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Go Big

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 16, 2014

I was at a baseball game a few weeks ago, and I met a woman who was acting as a publicist for an author in my area. They were old friends, and she has a background in event planning, so she volunteered to help the author organize a book launch. I was lucky enough to score an invite.

 

And this isn't just any launch. The launch will be catered and will be held in an old movie theater that's used as a venue for various parties, receptions, and festivals. In other words, they are going BIG with this launch. 

 

This is a debut author going the indie route. And I have to tell you, when I first heard the plans, I cringed a little bit. My own fears of failure tainted my opinion. What if no one shows up? What if everyone shows up, but no one cares? What if the media doesn't cover the event? What if, what if, what if. When I stepped away from the conversation and let the idea twirl around in my head, I let go of my expectations, and I actually got excited for the author.

 

You know what? Good for her. She's celebrating the announcement of her debut novel with all the fanfare that was once commonplace in publishing. She's surrounding the event with pomp and circumstance, and it's bound to give all those in attendance the feeling that they are participating in something special; a feeling that will send them to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram uploading photos of their night out celebrating a book launch. It has the potential to become somewhat of a sensation, more so than if the author just sent out a tweet about her new book.

 

Suddenly, I find myself of big fan of going big with a book launch. How about you? Do you have a book launch strategy that you would like to share?

 

-Richard

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

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How To Throw A Book Launch Party For Free

The Book Relaunch

 

2,495 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, promotions, book_launch
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Jog Your Memory: The Effects of Exercise on the Brain - Michael Hyatt

An infographic that shows how exercise can help your brain stay in writing shape.             

                                                    

How a Strong Circle of Influence Can Increase Your Results - The Future of Ink

Start building contacts with skills to help effectively spread the word for future releases.    

 

Film

                                                        

How Short Should a Short Be? - Film Shortage

Where your audience will see the film makes a big difference when deciding on the length of your short.    

                                          

For Jennifer, Whomever You Are - Advice on How to Pursue Your Art - Filmmaker IQ

Helpful advice for a photographer that also applies to filmmakers.    

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Songwriter Vocal Strain: Hazards of Singing While Writing Songs - Judy Rodman

The key is to ease in and pace yourself when using vocals to write a song.

 

Know about Your Acoustic Guitar - Musician Makers

A detailed look at all the parts of an acoustic guitar.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- June 6, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- May 30, 2014

2,098 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, music, film, self-publishing, promotion, indie, movies, writers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media
7

I just completed the first draft and first rewrite of a new novel, and it is now in the hands of beta readers. I'm in that horrible no-man's land where I await their feedback before I undertake a second rewrite. It's horrible because I have no idea how delusional I was in thinking this manuscript was ready to be seen by someone other than my wife or myself. A few beta readers have contacted me privately with encouraging feedback, and I must admit to breathing a sigh of relief upon receiving their messages.

 

The thing that has me so on edge with this story is the way I structured my protagonist. He's the most despicable good guy I've ever created. I've played around with various unsavory skeletons in the closets of my heroes before, but this time I fell in league with a fictional good guy that has more in common with Hannibal Lecter than he does with Harry Potter.

 

Allowing such a character to lead a story is tricky business, but here are the five rules I followed in order to create this good guy who is anything but:

 

  1. He is beloved - Even though this protagonist is an awful character, he has at least one person who is totally devoted to him and believes in him no matter what.

  2. He is resolutely loyal to another human being - Conversely, while he does terrible things, he does genuinely care for another human being and even looks out for him at tremendous cost.

  3. He is what he can't control - While he does bad things, he is a product of his past and the misfortune that was heaped upon him. He's bad because he believes being good cost him everything.

  4. He is honorable - That sounds like a counterintuitive statement about a guy who does bad things, but he never pretends to be anything other than what he is, and he never apologizes for it.

  5. He is vulnerable - He does heartless things, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a heart. He displays blips of weaknesses that give the readers a glimpse of his sensitive side.  

 

Now all the feedback isn't in yet, and I can't truly say I've nailed it, but early word seems to indicate he won't be the focus of my second rewrite. How about you? How bad are your good guys?

