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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Write Effective Tweets -The Passive Voice

Even tweets need headlines.        

                                                    

How to Be a Good Guest Blogger -Catherine, Caffeinated

Guest blogging can be a great brand-building tool, but take the owner of the blog into consideration first.

 

Film

                                                        

Why Filmmakers Must Establish a Production Company - Filmmaking Stuff

Forming your own production company is an essential part of your filmmaking career.

                                          

I've Covered 300 Spec Scripts for 5 Different Companies and Assembled My Findings into a Snazzy Infographic - Imgur

A script reader reveals why 8 out of the 300 scripts he read received a recommend. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Hashtag Music Marketing - How to Use Hashtags to Promote Your Music - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

A look into the mystery that is the hashtag and all its apparent marketing magic.

 

Think You Have a Tight Diaphragm? Think Again -Judy Rodman

Turns out singing from the diaphragm is a bad idea.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 13, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - December 6, 2013

3,318 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink
4

The Marketing Maze

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 18, 2013

Let's face it, marketing a book is hard. It's not rocket science or brain surgery hard, but it is "finding your way through a maze" hard. Sometimes you snake your way through the confusing twists and turns and find your way to the other side without a problem. And, other times, you take wrong turn after wrong turn before you finally reach your destination.

 

The thing you don't want to do is to stop trying to find your way. You're allowed to make mistakes. If you do take a wrong turn, simply turn around and look for another way. Don't be afraid to move forward because you've gone the wrong way in the past; pick a direction and go. You have time, because with print on-demand, your book will never go out of print.

 

There are some things you can do to help yourself navigate the maze:

  1. Know your genre. Study what other authors in your genre are doing to market their books to the demographics you want to reach.

  2. Know yourself. Be honest with how much and what you can do. If there's a skill set you want to learn to help you market your book, factor that into your journey.

  3. Know your book. If you can describe your book in one sentence, pitching your book will be much easier for you.

  4. Know where your readers gather. Likeminded readers often find a place like Goodreads to talk about their favorite books, and they're eager to make recommendations to their fellow devotees.  

 

Yes, marketing a book is hard, but it doesn't have to be unrewarding. As long as you're learning and keeping your eyes open, you'll find a formula that works for you. Just continue your trek through the maze, and you'll get there. 

 

-Richard

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


 

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Promote Your Book with Goodreads

The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

8,109 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, book_marketing, author_brand, marketing_strategy
1

A character arc is a fancy way of explaining how a character changes throughout the course of a story. The arc can be physical or emotional, and it doesn't have to be major, but you want your main characters, especially your protagonist, to experience some sort of change along the journey that is your novel. If your readers get to the end of your book and think "She didn't learn anything! He's still so selfish! No one matured at all!" you probably didn't tell a very interesting story. You want your readers to think the opposite. "Wow! She finally grew up! He learned that hard work does pay! They got what they deserved!" Character arcs satisfy readers, and satisfied readers come back for future books - and tell their friends.

 

I know from experience that the idea of "crafting an arc"can be daunting. However, it doesn't have to be. Here is a good way to approach it: As you set out to write, think about where your main characters are at the beginning of the story. Ask yourself questions such as:

 

What do they want?

 

What are they missing?

 

What is holding them back from getting what they want or where they need to be?

 

Ask yourself these questions first. The answers can be as broad as "She wants to find love" or as specific as "He wants to get back the ring that was stolen from his office desk." Then, as you go about developing the plot, keep those questions in mind. If the things your characters do and say throughout the story are consistently in pursuit of a goal, however small, an arc will naturally develop. Keeping those questions in mind will also stop you from going off on tangents and writing scenes that don't push the story forward, something I'll address in a future post.

 

-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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The Basic Elements of a Character Arc

What Do Your Characters Want?


4,594 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, craft, character_arc
0

The holidays can serve as an inspiration to authors, or they can serve as a distraction. If you're one of those inspired by the holidays, you're most likely chomping at the bit to get your thoughts on paper and start sketching out your new story ideas. If, however, you've spent the holidays struggling to find the time and motivation to write, I have something that might kick-start your creative engine.

