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Brands to avoid

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 23, 2017

Here are three brands you should avoid modeling as you set out to build your author brand.


1. A Contrived Brand: Essentially, you're trying too hard to be a brand. At the risk of sounding like a new-age guru, you're not being your authentic self. You're presenting yourself in a way that you think is appealing to your readers, and your readers can feel the phony persona through their computer screens and mobile phone displays. Relax. Be yourself. Don't force a brand. Author brands are built over time, post after post, interaction after interaction.


2. The Whiny Brand: Oh woe is me.  I can't catch a break. I try so hard. Readers don't want to invest in an author who is desperate. Readers want to invest in an author whose talent speaks for itself. Don't let your bad days seep into your brand building efforts. I'm not saying you have to be up and positive all the time. Be angry. Be down. Be contemplative. Be all the things human beings are, but above all, be confident.


3. The Vengeful Brand: If you get a bad review, let it go. Don't rally the troops and have them exact revenge on the reviewer. That's petty, and it lacks a certain amount of humility people like to see in their authors. Don't take bad or good reviews to heart. They are opinions and nothing more. Whatever you do, don't let reviews shape your author brand.


A successful author brand is nothing more than a personal brand with a little more juice. Never lose sight of the fact that you are trying to sell books, but also never lose sight of who you really are.


-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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What makes you similar to other author brands?

Uniting Author Brands

76 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, branding, brand_awareness
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If you want people to discover your books, you should do everything you can to make yourself easy to find online. I frequently receive emails from authors who are despondent over poor book sales, but when I look to see what kind of a digital footprint the authors have, all too often I find nothing, not even an Amazon Author Page.


I understand that not everyone has the resources to hire a designer for a fancy website, but here are several things all authors can do that cost nothing more than time and energy:


1)    Complete your Amazon Author Page. If you have a book on Amazon, you have an author page, which appears via a hyperlink to your name under the title of your book on the book's detail page. If you don't fill the page in with your bio, headshot, contact information, etc., visitors will see only a list of your work. To edit your Author Page, create an account in Amazon's Author Central by clicking on this link. (Here's my Amazon Author Page.)

2)    Set up a Facebook author page. (Here's my Facebook author page.)

3)    Set up a Twitter account. (Here's mine.)

4)    Set up a Goodreads page. (Here's mine.)

5)    Set up a LinkedIn account. (Here's mine.)


If you look at the links I've shared here, you'll see my profile/bio/tagline in each one is essentially the same. It shouldn't take hours to set up these accounts. The key is to prepare your basic materials first, then insert them as necessary across various channels.


You never know which potential readers might be looking for you, or where they might inadvertently stumble across you. What you should know is that if your digital footprint is nowhere to be found, the chance of anyone's finding you is zero, and zero is not a good number for sales.


-Maria

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


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Marketing Tip: Set up an Author Page on Amazon

Book marketing tip: Put a sample on Goodreads

316 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, book, writing, facebook, goodreads, twitter, digital_footprint
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Contemporary fiction

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 21, 2017

Before we dive into a few contemporary fiction tips, we first need to establish what contemporary fiction is. It's all in the word contemporary. It simply means existing or occurring in the same time. At its heart, a contemporary novel is realistic. Elements of fantasy, the supernatural, and/or science fiction aren't part of the contemporary novel world. There is contemporary romance and young adult contemporary, and dozens of subcategory crossover. Realism is the common thread that runs through all the varieties of contemporary storytelling.


Now that we've established what contemporary is, here are a few traps to avoid.


1. Avoid the over-use of pop culture references. You want a story that will stand the test of time. There's no better way to lose readers of the future than to base crucial premises of your novel on pop culture references that faded into oblivion long before readers were born.  Don't shy away from pop culture references completely. A few here and there can help you establish setting, but don't go crazy.


2. Your realistic depiction of characters could come back to haunt you. Don't base your characters on real people in your life. Taking elements from a lot of people you know and building a truly unique character is a much better route to take. There could be trouble awaiting you if you decide to depict a character after somebody you actually know.


I love contemporary fiction. It's so easy to get drawn into the story because there is an instant sense of familiarity. Drama, comedy, thriller, whatever the genre, subgenre or category, I feel a connection with the story.


-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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Avoid Pop Culture References

I'm in there

304 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, contemporary_fiction
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It's 2017, and it turns out social media wasn't a fad. It's going to be around for a while.  That being the case, we probably should have a refresher course on social media best practices. It's a short list, and it's easy to follow.


1. Be prolific: To paraphrase David Mamet, always be posting. It's all about staying active and generating a lot of content. The more your friends and followers see your name pop up in their feed the more they will be reminded that you're their author-friend. 


2. Engage: Don't miss an opportunity to engage with a friend and follower. When they take the time to comment on one of your posts, "like" their comment or respond to their comment. Let them know you appreciate their contribution. I will give one word of caution. Don't "like" inappropriate comments. You don't want to be seen as someone who supports offensive material. I've even deleted inappropriate comments posted by fans, and I sent them a private message explaining why I did it, and to be frank, in one case the commenter did not take it well, but it was the right decision.

