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The Plot Plight

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 22, 2015

My favorite book is an obscure title first released in 1933 called God's Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell. Well, it's obscure now. When it was released, it was actually both a commercial hit and the subject of controversy because it was deemed vulgar by some. By today's standards, it's not nearly as provocative as it was in the 1930s.

 

I write about it today because I can make the argument that the book is without a main plot. The catalyst for the action in the beginning is the patriarch of a deeply impoverished family's obsessive search for gold on his dying farm. It's a fruitless endeavor that ruins the farmland. This search for riches serves as a backdrop to the lives of the family members and the hardships that weave them together. There's an illicit affair that tears the family apart. There's a strike at a nearby cotton mill that ends in tragedy. There's a murder. The book is basically a scrapbook of events that paints the sad portrait of a family plagued by poverty. The futile search for gold is less a plot than it is a shadow cast by the family's endless misfortune.

 

A plot is described as the main event of a book that gives a story meaning. Other events, subplots, give a story depth. My dissection of God's Little Acre has me questioning my sanity. A book, I've been taught, must have a clearly defined plot. I've been encouraged to establish the plot early in a story. And I've been told repeatedly that a book cannot end without some sort of resolution to that plot. Caldwell did none of those things in God's Little Acre, but he managed to write a compelling, truly enriching story. How is that possible?

 

So, here's my question to you, dear writer, what is your philosophy on plot? Where is it established in your story? How clearly defined is it? Can you think of a book that contains a muddled plot, but still manages to deliver a gripping story?

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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The Importance of Plot Points

The Purpose of Subplots

1,602 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, writing, characters, plot, development, craft, writing_tips, plot_point
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Build Your Email List with a Free e-course - The Future of Ink

Build your brand by sharing your knowledge.           

                           

So You Think You Finished a Novel - Kameron Hurley

The joys and pains of rewriting.         

 

Film

                                                        

The Five Laws for Hollywood Success - Filmmaking Stuff

Five common sense rules that anyone can follow.     

                                          

Making a Horror Film? These Six Steps Could Make You a Legend - Movie Pilot

An extreme horror fan reveals the secrets of the scary film arts. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Refine Your Singing Style - Easy Ear Training

Your voice is unique, but it still most likely fits into one of five styles.  

 

Listening to Tight Voices? Danger: It Can Tighten Your Own - Judy Rodman

Your voice automatically attempts to mimic what you hear.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 10, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- April 3, 2015

1,302 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, music, filmmaking, film, author, self-publishing, promotion, indie, movies, blogging, promotional, films, promotions, book_promotion, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, singing, writing_novel, flim, film_tips
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Get in Good with Goodreads - Writer's Digest

Veteran author Michael J. Sullivan shares his secrets to Goodreads success.           

                           

Reader Question: Grammar, Second Languages, and Book Soundtracks - All Indie Writers

Poor grammar and typos in your marketing material can cost you readers.         

 

Film

                                                        

Top Five Things I've Discovered about Promoting a Low Budget Children's Film - Projector Films

Be relentless, and be prepared for the long haul.     

                                          

The 11 Principles of Leadership for Filmmakers - Studio Binder

Know thyself, and know thy craft. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Nine Reasons a Guitar Pickup Sounds the Way It Does - Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture Music Production Blog

What seems simple can actually mean everything when it comes to tone.  

  

How to Use Craigslist to Book Music Gigs - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Can a free site help find paying gigs?  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 3, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- March 27, 2015

1,624 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, book, music, filmmaking, author, self-publishing, promotion, indie, movies, writing, guitar, promotions, reading, musicians, filmmakers, social_media, music_industry, grammar_tip, grammar_advice, music_gigs, music_shows
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A gentleman by the name of Matthew Jockers "did some distance similarity metric calculations and machine clustering" to determine how many different kinds of basic plot structures exist in the world of storytelling. 90% of the time when he ran the test, the answer was that there are six different plot structures, and 10% of the time, the answer was seven. Either result suggests that we are all drawing from the same plot designs over and over again.

 

 

These results beg the question: how are we coming up with so many different variations of the same plots? The answer is fairly clear. It's the amount of "you" that goes into the story you're writing. You have a style. You may not even know what your style is, but you do have one. I've suggested before that it's important that you be able to identify what that style is. It will give you more confidence as a writer, and it will give you a less cluttered path to plotting your next story.

 

 

In a monthly workshop I attend, the one question that is asked of every writer after reading their material is "What makes today different than any other day in your story?" The same can be asked when trying to define your style. What makes your story different from the other stories that share the same plot? Is it your choice of character? Is it your choice of narrator? Is it your choice of setting? What constant theme pops up in everything you write and sets you apart? What is the "you" in your writing? 