 

Take to your blog and social media spots and get your fans, friends and followers involved with this fun little exercise: Start a serialized community project together!

 

What is a serialized community project? Simply put, it's a story you write with your fans. You act as the managing editor and fit the pieces together as they come in. Generally, you start the story off with the first line, and then you invite your community to contribute one line at a time. The only steadfast guideline you want in place is for your contributors to treat one another with respect. No bickering or nasty comments should be allowed. This is just about moving forward with a story and seeing where it goes. Let it continue as long as you like. You can set rules about profanity, adult situations, etc., as you see fit. After all, you are the managing editor, and the theme and feel of the story should match your overall brand.

 

A project like this serves two purposes. One, it can help clear your muddled mind so you can crawl out of the holiday funk. Two, it sets your New Year off with a fan engagement assignment that will bring the community built around your brand together. The most important thing to keep in mind is that this is supposed to be a fun project. Treat it that way. Good luck and happy writing!

 

-Richard

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

 

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Your Brand is a Community

Tips for Engaging Your Readers Online

3,472 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions, social_media
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

10 Essential Non-Writing Tools to Help Writers Write -PBS

What non-writing tools are in your arsenal?

                                                    

Getting Maximum "Bang" for Your Book Description Buck: an SEO/Author's Perspective -The Creative Penn

Author and book marketing expert Lori Culwell looks at book descriptions as an SEO professional.

 

Film

                                                        

How to Build Rapport with Movie Investors (and Other Hollywood Heavy Hitters) - Filmmaking Stuff

Because sometimes it is about whom you know.

                                          

30 Things about Screenwriting - Filmmaker IQ

The greatest hits list from Scott Myers' blog, Go Into The Story.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Mixing and Producing: Choosing a Mix Engineer - Musician Coaching

An interview with Grammy-winning engineer Jason Goldstein.

 

Social Media to Your Band's Advantage -Musician Makers

Use social media as more than just a gig announcement tool.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 6, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - November 29, 2013

17,488 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, book, music, filmmaking, movies, writers, writing, mixing, investors, musicians, craft, screenwriting, filmmakers, descriptions, social_media, producing, writing_tips
2

Not long ago, I finished writing a book and decided I would mark the milestone by posting a music video of one of the songs that served as a source of inspiration while I was working on it. The song was "Rye Whiskey" by The Punch Brothers. It's a bluegrass (some call it "newgrass") tune that captured the essence of my book. What I discovered when I found the video on YouTube was that the video sharing site provided me with a list of similar songs. So I spent the better part of the day discovering some great music that also fit with the theme of my story.

 

From there, I decided to put together an unofficial soundtrack for my book. Over the course of a few days, I posted a video on my blog for each of the twelve songs I felt best fit the mood and feel of my book. It was just for fun; I didn't really expect anything out of it.

 

But to my surprise, I heard from other people who were fans of the music I included in my unofficial soundtrack. That led to getting mentions on their blogs and access to a demographic I wouldn't have thought to approach: music-lovers. I saw a little spike in sales that month, and since those posts were my highest-traffic hits, I can only assume some of the people who found me through the music decided to check out my book.

 

I share this little experiment with you in the hopes you'll give it a try. It's fun and can lead to broadening your platform to reach fans of a synergistic medium: music. What would your book's playlist include?

 

-Richard

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

 

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The Next Big Thing

Don't Give Up on the Wind

3,942 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, music, author, writing, promotions
3

In my early days as an indie author, I conducted what I called a "holiday reading campaign" to promote my debut novel, Perfect on Paper, and it worked extremely well. You might be able to do something similar for your books or at least get inspired to think of out-of-the-box marketing ideas. Here's what I did:

 

  1. I looked up the contact information for 15 current presidents of my sorority at large universities across the country.
  2. I sent each a personalized signed copy of Perfect on Paper, along with a letter explaining that I was an alum and that my novel was a romantic comedy I thought they might enjoy reading over the holidays.
  3. I included my contact information and a request for them to please get in touch if they enjoyed the book. I made it clear that because I was self-published, I was doing all the marketing on my own and could really use their help to spread the word. I also promised to follow up via email after the holidays.

