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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.

 

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

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

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I admit I am not a social animal. Parties are not my thing. I enjoy intimate dinners with friends in quiet restaurants. But when the occasional invitation to a party comes my way, I feel the need (or, in rare cases, desire) to accept. When the night of the gathering arrives, I start sweating it about an hour before I leave the house. My pre-party consternation centers on the one question I know I will be asked by the strangers I will meet: "What do you do for a living?"

 

I'm a writer. That's the easy answer. It is what I do, after all. I write and receive money for my effort, but the minute you become "the writer in the room," attention shifts to you because most people have preconceived notions of the writer's life. Primarily, they assume you're interesting, that you rub elbows with the rich and fabulous, and that you jet around the globe doing book signings and cashing checks. When they discover that 90% of my time is spent in a small room with my dog and a computer, you can see their perception of what they think a writer is go the way of Santa Claus.

 

I've almost let my dread of the "writer" discussion prevent me from revealing my true occupation on more than one occasion. But luckily, I never go to a party without my wife, who always chimes in about what I do, and, more importantly, about my books. I say "luckily" because one of my best connections came from the "writer" discussion my wife initiated at a party. It turned out the person we were talking to was a teacher. Because of that connection, I made three appearances at her school, and, as a result, I sold a lot of books and gained many new readers.

 

Don't shy away, then, from the "writer" discussion or valuable chances to network in person and spread the word about your books. Even if it's not your primary source of income, you are a writer. Own it. Celebrate it. Spread the word proudly so others can start spreading the word on your behalf.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Four Tips for Real-Life Networking

Why Are You An Author?

1,265 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, networking, writers, writing
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I'm going to throw an idea out there about developing your brand. It's wild, yet basic, and it's something I developed from my years of experience dieting (I told you it was wild, but bear with me because I think it can add value to your brand).

 

I have been overweight many times in my life, and I have dieted every time I got to the point I outgrew my fat pants. I've tried almost every diet plan you can think of, and I've failed at almost all of them. Since March, I've tried something I've never done before, and I've lost 30 pounds and kept them off. I've been keeping a food diary. For the first time in my life, I'm paying attention to what I eat.

 

It occurred to me the same tool could be applied to marketing. Call it a "brand journal." My theory is that we don't actually know we're marketing when we're marketing. Marketing boils down to creating and maintaining relationships. Finding connectors (influential people) and making them aware of your brand.

 

The journal will keep you engaged in marketing. If you commit to writing down how many times you post something or participate on your social networks every day, you can properly gauge your level of activity. Track your blogging, the personal videos you produce, the conferences/fairs you attend, etc. Track every instance where you take the opportunity to build a relationship.

 

If you pay attention to these relationships, you can build on them and accurately evaluate the time and effort you're putting into building your brand awareness. Over time, it can serve as a guide to help you strengthen your relationships and in turn, your brand. The thing about committing to keeping a journal like this is that you'll actually look for ways to add to the journal. Your marketing activity should pick up and your brand can only benefit.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Branding vs. Marketing for Authors

Evaluating Your Author Brand

1,809 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, book, book, promotion, promotion, promotions, promotions, brand, brand, branding, branding
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The last day of BEA is always a little bittersweet. The energy at the show is charged about the week's excitement and success, but many conversations are sprinkled with goodbyes and laments about the show's end. My feeling about our final BEA Recap mirrors those bittersweet sentiments! To round out our week, I attended a final session about how authors can develop business models to achieve greater success. Below are the key takeaways from our final session on the last day of BEA.

 

Tapping Technology to Build a Digital Enterprise

Jonathan Fields, a well-known book marketing expert, shared his tips about how authors should build business models for themselves and their books. The below takeaways include suggested tools to develop your brand and pointers to extend your marketing beyond the book.

