Tag Archives: author tip

Writers – Harness Your Media Presence

STOP Before You START

Jumping into the social networking scene before you have a real sense of direction could foul you up in your future marketing efforts. The time to pause is NOW.

Get out your notebook and start brainstorming before you start-up any new networking identities.

  • List the social networks you will be doing business on.
  • List other sites that will help you to market your product.
  • What is your objective.
  • Who is your target market.
  • Who do you admire that shares your craft, who will be your role models.
  • What are the possible benefits of your undertaking, what are the drawbacks.
  • Why are you inspired to work your craft.
  • What are some resources that can benefit you.
  • How would you like people to perceive you.
  • How much of a commitment are you willing and able to realistically make to your new endeavor.

This Hobby Is Now Your Business

You’re in this to win. This is your business and if you’re sincere in pursuing your passion then now is the time to harness your inner muse and gather your resources.

You’ll Benefit From Gathering The Following Information:

What’s Your Business Identity: How do you want the world to know you?

Your business identity is important because it’s at the forefront of everything you’ll present to the public. It’s the image that portrays you and the supporting banner image. It’s your name. It’s your tagline. It’s your voice, your personality. It’s anything you post or like. All of these things tell the story of you.

What should your audience experience upon first glance? Key words and images will create a response (good, bad or indifferent) from your public. This is your initial chance to shine, to throw your best face forward and hook their attention. Ultimately what you are selling is the product of your talent, there’s no longer room for being an introvert. ANYONE can be your customer and you need to be the kind of professional you want to portray at ALL times when dealing with your networks. How you behave and the voice you project will determine whose interest you peek and who becomes a patron of your art.

What’s Your Talent

Your talent is your passion, your art, and you are about to engage in self-promotion. It’s best to know a lot of information regarding your subject matter.  How do you go about perfecting your craft, where are your weaknesses. What are your strengths. What more could you do with your writing to capture the attention of others. Know what you’re selling and what pertains to it, it will help you optimize your content and gain a wider audience.

MOST IMPORTANTLY – BE SURE TO MARKET YOUR BOOK

Whether or not you are shy, timid, or just feel uncomfortable about advertising your own book on your social networks, you’d better just get over it. You’re not going to sell dribble without networking, promoting, advertising, and socializing.

What Are Your Key Methods Of Self-Promotion

It can be a little unnerving to anyone to begin to sell what you’ve crafted simply because most of us don’t like rejection. You’ll be advertising your wares and there will be several methods of delivery depending on the network or site you join or blog/website you host. Research people on those sites that inspire you, people that have achieved what it is that you’re hoping to achieve. Learn from them, what’s working for them.

Be prepared to flavor your networking with your personality. People enjoy real people and the majority wish the best for you, they want to know you are approachable.

Who should you connect with, what types of social circles should you follow. It’s good to know that you have people out there waiting to encourage and promote you by connecting, liking, sharing, or following what you do.

How Much Time Can You Set Aside Each Day For Your Craft

You need to set aside time everyday to work your craft. What’s the point in networking something you are not consistently working at. You should make time for several things that relate to your writing and schedule time for them throughout the week. You should write every day, even if its complete garbage, your skills as a writer will improve remarkably by doing just that one thing.

You need to keep up with your social media sites, you should plan your activity on them. know what your keeping an eye out for, new ways to market, what is trending, who are your best allies. Take the time to devote yourself uninterrupted because networking is an energy burner but very rewarding.

Don’t put off what you should do today or you will fall behind and your fans may lose interest in you, not what you want when they begin to be your bread and butter. This is where your passion may get fed the most, this and when you are creating.

What Will Be Your Content

What will you share in order to draw a growing audience to your profile?

  • Share what you’re up to with your book, how the writing is going, any challenges you are dealing with.
  • Share book reviews in your genre. you should be reading in your genre anyway and you will attract the right audience for your own writing.
  • Interview other authors or writers – find out what does and doesn’t work for them.
  • Share what you’re learning as you write.
  • Share details about your book, maybe even excerpts.
  • Create a bad synopsis of a popular book and have your followers guess the book.
  • Invite people to guest post on your blog.

Just be yourself and more and new ideas for content will come to you as you work at it.


Author Tip: Is Short Story Writing Something You Should Do?

Why Short Stories

You may not have considered short story writing before, but here are some reasons why you should. This article will also tell you how to go about crafting a short story.

Short stories are for everyone. They are fun and easy to read as well as easy to write. Short stories can be read in one or two sittings, they grip the reader’s attention and don’t let go until the end. They are popular. Remember all of those story ideas that just weren’t developed enough for that novel? These are perfect little critters to get you started writing short stories.

