What is TR Authors Academy?

That is a good question and the short answer is that TR Authors Academy is many things to those seeking to learn to write. But the longer answer is explained below.

Perhaps the most important aspect of TR Authors Academy is that it has been my dream to write and later to teach writing for a good portion of my life and a calling ever since I got saved in 1973. It is my dream because as a young wannabe author I was limited in the availability of resources I could tap into for instruction on what makes good writing. There were resources available but they were not free or inexpensive. So I was forced to learn at the school of hard knocks!

In fact, it took me almost forty years after dropping the course to write my first book. I learned a great deal about writing during those years, but it was slow and frustrating. This school of hard knocks took me down some interesting roads, but none resulted in writing a novel. It wasn’t until I was sixty years old that my first book was published. What an exciting day that was!

Today the literary world is a different picture altogether, yet at the same time similar. There are certainly free mini-courses out there which are designed to give you just enough information to entice you to sign up for the more expensive courses. And if you are pleased with the mini-course on writing and can afford the more expensive course then I say go for it. These mini-courses usually amount to about three videos or lessons which give the participant an overview of certain aspects of writing. They are generally good (some by famous authors) and offer good points that you can use. But they are not the complete package. You don’t get the complete package until you have signed up for the higher priced course.

But my dream has been to offer a complete course of all three aspects of writing (writing, publishing and marketing) for a moderate sum that enables the would-be author to develop his or her talents to the fullest potential. It has also been the idea of a self-teaching course where the students have the lesson material at hand, but they control the learning pace. They also learn how to edit and critique their own work, a valuable tool in itself for the serious independent writer.

TR Authors Academy fulfills that dream. Moreover it offers self-teaching lessons on:

      • Finding and knowing your genre.
      • Plotting.
      • Writing scenes.
      • Developing characters.
      • Editing.
      • Proofreading.
      • And more

In addition to that there is training in publishing and marketing. Among other things you are taught about being an independent publisher (Indie Publisher) and independent marketer (Indie Marketer). The would-be author gets the option to write a novel from scratch and develop it through the course which results in ultimately publishing and marketing it. This involves editing and proofing their manuscripts, as well as performing the duties and opportunities of an publisher.

This course also goes into setting up your office space, establishing your business as a legal entity, organizing your time, and more. In effect, it teaches you to be an independent business person and gives you the basics you need to be successful.

At the beginning of this blog I stated that the Authors Academy was both a dream and a calling. What I mean by “calling” is that I was born into this world with the gift to write, but that is not what makes me a writer. It is God’s calling and gifting when I got saved that transformed me from struggling to write my first novel to now having written five novels and several non-fiction books.

God’s calling is not just for service in the church, but is always for the furtherance of His Gospel. Some people serve in the church (I do) and some serve in other ways. While I do volunteer work for the church, it has been my writing wherein God has guided, equipped, and provided me with the necessary tools and insight. He has a plan for me and I am just a part of that plan.

So writing can be a calling from God. If it is, you will never be asked by God to write anything that violates His Word but it can take many turns before you are certain of the direction. I started out writing and still am writing novels that are primarily based on Biblical events. But it didn’t stop there. Now I write fiction based on American history and non-fiction books that cover different subjects.

Over the years God has used me to teach Sunday School and Masters Club, thus learning how to pass knowledge along to others. And the Academy itself, I believe, was implanted in my mind by God in 2014. Not only my mind but my wife’s as well which led us to co-partner in establishing TR Independent Books, which is the parent of TR Authors Academy.

Please don’t misunderstand me. You don’t have to be a Christian to take this course. It is not a religious writing course but will have a Christian flavor since I am a Christian. Anyone can take the course no matter their religion. We don’t prejudge or insist on any credentials other than a willingness to learn.

This course draws from my own experience as an author plus the knowledge that I have learned through research and application. It is a course that could easily be marketed for hundreds of dollars, but that is not what I wanted to do.

