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440 Posts tagged with the self_publishing tag
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Yesterday I received a bulk email from an acquaintance about a book his son had recently self-published. The well-crafted, perfectly appropriate message explained that the son had asked his father to forward a note, written by the son, about the book. The father, conscious of spamming his friends, threw in a line about how any parent would do the same for his kid. He also said that his son was a lot funnier than he was.

 

Who could blame the man for helping out his son? I certainly couldn't. He also used blind copy in the email, a nice touch in my opinion.

 

The forwarded note from the son, however, raised the hair on the back of my neck. In it he explicitly asks people to post a review of his book on Amazon, regardless of whether or not they had or planned to read it.

 

I cringed when I read this. How would you feel if you bought a book because of its positive reviews, only to find out they had been written by friends of the author who hadn't even read it? If you liked the book, you might not care—but what if you didn't like the book? What then?

 

Here's my stance on Amazon reviews: If someone you know reads your book and proactively tells you that he/she loved it, then by all means, ask him/her to write a review. Otherwise, don't go there. It's not illegal to request reviews from friends and family, but to me it borders on unethical. Plus good or bad, you'll feel like a real author knowing your reviews are from legitimate readers. For what it's worth, I joke with my friends that when I got my first hate email, in a strange way I felt like I'd arrived.

 

-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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Marketing Tip: Follow the 80/20 Rule in Social Media

 

Life Outside of Writing

1,806 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions
1

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Richard

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

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Stage One of Marketing a Book: Journaling Your journey

Writing Tip: Use Contractions in Dialogue

1,428 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Make a Living with Your Writing - The Creative Penn

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

                           

Practice the Process - Retinart

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

 

Film

                                                        

From the Archives: Famous Filmmakers - Huffington Post

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

                                          

DIY or DIE: 10 No Budget Filmmaking Musts - Indiewire

Simple ideas that help you stay under the smallest budget. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- May 8, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- May 1, 2015

1,197 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, selling, music, author, self-publishing, promotion, movies, writers, writing, promotions, musician, music_marketing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, practice
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In our second stage of writing a book, we need to establish the miles you'll be logging on this journey. We've discussed word count on this blog before in a number of different ways. Today, we want to establish what your final word count will be, or if not establish, at the very least, estimate.

 

Wait, you say, I've only just begun. How can I possibly know how many total words my book will be? Establishing a word count goal can be tied to many different factors. Genres adhere to unofficial word count parameters. The type of book – novel, novella, or novelette – comes into play when deciding word count. Are you doing a novel and releasing it in a serialized format? That can impact your total word count on a per release basis. You are a factor in establishing a final word count. Are you on a timetable? Do you have an outline that maps out plot points precisely, and in order to keep to your vision, a certain word count works that breaks the unwritten genre rules?

 

Unfortunately, there's no formula for coming up with a definitive word count, but I will say that every time I've set a word count total, I have either reached that total or surpassed it by 10-15 percent. There's something about knowing how far you need to go that allows you to find your pacing.

 

If you want to make an educated estimate, you can search this blog or the internet for word counts based on genre. That is your best place to start before making your final decision.

 

-Richard

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

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General Word Count Guidelines

Stage One of Writing a Book: Idea Exploration

1,589 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, editing, writing, craft, words, word_count, writing_tips, editing_process
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I recently bought an indie book written by a very nice man I met at a conference a few years ago. He and I have stayed in touch since then, so I wanted to support him and his writing. I really hoped to enjoy his debut novel, but unfortunately I didn't get very far before I put it down for good.

 

The reason? The dialogue.

 

To be specific, no one used contractions, so everyone sounded like robots.

 

Well written dialogue draws you into the story and makes you feel like the people speaking are real. So to write good dialogue, use language that sounds the way people actually talk. And in English, that includes contractions. A lot of them.

 

Quick refresher: A contraction is when you use an apostrophe to shorten one or more words. For example:

 

Did not becomes didn't

Is not becomes isn't

Do not becomes don't

I am becomes I'm

He is becomes he's

 

Contractions aren't often used in formal writing, but they are for informal conversation, especially in the United States.

 

When I read dialogue with no contractions, to me everyone sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and eventually I get so distracted by the unnatural-sounding cadence that I give up on the story. Perhaps read your own dialogue to see if it passes the robot test. I'm pretty sure that if the author of this novel had done so, he would have made a large number of edits before sending the book to print.

 

-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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Writing Tip: Does Your Dialogue Sound Realistic?

Finished Your Manuscript? Check Your Dialogue

1,644 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing_dialogue
1

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Richard

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

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The Art of Commenting

Today's New Media

2,051 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
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Let's turn the strategy of compartmentalizing to the writing of a book from beginning to end. As I've stated before, reaching a goal is much easier when you break the journey to that goal down into manageable parts.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Richard

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

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Embracing Inspiration from Real-Life Moments

The "What If" Notebook

1,836 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, idea_exploration, what_if
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Last week I went out for a drink with a friend of mine who works in finance. His career is based on facts and figures, so he's fascinated that mine relies entirely on my imagination. How do you write an entire book? He wanted to know. How does it work?

