Skip navigation
Previous Next

Resources

July 2014
4

Much has been written about what reading a novel does to the brain. One study featured by The Atlantic showed that reading certain words associated with odors can trigger the part of the brain devoted to smell. Another study showed that reading a novel can change the structure of a brain. For example, reading about riding a bicycle can activate the parts of a brain that are used when physically riding a bicycle. In short, reading a novel can open the reader up to experiencing a kind of non-physical reality that is completely created by the author.

 

 

If reading can have that kind of effect on the reader, imagine what it can do for the writer. During my best writing moments, I slip into a trance that in many ways makes me feel removed from this world, a kind of Fringe-like alternate universe. The structure of my brain must be constantly under construction as if it's the Winchester mansion adding wing after wing with no end in sight.

 

 

Personally, I feel like my worldview has expanded a great deal over the years that I have followed the stories in my head. Some would argue that it's a natural process of aging and maturing, and while I can't say for sure that writing is what changed me, I lean in that direction. For no other reason than I know of, we are shaped by our experiences and thanks to my writing, I have experienced things that I haven't physically experienced. It's a wild concept that can leave you a little dizzy.

 

What about you? Do you feel your writing has changed you in any way?

 

-Richard

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

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

You may also be interested in...

 

Thank the People Who Help You

Make Your Own Rules

2,448 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, publishing, writing, reading, craft, author_brand
2

Why Grammar Matters

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 29, 2014

I recently began watching "The Wire" (yes, I realize I'm 12 years late), and I love it! So far it has lived up to the hype. It also gave me a good idea for this blog post. In one of the early episodes, one of the main characters (a police officer) spends a lot of time preparing a report about possible criminal activity at a housing project in Baltimore, and then presents it to a judge in hopes of gaining authorization for a wiretap. In this particular scene, we see the police officer sitting anxiously in his chair, so proud of all his hard work, just waiting for a pat on the back from the judge for following a very specific list of legal requirements to get what he really needs to stop the bad guys.

 

What does the judge do after reading the meticulously prepared report? He points out that the police officer repeatedly confused "then" and "than" and proceeds to give him a lecture on the difference between the two.

 

The police officer is incredulous. He's spent weeks working the streets gathering the evidence he needs to combat a violent drug operation, and the judge is correcting his grammar?

 

Yes.

 

This is why grammar matters! No matter how great your content is, errors jump out at an educated reader and get in the way of the story. The above scenario is a perfect example of this. Mixing up "then" and "than" has nothing to do with the magnificent police work that went into that report, but the mistake was what caught the eye of the judge, who is the person in power in the equation.

 

When it comes to a book, the reader is the person in power because he or she is the one who can spread the word about it. You want readers to love your story and tell all their friends about it, so don't give them a reason to focus on anything else.

 

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

 

You may also be interested in:

 

Quick Lesson on Hyphens

"Myself" Is Not a Substitute for "I"

5,625 Views 2 Comments Permalink
1

Wonderful Failures

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 28, 2014

To motivate you to pursue your dreams with reckless abandon, I'd like to share an inspirational message that centers on failing. You read that correctly. I'd like to focus your attention on what it means to fail. In short, failure has gotten a bad rap. It's not the insurmountable obstacle it's been made out to be.

 

This past graduation season there were two commencement speeches that brilliantly delved into the arena of failing. You may have seen the video(s) floating around the social networking-sphere. Actor Jim Carrey touched on this topic during his speech at Maharishi University. Actor Charlie Day also invoked the notion of failing in his commencement address at his alma mater, Merrimack College. I encourage fellow authors to watch both videos. The one-sentence pitch for both speeches is essentially the same: Failing while doing what you love is much more fulfilling than failing while doing something you hate.

 

Angst and stress are byproducts of doing something that doesn't fulfill you. It doesn't come from the actual act of failing. Writing, publishing, and even building a brand are rewarding endeavors for indie authors because they are a calling. And, when you devote your passions to your calling, not even failure can derail you. In fact, it should embolden you to dive back in with even more enthusiasm and vigor.

 

Just as enrichment doesn't necessarily bring monetary riches, failure doesn't mean a painful end. Your writer's soul will thrive as long as you're in the game no matter what the end result may be.

 

-Richard

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

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

You may also be interested in...

 

Say Yes!

Sensitive Topics

2,223 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers, wonderful_failures
1

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

What Is a Perfect Ending? - Writer's Digest

A panel at this year's ThrillerFest discusses the best way to end a novel.

