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


 

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


 

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


 

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


 

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


 

-Richard

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

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Keep a Brand Journal

Reverse Journaling for Your Brand

5,825 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writing, jounaling
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Book Titles That Sell, Productivity for Authors and Marketing for Introverts with Tim Grahl - The Creative Penn

Book marketing expert Tim Grahl discusses strategy with Joanna Penn.         

                           

Measuring Social Media ROI by @nblackburn01 - BadRedhead Media

Tools to help calculate your social media return on investment.         

 

Film

                                                        

Lights, Camera, Athens: The Art of Filmmaking - The Red & Black

How a small town fostered a filmmaking community in its midst.       

                                          

Indie Filmmaking - Making Money vs Passion Projects -Flickering Myth

How working on both will help you keep your sanity and pay your rent.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Engage a Live Music Audience - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Advice on how to make your live performances audience-friendly.  

 

The Best Way to Learn Guitar - Guitar Coach Magazine

For beginners just learning and masters wishing to hone their skills.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 24, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- April 17, 2015

508 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, music, filmmaking, film, author, writing, plan, guitar, films, musicians, social_media, audience, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy
1

You write with passion. You rewrite with purpose. That is to say, your first draft is spun with reckless abandon. The words click onto the page as fast as you can tap your fingers across the keyboard. They are delivered from a place that is located deep within the right hemisphere of your brain. You write what you see. You don't think about what you write. Rewriting? Not so much.

 

The left hemisphere of your old grey matter gets involved during rewrites and starts to apply logic to the free flow of thought that had created such a beautiful, wandering mess. Your top priority during rewrites is to keep everything that has a purpose in the story. Everything else, no matter how well written, must go.

 

While all the elements of a story are interconnected, as you rewrite, you might want to give each chapter a "Purpose Rating" and grade each element separately on a scale from one to five. Anything that gets less than a three should be cut.

 

Establish your "Purpose Rating" by considering these elements:

 

  • Plot purpose: Does the material move the plot forward or shed light on certain story elements that solidify the foundation of the plot?

  • Character purpose: Does the material give relevant insight into aspects of character? Does it give your character depth that steers away from clichés? Does it provide a compelling piece of character development that is unexpected and new, without being distracting?

  • Setting purpose: Does the material set the proper mood? Does it paint a picture that fits the theme and genre of your story? Does it break the rules without disrupting the story?

  • Dialogue purpose: Is the material necessary? Some dialogue is used as an "exploratory" device. Meaning, when it was first written it may have been connective tissue for an upcoming subplot or character revelation. In a lot of cases, those future elements either never materialize or are eliminated. Be on the lookout for these holes.

  • Subplot Purpose: Is your subplot a minor detour from the story or a complete diversion? If it's too far removed from the plot, it's doing more harm than good.

You will find that rewriting is a much harder process than writing. It should be. You're applying logic to an artistic endeavor. You have to be ruthless in your cuts. Applying a "Purpose Rating" may help you look at your story more objectively.   

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Two Mistakes Indie Authors Should Avoid

The Purpose of Subplots

6,045 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, writers, setting, writing, characters, drafts, plot, dialogue, rewriting, writing_help, subplot
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Last year I watched the Oscars with two friends. At some point an award for writing was presented, and while I don't remember who won it, I do remember what he said, because I burst out laughing.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Maria

 

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

 

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Give Author Modeling a Try

How to be a Confident Writer

2,184 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Toni Morrison: Write, Erase, Do It over - The Book Deal

An interview about writing with the legendary author.           

                           

New Trends in Book Marketing: Mobile, Millennials and More - Publishing Perspectives

Is 2015 all about the phablet when it comes to marketing your book?         

 

Film

                                                        

The Complete Mark Duplass Filmmaking Bible on Becoming a Successful Director - No Film School

When it comes to independent film, Mark Duplass is in a league of his own.     

                                          

Five Screenwriting Lessons from Quentin Tarantino - Film Slate Magazine

Tarantino, the master of Macabre Noir, shares his writing secrets. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Sample-Based Synthesis - Bit by Bit - Audio Fanzine

Converting analog signals to digital.  

