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901 Posts tagged with the writing tag
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Lessons from a Great Book Jacket Designer - The Book Deal

Tips on how to make the cover of your book stand out.         

                           

Quit Being a Commodity: 10 Ways to Get Visibility and Stand Out - The Future of Ink

Is exclusivity the key to marketing success in publishing?        

 

Film

                                                        

Drones Are about to Change How Directors Make Movies - Wired

Do you have a better way to get that cool aerial shot?     

                                          

How to Achieve Your Filmmaking Goals Fast - Filmmaking Stuff

Start with giving yourself a deadline.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Mind-Expanding Music Marketing - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

How to push yourself and step up your marketing game.  

  

Learning to Sing Does Not Need to Take Hours a Day - How to Sing Better

Practicing a few key techniques just 15 minutes a day can make you a better singer.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- March 20, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- March 13, 2015

2,377 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, selling, music, design, book_design, author, promotion, indie, movies, writers, blogging, writing, films, promotions, music_marketing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, social_media, singing, book_covers, firecting
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Good dialogue can bring your characters to life and engage your readers by making them feel immersed in the fantasy world you've created. On the flip side, poorly constructed dialogue can break the magical spell of the story. When I'm reading a conversation between two or more characters and lose track of who is talking, I get confused and frustrated. And when I'm confused and frustrated, I'm not enjoying the book.


 

To make it clear who is talking without overusing "said," you can use a combination of beats and attribution. For example, here's a conversation among three characters:


 

John glanced around the party. "Do you think she's going to come?" (Glanced around the party is a beat.)


 

Jeff shrugged and took a sip of his beer. "God knows I've given up trying to figure that girl out." (Shrugged and took a sip of his beer is a beat.)


 

"Hey now, don't be mean," Shana said. "Maybe she's just running late."


 

"Speak of the devil, look who just walked in. Six o'clock," Jeff said.


 

John stiffened. "Can I look without embarrassing myself?" (John stiffened is a beat)


 

Shana giggled and squeezed John's shoulder. "I love how nervous you are. It's cute." (Shana giggled and squeezed John's shoulder is a beat.)


 

The above combination of attribution and beats makes it clear who is talking without overusing "said." Plus the use of beats shows us how the characters are feeling without telling us. (See my post on show vs. tell if you're not familiar with the concept.)


 

You want your readers to lose themselves in your story, and dialogue is a wonderful way to let them do it. Provide them with a seamless experience, and you're well on your way.


 

-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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Avoid Confusing Dialogue

Improving Dialogue

3,516 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, writing, dialogue, action_beats, dialgue_tags
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Are You Ready for a Book Signing? This Checklist Will Help - Book Marketing Tips

An infograph to help your next book signing be a success.         

                           

Marketing Versus Sales with Jim Kukral - The Creative Penn

Marketing is the setup, and sales is the close.        

 

Film

                                                        

Attention, Filmmakers: Six Tips for Getting Your Film Financed - Indiewire

You will find financing if you are confident, prepared and persistent.

 

Filmmaking Advice from Seven Directors with Feature Films at Sundance - No Film School

Don't wait to get experience to start your career in film; learn as you go.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Start My Music Career - Hypebot.com

Are you prepared for the many hats you'll be required to wear?  

 

Additive Synthesis - Give me more! - AudioFanzine

The art of stacking audio sounds.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- March 13, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- March 6, 2015

2,228 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, book, music, filmmaking, audio, author, promotion, feature, movies, writers, writing, book_signing, films, promotions, musicians, social_media, book_sales, filmming_cost
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This is a lesson I learn every day - not always via positive reinforcement. The links you share on social media reflect on your author brand. When you point someone to an article or blog post, you're giving your tacit endorsement of that article or blog post unless you disavow the article in your status update linking to it. Even then, your comment may get lost in the virtual muck and mire of the internet, so you have to be very careful.

 

I've learned about the internet that it's very hard for people to disassociate the message from the messenger. I may link an article on my Facebook page from a blog because I think it has interesting information, but a lot of my Facebook friends will immediately attribute it to me. I have no connection to the article other than that of any other reader, but since I included it in my newsfeed, it suddenly becomes my article.

