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348 Posts tagged with the author tag
1

Creativity is the name of the game. Without it, writing fiction would be very difficult...okay, impossible. So how does one keep the creative juices flowing? Here is my four-step program to help you stay creative:

 

  1. Stay busy - For most people this is not a difficult step to follow. Everyone in this day and age is busy, but I'm not talking about your writing life in this instance. I'm talking about your life outside of writing. Find things that take your mind as far away from writing as you can.
  2. Reflect - When you're not busy either writing or living, take the time to sit quietly and reflect on your day. Go over the smallest details. As you reflect, pay attention to your breathing and get to the point where you're actively taking in and letting out breaths slowly. If this sounds like meditation, you're right. Some people don't think they have time to meditate, so I like reframe it as breathing. If you don't have time to breathe, then you're in trouble.
  3. Establish a routine - Drive to work the same way every day. Have the same thing for lunch every day. Tie your shoelaces the same way every day. Dress the same way. Write at the same time every day. Be boring. Be predictable.
  4. Break your routine - After you establish a routine for a few weeks, obliterate it. Change things up. Take a different route to work. Change your writing schedule. Forget what you worked so hard to establish in step three.

 

This program is not scientifically proven to work, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the principle behind what I'm suggesting. Keep the mind from getting complacent. Allow it to rest occasionally and lull it into a false sense of security. Let it think it's safe to relax and expect the "same old same old" every day. Once complacency sets in, change things up. Creativity often comes from the strain of change.

 

-Richard

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

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Creative Writing Exercises

Is the Early Bird More Creative?

6,762 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, writing
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Writing Deadline Dos and Don'ts - Huffington Post

If you've set a deadline for your next release, here's how to reach it.     

                           

Twenty-one Fast Hacks to Fuel Your Story with Suspense - Writer's Digest

Author Elizabeth Sims tells you how to dial up the suspense.       

 

Film

                                                        

Five Filmmaking Lessons for Directors, DPs, & Those Working with Multi-Cam Setups - No Film School

Lessons on finding your camera's dynamic range.     

                                          

Why a Director Shouldn't Edit Their Own Film - Filmmaking.net

Collaboration is a valuable asset in filmmaking.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Musicians: Discover a Simple Way to Connect with Fans - Musicgoat.com

The smallest things can have the biggest impact. 

 

Marketing Lessons from Taylor Swift - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Bob Baker explains how indie musicians can learn a lot from Taylor Swift.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- January 16, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- January 9, 2014

1,491 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, filmmaking, author, self-publishing, promotion, indie, movies, writers, writing, films, suspense, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media, writing_advice
2

If you've never heard of "active voice" or "passive voice," don't worry, you're not alone. However, while you might not know the official terminology, I'm willing to bet you can easily spot the difference between the two.

 

In the active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing the acting. For example:

 

  • I am writing this blog post.
  • You are reading this blog post.
  • They are enjoying that book.

 

In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is being acted on by the verb:

 

  • This blog post is being written by me.
  • This blog post is being read by you.
  • That book is being enjoyed by them.

 

While active voice is strong and clear, passive voice is somewhat watered down...and a bit weak.

 

It's fine to use passive voice now and again, but the problem with using it too often is that it can bore - and potentially frustrate - your audience. Passive voice can also leave readers with unanswered questions if certain information isn't provided. For example:

 

  • The man was seen on the street early in the morning, and it was reported that he was up to no good. (Who saw the man? Who reported that he was up to no good?)

 

Still confused? Here's the first paragraph of this post again.

 

If you've never heard of "active voice" or "passive voice," don't worry, you're not alone. However, while you might not know the official terminology, I'm willing to bet you can easily spot the difference between the two.

 

Now here it is rewritten in the passive voice:

 

If "active voice" or "passive voice" has never been heard of by you, don't worry, you're not alone. However, while the official terminology might not be known by you, I'm willing to bet that the difference between the two can easily be spotted by you.

 

See the difference? Think active = strong and passive = weak. Who doesn't want to be strong?

