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467 Posts tagged with the self_publishing tag
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Write for No One

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 31, 2015

No one will read your book. That's what you should tell yourself every time you sit down to write. I don't think that's true. In fact, I have every reason to believe that your book will be a bestseller that will break every sales record in the publishing industry. I just don't want you to write with the reader and how many copies you will sell in mind.

 

If you start thinking about the reader when you write, you stop thinking about the story you're writing. What the reader will and won't like is irrelevant to you as a writer. Your job isn't to conform to expectations. Your job is to set expectations. Be bold if that's what your story requires. Be fierce if that's what your story requires. Even be predictable if that's what your story requires.

 

It's an old refrain of mine. You have no obligation except to those characters playing out the madness you're dreaming up. Think of them and only them when you write. And remember, you're not doing what's best for them. You're using them to fulfill the promise of your story. They are used for the good of the whole. The struggles and conflicts they face are the heartbeat that gives your story life. If you construct those struggles and conflicts in order to please the reader, you're writing an uninspired story with an artificial heartbeat.

 

Don't find your motivation to write in the reader. Find your inspiration to write in the story you're creating. If you see it from that perspective, it will be a liberating moment for you as you rush to finish your first draft.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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The "You" In Your Writing

When Writing, Don't Outsmart Yourself

796 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing
1

Do you feel the creative juices drying up? Has the stress of the day or the week or the “pick your period of time” got you struggling to put down a coherent passage on paper (computer screen)? Never fear because I have just the thing for you. Here are my five cures for those times when you lack the energy to be creative:

 

  1. Free thought time: Find a hobby centered on creativity outside of writing. Get out of the writer head-space, and redirect your creativity to another activity--something that involves a different way to create. Whether it’s photography, sketching, painting, knitting, etc., alternate creative endeavors can give your creativity more depth and distinctiom.

  2. A walk in the woods: Or on a greenway or in a park, walk wherever you connect with nature. Nature can do wonders to reboot your creativity. The crisp air, the smell of the greenery, the thrill of watching wildlife, there are countless ways in the wild to disconnect from hang-ups and kick-start your creativity.

  3. Work it out by hand: Step away from the computer and your normal writing space, grab a pen and notepad, and start writing without judgement. Just let it flow. You will most likely do some of the worst writing you’ve ever done using this method, but the quality of writing isn’t the point. The point here is to clear your mind of all that junk so you can make way for creative excellence.

  4. Meditate: I’m a student of Transcendental Meditation, and I can tell you from personal experience that meditation makes you feel more balanced and less stressed. Sitting in the dark with your eyes closed for 15-20 minutes focusing on nothing is an excellent way to make for a more fertile, creative mind.

  5. Set yourself up to be inspired: A great book, film or play often inspires me to start creating. I find inspiration in the author’s/creator’s talent, and I’m driven to improve as an artist.

 

These are five methods I’ve used to help get the creative juices flowing. What’s your strategy? How do you kick-start your creativity?

 

-Richard

 

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


 

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Unblocking Writer's Block

Is the Early Bird More Creative?

1,665 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self-publishing, writers, writing, creativity, writer's_block, writing_tips, writing_advice, author_tips, advice_for_writers
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When your book comes out, it's natural to want to shout it from the rooftops--and you should! So many people want to write a book, yet few actually do, so you should celebrate your hard work. It's fun to say "Hey, I wrote a book!"

 

If you want your book to sell, however, you need to do more than just announce that it's out there. And that takes a different kind of work, one that isn't as fun. Promoting a book involves continuous outreach to multiple audiences via multiple channels, each of which might require a significant amount of follow-up. If you don't keep a record of whom you contact and when, it's easy to lose track of your efforts--and your momentum might die on the vine.

 

For example, imagine the following scenario:

 

Gloria goes online to look up regional alumni groups of her alma mater, UCLA. She finds that dozens of them have websites, so she contacts a bunch to see if they have book clubs, and if so, how to reach the organizers.