 

  • Some authors only want to do what they love: write. They have faith in the market and want to rely on others to sell their work. Others believe in the effectiveness of building an enterprise in which they create a business and their own marketing engine. These authors take control and own their success.
  • Fun quote from hip-hop artist Jay-Z: "I'm not a businessman; I'm a business, man."
  • Enterprising authors typically use one of two business models: focus on book sales or multiple streams. With the book sales focus, you write a really good book and intend make money only off the sales of your book. You're willing to build a community to accomplish this goal. If your model focuses on multiple streams, you plan to simultaneously use several areas to build your brand (blogs, websites, speaking, consulting, etc.). Writing is not your only channel of income and the book is just one piece of the puzzle.
  • To build out your business model, start with doing things to gain attention in the marketplace and engage your audience through active communication.
  • "For an enterprising author, a blog is essential. It will make you more powerful, as it's where you establish leadership, trust, and credibility. You build the content around your subject matter, which positions you as an expert."
  • It's also important to have a Twitter page. It can be difficult to establish thought-leadership in 140 characters, so focus on conversation, sharing content with others, and building relationships.
  • Create a Facebook fan page, where you can have threaded conversations. The fan page doesn't have a cap on the number of "likes" you can get, it's public, and it's easily searchable. The more people engage, the more your content is shared out into others' communities.
  • Find a content-relevant hub. For business-related topics, this will normally be a LinkedIn page. Get engaged in a group about the content of your book. If you write fiction, there are online communities out there for just about every genre.
  • To capture the attention of your audience, try these things: host webinars full of useful information people will want to share with others (just be sure it's not a sales pitch). Also, people will provide email addresses to register, which will allow you to reach them later. Consider bringing other products to market or writing a manifesto. Manifestos must be provocative, identify a deep problem, and offer intelligent solutions and ideas. If it is provocative enough, it can drive attention to you and your book.
  • Ask yourself, are you selling the book or is the book an entry point for a much bigger X? What experience can you create beyond the book? Position the book as one element of an irresistible offer. If you buy a book for $10 and get access to something that has value far beyond that, customers will be more compelled to buy. Build buzz around the bigger thing, and let the book ride along. "In the world of social media, talking about the big ideas that are part of your book tends to work better than just pushing the book. You're not selling the book, but engaging people in an idea. When they get excited about the idea, the purchase will follow naturally."

 

This brings us to the end of our educational adventure at BEA. To all the authors and publishing professionals we met this week, we enjoyed spending time with you; thanks for making this a great show! I hope some of the information in these recaps has armed you with tools you can apply to achieve greater publishing and marketing success. Thanks for going with me on this journey. It's been a pleasure, and I hope you've learned as much as I have! I wish you great success with all of your publishing endeavors.

 

Thanks for reading!

-Amanda

 

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BEA Recap: Day 5 - Online Marketing, Reviews & Book Stunts

BEA Recap: Day 4 - Building Your Personal Brand at BEA & BlogWorld

BEA Recap: Day 3 - Editorial & Design Tips from IBPA

BEA Recap: Day 2 - Book Promotion Tips from IBPA

BEA Recap: Day 1 - The DIY Revolution

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We met many more talented authors, publishers and marketers on our second day of Book Expo America (BEA) and BlogWorld. The opportunities for education abounded in the form of several sessions hosted by leading experts. From the latest social media statistics to book stunts to book reviews, we now report what we learned back to you. Below are the key takeaways from each session we attended.

 

The Social Habit

Tom Webster, vice president of strategy at Edison Research, shared his firm's new research data about how people are using social media. Some of these stats may help you decide which social media channels to target in your marketing plan. The key data:

 

  • 88% of Americans have internet access. 84% of Americans have a mobile phone, and 31% have a smartphone.
  • More than half of all Americans ages 12+ have a profile on one or more social networking sites. Social networking saw marked year-over-year growth amongst people ages 35-54.
  • Facebook now reaches the majority of Americans; 98% of people are familiar with Facebook, which is more than have access to the internet (88%). Facebook user demographics essentially mirror the U.S. population with regard to male vs. female, ages, and ethnicity. 26% of Facebook users are over the age of 45.
  • 8% of Americans ages 12+ use Twitter (that's approximately 20 million people). Three out of 10 Twitter users access the site daily. Twitter users appear to be growing more engaged: 70% of monthly Twitter users now post updates to Twitter, compared to 47% in 2010. Twitter users tend to be a bit younger than Facebook users, with 18% over the age of 45.
  • Many people, defined as frequent users, are developing a "social habit," meaning social networking has become a part of everyday life. One third of social networkers use social sites several times per day (that's about 46 million people in the U.S. alone), and 56% use them at least once each day.
  • 43% of frequent social networkers follow brands in social networks; 80% of those say they use Facebook most to connect with brands.