 

-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, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Why the Passive Voice Is Hated By Me

Why Good Grammar Matters

1,789 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, grammar, active_voice, passive_voice
3

It is the new year, and I have an idea to help kick-start your marketing efforts. In November of last year, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In a 30-day period, I contributed 50,000 words to a new book. It was exhilarating, not to mention that it accelerated the writing process. I am much further ahead on the project than I had initially planned for and I've adjusted my schedule accordingly.

 

So, in the spirit of the new year and NaNoWriMo, why not have your own novel marketing month? Every day for 30 days, contribute to the marketing of your book. Whether it is writing a blog post about your book, contacting a reviewer or creating a video about your book.

 

This can do two things for you.

 

  1. It can give your marketing efforts a serious boost. By contributing to the marketing of your book every day for 30 days straight without a break, you're increasing the opportunity that your marketing will find traction somewhere along the way. The more "at bats" you have, the more likely you are to get a hit.

  2. You will gain a comfort level with marketing your book and by extension build your author brand. In essence, you will form a marketing habit. You'll develop a taste for it.

Just as writing takes a commitment, so does marketing. Make the commitment and pick a month to spend every day marketing your book.

 

-Richard

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

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Keep a Brand Journal

Book Marketing Takes Persistence

1,669 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writers, nanowrimo
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Write Better: 3 Ways to Introduce Your Main Character - Writer's Digest 

How to create characters that the reader will not only like, but feel like they know, as well.           

 

How to Create an Effective, Engaging Video - Marketing Tips for Authors

Your author video must have a purpose to engage the viewer.     

                           

 

Film

                                                        

Three Reasons Why Great Directing Hinges on Prep Work and Pre-production - Norm Kroll

Going into production without being prepared can ruin a great film.     

                                          

How to Build Your Audience through Email - Filmmaking Stuff

Email is a good tool to use to build your audience.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Six Resolutions All Musicians Should Make for 2015 - Hypebot.com

It all starts with knowing what you're getting into. 

 

What's Wrong with Your Vocal Warm-up? - Judy Rodman

Before you commit to doing vocal warm-ups before performances, make sure you're doing them right.   

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Weekly News Roundup- January 9, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- January 2, 2015

1,603 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, music, filmmaking, author, promotion, indie, movies, video, writers, writing, characters, films, promotions, directing, musicians, craft, social_media, character_development, author_marketing, film_audience, vocal_excersises
0

Know Thy Story

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 14, 2015

I had the good fortune of being invited to a couple of writer's workshops this year. Both were enlightening and educational. I learned a lot from both the feedback I received and from listening to the other material that was presented. Beyond the exposure to different styles and genres, I got to see how other writers approach their work. The most edifying moments came when each author was asked to describe their stories. For the most part it was interesting, but there was the rare example of a few authors having no idea what their stories were about.

 

 

How could they not know what their own stories were about? I haven't a clue, but it was obvious. They started their description and then would meander off into a subplot, muddling the storyline so much that even they were too lost to get back to the main plot. When they'd finish their description, they'd invariably bark out, "Oh, I forgot..." and proceed to reveal a forgettable morsel of the story. They jumped from character to character trying to justify their existence. The reaction from everyone in the room shifted from attentive listening to polite head nodding to moving to the back of the room to see if any donuts were left.

 

 

Part of their befuddled delivery had to do with nerves, but part of it had to do with a lack of confidence in their main plot and its ability to carry a storyline. If you have no faith in the central theme of your story, you can't expect readers to demonstrate the faith for you.

 

 

If you're ever given the opportunity to discuss your book in public, know your story and have faith in your main plot. Don't veer off into sub-plots and minute character descriptions. Be concise and confident.

 

 

-Richard

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

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Character and Action

Write For the Story Not the Platform

2,091 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, self-publishing, writers, writing, public_speaking, event, craft, workshops, author_tips, author_appearance, book_events
3

Rewrite for New Life

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 12, 2015

Around 12 years ago, I wrote a screenplay that generated a small amount of interest because it did well in a fellowship competition. I thought it was my big break at the time. I started practicing my Oscar speech and wondering what I would wear to George Clooney's Super Bowl party. It was a delightful but brief, delusional vacation from reality. As the months passed, the phone calls and emails stopped coming in, and I returned to Earth no worse for the wear.

