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682 Posts tagged with the writing tag
3

In 1958, the incomparable George Plimpton interviewed the equally incomparable Ernest Hemingway in the spring edition of the Paris Review. It's a fascinating interview, and I highly recommend it. There are a lot of great morsels of sage advice for writers. The most useful in my opinion is the following:

 

You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.

 

I found the advice so useful that I've incorporated it into my own routine. It was not easy to follow in the beginning. It turns out it takes as much discipline to stop writing as it does to start. There is a natural inclination to write until the well is dry. Having an idea and seeing it come alive on the page is an exhilarating feeling. It is energizing to experience the unfolding of a story.  In short, the creative process gets you jazzed. 

 

Stopping when you know what is going to happen next is a lot like slamming on the brakes when you're traveling at 100 miles per hour in a car hauling a heavy load. It just doesn't seem prudent. The first night I followed Hemingway's advice, I couldn't sleep. I felt as if the character I had left hanging in the middle of a dicey situation was standing at my bedside pleading with me to get up and finish the scene. I fought the urge until morning, and then hopped out of bed and wrote with an incredible vigor.

 

Over the weeks and months since incorporating this strategy, stopping has become easier, and I've learned to shut down long enough to get some much needed sleep. The enthusiasm to get back to the story is still there when I wake up. Hemingway's advice has worked for me, and if you're looking for a new approach to your writing routine, I highly recommend you give it a try. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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That Wise Old Doubt

When to Walk Away from a Story

3,682 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: editing, self-publishing, writers, writing, drafts, writing_process, craft
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Several posts back, I explained the concept of showing vs. telling by using the example of an online dating profile to demonstrate the difference. Today, I'd like to delve into a key reason why it's important to show and not tell your readers.

 

Being told is annoying!

 

I just read a novel by a world-famous author who has sold hundreds of millions of books around the world, which admittedly is hundreds of millions more than I have sold. However, despite her success and fame, I wanted to throw this particular novel out the window, and I might have done so had I not been on an airplane while reading it.

 

Here's what drove me nuts: Over and over, the author told me about the wonderful, loving, supportive relationships the protagonist enjoyed with her husband and daughter, often repeating herself as she did so – and by repeating herself I mean literally using the exact same phrases. If being told the relationships were wonderful, loving, and supportive wasn't irritating enough (there were no examples to show me, just descriptions to tell me), over and over the author repeated herself to make her point. Did I mention that over and over she repeated herself to make her point? Yep, over and over she repeated herself to make her point.

 

See how irritating that is?

 

In addition to the tediousness of reading the same thing page after page after page after page, the repetition made me feel as if the author thought I wasn't smart enough to "get it" the first time. But I am smart enough, and so are most readers. So take my experience to heart, and when you're writing your own novel, give your readers some credit, and let them figure things out for themselves. I suspect they'll appreciate you for doing so.

 

-Maria

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

 

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Avoid Word Repetition

Writing Takes Discipline

2,549 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: writers, readers, writing, drafts, writing_process, craft, character_development, show_vs_tell
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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 Steps for Restarting Your Book Marketing Efforts after a Break -Duolit

What to do when building your brand has taken a backseat to living your life.

                                       

Goodreads for Authors with Patrick Brown -The Creative Penn

The director of author marketing and community manager at Goodreads shares some valuable insights for authors about the online community of readers.

 

Film

 

The New Marketing Model for Filmmakers - AdPulp.com

A look at the world of online media for filmmakers that goes beyond YouTube.

 

Equity Crowdfunding, a New Financing Opportunity for Independent Filmmakers - Filmlinker

Is this a viable new financing strategy for independent filmmakers?

                                    

Music

 

The War of Art: Resistance and the Music Producer - Renegade Producer

How to battle that little voice in your head that's trying to hold you back from taking chances.

 

How Streaming Affects Music Revenue Growth -Hypebot.com

Are the latest music streaming statistics signaling a growth in music revenue?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - September 6, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 30, 2013

2,796 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, marketing, book, music, self-publishing, indie, movies, writers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media, crowdsourcing
1

Good dialogue has a rhythm to it. As you read it, you can feel its flow. You can imagine the stops and starts, the highs and lows, the tonality and the emotion - and you can sense it all without the author telling you when the speaker is mad or happy or tired. All of that is in the rhythm of the dialogue.

