Skip navigation
Previous Next

Resources

July 2017
1

To conclude a story doesn't mean you've reached the end of a novel. For example, I wrote a thriller a few years ago, and if you were to ask me to tell you how it ends, I would describe the last scene in the book. By doing so, however, I wouldn't tell you how I concluded the plot of the story because that came in the previous chapter. The point is, when you are planning your novel remember you have more to write after you wrap up the conclusion of your story.


Your conclusion, when it comes to thrillers at least, has to be... well, conclusive. There has to be a fine point on it. A sense that the battle is over and there is a clear winner. The ending, on the other hand, doesn't have to have as fine a point on it. In fact, in a lot of cases, authors use the end to hint at what's to come for the characters in the book you've just read. Maybe the main character finally found love or maybe a subplot where the author introduced an estranged adult child gets a conclusion of its own. The end of the novel oftentimes affirms, either subtly or overtly, that the universe you created will go on even though the story has ended.


It has been my experience that concluding a story is easier than ending a book. There is an organic structure to reaching a conclusion, but endings are much harder. You have to stretch your imagination beyond what will be read and convince the reader that there is more out there for the characters you've created.


-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...

A Rush to the Finish Line

When Do You Know The Ending?

879 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing, ending, conclusion
0

 

We've established on numerous occasions on this blog that videos are extremely effective brand building tools for authors. Here a three types of videos that can help you grow your author brand:


1. Entertain: You're a writer. You know how to be creative. Use your skills to put together skits that are funny, poignant, absurd, whatever your preference may be. For brand purposes, it would be extremely useful if the videos matched the tone of your books, but if you want to stretch, that's not totally out of the question. I've seen some highly entertaining videos by authors that focus solely on their newest book. In my case, they were extremely effective because I purchased the books.


2. Educational: As we established earlier, you are a writer. You know the craft of writing. Why not put together a series of videos that allows you to pass your knowledge along to the people of the Internet. Outline a writing topic for a three-minute video, create some graphics as support material, and turn on your camera.


3. Informative: I know I may be splitting hairs here, but I draw a distinction between being educational and being informative. In both cases you teach something, but when you educate someone, you are giving them a skill set. When you inform someone, you are giving them knowledge that doesn't necessarily apply to developing a skill. For example, gossip is information, but it does nothing to improve a particular skill. So, informational videos are great brand-building tools for authors. Interview other authors. Talk all things genre related. And, yes, if insider gossip is your thing and you want to attach your brand to it, have at it.


If you haven't used video to build your brand yet, I can't recommend it enough. Once you get the hang of it, it can be really fun.


-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…

 

Build Your Brand with Video Readings

 

Four Personal Video Tips

 

 

 

 

1,029 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, videos, branding, social_media, vlogging
2

I'm currently taking a screenwriting class, and in our first session the professor emphasized how important it is to make our writing time "holy."


When he said that, I found myself smiling and nodding. In a recent post I asked my readers out there what inspires them to write, and I shared my own challenges with getting myself to just sit down and write. There's always something to get in my way. Hmm, let me check my email! Hmm, I think I'll get up and grab a snack! Hmm, I wonder if anyone has liked that photo I posted on Instagram! Hmm, maybe I'll take a quick nap before I start! Does any of that sound familiar? If so, welcome to my world.


While the professor was talking about screenplays, writing is writing, and he is correct. To focus mentally and let the creative juices flow, it's important to disconnect from all the distractions out there. He suggested designating a special place that is only for writing to create an association effect. I have an overstuffed chair in my living room that works well for this. While my friends sit in that chair all the time, I use it only when I write, and over time I've begun to associate it with being creative. Now when I sit there, the temptations to procrastinate are still there, but they are much easier to ignore. That blue-and-white striped chair has become my "holy" space.


Do you have a special place in your home where you find that writing comes more easily to you? Or maybe a place outside your home, e.g. a coffee shop? I know an author who brings his laptop to his local pub when he's working on a book. Whatever works, right?


-Maria

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


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


You may also be interested in...

Four Forms of Creativity Fuel

Got Writer's Block? Step Away from the Keyboard


1,385 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, writing_space
0

Here are three ways to develop airtight plots for your next novel:


1. The ending comes first: We've discussed this before on this blog. Writing the ending first is an excellent way to stay focused on your destination. If you know where you're going, you're going to be able to map out a more concise and cohesive journey to that ending. Knowing the destination of your story beforehand will inform every aspect leading up to it.