                           

5 Reasons You Procrastinate on Getting Your Book Done: What Is It Costing You? - The Future of Ink

How to overcome all those excuses that are holding you back.     

 

Film

                                                        

Email Marketing for Movies (Why You Need To Start Now!) - Filmmaking Stuff

Is your email marketing campaign as crucial as your filmmaking strategy?    

                                          

How Do You Co-direct a Film? - Projector Films

The only thing harder than directing a film may be co-directing a film.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Crowdsourced Songwriting - Musician Coaching.com

The role of emerging artists and the current state of the music industry.

 

3-Step Process to Singing in Tune: Listen, Mime, Sing! - Judy Rodman

Using active listening can help train your voice.  

 

-Richard

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

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Roundup- July 18, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- July 11, 2014

2,116 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, music, filmmaking, writing, directing, writing_process, musicians, craft, songwriting, singing, ending, movie_marketing
1

Word Count Paralysis

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 23, 2014

Sometimes staring at the blinking cursor on your computer screen can make it morph into a stop sign and prevent you from holding a thought long enough to tap it out on your keyboard. It can be an unintentional panic signal that freezes your fingers in place and fills you with heaping helpings of writer's doubt. Your focus shifts from what you want to write to how many words you must write before you will allow yourself to stop for the day. Gradually, you fixate exclusively on that word count goal, and you're unable to type a single solitary word.

 

I call it "word count paralysis," and there's really only one way to prevent it: Ditch the daily word count goal. In the end, it doesn't really matter how many words you write in a day. Your only goal is to make some sort of progress; big or small, it doesn't matter. The only thing that does matter is that you advance from where you were the day before.

I've talked before about my own word count philosophy in previous blogs. My goal while writing a book is to write one word a day. Not only have I never come short of my goal, I have far exceeded that one-word-a-day benchmark every single time, occasionally by as much as 6,000 times.  

 

Daily word count goals always have been the bane of my writing existence. They have served as arbitrary roadblocks that fill me with dread. As long as I ask myself to contribute only one word a day to a story, I am relieved of that pressure that leads to word count paralysis.

 

-Richard

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

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

You may also be interested in...

Writing a Word a Day

Unblocking Writer's Block

4,878 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: books, author, writers, writing, draft, writing_process, word_count, chapter_length
1

My friend and fellow author Karen McQuestion recently invited me to participate in a blogroll. My first reaction was "What is a blogroll?" But once I learned the answer, I quickly agreed to participate, because I knew it was a good opportunity to get potential readers to come to my website and Amazon author detail page.

 

In a blogroll, the proprietor of a blog answers a few questions (in this case the subject was "my writing process") and then "rolls" the blog out to a couple other authors with a little introduction and links to their websites. The new authors then follow the same process: answer the same questions and pass it along.

 

A blogroll can drive traffic to your site (and your Amazon author detail page) in the following ways:

 

  • Via the content itself (If you'd like to read about my writing process, click here)
  • Via the person who comes before you (in my case Karen McQuestion, who includes a nice introduction to me in her post)
  • Via the post that comes after you (in my case my friends Jessica Massa and Rebecca Coale, who also include a thank-you to me in their post)
  • By attracting people who begin reading the blogroll in either direction and keep going until they land on your post

 

As I mentioned above, the blogroll Karen invited me to join is about the process of writing a book; however, I can think of many other equally interesting topics that could potentially generate a lot of interest. One that immediately jumps to mind is "What's the most successful thing you've done to spread the word about your book?" If anyone reading this post decides to start that one, please let me know! I'd love to join. Hmm...maybe I'll start it myself.

 

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

 

You may also be interested in:

Blog About What You Know ? Books!

Tips for Engaging Your Readers Online

7,160 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, promotions, blogroll
1

Say Yes!

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 21, 2014

Recently, I've come to understand that saying yes is difficult for some authors when it comes to book marketing. Shyness or a lack of confidence prevents them from taking opportunities to gain exposure for their brands. They're asked to partake in an interview, a book signing, or any public marketing event, but instead of jumping at the chance, they find a reason not to do it.

 

Don't be your biggest obstacle to gaining notoriety. It isn't always easy to put yourself out there in a public forum and take the spotlight when it's offered to you. It feels like a risk, like someone is giving you a chance to fail. I'm here to tell you saying no to such an opportunity is the only way you can fail.