 

-Richard

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


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Make Your Protagonist Likable

Defend Your Antagonist

4,366 Views 7 Comments Permalink Tags: writing, craft, branding, character_development, character_arc
0

A few posts ago, I discussed a grammatical error authors tend to make when writing their own bios. Another common mistake I see in author bios is the capitalization of the titles they hold in their day jobs.

 

Here's a typical example:

 

John Smith, Author of Book ABC, is the Director of Human Resources at Company XYZ. In his free time he loves to surf, play practical jokes on his coworkers and toss a baseball around with his three young sons. He currently lives in San Diego.

 

While John sounds like a fun guy, he could use a little refresher on the rules of capitalization. Here's how it works:

 

If a person's formal title comes directly before the person's name, it is capitalized:

 

  • The White House has announced that President Barack Obama will be giving a press conference this afternoon.

 

  • It is expected that Vice President Joe Biden will also give some remarks.

 

  • It is uncertain whether Chief of Staff Denis McDonough will be in attendance.

 

If the formal title is after the person's name, it is not capitalized:

 

  • Barack Obama, who is president of the United States, will be giving a press conference this afternoon.

 

  • Joe Biden, who is vice president, will also give some remarks.

 

  • It is uncertain if Denis McDonough, Obama's chief of staff, will be in attendance.

 

As for the title of "author," it is not formal and should never be capitalized, so the following are correct:

 

  • John Smith, author of Book ABC, is the director of human resources.

 

  • The author of Book ABC is John Smith.

 

Capitalizing formal titles after a person's name is such a common mistake that you might be quite surprised to learn that it's incorrect. But pick up a newspaper and read an article or two. You'll see how the journalists do 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, 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: Who vs. That

Grammar Tip: She and I, Not Her and I

2,798 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, grammar, capitalization, job_titles
3

Mingle Marketing

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 9, 2014

I'm a huge advocate of social media. I know it works in making connections and helping authors with limited financial resources get the word out about their books. Establishing your brand via social networking sites, blogs and personal videos has the potential of raising your profile to global proportions.

 

But, I have to say the most solid connections I've made with readers have been during face-to-face meetings in actual real life environments. I'm not talking about meeting fans at book events. Those are great too, and I've made a lot of wonderful connections there as well. I'm referring to parties and gatherings that have nothing to do with books, where I've been invited simply because I know someone or my wife knows someone. Allow me to explain.

 

I'm not a "mingler" by nature. I'm a wallflower to the nth degree. Fortunately my wife could literally write a book on the topic of meeting strangers and engaging them in meaningful conversations. And, like a good publicist would do, she has a way of turning every conversation to my books. That leads to questions that land squarely in my wheelhouse: writing and publishing. Before the conversation is done, I always offer to give them a copy of one of my books. They are happy to accept. It's a free book after all. Most of the time, I don't have books with me, so arrangements are made to get a book to them at a later time.

 

To date, every instance of this happening over the years has paid off in various ways. I've gained beta readers out of the exchange. I've received friend requests on Facebook from others connected to these strangers because they become wonderful advocates for my books. In addition, I've received speaking engagements and even an invitation to a book launch party for another author. All of these are invaluable steps to building my own brand.

 

The lesson here is to mingle in real life whenever the opportunity presents itself. If you're a wallflower like me, attach yourself to "minglers." There really isn't a substitute for face-to-face connections.

 

-Richard

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

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Read It Forward

Marketing Tip: Reach Out to Book Clubs

 

 

4,772 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, social_media
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

10 Types of Blog Posts for Writers to Increase Traffic - Nostrovia! Poetry

How to boost your blog traffic with topics people want to read.          

                                                    

Brand Yourself and Make More Money as a Multi-Book Author - The Future of Ink

Nina Amir reveals how authors can grow a long tail.    

 

Film

                                                        

How to Achieve Your Filmmaking Goals Fast - Filmmaking Stuff

The first rule of the Filmmaking Club is to set a deadline for completion.    

                                          

Independent Filmmaking - No Limits for Filmmakers - NoHo Arts District

With no investors to set limits, taking risks is almost an imperative.    

