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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 Neurochemistry of Empathy, Storytelling, and the Dramatic Arc - brain pickings

A fascinating study on the science of a dramatic story arc and how it affects the brain.


Branding Trends and Tips for Creative Business -Marketing Tips

Have you been retargeting your brand?

 

Film


How Transmedia Storytelling Could Revolutionize Documentary Filmmaking - PBS

Technology has opened up a world of possibilities for the creation, marketing, and distribution of documentary films.


Documentary Filmmaking and the Moral Contract with the Audience - Filmmaker IQ

The key to making a great documentary is when a bond is created between the filmmaker and the subject.


Music

 

Performance Magic: The Power of Almost Losing Control - Judy Rodman

When you feel the music, your audience feels it. The trick is to feel it without losing control.

 

Top Tips to Blend Your Band Member's Differing Tastes - The Musicians Guide

When you're not all on the same page, you may have to rely on your creativity to work together.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - October 5, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - September 28, 2012

604 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: filmmaking, filmmaking, film, film, author, author, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, promotions, promotions, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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So, you're feeling pretty good about yourself. You've toiled and sacrificed to finish your latest manuscript. Finally, you type "The End" and celebrate the completion of your new thriller. But there's one small problem: you didn't write a thriller, you wrote a suspense novel. Hold on, it's not a suspense novel either. It's a mystery.


Confused? You're not alone. The lines between these three genres are so fine they're hard to see. In most cases, there is a blending of two or all three genres in the same book. Typical readers themselves would be hard-pressed to correctly identify which category a book falls under. They may be reading a suspense novel they absolutely love, but still refer to it as a thriller.


Incorrectly identifying your book's genre won't necessarily destroy your chances of attracting the average reader, but it could keep your book from being discovered by the knowledgeable, dedicated fans of any one of the three genres. And it's those fans who are most likely to spread the word about your book to like-minded followers on social media sites and message boards.


To help you decide where your book fits, here are the three genres and how they are generally described:


  1. Mystery - The central theme of your book focuses on an unanswered question that drives the story. The conclusion of a mystery results in a definitive answer to the question. Technically, a mystery does not require action or an element of danger.
  2. Thriller - The central theme may seem to be mystery in nature, but in actuality, a thriller is driven by action. The conclusion comes after a usually violent confrontation between opposing factions. If an unanswered question was a spark that ignited the story, it is quite possible to end the book with an ambiguous answer to the question.
  3. Suspense - The potential for impending doom is the key to a suspense story. The readers may know who the bad guy is and what he's cable of, and they may know the traps and pitfalls he's arranged for the protagonist. What they don't know is how the protagonist will avoid falling prey to the danger.


As I said, many of the books that fall under one of these categories may overlap and fall within the other categories, as well. However, there is normally one primary genre that best suits a book. What you have to ask yourself as an indie author is what drives the story: an answered question, action, or danger?


-Richard

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


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The Author Pitch

Brand Audience vs. Book Audience

747 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, author, writers, writers, mystery, mystery, thriller, thriller, promotions, promotions, suspense, suspense, genre, genre
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Even if readers love your book, it might never occur to them to tell other people about it. That's why it's important to make it easy for your fans to spread the word.


One great way is to create a fan page on your website. (If you don't have a website, stop reading NOW and go make one.) You can direct readers to this link, especially those who proactively tell you they enjoyed your book.


Following are some of the elements I have on my own fan page. At the top it says: "Did you enjoy Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, and/or Honey on Your Mind? If so, please help spread the word!"


Then I include the following suggestions with active hyperlinks:


  • To post a review on Amazon, click here
  • To order a signed copy for a friend, click here
  • To like Maria's author page on Facebook, click here
  • To like the books on Facebook, click here
  • To post links to the first chapters on Facebook/Twitter/etc., click here
  • To subscribe to Maria's newsletter, sign up on the right; side of this page
  • To follow Maria on Twitter, click here
  • To invite Maria to speak at your event, click here
  • To post a comment on this site, click here


We all know people who overshare the daily minutia of what they're reading/eating/watching/doing, but not everyone is wired this way. For the more restrained readers out there, a fan page gives them a gentle nudge to help get the word out.


