Skip navigation
1 ... 17 18 19 20 21 ... 32 Previous Next

Resources

473 Posts tagged with the books tag
0

If a complete stranger walked up to you on the street and said, "I've written a scary novel that is a real page turner...You should totally buy it," chances are you'd nod politely and quickly walk away. However, if that same person pointed across the street and said, "Is that George Clooney?" I'm willing to bet you'd turn and look. Am I right?

 

The same principle applies to book marketing. Whether your work is fiction or nonfiction, to get people to pay attention you need to come up with a brief, compelling description. In industry jargon, this is called a "hook," and a good one will encourage your target audience to pick up a copy of your book and start reading. Now.

 

Here are some excellent examples I've seen:

 

·         Easy-to-follow financial advice for young professionals just getting started

·         A thriller set in a small town where the women have mysteriously stopped having children

·         A step-by-step guide for women looking to reenter the workforce after raising kids

·         A must-read for anyone who has ever run into an ex looking like crap (full disclosure alert: this is for one of my novels, Perfect on Paper)

 

As you begin your marketing efforts, the first thing everyone is going to ask you is "What is your book about?" so it's important to get this down early. You can tweak and refine as you learn what resonates with readers, but you should have something ready from the get-go. And even if you do zero marketing (which I don't recommend!), people in your life are inevitably going to ask you this question as well, so it's worth taking the time to prepare an answer.

 

Remember: the description doesn't have to appeal to everyone, but it should pique the interest of those who would most enjoy your book.

 

- Maria

 

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

Maria Murnane writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

So You've Published Your Book - Now What?

New Blogger on the Block!

11,812 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, books, books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, description, description, description, description, description, description, description, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, hook, hook, hook, hook, hook, hook, hook
0

Poor Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Despite all that he accomplished as a writer and statesman during his lifetime, he is known in his afterlife as the man who penned what many consider the worst - albeit popular - opening line to a novel in the history of the written word. You know the one: "It was a dark and stormy night."

 

 

I have to be honest with you. I have seen much worse. I've most likely written much worse. I've studied the debate over this line for some time now, and while the line is hated by many, a lot of people don't understand why it's so bad. Lest you think that Bulwer-Lytton was a hack, the man was quite adroit at turning a phrase. He also originated "the pen is mightier than the sword" and "the almighty dollar," among others. He was a prolific best-selling novelist during his day.

 

 

So why is "It was a dark and stormy night" reviled in literary circles? Because that's not all there is to it. "It was a dark and stormy night" is just shorthand for the entire first line. It goes on and on, and that's what gets Bulwer-Lytton in trouble. See for yourself:

 

 

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

 

 

As you can see, it is a bit verbose. The sad thing is that Bulwer-Lytton worked with an editor. He was even friends with Charles Dickens and often critiqued his work before publication. One of Bulwer-Lytton's stories, "The Haunted and the Haunter," was lauded by H.P. Lovecraft as "one of the best short haunted house tales ever written." So he knew good writing. One wonders how he let this one slip through the cracks.

 

 

Here is a fun challenge for you writers: Try rewriting the line in your style. Make it better. In other words, edit poor Edward Bulwer-Lytton to create a first line that would keep today's readers reading!

 

 

-Richard

 

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

 

 

You may also be interested in...

 

 

Your First Line Can Help You Sell Books

 

The Importance of Endings

1,883 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, editing, writers
0

Welcome to Tuesday's blog roundup. This is the day we shine the spotlight on bloggers and artists in the publishing, film and music industries.

 

Books/Publishing

 

The 5 Most Stolen Books - PWxyz

Oh, to be so revered as an author that your books have to be placed behind the counter for fear of thievery...

 

Put Your Personality at the Center of Your Brand - We Grow Media

Here is the endless loop of personal brands: You are your brand. Your brand is you. Repeat.            

 

Film

 

Filmmaking on the Run: What Books and Film Schools Can't Teach You - BZ Film

An interesting article on one filmmaker's struggles to learn the craft of filmmaking outside of the United States. 

 

The Most Difficult Part of Independent Filmmaking - Addovolt Productions

I have to admit I have never given this element of filmmaking a lot of thought. Is it because it's not glamorous enough?

 

Music

 

Dissertation on Digital Music - eleet music

Digital music marketing guru Kevin English discusses his thoughts and experiences in the industry.         

