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Fingers cramping? Eyes tired? Brain exhausted? Computer overheating? If you're experiencing any of these plights, you may have just spent the month of November writing a 50,000-word novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The authors at CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing are right there with you! We've watched their progress at the start and midpoint of NaNo; now let's see how they concluded their month of furious writing!

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Phoebe, Kindle Direct Publishing

FINAL WORD COUNT: 50,064

What was your overall experience?

It's been a blast! I love meeting and talking with fellow authors who are all working toward the same goal. There was a period when I was doubtful, but I just kept plugging away and thinking about the "winner" t-shirt I preordered, which was hanging on my wall waiting for me to earn it.

 

How are you celebrating?

On Friday I went out with the Seattle Drunken Write-In crew, on Saturday I went to the official "Thank Goodness It's Over" skating party, and on Sunday I did a whole lot of nothing but video games.

 

What are your plans for the book?

After I've set it aside for a few weeks, I'll take a look back through it and see what kind of actual story I came out with. Even though I hit 50k, I definitely didn't get to "The End." So much of it came from the pressure to just get out more words that the narrative flow is all over the place. After much editing and rewriting, I'd like to send it to some beta readers for feedback.

 

Will you do it again?

Without question. Toward the end of the month when I got up a good head of steam and really had confidence that I was going to reach 50K, I realized it actually feels like I'm getting better at NaNo each year I do it. I stick with one story more consistently and I write more words per day more consistently, and even if Sturgeon's Law and my own two eyes tell me 90% of it is crap, that still means I've got an awesome 10% I never would have had otherwise.

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Margaret, CreateSpace

FINAL WORD COUNT: 30,000

What was your overall experience?

Overall, it was really good. Before NaNoWriMo, I didn't make writing a habit because I didn't think I had time for it. Because of the contest's goal and deadline, I had to include writing time in my daily schedule. Now I have time built in to keep writing!

 

How are you celebrating?

I'll probably keep writing; I didn't quite make it to 50,000 words, so plan to keep writing to complete the novel by mid-December.

 

What are your plans for the book?

When the book is done, I'll give it to a few different people to read, edit it from their feedback, and then likely publish it on KDP.

 

Will you do it again?

Definitely. It's been a great exercise in time management. Next time I'll know how to prepare going into NaNoWriMo. I'll do more timeline, outline, and character preparations before diving in.


Zach, CreateSpace

FINAL WORD COUNT: 20,000

 

What was your overall experience?

I truly enjoyed getting back into writing after such a long dry spell. It was great to work with a deadline in mind, and even though I didn't make it, it was still a lot of fun.

 

What are your plans for the book?

When it's done, I really want to work on getting it ready to publish. I have several friends who will read through it with me (whether they know it or not) so I hope that the editing will go smoothly from there.

 

Will you do it again?

I'll definitely do NaNoWriMo again, but I also want to try smaller challenges, like setting aside a week or weekend primarily for writing. For me, it was easy to skip a day and argue I could make up the difference tomorrow since I had a whole month, so I want to see if I can set smaller goals to keep me on track throughout the year.

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Katy, Kindle Direct Publishing

FINAL WORD COUNT: 12,390

What was your overall experience?

About halfway through November, work and life got exceedingly busy, so I had to put NaNo on hold, which is frustrating! I got back to it every several days, but my stories were effectively dead in the water by 11/20. Curse you, life!

 

Will you still work on the novel?

Heck yes. I know the idea's good because everyone I've ever described it to has loved it - I just have to get it done. I'll then have several of my friends copyedit it. I worked as a writing tutor in college, so I'm also going to print it out and rip it apart by treating it like someone else's writing (I am ruthless). And then, publication through KDP and CreateSpace is the plan!

 

Will you do it again?

Definitely. It makes me write even in the face of everything I have going on in my life. Halfway through the month, I almost always get sidetracked by how insane November can be leading up to the Christmas season, but what I get written is awesome! The main thing for me to remember is that setbacks aren't death knells.

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Andrea, CreateSpace

FINAL WORD COUNT: 12,000

What was your overall experience?