-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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Get Readers Talking with a Serial Novel

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

4,541 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, selling, selling, selling, selling, selling, self-publishing, self-publishing, self-publishing, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, social_media, social_media, social_media, social_media, social_media
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I recently organized giveaways for two of my books. I would say one was a rousing success and one was a moderate failure. Instead of touting the success and hiding the failure, I decided to share the results of both with my readers, friends, and followers. Why? Because I saw it as an opportunity to open a dialogue with the people who help me sell books. It was a way for me to let them know that they are more than readers to me. They are advocates, and as such, I appreciate their help when I succeed, and I value their opinions when I fail.

 

In essence, I opened the books and used the "warts and all" outcome of my marketing efforts as a marketing tool. And people responded. They were more than happy to provide feedback. As a result, I know two things. First, thanks to the discussion, I was able to pinpoint the problem with the second giveaway. Second, thanks to the exchange of ideas, I was able to identify a group of really motivated advocates for my books, advocates who are willing to go out of their way to help me succeed.

 

The key to making it today as an author in our highly connected world is to stay connected. The more you share about your triumphs and struggles as an indie author, the more people feel involved. You can't succeed in a vacuum, so consider opening up and letting your readers in.

 

-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

Your Fans are Your Brand

590 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, self-publishing, writers, 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

 

Lessons Learned from 1 Year as a Fulltime Author Entrepreneur - The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn looks back on her year as a fulltime authorpreneur and maps out where she found the money to make it work.

 

Twitter for the Absolutely Terrified Newbie Author -The Book Designer

Having trouble navigating the minefield that is Twitter? Never fear, The Book Designer is here.

 

Film


What It Takes to Make a Great Movie - The New Yorker

An old Francis Ford Coppola interview is featured in this article about the importance of integrity in filmmaking.


What's True in a True Story? - a MOON Brothers film

Independent filmmakers discuss the delicate process of mixing fact with fiction in their latest film project.

 

Music

 

Octopus Marketing Formula Explained - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotions Blog

A simple concept with many tentacles of marketing reach.

 

Three Key Tips for Getting Your Music in A Commercial -American Songwriter

Commercials can provide a lot of great exposure for your music and help you make connections for future projects.

 

-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 - September 28, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - September 21, 2012

526 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, author, self-publishing, self-publishing, writers, writers, promotions, promotions, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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According to a recent study, it seems that 55% of adults purchase books categorized as young adult novels. At the risk of complicating things with too many numbers, 78% of those adults are purchasing those young adult books for themselves.

 

I've written books that have been listed under the young adult category, and judging from the email and comments I get from readers, I'd say that nearly half of them are adults. Frankly, my goal when writing the books is to write something that I enjoy, and I am far from being a young adult. So, this raises the question, what makes a young adult novel a young adult novel?

 

Summits and panels have been held to discuss this very topic, and there are as many opinions on the subject as there are people discussing it. There does not seem to be a consensus on the matter. Personally, I like this explanation that K.S. Clay left in the comment section of my blog in 2008:

 

I would also posit that young adult novels often have a coming of age theme woven into them. No matter what else is going on, a large part of the story tends to be about the teenager's struggle between childhood and adulthood and growing up. I think it can be hard to determine, though. I'd say that one thing is for sure, though: Young adult novels must be about young adults. They must be about teenagers. It's funny because it doesn't work the other way around. Books aimed at adults can be about children or teenagers or adults, but books aimed at teenagers must be about teenagers. Things must be filtered through that point of view. This means that adults, for instance, don't tend to take a very big role.

