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If   you've got a vacation on the calendar this year, might I suggest you make it a working vacation? Not an ugly work vacation, but a fun, author's work vacation. Use the opportunity to make contacts in the area to help expand your network and grow your brand. Here are a few suggestions on organizations to contact. Note: Contact them at least four to six weeks before your visit. Definitely don't wait until the day before you are scheduled to leave.

 

  1. Local Artists Associations: Even smallish communities today have associations dedicated to promoting local artists. While it's true these organizations normally cater to the needs of local artists, they may be open to working with you in finding contacts to do various local signings. You could even organize a mini book tour in art galleries in the area
  2. Visitors Center: If you're about to visit a town that thrives on tourism, chances are they have a visitors center that would be happy to share information with you. They can provide you with information on various hot spots for the literary minded. They may even have names of businesses that would be interested in hosting a book signing. At the very least, they will have a calendar of events in their area that may include festivals and trade fairs where you can set up a table with your book
  3. Libraries: Libraries don't just house books for patrons to check out and read. They host events for writers and readers of all stripes. They are looking for ways to bring people into their facilities. What better way than to host a reading from a visiting author?
  4. Writers Groups: No matter the size of the community you'll be visiting, I'm willing to bet it is home to a writers group or two. Any of the previous organizations might be able to point you in the right direction, or you could contact theaters in the area to find out if they have open workshops for playwrights. It's always good to make contacts with other writers. Since you'll be visiting the area anyway, you might as well make new friends who share your passion for writing and books.

 

Vacations aren't just great for relaxing. If you're an author, they are a perfect opportunity to get your face out there and expand your brand in the real world.

 

-Richard

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

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Social Networking Sells Your Brand

 

Find Advocates with Free Books

 

 

 

 

788 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, self-publishing, writing, promotions, branding, author_tips
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The other day I received a call from my friend Kristen, who recently opened her own business in the wedding-planning industry. She remembered that close friends of mine had recently been featured in the Vows section of the New York Times, and she wanted to know if an introduction to the reporter who wrote the piece would be possible.

 

While I'm still working on getting that contact for Kristen, I was impressed by her willingness to reach out to her network in order to help promote her business. As she and I were chatting, I thought of an indie author I knew who had published a book about lessons learned over 50 years of marriage, so I offered to put Kristen in touch with her to explore possible joint-marketing opportunities. Who knows what their conversation might lead to, but it got me thinking. What if that indie author reached out to her network in the same targeted (and personalized) way that Kristen had done to me? What introductions might that lead to? What doors might it open?

 

While there are some fundamental steps for promoting a book that you can (and should) take, such as creating an author page on Amazon, writing a compelling book description, etc., there's no magic formula for success. Much of book marketing is doing everything and anything you can think of to try to spread the word, seeing what works and what doesn't, and repeating whatever works--over and over.

 

However small it may be, all of us have a network, so chances are you have friends or colleagues who know people who could be helpful in your efforts to promote your book. Why not ask them? You never know what might happen, and it sure can't hurt to try.

 

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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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Tips for Networking with Other Authors

The Power of a Personal Connection

 

745 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, marketing_tip
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Not  long ago, I completed my most detailed pre-first-draft outline of a  novel that I've ever written. When I say detailed, I mean detailed. It's  just shy of 30,000 words long. I know that sounds crazy, right? I never  would have pegged me as the type of writer to do something so  comprehensive, but I did, and I have to tell you it feels really, really  good. I'm now writing the first draft, and the outline is making it  incredibly simple to move forward. There will be a rewrite for sure.  Perhaps more than one, and each step forward will pull me further and  further away from the outline, but having such an exhaustively  constructed foundation to work with from the start is liberating.

 

I'll  let you in on a secret. Creating the outline wasn't that difficult.  Here are the steps I took to construct it. I realize it's not the  approach everyone would take, but it worked for me.

