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808 Posts tagged with the writing tag
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A Satisfactory Ending

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 18, 2014

The end is nigh. You've been burning the midnight oil to get to that point in your novel where you can crack your knuckles and finally type "The End." The problem you're having is you're not quite sure if it's time to end your story. Is the ending you're offering truly satisfying? Will your readers celebrate your name or curse it once they read the last page?

 

Your first order of business is to forget your readers. If you try to craft an ending that will please them, you will most likely miss the mark badly. As writers, we love readers. They are our greatest partners in the storytelling process, but their participation can't influence the path your story needs to take.

 

With the reader not a consideration, what should be your guideposts to a satisfying ending to your novel? Here are three elements to consider when writing an ending:

 

  1. Tone - If you've written a dark horror story that's managed to include one terrifying passage after another, you're not going to wrap things up in a nice little cheery bow. Your ending should match the tone of the rest of your book. A romance novel will most likely end on a high note. A mystery will end in triumph for the protagonist. The type of book you're writing has a lot to do with the ending.

  2. The ending belongs to the main plot - Not all of the unknowns have to become known at the end of your book. You can leave unanswered questions, but what you don't want to do is abandon the main conceit of the story at the end of a novel. The primary thematic element of your book has to come to a conclusion in some way on the last page. You may have introduced secondary plots throughout the book, but the time to address those is before you're ready to end your story.

  3. Open or closed - That conclusion can come in open or closed form. It is possible to answer a question in a way that creates more questions. You may end a mystery with the good guy killing the bad guy. The closed version of that ending is the good guy has all the evidence he needs to prove the shooting was justifiable. The open version of that ending is the good guy has no evidence that the bad guy was even the bad guy. He just has an unwritten confession. In this case, you've concluded the main conceit (Who's the bad guy?), but you ended with an unanswered question (How will the good guy avoid getting in trouble?). Open endings can be great catalysts for sequels.


If I were to include a fourth item to this list, it would be that your own personal style has bearing on how you end a story. That style is something you will develop over time and after writing more books.

 

How do you end a novel?

 

-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"

Does Writing Change the Author?

3,166 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing, ending
0

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

 

 

Books/Publishing

 

 

Reaching Readers: Lessons Learned from Blog Tours - Self-Publishing Advice

Are blog tours worth the time and money? One author shares her experience.  

                           

Why Books Make Us Laugh - Huffington Post

While our minds may distinguish between fact and fiction, our brains do not.      

 

Film

                                                        

Independent Filmmaking - Finding Your Style - NoHo

The only way to know what kind of filmmaker you are is to make a film.    

                                          

Stabilize It! - Raindance

How to shoot smooth moving shots on a budget. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Learn How to Sing Nature's Way - How to Sing Better

There's the wrong way to sing and then there's nature's way.

 

INFOGRAPHIC: Anatomy of Songs - Perfect Porridge

A fun little series of graphs that reveal the components of a song by genre.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- August 1, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- August 8, 2014

1,868 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: music, movies, writing, recording, filmmakers, independent_film, singing, blog_tour, music_production, funny_books
0

Makes Some Noise

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 13, 2014

I follow well-known author Cormac McCarthy on Facebook. I should clarify: Cormac McCarthy never actually updates his status letting us know what he had for lunch, nor does he post cute cat videos. He never posts anything at all himself. There is a Cormac McCarthy consortium that posts on behalf of the reclusive author's brand.

 

Today, Cormac McCarthy's Facebook feed featured a status update about how he doesn't write about his books. He thinks it's bad form. He believes if you're talking about a book, you're not writing it. He's very old school.

 

My philosophy is the polar opposite of Mr. McCarthy's, and it's painful to admit because I am such a big fan of his work. I talk about my books as I write them. I devote blog posts to word count updates, and I upload videos about plot points and current character development. I express my excitement if I have a good day of writing, and I publicly curse the days when I struggle to get the words on the page.

 

I do this not because I think so much of myself that I believe everyone should know. I do it because I have found there is a direct correlation between the noise I make about what I'm writing, to the number of books I sell of existing titles on Amazon. In short, my brand isn't on as solid ground as Cormac McCarthy's. He has earned the luxury of remaining reclusive. I have not. Who knows? In a few more years, maybe I'll have a consortium posting for me on Facebook.