 

It is a remarkably simple observation, but it is the best definition of a young adult book that I have ever seen. I'm sure there are young adult authors in the community reading this. So, I ask you, do you find that many of your readers are actually adults? Why is your book in the young adult category?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Brand Audience vs. Book Audience

The Author Pitch

1,262 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, self_publishing, self_publishing, authors, authors, authors, authors, writing, writing, writing, writing, promotions, promotions, promotions, promotions, branding, branding, branding, branding, young_adult, young_adult, young_adult, young_adult
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A few posts back, I asked Joel Friedlander, a fellow CreateSpace contributor who is an award-winning book designer and the author of A Self-Publisher's Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish, for the three most common mistakes he sees indie authors make with e-books. Today, I asked him the same question about print books, and here's what he had to say:


  1. Don't put running heads or page numbers on blank pages. Blank pages are supposed to be blank - and that means nothing is on them at all. Because there's no text on the page, there's no need for running heads or page numbers anyway.


  1. Don't make your margins too small. You may be tempted to use as much space as possible on the page to save money, since print on-demand costs are usually determined by how many pages are in your book, among other things. But a crowded page that's hard to read and a book that's hard to hold comfortably won't help your book sales.


  1. Don't use low-resolution images. Graphics that look great on your screen may not have enough data (resolution) to print properly. Check with your book printer to find out exactly what resolution you need for your images to print properly and use a photo editing program to inspect the ones you want to use in your book.


When I self-published, I hired a professional designer to make sure my novel looked as good as the ones on the shelves at the bookstores. I strongly recommend that all indie authors do this to avoid producing something that looks amateur and detracts from the reading experience. It's a competitive market out there, so you want your book to shine!


To learn more about Joel, please visit www.TheBookDesigner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@JFBookman).


-Maria

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

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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Two Mistakes Indie Authors Should Avoid

Your Cover is a Crucial Marketing Decision

8,567 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, formatting, self-publishing, writers, interior, writing
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I've been experimenting with a new strategy that is meant to help me build brand awareness via video, while not stealing too much of my writing time. Let's face it; I want to be an author more than I want to be a brand. But, I know the importance of putting in the effort to build a brand.

 

This new strategy is easy. I write. I turn on my webcam, and then I read what I've just written on camera. After a few simple edits, I upload the video to YouTube and embed the video on my blog. I follow up by posting a link to the blog post on my social media network.

 

I'm not doing any difficult edits. I'm not using an expensive set or camera. I have no wardrobe budget. No makeup is required. It's just me in front of the computer doing what I normally do anyway, reading what I've written for the day.

 

This is not viral video material. I'm making the videos for the readership I already have. And, while I'm not getting thousands of hits, I am getting something I would say is as equally as important:  I'm having interactions with my readers. They've given me comments on the work in progress, including suggestions on what I should include in the story. Plus, they're getting a personal glimpse of me in my element, doing what I do, which helps put a face to my brand.

 

Simply put, I'm having fun. Not to mention I'm creating a more complete first draft of a story than I ever have before. So, while you're trying to decide how to build your brand, I invite you to try this strategy. If I can do it, anyone can. Here's the first video that explains what I'm doing for the readers, and the very first reading of the story. Note how low-tech it is.

 

 

Is this a brand-building strategy you could implement on your next book project?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Four Personal Video Tips

Setting Goals for Your Brand

2,384 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, video, writers, writing, branding, author_brand
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

New Twitter Profile Tips for Writers - GalleyCat

Twitter's getting a facelift. Are you ready to fully utilize the new features?     

                                                  

31 Book Marketing Ideas You Can Use - Today! -Duolit

These are 31 tips and tricks that are simple, yet could prove to be invaluable.             

 

Film

 

6 Filmmaking Tips from Monty Python - Film School Rejects

And now for something completely different: the kings of oddball sketch comedy have a lot to teach young filmmakers.

 

Innovative Cloud Filmmaking with Tiffany Shlain - Innovation Excellence

Are you prepared for access to even greater resources via a filmmaking cloud? 

 

Music

 

How to Get Comfortable with Music Marketing - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotions Blog

If sales isn't you're thing, Bob has a few words of wisdom for you.

 

How to Use Rhyme to Enhance Your Lyrics - Blogging Muses

You should make the time to read this article about finding your rhyme.