So why do I Market it for less than $10 a month? I do so because I realize that there are talented people out there waiting for the opportunity to write but they simply cannot afford to go to college or to participate in an expensive course. By keeping the price low I am able to give them their best opportunity now!

The Authors Academy is now accepting students. To learn more and to have the opportunity to subscribe to this course simple go to http://www.rfriddle.com/TRAcademy/?page_id=894.

Authors Academy

You may remember that in the past I have discussed the idea of opening an academy where both beginner and established writers can learn the craft of being an author. Well, that day has arrived.

Beginning Sunday morning the Authors Academy will be open for business. And would-be students don’t have to break the bank to take advantage of this offer. Designed with a self-teaching format the course doesn’t require the hiring of teachers or other professionals. Instead, I serve as the writer of the course to which students can contact if they run into problems.

It took a lot of time, research, and effort to build the site, but it was worth it. I only wish someone would have done this when I first started writing. Instead of trial and error, I would have learned the basics of writing, plus the basics of publishing and marketing.

When we first approached this idea I wanted the price to be kept low. Although we could charge $150 or more, we at first thought about offering it for a one-time fee of $49. But that could still be a little high for some people.

So instead of a one-time fee we moved to a subscription fee. This allows the students to try out the course and stay as long or as short as they desire. And instead of $49, we opted for $7 per month.

The beauty of this is not only is it inexpensive but a writer can keep the subscription going for as long as they want – even after completion of the course. And there will be reasons for staying. For example, as time goes forward we will undoubtedly update and expand the material, including adding new material. Furthermore, the student will have access to any new tools that are provided free of charge.

If that is not enough, we also provide a free subscription to Writers World newsletter, which at the moment is free to anyone. But even if the newsletter someday has a price associated with it, it will always be free to active subscribers.

We have not started the actual advertising campaign yet, but anyone reading this blog, our website, Facebook page, or newsletter can subscribe now by going to the following to this site: Why Authors Academy? Once there you will learn more about the academy and how to sign up.
What do you think?

A New Year Awaits!

Did you have a good Christmas? Did you pause to think about Who Christ is?

Well, in a couple of days you get another chance. It won’t be about His birth or death, but about Ron & Teresa 1131CDPhow He has blessed you throughout the year. And how he will lead you in the future.

New Year’s brings a lot of things to mind, such as football, parties, and new promises you probably won’t keep. But how many of us pause to consider what God has planned for us?

If you’re a Christian, He has promised to instruct, teach, and guide you (Psalm 32:8). He has a plan for each of us, but it is up to us to seek His face, listen to His voice, and obey. It is not likely to be an audible voice, but more like a still soft voice in the back of your mind. You will need to mute all the sounds around you to be able to hear Him.

Take time to listen to Him and then obey Him. I have found over the years that when I listen and obey things generally work out better for me. But when I insist on doing it my way – well, there are consequences!

The New Year holds many promises for us. Teresa and I are excited about new opportunities, such as her first novel which is almost completed, TR Academy which will soon be launched, and brand new challenges and opportunities (unknown to us) which await us in the new year.

What about you?

The Importance of Research

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Today’s blog is about the necessity of research. As an author you will need to do a great deal of research.

With that in mind, let’s take a look.

We are not dealing with research resources today, but rather the necessity and the how of research.

 The Importance

Proper research is exceedingly important. Whether you are dealing with historical figures, places or events, or you are simply dealing in outright fiction you need research.

Imagine, if you will, that you are writing a novel that takes place in Pontiac, Michigan. Now most people have never been there, but I spent a good deal of my life in that city. Now let’s imagine that you write about a small family living on Main Street. Now the main street of Pontiac is Huron or M59. It is rarely called Main Street and I don’t believe there are any signs identifying it as such. So right there, I have caught an error. But it is a small error and I will probably forgive you.

But let’s also pretend that you create an imaginary street that crosses the main street. The chances of you getting that right without proper research would be extremely hard! You see what I am getting at? To a resident or former resident that would stand out. And it would distract that reader from the actual story!

