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30 Posts tagged with the readers tag
4

Genre cultures

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 18, 2017

 

Genres are funny things. They don't just describe and categorize a book. Genres reveal a lot about their readers, especially devoted readers. Much like a region of the country may have a different culture from another region, genres have their own cultures. It's not only a fascinating component of a genre. It's actually a good thing from the point of view of a marketer.


As someone who has a book in a specific genre, you may be well aware of the cultural aspects of that genre. You may even be deeply influenced by that culture. That's great. You not only know where to find your readers, you know how to talk to them without committing a genre faux pas. If you are not familiar with your genre's culture, my advice is to start studying. True fans of a genre gravitate toward authenticity. When they believe you're an authentic member of their genre tribe, they will be a powerful volunteer sales force for you.


You want to know the benchmark literary pieces in your genre. You want to know the literary masters of those works. In fact, knowing this information isn't enough. You want to have an opinion on the great works in your genre. Read them. Study them. Talk confidently about them. Once you develop a reputation as a connoisseur of your genre, your social media community will be filled with folks who admire your knowledge and trust your opinion. You will have a legion of fellow genre-ites who will happily tell their friends and followers about you, growing your brand in the process.


-Richard

 

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Connect with Your Volunteer Sales Force

 

How to Manage Your Volunteer Sales Force

 

 

 

 

1,442 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: self-publishing, readers, publishing, promotions, branding, author_advice
17

Auditing your readers

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 27, 2017

 

Businesses, big and small, do frequent audits to gauge their success. They inventory product. They perform extensive ROI (return on investment) on advertising and marketing campaigns. They research and evaluate the demographics of their customer base. They evaluate the effectiveness of their workforce. They look at everything from the amount of money they spend on staples to the salaries of executive officers, all in the interest of maximizing their productivity.


You are an indie author, which means you are technically a small business owner. You should be auditing your business just like the major corporations. You won't know how to grow unless you know where you stand.


Start with your readers. You might be asking how you can possibly audit your readers. How can you possibly know who your readers are? Because you know your genre. Genres are demographic-specific by design. By-in-large, they attract a common core of readers who are from the same age group and in a lot of cases, the same gender. Depending on your genre, you can even narrow down even further. Find out as much information on the demographic that represents the typical reader of your genre. A simple query with your favorite search engine should get you started. Dive deep. Know their likes, their dislikes, and where they are most likely to share their likes and dislikes with others in their demographics. Know them like you know members of your own family.


Auditing your readers is the best way to build effective marketing campaigns and give you confidence that you are spending your branding time wisely.


-Richard

 

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

 

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Create a reader profile

 

Categories, genres, and subgenres

 

 

 

 

2,898 Views 17 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, self-publishing, readers, writing, genre, social_media
1

Reader profiles

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 24, 2016

You aren't just an author. You are a special agent, a very special agent. Your mission? Become a top-notch profiler. Who will you be profiling? Readers. The best way to reach your readers is to know who they are, and building a reader profile is the best way for you to know them.


    Here are the demographic categories that will help you in your profiling efforts:


  1. Age group: We are divided into groups based on common experiences. There is perhaps no greater cohesive grouping than those that are defined by age. People in the same general age range share a lot of cultural similarities, especially when it comes to music, movies, and literature. If you can clearly define your genre, you'll be able to fairly easily find the average age range of your readers.
  2. Gender: In the world of publishing, knowing the gender of your average reader can help you spend your marketing dollars more effectively. Certain genres appeal to one gender over another.
  3. Region: In some cases, what you write has geographic appeal. As an example, Southern thrillers will obviously have wider appeal below the Mason-Dixon Line. That's not to say it won't have fans that extend outside the region, but the greatest concentration of your readers will be Southerners.


You can parse the demographics down to even finer points. Hobbies, careers, politics, marital status--all of these are identifiers, and you can probably find information online that will help you build your reader profile. The more details you have, the narrower you can make your focus, and the better results you'll have with your reader outreach.


-Richard

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

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The Marketing Maze

Mingle Marketing



1,251 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, selling, promotion, readers, target_audience, marketing_research, marketing_appeal
0

I have long been a proponent of "reader blindness" when it comes to writing. That is to say, I don't think that writers should consider readers when they write novels. I believe doing so compromises the quality of the writing.


But let's talk about rewriting. Should you consider your readers when you rewrite your novel? At the risk of contradicting my earlier statement, I think you should. In fact, I think it's impossible not to consider readers during the rewriting stage. I say this because most of my major rewrites have come after I've received feedback from a reader or two or three or four pre-publication.