 

-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 - September 21, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - September 14, 2012

627 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, author, self-publishing, self-publishing, blogging, blogging, promotions, promotions, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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I received an interesting email in response to one of my recent newsletters, in which I share news about my books and appearances, as well as writing and marketing tips for authors. A subscriber named Sara asked if I could address what she called "the fear of completing the project."


Talk about hitting the nail on the head, as I suffer from this condition myself. I recently finished the first draft of my fourth novel, and while many of my fans would be surprised to learn this, I experienced low-grade yet near constant anxiety throughout the entire writing process. Why? Because I was afraid of what the reaction to the finished work would be. What if people hated it? What would I do then?


Many authors share their work with trusted readers as they go, then tweak and adjust according to the feedback they get. I don't use this approach. I write in a vacuum for months, not sharing a page with anyone. When I'm done I turn the final product over to my mom - then hold my breath for her reaction. Yes, it's a bit terrifying, but it's the way I write best, so I force myself to trust my ability and power through the fear each day. And if I do that for enough days in a row, eventually I have a book. And then I can relax and let the fun begin, because it's much easier to revise a manuscript than to create one from scratch.


So Sara, if you're reading this, I guess that's my answer. While I recognize that it's easy to procrastinate out of fear, do your best not to. Just power through it, one day at a time. Believe me, you'll be happy you did. Eventually you'll have written an entire book, and that's a pretty amazing feeling, no matter what happens next.


-Maria

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

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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A Synopsis Can Be Quite Helpful

Save the Wordsmithing for Later

2,090 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, editing, writers, writing, story
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The Three Endings

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 26, 2012

In a lot of ways, I think ending a book is the hardest element of storytelling. A story begins at a very fine point and immediately sprouts countless tentacles that spread out and take the readers through a series of character arcs, plots, and sub-plots. The writer's job is to bring those tentacles back together and return them to a single fine point by the end. I probably spend more time thinking about the end of my novel over the course of writing than I do any other component of the story. If the ending is predetermined, I'm always checking myself to see if I've gone so far off track that I'll never reach that ending. If I don't know the ending, I'm always backtracking through what I've written to find a hidden drawstring to tie everything together after the story's major conflict is concluded.


There are three types of book endings at the storyteller's disposal:


  • Nice & Neat - Everything is concluded. You've either tied everything up with a nice little "happily ever after" bow or you've left things on a decidedly down note. The tone and message aren't the point. The point is that no reader is left wondering how things really ended.
  • Open Ending - You've come through your final conflict. The dust has settled. Those who you meant to be left standing are, and those who met defeat are appropriately defeated. But as the lights dim and you reach that final paragraph, you leave an unanswered question or two about what happens next.
  • The Bridge - You've come to the end of your story, but you realize there's so much more to say. So much so that you see room for a second book, or a third, or a fourth, etc. Your strategy here is to perhaps use a nice and neat ending with a twist. You resolve the conflict but leave a little hint about what's to come.


So, as you reach the end of your book, ask yourself which of the three appeals to you the most. As always, don't necessarily pick the one that you think will please the reader. Pick the one that you believe fits the story.


-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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The Importance of Endings

Supplementing Your Novel

628 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, book, author, writers, publishing, craft
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Today I have a big, bold, unconventional marketing idea for you. It's so outrageous you may think me mad. However, I got the idea from a recent news story about Star Trek fans reenacting episodes of the original series in a park. They started off as no-budget productions played for scant friends and family, but it has since grown into a low-budget affair sometimes performed in front of hundreds of people.

 

This same idea could be applied to your book. You could create a play based on your novel. Yes, this would take time, organization, and creativity, but going for bold pays off because bold gets noticed. The aim would be to get not just the people in attendance talking about a play based on your book, but the local media. This local media coverage can turn into simultaneous online coverage that can be shared far and wide.

 

Make no mistake about it: this would require lots of effort with no guarantee of payoff, but it has a multitude of marketing possibilities. First, you can document your efforts to put the production together on your blog and your social media networks. From the writing to the auditioning to the rehearsals to opening night, every stage of your triumphs and struggles could make this not just a marketing endeavor, but a compelling journey by independent artists to showcase their art.