 

I tell you this not to scare you away from controversial topics or unpopular subject matter. I tell you this so you will be prepared for the criticism that may come your way. The criticism won't hurt your brand. How you respond to that criticism will. Respond in a way that will allow you to sleep at night.

 

Sharing links to articles and blog posts is a quick and effective way to build your social media circle, which in turn will strengthen your brand. But always remember that you will be associated with whatever you share. Now, go forth and share accordingly.

 

-Richard

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

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"Myself" Is Not a Substitute for "I"

Word Count Paralysis

5,770 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, branding, social_media
16

I recently read two indie books that shared the following problem: they were both infested with run-on sentences. I don't throw around the word "infested" very often, but I'm using it here to make a point. The run-on sentences ruined the reading experience for me. I was so distracted by the errors that I couldn't focus on the stories.

 

In both the books in question, the run-on sentences usually occurred in dialogue. Here are two examples, with enough words changed to protect the guilty:

 

Example #1

 

What was written?

 

"What do you mean," John said running his fingers through his hair.

 

How should it have been written?

 

"What do you mean," John said, running his fingers through his hair.

 

or

 

"What do you mean," John said as he ran his fingers through his hair.

 

or

 

John ran his fingers through his hair. "What do you mean?"

 

The problem with the original structure is that it means that John literally said the words "running his fingers through his hair."

 

Example #2

 

What was written?

 

"I don't know if I could stay up that late, but maybe I could be convinced," Lisa said giggling.

 

How should it have been written?

 

"I don't know if I could stay up that late, but maybe I could be convinced," Lisa said, giggling.

 

or

 

Lisa giggled. "I don't know if I could stay up that late, but maybe I could be convinced."

 

or

 

"I don't know if I could stay up that late, but maybe I could be convinced," Lisa said with a giggle.

 

The problem with the original structure is that it means that Lisa literally said the word "giggling."

 

Do you see the difference in the above examples? Commas are small, but that doesn't mean they aren't important! If you don't want to use them for whatever reason, be sure to adjust the structure of your sentence accordingly. Remember: you want your readers to focus on the story, not the grammar.

  

-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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Sensitive Topics

Quick Lesson on Hyphens

6,156 Views 16 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, grammar, run-on_sentences
15

Physical Features

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Mar 16, 2015

He was tall, six foot two, with blond hair and blue eyes. His chiseled cheeks accented a beautiful roman nose, and his three percent body fat gave him the appearance of a Greek god. His long elegant toes were those of a man who appreciated a good pedicure. If not for the irregular mole three inches above his left knee, he would have been the perfect male specimen. His right thumb was...


 

Am I crazy, or is that entirely too much description? Have you ever asked yourself how much character description is too much? I know this leans into the personal preference category, but I'm curious to know how other authors approach the task of providing physical descriptions of their characters.


 

My approach? Most of the time I use limited details when describing my characters. Perusing the introduction of two characters in my last book, I found one physical description. "Step stretched his skinny neck forward." From there, you'll find a reference to his bony fingers and his sharp jawline, but other than that I don't dive deeper. I don't get into eye or hair color. His exact height is never given. In fact, I typically don't say a lot about a character's physical features. My philosophy is that a reader can take my sparse descriptions and use them to build features with which they are familiar. In essence, their mind's eye creates a character that they recognize from their own lives. I don't have any scientific evidence that this is indeed the case, but I know it works for me. As I read, I fill in the blanks if the descriptions of physical features are not given.


 

How about you? How do you approach describing your characters' physical features?

 

 

-Richard

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

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When to Say "I Don't Care"

Why Grammar Matters

4,154 Views 15 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, character_development, physical_features
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

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

Zen and the art of handling your critics.        

                           

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

It's not just a virtual world.        

 

Film

                                                        

What is Your Filmmaking Niche? - Filmmaking Stuff

What is your signature filmmaking move?    

                                          

Writing: Overwriting - Indie Tips

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

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Use Your Vocal Registers Effectively - Easy Ear Training

Do you know your own vocal registers?  