 

I sent the books in early December, and in early January I got an email from the sorority president at Harvard asking me to come speak to their chapter. She said she loved my book AND found me to be an inspiration for pursuing my dream of making a living as an author. I accepted the unexpected invitation, and that event led to an invitation to speak to a bigger audience at the Harvard Women's Leadership conference that summer, which led to an invitation to speak to an audience of 2,500 at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. Those engagements were unpaid, but they gave me experience and credibility, and eventually I was signed by a professional speaking agent. Now I get paid to give keynote addresses on following your passion in life - events at which I also sell my books.

 

You might not have been a member of the Greek system in college, but that doesn't mean you can't conduct a similar campaign with a society or organization that is comprised of your target readership. The lesson is that if you're creative, organized, and persistent, it will open doors for you and your 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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Promote Your Book with Goodreads

Beta Readers

18,332 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, promotions, holiday_sales
3

I posted a gift idea for your fans last week, so it only seems fair that I post a gift idea for yourself this time around. Consider this: You are on an intense journey as an indie author that can be very rewarding. The rewards might include fulfilling your dream of being published or perhaps earning enough money to cover your monthly bills. But the journey is full of peaks and valleys. At times, it might seem that the peaks feel impossible to climb and that it's also incredibly easy to stumble and fall into the valleys. From time to time, you might face critics who appear to want to block your way to success, but interestingly enough, the biggest critic among them is most likely you.

 

We all do it. We examine the road we've travelled and occasionally beat ourselves up for taking wrong turns. Self-criticism isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can save us from repeating mistakes. But artists tend to take self-criticism and turn it into self-annihilation. So, this holiday season, give yourself the gift of shutting the self-criticism off. Set it aside. Stuff it in your nightstand, and give yourself a break from it.

 

It will be there after the holidays for you to use again, but this is a time you should take to reflect on the positives and congratulate yourself for taking the journey in the first place. You accomplished your goal of writing a book. Writing a book takes discipline and dedication. If this is your second, third, or thirtieth book, all the more reason to celebrate. You're in this thing for the long haul.

 

In short, be kind to yourself. It's the holidays; say goodbye to your inner critic for a few weeks and pat yourself on the back. You're an author. You deserve it.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Who Do You Write For?

Life Outside of Writing

4,486 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers, writing
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Write & Sell a Cross-Genre Novel -Writer's Digest

When your book defies categorization.

                                                    

Collaborative Writing: Why Writing Together is Better than Writing Alone -Beyond Paper Editing

Are two creative minds really better than one?

 

Film

                                                        

Build a Reputation - Filmmaking Lesson 2 - Filmmaking Stuff

Is it easier to build a bad reputation than a good one?

                                          

The Filmmaker's Guide to Using the Top Social Media Sites - Sheri Candler

A look at the process of building communities around your filmmaking brand.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Wallowing in Obscurity? Congratulations! Why It's Awesome to Be an Unknown Artist - Bob Baker's The Buzz Factor

Oh, the fun you'll have building your brand.

 

Artistic Efficiency: How to Create More and Get Out of Your Own Way -Hypebot.com

Taking the time to plan your career can give you time to create.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - November 29, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - November 22, 2013

2,837 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, music, indie, artists, movies, writers, films, genre, social_networking, musicians, filmmakers, collaboration, article_marketing, music_branding
4

I self-published my first book in 2005. From the moment I had the trade paperback in my hand, I knew it wasn't going to sell itself. I scoured the Internet for information on how to sell books. The old world of publishing dominated the landscape at that time, so it was difficult parsing all the information to find strategies that fit an indie author. Slowly, I scratched and clawed my way through the gnarly marketing jungle and carved out a small, but growing niche for myself. I became known as an author who writes horror novels for young adults. It was a status that suited me just fine...at the time.

