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Welcome to a new year. You have twelve months in front of you to gradually step up your branding activity. Let this be the year that you commit to building your brand. To make it easy on yourself, start by increasing your presence on Facebook. In my opinion, Facebook is better suited for people who aren't necessarily comfortable with the concept of social networking. Why? It allows you to expand your interactions beyond bite-sized communications. There are character restrictions on wall postings, but you're allotted more than enough space to convey your thoughts. In other words, you won't have to shorthand your brand.

 

How do you use Facebook to build your brand? Here are three actions you can take every day to do just that:

 

1. Update your status - Too many authors join Facebook and either let the account sit dormant or only comment on someone else's status. Try initiating the conversation. There are a few ways to do so and none of them are too taxing. I will often post a link to an interesting article on my wall or a link to my own blog. I frequently post status updates that have to do with writing or my books. I've seen authors ask for reviews or post reminders that their book would make a great gift. I'm not sure that's the best strategy, but posting about your latest review or your favorite e-mail from a fan is something you would share with a friend, so it's appropriate for Facebook.

 

2. Engage - Initiating the conversation doesn't mean you should ignore other members' status updates or comments on your status updates. Engage your friends. The true power of social networking is the give and take between author and reader. When you engage a reader on Facebook, you're likely raising that reader's level of commitment to spreading the word about your book.

 

3. Friend invitations - You're on Facebook, but does anyone know? Do you have a link on your blog? Is it in your e-mail signature? Do you tell people you meet at parties or other social gatherings to "friend" you on Facebook? You should be building your friend base at every opportunity. The more friends you have, the bigger your word of mouth campaign becomes.

 

There you have it - three easy steps that you can take every day to build your brand via Facebook. Once you develop the habit of incorporating these steps into your everyday routine, I think you'll find that it doesn't take that much time out of your day, and it's actually fun.

 

-Richard

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

 


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Branding 101: Tools for Branding

Email Signatures: What's In a Name?

2,673 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, promotion, facebook, promotions, branding
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Sometimes what holds us up during the writing process is not so much the next step in the story, but the best way to say it. So often it comes down to one word that perfectly embodies what you're trying to convey and you just...can't...remember...it. The whole story might grind to a halt as you run through the alphabet in an attempt to kick the word to the front of your memory.

 

One helpful resource for this problem is a website called OneLook Reverse Dictionary. It's not all that accurate and it usually takes the vague "it sounds like..., but not quite like..." parameters a bit too literally, but I usually wind up finding my way, if not to the word itself, to something that works just as well.

 

Another solution is flashcards. I know this sounds somewhat collegiate, but a little brain boost once in a while can do wonders for one's vocabulary. And you don't have to walk around with a pack of 3 x 5 index cards in your back pocket, either. If you have a smart phone, you can download the application for both Dictionary.com and Dictionary.com Flashcards.

 

Dictionary.com is great for writers because, if you allow it to send you push notifications, a new word will pop up on your phone daily. When you click on it, you can scroll through to the Spanish Word of the Day, The Question of the Day (ex: "What is the etymology of asparagus?") and a daily discussion on words and grammar.

 

Then there's the flashcards feature. Say you're sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic or you're waiting for someone to show up for dinner, get home from work, etc. Just pick a flashcard category and bulk up on your personal lexicon. While the flashcard topics change on a daily basis, all of the decks are stored online and you can access past collections at any time. Some recent flashcard categories include "Adjectives to Charm Your Instructor" with words such as ebullient, phlegmatic, and perspicacious; and "Confusable Combinations that are Almost Cruel," which pairs commonly confused words such as essay and assay, estate and ansate, and axis and accent.

 

Once you study your cards, you can quiz yourself to see how many words you've retained and how quickly you can remember their definitions. Not only will your new verbal skills help you sound like the professional wordsmith that you know you are, it will increase your perspicacity on the page.

 

And that brings us to this week's exercise:

 

What a word

 

Take a moment to learn a new word and see how many ways you can use it in a day. Use it in an e-mail, work it into a casual conversation, or write a sentence with it. By repeatedly using the word in its correct context, you have a better chance of retaining it and ultimately you'll spend less time fumbling for words during crucial moments of inspiration.