 

If Gloria has a system for tracking this part of her marketing campaign in place (I recommend a spreadsheet), she will:

 

A)   Know which alumni groups she has contacted--and when

B)   Have the contact information for the alumni groups stored in one place, so she won't have to research them again in the future

C)   Know which groups have book clubs, and which of those she has contacted

D)   Know which groups said yes, no, or maybe so and be able to follow up accordingly

 

If Gloria doesn't have a system in place, the only record of her campaign will be the outbox of her email program. She may have some success with that approach, but given how much follow-up is necessary to make things happen in a world where the people you're contacting are busy with their own lives, chances are a lot of her efforts will be for naught.

 

-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: Create a Master Spreadsheet

Book Marketing via Email: Blind Copy and Newsletters

1,522 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, book_clubs
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This post is going to be a little awkward because I'm going to encourage you not to draw attention to something by drawing attention to that very thing. Confused? Bear with me because I have my reasons.

 

Recently I was tested. I got a bad review for one of my books. My philosophy has always been not to take bad reviews personally. I've even celebrated a couple of the bad reviews I've received over the years because they were particularly witty or slightly too enormously outrageous in their criticism. My favorite bad review is when I was called evil. If you've never been called evil, let me tell you, it's not that bad. In fact, I consider it a kind of badge of honor.

 

The most recent bad review left me a little shell-shocked. The second half of the review I found acceptable. It actually addressed problems the reader had with the book. That's fair. We all have different tastes, and I can't expect everyone to be happy with what I write. The first part of the review had me--let's call it seething. The reviewer not so subtly insinuated that I must have paid for the positive reviews the book had received.

 

Here's what bothered me about that accusation, besides it not being true, it is something that could potentially hurt my brand. I felt a sudden rush of panic to fight for myself. I went to Facebook, typed an indignant status update spelling out my outrage, and then walked away from the computer to think of other clever and insightful ways to express the injustice of this review. Instead, I took the time to reflect on the potential damage I could be doing by throwing such a public hissy-fit. In the grand scheme of things, one unfair review that bordered on a personal attack really doesn't matter. I deleted the status update and went for a walk, feeling a little, but not markedly, better when I got home. By the end of the week, I had forgotten all about the review.

 

Well, not completely. Obviously, I'm mentioning it here today, but I'm doing so not because I'm still angry. I'm doing so because I'm not angry anymore, and the review didn't change my sales stats in the least. It did not damage my brand. Had I allowed myself to post my complaints and share it with my friends and followers, I would have most likely done more harm than good. My advice if you get a review that you believe is unfair and went over the line? Walk away, and don't draw attention to it.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Branding 101: Brand Sabotage

Why Responding to Negative Reviews Can Hurt Your Marketing

1,714 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions, bad_reviews
1

Today's post is a bit different than ones I've done in the past. It's a request to my fellow indie authors. I know the struggles first-hand that you experience trying to bring attention to your brand and generate sales for your book. It's hard, relentless work that takes stamina and sustained energy to find success. We authors are constantly looking for angles to increase sales and find our marketing groove.

 

The one angle that I highly recommend staying away from is utilizing a tragedy to shift attention to your book. I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about without naming names. A gentleman has a talk show where he frequently interviews people who've undergone unspeakably horrible events in their lives. On occasion, when a particular event fits the theme for a book he's written, he will overtly suggest that the audience should buy the book on his website. I have no doubt that he generates sales this way, but it is the grossest form of marketing. And, in my view, it stamps his brand with a severe lack of tact and ethics.