 

The Internet versus Book Publishing: A Lesson for Musicians - Pampelmoose

The parallels are often drawn between the way the internet changed the music business and way it's changing the publishing business. What can the two industries learn from each other?

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - July 19, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - July 12, 2011 Edition

778 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, indie, indie, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, branding, branding
0

You've done it! You've written, rewritten, polished, proofread, and published your book. Congratulations!

 

Now what?

 

If you've independently published, your book is available online for anyone in the world to buy. That is a significant accomplishment, but the unfortunate reality is that you have a LOT of competition - I'm talking tens of millions of other titles. That makes the chances of a reader randomly stumbling upon your title extremely slim. Many independent authors have no idea how to get the word out about their books, which is one reason they may not sell as many copies.

 

If you want your book to stand out, you have to be creative, and you have to work hard. There are many things you can do to promote an independently published title, but before you do anything, I strongly recommend creating the following basic materials:

 

  • One-line description of your book - In industry jargon, this is called "the hook." It should answer the question "What is your book about?" AND grab a potential reader's attention, so make it compelling!
  • One-paragraph description of your book - Here you can provide a bit more detail. The goal is to explain what your book is about in a way that makes the target audience want to read it.
  • Brief author bio, including something interesting about you
  • High-resolution headshot and cover art

 

When you begin your marketing efforts, you'll be asked for these materials over and over, so it's best to have them prepared from the get-go. You can tweak and refine as necessary, but creating templates will save you a lot of time and energy.

 

Starting next week, I'll begin to dig deeper into how to prepare and use each of the above materials!

 

- Maria

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

Maria Murnane writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

New Blogger on the Block!

The Author Bio is an Important (and Often Overlooked) Marketing Tool

5,424 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, indie, indie, indie, indie
0

We live in an era where the term "out of print" has become less and less relevant. Print on-demand started the perpetually "in print" revolution by making a book something you could store digitally. The need for physical storage space was, and is, no longer an issue. Added to that is the e-book movement, which made books conveniently available to read digitally. With these digital advancements in place, the books you publish today can be on the market and in print for as long as you want them to be.

 

This being the case, I urge you not to rest on the laurels of publishing a single title. By having multiple titles that include your author brand, you have greater potential to sell your first title. Call it the power of multiples. The more well-written books you have on the market, the more copies you sell of each. People have a greater chance of discovering you at an accelerated rate. Part of Amanda Hocking's success has to do with the fact that she has several books available for sale. Her readership grew at an exponential rate because she had multiple offerings.

 

What gives the power of multiples its power? There are a lot of things at play here. The more quality books you have with your name on them, the more seasoned and polished you appear. The more books you have available for sale, the more points of discovery you've made available for readers. The more books you publish, the more offerings you serve up for your word-of-mouth army. You're giving your fans a reason to talk about you and your books.

 

Today, more than ever, authors have the opportunity to build off the momentum from previous publications. Whether you choose print on-demand, e-book publishing, or both, the digital realm is your chance to harness the power of multiples. Take advantage of it!

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Plotting a Book Series

You Have More Than One Book Inside of You

1,724 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, promotion, series, craft
0

Love Him or Hate Him, Hemingway Wouldn't Care Either Way

The only thing studied more than Ernest Hemingway's work is the man himself. There is an air of boldness about the man that transcends the typical arrogance of a brilliant writer. He gobbled up life like many of us tear into a rare steak. He was feared, admired, loved and hated, and one gets the very real sense that none of it mattered to him. The only thing that seemed to matter to him was his writing. Author Marty Beckerman explores Hemingway in his new book The Heming Way.

 

"I think there's a lot of lessons that Hemingway taught that definitely could apply to modern guys," Beckerman says. "I think that guys today aren't really living on our own terms and have lost a certain passion. Everything we know comes from Wikipedia, and everything Hemingway knew came from adventure. Get off your iPad and get off your smartphone and go slaughter some bulls and some lions!"

 

You can read the entire article on The Los Angeles Times' website: Rethinking Hemingway 50 years after his death

 

Is 3-D a Creative or Commercial Choice?

