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In 1958, the incomparable George Plimpton interviewed the equally incomparable Ernest Hemingway in the spring edition of the Paris Review. It's a fascinating interview, and I highly recommend it. There are a lot of great morsels of sage advice for writers. The most useful in my opinion is the following:

 

You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.

 

I found the advice so useful that I've incorporated it into my own routine. It was not easy to follow in the beginning. It turns out it takes as much discipline to stop writing as it does to start. There is a natural inclination to write until the well is dry. Having an idea and seeing it come alive on the page is an exhilarating feeling. It is energizing to experience the unfolding of a story.  In short, the creative process gets you jazzed. 

 

Stopping when you know what is going to happen next is a lot like slamming on the brakes when you're traveling at 100 miles per hour in a car hauling a heavy load. It just doesn't seem prudent. The first night I followed Hemingway's advice, I couldn't sleep. I felt as if the character I had left hanging in the middle of a dicey situation was standing at my bedside pleading with me to get up and finish the scene. I fought the urge until morning, and then hopped out of bed and wrote with an incredible vigor.

 

Over the weeks and months since incorporating this strategy, stopping has become easier, and I've learned to shut down long enough to get some much needed sleep. The enthusiasm to get back to the story is still there when I wake up. Hemingway's advice has worked for me, and if you're looking for a new approach to your writing routine, I highly recommend you give it a try. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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That Wise Old Doubt

When to Walk Away from a Story

3,895 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: editing, self-publishing, writers, writing, drafts, writing_process, craft
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Several posts back, I explained the concept of showing vs. telling by using the example of an online dating profile to demonstrate the difference. Today, I'd like to delve into a key reason why it's important to show and not tell your readers.

 

Being told is annoying!

 

I just read a novel by a world-famous author who has sold hundreds of millions of books around the world, which admittedly is hundreds of millions more than I have sold. However, despite her success and fame, I wanted to throw this particular novel out the window, and I might have done so had I not been on an airplane while reading it.

 

Here's what drove me nuts: Over and over, the author told me about the wonderful, loving, supportive relationships the protagonist enjoyed with her husband and daughter, often repeating herself as she did so – and by repeating herself I mean literally using the exact same phrases. If being told the relationships were wonderful, loving, and supportive wasn't irritating enough (there were no examples to show me, just descriptions to tell me), over and over the author repeated herself to make her point. Did I mention that over and over she repeated herself to make her point? Yep, over and over she repeated herself to make her point.

 

See how irritating that is?

 

In addition to the tediousness of reading the same thing page after page after page after page, the repetition made me feel as if the author thought I wasn't smart enough to "get it" the first time. But I am smart enough, and so are most readers. So take my experience to heart, and when you're writing your own novel, give your readers some credit, and let them figure things out for themselves. I suspect they'll appreciate you for doing so.

 

-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 and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Avoid Word Repetition

Writing Takes Discipline

2,637 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: writers, readers, writing, drafts, writing_process, craft, character_development, show_vs_tell
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You have readers, but do you have a volunteer sales force? Readers who enjoyed your books may want to be part of your word-of-mouth campaign, but you might not be giving them the tools to do so. Time to give them calls to action, which can elicit passive or active responses:

 

1. Invite Readers to Sign Up for Updates (Passive)

This call to action invites readers to sign up to learn more about you and your work. On your blog or website, you should have a highly visible button that directs them to an online form, email address, or social media group where they can sign up to receive updates from you. If they are part of a social media environment, you'll want to reach out frequently, even if it's just a quote of the day. If you've set up an email newsletter, your updates won't be as frequent, but you'll still be reaching them about author and/or book activity on a semi-regular basis.

 

This is a common practice in the world of marketing, so you're not reinventing the wheel. You're just enabling readers to continue connecting with you after they've closed your book.

 

2. Invite Readers to Spread the Word (Active)

This call to action is for readers you'd call "superfans." They're the ones who will sign up to spread the word about your books (your "street team," if you will). A call to action for them would be an invitation to join your word-of-mouth campaign.

 

These readers are your volunteer sales force, so give them information about how they can help. Making a personal appearance? Ask these fans to spread the word, particularly if they live in the area where you will be appearing. Released a new video book trailer? Ask your team to share it with their friends and followers. New book coming out? Tell them how they can help to get the word out. Your goal is to make it easy for those readers who want to be part of your team to take action.

