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429 Posts tagged with the author tag
1

Expand Your Brand

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 30, 2015

Your author brand is dynamic. By that I don't mean flashy or animated. I mean that it is in a constant state of change--or at least it should be. You want to present a brand that reflects growth. If you let it stagnate, it will become ineffective, and you will lose readers.

 

Here are three ways to keep your author brand ever-evolving and fresh:

 

  1. Use your author platform for more than just promoting your books. Use it to promote all your interests. The more interests you highlight, the larger your community. The larger your community, the more opportunity for engagement and growth.

  2. Step outside of your comfort zone. As well as your personal interests, document your attempts to expand into other interests. I'm not suggesting you take up skydiving to appear more exciting, but maybe you have phobias you want to get over. Conquering those fears can add to your brand and inspire others.

  3. You are becoming a master of your craft. That is part of your brand. Mastering a craft isn't easy. You will experience a lot of failure. Share those failures with your community, so they can see that it's part of succeeding. Adding a mentoring through example element to your brand can not only make your brand dynamic, it can make it accessible.

 

While it is true that consistency can help your author brand become more popular, that doesn't mean your brand shouldn't evolve. Grow your brand gradually by documenting your interests and sharing your struggles to surmount professional and personal challenges.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Branding 101: The Keys to Successful Branding

Evaluating Your Author Brand

3,086 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, self-publishing, writers, publishing, branding, social_media, author_marketing, author_brand, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, marketing_advice
1

Common Word Mix-ups

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 29, 2015

Today I'd like to give a little refresher course on two sets of similar words that can be a little tricky. Here we go:

 

Imply vs. Infer

 

To imply means to suggest or indicate something without actually saying so:

 

  • After David tasted the wine, the look on his face implied that he didn't like it.
  • The tone of Gloria's voice implied that she was upset with David's decision to leave the party early.

 

To infer means to conclude based on evidence:

 

  • From the look on David's face after he tasted the wine, Gloria inferred that he didn't like it.
  • Given the tone of Gloria's voice, it wasn't difficult for David to infer that she was upset with his decision to leave the party early.

 

I find that a good way to remember the difference between the two is that imply (has an M) comes before infer (has an N), just like M comes before N. You need an implication before you can have an inference.

 

Note: Some informal schools of thought say that infer can also be used to mean "imply or hint." However, to quote Webster's Dictionary, this usage "is found in print chiefly in letters to the editor and other informal prose, not in serious intellectual writing."

 

Refer vs. Recommend

 

To refer (used with an object) means to direct someone (to something):

 

  • Gloria referred David to her real estate agent.
  • David's family doctor referred him to a specialist named Dr. Greene.

 

To recommend means to mention favorably:

 

  • Gloria recommended her real estate agent to David.
  • David's family doctor recommended a specialist named Dr. Greene.

 

If you're still having trouble with these two, here's a handy trick: In a letter of recommendation, you're being praised. In a doctor's referral, you're being directed somewhere.

 

If you want people to recommend your books or refer their friends to your work, you will infer from this post that correct word usage is important!

 

-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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More Grammar Pet Peeves!

Why Good Grammar Matters

1,090 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, grammar_tips
0

Are you missing an untapped revenue stream? Classrooms and books go together like toast and butter. Your book could be a perfect fit for a classroom environment. It doesn't even necessarily have to be a book for young adults. There are countless opportunities to reach students of all ages and backgrounds, and you increase your chances of reaching such a market by doing one thing: creating a teacher's guide for your book.

 

Here is what to include in a teacher's guide should you choose to tap into the classroom market:

  1. One sentence description: This should explain the main conflict of the book.

  2. Short but detailed summary of the book: Write it in present tense and use adjectives sparingly. This is a cut-and-dried summary that covers plot and sub-plots from beginning to end.

  3. Detailed character descriptions: Include your secondary characters.

  4. Summaries for each chapter: Include questions for classroom discussions.

  5. Author interview: Create 10 questions that you think are relevant to the book and offer engaging responses.

 

There are two options you can pursue with the teacher's guide: you can offer it in print-on-demand and eBook formats and make it available for sale, or you can create a PDF that can be downloaded from your website for free. The first option provides you a new direct stream of revenue. The second option can be a loss leader that could lead to more sales of the book overall. Either method gives you the opportunity to reach more readers and make more money.

