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Professional Authors

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 21, 2014

The coolest thing that's happened in the last couple of years in publishing is the industry finally accepted that those of us who publish outside of the world of traditional publishing are more than self-published authors, we are indie authors. Okay, there are still a few detractors, but most book-wise folks see that we possess the same spirit and passion for our craft that independent filmmakers and musicians have for their craft. It's a gesture of respect that is long overdue.

 

With this growing respect comes much responsibility. As indie authors, we have more than creating compelling and groundbreaking fiction on our list of things to do every morning. We also have to embrace the business side of publishing. We have to do the marketing. We have to deliver books that match our traditionally published counterparts at every professional turn. Where traditional published authors have to rely on a staff, indie authors rely on desire, grit and determination.

 

Sure, most of us publish for the love of writing, and the content we create may be edgier and incorporate risks the traditional publishing world would dare not take, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't conduct ourselves in a professional manner with entrepreneurial fervor. Yes, we are professional authors, and don't let anyone tell you differently.

 

So, I say to you my fellow indie author friends, proclaim your professionalism by conducting yourself in a professional manner. Walk the fine line that all independents walk. Write as an artist, publish as an entrepreneur and repeat after me, Yes, we are professional authors!

 

-Richard

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

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Indie Freedom!

Going Indie? Watch Out for Predators

4,468 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, indie_authors
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Celebrate Every Writing Milestone! - The Seekers

All milestones, whether small or large, are reasons to celebrate and keep you motivated.   

                                                    

Ask the Editor: Breaking the "Write What You Know" Rule - The Book Deal

Write what you feel passionate about.     

 

Film

                                                        

The Future of Digital Cinema Cameras & Why the Resolution Race Is Over (for Now at Least!) - Noam Kroll

A look at the latest and greatest in digital video cameras made with filmmakers in mind.   

                                          

3 Film Directing Tips: How to Be Zen and Have a Good Time - Filmmaking Stuff

When things go awry on your film set, it just means it's your moment to shine as a leader.       

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

One Big Reason Bands and Musicians Need Their Own Website, and a Few Others - Musicgoat

Show the world you're serious and take control of your brand.

 

Funk Volume CEO's Social Media Secret? Put the Work in and Communicate Directly with Fans - Hypebot.com

The CEO of an indie label reveals how his company uses social media to grow their fan base.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 11, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- April 4, 2014

2,465 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, filmmaking, author, movies, musicians
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I'm a member of a listserv that includes many professional writers, a good chunk of whom are freelancers looking for work. Recently, someone posted a question asking what everyone in the group is currently doing to pay the bills, and the response was bigger than any I've seen. Overnight dozens and dozens of people replied, and after scrolling through the bulk of the messages, I was surprised at how few gave a concise, compelling description that would make me want to hire them. The majority of them went on and on (and on) for several paragraphs, included a lot of detail and personal information that didn't seem relevant, and never seemed to get to the POINT.

 

The ones that grabbed me were short.

 

And clever.

 

And just a few sentences long.

 

My personal reaction to the long-winded replies (i.e., a lot of skimming) got me thinking about book marketing and how important it is to have a brief description of your work. If someone asks you for a detailed, two-page summary of your book, that's great. But most people just want the basics. People are BUSY, and if this is their first interaction with you (think book club moderator or first-time visitor to your website) you need to grab their attention quickly before they lose interest and move on to something else.

 

I think it's a good idea to have three descriptions of you book: a one-liner, one that is about a paragraph long, and one that is several paragraphs. Then, you can use whichever is appropriate for the situation. If the moderator of a book club asks "what's your book about?" and you send over a detailed, two-page summary, that might be a bit much, right?

 

Going back to the example of the freelancer writers on the listserv, if I were looking to hire one of them, I would probably contact one who had provided a brief, compelling description - then ask for more detail. When you're reaching out to busy strangers, sometimes less is more.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind and Chocolate for Two, and Cassidy Lane. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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How's Your Elevator Pitch?

