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301 Posts tagged with the self_publishing tag
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Engaging with your fans is a fundamental element of smart book marketing, and I'm all for it. However, there's a fine line between casual communication and inappropriate communication, and that line is often called "bcc" aka "blind copy."

 

If I send an e-mail to a small group of friends from my personal e-mail account, I'll put them all on the recipient list. But if I send a message to any size group of readers from my author e-mail address, that's a different story. For that I will always blind copy.

 

Last week I received an e-mail from the new assistant of a talented friend of mine who does brand consulting for small businesses. My friend had tasked the assistant with updating her client database with birthdays. It was a smart idea, but unfortunately the assistant included all the clients on the recipient list. We're talking more than 100 people.

 

Needless to say, my friend was mortified by the gaffe and quickly sent out a message of apology (using blind copy). I laughed it off, but I'm also not a client. If I were, I might have reacted differently. I wasn't surprised by the assistant's error because I see it all the time in book marketing. Enthusiastic new authors want to promote their books, and in their haste to get the word out they often e-mail everyone they've ever met about the book and put everyone on the recipient line. Every time I see this I feel bad for the author because it just doesn't look professional. Also, one "forward" of that e-mail, and who knows where all those addresses are going to end up. More spam, anyone?

 

If you don't use a newsletter program, I urge you to use the blind copy feature for all your promotional e-mails. Not only does it protect the addresses of your fans, it looks so much prettier!

 

-Maria

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

 

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The Importance of Staying Organized

How Not to Pitch Your Book

359 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, bcc
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Professional Authors

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 21, 2014

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Richard

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

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Indie Freedom!

Going Indie? Watch Out for Predators

1,010 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, indie_authors
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Celebrate Every Writing Milestone! - The Seekers

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

                                                    

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

Write what you feel passionate about.     

 

Film

                                                        

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

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

                                          

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

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

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 11, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- April 4, 2014

587 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, filmmaking, author, movies, musicians
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I'd like to issue a challenge to you today. I don't do this just because I enjoy causing turmoil and consternation in people's lives. I do this because if you rise to this particular challenge, I believe it will go a long way toward turning you into not just a storyteller, but a masterful storyteller.

 

I challenge you to write a story in the genre of your choosing and in the style of your choosing. That's it. I want you to write a story, something I assume you're adept at doing anyway since you're a writer. Just write a story. Okay, there's slightly more to the challenge. I want this to be a short story. In fact, I want it to be not just short, but a micro story - so micro that it's a single sentence.

 

You read that correctly. I want you to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end in a single, yet wholly satisfying sentence. Impossible? Well, it wouldn't be a challenge if it didn't feel impossible. The four-minute mile used to be thought of as impossible, but now it's fairly standard for those who have made running their lives.

 

If you are able to construct an entire story in one sentence, and that one sentence is compelling and absent of any structural phenomenon in order to cram in details, you will have stripped away what holds most writers back: a lack of knowing what their books are truly about. Your book is not about every element and every word that you stuff between the front and back cover. It's not nearly that complicated. It's so simple, in fact, that you could tell your story in a single sentence.

 

Let the challenge begin.

 

-Richard

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

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The Most Powerful Word

Developing an Idea

921 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, storytelling, micro_story
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I'm a member of a listserv that includes many professional writers, a good chunk of whom are freelancers looking for work. Recently, someone posted a question asking what everyone in the group is currently doing to pay the bills, and the response was bigger than any I've seen. Overnight dozens and dozens of people replied, and after scrolling through the bulk of the messages, I was surprised at how few gave a concise, compelling description that would make me want to hire them. The majority of them went on and on (and on) for several paragraphs, included a lot of detail and personal information that didn't seem relevant, and never seemed to get to the POINT.

 

The ones that grabbed me were short.

 

And clever.

 

And just a few sentences long.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Maria

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

 

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How's Your Elevator Pitch?

Marketing Idea: Encourage Your Fans to Spread the Word

1,139 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing
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In case some of you have never read my bio that follows my contributions to the CreateSpace blog, let me humbly point out that it identifies me as an award-winning author. Modesty prevents me from pointing out that it should say multiple-award-winning author. Actually, I should probably point out that I've lost more awards than I've won, but that's not the point of this blog post.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Richard

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

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There's a Lot of Self-Promotion Going On

The Key to Succeed as an Author

1,243 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, award_winning
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

 

Books/Publishing

 

 

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

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

                                       

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

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

 

Film

                                                        

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

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

 

 

How Feature Filmmaking without a Crew Is Possible - Filmmaking Stuff

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

Music

 

 

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

A little planning is prudent before you start booking gigs.