Maybe you are a new author just starting out trying to finish up that first great book. Or maybe you’re an experienced author working on a sequel or at best trying to dream one up. As a writer you need to keep busy and stay focused. Writing is a business, unless you truly believe you’ve only have just that one great one in you, you should be working on ways to expand your business of writing. Here are some reasons you should consider short story writing.

  • You will add more books to your brand.
  • You will improve your exposure.
  • You can write them fast.
  • You will improve your skills as a writer.
  • You will publish more often and have more books out there for consumers.
  • You have the potential to reach more people and make more money.
  • You will experience satisfaction from completing new works.

What Is Short Story Writing All About

What is a Short Story

A short story can be from 1500 words to 30,000.

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JK Rowling’s Phoenix Plot Outline

How to Develop a Short Story

First, you start with your idea. Now you take the idea and map it out with an outline. Don’t be too serious at first, let the idea guide you.

You develop your short story the same way you do a traditional manuscript. Flesh out your idea with an outline. Start by separating your idea into three acts, the beginning, middle, and end. Each act has a beginning, middle and end as well. These can be chapters. And each chapter has a beginning and middle and end. These can be scenes. By writing each chapter as it unfolds like the flow of a book, you have the power to keep your story strong and your readers engaged.

Story Outline

If you have trouble setting up your outline, the steps below are ones that I refer to and find helpful.

The First Act:

  1. The hook: the first page in the first chapter catches your reader’s attention and convinces them to read on.
  2. The inciting event: the first event that befalls in your story. This is what kicks everything off. What event starts the ball rolling in your stories plot?
  3. The key event: this is what drags your protagonist into the plot. Your character has to be pulled into the mess. This is where your character becomes officially engaged in your story.
  4. The first plot point: marks the end of the first act and the beginning of the second. This is where everything changes for your character. The first act sets up your characters ‘normal’ world and introduces the important characters, the settings, and describes the stakes. The first plot point should rock that normal world. Everything changes and your protagonist will be forced to start reaching to the new status quo.

The Second Act:

  1. The first half of the second act: Your character is going to spend the first half of the second half of the book in reaction mode. For the next quarter of the book your protagonist will be fighting to keep their head above the water.
  2. The midpoint: Your stories second major plot point. This is where everything changes again. But now your protagonist is prepared due to the last shake-up and is ready to start taking action rather than just reacting. This belongs smack in the middle of your story.
  3. The second half of the second act: After the midpoint your character is going to start going on the offensive. They are no longer willing to let the antagonist simply bring the fight to them. They will start implementing their own plans and throwing off their insecurities. This continues to three-quarters of the way through the book and the beginning of the third act.

The Third Act:

  1. The third plot point: this is your final major plot point that changes everything. Whatever happens here is going to force your character to a low place. They will have to analyze their actions and motivations and get down to the core of their own personal character arch. This is where they will start to identify their own destructive or ineffective mindsets and start rejecting the personal traits that have held them back up until now. Begins at the 75% mark.
  2. The climax: this is what it’s all about. Your climax is where your story finally gets down to business. This is the point of the whole story. This is where the conflict must finally be resolved. Although events will be heating up all the way through the third act, the Climax Proper won’t begin until around the 90% mark. The climactic moment itself won’t hit until the very end, perhaps a scene or two from the end of the book.
  3. The resolution: caps your story with finality. This important scene is the exhale to your climax’s inhale. Here you give readers the opportunity to see how your character will react to the events of the climax. How are they a different person than they were in the beginning? How has the world changed around them? How does their future look from here?

 

How Short Stories Can Boost Your Writing Career from the Creative Penn

Get into bookstores

Write short stories and publish them with companies who are already producing titles that you can find in bookstores. There are plenty of short story markets that are available at Barnes and Noble. To find them, simply go down to your local shop and ask about them. The assistant will happily direct you toward their magazine rack or anthologies.

Expand your presence on retail sites

Now that bookstores are digital, retail space is infinite. So how do you stand out in an infinite bookstore? By taking up the largest percentage of that bookstore as possible. The more room you take up, the more likely someone is to stumble onto your work.

Short stories can help fill out your presence on retailer websites. While a novel can take upwards of a year to publish from start to finish, short stories can be written, edited, and finished in a much shorter time frame; and with a smaller budget.

By publishing short stories alongside your longer work, you expand your presence on a retailer website, and thus come up more often in searches and on featured pages. This extra traffic will increase sales of your other titles

Fill in the gaps between novel releases

Novels are hard work. It can take months or sometimes years to get them right. The publishing process might have been majorly simplified by modern tools, but the writing process is still just as arduous as ever.

Short stories, by comparison, are simpler. Not easier, because writing a great short story is still a major challenge. But the process is much simpler. Writing short stories is similar to writing a single scene (or a few scenes) for a novel. Except, you don’t have to pay attention to an over-arching storyline.

