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297 Posts tagged with the craft tag
2

Here's a small marketing idea that could lead to expanded exposure on a global scale. It's not groundbreaking, but it won't break your budget either. It's a long-haul plan, so don't expect an immediate return on your investment. Think of it as a side project that has the potential to grow your brand in a big way.

 

I live in a community that has a fairly large number of bed-and-breakfasts, small inns not affiliated with national chains, and vacation rental homes. The amount of amenities varies from establishment to establishment, but virtually all of them have a bookshelf filled with books. The titles usually cover a number of different genres and categories to match the variety of tastes of the different guests that stream in and out throughout the year. Why can't some of those books be written by you?

 

These places are either independently owned or run by small rental companies. It would be easy to find contacts and offer to send signed books for them to place in their properties. You would, of course, include a personal note in each copy inviting guests to join you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Presumably, these guests could come from all over the globe. This could be a real opportunity to make contacts far and wide.

 

I've stayed in a number of these establishments myself, and even though I have an electronic reading device, I always end up going through the book collections made available to guests looking for a physical book. Who knows? Maybe next time I'm staying at a bed-and-breakfast, I could be reading your book.

 

-Richard

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

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Marketing Tip: Set up an Author Page on Amazon

The Brand and the Pseudonym

1,539 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: books, self-publishing, promotion, book_marketing, craft, social_media, author_brand, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, book_exposure
0

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

1,232 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

948 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
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We all know subplots are basically a device to give your story a word count that will make it a book-worthy document, right? Wrong. Subplots weren't created to fatten up stories to please consumers. At least, they shouldn't be.

 

Here is what subplots can really do for your book:

 

  • Subplots allow you to add depth to your characters. Your plot may revolve around a murder mystery, but a subplot involving a troubled marriage or a struggle with alcoholism gives you the opportunity to dive deeper into a character's life. Your characters have a place in your plot and can even drive the plot. Giving them subplots gives them their own place in the story.

  • Subplots can serve as a thread to tie books in a series together. A subplot that snakes through the background of one book can grow into the main plot for the next book. It gives your story layers that can shift from book to book.

  • Subplots give your story a reality that would otherwise be vacant. Real life is messy. Books are a series of carefully constructed events. Subplots give the illusion of chaos. They make things seem real-world crazy and messy.

I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't use subplots to beef up your book. I am, however, suggesting you don't consider upping your word count as beefing up your book. Readers will see it for what it is: padding. Subplots should be used to give your characters and story depth. That is how you beef up your book.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Turning Subplots into Plots

The Importance of Plot Points

1,514 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, writing, characters, craft, writing_style, writing_tips, writing_advice, pace, plot_points, subplot
1

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

1,692 Views 1 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

1,503 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
1

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

 

Here are two examples:

 

Preterit tense: I wrote a book

Pluperfect tense: I had written a book

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

 

Past tense: Last year was hard for me

Pluperfect tense: Things had been hard for a while

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

 

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

 

For example:

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR WROTE:

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

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN:

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

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR WROTE:

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

 

WHAT THE AUTHOR SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN:

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

 

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

 

-Maria

 

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

 

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

1,954 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, writing, craft, grammar, spelling, writing_advice, author_tips, grammar_tip, grammar_advice, writing_tip
0

Don't Force an Ending

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Feb 25, 2015

I just want to warn you that there's this little-known song from a movie that barely made any money at the box office that I'm going to reference in this blog post. It comes from an obscure animated flick called Frozen and the song title is "Let It Go." Oh, you've heard of it? Good, then I can spare you the video of me singing this catchy tune.

 

 

That is the wisdom I wish to impart on you today: let it go. Can't find an ending for that book you've worked so hard on for months? Let it go. What? You say it's been years? Let it go. Endings can't be forced. Well, they can, but they usually come off sounding that way. Your best strategy is to move on to the next project. Shed the frustrating missteps from your mind when it comes to finding the perfect ending, and redirect your creativity.

 

 

Albert Einstein didn't come up with the Theory of Relativity sitting in front of a chalkboard hammering out formulas and chasing mathematical equations down a rabbit hole. He came up with the idea as a clerk at the patent office staring out the window. In other words, he wasn't focused on revolutionizing physics. He was daydreaming. Had he been focused on making a great discovery at that particular moment, who knows, would he have developed the most famous scientific discovery of the modern age?

 

 

The ending will come to you when you let go of the need to find the ending. In a weird metaphysical way, stories don't like to remain unfinished. Your brain will find its way there on its own. If you force it, your brain will fight you and give your story an unsatisfying ending. Stop fixating, and start daydreaming. Let it go.

 

 

-Richard

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

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When Do You Know The Ending?

Know Thy Story

1,695 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, book, writers, publishing, writing, craft, ending, writing_advice, writing_tip
1

The Horoscope Prompt

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Feb 18, 2015

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

-Richard

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

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WordPlay: The Rum Runners' Retreat

WordPlay Writing Prompt: Diamond in the Rust

1,810 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, writers, writing, craft, writing_advice, writing_excersises
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

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

1,471 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
5

Why Do You Write?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 21, 2015

As an author you often get the question, "How did you come up with that idea?" And for me it's impossible to answer. I have no clue where the ideas for my books come from. There are a few times I can pinpoint an origin to a story, but those times are few and far between. For me, it is much easier to answer another question I've gotten on a number of occasions: "Why do you write?"

 

Let me start by giving the reasons that don't come into play when I evaluate my desire to write. I was not born with an innate ability to write. I wrote just terribly in the beginning. It was embarrassingly bad. Over time I got better, but no reasonable person would have looked at my early stuff and recognized a genius hiding in my clunky prose.

 

I have no illusion that my writing will change the world. There are too many moving parts to this planet for me to believe that I can create a movement and open people's eyes to a new way of thinking. That is a power I don't want nor believe I can develop. That's not to say I don't think other writers can change the world. I absolutely think they can. I just don't think I'm one of those writers.

 

I write for one simple reason: I want to know what happens next. That's it. I'm internally bombarded with "what if" questions daily. You know those moments when you witness an everyday occurrence with a predictable outcome, and wonder what if something different happened? Those moments for me turn into a relentless curiosity, and I'm driven to explore where that "what if" scenario takes me.

 

That is why I write. I'm curious to know why you write. What motivates you to wake up every day and add words to the story in your head?   

 

-Richard

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

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Is Writing a Talent or a Skill?

Gaining Perspective When Writing

1,421 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, self-publishing, indie, writing, characters, craft, writing_advice, author_advice
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

1,582 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

2,025 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, self-publishing, writers, writing, public_speaking, event, craft, workshops, author_tips, author_appearance, book_events
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

2,055 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, writers, writing, creativity, draft, writing_process, craft, creative_writing
0

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!

1,510 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, self-publishing, revisions, writing, launch, craft, book_launch_party, book_relaunch
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