  

Twenty-Five Tips from Music Marketing Experts for an Indie Release - Solveig Whittle

Indie artist Solveig Whittle shares the tips she's uncovered from industry experts.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 17, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- April 10, 2015

1,590 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, book, music, self-publishing, promotion, indie, movies, writers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, director, musicians, filmmakers
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The Plot Plight

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 22, 2015

My favorite book is an obscure title first released in 1933 called God's Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell. Well, it's obscure now. When it was released, it was actually both a commercial hit and the subject of controversy because it was deemed vulgar by some. By today's standards, it's not nearly as provocative as it was in the 1930s.

 

I write about it today because I can make the argument that the book is without a main plot. The catalyst for the action in the beginning is the patriarch of a deeply impoverished family's obsessive search for gold on his dying farm. It's a fruitless endeavor that ruins the farmland. This search for riches serves as a backdrop to the lives of the family members and the hardships that weave them together. There's an illicit affair that tears the family apart. There's a strike at a nearby cotton mill that ends in tragedy. There's a murder. The book is basically a scrapbook of events that paints the sad portrait of a family plagued by poverty. The futile search for gold is less a plot than it is a shadow cast by the family's endless misfortune.

 

A plot is described as the main event of a book that gives a story meaning. Other events, subplots, give a story depth. My dissection of God's Little Acre has me questioning my sanity. A book, I've been taught, must have a clearly defined plot. I've been encouraged to establish the plot early in a story. And I've been told repeatedly that a book cannot end without some sort of resolution to that plot. Caldwell did none of those things in God's Little Acre, but he managed to write a compelling, truly enriching story. How is that possible?

 

So, here's my question to you, dear writer, what is your philosophy on plot? Where is it established in your story? How clearly defined is it? Can you think of a book that contains a muddled plot, but still manages to deliver a gripping story?

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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The Importance of Plot Points

The Purpose of Subplots

1,576 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, writing, characters, plot, development, craft, writing_tips, plot_point
2

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Maria

 

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

 

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The Brand and the Pseudonym

An Author by Any Other Name

2,338 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, pen_name
1

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Richard

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

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Giving Back: A Cautionary Tale

Form an Author Co-op

1,560 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, promotions, charity
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We all know subplots are basically a device to give your story a word count that will make it a book-worthy document, right? Wrong. Subplots weren't created to fatten up stories to please consumers. At least, they shouldn't be.

 

Here is what subplots can really do for your book:

 

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

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

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

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

 

-Richard

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

 

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Turning Subplots into Plots

The Importance of Plot Points

5,768 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: books, writing, characters, craft, writing_style, writing_tips, writing_advice, pace, plot_points, subplot
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Are you ready for the big screen - err, small screen - tiny, even? The Internet has given rise to storytelling in the form of online video. Some of these stories are doled out over several short videos to form a web series. Independent producers and uber-fans have taken their favorite books and turned them into popular web series. They range from literal adaptations to quirky, re-imagined versions.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

-Richard

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

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Social Networking Tour - Facebook

Build Your Brand with Original Content

1,951 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, web_series
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Get in Good with Goodreads - Writer's Digest

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

                           

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

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

 

Film

                                                        

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

Be relentless, and be prepared for the long haul.     

                                          

The 11 Principles of Leadership for Filmmakers - Studio Binder

Know thyself, and know thy craft. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

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

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

  

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

Can a free site help find paying gigs?  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 3, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- March 27, 2015

1,598 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, book, music, filmmaking, author, self-publishing, promotion, indie, movies, writing, guitar, promotions, reading, musicians, filmmakers, social_media, music_industry, grammar_tip, grammar_advice, music_gigs, music_shows
1

A gentleman by the name of Matthew Jockers "did some distance similarity metric calculations and machine clustering" to determine how many different kinds of basic plot structures exist in the world of storytelling. 90% of the time when he ran the test, the answer was that there are six different plot structures, and 10% of the time, the answer was seven. Either result suggests that we are all drawing from the same plot designs over and over again.

 

 

These results beg the question: how are we coming up with so many different variations of the same plots? The answer is fairly clear. It's the amount of "you" that goes into the story you're writing. You have a style. You may not even know what your style is, but you do have one. I've suggested before that it's important that you be able to identify what that style is. It will give you more confidence as a writer, and it will give you a less cluttered path to plotting your next story.

 

 

In a monthly workshop I attend, the one question that is asked of every writer after reading their material is "What makes today different than any other day in your story?" The same can be asked when trying to define your style. What makes your story different from the other stories that share the same plot? Is it your choice of character? Is it your choice of narrator? Is it your choice of setting? What constant theme pops up in everything you write and sets you apart? What is the "you" in your writing? 

