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658 Posts tagged with the writing tag
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Start Building Your Fanbase - The Book Designer

Don't put it off. Read this blog post now!

                                                    

Mining Your Central Plot Nugget: A Lesson in Writing from John Grisham -The Creative Penn

When a bestselling author speaks, it's probably best to listen.

 

Film

                                                        

Fail to Plan and Your Film Fails - Filmmaking Stuff

What you don't plan for can carry a heavy price. 

                                          

6 Filmmaking Tips Directly from David Slade -Film School Rejects

Words of wisdom from the man who brought you the horror classic 30 Days of Night.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

To Cancel or Go On with the Show When You Are Sick - Judy Rodman

How to save your voice and your relationships when the show just can't go on.

 

Success in the Music Industry -Music Coaching.com

This is part two of an interview with Rick Goetz about marketing tools for musicians.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - July 5, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - June 28, 2013

1,836 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: filmmaking, promotion, writing, music_marketing, fans, craft, social_media, producing, writing_advice
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The success of your story is weighted heavily toward one simple element: the likability of your protagonist. That's not to say the other elements of your story are unimportant. They matter, but they're meaningless if the character who's carrying your story is unlikable.

 

Likable does not mean nice or friendly or honest. Literature is chock-full of protagonists who haven't been particularly good people. If you knew them in real life, they might not even be the type you'd hang out with.

 

One of the best examples of this is Dexter Morgan, the forensic blood spatter pattern analyst and serial killer who first appeared in Jeff Lindsay's novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter in 2004 (Dexter later became a hit Showtime TV show, now in its final season). Who among us would want to spend some alone time with a true psychopath like Dexter? I certainly wouldn't. Sure, it would be interesting at first, but it would turn wholly terrifying when you're struck by the realization that you're spending time with a man who remorselessly kills other human beings.

 

But here's the interesting thing: Dexter is without a doubt likable. Why is that? Has Lindsay hypnotized us into thinking his psychopathic protagonist is likable when he's really not? Is part of his appeal that he satisfies his bloodlust by killing really bad people? No, I'd say Dexter is likable because he wants to be good, but he struggles with it. In his own twisted way, he wants to do the right thing even if it is untoward and disturbing.

 

To make a protagonist likable, even one who's not a model citizen, give him an inner conflict between serving a greater good and satisfying his own self-interest. That sacrifice your protagonist makes to forego his or her own selfish desires and indeed serve the greater good is what makes him or her likable.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Character and Action

Elements of a Page-turner

4,207 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: action, writing, story, characters, craft, character_development, protagonist
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You may have heard or seen folks in the publishing industry use the term "evergreen" in recent years. I've even thrown it around without providing the complete context. A literal definition of "evergreen" involves nature; it's a term used to describe plants that maintain live, healthy leaves through all four seasons. Evergreen in publishing is a similar concept. It simply means your book, thanks to technology, will never go out of print.

 

To those of you new to the publishing game, you may be giving that particular notion a shoulder shrug. Big deal; it never goes out of print. But if we look at the not-so-way-back past, this is an incredible development in publishing. It used to be that in order for a book to be published, physical inventory of the book had to exist. Physical inventory meant you usually needed a large quantity of print books and a facility for storage. Factor in shipping and returns, and you can imagine the expense that went into publishing a single title. It just wasn't practical to keep most books in print for years at a time.

 

Hence the publishing industry would frontload a book with marketing dollars in order to recoup their costs as quickly as possible. There was a real sense of urgency to sell copies of a book in the early days of its publication. Only a select few made it to second print runs. Fewer still went through third print runs and beyond. In very rare cases, a constant inventory was kept for decades for some titles.

 

That's the old model of publishing. In today's world of print on-demand, books are evergreen because physical inventory is no longer necessary. It means books can be publicized way past their dates of publication. When inventory isn't an issue, you can still promote and sell your older titles.

 

You have entered the world of publishing at an incredible time for indie authors. Your book will never be out of print. It is something that has the potential to bring you passive income for years, even decades, to come. Welcome to the evergreen era of publishing.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Going Indie? Don't Skimp on Quality

Why Print On-Demand?

