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30 Posts tagged with the book_marketing tag

What your brand needs

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 31, 2018


I'm going to take a difficult concept, use some reductive trickery, and turn it into a simple solution to help you build your brand. It's what we in the branding business call the "portability stratagem."

The difficult concept in this case is how do you continuously grow your brand and turn it into a reliable source of income? You are an author. Your brand is your name. It's what sells your books. In order to sell those books, you have to draw bigger and more connected crowds to your social media community. How do you do that?

Here's the reductive trickery. Your brand has to add value to your community. It has to bring a sense of worth to your friends and followers. So much so that they feel compelled to share the value of your brand to their friends and followers.

Some of you may be thinking that your book is your brand's value, and that is true to an extent, but here's the thing, it is static value. It doesn't change from the day you publish it. In order to grow a brand, you need to have dynamic value. You need to offer your community something continuously new.


In today's social media driven world, the most lucrative commodity is information. You have to find a way to bring new and exciting information to your readers. Whether it's related to your genre, your life, your hobby, etc., it doesn't matter. If it fascinates you, and you can communicate this information with passion and zeal, then it will reach people. It will add value to your brand.


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


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Passive Income and Marathon Branding


Branding: The rule of productivity





1,340 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: book_marketing, branding, author_brand, author_branding, book_branding

There's so much more that goes into being an "author" than just writing. There's also rewriting, researching, editing, proofreading, etc. Then there's the marketing side of things, which is a completely different beast. Social media alone can feel like a bottomless well of "things I should be doing."

My proclivity is to bounce around between various functions, a habit I'm trying to get away from because I'm much more productive when I focus on one thing at a time. For example, I've learned that if I'm writing a scene about a dinner party and stop to look up a lasagna recipe to make sure I get it right, BOOM! Suddenly I'm checking my email, looking at my Twitter feed, checking flights to go visit my parents, making a snack, etc. My momentum is lost, and I didn't even do it out of procrastination.

Does this happen to you?

One trick I've learned to keep myself focused is to use ALL CAPS to remind myself that I need to look something up later. For example, my pages might be sprinkled with the following:


In each of the above examples, if I'd stopped to look things up, I'd have fallen down the rabbit hole, guaranteed. By using the ALL CAPS technique, I can wear my writing hat now and exercise my creativity without interruption. Then later, when I'm ready to move to a new function, I can put on my research or editing hat, revisit those caps, and get back to work.

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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

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Three writing tips for aspiring authors

Writing tip: Start before you're ready

1,201 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, writing, book_marketing, productivity

In a recent post I described a launch party a super fan of mine was planning for my latest novel (Bridges) on Facebook. I wasn't sure what to expect and promised to report back on how it went, so here you go!

The party wasn't enormous, but in my opinion it was a big success. I think around 50 people attended, which is more than I see at my physical launch parties. Here's how it unfolded:

  • The super fan/host (Veronica) began the party by posting a meme that read "roll call," and in the comments everyone who was "in attendance" wrote where they were located. Attendees ranged from Alabama to Oregon, with one woman logging in from the Philippines!
  • Every five minutes Veronica posted a meme with either a fun question (e.g. what's your dream job?) or an action item that would make the attendee eligible for a giveaway (e.g. "sign up for Maria's newsletter for a chance to win a signed copy of Bridges.")
  • If the meme included an action item, it also included a link to where to complete the action item (e.g. my website to sign up for my newsletter.)
  • In between the giveaways and games, Veronica posted a photo of me and opened it up to questions in the comments. This was my favorite part of the evening, because it gave me a chance to interact directly with my fans.


Here's a link to the party if you'd like to see exactly how it unfolded. (It says 88 attended, but I don't think that's accurate given how many people answered roll call and participated in the activities. Then again, maybe some attendees just wanted to observe. Or maybe people RSVPd "yes" but didn't attend.)

In all I gained dozens of new followers on social media, and I hope I gained some new readers too. Regardless, I had a great time and would definitely do it again!

-Maria 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

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What is a virtual book tour?

Book parties don?t have to cost money

1,013 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, book_marketing, social_media, book_launch, book_party


Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 12, 2017


When I was born, my parents had a huge party for me and then we never celebrated my birthday again. Why would we? In fact, the actual day of my birth was the only milestone my family ever celebrated in my life. Not only is that a sad story, it is completely untrue. Like most humans, I've celebrated a number of events in my life, including the anniversary of my birth every year.


