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This post is part of my New Authors’ Pathfinder blog series.
Author brand is how people perceive you as an author.
- What you write: how you connect readers emotionally with your writing.
- The quality of your work.
- Your voice: how you are special. Novelists have unique voice—no-one can reproduce your work (while non-fictions are easy to copy). This identity is yours alone; nobody can take this away from you.
Branding is telling readers you have what they want.
You want to be known for your uniqueness. For example: Roald Dahl, author of hilarious, outrageous children adventure books.
Strong brands result in sales and loyal readership. They make choice easier for readers because they represent greater value and lower risk of disappointment.
When you write two genres, avoid readers’ confusion by creating a new brand, such as using a penname for this second brand, while telling them your first brand.
Defining your brand
You are your brand.
- Who are you?
- What do you stand for?
- How are you different from the competition?
- Why is your book a must read?
Create distinction in the market place. Use the same solid messages clearly and consistently in every presentation:
- One-sentence author brand:
– This is a one-line description about who you are and your genre.
– Focus on what makes you different.
– Make it keyword rich.
– Use this as your written tagline on your website and blog.
– Use this as your spoken message points in interviews/conferences.
- Visual tools:
– Author headshot: clear, high quality photo that shows you are approachable.
– Theme colour: colour scheme that your product will be associated with (book cover, website, stationary, etc).
– Signature fonts.
– Brand logo.
– Unique supporting images.
- Your conduct in public.
Evaluate and refine your brand continuously.
Nobody is aware of a new author’s brand. Start brand building early through publicity. Establish connection with readers:
- Participate in online forums, community, and book events. Create a buzz:
– If you a total newbie, introduce yourself as an aspiring author and people are bound to ask about what you do.
– If you a speaker in a conference, mention your upcoming book in your bio.
– If you already have a public presence, talk about your upcoming book to the media.
- Give out free sample chapters everywhere possible. All the time consistently maintain your professional presentation. Show people the best of you. If your unique style and subject matter impress them, they will tell others. Upload your free excerpts onto:
Promote this preview wherever possible in real life and on your social media.
– Facebook notes (under your “About”)
– Your website (read how to set up a blog in section 2.3.1)
– Your blog (read how to set up a blog in 2.3.2)
Make it known this sneak peek is available. Tell people where to find it, and use the #free tag when you tweet it.
- Get an endorsement from an established author or from a leading expert in the topic. A cover quote is an emotional drive and a stamp of impressive quality.
How do you get a well-respected author to endorse you? Ask. You can’t be worse off.
Building brand awareness
How to create a buzz:
Offer review copies.
- Do this well ahead of your book launch, because most book reviewers are extremely busy people.
- Of course, continue to offer this well after the launch, because it will continue to generate publicity.
- Most of reviewers shun self-published authors, and considering the majority of indie work out there you can’t blame them. Therefore, in your review-request letter don’t forget to mention who is your literary editor.
- Where to find reviewers:
- Credible reviewer groups that accept work by self-published authors with a fee:
Be available for interviews. Let reviewers/book-bloggers know this.
Advertising, free and paid. See PART TWO on marketing.
Continue to refine your brand after you publish. Identify what might be missing.
Note: Manage the above steps on your own. If you hire a book publicist, make sure to have a detailed contract on what your publicist will do for you before you sign any agreement.
Your name, book title, and website’s name
The criteria for your author name, book title, and website’s name:
- No middle name or middle initial. If there is no way out, use the full word instead of an initial in the middle.
- The book title should:
– capture the essence of your book.
– be catchy.
– be easy to say and to remember. People should remember it without having to write it down.
- Your website’s name:
– Use your name if you already have a strong public presence.
– If you are a first-time author, or if your focus is to promote the product, use your book title.
– Avoid a long name. When you mention it in passing, people should remember it without having to write it down.
– Continue building your brand awareness. When you have written a few books, use your author name.
- Unique. You want search engines to list your name/book/website in the first-page results.
Creating your book and your online sites
- Apply your brand’s visual tools when you set up your book and your online sites.
- You can outsource most of the next steps, but you must have knowledge about what to tell those you hire, and what to check when they show you the results.
- If you opt to do most of the doable preparations yourself, you will save more funds towards marketing.
I will show how to do the above in detailed steps next time.
Have a great week!
This is a blog hop on the writing process of which I’ve been tagged by the multi-talented artist and author Uvi Poznansky.
First, let me introduce Uvi to those who haven’t met her, and then please visit her blog and have a look around.
Uvi earned her B. A. in Architecture and Town Planning from the Technion in Haifa, Israel, and practiced with an innovative Architectural firm. She received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. There, she earned her M.A. in Architecture. Then, taking a sharp turn in her education, she earned her M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.
During the years she spent in advancing her career—first as an architect, and later as a software engineer, software team leader, software manager and a software consultant (with an emphasis on user interface for medical instruments devices)—she wrote and painted constantly. Her versatile body of work can be seen online at http://uviart.com. It includes poetry, short stories, bronze and ceramic sculptures, oil and watercolor paintings, charcoal, pen and pencil drawings, and mixed media.
Uvi has published a poetry book, Home, and two children books, Jess and Wiggle and Now I Am Paper. Apart From Love, her novel, was published to great acclaim, as were her recent novels A Favorite Son and Rise to Power.
I will now answer the questions Uvi has asked me.
What am I working on?
I’m writing “Heart of Borneo”, a forest crime.
