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867 Posts tagged with the writing tag
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Know Thy Story

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 14, 2015

I had the good fortune of being invited to a couple of writer's workshops this year. Both were enlightening and educational. I learned a lot from both the feedback I received and from listening to the other material that was presented. Beyond the exposure to different styles and genres, I got to see how other writers approach their work. The most edifying moments came when each author was asked to describe their stories. For the most part it was interesting, but there was the rare example of a few authors having no idea what their stories were about.

 

 

How could they not know what their own stories were about? I haven't a clue, but it was obvious. They started their description and then would meander off into a subplot, muddling the storyline so much that even they were too lost to get back to the main plot. When they'd finish their description, they'd invariably bark out, "Oh, I forgot..." and proceed to reveal a forgettable morsel of the story. They jumped from character to character trying to justify their existence. The reaction from everyone in the room shifted from attentive listening to polite head nodding to moving to the back of the room to see if any donuts were left.

 

 

Part of their befuddled delivery had to do with nerves, but part of it had to do with a lack of confidence in their main plot and its ability to carry a storyline. If you have no faith in the central theme of your story, you can't expect readers to demonstrate the faith for you.

 

 

If you're ever given the opportunity to discuss your book in public, know your story and have faith in your main plot. Don't veer off into sub-plots and minute character descriptions. Be concise and confident.

 

 

-Richard

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

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Character and Action

Write For the Story Not the Platform

3,022 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, self-publishing, writers, writing, public_speaking, event, craft, workshops, author_tips, author_appearance, book_events
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Rewrite for New Life

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 12, 2015

Around 12 years ago, I wrote a screenplay that generated a small amount of interest because it did well in a fellowship competition. I thought it was my big break at the time. I started practicing my Oscar speech and wondering what I would wear to George Clooney's Super Bowl party. It was a delightful but brief, delusional vacation from reality. As the months passed, the phone calls and emails stopped coming in, and I returned to Earth no worse for the wear.

 

 

Fast forward to this summer, I decided to open the old screenplay file and see if I could adapt it into a play or even a book. What I discovered shocked me. The screenplay didn't hold up. It just wasn't as good as I had remembered. It's something I can't explain. I was baffled because it had almost won a fellowship competition. Instead of closing the file and walking away, I took the next two weeks and rewrote it. I cut scenes, characters, dialogue, locations, etc. I kept the basic premise intact, and one character kept his name and disposition. Everything else changed. I even made one of the primary male parts a female character. After the first rewrite, about 10% of the old screenplay remained. I had so much fun rewriting it the first time, I rewrote it again. This time about 1% of the old screenplay remained. The style and format looked nothing like the original.

 

It was a blast. I took a piece that I would have never thought of changing a decade ago, and I totally reworked it not once but twice. And it's a better, stronger piece than it used to be.

 

 

I'm guessing there are a number of writers reading this who have old manuscripts that you haven't thought of in years. I encourage you to dig up those old projects that had promise but went nowhere and do what I did. Do something you wouldn't have dreamed of doing when the manuscripts were new and perfect. Rewrite them and give them new life.

 

 

-Richard

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

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Write without Judgment

Overwriting? Just Say It!

4,246 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, rewrite, screen_play
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Write a Bestselling Novel - The Guardian

How to go from trying to write a novel to writing a novel.   

                           

71 Ways to Promote and Market Your Book - Your Write Platform

The key to marketing your book.      

 

Film

                                                        

20 Filmmaking Secrets Every Filmmaker Should Know - Indie Movie Making

Do you have empty space in your shot? Should you?    

                                          

How to Direct Actors and Film Crews: Detailed Tips for Independent Filmmakers - LAvideoFilmmaker.com

Go above and beyond the dialogue when directing your actors.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Self-Promote Your Music - about careers

Simple steps to promoting your own music that make the process less daunting.