Publishing short fiction while working on a novel is a great method to keep your audience reading your stuff and gives you something to promote while you work on your big project.

Experiment with new genres.

Short stories are a smaller commitment than a novel. You can write a short story in a new genre in a weekend and file it away if it doesn’t work. If you put the time in required to write a novel in a new genre, you might feel obligated to then publish it and put your full power behind it. That is a huge risk and most authors simply avoid it.

The risk involved with writing and publishing shorts is much lower. It is a medium that is open to experimentation. I find that a lot of writers are pigeon-holed into the genre they write and feel that if they wrote in other genres, they won’t find success. That is simply not true.

If you’ve never explored other genres and other mediums, you don’t know what will work for you. Especially if you haven’t found the success you’ve been looking for, experimentation with short stories is a great way to figure out what your readers want and to then follow it up with a novel.

Expand your universe.

In addition to all of the previously mentioned benefits to writing and publishing short fiction, the most interesting to me is to use short fiction to expand a fictional universe that you’ve already created.

I’m sure there have been tons of scenes that you’ve had to cut because they just didn’t work in your novel. Why not flesh those scenes out as short stories and put them up as companion pieces? Your readers want to know more about your characters. They already love them (or they should, right?). You can skip a lot of the backstory and reward your true fans with extra scenes that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get.

An astonishingly small number of writers actually do this, less than 1%. You’re working hard to write your stories. Don’t just trash every scene that doesn’t fit. Re-purpose it as a supplemental short. Or write that scene that you’ve always wanted to write as a short and give your readers an extra taste of something different. Who knows, it might catch on and be the influence for you to write a new novel with a market-proven hook.

Short stories are a struggling form of writing when compared to novels. But they don’t have to be. Writers who approach writing short stories from a smarter perspective, one that uses insights from marketing and experience in the industry, can revive the short story. It happens one short at a time.

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It’s Easy to Design Your Own Graphics

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You really can design your own book covers and author graphics:

With a bit of training, you can start designing almost right away.

You can get the right software if you know what to look for.

From all my talks with indie authors I’ve had over the years, the biggest turnoff to designing for themselves is the software. Either they can’t find good software or it is too hard to learn.

I normally would tell people to leave the designing to the professionals, but not everyone has that in their budget.

Here are some basic design principles you should know:

Before you go purchase software, let me introduce you to some basic design principles. This way you can see that you will be capable enough to give it a go.

Balance

Most of us can tell what looks well balanced and what doesn’t. What you may not know is that there are different forms of balance.

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  • The visual weight of your design elements can be evenly distributed on either side of the design in order to be symmetrical.
  • Asymmetrical balance is the balance achieved through color, scale, and contrast to achieve flow. Most of your designs will be asymmetrical.

Start looking at book covers and graphic designs and point out the flow. Notice how design elements are chosen for their color, scale, and contrast. How each element works with the others to draw the eye to focal points. The design flow will draw your eyes through the elements of the design and to those focal points.

In a matter of seconds, you can decern the mood, the genre, and the theme of the design, hear its message visually. In those few seconds, a reader will decide whether or not you’ve piqued their interest.

Proximity

Proximity creates a relationship between similar or related elements. These elements are visually connected by way of font, color, size, etc. Basically, the things that are related should be nearer to each other.

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Proximity can create relationships between the visual elements in a composition. It can create relevance, hierarchy, organization, and structure. Or, there can also be no relationship between elements, by breaking organization and structure.

Alignment

You will want to be sure that the elements of your design are in alignment. You might center all the text to the centerfold of the design. You might zigzag the flow by centering the top and bottom text, but then staggering a blurb that you want to stand out. You can align elements across a design or diagonally. Watch for different types of alignment and what appeals to you.

Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is important because it can help lead the viewer through the message of the design. The viewer’s eye will follow this visual hierarchy.

Each element of your design will carry more or less visual weight. More important elements are given extra visual weight to move them up the hierarchy. You can use larger or bolder fonts to highlight the title, etc. What color you use can determine hierarchy. Large to small, bold to soft, bright to dark, top to bottom, left to right, etc., these all are part of a visual hierarchy.

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Repetition

A large part of graphic design is branding. As an author, you will be developing your own visual brand too. Repetition in design is fundamental, but essential when it comes to branding.

Repetition creates a rhythm, it ties together the consistent elements and strengthens the overall design. There are certain elements that will make viewers instantly recognize your brand. These design elements include your color palette, fonts, and your logo.

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Contrast

The contrast will guide the viewer to key design elements. Two opposing design elements create contrast:

  • dark vs. light
  • contemporary vs. old-fashioned
  • large vs. small, etc.