 

 

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

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

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 4, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- March 28, 2014

1,759 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, filmmaking, indie, movies, community, shows, promotions, songs, craft, filmmakers, indie_film, filming, playing, viral_marketing
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I love receiving emails through my website that begin along these lines (my new novel is called Cassidy Lane):

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Maria

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

 

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How to Support an Indie Author

Use Common Sense in Book Promotion

2,406 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions
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Improving Dialogue

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 7, 2014

Before I attempted writing my first novel, I wrote screenplays. In fact, I wrote a total of 12 screenplays. None were produced or optioned. A few sparked mild interest from a studio or two, but nothing more. Some would count my experience as a "screenwriter" as a failure. I wouldn't. I gained something immensely valuable from the journey: I learned how to write dialogue.

 

When you write a screenplay, you hold everything in your head except the dialogue. What I mean by that is the setting, descriptions of character and character movements are only minimally described by the writer. The dialogue is the only area where you can truly experiment, and you can do so with unusual detail.

 

As you write, you hear the dialogue in your head. As you hear it in your head, you picture characters in the ideal setting. As you picture them in the ideal setting, you see their movement and interaction. It really is an extraordinary event of imaginary proportions. You're basically seeing this movie in your mind's eye before a single frame of film has been shot.

 

Ninety percent of what you see doesn't appear anywhere in the script. Only the dialogue you hear does. And what you discover is that setting, interaction and even character movement affect dialogue and how it's delivered. If you do it right, you create dialogue that brings a screenplay to life. And while I've never written a stage play, I imagine it holds the same kind of magical feeling.

 

If you're not happy with your dialogue, why not throw yourself into creating a screenplay? I promise it will force you to see beyond the importance of the verbal communication of words shared between characters. You will see all those unwritten communication cues that make a scene work as well.

 

-Richard

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

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Finished Your Manuscript? Check Your Dialogue

Defining Characters through Action, Not Description

2,316 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, screenplays, dialogue
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

To Do: A Social Media Spring Clean - Catherine, Caffeinated

Those old posts you've forgotten about may have a few odds and ends that need your attention.             

                                                    

How to Build Buzz for Your Book with Social Media - The Future of Ink

How to build buzz without drowning people in self-promotion.

 

Film

                                                        

5 Things about Crowdfunding That Were True in 1998 (& Are Still True Today) - Filmmaker IQ

Think crowdfunding is a new concept? Think again.   

                                          

How to Shoot Stunning Infrared Cinematography & Why It's So Powerful - Noam Kroll

Your camera can shoot in a spectrum of light beyond the capacity of human vision and capture stunning images.       

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

10 Secrets of Social Media for Musicians - Hypebot.com

How to find the right balance between social and promotional.

 

Top Social Media Marketing Trends in 2014 - The Curious Brain

Are you providing passion-based content to the social media community? 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- March 28, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- March 21, 2014

2,661 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, music, filmmaking, writing
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As a reader, I have found that the perfect villain is actually likeable. I look forward to scenes and chapters that feature the villain. There are times I may even secretly pull for the villain because he is so darned charming. And in many ways, I find my affinity for these villains the most chilling aspect of a good book. What is it about me that wants the bad guy to win?

 

It's not me (at least I hope it's not). It is the writer's strategy to create a villain that is more than just a bad guy. The villain has layers. In other words, he isn't all bad. He will show glimpses of decency buried under that hard heart. There has to be a speck of humanity in even the worst villain for me to enjoy a book. Maybe he's a serial killer who loves dogs, or a gangster devoted to his mother, or a scheming politician who manages to do some good on his way to ruthlessly destroying those who do not serve his cause, or maybe he's a madman with a really good sense of humor.

 

If you want to create a villain no one is drawn to and who ruins an otherwise good story, make him one-sided. Inundate your readers with passage after passage of his heartless actions without a word about his ability to show compassion. If, on the other hand, you want readers to enjoy the bad guy so much that they question their own pureness of heart, give your villain depth and a small sense of humanity.

 

-Richard

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

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Defend Your Antagonist

Defining Characters through Action, Not Description

2,549 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, likeable_villain
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Misuse of Pronouns

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 1, 2014

I spent a good chunk of February sitting on my couch watching the Olympics - so fun! I love cheering on the athletes, no matter what their nationality, and it's entertaining to hear the informed commentary that accompanies the competition.

 

This Olympics, however, the grammar that accompanied the commentary wasn't as stellar as the athletic feats being described. The most common infraction I heard from Sochi was the misuse of pronouns. The following are two examples that were so outrageous I actually paused the TV, rewound to listen again, then recorded them with my phone:

 

Example One:

 

What was said: "It has all gone away for John Daly. Heartbreaking for HE and his family and friends."

 

What should have been said: "It has all gone away for John Daly. Heartbreaking for HIM and his family and friends."

 

Explanation: Object pronouns (him) follow prepositions (for). I doubt the commentator would have said "heartbreaking for he" if that had been the end of the sentence.

 

Example Two:

 

What was said: "So he's a really really great guy, and it was so fun to be with him. I saw HE and his wife here earlier, and they just were in tears over how excited they were."