 

I find myself struggling to say yes at times. My most recent example was when I was asked to speak at a local TED talk. When I was approached about taking part in this event that had the potential of raising my profile, the first thing I did was ask, "Who, me?" The second thing I did was assure the organizers of the talk that they could probably find somebody who was more interesting and worthy. The third thing I did was say yes. And I am happy I did. I wasn't the best speaker. I didn't receive a feverish round of applause. It didn't change my life. I even had a few technical glitches I had to work through. But, in the end, I had a blast, because I got the opportunity to speak about what I love: writing and indie publishing.

 

Pick your motivational phrase of choice here. "Grab the brass ring." "Take the leap." Whatever it takes to get you motivated to say the most important word of all that can help you establish your brand: YES.

 

-Richard

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

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

You may also be interested in...

Expand Your Reach by Teaching

Small Marketing Steps: Venues for Personal Appearances

2,115 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writers, promotions
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

The Arc of the Indie Author Journey: From First Book to CEO of Your Global Media Empire - The Creative Penn

Being master of your own destiny can be daunting, but you can afford to learn as you go.

                           

15-Minute Book Marketing Tactics for Busy Authors - All Indie Writers

Making time for marketing just got a lot easier.     

 

Film

                                                        

How to Crowdfund like Humphrey Bogart - Filmmaking Stuff

Here's looking at...some basic yet effective crowdfunding strategies.    

                                          

Very, Very Independent Filmmaking - Getting on with It - NOHO Art District

Immersing yourself in the film community can go a long way in helping you become a successful filmmaker.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Starting a Music Career - Musician Coaching.com

Music consultant and former A&R representative Rick Goetz shares his philosophy on getting your music career off the ground.

 

How to Use Twitter to Attract Fans and Make Connections - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Use Twitter to connect with fans, journalists, venues, and music idols. 

 

-Richard

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

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

 

You may also be interested in...

Weekly News Roundup- July 11, 2014

Weekly News Roundup - July 3, 2014

2,442 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, music, film, author, writers, writing, musicians, filmmakers
3

Some time ago, an author I know started a special project involving one of his books. It was a fairly ambitious project that required substantial funds...funds he didn't have. He started an online campaign to raise the money. I jumped onboard because I was excited by his entrepreneurial spirit. I alerted my social networking circles about the project, blogged about it, and I even donated a small amount of money.

 

The first communication I got from the author after my efforts to spread the word was a plea for more help. It wasn't even a plea directed to me personally, but a mass email that included many recipients. I was a little disappointed that a personalized thank you hadn't been sent to me. It's not that I think I'm special and merit acknowledgment for my contribution to his fundraising campaign. On the contrary, I assumed everyone would get a one-on-one thank you. I'm guessing since I didn't receive one nobody did.

 

I shrugged the first slight off and gave the author the benefit of the doubt. A thank you was coming. I would just have to wait a few more days. I was wrong. The next communication was another plea for help. The one after that was another plea for help.

 

The long and short of the story is I lost my enthusiasm for his project. I stopped checking in on his fundraising campaign. His emails even now are skimmed and deleted. I have no idea if the project succeeded. I'm not invested in it for one very small reason: I wasn't thanked for doing my part.

 

There's a useful lesson in this example. If you're going to start a fundraising project of any kind, be appreciative for the help you receive, and don't do it in a mass email. Take the time to contact all your contributors personally and thank them for helping you. It can go a long way in keeping them excited and engaged.

 

-Richard

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

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

You may also be interested in...

 

Include Calls to Action

Manage Your Beta Readers

2,296 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, promotion, writers
1

Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns (What a pretty house! She is tall).

 

Adverbs modify verbs (She types quickly), adjectives (She is extremely tall) or other adverbs (Please type more quickly).

 

When an adverb modifies an adjective (e.g. "she is extremely tall," no hyphen is necessary. I see many authors make this error in their book descriptions and personal bios. For example:

 

  • The world in this story is inhabited by fully-functional robots that act like humans (INCORRECT)
  • The tale takes place on a currently-active landfill (INCORRECT)
  • When he's not writing books, John works as a highly-trained specialist managing labor disputes (INCORRECT)

 

A good way to tell that a hyphen isn't necessary is to remove the adjective and leave the adverb, then see if the sentence still makes sense. For example, do these sound correct to you?

