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2

In our last post about word count we discussed the importance of setting a goal early on in the process. For this blog, let's focus on how you're going to reach that goal. Theories abound on the best approach to amassing the words necessary to complete a book-length manuscript, and over the years, I've probably tried them all. Each philosophy has its merits, and there is no right way to reach a word count goal. Here are the three things to keep in mind as you move towards your goal:

 

  1. You don't have to take a daily word count approach. Let's face it: writing isn't just the act of typing. A lot of times it's the act of ruminating over an idea, scene, piece of dialogue, etc. You shouldn't beat yourself up if you let a day or two or three slip by without adding actual words to your story. They're building up in that gray matter of yours. If you're the type that likes to wait until a scene or chapter is fully realized in your mind, that's a legitimate approach. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
  2. The Stephen King approach is admirable but not for the faint of heart. The master of horror has stated that he commits to a daily word count of 2,000 words. That's a hearty pace, and it's not for everybody. During NaNoWriMo, I approached that kind of output, and I have to say I found it invigorating. In a way, it felt like I was in training for a marathon
  3. Commit to a single word a day. I'm not kidding. I love this approach, especially for beginning writers. It removes the pressure of being productive and takes away the anxiety of sitting down to write. The secret here is that once you convince yourself you only have to write a single word a day, you relax and far exceed your. The writer's mind is full of fun ideas, but it';s also easy to trick it into doing some actual work.

 

When mapping out how to reach a word count goal and deciding which strategy works best for you, there are two things you want to keep in mind: your personality type and your timeline. If you work best under pressure and you've set an ambitious release date for your book, obviously high volume output is for you. If the pressure to create makes you less productive and creative, and you're not in a hurry to get your book to market, take your time with a low volume approach.

 

-Richard

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

 

 

 

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Setting Goals for Your Brand

Got Writer's Block? Step Away from the Keyboard

2,554 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, indie, publishing, writing, craft, word_count, writing_tips, writing_advice
3

You've documented your book-writing journey, and you've done outreach to other bloggers and reviewers to raise author brand awareness. By now you're reaching that pivotal moment when you upload your files and order a proof so you can get a look at your masterpiece in print before you make it available for sale.

 

When I get to the proof stage, I order the maximum amount and then announce a pre-release giveaway on my blog and Facebook page. Proofs are the perfect marketing tool. They are sneak peeks for lucky winners of your giveaway. They are the catalyst for you to take to your piece of internet real estate and talk about your book with vigor and verve, not just once, but daily during the giveaway period, a period that should last no more than six weeks and no fewer than two. If you have five proofs to give away, my suggestion would be to do one giveaway per week for five weeks.

 

This is a buzz-building exercise. It has to mean something to you in order for it to mean anything to your readers. Don't just talk about it. Talk it up. We authors tend to be introverted, and we can come off as reserved. There's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't garner a lot of enthusiasm for a marketing event like a proof giveaway. Use as much fanfare as you can muster. Do everything short of throwing a parade when you announce the winners. Actually, if you can afford a parade, go for it. Think of the news coverage you'll get.

 

Next week, we'll enter stage four of marketing with a look at planning for a release date.

 

-Richard

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

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Stage One of Marketing a Book: Journaling Your journey

Writing Tip: Use Contractions in Dialogue

2,622 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
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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 Make a Living with Your Writing - The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn reveals how she turned a passion for writing into a writing career.          

                           

Practice the Process - Retinart

To get good at what you do, you have to know how you do what you do.          

 

Film

                                                        

From the Archives: Famous Filmmakers - Huffington Post

Three filmmakers, known for taking risks, sit down with HuffPost Live to discuss the art and business of filmmaking.        

                                          

DIY or DIE: 10 No Budget Filmmaking Musts - Indiewire

Simple ideas that help you stay under the smallest budget. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Music Marketing with YouTube: Four Ways to Beef up Your Channel - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

The power of video has long been a marketing asset for musicians.  

 

The Many Hats of an Indie Musician - Day in the Life of a Commercial Musician

It's a juggling act, but you get to do what you love.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- May 8, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- May 1, 2015

1,815 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, selling, music, author, self-publishing, promotion, movies, writers, writing, promotions, musician, music_marketing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, practice
1

In stage one of marketing a book, we covered sharing your journey and building your community through journaling. For stage two we'll focus on reaching readers outside of your community. This is something you should do before you've finished writing your book. In fact, this is something you should ideally do when your book is still just a spark of an idea. If you've already begun a book, it's not too late to jump on this strategy. Even if your book has been published, you can do an outreach and set the wheels in motion for your next book.

 

The good news is the outreach stage is not rocket science. It will take some research on your end, but the payoff is worth it. You need to be a voice in your genre. It's time to start reaching out to blogs, online magazines (e-zines), mainstream websites, etc. Be an active member in their online communities. Add value to the conversations they start. Better yet, contact the editors and volunteer to provide posts and articles to help bring traffic to their online presence. Be visible, and be vocal.

 

Remember, you're establishing a brand – your brand as an author. Present yourself in a compelling and clear manner that will establish your reputation as a good writer with something valuable to contribute to the community. Most of all be respectful of other members of the community. Allow for criticism and disagreement with your contribution without argument. Respectful counterpoints are fine, but terse, sarcastic responses to such feedback can be devastating.

