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1,353 Posts
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

3,949 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

2,894 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

3,478 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

4,320 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

4,443 Views 5 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, selling, author, promotion
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Are Writers Born Or Made? -The Creative Penn

Is writing a matter of desire, talent, or both?

 

7 Reasons Why Social Media Isn't Growing Your Fiction Readership (And What to Do About Them) -TheBook Designer

Are you fully optimizing your social media presence?

 

Film

                                                        

Movie Marketing Strategy - Filmmaking Stuff

Now that distribution is no longer an issue, finding individuals who care about your film takes center stage.

                                          

Walter Murch: How New Technologies Affect Filmmaking - KFTV

A startling look at how new technology has changed the physicality of making of film.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Music and Merchandise - MusicianCoaching.com

Music and merch go together like ramma lamma lamma Ka dinga da dinga dong.

 

Recording Acoustic Audio -Music Makers

A look at how new technologies have changed the way acoustic audio is recorded.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 16, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 9, 2013

2,626 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, music, technology, author, self-publishing, movies, writing, techniques, films, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media, talent, merchandise, marketing_strategy
1

Selling books is hard. I understand that because I fight the fight every day. I sometimes look at my sales figures and wonder why the universe is so angry with me. What have I done to deserve such a thing? I fret and search the internet for stories of authors who've made it in a big way, and I look for the magic bullet that garnered them all those wonderful sales, only to discover there usually was no magic bullet. Persistence and opportunity happened to converge in their lives and BAM! Books went flying off the virtual shelves.

 

Success should be earned. It should be something you struggle to achieve. That struggle is really just a series of trials that can lead you down one of two paths. You can either wind up feeling bitter for what hasn't happened, or you can feel appreciative for what you've learned along the way. If you choose the bitter path, you will undoubtedly ditch the persistence and miss the opportunity to succeed. If you chose the learning path, you'll crave to know more, and you'll be fully prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves to you.

 

I write all this because I've come across a few pronouncements by authors online that reeked of desperation. They've publicly lamented that they can't get anyone to buy their books, and the effort is just too great. Writing a book hadn't changed their lives like they thought it would. They make a plea for readers to do more. If readers don't, then the author will give up on his or her dream. Their plea usually falls on deaf ears. 

 

Guilt is the least effective marketing tool that I know of. It will have the opposite effect on readers. Desperation is an inevitable feeling when you think your dream is just too far out of reach, but don't let it taint this publishing journey for you. Learn from the struggle, appreciate it, and embrace the opportunities when they finally arrive.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Book Marketing Takes Persistence

Book Marketing Tip: Be Resourceful

2,137 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, selling, promotion, sales, effective_marketing
0

A couple posts back, I clarified the difference between "there," "they're" and "their."Today, I'd like to address two additional common mix-ups:

 

1.  It's vs. Its

 

It's means IT IS:

 

  • My parents told me it's time to go home now.
  • From the look of those dark clouds, I think it's about to start raining.
  • It's time to stop thinking about writing a book and just do it!

 

Its means BELONGING TO IT:

 

  • The company is considering changing its name.
  • The book had its best week yet in sales.
  • I think the cover of her novel is a perfect fit for its title.

 

2.  You're vs.  Your

 

You're means YOU ARE:

 

  • Have I told you I think you're beautiful?
  • When someone says "thank you," the polite response is "you're welcome."
  • Please let me know when you're ready to leave.

 

Your means BELONGING TO YOU:

 

  • This is your book.
  • It's your life, so you can do what you want with it.
  • I value your opinion more than you know.

 

If you want people to take you seriously as a writer, you need to write well. As I said in my other post, unfortunately I regularly see authors make these simple grammatical errors not only in their books, but also in the marketing materials used to promote them (e.g. book descriptions, Facebook pages, author bios, etc.). You may be a wonderful storyteller, but if your writing is riddled with mistakes, the errors are what readers will notice first. Remember, it pays to hire a copyeditor to proofread your book before putting it on the market. You'll be glad you did.

 

-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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Avoiding Word Confusion

Who vs. That vs. Which

2,206 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, grammar
1

I admire two authors above most others: Charles Portis and Cormac McCarthy. Both men have written works that are seminal to my own development as a writer. I don't just read their books; I study them. I find their respective styles mesmerizing. Portis is a master at using humor while still delivering poignant stories, and McCarthy's genius is using harsh overtones that grip readers and expose them to the grittier side of American life.