Marketing Idea: Encourage Your Fans to Spread the Word

5,312 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing
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In case some of you have never read my bio that follows my contributions to the CreateSpace blog, let me humbly point out that it identifies me as an award-winning author. Modesty prevents me from pointing out that it should say multiple-award-winning author. Actually, I should probably point out that I've lost more awards than I've won, but that's not the point of this blog post.

 

The point of this post is to answer a question I frequently get asked: Has winning awards helped me sell books? The answer is yes, it has helped me sell books. I know this because I have been contacted by teachers who explained to me that they chose my book over other offerings because it had won an award. Teachers are my bread and butter because they are the gateway to the young adult demographic. In addition, winning an award has been a wonderful marketing tool. Beyond the announcement after the initial win, there's the bio upgrade that forever draws attention to the fact that I won an award.

 

I didn't write this post to brag. I just wanted to give you a firsthand account of what it means to an author's marketing efforts to win an award. It can give your sales a boost not just in the short term, but for a long time to come. I won my first award in 2006, and that book is still one of my top sellers.

 

Not all awards programs are created equal. My advice is to look for award competitions that have a long track record. Go through a list of their past winners and look up a few of the authors online to see if you can determine what kind of impact the award had on their marketing and sales. In other words, do extensive research on a competition before your enter. Most awards programs have entry fees. Spend your time wisely, and you'll spend your money wisely.

 

-Richard

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

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There's a Lot of Self-Promotion Going On

The Key to Succeed as an Author

2,672 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, award_winning
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

 

Books/Publishing

 

 

Building a Literary Community: Why and How - The Creative Penn

How connecting with other authors can lead to finding more readers.            

                                       

How to Harness the Power of Viral Marketing - The Future of Ink

When you get a mention online or offline, be ready to pounce on the marketing opportunity.     

 

Film

                                                        

Filmmaking Tips from SXSW: Some of Indie Film's Biggest Movers & Shakers Sound Off - No Film School

A collection of insights from indie stalwarts participating in various panel events at this year's SXSW. 

 

 

How Feature Filmmaking without a Crew Is Possible - Filmmaking Stuff

Gathering an all-volunteer crew can sometimes create more problems than it's worth.                                      

Music

 

 

Checklist: What to Do before You Book the Gig - Bob Baker's The BuzzFactor.com

A little planning is prudent before you start booking gigs.

 

 

Discover How Chords Are Used in the Songs You Love - Hooktheory.com

An amazing and addictive tool that lets you see the similar chord structures of popular songs, and it even predicts what will be the next big thing in chord structure.   

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 4, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- March 28, 2014

3,395 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, filmmaking, indie, movies, community, shows, promotions, songs, craft, filmmakers, indie_film, filming, playing, viral_marketing
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I love receiving emails through my website that begin along these lines (my new novel is called Cassidy Lane):

 

Hi Maria, I just bought a copy of Cassidy Lane and look forward to reading it. I'm an indie author and a big fan of your blog. I've also taken your webinar on book marketing and was wondering if...

 

I enjoy messages like this because the sender has not only shown that she knows exactly who I am by referencing my blog, but she has already bought a copy of one of my books and taken one of my webinars. I instantly want to help and support her, because she is helping and supporting me. If this woman wanted me to read the first few pages of her manuscript and provide feedback, I would probably do it at no charge. Not kidding.

 

On the flip side, I'm not such a fan of emails that go something like this:

 

Hi Maria, I'm the author of ABC book and wonder if you have any tips for me on how to promote it?

 

Each time I receive an email like this (which unfortunately is quite often), I reply with a friendly note asking if the sender has read any of my books or taken my webinar on book marketing. If the sender replies, which is rare, it is always to say that he has done neither. That's when I know he has no idea who I am and is probably sending the same request to every author he can find on the Internet.

 

If you put yourself in my shoes in the above scenario, what would you do? I enjoy helping other authors, especially those who are just getting started. But I also appreciate it when people take the time to remember that I'm an author too.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind and Chocolate for Two, and Cassidy Lane. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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How to Support an Indie Author

Use Common Sense in Book Promotion

3,681 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

5 Keep-It-Simple Marketing Tips for Indie Authors - Marketing Tips for Authors

Do you know what your "bumper niches" are?     