 

In order to create that kind of rhythm, character development is of paramount importance. If you've put in the work of creating multidimensional characters and you've given the reader a real sense of what drives a character at any given moment, the reader will take that information, apply it to the dialogue and extrapolate the rhythm. 

 

Stephen King advises against the liberal use of "ly" words (adverbs). He feels that it shows timid writing that suggests an author lacks confidence in his or her own ability. Very often, these adverbs appear either before or after a line of dialogue. 

 

"Give me the money,"John said angrily. 

 

Jane cleared her throat and said nervously, "I don't have the money." 

 

Neither example is terrible, and taken out of context, the "ly" words are helpful. But within the body of a novel, where you've established that "John" in this example is prone to anger and has been searching for the money, it's unnecessary to tell the reader that he angrily asked for it. In addition, you may have established that "Jane" spent the money and has been dreading the moment she would be asked for it. The reader doesn't need to know that she nervously responded to John's demand.

 

Spend the time to develop your characters so you can ditch the adverbs and give your dialogue rhythm. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Use Adverbs Sparingly, Especially in Dialogue

What Do Your Characters Want?

4,540 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, author, writers, writing, craft, dialogue, grammar
0

When I was writing my first novel, I was so excited to see my own words on the page that I ended up with several scenes that didn't have much at all to do with the main plot. After I signed with an agent, she pointed out this tendency to wander and had me cut a lot. I mean, a LOT. It was painful to hit the delete key, but I realized she was right. (Click here to read my post on what to do with scenes you cut.)

 

When you're writing a novel, it's important to always keep the story moving forward. If you go off on tangents that have nothing to do with the plot or aren't going to somehow tie back into it later, your readers are going to get confused or bored, and they may stop reading entirely.

 

I recently finished reading a murder mystery that veered off in several directions with new characters who seemed interesting enough, but then they all disappeared and never wound their way back into the story. When the killer was revealed and the book was over, instead of feeling satisfied, I found myself scratching my head and thinking, "But what happened to that little blonde girl on the side of the road? And why didn't I find out what the deal was with that creepy truck driver guy? And where did that wise old lady from the restaurant go?"

 

It felt almost as if the author didn't finish writing the book. Having subplots can keep a novel interesting, but they need to keep the overall story moving forward. If they go nowhere, your story goes nowhere, and your readers might end up going somewhere else for their next book.

 

-Maria

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

 

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What Comes after the Conflict?

Overwriting? Just Say It!

4,812 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, plot, craft
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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 Did I Get So Many Reviews Of 'Broken Pieces?' -BadRedHead Media

How one author managed to get more than 140 reviews for her indie title.    

                                       

Networking Tips for Shy Authors -The BookBaby Blog

A guide to take your networking from the virtual world to the real world.

 

Film

 

Creative Things to Do When an Actor Won't Return for a Sequel - Den of Geek

How do you do the sequel to your indie hit without the same actors?

 

Is Crowdfunding Changing the Game for Filmmakers? A Q&A with Spike Lee - Huffington Post

The legendary indie filmmaker looks at the changing world of film financing. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

The Game of Music Knowledge - The Musicians Guide

Are you making music career choices based on emotion or reason?

 

5 Tips on How to Get More Followers on Instagram -musicgoat.com

Lest we forget, Instagram can be a potent marketing tool. 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 30, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 23, 2013

2,892 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, reviews, music, filmmaking, film, author, self-publishing, indie, movies, writers, writing, promotions, social_networking, musicians, filmmakers, branding, social_media
2

It's okay to walk away from a story. In fact, it may be good to walk away from a story. Writing is a hollow endeavor without perspective, and sometimes it's hard to gain that perspective when you're in the middle of constructing a story. Sure you're adding pages, and sure it feels like you're moving forward, but things aren't always what they seem.

