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427 Posts tagged with the books tag
1

Word Count Paralysis

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 23, 2014

Sometimes staring at the blinking cursor on your computer screen can make it morph into a stop sign and prevent you from holding a thought long enough to tap it out on your keyboard. It can be an unintentional panic signal that freezes your fingers in place and fills you with heaping helpings of writer's doubt. Your focus shifts from what you want to write to how many words you must write before you will allow yourself to stop for the day. Gradually, you fixate exclusively on that word count goal, and you're unable to type a single solitary word.

 

I call it "word count paralysis," and there's really only one way to prevent it: Ditch the daily word count goal. In the end, it doesn't really matter how many words you write in a day. Your only goal is to make some sort of progress; big or small, it doesn't matter. The only thing that does matter is that you advance from where you were the day before.

I've talked before about my own word count philosophy in previous blogs. My goal while writing a book is to write one word a day. Not only have I never come short of my goal, I have far exceeded that one-word-a-day benchmark every single time, occasionally by as much as 6,000 times.  

 

Daily word count goals always have been the bane of my writing existence. They have served as arbitrary roadblocks that fill me with dread. As long as I ask myself to contribute only one word a day to a story, I am relieved of that pressure that leads to word count paralysis.

 

-Richard

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

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Writing a Word a Day

Unblocking Writer's Block

3,035 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: books, author, writers, writing, draft, writing_process, word_count, chapter_length
3

I'm in the early stages of writing a new book. To date, I have written about 12,000 words of a planned total of 100,000 words. I'm going to give you a brutal assessment of the work I've done so far: It's horrible. The main character is flat, the villain is over the top, and the setting isn't really that well developed.

 

 

But here's the thing: I don't care. My goal at this stage is to get to the 100,000 words mark with as few distractions a possible. The biggest distraction I encounter when writing a novel is that little voice in my head that constantly asks, "What on earth are you doing?" And for kicks, it chimes in with a "If anyone ever sees this, your career is over."

 

 

Every time my inner voice speaks up, I reply with "I don't care." I say it so many times within the confines of my bald head that it's become my writing mantra. "I don't care. I don't care. I don't care." The truth is no one will ever see this version of my book. I won't be judged by anyone outside of my own internal imaginary critic. My inner voice will try to destroy my ability to sally forth. When I get to the rewriting stage, I'll sing a different tune, but now is not the time to even think about how I'm going to fix this mess. Now is the time to make this mess.

 

 

I invite you to borrow my mantra. Use it every time your own inner critic attempts to halt the progress of your first draft. Shout it loudly if you must and shout it proudly. I don't care!

 

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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How to Get Through the First Draft

Writing Tip: When You Get Stuck, Use ALL CAPS and Move On

2,120 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: books, editing, author, writers, publishing, revisions, writing, drafts, beginning, rewriting, writing_stages
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Jog Your Memory: The Effects of Exercise on the Brain - Michael Hyatt

An infographic that shows how exercise can help your brain stay in writing shape.             

                                                    

How a Strong Circle of Influence Can Increase Your Results - The Future of Ink

Start building contacts with skills to help effectively spread the word for future releases.    

 

Film

                                                        

How Short Should a Short Be? - Film Shortage

Where your audience will see the film makes a big difference when deciding on the length of your short.    

                                          

For Jennifer, Whomever You Are - Advice on How to Pursue Your Art - Filmmaker IQ

Helpful advice for a photographer that also applies to filmmakers.    

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Songwriter Vocal Strain: Hazards of Singing While Writing Songs - Judy Rodman

The key is to ease in and pace yourself when using vocals to write a song.

 

Know about Your Acoustic Guitar - Musician Makers

A detailed look at all the parts of an acoustic guitar.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- June 6, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- May 30, 2014

1,605 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, music, film, self-publishing, promotion, indie, movies, writers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media
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The Mid-Novel Crisis

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 27, 2014

"What have I done?"

 

It's a phrase I utter often during the writing process. It usually first happens about midway through the first draft after the exhilaration of spawning a new idea gives way to the tedium of seeing that idea through to the end. I call it the mid-novel crisis.