 

How to Create Your Marketing Funnel the Right Way - The Future of Ink

Funnels, circles, and books, oh my!    

 

Film

 

Questions for an Open Call Audition - A Moon Brothers Film Blog

Here's how a typical open audition works.   

 

Shoot Something Every Two Weeks: A Conversation with Phil Hughes and Jenn Daugherty - Making the Movie

A look at how a couple of filmmakers are trying to raise funds for an independent feature.     

                                    

Music

 

Two Key Mistakes Your Band Needs to Avoid - Music Makers

The music matters most.

 

How Flight Drummers Got 500,000 YouTube Views in 10 Months - Hypebot.com

A case study on the effective use of YouTube. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- March 14, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- March 7, 2014

3,515 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, filmmaking, promotion, films, bands, filmmakers, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy
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If you read my blog with regularity, you know I'm a big advocate of creative approaches to book marketing. However, there's a difference between being creative and being inappropriate.

 

I recently received an e-mail that left me scratching my head. The sender (I'll call him Sam) was writing on behalf of an author I'd neither met nor heard of (I'll call her Sally). In his message, Sam said Sally had a new book coming out, and he asked if I wanted to participate in her "book tour." He included a blurb about the book, plus a link to her website. I had no idea what he meant by "book tour," so I politely e-mailed him back and asked him to clarify. In his response he said that he wanted me to talk up Sally's book on my website. He went on to say that this is "something authors do to support each other," and that Sally would "appreciate my help." He didn't offer to send me a copy of Sally's book to read - he just wanted me to promote it, sight unseen.

 

I wrote back again and asked if Sally had read any of my books or promoted them in any way. Sam did not reply. I'm still confused by all of this.

 

There's nothing wrong with reaching out to others about your book, but Sam is going about it the wrong way. If you're going to ask another author to endorse your book, common sense says you should probably read their book(s) first. You should also offer to send them a copy of your book to read. How would you feel if you found out you'd bought a book based on the recommendation of someone who hadn't even read it? Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I would feel duped.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Supporting Indie Authors

Marketing Idea: Encourage Your Fans to Spread the Word

7,597 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
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Blurb with Caution

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Mar 10, 2014

At one time in my life, there was a particular author that I read religiously. As soon as I finished one of his books, I raced to buy his next book or find an old book of his that I had not yet read. I was crazy about this author. Quite simply, he was my favorite writer. On one occasion, when I had no more of his books to read, I picked up random titles in the same genre and flipped through the pages to find something that grabbed my attention. This went on for far too long. I just couldn't find something that pulled me in until I started reading some of the blurbs. Lo and behold, right there between two quotation marks was a glowing endorsement by my favorite author. If the book was good enough for him, it was good enough for me. I bought the book, took it home and cracked it open, ready to be whisked away on a magical fictional journey.

 

 

Two chapters in, I hated the book. It was nothing like my favorite author had promised it would be. I read other reviews online, and most agreed with me. I went in search of another book and found another one endorsed by my favorite author. I didn't like that one either. Turns out my favorite author didn't have a similar taste to mine...or he was being less than honest in his blurbs.

 

Fast forward to the release of his next book - I had no interest in reading it. His blurbs for less-than-deserving books somehow ruined my excitement for his own books. I can't explain it. I just felt like he had violated a sacred trust between reader and scribe. He used his brand to sell bad writing that wasn't even his.

 

 

Consider this a precautionary tale. While it is incredibly flattering to be asked for a blurb by a fellow author, make sure you are endorsing something you truly believe in, and the book is worthy of being associated with your brand. Anything less and you run the risk of tarnishing your own brand and losing readers.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Sell Yourself as an Enthusiast

A Few Indie Book Review Media Sources

3,160 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, blurbs
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If your biggest fans aren't authors themselves, there's a good chance they have no idea how much you need their help to spread the word about your work. So why not tell them? I created a "buzz" page on my website. It lists easy ways to spread the word about my novels, and anytime I interact with fans on a personal level, I ask them to check out that page.