 

-Richard

 

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


 

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The Reader's Guide

Building an Author Brand: Networking

1,106 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, selling, pdf, distribution, author, writing, promotions, classroom, marketing_ideas, teacher's_guide
2

Author-signed books make great gifts. Your biggest fans, however, might not have any idea that they can buy them from you, so why not tell them? You can do this via email, Twitter, Facebook, your newsletter, etc. How much you charge per copy is up to you, and you can even offer to wrap the books yourself and mail them directly to the recipient of the gift.

 

With the holidays just around the corner, I decided to email a couple of friends who are also fans of my books to see if they wanted to buy any signed copies as gifts for their friends. Within an hour both replied with orders for a total of 10 signed books--or $200 payable to me.

 

I think I'm on to something.

 

Today I plan to look through my contacts list and reach out to other friends who are also big fans of my books. I'm not talking about a mass email to everyone I know--I mean personalized, tasteful messages that are more than just sales pitches. Yes, that's time consuming, but book marketing is time consuming. There's simply no way around that.

 

As for physically mailing the books, I strongly suggest going to the post office and asking for the book rate. It's much cheaper than regular shipping, and it includes tracking! I often receive emails from readers of my blog asking if they can send me copies of their work--and if I say yes, the book usually arrives via FedEx or some equally expensive method. Each time that happens I feel bad because that's a double expense for the sender (the book itself and the big shipping fee). The only downside about the book rate is that you can't request it at the self-serve kiosks, so you have to wait in line, but the money you'll save over time is well worth it.

 

-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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Hold a Holiday Contest

Two Easy Ways to Save Money in Your Book Promotion

906 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, author, writing, promotions, signed-copies
0

I recently received an email from an author named S.J. (That is a purposefully androgynous pen name.) S.J. was doing a blog tour to help promote the launch of his/her first novel and wanted to know if I would consider letting him/her do a guest post on my personal website.

 

I'd never had anyone do a guest post, but S.J. mentioned that he/she had read all my books, so I wanted to help. Why wouldn't I? S.J. had supported me, so I wanted to support S.J. in return. (S.J. is also a loyal reader of my blog and even mentioned his/her favorite post in the message.)

 

S.J. had been writing professionally for many years but was a first-time novelist, so I thought my readers would appreciate some thoughts on what he/she had learned from the process. Here's the post on my website.

 

The same week I received an email from another debut author, whom I won't name. He asked me if I wanted to interview him on my website. I asked him if he'd read any of my books, and he said no. Then I asked him if he'd ever read my blog, and he admitted that no, he hadn't. I never heard from him after that.

 

Do you see the difference a personal touch can make? S.J. took the time to personalize his/her outreach to me, and it resulted in a guest post on my blog. The other author used a copy/paste/generic approach, and it resulted in nothing. If he had opened his message with "Hey, I haven't read any of your books, but I just ordered a couple for my sister..." our interaction would have been very different. Keep that in mind that next time you reach out to a fellow author for help!

 

-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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The Power of a Personal Connection

Use a Personal Touch When Reaching Out or Following Up

871 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, author, writing, promotions, personal_touch
0

Reward Yourself

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 30, 2015

The movie version of The Martian was released on October 2 of this year, and I was pretty stoked to see it. I had seen a trailer for the film months before, when I wasn't even aware that the book had been independently published and had become a viral sensation. The story appealed to me, and I was anxious to see the film.

 

My problem was that I was in the middle of rewrites. Since I had agreed to a deadline with a third party, I had to crack the whip more fiercely and more frequently than ever before. I told myself, "You can see the movie when you're done with the rewrites." So, it began. I deconstructed the manuscript, rebuilt it, and deconstructed it again. During breaks, I would hop online and read Facebook posts by friends talking about how great the movie was.

 

"Maybe I could just take a couple of hours and go see the movie," I thought, but I refused to give in. The movie would be my reward. I moved forward with the rewrites, even picking up the pace. Not only was I anxious to get the book to my editor, I was anxious to see The Martian. And then it happened, ten days before the deadline, I turned in the manuscript. The very next day I was sitting in the movie theater watching The Martian.

 

Rewards should be a part of your writing process. Yes, writing the book should be reward enough, but on those days or for those books where you need a little extra push, give yourself something to work for. You'd be surprised how much more special it makes your achievement feel.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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AAUGH! Rewrites!