 

  1. Overview: I crafted a one-sentence description of the main theme of the story.
  2. Framework:  I examined other books in the genre to get an average chapter count. It  sounds a bit simplistic, but that's essentially what I was going for. I  wanted a simple framework as a starting point. Having a target total  chapter count gave me that starting point.
  3. Chapter Ideas:  Starting with chapter one and working chronologically, I wrote a brief  description of each chapter. Not all descriptions were even complete  sentences. I just jotted down the main points of the chapter and moved  on to the next.
  4. Chapter Concepts: With my chapter descriptions in hand, I expanded them and turned each of them into complete, 50-word thoughts.
  5. Chapter Descriptions: The last step was taking those 50-word thoughts for each chapter and turning them into 250-word chapter descriptions.

 

And  that's it, my five steps to developing an incredibly detailed outline.  This process allowed me to think about and grow my story in six  different stages, the sixth being the actual writing of the first draft.  I have never known a story so well before I've written it, and I can't  wait to get to it every day. I am sold on creating detailed outlines  before starting to write a novel.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Time to Outline

The Post-Draft Outline

1,242 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, outline
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For some reason that I have yet to uncover, over the past week I've received several emails that all say more or less the same thing. Here are snippets of three of them:


Dear Maria Murnane, I have recently come across your book, Wait for the Rain, available on Audible and on Amazon, and due to both its quality and plot, it qualifies to be promoted in our community of readers.


Hi Maria, I hope you don't mind me reaching out, but I wanted to say that I think your book would be well received with our subscribers. We were wondering if you'd like to be featured in our newsletter.


Good day, I discovered your book online and wanted to invite you to promote it alongside other similar authors.


Each of these "communities," which I imagine is nothing more than a massive list of email addresses, claims to have tens--if not hundreds--of thousands of "subscribers" who are eager for new books to read. The prices the sales reps quoted were all around $20 to be "featured," whatever that means.


I declined to participate in any of the offers because they seemed to me like a waste of money. But in spite of that, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe I should have tried just one to see what would happen. Then I realized I could ask the many readers of this blog to chime in with their own experiences, so that's why I'm throwing it out to you. For those of you who have tried one of these email blast services, do they work? Is $20 to reach 100,000 potential readers a good idea? Do these lists actually generate sales? Or are they a huge rip-off?


Please share your experiences in the comments section below. While I'm unable to respond, I look forward to reading them and hope to get a productive discussion going!


-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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Book Marketing via Email: Blind Copy and Newsletters

Book Marketing Tip: Apply for Awards

841 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, email_marketing, email_blasts
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Horror is one of those genres that splinters into subgenre after subgenre. You can probably dive even deeper and find sub-subgenres of horror. Each one with its own very loyal, very rabid set of fans. They are experts on the style and structure of their horror subgenre, and they aren't very forgiving when an author deviates from their expectations.


Here are five horror subgenres of which I am a fan and occasional author. You'll find that there are crossovers and hybrids, but if you keep these general descriptions in mind as you pen your next horror novel, you'll have an easier time locating your readers.


  1. Ghost: If it goes bump in the night, it's a horror novel featuring a not-so-friendly ghost. If you want to put a finer point on it, you can even limit what kind of haunting you're dealing with: poltergeist, residual haunting, demon ghost, etc.
  2. Slasher: Does your story feature a madman with an axe or machete? Then you, my friend, have written a slasher horror. Sometimes the killer is even of the supernatural variety, but regardless if he's corporeal or ethereal, he's a fan of sharp and pointy weaponry. I've used the pronoun he in this description only because I can't think of a slasher horror novel featuring a woman as the killer. Sounds to me like there's a niche to be had, horror writers.
  3. Creature: If it's not human but it is comprised of flesh and blood, it's a creature. These creatures are usually hungry, and their favorite meal is the guys or girls who find themselves alone at night in an abandoned forest or town or boat.
  4. Vampire: At one time, the vampires would have been lumped in with the other creatures in creature horror, but times have been good to the vampires. They are so popular they are now their own subgenre.
  5. Zombie/Post-Apocalyptic: You could probably separate these two out and make them subgenres of their own, but it's a close call, so I'm tying them together. Flesh-eating undead, murderous marauders, bleak landscapes, and desperate survival scenarios--these are all common elements of zombie/post-apocalyptic horror.


