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668 Posts tagged with the self_publishing tag
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Here are some words that sound similar but have very different meanings:


Complement vs. Compliment


Complement means to go well with, supplement.


  • That dress really complements the green in Jennifer's eyes


Compliment means to flatter


  • Gloria wants to compliment Jen on her how well her dress complements the green in her eyes.


Complementary vs. Complimentary


Complementary means goes well with, or acts as a complement.


  • That dress is complementary to the green in Jennifer's eyes.


Complimentary means offering flattery or praise. It also means free.


  • Gloria was quite complimentary of Jennifer's pretty dress.


  • The tickets to the theater were complimentary as a thank-you for her charitable donation.


Assent vs. Ascent


Assent means to agree or approve.


  • After hours of deliberation, the condo association assented to Larry's request to add a deck to his unit.


Ascent means the act of moving upward.


  • Gloria's rapid ascent of the corporate ladder was much deserved.


Amiable vs. Amicable


Amiable means friendly and refers to a person.


  • Jennifer's amiable demeanor helped her smooth things over with the customer after she accidentally spilled a cup of coffee on him.  


Amicable means friendly and refers to a relationship.


  • George and Luisa are no longer living together, but they came to an amicable agreement about how to divide up their furniture.


Refer vs. Recommend


Refer means to send or direct for treatment or information.


  • Laura's primary care doctor referred her to a specialist for her knee pain.


(There are other meanings for "refer," but this is the one that gets confused with "recommend.")


Recommend means to endorse.


  • Laura's primary care doctor recommended a specialist for her knee pain.


What word pairs trip you up? Please share in the comments!


-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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Refresher on who vs. whom

More words that shouldn't be capitalized

363 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, words, grammar, homophones
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Who or what you write for and when are crucial to a book's development. Writing a book is a process that follows three basic stages. Violate the order or skip any of the steps, and it could cost you readers. Here are the three stages as I see them:


Stage one:  Write for the story. Every word, every paragraph, every chapter goes from your head onto the page with one purpose in mind: advancing the story. Your job is to poke and prod at the edges of the plot you are chasing and develop your characters along the way. Allow yourself to be outrageous, offensive, and unhinged. If you hold back here, you may be missing out on a great twist or direction for you story. Just let go and the let the words fly.


Stage two: Rewrite for the reader. Time to tear your fictional world apart and make it palpable for the reader. I'm not saying to strip it of all controversy and ugliness. I'm saying make sure every element truly serves the story. If it does, keep it. If it doesn't, cut it, no matter how interesting and well-written it is. It has to go in order to keep the reader locked in and ready to turn the next page. This isn't about making your book politically correct. It's about making your book creatively sound.


Stage three: Edit for you. Nothing is worse for a writer than a poorly edited book. I know this from personal experience. I was young and in a hurry to get a book out there and sent it to market with glaring typos and worse. It was not a confidence booster when I read the early reviews and realized what I had done. A well-edited book is an author's best friend.


-Richard

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


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Word by Word

Re-readable books

493 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, book_development
2

Yesterday I had coffee with an old friend who wanted to ask my advice about a writing project. He said he'd been working on it for a couple years, so I figured it was a book and he was looking for guidance on how to go about getting it published.


I was mistaken.


My friend is a soccer coach and has some strong opinions on what's wrong with soccer in the United States. It turns out that his writing project is an essay about how to fix it. (For those of you who aren't soccer fans, the USA didn't qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Boooooo.)


Back to the story: given that my friend said he'd been working on his essay for two years, writing and writing and editing and editing, I balked when he asked if he could send it to me for feedback, thinking it was probably at least fifty pages long.


But again, I was wrong.


What I'd imagined to be a full-fledged manifesto was a grand total of one-and-a-half pages. That's it! His goal was to submit it as an op-ed piece to a local newspaper. That's his dream: submitting a one-and-a-half page op-ed piece to a newspaper. He has no aspirations of writing a novel or of ever getting paid to write anything. He admits that he's not very good, is way too wordy and needs a lot of help with grammar, but he doesn't care about any of those things, because he just loves to write.


Good for him!