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How Engaged Are You with Your Audience? - Creative Edge Music

Engaging your fans on your own website or blog gives you control of your brand.

 

How to Get More Gigs as a Guitarist -Ashley J. Saunders

Give them what they want, and the gigs will follow.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- May 30, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- May 23, 2014

2,157 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: website, filmmaking, independent_film, author_brand, music_production, target_audience, music_branding, author_tips, website_traffic
0

Make Your Own Rules

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 4, 2014

Here are some of my rules for writing:

 

  1. The first line of a novel should be short, the shorter the better.
  2. Warts are much more interesting than beauty marks. The more flaws the character has the more I like him or her.
  3. No character is safe from tragedy, and no character owns all the good fortune.
  4. Keep yourself out of the story as much as possible. When a character shares some of your personal views, it's only because it serves the story, not because you are trying to make a point.
  5. Make your own rules.

 

 

That last rule is the only one you should follow of the ones I've listed. I see authors of note divulging their personal writing rules from time to time, and I find them all fascinating. I like to see how other writers go about creating fictional worlds. It's educational, and there are times I will see something that I want to incorporate into my own writing philosophy. But, I don't force a rule at the expense of my own creative process.

 

 

Rules are just that, instruments for tapping into that creative spirit residing within each and every author. For me to think that my rules can fulfill the requirements of inspiring your creative center is foolish. These guidelines I follow are what get my motor started. That doesn't mean you can't learn from the way I do things or any other writer for that matter. Just don't ditch what works for you because other authors don't follow your path.

 

 

So, what is your path? List your top five rules for writing.

 

 

-Richard

 

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




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My Writing Rules, Which You are Free to Ignore      

Be a Rule-breaker

2,352 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, drafts, writing_process, craft, creative_writing, writing_rules
3

No matter who publishes our books, we authors typically write our own bios, especially those that go on our websites, LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages, and so on. I read a lot of them that begin something like this:

 

  • Jane Doe is a nurse that always wanted to write a book, so one day she decided to go for it...

 

  • John Smith was having trouble getting his manuscript noticed by traditional publishers, but he isn't a person that backs away from a challenge, so he chose the indie route and has had great success...

 

  • Jane Doe is a licensed therapist that works with people of all ages to help them manage post-traumatic stress disorder...

 

These are all compelling statements, but unfortunately they also contain a common grammatical mistake: They use THAT when they should be using WHO. The error immediately jumps out at me, and unfortunately it makes me wonder if their book is also filled with grammatical errors.

 

To clarify the difference, WHO refers to people. THAT refers to things.

 

Here's how each of the above should read:

 

  • Jane Doe is a nurse who always wanted to write a book, so one day she decided to for it...

 

  • John Smith was having trouble getting his manuscript noticed by traditional publishers, but he isn't a person who backs away from a challenge, so he chose the indie route and has had great success...

 

  • Jane Doe is a licensed therapist who works with people of all ages to help them manage post-traumatic stress disorder...

 

As I've said many times in this blog, if your marketing materials have grammatical errors in them, it creates a negative impression of your writing, no matter how great your writing may actually be. Do you make the who/that mistake in your bio or other marketing materials? If so, a simple fix can make a big difference!

 

-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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Why Good Grammar Matters

They Should Have Paid Attention in English Class

2,696 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writers, writing, grammar_tip
2

Recently, I wrote a post encouraging indie authors to get excited about publishing a novel, or novels as the case may be. Any way you slice it, it's a huge accomplishment, and copious amounts of celebratory fervor are warranted.

 

Want another reason to celebrate? Look no further than your readers. The very people who give their time to read your book(s), are more than enough reason to get out your dancing shoes and thank the powers of your choosing for bringing them into your life. Something you created was read by other human beings. That's so cool, it's inspiring.

 

I don't care if you've heard from one reader or a thousand; it's something to get excited about. Not too long ago, writers had limited options when it came to finding readers. The publishing industry was funnel shaped with a herd of writers trying to find their way through a narrow passageway to the market. Only a relative few made it through to the other side.

 

You live in an age where that funnel has been converted into a bridge open to anyone with a completed manuscript. Those readers that were only accessible to a few are now accessible to us all. Thank the stars above for those readers. Reach out to them and let them know that you understand how special they are, and you appreciate the time they've devoted to reading your novel.