 

  • This world in this story is inhabited by fully robots that act like humans (SOUNDS SUPER WEIRD)
  • The tale takes place on a currently landfill (SOUNDS SUPER WEIRD)
  • When he's not writing books, John works as a highly specialist managing labor disputes (SOUNDS SUPER WEIRD)

 

The above sentences don't make sense because once we remove the adjectives "functional," "active" and "trained," the adverbs "fully," "currently"and "highly"aren't modifying anything.

 

Note: when two words are used to modify (or relate to) the same word in what is called compound modifier, a hyphen clarifies that they are both referring to that word and not to each other. For example:

 

  • He is a small business owner (This means he is a small man)
  • He is a small-business owner (This means he owns a small business)

 

I know grammar terminology is a foreign language to many people, so if you're still confused about whether or not to use a hyphen when you have an adverb followed by an adjective, try removing the adjective. If the sentence doesn't work without it, no hyphen is necessary.

 

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



 

You may also be interested in:

Grammar Tip: Don't Overcapitalize

Misuse of Pronouns

3,590 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: editing, author, writers, writing, draft, grammar, hyphens, grammar_tip, editing_process
3

I'm in the early stages of writing a new book. To date, I have written about 12,000 words of a planned total of 100,000 words. I'm going to give you a brutal assessment of the work I've done so far: It's horrible. The main character is flat, the villain is over the top, and the setting isn't really that well developed.

 

 

But here's the thing: I don't care. My goal at this stage is to get to the 100,000 words mark with as few distractions a possible. The biggest distraction I encounter when writing a novel is that little voice in my head that constantly asks, "What on earth are you doing?" And for kicks, it chimes in with a "If anyone ever sees this, your career is over."

 

 

Every time my inner voice speaks up, I reply with "I don't care." I say it so many times within the confines of my bald head that it's become my writing mantra. "I don't care. I don't care. I don't care." The truth is no one will ever see this version of my book. I won't be judged by anyone outside of my own internal imaginary critic. My inner voice will try to destroy my ability to sally forth. When I get to the rewriting stage, I'll sing a different tune, but now is not the time to even think about how I'm going to fix this mess. Now is the time to make this mess.

 

 

I invite you to borrow my mantra. Use it every time your own inner critic attempts to halt the progress of your first draft. Shout it loudly if you must and shout it proudly. I don't care!

 

 

 

-Richard

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

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

 

You may also be interested in...

How to Get Through the First Draft

Writing Tip: When You Get Stuck, Use ALL CAPS and Move On

3,325 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: books, editing, author, writers, publishing, revisions, writing, drafts, beginning, rewriting, writing_stages
1

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Online Exclusive: Both Sides of the Coin with Bella Andre - Writer's Digest

Bella Andre discusses her journey from traditional publishing to indie publishing.

                           

Writing What Scares You - Huffington Post

It takes courage to write what must be written.     

 

Film

                                                        

The Secret of Pitching to Film Investors (Shhhh. Don't tell) - Filmmaking Stuff

Be prepared to discuss projected earnings when pitching to film investors.    

                                          

Why You Should Never Care about Getting Rejected from Any Film Festival & How to Increase Your Odds of Getting In - Noam Kroll

You may be submitting your film to the wrong type of film festivals.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Vocal Scooping - How to Get This Style Trick Right - Judy Rodman

Sometimes when you can't reach a note you'll scoop your vocals to get there.

 

How to Successfully Run a Start-up Business Enterprise - CWG Magazine

Because you're not just a musician, you're an entrepreneur, too. 

 

-Richard

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

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Roundup- July 3, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- June 27, 2014

3,077 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: filmmaking, movies, writers, independent_publishing, thriller, suspense, business_plan, film_festival, musicians, filmmakers, vocals, traditional_publishing, film_investing
2

Let's go over a checklist. You've got an author bio on your blog. Check. You've got an author photo. Check. You've got information about your book or books. Check. Your blog is updated with new posts on a regular basis. Check. Congratulations! You've completely utilized your blog to build your author brand.

 

But wait…There does seem to be something missing. What have people said about your book? Visitors to your blog may find that information useful. In fact, it may be the determining factor that prompts them to click on the link to buy the book.

I know you probably have reviews you're proud of on the detail page for your book on Amazon. That's great. And, you may have even been contacted via email by readers who've had glorious things to say about your book. And, you may have even gotten lovely comments from friends and followers on social media sites. That is terrific. But why haven't you drawn attention to those comments on your blog?