Los Angeles Times' film critic Betsy Sharkey has had it with 3-D films. The rise of 3-D offerings has gone from five in 2008 to 40 by the end of this year, and she's not happy. Her biggest beef isn't really with the technology itself, but with the way it's being used. She doesn't feel like filmmakers are using it as a creative tool, but as a commercial tool.              

 

What's troubling in the move from unusual to ubiquitous is that the choice to go 3-D has increasingly become a commercial rather than a creative one. We all realize that making movies is a for-profit business. Instead, let's talk about the fear factor. There is the worry that a studio saying no to 3-D might offend a filmmaker it seriously can't afford to offend. But more often, it's fear that "we the audience" want, desire, even demand 3-D in this technocentric age. So does that mean it's up to us to somehow stop the madness? Or are studios simply not listening to the actual word on the street?

 

You can read the entire article on the Los Angeles Times' website: 3-D in the movies: Getting in too deep

 

When Life Imitates Art that Imitates Life

Justin Timberlake played Facebook kingpin Sean Parker to some acclaim in the award winning movie The Social Network. He apparently enjoyed the role so much that he's now the proud minority owner of his own social network, MySpace. The site that put the social in social network has fallen on hard times as of late, and Timberlake joined a group of investors to buy the site for a bargain. What are his plans for MySpace? 

 

Justin Timberlake's longtime manager Johnny Wright has said that the singer is considering a talent contest as one way of reviving MySpace. Timberlake took an ownership stake in the declining social media site after the advertising network Specific Media bought the company for $35 million from News Corp last week.

 

You can read the entire article on Rolling Stone's website: Justin Timberlake May Revive MySpace With Talent Competition

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - July 8, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - July 1, 2011

1,559 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, filmmaking, filmmaking, film, film, myspace, myspace, musicians, musicians, 3d, 3d
1

Hello CreateSpace authors! I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce myself, as I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to write a new weekly guest blog for CreateSpace. Why? Because while my book is traditionally published now, I started off going the indie route. My novel, a romantic comedy called Perfect on Paper, was initially turned down by several major publishing houses, and I was crushed. Crushed! But rather than give up on my dream, I independently published through CreateSpace and implemented a creative, grassroots marketing campaign in an effort to prove the big houses wrong. And it worked! Within a year, my book was picked up by AmazonEncore. Since then, Perfect on Paper has also been published by Random House in Germany and Cor Leonis in Hungary, and I've signed on with the same Hollywood film rights agency that represents the authors of Capote and Legend of the Guardians! My next book, a sequel called It's a Waverly Life, is scheduled for release by Amazon Publishing in November 2011, and I've recently begun writing a third novel in the series.

 

While I've certainly worked hard, NONE of the above would have happened without independent publishing. My novel would still be languishing in obscurity on my laptop as a Word document, gathering e-dust. Instead, I have thousands of fans clamoring for my next book, and I'm excited to be working on my third! Along the way I've learned a tremendous amount that I'm eager to share in this blog, including tips for completing that first manuscript, self-publishing mistakes to avoid, and creative ideas for getting the word out. If you have any specific topics you'd like to see me address, please include them in the comments below. I'm writing this to help YOU get to where YOU want to be as an author based on my own experiences, so your input is extremely important to me. I can't wait to get started - watch for my next post next week!

 

- Maria

 

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

Maria Murnane writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

2,592 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, selling, selling, promotion, promotion, blogging, blogging
0

Ingredients for a List: Pen, Paper, and the Oxford Comma

So, you've created a list. You've checked it twice. You're just making sure if you really need that comma after the second to last item on your list that comes before the "and." You know the one. It looks something like this: "I need avocados, cilantro, tomatoes, lime, and jalapenos to make my world-famous guacamole." Some have argued that the serial comma is not only unnecessary, but it actually creates an unintended pause in the sentence structure. Reports were rampant recently that the comma, known as the Oxford comma, was deemed unnecessary by none other than Oxford University Press. It seems the reports were not entirely accurate.

 

Yesterday, Mediabistro's GalleyCat ran a post that made it seem like Oxford University Press was dropping the use of its eponymous comma, also known as the serial comma. The story took off and became a Twitter meme so big that by today it had its own Associated Press story. But unfortunately for GalleyCat (or maybe fortunately, because it seems to be getting them a lot of clicks), it wasn't exactly true. The instruction to do away with the comma, which follows the last word in a series, appeared not in the OUP style guide, but rather the guide issued for the University of Oxford Public Affairs Directorate.