 

So, just as you celebrated the publication of your novel, celebrate the readers, both actual and potential. Get excited about all those readers you now have access to.

 

-Richard

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

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Supporting Indie Authors

Recognize Your Readers

1,997 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers, writing, promotions
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Using SlideShare for Marketing Fiction and Non-Fiction Books - The Creative Penn

Is video not your thing? Never fear, SlideShare is here!         

                                                    

The Infinite Sadness of Unfinished Work - Catherine, Caffeinated

Making a commitment and setting a deadline to complete those unfinished manuscripts.     

 

Film

                                                        

Filmmakers Need to Focus More on Story, Less on Technology - Daily Sundial

Using the latest and greatest industry toy will never take the place of creating a solid story.   

                                          

Three Tips on How to Find Your Target Audience - Filmmaking Stuff

Knowing your audience can help you make a better movie.      

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

House Concerts: How to Make $25K in 2 Months with Shannon Curtis - Part 1 - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

An interesting new business model for bands.

 

Why Eye Language Matters to Your Voice - Judy Rodman

It isn't just acting that's in the eyes.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- May 23, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- May 16, 2014

2,034 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: promotion, writer, nonfiction, promotions, musicians, filmmakers, target_audience, writing_timelines, music_industry, concerts, musci_marketing
1

The Honesty Brand

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 29, 2014

It's time for me to drop a reminder that building an author brand isn't really that difficult. I think that some indie authors get so bogged down by brand-building strategies that they forget what it is they're trying to build. Before you read any further, it might be helpful if you take a few minutes to look at yourself in the mirror.

 

I'm going to assume that you did as suggested and simply say that the person who was looking back at you just now is your brand. You are your brand. There's no manufactured image behind your brand. There's no set of steps you have to go through in order to create your brand. There's no team of marketing gurus that are going to instruct you on how to dress and how to behave in a certain way in order to project a brand that people will embrace and follow.

 

It's just you, and the only thing you want to project in order to have a successful brand is a comfort with who you are, and the best way to do that is to not try and be something you're not. Don't hitch your image to trends you don't believe in or a point of view you think is popular. Your best tool to building an author brand is honesty. You don't manufacture honesty.

 

There is no need to make this complicated. Just be yourself. If you never stray from that strategy, you'll put out a consistent message over time. That consistency will attract friends and followers. Those friends and followers will buy your books. All because you were just being you.

 

-Richard

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

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Consider Advertising Your Book Locally

Do Awards Help Authors Sell Books?

2,399 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: book_marketing, branding, author_brand, brand_identity, author_tips
0

I recently received a tweet that left me scratching my head. A woman tweeted (to me, not to the world), a photo of herself holding a book. There was no accompanying note, no greeting or explanation, nothing. And she wasn't holding up one of my books, so it clearly wasn't a fan tweet.

 

Huh?

 

I tweeted back asking if she'd forgotten to include a message with the photo. She replied that she was an author and thought I might want to read her book.

 

That's all she wrote.

 

Again, huh?

 

Book marketing takes a lot of work, and I commend any author who makes the effort to get the word out, but it's important to make sure that your efforts make sense to the person on the receiving end of your outreach. The woman in question clearly took the time to send me a personalized tweet, but unfortunately her effort fell flat because it was so generic that I had to assume she'd sent the same thing to anyone and everyone she could find on Twitter. She also gave me the impression that she lacks common sense because when I replied to her and gave her the chance to explain, she didn't even tell me what her book was about or why she had contacted me about it.

 

When you set out to promote your book, make sure to provide the people you're contacting with context for why you're getting in touch. And if you're reaching out to fellow authors, it helps to let them know that you've either bought their books or plan to very soon. We all need to pay the bills, right?

 

As I said in a recent post, it's always a good idea to put yourself in the recipient's shoes before you hit "send." No one wants to feel spammed.

 

-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: Know When to Be Concise

Marketing Tip: Use Text in Your Hyperlinks

2,099 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writers, promotions, tweet
0

The Mid-Novel Crisis

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 27, 2014

"What have I done?"