 

More Relevant Blogging Through SEO

Ric Dragon, CEO of DragonSearch and SEO expert, shared his knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO). While often considered one of the more intricate (and sometimes confusing) aspects of maintaining an online presence, the right applications of SEO can lead to more traffic from search engines like Google. Some highlights from Ric's presentation:

 

  • There are three types of SEO usage: no SEO, where you make no effort to improve your position in online searches; bad SEO, where you use so many titles and keywords that your blog or site reads like it was written for search engines and not for readers; and good SEO, which is a balance between the two and is about becoming more relevant in search engines.
  • The three parts to SEO are research, doing things the right way, and building connections.
  • Free tools to aid your research: In Google AdWords, you enter a keyword or phrase, and it tells you what similar terms people are searching for and how many are searching. Google's Wonder Wheel shows associations with your keyword or phrase to give you ideas. Google Insights is a brainstorming tool that gives you top searching terms and other phrases.
  • Think in terms of keyword neighborhoods. When you write, you create "sets" of related words. For example, the set of words you create for a blog about "food" will be different from a set of words about "kitchen," even though they're related. Searches will pick up these word sets to determine what topic you're talking about.
  • Doing things the right way doesn't necessarily add extra work, but involves best practices you should learn when optimizing for search engines. Here, a basic knowledge of HTML is useful, as the title, description of content, and keywords you use are important for SEO. A webpage built on good structure will tell search engines what is most important.
  • Connecting and linking: The text on Page A that hyperlinks to Page B - called "anchor text" - on your website can have a big SEO impact. Building links in places that aren't relevant to your site won't create SEO value in the long run, so focus on making relevant connections.
  • Try copying and pasting a blog you've written into Wordle.net. It will show you the commonality of the words and phrases you've used, which is a great way to see if your words are rich and balanced.

 

Book Stunts: Surprising Marketing Practices from Around the World and What We Can Learn from Them

Ed Nawotka, editor-in-chief of popular industry journal Publishing Perspectives, Erin Cox, literary agent and business development manager for Publishing Perspectives, and Ramy Habeeb, co-founder of Kotobarabia.com, led a lively discussion about the impact of successful book stunts. Trying to think of some out-of-the-box ideas to market your book? Check out the highlights from this session:

 

  • A book stunt is any activity that comes from outside-the-box thinking when promoting a book. It should be fun and have a playful element. It typically allows the author's personality to shine; if the author is willing to laugh at himself, most readers find it endearing. Ultimately, that's your goal with a stunt: to connect with readers.
  • Examples of effective stunts include Jennifer Belle, a novelist who last year hired several dozen actresses to sit on the NYC subway system and at city landmarks for hours, reading and laughing heartily at her book. The stunt earned her press in The New York Times and The New York Post, among others. Brad Meltzer is a thriller writer whose campaign for his nonfiction book included posting several YouTube videos to evoke different emotions. In one of the funniest videos, he pokes fun at himself through a series of "negative reviews."
  • Entertaining someone far exceeds getting a review in some cases, and you can make a bigger impression. It shocks people into paying attention.
  • There are risks involved with stunts. Be careful not to cross any lines; if you do humor, watch the kind of humor you're using, as it should be relevant and not hurt the perception the audience has of the author. Positive word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to sell a book, but it can also turn into gossip if you don't manage your brand. Be genuine, and make sure you research and have a reality check before doing it, as you don't want to do anything destructive or illegal.
  • Book stunts aren't necessarily physical events in the real world. The internet is a great place for stunts, so experiment with film and audio.
  • A book stunt isn't about selling books; it's about showing the reader who you are, whether it's in a funny or emotional way. It shouldn't be about the bottom line.
  • When brainstorming a book stunt, try to manifest the subject matter of the book and make it real so it's relevant. Marrying the content with the promotion is imperative, as you could lose your message by doing something so outrageous that it doesn't fit.