After I left the coffee house, I kept thinking about what it means to "be a writer," or "set a goal," and how arbitrary and personal those definitions are. Have you set any writing goals for 2018? If so, please share in the comments!


-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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New Year's resolution: get writing!

Three writing tips for aspiring authors

 

497 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, setting_goals, new_year's_resolutions
2

Recently, I was driving up the Pacific Coast Highway with my family, and we passed a Maserati... Excuse me, a Maserati passed us. My sister asked no one in particular how much a car like that costs. I responded, "I don't know. The only thing I know about it is that it will go 185 mph." She was skeptical. "How could you possibly know that?" That's when I repeated the lyrics to Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good."

 

My Maserati does one-eighty-five.

I lost my license, now I don't drive.

 

That led to a spontaneous group singalong of misquoted lyrics and ended with "Life's been good to me, so far!"


It occurred to me shortly after that, Joe Walsh didn't just write a great song. He wrote a darn good story. In fact, there are several good stories contained within the song. For example, the lyrics above tell you everything you need to know about what transpired without context. He drove his car recklessly. He got caught by the authorities. He lost his license and is unable to drive. Is there more to the story? Yes. Do we need to know the details to be entertained by the story? No.


The lesson here is that good writing is as much about what you don't say as it is about what you do say. The key is to construct the story in a way that doesn't need context. Driving 185 mph is dangerous and illegal. It's not a huge leap to assume that is why Walsh lost his license.


Don't spell things out for your readers. Sometimes it's their job to do that themselves.


-Richard

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


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Show them where to look

Don't insult your readers

605 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, book, writing, storytelling
1

In the past, I've read a lot of books and material on the craft of writing. Mostly, I focus on fiction, but I've always been an admirer of well-crafted nonfiction, as well. Recently, I changed my focus a bit and started looking into the art of storytelling. I've come to find out that it is a fascinating world that blends fictional style with true events. A novelist can actually learn a lot from storytellers.


I should clarify. I'm talking about oral storytelling. If you've never heard a night of storytelling, I strongly urge you to find a venue that features storytellers and plant yourself in the audience. It is both fun and educational. There are public radio shows devoted to the art form as well. Type "The Moth" in your favorite search engine, and you will get back results related to a community of storytellers.


Here's what I've noticed as I've become a fan of the platform. Storytelling is about living and observing. These folks didn't sit at a desk and invent a story out of whole cloth. They went out and lived normal, sometimes extraordinary lives and they observed. They took note of the events that were shaping them. Most of the stories they tell are universal. A lot are "there but for the grace of God go I" type of stories. And a very small number are outlandish and uniquely unusual.


The lesson here for novelists like me is that by making events in our fictional tales universal we have the ability to reach a broader range of readers. I submit this can be true even in genres like science fiction and fantasy. Pay attention to the events that shape you and find a way to incorporate them into your fiction. If not the actual event, the spirit of the event. When you do, you will discover that you reach a wider range of readers on a much deeper level.


-Richard

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


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Writing using science

What do you smell?

482 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, storytelling
2

If I had to name one grammatical error I hear more than any other, I would choose the misuse of the pronoun I instead of ME.


Here's a refresher on the difference between the two:


I is a subject pronoun, which means it's used when you are a subject in a sentence- in other words, when you are doing something.


  • I am sitting at my desk.


ME is an object pronoun, which means it's used when you are an object in a sentence - in other words, when something is being done to you, for you, with you, etc.


  • Gloria mailed me a letter.


The above examples are straightforward and simple. It's when multiple objects are involved that people run into trouble.


For example, which of the following do you think is correct?


A) Gloria took a photo of David and me.

B) Gloria took a photo of David and I.


A) This isn't a good time for Gloria and me to visit.

B) This isn't a good time for Gloria and I to visit.


A) If you need an answer, you can call Gloria or me.

B) If you need an answer, you can call Gloria or I.


In each of the above, A is correct. If that isn't obvious to you, remove the extra object in each sentence, and the answer should jump right out.


A) Gloria took a great photo of me.

B) Gloria took a great photo of I.


A) This isn't a good time for me to visit.

B) This isn't a good time for I to visit.


A) If you need an answer, you can call me.