 

3. Be light: Yes, there is a time to make serious comments on social media, but don't let that be your sole persona online. Don't be that person. Be the type of person who entertains and enlightens. Be opinionated. Be bold. Be kind. Be funny. People should look forward to seeing your posts every day.


That's it. It doesn't get more complicated than that. Now, go forth and post, engage, and entertain.


-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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Social Media Best Practices

 

Social Networking Sells Your Brand

 

 

 

 

441 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, promotion, social_media, author_marketing, social_media_marketing
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One function of adverbs is to modify adjectives, in other words to describe something that already describes something. That alone should give you an idea of how necessary?or unnecessary?they are when used for this purpose.


For example:

  • He drives really fast.
  • She is very happy.
  • We are super glad to be here.


While the above sentences are fine in conversation, in written form they come across as uncreative, maybe even bland. Astute readers view using adverbs as lazy writing, so it's good to avoid them as best you can.


When I catch myself using an adverb to describe an adjective because the adjective doesn't sound right by itself, I try to come up with a more descriptive adjective or an analogy.


For example:

 

Instead of:

  • He drives really fast.

Change to:

  • He drives as if he were on the Autobahn.

Instead of:

  • She is very happy.

Change to::

  • She is ecstatic.


Instead of:

  • We are super glad to be here.

Change to:

  • We are thrilled to be here.


Another way to get around using adverbs is to include a beat (description of an action) that shows the reader what the adverb was meant to convey.


For example:


Instead of:

  • "Do we have to go in there?" Gloria asked nervously.

Change to:

  • Tiny beads of sweat broke out on Gloria's forehead. "Do we have to go in there?" she asked.


Instead of:

  • "It looks like we didn't get the contract," David said glumly.

Change to:

  • David's face fell. "It looks we didn't get the contract."


Do you see the difference? It's not that using adverbs is grammatically wrong, rather that writing that doesn't include a ton of them is more original and engaging. And if your readers find your writing original and engaging, you are doing something right.


-Maria

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


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

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Use Adverbs Sparingly, Especially in Dialogue

 

The Rhythm of Dialogue

 

 

 

 

485 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: help, writing, grammar, adverbs, author_tips, grammar_tip
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Local and online

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 14, 2017

The Internet is an amazing thing. It can connect individuals who live a world apart. It can put fans in touch with their favorite celebrities. And, yes, it can put readers face-to-virtual-face with their favorite authors, but it can do far more than breakdown barriers of distance. It can bring local individuals and entities together, too.

 

Most local businesses in communities of all sizes have a social media presence, and more than anything they want to connect with the locals in their area and alert them of specials, sales, events, etc. So, joining their social media circle won't be terribly difficult, but as an author, you want to take it a step further. You want to be an influencer for their brand. Why? Because you will be rewarded handsomely as your relationship builds, and they are going to be more amenable to a cooperative affiliation. Have a book release coming up? Contact the local business you've been touting to all your friends and followers and see if they'll let their customers know about your new book. Maybe they'll even post a congratulations on their page.


You are going to want to choose your local businesses carefully. Make sure you don't connect with an organization that may tarnish your brand. Do your homework. If you have a personal relationship with an employee or owner, all the better. You have an in, and you'll have the inside scoop on the company. 


Reach out and connect with a local business online and start building a relationship that could be an invaluable tool to help you spread the word about your books.


-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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The Launch Party

 

Chamber of commerce

 

 

 

 

326 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, promotion, social_media, launch_party, influence, author_marketing
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There is no doubt about it. More and more people have short... Oh, look a squirrel. Neat. Okay, back to what I was saying. People have very short attent... Cool, the squirrel's back, and he's eating something... ATTENTION SPANS! People have short attention spans because there are so many distractions in the world today. There's social media, videos, TV, streaming, gaming, etc. Capturing the attention of a reader online these days is extremely difficult, and there are more ways to drive them away than to attract them to your content.


What you don't want to do is give them huge chunks of material to digest once you do get them to notice you. Online content shouldn't be novel length. Your videos shouldn't be feature film length. You want to write short and concise blog articles, and your videos should ideally be around three minutes. Long form is not your friend online.


There are exceptions to the rule, and those exceptions usually are associated with established brands. TED Talks are an example of long form video that works because they've built their brand on that sort of thing. Long posts about politics get special consideration because they are normally about politicians with their own brands.


Chances are, you're not an exception. You aren't an established brand. You are building a brand. That being the case, keep your online content short, concise, and easily digestible. As your brand becomes more mainstream, then you can graduate to longer content.