 

I've talked with enough writers to know I'm not the only one to experience it. Turns out writing a novel is a bit like a relationship. There's that wonderful phase at the beginning where you're embraced by the warm light of euphoria. Nothing can go wrong. You write without restraint, marveling at how easily the story is coming to you. Then one day you wake up and there's a bit of struggle to get a few pages out. The subplot that you were counting on never really takes shape. The secondary characters aren't really adding anything to your story. But, you shrug it off and feel a sense of satisfaction that you've hung in there as long as you have. Tomorrow is another day.

 

The only thing is tomorrow brings more struggles, maybe even a little regret that you didn't pay more attention to the words that were pouring out of you the weeks before. You're paying for that reckless abandon now. Your free-wheeling ways have backed you into a character arc that's falling apart and a plot that is just plain blah. The thought of ditching the book altogether and starting a new one becomes a viable option, one you never thought possible in the beginning. How did it come to this?

 

Here's the thing. Writing a book isn't a relationship that will sour if you set it aside for a while. There's no danger that a story will leave you if you stop paying attention to it. I know the panic that sets in at the mid-novel crisis point. It's not real. It only feels real because you're pressing. So, take a break from the story if you're just not feeling it anymore. Start your other book. I think what you'll find is when you step away from a book that's not working anymore, your mind will give rise to solutions that eluded before.

 

-Richard

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

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The Moral of the Story

The Micro Story Challenge

1,853 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing
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Are you excited? I mean really excited! Are you jumping up and down and doing a victory dance? Or is the fist pump your thing? Whatever your chosen expression of excitement is, it's time to show it.

 

What's the call for all this excitement? You published a book. Before that, you devoted a great deal of your time and life to writing said book. Before that, you dreamed of publishing a book. Why shouldn't you be excited? Now that you've gone through this obstacle course and reached the very goal you set for yourself, you need to not just be excited; you need to let the world know just how excited you are.

 

Enthusiasm sells. Specifically, your enthusiasm will sell your books. If it's not special enough for you to get excited about, why should potential readers be excited? I understand that patting yourself on the back may not be in your nature, and I'm not suggesting you take to the virtual waves and tell everyone how awesome you are. In fact, I highly discourage you from doing just that.

 

I'm suggesting you take to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and any other part of your platform and tell everyone why this accomplishment is so special to you. Make it personal. Let everyone know why you wrote this book and why you want people to read it. Make your case, and do it with a confident smile.

 

Whether this is your first book or your 101st book, it is a big deal. Let the world know how much it means to you.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Do I Really Have to Self-promote?

Marketing: Begin with Your Strengths

2,893 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, selling, writers, first_book, publishing, social_networking, social_media, target_audience
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Let's go offline and local today with our marketing discussion. We all want to master the Internet and become a global sensation, but a better strategy may be to develop a following in our own communities and let the word spiral out like a growing galaxy of influence.

 

Now, just because it's your hometown doesn't mean finding readers is going to be a cakewalk. You are still going to have to do the leg work, and you may even have to shell out a few bucks here and there. I am of the opinion that spending time and money on local advertising could have a better return on investment than putting money into an online outlet that reaches readers around the world. Why? Because everyone wants to discover a new local literary talent.

 

How can you reach these readers? Here are three offline and off-the-wall suggestions to get you started. Feel free to sprinkle in your own ideas too.

 

  1. Advertise in local alternative newspapers. Most cities, big and small, have weekly newspapers that cater to the artsy crowd. The advertising rates are usually much cheaper than your typical newspaper, and the newspaper may even be willing to do a story on your book. Remember, one ad won't do. A series of ads over a number of weeks is more effective in a print environment.

  2. What about that restroom for customers in your favorite restaurant? I'm not kidding. A lot of restaurants and bars work with third-party advertising companies to rent out space on their bathroom walls. Think about it. There's a lot of idle time spent in bathrooms. The grocery store down the street from my house even has ads for local businesses in their bathroom.

