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Writing is figuratively a muscle that should be treated as if it were literally a muscle. Muscles grow weak without exercise and can be damaged by using poor exercise techniques. Your goal as a scribe is to keep your writing muscle taut and strong. Here are a few exercises that I've experimented with over the years.


  1. The Picture's Thousand Words - The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, so why not write those words? Grab your favorite camera, find your favorite spot, and start snapping pictures. When you get home, pick out your favorite photo and write the story behind the photo in a thousand words. Remember, we're not talking about the literal interpretation of the photo. Create a story for the photo.

  2. Ad Lib a Story - This one involves your television. Turn on the TV. Write down the name of first person you recognize. Change the channel. Write down the first location you recognize. Change the channel one last time. Write down the first object (either inanimate or animate) you recognize. For example: Brett Favre; Anchorage, Alaska; Shark. Use these three elements as building blocks for a short story.

  3. No Death, Love, or War - This was a challenge I had in college. Write a story that was completely devoid of the typical conflicts that appear in most stories. I could not write about death, love, or war. It sounded like an easy assignment, but I quickly discovered that I used one - or all three - of those elements as a crutch to build character and drive a story. Not having those elements at my disposal was a challenge that helped me appreciate the smaller moments that make up a good story.


These are just three creative writing exercises that I've been exposed to over my many years of trying to hone my craft and expand my creativity. I'm sure you've got some tricks of your own. Feel free to leave your favorite exercise in the comments section. Also comment about how some of the exercises in this blog work out for you!


-Richard


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


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You Have More Than One Book Inside of You

Catching the Vanishing Idea

3,609 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, self-publishing, writers, writing, craft
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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


     Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start a Revision - Elana Johnson

An editor from Viking gives you her best advice on how to approach the toughest part of writing, the revision.   


     Act First, Explain Later - The Blood-Red Pencil

Jodie Renner shares her twelve dos and don'ts for making the first page of your novel more compelling.

 


Film


     DSLR Film Making - Rebel Digital SLR

Could a camera designed for still photography be the future of cinema? They?re small, cheap and they pack as much image information as 35mm cameras.

 

     The Million Hit Man: An Interview with Sean Dunne - Film Threat

A young filmmaker uploads his short documentary to Vimeo and practically becomes an overnight sensation.   

 

 

Music

 

     How Popular Musicians Learn - How to Practice

Are you a formal learner or informal learner? Can you learn to play by ear? Mike Saville reviews a book by Lucy Green that examines the benefits of the different practicing styles. 


     A Great Relationship: You and Guitar - Music After 50

Chuck Anderson looks at the most popular instrument in the world and tries to uncover why everyone wants to play guitar.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - August 17, 2010 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - August 10, 2010 Edition

1,306 Views 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, books, books, authors, authors, book, book, music, music, film, film, self-publishing, self-publishing, promotion, promotion, sales, sales, writers, writers, blogging, blogging, publishing, publishing, writing, writing, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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A Book's Price

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 23, 2010

I'm often asked by self-published authors just getting started what they should charge for their books. It's a tough question to answer because there are certain variables to take into account. Beyond trim size and page count, you have to know your market and demographic. Generally, a book with a narrow market will have a higher price than a book geared toward a broad market. Why? Because narrow-market titles usually have less competition. For example, not as many people write about proper diamond cutting techniques as they do about how to start and manage a small business. As a result, the two books may have significantly different prices, even if the binding, trim size, and page count are identical.

 

Now, I write for a broad market so my goal is to make my pricing as competitive as possible. When I was researching on what to charge for my books, the first thing I did was look at what other books in my genre were selling for by visiting various online retailers and local booksellers. Usually there was very little discrepancy in book pricing among titles in the same genre. Next, I consulted two other pricing resources.

 

  1. BookStatistics.com - This is a site created by Dan Poytner, a highly regarded authority on self-publishing. Dan has collected various statistics pertaining to publishing over the years, and his Web site is a kind of dumping ground for that data. He doesn't add comment or catalog it in any particular order, so it really is just raw data. It was on this site where I found a study done by the Book Industry Study Guide in 2001 that revealed some interesting answers to the question: How much do people like to pay? The interesting part was when you took mass market paperbacks out of the mix, there was no clear preference on pricing.
  2.  