LOVE LOVE LOVE. I can't wait for next year. Maybe I'll actually finish!

 

How are you celebrating?

I'll keep writing in the month of December and hope I can do it in two months instead of just one. There could possibly be a glass of liquid courage in there too to celebrate the long month of literary tenacity.

 

What were your relationships like with other writers throughout NaNo?

There was nothing but positive feedback and mutual enthusiasm. Who could ask for anything more?

 

Any final thoughts?

Keep at it. And remember, the first person you need to satisfy with your writing is yourself, not the critics.

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Jonny, CreateSpace

FINAL WORD COUNT: 1,850

What was your overall experience?

I've wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo for years, and I am glad I finally gave it a shot. I knew I would be busy this month, as I set out to overachieve, and I was only able to complete part of my goals. When I was able to write, it felt rushed and stressful, as I had other obligations that took priority. The experience gave me a greater appreciation for the authors I work with every day, most of whom have jobs, lives, and children to balance as well. Every book that is published deserves applause. It takes time, dedication, and patience to write.

 

What were your relationships like with other writers throughout NaNo?

When speaking to my peers who participated, they took on a wonderful literary tone. It warmed my heart to have a more thoughtful conversation than a normal day would provide.

 

Any final thoughts?

Sometimes it takes a finish line to motivate us towards our goals, but just remember that life goes on after the race is done.


Can you relate to any of the CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing authors? How did you do in this year's NaNoWriMo?

 

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NaNoWriMo 2012: The CreateSpace & KDP Chronicles, Part 2

NaNoWriMo 2012: The CreateSpace & KDP Chronicles, Part 1

2,410 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, book, author, createspace, writers, writing, nanowrimo, nano, craft, kdp
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Thanks to streaming video services, I've watched a great deal of movies recently that I missed when they originally came out five or six years ago. I'm not sure why I missed them, but a number of them I didn't even know existed. During one spate of this period of cinematic catch-up, I noticed that various characters in more than a few of these films mentioned a social network that was extremely popular at the time, but is a virtual ghost town today. No one really uses it. I left the storyline for a brief second to reflect on how quickly times change.


That was the problem. This seemingly innocuous reference removed me from the storyline. That is the danger of alluding to pop culture in your stories. It tends to remove the reader from the story. Some would argue that pop culture references can help set the scene or even build character. I agree with that to a degree, but you have to be very judicious in its use.


The other downside to using pop culture references is that because the temptation is so strong to use them, you may find that a number of authors have used the same pop culture reference. Suddenly, that passage you thought was original and spot-on looks borrowed and eventually dated.


To give your book the opportunity to become an evergreen classic and to make it truly original, avoid pop culture references, or at the very least, minimize them.


-Richard

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


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The Great American Novel

Use Emotion to Propel Your Story

856 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, self-publishing, writers, writing, story
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I just finished reading a political thriller that could have been pretty interesting...if I hadn't been so confused much of the time I was reading it.


Here's what rattled me: Over and over, the author had one character say something, and a different character do something, in the same paragraph.


Here's an example, with names changed. Over three paragraphs, we learn about a meeting between John Smith and David Johnson. The first two paragraphs are clear, but by the end of the third one, I'm lost:


"Thanks for taking my meeting on such short notice, Mr. Smith."


"Call me John, please. And it's no problem at all. I am always happy to take a referral from Mr. Winfield. Sit," he said, pointing to the conference table in his office. "Can we get you some coffee, water, anything?"


"Thanks, no." The two sat down. "Well, let me start with a confession. Mr. Winfield didn't refer me to you. He doesn't even know who I am," which in the greater context of things, was true. John Smith looked at David Johnson quizzically. "I am here to make you a business proposal."


Say what?


Some authors successfully have multiple speakers in a paragraph with no ambiguity, but not every writer has that ability. To avoid uncertainty about who is speaking, break up the dialogue and action into separate paragraphs per character, as the author did well in the first two paragraphs. Separating the speakers keeps the readers focused on the story, not the structure. It also results in shorter paragraphs, which makes your book easier - and thus more enjoyable - to read. Who doesn't like the feeling of progress that comes with turning a page?