 

You can read the entire article on Atlantic Wire's website: Oxford Comma's Non-Demise Brings Twitter Comma Creation Fest

 

Microbudget Filmmaking Can Be Tough

At one time, when filmmakers didn't have a lot of money to make their films, they turned to low-budget filmmaking. But a funny thing happened on the way to low-budget filmmaking: it got really expensive. So, as creative people often do, cash-strapped filmmakers invented a new concept and gave it a label that will help keep the cost down: microbudget filmmaking. It's an affordable, but difficult approach. Todd Looby describes the process.        

 

Now, let me make sure I'm clear in my views that I respect microfilmmakers more than any other filmmaker, simply because it's more difficult. I also tend to like the first films by many directors more than their subsequent studio efforts, simply because you see the inventiveness and the brilliant ways they worked around constraints, pushing the boundaries of the medium and brilliantly transforming the subtle and ordinary to the profound.

 

You can read the entire article on the Filmmaker Magazine's website: THE MICROBUDGET CONVERSATION: A FILMMAKING TOOL

 

A Song That Wouldn't Exist Without Social Media

Technology changes music in more ways than the production and delivery. Technology inspires lyrics. Where would Lionel Richie be without the telephone? Where would The Buggles be without video, or the radio for that matter? Songwriters write about their lives and today's songwriters' lives include social media. Enter Greyson Chance, a 13-year-old pop sensation that makes Justin Bieber look like a social security recipient, and his new song Unfriend You.

 

As for why the YouTube phenomenon felt the heartbreak tune was fitting as the lead single off his debut album Hold On 'Til the Night, Chance explained, "I think 'Unfriend You' is an amazing record because, one, it's a breakup song, which breakup songs are always fun, and two, it's referencing social media, especially in this day and age, I think it's very important to reference social media in music."

 

You can read the entire article on MTV's website: Greyson Chance Gets Revenge In 'Unfriend You' Video

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - July 1, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - June 24, 2011

880 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, book, book, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, grammar, grammar, comma, comma
0

It can take me several tries to come up with a perfect first line for a new novel. I will agonize over it. Often times, I'll write the first line and walk away. Let it settle in a bit. When I come back to see how it looks on the page, I will immediately delete it and start all over again.

 

We've all been taught the importance of a book's beginning. It's your readers' first impression of a story. If they like it, they will read on, but if they don't like it, they're likely to put the book down and never give it another thought. Most of us are taught that the beginning is the most important part of the story.

 

Or is it? I find myself sweating the final words of the book as much as I sweat the first words. The ending can either leave the readers satisfied and happy if done correctly or frustrated and angry if done poorly. The way you end your story may determine if they decide to read your next book or not.

 

As writers, we want every word of our books to be perfect and loved, but try looking at it from a publisher's point of view. As an independent author, you are a publisher after all. Where would you, the publisher, put the emphasis? Not sure? Here's a little exercise to help you determine what you value more:

 

Pretend you have 100 total points to spread out between your beginning and your ending. The number of points you assign to each section determines how good that section is. You could give both a score of 50, but that means your beginning and ending are both mediocre. Mediocre doesn't sell. As the publisher, what do you think sells: a stronger beginning or a stronger ending? Many of you would choose a stronger beginning in this situation, and I don't think you would be wrong. It's my opinion that a strong beginning sells more books than a strong ending.

 

However, it's an impossible choice as a writer. We don't want any part of our books to have less of an impact than the other. But with our publisher hats on, we tend to think in more practical terms. We see what the reader values more.

 

What's your opinion? Does the beginning or the ending matter more?

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Your First Line Can Help You Sell Books

The Importance of Endings

2,543 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, writers, writing, beginning, ending
0

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book a few years ago called The Tipping Point. It's an excellent examination of how something becomes a phenomenon. In Web 2.0 parlance, it's all about how something goes viral. I found the whole thing fascinating and educational, but one particular discussion in the book really grabbed my attention: the role of "Connectors" in a viral campaign.