 

-Richard

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

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The Recluse in the Age of Social Media

Social Networking Sells Your Brand

2,108 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self-publishing, writing, social_networking, social_media, marketing_ideas, marketing_advice
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I've talked about failing on this blog; now it's time to talk about succeeding. Just as there is a lot of misunderstanding that goes into what it means to fail, success is largely misunderstood as well.

 

We've all seen the glamorized version of success in publishing. Become a bestseller right away and sell a couple million copies, right? It's the pinnacle of publishing, or the assumed pinnacle of publishing. Reaching those heights immediately is rarified air. Only a handful of books do it, and when they do it's not usually by design. By and large, such results greatly exceed expectations.

 

If you want to succeed in indie publishing, you're going to want to do it in steps. In other words, don't make your goal to sell a million copies or bust. Make your goal out of the gate to sell 50 books, and design a strategy around that number. Once you've reached or exceeded it, up the ante. With the next goal reached, kick it up a notch, and so forth and so on. You have a novel that will never go out of print unless you decide otherwise. Use that fact to your advantage. Don't frontload a strategy with all your resources in an effort to sell as many books as you can right off the bat. You'll find yourself swimming against the current.

 

Achieve success in increments. Set small, achievable benchmarks that will allow you to accumulate momentum, build readership and increase sales over time. This strategy can result in exponential growth, and it will boost your confidence and your knowledge of the market along the way.

 

-Richard

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

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Setting Goals for Your Brand

Selling Books Out of the Trunk of Your Car

1,979 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers, writing, book_sales, publishing_success
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Know What You Write - AuthorCulture

When researching a book in this day and age, you have to be at the top of your game because readers have a world of information at their fingertips to fact-check you.   

                           

Surprising Self-Publishing Statistics - Publishers Weekly

An interesting look at the state of the ever-growing and increasingly influential indie publishing industry.       

 

Film

                                                        

What I've Learned from Making Three Feature Films by Patrick Creadon - Film Courage

Director and writer Patrick Creadon discusses the films he's made and how they have shaped his career.    

                                          

5 Ways to Succeed as a Modern Filmmaker - Filmmaking Stuff

How to get out of your own way and make a movie.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Music Marketing Ideas: Are These Too Outrageous? - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Are these marketing strategies too outside the box?

 

How Singer-Songwriters Can Maximize Their Career Potential When Using DJs and Producers - Musicgoat.com

Make sure you're recognized for your original material.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- August 1, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- July 25, 2014

1,892 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, self-publishing, writers, directors, writing, films, producers, filmmaker, music_marketing, musicians, filmmakers, songwriters, djs
3

Has this ever happened to you? You sit down to write, and just as you start pounding out words, your mind drifts to that driver that cut you off on the freeway. You pull yourself back and redirect your thoughts onto your story only to drift back to that driver's smug face as he grinned at you through his rearview mirror. Still, you carry on. You write because that's what you do.

 

The next day, you return to your computer and read what you wrote the day before. It's off. The tone is different. The dialogue that's meant to be sweet and tender has a bitter current running through it. You wrote how you were feeling, not how your characters felt.

 

What do you do when you're writing and life gets in the way? You do something mindless. A mindless task will cleanse your thoughts of all those things that fill you with angst and worry. I personally do something that makes me break a sweat before I start to write. My goal is to physically exhaust myself so I'll be too tired to be concerned with the little bumps in the road of life.

 

Whether it is exercise, cooking or cleaning the kitchen, there is an activity within your grasp to clear your head and put you in the right frame of mind to contribute useful words to your story. Think of a mindless task as an inoculation against ineffective prose. When the day hasn't gone your way, doing something that doesn't require much thought may be the perfect solution to worry-free writing.

 

-Richard

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

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Should You Write Daily to Write Well?

Rewrites: Make the Hardest Changes First

3,802 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers, writing
4

Much has been written about what reading a novel does to the brain. One study featured by The Atlantic showed that reading certain words associated with odors can trigger the part of the brain devoted to smell. Another study showed that reading a novel can change the structure of a brain. For example, reading about riding a bicycle can activate the parts of a brain that are used when physically riding a bicycle. In short, reading a novel can open the reader up to experiencing a kind of non-physical reality that is completely created by the author.