  

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

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

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - March 6, 2015

Weekly News Roundup - February 27, 2015

2,313 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, reviews, music, filmmaking, promotion, movies, writers, review, readers, writing, feedback, musicians, branding, vocal, singing
1

Not long ago, I attended a writer's workshop where writers had their material read aloud while they sat and listened to critiques from the audience without the ability to defend their work. It was a frightening experience, but it was completely exhilarating at the same time. I received great feedback that helped me address some problem areas in a story I'd been working on.

 

The number one complaint expressed by the "critics"; was that most of the readings contained too much exposition. In many cases, I felt like the criticism was unwarranted. Not in my particular piece, but in those of the other writers. I may have been in part responsible for the avalanche of exposition criticism because I had addressed it in my own piece before I was critiqued. Every piece after mine featured an issue with exposition. It occurred to me that a lot of the people there that night, writers and critics alike, didn't really understand what exposition is, and when it crosses the line into extraneous.

 

Narratively speaking, exposition in its simplest form is explaining background information. It is a necessary device to establish a motive and character details. For instance, a character may walk with a limp because he suffered a permanent injury saving a baby from a burning building. His heroics occurred before the story contained within the book, but it's important because it helps the reader understand his character. He's the kind of guy that saves babies from burning buildings. Exposition, used sparingly, can even be used to describe a character's inner turmoil and unspoken thoughts.

 

I felt like most of the criticism in the workshop wasn't about exposition, but extraneous information, passages that did nothing to further the story or give character insight. I wanted to hear the details of a fight between a father and son that led to mutual animosity because when the passage was read, I felt the emotional toll in the aftermath. That was useful exposition. I didn't want to hear a mother explain to her family what they were having for dinner that night. That was extraneous information that added nothing to the story.

 

I realize I may be dipping into the realm of semantics here, but not all exposition is bad. As a writer and critic, ask yourself if the "exposition" in question gives you insight into the emotional state of a character or if it drives the plot forward. If it doesn't, it's extraneous information that doesn't do anything but frustrate the reader. Cut it and move on.     

 

-Richard

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

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How to Get and Stay Motivated

My Beta Readers Experience

2,460 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: writing, advice, characters, writing_advice, author_tips, author_advice
1

Today I'd like to talk about tenses, specifically when to use the preterit (past) tense versus the pluperfect (past perfect) tense. While both tenses refer to things that have already happened, the pluperfect reference point is earlier than the preterit reference point.

 

Here are two examples:

 

Preterit tense: I wrote a book

Pluperfect tense: I had written a book

Both together: He wrote to me yesterday to tell me that he had read my book (he read my book before he wrote to me about it)

 

Past tense: Last year was hard for me

Pluperfect tense: Things had been hard for a while

Both together: It was hard to open the window because someone had nailed it shut (the window was nailed shut before I tried to open it)

 

I recently read a book that was written in the preterit tense. The problem was that the author kept using preterit and pluperfect tenses as if they are  interchangeable. This resulted in a bunch of sentences that sounded really strange and didn't make much sense together.

 

For example:

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR WROTE:

Things were now much more difficult. Over the last six months my disease progressed to the point where I was in constant pain.

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN:

Things were now much more difficult. Over the last six months my disease HAD progressed to the point where I was in constant pain.

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR WROTE:

He knew what he needed to do. He fell in love with her, and it was time to tell her.

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN:

He knew what he needed to do. He HAD FALLEN in love with her, and it was time to tell her.

 

Do you see the difference between the tenses? If you confuse your point of reference, you will confuse your readers. And you want your readers to be entertained, not confused!

 

-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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More Grammar Pet Peeves!
Solving the Mystery of Lie vs. Lay

3,645 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, writing, craft, grammar, spelling, writing_advice, author_tips, grammar_tip, grammar_advice, writing_tip
2

I sense a coming disturbance in the Force, and that disturbance is of my own making. I'm going to discuss something brand-related today that is completely superficial. It's not something I take joy in, but it's something that we must talk about because it matters. Fair warning: Some of you may become agitated by what is said here today. Now, let's jump right into it before I lose my nerve.