Organization and a hierarchy can be established with contrast. Using contrast is useful in creating visual interest too.

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Color

Color is basic in design and is also used within other principles of design. Color expresses mood so what palette you choose is very important. As a graphic designer, it’s always helpful to have a basic knowledge of color theory, take the time to do a little research. This will pay off hugely in the long run. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a color wheel for easy reference.

Amazon.com: Cox 133343 Color Wheel 9-1/4"-

Negative Space

The space that is left blank in your design is called negative space. And just like dark matter in space, it’s an area that contains nothing flashy, or no design elements. No design elements except for maybe some background color. If used creatively, negative space can help create a shape and highlight the important components of your design.

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by Brian Caldwell

Typography

Typography is a key element in graphic design. It can speak volumes. Typography can set the mood, establish it’s own hierarchy, and even express genre. It’s important not to use overly used fonts in graphic design. Overly used fonts are most of the font’s that come with your common word software. You are better off purchasing your fonts.

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Rules

The only real rule in graphic design is to not use true black or white in your designs, they won’t transfer correctly in printing or on the web. Other than that you are free to design in your own style, whatever that may be.

These principles are your guide to creating great graphics and building a solid brand.

Now to get your software:

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Before you continue to the next section, you should know that I am NOT affiliated with the software listed below. I won’t earn anything if you purchase one of them from any of the links posted.

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Here are the top graphic design platforms:

Affinity Designer: You can get this platform for a one-time payment of $24.99. (2020)

This is awesome software for the price. It will give you all the tools you need to create great graphics and is easy to learn. This platform is smaller in size than others and won’t bog down your computer. You will have access to free updates and Affinity Designer also runs very smoothly and quickly, even on older machines. Here is the link to the tutorials.

Adobe Photoshop: You can get this platform for $20.99 per month. (2020)

I use Photoshop, I like that you can use it for photo editing and compositing, digital painting, and graphic design. It works for all of my design needs when it comes to creating book covers. Photoshop is an excellent program used for creating images, photo editing, and graphics design or to add special effects to images. Vector graphics are not used in photoshop because it is pixel-based software. Here’s the link to their tutorials.

Gravit Designer: This platform is a free full-featured vector graphic design app.

With this platform, you can design from anywhere on any machine. You won’t have the versatility of Affinity or Adobe, but you can make graphics on the fly for blogposts. Gravit is mostly vector-based software, but has image manipulation and editing, and is a good cheap alternative to Affinity. Here is the link to their tutorials. This would be the software I would use if I couldn’t afford Photoshop and Adobe Suites.

Inkscape: This software is free and is a great substitute for Photoshop.

Inkscape is a free open source vector-based software because it does not take the resources of RAM nevertheless you are under MS Windows or Linux Distribution like Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, OpenSUSE, RedHat, etc. Inkscape is better because it has own plugins for bevel and emboss, image manipulations, some times it behaves like photoshop. Here is the link to Inkscapes tutorials.

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These basics will get you started and headed in the right direction. Just remember that learning how to create great designs is a process. You will improve over time. But there’s no reason you can’t create some pretty great graphics right out of the gate.

Good Luck!

 

 

First-Draft Success Every Time You Write – The Evolutionary Mind

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Your first-draft is the most important part of any writing project. This is the foundation to what will be your prized work of art…..

Continue Reading: First-Draft Success Every Time You Write – The Evolutionary Mind

How to Beat Your Creative Fears

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Fear sucks, but it’s part of the creative process.

Sooner or later in your writing career you will come up against it. It can stop you in your tracks and make you lose out on some great opportunities. It can also ruin your book by making it less likely to shine.

The only way to beat the fear is to take action.

If you find yourself impeded by fear one of the best ways to get around it is to write about it.

  • Use journaling as a tool to write about your fear, don’t hold anything back, write it all out. Facing the ugliness of your fears about writing by journaling about them will calm you down.
  • It will minimize the anxiety that you’re feeling about whatever creative task has got you so freaked out.
  • It will clear your mind and inspire you to find solutions to your fears which is better then having them dictate what you can or can’t accomplish.
  • Write about how your fear debilitates you, what it stops you from achieving.
  • Note the positives of your fears too. Whatever you do be sure to be honest with yourself, what is it about the fear that seems to be serving you emotionally or otherwise.

Writing about your fears will give you a good perspective on the pros and cons of keeping that fear alive, which will also lead you to some solutions. It can give you the courage to move beyond your fears to accomplish your creative tasks using the full range of your abilities. Don’t let fear stop you from being the best that you can be!

 What do you do when fear butts into your creative process?


Looking for an award-winning book cover design or illustration?

See http://mundusmediaink.com/services/

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