Much like Sydney’s Song, this Work In Progress is a real-life socio fiction, except, instead of portraying a vibrant metropolitan as massive as Sydney, I’m visititheme around a love story, “Heart of Borneo” focuses on conservation works, particularly environmental economy.
Heart of Borneo itself is a conservation initiative to slow down the rapid deforestation of one of the world’s few remaining natural rainforests. Covering an area of 220 million hectares, two-third of which is in three Indonesian Kalimantan provinces, this program identifies and develops sustainable ways to empower the local residence and to protect the area’s threatened rich biodiversity.
A lawless no man’s land which is 2004’s ultimate illegal logging heaven awaits Lance Knox, an environmental economy fresh graduate assigned by WWF to promote community livelihood in Kapuas Hulu Regency of West Borneo. To prevent further deforestation, Lance must show the indigenous people how to develop alternatives and more sustainable income sources. However, Kapuas Hulu is wilder than his dreams.
How can a conservation program work, when the boss of Malaysian logging mafia sleeps in the house of TNI’s Regional Military Cests have brought in obscene wealth to their personal pockets? It doesn’t help at all when the central government insists on developing an oil-palm plantation along Malaysia-Indonesia border, which necessitates demolishing virgin forests in three huge national parks.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I have read some excellent works by Indonesian and European anthropologists, economists, journalists, and travelers on Kapuas Hulu (Upper Kapuas), but each of them describes only a portion of a complex land with massive issues. They are like vivid portraits of esent, hopefully, the complete picture. I’ve been lucky to receive guidance from my personal contacts, insiders who are highly dedicated professional conservationists, including one of the world’s most respected environmental experts, as well as indigenous scientists. Let’s hope I can do them justice.
Why do I write what I do?
I have many reasons, among others:
- I have deep respect for those who work hard to get things done in conserving the environment. The conservationists I’m writing about are noble people who have striven to preserve wildlife and safeguard human dignity. This is their story.
- I’m passionate about forest conservation (although, I will also write about marine conservation in my next book). I wish very much that the forest criminals stop for a moment and think about the helpless animals that are losing their homes with nowhere to go. Of course, decimating the forest itself of protected trees can only bring natural hazard to the local as well to the international communities. Hopefully, more hearts will come to care through my writing.
- The most valuable asset of Kapuas Hulu is its people, and I would like to introduce the Borneans to more people, because, hey, guess what, the world owes them. They are unique communities who are blessed with a rich land. They live in pristineeart of Borneo zone will slow down global warming. The whole world depends on their forests, and on them to save our planet from harmful climate change that can only lead to grave natural disasters. Climate change is dangerous for people’s health and economy. By not cutting their trees — like all other people of the world have done — the indigenous people of Borneo are rendering a most noble sacrifice for the good of mankind.
How does my writing process work?
Ideas normally come to me when I do my walks, but I need to be passionate about what I write. This WIP was triggered by the environmentally depressing state in my birth country; a state that had been at the back of my mind and brought hich was a 50-km road trip. But Sumatra today is no different from Java. How would you feel, if the tall canopy of your jungle disappeared and replaced by potato fields? And it is so much more than the loss of the magnificent beauty. How would you feel when you think of the protected animals that must face extinction because they are endemic to their forest condition?
A few months back my dear friend Allan Howerton reminded me of my (now gone) forests, and that opened the pandora box.
There is so much to write and so little time available. And then there’s so much to learn from my conservationist mentors, from books and from the internet. I’ve been busy studying and interviewing. In the process of my research I frequently stumble upon ut facts that I had learned during my life journey — facts that assist me to understand pieces of a few puzzles. In other words, more information turns up from nowhere and everywhere prompting me to write and rewrite. I will also travel to the locations, as I’ve only been to a few oil fields in Borneo, to make sure I don’t make mistakes.
And of course, that’s before throwing my manuscript to the wolves for critic! I have been known to heed my opinionated assessors, as many of them as I can get, the sharper their claws the better.
The author I tag for next week’s blog hop on The Writing Process
J Lenni Dorner began publishing poetry at age eight, and won several awards before turning eighteen. Education includes the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Excellence in Creative Writing semi finals and Penn State University’s Honors and Scholars program. Tragedies and personal traumas took the writer away from the modern world for a while. While embracing the ancient tribal traditions, J Lenni Dorner discovered a story worthy of the ancestors- one that no other could tell. J is happily married and living in Pennsylvania (USA) on the original lands of the Lenni Lenape people. When not reading or writing, J enjoys video games (such as The Sims and Civilization V), amateur photography, and watching movies.
I would like to end this post by calling all readers to make donations towards wildlife conservation. Click the following logo to donate. Thank you.
Compelling, quality cover maximises reader’s dramatic experience of your book. Great cover art invites sales. Therefore, it is highly advisable that an author/publisher hire a public-relation expert who is also a fully experienced cover artist.
Experts range from very expensive to affordable. For either, an author and publisher must learn the principles of cover art in order to know what to ask and what not to ask. As part of my blog series New Authors’ Pathfinder, this article aim to guide:
(a) An author planning to hire a cover artist, but wanting to have a say in the book’s cover art.
(b) A self-publisher wanting to design his/her own book cover.
Notes in building a book cover:
- Be mindful of your author brand at all times. (I will publish a blog post on author brand next week.)
- Unless you are a visual artist or an excellent photographer, buy the license for an image from royalty-free photo sites.
- Get experts’ feedback—even if you are an excellent artist. Apart from creating the main picture, you must take care of the public-relation and marketing aspects in order not to ruin or waste a perfect picture.