 

What should have been said: "So he's a really really great guy, and it was so fun to be with him. I saw HIM and his wife here earlier, and they just were in tears over how excited they were."

 

Explanation: This case requires a direct object pronoun, which is "him." I doubt the commentator would have said "I saw he" if that were the end of the sentence.

 

The commentators seem to be under the impression that "he" is correct at all times. "He" is the appropriate pronoun if it's referring to the SUBJECT, but when it's referring to the OBJECT, "him" is the correct choice.

 

He sees me, and I see him.

 

See?

 

-Maria

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

 

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Is It "I" or "Me"? Use the Switcheroo Technique to Get It Right

Grammar Tip: She and I, Not Her and I

2,529 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, grammar, pronouns
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With change come those resistant to change. It's no secret that the publishing industry has changed dramatically in the past five years or so. Indie authors, once a rare breed of scribe, have now become the norm. But indie authors aren't just independent writers; they are independent promoters. Most of them do not have a paid publicity team to spread the word about their books. The initial promotion of a book and an author is left to...well, the author, and if all goes well, the readers chipping in when passion demands.

 

A few established authors who started their journey before the rise of the indies have a hard time grasping this notion of self-promotion. Publicizing one's own book seems a bit tacky and crass to them. Their stomachs turn when authors they count as colleagues take on the practice of promoting their own work on social networks and other venues. But with shrinking marketing dollars in the traditional publishing world, authors' self-promotion has become necessary.

 

I'll let you in on a secret. If I didn't have to do my own self-promotion, I wouldn't. Talking about myself in any forum isn't my favorite thing to do, and I imagine that's the case for 90 percent of the authors reading this. It's just an awkward position to be in. But that is the price of being an author, and it is a small price to pay when you consider I get to write and sell books as a result.

 

Self-promotion is not a dirty word. It shouldn't be looked down upon. It is the hallmark of the independent spirit. Can it be overdone? Absolutely. Striking the balance between drawing the right amount of attention and unnecessarily singing one's own praises is always tricky to find. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. You should. Proudly. The more you do it, the more you'll know where to draw the line.

 

-Richard

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

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Promote Your Book with Goodreads

Book Marketing Tip: Make It Easy for Your Fans to Help You

2,759 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, self-promotion
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Book festivals don't offer the same networking opportunities as writers conferences, but they can still be a good learning experience. (Click here for my post on why it's a good idea to attend a writers conference.) Most book festivals are free, and many offer panel discussions with the same topics as those at writers conferences, so for that reason alone they are worth attending. For example, I've given my workshop called "I want to get published. Where do I begin?" at book festivals at no cost to anyone.

 

In addition to attending panel discussions and workshops, a great way to learn at a book festival is simply to wander up and down the aisles and strike up conversations with the people manning the booths. Most of them will be more than happy to chat about why they are there. Some will be selling books they wrote and published on their own. Others will be representing publishing houses and independent publishers. Still others will be promoting services that may be useful to you at some point, such as writing workshops, design expertise or book marketing help. If you keep asking questions, I guarantee you'll come away with some useful nuggets.

 

If anything, attending a book festival might give you the motivation and/or inspiration you need to finish the manuscript you've been working on - or perhaps to finally start it. Writing is a lonely craft, so taking the time to mix and mingle with those who share your passion is a good reminder that, while you may spend a lot of time alone at your laptop, you're not in it alone.

 

-Maria

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

 

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Covering the Convention Beat

BEA Part of It: Book Expo America Recap

2,767 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, book_festival
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I love reading. I read on the subway, before I go to sleep, while waiting for various appointments - all the time! I read both fiction and nonfiction in a variety of genres. I'm not the fastest reader, but I'm always reading something. Not only do I read for education and entertainment, but also because reading other people's work makes me a better writer.

 

Reading good writing is inspiring and educational. When I run across a clever turn of words, or a vivid description that makes me feel like I'm right there with the characters, it motivates me to create a similar effect in my own work. When an author does a great job of developing a protagonist, I want to do the same with mine.

 

I learn from other authors by experiencing the impact of their work firsthand, i.e. as the reader. For example, if you react strongly to a particular scene, ask yourself why. Is it because the author uses a lot of details? Or does the dialogue ring true? Are there a lot of colors? Smells? Actions? Emotions? All of the above? There's no exact formula for writing a great story, just a lot of potential ingredients that - if mixed together correctly - could result in something special.

 

Reading a book you don't like can also help you improve for the same reason, just flipped around. Why don't you like it? What does the author do that bothers you? Pay attention to the answers, and then ask yourself if you do the same things in your own writing.

 

Writing is hard work, and it takes a lot of time to complete an entire book. I recognize that for many authors the idea of spending more time with words on a page, especially ones that aren't your own, might be the last thing you want to do. But I promise it's worth it.

 

-Maria

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

 

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Being an Obsessive Reader

 

The Most Powerful Word

6,560 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing, reading
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