B) If you need an answer, you can call I.


See how clear it becomes? Try that trick the next time you're not sure!


-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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Refresher on who vs. whom

Are you making this common grammar mistake?

542 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, grammar_tip
2

The bad guy formula

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 15, 2018

 

I'm going to break an unwritten rule today and talk about a television/streaming show instead of a novel, but I'm doing it for a very good reason. This particular show, I believe, has one of the best bad guys I've ever encountered in any medium. Novelists could learn a lot by the way the creators of Godless have crafted the character of Frank Griffin as played by Jeff Daniels.


I won't give away any spoilers, but I will share with you why I think Frank Griffin is such a compelling and mesmerizing bad guy.


1. He's charismatic. Granted, his charms mostly only work on bloodthirsty outlaws, but they follow him faithfully because he shows them a kind of twisted, fatherly love. They look up to him, and that gives him a presence that outshines everyone else.


2. He knows how to show kindness. Don't misunderstand me. He's not a kind man, but he can show kindness to strangers that makes you think there's something redeeming about him.


3. He's unpredictable. You don't know what will set him off, and that keeps you on your toes with Frank Griffin. He doesn't dole out outrage equally.


4. He is ruthless. When something sets him off, he doesn't react with just rage. He reacts with an intent to destroy. He doesn't care who gets hurt.


5. He is fearless. He is convinced that nothing can kill him and that makes him even more dangerous.


As you write your next bad guy, you would do well to remember these five traits of Frank Griffin.


-Richard

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


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A messy character stew

The ordinary protagonist

297 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, character_development
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There is one element above all others that will establish your author brand and help it stand the test of time. It is something that takes time to take hold. It isn't a strategy. It is the foundation of your brand. This one thing is trust. Readers become members of your community because they trust your talent. That trust leads to them tracking your social media activity. This is where you need to establish a new kind of trust to keep them interested and to motivate them to share your content so you can grow your community and find new readers who will discover your books when they trust the quality of the social media content you create. Think of it as an infinite loop of trust that grows with the more content you share.


And this is where you're going to groan in derision. Because, like it or not, the best and quickest way to establish this kind of trust in your content is to use personal videos. Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to purchase when a product is supported by video content, particularly when a face (a person) is featured in the video. A viewer feels a connection and trust is established at an accelerated rate.


So, if you want to take the shortest journey possible to establish trust, literally use your face on video. Make it your best face. Practice before you go in front of the camera. Even if you're practicing being spontaneous in front of the camera. Make sure your video is well lit and your audio is crystal clear. Create the key element that will make your author brand rock solid, trust. 


-Richard

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


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Brandingvs. marketing

You are the brand not your book

385 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, trust, author_branding
3

Twenty seventeen is behind us, and it's time to build your brand in 2018. Here are three strategies to make your brand bigger and better in the coming year.


1. Pick a lane. I know I've encouraged you to spread yourself around on as many social media platforms as you can manage, but 2018 is the time to switch gears. Pick one social media site to spend a large majority of your time. Make one site yours. Treat it like your home and build your community with confidence.


2. Make it your mission to cultivate influencers in your genre. Influencers have large followings, and they boost book sales as well as boost your own community's numbers. Tag them in posts. Private message them to let them know when you blog about them. And, yes, find reasons to blog about them. I'm not suggesting you heap artificial praise upon them. I'm suggesting you honor their status as influencer and get on their good side.


3. Twenty eighteen will be no different than 2017 in one aspect. The content you post has to be share-worthy in order to be useful. You're a writer, a creative person, creating share-worthy content is not beyond your grasp. It is very much in your wheelhouse. It's what you do.


In a lot of ways, the list looks familiar to last year's. Technologies will no doubt change how we use social media, but the methodology will always remain pretty much the same. Build a following on a platform. Interact and build relationships with influencers, and content is and always will be king.  


-Richard

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


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You are the brand not your book

Your brand's obit

933 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, branding
1

 

If your book is done and published, you've already learned that the first question most people ask when they find out you've written a book is, "What's it about?"


Do you have a good answer to that question? If not, you might have a problem.