 

It's a phrase I utter often during the writing process. It usually first happens about midway through the first draft after the exhilaration of spawning a new idea gives way to the tedium of seeing that idea through to the end. I call it the mid-novel crisis.

 

I've talked with enough writers to know I'm not the only one to experience it. Turns out writing a novel is a bit like a relationship. There's that wonderful phase at the beginning where you're embraced by the warm light of euphoria. Nothing can go wrong. You write without restraint, marveling at how easily the story is coming to you. Then one day you wake up and there's a bit of struggle to get a few pages out. The subplot that you were counting on never really takes shape. The secondary characters aren't really adding anything to your story. But, you shrug it off and feel a sense of satisfaction that you've hung in there as long as you have. Tomorrow is another day.

 

The only thing is tomorrow brings more struggles, maybe even a little regret that you didn't pay more attention to the words that were pouring out of you the weeks before. You're paying for that reckless abandon now. Your free-wheeling ways have backed you into a character arc that's falling apart and a plot that is just plain blah. The thought of ditching the book altogether and starting a new one becomes a viable option, one you never thought possible in the beginning. How did it come to this?

 

Here's the thing. Writing a book isn't a relationship that will sour if you set it aside for a while. There's no danger that a story will leave you if you stop paying attention to it. I know the panic that sets in at the mid-novel crisis point. It's not real. It only feels real because you're pressing. So, take a break from the story if you're just not feeling it anymore. Start your other book. I think what you'll find is when you step away from a book that's not working anymore, your mind will give rise to solutions that eluded before.

 

-Richard

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

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The Moral of the Story

The Micro Story Challenge

2,062 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Tend Your Garden - A Newbies Guide to Publishing

Your success depends on how active you are in your publishing career.       

                                       

The 5 Essential Story Ingredients - Writer's Digest

You're going to have to acclimate yourself to crisis and escalation in order to make a discovery and change.     

 

Film

 

"The Enemy of Art Is the Absence of Limitations" & How Boxing Yourself in Will Help You Develop the Best Story Idea - Noam Kroll

Following strict rules can give you the freedom to be more creative.   

 

How Your Face Changes in Different Lighting - Pixel Bark

Are your actors ready for their close up? Here's a video that demonstrates how lighting can make all the difference.      

                                    

Music

 

Tumblr Marketing for Musicians - Musician Coaching.com

Tumblr's Music Evangelist Nate Auerbach discusses how musicians are using the social networking site to build their brand.

 

Indie Label Advice from the Great Escape 2014 - Hypebot.com

Indie label advice that can be applied to indie artists.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- May 16, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- May 9, 2014

1,881 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, music, filmmaking, production, promotion, writers, publishing, films, creativity, music_marketing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, lighting, creative_writing, music_label, film_production
9

Read It Forward

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 21, 2014

Have you read a good book lately? How about a good book by an indie author? I'll admit to not having read enough indie books. It's a serious shortcoming that I'm not proud of. I am an indie author – I should be participating as a reader in the same arena where I participate as a writer.

 

We, as indie authors, have a responsibility to build up the indie market's reputation. I don't mean we should shower each other with false praise and disingenuous hype; I mean we should wade through the indie offerings and showcase those gems we stumble upon, just as we would a book in the traditional publishing world. We need to make the indie market a story-worth-reading friendly environment.

 

If we aren't good citizens of our own indie world, how can we expect the average reader to embrace us? The more indie books of exceptional quality that we shine a light on, the bigger the readership grows for all of us. In other words, if we read it forward, there will be big dividends for all indie authors.

 

In response to this post, I know the temptation will be to pepper the comments and retweets with a plug for your own book. It's a natural response. I get it, but I'm going to encourage you not to do that. Instead, start the read-it-forward ball rolling by plugging an indie book written by someone other than you. Give us a gem that you, as a reader, think is worthy of recommending. If we make such recommendations a habit, we all benefit and reap the rewards.   

 

-Richard

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

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A Basket Full of Books

Supporting Indie Authors

3,707 Views 9 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, promotion, writers, independent_publishing, reading, craft, branding, marketing_ideas, indie_authors
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