Now that was a very simple example, but it is real enough. Not only would residents of Pontiac see the error, but any reader curious enough to Google the city could also discover the error.

And errors can not only distract they can cripple an otherwise well-written book. Research can save you much embarrassment.

How to Do Research?

In this day and age there are many tools that you can use, but I am going to focus on one: the Internet. There are a growing number of search engines on the Internet, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing. I use Google simply because I like it better than the others. My point is however that search engines are available.

In the example above, I could have Googled Pontiac Michigan and found a ton of information covering its history, industry, politics, and its geography. So using the Internet is both available and informative. This simple technique can be used on virtually any topic. Try it and you will be rewarded with more information than you know what to do with. But be careful. There is good and bad information. The Internet is not discerning. The information is there, but it may be entirely wrong.

I have written on resources in the past, so check out either this blog or Writers World, a free newsletter on writing. I write articles on this and other topics pertinent to writing. Finally, after researching for the book, don’t just state the facts. Weave the facts throughout the story so that the reader is learning all about whatever your subject happens to be. In fact, relay the facts through your characters.

What do I mean? This is answered in another blog more thoroughly, but basically the characters, in the preceding example, would talk about the city. Or they could be walking along a street and the reader would thus become acquainted with the street and its surroundings.

Research is a vital tool in the writing of both fiction and nonfiction. Make it a habit to do the proper research and then incorporate it in a way that the reader is unaware that you are spoon feeding her.

Today’s Topic: Your Audience

In previous blogs I discussed first steps in learning to write. The following blog is brief but important.

Why?

We can prepare and use all the tools available, but if we are writing for the wrong audience it will be to no avail. We need to know!

YOUR AUDIENCE

 This can be a bit tricky. Especially for new authors. If you have previously written books then you already have something to gauge who your audience is.

So there are three principles:

  1. New Authors:

    Make use of reviewers. Who are they, especially those with a positive view. When you get someone to review your books keep a list of who they are. Learn their email address, their blog, and anything else.

  2. Established Authors:

    Review your sales data to see who buys your books, and who reviews your books. If you have your own store your ecommerce reports will tell you this. But if all your sales are on other sites, say Amazon, then you can also receive stats from them. Amazon allows you to join Amazon Central where you can track your sales.

    Take advantage of these services provided by Amazon and other sites. Learning these stats will help you to learn more about your audience.

  3. All Authors: Look at other authors in your genre. Who is in their audience?

    If you know the genre then it is easier to find authors. Use Google or other search engines. Discover who the other authors are and who their audiences are.

In summary, the principle is to make use of reviews, sales, and audiences of other authors. Doing that will enable you to get at least a glimpse of your audience, which in turn will enable you to see what they like as readers.

___________________________________________

Tip #1 – Make a list of audience possibilities.

Tip #2 – Then narrow the list down until you have gotten it as refined as possible.

___________________________________________

 Example

When I first began writing, I thought my audience would be men. After all I am a man and I was writing historical fiction which included adventure. But actual sales tipped in the direction of women. While I now market to both sexes, I see women as my primary audience, although I write for both.

Application

Don’t check out your audience and then forget it. Periodically check it out again. Then apply that knowledge to your marketing, but don’t forget the actual writing and publishing.

Author Resources

Today’s blog is about the resources available to you the author. Before you dismiss this, consider the following: As an author you will need to access many resources for research, publishing and marketing.

With that in mind, let’s take a look.

BASICS

Dictionary

“I don’t need a dictionary!”

Think again. A good dictionary is vital to every writer. Your word processing program’s built in dictionary is good, but not perfect. You need a real dictionary; preferably one that contains thousands of words.

Dictionary, Bible

If you are writing a story that is based on the Bible you need a good Bible dictionary. Even better, a pictorial Bible dictionary.

Grammar

Again, don’t depend on your word processor. They are not always accurate. You need a good resource such as a grammar book or a reliable online resource (in which case you bookmark it).