1,925 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, evergreen
2

Avoid Word Repetition

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 18, 2013

A couple weeks ago, I heard from an old friend who is in the middle of writing her first novel. She asked if I'd be willing to read the first chapter and give her my thoughts. I was reluctant to say yes because I feared a potentially awkward situation if I didn't love it, but she promised she wouldn't be upset and wanted my honest feedback. So I agreed.

 

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed her writing, and I found myself interested in the story. However, what jumped out at me more than anything else was the repetition of a particular word. My friend used this word over and over, once four or five times in the same paragraph, and as a result I found myself distracted and eventually annoyed.

 

We all have words and phrases that we like, but be careful not to overdo it. In my friend's case, she overused the word "bag" because her protagonist likes to shop for vintage handbags. I suggested she sprinkle in direct synonyms such as "purse" as well as indirect ones such as "number" or "gem" (e.g. "I found that beaded number and the little gem next to it online"). Mixing up the terminology will keep readers focused on the story, which is what makes for a good read.

 

When I mentioned the problem to my friend, she laughed and said she had no idea she'd done it. (By the way, this is why everyone needs an editor.) Her positive attitude also showed how important it is to accept constructive criticism and learn from it.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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How to Get Through the First Draft

More Tips for Completing Your Manuscript

7,936 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, craft, word_repetition
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

What's the 3-Step Process to Marketing Your Book? - BadRedhead Media

A book release strategy from the 'marketing' point of view.

                                                    

21 Ways to Launch a Successful Virtual Book Tour - The Future of Ink

Author D'vorah Lansky shares 21 articles that are the basis for her new book about virtual book tours.

 

Film

                                                        

How to Secure a Shooting Location -Filmmaker IQ

Watch as indie filmmakers set out to legally secure a location for their short film.

                                          

Are You Good In a Room? -Joke and Biagio                 

Just because you're an indie filmmaker doesn't mean you don't have to pitch your film.      

                                    

Music

 

Music Industry Networking Tips - Musicgoat

Sometimes success really does hinge on who you know.

 

Voices and Allergies...Practical Tips To Quell the Mucous Monsters - Judy Rodman

How to avoid letting that cold invade your music.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - June 7, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - May 31, 2013

1,854 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, marketing, selling, book, music, filmmaking, film, networking, indie, movies, writers, business, writing, films, craft, filmmakers
1

There are words in my first book that I now wish I hadn't used. They aren't profane words. In fact, they aren't offensive in any way. They are innocuous words that serve no real purpose. In short, they are unnecessary.

 

As a young writer, I felt it was my duty to spoon-feed the readers the emotional statuses of my characters, which included piling on unnecessary adjectives, pronouns, and various other tools of the English language. I did this because I lacked confidence in my ability to leave things unsaid and still write effective prose. As I continue to write, I gain the confidence and courage to eliminate those words from my arsenal.

 

Here are some samples of how I may have written something in the beginning followed by how I would write it today. I think you'll see that even small changes can make a big difference.

 

  • Then - "Don't come any closer!" he exclaimed.

  • Now - "Don't come any closer!"

 

The simple use of the exclamation point eliminates the need to state the character exclaimed, shouted, or yelled something.

 

  • Then - It was a start-up company that was now worth billions.

  • Now - It was a start-up company now worth billions.

 

Sometimes you need the word "that" to connect two ideas, but more often than not, you don't.

 

  • Then - It was about 100 degrees.

  • Now - It was 100 degrees.

 

In this case, "about" is being used as a qualifier. Not only is it unnecessary, it can get in the way. You will be forgiven for making a definitive statement about your fictional world.

 

These are just a few examples of unnecessary words writers (including me) sometimes use. I will throw in one caveat: if you are using a first person narrator, these "unnecessary" words may indeed be necessary in order to establish your narrator's character. We don't speak in pristine perfectly constructed sentences, and it would be inauthentic for you to force your first-person narrator to do so.