 

How to Set Up a Home Recording Studio - Raw Technique Studios

A detailed video tutorial on the best way to set up your home studio.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- January 2, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- December 26, 2014

2,510 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: music, filmmaking, directors, writing, recording, book_promotion, directing, filmmakers, social_media, independent_film, best-seller, promote_your_book, studio.
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I can make you more creative and insightful with one word. It's not that I'm a wizard with special powers who can open your mind. I'm not an oracle who knows all and sees all. I'm just an observant writer who has learned a thing or two over the years. When some of you hear this word, you'll balk. You'll think me mad. And perhaps I am, but once you mull it over, you'll start to understand how this word is the key to being more creative. Enough of the buildup. This incredibly powerful word is "rules."

 

I know it's kind of anticlimactic, but I promise you rules will make you more creative. Years and years ago, I was working as a writer/producer on a corporate training video. After the client read the shooting script, she had two comments. She wanted the video to be shorter, and she wanted it to include more information. In other words, she wanted two diametrically opposed changes. I grumbled and groused when I first got her notes. I thought she was asking the impossible.

 

I was wrong. What she was doing was giving me a gift. I saw the project in a whole new light, and a switch went off in my brain. Suddenly, I knew the solution to work within her rules, and we ended up with a much better end product than we would have if we had stuck to the original concept.


Give your story restrictions before you sit down to write it. Your brain will go into overdrive to find a workaround that adheres to your rules, and in turn tell a story that is clear and innovative.


 

-Richard

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

 

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The Pitch Test

Fix It in Rewrites

2,484 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, writers, writing, creativity, draft, writing_process, craft, creative_writing
1

A couple of Saturdays ago, my good friends Martha and Tanya had a "stoop sale," which is what we apartment-dwelling New Yorkers call a good old-fashioned garage sale. As the three of us were discussing how much to charge for a beaded purse and why no one had yet bought the wooden elephant, a kind older gentleman strolled by. He struck up a conversation about the stack of books Martha and Tanya were selling. He said his name was Leland William Howard and explained that he'd written a memoir about the 20 years he'd spent with his beloved dog Betsy.

 

With tears of joy in his eyes, Mr. Howard told us how writing the book was purely a labor of love. He'd published it on his own and hadn't sold many copies, but that didn't matter to him. He had a story to tell, he told it, and he was extremely proud of having done so.

 

Bravo, Mr. Howard!

 

With all the focus on what to do once our books are "out there," too often we authors forget why we wanted to create a book in the first place. I've written seven novels now, but I remember the moment I finished the first one as if it were yesterday. I was overwhelmed with an incredible feeling of accomplishment, of pride, of fulfillment. And that was just the first draft! I had no idea what would come next, no clue that I would one day become a full-time author. And you know what? Since then I've have a lot of success with my writing, but none of it surpasses that initial feeling of pride, of I did it! I'm dead serious.

 

So many people want to write a book, but so few actually do. Try to remember that the next time you're feeling discouraged, OK?

 

-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, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Those Wonderful Bumps in the Road

How to Write without a Plan

6,035 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing
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I don't know you, but will you review my book? Trust me; it's different than any other book you've read.

 

I know that's a strange way to start a blog post, but think about it: when we contact a reviewer online to review our books, isn't that essentially what we're saying? And it's not just a few of us contacting a reviewer hoping to get noticed. It's an overwhelming majority of us - the key word in that sentence being "overwhelming." It's just natural for reviewers to gravitate toward authors with whom they are familiar or know personally.

 

So what are those of us who aren't known by the reviewers - either personally or through one of our books - to do? Make an effort to get to know them, of course. I'm not talking about when you have a book you want reviewed. I'm talking about year-round. Most reviewers have an online presence. A large number of them maintain their own websites or blogs. Become a regular visitor to their sites. Comment on their blog posts. Be a contributor to their communities. Don't be falsely complimentary; be honest and insightful. Be charming without being condescending. Add value to their communities over and over again.

 

If you build a relationship with one reviewer, your circle of influence will grow. And you're not trying to influence them in a way that will get you a positive review. You're trying to influence them in a way that will get you noticed. If you conduct a preemptive charm offensive, you won't be a stranger when you contact them with a review request.  

 

-Richard

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

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Three Things to Avoid When Looking for a Review

Dos and Don'ts of Soliciting Book Reviews

2,682 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, book_reviews
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

50 Things to Tweet When You're Stuck for Ideas - Mediabistro

For those times when you're feeling Tweet-less.   