 

I've had many times where I will shoot out of the gates with a story idea, and I will write for weeks and weeks feeling really good about where I'm going, but then things start to waver. I begin to harbor doubts about the story for which I once had so much passion. The premise no longer excites me. The character development seems uninspired, and the dialogue seems forced.  Instead of feeling uplifted when I sit down to write, I feel like I'm undertaking a pointless task.

 

What is an author to do when met with such drudgery? Personally, I have to walk away from the story. I leave it and move on to something else. Sometimes months will pass before I return to it, and I always seem to get back to it the same way. I'll recall that story out of the blue and wonder why my excitement waned. I'll open the file and start reading. What I find, more times than not, is that I was so entrenched with where I wanted to go with the story that I refused to see it any other way. By leaving it for a period of time, I let go of that set path and find a better way to proceed. I gain a new perspective, and my passion for the story returns.

 

If a story isn't working, leave it alone. Start writing something else. Give yourself a break from your own expectations of what a story should be. Don't be a victim of your ambitions. When you come back to the project, you will more than likely discover a fresh, more suitable path for the story you walked away from.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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That Wise Old Doubt

How to Get Through the First Draft

2,800 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, editing, writers, writing, drafts, development, craft
1

We often speak of branding on this blog. Branding has been around as long as people have had things they've wanted to sell to other people. It's not a new concept. The invention of the Internet, however, has caused the idea of branding to spread into nearly every nook and cranny of society, and it's changed the way branding is done.

 

Engagement is your most powerful branding tool. It doesn't matter how active you are on your blog or on social media or whatever virtual medium in which you participate. If you're not engaging with your readers, you're not effectively branding.

 

I have an author friend on Facebook who is excellent at engaging his fan base. He does so by frequently asking his Facebook friends to help him with research for his latest book. His books contain military aspects, and he often needs to know proper policy and procedure in order to give his book authenticity. He invariably gets a dozen or so comments. The interesting thing is not all of them directly address his question; in fact, many of them are "can't wait for your next book" type comments.

 

I've conducted polls to engage readers. I've asked for opinions on cover design. I've even asked readers for feedback on career trajectory. I'm always pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic responses I get.

 

The Internet has taken the idea of branding from a corporate construct to a community project. Your community of readers wants to feel involved in your brand. They want to have ownership in your success. By actively engaging them, you are building a brand that doesn't just reflect you; it reflects your community of readers. Give them an opportunity to participate.

 

-Richard

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

 

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It's Not Just a Hobby, It's a Marketing Opportunity

Tips for Engaging Your Readers Online

3,728 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions, branding
0

That Wise Old Doubt

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 28, 2013

Doubt gets a bad rap. Whether it's external or internal, everyone seems to despise doubt. We view it as an obstacle to success. It causes us to second guess ourselves and in extreme cases, it can trigger an almost paralytic sense of emotional pressure.

 

Doubt is something that is in abundant supply when you're a writer. You doubt your character choices. You doubt your plot choices. You doubt your opening line, your ending, your conflict, etc. Doubt even rears its ugly head when you map out your marketing strategy for a book. Something as simple as selecting the right genre is sometimes an enormous struggle. Doubt is as prevalent as verbs and nouns among writers.

 

But, I think doubt is good. Doubt isn't a stumbling block at all. It's a chance to reflect, assess and confirm your commitment to your current trajectory. In short, doubt shouldn't be a hindrance, but a motivator. You should welcome doubt. Picture it is as a wise mentor that is simply there to help you examine your choices. Yes, it can be annoying, and yes, it doesn't always appear at the most opportune times, but doubt means well. It has your best interests at heart. And it doesn't mind if you ignore it. In fact, doubt doesn't even mind when it's proven wrong.

 

Remember doubt is not an absolute. It's a degree of probability. That's it. So don't let doubt prevent you from moving forward. Face it, thank it and move on.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Evaluating Yourself as an Indie Author

How to Get Through the First Draft

3,314 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, writing, drafts, development, writing_process, craft
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Are Writers Born Or Made? -The Creative Penn

Is writing a matter of desire, talent, or both?