 

Connectors are people who have a talent for making friends and acquaintances. They have a large network of people they reach on a regular basis. Gladwell identifies Paul Revere as one of the most famous Connectors. He illustrates Revere's influence as a Connector by comparing his famed ride with William Dawes' ride that same night. Both men rode into the New England darkness in opposite directions delivering the same message, "The British are coming!" Revere moved the people along his route to action. He galvanized a movement to take up arms against the British army. William Dawes' didn't have the same kind of success. His warning had far less impact.

 

Why? Both men were delivering the same message. The simple answer is that Revere was a Connector. He had made friends and acquaintances throughout his life who listened to him when it counted. He gave the message a special kind of authority.

 

So what is the lesson for us? Look for the Connectors in your life to help you spread the word about your book. The great thing about Connectors is that they usually want to help. They love helping their friends out and being part of the action. The message is important, so be sure to keep it consistent, but from a marketing standpoint, the messenger is the key to getting the word out.

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

It's Never Too Early to Get a Little Help from Your Friends

The Pursuit of the Retweet

1,969 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, book, book, promotion, promotion, message, message, messenger, messenger
0

An Author's Work is Never Done

The Philadelphia Inquirer has discovered something that we authors have known for awhile: an author's work isn't done once the book is available for sale. One must toil and trudge in the world of self-promotion. It doesn't matter if you're published independently or traditionally; authors have to engage themselves in the marketing process. The Inquirer learned this while profiling author Jen Miller.

 

Although many might still consider it a glamorous gig - write a book, reap the rewards! - selling those books, especially for first-time authors, has become a lesson in perseverance. Stand-alone newspaper book sections, or even substantive morning TV and radio talk shows that would discuss the books, have dramatically decreased in numbers, as have the publicists who could book such appearances. There are fewer bookstores at which to hold signings and even fewer libraries that have the ability to hold author series. While publishers might still invest resources to promote a high-profile author, more of the selling part of the literary life is falling to the writers.

 

You can read the entire article on Philly.com: Author, author, plug that book!

 

Have Camera, Will Document

The seemingly impossible barriers to filmmaking have all but vanished. The equipment is affordable. The distribution options are numerous and easily accessible. The only real obstacle filmmakers face today is finding chunks of time to shoot their projects. Some may even call this the golden age of filmmaking. In fact, filmmaker Steve James did just that, albeit for a very specific kind of filmmaking.

 

Best known for Hoop Dreams, his 1994 portrait of two young basketball hopefuls (which won prizes including the Sundance audience award), James believes many of the brightest creative talents are now turning to documentaries. "I hope it's not like the real estate bubble, but I sincerely believe we are living in a golden age for documentary film-making," he says, speaking from Salt Lake City; this week he flies to Britain to give a masterclass at the Sheffield Doc/Fest and screen his new documentary The Interrupters. "The quality is incredible," James enthuses. "Before, people used to want to make narrative films, but suddenly people realised what you could do with documentary."

 

You can read the entire article on The Guardian's website: Steve James hails a 'golden age of documentary film-making'

 

Crowd-sourcing the King of Pop

Michael Jackson may have passed, but his music lives on. In fact, his estate has released some new material. When it came time to put a video together for his new song, Behind the Mask, they didn't want a video featuring archived footage of Jackson. They wanted something fresh and new, so they turned to the late pop star's fans for help. They incorporated the concept of crowd-sourcing by having fans contribute video clips and editing them together into a video for the new single.

 

Fans had access to a template video that was posted in March and were asked to shoot video footage of themselves executing a Jackson-like dance step, choreography routine, facial expression or other moves. They were integrated into a 4-minute video that incorporates more than 1,600 quick shots selected from among entries submitted from 103 countries. Most are young men and women in their teens and 20s, but there are also snippets from 2- and 3-year-old mini-MJs. Jackson's reach appears not to be limited to one species, as there's also a section from fans who shot their pets moving to the music.

 

You can read the entire article on The Los Angeles Times' website: Crowd-sourced video for Michael Jackson's 'Behind the Mask' premieres

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - June 17, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - June 10, 2011

1,650 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, book, book, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, documentary, documentary, films, films, filmmakers, filmmakers, crowdsourcing, crowdsourcing
0

On Monday, I asked a question about marketing and talent and skill. Today, however, let's focus on writing. Does writing take more talent or more skill? As stated before, talent is something you are born with that just comes naturally to you. Skill is something developed over time through study and practice.