 

The two men have one striking similarity: they are brilliant at writing dialogue. Their characters talk as if you are reading a transcript of secretly recorded conversations. They talk over each other. They ignore questions asked of them and seamlessly move the dialogue off into an entirely different direction. And, in large part, the reader isn't told if the character is angry, sad, happy, etc. The mood of the characters is obvious based on the circumstances of the scene and what we know of the characters themselves. Both writers use dialogue identifiers so rarely it's almost shocking. You can go pages without seeing the word "said" used to identify the speaker. There is such a natural flow to their dialogue that it's completely unnecessary to tell the reader who's speaking.

 

Why do they write dialogue so well? Because they trust the readers. They seem to get that it isn't their job to spoon-feed information to the readers. Their job is to create an absorbing atmosphere that draws the readers so deeply into the story that they don't just read the dialogue, they hear it. It's as if you are in the setting observing the conversation.

 

If you want to master dialogue, create conversations that only minimally identify the speakers. Get rid of direct references to mood. Use real language that you'd hear on the subway, in church, at a bar, etc. Keep the sentences short. People rarely deliver speeches in the middle of conversations. And most importantly, trust the reader.

 

-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

A Writer's Brand Identity

2,475 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, dialogue, charles_portis, cormac_mccarthy
2

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How a Great Twitter Bio Can Net You More Followers…and Sales! -BadRedhead Media

Your Twitter bio is important, so make it count.           

                                                    

Storyville: What is Literary Fiction? -Lit Reactor

The answer to that age-old question many authors have asked: "Did I just accidently write literary fiction?"

 

Film

                                                        

Social Media for #Filmmakers: Facebook 101 - Film Independent

To thrive in filmmaking today, you have to add one more job title to your list of many as an independent filmmaker: social media evangelist.

                                          

10 Pinterest Boards Filmmakers Should Be Following - Indiewire

Pinterest has become a social media favorite for a lot of filmmakers.

                                    

Music

 

11 Ways to Sabotage Studio Vocals - Judy Rodman

Judy lists some the habits and choices that influence your vocals.

 

The Accident That Changed Modern Guitar Sound - The Big Picture Music Production Blog

Who knew a little accidental guitar distortion would have such a huge impact on music?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 9, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 2, 2013

2,323 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, filmmaking, self-publishing, indie, sales, writers, writing, films, promotions, filmmakers, social_media, author_brand, music_production, vocals
1

How to End a Chapter

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 14, 2013

It's hard to know when some things are over. Some guests don't know when to leave a party. Some people don't know how to exit a relationship. And some writers don't know how to end a chapter. The latter example is perhaps the most puzzling.

 

How do you end a chapter? To answer that, we first have to determine what a chapter is. A chapter is a step forward. Even if it's a flashback, a chapter's sole purpose is to advance the plot or divulge a telling component of one (or more than one) of your characters' true natures. Readers should find some revelation within a chapter that compels them to keep reading. Constructing a chapter is tricky because it has to be independently satisfying while remaining dependent on the rest of the story.

 

Chapter endings are the trickiest of the tricky. They have to leave the reader with the feeling that questions have been answered while setting up the questions for the next chapter. In a romance novel, a chapter may reveal why a woman can't stand the sight of a particular man from her past who has contacted her out of the blue. However, the closing paragraph contains a hint that she may have misjudged him.

 

It's that hint that will encourage readers to push on. Did the woman really misjudge the man? The next chapter will explore that particular question. She may discover that she did indeed misjudge him, and this new chapter will end suggesting that a person she's trusted implicitly for years was really the cause of the pain that has haunted her, a revelation that leads to more questions for the next chapter or chapters.

 

So, how do you end a chapter? You end it when you've fulfilled the unwritten contract of a chapter; you've provided some answers that give the reader a sense of satisfaction. And when that point is reached, your actual chapter ending should hint at greater revelations ahead. In short, end a chapter when there's nothing left to be said, but more to be learned.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Creative Writing Exercises

Keep Them Guessing to Keep Them Reading

7,108 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing, characters, craft, storyline, chapters, character_development, ending
3

If you want to promote your book on Twitter, I suggest not tweeting about your book - or at least not very often. Here are two things you should do instead:

 

1. Tweet information that is useful to others.

 

I don't tweet a ton, but when I do, it's usually a link to a post I've written about book marketing or writing, or a link to an article I've read that I think will help other authors. The links to my own posts drive people to my website, where they can also learn all about my novels. This way I'm providing them information they find valuable, but I'm also getting my work in front of them without being pushy.