 

But I am an artist, and I like to experiment. I wanted to write something outside of the horror genre for an older audience. I tried doing just that under my name. It worked and it didn't. The book turned out as I envisioned, but most of the reader base I had built just wasn't that enamored with the work. Why should they have been? It was outside of their preferred genre, and it was written for a different demographic. I went back to my bread and butter and, as much as I enjoyed writing the other material, I decided I couldn't waste my creative time on it.

 

Then an idea came to me that I just couldn't shake. It wasn't young adult, and it wasn't horror by any stretch of the imagination. The characters, setting, and story were so clear in my mind that I couldn't help but write it. I decided early on that I would publish it, but not under my name. I would use a pen name.

 

I found it very liberating to write as someone else. If you're considering switching genres and trying something new, you might find it freeing as well. Using a pen name removes the expectations of the audience of readers you've established. Even if you choose to market to that same audience, they'll likely have a clearer understanding of the differences between your titles if you explain your choice of going with a nom de plume. You'll be able to experiment with style and language in a way you probably could not have under your established name.

 

So if you want to stretch your creative chops and untangle your imagination, I highly recommend publishing under another name. You may discover you've unwittingly been holding yourself back in certain areas. Once you exorcise those demons under a different name, you will satisfy the artist in you and become a better writer.    

 

-Richard

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

 

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Should Authors Ever Reinvent Their Brands?

Brand Audience vs. Book Audience

7,753 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, selling, self-publishing, sales, writing, genre, brand, craft, marketing_strategy, brand_identity, demographic
2

Beats, which are a description of a character's action, are a great way to exercise show vs. tell. If you aren't familiar with show vs. tell, it's a fundamental rule of good writing. (See my post using the analogy of online dating to explain why it's so important.)

 

Here are some examples of how descriptive beats show the reader what is happening on a physical and emotional level:

 

  • Andrea stomped her foot on the ground and crossed her arms. "It's not fair!"

 

  • Robert threw the glass against the wall and watched it shatter, then turned his gaze on Karen. "I'm only going to ask you once. Tell me where he's hiding."

 

  • Amber twirled the stem of her wine glass between her fingertips and gave him the doe eyes she'd practiced in the restroom mirror. "I never do this, but would you like to join me upstairs for a nightcap?"

 

By using beats intertwined with dialogue, the above sentences paint vivid pictures of what is happening on many levels. It does this by showing the reader, not telling the reader.

 

Here are three variations of the above examples, minus the beats, that tell the reader what is happening.

 

  • "It's not fair!" Andrea declared petulantly.
  • "I'm only going to ask you once. Tell me where he is," Robert demanded.
  • "I never do this, but would you like to join me for a nightcap?" Amber inquired suggestively.

Do you see the difference? Words such as declared, demanded, and inquired have no place in good dialogue. Neither do adverbs such as petulantly or suggestively. Some authors think they're supposed to use every possible word but said to describe dialogue, when in fact they should only use said - or even better, nothing at all. That's what good beats can do for you. If you paint a clear picture of the action and emotion involved, readers can see it for themselves.

 

-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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Use Adverbs Sparingly, Especially in Dialogue

Learning Dialogue from the Masters

3,124 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, action_beats
1

The holidays are upon us. You probably have gifts to give, my author friends. The people in your life deserve your best this year, because 2013 has gone well for you. You're an author telling your story, your way - how could this not have been a good year?

 

At the top of your holiday list? Your fans. By the way, here's a gift I want you to give to yourself: Start calling your readers fans. Sometimes it's difficult settling into that word, as it can feel a little audacious. I get it. I'm approaching the ninth year of my indie publishing journey, and I still have trouble using the word fans. But I assure you, you have fans. They are fanatical about your book. Happy holidays!

 

And since they are fans, give them a little special treatment this year to show your appreciation for their support. Give them a gift. It doesn't have to be expensive, and it doesn't have to be for all your fans. Pick a small number - let's say five, because that's everybody's favorite arbitrary number - and give them some attention. You could run a giveaway on your social media channels to identify the lucky fans who will get some extra holiday cheer from you this year. You could raffle off a signed copy of your latest book with a special holiday note, or perhaps give away a few gift cards. Or you could do something as simple as sending your mailing list a festive e-card expressing your heartfelt gratitude for their helping you spread the word about your book and wishing them well through the holidays and into the new year.