Keep in mind, this is a list of just five horror subgenres. There are many, many more than this. Type "horror novel subgenres" into your favorite search engine, and you're liable to get dizzy from the results.


-Richard


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


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The Elements of Horror

The Rise of the Sub-genre

1,275 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, horror, writing, slasher, vampire
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Fan Art

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Feb 24, 2016

Years ago when I published my first book, I got a package in the mail from a young reader. I opened it up and was amazed to find a piece of fan art she had done. It was one of the coolest things that's happened to me as an author. She had drawn one of the creatures from my book, and I was thrilled.


Looking back, I wish I had seized the opportunity to start a fan art campaign. There was no better opportunity than to use her fan art as the jumping-off point. Fan art is a great way to generate buzz for a book. I follow a couple of authors on Facebook who do regular fan art competitions, and they get some phenomenal entries.


Here's how they usually structure it:

  1. They tie it to an upcoming event or release of a book in a series.
  2. They offer a prize, usually a signed copy of a book or of all the books in a series. Some have even given away bigger prizes such as e-readers.
  3. They open the competition anywhere from four to six weeks from the deadline.
  4. They give frequent updates.
  5. They feature individual entries for weeks after the winner has been announced to show the artists respect and to continue the buzz long after the competition is over.


Fan art is fun. Now, I realize it's not appropriate for all genres, but for the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres there couldn't be a better fit. Of course, you'll use your social media platform to manage the contest, while churning the buzz mill at the same time. The most important thing to remember is to have fun with it.


-Richard

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


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Offline Branding

Recognize Your Readers

923 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions, competitions, branding, fan_art
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It goes without saying that when it comes time to revise the first draft of your manuscript, much of it is going to end up on the cutting room floor. Whether it's due to shifting plotlines, characters that no longer work, or scenes that are too long, removal is part of the process. (And of course, some of what we all write the first time around is simply...awful.

 

The delete key doesn't have to mean the end, however. For those snippets of dialogue that you like but just aren't a fit, or the descriptions that are no longer necessary due to a change in setting, why not keep them around? That's what I do. Anytime I cut something I like, I create a new Word document and save it for possible future use.

 

For example, years ago I wrote a scene about a burglary that I ended up not using for various reasons. I liked it though, so I saved it in a document as "Burglary scene." Fast forward to a few months ago, when I was working on a new novel and thought, "Hey, I bet a burglary would work well here." So I went into my files, found the "Burglary scene" document, and pasted it in. Granted I had to massage it to make sure it gelled with the new plot, characters, etc. But the essence of what I'd originally written remained. And being able to use something I'd been so fond of, albeit years later, felt great.

 

Cutting anything from a manuscript you've worked so hard on is never easy, but saving the phrases, scenes, and descriptions you like makes doing so much easier to swallow. And who knows? One day you just might find a home for them.

 

-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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Writing Tip: Keep a Synopsis as You Go

Writing Tip: Just Keep Going

 

686 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, writing_tip, cutting_scenes
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In  In the interest of full disclosure, I have never written a romance novel, but there is no doubting their popularity and potential for making big money. Every other article I come across about bestsellers seems to be about the romance genre. It's left me wondering what makes a romance novel tick. The following is what I discovered in my research:


  1. It's a story: Regardless of genre, it's still a story. There are basic elements to a story that have to be present in order for it to work. You have to have a clear protagonist. You have to have a clear antagonist. You have to have a clearly defined conceit, and you have to have a clear three-part structure (beginning, conflict, and ending).
  2. Opposites attract: While I'm not so sure the sentiment is particularly applicable to real life, the old adage that opposites attract is a prevalent device in romance novels. Why? Because it's a concept that is tailor-made for conflict. It allows you to introduce tension seamlessly. If your couple pursues a romance without differences, where's the fun in that?
  3. Think soap opera: Years ago I saw an interview with TV producer Marc Cherry. He's perhaps most famous for being the creator of Desperate Housewives. It was a wildly popular TV show, but it took him years to sell the show to a network. He would describe it as a show about surviving marriage in modern day suburbia, and no one was interested. It wasn't until he started describing it as a soap opera that he started getting interest. Soap operas are probably the least respected form of storytelling, but that might be unfair. They do feature slightly preposterous storylines, but they also suggest passion, memorable characters, and plot twists. When you're writing your romance novel, don't be afraid of the soap opera formula.
  4. The romance gap: You need obstacles that will frustrate your lovers and keep them apart. If they meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after, that's pretty boring, but if they meet, form a mutual attraction, encounter an obstacle, conquer said obstacle and then fall in love, that's pretty romantic.
  5. Payoff: Creating a burgeoning romance, testing it, and making the couple earn it must end in a payoff for the reader. Your couple will need to find a way to triumph and be together.


 

With these five "truisms" in mind, maybe it's time I sit down and jump into the romance genre.


 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Claim Your Genre

 

The Elements of Horror

 


 


1,654 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, genre, writing_romance
1

If you're not familiar with the term "gerund," it's a noun that is created by adding "ing" to a verb. For example:

 

Noun: To be

Gerund: Being

 

Noun: To write

Gerund: Writing

 

While gerunds are easy to use as simple subjects (Writing is important to me) or as objects (I love writing), they can be a little tricky when possessives (my, your, his, her, our, their) are involved. But if you force yourself to remember that gerunds are nouns, it's a lot easier.

 

For example, here are some common errors I encounter with gerunds and possessives:

 

Is him being at the party a problem for you? (INCORRECT)

Is his being at the party a problem for you? (CORRECT)

 

Are you still confused? If so, replace "being at the party" with another noun, let's say "poisonous snake," and see which sounds correct:

 

Is him poisonous snake a problem for you?

Is his poisonous snake a problem for you?

 

Here's another example:

 

I believe that me taking the time to write this post is important. (INCORRECT)

I believe that my taking the time to write this post is important. (CORRECT)

 

Are you still making a face at your screen? If so, try replacing "taking the time to write this post" with another noun, let's say "health," and see which sounds correct:

 

I believe that me health is important.

I believe that my health is important.

 

When you switch out the gerund for a simpler noun, the correct answer jumps out at you, right? Gerunds aren't always easy, so I use that trick all the time. When in doubt, switch it out! If you do, your ear should tell you which way to go.

 

-Maria

 

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

 

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The Dreaded "Who vs. Whom"

Grammar Tip: Be Careful with Tenses

1,186 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, self-publishing, writing, grammar_tip, gerunds
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Distractions. They're so…distracting. They can be a writer's worst enemy. Here are three ways to help you avoid them and get you on the road to finishing your novel.


  1. Unplug from the Internet. Social media, while an invaluable resource to build an author brand, is also a huge time killer. Checking Facebook or Twitter or any of the other half-dozen sites for updates can become addictive. You have to make a contract with yourself that when it's writing time, it's not time to compulsively check social media. It's a hard contract to keep, but it gets easier over time.
  2. Reward yourself with distractions. I know that sounds a bit counterintuitive, but hear me out. Give yourself a word count goal for the day. Make it fairly significant. Now, divide that count into four smaller goals. When each goal is met throughout the day, allow yourself a distraction for 10 or 15 minutes. You choose which kind. It doesn't matter. This type of reward system can spur you along and keep you more focused.
  3. Schedule around distractions. Michael Crichton used to? wake up at four in the morning to start his writing day. There aren't a lot of distractions at that time in the morning--nothing ongoing at any rate. If mornings aren't your thing, take your chances with a late, late night schedule. While this strategy is a bit more extreme, if you have kids, this may be the only one available to you that makes sense.