 

Remember to regularly thank these superfans for their dedication. You could offer other rewards as well. Perhaps they could be beta readers for your next book, or you could offer them signed copies of your books. The point is to make them feel special for being part of your inner circle and helping you out.

 

One or both of these calls to action will give readers an opportunity to get more involved with you and your books. Have you given your fans that call to action?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Find Advocates with Free Books

The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

6,963 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, selling, writers, promotions, fans, social_media, marketing_strategy
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

5 Steps for Restarting Your Book Marketing Efforts after a Break -Duolit

What to do when building your brand has taken a backseat to living your life.

                                       

Goodreads for Authors with Patrick Brown -The Creative Penn

The director of author marketing and community manager at Goodreads shares some valuable insights for authors about the online community of readers.

 

Film

 

The New Marketing Model for Filmmakers - AdPulp.com

A look at the world of online media for filmmakers that goes beyond YouTube.

 

Equity Crowdfunding, a New Financing Opportunity for Independent Filmmakers - Filmlinker

Is this a viable new financing strategy for independent filmmakers?

                                    

Music

 

The War of Art: Resistance and the Music Producer - Renegade Producer

How to battle that little voice in your head that's trying to hold you back from taking chances.

 

How Streaming Affects Music Revenue Growth -Hypebot.com

Are the latest music streaming statistics signaling a growth in music revenue?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - September 6, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 30, 2013

2,923 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, marketing, book, music, self-publishing, indie, movies, writers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media, crowdsourcing
1

Good dialogue has a rhythm to it. As you read it, you can feel its flow. You can imagine the stops and starts, the highs and lows, the tonality and the emotion - and you can sense it all without the author telling you when the speaker is mad or happy or tired. All of that is in the rhythm of the dialogue.

 

In order to create that kind of rhythm, character development is of paramount importance. If you've put in the work of creating multidimensional characters and you've given the reader a real sense of what drives a character at any given moment, the reader will take that information, apply it to the dialogue and extrapolate the rhythm. 

 

Stephen King advises against the liberal use of "ly" words (adverbs). He feels that it shows timid writing that suggests an author lacks confidence in his or her own ability. Very often, these adverbs appear either before or after a line of dialogue. 

 

"Give me the money,"John said angrily. 

 

Jane cleared her throat and said nervously, "I don't have the money." 

 

Neither example is terrible, and taken out of context, the "ly" words are helpful. But within the body of a novel, where you've established that "John" in this example is prone to anger and has been searching for the money, it's unnecessary to tell the reader that he angrily asked for it. In addition, you may have established that "Jane" spent the money and has been dreading the moment she would be asked for it. The reader doesn't need to know that she nervously responded to John's demand.

 

Spend the time to develop your characters so you can ditch the adverbs and give your dialogue rhythm. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Use Adverbs Sparingly, Especially in Dialogue

What Do Your Characters Want?

5,184 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, author, writers, writing, craft, dialogue, grammar
0

When I was writing my first novel, I was so excited to see my own words on the page that I ended up with several scenes that didn't have much at all to do with the main plot. After I signed with an agent, she pointed out this tendency to wander and had me cut a lot. I mean, a LOT. It was painful to hit the delete key, but I realized she was right. (Click here to read my post on what to do with scenes you cut.)

 

When you're writing a novel, it's important to always keep the story moving forward. If you go off on tangents that have nothing to do with the plot or aren't going to somehow tie back into it later, your readers are going to get confused or bored, and they may stop reading entirely.

 

I recently finished reading a murder mystery that veered off in several directions with new characters who seemed interesting enough, but then they all disappeared and never wound their way back into the story. When the killer was revealed and the book was over, instead of feeling satisfied, I found myself scratching my head and thinking, "But what happened to that little blonde girl on the side of the road? And why didn't I find out what the deal was with that creepy truck driver guy? And where did that wise old lady from the restaurant go?"

 

It felt almost as if the author didn't finish writing the book. Having subplots can keep a novel interesting, but they need to keep the overall story moving forward. If they go nowhere, your story goes nowhere, and your readers might end up going somewhere else for their next book.

 

-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 and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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What Comes after the Conflict?

Overwriting? Just Say It!