- Post the proposed cover on your online group walls for critics. Heed bright-idea feedback. Only criticism will give you ideas on how to improve your project.
Guide to Choosing an Image For Book Cover
- Eye catching quality picture.
- Intriguing. The image should prompt a second look.
- The longer people look, its aspects become more pleasing.
- Let the picture speak the thousand words for you.
- Captures the essence of your book.
- Unique. Represents your brand of quality.
- Be subtle, yet strong. For example, for a horror novel don’t use a too-literal horrific image.
- Less is best. Avoid using more than four colours, unless you are a specially gifted artist with flair in the use of multiple colours.
- Image resolution must be excellent.
Recommended paperback sizes for best results:
- Novelette: 5” x 8”
- Use 5.25” x 8” for books up to 85,000 words.
- Use 6” x 9” for fantasy/thrillers with over 85,000 words.
- Use 6” x 9” for any large-print books.
– 6” x 9” is cheaper because it uses less number of pages, but distributors prefer the smaller, easy to handle 5.25” x 8”
– For pictorial children book and nonfiction, other sizes are available.
Width = 0.002250? x pagecount for CreateSpace’s white interior paper.
Width = 0.002252? x pagecount for CreateSpace’s cream interior paper.
Enquire about the paper thickness if you print somewhere else.
Allow ¼” all around for cutting (see the dotted lines in Pic 1). Make sure there is no text and no important image inside this gutter.
Final cover size
See the Pic. 1. Including the dotted line:
Cover width = ¼” + back cover width + spine width + front cover width + ¼”
Cover height = ¼” + book height + ¼”
- Use a font type that looks more basic like Times New Roman, but preferably not Times New Roman itself.
- If you want something different, browse and install some free fonts type from internet. There are millions.
- Don’t try to use a PC-provided ‘different’ type of fonts. It’s so overused-yet-unique-wanna-be (Comic Sans falls into this category).
- Don’t use a too literal horror/spooky-themed font type with blood drops and all that. It would look like a Halloween story for children instead of novel for adults. Be subtle, yet strong.
- Be careful with the readability of curvy fonts. Make sure that the fonts, especially the capital ones, are easy to recognize.
- For curvy font type, don’t abuse it. Use it once, or maximum twice, if there are three elements of text (main title, sub title, and author’s name). Use a basic one for the second font type.
- Slight invisibility could also trigger curiosity.
- Choose any colour with earthy tone, not neon/vivid one as it cheapens the novel.
- Less is best. Let the picture speak—pick font colour/s taken from part/s of the picture as not to detract people’s appreciation.
- Readable in thumbnail. Title must be clear when your book is displayed in the miniature cover size of Amazon listing and other online catalogues or magazines.
- Avoid putting the text right on any object, especially main object. Use blank space.
- Place author’s name close to the book title. Make sure both will appear together if this cover is displayed in a square thumbnail (as in Facebook, Twitter, etc.). To accommodate this, it is okay to move the subtitle (if any) or book series somewhere else.
The colour of logo (book title) of the front cover in Pic. 1 was originally black. When I chose dark red for the back cover to let people know that this wasn’t a gloomy story, Zaki advised to change the front cover’s logo to the same dark red. My theme colours become black, white, and dark red.
To boost your book’s credibility and marketability, ask a well-known author or the topic’s leading expert for a cover quote. The colour for this seal doesn’t have to conform to your theme colour.
When your author brand is famous, all you need on the back cover is your author photograph. Until then, you need:
- Book description (hook). Use either one of these:
– A couple of lines that captures the essence of your book.
– A 100-word summary of your book that book catalogues will also use. (Best option.)
– Your pitch. (Must be in easily readable font-size.)
- Mention awards, if any.
- Author photograph with a one-sentence bio or a one-sentence author brand. (Optional.)
- A signature image. See Pic. 2 (courtesy of Terry Stanfill). Here the krater’s image that speaks the thousand words serves as a book description. Note that the space on the right bottom corner of the back cover is reserved for barcode.
And come visit the website of author Diana Wilder for marvelous examples of self-created book covers.
Here’s wishing you the best for your work.
We have been honored with a visit from grammar police Nikolas Baron in the form of a guest post today. Nikolas kindly shares with us some very useful tips on how to create a highly readable content. His writing nicely fits and complements my blog series New Authors’ Pathfinder, which I will roll out here every Monday in the coming weeks to, hopefully, assist new authors. Our gratitude, Nikolas, many thanks.
Capturing Colorful Characters can be as Easy as Carrying a Notebook
Why Many Writers Carry a Notebook
One of my fiction professors told me during every class period to “always have a notebook on hand because you never know when crazy strikes.” It’s true. That perfect character might walk up right next to you at a gas station with a purple Mohawk, leather jacket with safety pins up and down the arms, a ripped up gray tank top, faded blue jeans, and pink Converse sneakers…and then you see that they drive a Toyota Prius. There’s so much that can be done with stereotypes, contradictions, first impressions, and gender roles with just one person you happened to run into at the gas station. Having the notebook in your pocket or purse allows you to write down descriptive details, setting, thoughts about how it could turn into a story, anything. Writers need to have a place to collect their thoughts and capture the interesting moments of life quickly, before they pass by or you forget about them.
What Can the Notebook Do for Me?