 

7 Reasons Why Social Media Isn't Growing Your Fiction Readership (And What to Do About Them) -TheBook Designer

Are you fully optimizing your social media presence?

 

Film

                                                        

Movie Marketing Strategy - Filmmaking Stuff

Now that distribution is no longer an issue, finding individuals who care about your film takes center stage.

                                          

Walter Murch: How New Technologies Affect Filmmaking - KFTV

A startling look at how new technology has changed the physicality of making of film.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Music and Merchandise - MusicianCoaching.com

Music and merch go together like ramma lamma lamma Ka dinga da dinga dong.

 

Recording Acoustic Audio -Music Makers

A look at how new technologies have changed the way acoustic audio is recorded.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 16, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 9, 2013

2,523 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, music, technology, author, self-publishing, movies, writing, techniques, films, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media, talent, merchandise, marketing_strategy
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A couple posts back, I clarified the difference between "there," "they're" and "their."Today, I'd like to address two additional common mix-ups:

 

1.  It's vs. Its

 

It's means IT IS:

 

  • My parents told me it's time to go home now.
  • From the look of those dark clouds, I think it's about to start raining.
  • It's time to stop thinking about writing a book and just do it!

 

Its means BELONGING TO IT:

 

  • The company is considering changing its name.
  • The book had its best week yet in sales.
  • I think the cover of her novel is a perfect fit for its title.

 

2.  You're vs.  Your

 

You're means YOU ARE:

 

  • Have I told you I think you're beautiful?
  • When someone says "thank you," the polite response is "you're welcome."
  • Please let me know when you're ready to leave.

 

Your means BELONGING TO YOU:

 

  • This is your book.
  • It's your life, so you can do what you want with it.
  • I value your opinion more than you know.

 

If you want people to take you seriously as a writer, you need to write well. As I said in my other post, unfortunately I regularly see authors make these simple grammatical errors not only in their books, but also in the marketing materials used to promote them (e.g. book descriptions, Facebook pages, author bios, etc.). You may be a wonderful storyteller, but if your writing is riddled with mistakes, the errors are what readers will notice first. Remember, it pays to hire a copyeditor to proofread your book before putting it on the market. You'll be glad you did.

 

-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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Avoiding Word Confusion

Who vs. That vs. Which

2,064 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, grammar
1

I admire two authors above most others: Charles Portis and Cormac McCarthy. Both men have written works that are seminal to my own development as a writer. I don't just read their books; I study them. I find their respective styles mesmerizing. Portis is a master at using humor while still delivering poignant stories, and McCarthy's genius is using harsh overtones that grip readers and expose them to the grittier side of American life.

 

The two men have one striking similarity: they are brilliant at writing dialogue. Their characters talk as if you are reading a transcript of secretly recorded conversations. They talk over each other. They ignore questions asked of them and seamlessly move the dialogue off into an entirely different direction. And, in large part, the reader isn't told if the character is angry, sad, happy, etc. The mood of the characters is obvious based on the circumstances of the scene and what we know of the characters themselves. Both writers use dialogue identifiers so rarely it's almost shocking. You can go pages without seeing the word "said" used to identify the speaker. There is such a natural flow to their dialogue that it's completely unnecessary to tell the reader who's speaking.

 

Why do they write dialogue so well? Because they trust the readers. They seem to get that it isn't their job to spoon-feed information to the readers. Their job is to create an absorbing atmosphere that draws the readers so deeply into the story that they don't just read the dialogue, they hear it. It's as if you are in the setting observing the conversation.

 

If you want to master dialogue, create conversations that only minimally identify the speakers. Get rid of direct references to mood. Use real language that you'd hear on the subway, in church, at a bar, etc. Keep the sentences short. People rarely deliver speeches in the middle of conversations. And most importantly, trust the reader.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Use Adverbs Sparingly, Especially in Dialogue

A Writer's Brand Identity

2,338 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, dialogue, charles_portis, cormac_mccarthy
2

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How a Great Twitter Bio Can Net You More Followers…and Sales! -BadRedhead Media

Your Twitter bio is important, so make it count.           