5,673 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, plot, craft
2

Claim Your Genre

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 9, 2013

Have you fully embraced your genre? Have you established yourself as a go-to source in your genre? When a reader is looking for a reliable opinion or information about a book in your genre, is there a chance that reader will turn to you or stumble upon your brand because of your status as an expert or enthusiast?

 

If you answered no to one or more of the questions above, you might be selling yourself short and missing an opportunity to solidify your author brand. But don't worry - it's never too late to become a central figure in your selected genre. All you have to do is raise your profile. Here are a few suggestions to do just that.

 

  1. Review books in your genre - You are most likely an avid reader in the genre in which you write, and there are undoubtedly authors and books you love. Tell the world with a killer review. Share your opinions as if your brand depends on it.

  2. Review authors in your genre - You have a platform. Use that platform to showcase your favorite authors. You can do an email interview; set up a Skype interview; or if the author is nearby, grab your camera and head over to his or her writing spot to do an interview you can upload to a video sharing site.

  3. Turn your blog over to authors in your genre - Invite both new and established authors to do a guest post on your blog. Give them a theme to write about, provide them with a short introductory paragraph, and then let them do what they do best: write. Chances are they'll reciprocate. Authors who support one another tend to have more success.

 

Be that guy! Be the one readers look to for reliable information on your genre. If you increase the prominence of your brand in your genre, you raise both your own stature as an author and that of your books.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Expand Your Reach by Teaching

Make Your Brand Engaging

5,530 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotions, genre
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How Did I Get So Many Reviews Of 'Broken Pieces?' -BadRedHead Media

How one author managed to get more than 140 reviews for her indie title.    

                                       

Networking Tips for Shy Authors -The BookBaby Blog

A guide to take your networking from the virtual world to the real world.

 

Film

 

Creative Things to Do When an Actor Won't Return for a Sequel - Den of Geek

How do you do the sequel to your indie hit without the same actors?

 

Is Crowdfunding Changing the Game for Filmmakers? A Q&A with Spike Lee - Huffington Post

The legendary indie filmmaker looks at the changing world of film financing. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

The Game of Music Knowledge - The Musicians Guide

Are you making music career choices based on emotion or reason?

 

5 Tips on How to Get More Followers on Instagram -musicgoat.com

Lest we forget, Instagram can be a potent marketing tool. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 30, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 23, 2013

3,112 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, reviews, music, filmmaking, film, author, self-publishing, indie, movies, writers, writing, promotions, social_networking, musicians, filmmakers, branding, social_media
2

It's okay to walk away from a story. In fact, it may be good to walk away from a story. Writing is a hollow endeavor without perspective, and sometimes it's hard to gain that perspective when you're in the middle of constructing a story. Sure you're adding pages, and sure it feels like you're moving forward, but things aren't always what they seem.

 

I've had many times where I will shoot out of the gates with a story idea, and I will write for weeks and weeks feeling really good about where I'm going, but then things start to waver. I begin to harbor doubts about the story for which I once had so much passion. The premise no longer excites me. The character development seems uninspired, and the dialogue seems forced.  Instead of feeling uplifted when I sit down to write, I feel like I'm undertaking a pointless task.

 

What is an author to do when met with such drudgery? Personally, I have to walk away from the story. I leave it and move on to something else. Sometimes months will pass before I return to it, and I always seem to get back to it the same way. I'll recall that story out of the blue and wonder why my excitement waned. I'll open the file and start reading. What I find, more times than not, is that I was so entrenched with where I wanted to go with the story that I refused to see it any other way. By leaving it for a period of time, I let go of that set path and find a better way to proceed. I gain a new perspective, and my passion for the story returns.

 

If a story isn't working, leave it alone. Start writing something else. Give yourself a break from your own expectations of what a story should be. Don't be a victim of your ambitions. When you come back to the project, you will more than likely discover a fresh, more suitable path for the story you walked away from.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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That Wise Old Doubt

How to Get Through the First Draft

3,168 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, editing, writers, writing, drafts, development, craft
0

Having a newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with your readers, but you want to make sure it's something they look forward to and not just another addition to their already-full inboxes. Here are some suggestions for how to do it right:

 

  • DO use a professional newsletter program such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or other email marketing tools. MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, and Constant Contact's monthly fees are quite low. The programs are easy to use and allow you to insert logos and imagery consistent with your branding. They also allow people to subscribe (and unsubscribe) easily, which means that you have a real list of people who want to hear from you. I'm on a few blind-copy email lists that always end with "If you want me to take you off this mailing list, just let me know." I find that awkward because I don't want to be on the lists but also don't want to reply to the authors directly and ask to be removed, so I just mark them as spam.