 

Book Reviews Online

Respected book reviewers were on hand from The New York Times Book Review, The Daily Beast, Publishers Weekly, and The New Republic. Each critic gave his or her impression on the state of the book review industry, as well as predictions for the future. Read on to get their perspectives on the changing landscape of book reviews.

 

  • What is the current state of the review industry?

 

The New Republic: Print coverage for books has been declining due to cuts in the media industry. Online book reviews are attractive to critics because they are not limited by space as they would be in a print publication, and it gives them the opportunity to review more books. Also, reviewers are establishing a presence in social media channels.

New York Times Book Review: The "Paper Cuts" blog has been folded into the "Arts Beat" blog. They are embracing new media, such as podcasts, video, and social media (especially Twitter). They recently began introducing content exclusively online for the first time, and they launched their first-ever eBook bestseller list this year.

The Daily Beast: Its book section was launched within a few months of the site's launch, even before other entertainment sections. They do weekly reviews, but also have essays, interviews with writers, quizzes, and other content. Their main goal is to show that books are part of the news and part of the conversation, so they cover mostly nonfiction, but they do review fiction, poetry, and other genres as well.

Publishers Weekly: They are making an aggressive push to create a community via social media. They have many different, specialized blogs with small readerships and several social media accounts. In all, PW provides approximately 6,000 reviews per year anonymously; social media allows people to get to know the publication on a more personal level.

 

  • What does the future of book reviews look like?

 

The New Republic: They are working on mobile applications for smartphones. Since space is not limited online, they are devising ways to encourage readers to read longer pieces online.

New York Times Book Review: They are a part of a smartphone application and will continue to be involved in social media to get more people participating in the book review. Regardless of the online or print format, they are still reviewing books the same as they always have.

The Daily Beast: They have been finding a balance between the short pieces people read online and longer print versions with eBook essays and will be reviewing more eBooks moving forward.

Publishers Weekly: Big reviewers and self-published books are coming together. PW has started a quarterly review of the best self-published books. "We are getting more and more book submissions during these times from self-published authors, and they are getting better and better."

 

As the show comes to a close, watch for the final edition of our BEA 2011 daily recap tomorrow (the show ends early, so the recap will likely be shorter, which I'm sure you're relieved to hear!). If you're attending BEA and haven't yet stopped by the CreateSpace booth #2538 (or if you'd just like to say hello again), we hope to see you!

 

Cheers,

-Amanda

 

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BEA Recap: Day 4 - Building Your Personal Brand at BEA & BlogWorld

BEA Recap: Day 3 - Editorial & Design Tips from IBPA

BEA Recap: Day 2 - Book Promotion Tips from IBPA

BEA Recap: Day 1 - The DIY Revolution

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The key word in marketing today is "community." We are a community. That's why sites like Facebook and Twitter are doing so amazingly well. They provide us with the ability to join and build communities that bypass geographical hurdles. Our communities can expand around the globe.

 

Why is that important? Because ultimately, we are a community of savvy consumers. We don't trust advertising like we used to, since we've been surrounded by ads since the day we were born. We've grown wary of over-hyped products and services. So what is today's consumer to do? We turn to our communities for recommendations and reviews.

 

As an author, you should be doing more than selling your own books to your community. In fact, you will probably lose their trust if that's all you're using your community for. You should be selling other authors to your community. I'm asked all the time for book recommendations from people in my community, and I'm more than happy to tell them. I actually get excited by the prospect of recommending a good book.  It's fun.

 

When you become a source of good books for the members of your community, you become a trusted authority. You gain gravitas in the eyes of your community. And, while I have no scientific proof or studies to support me on this, you may fill your literary karma coffers with all kinds of wholesome goodness that could eventually lead to an in-kind recommendation from another author. If you have a blog (and if you don't, why not?), let the author write a post about their book on your blog. Give them some space to sell their books and they may return the favor. Even if they don't, you have nothing to lose.

 

In short, serve your community and other authors at the same time. It can only benefit you.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Do You Have a Marketing Partner?