-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 Confusing Dialogue

Look Who's Talking

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Whether you write science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, or any other genre, we all have one thing in common: we owe a debt of gratitude to our readers. After all, if it wasn't for them, publishing would be an exercise in futility. We need the readers.


For that reason, I have a suggestion. As a writer who owes such gratitude, show such gratitude. Recognize your readers. Give them their day in the sun and simply let them know how much you appreciate them. Giving them all some sort of personal recognition may be impossible, but you can pick a few, either at random or systematically, and recognize them on behalf of all your readers.


I've seen a number of fan recognition programs that other authors and even bloggers do to thank the readers. In a "fan of the month" program, an author might pick a fan, usually based on the number of interactions on social networks, and post their picture and a link to their Twitter account or Facebook page. This could prompt other fans to follow or friend them, a strategy that not only offers the fan recognition, but also connects your network of fans.


In addition to a "fan of the month" program, I've also seen authors recognize fans for asking particularly insightful questions. Sometimes it's not even about the author or the book. It may be a related genre or publishing in general. Or it could just be a humorous comment they've made in your social media circle.


The point is to find a way to thank your readers publicly. Let them and others know that you appreciate your fans. It's a great way to strengthen your relationship with your readers.


-Richard

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


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Your Fans are Your Brand

Three Grassroots Marketing Tips to Put in Place Today

1,473 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, self-publishing, writers, readers, fans
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.


Books/Publishing


Resilience: How to Deal with Criticism and Rejection - The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn and Mark McGuinness discuss the sometimes emotionally crippling effect of bad reviews.


How Do We Find Targeted Readers? 5 Top Tips! -BadRedhead Media

Author and social media consultant Rachel Thompson gives her best advice on where to find your readers.


Film


Crowdsourcing is Creating the Cloud Filmmaking Revolution - Venture Beat

Footage and creative material for your film may be just a cloud away.


Here's Why You Should Make Your Movie or Chase Your Dream Today - Joke and Biagio

A three-minute dose of inspiration; do what you love and happiness will follow.


Music


A Case Study on Trent Reznor - Alan Cross

A look at the man who turned the music industry on its ear by making a direct connection to the fans.


Music Biz Disappointments: When Bad News Turns Good - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

When one door closes, look for another door.


-Richard

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


 

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Weekly News Roundup - November 23, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - November 16, 2012


729 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, music, music, self-publishing, self-publishing, films, films, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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Too Much Exposition

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 28, 2012

Are you over-explaining certain elements of your story in your novel? Nothing kills a story like heaping helpings of exposition. When you resort to telling the reader why a character is the way he or she is, or what events have led to a moment in a story, or even plainly stating essentials of your theme, you water down the literary merit of your story. More than that, you rob the reader of the opportunity of discovering these elements through organic storytelling.


Don't get me wrong; there are times when some exposition is necessary. If you are writing a book that draws on existing mythology or incorporating mythology of your own making, then a certain amount of exposition will be important as you give a "historical" perspective of the mythology. These incidences are most often seen in science fiction novels and fantasy novels. Also, if you are writing a series, a brief explanation of what's occurred in previous installments may be necessary. You would be wise to disguise these moments of exposition as efficiently as possible. Just because you need exposition doesn't give you license to engage in lazy writing. As an author, your primary objective shouldn't be to inform the readers, but for the readers to inform themselves.


When authors relay all the details of plots, characters, and themes upfront, they run the risk of burying the reader under an information dump and removing them from the story. Ask yourself two questions when you feel compelled to explain a certain element of your story: 1) is there a way to reveal the information without explaining it? And 2) is the explanation necessary at all, or is it just needless background information that you think is interesting, yet it doesn't add to the story?


When you have a choice between showing and telling, always choose showing.


-Richard

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


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Just Say It!