 

The point is to acknowledge your fans and let them know how important they are to you. They're likely to respond with an even deeper sense of commitment to you and your books' success. These sorts of gestures may result in their letting friends, family, and followers know that you're not just another author - you're an author who cares about his or her fan base.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Make Your Brand Engaging

Book Marketing Tip: Make It Easy for Your Fans to Help You

3,586 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink
1

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Make Your Setting a Character -Writer's Digest

How to get your readers emotionally invested in your book's setting.  

                                                    

Self-Pub Personas: Which Type are You? -Electronic Bindery

Planning your career is much easier if you know who you are.

Film

                                                        

You Are the 30% - How to Set Your Crowdfunding Goal - Filmmaking Stuff

Can you anticipate where 30% of your funding will come from before you even start you crowdfunding campaign?

                                          

The Art of Editing in the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - Cinemacuteo

How math figures into the art of editing.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

The Best Food and Drink for Your Voice - Music Makers

Fizzy drinks and spicy foods could hinder your vocal performance.

 

Should You Play a Benefit for Free? -Musicgoat

Is the exposure of playing a charity event worth it? Should it even matter?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - November 22, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - November 15, 2013

2,073 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, music, editing, author, movies, writers, venues, characters, films, funding, musicians, music_production, crowdfounding
1

So you've gathered a group of beta-readers, and they've all given you the same feedback: Your characters are a bit one-dimensional. After mending your broken heart (and treating your throbbing headache), you decide you have to attack the problem. But how?

 

The best way to give characters depth is to give them a life outside of your novel. Back in the days before a web of technology connected the world virtually, some authors would create pages and pages of background information on their characters that served as a guideline for the behaviors they displayed in the novel itself. In most cases, this background information was completely independent of the plot of the novel. It was just a way to grow the characters and make their actions more organic.

 

The bonus of doing such a thing today is that you can take the strategy to the social media environment and give your characters a virtual background. Many authors set up accounts on various sites under a character's name and let a character mature in a very public manner. In essence, the character is forced to deal with "real" life and develop depth. As the writer, that extensive knowledge of depth will help you create a multidimensional character within the context of the story, and - BONUS - it will help you create a following and readership for your book or series. 

 

One tip before you implement this strategy: Be upfront about what you're doing. Don't present the character as a living, breathing human being. In your description, announce that this is the persona of a fictional character for your upcoming book. You don't want to mislead people into thinking they're developing a relationship with a real person.

 

Giving your characters virtual depth can give you the access to reach a lot of fans for your upcoming release and help you write a better story.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Character and Action

What Do Your Characters Want?

2,424 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, author, writers, craft, character_development, character_arc
6

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I'm a stickler for proper grammar. Lately, the widespread misuse/overuse of "I" has come to my attention, so I thought I'd take today's blog to clear up confusion and provide a little trick for remembering the correct usage.

 

Many people tend to use the pronoun "I" for everything, even when "me" is correct. For example, I often hear people say things such as:

 

  • This is an opportunity for John and I to spend some time together. (Incorrect)
  • Having Chris and I work together on this project was a smart idea. (Incorrect)

 

On the surface, they may sound correct, but let's look at those offending sentences again and try out the switcheroo technique, where we simply switch the order of the objects:

 

  • This is an opportunity for I and John to spend some time together.
  • Having I and Chris work together on this project was a smart idea.

 

Those definitely don't sound right now. That lets you know that you should replace your "I" with a "me." The following sentences are CORRECT:

 

  • This is an opportunity for John and me to spend some time together.
  • Having Chris and me work together on this project was a smart idea.

 

Even if you're convinced you will never fully understand parts of speech, you probably wouldn't say "This gift is from I and Steve," so why would you say "This gift is from Steve and I"? If you use the switcheroo technique, I bet you will say "This gift is from Steve and me," or "This gift is from me and Steve." And you will be correct!

 

-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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Why Good Grammar Matters

I Hope This Piques Your Interest

2,310 Views 6 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, grammar
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