Coming up with a good hook (or angle, or one-line description) isn't easy, but it's important. Movies are supposed to have good hooks, but sometimes they can get away with "STARRING INSERT HUGE NAME HERE." That doesn't fly with a book, especially one that doesn't have a massive marketing machine behind it.


To come up with a compelling one-line description, I suggest you brainstorm a handful - they don't have to be polished or even grammatically correct at first - and then try them out on people you trust to be straight with you. This is important, because while many people like to help, not everyone is cut out to provide honest feedback. Do you have a friend who has no problem sending a meal back at a restaurant if it's not cooked just right? That's the kind of person you want for this job!


Even if your helpers haven't read your book, you should be able to tell by their facial expressions if they find your description interesting. Your initial options should be quite different, which will allow you to pick one that generates the best reaction. For example, should the one-liner be about a fire that devastated a neighborhood, or a burned jewelry box that revealed a family secret? Those things could both be true about your story, but which one gets the best reaction from your test group?


After you've narrowed down the options to one or two key angles, play around with a handful of descriptions for each angle, then whittle the overall list down again. Keep repeating this process until you have a winner!


-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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Grab Readers' Attention with Your Hook

Kick-start your year with these two marketing ideas

539 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writers, hook, one-liner
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What is a blog tour?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 19, 2017

A blog tour, also sometimes called a virtual book tour, is when a number of book blogs post a review of a title during a set period of time, e.g. a couple weeks or a month, usually right around when the book launches. As with a traditional book tour, the goal of a virtual one is to create "buzz" by reaching avid readers (i.e. potential customers) through multiple channels. If they suddenly see your book popping up everywhere, they are more likely to check it out - or so the thinking goes. Along with a book review, the blog may also feature an author spotlight, a Q&A, a guest post, a giveaway, an excerpt of the book, or a combination of any of those things, depending on what you're willing to do.


If you're raising your eyebrows right now wondering what book blogs are, they're exactly what they sound like: blogs dedicated entirely (usually) to book reviews. I say "usually" because some also review additional products according to the taste of the blog's owner.


There are plenty of companies that will coordinate a blog tour for a fee (a simple Internet search will turn up many), but you can also set one up yourself if you have the time and the energy. All you need to do is reach out to book bloggers (ideally a few months before your book comes out) and politely ask them if they'd like to review your book. You can also offer to do a Q&A, a guest post, etc. (Click here to see my post on how to find book bloggers.) Always offer to email a MOBI or PDF file, which doesn't cost you anything. If a blogger will only accept print copies, be sure to request the book rate at the post office to keep your costs down.


It takes a lot of coordination and follow-up to set up a blog tour on your own, but you can do it. I promise!


-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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What Is a Virtual Book Tour?

Marketing tip: How to find book bloggers

594 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, blog_tour
1

Always be learning

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 18, 2017

When I was younger, I entered the world of sales for a company that sold professional grade audio visual equipment. I jumped into the job with enthusiasm because I was familiar with the equipment as an end user. I thought I knew everything I needed to know to sell the equipment I knew so well. I was wrong. I would soon learn that, as much as writing, selling is a craft.


My boss sat me down on my first day and gave me a quick tutorial on sales. "There are two things you need to know about sales," he said. "One, once you ask the customer if they are going to buy, shut up. Don't say another word. If you talk first, you've lost the sale. Two, remember your ABC's. Always Be Closing. Introduce yourself, get the customer's name, repeat the customer's name, make your pitch, and then ask them how they want to pay. The first time you ask, they're going to think you're crazy. The second time you ask, they're going to think you're a pushy salesman. The third time you ask, they're going to give you their credit card number." That was it. That was my only training before I got on the phones and started practicing the craft of sales.


When I turned to writing and publishing as a career, I realized the ABC principle could be applied to branding because branding, as much as sales and writing, is a craft. Instead of closing, I would substitute the concept of learning. Always Be Learning. It's the best way to grow your brand. Research and read about branding. When you run across a branding principle three times, incorporate it into your brand-building strategy. It may work. It may not, but the point is to constantly expose yourself to new ideas. It's the only way to structure a brand that can stand the test of time.


Always Be Learning.