Don't Insult Your Readers

6,992 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, self-publishing, writers, writing, story, characters
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I recently had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Guy Kawasaki, a popular speaker and author of 10 books, including Reality Check, The Art of the Start, and Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. I told him about this blog and asked if he had any words of wisdom for my readers. With a sly chuckle, yet also speaking seriously, he said the following:


"Don't be paranoid."


I asked what he meant, and he said that authors, both traditionally and self-published, are often afraid to try anything unconventional. They think someone is going to come along, tap them on the shoulder, and say, "Hey now, you shouldn't do that."


His attitude is, "Why shouldn't I?"


An example he gave was for his most recent book, Enchantment. When he finished the first draft, he sent out a Google+ message to his hordes of followers and asked for volunteer beta readers willing to provide feedback. Several hundred people replied, and you know what Guy did? He emailed them the entire manuscript.


Yes, he emailed his entire unpublished manuscript to hundreds of strangers. For "security," all he did was ask them to check a box saying they promised not to forward it to anyone else. A simple promise, nothing more.


What happened? He got a lot of thoughtful feedback that helped him improve his book, and those who provided that feedback became emotionally invested evangelists, eager to see the book succeed. In fact, dozens of them posted positive Amazon.com reviews the very day the book came out.


Guy's idea worked out pretty well, don't you think? I may have to try it myself.


To learn more about Guy Kawasaki and his books, you can visit www.guykawasaki.com.


-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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It's Never Too Early to Get a Little Help from Your Friends

Book Marketing Tip: Make It Easy for Your Fans to Help You

8,285 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, writing, writing
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Publicity Stunts

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 26, 2012

We've talked about a lot of marketing and branding ideas on this blog, but there is one topic we've never really broached: publicity stunts. Publicity stunts are marketing ploys meant to be headline grabbers in and of themselves. More often than not, they are wacky or at the very least, outside the lines of conventional behavior. They have to be in order to get noticed.


Publicity stunts are an iffy proposition for a number of reasons. It they are too innocuous, they won't get noticed. If they are too bold, you may get noticed for the wrong reasons. Finding a balance between harmless and daring is the trick, and most people don't find it. An example of a creative, fairly risk-free publicity stunt in the world of publishing took place at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2009. The German publisher Eichborn attached small banners with the company name, logo, and booth number to 200 flies and released them inside the convention center. The banners were attached with wax and they eventually fell off. The stunt got them a lot of attention and visitors to their booth. But they also probably received a few annoyed complaints because they released flies in a busy convention center.


I have never attempted a publicity stunt for my books, and I have no intention of ever attempting one. They are too fraught with too many potential drawbacks. Frankly, I don't trust myself in finding that balance between harmless and daring. What about you? Do you have any experience with either a successful or unsuccessful publicity stunt?


-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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Take Control with Marketing Central

Guerrilla Book Marketing Tactic

2,077 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, promotion, promotion, publicity, publicity, branding, branding
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.


Books/Publishing


The Recipe for Writing a Bestseller [Infographic] - Ebook Friendly

The secret to writing a bestseller is...? See the infographic to find out.


Sell More Fiction by Activating the Power of Book Clubs -Jane Friedman

Author Rob Eagar dishes on how to get an "in" with the Book Clubs.


Film


How to Break into the Film Industry - Working PA

Breaking into film is difficult from any level. The key is to overcome the rejections by outlasting them.


Jai Arjun Singh: Aural Storytelling - Business Standard

If people notice your film's cinematography, art direction, wardrobe, etc., does that mean you've failed as a storyteller?


Music


Making It in Music - The Lefsetz Letter

Some hard truths that include gems like: "If you want a career in music you must do your best to be necessary."


Billboard Adds Streaming Music Services and Digital Sales to Several Major Music Charts - The Future of Music

If you needed any more proof that times are changing in the music industry, here it is.


-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - November 16, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - November 9, 2012

682 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, films, films, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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Start at the End

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 21, 2012

When I was a kid and we ate out at a family restaurant, they invariably had a paper placemat with a maze on it. For a kid in those days, eating out was a big deal, and eating out at place with interactive placemats was a monumental deal. You'd sit with a crayon in hand and stare at the maze, realizing that once you chose a path, there was no going back because it's impossible to erase crayon. After numerous missteps, I discovered out of frustration that, for whatever reason, the maze was easier if I tried to solve it backward.