Not only can the notebook serve as a place to collect conversations, characters, and chaos, but it can also be used as a reference tool. When I feel lost or have writer’s block, I refer to my notebook of ideas. It gives me a fresh look on the idea I first had and allows me to explore what my first impressions were. The notebook can also provide me with a huge resource of names, places, and people that can seem unrelated but with a writer’s touch, can weave a story.
The notebook can easily serve as a place to get out all of your creative frustrations. When you’re feeling creatively stifled or just have too many ideas floating around in your head, the notebook comes in handy. I’ve been frustrated before with editors for chopping parts of my work I thought I really needed. I used my notebook to get out all of the feelings I was holding inside. Later, when I was trying to describe a frustrating relationship between a parent and child, I reviewed the editor rant and found a place to write from. The frustration and annoyance I felt was extremely similar to what my characters were feeling. Channel those emotions you stored in the notebook and use them to fuel your story.
Colorful characters can be found anywhere; as a writer, you know this. The notebook can capture any ideas you may have at any time. It can be reference material, inspirational material, memories, and facts. I once overheard a controversial conversation between two people having lunch. I assumed they were a couple, and later found out that they were actually brother and sister. They spoke with such passion, pizazz, and punch. They seemed as if they were dating. They kissed on the mouth when meeting! But I was wrong and I thought about what we normally consider “healthy” relationships. It lead to a musing that helped me get through a tough period of writer’s block later on. Never underestimate the power of pen and paper when you’re a writer.
What if I Hate Carrying Pen and Paper in My Pockets or Purse?
There are options other than traditional pen and paper. I like to use my iPad or my phone to take notes since they can be synced instantly. There are also online resources where you can take notes, write passages, and check your work all for free. If you’re struck with inspiration at the coffee shop and end up writing a few paragraphs, check them with an online proofreader before you incorporate them into the rest of your story. It’ll save you time later and help you see errors more quickly. I like to use a site called Grammarly to check my work for errors. I love when I can just jot down a quick few paragraphs and have Grammarly check it for grammar, punctuation, better synonyms, or style. One of the best aspects of Grammarly is its ability to adapt to your style so that the more you use it, the more it learns how to help you. Making sure your work is error-free before incorporating it into your piece is a great habit to get into.
Even if you’re still not sure that you like the idea of carrying pen and paper, almost everyone carries a smartphone nowadays. Utilize your phone as a note-taking resource and don’t let a crafty character pass you by.
NEW AUTHORS’ PATHFINDER
How to use your personal best in putting forward a highly readable book
—a step-by-step guide towards quality self-publishing.
An upcoming book by Ia Uaro & Irina Dunn
I was a published author at 17 who quit writing at 30 when my toddler started to help me typing. Returning to the writing scene two decades later, I discovered that a daunting new world awaits today’s new authors:
- Traditional publishers can’t afford to risk their business finance investing in untried, newbie fiction authors. (The reason in simple, fictions don’t sell, or the sales generated are negligible after the publishing and advertising costs. Writing mentor Irina Dunn asks this question: “Would you like to change your story to non fiction? You know that fictions don’t sell, don’t you?” )
- Literary agents are few in numbers. They are already occupied with the work of established authors.
- Advance technology has made self-publishing too easy. Over 10,000 new books are being self-published every week, making it extremely difficult for a new voice to be heard.
- The majority of self-published books debase literature in content and quality. This drives book businesses to shun self-published authors.
- Sharks infest every water that a self-published author must tread in. Eight-million-too-many authors are easy preys to thriving businesses that create wealth out of their victims’ desperate attempt at successful self-publishing.
- The social media can be powerful tools. However, their nature and the time they consume have the evil potentials to bring you down.
Make the right choices every time.
The unfavourable market condition for fiction does not change the fact that some talented authors have continued to produce excellent stories. You may opt to self-publish because:
- Although traditional publishing allows you the time and luxury to focus in your art of writing, this option is hardly available for new authors.
- You have written a masterpiece that goes against traditional recipes. You aren’t prepared to alter your work into a mainstream book-after-the-publishers’-hearts.
- You have potential readers out there. They will appreciate your creative writing and will treasure your books close to their hearts even in the decades to come.
- You may have written a currently hot topic. You have queried traditional businesses, but further wait will make you lose sales’ momentum.
- You want 70% royalty. You are an established author with fans; you object to the miserly pay from your previous traditional publishers.
- Print-on-demand and eBook cost nothing financially. Although you may want to invest in the manuscript preparation and in marketing.
- Self-publishing is a time-consuming herculean task, but it is an achievable herculean task.
- You can learn new skills. You will wear a broad smile of accomplishment each time you master a difficult task.
- You will endlessly meet fascinating new people. You will interact with truck drivers, seasoned diplomats, police commanders, museum directors, music composers, etc, etc. You will help them and they will take from you, and you will be amazed by their effort to support your book. Their friendships alone are priceless.
- In a very short time, you won’t be who you are today. You will have developed new abilities—even if you don’t realise it, people notice. (A year ago when my website first went live, Irina said it was uninteresting—but a year onward she visited again and asked me to co-write this guide.)
Writing is always better than not writing. It is an endless journey of wonderful self discovery, as well as the discovery of our fascinating world.
New Authors’ Pathfinder
This book is a navigation guide to help new authors put forward their highly readable books. Compiled from the personal experiences of Irina Dunn and myself in writing and publishing, we show the steps that quality authors need to take in order to stand out in the saturated book business. This is not a promise that your work will become a bestseller, but following this guide will help maximise your potentials and your chances.