 

When people find out I'm a novelist, I am always surprised when they give me an unsolicited comment about their lack of writing talent. They insist they could never write a book. "Sure you could," I usually say, "if it's something you really want to do." That's when they usually tell me they just don't have the discipline.

 

And that's the core of the matter. Writing a book takes discipline. Since no one is forcing us to write a book, the discipline authors invoke usually stems from one thing: desire. We have a deep and burning desire to write. It drives us to write, even if there is little to no external reward for our efforts.

 

My desire to write has made me a better writer over time. The first thing I wrote was horrible. If you had the pleasure of reading it hot off the presses, you probably wouldn't have seen any talent for writing whatsoever. You may have even advised me to pursue another line of work. The last book I wrote was far superior to my earlier work. Why? Did I get more talented or did I increase my skill in the craft? 

 

Clearly, there are talented writers out there. Harper Lee wrote the perfect book the first time out of the gate, but she's an exception to the rule. The desire to write drives us to improve our craft by practicing. Writing skill is bound to develop as a result. There are so many ways to develop your skill as a writer -reading the greats, taking writing classes, participating in workshops, etc. - but I believe the best way to develop your skill as a writer is to simply write. Keep your head down and fingers on the keyboard and just write until you find your voice. Feed your desire. So, perhaps the answer is that writing isn't strictly a talent or a skill. It's a desire to produce the best possible work we can.

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Gaining Perspective When Writing

Why Are You An Author?

2,548 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, book, book, book, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, craft, craft, craft, talent, talent, talent
0

Talent is something you are born with. It just comes naturally to you. Skill implies something that is developed over time. You learn the process, practice it, and may even fail many times before you master it. That brings us to our question: Is marketing more talent than skill, or is it the other way around?

 

Now I realize there are several components to marketing. You must develop a message for your marketing campaign. You have to select the media through which to deliver your message, and in our independent publishing world, you have to be the messenger. Certainly education and experience help you raise your game in these arenas, but will they help if you have no talent for marketing? 

 

Marketing professionals like Gary Vaynerchuk and Seth Godin are considered gurus. Vaynerchuk is a whirlwind of personality who approaches marketing like the Allies storming the beaches of Normandy. He hosts an active blog, records frequent personal videos, and makes numerous appearances. He basically saturates the web with his presence and personality. Godin, on the other hand, takes the low-key approach. He hosts an active blog and makes several high-profile appearances every year. He is all about the information. Two different gurus with two different styles; they may have been born with a certain talent for marketing, but it's more likely something they've developed as a skill over time through practice and study.

 

This is encouraging to those of us who aren't born marketers. Marketing is a skill you can develop and hone. It takes a keen sense of observation and a lot of hard work to master the ins and outs of marketing. Given that there so many things to know about marketing - demographics, media outlets, effective messaging, branding, etc. - it just makes sense that skill has a bigger impact than talent. If you apply yourself, you can succeed. Who knows? You may even become a guru like Vaynerchuk and Godin.

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Keep a Brand Journal

Branding vs. Marketing for Authors

1,561 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, promotion, promotions, talent
0

The Dark Side of Young Adult Fiction

Thanks to an article by Meghan Cox Gurdon in The Wall Street Journal, a debate is percolating on the internet about the dark nature of today's young adult fiction. Gurdon makes the argument that today's offerings for young adults subject their young minds to disorders and pathologies that were too sensitive to mention just a generation ago, and she's not happy about it. She believes things have gone too far.

 

Yet it is also possible - indeed, likely - that books focusing on pathologies help normalize them and, in the case of self-harm, may even spread their plausibility and likelihood to young people who might otherwise never have imagined such extreme measures. Self-destructive adolescent behaviors are observably infectious and have periods of vogue. That is not to discount the real suffering that some young people endure; it is an argument for taking care.

 

You can read the entire article on The Wall Street Journal's website: Darkness Too Visible

 

Can You Keep a Secret?

J.J. Abrams has a reputation for keeping secrets. In fact, his style is to surprise the audiences that watch his TV shows and come to his movies. He doesn't like to reveal the payoff until it's absolutely necessary. That works great for storytelling, but wreaks havoc on your marketing efforts. How do you get people to come to a movie if they don't really know what it's about? The marketing team for Abrams' new movie, Super 8, has had a time generating blockbuster-type interest for the film.       