  3. The School Library Journal - The SLJ does an annual report on average book pricing to help librarians create acquisitions budgets every year. It's a great tool because it gives you pricing according to binding type, category, and intended market. The report gives you an excellent sense of pricing within the entire publishing industry.

 

No one can tell you the best price for your book, but if you do a little research, you can come up with a price that should make you competitive without selling yourself short.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Creating an Effective Business Plan

The Great Chapter Debate

2,347 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, self-publishing, promotion, sales, writers, blogging, writing, promotions, craft, branding
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Writers and Stage Fright

Few authors pursue a career in writing because they long to read their work on a public stage. In fact, many writers turn to writing to limit their need to appear and read their work in public. But in today's publishing world, the need to put a public face on books conflicts with many writers' lack of desire to be so public. What is such an author to do? Ben Myers of The Guardian has a few ideas.


So how does the performance-shy writer compensate? Well, fortunately it's the 21st century and there are many alternatives. Personally I've signed up to social network sites, built up mailing lists, and worked to maintain contacts with journalists and readers. With each inane tweet my dream of being a Salinger-esque enigma diminishes, yet it still feels a necessary evil. I've also schmoozed booksellers and chain stores' buyers, made audio recordings and printed up postcards that I leave in strategic places. It's shameless really.


You can read the entire article on The Guardian's website: The public role of the private writer



Star Power Doesn't Always Make Things Easy

So you usually make bank at the box office. You're the creator and executive producer of a popular HBO series. You have legions of fans all over the world. Getting a movie made should be no problem, right? Not so fast. Mark Wahlberg has a movie called "The Fighter" coming out in December for which he had to fight to get studio backing. Wahlberg spent four years trying to get backing.


Back in 2007 Paramount almost made "The Fighter" based on drafts by a pair of original writers, Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy, with later script work by Lewis Colick, with Darren Aronofsky directing, and Matt Damon playing the half-brother, Dick Ecklund. But Mr. Damon moved instead to other projects, opening the door to a monthslong flirtation with Brad Pitt, and more writing at various points by Paul Attanasio and Scott Silver. Eventually Mr. Pitt dropped out, as did Mr. Aronofsky, who in the interim had made "The Wrestler"and decided against another trip to the ring. Mr. Bale then agreed to play Mr. Ecklund, a former boxer who helped train his younger half-brother, and whose addiction to crack cocaine was portrayed in the documentary "High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell." "It was always in danger of collapse," said David Hoberman, who with Todd Lieberman, his partner in Mandeville Films, originally took "The Fighter" to Paramount, and ultimately saw it through production on location in Massachusetts.


You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: For "Fighter," a Long Count Before Release



Marketing the Dead

The Grateful Dead that is. The Grateful Dead are known for being at the top of the counterculture, yet they had (and still have) mass commercial appeal. How does something like that happen? According to David Meerman Scott, it takes a lot of good old fashioned marketing that begins with making a connection with their fans.


The Grateful Dead was a touring band that happened to sell records too. Most other bands of the time toured to support record sales. Artists today need a true connection to fans. That might be by doing what the Dead did and create improvisational shows that were each unique and then tour a lot to build a rabid following.


You can read the entire article on Hypebot.com: Interview: David Meerman Scott, Author Of Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead


-Richard

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


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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - August 13, 2010

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - August 6, 2010

1,423 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, music, filmmaking, self-publishing, promotion, movies, writers, blogging, writing, promotions, musicians, filmmakers
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Words fascinate me. I assume that the same holds true for every writer. After all, we'd be nothing without them. So, what is the story behind this tool called the English language we use to create our stories? I did some digging and found out the following:


  • On June 10, 2009, the English language passed the million-word threshold.
  • A new word is created every 98 minutes.
  • Today's most celebrated authors use about 7,500 different words.
  • The average English-speaking person has a vocabulary of about 2,000 words.
  • William Shakespeare used about 21,000 different words during a time when the average vocabulary was 500 words.


One of the joys I get out of reading a book is discovering an author's use of obscure words. It often gives me an intellectual jolt and puts a smile on my face. Granted, I'm looking at it from a writer's point of view. I suppose there is the danger of using a word so obscure that it removes the reader from the story. But, isn't that true with all commercial art? Don't we as artists walk the fine line between showing off just a little bit and entertaining the consumer?


So, the question begs, is William Shakespeare considered one of the great writers because he used such a wide variety of words, or is it because of the way he used the words? Would we all be better writers if we expanded our vocabulary?