                           

Your Book Landing Page: Can't-miss Headline Writing Secrets (and Mistakes to Avoid) - The Book Designer

How to hide a secret message in a headline on your website.      

 

Film

                                                        

How to Avoid Your Biggest Filmmaking Mistake - Filmmaking Stuff

Don't ever give up on your filmmaking dreams.    

                                          

6 Filmmaking Tips from Jean-Luc Godard - Film School Rejects

From the mind of the man who believes "cinema is truth 24 times per second."  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Maximizing Musical Collaboration through Video Conferencing - Hypebot.com

How video conferencing is being used today to make better music.

 

Becoming a Successful Music Producer - MusicConsultant.com

Rey Reel discusses his journey to become a music producer.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- December 26, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- December 19, 2014

1,935 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing, musicians
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If I had to describe the key to succeeding in indie publishing in one word, that word would be "active." For a profession that involves a great deal of sedentary activities, those who rest on their laurels find it very difficult to sell books on a consistent basis. You have to keep moving in order to grow your author brand. Here are the three crucial areas where you should concentrate most of your activity:

 

  1. ABW - Always Be Writing: If you want to get noticed, you have to have a track record in today's publishing world. One book will most likely not help you gain widespread notoriety. You need multiple books to create an author brand that will get you noticed and bring in the sales.
  2. ABM - Always Be Marketing: You can't have books on the market today without an author platform. A platform is simply your online presence. That presence in today's digital age includes your own website/blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. And this presence requires you to be present in order for it to be effective. Contribute to your online presence multiple times a day.
  3. ABI - Always Be Interacting: When you have your platform up and running, your readers are going to reach out to you. Don't ignore them. Interact with them. Let them know how appreciative you are for their support. The more you connect with them, the greater the support they'll give you.

 

The world of indie publishing is not for the lazy or unmotivated. It requires boundless energy to succeed. It requires that you be active.

 

-Richard

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

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Elements of the Author Brand
Building an Author Brand is Easy

 

7,719 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, branding
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Requesting feedback is a valuable - and critical - element of the writing process. When it's positive, feedback can encourage you to keep going when you might otherwise lack momentum. On a more granular level, it can reveal what's strongest about your writing, which characters and storylines readers respond to the most, etc. All in all, it's a wonderful motivator in what can be an extremely lonely endeavor.

 

 

Negative feedback, while sometimes (or perhaps always) tough to swallow, is equally important. Constructive criticism on plot, character development, dialogue, or even grammar can alert you to weaknesses in your writing - and give you time to address them before taking your manuscript to a bigger stage.

 

However, while many people would love to help you, not everyone is cut out to criticize the work of friends or family members. So unless you're sure the person in question will be completely honest with his or her opinion, good or bad, don't go there. If a friend tells you she loves your book simply because she doesn't want to hurt your feelings, she's actually doing you a disservice. (I always tell my early readers that I'd rather hear bad news from them now than read it in a one-star review later.)

 

If you don't have access to beta readers in your personal network, check out the following:

 

Write On by Kindle: Post a few pages or an entire manuscript. I like this site because authors can ask specific questions to readers, from "Is this a good idea for a book?" to "Are there too many storylines introduced in the first chapter?"

 

Note: As of this writing, Write On requires an invitation code to join. If that's still the case, try MMURNANE.

 

Wattpad: Many writers here post their work in a serial format, which encourages readers to come back. Talk about motivation to write that next chapter!

 

SheWrites: A wonderfully supportive community of aspiring and published (traditionally and indie) female authors. (Sorry guys!)

 

The above are just a sliver of the myriad available options. The key is to find an arrangement that works for you - and embrace 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, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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It's Never Too Early to Get a Little Help from Your Friends

Get Reviews for Your Indie Book

2,929 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, feedback, wattpad, write_on_by_kindle, shewrites
2

I will start this blog post off with a straightforward proclamation: I am not an expert in writing historical fiction. I'm working on my first nonfiction piece that involves events in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I have never tackled historical fiction. I've enjoyed many a historical novel as a reader, but I'm frankly too terrified to tackle the genre as a writer.