 

-Richard

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

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Authors' Four Structural Essentials for Blogs

To Be a Professional Writer, Make a Professional Impression

2,332 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, selling, book, filmmaking, author, self-publishing, writers, publishing, writing, musicians, filmmakers, social_media, writing_tips
2

When I'm working on a book, there's nothing I fear more than staring at my computer screen and not knowing what to write next. I find it paralyzing, nerve-racking, depressing, and downright scary. When I'm writing a book but not actually writing anything, I feel an enormous sense of guilt because I'm not being productive.

 

At least, that's how I used to feel.

 

Recently I've realized that just because I'm not actually typing words on the keyboard, it doesn't mean that I'm not working on my manuscript. In fact, a lot of the work I put into my books happens when I'm not even at my desk. I letthe plot unfold in my head, essentially watching it as a movie before committing it to paper. That means that technically I'm working, even if I'm in the shower, or at the gym, or taking a walk. My brain is working on the book, which is what matters.

 

My personal challenge is to be patient and give my brain the time it needs to figure out how the story is going to unravel, wherever and however that happens. I've learned from experience that trying to force the creative process simply doesn't work. It leads to frustration and a lot of deleting.

 

The creative process is different for everyone, and if there were a sure-fire remedy for writer's block, I'd be first in line to buy it. But letting go of what you think it means to be "productive" is a good step in the right direction. Just be prepared to jot down notes when moments of inspiration strike. Not all the ideas that pop up will be golden, but you don't want to forget the ones that are!

 

-Maria

 

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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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Grammar Gaffes of Olympic Proportions

How to Help the Author in Your Life

3,350 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, book, author, writers, writing, craft, writer's_block, writing_tips
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Lessons from a Great Book Jacket Designer - The Book Deal

Tips on how to make the cover of your book stand out.         

                           

Quit Being a Commodity: 10 Ways to Get Visibility and Stand Out - The Future of Ink

Is exclusivity the key to marketing success in publishing?        

 

Film

                                                        

Drones Are about to Change How Directors Make Movies - Wired

Do you have a better way to get that cool aerial shot?     

                                          

How to Achieve Your Filmmaking Goals Fast - Filmmaking Stuff

Start with giving yourself a deadline.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Mind-Expanding Music Marketing - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

How to push yourself and step up your marketing game.  

  

Learning to Sing Does Not Need to Take Hours a Day - How to Sing Better

Practicing a few key techniques just 15 minutes a day can make you a better singer.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- March 20, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- March 13, 2015

1,740 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, selling, music, design, book_design, author, promotion, indie, movies, writers, blogging, writing, films, promotions, music_marketing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, social_media, singing, book_covers, firecting
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Are You Ready for a Book Signing? This Checklist Will Help - Book Marketing Tips

An infograph to help your next book signing be a success.         

                           

Marketing Versus Sales with Jim Kukral - The Creative Penn

Marketing is the setup, and sales is the close.        

 

Film

                                                        

Attention, Filmmakers: Six Tips for Getting Your Film Financed - Indiewire

You will find financing if you are confident, prepared and persistent.

 

Filmmaking Advice from Seven Directors with Feature Films at Sundance - No Film School

Don't wait to get experience to start your career in film; learn as you go.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Start My Music Career - Hypebot.com

Are you prepared for the many hats you'll be required to wear?  

 

Additive Synthesis - Give me more! - AudioFanzine

The art of stacking audio sounds.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- March 13, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- March 6, 2015

1,609 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, book, music, filmmaking, audio, author, promotion, feature, movies, writers, writing, book_signing, films, promotions, musicians, social_media, book_sales, filmming_cost
1

Today I'd like to talk about tenses, specifically when to use the preterit (past) tense versus the pluperfect (past perfect) tense. While both tenses refer to things that have already happened, the pluperfect reference point is earlier than the preterit reference point.

 

Here are two examples:

 

Preterit tense: I wrote a book

Pluperfect tense: I had written a book

Both together: He wrote to me yesterday to tell me that he had read my book (he read my book before he wrote to me about it)

 

Past tense: Last year was hard for me

Pluperfect tense: Things had been hard for a while

Both together: It was hard to open the window because someone had nailed it shut (the window was nailed shut before I tried to open it)

 

I recently read a book that was written in the preterit tense. The problem was that the author kept using preterit and pluperfect tenses as if they are  interchangeable. This resulted in a bunch of sentences that sounded really strange and didn't make much sense together.

