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428 Posts tagged with the marketing tag
1

In a recent post I suggested carrying a book wherever you go in case you have the opportunity to sell it and/or give it away. I realize, however, that it's not always practical to lug a book around. But it is practical to lug a wallet around, which is why I also recommend getting business cards made with information about you and your book(s).

 

If you have just one book out, here's what I recommend including on the card:

 

  • Cover image of your book
  • Brief tagline/description (this is good because it forces you to be creative and concise)
  • Your name, followed by "author"
  • Your website (if you have one--if you don't have one, get one made soon!)
  • Your email address
  • Your twitter handle if you have one

 

If you have more than one book out, here's what I recommend including:

 

  • Your name, followed by "author" (could also include something like "author of books about XX" or "author of books that YY," etc.)
  • Your website (if you have one--if you don't have one, get one made soon!)
  • Logo of your website (see above if you don't have a website)
  • If you don't have a website, include images of your book covers as long as they're not too small
  • Your email address
  • Your Twitter handle if you have one

 

Business cards are easy to get made and cheap to buy. Some resources include Vistaprint, Got Print, and Zazzle. These sites also include options for other marketing materials, such as postcards, bookmarks, etc.

 

As with any marketing effort, you'll have no idea which of the cards you give out are going to end up in the recycling bin and which might lead to a sale. But at least you'll be doing what you can to get the word out about your writing--and that's what matters!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

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Marketing Tip: Always Carry a Book with You

Marketing Tip: Are You Making the Most of Your Email Signature?

2,785 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, business_cards
0

One of the basic tenets of life is that growth is a key component of survival. Physically, intellectually, spiritually--growth is how we advance and reach new phases in life. Put another way, change is healthy and at times, necessary.

 

One of the basic tenets of building a brand, we are told, is consistency. If you look at some of the most successful corporate brands, you'll notice very little variation to their message from year to year or even decade to decade. Coca-Cola is a refreshing drink that makes you feel good. McDonalds provides tasty food that's fast and cheap. Amazon offers a customer-centric, convenient shopping experience with a hugely diverse selection of products and services. The list of successful companies with clearly-defined brand identities goes on and on.

 

So, the question arises, is what's good for life--growth--bad for brands? After all, growth is change, and change is the antithesis of consistency. The answer is simple. Growth is essential to brand success. Yes, it is change, but it is a gradual change that prevents stagnation, and stagnation is lethal to a brand. The companies I've mentioned above have all adjusted to societal and/or technological advancements, and while their basic messages have remained steadfast, the mechanisms around their messages have been altered significantly.

 

Building an author brand requires a clever ability to balance consistency and growth. It's not always easy, but here's the great thing about author brands: they follow the path your growth as an artist takes. As your desires to explore and expand your creative nature take hold, your brand comes along for the ride. As long as you're consistently evolving as a writer, your author brand will resist stagnation and be stronger for it.

-Richard

 

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

 

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The Brand and the Pseudonym

Looking for Marketing Tips? Here's What's Working for One Indie Author - and What Isn't

3,824 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, promotions, branding
1

It cuts like a knife. It feels like a punch to the gut. It's not fun. I'm, of course, talking about a bad review. We've discussed it many times on this blog, and it comes up frequently in various online communities for writers. Bad reviews hurt, and when we're hurt it feels unfair. I've been there. I know.

 

But my wife once said something to me that made me see bad reviews in a different light. I released a book a few years ago under a secret penname, and when it came out, the first dozen or so customer reviews were five stars. I was elated and relieved because you never know how a book is going to be received. It was particularly gratifying because no one knew I was the author. I promise I'm not brag-splaining. The downside is coming. One morning, I woke up, and I had a new review. It was three stars. I grumbled and tried to convince myself that three stars isn't bad, and it isn't. I had just gotten spoiled by the early feedback. It took the better part of breakfast to accept the review and move on. By that evening, I was faced with reading a one-star review. There was no convincing myself that was good news. I had failed a reader. It felt horrible.

 

When my wife got home that evening, I told her about my horror and without skipping a beat she said, "Good. Bad reviews give you legitimacy." I thought she was insane at first, but upon some reflection, I realized she was right. Bad reviews do give you some credibility. Every literary legend suffers the fate of the bad review, and it doesn't make them any less legendary. Bad reviews are battle scars. Accept them for what they are, opinions and nothing more, and as I always advise, whatever you do, don't respond to the reviewer. Doing so can only damage your brand. Just let it go and move on.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Bad Reviews & Great Company

Use Good Judgment When Asking for Reviews

2,263 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writing, book_reviews
0

By now many of you know that I began my career as a self-published author, and that one of the reasons (if not the reason) my first novel (Perfect on Paper) got picked up by a publisher was because of all the grass-roots marketing I did to get it noticed. (Click here to check out my webinar explaining exactly what I did.)