 


Whatever method you use to rid your life of distractions, practice it with regularity so it becomes a habit that will make those distractions less…distracting.


-Richard

 


 

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


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Being Online = Not Writing

 

Is the Early Bird More Creative?

 


 


1,005 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, publishing, writing, overcoming_distractions, distractions
1

Last fall I had an interesting encounter with an indie author, and it inspired me to write a post for this space. At the time of our meeting he gave me a little postcard about the book he had written, so after I finished the blog I fished out the postcard so I could send him a link. The postcard, however, didn't have any contact information, so I went to Amazon to find his email address or website link on his author page. Unfortunately, he didn't have an author page, so I did a search to see if he had a website. Again, nothing. All I could find was the listing for his book, so I included that in my post. Not knowing what else to do, I moved on to my next blog topic.


 

The other day I received an email from him. Somehow he'd stumbled across the blog post and wanted to let me know how thrilled he was about it. I was thrilled too, because I'd felt bad that I hadn't been able to reach him.


 

Are you easy to find online? Take my experience and extrapolate to a much larger stage. Let's say that instead of just writing a post about this man, I'd wanted to invite him to speak to an audience of hundreds--or even thousands. Or what if I'd wanted to order a large amount of signed copies of his book? Or what if I'd wanted to interview him on TV?

 

 

If you don't have an author website, at the very least you should have an author page on Amazon. (Here's how to set one up.) There you can write a little blurb about yourself--and include your email address!

 

 

 

To give you an example of an Amazon author page, here's mine. It's a simple, easy way for your readers to find (and contact!) you, so take advantage of it. You never know who might be looking for you!


 

-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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A Few Reasons to Have a Website

 

Marketing Tip--Business Cards

 

 

 

 

1,233 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writing, internet_presence
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Today I pose a question, while at the same time issuing a challenge. Conflict, I have always been taught, is the foundation of fiction. You can't have a story without it. It helps move a plot along. It helps develop characters. It is the only way to reach a resolution--actually, it is the reason a resolution is necessary.

 

 

Again, this is what I've been taught. I've just taken it as fact that conflict-free fiction is impossible because people I admire say it's a fact. I had also been taught that a well-defined plot is essential to a successful novel, but then I discovered Erskine Caldwell, and I fell in love with a writing style that places plot on the backburner. Its only purpose is to give his characters a fertile garden in which to grow. Plot in Caldwell's case doesn't need to be well-defined.

 

 

Now, Caldwell includes plenty of conflict in his novels, but his de-emphasis on plot has me wondering if one could do the same with conflict? Can you write a novel with little to no conflict? Is there a way to drive and advance a storyline without the give and take conflict provides. I've studied the question from every angle, and my conclusion is that it can't be done. Conflict is the one element of story that can't be sacrificed in the name of style in order to write a compelling and sellable novel.

 

 

So, here's my question and my challenge. Am I wrong? Can you write a story devoid of conflict? If so, I challenge you to show me the way. I'd love to see it and learn something new.

 

 

-Richard

 

 

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

 

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What Comes after the Conflict?

 

The Three Endings

 

 

 

 

860 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, conflict, character_development
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The word of the day is "portable." It's a word you wouldn't think has much to do with the marketing world, but it's a concept that fits with the way people communicate today. Whether it's social media or texting, people are primarily using volleys of short messages to communicate. If you want your book to be part of that conversation you have to develop a marketing message that is portable enough to fit into this environment.


Today, more than ever, the one-sentence book description is essential to spreading the word about your book. Impossible, you say? There's just no way you can convey the complexity of your multi-layered story into one sentence, you insist? I'm here to tell you it can and must be done, and you do it by ignoring the complexity of your story. You want to concentrate on the main theme and the main theme only. Forget all the layers but one--the surface.