 

 

If reading can have that kind of effect on the reader, imagine what it can do for the writer. During my best writing moments, I slip into a trance that in many ways makes me feel removed from this world, a kind of Fringe-like alternate universe. The structure of my brain must be constantly under construction as if it's the Winchester mansion adding wing after wing with no end in sight.

 

 

Personally, I feel like my worldview has expanded a great deal over the years that I have followed the stories in my head. Some would argue that it's a natural process of aging and maturing, and while I can't say for sure that writing is what changed me, I lean in that direction. For no other reason than I know of, we are shaped by our experiences and thanks to my writing, I have experienced things that I haven't physically experienced. It's a wild concept that can leave you a little dizzy.

 

What about you? Do you feel your writing has changed you in any way?

 

-Richard

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

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Thank the People Who Help You

Make Your Own Rules

2,072 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, publishing, writing, reading, craft, author_brand
1

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

What Is a Perfect Ending? - Writer's Digest

A panel at this year's ThrillerFest discusses the best way to end a novel.

                           

5 Reasons You Procrastinate on Getting Your Book Done: What Is It Costing You? - The Future of Ink

How to overcome all those excuses that are holding you back.     

 

Film

                                                        

Email Marketing for Movies (Why You Need To Start Now!) - Filmmaking Stuff

Is your email marketing campaign as crucial as your filmmaking strategy?    

                                          

How Do You Co-direct a Film? - Projector Films

The only thing harder than directing a film may be co-directing a film.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Crowdsourced Songwriting - Musician Coaching.com

The role of emerging artists and the current state of the music industry.

 

3-Step Process to Singing in Tune: Listen, Mime, Sing! - Judy Rodman

Using active listening can help train your voice.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- July 18, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- July 11, 2014

1,821 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, music, filmmaking, writing, directing, writing_process, musicians, craft, songwriting, singing, ending, movie_marketing
1

Word Count Paralysis

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 23, 2014

Sometimes staring at the blinking cursor on your computer screen can make it morph into a stop sign and prevent you from holding a thought long enough to tap it out on your keyboard. It can be an unintentional panic signal that freezes your fingers in place and fills you with heaping helpings of writer's doubt. Your focus shifts from what you want to write to how many words you must write before you will allow yourself to stop for the day. Gradually, you fixate exclusively on that word count goal, and you're unable to type a single solitary word.

 

I call it "word count paralysis," and there's really only one way to prevent it: Ditch the daily word count goal. In the end, it doesn't really matter how many words you write in a day. Your only goal is to make some sort of progress; big or small, it doesn't matter. The only thing that does matter is that you advance from where you were the day before.

I've talked before about my own word count philosophy in previous blogs. My goal while writing a book is to write one word a day. Not only have I never come short of my goal, I have far exceeded that one-word-a-day benchmark every single time, occasionally by as much as 6,000 times.  

 

Daily word count goals always have been the bane of my writing existence. They have served as arbitrary roadblocks that fill me with dread. As long as I ask myself to contribute only one word a day to a story, I am relieved of that pressure that leads to word count paralysis.

 

-Richard

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

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Writing a Word a Day

Unblocking Writer's Block

3,696 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: books, author, writers, writing, draft, writing_process, word_count, chapter_length
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

The Arc of the Indie Author Journey: From First Book to CEO of Your Global Media Empire - The Creative Penn

Being master of your own destiny can be daunting, but you can afford to learn as you go.

                           

15-Minute Book Marketing Tactics for Busy Authors - All Indie Writers

Making time for marketing just got a lot easier.     

 

Film

                                                        

How to Crowdfund like Humphrey Bogart - Filmmaking Stuff

Here's looking at...some basic yet effective crowdfunding strategies.    

                                          

Very, Very Independent Filmmaking - Getting on with It - NOHO Art District

Immersing yourself in the film community can go a long way in helping you become a successful filmmaker.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Starting a Music Career - Musician Coaching.com

Music consultant and former A&R representative Rick Goetz shares his philosophy on getting your music career off the ground.

 

How to Use Twitter to Attract Fans and Make Connections - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Use Twitter to connect with fans, journalists, venues, and music idols. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- July 11, 2014

Weekly News Roundup - July 3, 2014

1,960 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, music, film, author, writers, writing, musicians, filmmakers
1

Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns (What a pretty house! She is tall).

 

Adverbs modify verbs (She types quickly), adjectives (She is extremely tall) or other adverbs (Please type more quickly).

