the course of a story. The arc can be physical or emotional, and it doesn't have to be major, but you want your main characters, especially your protagonist, to experience some sort of change along the journey that is your novel. If your readers get to the end of your book and think "She didn't learn anything! He's still so selfish! No one matured at all!" you probably didn't tell a very interesting story. You want your readers to think the opposite. "Wow! She finally grew up! He learned that hard work does pay! They got what they deserved!" Character arcs satisfy readers, and satisfied readers come back for future books - and tell their friends.

 

I know from experience that the idea of "crafting an arc"can be daunting. However, it doesn't have to be. Here is a good way to approach it: As you set out to write, think about where your main characters are at the beginning of the story. Ask yourself questions such as:

 

What do they want?

 

What are they missing?

 

What is holding them back from getting what they want or where they need to be?

 

Ask yourself these questions first. The answers can be as broad as "She wants to find love" or as specific as "He wants to get back the ring that was stolen from his office desk." Then, as you go about developing the plot, keep those questions in mind. If the things your characters do and say throughout the story are consistently in pursuit of a goal, however small, an arc will naturally develop. Keeping those questions in mind will also stop you from going off on tangents and writing scenes that don't push the story forward, something I'll address in a future post.

 

-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, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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The Basic Elements of a Character Arc

What Do Your Characters Want?


4,820 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, craft, character_arc
0

The holidays can serve as an inspiration to authors, or they can serve as a distraction. If you're one of those inspired by the holidays, you're most likely chomping at the bit to get your thoughts on paper and start sketching out your new story ideas. If, however, you've spent the holidays struggling to find the time and motivation to write, I have something that might kick-start your creative engine.

 

Take to your blog and social media spots and get your fans, friends and followers involved with this fun little exercise: Start a serialized community project together!

 

What is a serialized community project? Simply put, it's a story you write with your fans. You act as the managing editor and fit the pieces together as they come in. Generally, you start the story off with the first line, and then you invite your community to contribute one line at a time. The only steadfast guideline you want in place is for your contributors to treat one another with respect. No bickering or nasty comments should be allowed. This is just about moving forward with a story and seeing where it goes. Let it continue as long as you like. You can set rules about profanity, adult situations, etc., as you see fit. After all, you are the managing editor, and the theme and feel of the story should match your overall brand.

 

A project like this serves two purposes. One, it can help clear your muddled mind so you can crawl out of the holiday funk. Two, it sets your New Year off with a fan engagement assignment that will bring the community built around your brand together. The most important thing to keep in mind is that this is supposed to be a fun project. Treat it that way. Good luck and happy writing!

 

-Richard

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

 

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Your Brand is a Community

Tips for Engaging Your Readers Online

3,789 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions, social_media
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

10 Essential Non-Writing Tools to Help Writers Write -PBS

What non-writing tools are in your arsenal?

                                                    

Getting Maximum "Bang" for Your Book Description Buck: an SEO/Author's Perspective -The Creative Penn

Author and book marketing expert Lori Culwell looks at book descriptions as an SEO professional.

 

Film

                                                        

How to Build Rapport with Movie Investors (and Other Hollywood Heavy Hitters) - Filmmaking Stuff

Because sometimes it is about whom you know.

                                          

30 Things about Screenwriting - Filmmaker IQ

The greatest hits list from Scott Myers' blog, Go Into The Story.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Mixing and Producing: Choosing a Mix Engineer - Musician Coaching

An interview with Grammy-winning engineer Jason Goldstein.

 

Social Media to Your Band's Advantage -Musician Makers

Use social media as more than just a gig announcement tool.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 6, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - November 29, 2013

18,164 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, book, music, filmmaking, movies, writers, writing, mixing, investors, musicians, craft, screenwriting, filmmakers, descriptions, social_media, producing, writing_tips
2

Not long ago, I finished writing a book and decided I would mark the milestone by posting a music video of one of the songs that served as a source of inspiration while I was working on it. The song was "Rye Whiskey" by The Punch Brothers. It's a bluegrass (some call it "newgrass") tune that captured the essence of my book. What I discovered when I found the video on YouTube was that the video sharing site provided me with a list of similar songs. So I spent the better part of the day discovering some great music that also fit with the theme of my story.

 

From there, I decided to put together an unofficial soundtrack for my book. Over the course of a few days, I posted a video on my blog for each of the twelve songs I felt best fit the mood and feel of my book. It was just for fun; I didn't really expect anything out of it.

 

But to my surprise, I heard from other people who were fans of the music I included in my unofficial soundtrack. That led to getting mentions on their blogs and access to a demographic I wouldn't have thought to approach: music-lovers. I saw a little spike in sales that month, and since those posts were my highest-traffic hits, I can only assume some of the people who found me through the music decided to check out my book.