Rewrites: Make the Hardest Changes First

841 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: author, writing, writing_process, rewrites, rewards
0

Competency

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 25, 2015

What makes someone successful? How does someone make it to that next level? It's a question I ask myself as an author all the time. How did famous author John Doe go from unknown to mid-list to well known? Is he a better writer than me? Is he luckier? Is he more handsome? When somebody makes it and you don't, you either pick apart their success or you pick apart your lack of success.

 

As somebody who's studied the issue ad nauseam, I think I've uncovered the formula for succeeding as an author. Talent and luck do play a factor, no doubt. But the driving force behind success for an author, for an athlete, for a politician, for a manager of a grocery store is competency. Knowing your craft, knowing the market, knowing your genre, knowing your readers, these are all the building blocks of competency. Competency doesn't happen by accident. It's a consequence of focus. Once you possess this competency, your marketing efforts will become a bit more effortless and a lot more effective.

 

Notice I didn't use the word confidence. Confidence and competency are two different things. You can be confident and lack competency. However, very few competent people lack confidence. So, yes, I think confidence is key to success, but only if it's born out of one's competence. Confidence without the competency anchor isn't a reliable ingredient for lasting success.

 

So, get the focus. Concentrate on improving your craft. Develop the curiosity to know your readers. Study your genre. Do these things, and the competency will follow. Soon after comes the success.

 

-Richard

 

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

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How to be a Confident Writer

How to Find Success

1,194 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, self-publishing, promotion, sales, writing, success, craft, author_advice
1

There are few things I enjoy more than getting fan "mail"--in whatever form it arrives. This morning I received a wonderful tweet from a woman named Yasminda that made me smile. I replied with my email address and asked her to send me a note. When she did, I checked her address in my database and saw that she wasn't subscribed to my newsletter. I also realized she wasn't a fan of my Facebook page or my Goodreads page. I asked her if she was aware I had those things. She said she was not aware but that she was happy to sign up, like the pages, etc.

 

This was a good lesson for me because I'd always kind of assumed that the fans I have on Twitter are the same fans I have on Facebook, etc. And while I imagine there is a significant amount of overlap, it's not comprehensive. Case in point: If I didn't have a Twitter profile, I might never have heard from Yasminda.

 

In our email conversation I told Yasminda how much I would appreciate her help in spreading the word about my books, and she jumped to action! Within minutes she posted a nice note about my books on Facebook (with a link to my fan page), and she also ordered signed copies from me as a gift to her mother. How cool is that?

 

There's no magic formula for connecting with your readers, but having a presence in more than one place will make it easier for fans to contact you. If all you have is a website, make sure the contact tab is easy to find. When it comes to book sales there's nothing more powerful than word of mouth, so the more you can do to interact directly with your biggest fans, the better!

 

-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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Ramping Up Facebook Activity for the New Year

Your Fans are Your Brand

2,970 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions, fan_interaction
0

A few weeks ago I went to cheer on my pal Kelly, who was running the New York Marathon. That is twenty-six miles--and change! Insane, right? It's not like you can just roll out of bed and wing it. Preparing for a marathon is no joke. Kelly has a pretty demanding job, but she was determined, so for months she dragged herself out of bed before work and on weekends to put in the miles.

 

Her distance increased weekly until she was literally running for hours at a time, by herself, while her friends were off having fun doing other things. Yes, at times the training was boring (she's the first to admit it), and yes, at times she wondered why she was putting herself through such torture (she admits that too), but she knew her body wasn't going to get in marathon shape by itself. So she put in the work, day after day after day.

 

Kelly finished the marathon and is (deservedly) extremely proud of herself. She should be! She worked her tail off, and no one can ever take that accomplishment away from her.

 

Writing a novel is similar to running a marathon in the sense that it takes a great deal of time, effort, and discipline. A book isn't going to write itself, no matter how desperately you might want it to. Trust me; I've experienced that feeling a lot. To complete NaNoWriMo you have to sit down at your computer every day, before work or after work, or both, and write, day after day after day. Push the story forward, and keep going until you're done. Just like Kelly, you'll have worked your tail off to achieve your goal, and just think of how great that will feel.