 

I attended a writer's workshop recently where the work was read aloud and we, as a group, gave feedback in a friendly and constructive manner. It was a blast, and I was thrilled to take part. One participant presented his historical fiction piece, and I must admit when he was done, I felt I learned something I didn't know before about the historical event in his book.

 

However, he fell into a trap I could see becoming a huge problem for scribes of historical fiction. The short piece he read was chock-full of exposition. He felt the need to place every bit of action and dialogue into historical perspective so the reader would know why the action that was happening on the page was significant. It was as if he included entire passages from history textbooks into his story. It was jolting and didn't allow the story to flow.

 

As I ponder the reading now, I know why he included those passages. He wanted the readers to know why he felt the story was so important. A story, even one based on an historical event, has to matter to the characters, not the author. Let the characters live in the now. Don't explain why they're living in the now. Just let them live the story. The facts you want to include should find their way into the story through their perspective, not the author's, and the facts should only be included if they are significant to the characters in the context of the story, not history.

 

 

-Richard

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

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Defining Characters through Action, Not Description
Rethinking History

2,131 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, historical_fiction, character_development
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Using Fiction Techniques for Writing Nonfiction - Helen Sedwick

How to get the logical side of your brain to have a little fun. 

                           

Eavesdropping for Story Ideas and Other Tips from a Veteran Novelist - The Book Deal

Bestselling author Warren Adler shares advice on writing and publishing.      

 

Film

                                                        

Do You Know What the Difference Between a T-Stop and an F-Stop Is? - Noam Kroll

Do you know your aperture settings?    

                                          

Attention, Filmmakers: Here's 10 Tips for Finishing Your Documentary - IndieWire

Defining the narrative structure of your documentary.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How Valuable Is Your Voice? A Lesson from Van Gogh's Shoes - Judy Rodman

The marketplace does not determine the value of your voice.

 

How Changing It Up Can Help Build an Audience - musicgoat.com

If you want to draw more people to your shows, don't be so predictable.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 19, 2014

Weekly News Roundup - December 12, 2014

1,786 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, music, film, documentary, author, self-publishing, promotion, movies, writers, blogging, writing, promotions, musicians, branding, audience, writing_tips, target_audience
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Confidence: it is a magnet for success. Athletes know it. Business moguls know it. Top entertainers know it. It's not necessarily a secret, but it can be an elusive state of being to achieve. Let's face it, if it were easy to feel confident, we'd all wave at each other from our own yachts. Earlier, I wrote about how to find your strength as a writer. This blog discusses why I think it matters.


Arrogance is often mislabeled as confidence. The two are similar in meaning, but while confidence attracts admirers, arrogance can repel them. Confidence means you are self-assured and comfortable with your ability to do well. Arrogance means you are overly-assertive in your insistence that you are the best. There are some cases where an arrogant attitude is fashionable. Athletes often insist they are the best at their sport, and they are forgiven because their prowess can be demonstrated on the field or on the court or in the ring.


 

Authors are less appreciated when labeled as arrogant. The key to building a successful author brand is to exude confidence without even trying. Here's how to tap into that Zen-like feeling: know your craft. Practice it every day. Understand the elements of story and constantly challenge yourself to be a subject matter expert when it comes to writing. Study your preferred genre. Know the intricacies of your chosen category. Never stop learning how to write better. And, as we discussed before, know your strengths.


 

If you are in a constant mode of growth as a writer, confidence is an inevitable side effect of that growth. If you want your author brand to succeed, never rest on your laurels. Live in a state of Zen by creating confidence through knowledge, both of your craft and yourself.


 

-Richard

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

 

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Evaluating Your Author Brand
Be Authentic to Build Your Brand

2,421 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, author, promotion, writers, writing, branding, author_brand, brand_identity, author_advice
2

Knowing which punctuation to use with the word "however" is tricky. However, it's important to get it correct, so here's a brief explanation.

 

As demonstrated above, when "however" means "In spite of that" and appears at the beginning of a sentence, it is followed by a comma.

 

For example: However, it's important to get it correct, so here's a brief explanation.

 

When "however" means "in spite of that" but appears in the middle of a sentence, it is preceded by a semicolon and followed by a comma.

 

For example: Knowing which punctuation to use with the word "however" is tricky; however, it's important to get it correct, so here's a brief explanation.