 

I explained to him that often when I'm working on a manuscript I don't exactly know what I'm doing or where I'm going, but that I keep at it day after day, week after week, and eventually things begin to fall into place. Things rarely unfold the way I think they will at the onset, but I have to just go with it – and stick with it – and see what happens over time.

 

He nodded and made a simple yet profound statement: "So, you just commit to the process."

 

Yes, I commit to the process.

 

So much about writing a book is just sticking with it over time. Much like losing a significant amount of weight, crafting an entire novel isn't going to happen overnight, or in a few days, weeks, or even months. But if you want to be an author you can't give up, no matter how much you may want to. If you want to reach the end line, you have to stay committed to the process.

 

When my friend made his comment he was simply trying to wrap his head around what goes into writing a book, but I'm grateful to him for the clarity he brought to my profession. To write a book you have to just sit down and do it. You won't write the whole thing today, and on some days you won't write much at all, but if you keep at it, eventually you'll get there.

 

-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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A Resolution Writing Prompt

Discipline to Write

1,892 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, book, writing_tips
1

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Richard

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

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Keep a Brand Journal

Reverse Journaling for Your Brand

2,235 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writing, jounaling
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Last year I watched the Oscars with two friends. At some point an award for writing was presented, and while I don't remember who won it, I do remember what he said, because I burst out laughing.

 

He said something along the lines of...writers hate themselves.

 

My two friends looked at me in surprise, so I explained to them that I found the comment hilarious and true. Not that I hate myself all the time or anything, but since I became a published author I've definitely experienced the occasional spell of self-loathing while working on a book. Crippling, almost paralyzing self-doubt taunts me in the form of these kinds of questions: Is this terrible? What if my fans hate this? Where is this story going? What am I doing? What business do I have trying to make a living as a novelist?

 

My friends were shocked to learn this about me. They think my life is perfect. (Ha.) Don't get me wrong. I love being a full-time author, and I'm incredibly proud of what I've accomplished. I'm also well aware that there are a lot of people out there who would cut off a limb to be in my position. However, when I was trying to get my first novel (Perfect on Paper) published, I remember thinking that once published, writing future books would be easy because I would feel like I had made it. Unfortunately, I was dead wrong. Perfect on Paper reached #2 overall on Amazon, and here I am, seven books later, still racked with self-doubt. Maybe it's that sense of insecurity that fuels the creative process and pushes me to tell good stories, but it certainly wasn't something I expected to last this long!

 

-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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Give Author Modeling a Try

How to be a Confident Writer

1,958 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions
2

Sometimes when people find out that I'm an author, they ask if I write under my own name or if I use a pseudonym. Given how hard it is to generate awareness about my books using the name I've had my entire life, this question always makes me laugh. However, I do think for some authors a pen name isn't necessarily a bad idea, so I thought it was worth writing a blog post on the subject.

 

If you've already published a book, then you've learned first-hand how much effort goes into promoting it, no matter who your publisher is. And if you've read my blog with any regularity you'll see that many of my suggestions for book marketing involve tapping into personal and professional networks. College alumni magazines and alumni groups, fraternity/sorority connections, business associations, social media accounts - these all offer receptive, credible channels for getting news about your book out to the world. If you try doing that under another name, you're going to run into some obstacles. How would you contact your college alumni magazine, for example? It's certainly doable, but it would take a lot more effort. And what about your author website? Or Facebook fan page? Author headshot? Author bio? Twitter account? Email address? Creating all of that for a fictitious person is possible, but it sounds pretty time-consuming to me.

 

However, I do think using a pen name could be a good idea in the following scenarios:

 

  • You write erotica or a variation of and prefer to keep it on the down low.
  • For whatever reason you don't want anyone in your personal life to know you've written a book - yet, or maybe ever.
  • Your book includes personal experiences too painful or intimate to present as your own (e.g., a memoir).
  • You're well respected in a certain field or industry and prefer to keep your writing life separate.
  • You just want to test the waters without worrying about being embarrassed if your book flops (completely understandable).

 

I'd love to hear from those of you who write under a pen name. Do you agree with me?

 

-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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The Brand and the Pseudonym

An Author by Any Other Name

1,854 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, pen_name
1

I had a conversation with an individual organizing a marketing campaign for an upcoming play at a local theater. I've been to more than my fair share of plays. I've seen productions big and small, but I had never been exposed to what it takes to market a play. It was fascinating to hear all the ideas. I, of course, wondered if any of the ideas could be applied to the marketing of a book.