Stay tuned for the updates. I will post the book’s excerpts regularly.
You are a unique child of this world. What you have to offer matters.
This is a copy-paste of my answer to a friend’s question. Create Space will do a fabulous job to make your trailer for you, IF you have $2200 to pay them. Still, even if you let somebody else to create your trailer for you, somebody who had not stayed up with you and cried with you while you bled completing your book, you may want to have a say in the making of it, and here are a few things to consider.
Fellow writers, tell me, what is a trailer? I have a chance for my Mermaid book to be spotlighted on Ngaire Victoria Elder’s blog and one of the things she asked for was a trailer if I had one. How does one go about making one?
Sydney’s Song Margaret, I do reviews & interviews videos which use the same principles. My two cents:
• To create a video, use Microsoft’s Windows Live Movie Maker, or Apple’s iMovie. Or google other movie-maker programs. They are easy to use (google step-by-step instruction), and making a video can be fun.
• A trailer will show your author brand. Brand is how you want others to perceive you. Branding is communication: telling a specific target that you have what they want. Your aim is sales.
• You start making a trailer by deciding the content ~ for a book trailer it’s either an “appetizer” or a two-minute pitch.
• Write down the text for every slide. Remember your brand. At the end, supply the book-purchase link.
• Remembering your brand, for every slide you choose either:
– a relevant illustration/picture to go with the text; or
– a blank canvas to emphasize your text (decide a theme colour); or
– your headshot on a blank canvas for author’s quote/statement.
The key: LESS is BEST. A successful image-adviser gave me these tips: use minimum colors; minimum words; minimum font types.
• The optimum video length is between 60 to 90 seconds. (My videos are normally 2 minutes. But most people only watch for 90 seconds.)
• Choosing music is the most crucial step, as music really brands you and your work in its category and its quality (you can see from Mrs D example above that she’s chosen a winning music). Google royalty-free music. Some royalty-free music are free, some you have to pay. My trailer http://bit.ly/11IbpTH uses a paid royalty-free music; but most of the authors in my interview/review videos in http://www.youtube.com/user/IaUaro use FREE royalty-free music and they work fine (most of the time the music choice really suits the author’s personality).
• And oh, when you publish your YouTube, make sure to embed keyword-rich description for the SEO purpose.
Good luck and have fun!
THE SCREENWRITER’S ROADMAP: 21 Ways to Jumpstart Your Story,
Reviewed by Ia Uaro of Bookpleasures.com
Author: Neil Landau
Publisher: Focal Press
ISBN: 978-0-240-82060-6 (pbk): ISBN: 978-0-240-82063-7 (ebk)
THE SCREENWITER’S ROADMAP aims to minimize floundering, stumbling and flailing by new screenwriters. Each chapter systematically guides screenwriting students on a specific topic, and continues with a relevant interview of this topic’s expert to help readers envision the scope. An assignment is given to allow readers explore the viability of the suggested ideas.
An experienced professor in screenwriting with many successful screenplays to his name, Neil Landau states on the outset that there is no absolute formula when it comes to writing a successful screenplay. This is illustrated by the differing responses of the successful screenwriters he interviews. Landau’s questions are incisive and straightforward, yet at times he receives lengthy roundabout replies.
Simplistic readers may object to the full quotes in several interviews and wonder why they have not been simplified. The truth, I conclude, is that simplistic people have no business screenwriting. There are various aspects and layers you need to look into and must never neglect or belittle. Brilliance, I see, is a prerequisite. And brilliant students will have no problems discerning these experts’ answers, which, in the first place, are there not because Mr. Landau is not in a position to edit direct quotes, but because they are necessary. I found them not only helpful, but enjoyable, in fact. You get to look into various heads and learn how the fascinating minds work, while at the same time see these admirable individuals for the persons they are. For me, this is a delightful bonus. Here is one example,
“I gather and gather and gather and gather and just build all kinds of ridiculous piles of paper and speeches and extraneous things that will never make the movie. And, just build and build and build until it just gets to some blister point where it can’t go on any longer. All that indulgence. You have to hang on to some things as your career goes on. You have to hang on to indulgence and whatever passes for childlike wonder and innocence and confidence. But, the one thing you must get is that there has to be an extremely brutal part of yourself which is just unforgiving. So, at a certain point, you turn into the evil proctor of the story, and whatever doesn’t want to be there, just disappears. To me, the real mark of an amateur is when you give someone a note on something to have them say, “Do you know how long I worked on that?” And, you want to just go, “Really?” Because I’ve thrown away years of work. In fact, it should actually get to the point where it feels incredibly cleansing and uplifting to throw things away. I’m never happier than when I’m cutting stuff out when I find stuff I don’t need. Better than getting it, was throwing it away.”
The human aspects, intriguing insights, and tips from real-life experiences are parts that no reader will ever find when they google Screenwriting 101. THE SCREENWRITER’S ROADMAP is unique and is so much more than your usual lessons in writing techniques, which, here, are easy to follow and clearly outlined in details.
Will following the book’s 21 chapters jumpstart new screenwriters to the expert level? Not overnight because that requires practice. However, the mapped road is certain to take them there along the straight path.
Again, thanks to lovely Alex – I post this entry. Some of what I write here comes from my recent communications with Uvi Poznansky, Gary Jones, David Fleming, and Diana Wilder. Alex feels deeply about how powerful marketers back questionable arts, and their reluctance in supporting true arts.