 

-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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Productivity vs. Perfection

Writing Takes Discipline

775 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing, nanowrimo, national_novel_writing_month
2

Your book's description is a great way to grab a potential reader's attention, so you want to make the most of that opportunity by using language that shows readers what they're in for instead of language that tells them. In other words, if you think your book is funny, don't say that in your description. Instead, write a description that is funny!

 

That may sound like common sense, but I've lost track of how many times I've checked out a book on Amazon but have declined to click "purchase" because the brief description says something like, "This entertaining, hilarious story will have you falling off your chair." I'd be much more inclined to buy the book if the description made me chuckle, even a little bit. Now if a reviewer writes things like that about your book, by all means use them, in quotes and with attribution, as often as you can. That's called third-party credibility, and it's golden in marketing.

 

To explain the concept of show vs. tell, I often use the analogy of online dating. Just like the endless selection of books available, there are countless online profiles vying for your attention. Imagine yourself scrolling through profile after profile, each of which includes a brief self-summary. Would you want to go on a date with a man who calls himself "smart, charming, and fun to be around?" Or would you rather meet a man whose self-summary clearly shows that he is smart, charming, and fun to be around­­? I would certainly choose the latter.

 

Now imagine a reader scrolling through endless options of books in search of a funny read. If he laughs or even cracks a smile when he gets to your description, what do you think he's going to do?

 

-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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I'm Sure Your Book Is Wonderful, But Don't Tell Me So

Grab Readers' Attention with Your Hook

3,783 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, author, writing, amazon.com, promotions, book_description
2

Read and Report

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 4, 2015

I saw the following meme today, and it spoke to me: "Don't be afraid of artists who are better than you." I support the sentiment wholeheartedly, and I'm also puzzled that such a thing needs to be stated. The idea of comparing one's artistic talents with another's is foreign to me. It's a great big world, and there's room for all of us.

 

The meme actually ties in with the post I had planned to write today, so thanks be to serendipity. Instead of fearing other artists--authors in our case--whom you feel are better than you, be inspired by them. Be grateful for them. Envy is not a useful motivator; it's a step towards cynicism, which is not fertile ground for creativity.

 

Here's an assignment to help you gain perspective. Pick an author whom you feel has mastered his or her craft. Take your favorite book by that author and pick it apart. Examine every aspect of the story and analyze it. Set aside some time each week to report to your online community what you've discovered about this virtuoso. Encourage feedback. If you find weaknesses, point them out. No writer is perfect. Criticizing someone who inspires you is healthy. Personally, I love the imperfections as much as the perfections.

 

We aren't individual writers trying to make our way as authors. We are a community of artists supporting and learning from one another. Don't look at other writers as competitors; look at them as teachers. Take advantage of the lessons they offer.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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You Are an Artist

Four Steps to Become More Creative

1,005 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, author, revisions, feedback, creativity, criticism, writing_tips, author_tips
3

In one of my previous writing tips, I discussed how distracting (and annoying) overusing certain gestures can be for your readers. The same can be said for overusing uncommon adjectives.

 

I recently finished a book in which the main character was described as "astonished" so frequently that I finally stopped reading and (once again) did a search to see just how many times the word had been used. The tally? Fifteen. Now I realize that fifteen is hardly an exorbitant figure, but while "astonished" is a great adjective, it's also quite memorable, so by its third or fourth appearance it was hard not to notice it. For the record, I encounter this problem with my own writing all the time. When I find myself using an unusual word more than a few times, I use the "find" function in Word to make sure it's not getting out of hand.

 

Here's the deal: You want your readers to be fixated on your story, not on how many times you've used a specific word. Unfortunately, in this particular instance I became fixated on the latter. That may just be my obsessive personality, of course, but right or wrong, the end result was that I didn't enjoy the story as much as I could have. Each time I encountered another "Ben was astonished," the pleasurable experience of being immersed in a novel was interrupted.

 

The novel in question was published independently, so I';m not sure if the author had a professional copyeditor review the manuscript. But if you're going the indie route, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have objective eyes review your work before you click "publish." If you can't afford to hire a professional, bribe your English-major pals to help. A red pen in the early stages is your friend!

 

-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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Two Mistakes Indie Authors Should Avoid

A Wonderful Example of How to Handle Constructive Criticism and Feedback

1,135 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, self-publishing, writing, grammar, writing_tips, grammar_tip, advice_for_writers, adjectives
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Give Them a Reason

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 2, 2015

Do you know why someone should read your book? This isn't a rhetorical question. I'm asking only to then reveal brilliant insights on how to sell more books. It's a question that has an answer, but only you know it. People need a reason to read your book, and you have to give them that reason.