 

You most likely don't have a TV show to compete with this gentleman's outreach, but you do have a forum. You have your social network. If you plug a book in a thread about a national tragedy because you feel the subject matter fits your book's storyline, you invite a string of moral indignation and run the risk of severely damaging your brand. So, my request is that you don't do it. Avoid the temptation to grab that kind of marketing opportunity. You will feel better about yourself for doing so.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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How Not to Market

Use Common Sense in Book Promotion

1,973 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, author, promotion, book_marketing, promotions, branding, social_media, marketing_strategy, marketing_tip
1

Finding the Blue

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 17, 2015

It is the magic place where ideas come from, that mystical wonderland of creativity and ingenuity. All human beings look for it when they need to tap into their imaginations. We think of it as being outside of ourselves, but in actuality, it's not. It's in us, but many of us don't know how to find it when we think we need it. The truth is, I believe, it finds us when it needs us.

 

I am talking about the "Blue," the place where ideas come from. How many of us have answered the question, "How did you come up with the idea for your book?" with the response, "It really just came to me from out of the Blue." Of course, what we're saying is that we don't really know where the idea came from. It just came to us.

 

But, in a quasi-mystical sense, the Blue is an ethereal idea factory that is never short on inventory. The question for creatives like us is how to tap into it and gobble up as many of those ideas as we can. How do we find the Blue?

 

The first rule of finding the Blue is that there are no rules for finding the Blue--kind of. I believe strongly that there is an observer effect on the Blue. That is to say the Blue, when observed, changes behavior and cranks out tired old ideas that no one wants. But if you find a way to ignore the Blue, a way to keep your mind off it and go about your life forgetting you even know the Blue exists, then it will deliver a truckload of inspiration to your door.

 

So, how do you ignore the Blue? You enjoy your life. You find activities that will remove you from the world of writing and creating, and you find something that directs your focus so completely that the Blue is the last thing on your mind. For me it's walking my dog, nature photography, and time with family.

 

It's an odd paradox, I know. You have to hide from the Blue to find it, but as I said earlier, it needs you. Find you, it will.

 

-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

Unblocking Writer's Block

1,460 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, out_of_the_blue
1

Author Platform 2015

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 12, 2015

The author platform is a concept that grew out of the Internet age. Before the rise of virtual communication, the term or concept didn't really exist. Other than mainstream media personalities turned authors, there was no easily accessible way for authors to promote themselves on a consistent basis.

 

But when blogging became popular, authors found a way to insert themselves into the conversation on a daily basis. Then social media made it possible to interact with readers on a more intimate level. Then personal videos and podcasts became a part of the zeitgeist. In a short period of time, the idea that any author could have a platform to connect with readers wasn't only feasible, it became an absolute necessity.

 

So what do author platforms look like in 2015? In the past five years, little has changed in the way of social media sites. The major players remain unchanged. The same can be said about video sharing sites. Blogging has waned, but it's still an important cog in the author platform. The biggest change is that authors are now taking less of a diversified approach and committing a great deal of their time to one element of their platforms. They haven't abandoned the other tools, but they are now making one of the tools their primary focus. Which one depends on an author's skillset and comfort level. I've committed more of my time to social media where I can have almost immediate back and forth with readers. Other authors have made personal videos their major emphasis, while a smaller segment of the author community has found success with blogging.

 

What does the future hold for author platforms? It's impossible to tell, but long form online communication is becoming less and less popular as content competes for attention. Branding designed for tablets and smartphones is quickly becoming the norm. Here's what you need to keep in mind as you continue to develop your author platform: people are staring at relatively small screens, absorbing content on the go. Their time is precious, and their attention is easily diverted by their surroundings. Design your message to fit the technology. Your best bet is to keep your eye on sites like Mashable and Wired to stay tuned in to the trends and developments to increase your chances of becoming an early adopter of new technological advances and make the most of your platform opportunities.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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An Active Author Brand

Build Your Brand with Original Content

1,805 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, social_media, author_platform
1

I get a lot of emails from authors who are discouraged because they aren't having much luck with their marketing efforts. They want to know what my "secret" is because they think I have it all figured out.

 

Hahaha.

 

Can I tell you something?

 

My "secret" is that I get discouraged too!