 

- Kristin

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Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.


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WordPlay: The Rum Runners' Retreat

Don't Be Afraid to Use Pronouns!

3,199 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, author, writers, writing, craft, screenwriting
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice, and opinions from around the virtual globe.


Books/Publishing


The Persistence of the Author Brand - Writer's Digest

Is publishing frequently a good marketing strategy?


So Where Do You Get Your Ideas? - Huffington Post

Warren Adler examines the one question every author gets.


Film


Plot Holes and the Icebox Syndrome - a MOON Brothers film

Hitchcock deliberately left subtle plot holes in his films to inspire speculation, resulting in people seeing the film again to look for clues they may have missed the first time.   


The Adventures of Spielberg: An Interview - The New York Times

An interesting interview with one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of film. 


Music


How to Build an Effective Google+ Brand Strategy - Mashable

Britney Spears is the first to reach 1 million followers on Google+. What can you do to catch up? 


Speaking with Vocal Fry: Danger!! - Judy's Blog

Are you fatiguing your voice when you engage in conversations with a gravely/hoarse voice?


-Richard


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


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Weekly News Roundup - December 23, 2011

Weekly News Roundup - December 16, 2011

1,442 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, music, music, film, film, author, author, newsletter, newsletter
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Between You and ME

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 29, 2011

Last week, I discussed the importance of using pronouns. This week, I'd like to address the importance of using the correct pronouns. One particular - and extremely common - pronoun error that drives me crazy is the misuse of I.


At some point, most children get chastised for using the pronoun "me" instead of "I." For example, a little kid might announce that "Me and Lisa are going to the park!" and in response, a horrified mother will shout "You wouldn't say ME am going to the park!" Getting kids to think about pronoun use this way drills into their heads that the format of "Lisa and I are going to the park" is correct.


However, it's not always correct to use "I."


When a pronoun is the object of a verb (e.g. I saw him) or comes after a preposition (e.g. I gave the ball to him), it's called an object pronoun. If the pronoun is the subject of the verb (e.g. He saw me), it's called a subject pronoun. "I," "he," "she," "we," and "they" are subject pronouns. "Me," "him," "her," "us," and "them" are object pronouns.


The problem is that some people who don't understand grammatical rules think they should always use "I" or "he" or "she," etc. This is why, for example, we have public figures who occasionally say things in their speeches such as "This is a great year for you and I," or "Thank you for giving my wife and I this opportunity."


This is wrong.


You would never say "This is a great plan for I" or "Thank you for giving I this opportunity," would you? Of course not. So if you find the rules confusing and still aren't sure which pronoun to use, follow your mom's advice and cut out the extra person or people in the sentence. Then you'll know what's right!


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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More Grammar Pet Peeves!

The Plural of Book Is Not Book's

1,812 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, author, writers, writing, grammar
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The following steps usually occur after I finish the initial draft of a manuscript:


  • I celebrate by taking a nap.
  • I print off a copy of the manuscript.
  • I drive to a coffee shop with the manuscript.
  • I start reading the manuscript while sipping a four dollar coffee.
  • I read a passage that doesn't make any sense to me. It's as if a random thought leapt from my brain and landed onto the page.


After some consternation, I eventually remember what I was originally trying to accomplish with the passage, and I beat myself up for not pursuing that particular train of thought. Dropping a subplot is bound to happen in a story that contains tens of thousands of words.


The problem is what to do with the dead-ended subplots. I don't recommend leaving them in the book, because I'm not a fan of random events that lead nowhere. On the other hand, some consider them the equivalent of Hitchcock's MacGuffin strategy in his movies. He would introduce a random shot into the film to lead the audience to believe that it's integral to the storyline, when in actuality it's meaningless. For example, in North by Northwest, the camera pans down to focus on a matchbook on a table. Hitchcock wants us to believe that the matchbook is a significant clue, but we never see or hear about it again.


In my opinion, MacGuffins, or randomness, don't work in books. In most cases, books are a huge investment of time and there's a much more intimate relationship between a reader and a good book compared to a viewer and a two-hour movie. Readers don't want to be fooled by a plot device on page sixty only to discover three hundred pages later when they finish the book that the device didn't mean anything. They will feel cheated.