 

One key component of my marketing campaign was to apply for awards. I knew that with awards comes credibility, and I was right! Perfect on Paper won almost all the awards for which I applied. That helped open doors to organizations such as book clubs, which led to more positive reviews, which led to speaking engagements, which helped open more doors, etc. That's the thing about marketing - it's all about getting one thing to lead to another. You never know what's going to work, so you have to keep trying a lot of things.

 

While some of the awards Perfect on Paper won are no longer around, here are some still available to indie authors:

 

National Indie Excellence Book Awards

 

Independent Publisher Book Awards

 

USA Best Book Awards

 

eLit Book Awards

 

Global eBook Awards

 

This article lists some more.

 

Applying for awards takes time (and sometimes money, depending on whether or not there's an entry fee), but I can say from personal experience that if you win, it's worth it! And even if you don't win, going through the process of applying for an award is a good experience because it shows you the importance of presenting your work in the best light, from the description and cover design to the manuscript itself.

 

You can also use the materials you prepare for an award application for other marketing purposes, such as reaching out to book clubs, newsletters, alumni magazines, etc. Now get applying!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Using Book Awards to Market

Book Marketing Is a Numbers Game

2,723 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, book_awards, promotions
3

Welcome to the wonderful world of the author pitch, that tool in your brand-building arsenal where you get to talk about yourself in a glowing and weighty manner. I know, yuck, right? There are enough megalomaniacs out there tooting their own horns on social media. We don't need to add one more braggart to the mix, right? No, we certainly don't, but when you're a brand, you have to present your credentials. So, obviously the answer is to present your indie publishing achievements humbly and with palpable reluctance, right?

 

As it turns out, that's not the correct approach either. According to a Harvard study, the humblebrag - an attempt to tout one's own achievements using self-deprecation as a way to hide the fact that you are trying to draw attention to your accomplishments - is an ineffective tool to build a brand. The social media citizenry has caught on to the tactic, they see it for what it is and they are not amused. In fact, it could do more harm to your brand than good.

 

The study suggests that outright bragging is more acceptable than the humble, awe-shucks, announcement. Personally, I'm not comfortable with boasting about my achievements even though it is the preferable approach. Fortunately, there is a middle ground. There is the gracious method where you present your accomplishments to enhance your brand and make your author pitch pitch-worthy. Be straightforward with a touch of just how thankful you are for the acknowledgment.

 

As an example, which sounds better?

 

  • I don't know how, but I've managed to win a lot of awards here and there.

  • I've won a lot of awards.

  • I'm grateful to have received numerous awards over the years.

 

I think most people are drawn to gracious winners, so in my mind the third option, the one that features gratitude, is a way to work achievements into your author pitch without alienating friends, fans and followers.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Zen and the Author Brand

Be Authentic to Build Your Brand

5,586 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions, author_pitch
1

In last week's post, Book Marketing Is a Numbers Game, I discussed how important it is to cast a wide net when reaching out to people and organizations about your book. Today I'd like to address the difference a personal touch can make once you've established contact with an individual who has agreed to help you in some way.

 

Several weeks ago I received a donation request from a woman I consider a casual friend. She was entering a bike race for charity, so I chipped in some money. A day or so later I received an e-mail from her and was excited to catch up a bit because I hadn't seen her in over a year. However, when I opened the message I was disappointed to realize it was a short, generic thank-you for my support. There was nothing personal in the message. And you know what? It made me feel a little used. Maybe that's childish on my part, but it's how I felt, and most likely I won't donate to her event next year.

 

Whenever I receive a message from someone about my books, whether it's to let me know one will be featured in a newsletter, book club, review, etc., or just to tell me they've enjoyed reading them, I make a point of replying with a personal note. (If you've ever contacted me through my website, you will know this is true.) It's important to me that my fans know how much I value their support, and that's hard to do with a generic auto-reply.

 

Keep this in mind as you approach your book marketing. It's completely fine to use stock copy about your book, but personalizing the messages even a little bit will make a big difference to the recipient. If you respect and appreciate people, people will respect and appreciate you back!

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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The Power of a Personal Connection

Remember to Say Thank You

2,083 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, author, writing
3

I often say that it's important to make it easy for people to help you promote your book. One great way to do that is to offer to send them a free copy! I know that sounds obvious, but given how many emails I receive from indie authors asking me to review their books without offering to send me one, I think it is worth repeating. (I've also said many times here that I don't review books, so now I'm wondering if anyone is actually reading my blog. Hmm....)

 

Anyhow, when reaching out to people/organizations with news about your book, offering to send a copy isn't required, but I highly recommend it. You never know what might happen if the right person reads your book - and loves it!