  3. Anyone ever tell you that your book would make a great movie? Maybe you don't have the funds to produce a movie based on your book, but what about an ad that can be shown in the theater before the feature starts? We've all seen local businesses being advertised in a movie theater. Why not your book?

 

With a little research on the marketing opportunities in your hometown, you could discover that starting local is a great way to go global.

-Richard

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

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Offline Branding

Small Marketing Steps

3,413 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, advertising
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

The Last Few Days at London Book Fair Have Been Mind-blowing for Me -The Creative Penn

An excellent breakdown of the news that really mattered coming out of the London Book Fair.             

                                                    

How Authors Can Market Themselves as Experts - Marketing Tips for Authors

Authors of fiction can be experts too.     

 

Film

                                                        

10 Filmmaking Myths: Busted - Raindance

Elliot Grove, the founder of the Raindance Film Festival, dishes on the myths he has come across on his independent film journey.   

                                          

Case Study: "Memory Lane" - A Lesson in Sustainable Indie Filmmaking on No Budget - IndieNYC

How an independent filmmaker secured an international distribution deal for a film with a $300 budget.       

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Live Shows! How to Squeeze More Marketing Power Out of Your Music Gigs - Bob Baker's The BuzzFactor.com

A live performance is your opportunity to gain a fan for life if you play your social media cards right.

 

Quieting Your Mind for Performance Focus - Judy Rodman

Your vocal performance depends on your state of mind.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 18, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- April 11, 2014

2,813 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, music, film, author, writing, musicians, filmmakers
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One of my favorite stories is The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. It's a classic written by a legendary literary figure. My love for the story is so strong I assumed everyone felt the same way. The Old Man and the Sea is universally loved, right?

 

Wrong. There are plenty of people who hate The Old Man and the Sea. It's tough for me to accept it now even though I just got through typing it in the previous sentence. It just seems wrong to me. But it is a truth I must face, especially after stumbling upon an article club called ?What Not To Read? on BookRiot.com. As their name indicates, they list what books they hated, and you, the reading public, shouldn't bother reading. Sitting at number five on their list was Mr. Hemingway's classic tale of an old man fighting to bring in the catch of his life to the show the boy he was still relevant, and he could still contribute something to this world.

 

I like Book Riot. It's something that's rare these days, a fun website devoted to the world of books. After getting over my initial shock of finding my favorite story on their list, I actually saw a silver lining in the literary diss. If a man who's so respected worldwide for his writing talent can make it on to such a list, why should I get upset over a bad review of one of my books? It's someone else's opinion. It doesn't mean they're right or wrong. It just means the book wasn't for them.

 

Book Riot's inclusion of The Old Man and the Sea on their list of books not to read doesn't diminish my love for the story, and a bad review of one of my own books doesn't diminish my passion for writing. The only thing to do is to keep my head down and keep publishing. 

 

-Richard

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

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Bad Reviews & Great Company

Online Reviews: Just Say...Nothing

2,282 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, reviews, writers, writing, reading, book_reviews
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I love reading. I read on the subway, before I go to sleep, while waiting for various appointments - all the time! I read both fiction and nonfiction in a variety of genres. I'm not the fastest reader, but I'm always reading something. Not only do I read for education and entertainment, but also because reading other people's work makes me a better writer.

 

Reading good writing is inspiring and educational. When I run across a clever turn of words, or a vivid description that makes me feel like I'm right there with the characters, it motivates me to create a similar effect in my own work. When an author does a great job of developing a protagonist, I want to do the same with mine.

 

I learn from other authors by experiencing the impact of their work firsthand, i.e. as the reader. For example, if you react strongly to a particular scene, ask yourself why. Is it because the author uses a lot of details? Or does the dialogue ring true? Are there a lot of colors? Smells? Actions? Emotions? All of the above? There's no exact formula for writing a great story, just a lot of potential ingredients that - if mixed together correctly - could result in something special.

 

Reading a book you don't like can also help you improve for the same reason, just flipped around. Why don't you like it? What does the author do that bothers you? Pay attention to the answers, and then ask yourself if you do the same things in your own writing.