 

Let me share a true story: A few months ago I began chatting with the organizer of a book club that wanted to read my latest novel, Wait for the Rain. I live in New York, and they are in California, so we scheduled a Skype call. The group is part of a large social organization that has a Facebook page and Twitter account, so for weeks before the event they were promoting it all over social media. I wasn't sure how many women would be in attendance, but I was expecting a pretty good turnout given how much promotion they'd been doing.

 

The day of the meeting, the organizer sent out a final tweet of excitement. That evening I got my laptop all set up, logged in to Skype, and was all ready to go. The call was set for 9:30 p.m. my time.

 

Then 9:30 came and went. Radio silence.

 

At 9:40, the organizer emailed me to tell me that she was mortified. Only one other person had shown up to the meeting, and neither of them had read the book.

 

What did I do? I laughed. What else could I do? Sure, I was disappointed, even a little embarrassed, but I wasn't going to let it get to me because I'd learned not to let it get to me. If I'd given up on my marketing efforts the first time something like that had happened to me, I wouldn't be where I am now.

 

As I wrote in a recent post, book marketing is a numbers game. You have to keep playing--and laughing. I guess that's my secret!

 

-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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Book Marketing Takes Persistence

Three Easy Marketing Ideas

1,799 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
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Most authors commit themselves to writing in one or maybe two genres. We do so because we are fans of the genre. It's what we grew up reading, and we usually subconsciously know the rules of the genre. It's what we know. It's what we love. It's what we prefer to read.

 

That's all well and good, but one can fall into the trap of the genre if one isn't exceedingly careful. I'm talking, of course, about writing material that is full of clichés. The more you're familiar with a genre, the more likely it is to happen. It's not something a writer sets out to do, but genres contain an unseen rhythm that writers can find themselves adhering to without even trying. It's an engrained pattern of story structure. Plots, setting, villains, protagonists--they all follow paths that are similar to other offerings in the genre.

 

So, how does one avoid the cliché trap? You become a genre bender. Shake things up by creating a new pattern. Personally, I think the easiest way to disrupt a genre without upsetting fans of the genre is to dive deeper in the character department. Make your villain vulnerable. Make your protagonist an antihero. Give traditionally male roles to a female. Expand the expected by doling out unexpected twists with character development. A writer who masters the art of creating character from the broad strokes of physicality to the nuanced elements of psyche is a writer who helps grow a genre and creates something new the next generation of writers will use as their guide to the genre.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Write a Genre-Bending Novel

A Genre Conundrum (and Solution)

1,697 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing
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I'll admit it. I do it. When I smell the end of a book I've been working on for weeks or months, I will rush to a conclusion. Writing a book is a long journey that requires hyper-focus and almost inhuman mental stamina. You do more than invest time in a book; you invest your mind, body, and soul to write a coherent and engaging story. In short, it can get rough.

 

The temptation is to cut corners when you near the end. I mean, you've already devoted tens of thousands of words to this masterpiece you're writing. Will skipping a detail here and there over the next couple of thousand words really make that big of a difference? The obvious answer to this question is, yes, of course it will. Speeding to finish leaves room for mistakes, and it shows an indifference to those for whom you are most responsible--your characters.

 

Here's my advice if you find yourself getting closer to the end. Stop writing. Take a break from the project for a few days. Do your best to distract yourself from the story. Have some fun. Catch up on some sleep. At the end of the second or third day, print out a copy of your manuscript, find a secluded spot and read it, aloud if possible. Read it all the way through and then outline the conclusion. Make it crystal clear what you want to accomplish with the closing pages. Remind yourself what your story is about from a fresh perspective.

 

Then write those final pages, and commit yourself to making them even better with rewrites.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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A Satisfactory Ending

When Do You Know The Ending?

1,781 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, publishing, writing, drafts, rewrites, ending, author_tips, story_writing
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When I finished the first draft of my most recent novel Wait for the Rain, there was one character who just didn't fit into the story the way I'd imagined--or hoped--that she would. I liked a lot about her, however, so I wasn't sure what to do. At a loss, I turned the manuscript in, eager to see what my editor thought.