These early readers will let me know what worked and what didn't. They have been chosen by me because I trust them to give me constructive criticism. The implication of me asking for their feedback suggests that I will consider their opinions when I rewrite. They represent all readers.


By considering the reader, I don't mean catering your story to meet their expectations. I mean to make sure that your prose is palpable, concise, engaging, that you've crafted a story they can follow with deep, rich, multi-dimensional characters and limited exposition. This is how you protect the integrity of your art but still take your readers into consideration at the same time.


Your first draft is done with your blinders on. It's the story that dictates the words, path, and structure of the book. Your rewrite is done with the blinders off. Now your job is to take readers into consideration and to do so without compromising your artistic integrity.

 

-Richard

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Stage five of writing - gut or beta

 

The perils of rewriting

 

 

1,500 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, self-publishing, writers, readers, writing, craft, rewrites, writing_advice
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Inventory. If you've ever worked retail, you know the tedious task of taking inventory and balancing the receipts. No one likes it, but it's necessary to keep your business profitable and nimble. If you know how you've performed, you have a much better chance of improving performance.


So, over the next few weeks I'd like to discuss how authors should take inventory in order to gauge performance and improve as a brand. I believe improving your craft as a writer is more important, but that doesn't mean you should ignore the business side of writing. Your brand is your signage. It's how people identify you. To some writers, that may be a grossly crass way to put it, but there's really no clearer way to demonstrate how crucial your brand is in this business.


Your first assignment in examining your inventory is for you to develop an Author's Declaration for your brand. I'm not talking about describing your dreams. I don't want to know that you plan on writing the Great American Novel or write a book that will become an international bestseller. Those are great aspirations to have, but they have nothing do with your Author's Declaration.


     The two things your Author's Declaration should cover are as follows:


  1. How are you going to serve your craft? What type of a writer do you strive to be? Do you want to be a master of plot or do you want to be the king of character development? Is dense prose your style, or do you feel more comfortable devising realistic dialogue? Look to your influences to help you address these questions. They are your influences for a reason
  2. How are you going to serve your reader? What type of author do you strive to be? And yes, there is a difference between the writer in you and the author in you. Not to get too corny, but the writer is the soul and the author is the public face. What will you involve yourself in as the author? Politics? Genre news? All things literary? Beyond your books, how will you connect with your readers?


Moving forward, you will write your Author Declaration in present tense. You will keep it short, 250 words or less, and you will write it in third person. Remember, you are describing a business. Be creative, but keep on point.


Your Author Declaration spells out your guiding principles, and these principles will help inform your decision making as you develop your brand.


-Richard

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

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Evaluating Your Author Brand

 

The Graduation Keynote Evaluation

 

 

 

 

1,574 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, readers, publishing, author_brand, author_tips, author_exercises
1

Your Average Reader

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 9, 2015

Read any advice about marketing, and you will invariably find a common refrain: know your average reader. That's easy to write, but how do you know whom your average reader is or where your average reader can be found? Here is my best advice on how to easily locate your average reader.

 

  1. Genre: Your book belongs to a certain genre, and that is great news. Genres come with baseline demographics. True, it won't provide a representation of every reader you want to reach, but it gives you a good indication of whom your average reader is.

  2. Other Books: As original as your book may be, it still bears some similarity to other books. Again, that is great news, particularly if the book was a bestseller. You will more than likely find fan groups online, and you will get an ideal virtual snapshot of your average reader.

  3. The Mirror: Provided you haven't written a young adult novel or a book for children, your average reader could look and act a lot like you. After all, the odds are you wrote with passion, and that passion came from being a fan before you started writing your first book. Reverse engineer your own habits and hangouts.

  4. Subject Matter: Let's say you've written a crime novel featuring a protagonist who psychically communicates with cats. You, my friend, have a niche book, and niche books have well defined average readers. I'm guessing it would take you no time at all on a search engine to find groups that are fascinated by cats with psychic abilities.

 

Once you've found your average readers, reaching out is a matter of getting involved in their online communities and introducing yourself as an author. Don't push. Participate. Be a valued member of their communities, and they will become curious until they aren't just average readers, but your readers.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Find Smaller Markets to Sell More Books

It's Not Just a Hobby, It's a Marketing Opportunity

4,301 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, selling, readers, writing, craft, branding, target_audience
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Our march forward into the brand-building enigma has brought us to the brands with which you surround yourself. I'm not talking about the kind of soda or beer you drink or the kind of shoes you wear. I'm talking about the authors you endorse.