 

-Richard

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

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Authors' Four Structural Essentials for Blogs

To Be a Professional Writer, Make a Professional Impression

2,305 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, selling, book, filmmaking, author, self-publishing, writers, publishing, writing, musicians, filmmakers, social_media, writing_tips
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One of the questions that authors often ask me is: "What should I blog/tweet about?" The answer depends on a lot of factors, but the most important is the subject matter of your book. While of course you want to promote your work, if that's all you do, it's going to be hard to attract - and keep - followers. Who wants to read endless tweets that constantly shout "Buy my book!"(Am I right?)

 

I recommend providing useful information that's related to the subject matter of your book. For example, if your book is about financial planning, you can share links to interesting articles about financial planning, offer advice about taxes, provide tips for budgeting, etc. If your book is fiction, perhaps tweet or blog about something related to the content, e.g., a specific location, a period of time, a recipe, etc. The key is to provide content that your followers will find useful so they will keep coming back - and perhaps even pass along your content to their own followers/friends.

 

The 80/20 rule usually refers to a situation in which 80 percent of the effects will result from 20 percent of the causes. (For example, it's a rule of thumb in business that 80 percent of a company's sales typically comes from 20 percent of its clients.) In social media, however, it means that 80 percent of the content you share should be informative and 20 percent should be promotional. That way you're able to keep your followers engaged and informed without them feeling constantly bombarded with pitches. If they appreciate all the great content you regularly provide them for free, they're more likely to want to read your book because they will view you as a source of good information. Plus, they may just want to say thank you.

 

-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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Social Media Swap

Your Fans are Your Brand

7,071 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, social_media
1

Author Hangouts

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 6, 2015

Are you about to head off to that dream vacation in Austin? Perhaps you have a family reunion coming up in Seattle or a long weekend trip scheduled at your nearest resort destination. Wherever you're headed for a little R & R, chances are you have connections in that location you hadn't considered. Connections that, if made stronger, can help expand your author brand.

 

I am, of course, referring to the folks in your online social networking circle. I personally know about one percent of my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. By personally, I mean I've interacted with them in the real world. The people I have that kind of relationship with are some of my biggest supporters. If I had the opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with the other 99%, just imagine how much stronger the support for my brand would grow.

 

These types of meetings go by different names: Meet-ups, Tweet-ups, Hang-outs, etc. And they're fairly easy to organize. You can set up an event on Facebook and invite those friends you know that live in the area you'll be visiting. There are apps online that will find followers in a certain location to help you organize a Tweet-up. Pick a public spot to have coffee and get to know those folks you've only talked with online. You may even want to bring a few signed copies of your latest book as a thank you for valued members of your community.

 

If you're on your way to enjoy a little vacation time, why not organize an author hangout and get to know the folks in that community?

 

-Richard

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

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The Brand and the Pseudonym

 

Looking for Marketing Tips? Here's What's Working for One Indie Author - and What Isn't

3,480 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions, branding, social_media
2

When I'm working on a book, there's nothing I fear more than staring at my computer screen and not knowing what to write next. I find it paralyzing, nerve-racking, depressing, and downright scary. When I'm writing a book but not actually writing anything, I feel an enormous sense of guilt because I'm not being productive.

 

At least, that's how I used to feel.

 

Recently I've realized that just because I'm not actually typing words on the keyboard, it doesn't mean that I'm not working on my manuscript. In fact, a lot of the work I put into my books happens when I'm not even at my desk. I letthe plot unfold in my head, essentially watching it as a movie before committing it to paper. That means that technically I'm working, even if I'm in the shower, or at the gym, or taking a walk. My brain is working on the book, which is what matters.

 

My personal challenge is to be patient and give my brain the time it needs to figure out how the story is going to unravel, wherever and however that happens. I've learned from experience that trying to force the creative process simply doesn't work. It leads to frustration and a lot of deleting.

 

The creative process is different for everyone, and if there were a sure-fire remedy for writer's block, I'd be first in line to buy it. But letting go of what you think it means to be "productive" is a good step in the right direction. Just be prepared to jot down notes when moments of inspiration strike. Not all the ideas that pop up will be golden, but you don't want to forget the ones that are!

 

-Maria

 

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

 

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Grammar Gaffes of Olympic Proportions

How to Help the Author in Your Life

3,321 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, book, author, writers, writing, craft, writer's_block, writing_tips
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