 

You should have a section on your blog devoted to reviews or testimonials. Source the comment and attribute it to the reader. Ask permission when possible. In most cases, it's not technically necessary, but they're more than likely to be flattered that you want to highlight their comments on your blog.

 

Potential readers want to know what actual readers are saying about your book(s). Don't make them hunt for that information on your blog. Give testimonials a prominent space on your author platform.

 

-Richard

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

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

You may also be interested in...

Read It Forward

Let Your Excitement Show

3,199 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: blog, sales, writers, review, readers, blogging, reading, author_blog, reader_review, online_review
4

Making the first chapter of your book (or books) available on your website is a smart idea for two reasons:

 

1)    It gives potential readers who visit your website the opportunity to check out your work at no cost

2)    It gives you a tool for driving potential readers to your website

 

My sixth novel is coming out soon, and I have the first chapters to all of them available on my website. One way I use those links is via social media. Four of my books make up a series starring the same protagonist, so I created a Facebook profile for her. Every day I log in to her account to see if any of her "friends" have a birthday. For those who do, I post the link to the first chapter of her latest book on their walls as a little "birthday gift." It's fun for me, and my fans really enjoy it too! (The personal interaction with my readers is another benefit of this approach.)

 

I also include a link to the first chapter in my monthly newsletter anytime I announce that I have a new book coming out. This allows my loyal readers to get an early glimpse. The same goes for Twitter. If you read my post on using Twitter you'll know I don't recommend tweeting too much about your book (or only about your book), but an occasional link to a first chapter is perfectly acceptable. And smart.

 

Remember that you're competing with literally millions of other books, so anything you can do to get potential readers to look at your book is worth trying. Why not put your first chapter out there? It's free, and people like free.

 

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

 

You may also be interested in:

Marketing Tip: Make Sure Your Outreach Has a Purpose

Marketing Tip: Reach Out to Book Clubs

 

6,887 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
2

In the early stages of my indie publishing career, I would hand off a manuscript to willing friends and family and ask for their feedback before I published. There was no word for it back then, but now we call them beta readers. For my first and second books, it was only two or three readers. Over the years the pool of people willing to read early draft versions of my books has grown. In fact, my latest group had 23 people, most of whom I only knew through social media.

 

Because the group included more than my immediate circle of family and friends, I wanted to make the process of being a beta reader as friendly as I possibly could. So, I did something that is not typical of my personality. I got organized, and it was simpler than I even thought. Here's how I managed my beta readers.

 

  • A communications hub - I used the private Facebook messaging tool as a gathering place for all the readers, and it became our communications hub. Over the weeks they spent reading the book, I prompted them with information and updates pertaining to the story and characters. This caused discussion and also served as a gentle reminder that it was a fairly time-sensitive task that they had entered into.

  • Two versions of the manuscript - I created two versions of the manuscript to accommodate everyone's eBook reader needs. I uploaded both a PDF version and Word document to my blog and provided the links to everyone via Facebook, so readers could download the version that fit their eBook devices.

  • A survey - Rather than force them to email me their feedback, I created a survey where they could rank various aspects of the book (14 in all). In addition, they were all welcome (but not required) to comment on each specific area and leave a general comment at the end of the survey. Perhaps the most important element of the survey is that all participants' responses were anonymous, and I made this known to all participants. I wanted honest feedback, and letting them remain anonymous was key.

  • Patience and understanding - I was asking a lot of these volunteers, so it was important for me to not make them feel rushed. Beyond my updates I never sent out direct requests to hurry up and fill out the survey. I could have tacked on a deadline at the beginning, but I decided not to. I had plenty on my plate, so I didn't mind waiting. After three weeks I had enough completed surveys to announce some early results. In all, 16 of the 23 readers completed surveys. I would have been happy with a 25% response rate. Getting almost 70% was more than I hoped for.

  • Appreciation - I frequently let them all know I appreciated the time they were devoting to my book.


Would I ever do a large beta reader group again? Absolutely! I got incredibly helpful feedback for rewrites, and thanks to social media, I was able to keep in constant touch with the group and be even more engaged with readers. I would highly recommend it to any author wanting to make a story better and create a closer bond with fans at the same time.

 

-Richard

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

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

You may also be interested in...

 

Go Big

Another Reason to Celebrate

3,698 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, beta_readers
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How Much Attention Should You Pay to Book Design? - The Book Designer

Designing your book inside and out is a crucial component in the indie author's journey.