 

And by endorse, I mean read and pitch. When you allow room on your virtual stage for another author, you aren't just letting your friends, followers, and fans know about a fellow writer. You are linking your brand with said author's brand. It's unavoidable.

 

I'm not telling you this to discourage you from endorsing other authors. I'm telling you this to encourage you to endorse only those authors you feel passionately about. Make sure you're turning your community on to a writer whose work you admire. If you latch your brand to another author who is merely an acquaintance, and you've either never read their work or you had a tepid response to their material, you run the risk of tarnishing your brand.

 

Your brand is capital. Spend it wisely. If you misspend it, it could cost you impassioned readers. As I've relayed before, there is a well-known bestselling author who I no longer read. Why? Because I picked up a number of books the author had endorsed, and frankly, the books were poorly written. And it wasn't just my opinion. The books were panned by readers and critics alike. I felt cheated, like the bestselling author gave a loyal fan base no consideration whatsoever. Needless to say, I was very disappointed, and I don't see myself ever buying another one of the author's books again.

 

Your brand is your brand until you start turning your readers on to another author. Then it becomes a shared-brand. Be careful with whom you share your brand.

 

-Richard

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Building an Author Brand: Identifying Your Core Values

Tips for Networking with Other Authors

3,260 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: promotion, readers, branding, author_brand, marketing_strategy, brand_identity, author_advice
1

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Love Thy Haters: Four Tips to Float Peacefully in the Sea of Criticism - Marketing Tips for Authors

Zen and the art of handling your critics.        

                           

How to Build Your Readership Six Ways (Without Social Media) - The Future of Ink

It's not just a virtual world.        

 

Film

                                                        

What is Your Filmmaking Niche? - Filmmaking Stuff

What is your signature filmmaking move?    

                                          

Writing: Overwriting - Indie Tips

You're not writing a novel; you're providing the foundation for a film.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Use Your Vocal Registers Effectively - Easy Ear Training

Do you know your own vocal registers?  

  

My Top Two Breathing Exercises for Singing Effortlessly - How to Sing Better

We all know how to breathe, but do we know how to breathe correctly?  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - March 6, 2015

Weekly News Roundup - February 27, 2015

2,708 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, reviews, music, filmmaking, promotion, movies, writers, review, readers, writing, feedback, musicians, branding, vocal, singing
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Why the Writing Journey Is Just Like Skiing - The Creative Penn

It's time to get off the bunny slopes. 

                           

How to Sell More Books to the Right Target Audience - The Future of Ink

When you're trying to find a target audience, picture one ideal reader.      

 

Film

                                                        

Filmmaking in Virtual Reality - Digital Production ME

Is virtual gaming the future of filmmaking?    

                                          

Filmmaking As Your Small Business - Filmmaking Stuff

How hard is it to turn your film into a small business?  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Maintain a Guitar - Guitar Lessons and Equipment

If your guitar isn't kept in a hard case, chances are it needs some maintenance.

 

Filter It Out! - Audio Fanzine

Do you know your subtractive synthesis?   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 5, 2014

Weekly News Roundup - November 28, 2014

1,788 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, filmmaking, movies, writers, readers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, musicians, filmmakers, social_media, target_audience, filmmaking_tips
1

Getting a book review is tough process. It takes a tremendous amount of patience and an incredible degree of professionalism. In short, you have to approach reviewers with your publisher hat on, not your author hat. Be confident about the quality of your book without being a braggart. Most importantly don't do any of the following:

 

1. Comment spamming – This isn't necessarily specific to book reviewers. I'm talking about any comment section anywhere on the Internet. Posting a link to your book about a cat lady turned private detective in the comment section of an unrelated blog or social media post is more than a wasted effort. It damages your author brand. Do not post blindly about your book. It's okay to post about your book in the comment section of various blogs (as long as it doesn't violate the bloggers rules), but do it tastefully and pick your spots carefully. Make sure there's a logical tie-in to your book. Remember, the comment you leave should never be a request for reviews.

 

2. The review challenge – Don't seek out reviewers in the virtual-verse and then challenge them to not like your book. Insisting that it's so good they can't help but like it is most likely setting yourself up for a bad review coming your way. Reviewers are busy, and they don't react well to such gimmicks to get their attention.

 

3. The review plea – Challenging a reviewer to not like your book is only slightly worse than begging a reviewer to read and review your book. When you come off as desperate, you come off as unprofessional and unworthy of any kind of attention for you or your book.

 

Your book is worth reading. You know that, but don't let your frustration get the best of you when a reviewer passes. Doing so could lead you down a path that will put your author brand at risk. Keep calm, and keep writing. The reviews and accolades will come if you commit to your craft and present yourself in a professional manner.