 

It shouldn't have been. The route is the same either way. The twists and turns are merely inverted twins of their forward selves. The degree of difficulty should have been the same either way. I should have failed just as miserably going the "wrong" way as I did going the "right" way.


Looking back on it now, it wasn't that the mazes were difficult; it was the pressure of finding the end of the maze without taking the incorrect route using a permanent writing utensil. Getting to the end was just too daunting. But starting at the end took that pressure away. The path became suddenly clear. It practically popped off the placemat.


I share this trauma and triumph from my childhood to ask this: is it possible you've been approaching that manuscript you can't complete from the wrong direction? Perhaps you shouldn't be writing from beginning to end, but from end to beginning. Or at the very least, you could find the end before you write another page and draw yourself a clear path to the end you've already discovered.


The point is there is more than one way to write a manuscript and successfully complete a maze. If you've tried the conventional way and keep running into roadblocks, switch to unconventional methods. You may find a better path to the end.


-Richard

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


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The Rituals of a Writer's Life

Don't Let Fear Stop You from Completing Your Book

635 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, self-publishing, writers, writing, storyline
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I began my career as an indie author. Today, I'd like to share two mistakes I made when working with a professional designer that cost me a LOT of money. I hope you can learn from my experiences and avoid making these mistakes with your book.


1. Proofread your manuscript while you can still make changes.


I wanted my novel to look as professional as possible, so I paid a graphic designer to lay it out using the same design software that traditional publishing houses use. He did a fantastic job, and I was extremely pleased. When he was done, I printed out five copies of the manuscript and asked friends to catch any small typos I'd overlooked in the countless times I'd read it myself.


They found more than 100 errors. Yes, more than 100!


I don't own design software, much less know how to use it, so to correct all those typos, I had to call up the designer and go over them on the phone one by one. This was a process that took several hours. Hours! I was paying the guy $75 an hour, so that quickly added up.


2. Confirm the trim size you want.


Trim size is the length and width of your book. I chose one and relayed that choice to my designer (same guy as above), and then requested a sample in that size. When the book arrived, I decided it was too large to hold in one hand comfortably. I asked the designer to shrink it just a bit, but he told me that wasn't possible with the design software he was using. In other words, if I wanted to change the trim size, he was going to have to start from scratch - and charge me again.


In the end I had him change it, but it cost me a pretty penny.


The lesson learned? Use professionals to lay out your book, but before it's converted into a format you can't change yourself or for free, be sure it's exactly the way you want 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 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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Three Mistakes to Avoid When Self-publishing an eBook

Three Mistakes to Avoid When Self-publishing a Print Book

5,346 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, design, editing, proofreading, self-publishing, writers, writing
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Occasionally, I am asked how my social media advertising efforts are going. My response is that I don't participate in social media advertising. This answer is often met with confused stares and indignant assurances that all I do is talk about advertising on social media. In truth, I've rarely written about the topic. I've written a number of posts about marketing via social media, but that's a much different animal. Yes, there is a difference between advertising and marketing.


Marketing is the process; advertising is a promotional element within that process. Put another way, marketing is the recipe, and advertising is an optional ingredient in that recipe. Advertising is a narrowly defined (and usually paid) message aimed at a targeted audience for a finite period of time. In many cases, the advertisement tries to engender immediate appeal. Some even call for action or highlight a limited-time offer. In order to be effective, that narrowly defined message must be seen over and over again. It may take 7-10 exposures to an ad before a consumer will act.


On social media sites, when I refer to marketing, I'm mostly talking about your ability to interact with and engage your readers. You can advertise on a number of the social media sites, but it is not free. A lot of the sites allow you to place a small ad targeted at your specific demographic. The amount you spend on such an ad usually depends on how many people click on it.


Personally, I don't advertise on social media sites. For my situation, marketing (engaging) on social media just makes more sense. However, some authors find it to be an effective sales tool, so you may want to consider whether advertising is a good fit for your readers and your budget. If you decide to advertise on social media, you shouldn't neglect your marketing; I think you'll find that active engagement with your followers pays off best in the long run.