 

  • DON'T automatically add everyone you meet to your mailing list. You can certainly tell me about it, and if I want to be on it I will subscribe, and if you want to be on mine, I hope you will do the same. In my opinion, adding people without their permission is unprofessional.

 

  • DO keep your newsletters short and sweet. One of my author friends has a bi-monthly newsletter that is always so long and text-heavy that I rarely get through the first paragraph. It's just too much! People are BUSY, so keep what you send them brief and to the point.

 

  • DON'T send too many. I attended a conference once where a speaker suggested sending two newsletters a week! I completely disagree. (I also didn't subscribe to her list because I didn't want to be flooded with messages.) I send about one a month so I have truly meaningful news to share.

 

-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 and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

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How to Connect with Your Readers

Looking for Marketing Tips? Here's What's Working for One Indie Author - and What Isn't

3,159 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, promotion, writers, branding, newsletter
1

We often speak of branding on this blog. Branding has been around as long as people have had things they've wanted to sell to other people. It's not a new concept. The invention of the Internet, however, has caused the idea of branding to spread into nearly every nook and cranny of society, and it's changed the way branding is done.

 

Engagement is your most powerful branding tool. It doesn't matter how active you are on your blog or on social media or whatever virtual medium in which you participate. If you're not engaging with your readers, you're not effectively branding.

 

I have an author friend on Facebook who is excellent at engaging his fan base. He does so by frequently asking his Facebook friends to help him with research for his latest book. His books contain military aspects, and he often needs to know proper policy and procedure in order to give his book authenticity. He invariably gets a dozen or so comments. The interesting thing is not all of them directly address his question; in fact, many of them are "can't wait for your next book" type comments.

 

I've conducted polls to engage readers. I've asked for opinions on cover design. I've even asked readers for feedback on career trajectory. I'm always pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic responses I get.

 

The Internet has taken the idea of branding from a corporate construct to a community project. Your community of readers wants to feel involved in your brand. They want to have ownership in your success. By actively engaging them, you are building a brand that doesn't just reflect you; it reflects your community of readers. Give them an opportunity to participate.

 

-Richard

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

 

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It's Not Just a Hobby, It's a Marketing Opportunity

Tips for Engaging Your Readers Online

3,968 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions, branding
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Test a New Idea or Concept? Experiment! -The Future of Ink

Creative business coach Laura West shares her ideas on how to properly test that crazy concept you just can't let go.                                           


6 Key Book Marketing Strategies for Authors -Marketing Tips for Authors

Do you have a newsletter?

 

Film

                                                        

Using Negative Space in Film - A Moon Brothers Film Blog

Oh, what to do with that empty space in your frame?

 

Check Out 7 Filmmaking Tips from Indie Film Icon Kevin Smith - No Film School

Should you be editing while you shoot?

                         

Music

 

How to Make Money with Your Music This Week - Bob Baker's The BuzzFactor.com

One band made more than $600 in one week with just one of Bob's ideas.

 

Avoid Vocal Cord Injuries...Touch Base with your Vocal Coach Between Tours -Judy Rodman

It seems there have been many vocal injuries by big-name singers lately. Judy thinks consulting a vocal coach could have prevented them. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 23, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 16, 2013

2,905 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, music, filmmaking, self-publishing, promotion, book_marketing, films, musicians, filmmakers
0

That Wise Old Doubt

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 28, 2013

Doubt gets a bad rap. Whether it's external or internal, everyone seems to despise doubt. We view it as an obstacle to success. It causes us to second guess ourselves and in extreme cases, it can trigger an almost paralytic sense of emotional pressure.

 

Doubt is something that is in abundant supply when you're a writer. You doubt your character choices. You doubt your plot choices. You doubt your opening line, your ending, your conflict, etc. Doubt even rears its ugly head when you map out your marketing strategy for a book. Something as simple as selecting the right genre is sometimes an enormous struggle. Doubt is as prevalent as verbs and nouns among writers.