 

Why not just do a video, you ask? Because videos have been done before. This idea is unique, and it takes your brand to a highly interactive level. But it is not for everybody; not every author would consider producing a play based on a novel. However, if you're looking for a bold idea, this is one to think about.

 

Now, over to you: what's your boldest marketing strategy?

 

-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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More Easy Book Marketing Tips

Build a Plus & Minus Brand Map

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Diary of a Literary Debutante - Salon

Yuko Mishima just signed a publishing deal and she's sharing her journey to publication with the readers of Salon.


Can Your Day Job Lead to Better Writing? -Writer's Digest

Like it or not, that job you hate may be just the thing you need to become a better writer.

 

Film

 

How to Light Your Video on a Budget: Weapons of Mass Production - Filmmaker IQ

Sometimes all it takes is incandescent and fluorescent bulbs to get the right lighting effect.

 

Twelve Ways to Make Your Characters Likeable - Hollywood Oracle

Why do we like some characters even when they're so very bad?

 

Music

 

How to Write A Song, Part 1 - Getting There

What comes first: the words or the melody?

 

Stance Secrets to Singing with Guitar - Judy Rodman

How you hold a guitar can affect your performance as a singer.

 

-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 - September 14, 2012

Weekly News Roundup - September 7, 2012

 

606 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: book, book, film, film, author, author, writers, writers, promotions, promotions, craft, craft, filmmakers, filmmakers
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Hook vs. Gimmick

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 19, 2012

Does your book need a better hook or gimmick? Which one will engage your readers and keep them reading? Before you can decide which you should pursue, you should know the difference between the two. And, yes, in the world of books and publishing, there is a difference between a hook and a gimmick.

 

A hook is an element that draws the reader in. It does the seemingly impossible by conveying a simultaneous feeling of familiarity and uniqueness. It is a clever turn of a phrase or a simple yet intense sentence that practically slaps you in the face. It is bending language in such a way that sets the tone and tempo of your story in a single sentence. One of the best examples of a hook comes from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind:

 

Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.

 

That is a sentence that is compelling enough to read on. That is a hook.

 

A gimmick isn't so much a writing tool as it is a marketing tool. It is an element that uses something other than your writing abilities to sell a book. One example of this is to coordinate online material to reinforce your book's story. A thriller about a serial killer may insert web addresses throughout the book that will allow readers to see crime scene photos, videos of key eye-witness testimony, mug shots of suspects, etc. These are devices that set your book apart from the traditional thriller. This is a gimmick.

 

So, ask yourself again: Do you need to spend more time perfecting your book's hook or creating a gimmick? Which one will help you sell more books?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Don't Insult Your Readers

What Is the Tone of Your Novel?

871 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, author, writing, craft, hook
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I was recently at a Manhattan bar with my lovely friend Amanda, and I noticed something comical happening across the room. I pointed it out to her and said something along the lines of "I could totally write a scene about that for my new book." Then I whipped out my phone and sent myself a text message so I wouldn't forget.


Amanda saw me do this and asked an interesting question: "You writers really do find inspiration everywhere. How do you do it?"


I explained that the trick is to pay attention. She'd witnessed the same humorous scene that I had, but it hadn't occurred to her to make a note of it. Then again, she's not writing a book, but if she wanted to, that moment presented an excellent way to begin.


Life is happening all around us all the time, and it's filled with experiences that could greatly enrich our writing. A walk through the neighborhood could trigger an idea that helps round out a storyline. A stroll through the market could unleash a smell that makes a description jump off the page. People-watching at the airport could help you come up with the perfect title you've been struggling to find.


Once you open your eyes, inspiration can be everywhere. You just have to pay attention. And of course, write it down.


I jot down everything, even the idea for this blog post. After that scene in the bar, I thought this topic would be interesting to my readers, so I sent myself another text. I have a good imagination, but not a very good memory.


-Maria

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

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 Cliches in Your Dialogue

Save the Wordsmithing for Later

707 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, writers, writers, writing, writing
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