 

My editor's suggestion? Cut out Character A, and give her most valuable contributions to other characters.

 

I loved that idea! And you know what? It wasn't that difficult to implement. When I reread the manuscript, I was easily able to identify the things Character A did (or said) that I liked the most. Then I copied those elements and attributed them to other characters. For example:

 

  • Character A had a nurturing quality that I really liked. In one scene she helped a victim of a jellyfish sting. In the revision I simply had Character B jump in and assist instead. (This worked well because Character B was similar to Character A in that way.)
  • Character A had several lines that made me laugh out loud, so I gave those lines to Character C, who also had a pretty good sense of humor.
  • Character A's style of dress was, I don't know, cool. I didn't want to lose that, so I gave her fashion sense to Character C, who was pretty cool herself.

 

It was definitely strange to watch Character A disappear after months of working on the story, but I have no doubt that her exit greatly improved the book. I also learned from this process that sometimes when I write multiple characters, their personalities tend to overlap. (That is something I now try to avoid from the get-go.)

 

The deeper you get into a manuscript, the harder (and scarier) it is to make major changes. But it can be done. The key is to be willing to let characters go if they're not working out. And if there are parts of those characters that you adore, let them live on somewhere else.

-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: Don't be Afraid to Cut

When You Cut a Scene You Like, Save It!

1,692 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, character_development
1

In a recent post I suggested carrying a book wherever you go in case you have the opportunity to sell it and/or give it away. I realize, however, that it's not always practical to lug a book around. But it is practical to lug a wallet around, which is why I also recommend getting business cards made with information about you and your book(s).

 

If you have just one book out, here's what I recommend including on the card:

 

  • Cover image of your book
  • Brief tagline/description (this is good because it forces you to be creative and concise)
  • Your name, followed by "author"
  • Your website (if you have one--if you don't have one, get one made soon!)
  • Your email address
  • Your twitter handle if you have one

 

If you have more than one book out, here's what I recommend including:

 

  • Your name, followed by "author" (could also include something like "author of books about XX" or "author of books that YY," etc.)
  • Your website (if you have one--if you don't have one, get one made soon!)
  • Logo of your website (see above if you don't have a website)
  • If you don't have a website, include images of your book covers as long as they're not too small
  • Your email address
  • Your Twitter handle if you have one

 

Business cards are easy to get made and cheap to buy. Some resources include Vistaprint, Got Print, and Zazzle. These sites also include options for other marketing materials, such as postcards, bookmarks, etc.

 

As with any marketing effort, you'll have no idea which of the cards you give out are going to end up in the recycling bin and which might lead to a sale. But at least you'll be doing what you can to get the word out about your writing--and that's what matters!

 

-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: Always Carry a Book with You

Marketing Tip: Are You Making the Most of Your Email Signature?

2,351 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, business_cards
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Recently, I have joined a playwrights' group to learn how to write for the stage. It's been a blast, and I've enjoyed the collaborative atmosphere the group provides. What I didn't expect to get from this experience is insights on how to improve my writing as a novelist.

 

The group meets once a month. The playwrights bring ten pages to be read onstage by actors who attend to sharpen their own skills. After each reading, the playwright takes the stage and answers questions from the audience. Here are the benefits I've discovered by participating in an ongoing workshop for playwrights:

 

  1. The obvious benefit of participating in a playwright group is that there is a premium on dialogue in a piece written for the stage. What you are writing is meant to be said aloud. You'd be surprised how that changes the way you write dialogue. Beyond focusing on the words used by the actors, you consider the rhythm of a conversation. Not only do you want to have impactful dialogue for the actors to say, you want give them clear and concise language to free them up as they perform. It helps you produce cleaner dialogue.