2. Detailed outline: I once wrote a 120-page outline for a 330-page novel. I made the somewhat unique decision to pick the number of chapters that would make up the book, and I simply sketched out each chapter, connecting the dots along the way. I decided on the number of chapters based on what was typical of the genre at the time. When it came time to write the novel, I had a reason for every decision I made, and if something needed tweaking along the way, it was easy to do because I knew so much about the story and characters before I started the first draft, which, with the exception of a few minor changes, was essentially my final draft.


3. Detailed timeline: Plots don't always follow a straight path. A great example of this is a film titled Momento. It follows the story of a man who can't retain any memories, and each new day requires him to relearn things he had known before with the hope of finally getting to the end of the mystery. It's told in a seemingly disjointed jumble of repeated scenes, but in reality, it's an ingenious example of a plot that develops out of the normal "B" follows "A" storytelling method. The only way this can be achieved is to map out the disorienting timeline before you start writing because as disjointed as it may seem, the reader (in the case of a novel) has to have a revelation that you had a plan going in. You didn't just throw things together. You knew exactly what you were doing the whole 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?

Fix It in Rewrites

Keeping a Consistent Tone

1,218 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, story_plots
0

When it comes to marketing, you're going to want to nail down the genre of your book as soon as you can. Yes, I know most authors know the genre before they even start writing, but a surprising number of authors reject the notion of genre fiction. Most do it as a misguided artistic choice, but some do it because they don't want to limit their reading audience.

 

By choosing a genre, you're not limiting your reading audience, you're identifying them. My suggestion is to dive deeper and select your sub-genre categories. The more specific you can get the more likely it is that you are going to be able to locate your readers and market to them more effectively.

 

One of my books falls under the following category, genres, and sub-genre: Teen and Young Adult -- Horror -- Science Fiction and Fantasy -- Science Fiction -- Post-Apocalyptic. Now, I have been contacted by many adult readers who've expressed that they enjoyed the book, so you may think that by putting the book in the Teen and Young Adult category that I am limiting my reach with a potential pool of readers. But in reality, there is a segment of adult readers that seek out Teen and Adult books. However, conversely, the segment of teen and young adult readers seeking out adult market books is much smaller. So, the smarter play here is to categorize it in the Teen and Young Adult market where I will reach a majority of interested readers.

 

Categories, genres, and subgenres, weren't invented by retailers to help them organize their titles. They were invented by publishers to help them market their books. Know your genre and you know your reader.

 

-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?

Bending genres

Find smaller markets to sell more books

5,285 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, selling, promotion, genre, marketing_for_your_genre, genre_marketing
3

I was recently playing around with my Goodreads profile to update it with my latest novel when I saw an "add preview" option underneath each of my books. I don't know if this is a new feature or one I simply never noticed, but I quickly took advantage of it! Here's how it works:


  1. When you log into Goodreads.com, on the top right corner of the home page you will see your photo. (If you don't have a Goodreads profile, make one now!)
  2. If you click on your photo, the drop-down menu will include "author dashboard."
  3. Go into your author dashboard, and you will see your book(s), the number of reviews, etc.
  4. Underneath each title you will see the "add preview" option.
  5. Click on the "add preview" button and follow the instructions to upload a sample. (What you upload is up to you. For my books I chose the prologue, or the first chapter if there is no prologue.)


That's it! Now when people visit my profile page or come across the detail page of any of my books, they will be able to open a sample chapter just by clicking on a button that says "preview."


Here's what the detail page for my newest book looks like.


Here's what the sample looks like.


Isn't that cool? Just like giving free tastes at an ice cream shop, offering readers a free glimpse of your writing is a great way to draw them in. If they enjoy the sample, chances are they're going to want to keep reading and will be willing to pay to do it. That translates into a sale for you, as well as a potential new fan!


-Maria

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


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


You may also be interested in...

Marketing tip: put your first chapter on your website

Promote your book with Goodreads

 

 

 

2,382 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, goodreads, promotions
1

Last lines

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 17, 2017


John Irving is famous for writing the last line of his books first. When you think about it, it's not a bad strategy. He's knows where the story is going before he even begins. He just has to figure out how to get there, he doesn't have to figure out where to go. I would think that would make for a much more "efficient" writing experience, and it gives him a leg up on the most elusive element of a novel, a satisfying ending.