 

How do you know if a word is truly unnecessary? I've found the best way to identify whether or not you need a word is to read the sentence out loud. Sometimes it's easier to hear what you don't need than it is to see it. Does the sentence still make sense without the extra word?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

What Do You Wish You Knew before You Wrote Your First Book?

2,388 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, writing, drafts, revision, writing_process, craft, writing_style
2

I attended a women's conference last year and met a career coach who helps her clients determine their ideal jobs. She also works with résumés, interview preparations, etc. We exchanged business cards, and she added me to her newsletter mailing list.

 

She is likely very good at helping people identify career paths that are a good personality fit, which is the crux of her services. However, I have yet to recommend her to a potential client. Why? Because I see at least one glaring grammatical error in each of her newsletters or Facebook posts, and the fact that she makes basic errors in her own materials makes me wonder what damage she might do to with a client's résumé or cover letter.

 

Here are two examples of errors I've seen her make:

 

1)    Headline of her newsletter:

·         What it said: Its a new year! What are your professional resolutions?

·         What it should have said: It's a new year! What are your professional resolutions?

 

2)    Facebook post:

·         What it said: Here are three book's every female entrepreneur should read

·         What it should have said: Here are three books every female entrepreneur should read

 

I'm sure this woman is very intelligent, and while I probably know a few people who could benefit from her services, I just can't bring myself to "share" posts or forward newsletters with errors like these. Think about this example when you set out to market your book. Your bio, your book description, your email pitches, everything you do to promote your work should be free of errors. Grammar does matter, and people do notice - especially if you're putting yourself out there as a professional writer.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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I Hope This Piques Your Interest

Use Adverbs Sparingly, Especially in Dialogue

2,415 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, promotions, grammar
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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 Winning a Literary Prize Can Change Your Life - The Book Deal

This discussion includes the winner of a self-published book award.

                                                    

7 Secrets to Writing Persuasive Back Cover Sales Copy - The Book Designer

Casey Demchak shares his expertise on writing great back cover book descriptions.

 

Film

                                                        

5 Things Every Filmmaker Should Know Before They Step on Set -backstage

Filmmaker Matthew Perkins believes knowing what you can't do is as important as knowing what you can do.

                                          

16 Big Marketing Ideas for Filmmakers on a Small Budget - Raindance Film Festival

Raindance Film Festival founder Elliot Grove shares his top marketing tips for independent filmmakers.

                                    

Music

 

Infographic: When Is the Best Time To Post On Social Media? - That Eric Alper

According to this infographic, if it's 2 p.m., you have an hour before prime tweeting time ends.

 

Could Flickr Become the Next Big Social Network for Musicians? - Hypebot.com

Is the landscape of social media shifting just a bit?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - May 24, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - May 17, 2013

1,436 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, music, filmmaking, production, movies, writers, writing, promotions, musicians, filmmakers, social_media
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We hear the word "grassroots" used quite a bit in the world of advertising and marketing. It's a particularly favorite word of political campaigns because it gives the appearance of a movement based on passion, grit, and determination. Money is not the key ingredient of a grassroots marketing campaign. The will of the audience is the primary driving force.

 

Imagine throwing a stone into the water and then watching as the waves ripple out around the point of entry of the stone. That is what a grassroots marketing strategy used to look like. It was something that was restricted to a single location and the waves of popularity rippled out from there.

 

In our highly connected world, grassroots marketing is no longer restricted to a single location; it has gone global. Now imagine taking a handful of stones and tossing them into the water. You're left with dozens of entry points with dozens of waves moving across the water in every direction, some of them even overlapping.

 

That is what a grassroots marketing strategy looks like today. It's your social networking outreach. It's your blog activity. It's your personal video. It's your personal appearance. And it's your consistent interactivity with your friends, fans, and followers wherever you have a presence online.

 

You live in a time where it is easier than ever to build a readership, a time where there are no barriers. The only thing you need to do is demonstrate the passion, grit, and determination that are at the heart of a grassroots marketing strategy.