Here are some examples:

 

1)  My newsletter: Anytime someone signs up for my monthly newsletter, I reply with a personal note asking why they chose to do so. Many are aspiring authors looking for writing and marketing advice, but just as many say they signed up because they love my books. If they're fans, I tell them how important word-of-mouth is and how much I would appreciate their help. For example, I suggest they post something about my books on Facebook. It's important to make it as easy as possible for your fans to take action.

2)  Goodreads: When people begin to "follow" me on Goodreads I also send them a personal note and follow the same protocol as with the newsletter. Most people who follow me on Goodreads are voracious readers and love to share what they are reading with others. They also love hearing from authors!

3)  Twitter: If I see that I have a new follower, I repeat the same protocol mentioned above. My Twitter followers are mix of writers and readers, and they always appreciate a personal tweet.

 

You'd be surprised how happy your readers will be to hear from you - and how willing they are to help you if you tell them you need help. The key is to give them the tools they need, which is why a buzz page is great.

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

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How to Support an Indie Author

Three Easy Marketing Ideas

10,828 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, goodreads, twitter
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Back in my days of writing ad copy for print and electronic media (before the internet and social media), I learned a very valuable lesson about advertising and marketing. As a newbie to the ad world, I mistakenly thought that the ad was the only thing that really mattered. As long as you conveyed your message clearly and created an emotional attachment to the ad, you had done a bulk of the leg work, and you were going to strike gold. But then I saw what came next and realized that the real work had just begun.

 

What came next? The media buy. I knew nothing about the process. As far as I knew, you picked the most popular show you could afford and ran your commercial during that time slot. And as far as print goes, I assumed you picked a spot in the section of the Sunday paper that was most relevant to your product and placed the ad there. I could not have been more wrong. I was in for a real education. Ratings books were consulted. Reader and viewer demographics were pored over. Everything was crucial to the media buy: income, age, gender, occupation, and family status.

 

I learned the buyer wasn't just trying to find a way to reach the most people that fit the demographic; they were trying to find a location (on air or in print) where people in the desired demographic would see the ad over and over again. They wanted people to see the ad seven to ten times. The number of people wasn't as important as how many times the people would be exposed to the ad.

 

So, as you move forward and consider jumping into the world of advertising for your book, keep this little lesson I learned in mind. The key to your ad's success is how many times it's seen by the same people. Being viewed by a large number of people means nothing if they only see it one or two times. It's not about reaching the most people; it's about reaching the right people over and over and over and over again.

 

-Richard

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

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A Basket Full of Books

The Key to Succeed as an Author

3,584 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, advertising, promotions
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When someone asks, "What's your book about?" it's important to be able to answer in a sentence or two. This is often described as an "elevator pitch," because you should be able to explain your book during a short elevator ride. Who knows what Hollywood producer might happen to ask - or be listening?

 

Creating a brief yet compelling description of your book is essential. Not only does it give you something to say when people ask you about it, it can be used for the following proactive marketing purposes:

 

1)  In your (personal) email signature: Every email program comes with a "signature" option. Including a quick description of your book, or even the tone of your book, is a great way to let people know what your book is about without being pushy. For my first book, I included this description in the signature of my personal email address:

 

Maria Murnane, award-winning author of "Perfect on Paper," a novel for anyone who has ever run into an ex while looking like crap

I've lost track of how many people have told me they laughed at my email signature and ended up buying my book as a result. And as you can see, the little blurb doesn't necessarily have to say anything about the actual plot of your book. The key is to convey the essence of your book so potential readers will know what to expect when they pick up a copy.

 

2)  On business cards that feature your book's cover: Why not put your one-line description on the back? Be sure to carry the cards in your wallet at all times. If that Hollywood executive you meet in the elevator likes what he or she hears, you'll have a business card to hand over.

 

Coming up with a compelling one-liner can be challenging, but it's worth spending time to create a good one. With most people, you only get one chance to grab their attention, so you want that description to sparkle.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Relay Conflict in Your Quick Pitch

Can You Do More?