Newsletter

Our Writers World newsletter is an excellent resource of articles on writing. Every other week it comes out with articles on writing tips, and publishing or marketing tips. Plus you have access to the archive of articles.

Thesaurus

You don’t want to be guilty of using the same word over and over. You need a resource for synonyms and antonyms. You need a Thesaurus.

ADVANCED (Website Tools)

1.      Authors need a website

It doesn’t matter whether you are an established author or brand new you still need a website. Consider it an absolute must!

Write a bio that talks about your passion for writing as well as your dedication and enthusiasm. Include your goals, what projects you are currently working on, that which inspires and motivates you, and whatever interests/hobbies you may have. Your goal here is to paint a broad, positive image of yourself, one that the reader will instinctively trust.

The key is not to be shy. The bolder, more assertive you are (if done properly) the stronger your reputation.

2.      The Power of a website

There are many marketing tools. Don’t feel that you have to use them all. Some of them will be covered later and some of them you may decide not to use. However, it would be a severe mistake to ignore a website.

A good website has the capability to communicate to visitors. That is why you are encouraged to have a website in the first place. Many people will learn about you through your website, who you are and what you are doing.

3.      Your website is not a get rich quick scheme

Don’t think of a website as making you a ton of money. Rather, think of it as a storefront. This is where your potential customers will get a chance to meet and learn about you and explore your site.

4.      Unlike stores websites need to attract visitors

People have to be told about your website. There are many ways to tell people, such as Business Cards, newspaper ads, word of mouth, and social media.

5.      Your website is the hub of your activities

When I first started out I made my website my hub. I placed it on business cards, and used it in my email (signature), as well as in social media.

6.      Your website needs to be updated frequently

Actually we are discussing SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is another necessary thing to promote your website. Google, Yahoo, and others send out robots to examine websites resulting in a placement within their database. The higher the placement the better for you.

Part of having a good SEO for your website is frequent updating. You should update (that is, add or change content) at least monthly. The SEO robots like fresh sites!

7.      You need to OWN your website

You can’t be on the internet very long without learning about FREE websites. Be careful. Some may be scams and others are poorly written and designed.

But you need to own your website. By that I mean own your Domain name. I own the domain RFrederickRiddle.com. Therefore I have control over everything that is on it or within it.

Here is a brief list of domain providers (alphabetical order):

o      1 and 1 (1and1.com)

o      Bluehost (Bluehost.com)

o      Dreamhost (Dreamhost.com)

o      Godaddy (Godaddy.com)

o      Hostgator (Hostgator.com)

o      Hostmonster (Hostmonster.com)

o      Justhost (Justhost.com)

o      Inmotionhosting (inmotionhosting.com)

o      iPage (ipage.com)

o      Mediatemple (mediatemple.net)

o      Name (Name.com)

o      Namecheap (Namecheap.com)

8.      Website creation need not be expensive

See the list above. Hosting plans are relatively cheap.

9.      You do not need to be an expert

You can easily manage your own website. I use Godaddy which provides a user-friendly interface allowing me to build the site the way I want. No HTML experience necessary although it is helpful for a more advanced website.

ADVANCED (Other Tools)

Online

Make use of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. Whatever your choice these are great research tools. You simply type in the item in the search box and hit enter.

Your screen will soon be filled up with plenty of documents and/or websites relating to the searched item. Just be sure the site is safe and trustworthy. (You should have at least an antivirus program or firewall in place.)

There are numerous tools online from converting your document to a pdf (free of charge) to information on the xylophone. If you can think of it, then the computer probably has an answer.

Writing Tip: Your Work Place

Today’s blog sounds a little boring, but it is important: Your Workplace.

What follows is based on an upcoming newsletter (Writers World) article. Where your workplace is and how you have it set up are very important to you as a writer. That may sound overblown to you, but the truth is that our work place and work habits affect us in multiple ways.

If you have already been writing for awhile you know how important your work place needs to be for optimal results. You know that your work environment impacts your posture, your well being, and your productivity. Since I favor individuality the advice I give leaves you with the ability to conform everything to your wants and needs. This includes the table/desk, the chair, location of resources, and more. So let’s take a look.