Be of Service to Other Writers

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Our second day in New York was spent at the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Publishing University. In addition to publishers of all shapes and sizes, entrepreneurial authors made up a large part of the attendees. Some of the most enlightening sessions we attended focused on book promotion and marketing in today's digital world. Below are some key takeaways from each session.

 

Marketing 101 in the Digital Age

In this session, we heard from savvy book marketers Dave Marx, Todd Bottorff, and Brian Jud (fun fact: Brian hosts CreateSpace's monthly webinars). Some highlights from their session:

 

  • Marketing is all about awareness and availability. Word of mouth is a great way to increase awareness; for readers, a recommendation from someone they know is immensely valuable. For availability, make it easy for readers to buy the book and have it available in multiple formats.
  • Brian: "I always say authors will make more money when they stop selling books. People don't buy books, they buy the information and content within them. Remember, you're selling a product."
  • Spend time developing a good, 30-second pitch. It also pays to fill in the blanks in this sentence to briefly describe your book: "I help [target audience] who want [problem your book solves] get [results your book delivers]."
  • Brian: "Book marketing is as simple as PIE: Plan, Implement, and Evaluate."
  • Todd: "You need to develop and communicate value to your end customer."
  • The 4 Ps of marketing that are being revolutionized by the digital age: product, price, placement, and promotion. These should affect the way you think about your book from creation to sale. In these digital times, you can communicate the value of your product to anyone in the world because of the internet. Prices are lowering and becoming more efficient to the end consumer. The placement of a product has shifted from a store rack to a digital presentation on a screen. And there has been a mass democratization of the promotion of books, because there are no gatekeepers and everyone has access to the same information. Also, all consumers are now potential book reviewers.
  • Set aside some time to do at least one thing every day. Deciding what that thing is will depend on your resources, but the most important thing is to do something to get your book out there.

 

Book Promotion in an E-World

Book promotion experts Marika Flatt, Mary Agnes Antonopoulos, and Kate Bandos shared some invaluable publicity tips and ideas for authors and publishers looking to increase visibility of their titles online. Some takeaways from this session include:

 

  • Types of news outlets where you may want to look for reviews: Trade magazines (ex. Publishers Weekly, ForeWord, Library Journal), regional magazines, regional and local newspapers, and online outlets (ex. blogs and topical websites).
  • Besides reviews, other ways to get coverage for you and your book might be to develop an article on a topic specific to your book and offer it to media outlets, including blogs. Consider offering an excerpt from the book to the media, or crafting your press release in article format. If you have a particularly unique or interesting story, a media outlet may want to do a feature story on you, the author. Also, offer yourself up as an expert.
  • Mary Agnes: "With publicity and promotion, the end game is not the media coverage, it's that somebody sees you. Book promotion is all about audience building. What you're really selling is yourself. The book is just your calling card. Instead of publicity bringing the audience, the audience can bring the publicity."
  • BlogTalkRadio.com is streaming online radio that can be very effective for author promotion. With this channel, you brand a channel to yourself and start broadcasting. You will create a library of radio shows that live online and are searchable forever. Some tips on broadcasting include reading excerpts of your books or blogs and positioning yourself as an expert, keeping shows brief (approx. 20 minutes) to retain listener attention, including a solid intro and exit and putting your shows on YouTube with slides. You can also invite guests who compliment your subject matter to take advantage of reaching both their audience and your own. You can even do private shows and sell them as teleseminars.
  • Meetup.com is a social network that revolves around setting up live, in-person events. You can use this site to plan meet-and-greets, book signings, or book launches. You also can go to other Meetup groups that have an interest in your book's subject matter.
  • LinkedIn: Join groups specific to the readers you're trying to reach. Don't actively sell your title to these groups, but create useful discussions and include your book title in your signature.
  • At the beginning of a publicity campaign, create a press kit and make it available as an electronic PDF. Make sure you have a professional headshot.
  • The relationship you build with the media is extremely important. Be respectful, knowing who each journalist you contact is and what he or she covers. It's also important to understand you might not be the right fit for every media outlet. Keeping good media relationships may lead to additional publicity opportunities in the future.