 

 

Fast forward to this summer, I decided to open the old screenplay file and see if I could adapt it into a play or even a book. What I discovered shocked me. The screenplay didn't hold up. It just wasn't as good as I had remembered. It's something I can't explain. I was baffled because it had almost won a fellowship competition. Instead of closing the file and walking away, I took the next two weeks and rewrote it. I cut scenes, characters, dialogue, locations, etc. I kept the basic premise intact, and one character kept his name and disposition. Everything else changed. I even made one of the primary male parts a female character. After the first rewrite, about 10% of the old screenplay remained. I had so much fun rewriting it the first time, I rewrote it again. This time about 1% of the old screenplay remained. The style and format looked nothing like the original.

 

It was a blast. I took a piece that I would have never thought of changing a decade ago, and I totally reworked it not once but twice. And it's a better, stronger piece than it used to be.

 

 

I'm guessing there are a number of writers reading this who have old manuscripts that you haven't thought of in years. I encourage you to dig up those old projects that had promise but went nowhere and do what I did. Do something you wouldn't have dreamed of doing when the manuscripts were new and perfect. Rewrite them and give them new life.

 

 

-Richard

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

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Write without Judgment

Overwriting? Just Say It!

3,770 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, rewrite, screen_play
0

I can make you more creative and insightful with one word. It's not that I'm a wizard with special powers who can open your mind. I'm not an oracle who knows all and sees all. I'm just an observant writer who has learned a thing or two over the years. When some of you hear this word, you'll balk. You'll think me mad. And perhaps I am, but once you mull it over, you'll start to understand how this word is the key to being more creative. Enough of the buildup. This incredibly powerful word is "rules."

 

I know it's kind of anticlimactic, but I promise you rules will make you more creative. Years and years ago, I was working as a writer/producer on a corporate training video. After the client read the shooting script, she had two comments. She wanted the video to be shorter, and she wanted it to include more information. In other words, she wanted two diametrically opposed changes. I grumbled and groused when I first got her notes. I thought she was asking the impossible.

 

I was wrong. What she was doing was giving me a gift. I saw the project in a whole new light, and a switch went off in my brain. Suddenly, I knew the solution to work within her rules, and we ended up with a much better end product than we would have if we had stuck to the original concept.


Give your story restrictions before you sit down to write it. Your brain will go into overdrive to find a workaround that adheres to your rules, and in turn tell a story that is clear and innovative.


 

-Richard

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

 

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The Pitch Test

Fix It in Rewrites

2,076 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, writers, writing, creativity, draft, writing_process, craft, creative_writing
1

A couple of Saturdays ago, my good friends Martha and Tanya had a "stoop sale," which is what we apartment-dwelling New Yorkers call a good old-fashioned garage sale. As the three of us were discussing how much to charge for a beaded purse and why no one had yet bought the wooden elephant, a kind older gentleman strolled by. He struck up a conversation about the stack of books Martha and Tanya were selling. He said his name was Leland William Howard and explained that he'd written a memoir about the 20 years he'd spent with his beloved dog Betsy.

 

With tears of joy in his eyes, Mr. Howard told us how writing the book was purely a labor of love. He'd published it on his own and hadn't sold many copies, but that didn't matter to him. He had a story to tell, he told it, and he was extremely proud of having done so.

 

Bravo, Mr. Howard!

 

With all the focus on what to do once our books are "out there," too often we authors forget why we wanted to create a book in the first place. I've written seven novels now, but I remember the moment I finished the first one as if it were yesterday. I was overwhelmed with an incredible feeling of accomplishment, of pride, of fulfillment. And that was just the first draft! I had no idea what would come next, no clue that I would one day become a full-time author. And you know what? Since then I've have a lot of success with my writing, but none of it surpasses that initial feeling of pride, of I did it! I'm dead serious.

 

So many people want to write a book, but so few actually do. Try to remember that the next time you're feeling discouraged, OK?

 

-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, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Those Wonderful Bumps in the Road

How to Write without a Plan

5,106 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Using Fiction Techniques for Writing Nonfiction - Helen Sedwick

How to get the logical side of your brain to have a little fun. 