                                                    

Storyville: What is Literary Fiction? -Lit Reactor

The answer to that age-old question many authors have asked: "Did I just accidently write literary fiction?"

 

Film

                                                        

Social Media for #Filmmakers: Facebook 101 - Film Independent

To thrive in filmmaking today, you have to add one more job title to your list of many as an independent filmmaker: social media evangelist.

                                          

10 Pinterest Boards Filmmakers Should Be Following - Indiewire

Pinterest has become a social media favorite for a lot of filmmakers.

                                    

Music

 

11 Ways to Sabotage Studio Vocals - Judy Rodman

Judy lists some the habits and choices that influence your vocals.

 

The Accident That Changed Modern Guitar Sound - The Big Picture Music Production Blog

Who knew a little accidental guitar distortion would have such a huge impact on music?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 9, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 2, 2013

2,193 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, filmmaking, self-publishing, indie, sales, writers, writing, films, promotions, filmmakers, social_media, author_brand, music_production, vocals
1

How to End a Chapter

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 14, 2013

It's hard to know when some things are over. Some guests don't know when to leave a party. Some people don't know how to exit a relationship. And some writers don't know how to end a chapter. The latter example is perhaps the most puzzling.

 

How do you end a chapter? To answer that, we first have to determine what a chapter is. A chapter is a step forward. Even if it's a flashback, a chapter's sole purpose is to advance the plot or divulge a telling component of one (or more than one) of your characters' true natures. Readers should find some revelation within a chapter that compels them to keep reading. Constructing a chapter is tricky because it has to be independently satisfying while remaining dependent on the rest of the story.

 

Chapter endings are the trickiest of the tricky. They have to leave the reader with the feeling that questions have been answered while setting up the questions for the next chapter. In a romance novel, a chapter may reveal why a woman can't stand the sight of a particular man from her past who has contacted her out of the blue. However, the closing paragraph contains a hint that she may have misjudged him.

 

It's that hint that will encourage readers to push on. Did the woman really misjudge the man? The next chapter will explore that particular question. She may discover that she did indeed misjudge him, and this new chapter will end suggesting that a person she's trusted implicitly for years was really the cause of the pain that has haunted her, a revelation that leads to more questions for the next chapter or chapters.

 

So, how do you end a chapter? You end it when you've fulfilled the unwritten contract of a chapter; you've provided some answers that give the reader a sense of satisfaction. And when that point is reached, your actual chapter ending should hint at greater revelations ahead. In short, end a chapter when there's nothing left to be said, but more to be learned.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Creative Writing Exercises

Keep Them Guessing to Keep Them Reading

6,882 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing, characters, craft, storyline, chapters, character_development, ending
1

In my blog post about doing a book relaunch, I talked briefly about how giving your book a new cover could give you a reason to reintroduce your book to the reading public. But giving your book a new cover can do more than give you a new marketing opportunity; it can give you a more marketable book.

 

If your sales have hit a slump or you feel they've never reached their peak, you may want to take a serious look at your cover. Covers matter today more than ever. With so many books published every year, you have to make your book stand out among the millions of other titles competing for readers' attention online. When I say "stand out," I don't mean for the wrong reasons. Your cover should be professionally designed. If you have the skills to undertake such a task, have at it. But if the concept of creating a cover is foreign to you, hire a professional cover design artist to do the work.

 

Whether you have the skill set to design a cover or you hire someone else to do it, don't enter the arena without knowledge of what works as far as cover design for books in your genre. Yes, genre should be a major consideration when you're designing your cover. Fortunately, thanks to retail sites like Amazon.com, you have a place where you can research the cover designs of bestselling books in your genre. Do your research and give your book a similar look and feel. I'm not suggesting you copy another author's book cover; I'm merely telling to you to use bestselling book covers as an inspiration for your cover design. There are design similarities among them for a reason; they work to attract readers in the genre.

 

Your book is worth reading. If you're on top of your marketing and people still aren't reading it, it might be time to consider a new, professional cover design.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Beat Writer's Block with Cover Design

Going Indie? Don't Skimp on Quality

2,826 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions, book_covers
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