That being said, don't completely dismiss that random subplot that went nowhere in your book. Write it down on an index card, stick it on the wall in your office, and use it for your next book. Recycling won't just save the planet. It could save you a lot of time the next time you're trying to come up with a storyline.


-Richard

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


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WordPlay: Putting Your Worst Foot Forward

The Great American Novel

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Writer's block got you down? Why not fire up some neurons with a quick creative exercise? Take a moment to read through the following writing prompt and then share your ideas for the next part of the tale:


There's nothing special about the house itself: two small bedrooms and a living room that merges with a functional kitchen. The wide porch features a couple of rocking chairs and a rope hammock gray with age. No, there's nothing special about the house, but the view - it stands on one of the few bluffs on a generally flat coastline, and the slight lift affords the ocean-facing front a breathtaking view of brackish creeks, tri-tone marsh grass, and the sparkling surface of the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. A thin dock like a crack in a canvas scrawls through the estuary to a nearby creek.


You're here for the weekend because you stumbled across an incredible deal on the rental. For less than the cost of one night in a two-star hotel, this small estate and heart-stopping view are yours for three whole days.


"But why?" you ask the realtor when you swing by to pick up the keys. She shrugs. "Because for some reason, a lot of the locals think it's haunted."


That comment sticks with you as you drive out to the property. Where before the cabin looked cozy and quaint, it now seems lonely and distant on its solitary slope. You toss your keys on the kitchen table and poke around the few knick knacks scattered around the main room. Tucked between some tattered copies of summer beach reads you find something unusual: a thin volume on the history of rum runners. On skimming through the first chapter, you find that this cabin was built near one of the most notorious smuggling hubs of the rum runners' heyday. There was even rumor of a well-known bluff, underneath which the runners would hide their liquid gold treasure until it was safe to transport up the coast.


The information sinks in as the sun sets in autumn hues on the distant sea. There's not much else to do but tuck in for the night, which you do, shoving thoughts of ghosts and rum runners to the back of your mind until tomorrow. You sleep soundly until a sudden noise snaps you out of bed. It sounds like a bang, like wood cracking against a hard surface. Curious and startled, you slip into the living room and see nothing; but there's a strange glow emanating from the spot where the bluff cuts sharply down to the marsh. You creep closer to the window and a sudden movement catches your eye. At first it looks like nothing more than a wisp of smoke, but as it trails away, a dark form begins to take shape...


What do you see? What do you think is taking place on the far side of the bluff? Write a short paragraph starting with the line, "I couldn't quite make out the details..."


-Kristin

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Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.


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WordPlay: A Casual Conversation

WordPlay: Gee, It's Cold

1,558 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, author, writers, writing, writer's_block
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In the past, I've suggested that authors give books away to build buzz. It's a strategy that is sometimes met with resistance because some authors see it as coming with double costs. First, there's the cost of the actual books; we may get books at a deeply discounted rate, but it's still money out of our pockets. The second is that we feel like we're losing a sale since we're giving a book away for free. I won't argue that both of these costs do exist or at least potentially exist when you give a book away. But I am still a proponent of this tactic.


It may sound counterintuitive, but giving a book away can lead to more sales, and more importantly, it can add another "mouth" to your word-of-mouth campaign. Giving a signed book to a reader is a big deal because it demonstrates a strong commitment to your fan base that can result in creating the kind of brand loyalty you're after. Here are three examples of how giving away my young adult books for free has led to building my fanbase:


  1. Years ago, a teacher sent me an email telling me a student read one of my books and talked about it so much in class that the other kids wanted to know where to get a copy. I asked for her school's address, signed twenty-five copies, and shipped them to her the next day. She's included my books on her list of recommended reads for the semester ever since.
  2. I gave a presentation at a middle school not long ago, and after the presentation I gave away fifty books to the people in attendance (parents, teachers, and students). I acquired more than a dozen new Facebook friend requests over the next few days from people who attended that presentation. Periodically, I get messages from some of them asking me when I'll be releasing my next book.
  3. I gave a single book away to a woman at a party when I found out she was a teacher. Three months later, she contacted me to be a featured speaker at her school. I brought books to give out to the kids, and I made a return trip the next year.