The Room
The location and size of the room will vary from author to author. My wife prefers an open room, while I have a small, well-defined room. Both of us have our desks in front of a window. Teresa’s files are in different cabinets not necessarily adjoining each other, while I used a combination of cabinets and bookshelves to create the “walls” of my room.

Both of us like our setups and are able to function well. This is important. Whatever setup you choose, it needs to be conducive to your being able to think, research, and write. My suggestion is for you to design it your way even if others may criticize. You are the one who will be spending a lot of time there!

One other note, sometimes Teresa likes to move into the living room and sit at the table. This gives her a break from the norm while still enabling her to perform her tasks.

The Table/Desk
Once again personal preferences are dominate. Teresa uses a computer desk while I use a computer table. She tends to spread paperwork out, I like things a little tighter.

But once again our own wants and needs strongly influence how it is done. As for how the table/desk is set up, both of us use laptops on the surface. I have a phone beside me, she doesn’t (except when in the living room).

Never place your laptop on your lap. This is because you may be blocking air vents. Buy yourself a lap desk (there are several).

The Chair
Both of us prefer task chairs, but I have seen others who use Executive Chairs. The key here is that you want a chair that is comfortable, but also helps you maintain good posture. This last is important because slouching in your chair cuts off oxygen and causes you to get sleepy. It is very hard to write with your eyes closed!

Another note regarding sitting with a laptop on your lap even with a lap desk. There are issues with back strain, eye strain, etc. that are affected by sitting with a laptop.

The above is an excerpt from an upcoming newsletter article. To get even more insights you can subscribe to the newsletter. This is a great time to do so because we currently are offering a free book (So You Want to Write?), free guides and free newsletter subscription. To sign up just click on Download Now in the video below.

Do You Want to Write?

There is an old saying, Everyone has a story in them. I don’t know what facts that is based on, but I agree with it. Each of us has unique experiences and beliefs providing enough material for a book.

But not everyone can write. Even those who can write need to be taught. Growing up, English was one of my favorite subjects, but I still knew virtually nothing about authoring. I had to learn the hard way.

You might ask why I didn’t take a course on writing? I did. But when the money ran out the course ended. So I enrolled in the school of hard knocks. That is a hard way to learn the basics of writing. I didn’t even know why I wanted to write!

There are courses out there, probably good courses, but they cost money. But what if the average person couldn’t afford the course? They get left out in the dark.

That is why T&R Independent Books undertook the putting together of a book that would provide basic knowledge for those wanting to write. And since the modern author must also have knowledge of publishing and marketing, the book covers those topics as well. We produced for you this self-teaching book called, So You Want to Write?

But we decided that as good as the book is, we needed to provide more. So we have created three guides (Authors Writing Guide, Authors Publishing Guide, and Authors Marketing Guide). Each guide is about two or three pages long and serves as an instant reference for the writer.

In addition to all that, we have started a newsletter appropriately called Writers World. This newsletter is published bi-weekly and deals exclusively with writing, publishing, and marketing. We provide articles with tips and how-tos plus book excerpts to demonstrate.

All this is provided free of charge. And it is available now. See our video for more information.

If you want to write take advantage of this Free offer: One book on the basics, three guides, and a subscription to Writers World newsletter. You can’t miss.

The book comes only as an Ebook and is easily downloaded to your computer. But don’t look at bookstores for it. It is only available from T&R Independent Bookstore. It is our gift to you.

All you need to do is give us your name and email address and we rush it to you.

Thousands of books are published every month. This will give you a fighting chance! Download it now!

WHY I BLOG

Welcome to another blog post. Today I want to explore the reasons I blog. Primarily I will be looking at this subject from the author’s perspective. By the way, I want to thank those of you who have welcomed me to WordPress. It’s an exciting place to be.

Now, Why do I blog?