 

Remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for tidbits from BEA, and come back tomorrow for takeaways from our second day at the IBPA Publishing University.

 

Cheers!

-Amanda

 

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BEA Recap: Day 1 - The DIY Revolution

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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

 

Social Networking: Twitter v. Facebook - BookEnds, LLC - A Literary Agency

You knew this day would come. Twitter or Facebook: for gaining readership, which one wins when they go head-to-head?     

 

When E-Ink Crinkles - PWxyz

If this is real, it's awesome. Years ago, I actually sat in on a meeting with a major video manufacturer that said they had prototypes of this very thing.

 

Film

 

Nuts and Bolts of Film Making, Duncan Jones Reveals All - Claps and Boos

The filmmaker behind Source Code talks film production and earning his stripes in the world of commercials.                  

 

Schickel on Scorsese - Southern California Public Radio

Here's your chance to listen to a great audio file featuring an interview with master filmmaker Martin Scorsese. 

 

Music

 

Why Being a Pro Ruins Everything - Mr. Tunes

Are artists better when they're eager and hungry or when they're successful and cautious?  

 

3 Ways to Get More Samples and Loops - Renegade Producer

Apparently, you can never have too many samples and loops.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - May 10, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - May 3, 2011 Edition

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Try Out a Trade Show

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 16, 2011

I know I have been a cheerleader for Web 2.0 marketing on this blog for the most part, but that doesn't mean I'm not a fan of more traditional marketing methods as well. I like events where authors have the opportunity to interact with the public. Beyond the neighborhood bookstore or coffee shop, trade shows are excellent venues for authors to meet readers.

 

There are two types of trade shows that can benefit authors:

 

Industry-Specific Trade Shows: What better place to meet readers, book buyers, and publishing professionals than at a book industry trade show? The biggest such show in the U.S. is Book Expo America (BEA). Usually held at the Javits Center in New York City, it's a wonderland of books, publishers, and authors. As an author, you can contact show organizers about joining an autographing session or even setting up an exhibitor's booth. My advice would be to join forces with other independent authors and share a booth and other expenses. In addition to offsetting the costs, you can help each other man the booth and guide traffic to your table. In addition to participating in the show as an exhibitor and author, you can also attend highly educational seminars where you can learn tricks of the trade from respected industry professionals.

 

Topic-Specific Trade Shows: I remember attending a home and garden trade show a few years back and seeing a long line at one particular booth. My curiosity got the best of me, and I made my way to the front of the line to see what the big attraction was. It was an author of a children's book. The subject of the book was a dog who loved to garden. It was a brilliant idea. There are trade shows for virtually every hobby, profession, and genre. They may not have been intended for books and authors, but that doesn't mean they don't have tremendous value for authors to showcase their wares.

 

No matter what type of trade show you decide to attend, you want to go prepared. We've talked about merchandising before on this blog, and that ties in well here. People love swag at trade shows, so have plenty on hand. Perfect your one-sentence pitch before you work your booth. Practice until it rolls off your tongue, and hook that show attendee who is just strolling by. You don't have to dress to the nines, but shoot for writer casual. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes if you attend, as you will be on your feet all day. Above all, have fun and be friendly. At trade shows, you are meeting potential members of your word-of-mouth team!

 

-Richard

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

 

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Four Tips for Real-Life Networking

Preparing for a Personal Appearance

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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

 

Gary Vaynerchuk and Joe Sorge - The Daily Blog

Two social media mavens sit down and discuss innovative marketing in a Web 2.0 world.

 

How to Hire Good Editors - Editors Only

We all need them, but how do we know how to find the right one? Editors Only dishes out their advice on how to find the perfect editor for you.

 

Film

 

The Four Types of Filmmaker - Making the Movie

Are you a perfectionist, a master, a freewheeler? What type of filmmaker are you?

 

Why People Will Invest in Your Film - Projector Films

It's likely that people aren't investing in your movie because they think they will get rich. They invest in your film because they have an emotional connection to your project.

 

Music

 

How to Enrich Thin Voice - Judy Rodman

Can you turn a weak voice into a Tony Atlas of singing voices? Judy Rodman says it is possible, and she shows you how.