 

2. When someone begins to follow you, ask why.

 

Anytime I receive a notification that I have a new follower, I send that person a tweet of thanks and also ask why he or she decided to follow me. The response is usually one of two things. Either the person is an aspiring or published author who appreciates my suggestions on book marketing and writing, or she is a loyal fan of my novels. Once I know the answer, I can engage in a conversation with the follower. If it's someone who hasn't read my books, I send a link to the first chapter of the first book in the series and hope she will take a look. If it's a loyal reader, I send her a link to my fan page, which includes a list of easy ways to spread the word about my novels. (You'd be surprised how willing your fans are to help you if you just ask them.)

 

It's fine to promote your book now and again, but when all I see in a person's Twitter feed is an endless stream of BUY MY BOOK!, I immediately lose interest. You probably would too, right?

 

-Maria

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

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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How Not to Market

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

12,883 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotions, twitter, tweet
1

In my blog post about doing a book relaunch, I talked briefly about how giving your book a new cover could give you a reason to reintroduce your book to the reading public. But giving your book a new cover can do more than give you a new marketing opportunity; it can give you a more marketable book.

 

If your sales have hit a slump or you feel they've never reached their peak, you may want to take a serious look at your cover. Covers matter today more than ever. With so many books published every year, you have to make your book stand out among the millions of other titles competing for readers' attention online. When I say "stand out," I don't mean for the wrong reasons. Your cover should be professionally designed. If you have the skills to undertake such a task, have at it. But if the concept of creating a cover is foreign to you, hire a professional cover design artist to do the work.

 

Whether you have the skill set to design a cover or you hire someone else to do it, don't enter the arena without knowledge of what works as far as cover design for books in your genre. Yes, genre should be a major consideration when you're designing your cover. Fortunately, thanks to retail sites like Amazon.com, you have a place where you can research the cover designs of bestselling books in your genre. Do your research and give your book a similar look and feel. I'm not suggesting you copy another author's book cover; I'm merely telling to you to use bestselling book covers as an inspiration for your cover design. There are design similarities among them for a reason; they work to attract readers in the genre.

 

Your book is worth reading. If you're on top of your marketing and people still aren't reading it, it might be time to consider a new, professional cover design.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Beat Writer's Block with Cover Design

Going Indie? Don't Skimp on Quality

3,607 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions, book_covers
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

5 Ways to Write a Killer Plot Twist -Wordplay

Author K.M. Weiland shares her advice on how to construct a plot twist.       

                                                    

Book Marketing Using Paid Advertising -Self-Publishing Review

A look at how paid advertising worked out for some authors.

 

Film

                                                        

The True Cost of Filmmaking in the 21st Century - James River Film Journal

What is the cost of shooting on film in a digital age?

                                          

How to Get Noticed As a Filmmaker - Filmmaking Stuff

Sometimes you just have to take charge.

                                    

Music

 

How to Get Your Emails Opened and Read - Bob Baker's BuzzFactor.com

Are hypnotic techniques the key to getting your email opened?

 

Mid-Year Music Industry Report, Social Media and Digital Music News -MusicianCoaching.com

There's no doubt about it, social media is changing the music industry.

 

-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

 

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 2, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - July 26, 2013

2,024 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, selling, music, author, self-publishing, advertising, movies, writers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, musicians, social_media
0

I am messy. My car is a mess. My office is a mess. I'm not even sure I still have a desk anymore. My laptop is on top of something surrounded by...well, a mess. For years, I've gotten away with being messy because I'm creative. Sometimes I can even make it look endearing.

 

Here's the thing I've discovered about my own messiness: the mess is not part of the creative process. The mess is the result of the creative process. The more untidy my surroundings get, the less aware I am of the mess because I'm getting into the details of a story. 

 

On many, many, many occasions, the inkling of an idea will come when I'm cleaning up the clutter created from a piece I've just completed. It's as if I'm clearing away the old and making room for the new. What's really at play is my mind shifting focus, and in that shift, I usually find a new story.

 

Why am I revealing my sloppy side to you? Because I know a majority of you reading this are just like me. I know you look at your desk and roll your eyes and wonder where your breaking point is. You may even feel bad for the people in your life because they have to share your cluttered space. There might even be a small voice in your head telling you that you will tank your creative mojo if you clean. I'm here to tell you that the opposite is probably true. You will most likely reinvigorate your artistic spirit by allowing yourself to get lost in the mindless task of cleaning.

 

Look, I don't want to ruin your "creative mind" excuse for getting away with being messy. But, I encourage you to give a try. You just might be surprised by the doors it opens in that artsy brain of yours (and the people who live with you will be ecstatic). Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to find my desk.

 

Time to fess up: messy or clean? 

 

-Richard

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

 

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The "What If" Notebook

Embracing Inspiration from Real-Life Moments

1,892 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, writing, drafts, creativity, inspiration, craft
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