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February 2018
7

My first novel, Perfect on Paper, was originally self-published before it got picked up by Amazon Publishing, but I didn't let that stop me from getting it into brick-and-mortar stores. And I don't mean bookstores! Here's what I did:

 

  • I identified my main target audience as single, professional women.
  • I went to an art store and bought a handful of cute little bookstands.
  • I headed out on foot around the San Francisco neighborhoods where my book took place and looked for boutiques where single professional women might shop.
  • In each store I asked to speak with the owner.
  • If the owner wasn't there, I found out when she would be. I learned very quickly that in boutiques, the owner is usually the lone decision maker.
  • Once I was in front of the owner, I explained that I'd written a book set in her store's neighborhood, and that my readers were a lot like her store's customers.
  • I pulled out a copy of Perfect on Paper and a stand and asked if she'd like to sell the book on a commission basis.
  • I offered to give her a signed copy for herself.


My strategy worked! Within a few weeks my book was on display (and for sale!) in seven stores, each one perfectly suited to my target readership. All seven owners enjoyed my book and actively recommended it to their customers, which helped generate a little local buzz. I was also able to list those stores on a "where to buy the book" section of my website, which gave the novel a boost in street cred to anyone who checked out my website, e.g. book club moderators I contacted.


Where do your target readers shop? Have a think about it - then get out there and see if you can get your book on the shelves!


-Maria


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Marketing tip: Stay organized!

Book marketing tip: Put a sample on Goodreads

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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.

1,840 Views 7 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, writing
15

 

If there's one issue I encounter more than any other reading indie books, it's the lack of editing. And by editing I don't mean just proofreading. Developmental editing and copy editing are different than proofreading—and also different from each other.


Here's a quick explanation of the two:


Developmental editors help identify and fix problems with the major elements of your book, such as plot, character development, pacing, and style. A developmental editor takes a bird's-eye view of the story and makes suggestions - granular as well as broad - on how to improve it.


An example of a granular suggestion: "When Joe and Stephanie go to the coffee shop, it doesn't fit with Joe's character to order nonfat milk."


An example of a broad suggestion: "Consider eliminating the Andrew character. He seems to play the same role as the Sam character."


Copy editors, like proofreaders, have eagle eyes for typos, missing words, punctuation mistakes, and grammatical errors, but they also pick up excessive repetition of words/phrases, timeline inconsistencies, geographical inaccuracies, etc.


Good copy editors also catch random mistakes such as:


"When Joe and Steph go to the coffee shop, Steph is wearing a red dress, but when they are at dinner afterward she is in a pink dress."


I recommend hiring a developmental editor (the pros at Girl Friday Productions are amazing), but you can probably beg a friend or two to copy edit. Before I submitted my first novel to literary agents I printed out three copies, bought a box of red pens, and handed the manuscript to three friends who love grammar and writing as much as I do. I was floored when I saw how many mistakes they found! It's amazing how after so many hours of writing and rewriting, your eyes see words that are not there - or fail to see extras that are.


-Maria

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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.


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Increase your productivity by wearing one hat at a time

Are you capitalizing words that shouldn't be capitalized?

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4

 

I recently read a novel that was heavy on dialogue without a ton of attribution, which I like, because I don't think a conversation needs "he said" or "she said" after every single sentence. However, the author of this book had a habit of going two or even three pages into a conversation without any attribution of the dialogue, so I found myself repeatedly losing track of who was speaking. I kept having to go back to the beginning of the conversation and use my finger to follow along, often saying the name of one character out loud every other statement until I reached the point where I got lost.

 

That is not something you want your readers to do.

 

I believe dialogue should have attribution, but not too much. The key is to find a balance.

 

For example, here's TOO MUCH attribution in a conversation between Joe and Simon:


 

"I don't think you should go to the party," Joe said.

"Well you can't stop me," Simon said.

"I'm serious. Please consider staying home," Joe said.

"I appreciate your concern, but I'm going," Simon said.

Just then a bolt of lightning struck, and Simon and Joe both looked at the door.

 

Following is the same conversation with less attribution:

 

"I don't think you should go to the party," Joe said.

"Well you can't stop me," Simon said.

"I'm serious. Please consider staying home."

"I appreciate your concern, but I'm going."

 

Just then a bolt of lightning struck, and Simon and Joe both looked at the door.

 

Which conversation reads better to you? When I read the first one, I think, "Why is the author using so much attribution?" When I read the second one, I think about the story and only the story. That's what you want your readers to experience.

 

-Maria

 

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Writing tip: Be careful not to overdo the beats

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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.