 

How to Sing Harmonies - Getting There

Harmonies are the unsung heroes of most songs. In order for harmonies to work, they have to be virtually invisible.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - May 3, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - April 26, 2011 Edition

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If you are a good steward of your money, you likely won't spend crazy amounts of cash to finance your advertising fund. Even if you have a great deal of expendable income, I wouldn't recommend that you pour all of it into a traditional advertising budget.

 

It's not that I think traditional advertising doesn't work. It can, and I'm proof of that. I own an exercise program because of traditional advertising. I bought that program after seeing the infomercial, or parts of the infomercial, approximately two hundred times. Every Saturday and Sunday, when I would sit in front of the TV in the morning and sip on my coffee, I would see the infomercial on three or four channels as I surfed, looking for something to watch. After a year, I gave in and purchased the program.

 

That's how traditional advertising works. It showcases a slick message surrounded by all the bells and whistles and finds ways to beat you over the head with it. The magic bullet, here, isn't a bullet at all. It's a hail of magic bullets that keeps coming and coming and coming. In order for that kind of advertising to work for you, most of your money will end up funding your repetition strategy. In other words, how will you get your message in front of the consumer over and over and over again?

 

For most independent artists, this a strategy you can't adequately fund even if you do have crazy amounts of expendable cash. That's why I'm such an advocate of non-traditional online methods, which I've talked about on this blog for some time. They all involve more of an investment of time rather than money. Spend your time blogging. Spend your time on social networks. Spend your time creating personal videos. Save your money for things like professional cover design, formatting, editing, etc.

 

There may be a day when traditional advertising makes sense for you and your project, and you'll know it when that time comes. If you're a first timer, however, you might find it more effective to put away your checkbook and set aside time in the day to work on your online marketing methods.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Your Banner Ad is a Billboard for Your Book, DVD, or CD

Social Networking Sells Your Brand

1,699 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, promotion, advertising, ads, promotions, musicians, filmmakers
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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

 

Confluence of Pleasures: On Reading and Tuna Fish - The Millions

An essay about those moments when the right book finds you at the right time.     

 

Nonlinear Reading and Other Things Print Books Do Better Than E-books - PWxyz

Is this a case where the "analog" world outdoes the digital world when it comes to nonlinear "technology"?   

 

Film

 

The (Dreaded) Silent Role - A MOON Brothers film

Actors who pass on parts because of lack of dialogue may be missing out on the chance to deliver an Oscar-winning performance.              

 

Beyond a Social Network - The Independent

Yet another article about the changing face of film financing and the world of crowdsourcing.   

 

Music

 

Is the Dedicated Songwriter Going Extinct? - digital music news

The music industry is seeing the demise of songwriting as a reliable source of income. Now, songwriters are being asked to diversify in order to make a living.  

 

6 Things to Help Your Music Marketing This Week - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Get your notebooks out. Bob Baker is cranking out the free marketing tips.     

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - April 26, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - April 19, 2011 Edition

1,311 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, book, book, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, reading, reading, acting, acting, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, songwriting, songwriting, social_media, social_media, crowdsourcing, crowdsourcing
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Let's talk about email. As early as 2007, folks in the know have been predicting the death of email. Two years ago, email was by far the number one reason people logged onto the internet. Last year, it slipped to number two. The number one reason people log online now is to participate in online social media. Some colleges have even ended their email services for students due to lack of interest. In short, the future of email looks grim.

 

In addition to its declining popularity, email is also a gateway to spam, malware, computer viruses, etc. Open the wrong email and you could lose your computer to hackers with seemingly endless evil intentions. Respond to the wrong email, and you could be unwittingly giving up personal information. 

 

There are no doubt some emails you get from friends and companies that you find informative, educational, entertaining, functional, or simply useful for keeping in touch. You read and even look forward to these, but the number of those types of emails is probably dwarfed by the number of junk emails you receive on a day-to-day basis.