1

-Richard


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


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Grab Readers' Attention with Your Hook

Evaluating Your Author Brand

1,878 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, book, book, author, author
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing


'Amazing Adventures of Kavalier And Clay' To HBO? Stephen Daldry Wants To Adapt Michael Chabon Novel - Huffington Post

This is an interesting read on HBO's strategy to adapt novels into a series or mini-series. Are books a natural fit for episodic television?


How I Became a Best-Selling Author - Yahoo! Finance

Celebrate the holiday season by reading an inspiring story about a self-published author making it big.


Film


Puttnam on Scriptwriters - Projector Films

Producer Lord David Puttnam encourages writers and filmmakers to remember that audiences deserve to be awestruck.


Your Film Is Not Special - Film Courage

Filmmaker Richard Purves explains why you can't afford any half measures when putting together your script and ultimately your film.


Music


How Musicians Use Facebook [Infographic] - Hypebot.com

See what the top 250 musicians on Facebook are doing to promote their music.


Numb/Lifeless Singing: 9 Causes and Cures - Judy's Blog

A nine-step program to find your vocal soul.


-Richard


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


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Weekly News Roundup - December 16, 2011

Weekly News Roundup - December 9, 2011

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Imagine you're having coffee with your friend, Julie, and she says "Oh my gosh, I have the funniest story to tell you about that guy John I've been seeing!" You smile and sip your pumpkin spice latte, ready to listen.


Then imagine that Julie begins her story like this (read aloud for full effect):


"I knocked on John's door, and when John opened it, he smiled and gave me a hug. Then John asked me to come in, so I did. John and I sat down on his couch, and then John asked me if I'd like anything to drink. I said sure, so John poured us each a glass of red wine. Then John took my hand and said he had something important to tell me."


If you were Julie's friend, by this point you'd probably be wondering less about the story and more about what was wrong with her, because NO ONE TALKS LIKE THAT. We already know that her date's name is John, so after the first reference we expect her to use the pronouns "he" and "him" to refer to him.


Unfortunately, many first-time authors act like Julie, i.e., they don't use enough pronouns in their writing. Instead they use a character's name over and over, both in dialogue and narrative, often multiple times in the same paragraph. It's distracting and annoying, and it's not good writing. Readers are smart, so respect them!


Read some of your own writing out loud. Does it sound like Julie? Remember, we have pronouns for a reason, so don't be afraid to use them!


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 


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Look Who's Talking

Just Say It!

15,711 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, book, book, author, author, writers, writers, writing, writing
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Discipline to Write

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 21, 2011

I talked to a friend the other day who is not a writer. The discussion eventually turned to the topic because he asked me the standard question writers get regularly from friends and family: "How's the writing going" The question led to a discussion about my books, and then he said the other thing friends and family say about writing: "I have this great idea for a book, but I could never write it." Before I asked him what the idea was, I asked him why he couldn't write it. "I don't have that kind of discipline," he said.


After we discussed his idea, I told him he'd obviously given it a lot of thought, and I could tell he was excited by the idea. I thought it was a shame that he was going to let a little thing like lack of discipline keep him from writing the book. He gave me a perfunctory maybe and switched topics.


I sent him an email later that outlined how I developed the discipline to write a novel. I told him I slowly took up the practice of writing and harnessed the discipline authors are known for. I had an idea and wrote a few pages. Every so often, I came back to the story and wrote a little more. Four years later, I had half the book written. It wasn't until I shared what I had written with someone that the writing kicked into high gear, and I took the next year to finish the book. By the time I had typed "The End," I had an idea for another book, which took me about two years to write. The next one took me a year. The third one took me nine weeks to write. I now write a complete novel every year, with three or four others in various stages of development.


Yes, writing a novel takes discipline, but discipline takes time to develop. You aren't expected to crank out a bestseller in 30 days your first time out. Allow yourself the time to get your writer's legs without beating yourself up for not going fast enough. Every time you think you'll never finish, tell yourself it doesn't really matter if you finish or not. Relax. The discipline will come as long as you keep moving toward the goal. How quickly you get there isn't the issue. Just get there in your own time.