 

-Richard

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

 

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How Not to Market

Find Smaller Markets to Sell More Books

17,553 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, grassroots
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Gut Check: How Bad Do You Want It? (Publishing Success, That Is!) - DuoLit

Succeeding as an indie author takes a lot of work and sacrifice.

                                                    

10 Things I Learned from Kickstarting My Book - Huffington Post

Author A.J. Walkley reveals how she raised $5,200 through crowdsourcing to launch her next book.

 

Film

                                                        

Very Independent Filmmaking - Supporting Your Habit - NoHo Art District

No financing? No worries. Your drive and creativity are your most important resources when it comes to making a film.

                                          

Zach Braff, Kickstarter, and Financing Your Film For Free - Filmmaking.net

If nothing else, Zach Braff proved that brand recognition is still king of the hill when it comes to raising funds for an independent film.

                                    

Music

 

5 Steps to Becoming a Music Producer - Musicgoat

No shortcuts here. Just sound advice on how to earn your stripes as a music producer the right way.

 

The Difference Between Mixing and Mastering - Musician Coaching

Industry insider Mark Christensen examines the art and business of music production.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - May 17, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - May 10, 2013

1,881 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, author, indie, movies, publishing, writing, promotions, music_marketing, musicians, music_production
7

The title of this post may sound extremely obvious, but it's important. I keep meeting people who tell me they want to write a book and/or are working on a book. Most of the time, unfortunately, their talk never turns into an actual book.

 

These folks, who I'm sure truly do want to become authors, remind me of the people I see packing the classes every January at the yoga studio I frequent. They've clearly made New Year's resolutions to get in shape, so they sign up for yoga and jump in eagerly. But by February, they're gone. I imagine they have all sorts of reasons for why they stopped coming to class. Too busy with work/kids/family. Not enough time. Schedule conflicts. Etc. etc. etc.

 

These are all excuses. The simple truth is that yoga is HARD, and it takes a lot of discipline to go to class on a regular basis and get into good shape.

 

It's the same thing with writing. Even if you have a wonderful idea for a book, writing a book is HARD. In addition to the sheer creative effort, it's not like a regular job where you have to show up or you'll get fired. It's up to you to sit down today and tomorrow and the day after that and just write.

 

I once spoke on a panel with a woman who said she approached writing her book the same way she approached training for a marathon. I thought that was a great way to look at it. You can't just show up and run 26.2 miles without training, and a book isn't just going to appear on your computer screen because you really want to be an author.

 

While the "lifestyle of a writer" can sound idyllic because no one is looking over your shoulder, it also requires discipline and self-motivation. The more seriously you take your writing, the more likely you are to succeed.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Think You Can't Write a Book While Working a Full-time Job? Think Again.

More Tips for Completing Your Manuscript

5,949 Views 7 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, discipline
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

7 Ways to Overcome Writer's Block - Writer's Digest

Author Brian Moreland reveals his tips for kicking writer's block to the curb.

                                                    

Lessons Learned From Bestselling Indie Authors on Writing and Book Marketing -The Creative Penn

Advice from the authors who have been there and done that.            

 

Film

                                                        

The Next Steven Spielberg Uses a Smartphone - ReadWrite

There may come a day when the production equipment for your feature film will fit in your pocket.

                                          

Incentives Map - ease

Some states offer production incentives. Check out this interactive map to find out what your state is offering to filmmakers.

                                    

Music

 

5 Best Podcasting Tutorials - Promote Your Music with Your Own Podcast -Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Need a little airtime? Make your own.

 

8 Ways Musicians Can Gain Media Coverage Indirectly - Hypebot.com

Making bold moves outside of your music career could get you some invaluable media coverage.                           

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - May 10, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - May 3, 2013

1,517 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, music, filmmaking, indie, movies, writers, writing, publicity, films, promotions, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, writer's_block, media_coverage
3

Authors often get bogged down when writing the first draft of a novel. They'll stop and analyze the story. Step back and make changes. Rearrange, rearrange and rearrange. That's all fine and good if it doesn't keep you from completing a novel. If, however, you find yourself unable to finish a first draft because you're constantly looking back, stop. Just close your eyes and keep moving forward.