By the way, I used two sources for today's blog: William Shakespeare Elizabethan Dictionary and The Global Language Monitor. Here's a link to a great segment on NPR from 2006, when there were only 986,120 English words: The English Language: 900,000 Words, and Counting.


-Richard


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


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Does Grammar Matter?

He said I used the word "said" too much

1,358 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, art, book, self-publishing, writers, writing, craft, screenwriting, words, vocabulary
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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


     People Don't Buy Books Based On the Publisher - The Creative Penn

Never has a truer statement been said. I would take it one step further: people buy authors, not publishers.

  

     Writing vs. Storytelling - Nathan Bransford

What makes a bestseller? Is it the quality of the writing or the entertainment value of the story?


Film


     Filmmakers must deal with variety of obstacles - California Chronicles

Making a movie is so easy...wait, no it isn't. Sometimes it takes an almost inhuman amount of patience to get a movie made.


     Embracing the Unknown - Truth Seekers

Crisis is a universal element of any quality storyline. What makes that leap of faith interesting isn't necessarily the faith, but the leap itself.


Music


     51 Marketing Ideas for Film Music Composers - heather fenoughty

Think it's hard finding an audience for your CD? Try finding a filmmaker if your specialty is writing music for film.


     Your "One Thing" For Better Voice - Judy Rodman

When it comes to singing, you shouldn't be a jack of all trades. Be a master of one.


-Richard


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


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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - August 10, 2010 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - August 3, 2010 Edition

1,364 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, music, film, self-publishing, promotion, sales, writers, blogging, publishing, writing, musicians, filmmakers
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Outside-The-Box Ideas

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 16, 2010

Studies* have shown that the most overused phrase in marketing circles today is "think outside the box," but with all apologies, I use it today because, well, it fits. The phrase in and of itself isn't bad. It simply means to do something no one else is doing, because that will get you the most attention. Be bold. Be different. And, most of all be first.


Viral videos go viral because they're things you've never seen before. Television commercials become part of the pop culture because they're unique. Print ads, radio spots, and banner ads will all capture your attention if you've never experienced anything like them before. You may not have that conscious thought at the time you see or hear an ad, but subconsciously your mind is responding to the unprecedented nature of it.


It may not be the content itself that is unique. It may be the delivery method that is special. Throughout the history of media, you can find a growing number of opportunities for places to display your ad. From print to radio to TV to the Internet, there always seems to be some new form of media that gives us different and better ways to advertise our products. Or, there may be an existing form of media that's not normally utilized to showcase an ad for your product. For example, I've been to hundreds of movies in my lifetime, which means I've sat through hundreds of ads for local businesses before the previews for upcoming attractions have started. I've never once seen an ad for a book by a local author. Why? They sell ad space in public restrooms now. Again, I've never seen an ad for a book in this space. Why?


Here's your assignment: List five venues or media outlets you normally wouldn't think would be used to advertise books. Then come up with every reason you can to not utilize that space yourself. If the only answer you can come up with is, "It's never been done before," then congratulations, you just came up with an idea that is outside the box.


*There were no actual studies of any kind that determined that "think outside the box" is an overused term. I made that up.


-Richard


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


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Selling Mark Twain

Guerrilla Book Marketing Tactic

2,358 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, selling, book, music, film, self-publishing, promotion, movies, sales, writers, writing, promotions, filmmakers, branding
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A Cautionary Tale of Unlimited Potential

What do you do with the kind of talent that leads a premier author and writing mentor to personally pick up the phone and call you? Well, if you're Tom Grimes you let it lead you down a path of subtle ruin. Grimes has written a memoir that maps his journey from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, directed by Frank Conroy, to his painful brush with success that eventually led to a bout with paranoid delusions that had him convinced the FBI was after him because he broke a lease years before. Grimes laments began with the very first book he published.


His editor at Little, Brown soon left, however, orphaning his book. He and Conroy had trouble attracting jacket blurbs from big names. (Norman Mailer declined, writing Conroy: "Every other day there's a new genius on the block. It's too hard to keep up.") An early review in Publisher's Weekly was brutally negative. There were some upbeat signs. People magazine took Mr. Grimes's photograph. But "Season's End" was marketed as a baseball book rather than a literary one, Mr. Grimes writes ruefully, and got lost in a pile of other baseball books. His book tour was tiny. The New York Times didn't devote a major review to the novel (though it did give it 140 words in the "Books in Brief" column in The New York Times Book Review). It barely sold. It did not go into paperback. Essentially, it vanished.