 

But, I think doubt is good. Doubt isn't a stumbling block at all. It's a chance to reflect, assess and confirm your commitment to your current trajectory. In short, doubt shouldn't be a hindrance, but a motivator. You should welcome doubt. Picture it is as a wise mentor that is simply there to help you examine your choices. Yes, it can be annoying, and yes, it doesn't always appear at the most opportune times, but doubt means well. It has your best interests at heart. And it doesn't mind if you ignore it. In fact, doubt doesn't even mind when it's proven wrong.

 

Remember doubt is not an absolute. It's a degree of probability. That's it. So don't let doubt prevent you from moving forward. Face it, thank it and move on.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Evaluating Yourself as an Indie Author

How to Get Through the First Draft

3,494 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, writing, drafts, development, writing_process, craft
6

My friend Sanjit Singh recently independently published a book called Are You Indian? A Humorous Guide to Growing up Indian in America. I asked him to share what has (and hasn't) worked in his marketing efforts, and here's what he had to say. (Disclaimer: I didn't realize he would mention me, nor did I ask him to do so.)

 

Three things that have worked well:

 

  • Friends and family: I didn't quite expect this group to embrace my book beyond a few dozen "mercy purchases." However, since many of my friends and family are of the same ethnic background and generation as I am, I think they were well equipped to relate to the book's context, tone and humor. Their extremely positive feedback and recommendations to friends have been very encouraging.
  • Blog: My blog has been a great way to improve my writing skills and simultaneously build an audience for my book.
  • Twitter: Although I've experimented with other social media platforms, Twitter became the best path to connect with well-known Indian Americans with large numbers of followers (it's not surprising that someone with ADHD like me can operate within a 140-character universe!). By building relationships with key influencers, I've been able to gain exposure to their audiences by mentions and guest postings on their blogs.
  • Bonus tips: I highly recommend that you watch Maria Murnane's book videos and read Guy Kawasaki's book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur.

 

Three things that haven't work as well:

 

  • Bookstore signings: I've discovered that it's difficult to get people to attend these events in high enough numbers to justify the cost.
  • Speaking to news outlets and book distributors: One of my author mentors, Maria Murnane, warns that these groups will generally not talk to self-published authors. Unfortunately, I learned this in her book marketing webinar only after trying fruitlessly to obtain traction in this channel. There's the Murnane way and then there's the inane way...I am now, of course, a disciple of the Murnane way.
  • Facebook advertising: Enamored by the ubiquity of Facebook, I tried a few different advertising tactics with very little conversion. If there is a good way to advertise a book on Facebook, I haven't yet found it.

 

What has and hasn't worked for you? I look forward to your comments.

 

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

 

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Book Marketing Takes Persistence

Tips for Promoting Your Book on Twitter

4,339 Views 6 Comments 0 References Permalink
5

If you could somehow gather everything ever written or said about marketing and absorb the content in one exhausting weekend, you would most likely come away with two words engrained in your head: sell yourself. For example, if you've written a thriller, so have thousands of other authors. The one thing that truly sets your thriller apart from the others is you.

 

You may not be comfortable with selling yourself. I get it. It's not in my wheelhouse either. I've done more than a few presentations on marketing over the years, and I used to cringe when I was introduced as a marketing expert or guru. Yes, I come from a marketing background, and I've made money giving out marketing advice, but marketing is something you never really master because so much relies on trends, opinions and wishes cast upon falling stars. At best, I am a marketing enthusiast. I am fascinated enough by the topic that I spend an inordinate amount of free time researching the latest and greatest in marketing. I may not know enough, but I know more than most.

 

So, if you are having trouble selling yourself as an expert in your field, don't. Sell yourself as enthusiast. If you've written a thriller featuring a crack detective as your main character but you've never worked in law enforcement, that doesn't mean you're not qualified to discuss police procedure. You've done your homework. You've read extensively on the topic. Perhaps you even interviewed a police officer or two. That makes you a well-informed enthusiast. This matters because your passion for police work gives you a platform to sell yourself, which in turn sells your work.

 

If you want to sell books today, you may not necessarily have to sell yourself. Find a term you feel at ease with. If you're not an expert on the topic featured in your work, then you are an enthusiast. Enthusiasts are passionate. In essence, you are not selling yourself as much as you are selling your passion.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Evaluating Yourself as an Indie Author

It's Not Just a Hobby, It's a Marketing Opportunity

4,455 Views 5 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, selling, author, promotion
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