                           

Eavesdropping for Story Ideas and Other Tips from a Veteran Novelist - The Book Deal

Bestselling author Warren Adler shares advice on writing and publishing.      

 

Film

                                                        

Do You Know What the Difference Between a T-Stop and an F-Stop Is? - Noam Kroll

Do you know your aperture settings?    

                                          

Attention, Filmmakers: Here's 10 Tips for Finishing Your Documentary - IndieWire

Defining the narrative structure of your documentary.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How Valuable Is Your Voice? A Lesson from Van Gogh's Shoes - Judy Rodman

The marketplace does not determine the value of your voice.

 

How Changing It Up Can Help Build an Audience - musicgoat.com

If you want to draw more people to your shows, don't be so predictable.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 19, 2014

Weekly News Roundup - December 12, 2014

1,374 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, music, film, documentary, author, self-publishing, promotion, movies, writers, blogging, writing, promotions, musicians, branding, audience, writing_tips, target_audience
0

Confidence: it is a magnet for success. Athletes know it. Business moguls know it. Top entertainers know it. It's not necessarily a secret, but it can be an elusive state of being to achieve. Let's face it, if it were easy to feel confident, we'd all wave at each other from our own yachts. Earlier, I wrote about how to find your strength as a writer. This blog discusses why I think it matters.

Arrogance is often mislabeled as confidence. The two are similar in meaning, but while confidence attracts admirers, arrogance can repel them. Confidence means you are self-assured and comfortable with your ability to do well. Arrogance means you are overly-assertive in your insistence that you are the best. There are some cases where an arrogant attitude is fashionable. Athletes often insist they are the best at their sport, and they are forgiven because their prowess can be demonstrated on the field or on the court or in the ring.

 

Authors are less appreciated when labeled as arrogant. The key to building a successful author brand is to exude confidence without even trying. Here's how to tap into that Zen-like feeling: know your craft. Practice it every day. Understand the elements of story and constantly challenge yourself to be a subject matter expert when it comes to writing. Study your preferred genre. Know the intricacies of your chosen category. Never stop learning how to write better. And, as we discussed before, know your strengths.

 

If you are in a constant mode of growth as a writer, confidence is an inevitable side effect of that growth. If you want your author brand to succeed, never rest on your laurels. Live in a state of Zen by creating confidence through knowledge, both of your craft and yourself.

 

-Richard

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

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Evaluating Your Author Brand
Be Authentic to Build Your Brand

1,580 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, author, promotion, writers, writing, branding, author_brand, brand_identity, author_advice
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I hit a milestone this year in my publishing journey. The first novel I published was completed 10 years ago. How did I celebrate? I published a 10th anniversary edition of the book. While it is similar to the original, it is not the same book; there are significant differences.

 

Let me explain. About four years ago I spoke with an editor about releasing my first book traditionally. They loved the book, but they wanted major changes. Yeah, I'm not sure how that works either, but I took notes and then diligently did a rewrite incorporating the editor's "suggestions." I emailed the new version of the book to my agent and awaited my contract. After a couple of weeks, I got a figurative punch to the gut instead. The editor hated the changes. He thought I made the book worse and proceeded to send me on my way. My agent and a few other readers loved the new version, so we circulated it around and got some mild interest, but ultimately never got a contract offer. After getting the official word from my agent that there was nothing more he could do, I decided there was something I could do. I could self-publish it, and the timing couldn't have worked out better. I wrote the original in 2004, so I released the rewrite as the 10th anniversary, reimagined edition.

 

I was concerned that some readers may be upset that I was just trying to sell them the same book in different packaging, so I did a quick survey of readers to gauge demand and discovered that it would be well-received. I also used the author's note at the beginning of the new edition to explain why it existed.

 

How far are you into your publishing journey? Is it time to reimagine one of your early books? That's the beauty of the digital publishing age: alternate versions of books are not only feasible, they are starting to become commonplace. The comic book world has been releasing "alternate universe" versions of their storylines for decades. Why not novels? As long as you make enough changes to present a new story, retelling a story you've already told could be a viable publishing option.  

 

-Richard

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

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The Value of Rejection

Indie Freedom!