3,079 Views 4 Comments Permalink
9

The Halo Effect

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Feb 7, 2018

Should you chase the Halo Effect to sell more books?

 

I'm short and bald.... Well, shortish. According to the unwritten rules of personal bias, those are two strikes against me. I get no love from the Halo Effect.

 

I should explain. The Halo Effect is when you and I (independently or collectively) judge someone based on our personal biases. For example, tall men are generally viewed as strong and powerful before anything is even established about them. They don't have to speak a word before they are viewed as leaders. Obviously, not all tall men are leaders, but we have a cultural bias that often times causes us to assume that they are. They are given the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure there are tall men reading this, and they are countering the above statement with a litany of incidences that prove there are more drawbacks than benefits to being tall and male, but that is beyond the discussion I want to get into. What I'd like to discuss is how the Halo Effect impacts a writer when it comes to character development.

 

Think about it. If you want to know what your own personal biases are, look at the characters you've developed, particularly your protagonists, and then look to see how your personal character bias matches or defies societal norms. The question you are faced with is would it help you sell more books if you developed characters that are more in line with what society considers appealing.

 

Personally, I’d advise against chasing the Halo Effect in an effort to sell more books, but I fully admit that I don’t know if that is the right "business" move.  A lot of romance novels do very well, in part because they include characters that take full advantage of the Halo Effect.

 

I guess I'm perpetually pulling for the underdog. I love it when the shortish, bald guy gets the win.

 

-Richard

 

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

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The ordinary protagonist

1,175 Views 9 Comments Permalink Tags: character, character_development, character_arc, characterization, writing_characters
4

Here are some words that sound similar but have very different meanings:


Complement vs. Compliment


Complement means to go well with, supplement.


  • That dress really complements the green in Jennifer's eyes


Compliment means to flatter


  • Gloria wants to compliment Jen on her how well her dress complements the green in her eyes.


Complementary vs. Complimentary


Complementary means goes well with, or acts as a complement.


  • That dress is complementary to the green in Jennifer's eyes.


Complimentary means offering flattery or praise. It also means free.


  • Gloria was quite complimentary of Jennifer's pretty dress.


  • The tickets to the theater were complimentary as a thank-you for her charitable donation.


Assent vs. Ascent


Assent means to agree or approve.


  • After hours of deliberation, the condo association assented to Larry's request to add a deck to his unit.


Ascent means the act of moving upward.


  • Gloria's rapid ascent of the corporate ladder was much deserved.


Amiable vs. Amicable


Amiable means friendly and refers to a person.


  • Jennifer's amiable demeanor helped her smooth things over with the customer after she accidentally spilled a cup of coffee on him.  


Amicable means friendly and refers to a relationship.


  • George and Luisa are no longer living together, but they came to an amicable agreement about how to divide up their furniture.


Refer vs. Recommend


Refer means to send or direct for treatment or information.


  • Laura's primary care doctor referred her to a specialist for her knee pain.


(There are other meanings for "refer," but this is the one that gets confused with "recommend.")


Recommend means to endorse.


  • Laura's primary care doctor recommended a specialist for her knee pain.


What word pairs trip you up? Please share in the comments!


-Maria

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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.


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Refresher on who vs. whom

More words that shouldn't be capitalized

1,046 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, words, grammar, homophones
2

 

Who or what you write for and when are crucial to a book's development. Writing a book is a process that follows three basic stages. Violate the order or skip any of the steps, and it could cost you readers. Here are the three stages as I see them:


Stage one:  Write for the story. Every word, every paragraph, every chapter goes from your head onto the page with one purpose in mind: advancing the story. Your job is to poke and prod at the edges of the plot you are chasing and develop your characters along the way. Allow yourself to be outrageous, offensive, and unhinged. If you hold back here, you may be missing out on a great twist or direction for you story. Just let go and the let the words fly.


Stage two: Rewrite for the reader. Time to tear your fictional world apart and make it palpable for the reader. I'm not saying to strip it of all controversy and ugliness. I'm saying make sure every element truly serves the story. If it does, keep it. If it doesn't, cut it, no matter how interesting and well-written it is. It has to go in order to keep the reader locked in and ready to turn the next page. This isn't about making your book politically correct. It's about making your book creatively sound.


Stage three: Edit for you. Nothing is worse for a writer than a poorly edited book. I know this from personal experience. I was young and in a hurry to get a book out there and sent it to market with glaring typos and worse. It was not a confidence booster when I read the early reviews and realized what I had done. A well-edited book is an author's best friend.


-Richard

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


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Word by Word

Re-readable books

1,102 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, book_development

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