 

Some examples:

 

  • Alumni magazine of your alma mater
  • Regional alumni clubs of your alma mater (and their newsletters and book clubs)
  • Fraternity/sorority national magazine
  • Fraternity/sorority regional alumni clubs (and their newsletters and book clubs)
  • Local newspapers
  • Other book club organizers (www.meetup.com is a great way to find them)

 

While "gifting" a book to an e-reader is possible, I much prefer sending a signed physical copy along with an old-fashioned note. This way the recipient's experience is much more personal. And who doesn't love receiving a package in the mail? Note: when sending books from the post office, be sure to request the book postage rate. It's much cheaper that way.

 

In my personal experience, it's much easier to ignore a book on my e-reader than one on my desk or nightstand. Plus, a signed book is special, period. So there's another reason to go the old-fashioned route if I hadn't already convinced you.

 

Now get signing - and sending!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Watch for Errors in Marketing Materials

How to Help the Author in Your Life

6,702 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
1

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

-Richard

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

 

 

 

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Stage Two of Marketing a Book: Outreach

Stage Three of Marketing - Proof Giveaway

2,857 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, selling, book, author, self-publishing, writers, writing, book_marketing, promotions
9

After years of referring to herself as a "professional dater," a good friend of mine finally tied the knot last summer. She was, of course, joking about her title, but in a way it was true! She was determined to find the right match for herself, so she dated and dated and dated until she found him. To her, meeting the one was essentially a numbers game, and she was right. She played it until she got what she wanted.

 

Book marketing, like sales - and dating - is also a numbers game. If you go into it thinking you're going to strike gold right out of the gate, you're bound to be disappointed.

 

I once met an indie author who had targeted five key people who were in a position to help him spread the word about his book. He had contacted them all and had heard back from two or three of them but was distraught that since then, they hadn't been as responsive as he'd hoped. He was at a loss for what to do, believing his marketing had been a failure.

 

My advice to him (and to any author reading this post) was twofold:

 

1)  Contacting five people is not enough. You should be contacting hundreds of people.

2)  If someone expresses interest in your book and then disappears, you need to follow up! People are busy, and it's not their job to help you promote your book. It's your job to make it easy for them to help you. No one is going to fault you for being too organized.

 

Book marketing takes time and effort, and I know how demoralizing it can be when you feel like you're not making any progress. The key is to be persistent - and consistent. You have to cast a wide net if you want to catch a few fish, so don't give up!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Connect with Your Volunteer Sales Force

The Power of a Personal Connection

6,499 Views 9 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writers
3

Yesterday I received a bulk email from an acquaintance about a book his son had recently self-published. The well-crafted, perfectly appropriate message explained that the son had asked his father to forward a note, written by the son, about the book. The father, conscious of spamming his friends, threw in a line about how any parent would do the same for his kid. He also said that his son was a lot funnier than he was.

 

Who could blame the man for helping out his son? I certainly couldn't. He also used blind copy in the email, a nice touch in my opinion.

 

The forwarded note from the son, however, raised the hair on the back of my neck. In it he explicitly asks people to post a review of his book on Amazon, regardless of whether or not they had or planned to read it.

 

I cringed when I read this. How would you feel if you bought a book because of its positive reviews, only to find out they had been written by friends of the author who hadn't even read it? If you liked the book, you might not care—but what if you didn't like the book? What then?

 

Here's my stance on Amazon reviews: If someone you know reads your book and proactively tells you that he/she loved it, then by all means, ask him/her to write a review. Otherwise, don't go there. It's not illegal to request reviews from friends and family, but to me it borders on unethical. Plus good or bad, you'll feel like a real author knowing your reviews are from legitimate readers. For what it's worth, I joke with my friends that when I got my first hate email, in a strange way I felt like I'd arrived.

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Marketing Tip: Follow the 80/20 Rule in Social Media

 

Life Outside of Writing

3,185 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions
3

You've documented your book-writing journey, and you've done outreach to other bloggers and reviewers to raise author brand awareness. By now you're reaching that pivotal moment when you upload your files and order a proof so you can get a look at your masterpiece in print before you make it available for sale.

 

When I get to the proof stage, I order the maximum amount and then announce a pre-release giveaway on my blog and Facebook page. Proofs are the perfect marketing tool. They are sneak peeks for lucky winners of your giveaway. They are the catalyst for you to take to your piece of internet real estate and talk about your book with vigor and verve, not just once, but daily during the giveaway period, a period that should last no more than six weeks and no fewer than two. If you have five proofs to give away, my suggestion would be to do one giveaway per week for five weeks.

 

This is a buzz-building exercise. It has to mean something to you in order for it to mean anything to your readers. Don't just talk about it. Talk it up. We authors tend to be introverted, and we can come off as reserved. There's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't garner a lot of enthusiasm for a marketing event like a proof giveaway. Use as much fanfare as you can muster. Do everything short of throwing a parade when you announce the winners. Actually, if you can afford a parade, go for it. Think of the news coverage you'll get.