You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: A Writer's Prayer, Halfway Answered



Kutcher, the Media Mogul

Ashton Kutcher is one of the few Hollywood movers and shakers who have successfully harnessed the power of Twitter to create a mega-career. He's gone from that guy who used to prank his buddies on MTV to a leading voice in the rising wave of new media. And, to hear him speak, social media is going to change films in a very simple yet powerful way.


At the Australian premiere of his new romantic comedy Killers, where he stars opposite Katherine Heigl, the 32-year-old was adamant he could maintain a dual career as Hollywood heart-throb and new media mogul. "Theatre co-exists with television, which co-exists with film," he said. "I think multimedium of entertainment will always be relevant because I think people like to consume things in different ways. The big thing that's going to affect this future is going to be the pricing model and what people can afford to do and what that does to production values."


You can read the entire article on ABC News' website: Kutcher says Twitter will change film-making



Break Out That Old Mix Tape because It Looks Like They're Relevant Again!

The mix tape used to be a guy's way of telling a girl how he felt about her without having to actually talk to her. When the CD came along, the technology changed and put a crimp in an entire generation's style. We males held on by a thread with the mix CDs, but then came the digital downloads and the game seemed to be over. Well, hold onto your mullets and Flock of Seagulls hairdos, because the cassette tape is making a comeback.


"Tape orders have definitely picked up from almost nothing in the last couple years, and it's been almost entirely indie bands," said Michael McKinney, the president of M2 Communications, the Pasadena-based CD and DVD duplication plant where Burger(Records) presses its cassettes. M2 issues between 6,000 and 10,000 tapes a month at around 70 cents apiece, McKinney said, a number clearly down from its '80s heyday of hundreds of thousands but up from its '90s and '00s doldrums of virtually zero.


You can read the entire article on The Los Angeles Times' website: Cassette tapes are back in the mix


-Richard


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


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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - August 6, 2010

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - July 30, 2010

1,376 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, music, self-publishing, promotion, movies, writers, blogging, publishing, films, filmmakers
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On this blog, we've talked quite a bit about how to market your book. When it comes to marketing, not all ideas are created equal, and it is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. A marketing strategy that works for one type of book may not work for another. In addition, some ideas are tailor-made for some personality types and ill-fitted pursuits for others. The secret to making marketing work for you is to know yourself and know your genre.

 

While not every idea fits, there is one marketing move that I feel is a surefire way to sink your career before you get it off the ground. It is a tactic that is generally frowned-upon, and it doesn't tend to sit well with other writers, publishers, retailers, and in particular customers. I haven't brought it up before because I thought it wasn't necessary to discuss, but I've seen and heard some marketing experts advocate the practice online lately, and I find it unsettling.

 

So what is the marketing strategy I think you should avoid at all costs? That would be reviewing your own book on retailer sites, message boards, other authors' Web sites, on radio shows, anywhere. I know most of you who just read that probably said to yourself, "Of course not. Who would do that?" Unfortunately, with the growing number of titles available for sale each year, some authors will feel tempted to do so.

 

That's not to say you shouldn't encourage others to read and review your title online. But you definitely shouldn't favorably review your book in online channels under the cloak of Internet "anonymity." Others have done it, and when they were found out (as they so often are), it caused an ugly backlash of Internet chatter that irreparably soiled their brand.

 

Your brand is your ticket to book sales. Don't take shortcuts that may jeopardize it.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Top Tips for Getting Great Reviews

Take Your Book on a Virtual Tour

4,277 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, reviews, self-publishing, promotion, sales, writers, review, blogging, publishing, promotions, branding
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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

 

     5 Ways to Turn Helpfulness Into Marketing Greatness - Convince & Convert

How to win online friends and influence people... turn your knowledge into followers.

 

 

     Boost your book sales with the magic of niche marketing - The Book Deal

Learn how one author turned a recipe for a white cake into book sales, and several other examples of authors using niche marketing.

 

 

Film

 

     The new Western? The mind is the latest movie frontier - Press of Atlantic City

Movies are literally becoming the stuff that dreams are made of. Filmmakers explore the mystery of the mind and capture the attention of audiences.