BEST WRITING TIP I’VE EVER RECEIVED
Thanks to the modern technology, physically it is easy to bring our work out to the world. Nearly 10,000 new novels are being self-published every week. But as Alex has pointed out, the vast number of questionable individuals out there overshadow the talented. This makes gaining consumers’ trust in the indie market harder, and we don’t have the backing of established book-distribution chains.
David listed 10 links to help improve your writing styles and quality. I asked, “How can you write when you have to think of rules? Methinks either you have it, or you don’t. My teen daughter noted that I used such and such styles – when I didn’t even know they were styles.”
Right after this, I stumbled upon a massive indie book of hundreds and hundreds of pages. I cringed. Immediately I thought of David’s list, which is sure to improve that fat novel.
And I remembered what I recently wrote on Diana’s blog comment,
“When you’ve finished the first draft, expand the manuscript until you reach double of the original word-count. This step will exert your imagination and writing skills to the utmost. That done, bring it back to the original word-count. This step will save your readers from tears of boredom.”
I heard this writing tip a few years before I wrote my first fiction, from an English teen who won a writing competition. Hard work? Sure is. But how could you expect readers to love you, if you didn’t care for them?
Here’s Twitter For Newbies:
FOLLOWINGS are those you follow. They are your source of info.
FOLLOWERS are your fans. They receive your tweets.
How to build Followings:
A. If you use your Twitter for PRIVATE PURPOSES
Search their names, verify they are the correct people you’re interested in, click follow. You can follow your personal friends or family members. You can follow celebs you’re a fan of. If you can’t live without their news, you click WHITE-LIST. You’ll know when your favourite musician will perform in your city, what time your favourite tennis player will compete, or where your favourite artist will exhibit. Just don’t expect them to follow you back.
B. If you use Twitter for BUSINESS PURPOSES
(i) In your profile description, mention your category (such as artist and author). Make sure to list your link so people can check your work.
(ii) Search by category, then click follow.
(iii) After a few clicks, follow their followers. First you open a full profile, click on this person’s FOLLOWERS, and a drop-down list will appear. Choose who you’d like to follow, then click follow. Clicking on this list is much faster than doing the search in step (ii).
The ones you click are your FOLLOWINGS.
(a) Do not follow the snobs (those with large FOLLOWERS but few FOLLOWINGS) because they won’t help your cause, as they will never retweet you. If you’re going to die without following them, put them in the White List AFTER you’ve passed 2000 followings (preferably after 3000 though).
(b) Skip the weirdos (those selling followers, sex, and the likes).
Your followings will happily follow you back, becoming your followers, because it is EXPECTED. They understand how important Twitter is. Most have excellent manners and will retweet your promotion.
(iv) When they follow you back, please help to retweet their tweet.
(v) Soon you will get FANS, followers who aren’t your followings, because:
(a) Twitter suggests you to people in the same category.
(b) People will notice YOU because your tweets in step (iv) will visible to others
You are expected to follow back your Fans. Skip the weirdos, but it’s fine to follow back people from different categories.
(vi) Everybody gets stuck at 2000 followings, unless you have equal number of followers or more. This is a cutoff point meant to deter spammers. Here you must use a program to flush your non-followers. I use http://www.justunfollow.com because I get to make my own decisions – as opposed to automated deletions which may unfollow your best friends.
(vii) At 2000, you’re bound to have built friendships with many fantastic people too. They have cool blogs and websites that you’ll enjoy visiting. Tweet out these blogs and websites. Continue to re-tweet their important tweets. They’ll reciprocate. Your name will reach more people, and they will follow you. Soon you will pass the 2000 follow-backs, and your followings/followers will increase again.
(viii) At 3000+ you’ll get heaps of Fans every day. Skipping the weirdos, please follow them back before adding others.
(C) If you like, using your wit, combine business and interesting info to make your tweets atractive. Tweet them side by side.
There. Have fun!
PART TWO: UPDATE (Aussieland July 24, 2012)
The above started the following discussion on a Facebook wall. I re-post here as it is relevant. Many thanks to friends for their input.
(Link to the above post)
Jeffrey Getzin likes this.
Thomas A. Knight I have to say… I disagree with almost everything in this post. This turns twitter into a numbers game rather than a social platform. Here’s the reality: if you use this approach, 90-95% of the people who follow you will not care about what you post.What you want on twitter is quality followers. People who have followed you because you’re an interesting person or because they see something of value in your tweets. These people are your buyers. Not those who only follow because you followed them. I would rather have a thousand quality followers, than 10,000 shallow followers.
Thomas A. Knight Twitter is simple to understand: Be social. You talk to people, about
things that interest you. Preferably things that are close to the genre you write in. Make sure your BIO is filled out and your website link is in your
bio, and readers will find you.I couldn’t tell you how many of my followers have stepped up to buy my
book, but lots of them have. And I’ve made some great friends there.7 hours ago via ·
Sydney’s Song Thomas, thanks. What I cover in this is only the NUMBER aspect. There’s also the CONTENT aspect (it’s the account holder’s job to make it interesting, not mine). And the PERSONAL aspect (how intriguing are you?), the PRODUCT aspect (again, quality is the account holder’s responsibility).
I clearly stated, first you must decide whether your PURPOSE is personal or business.