 

Next week, we'll enter stage four of marketing with a look at planning for a release date.

 

-Richard

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

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Stage One of Marketing a Book: Journaling Your journey

Writing Tip: Use Contractions in Dialogue

2,927 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Make a Living with Your Writing - The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn reveals how she turned a passion for writing into a writing career.          

                           

Practice the Process - Retinart

To get good at what you do, you have to know how you do what you do.          

 

Film

                                                        

From the Archives: Famous Filmmakers - Huffington Post

Three filmmakers, known for taking risks, sit down with HuffPost Live to discuss the art and business of filmmaking.        

                                          

DIY or DIE: 10 No Budget Filmmaking Musts - Indiewire

Simple ideas that help you stay under the smallest budget. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Music Marketing with YouTube: Four Ways to Beef up Your Channel - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

The power of video has long been a marketing asset for musicians.  

 

The Many Hats of an Indie Musician - Day in the Life of a Commercial Musician

It's a juggling act, but you get to do what you love.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- May 8, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- May 1, 2015

2,107 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, selling, music, author, self-publishing, promotion, movies, writers, writing, promotions, musician, music_marketing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, practice
1

In stage one of marketing a book, we covered sharing your journey and building your community through journaling. For stage two we'll focus on reaching readers outside of your community. This is something you should do before you've finished writing your book. In fact, this is something you should ideally do when your book is still just a spark of an idea. If you've already begun a book, it's not too late to jump on this strategy. Even if your book has been published, you can do an outreach and set the wheels in motion for your next book.

 

The good news is the outreach stage is not rocket science. It will take some research on your end, but the payoff is worth it. You need to be a voice in your genre. It's time to start reaching out to blogs, online magazines (e-zines), mainstream websites, etc. Be an active member in their online communities. Add value to the conversations they start. Better yet, contact the editors and volunteer to provide posts and articles to help bring traffic to their online presence. Be visible, and be vocal.

 

Remember, you're establishing a brand – your brand as an author. Present yourself in a compelling and clear manner that will establish your reputation as a good writer with something valuable to contribute to the community. Most of all be respectful of other members of the community. Allow for criticism and disagreement with your contribution without argument. Respectful counterpoints are fine, but terse, sarcastic responses to such feedback can be devastating.

 

Stage two of marketing a book: Outreach. Find those communities outside of your own that cater to your genre, and start participating as a community member.

 

-Richard

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

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The Art of Commenting

Today's New Media

2,958 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

The Path to Success - The Passive Voice

Indie superstar Joe Konrath shares his path to success.          

                           

This One Trick Can Revolutionize Your Writing - Enago Blog

A trick than can help any writer of any stripe.          

 

Film

                                                        

Watch: 90-Minute Masterclass with Legendary Director Werner Herzog - The Playlist

An in-depth Q&A with the legend of cinema.        

                                          

Notes to Screenwriters: Advancing Your Story, Screenplay and Career by Authors Barbara Nicolosi and Vicki Peterson - Film Courage

How to implement feedback and make your screenplay stronger. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Practice Logs and How to Include Ear Training in Your Daily Music Practice -Easy Ear Training

Tracking your learning-by-ear progress.  

 

Three Things I Disagree with Speech Level Singing about - How to Sing Better

Should singing be as natural as speaking?   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- May 1, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- April 24, 2015

1,882 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, filmmaking, author, promotion, movies, writers, directors, writing, success, films, directing, musicians, social_media, singing, practice, writing_practice
2

Today we start a series on the five stages of marketing a book. I've always been a fan of compartmentalizing a goal in order to make it less daunting. Cutting things down leads to better planning, which leads to greater success. Our first stage is a way to keep yourself on point and accountable, all under the watchful eye of your public.


 

Find a space in your online presence and commit it as your little plot of virtual real estate where you will keep detailed records of your progress. This is where you are going to say all those things aloud, in public, that you mumbled to yourself in front of your computer as you typed out your masterpiece. Call it an online journal or artist's confessional. Call it anything you want except unimportant.


 

Self-examination is vital to your growth as a writer. Most of us wait until the end of a project to reflect on how we reached our goal. By that time our reflections have turned into happy memories of accomplishment. Journaling while you write allows you to see all the impossible obstacles - before and after you triumphed over every one of them. It will inform you on just how resilient you truly are and how small the impossible really is.


 

It will also serve as a guide for other aspiring writers and help build a community of supporters around you. They will lend you encouragement and inspiration as you overcome the struggles. When the book is available for sale, they will more than likely want to see the results of the journey they were a part of and join you in a victory lap.


 

So, there we have it. Stage one to marketing a book: Keep a journal and start it now.


 

-Richard

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

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Keep a Brand Journal

Reverse Journaling for Your Brand

6,319 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writing, jounaling
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