6,800 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, elevator_pitch
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The Lasting Brand

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Feb 24, 2014

When thinking of marketing and branding, it's important to keep a perspective on what matters. Even in the world of creating virtual public personas, viral marketing campaigns, blog tours, giveaways and so on, the one thing that matters above all else is quality.

 

The brand you want is one that will stand the test of time, a brand that will survive changing technology. You want a brand that represents a book that is as enjoyable to read in paperback as it is to read on your Kindle as it is to read on your smartphone as it is to read on whatever we will be using to read 50 years from now. You want a brand that represents an outstanding storyteller who writes compelling books that have the DNA to entertain, move and transfix generations of readers.

 

A brand built on quality is a lasting brand. As an author, if you want the potential to leave a legacy, you need to constantly grow your skill set and knowledge of writing. You do that by writing and testing the boundaries. You also do that by reading other great writers: legends, traditional powerhouses and rising indie authors. Finally, you do that by committing to your craft.

 

Quality matters. It may matter more today than it ever has because of the sheer number of books published every day. To stand out and gather readers over time and through the years, to be a lasting brand, the quality of your writing is what matters most.

 

-Richard

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

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A Writer's Brand Identity

Going Indie? Don't Skimp on Quality

6,556 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writers, branding
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Find the Time to Finish Writing Your Book - Self Publishing Advisor

As time marches on, it seemingly makes it hard to find.        

 

3 Simple Steps for Your Book Promotions Planning for 2014 - The BookBaby Blog

Time to make a book promotions bucket list.   

 

Film

 

Three Ways to Cut Your Movie Budget (and Increase Production Value) - Filmmaking Stuff

Any budget can be trimmed, but at what cost?   

 

Hollywood Producer Says It's Still about the Story in Digital Filmmaking - GCU Today

The platform you use doesn't change the heart of filmmaking.     

                                    

Music

 

Why Do Musicians Always Feel Disappointed about Their Career? - Artists House Music

Shaking off the doubts and getting back to work in the new year. 

 

Music Marketing Podcasts All Bands and Musicians Should Be Listening to - Musicgoat

Stay on top of your marketing efforts with these podcasts.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- January 24, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- January 17, 2014

2,503 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, filmmaking, budget, author, promotion, indie, writers, book_promotion, musicians, filmmakers, movie_budget, digital_filmmaking
1

In a previous post, I recommended doing one thing per day, every day, to promote your book. If you took that advice to heart, you're probably currently in the process of building a "marketing checklist" and might also be wondering what to put on it. In addition to the items I suggested last week, here are three additional ideas to include:

 

  1. Set up a Twitter account. Even if you aren't ready to actually tweet anything, set up an account before you get too famous and someone uses your Twitter name for their account. (Optimism is a good thing!) Using your real name makes it easy for people to find you. My Twitter handle is @mariamurnane.
  2. Add a fun line about your book beneath in the "signature" of your personal e-mail account. If you have a website, include a link to that as well. The signature is typically found in the "settings" section of any e-mail account. Using a signature is a great way to tell people about your book without telling people about your book. My signature says "Best-selling author of the Waverly books, novels for anyone who has ever run into an ex while looking like crap. www.mariamurnane.com."
  3. If you don't have a website, register a domain. (GoDaddy is a good place to start.) I always recommend selecting www.yourname.com, or if that is taken, then www.yournameauthor.com or www.yournamebooks.com. Just like with your Twitter handle, you want to make it easy for your fans to find you. I don't recommend going with www.nameofyourbook.com because what happens when you write your second book? That may sound like crazy talk now, but it is quite possible that one day you will write a second book! (See my above note about optimism.)

 

I know marketing sounds scary for many authors, but remember what I said last week: If I've learned anything about book marketing over the years, it's that persistence pays off, and little things do add up. So take one thing at a time, and keep going!

 

-Maria

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

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Tips for Engaging Your Readers Online

A Few Reasons to Have a Website

12,987 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
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