If you’re using Twitter for MARKETING you need a huge following – or you’ll be shouting to the void.I added this in reply to a question about automated “thanks” :
” Some of those “thanks” are really rubber stamps – they are Auto Reply.I’d recommend acknowledging new followers by retweeting their own tweets. They are normally very grateful and reciprocate by retweeting yours – they understand your marketing need and in Twitter we are being social by HELPING each other. They’ll also send you a personal message when they get the chance (remember, they’re VERY busy just like you). Twitter for marketing works better when you have a massive followers, and you won’t always have the time to chat with every single one of them – and this applies both ways. Try to make your profile description intriguing – many will be interested to know YOU better (so far, my website has served me so well in his regard), and you’re bound to gain wonderful personal friends – from where you knew not – from what is originally a “business” tool.”People in Twitter are like in real life, only a portion of your entire acquaintance will be Quality people – but you still extend respect and courtesy to the Lesser beings. I have many Quality followers who have become my personal friends – several of them have followers over 100,000 but they still follow back their Fans because in Twitter we socialise by helping each other’s business.I was highly skeptical about Twitter and only opened an account in April to be allowed to use its logo on my new website. The experts say Twitter is a great marketing tool. I don’t know about sales – my book isn’t even out yet. But people start to notice that I – and my novel – EXIST. I notice since I reach around 3000 followers, every day I get minimum 50 new Fans – followers who are not from my followings – because they SEE me somewhere in the cyberspace.Whatever your quality, how on earth people will buy your product when they don’t even know you exist?6 hours ago via ·
Thomas A. Knight As I said, I disagree. One quality follower is worth more than ten what I
call “sheep”. People who blindly follow back everyone.If I have 1500 followers, where at least 30-40% are quality followers, that means more than somebody who has 3000 sheep.It’s still a numbers game, but it’s a different kind of numbers game. I’m building relationships, creating connections, and meeting people right in
my target audience. Many of them have bought, read and enjoyed my book and
are patiently awaiting the second in the series. When the second book is released, I will tweet it, and they will buy the book, and retweet about
it. Why? Because I don’t talk about my book all the time. I talk about
stuff that interests them.When I make a call to action on my twitter feed, I get a HUGE response,
because I’m not constantly calling them to action. It’s still a business
feed, but social networking is about being social. It’s not about winning a numbers game.Consider this: I know a number of people who have followers in the tens of thousands. I even know one guy with over 250,000 followers. I get a bigger response when I post a call to action, than any of them. Because my
follower list is quality followers. People who *want* to follow me.You don’t need a ton of followers to make a big splash. You just need the
RIGHT followers.6 hours ago via ·
Sydney’s Song Patrick. Marketing experts say familiarity will result in sales. Tweets are short news/ads. Millions of people are addicted to it – attached to their screens day and night, checking in every few minutes. (Methinks this is sad, but it’s true.) Your Followers will see your tweet in their feed. Make sure to use your handle each time (for me, it’s @sydneyssong), because when others retweet you YOUR NAME/BRAND will spread like raging fire to thousands of screens. That is, *their* followers’ screens.Here’s in an example. A new following/follower invited me to her website, and I tweeted out her book (she didn’t ask me to). She emailed me a personal thanks. I replied to her email:R***, these friends re-tweeted my tweet on your book tonight:
@h*** 206 followers
@k*** 298 followers
@C*** 1671 followers
@S*** 1184 followers
@S_*** 3274 followers
@T*** 2466 followers
@T_*** 1984 followersThere. For the next several days, more followers of mine (some with really HUGE followers, eclipsing the above numbers) have retweeted her book. And guess what? My followers’ followers retweeted *this* tweet too! So *my* name arrived in thousands of screen – when all I intended to do was HELPING out a new follower. That is the power of Twitter.Another example is a friend’s promo I saw on Google+, a book on car maintenance, Grader Gal’s Simple Steps to Car Maintenance: Terri Louise: Amazon.com: Kindle Store » Terri didn’t ask me, but I tweeted it out. It’s been multiplied multiple times too. She’s real grateful.In my book, this is being social.
Thomas A. Knight That’s not being social. That’s advertising.I’ve spent hundreds of hours trying different approaches to twitter, and
the ones that get the MOST pay off, are the ones involving real
conversations with people. Yes, you should help other people promote their
work, to a certain extent. But I don’t agree with the practice of automatic follow backs. Consider how many people you follow. Now consider how many of those people you actually pay attention to. Are you providing them with
value beyond your initial tweeting of their book, etc? Do you interract
with them daily? or are 90% of them just numbers?I suspect the latter.I’m not interested in that. I’m shooting for a base of people that I follow
that provide me with value. In return, I try to provide value for other
people, including them. I help promote peoples work when I think it’s
worthy of promoting, and I have the time, but I don’t promote everything, because not everything is worth promoting.I focus on my target audience, because that’s where I’m going to get the
Sydney’s Song Thomas. I call it being social, because I judge an action according to the motivation. My motive is to help my friends.I call people to take notice. I ask them to check out the books/blogs/etc (I only add “advertising” prompts when I personally know the product). People can decide for themselves whether it’s worth buying.No, I don’t interact with them daily. But whenever I sit on the train after work, if I see them tweeting something of interest, I DM them and we normally end up chatting. I chat more with them on their blogs.4 hours ago via ·
Thomas A. Knight See, thing is, what you’re telling me here, is *not* what you told people
to do in your blog post.My issue is with people who blindly follow back everyone who follows them
for no good reason other than “It’s polite”. It’s not polite. It’s number-padding. It’s pointless. If you have no intention of ever
interacting with a person or engaging them in any way, why would you bother following them?If people make no effort to engage with me, I don’t follow them back.