 

For example:

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR WROTE:

Things were now much more difficult. Over the last six months my disease progressed to the point where I was in constant pain.

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN:

Things were now much more difficult. Over the last six months my disease HAD progressed to the point where I was in constant pain.

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR WROTE:

He knew what he needed to do. He fell in love with her, and it was time to tell her.

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN:

He knew what he needed to do. He HAD FALLEN in love with her, and it was time to tell her.

 

Do you see the difference between the tenses? If you confuse your point of reference, you will confuse your readers. And you want your readers to be entertained, not confused!

 

-Maria

 

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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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More Grammar Pet Peeves!
Solving the Mystery of Lie vs. Lay

2,340 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, writing, craft, grammar, spelling, writing_advice, author_tips, grammar_tip, grammar_advice, writing_tip
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Why Every Writer Should Keep a Travel Journal - Writer's Digest

Your experiences on the road may be worth some money.        

                           

Write More: Seven Tips for Dealing with Writing Distractions - Beyond Paper Editing

Maybe it's time to go old school and ditch your fancy laptop for a more low-tech approach.          

 

Film

                                                        

Ed Burns on The Brothers McMullen, Finding Your Voice, and the Meat Grinder of Independent Filmmaking - The Week

The filmmaker who helped usher in today's modern independent filmmaking movement.      

                                          

Becoming a Full-time Filmmaker: When to Quit Your Day Job - Filmmaking.net

When should you let go of your security net?  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Three Email Marketing Mistakes Musicians Make that Cost Them Fans and Money [Podcast]- Musicgoat.com

How to make your email marketing more engaging.  

  

Vocal Strain: What is it and What Can You Do about It? - Judy Rodman

Don't ignore vocal strain, or you might do permanent damage.    

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- February 27, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- February 20, 2015

1,352 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, film, author, self-publishing, movies, writers, publishing, writing, journal, promotions, filmmakers, branding, social_media, independent_film, email_marketing, vocals, writing_exercises, writing_tip
3

Most of us read books because we love to escape (temporarily) from reality and immerse ourselves in alternate worlds inhabited by colorful, interesting characters whose lives are much more exciting than our own. That's certainly why I read! However, while the lives these characters lead might be less than realistic, it's important (to me, at least) that their dialogue is realistic.

 

When I read a book with dialogue that doesn't ring true, instead of getting sucked into the story I find myself thinking, "Who talks like that? No one would say that." And as I've said a million times in this blog, you want your readers focused on the story, not on the problems with your writing.

 

(Note: I'm referring to contemporary fiction, not tales of dystopian societies, intergalactic wars, or Downtown Abbey type romances. If you're writing any of the above, may the conversational Force be with you.)

 

A good way to avoid having unrealistic dialogue in your own writing is to read it out loud. This may sound a little corny, but I swear it works! I did it when I wrote my first novel, and over time I got the hang of crafting conversations that sound the way people actually talk. Now, "your dialogue is so realistic!" is one of the most common compliments I get from readers about my books.

 

You want to create strong, believable characters that your readers will care about, so take the time to give them lines that will allow that to happen. With every conversation you write, ask yourself "Does this sound believable?" That might seem daunting at first, but over time it will get easier. I promise. And it will be well worth the effort. Your readers - and your characters - will be grateful.

 

-Maria

 

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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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Look Who's Talking

Turn the Beat Around

3,773 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, dialogue
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Author + Social Media =??? - Seekerville

Do genre and category matter when it comes to using social media?        

                           

Thirty-three Revenue Streams for Authors "Even If You Write Nonfiction"The Future of Ink

Are you taking advantage of all your branding opportunities?          

 

Film

                                                        

Thirteen Ways to Cast A-list Actors in Micro-budget Films - Filmmaker Magazine

Aim high with the right material, and you just might be surprised what kind of star power you can attract.      

                                          

Feature Film Journal #3: Creating a Visual Pitch Package and Treatment - Noam Kroll

Pre-production stills can help investors understand your vision.   

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Productivity Hacks for Musicians - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Are you taking consistent action?  

  

How to Hit High Notes in the Context of a Song - How to Sing Better

Sometimes you can hit the high note but not in any particular song.    

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Weekly News Roundup- February 20, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- February 13, 2015

1,635 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, music, film, author, self-publishing, promotion, movies, publishing, promotions, music_marketing, song, musicians, filmmakers, social_media, revenue, music_exercises
0

For some authors, there is a very understandable hesitation at associating their writing efforts with marketing efforts. In short, authors don't like to be thought of as a brand. They don't like everything they do to be associated with building said brand. They have a strong distaste for brand talk, and I get it. After all, isn't branding just a contrived exercise, made up of insincere tactics, to create an image for an author that appeals to as many people as possible?