 

-Richard

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A Few Indie Book Review Media Sources

Use Good Judgment When Asking for Reviews

4,086 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, reviews, author, help, writers, readers, writing, book_reviews, author_tips, author_advice
2

For an upcoming release, I used a fairly large group of beta readers before my final round of rewrites. Now, the dangerous thing about using beta readers is that you're selecting readers who are fans of your previous books. In the wrong environment, these readers may be reluctant to give you their honest opinions in an effort to stay in your good graces. So, I decided to give this group of beta readers the ability to provide feedback anonymously. I set up a survey with 13 elements of the book that they could rate on a scale of 1 to 5. I also gave them the option to leave a comment on each element they were asked to rate. In addition, they could leave a comment at the end of the survey to give their overall impression of the book.

 

This system worked beautifully. I got a lot of constructive feedback that helped tremendously during the final round of rewrites. The key for me was to know what needed to be addressed. Of the 13 areas, eight would only apply to my story, but five could be used for almost any book. I'll share them here, and I invite you to use them should you decide to use this method with beta readers.

 

  1. Character: Please rate main and secondary characters as a whole. (I went on to describe my style of revealing character)

  2. Plot: Besides being the catalyst for action and dialog, the plot has to be worth investing time in and has to be delivered in a compelling manner. Given all that, how would you rate the execution of the plot?

  3. Setting: The setting is a small fictional Southern town at the base of an unknown mountain range in Tennessee. Various other communities featured in the book are located on the slopes of those mountains. The author attempted to establish a ruggedness and sense of isolation both in the terrain and through the secondary characters of these small communities. Based on these criteria, how would you rate the setting of this book?

  4. The Final Conflict: The final conflict takes place in?(a location specific to my story). At the conclusion of this scene, readers should not have any remaining questions about the main plot: who was involved, the extent of the crime committed, and the plan to address it moving forward, etc. Based on these criteria, how would you rank the final conflict?

  5. The Ending: How would you rank the ending?

 

Together with the other eight questions in the survey, I was able to address problem areas. Having so much input before the release of a book has really set me at ease. I'm usually a bundle of nerves just before a book goes live, but now I'm more confident than I've ever been about a new book. And, I wouldn't feel this way without my beta readers.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

 

 

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Fix It in Rewrites

Thank the People Who Help You

4,655 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, self-publishing, readers, setting, writing, story, characters, drafts, plot, reading, craft, social_media, author_advice, writintg_tips
0

I've stated before that I am not a "message" writer. Meaning, I don't write a novel with the purpose of addressing or revealing deep, philosophical themes and beliefs. I don;t begrudge anyone who does. We all have our own styles and paths as writers. I am just not talented enough to nudge these types of messages into a story line without making it look obvious, and in my mind, looking obvious is a serious storytelling offense.

 

As writers, we should avoid "on the nose" passages that more or less force a reader to draw a certain conclusion about the secret meaning behind the purpose of a book. These passages are usually found within symbolic events that a writer strategically places throughout the story to subtly reveal what they're really trying to say. The problem is these symbolic events aren't quite as subtle as they were thought to be.

 

For example, a protagonist struggling to get ahead in a cutthroat work environment may witness a small child strolling through the park, stopping only to smell a rose bush in full bloom. Suddenly, our protagonist gets it. The point of life is to enjoy life. That is "on the nose" symbolism, and it can draw groans and eye rolls from readers.

 

Include those secret messages in your story if you must, but navigate the terrain carefully. Avoid lazy writing with "on the nose" symbolism, and dig deeper. Reveal your hidden message without letting your readers know it's there. It's not easy to do, but it's worth the effort. Your readers will thank you by recommending your book to their friends and family.

 

  -Richard

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

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Don't Insult Your Readers

3 Rules for Writing a Scene

2,586 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, self-publishing, writers, readers, writing, craft, character_development, writing_tips, writing_ideas
3

I am periodically contacted by beginning writers looking for advice on a variety of topics related to the craft of writing and the business of publishing. In almost every case, they don't have specific questions they want addressed. Their questions are generic in nature. I get the feeling that the person contacting me just wants to know that they aren't alone in their pursuit and struggles to find their voice and audience.

 

Here are the five most frequent issues and topics I discuss with those new writers:

 

  1. The one-sentence rule – If you can describe the plot of your book in one concise sentence, I believe you have a story idea that will connect with readers. Why? Because I know you have a grasp of what your story is about, and I know you know how to convey what your book is about. Those are two crucial elements to writing a successful book.