 

When an adverb modifies an adjective (e.g. "she is extremely tall," no hyphen is necessary. I see many authors make this error in their book descriptions and personal bios. For example:

 

  • The world in this story is inhabited by fully-functional robots that act like humans (INCORRECT)
  • The tale takes place on a currently-active landfill (INCORRECT)
  • When he's not writing books, John works as a highly-trained specialist managing labor disputes (INCORRECT)

 

A good way to tell that a hyphen isn't necessary is to remove the adjective and leave the adverb, then see if the sentence still makes sense. For example, do these sound correct to you?

 

  • This world in this story is inhabited by fully robots that act like humans (SOUNDS SUPER WEIRD)
  • The tale takes place on a currently landfill (SOUNDS SUPER WEIRD)
  • When he's not writing books, John works as a highly specialist managing labor disputes (SOUNDS SUPER WEIRD)

 

The above sentences don't make sense because once we remove the adjectives "functional," "active" and "trained," the adverbs "fully," "currently"and "highly"aren't modifying anything.

 

Note: when two words are used to modify (or relate to) the same word in what is called compound modifier, a hyphen clarifies that they are both referring to that word and not to each other. For example:

 

  • He is a small business owner (This means he is a small man)
  • He is a small-business owner (This means he owns a small business)

 

I know grammar terminology is a foreign language to many people, so if you're still confused about whether or not to use a hyphen when you have an adverb followed by an adjective, try removing the adjective. If the sentence doesn't work without it, no hyphen is necessary.

 

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



 

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Grammar Tip: Don't Overcapitalize

Misuse of Pronouns

2,933 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: editing, author, writers, writing, draft, grammar, hyphens, grammar_tip, editing_process
3

I'm in the early stages of writing a new book. To date, I have written about 12,000 words of a planned total of 100,000 words. I'm going to give you a brutal assessment of the work I've done so far: It's horrible. The main character is flat, the villain is over the top, and the setting isn't really that well developed.

 

 

But here's the thing: I don't care. My goal at this stage is to get to the 100,000 words mark with as few distractions a possible. The biggest distraction I encounter when writing a novel is that little voice in my head that constantly asks, "What on earth are you doing?" And for kicks, it chimes in with a "If anyone ever sees this, your career is over."

 

 

Every time my inner voice speaks up, I reply with "I don't care." I say it so many times within the confines of my bald head that it's become my writing mantra. "I don't care. I don't care. I don't care." The truth is no one will ever see this version of my book. I won't be judged by anyone outside of my own internal imaginary critic. My inner voice will try to destroy my ability to sally forth. When I get to the rewriting stage, I'll sing a different tune, but now is not the time to even think about how I'm going to fix this mess. Now is the time to make this mess.

 

 

I invite you to borrow my mantra. Use it every time your own inner critic attempts to halt the progress of your first draft. Shout it loudly if you must and shout it proudly. I don't care!

 

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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How to Get Through the First Draft

Writing Tip: When You Get Stuck, Use ALL CAPS and Move On

2,713 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: books, editing, author, writers, publishing, revisions, writing, drafts, beginning, rewriting, writing_stages
4

Making the first chapter of your book (or books) available on your website is a smart idea for two reasons:

 

1)    It gives potential readers who visit your website the opportunity to check out your work at no cost

2)    It gives you a tool for driving potential readers to your website

 

My sixth novel is coming out soon, and I have the first chapters to all of them available on my website. One way I use those links is via social media. Four of my books make up a series starring the same protagonist, so I created a Facebook profile for her. Every day I log in to her account to see if any of her "friends" have a birthday. For those who do, I post the link to the first chapter of her latest book on their walls as a little "birthday gift." It's fun for me, and my fans really enjoy it too! (The personal interaction with my readers is another benefit of this approach.)

 

I also include a link to the first chapter in my monthly newsletter anytime I announce that I have a new book coming out. This allows my loyal readers to get an early glimpse. The same goes for Twitter. If you read my post on using Twitter you'll know I don't recommend tweeting too much about your book (or only about your book), but an occasional link to a first chapter is perfectly acceptable. And smart.

 

Remember that you're competing with literally millions of other books, so anything you can do to get potential readers to look at your book is worth trying. Why not put your first chapter out there? It's free, and people like free.