 

If "however" is in the middle of a sentence and can be removed without affecting the meaning of the sentence, it is preceded and followed by a comma.

 

For example: If you'd like to learn how to write correctly, however, please read this blog post.

 

Still confused? Understandable! Here are some more examples that show the difference:

 

INCORRECT: We were losing by 10 runs, however we came back and won the game.

 

CORRECT: We were losing by 10 runs; however, we came back and won the game.

 

ALSO CORRECT: We were losing by 10 runs. However, we came back and won the game.

 

INCORRECT: I really didn't think we were going to win the game, however I was clearly wrong.

 

CORRECT: I really didn't think we were going to win the game; however, I was clearly wrong.

 

ALSO CORRECT: I really didn't think we were going to win the game. However, I was clearly wrong.

 

Note: the same rules apply for "nevertheless," "nonetheless," etc.

 

The only time "however" doesn't require a comma afterward is when it serves as an adverb. For example:

 

CORRECT: I don't want to forgive her, however sorry she may be.

 

CORRECT: However he decides to get here, he'd better get here fast.

 

Believe me, I realize that knowing how to use "however" correctly can be quite confusing. However, if you keep this blog post handy, you might not have as much trouble!

 

-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, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Grammar Tip: Who vs. That

Apostrophes Indicate Possession, Not Plural

2,557 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, grammar, however
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I hit a milestone this year in my publishing journey. The first novel I published was completed 10 years ago. How did I celebrate? I published a 10th anniversary edition of the book. While it is similar to the original, it is not the same book; there are significant differences.

 

Let me explain. About four years ago I spoke with an editor about releasing my first book traditionally. They loved the book, but they wanted major changes. Yeah, I'm not sure how that works either, but I took notes and then diligently did a rewrite incorporating the editor's "suggestions." I emailed the new version of the book to my agent and awaited my contract. After a couple of weeks, I got a figurative punch to the gut instead. The editor hated the changes. He thought I made the book worse and proceeded to send me on my way. My agent and a few other readers loved the new version, so we circulated it around and got some mild interest, but ultimately never got a contract offer. After getting the official word from my agent that there was nothing more he could do, I decided there was something I could do. I could self-publish it, and the timing couldn't have worked out better. I wrote the original in 2004, so I released the rewrite as the 10th anniversary, reimagined edition.

 

I was concerned that some readers may be upset that I was just trying to sell them the same book in different packaging, so I did a quick survey of readers to gauge demand and discovered that it would be well-received. I also used the author's note at the beginning of the new edition to explain why it existed.

 

How far are you into your publishing journey? Is it time to reimagine one of your early books? That's the beauty of the digital publishing age: alternate versions of books are not only feasible, they are starting to become commonplace. The comic book world has been releasing "alternate universe" versions of their storylines for decades. Why not novels? As long as you make enough changes to present a new story, retelling a story you've already told could be a viable publishing option.  

 

-Richard

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

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The Value of Rejection

Indie Freedom!

1,756 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, self-publishing, revisions, writing, launch, craft, book_launch_party, book_relaunch
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

 

Books/Publishing

 

Why You Should Welcome Anything Less than 5 Star Reviews - The Future of Ink

An interesting look at those less-than-stellar ratings. 

                           

How to Edit Your Self-published Book like a Pro in 8 Steps - Self-Publishing Review

How to make self-editing work.    

 

Film

                                                        

Need to Splice a Line In? Try Placing Your Edits in the Middle of the Word - Filmmaker IQ

Call it cutting inside the lines.    

                                          

Top 10 Tips for Being a Cinematographer - BBC News

Leave your ego at home if you want to be a great cinematographer.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Create Amazingly Powerful Video Testimonials that'll Get More Gigs for Your Band - Gigging Success

Video testimonials are social proof your band is worth listening to.

 

How to Promote Music if You Don't Play Live - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

If you're the kind of musician who makes music in the comfort of your own home, there's still a way for you to promote your songs.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- December 12, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- December 5, 2014

1,989 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, music, filmmaking, film, author, writers, publishing, writing, films, musicians, filmmakers, reveiws, film_editing, editorial_reveiws, music_video, music_promotion
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