-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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Marketing: Begin with Your Strengths

Interact, Interact, Interact!

4,055 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, self-publishing, writers, writing
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.


Books/Publishing


How to Stay Motivated to Write Consistently and Produce Content - The Future of Ink

Make a straightforward resolution to overcome those woefully uncreative days.


Be Afraid -A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

Joe Konrath discusses his decision to self-publish a horror novel, and he gives an inside look at sales figures for the book.

 

Film


A Case Study in How to Release Your Short Film Online - ReelSEO

Filmmakers Andrew Allen and Jason Sondhi reveal their online strategy to get their short film viewed by a large audience.


Eli Roth Hails Virtues of DIY Filmmaking - Variety

The man who produced a movie about a hostile hostel talks about the importance of looking out for yourself at every turn in the film industry.


Music


How to Market Your Music: Blogs - Total Instrument Insurance

Blogs are great tools for building your band's brand.


5 Lyric Videos that Got it Right: Creativity is Key - musicgoat

Save your fans the trouble of looking up the words of your song by producing a creative video featuring the lyrics.


-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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Weekly News Roundup - November 9, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - November 2, 2012

665 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, films, films, musicians, musicians
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Over the past two weeks, hundreds of thousands of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) participants have been working on the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. In our previous blog, we introduced you to some of the authors who work at CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing who are taking the NaNoWriMo challenge in their free time. Let's check back in with them!


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Margaret, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 16,000

What is your book about?

My novel takes a different spin on the romance formula. In my book, the heroine's best friend returns from her time abroad with a surprising memento: an English boyfriend. The heroine is skeptical about love - and the situation in general, rightfully - but she eventually agrees to marry her friend's man so he can stay in the country. Soon, romance leaks into the marriage, and the boyfriend is hiding a thing or two about why he left England so quickly.


Have you hit any writer's block?

I have reached some parts in the story that require extensive research, which is just not something time will allow. My solution has been to write through these scenes as much as possible to get the main points on paper. That way, I have the basic information there to build on, but I can still go back later to improve the authenticity of the text.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

I started off really strong, doing the necessary word count per day, if not more. Then, I hit a week where life happened; work or other commitments overtook my writing time. Since then, I've been trying to catch up and get ahead before Thanksgiving.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

My technique so far has been to think of this project as a skeleton. I'm building a firm foundation that I can put muscle on later.


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Phoebe, Kindle Direct Publishing

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 11,336

What is your book about?

My book is about LGBT space pirates! It came to me pretty last-minute as I was thinking about what kinds of books I've enjoyed reading in the past and hadn't seen enough of recently.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

No matter how much you try to get the rest of the world to leave you alone to write, there's always stuff that comes up to distract you. I think I've taken care of the big stuff that has come up, though, and I'm looking forward to getting back on track with my word count.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

Stick with it! Being behind at the halfway point can be disheartening, but there's still plenty of time to hit 50K! The "Words Per Day To Finish On Time" stat on my NaNoWriMo page is very reassuring (and helpful); I know I can manage 2K/day.


Zach, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 15,000


What is your book about?

My book is a modern science fiction work about a government program which selects and trains children with special abilities.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

Probably the biggest challenge so far has been getting in the mindset and devoting more time to writing. Finding the extra time - and some days, the motivation - is difficult. But I try to spend time each day planning out what I want to write so that when I sit down, I can really just go with the flow. Showers, commuting, and before I fall asleep are all great times to think of new ideas and get a layout in my head.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

One of the most fun things I've found in writing this is the research. If a location I'm using includes a huge forest or mountain or something geographic, I'm immediately online trying to find a suitable site. If a character uses a computer, drives a car, etc., then I get to try and figure out what they would use. Asking questions like "Is this character a Mac user?" is something that's fun to work through, and it helps me build better characters.


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Katy, Kindle Direct Publishing

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 7,000

What is your book about?