How an ending is deemed satisfying depends on a lot of things. What genre is your book? If it's a mystery, ending the book without solving the mystery is going to leave your readers angry and unsatisfied. Is it a romance novel? Your main character should be enriched and empowered at the end of your story otherwise the readers are going to feel robbed of the essence of romance. With thrillers you have room to taunt and tease your readers a little at the end, but you still want a definitive conclusion to the story.  If the book is part of a series, you'll want an ending the signals there is more to come.


We've discussed the importance of first lines on this blog. While the first sentence sets the tone of your book, the last line provides the final payoff, the reward for the reader's investment of time and emotions. You write an ending that satisfies the reader, and you have a new member of your community who will enthusiastically tell their friends, family, and followers about your book.


-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...


The end


What matters more: the beginning or the ending?

1,525 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing, last_lines
1

It is time to repeat an oft-repeated theme on this blog. In fact, I think it's something that can't be said enough. We are authors, and as authors, we feed off each other's successes. That is to say that if you write a book that becomes wildly popular and brings you fame and riches, I benefit, too. All indie authors do.

 

The point is other authors, even in your category and genre, are not your competition. They are your colleagues. Why? Because when a reader falls in love with a book, they don't put the book down and never read again. The opposite happens. They scour social media and the internet looking for a new book to devour. A reader that connects with a book inspires that reader to read more.

 

In point of fact, we are indie in that we have complete editorial and publishing control over our books, but we aren't indie in that we are in this alone. We all rely on each of us doing well. Success for one indie author can only lead to success for other indie authors.

 

Look, I know it's easy to look at the meteoric rise of an author and ask yourself, "Why not me?" But try not to think of it that way. Think of a fellow author's success as your future success. They are simply clearing a path and creating readers who hunger for more books to read and cherish. One of those books could be yours.

 

-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...

Supporting Indie Authors

When to promote other indie authors

1,103 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, self-publishing, writers, author_collaboration, author_advice
0

When people find out I'm an author, one of the questions they often ask me is, "What inspires you to write?" It's an interesting question because I think every author would answer it differently.


I find myself most inspired to write when I'm already writing. That probably sounds crazy, but getting myself to write is the hardest part of writing. The creative process is a complex animal, and if I could tame it, I would be a lot more productive than I am.Butwhen I sit down at my computer and focus, really focus, then things start to happen. Soon I'm in the groove and don't want to stop because I'm having fun. I guess it's similar to a runner's high. Getting yourself to lace up those shoes and hit the pavement can be challenging, but there's a reason so many people do it day in and day out: after you get past the resistance, exercising feels great.


This is a little embarrassing to admit, but when I write a line that makes me laugh, or finish a scene I know is good, I'll pump my fist! Just writing that now makes me blush because it's ridiculous, but it's true. I love that feeling of having created something I think my readers will enjoy, of having created characters and stories that are entirely made up but seem real. That inspires me.


In this blog I usually provide tips on writing, grammar, or book marketing. But today I thought it would be fun to turn the tables and ask my readers to chime in with their own thoughts. What inspires you to write? Please reply in the comments. I'd truly love to hear from you.


-Maria


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


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


You may also be interested in...

Two Mistakes Indie Authors Should Avoid

Got Writer's Block? Step Away from the Keyboard

1,186 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing, inspiration
2

Opening lines

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 10, 2017

Why is the opening line of your book so crucial? After all, it's just one line out of thousands in your book. Yet, it is a singularly seminal collection of words that could make or break your novel. One misstep, and you could chase readers away.


Here are three reasons I think the opening line matters so much to your book:


1. It sets the tone of your story. Whether you go for a simple, gritty line or you deliver dense prose in your opening sentence, you signal to the reader what kind of reading experience they are in for. My personal belief is that a reader should be able to identify the genre of your book from the first line.


2. It gives a hint to your writing style. Readers are going to get an innate sense of your writing style from your opening line. They are going to either feel the connection to your literary approach, or they are going to move on to another selection.


3. The opening line signals whether your story's framework is built around character development or plot development. In Alice Walker's novel, The Color Purple, she opens the story with, "You better not never tell nobody but God." That line signals to me that I'm about to enjoy a book that is centered around character development.