 

Writing is hard work, and it takes a lot of time to complete an entire book. I recognize that for many authors the idea of spending more time with words on a page, especially ones that aren't your own, might be the last thing you want to do. But I promise it's worth 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, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Being an Obsessive Reader

 

The Most Powerful Word

8,188 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing, reading
1

Your book cover is important for making a positive first impression with potential readers. At a recent industry conference I got to chatting with a professional book designer named Susan Newman. I asked her about working with cover designers, and here's what she had to say:


First and foremost, the designer should read the book. If that's not an option due to budgetary restraints, the author should provide one or two chapters, a questionnaire outlining the tone and themes of the book, and a brief synopsis. The author should also provide a few visual references, which will help the designer gain more insight.

As the designer reads, the voice of the author comes through as a feeling, a sense of style. That feeling becomes the basis for what is then visualized. There are all types of designers and illustrators with different styles, and it's always best to match the right artist with the right voice. If a book is a lighthearted comedy, you wouldn't get a cover artist who was dark and serious. That wouldn't fit. If the book is a war history non-fiction, you wouldn't put a cartoon on the cover. (We hope.)

There are many more factors that must be considered, such as: Are there any colors that should or should not be used? Does the author have branding that needs to be included? The designer should do some research on other covers to evaluate whether or not they were successful.

A designer with professional book cover experience will have studied typography and will be able to match the right fonts to the voice, as well as tie in illustrators and photographers as needed to choose the appropriate imagery. If some of the characters should be portrayed on the cover, it must be done in a way that doesn't give anything away.

Pricing will vary based on the experience of the designer and the type of project. For example, a typographic cover design might cost less than a novel, mystery or cookbook because those would require original illustration or photographs as well as the design.

 

As you can see, a lot goes into the creation of a good book cover, which is why this is something that's often left in the capable hands of professional book designers.

 

Did you work with a professional to create your book cover? If so, what did you learn?

 

-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 and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Can You Do More?

Looking for Marketing Tips? Here's What's Working for One Indie Author - and What Isn't

2,534 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, illustrators, cover_design
1

What is the purpose of fiction? When you get down to it, fiction is nothing more than a collection of imaginary events experienced by imaginary characters in imaginary worlds. Why does the concept of fictional stories even exist? On the surface, it could seem completely unnecessary.

 

But we tend to dig deeper around here. Fiction is more than important for any culture; it is essential. Beyond the escapist aspect and the entertainment value, there is something far more valuable that fiction gives us - the opportunity to experience the possibility of other choices without actually making those choices. In a romance novel, a woman might follow her heart and marry a man she loves instead of a man with riches beyond her wildest dreams. We experience the blessings and consequences of that choice. In a science-fiction novel, a scientist might discover a cure for a deadly disease but hide the fact that his cure turns everyone into psychopaths. We experience the treasures and destruction his cure brings.

 

Fiction is much more intimate than virtual reality. It is an inner-reality that gives readers the opportunity to delve into emotions and face the thrill and anxiety of those emotions on the wild little electrical surges in their brains. They process the emotions and discover something about themselves in the process.

 

Writers of fiction do more than entertain or educate; they help readers learn about themselves. Novels throughout the ages have been fictional "what-ifs" that have shaped not just the outer world but the inner world as well. That is the true purpose of fiction.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Who Do You Write For?

Claim Your Genre

4,277 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, writers, fiction, writing_process, craft, audience
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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 Find the Perfect Names for Your Characters -Writer's Digest

Naming a character may require a little trip around the world.

                                       

Wish You Had a Few Extra Hours in the Day? Hire an Author Assistant! -BadRedhead Media

Hiring an assistant is not as outrageous as it sounds.

 

Film

 

How to Shoot a Film with a Skeleton Crew - Noam Kroll

Two words every independent filmmaker knows too well: skeleton crew.

 

Two Types of Sound in the Movies - A MOON BROTHERS Film Blog

Do you know the difference between Diegetic Sound and Non-Diegetic Sound?

                                    

Music

 

How Film Music Shapes Narrative - OUP Blog

Music can make or break the success of a film.