 

     7 Low Budget Film Making Tips to Help You Make Your First No Budget Film - Cactus News

Keep it simple, filmmaker and no one is perfect. Find these and other helpful hints by Shane M. M. Boyd.

 

 

Music

 

     Music Lessons as Life Lessons - Music After 50

Should you bag your music lesson just because you didn't practice? Teachers are paid to teach. Whether you do your homework or not is up to you.

 

     11 Music Production Tips For Newbie Producers... - Renegade Producer

Adapt and overcome isn't just for Marines anymore. Marius van Dyk shares his years of music producing experience.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - August 3, 2010 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - July 27, 2010 Edition

1,253 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, music, film, self-publishing, promotion, indie, sales, writers, blogging, publishing, writing, musicians, filmmakers
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I don't know if there's actually an ongoing debate about this topic, but I think there should be. I'm writing a new book, and this one is unlike others I've done in the past. Not in subject matter or genre, but in chapter length. In the past, I've leaned toward longer chapters. It wasn't an intentional creative choice on my part. I just knew where each chapter started within the context of the entire book, and I knew where it needed to end, so I constructed the chapter based on those needs. For some reason, that always resulted in long or semi-long chapters, from 5,000 to 8,000 words in some cases. There were exceptions, but there always are.

 

This time around, I'm writing short chapters, roughly 900 - 1,200 words. Again, this wasn't an intentional choice when I first started this new book. It just so happened that the first couple of chapters took on that particular structure. After I noticed the basic uniformity in length, I decided to follow that formula throughout the rest of the book. I'm on chapter 32 now, and I'm actually enjoying the challenge of keeping the chapters short without chopping the story up into "stop and go" pieces. The fluidity still appears to be present in the overall story.

 

The benefit to keeping the chapters shorter is that I'm more productive. I've written 32,000 words in about 26 days. That's fast for me. It's easier sitting down to write when I know that I will have an ending to the segment I'm writing each day. In this case, it's a chapter ending, but it's an ending all the same.

 

So, which do you prefer to write: long or short chapters?

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Your First Line Can Help You Sell Books

How to Set SMART Writing Goals

788 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, writers, writing, chapters
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Is an E-book a Real Book?

I find it interesting that in Mashable's story about the results of their online poll concerning what their readers prefer to read, print books or e-books, they chose the headline: Mashable Readers Choose Real Books Over E-books. The title itself suggests a certain bias. So, does paper make a book real, or does the content make a book real? Regardless of the answer to that question, the results of the poll are interesting.

 

The printed word scored the victory! With 41.9% of the tallies (898 votes), the printed book was the clear favorite over the e-book's 23.24% of the ballot (498 votes). Interesting enough, a lot of you voted that you like both formats for reading your favorite novel; 34.86% of you (747 votes) said that it was a tie between the e-book and the print book.


You can read the entire article on Mashable's website: Mashable Readers Choose Real Books Over E-books

 

Should One Really Strive to Be a Suffering Artist?

So can misery and pain breed ambition and longevity? According to Jay Roach, it's been the key to his success. The star director has had a string of successes, but those came after traveling a long, hard road of obscurity. What's his secret to making it big? Keeping your head down and taking your lumps.

 

"It just hasn't gotten remarkably easier to get a new film launched, even at the level we're working at. So I guess all those years of working in the darkness were great preparation." He laughs the bittersweet laughter of the late bloomer. "It was good to learn to be miserable and be OK with it," he says finally. "Nothing scares me anymore. After what I've been through, I don't lose a lot of sleep. I feel I can handle anything now."


You can read the entire article on Los Angeles Times' website: Jay Roach on life before he was a star director: 'It's good to learn to be miserable'

 

Turning Music into Oxygen

When Lyor Cohen took over Warner Music Group's North American recording business, his mother gave him some very sage advice: quit. She had been tracking the music business, and in her mind, working in the industry was a dead-end proposition. But Cohen ignored her advice and stuck with it. Since things didn't seem to be working the traditional way, he took the label in a new direction.

 

And today, WMG is on the verge of cracking the media world's most pressing business riddle: how to successfully replace analog dollars with what Goldman Sachs analyst Ingrid Chung calls a "river of nickels." Cohen's trick has been a clever twist on what the music biz calls a "360 deal," a full-service contract with artists that includes touring, merchandise, Web services, and more.