 

No, but that is how many authors perceive branding. Branding, in the realm of the author, is nothing more than a public representation of your true self. It's you being you on a blog, within your social media circles, or on your YouTube channel. It's not you being what you think your readers want or what will help you sell the most books. That's called spin, and it has a short shelf life that eventually will spin out of control and cost you sales.

 

Like it or not, you are a brand, and your brand identity stems from your core values. Your basic beliefs dictate your brand decisions. So, do you know what your core values are? I know it sounds like an insane question. Most people know what they believe, right? Not necessarily. They know what they like and what they dislike, but, more times than not, they can't identify why.

 

Here's my challenge to you: identify the top three things that make you happy and three things that make you angry. Provide a short defense for each item in your list. Explore why each item made the list. When you're done, you'll have a better understanding of your core values, and moving forward, your brand will have a more authentic and confident voice.

 

-Richard

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

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Is Podcasting Right for You?

Social Media Swap

2,298 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, branding
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Commonly Confused Words: How to Avoid These Grammar Gaffes - Huffington Post

Direct objects, nouns, verbs, time sequences and comparisons: These are things to guide you down the grammar path.        

                           

How to Get Influencers to Notice You - The Future of Ink

Looking for an endorsement for your next book?          

 

Film

                                                        

Nine Things Artists Do to Hold Back Themselves and Their Work - Film Courage

Avoid the chaos and move forward.      

                                          

Using a Motivated Key Light - Filmmaker IQ

What do you get when you mix practicals with additional lights?   

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Simple Rhythm Hacks for Musicians - Artiden

When you're a pianist, drills alone won't help you find your rhythm.  

  

Five Steps: How to Record Better Vocals - Made 2 Create

Quit relying on technology to fix vocal mistakes.    

 

-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- February 13, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- February 6, 2015

1,643 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, music, filmmaking, author, indie, writers, writing, films, musicians, filmmakers, grammar
1

The Horoscope Prompt

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Feb 18, 2015

I will admit to reading horoscopes. I don't necessarily take them seriously, and most of the time the predictions are so general they could apply to the first five random people I meet on the street, but they are fun to read. They are basically great little story prompts for writers.

 

Think about it. Horoscopes contain general descriptions of angst that a character may be experiencing. They hint at possible solutions to that angst. They may allude to the possibility of romance or the meeting of an important person in one's life. Or maybe there's the promise of an unexpected financial windfall. Horoscopes are fertile ground for the basic elements of a compelling story.

 

So, here is my challenge to you: take a week and track your daily horoscope and the horoscope for one other astrological sign. In essence, you're following the lives of two fictional characters. At the end of the week, take these 14 horoscopes and build a single synopsis for a story. Before you start, decide the genre of the story and bend the elements of the horoscopes to fit your style.

 

When you're done, you should have a page or two that gives a fairly detailed description of a story. You will likely have caught a creative wave in the writing and expanded upon what the horoscopes offered, but that's okay. That's how developing a story works. It grows in the telling.

 

Finding a story isn&'t that difficult. They are all around you if you take the time to look. In this case, they are figuratively in the stars.

 

 

-Richard

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

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WordPlay: The Rum Runners' Retreat

WordPlay Writing Prompt: Diamond in the Rust

1,985 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, writers, writing, craft, writing_advice, writing_excersises
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Research Your Crime Novel - Writer's Digest

Crime scene descriptions, forensics, police interrogation tactics: just how far do you have to go to research your crime novel?       

                           

The Story Grid. How to Tell a Story and Edit Your Fiction with Shawn Coyne - The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn interviews Shawn Coyne about keeping a reader engaged enough to purchase your next book.          

 

Film

                                                        

How to Network in Hollywood (or Anywhere, Really) - Filmmaking Stuff

When raising money for a film, remember not to make the conversations exclusively about you.       

                                          

Ten Lessons on Filmmaking from David Lynch - Filmmaker Magazine

David Lynch is one of the most innovative filmmakers working today.   

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Vocal Performance and Acting Technique: Making Choices - Judy Rodman

Lights. Camera. Sing.   

 

Should You Run Paid Ads to Promote Your Music? -  Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

What to consider before you pay to advertise your band.   

 

-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- February 6, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- January 30, 2015

1,682 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, music, author, movies, musicians, filmmakers
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