 

So the question has to be asked: as a self-published author, is email marketing the best use of your time? Even if you create a list with a circle of friends and acquaintances that grows over time, is it a good long-term solution? To me, it appears to be a dead-end marketing strategy. While email may never really go away, it seems clear that its popularity will continue to decline. In my opinion, it's better to harness the power of social media and be in a better position to move onto the next great virtual breakthrough in online communications.

 

I want to hear from you. Do you utilize email lists? If so, how would you rate their effectiveness? If you've been using email lists for awhile, have you noticed a decline in response?

 

-Richard

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

 

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The Future of E-mail & Marketing

What Does Your E-mail Signature Say About You?

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There was a reality TV show on not too long ago featuring a gentleman who was labeled a millionaire. He went into an impoverished area without telling people his identity. He lived in this area for a week or so and then revealed who he was by handing out checks to some of the needy folks he met. It was touching.

 

But then the gentleman, an author and marketing consultant by trade, used the event to market himself. He sent out e-mails to his client list announcing his act of kindness. He used the "as seen on TV" label on marketing materials. He turned this wonderfully kind and seemingly selfless act into a marketing blitz that revealed his true motives. He was in it for the marketing opportunity. In my view, his brand was tarnished, maybe irreparably so.

 

He will no doubt get an immediate bump from the show and marketing campaign. But over time, it could damage his reputation, especially if he continues to use it as a marketing ploy. People grow weary of self-congratulatory behavior. And since nothing really goes away in the virtual world, his attempts to capitalize on his act of altruism will live on forever.

 

What's the lesson here? Well, my mother raised me to be a big proponent of helping others. It doesn't have to be grand gestures. Use your talents, like writing for instance, to give to others, even if it's just writing advice on the CreateSpace Community boards. Give...and then give some more. But here's the important part: don't expect anything in return. Building a personal brand isn't about capitalizing on your acts of kindness. Your personal brand comes from bestowing the acts of kindness in the first place.

 

Incidentally, if giving isn't in your nature, don't feel like you have to do it. People and circumstances are different, so it certainly doesn't make you a bad person. If you try to force yourself to behave in a way that's not authentic, it's not going to help your personal brand. Just be you. If giving is in your nature, go for it. Just be sure to do it because you love it, not for the marketing.

 

-Richard

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

 

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The Big "Do Not" of Book Marketing

Do I Really Have to Self-promote?

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It has come to this: today's authors have to branch out. As a writer, I'm not necessarily happy about it, but this is the literary hand we've been dealt. Writing books is our primary focus, but in order to supplement our incomes and get noticed at the same time, we must enter the world of merchandising.

 

I know, I know, it sounds gimmicky. I mean Ernest Hemingway would have never stooped to hocking "The Old Man and the Sea" T-shirts on cruise ships, and you'll never even see contemporary authors like Cormac McCarthy selling bumper stickers that say "The Road" at convenience stores just off the interstate. But their brands superseded the age of the internet. For those of us trying to get noticed in a web 2.0 world, we may have to adopt a more aggressive merchandising strategy.

 

I once sat next to an author at Book Expo America to do a signing, and all I brought was my books. She brought her books, some buttons, coffee cups, pens, ties, canvas bags, etc. I kind of chuckled when I saw all the swag she had, but people ate it up. She had a line longer than most authors during our signing period, and during the show the next few days, I saw people wearing her buttons and using her bags. She was getting free advertising.

 

It was gimmicky, and it was brilliant. She sells books - not just because of her merchandising efforts, but they certainly help. Other authors I know sell T-shirts on their websites. I know others still who are developing smartphone apps. Because of the internet, the possibilities are virtually endless. You just have to be a little creative and find the right merchandise for your book. Here's an article in the Wall Street Journal that addresses the issue: How Authors Move Their Own Merchandise.

 

Keep in mind, gimmicky doesn't necessarily mean tacky. Don't compromise your integrity with your merchandise, but once you commit to doing it, you can't do it begrudgingly. Do it with a smile on your face. You're an author. Embrace it. Heck, you can even sell a T-shirt that proclaims it for you.

 

Happy merchandising!

 

-Richard

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

 

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Branding vs. Marketing for Authors

Does Silly Sell?

1,567 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, promotion, promotions, branding, merchandise
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