Your book doesn't just have a launch date you can celebrate with a party. It has a number of milestones you can celebrate with a party, and if not a party, an announcement across your social media platform. You may not want to throw a party for your book's second anniversary, but what about the tenth anniversary? Did your book reach number one in an Amazon category or even subcategory? At the very least, that merits a celebratory status update or tweet to be shared and retweeted.


In past posts, we've established that your book is an evergreen product. It won't go out of print. That's a lot of years for you to accumulate milestones and celebrate in some form or fashion. Now is not the time to be modest. If something good comes your way, share with your community and give them the opportunity to celebrate with you.

Get out a piece of paper and write down book milestones that you think are worth celebrating and then plan accordingly. Start with the big ones that could merit a small gathering of friends and fans, and then find the smaller targets that will keep your community informed and raring to celebrate your success with you. 

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

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The Anniversary Edition


The Launch Party



928 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: book_marketing, launch, launch_party, book_launch, book_launch_party

Here is a rule of branding that isn't discussed enough. Don't turn on a dime.


Simple enough? Okay, see you next blog post...


What? You need more context? That's fair.


You can change your author brand, as long as you don't change it too quickly. A brand, after all, is built on consistency. You present the same style, the same tone, the same voice over and over again, creating a trust between yourself and your community. You become a source of stability in their lives, something they can rely on and take comfort in.


The problem is that an author brand is a personal brand in a commercial setting. Your brand is tied to...well, you. You are going to go through changes in life. Trust me, I am not the same person I was in my 20s. I see things very differently. Had I had access to social media back then (meaning, if it existed), I would have a hard time reconciling what I believe now with what I believed then.


To change a brand--personal or corporate--you must allow it to go through a transition period. A gradual change brings your community along with you. A sudden change leaves you, in most cases, having to start anew. Don't resist change. Embrace it, and let it come slowly. Except in the case of unexpected tragedies, that's usually how change works anyway.


The takeaway here is to not change for the sake of change. Don't hop on a trend that is in opposition to your current brand profile because you think it will help grow your community. Just keep consistently being you, even if being you means you change along the way.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

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Should Authors Ever Reinvent Their Brands?

Author Brand Success: Consistency without Stagnation

1,754 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, book_marketing, branding, author_marketing, author_brand, author_platform

I've scoured the internet for a clear explanation of the difference between marketing and branding. I've heard people use the terms interchangeably, and frankly, that's just wrong. They serve the same purpose, but they are two different tools serving that purpose. After reading, rejecting those explanations that made no sense, and accepting those that seemed logical, here is an explanation of branding:


  • ·        Branding is an image and message tied to a product. In the case of an author, this would include the genre identity, category (fiction or nonfiction), age group of readers, style of writing, personal causes, and frequent topics an author devotes his/her online time to. These and other image definers contribute to how the author is seen by the reader. Personal appearance can play a part if the author makes appearance integral to his/her brand identity.


Marketing is a tad more complicated. Here is a culmination of the explanations I found:


  • ·      Marketing is a multifaceted tool the author will use to draw people to his/her brand. It can be by utilizing social media to build relationships with readers. It can be via advertising to make the public aware of a book signing or launch date. It can be done via interviews online and offline. Essentially, it is how you make the public aware of your image and message.


Going by these two definitions, you can see how they serve the same utility but in very different ways. The two go together, but they are not the same thing.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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



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You're not just an author, you're a brand

Raising your marketing game

2,050 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, promotion, book_marketing, branding, author_marketing, author_brand

    Mobile apps are all the rage, and as screens continue to grow smaller, and cellular streaming grows to deliver more and more data, I think it's safe to assume they won't fall out of vogue anytime soon. The question is, can an author utilize a mobile app to create buzz about a book? As of this writing, mobile app development can be costly, so if it's an avenue you want to pursue, consider your options carefully. Not every genre is a mobile app fit. Here are three I think make sense:


  1. Science fiction and fantasy novels: These types of novels are natural fits for mobile apps. First, the demographics skew younger than other genres. Young people live on their phones. Their heads are down and locked on their screens. Secondly, the nature of the genre lends itself to expand beyond the pages of the book. A space odyssey has a universe of possibilities that make for perfect content on mobile apps. Fantasy novels are based on mythologies that can be explored via mobile apps. Characters can be turned into emojis. There is so much you can do with a mobile app to engage your readers.
  2. Historical Fiction: On the other side of the demographic spectrum, historical fiction could be a great fit for a mobile app. Let's say you do a novel about Charleston during the Civil War. You could create a travel app that coincides with the historical sites mentioned in your book. You can give facts about the site and how you incorporated those facts into your story.
  3. Romance novels: These have potential in the mobile app world, too. Readers can send sweet nothings via text using a mobile app designed after your romance novel--a romantic line, a flirtatious emoji that looks like your protagonist and his or her love interest. The possibilities are endless.


There are undoubtedly more than the three genres I included here. I'm curious to know how you would utilize a mobile app for your own book. How would you harness the power of a mobile app to create buzz about your book?


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

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Mobile marketing for authors

Don't say it unless you meme it

1,847 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, book_marketing, genre, social, social_media, social_media_tips

In developing a marketing strategy, you may have overlooked two approaches that could help you create a more effective plan. Is your book better suited for a marketing campaign built around the concept of exclusive or inclusive?


Exclusive: The word is pretty scary when it comes to marketing. In fact, it sounds counterintuitive to the purpose of marketing, which is to raise awareness about your book and move as many people as you can to purchase it. But the truth is, you may benefit greatly by having a book with narrow appeal. Remember, in a country with over 300 million people, "narrow" is a relative term. Even in the narrowest of terms, we are still talking about a lot of people. If your book focuses on fringe material, you have a book that is better suited for an exclusive marketing strategy. If you have a book that caters to one political or social viewpoint, you have a book that is right for exclusive marketing strategies. If you have a book that is about get the point. Singularly themed books about topics that have well-defined supporters and detractors are tailor-made products for exclusive marketing strategies.


Inclusive: Books with wide appeal will do better under an inclusive marketing strategy. Believe it or not, books that fall under this category are fairly rare. Mass market books are actually few and far between because they usually all fall within the guidelines of a genre. A genre by definition is a narrowing of the market. But in the world of publishing, genres can have broad appeal. If you've written a book that fits under the umbrella of a certain genre, but doesn't really belong in any of its sub-genres, you've got a book that has the potential to sell more copies under an inclusive marketing strategy.


Frankly, exclusive marketing strategies are easier to manage than inclusive marketing strategies, and I suggest, in the beginning at least, to find something about your book that gives it narrow market appeal and focus on building your reader base with an exclusive strategy, even if you think it's a mass market title. You can always change your strategy and move into more inclusive marketing strategies later on.


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



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Mingle Marketing

The Marketing Maze

2,093 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, promotion, book_marketing, marketing_campaign, book_advice

Embracing selfies

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 17, 2016

As a person who inexplicably refers to himself as middle-aged, despite the fact that I'd have to live 24 years beyond the average life expectancy to actually be at the halfway point of my life, I feel comfortable speaking for my generation when I say we hate selfies. Loathe them. We don't understand them. We question the need for them. It's not a particularly rational objection. But it is the purview of older generations to not understand trends embraced by newer generations.



Here's the thing: selfies are excellent marketing tools. The criticism is that they are a bit self-indulgent, and they certainly can be, but they are for the most part, innocent records of one's journey through life. In your case, you would be recording a writer's life. Not self-indulgent as much as self-promotion.



I acknowledge that most of us are uncomfortable with that particular aspect of being an author. Promoting oneself does not come easily. It's downright painful in most cases. That is the beauty of selfies. It's a picture with a caption and you're done. At a book signing? Snap a picture of yourself with a few readers and post it to social media with a description that states how thrilled you are to meet your readers. Encourage your readers to do the same. In fact, post a sign that says, "Selfies with the author encouraged"



Never pass up the opportunity to snap a selfie. They are fantastic marketing tools, and they require very little effort. Just a little tip from an author who longs to be middle-aged again.



-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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




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Building an author brand: your appearance

Six-second branding with apps

1,144 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, book_signing, book_marketing, promotions, social_media


Going offline and into the real world to market your book can be an expensive and risky proposition if you don't find the right venue. For example, I think you're making a big mistake by trying to get your book into a bookstore. More books is something they don't need, and you won't necessarily stand out. My advice is to find locally owned businesses that don't normally feature authors and their books. Here are three types of businesses I believe that will be open to featuring your book.