 

Do you pay attention to your physical appearance? It's a weird question to ask someone who wants to write for a living. After all, it's a profession that requires a lot of alone time. Sitting in a room by yourself and living inside your head for huge stretches of time doesn't exactly require proper grooming or presentable attire.


 

But I'm not referring to your "writer look." I'm referring to your "author look." Before you snap a selfie or step in front of a video camera, do you take the time to make sure your image matches the brand you're trying to cultivate? Now, understand what I'm saying. From the beginning, I've encouraged you to present a brand that reflects the real you. Don't manufacture a persona that you think people expect you to be. Be you. That philosophy is still at play here, but with a slight caveat. Don't let your appearance reflect your mood of the moment; let it reflect your normal state of being. If you are a laid-back cowboy that writes about your experiences on the range, don't step in front of a camera wearing a three-piece suit because you want to look nice. The same goes for buttoned-down attorneys writing legal thrillers. If you show up at an appearance in a sleeveless T-shirt and bicycle shorts because you just didn't feel like dressing up, you may throw your fans for a loop.


 

When you are building your brand, appearance matters. But it doesn't matter that you dress to the nines. It only matters that you dress in a manner that accurately represents your brand.

 

 

-Richard


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

 

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An Active Author Brand

Productivity vs. Perfection

2,379 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, writing, brand, branding, author_brand, marketing_strategy, brand_identity, author_appearance, marketing_advice, marketing_tip
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Why Every Writer Should Keep a Travel Journal - Writer's Digest

Your experiences on the road may be worth some money.        

                           

Write More: Seven Tips for Dealing with Writing Distractions - Beyond Paper Editing

Maybe it's time to go old school and ditch your fancy laptop for a more low-tech approach.          

 

Film

                                                        

Ed Burns on The Brothers McMullen, Finding Your Voice, and the Meat Grinder of Independent Filmmaking - The Week

The filmmaker who helped usher in today's modern independent filmmaking movement.      

                                          

Becoming a Full-time Filmmaker: When to Quit Your Day Job - Filmmaking.net

When should you let go of your security net?  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Three Email Marketing Mistakes Musicians Make that Cost Them Fans and Money [Podcast]- Musicgoat.com

How to make your email marketing more engaging.  

  

Vocal Strain: What is it and What Can You Do about It? - Judy Rodman

Don't ignore vocal strain, or you might do permanent damage.    

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- February 27, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- February 20, 2015

1,925 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, film, author, self-publishing, movies, writers, publishing, writing, journal, promotions, filmmakers, branding, social_media, independent_film, email_marketing, vocals, writing_exercises, writing_tip
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What's at Stake?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Mar 4, 2015

This is a post about breaking through writer's block. By now, you've probably come across a 1,001 blog posts on the Internet about getting unstuck and finishing your novel. That should tell you that there is no magic bullet to ending writer's block. What works for one author won't work for another. But don't fret. You will find the solution. Just keep looking.

 

I've brought myself out of the writing depths in the past by asking myself what's at stake for the characters. Sometimes I lose sight of the story because I'm struck by inspiration, and I jump into a writing zone where the words fly with ease. But that inevitably ends at some point, and when it does, I find myself word-drunk and confused. I'll read the passages I've written and wonder where I was headed with these new pages. What was I thinking?

 

Well, I wasn't thinking, and that's the point. When you're in the zone, you're relying on instinct, and that's a beautiful thing. The fix to finding my way is determining what my characters want in the words I've committed to the manuscript. You may even find me wandering the hallways of my home muttering to myself like a madman; "What do they want? What do they need to get there?" When I know what's at stake for the characters, the path ahead becomes clearer, and when I see a clear path, I'm anxious to get back to my laptop and start typing away. If I'm lucky, I'll find another writing zone.

 

-Richard

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

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What Do Your Characters Want?

Unfinished and Happy

2,963 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, writer's_block, author_tips
3

Most of us read books because we love to escape (temporarily) from reality and immerse ourselves in alternate worlds inhabited by colorful, interesting characters whose lives are much more exciting than our own. That's certainly why I read! However, while the lives these characters lead might be less than realistic, it's important (to me, at least) that their dialogue is realistic.