-Richard


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


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The Lasting Brand

Evaluating Your Author Brand

667 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions
1

LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is free for a basic account, so if you don't already have a profile, I highly recommend creating one. Here are some ways to promote your writing along with your other professional accomplishments:


Include the cover image of your book as the background to your headshot


To change the blue template background that appears on most LinkedIn profiles, click on the little pencil on the right side of your profile. That will open the Edit Intro window. Once inside the window, click on the little pencil on the upper right side to upload a file from your computer. (See my LinkedIn profile for an example.)


Describe your writing style and website in your headline and/or summary


The headline appears directly below your headshot, and the summary appears a few inches below that (beneath the city in which you live). To edit either or both, click on the little pencil on the right side of your profile. For example, my headline says "Bestselling novels, about life, love and friendship," and my summary says, "I write contemporary fiction and occasionally give speeches on the crazy story behind how I became an author: www.mariamurnane.com." (Depending on your profession, you might prefer to have your headline about your day job and your summary about your book.)


Add writer/author to your work history


Even if you have a full-time job, why not cite that you're also an author in your work history? Scroll down to the Experience section of your profile and click on the little pencil to open the Edit Experience window. When asked to name an employer for your author position, add your author website.


Add your book (or books) to your profile


Scroll down the Accomplishments section and click on the "+" icon to open the window. One of the options to click is Publications. Here you can include a description of your book(s), as well as links to purchase pages on Amazon.


Note: In addition to individual profiles, LinkedIn also hosts countless private groups that could prove helpful in providing networking opportunities, e.g. college alumni, fraternity/sorority clubs, writing groups, etc. It's worth poking around to see what you can find!


-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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How big is your digital footprint?

Are you making this marketing mistake?

559 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, linkedin
1

In a recent post, I explained the importance of obstacles as a way to bring conflict into your story. Another way to create conflict is to consider multiple ways a character could view a situation—then have her choose the worst one. Why do this? Because how your character responds to this choice shows your readers who that character truly is.


For example, let's say that Gloria, your protagonist, has just exited a deli with a bag of warm bagels when she spots Alison, a classmate from her weekly photography class, walking half a block ahead. Gloria picks up her phone and dials Alison's number, only to see Alison screen the call and toss her phone into her purse without answering it.


What does Gloria think about this situation?


If she thinks, "Alison's probably thinking about something important so doesn't have time to chat right now," where's the conflict?


However, imagine that Gloria thinks, "Alison just sent me to voice mail! Maybe she doesn't like me!" Now you have something interesting for your readers to chew on.


The way you have Gloria respond to her line of thought will show your readers what kind of person she is. Does she throw a bagel at Alison and make a joke about it? Does she go back to her office, shut her door, and eat the entire bag of bagels? Does she avoid Alison in class, or does she make a point of sitting next to her and chatting her up? Those questions are for you to answer, but how you choose to do so is a wonderful way to provide insight into Gloria.


-Maria

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


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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Advice on Character Development

First person or third person? That is the question.

516 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, character_development, character_flaws
0

Today's blog topic can be best summarized by bestselling author Neil Gaiman.


Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there'll always be better writers than you and there'll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that - but you are the only you.


Allow me to make two points about this quote:


1. Gaiman isn't suggesting you write without confidence. He's not saying you aren't a good-to-great writer by saying there will always be better and smarter writers than you. I believe he's saying putting all your efforts into being the best writer on the planet is fruitless because ours is an industry that is based on the opinions of readers and those opinions are as varied as snowflakes. In essence, trying to get everyone to love you by trying to be brilliant leads to poor writing.


2. Gaiman is saying that the only thing that you can do brilliantly is being you. There is no one on the planet that can "out you" you when it comes to writing. Don't try to write a better horror novel. Try to write a horror novel that expresses your artistic nature, one that entertains you and stays true to the development of your characters. The same advice goes for any genre. Sure, the influence of the writers you admire and inspired you to be a writer will show in you writing, but there will be something slightly different about your writing, and that something different is you.


Be what other writers can't be. Be you.


-Richard

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

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


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The Great American Novel

You are the change that keeps the publishing industry relevant

632 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, genre
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