  1. Coffee Shops/Cafés: I've long been a proponent of approaching locally owned coffee shops about doing readings. It is as natural a fit as you will find in the world of books. But beyond coffee shops, cafés in general are also excellent establishments to approach about displaying a poster featuring your book or even setting up a consignment deal with them to sell your books. There's a small café down the street from my house that specializes in soups, and they feature artwork for sale by local artists. Why not authors?
  2. Theaters: I am a season ticket holder to three theaters in my area. Two of them have featured books for sale by local authors. One of those authors just happens to be me. How did I get my book in there? I asked. Simple as that.
  3. Independent Movie Houses: This may be unique to certain areas, but if you happen to live in a community with an old movie theater that's independently owned, you have a place that may be open to selling your book on consignment or at the very least allowing you to hang a poster or flyer. Independent movie houses are special places that usually show smaller budget films and attract older audiences. They're perfect places for an author to advertise a book.

Whatever types of businesses you approach, be prepared to provide them with support material. I suggest going beyond the flyer route and having a poster made up or even bookmarks they can hand out at the counter. If you want to set up a consignment deal, do your research before approaching them and know the industry standard and procedure for such an arrangement. The more professional you are the more likely they are to say yes.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

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Giving Books Away: A Strategy that Still Works


Finding Readers in Waiting Rooms





1,927 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, selling, book_marketing, promotions, marketing_ideas, author_tips, author_advice

Why are you marketing that novel you published ten years ago? The continuing cost of storing inventory must be outrageous. All those books just sitting in a warehouse. That must wreak havoc on your marketing budget--Oops. My bad. I thought it was the nineties for a second.


It's time for an "evergreen" reminder. What do I mean by evergreen? Indie publishing is as close to magical as you can get. You can publish without editorial or financial hindrances. You can sell books without inventory, and if you wish, you can do it all from the privacy of your own home. Before the rise of print-on-demand and eBooks, publishing was a much different proposition. Most striking was the astronomical capital investment it used to take to publish and sell a book.


Comparatively speaking, you are the indie author of a book that has very little cost associated with it. Your time is the biggest investment you've made in it. It comes without one of the most costly outlays of cash that was once associated with publishing, the warehousing of inventory. This frees you up on so many levels. Once you publish, your budget, both in money and time, can be devoted to marketing.


Here's the evergreen aspect: unless you say otherwise, your book will never go "out of print." It will be a product you can promote and sell until you decide you no longer want to promote and sell it. If your book is not time sensitive, why would you not continue to market it and drive traffic to your sales page?


So, why are you marketing that novel you published ten years ago? Because you can, and it makes good business sense.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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The Evergreen Era of Publishing

The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

1,980 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, promotion, promoting, book_marketing, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, marketing_advice

Today's post is a bit different than ones I've done in the past. It's a request to my fellow indie authors. I know the struggles first-hand that you experience trying to bring attention to your brand and generate sales for your book. It's hard, relentless work that takes stamina and sustained energy to find success. We authors are constantly looking for angles to increase sales and find our marketing groove.


The one angle that I highly recommend staying away from is utilizing a tragedy to shift attention to your book. I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about without naming names. A gentleman has a talk show where he frequently interviews people who've undergone unspeakably horrible events in their lives. On occasion, when a particular event fits the theme for a book he's written, he will overtly suggest that the audience should buy the book on his website. I have no doubt that he generates sales this way, but it is the grossest form of marketing. And, in my view, it stamps his brand with a severe lack of tact and ethics.


You most likely don't have a TV show to compete with this gentleman's outreach, but you do have a forum. You have your social network. If you plug a book in a thread about a national tragedy because you feel the subject matter fits your book's storyline, you invite a string of moral indignation and run the risk of severely damaging your brand. So, my request is that you don't do it. Avoid the temptation to grab that kind of marketing opportunity. You will feel better about yourself for doing so.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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How Not to Market

Use Common Sense in Book Promotion

3,107 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, author, promotion, book_marketing, promotions, branding, social_media, marketing_strategy, marketing_tip

You've given away proofs. Now it's time to pick a release date. This is the target where you'll concentrate all your initial marketing hoopla. It will feature an explosion of fanfare and excitement.