 

Here's what you need to realize about first drafts of novels: they are supposed to be bad. They are the version of your book very few people will see. My wife is the only person who ever sees the first version of my books, and she's only allowed to see it to let me know if I'm crazy or not. 

 

So, if first drafts are supposed to be bad, why would you spend so much time trying to make it perfect? What's the point? Think of the first draft as a sketch that comes before you take the brush to canvas and give color to your masterpiece. You are working out the kinks by doing what you do best: writing. If you find that looking back only discourages you from finishing a novel, don't look back; look forward. 

 

If you just write with reckless abandon, you'll more than likely have to scrap lines, paragraphs, characters, even chapters, but you should be doing that anyway. Don't spend your time crafting a first draft that will save you from rewrites. Write a first draft that will force you to do rewrites. Rewrites are your do-overs, and they'll still be there for you after the first draft is behind you. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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After the First Draft

AAUGH! Rewrites!

3,189 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, novel, writers, writing, drafts, craft
4

"Show vs. tell" is a cardinal rule of writing, yet most first-time authors don't quite understand what it is. After years of trying to explain this concept, I believe I've finally come up with the perfect analogy: online dating!

 

Imagine this scenario, even if you're not on the market: You sign up for an online dating site, excited to (maybe) meet the person of your dreams - for this post, let's say that's a man. As you flip through profile after profile, you stumble across these two:

 

Profile A: "I'm an attractive, witty, adventurous man with a great sense of humor."

 

Hmmm...who says he's attractive? I'll be the judge of that when I see his photo. And why exactly is he witty? He hasn't said one witty thing. Adventurous? Why is he adventurous? Great sense of humor? Say what? Honey, I'm not laughing.

 

Profile A guy is telling me too much and showing me nothing. As a result I don't want to meet him, because unfortunately he sounds sort of full of himself.

 

Profile B: "For the record, if we hit it off, I'm totally willing to lie about how we met. Just throwing that out there. And speaking of throwing things out there, I recently jumped out of a plane for the first time. Holy frick."

 

Through his words, Profile B guy is showing me that he's witty, adventurous, and has a great sense of humor. And by showing me a photo, he's letting me decide whether or not he's attractive.

 

See the difference? That's what you want to do with your writing. Show the reader, don't tell the reader. Readers are smart and want to draw their own conclusions about your characters.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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The Greatest Example of "Show It. Don't Say It."

Defining Characters through Action, Not Description

8,598 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, show_vs_tell
4

I've attended a few personal appearances both as an author and as a reader. I have observed one major element that separates a successful appearance from a bad appearance, and that difference didn't necessarily have anything to do with the name recognition of the author. It had more to do with the person who was helping the author with the signing that day.

 

I call that person a "reader wrangler." This is an individual who stands a few feet from the author's table and makes sure anyone who passes by knows about the author and his/her book. The more enthusiastic the reader wrangler, the more likely I am to get a book signed. It doesn't matter if I have even heard of the author before.

 

I've acted as a reader wrangler a few times before, and more times than not, I didn't know much about the author or book I was wrangling for. I was more or less a hired hand for the occasion. I got together with the author a few minutes before the signing and asked him/her for their pitch. The more straightforward the pitch, the more enthusiastic I was about wrangling readers for the signing because that told me the author was on the ball.

 

I'll let you in on a little secret: wrangling readers for a signing is actually fun. And for whatever reason, it's never more fun than when the author is unknown. The shoppers/conference attendees are genuinely curious in most cases.

 

So, if you have a personal appearance on the schedule, and you're planning a signing, do yourself a favor and invite/hire the most outgoing person in your life to be your reader wrangler. And please, do them a favor and come prepared with a clear and concise pitch. It will make their job much, much easier and they will be more enthusiastic because of it.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Relay Conflict in Your Quick Pitch

The In-Store Event

8,382 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, promotions, reader_wrangler, personal_appearance
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