 

Most of what we talked about was venue specific, so it wasn't applicable to an author's needs. But one idea struck me as fairly universal. The theater discussed the possibility of "adopting" a charitable organization. While part of the proceeds from ticket sales would go to the charity, they would also include the charity's information in the program, make a direct pitch to the audience before each performance, and give the organization a prominent presence on the website, Facebook page and newsletter. While the strategy was designed to give the charity exposure, it would inevitably give the theater a brand boost, and it would build positive community equity that could be used to attract corporate sponsors and a wider audience. In essence, both sides win.

 

Authors could use a similar strategy. While the payoff wouldn't be associated with a venue-based event, it could be tied to a time period. For example, you could designate a week to providing exposure for a local or nationwide charity you feel passionately about. A portion of your proceeds that week would be donated to said charity. You would devote a week of blogging, Facebooking, personal videos and so forth to your charity. You could make it an annual or biannual event. You could even volunteer to write a piece for the charity's blog or newsletter.

 

If this is a strategy you wish to pursue, the most important piece of advice I will give you is to choose a charity you feel passionately about. It will make the work and effort you put into the strategy that much more rewarding. If the charity has a tie-in to the story in your book, that is an even bigger plus.

 

-Richard

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

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Giving Back: A Cautionary Tale

Form an Author Co-op

1,374 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, promotions, charity
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Did you know you probably have an Author Page on Amazon? Amazon creates Author Pages for most authors, but if you haven't claimed your Author Page, you aren't taking full advantage of this option. Setting it up on Amazon's Author Central site is easy, free, and a great way to connect with readers. In addition to information about your book(s), your page can include your photo and bio (where you can include your e-mail address, a link to your Facebook page or website or anything else you want to share with readers), your tweets and blog posts, even video! There's also a "Follow" button under your profile image that allows anyone to connect with you and receive notifications if you write additional books. (In my opinion, that feature alone is worth creating a page.)

 

Your current and future fans can find your Author Page either by typing your name into the search box on Amazon or by clicking on your name on the detail page of your book(s). Once you have an Author Page set up, a hyperlink will automatically appear under your name on the detail page.

 

I regularly get e-mails from authors who say they want to promote their books but don't have the money or the time. This is something you can do without either of those things. It's also an effective stand-in for a website if you don't have one.

 

Okay, time to stop reading and get moving. Set up your Author Page now. I'm not techy at all, and I was able to do it with no problem. So no excuses, chop-chop. I promise you'll be glad you did.

 

-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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The Author Bio is an Important (and Often Overlooked) Marketing Tool

Tips for Engaging Your Readers Online

1,834 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, promotions, author_central
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Are you ready for the big screen - err, small screen - tiny, even? The Internet has given rise to storytelling in the form of online video. Some of these stories are doled out over several short videos to form a web series. Independent producers and uber-fans have taken their favorite books and turned them into popular web series. They range from literal adaptations to quirky, re-imagined versions.

 

Beyond giving you a unique take on your indie novel, a web series gives you another avenue for marketing your book and a new pool of fans to join your community. Here are my five rules for creating a web series:

 

  1. Keep it short - Chances are, in the beginning at the very least, your series is going to be a passing object of curiosity. People aren't likely to devote a half hour or even 15 minutes to watch your series. My advice is to keep the run time of each video in your series under five minutes.

  2. Keep it tight - With the innovation of smaller screens on handheld devices, long shots have lost their effectiveness. Details get lost on those itty-bitty screens, especially for someone with aging eyes like mine. Keep your shots as tight as you can while still allowing for the necessary action.

  3. Don't forget the sound - Bad audio on a video production will kill even the greatest cinematography and render your impeccable story unwatchable. Even casting a great actress like Meryl Streep won't save your production if your audio is subpar. Don't skimp on sound equipment. Get the best you can afford.

  4. Lighting - Even the camera on your mobile device is fairly sophisticated and can adapt to various light situations, but that doesn't mean you should take lighting shortcuts. A consistent look to your production is crucial for a web series. A lot of that signature look comes from the lighting. Take your time, and do it right.

  5. Cast - If you can't act, don't cast yourself in the series. Find people in your area who can not only act, but are willing to take direction. This is your series. Take charge.

Web series are becoming more popular every day. Now is the time to evaluate your material and determine if it can be adapted to short, episodic videos.

 

-Richard

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

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Social Networking Tour - Facebook

Build Your Brand with Original Content

1,720 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, web_series
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Get in Good with Goodreads - Writer's Digest

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

                           

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

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

 

Film

                                                        

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

Be relentless, and be prepared for the long haul.     

                                          

The 11 Principles of Leadership for Filmmakers - Studio Binder

Know thyself, and know thy craft. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

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

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

  

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

Can a free site help find paying gigs?  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 3, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- March 27, 2015

1,431 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, book, music, filmmaking, author, self-publishing, promotion, indie, movies, writing, guitar, promotions, reading, musicians, filmmakers, social_media, music_industry, grammar_tip, grammar_advice, music_gigs, music_shows
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