What's been your experience with honing your discipline as a writer?


-Richard

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

 

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How to Set SMART Writing Goals

SOLVED: The Outlining vs. Organic Writing Debate

1,857 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, author, writers, writing, craft
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Dialogue. All you have to do is write down what one person would say to the other in a conversation. Sounds easy, right? But like most aspects of writing, "simple dialogue" usually takes a lot more thought and consideration than you might think.


What we hear and what is actually said are often two entirely different things. Just ask anyone you held a conversation with today, or even someone you shared words with a few minutes ago. They'll most likely give you a summary of the conversation, or when pressed to repeat what you said word for word, they'll probably either jumble it up or give you a few choice words of their own.


It's all about perception and reality. We hear what people mean, but the way in which they say it can be difficult to capture, making it much harder to write a "true" conversation. Those who are able to depict a true conversation, however, are more likely to draw their readers into their dialogue and thus more deeply into their stories.


Take, for example, this introductory dialogue:


"Hi! How are you doing?"
"I am fine, thank you. And yourself?"


If two of your characters are meeting for a casual dinner and you want them to greet each other at the table, you might write something along the lines of what's written above. But is that what they would really say?


"Hey, David! Long time no see."
"Bob! Good Lord, I haven't seen you in a dog's age. How're things holding up?"


This dialogue sounds a little more realistic. It's a lot less stiff and formal. Instead of two cardboard cutouts for characters, we have two men who apparently have an amiable history together, and one could even guess that the second character comes from somewhere in or near the country due to his use of the "dog's age" colloquialism. The biggest difference between the two examples is not just the use of names and a kitschy phrase, but the structure itself. The first dialogue is written in full sentences with complete words. The second more closely mimics speech by utilizing the human tendency to speak in sentence fragments and contractions. And that brings us to this week's exercise:


Exercise: In your own words


Take the following dialogue and re-write it in a way that you feel these two people would actually talk. Need some inspiration? Find a public place like a park, coffee shop, restaurant, or even a mall and just take a moment to listen. Don't be afraid to elaborate by describing the characters' movements, location, etc.


D1: "Why do you stay here? Why do you not go back to America? Did you do something illegal? I would like to think that you did something illegal; it makes it more interesting."

D2: "Maybe I did. Maybe I did more than one illegal thing."

D1: "But what brought you to this country?"

D2: "I have not been very well. I came here for the waters."

D1: "What waters? We are in the middle of the desert."

D2: "Someone did not give me very accurate information."

 

-Kristin

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Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.

 

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WordPlay: Challenging Your Perspective

WordPlay: A Strange Note

2,496 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, book, book, book, book, book, author, author, author, author, author, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, screenwriting, screenwriting, screenwriting, screenwriting, screenwriting
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Whether you're independently or traditionally published, your best chance to succeed in today's publishing world is for you as the author to take control of your marketing efforts. Gone are the days when authors were flown from coast to coast on someone else's dime, making TV appearances and doing dozens of highly attended in-store book signings. Instead, we live in a world that has turned virtual and more brand-centric than ever before when it comes to selling books. You have to take control of your brand with an almost fierce sense of independence to give yourself the opportunity to have a long and fulfilling career as an author.


In the spirit of taking that control, I regularly scan the Internet in search of marketing information for authors. I'm constantly on the hunt for the latest developments on the topic. Therefore, I was pleased when CreateSpace introduced Marketing Central, which includes original articles and links to articles on the web about the many phases and incarnations of book promotions. As they say themselves:


At your fingertips, you'll find a variety of free marketing information and resources to help you get started and take control of your path to successfully promoting your book.


Marketing Central features articles from some of your favorite CreateSpace expert contributors, including Joel Friedlander, Brian Jud, and Maria Murnane. In addition, it's also a place to peruse links to various other marketing-related features like success stories, blog posts, and genre-specific strategies. Think of it as a destination for marketing information to get you started with strategy and planning. I expect that even more resources will be added in the future as the industry evolves and new methodologies for branding authors emerge.