 

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

 

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Marketing Tip: Make Sure Your Outreach Has a Purpose

Marketing Tip: Reach Out to Book Clubs

 

6,380 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
2

In the early stages of my indie publishing career, I would hand off a manuscript to willing friends and family and ask for their feedback before I published. There was no word for it back then, but now we call them beta readers. For my first and second books, it was only two or three readers. Over the years the pool of people willing to read early draft versions of my books has grown. In fact, my latest group had 23 people, most of whom I only knew through social media.

 

Because the group included more than my immediate circle of family and friends, I wanted to make the process of being a beta reader as friendly as I possibly could. So, I did something that is not typical of my personality. I got organized, and it was simpler than I even thought. Here's how I managed my beta readers.

 

  • A communications hub - I used the private Facebook messaging tool as a gathering place for all the readers, and it became our communications hub. Over the weeks they spent reading the book, I prompted them with information and updates pertaining to the story and characters. This caused discussion and also served as a gentle reminder that it was a fairly time-sensitive task that they had entered into.

  • Two versions of the manuscript - I created two versions of the manuscript to accommodate everyone's eBook reader needs. I uploaded both a PDF version and Word document to my blog and provided the links to everyone via Facebook, so readers could download the version that fit their eBook devices.

  • A survey - Rather than force them to email me their feedback, I created a survey where they could rank various aspects of the book (14 in all). In addition, they were all welcome (but not required) to comment on each specific area and leave a general comment at the end of the survey. Perhaps the most important element of the survey is that all participants' responses were anonymous, and I made this known to all participants. I wanted honest feedback, and letting them remain anonymous was key.

  • Patience and understanding - I was asking a lot of these volunteers, so it was important for me to not make them feel rushed. Beyond my updates I never sent out direct requests to hurry up and fill out the survey. I could have tacked on a deadline at the beginning, but I decided not to. I had plenty on my plate, so I didn't mind waiting. After three weeks I had enough completed surveys to announce some early results. In all, 16 of the 23 readers completed surveys. I would have been happy with a 25% response rate. Getting almost 70% was more than I hoped for.

  • Appreciation - I frequently let them all know I appreciated the time they were devoting to my book.


Would I ever do a large beta reader group again? Absolutely! I got incredibly helpful feedback for rewrites, and thanks to social media, I was able to keep in constant touch with the group and be even more engaged with readers. I would highly recommend it to any author wanting to make a story better and create a closer bond with fans at the same time.

 

-Richard

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

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Go Big

Another Reason to Celebrate

3,203 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, beta_readers
0

Vlogging

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 2, 2014

I watch a lot of personal videos, or "vlogs," online. In fact, I have three or four vloggers whom I watch regularly. I gravitate toward these vlogs for various reasons. I often share the same views as the vlogger. They offer a unique twist on various topics, or they're simply entertaining.

 

Those are the obvious elements of a vlog that make them eminently watchable, and the last two I listed are things that can be improved over time. But what about the less apparent factors that make a vlog popular? Those things that you don't really notice or consider when you tell your friends and followers about this great vlogger they should check out? What draws you in beyond the obvious?

Here are the unnoticed elements that I've found make the biggest difference:

 

  1. Clean audio ? Even though it's a visual medium, online personal videos are best consumed when the audio doesn't come with distortion, humming, or clicking. The vloggers I enjoy use external microphones. Those microphones are either visibly nestled snuggly in a stand in front of the host or are off frame attached to a boom. An external microphone will add cost to your video production, but it is well worth the investment if you're planning on making vlogs a staple in your brand-building strategy.

  2. A permanent set ? Because a vlog is a visual medium, visuals do count. Having a set that is tactfully designed can move you from amateur vlogger to expert vlogger. You don't have to make a huge investment here. Having various props that are strategically placed in the background and well-maintained is good enough. One of my favorite vloggers even hosts his videos from behind a desk, and he frames the shot so he can throw up graphics over his shoulder. Essentially it looks like a news desk.

  3. Good lighting ? Again, this is a visual medium, so lighting matters. A well-lit room with a dimmer might do the trick, but you may even want to invest in an inexpensive lighting kit with fill and key lights.

 

Vlogging can be the perfect tool to build your brand in this virtual world if you invest time and modest amounts of resources in the production value.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

 

 

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Five Blogging Prompts

Build Your Brand with Original Content

2,638 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, audio, writers, writing, social_media, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, vlogging, video_blog, video_marketing
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