What is your story's hook? What was the "What if" question that compelled you to start writing? That is what you will build your portable marketing message around. The intricacies of character don't matter. A hint of a possible plot twist doesn't matter. There are only two things that you want to make clear in your one-sentence description: the main plot and the genre. Identifying the genre in such a small window may prove to be tricky, but it's just a matter of finding the right adjectives.


To be frank, making your marketing message portable enough to fit into today's world of texting, tweeting, and updating isn't easy, but it is well worth the time and the effort. Be concise. Be informative. Be portable.

 

 

 

-Richard

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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Grab Readers' Attention with Your Hook

 

I'm Sure Your Book Is Wonderful, But Don't Tell Me So

 

 

 

 

1,023 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, publishing, writing, media, promotions, social, hook, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, writing_tips, marketing_advice
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I receive a lot of emails from authors who read this blog, and by far their biggest reason for getting in touch is to express how discouraged they feel about their book sales. To let all you know that you're not alone, I thought I'd share a personal story.


A couple weeks ago I received a text message from one of my best girlfriends. I won't quote it directly, but in it she said that she was embarrassed to tell me that she'd finally read my sixth book, which came out a year and a half ago.


I had to laugh at her message. You know why? Because I dedicated the book to her. She even came to one of my launch parties and co-signed a few copies for fun. But despite all that, it wasn't until recently that she actually sat down to read the book. She said she tore through it in three days and loved it, which was great to hear, but the reality is that she's just not a big reader. It's nothing personal against me, it's just how she is, and I understand that. That's what you have to keep in mind when your book comes out. Just because you wrote a book, not everyone you know is going to rush out and buy it, much less read it or tell their friends to read it.

 

 

That's what I try to convey to disillusioned authors who contact me. It's so easy to get discouraged, but you have to keep your chin up and keep doing whatever you can to spread the word about your book. Yes, you're going to feel disappointed at times, but that comes with the territory, and you just can't let it stop you. If I had let it stop me, I wouldn't be where I am right now.

 

 

-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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Three Ways to Increase Your Opportunity for Sales

 

Book Marketing Takes Persistence

 

 

 

 

960 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, promotion, writing, book_sales
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You may be a master at developing a thrilling plot or creating a sizzling romantic story line. You may have even become a maestro of horror and the macabre. It’s possible that you’ve nailed every element that defines your chosen genre. But, have you committed to developing the one aspect of story that tends to show up in every genre? Are you bringing the funny to your writing?

 

Humor helps balance your story. We, as storytellers, are responsible for creating conflict. It’s our job to turn up the heat and put our characters through an emotional wringer. That kind of intensity needs to have a release valve to help the reader settle into the story--to give them a breather from all that conflict. Here are what I call my three "stays" of adding humor to a novel:


  1. Stay away from cheap humor: The last thing you want to do is to have your readers roll their eyes at your attempt at humor. Cheap humor is the surest way to start their eyes rolling. What's cheap humor? It's any laugh you can see coming. The laughs with the highest value are the ones the reader will never expect.
  2. Stay away from pop culture references: Including a pop culture reference to solicit a laugh may work great at the time you write and publish your book, but will it be relevant in a year or two? For your answer, think backward and see what the shelf life was for pop culture references a year--two--five years ago.
  3. Stay in character: Make sure the right character is delivering the laugh, and make sure that he or she is not delivering the laugh in the author's voice. Authors sometimes get so eager to add humor to their stories that they force it, and when they do, their voice slips into the narrative. Stay on voice.

 

I realize not everyone is funny. That's okay. No one expects you to be Louis C.K. or Richard Pryor. They are expecting a little reality in the form of levity in your fictional tale. Humor can be the perfect dose of realism to keep them engaged.

 

-Richard

 

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

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