-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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Top five listicle about listicles

Social media best practices



463 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, promotion, writers, social, branding, social_media, author_brand, online_content
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In a recent post my friend and fellow author Andrea Dunlap shared her thoughts on how to use Instagram for book promotion. I've recently begun using Instagram myself (@mariamurnanewriter), and while I'm clearly a newbie, I've already learned a few things:


  1. If you download an app called Regrann, anytime someone tags you in a post, you can repost it. For example, if a fan posts a photo of your book with a note about how much she's enjoying it, you can share the post with your followers. (In marketing speak this builds what is called "third-party credibility," just like a testimonial. It's always better to have someone else tell people how great your book is than for you to tell them.)
  2. To keep your posts from looking cluttered, don't use hash tags in the actual post. Instead, click the "comment" icon on the post and put them there. Anyone doing a search for the hash tags you choose will still find your posts, but the posts themselves will look less promotional.
  3. People like to see posts related to "behind the scenes" life as an author. For example, I posted a photo of a note I wrote to my mom when I was a little kid. The note was filled with spelling errors, not indicative of a future career as a writer. For posts like these I use the hash tag #writerslife, which a marketing friend told me was popular.
  4. People like posts with wine and chocolate in them!
  5. Apps such as Boomerang allow you to make and post gifs directly to Instagram, as opposed to having to convert gifs to videos before posting them.


I'm sure I'll continue figuring out Instagram as I go and will write another post when I've learned enough to warrant one. If you have tips you'd like to share on what has worked for you, please do so in the comments!


-Maria


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


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Marketing tip: share what you've learned

Marketing tip: ask your fans to promote you

578 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, marketing_tips, instagram, regrann, boomerang
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It is anatomy day today on the blog. Here are the parts of a novel:


1. The opening/the hook: Some call it the most crucial part of your novel. As a reader, I can usually know from the very first line whether I'm going to connect with a book or not.


2. Characters: For me, this is the make or break element of a novel. If you write deep, fully-realized characters, you have a book that readers will flock to. It's not easy, and you're not going to please every reader, but if you do a deep dive on your character development you have a better than good chance to woo readers galore.


3. Plot: This is your main "What if?" question. This is what drives and motivates the characters. A flimsy plot can leave your readers confused and frustrated. Give them a compelling reason to read on, and they will stay engaged.


4. Subplot: Your subplots give your readers diversions and keep them guessing as they dive into the heart of your novel. Subplots are also great character building devices for your main characters and even secondary characters.


5 Setting: Where and when does your story take place? Authenticity is the key to creating a great setting. Even if your novel is a fantasy novel, it has to feel authentic. Details help and not just visuals. Smells, weather, and the people all help make a setting authentic.


6. Conclusion: How you wrap up your plot could be the difference between having a book with huge word of mouth potential or having a book that is just a blip on the reader's radar. Give your reader a satisfying conclusion to your plot, and you have a book readers can't wait to tell their friends and family about.


7. The end: Different from the conclusion, the ending of a book is where you paint a picture of your characters continuing to exist once your reader has read the last word. This is where a writer transitions from an author to an illusionist. Make the readers believe that life goes on, even when the story ends.


-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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Do you need a prologue or an epilogue?

Embrace the boring parts

621 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing
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Platform is a word that you hear thrown around a lot today. One might even call it an overused word. New indie authors entering the publishing world are likely to be bewildered and maybe even intimidated by the proliferation of talk about platforms. They may be asked, "What is your author platform?" Or, they may hear, "You need a multi-platform approach in order to reach as many readers as possible." They could even be told that, "A cross-platform strategy is the most optimal solution to create buzz about your book."


That's a whole lot of "platforming" going on. Allow me to try and add some sense to the flood of platform talk in publishing:


1. "What is your author platform?" This is in reference to your mode of brand building apparatus. Do you use social media to establish your brand? Are you a blogger? Do you produce online videos to build your brand? Each segment of your online presence is a part of your platform. When someone asks you what your author platform is, they are asking you how you're getting the word out on a regular basis.


2. "You need a multi-platform approach in order to reach as many readers as possible." This statement is simply saying that the more versions of your book that are available for sale, the more readers you will reach. In today's word that means a print version, a digital version, and an audio version. If you do the math that means the same book can be available in three different "platforms."


3. "A cross-platform strategy is the most optimal solution to create buzz about your book." This statement is in reference to what marketing vehicles you are utilizing to market your books, which include your platform and the platforms of other brands. Are you contributing posts to another author's blog? Are you appearing on another online video personality's channel? Are you a part of another author's or artist's social media community? In addition, you will provide the same marketing opportunities to these same individuals that have given you a piece of their virtual space. You are sharing brand communities.


To complicate things a little bit more, the word platform is used in other contexts in other industries, so there's always going to be some confusion surrounding the word, but I hope for now, the publishing industries platform conundrum is less challenging to understand.

 

-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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The Three Planks of Your Author Platform

 

Consistency: how to develop a living platform

 

 

 

 

576 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, branding, social_media, author_marketing, author_platform, author_identity, authro_brand
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