  2. Readers before sales – Your focus shouldn't be on how many books you sell as a beginning indie author. Your focus should be on how many readers are exposed to your brand. That means giving books away is going to be a crucial part of your marketing plan in the beginning. Over the long run, as your readership grows, the passive sales will grow as well. It just takes patience.

  3. Don't be in a hurry – Speaking of patience, building an author brand is a long-term commitment. This isn't a get rich scheme. It's not even a one book and done scheme. Building an author brand takes time and a catalog of books in order to be robust enough to pull in sustainable sales over time. Relax and enjoy the ride.

  4. No unsolicited material – Never send an unsolicited manuscript to someone and ask them to read your book. Strike up a conversation with them, create a relationship with them first, and then ask for their feedback. This tactic has worked on me every time.

  5. Don't let frustration get to you – Pursuing a dream is worth it because it is a pursuit riddled with frustrations and pitfalls. Succeeding in spite of the difficulties and obstacles is enormously satisfying. Hang in there and work your way through to the other side with your head held high.

-Richard

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


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The Bestseller Quandary

You Know More Than You Think You Do!

6,105 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, readers, publishing, writing, plot, writing_process, craft, focus_groups
0

Host Your Own Webinar

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 10, 2014

I have mentioned before that you have something a lot of people want: knowledge. You are a writer. More than that, you are a published writer. You have a wealth of experience that writers who haven't published don't have. You've navigated the wilds of indie publishing. Show other authors the way.

 

How? Why not put together a webinar? It's a convenient way to connect with members of your community in a virtual environment that is a bit more intimate than interacting on a social media site.

 

Here are five things you should keep in my mind as you develop your webinar:

 

  1. Give yourself plenty of time from the day you announce the webinar to the day you hold it. A six-week window should give you enough time to build word of mouth for the webinar. Your primary source of communication will most likely be one of the social media sites. Give regular updates on the topics and material you'll be discussing.

  2. Be enthusiastic when discussing the webinar. Don't make a point of announcing that you're a webinar newbie or that you don't have a lot of experience. Keep the focus on the material and your passion for the material.

  3. This is an educational event. You aren't trying to sell them anything. You've probably learned as much or more from the mistakes you've made than the successes you've experienced. Lay it all out there for your pupils' benefit without any spin.

  4. Personalize the material. This is your journey you're using as source material. It is okay to include basic information, but don't make it the heart of your webinar. Focus on the path you've taken.

  5. Invite feedback. Most webinar-hosting sites give participants the opportunity to anonymously rate certain aspects of a webinar. Encourage your pupils to do so. You can even set up your own survey on a separate site to get any additional feedback that goes beyond the webinar hosting site's questionnaire. If you plan on making webinars a regular part of your marketing strategy, you are going to want the metrics that will help you grow and get better.

 

Hosting a webinar is a great way to give back to your community and connect with other writers. In other words, it's a great brand-building tool. Keep in touch with your attendees after the webinar, and make your brand a robust, interactive community.

 

 

-Richard

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


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Branding 101: The Keys to Successful Branding

Make Your Brand Engaging

4,110 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, promotion, writers, readers, community, book_marketing, social, inspiration, webinar, social_media, writing_help
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As writers, we want to make an impact on readers. We love to make readers sit up and re-read a passage because it was so moving or unexpected or – dare I say it – brilliant. What we don't want to do is write something that removes the reader from the story. If you include an element in your book that has no value other than to get a rise out of readers, that's referred to as gratuitous material, and it can kill a story.

 

Normally we associate gratuitous material as being overtly violent or sexual in nature. But, in this context the word literally means "being without apparent reason, cause, or justification." It can be applied to any component of a story that interrupts the flow of the narrative. Readers can be so disenchanted by gratuitous material that it can damage your brand.

 

As the author, you may not always be sure if what you've written is gratuitous or not. I've struggled with identifying gratuitous material in my own writing more times than I can count. It's happened so often I've developed a quick questionnaire to help me determine if the material is of a gratuitous nature. It's so quick, there's only one question.

 

Does the material make the story better?

 

I don't care if it makes it more shocking. That's not better. By making it better, I mean, does it compel the story forward? If it does, then it belongs. The nature of the passage doesn't matter. If it's a step toward the natural conclusion of your story or an important revelation of character, then it is not gratuitous.

 

What about you? How do you decide if something you've written is gratuitous or not?

 

-Richard

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

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The Power of the Mindless Task

A Satisfactory Ending

3,095 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, book, content, readers, publishing, writing, story, craft, writing_tips, author_advice
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