  2. Normally in a playwright group, the facilitators do just that; they facilitate a discussion about your piece after the reading. In my experience, they push the discussion along and keep things organized. I have found that theater people, especially those who serve in a supervisory role, are not short on opinions and advice. Every reading I've participated in, either as the writer, audience member or even "actor," has provided no shortage of discussion. Your piece is dissected and examined in a way that challenges you.

  3. Character development plays a big role in these readings as well. Even though what's normally read is a small portion of a full-length play, the audience will let you know if they connected with your characters or not. They will let you know if the dynamics of the various characters in your scene work.

  4. What's not read will be addressed too. The audience will likely ask you questions that have nothing to do with the scene they saw performed. What comes before or after the scene is a popular topic, and they will want to know what the purpose of the scene you presented serves. How does it move the story along?

  5. Excessive exposition is easy to spot when you hear it read aloud. Those moments in a conversation when one character is explaining what's going on or what's about to happen are painfully obvious as you see actors wade through the dialogue on stage. As you write a novel, you can't help but see it in that context, and you learn to scale back.

 

I highly encourage writers of fiction in any format to take part in a playwrights' group. The atmosphere helps hone your skills and even helps build your confidence as you see yourself improve over the course of the workshop.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Participate in Online Book Clubs

Be Open to Constructive Criticism

1,596 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, playwright, screenplay
4

Despite the success I've had with my books, I still experience the same sense of fear every time I begin a new one: What if this one isn't any good? What business do I have trying to write a book?

 

You'd think after seven novels I would be over this by now, but I'm not--at all! So if you want to write a book but are worried about what people are going to think about the end product, trust me, you're not alone. (I imagine there are some authors out there who never suffer from the occasional bout of anxiety, but probably not many.)

 

Here's what I recommend: when that feeling of panic hits, take a deep breath and ask yourself why you wanted to write a book in the first place. I'm guessing you wanted to do it for yourself and not for anyone else, right? So who really cares what anyone eqlse thinks? This is what I tell myself when self-doubt begins to creep in. It's not easy, but I try my best.

 

After several years of speaking with both aspiring and published authors at events across the country, I've come to the conclusion that while a lot of people say they want to write a book someday, or that it would be fun to write a book someday, there is a distinct breed of people out there: those who know they have a book inside them. If that's the case for you, if there's a story you just have to tell, stay true to yourself, and give birth to your book! No matter what happens to the manuscript once it's done, the sense of accomplishment you'll feel for having completed such a monumental goal will be reward enough. I promise.

 

-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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Unblocking Writer's Block

Tips for Managing Writer's Block

3,997 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, publishing, writing, fear_of_writing
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One of the basic tenets of life is that growth is a key component of survival. Physically, intellectually, spiritually--growth is how we advance and reach new phases in life. Put another way, change is healthy and at times, necessary.

 

One of the basic tenets of building a brand, we are told, is consistency. If you look at some of the most successful corporate brands, you'll notice very little variation to their message from year to year or even decade to decade. Coca-Cola is a refreshing drink that makes you feel good. McDonalds provides tasty food that's fast and cheap. Amazon offers a customer-centric, convenient shopping experience with a hugely diverse selection of products and services. The list of successful companies with clearly-defined brand identities goes on and on.

 

So, the question arises, is what's good for life--growth--bad for brands? After all, growth is change, and change is the antithesis of consistency. The answer is simple. Growth is essential to brand success. Yes, it is change, but it is a gradual change that prevents stagnation, and stagnation is lethal to a brand. The companies I've mentioned above have all adjusted to societal and/or technological advancements, and while their basic messages have remained steadfast, the mechanisms around their messages have been altered significantly.

 

Building an author brand requires a clever ability to balance consistency and growth. It's not always easy, but here's the great thing about author brands: they follow the path your growth as an artist takes. As your desires to explore and expand your creative nature take hold, your brand comes along for the ride. As long as you're consistently evolving as a writer, your author brand will resist stagnation and be stronger for it.

-Richard

 

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

 

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