I'm gravitating between two projects: one's a YA novel about an emotionally repressed girl who gets sucked into a world of magically-reanimated corpses, unicorn-run organized crime syndicates, and a man who steals people's vitality via Polaroid shots. The other project is fan fiction for one of my favorite television shows, because I have a lot of feelings about preexisting fictional characters.


Have you hit any writer's block?

Definitely. I have a two-pronged approach to writer's block depending on the issue I'm facing. If I'm just having problems with a scene, switching scenes solves it. If I'm having problems writing at all, I go do something physical; while I do that, I let myself think about ways to solve whatever it is that's making it hard for a scene to progress. Adding movement to my thought process helps a lot.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

The first few times I did NaNo, I beat myself up for not sticking with the 1.6K/day regimen, and then when I didn't finish, I beat myself up for it more. I'm really pleased with the general zen I've got about it now. I may be 14K behind where I should be, but dang it, I'm 7K ahead of nothing at all.


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Jonny, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 1,250

What is your book about?

I chose to use my dreams as inspiration. My goal was to develop a dream log and elaborate on it to create a narrative. Unfortunately, I have not been able to recall my dreams since the start of the month. I then thought it would be interesting to write elaborate dream-like scenarios. I have been using my yoga practice and philosophy and other daily inspirations to help build a narrative.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

Time. Between yoga, chores, wrangling a child discovering to walk, and work, it has been difficult to stay up an extra hour to write. One of the themes of my book explores the influence and restrictions time has on our lives and thoughts, and how we would act and think if that influence wasn't present. This is not the case, at least in this reality.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

NaNoWriMo is a lofty goal in itself, and just setting out to do it feels like an accomplishment. I would love to have written more at this point, but with some groundwork in place it may be easier to at least contribute every day. I typically write sporadically, from a haiku to a short story, once a day to once a month. If I end up with a short story or novel, I will be pleased that I tried and created something new.


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Andrea, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 5,000

What is your book about?

My book is a comedic memoir about growing up Irish in South Boston, MA. I'm a storyteller by nature; I tell and write what I know.


How much time per day are you spending writing?

I don't know if you would call it writing, as much as rewriting over and over and over again. I spend up to an hour or two (not including all the time going over it in my head and not actively on paper).


Have you hit any writer's block?

Whenever I have hit writer's block, I have always found it best to go back to the beginning when it was simple and when the voice was the most raw, but fresh. That's when what I was trying to say was the most honest.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

Everyone should be proud of him or herself at this point for even taking on this challenge. It's a great way to get to know your fellow authors and share in the passion of the written word.


Now we'd like to hear from you! What's your current word count? Has your novel taken any unexpected turns? Do you have any advice for the CreateSpace and KDP authors?


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NaNoWriMo 2012: The CreateSpace & KDP Chronicles, Part 1

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I have a friend who is witty, smart, and charming. He's just an all-around interesting guy. One day, he asked me to read something he had written, and I happily agreed because I fully expected it to be brilliant. It wasn't. It wasn't bad; it was technically very good. He presented his vision in a clear manner. Everything was there that should have been, and then some. That was the problem. EVERYTHING was there. I did not connect with his style. He wrote long, very involved prose that frankly needed to be read twice in some cases to make sure you didn't miss anything. It was the complete opposite of the style in which I write.


As I prepared myself to tell him what I thought of his manuscript, I fretted over what I would say. As I said, it was not bad. It just wasn't my style. I didn't feel it was necessarily fair of me to impose my writing philosophy on him. So, I put off my critique as long as I could. When I couldn't put it off any longer, I started off with a list of positives I found in the story. His characters were very well thought-out, and he had a solid story structure. Then we started talking about our different styles: long prose versus short, blunt sentences. I realized after our conversation that both of us had viable writing styles, and he realized after we spoke that the audience for his book was limited because of his writing style.


I bring this situation up to ask two questions: 1) Where do you stand on the two differing styles? And 2) How do you go about critiquing a friend's work when it's something you don't particularly like?


-Richard

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

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What Is the Tone of Your Novel?

Save the Wordsmithing for Later

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