You can read the entire article on Fast Company's website: How Warner Music and Its Musicians Are Combating Declining Album Sales

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - July 30, 2010

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - July 23, 2010

491 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, music, filmmaking, self-publishing, movies, writers, blogging, writing, musicians, filmmakers
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Has this happened to you? I woke up in the middle of the night a few nights ago, and I lay there in that state somewhere between drowsy and dopey. Suddenly out of the darkness came an idea, a plotline for my next project. I could see it clear as day. It was a good idea... no, it was a great idea. Possibly the best I've ever had. A huge tidal wave of satisfaction washed over my body, and I drifted back to sleep giving myself one note, "Remember to write this down first thing in the morning."

 

Morning came, and I stumbled to the coffeemaker with a gnawing feeling that there was something I was supposed to do. Halfway into my second cup, the events of the night before came back to me. I had an idea, a brilliant idea for my next story. It was... It was... Hmmm, I remember it had something to do with an orange, or was that the color orange? Wait, was there a squirrel involved? Wow, it was a really good idea. It had Pulitzer written all over it. I sat at the computer thinking that maybe the idea would come back to me if the blank page stared me in the face. Nothing. Twenty minutes passed, and I gave up.

 

I then did what we writers do these days. I mourned the lost idea on Facebook, and I very quickly got some responses from my writer friends. They had experienced the same thing. One of them even kept a notebook and pen by her bed to write down the idea when it came to her, thinking that would solve the problem. She discovered that she had trouble reading her own writing at the hands of her half-conscious self.

 

I think I've come up with a solution. I've vowed to keep a digital recorder by my bed. Next time an idea comes to me in the middle of the night, I'll have a way to catch it. Who knows? I might even find out whatever became of that orange squirrel.

 

What are your tricks for capturing fleeting ideas?

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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In Between Projects

My Magic Question

2,171 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, self-publishing, writers, writing, craft
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

 

     Can a Writer Salvage Early Manuscripts? - Jody Hedlund

What do you do with all those old manuscripts that you have stuffed away in a drawer? It's never too late to do some rewrites.

 

 

     Publicity Tips for Authors: Blog, Blog, Blog! - GalleyCat

What do you do when the publicity well runs dry? Blog about it, of course.

 


Film

 

     Will the Real Author Please Stand? - filmmaking.net

Can a film have an author? In a credit-hungry industry like filmmaking, who matters more: the director or the writer?

 

     One Bite At a Time - digitalfilms

Organizing a long-form project in the editing bay can be daunting. How do you juggle timelines and budget while maintaining your sanity?

 


Music

 

     Are You Treating Your Music Career Like a Charity or a Corporation? - eleetmusic

No one wants to work for free. They don't call it music BUSINESS for nothing.

 

     The First 3-D Bluegrass Video? - The Bluegrass Blog

Bluegrass music is the perfect vehicle for a 3-D music video. No, seriously.

 


-Richard

 

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - July 27, 2010 Edition
Tuesday's Blog Roundup - July 20, 2010 Edition

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I have a confession. Oftentimes, I judge a book by its first line. If I read the first line and I don't connect with the characters or am not intrigued by the author's voice, I have been known to not read another word. For the longest time I thought I was alone in this, but it turns out that first lines do matter to a lot of potential customers. In fact, it may be the deciding factor in whether a customer buys your book or not, and as a result, it may be the single most important sentence you write for your book. In essence, your first line is an invaluable marketing tool.

 

Now, when you write a first line, you need to take a lot of things into consideration, not the least of which is your intended demographic and the genre. But for the most part, I have found these three characteristics really sell me on a book.

 

1. Brevity truly is the soul of wit. A short first sentence that sets the tone and reveals character is my favorite type of first line.

 

2. Scare the reader. A first line that makes a reader gasp or maybe even question the sanity of the writer is a great tool to maintain interest. Readers may even continue simply to see how far you will dare to go with your story.

 

3. Keep it simple. Overwriting is never a great idea, but it is particularly lethal to your story if you overwrite your first line. Get too wordy and awkward and you will lose a reader.

 

Here are a few first lines that meet the above criteria:

 

  • "It was the day my grandmother exploded." The Crow Road by Iain M. Banks
  • "It was a pleasure to burn." Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • "You better not never tell nobody but God." The Color Purple by Alice Walker

 

These first lines are fun and scary and intriguing. I'm sure they contributed to the sales success of these titles, as can yours.

 

Have you nailed your book's first line? Share it with us in the comments!

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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