What about you? Why do you think the opening line can make or break a novel? What are some of your favorite opening lines?


-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...

The First-Line Ritual

The Art of the First Line

1,036 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing, opening_line, setting_the_tone
0

As a reader, I have given up on more than a few books in my time. As a writer, I feel bad for doing so, too. It just feels wrong. But in the end, I can't take responsibility for not feeling engaged enough to continue reading. It's not necessarily bad writing. It's just not compelling writing. I'm not talking obscure tomes either. Some of these books have been international bestsellers. Adored by millions. Yet, there the book sat on my nightstand unfinished.


As a writer, I like to interrogate myself for not finishing a book. Not because I have self-esteem issues (I do), but because I want to avoid the same mistakes in my own writing. That's the lesson here. We can learn from books we don't like as much as books we do like, although it's a decidedly less inspiring lesson.


What I have found, more times than not, is that I am almost always turned off by poorly written dialogue. Most of the books I abandon are full of either unnaturally long monologues or ham-fisted attempts at including slang used by a much younger generation than the author. It not only doesn't hit the mark, it can cause me to giggle involuntarily at the absurdity of it.


That's usually why I give up on a book, and it's made me much more aware when I'm crafting my own dialogue. What about you? As a reader, what causes you to give up on a book?


-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

A Good Writer Can Ruin a Good Story

833 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing, dialogue
2

Because  we learn to speak before we learn to read and write, when we begin to  put words onto a page it's easy to confuse those that sound the same  (also known as homonyms or homophones). For example:

 

*Bred, bread

*Plane, plain

*Great, grate

*Led, lead

*To, two, too

*There, they're, their

 

While the above words sound exactly the same all the time, two that don't sound exactly the same all the time, but which I've noticed people frequently confuse, are OF and HAVE.

 

How so, some of you might be asking? OF and HAVE don't sound anything alike!

 

Actually they do. Read the following sentences out loud and decide which is correct:

 

A)   I should HAVE gone to the movies.

B)   I should OF gone to the movies.

C)   I should've gone to the movies.

 

A)   You could HAVE given me a little more notice.

B)   You could OF given me a little more notice.

C)   You could've given me a little more notice.

 

A) We should HAVE paid more attention in English class.

B) We should OF paid more attention in English class.

C) We should've paid more attention in English class.

 

When you say the above sentences out loud, they sound identical, right?

 

But  when written down they're not the same, not even close. In each example  A and C are correct, and B makes no sense. (Each C is a contraction of  the A.)

 

Just  like mixing up the words I listed at the beginning of this post is no  big deal when speaking because no one can tell the difference, mixing up  HAVE and OF when speaking won't raise any eyebrows. But people can tell the difference when reading, so be careful!

 

-Maria

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


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

You may also be interested in...

There vs. They're vs. Their

More Word Mix-ups

3,061 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: writing, grammar, writing_advice, grammar_tip, grammar_advice, grammar_rules, author_help
1

 

I found out recently that I know someone who works for a think tank, and I am so envious. I've always wanted to work for a think tank. As a writer of fiction, I'm pretty sure I'd love just mulling over the issues that do and will affect society. To top it off, they pay you to think.


But, sadly, I don't see a job at a think tank in my future, but that doesn't mean I can't do what I do best and create my own fictional think tank. I have problems that need to be solved. Namely, how am I going to sell more books?


While I'm having a little fun here, I actually don't see why you and a few of your writer friends couldn't form your own little think tank that spends a couple of hours each month discussing marketing and branding strategies for authors. I'm talking about meeting in person or over video chat and hammering out ideas and building a solid plan that could benefit all of you.

 

Call it a collective or open-based branding. You are all working together to help each other traverse the rugged terrain of marketing. As a group, putting you heads together and constructing a plan, you are more likely to see the pitfalls and potential successes before you implement them. Be open to all suggestions and be respectfully honest with your feedback. Every member of your think tank has a vested interested in the success of the strategies you develop.


Now, get out there and start your own think tank.

 

-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…

 

Brand Buddies

 

Form an Author Co-op

 

 

 

 

1,223 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: writing, author_marketing, author_brand, author_collaboration, author_tips, author_advice

Actions