 

I share this little experiment with you in the hopes you'll give it a try. It's fun and can lead to broadening your platform to reach fans of a synergistic medium: music. What would your book's playlist include?

 

-Richard

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

 

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The Next Big Thing

Don't Give Up on the Wind

4,194 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, music, author, writing, promotions
3

In my early days as an indie author, I conducted what I called a "holiday reading campaign" to promote my debut novel, Perfect on Paper, and it worked extremely well. You might be able to do something similar for your books or at least get inspired to think of out-of-the-box marketing ideas. Here's what I did:

 

  1. I looked up the contact information for 15 current presidents of my sorority at large universities across the country.
  2. I sent each a personalized signed copy of Perfect on Paper, along with a letter explaining that I was an alum and that my novel was a romantic comedy I thought they might enjoy reading over the holidays.
  3. I included my contact information and a request for them to please get in touch if they enjoyed the book. I made it clear that because I was self-published, I was doing all the marketing on my own and could really use their help to spread the word. I also promised to follow up via email after the holidays.

 

I sent the books in early December, and in early January I got an email from the sorority president at Harvard asking me to come speak to their chapter. She said she loved my book AND found me to be an inspiration for pursuing my dream of making a living as an author. I accepted the unexpected invitation, and that event led to an invitation to speak to a bigger audience at the Harvard Women's Leadership conference that summer, which led to an invitation to speak to an audience of 2,500 at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. Those engagements were unpaid, but they gave me experience and credibility, and eventually I was signed by a professional speaking agent. Now I get paid to give keynote addresses on following your passion in life - events at which I also sell my books.

 

You might not have been a member of the Greek system in college, but that doesn't mean you can't conduct a similar campaign with a society or organization that is comprised of your target readership. The lesson is that if you're creative, organized, and persistent, it will open doors for you and your 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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Promote Your Book with Goodreads

Beta Readers

19,316 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, promotions, holiday_sales
3

I posted a gift idea for your fans last week, so it only seems fair that I post a gift idea for yourself this time around. Consider this: You are on an intense journey as an indie author that can be very rewarding. The rewards might include fulfilling your dream of being published or perhaps earning enough money to cover your monthly bills. But the journey is full of peaks and valleys. At times, it might seem that the peaks feel impossible to climb and that it's also incredibly easy to stumble and fall into the valleys. From time to time, you might face critics who appear to want to block your way to success, but interestingly enough, the biggest critic among them is most likely you.

 

We all do it. We examine the road we've travelled and occasionally beat ourselves up for taking wrong turns. Self-criticism isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can save us from repeating mistakes. But artists tend to take self-criticism and turn it into self-annihilation. So, this holiday season, give yourself the gift of shutting the self-criticism off. Set it aside. Stuff it in your nightstand, and give yourself a break from it.

 

It will be there after the holidays for you to use again, but this is a time you should take to reflect on the positives and congratulate yourself for taking the journey in the first place. You accomplished your goal of writing a book. Writing a book takes discipline and dedication. If this is your second, third, or thirtieth book, all the more reason to celebrate. You're in this thing for the long haul.

 

In short, be kind to yourself. It's the holidays; say goodbye to your inner critic for a few weeks and pat yourself on the back. You're an author. You deserve it.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Who Do You Write For?

Life Outside of Writing

4,673 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers, writing
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Write & Sell a Cross-Genre Novel -Writer's Digest

When your book defies categorization.

                                                    

Collaborative Writing: Why Writing Together is Better than Writing Alone -Beyond Paper Editing

Are two creative minds really better than one?

 

Film

                                                        

Build a Reputation - Filmmaking Lesson 2 - Filmmaking Stuff

Is it easier to build a bad reputation than a good one?

                                          

The Filmmaker's Guide to Using the Top Social Media Sites - Sheri Candler

A look at the process of building communities around your filmmaking brand.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Wallowing in Obscurity? Congratulations! Why It's Awesome to Be an Unknown Artist - Bob Baker's The Buzz Factor

Oh, the fun you'll have building your brand.

 

Artistic Efficiency: How to Create More and Get Out of Your Own Way -Hypebot.com

Taking the time to plan your career can give you time to create.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - November 29, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - November 22, 2013

3,060 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, music, indie, artists, movies, writers, films, genre, social_networking, musicians, filmmakers, collaboration, article_marketing, music_branding
4

I self-published my first book in 2005. From the moment I had the trade paperback in my hand, I knew it wasn't going to sell itself. I scoured the Internet for information on how to sell books. The old world of publishing dominated the landscape at that time, so it was difficult parsing all the information to find strategies that fit an indie author. Slowly, I scratched and clawed my way through the gnarly marketing jungle and carved out a small, but growing niche for myself. I became known as an author who writes horror novels for young adults. It was a status that suited me just fine...at the time.