 

I've sat in many a marketing meeting in other industries where the question of consumer motivation was the focal point of discussion. You can't just create a product or service and expect the consumer to develop their own reason to shell out their hard-earned cash for it. Put another away, readers want to read your book; they just don't know why yet.

 

Think of how the marketing world sells products. They tell us something is new and improved. They tell us special pricing is available for a limited time. They tell us when something is one of a kind. They tell us when something is classic or bold or life changing. Marketers are not shy in creating a need for the products or services they're trying to sell.

 

You can't approach marketing your book with the mindset of an author. You have to design a marketing campaign with a commercial zeal. Indie authors are in the unique position of wearing multiple hats, but all those hats fit your entrepreneurial role. You are the artist. You are the publisher. You are the marketing department. Approach each position without fear.

 

Now, why should someone read your book? What need will be satisfied by reading your book? More importantly, how are you going to convey that need in the simplest terms possible?

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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The Marketing Maze

Three Marketing Websites for Authors

1,242 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing
1

I've said countless times in this blog that if you want to get people to read your book, you have to give away a lot of copies. To reviewers. To bloggers. To the editor of your college alumni magazine. To the women in your yoga class. To the guy who cuts your hair. To the people you meet at Starbucks. Basically to anyone and everyone you think might like the book enough to spread the word about it.

 

That can be a lot of books. But you have to do it!

 

I always recommend giving away print copies with a personalized inscription for two reasons. First, because it's classy. Second, because it's harder for someone to "forget" to read a (signed) physical book than an eBook buried in a Kindle library.

 

How to save money

 

If you're going to mail signed copies, use the book rate at the post office. It's almost half the price! The one downside is that you have to wait in line because the self-service kiosks don't offer the book rate, but it's worth it to save so much money.

 

To give away eBooks, I recommend "gifting" a copy via Amazon. All you need is the email address associated with the recipient's Amazon account. Click "Give as a Gift," type in a personal note before sending, and you're done! And guess what? You get the royalties on the sale, which brings the purchase price down.

 

Note: Multiple indie authors who read my blog have contacted me offering to email me a "free PDF" version of their book. You know what that does? It makes me feel like they want my endorsement, but not enough to (pay to) send me a real book. Not the best approach, in my opinion.

 

-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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Marketing Tip: Always Carry a Book with You

Book Marketing Tip: Be Resourceful

1,670 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, promotions, signed_copies, free_copies
0

I'm going to commit a literary faux paus today and discuss an element of story in a different medium, one that traditionally is not met with favor among novelists. That medium is television. Now, in case you just groaned and rolled your eyes, let me explain that today's television programming is varied and much grittier than it once was. There's a lot of high quality narrative writing at nearly every stop on the dial or phone app or streaming service, however television is consumed these days.

 

The show I want to talk about, Breaking Bad, ended its run a few years ago, but it's one of my favorites. I've said repeatedly that watching that series from beginning to end is like taking a Master's class in character development for any type of storyteller. Walter White, the protagonist, may be one of the most fully realized characters I've ever encountered, but I want to talk about another character, the villain, Gustavo "Gus" Fring.

 

Gus is menacing. He's stoic. He's brutal. He's duplicitous. He's everything you want in a villain and more. The creators of the show did something brilliant with Gus' villainy. They hid it under a cool exterior that could even be soft at times. I think he yelled once during the entire time he was on the show. He did bad things, but he did them in an almost businesslike manner. The creators allowed you to see his tragic past and witness what turned him down the psychopathic road. They gave you a reason to root for him. They managed to make you feel uneasy about him and sympathetic toward him at the same time. It helped that his nemesis was a somewhat volatile good guy that you weren't always sure was the good guy.

 

So, today's Breaking Bad lesson is that your bad guy has to be just as complicated as your protagonist. Yes, he's the heavy, but that doesn't mean you skimp on his dimensions. Find something that will give the readers pause, where they may even find themselves hoping he (or she) survives.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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The Basic Elements of a Character Arc

Taking a Character from Good to Bad

1,257 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: novel, author, writing, characters, storytelling, character_development, character_arc, writing_characters, villians, scene_writing
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