 

Stage two of marketing a book: Outreach. Find those communities outside of your own that cater to your genre, and start participating as a community member.

 

-Richard

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

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The Art of Commenting

Today's New Media

2,793 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

The Path to Success - The Passive Voice

Indie superstar Joe Konrath shares his path to success.          

                           

This One Trick Can Revolutionize Your Writing - Enago Blog

A trick than can help any writer of any stripe.          

 

Film

                                                        

Watch: 90-Minute Masterclass with Legendary Director Werner Herzog - The Playlist

An in-depth Q&A with the legend of cinema.        

                                          

Notes to Screenwriters: Advancing Your Story, Screenplay and Career by Authors Barbara Nicolosi and Vicki Peterson - Film Courage

How to implement feedback and make your screenplay stronger. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Practice Logs and How to Include Ear Training in Your Daily Music Practice -Easy Ear Training

Tracking your learning-by-ear progress.  

 

Three Things I Disagree with Speech Level Singing about - How to Sing Better

Should singing be as natural as speaking?   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- May 1, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- April 24, 2015

1,653 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, filmmaking, author, promotion, movies, writers, directors, writing, success, films, directing, musicians, social_media, singing, practice, writing_practice
2

Let's turn the strategy of compartmentalizing to the writing of a book from beginning to end. As I've stated before, reaching a goal is much easier when you break the journey to that goal down into manageable parts.

 

Writing a book begins with the idea. Stephen King calls this the "What if" moment. Essentially, an idea for a book comes to you when you start exploring the possible outcomes of that "What if" question. What if an elderly fisherman in a small boat in the middle of the ocean hooks a fish too big to bring in? I'm not saying Hemingway started with that premise, but that's one way to find the meat and bones of The Old Man and the Sea.

 

You are going to run into fits of inspiration and mountains of frustration as you develop your idea, and if you're like me, that's exactly what the beginning of your book is, an idea. My projects don't usually turn into books until I hit page 40. That's usually the point where the confidence kicks in and I feel like I know where the "What if' is going, and depending on the book, it may take me months to get to that benchmark.

 

The inspiration and the frustration have to be approached with caution. Both can burn you out if you don't control them. Hemingway himself suggested to stop your writing day when you know what's going to happen next. In other words, don't write until the inspiration is gone. And certainly don't stop writing because you feel frustrated. Write anything, even if it's horrible, to break through to the other side.

 

The first stage of writing a book is exploring an idea. Exploration means you will take wrong turns. You will make mistakes. You will doubt yourself. That's okay. You'll find your artistic groove if you keep exploring.

 

-Richard

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

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Embracing Inspiration from Real-Life Moments

The "What If" Notebook

3,581 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, idea_exploration, what_if
2

Today we start a series on the five stages of marketing a book. I've always been a fan of compartmentalizing a goal in order to make it less daunting. Cutting things down leads to better planning, which leads to greater success. Our first stage is a way to keep yourself on point and accountable, all under the watchful eye of your public.


 

Find a space in your online presence and commit it as your little plot of virtual real estate where you will keep detailed records of your progress. This is where you are going to say all those things aloud, in public, that you mumbled to yourself in front of your computer as you typed out your masterpiece. Call it an online journal or artist's confessional. Call it anything you want except unimportant.


 

Self-examination is vital to your growth as a writer. Most of us wait until the end of a project to reflect on how we reached our goal. By that time our reflections have turned into happy memories of accomplishment. Journaling while you write allows you to see all the impossible obstacles - before and after you triumphed over every one of them. It will inform you on just how resilient you truly are and how small the impossible really is.


 

It will also serve as a guide for other aspiring writers and help build a community of supporters around you. They will lend you encouragement and inspiration as you overcome the struggles. When the book is available for sale, they will more than likely want to see the results of the journey they were a part of and join you in a victory lap.


 

So, there we have it. Stage one to marketing a book: Keep a journal and start it now.


 

-Richard

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

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Keep a Brand Journal

Reverse Journaling for Your Brand

6,025 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writing, jounaling
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Book Titles That Sell, Productivity for Authors and Marketing for Introverts with Tim Grahl - The Creative Penn

Book marketing expert Tim Grahl discusses strategy with Joanna Penn.         

                           

Measuring Social Media ROI by @nblackburn01 - BadRedhead Media

Tools to help calculate your social media return on investment.         

 

Film

                                                        

Lights, Camera, Athens: The Art of Filmmaking - The Red & Black

How a small town fostered a filmmaking community in its midst.       

                                          

Indie Filmmaking - Making Money vs Passion Projects -Flickering Myth

How working on both will help you keep your sanity and pay your rent.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Engage a Live Music Audience - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Advice on how to make your live performances audience-friendly.  

 

The Best Way to Learn Guitar - Guitar Coach Magazine

For beginners just learning and masters wishing to hone their skills.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 24, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- April 17, 2015

585 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, music, filmmaking, film, author, writing, plan, guitar, films, musicians, social_media, audience, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy
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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

1,693 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

1,410 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

1,714 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
1

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

2,453 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

3,472 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

1,837 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

1,706 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
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