That’s just the way it is. If they want to unfollow me because of that?
Well, it doesn’t really hurt me at all. I’m not being a snob. I’m being practical. There are only so many people I can interact with on a daily
basis. So I pick and choose those people carefully.4 hours ago via ·
Sydney’s Song Oh okay, when I wrote the blog I was just focusing to answer Alex’s question on the *technicality*. I will now update my blog that that was only the NUMBER aspect, and will include a few things of what I’ve said here. Thanks for the tip.Again, Twitter has several purposes. Sounds like yours is used for PERSONAL purpose. Mine was intended for MARKETING – but it’s brought me many fascinating *friends* (not of the *fake* variety). A few are *secret* individuals who won’t tell others of their real identities on their fascinating websites.
Thomas A. Knight oh no. What I do on Twitter is marketing.It’s called attraction marketing. Where you present something of value, and
use it to draw people to you, rather than going out and hunting people down.My twitter is very much a marketing platform. I’m just doing a different
method of marketing than most people do.
Hart Johnson ?Patrick – I think the real trick to enjoying Twitter is to take crack. (meaning I am with you–it is just the wrong pace for me–it is too ADHD to look at my regular feed and too much of a time suck to follow a regular conversation because it moves too fast). And I’ve run into a real problem following the number game… NOW Twitter won’t let me follow any more (I follow 2000 with just under 1700 who follow me)–I SHOULD have only followed industry people initially, but instead politely followed back almost everyone. Now when there are people I really want to follow, they won’t let me without a new profile (what a heap of crap THAT is).Facebook and blogging are far more suited to my personality and the way I can commit my time. I do pretty well with both and really only Tweet to share blog posts. Blogging allows for in depth relationships building and facebook allows you to check into a conversation a few times a day without committing to hours at a time.
Thomas A. Knight Hart, you can use a service to unfollow a bunch of people who aren’t
following you back. That sad part is, there are probably a bunch of people
who have followed you, got the follow-back, and then unfollowed.I always watch my following-follower ratio. I currently follow about 1100 people, and have around 1500 followers, give or take depending on the day.
I follow very few people who don’t follow me back. People that I *do*
follow without a follow back are people I’m really interested in.
Janet Oakley This is a really looooong conversation. A lot of interest here.:> I enjoy twitter and check in a couple of times a day. There are alot of interesting articles on the biz tweets link me to and I’ve had wonderful little chats with authors around the world, some very well known. It’s a social yakking place. A very low percentage of your tweets should be about your books and stuff. You’re there to chat and make friends. They’ll remember when you tell them about a post you’ve put up or a book come.
Thomas A. Knight Unless you don’t actually have a twitter account, in which case I’m just
making stuff up. :)Obnoxious self-promoters? I don’t generally follow people like that. And if people turn that way, I unfollow them. I don’t know if this is etiquette or
not, but I can’t stand to look at it. 🙂
Hart Johnson I got Qwitter updates for a long time so I was notified when people unfollowed. Haven’t gotten any more ages, so I suspect it isn’t working anymore. The ones I’d LIKE to unfollow are a bunch of musicians–there are very few I’m actually interested in, but I was being supportive.Patrick-pretty sure I follow you–you snuck in there before that 2000 thing. If I were there enough to see multiple messages of the same thing day in and day out, I’d unfollow those, too–I hide them on FB. I just know on Twitter I don’t notice them as I’m only there about 3 times a week.
Sydney’s Song Hart. Take it at the pace you’re comfortable with, the key is to enjoy what you do.Everybody gets stuck at 2000, I wrote on the blog what to do about it. There’s no need to create a new profile (unless you want a private account). Once you pass 2000, you can follow your favourite people again.Yes Janet. It’s rather like watching TV, we want the ads to be less than the main show. I chat and I tweet out great quotes.Patrick. Just scroll your screen until you see something that interest you. But it is important to tweet out the news/facts about YOUR book at least once a day – people will be aware of it and anticipate your book (hundreds will DM you to ask about it).I white-list ABNA friends.
Marianne Sheldon Waller This is an interesting conversation. I got a Twitter account quite recently, and for the most part just can’t be bothered with it. I check it once every couple of days at most because it just moves too fast for me. And when people do actually say something interesting, (which doesn’t happen very often) I’m not sure of the etiquette for replying back. Do I reply to people I don’t actually know in any other forum but Twitter? It feels downright rude to me to do so – as if I’ve butted in on an overheard conversation. I’m finding my real life social anxiety issues have carried over into the Twitterverse a lot more than they have into Facebook where I have a better sense of who my “friends” are. Oh, and I unfollow anyone who just advertises on it.
Hart Johnson Marianne-I think people love comments to their comments–it makes them feel clever to have earned a response, so go for it on that front (at least for the not super famous people–sadly, Nathan Fillion never answers back *shifty*)So, Ia-once I have 2000 followers, I can follow again? is that the trick?
The above discussion illustrates the many possible use of Twitter – and you can always combine them.
For further read on Twitter as a marketing platform for authors, I recommend Jonathan Gunson’s Twitter For Authors (check out http://BestsellerLabs.com/Bestseller-Secret) where he outlines the following steps:
– Building Book Visibility
– Building Large Twitter following
– Converting Your Following Into Book Sales
Happy tweeting and have a successful life!
UPDATE AUGUST 11TH
Smart girl Patricia Macias held a Facebook event titled “Join me on Twitter” this week. Good one! This is the easiest way to invite all your Facebook friends and subscribers to follow you.