 

When I read a book with dialogue that doesn't ring true, instead of getting sucked into the story I find myself thinking, "Who talks like that? No one would say that." And as I've said a million times in this blog, you want your readers focused on the story, not on the problems with your writing.

 

(Note: I'm referring to contemporary fiction, not tales of dystopian societies, intergalactic wars, or Downtown Abbey type romances. If you're writing any of the above, may the conversational Force be with you.)

 

A good way to avoid having unrealistic dialogue in your own writing is to read it out loud. This may sound a little corny, but I swear it works! I did it when I wrote my first novel, and over time I got the hang of crafting conversations that sound the way people actually talk. Now, "your dialogue is so realistic!" is one of the most common compliments I get from readers about my books.

 

You want to create strong, believable characters that your readers will care about, so take the time to give them lines that will allow that to happen. With every conversation you write, ask yourself "Does this sound believable?" That might seem daunting at first, but over time it will get easier. I promise. And it will be well worth the effort. Your readers - and your characters - will be grateful.

 

-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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Look Who's Talking

Turn the Beat Around

5,133 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, dialogue
1

Last week, we discussed the importance of identifying your core values from the standpoint of building an author brand. Remember, just because we're talking about marketing doesn't mean we're talking about building an artificial persona to sell books. We're focused on the real, authentic you. By identifying your core values, you can proceed with confidence and expand your network.

 

Now, let's remove the mystique around networking. Before 2003, it was a concept that had very little to do with the online world. When you talked about networking pre-social media, you were more than likely referring to a social gathering of individuals in the business world building contacts in a relaxed atmosphere. It was about building relationships that were beneficial to you and your career.

 

Today, networking is much more broadly used. It's not just about building business contacts. It's about building your social circle outside of your geographic area. In short, it's about meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. From an indie author's perspective, there is still an inevitable commercial benefit from these connections. Your network is your volunteer salesforce. Without doing anything other than being themselves, the people in your network will spread the word about your book. And the obvious rule is that the bigger your network, the bigger your volunteer salesforce. Your role is to socialize: be an active participant in your own network, engage with your network, interact with your network and always look for opportunities to grow your network by meeting new people.

 

Networking is one of those things that's not difficult to understand, but it can be difficult to master if you're not active. So, go forth and network. Build relationships, and watch your volunteer salesforce grow.

 

-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

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

2,270 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, networking, writing, branding
0

Don't Force an Ending

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Feb 25, 2015

I just want to warn you that there's this little-known song from a movie that barely made any money at the box office that I'm going to reference in this blog post. It comes from an obscure animated flick called Frozen and the song title is "Let It Go." Oh, you've heard of it? Good, then I can spare you the video of me singing this catchy tune.

 

 

That is the wisdom I wish to impart on you today: let it go. Can't find an ending for that book you've worked so hard on for months? Let it go. What? You say it's been years? Let it go. Endings can't be forced. Well, they can, but they usually come off sounding that way. Your best strategy is to move on to the next project. Shed the frustrating missteps from your mind when it comes to finding the perfect ending, and redirect your creativity.

 

 

Albert Einstein didn't come up with the Theory of Relativity sitting in front of a chalkboard hammering out formulas and chasing mathematical equations down a rabbit hole. He came up with the idea as a clerk at the patent office staring out the window. In other words, he wasn't focused on revolutionizing physics. He was daydreaming. Had he been focused on making a great discovery at that particular moment, who knows, would he have developed the most famous scientific discovery of the modern age?

 

 

The ending will come to you when you let go of the need to find the ending. In a weird metaphysical way, stories don't like to remain unfinished. Your brain will find its way there on its own. If you force it, your brain will fight you and give your story an unsatisfying ending. Stop fixating, and start daydreaming. Let it go.

 

 

-Richard

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

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When Do You Know The Ending?

Know Thy Story

2,722 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, book, writers, publishing, writing, craft, ending, writing_advice, writing_tip
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