1,526 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, self-publishing, revisions, writing, launch, craft, book_launch_party, book_relaunch
0

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

 

 

Books/Publishing

 

Why You Should Welcome Anything Less than 5 Star Reviews - The Future of Ink

An interesting look at those less-than-stellar ratings. 

                           

How to Edit Your Self-published Book like a Pro in 8 Steps - Self-Publishing Review

How to make self-editing work.    

 

Film

                                                        

Need to Splice a Line In? Try Placing Your Edits in the Middle of the Word - Filmmaker IQ

Call it cutting inside the lines.    

                                          

Top 10 Tips for Being a Cinematographer - BBC News

Leave your ego at home if you want to be a great cinematographer.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Create Amazingly Powerful Video Testimonials that'll Get More Gigs for Your Band - Gigging Success

Video testimonials are social proof your band is worth listening to.

 

How to Promote Music if You Don't Play Live - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

If you're the kind of musician who makes music in the comfort of your own home, there's still a way for you to promote your songs.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- December 12, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- December 5, 2014

1,571 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, music, filmmaking, film, author, writers, publishing, writing, films, musicians, filmmakers, reveiws, film_editing, editorial_reveiws, music_video, music_promotion
1

I did it. I participated in my very first NaNoWriMo. Well, more accurately, I kind of participated in NaNoWriMo. My project was nonfiction, and I had written 12,000 words prior to the November 1 start date. I essentially used the event to contribute 50,000 to my next book.

 

I have to say I found it utterly exhilarating. Getting up every day facing a new word count goal kept me hyper-focused on the book for 28 out of the 30 days. The first 14 mornings, after my coffee, of course, I sat at my computer and wrote 420 words. I then broke away and answered e-mails. Then I sat down to write 420 more words. Another break to tend to other work was followed by another 420-word writing session. The final 420-word session would come before dinner. Most days looked like this. The ones that didn't required slight adjustments due to other obligations. I took day 15 off and then broke my four sessions into 448 words each. I took one more day off and adjusted my word count sessions to make up for the lost time. In addition, I kept myself honest by updating my progress on my blog and Facebook every day.

 

I have written 12 books, but I have never done it with this much pressure before. I loved every minute of it. I am not finished by any stretch of the imagination. I have a very rough first draft that needs a lot of tender loving care, but thanks to NaNoWriMo, I have it in record time. If you have not participated in NaNoWriMo before, I would highly recommend it. Get ready for next November. I know I will be.

 

How was your experience with NaNoWriMo? Did you find, as I did, that the pressure helped keep you productive?

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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How to Get and Stay Motivated

Is the Early Bird More Creative?

1,310 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, writers, timeline, writing, nanowrimo, national_novel_writing_month, craft
3

No matter who publishes your book, I strongly believe that every author should have a launch party because writing an entire book is an accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated! Many indie authors, however, believe that launch parties cost a lot of money. They also believe that traditional publishers throw elaborate launch parties for all their authors.

 

Neither is true.

 

Each time I have a book come out, I have one launch party in New York, where I live, and one in Silicon Valley, where I grew up. My publisher doesn't pay for the parties, but neither do I. I don't pay for anything. I do, however, organize the events. And by "organize," I mean that I call up a bar and ask if I can have a book signing there. That's literally all I do. Most bar owners/managers would be thrilled to give you a table to sign books in exchange for your bringing in a small/medium/large group of patrons on a slow evening.

 

It's really that easy!

 

So there you go. There's nothing stopping you from doing exactly what I do. Find a cool bar on Yelp, call them up, ask to speak to the manager, and then have a friendly conversation. It might take a few calls to find the right venue, but you will find one. Then spread the word, sell some books, and enjoy! Who cares if you don't have any fans (yet)? Invite your family and friends. They will be happy to come!

 

NOTE: Don't forget to take photos, especially a few of yourself signing copies of your book. You might feel a little silly at the time, but trust me, it's not silly. Not at all!

You worked hard to become an author, so be proud of yourself and celebrate! You deserve it.

 

-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, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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The Big Book Launch Follow-Up

Book Launch Sponsors

 

 

6,160 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, promotion, writing, book_launch_party
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