 

But I am an artist, and I like to experiment. I wanted to write something outside of the horror genre for an older audience. I tried doing just that under my name. It worked and it didn't. The book turned out as I envisioned, but most of the reader base I had built just wasn't that enamored with the work. Why should they have been? It was outside of their preferred genre, and it was written for a different demographic. I went back to my bread and butter and, as much as I enjoyed writing the other material, I decided I couldn't waste my creative time on it.

 

Then an idea came to me that I just couldn't shake. It wasn't young adult, and it wasn't horror by any stretch of the imagination. The characters, setting, and story were so clear in my mind that I couldn't help but write it. I decided early on that I would publish it, but not under my name. I would use a pen name.

 

I found it very liberating to write as someone else. If you're considering switching genres and trying something new, you might find it freeing as well. Using a pen name removes the expectations of the audience of readers you've established. Even if you choose to market to that same audience, they'll likely have a clearer understanding of the differences between your titles if you explain your choice of going with a nom de plume. You'll be able to experiment with style and language in a way you probably could not have under your established name.

 

So if you want to stretch your creative chops and untangle your imagination, I highly recommend publishing under another name. You may discover you've unwittingly been holding yourself back in certain areas. Once you exorcise those demons under a different name, you will satisfy the artist in you and become a better writer.    

 

-Richard

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

 

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8,374 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, selling, self-publishing, sales, writing, genre, brand, craft, marketing_strategy, brand_identity, demographic
2

Beats, which are a description of a character's action, are a great way to exercise show vs. tell. If you aren't familiar with show vs. tell, it's a fundamental rule of good writing. (See my post using the analogy of online dating to explain why it's so important.)

 

Here are some examples of how descriptive beats show the reader what is happening on a physical and emotional level:

 

  • Andrea stomped her foot on the ground and crossed her arms. "It's not fair!"

 

  • Robert threw the glass against the wall and watched it shatter, then turned his gaze on Karen. "I'm only going to ask you once. Tell me where he's hiding."

 

  • Amber twirled the stem of her wine glass between her fingertips and gave him the doe eyes she'd practiced in the restroom mirror. "I never do this, but would you like to join me upstairs for a nightcap?"

 

By using beats intertwined with dialogue, the above sentences paint vivid pictures of what is happening on many levels. It does this by showing the reader, not telling the reader.

 

Here are three variations of the above examples, minus the beats, that tell the reader what is happening.

 

  • "It's not fair!" Andrea declared petulantly.
  • "I'm only going to ask you once. Tell me where he is," Robert demanded.
  • "I never do this, but would you like to join me for a nightcap?" Amber inquired suggestively.

Do you see the difference? Words such as declared, demanded, and inquired have no place in good dialogue. Neither do adverbs such as petulantly or suggestively. Some authors think they're supposed to use every possible word but said to describe dialogue, when in fact they should only use said - or even better, nothing at all. That's what good beats can do for you. If you paint a clear picture of the action and emotion involved, readers can see it for themselves.

 

-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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3,857 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, action_beats
1

The holidays are upon us. You probably have gifts to give, my author friends. The people in your life deserve your best this year, because 2013 has gone well for you. You're an author telling your story, your way - how could this not have been a good year?

 

At the top of your holiday list? Your fans. By the way, here's a gift I want you to give to yourself: Start calling your readers fans. Sometimes it's difficult settling into that word, as it can feel a little audacious. I get it. I'm approaching the ninth year of my indie publishing journey, and I still have trouble using the word fans. But I assure you, you have fans. They are fanatical about your book. Happy holidays!

 

And since they are fans, give them a little special treatment this year to show your appreciation for their support. Give them a gift. It doesn't have to be expensive, and it doesn't have to be for all your fans. Pick a small number - let's say five, because that's everybody's favorite arbitrary number - and give them some attention. You could run a giveaway on your social media channels to identify the lucky fans who will get some extra holiday cheer from you this year. You could raffle off a signed copy of your latest book with a special holiday note, or perhaps give away a few gift cards. Or you could do something as simple as sending your mailing list a festive e-card expressing your heartfelt gratitude for their helping you spread the word about your book and wishing them well through the holidays and into the new year.

 

The point is to acknowledge your fans and let them know how important they are to you. They're likely to respond with an even deeper sense of commitment to you and your books' success. These sorts of gestures may result in their letting friends, family, and followers know that you're not just another author - you're an author who cares about his or her fan base.

 

-Richard

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

 

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

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