 

Is Music Really Getting Sadder? -The Echo Nest

Do more minor keys in hit songs mean that music is getting sadder?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - October 4, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - September 27, 2013

2,720 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, selling, book, music, filmmaking, self-publishing, movies, writers, publishing, characters, films, musicians, filmmakers, social_media
1

Let's Talk Titles

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 2, 2013

The title of your book is multi-faceted. While it doesn't necessarily encapsulate the content of the book, it does hold a descriptive agreement of sorts. It either hints at what's between the covers, or it represents the tone of the pages. It also should intrigue and entice the consumer, because it is a marketing tool.

 

As a little experiment, let's take a look at a few books that have recently been on The New York Times® Best Sellers list and examine the marketing value of their titles.

 

  • The Mayan Secrets (A Fargo Adventure) by Clive Cussler - The title suggests two things right away. The subtitle tells us that it is either part of a series or contains a reoccurring character or characters. The word "Mayan" indicates that there is a mystery with the potential for some action and adventure. If you remove Clive Cussler's name from the cover, a reader would probably still be able to identify the genre of this book.

 

  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini - At first glance, this appears to be a fairly ambiguous title, but after careful consideration, it does an excellent job of representing its primary genre, literary fiction. Even if you were not familiar with Hosseini's previous work, if you were a fan of this genre you would likely be intrigued by this title.

 

  • MaddAddam: A Novel by Margaret Atwood - This title is one of those rare ones. I don't know the genre. I don't particularly know the tone. In short, it leaves me a bit baffled, but at the same time, it is so unique and catchy, my curiosity is piqued.

 

These three examples do come with well-known author brands, but if we forget the names of the scribes, we can still get an idea of either genre, tone, or in the case of MaddAddam, there's the implication of something totally unique.

 

What about your title? What makes it so marketable? Do you have a particular favorite book title?

 

-Richard

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

 

 

 

 

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Can Your Book Title Affect the Way You Write?

Book Covers Can Affect Sales

1,954 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, self-publishing, indie, writers, titles, publishing, book_title
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

4 Reasons You Need a Business Plan for Your Book - Writer's Digest

Embrace the entrepreneur inside of you.

 

The Secret to Writing Faster -Backspace

Could the secret to writing faster be ditching technology?

 

Film

 

5 Tips for Creating Your Own Film or Series - backstage

It takes a team to make a film.

 

Joss Whedon on Filmmaking - BAFTA - Filmmaker IQ

From Buffy to The Avengers, Joss Whedon has proven he knows his stuff.

                                    

Music

 

3 Surprising Reasons House Concerts Are Great For Selling Merch and Making New Fans - Musicgoat

It might be time to invite a few hundred of your closest friends over and have a party.

 

Busy Voices: Quick Tabata Exercise for Physical Stamina -Judy Rodman

One must exercise the entire body to keep one's voice physically fit.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - September 20, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - September 13, 2013

2,715 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, selling, book, music, filmmaking, film, author, movies, writers, writing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

4 Ways to Cultivate Fan Activists to Help with Word of Mouth Marketing -Marketing Tips

Author and branding expert Eric Thomas reveals his secrets to finding superfans who love spreading the word.                                                    

 

In Book Marketing, Sometimes Less is More! -Self Publishing Coach

Author AFN Clarke discusses his experience with advertising his books.

 

Film

 

Film School Thru Commentaries - Filmmaking.net

Kevin Smith explores who does and doesn't need to go to film school in the world of filmmaking.

 

5 Things You Should Know About DSLR Film Making - Raindance

Meet the camera that is changing independent filmmaking.

                                    

Music

 

#10 Change with Bob Baker - #BBTD

Music marketing guru Bob Baker talks succeeding, failing, and all the hurdles in between.

 

Great Advice from Sting's Guitarist -Ashley J. Saunders

Dominic Miller discusses the proper way to hold a guitar.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - September 13, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - September 6, 2013

2,872 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, selling, book, music, filmmaking, self-publishing, movies, writers, publishing, writing, book_marketing, films, musicians, filmmakers, social_media
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