                           

Becoming an Author - How Do You Spell Success? - The Future of Ink

In today's publishing world, the author doesn't just have control over their ability to succeed; they also have control over how to define success.     

 

Film

                                                        

The Long Take & the Tracking Shot - In Layman's Terms...

A look at how technology and evolving filmmaking techniques have changed the long take in movie making.    

                                          

Writing from Theme - Screenwriting from Iowa

Why summing your story up in one sentence can help you write more effectively.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

5 Mistakes Artists Make in Promoting Their Music - Intern Like a Rockstar

Do you know how to sell yourself and your music?

 

How to Create a Brand Identity Statement as an Artist - Bob Bakers TheBuzzFactor.com

Do you know how to tell fans and potential investors what kind of music you play? 

 

-Richard

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

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Roundup- June 27, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- June 20, 2014

2,338 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: filmmaking, formatting, book_design, movies, sales, musicians, screenwriting, filmmakers, book_sales, brand_identity, music_production, music_branding, film_production
0

Vlogging

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 2, 2014

I watch a lot of personal videos, or "vlogs," online. In fact, I have three or four vloggers whom I watch regularly. I gravitate toward these vlogs for various reasons. I often share the same views as the vlogger. They offer a unique twist on various topics, or they're simply entertaining.

 

Those are the obvious elements of a vlog that make them eminently watchable, and the last two I listed are things that can be improved over time. But what about the less apparent factors that make a vlog popular? Those things that you don't really notice or consider when you tell your friends and followers about this great vlogger they should check out? What draws you in beyond the obvious?

Here are the unnoticed elements that I've found make the biggest difference:

 

  1. Clean audio ? Even though it's a visual medium, online personal videos are best consumed when the audio doesn't come with distortion, humming, or clicking. The vloggers I enjoy use external microphones. Those microphones are either visibly nestled snuggly in a stand in front of the host or are off frame attached to a boom. An external microphone will add cost to your video production, but it is well worth the investment if you're planning on making vlogs a staple in your brand-building strategy.

  2. A permanent set ? Because a vlog is a visual medium, visuals do count. Having a set that is tactfully designed can move you from amateur vlogger to expert vlogger. You don't have to make a huge investment here. Having various props that are strategically placed in the background and well-maintained is good enough. One of my favorite vloggers even hosts his videos from behind a desk, and he frames the shot so he can throw up graphics over his shoulder. Essentially it looks like a news desk.

  3. Good lighting ? Again, this is a visual medium, so lighting matters. A well-lit room with a dimmer might do the trick, but you may even want to invest in an inexpensive lighting kit with fill and key lights.

 

Vlogging can be the perfect tool to build your brand in this virtual world if you invest time and modest amounts of resources in the production value.

 

 

-Richard

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

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

 

 

 

You may also be interested in...

Five Blogging Prompts

Build Your Brand with Original Content

2,805 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, audio, writers, writing, social_media, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, vlogging, video_blog, video_marketing
2

No matter who publishes your book, it's important to do what you can to promote it. That means reaching out to many different organizations, which takes time, energy, and a lot of following up.

 

To keep track of your efforts (and your progress), I suggest creating a master spreadsheet with a separate page for each type of organization you contact (e.g., alumni groups, book clubs, bloggers, press, etc.). The fields can be very basic, including details such as name, organization, email address, website, and status.

 

Once you begin your outreach, color coding can help you keep track of your progress. For example, let's say you contact local alumni clubs of your alma mater to see if they'll include a mention of your book in their newsletter. I suggest putting clubs who have said yes in green, those who need some follow-up in yellow, and those who have said "thanks but no thanks" in red. With color coding, every so often, you can skim through your spreadsheet and know which areas need some attention.

 

When you first begin your outreach, you may think you'll be able to remember necessary details about each group, but trust me, you won't. Sending out a bunch of emails today is one thing, but what happens a month down the road? Which leads were promising? Who asked for more information? Whose email bounced back with an "I'm on vacation" autoreply? If you don't keep track of these things, despite the best of intentions you may end up spinning your wheels and getting nowhere fast.

 

I know it's a lot of work to do what I'm suggesting, but I promise it's worth it! In addition to keeping you organized, a spreadsheet also will help you track your successes, which is a powerful motivator. Book marketing is hard, and the more green sections you have, the more inspired you'll be to keep going.

 

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

 

You may also be interested in:

Build a Plus & Minus Brand Map

The Marketing Maze

2,785 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writers, writing, promotions

Actions

Incoming Links