Resources like these will help get you on the right path to marketing your book. It's time to take control and start building your brand!


-Richard

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


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Marketing Based on Content

Shoot For the Stars: How to Get Testimonials for Your Book

1,862 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotions, promotions, promotions, branding, branding, branding, marketing_central, marketing_central, marketing_central
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.


Books/Publishing


To Be Successful, Do You Need to Compete? - Huffington Post

Is better to compete with or endorse your fellow authors?


What Exactly is Marilynne Robinson Saying About Criticism? - Los Angeles Times

How does a critically acclaimed author feel about the state of criticism in literature today?


Film


Our Own Worst Enemies - The New York Times

Villains in movies seem to be trending towards the person in the mirror instead of the evil maniac in the shadows.


Cartoons and Moviemaking - a MOON Brothers film

David Lynch makes the argument that young filmmakers could learn a lot from watching cartoons.


Music


Strategy vs. Tactics for Musicians - Pampelmoose

Post-punk rocker Dave Allen has turned his talents to promotion and marketing for musicians. Hear what he has to say about strategy vs. tactics.  


Two Questions That Can Help You Sell More Music & Merchandise - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Both questions center on musicians listening to their fans.


-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 9, 2011

Weekly News Roundup - December 2, 2011

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Public speaking is a wonderful way to get the word out about your book. However, you'd be surprised at how much advanced planning is involved in setting up even the smallest of events. Coordinating with a local book club or business group could take months, and major conferences select their speakers up to a year in advance!


If you want to secure speaking engagements, you need to start way ahead of time. Before you start your outreach, you should create brief yet compelling descriptions about yourself, your book, and the topic(s) on which you can speak. Include a professional headshot and cover art of your book. If you have any testimonials from individuals or organizations that have heard you speak, include those as well. Save this document as your "speaking bio" and update it regularly with anything impressive about you or your book, e.g. awards, press mentions, or other organizations to which you have spoken.


Next up is outreach. In last week's post, I stressed the importance of tracking your marketing efforts, so if you took my advice and have already created a marketing spreadsheet, that's one less thing on your to-do list. As you begin your research and outreach, keep track of each organization you contact (or plan to contact) with enough detail to refresh your memory the next time you visit the document. The purpose of the tracking document is to keep you from reinventing the wheel, so be sure to note relevant information, which can vary for each organization.


As you go, you'll probably receive multiple replies along the lines of "We'd love to have you speak at [name of conference/event/club/etc. here], but we're all booked," so you'll quickly learn the importance of starting early. But that's okay! There's always next time, and you've already done the research for that particular organization. Plus, each time you reach out, you're not only networking, but also making contact with a potential reader - and that never hurts.


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Keep Track of Your Successes

Keep Your Chin Up!

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Rethinking History

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 14, 2011

If you're banging your head against the wall on what your next novel should be, how about a little historical fiction? Okay, not exactly historical fiction. It's more like "alternate history" fiction. Stephen King's latest novel, 11/22/63, is an example of how an author known for genre fiction approaches the concept. Philip Roth's book "The Plot Against America" is also an excellent example of how an author known for contemporary literature tackles alternate history.


If it sounds daunting, allow me to make a case for writing in this genre. Books based on historical events do require fairly extensive research, but the process of outlining a historical novel is much easier. After all, you're just retelling events that have already happened using some creative license. A book that takes a historical event and spins it in a different direction to create "alternate history" also gives you a built-in outline, but in a very different way. You're basically taking known events that occurred after your historical event and creating counter-events to create your alternate history. The same amount of research is required, but now you're not just using some creative license, you're using a truckload of it.


The alternate history genre allows writers to use the "what if" question that is the seed for most books' plots and subplots, but now that seed is planted in more solid ground: an actual event. What if Lincoln survived that gunshot? What if Dewey won the presidency in 1948? What if America lost the Spanish-American War? There is an enormous database of historical events for you to choose from and ask that question, and then every subplot thereafter will begin with the same question.


You may find that writing an alternate history book is actually quite fun. You're reimagining a historical event and creating a whole new future. The possibilities are as vast as your imagination!


-Richard

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


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