 

Audience tracking surveys show that though older moviegoers, particularly men, are interested in seeing the picture, younger ticket buyers - historically, the drivers of summer smashes - so far have been slow to warm to the film. In other words, people who remember 1979 are more likely to want to see "Super 8" than those for whom it's ancient history. There's some evidence this week that moviegoers' enthusiasm has ticked up, giving the studio hope that buzz is building in the last few days before release. But still, people who have analyzed the data say "Super 8" likely will take in a little less than $30 million on its first weekend - a solid start given the film's budget but a relative shrimp in the summer tent-pole season.

 

You can read the entire article on the Los Angeles Times' website: Word of Mouth: 'Super 8' seeks an audience among the summer tent poles

 

Taking It to the Street

Getting a record deal depends on the number of Twitter followers and Facebook friends you have, right? It's insane to think you can create a following, sell CDs and catch the attention of a major label and booking agency just by performing on the street, right? I mean, this is 2011, where social media is king. The current line of thought is that you have to conquer the virtual world in order to take over the real world. Not so fast. John West is making it on the streets of Santa Monica. 

 

For the last four years, the 28-year-old Baton Rouge, La., native has been a mainstay on the promenade, where he's fine-tuned his brand of acoustic/urban alternative pop that suggests Justin Timberlake and Jack Johnson. West has sold more than 35,000 copies of three independently released EPs while performing twice each Saturday and Sunday. Those impressive sales recently landed West a booking deal with Creative Artists Agency and a record deal with Mercury/Island Def Jam records, where he is at work on his as-yet-untitled debut.

 

You can read the entire article on the Los Angeles Times' website: For John West, being a street performer doesn't mean a life in the gutter

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - June 10, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - June 3, 2011

1,519 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, book, book, music, music, fiction, fiction, ya, ya, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
0

When I decided to write a series, I didn't realize the enormity of what I had committed to. In essence, you're writing a book in stages over a period of years that will, in my case, be about 360,000 words. It is sometimes a daunting case that has me wondering if I made the right decision. Each time I complete a manuscript in the series, I breathe a heavy sigh of relief, and every time I start a new manuscript, I have a deep sense of doubt that I will be able to pull it off.

 

I wrote the first book relying on a single plot for that particular title. I then signed with an agent, and she requested that I provide a synopsis for every book in the series. After gasping in horror, I asked her to give me a week to have them in her inbox. A week later, I delivered them to her has promised. How did I do it? This is the basic blueprint I followed to plot the series, which I think most aspiring series writers can follow:

 

  1. I wrote a one sentence description of the whole series. What was the series about? The details of it didn't concern me; I just wanted to explain the essence of the series.

  2. What are the rules of the series? This series has some sci-fi/fantasy elements to it, so I had established some "if this, then that" scenarios for the first book. Those became the rules of the series. No book thereafter in the series could violate those rules.

  3. I came up with the titles of the six books in my series. With the titles established, I had a sense of each story.

  4. I wrote one-sentence descriptions of each of the six books. Again, I wasn't concerned with the details at this point. I just wanted to know what each book was about in the simplest terms.

  5. I wrote a one-page synopsis for each of the six books. Here's where the details came into play, and I started focusing on character arcs. How would I establish the opportunity for each of my characters to change over the course of each book? This was by far the hardest part of the process. Character arcs for a single book are fairly straightforward, but character arcs for the same characters over six books is like juggling knives. You have to make sure you don't become repetitive or radical. The growth should be organic and subtle.

Presently, I'm two books away from finishing my series. I don't know if I'll ever tackle a series again, but I'm glad I did it. I've learned a lot from the process. The lesson that has stuck with me the most that I'll pass on to you is the importance of preparation. Knowing where I'm going and what needs to be done has given me solace on those days when writer's dread taps on my shoulder and tries to convince me that I should be watching television instead.

 

Are there any writers out there who can comment on their experience preparing for a book series?

 

-Richard

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

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Branding vs. Marketing for Authors

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 1: Idea, Character, Plot, First Pages

4,686 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, book, book, writers, writers, writing, writing, outline, outline, series, series, craft, craft
1 ... 17 18 19 20 21 ... 32 Previous Next

Actions