Here are five items to keep in mind when planning your release date:


  1. "Release date" does not mean the day it is available for sale ? Much like a brick-and-mortar store does a soft-opening before a grand opening, I recommend doing a soft-release before your official release date. Make the official release date the focus of your marketing (advertising, interviews, press release, etc.), but keep the soft-release as inside information for your online community. When the book is available for sale, send out a breaking news announcement alerting them to buy, buy, buy before the official release date.

  2. Avoid the temptation to just get the book out there. Look for a date on your calendar that is relevant to you, to the book, or to the season. I know you're anxious to get reader feedback, but there may be an invaluable marketing hook that you're squandering in your desire to make the book available ASAP. Think as a marketer, not as an author.

  3. When the release date arrives, take to social media like an author possessed. Pin, tweet, update, blog, and vlog your heart out. Be excited. Be humble. Be grateful.

  4. Use your volunteer sales force (readers) to help get the word out. Find some way to reward them within your means. If that's simply a heartfelt public thank you, share it with the world. If you have deeper pockets, go as deep as you can. It is a gesture they are not likely to forget or let go unnoticed.

  5. Track your sales for the day for no other reason than to evaluate your marketing strategy for the release. If sales are good to great, you have a formula you can repeat for the next book. If sales didn't reach expectations, a new direction is in order. Pick your strategy apart and pinpoint what caused you to fall short.


We will get into more detail on item five next week when we examine your final marketing stage, the postmortem.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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




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Stage Two of Marketing a Book: Outreach

Stage Three of Marketing - Proof Giveaway

3,806 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, selling, book, author, self-publishing, writers, writing, book_marketing, promotions

Here's a small marketing idea that could lead to expanded exposure on a global scale. It's not groundbreaking, but it won't break your budget either. It's a long-haul plan, so don't expect an immediate return on your investment. Think of it as a side project that has the potential to grow your brand in a big way.


I live in a community that has a fairly large number of bed-and-breakfasts, small inns not affiliated with national chains, and vacation rental homes. The amount of amenities varies from establishment to establishment, but virtually all of them have a bookshelf filled with books. The titles usually cover a number of different genres and categories to match the variety of tastes of the different guests that stream in and out throughout the year. Why can't some of those books be written by you?


These places are either independently owned or run by small rental companies. It would be easy to find contacts and offer to send signed books for them to place in their properties. You would, of course, include a personal note in each copy inviting guests to join you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Presumably, these guests could come from all over the globe. This could be a real opportunity to make contacts far and wide.


I've stayed in a number of these establishments myself, and even though I have an electronic reading device, I always end up going through the book collections made available to guests looking for a physical book. Who knows? Maybe next time I'm staying at a bed-and-breakfast, I could be reading your book.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

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Marketing Tip: Set up an Author Page on Amazon

The Brand and the Pseudonym

2,816 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: books, self-publishing, promotion, book_marketing, craft, social_media, author_brand, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, book_exposure

I'm about to go old school on you, but if it helps, I throw in a new school twist at the end. 


Social media is great. You connect with hundreds if not thousands of people you otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to connect with because distance is not an issue. It is also a great networking tool for introverts, making it the perfect way for most writers to build their brands. There is no doubt about it, social media is practically tailor-made for authors to get the word out about their books.


But I still think it pales in comparison to a technique used to build brands since cavemen tried to get the word out about their cave paintings. I am referring to good old fashioned face-to-face networking, of course. Stepping out from behind your computer, or setting your smartphone down to have real-life interactions with actual human beings creates a bond that is nearly impossible to match through virtual meet-ups. 


With almost a year's worth of conferences in front you in 2015, I encourage you to pick a few and make an effort to create face-to-face connections with like-minded folks. Let the people behind the status updates and tweets experience you in all your real-world glory. 


Here's how you sprinkle in a little new school with your old school networking. Document your real-life connections on your platform. Post pictures and video of you meeting people at these conferences and mark the occasion with the awe it deserves. After all, you'll be making connections that not only have the potential to become lifelong friends, but they also have the potential to help build your author brand.  


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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Four Tips for Real-Life Networking

Tips for Networking with Other Authors

5,594 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: promotion, book_marketing, social_media, author_brand, marketing_strategy, marketing_advice, soci
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