To answer that I must first provide some history. I didn’t start blogging until after my first novel, Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles, was published in 2003. The reason was simple: To get my name out there. If you want to sell books you need to get known and blogging is a logical marketing step.

At the time I maintained my website with ATT. Actually, it was Yahoo & ATT. This partnership of two giants provided a WordPress blogging platform. Although I didn’t know it at the time I was starting out with probably the best blogging platform in existence.

A newbie at blogging I didn’t know what to blog about, let alone how to blog. I decided to blog about anything that came to mind. That certainly provided me with a lot of material, but experience has since taught me that such a wide subject matter hurts rather than helps your blogging reputation.

I continued to use ATT Yahoo Business Plan for my blogging until 2009 when ATT and Yahoo decided to have their own separate plans. I cancelled my plan with them and moved to ATT Small Business Solutions. This however was primarily my email account. My blogging now shifted to Godaddy where I created a brand new website called RFrederickRiddle (my website RFRiddle remained with ATT Small Business Solutions). There I created a strong multi-page website and a blog.

This blog was not as strong as WordPress, but it did meet my needs. By this time I had realized that I needed to narrow my subject material. But I still was operating without any real guidance or goals. The result was that I would write for awhile about politics and then later write on Writing. Still later I might write on some other subject. This proved hurtful and discouraging.

Another twist occurred around 2011 or shortly afterward as Godaddy no longer allowed website users to have a blog directly attached to their website (my old blog was blog.rfrederickriddle). Instead, they now allow you to import an existing blog.

So I moved to Goodreads where I have been originating my blog until a few days ago. Goodreads is an outstanding site where you can interact with other authors. But I have been disappointed in their blogging tools. Too restrictive and not very powerful. That said, it was still a valuable piece of internet real estate.

So I moved to WordPress and immediately imported my new blog into Goodreads. This should prove to be a very wise move. Another move I made was to focus on Writing. This expanded in 2014 to publishing and marketing due to our founding of T&R Independent Books.

There, you have a brief (well, as brief as I could make it) history of my blogging efforts. I entered into blogging not knowing much and with no direction, but I have learned a few things along the way. These are:

  1. Voice
      The writer’s voice is the individual writing style of an Author, a combination of their common usage of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works). (Wikipedia). Basically, it is what makes you unique.As an author I have learned that my writing style (voice) makes a difference. This is true in blogging as well as writing. So it is important to keep a certain degree of consistency from blog to blog, but also in connection with everything else I write.
  1. Platform

A blog’s platform is similar to a website, but also different. Basically you are dealing with software that allows you to not only publish pages, but posts. Here are some key points to consider:

              1. Platform includes Pages/Posts
              2. Platform also has Categories/Tags
              3. Platform allows Image/Post Management
              4. Platform is Search Engine Optimized (SEO)

All of these are important considerations. I chose WordPress because I feel its platform best suits my needs even though my website is elsewhere. (My website does link to Goodreads.)

One of the things that always attracts me is the availability of Free and Premium plans. Many platforms offer this and you would be wise to check it out.

By the way, WordPress comes in two formats: .com and .org. Again personal experience and preferences would determine which you go with.

  1. Opportunity

This is actually individual. I see blogging as a marketing tool that can truly enhance your authoring experience. See the rest of this blog for more details.

All of this is part of blogging. Of course, I know there is Facebook and Twitter, but I am not eliminating them as marketing strategies. They have there place, including a relationship with my blog.

When I write a post, I publish it and I promote it on both Facebook and Twitter. I will also promote my blog in our newsletter, T&R’s Writers World.

Blogging, therefore, is more than a record of your thoughts and actions. It is an opportunity to influence people. As an author I have the opportunity to help others who may be new writers or even long-time writers. Actually, that is a basis not only for my blog, but for my newsletter as well.

Which brings me to the following question: Do you blog?

If not, why not?

You don’t have anything to say? I disagree. You are an author. You can write about your own journey, about your books, about the genre you are in, and a host of other related subjects. Or you can talk about other subjects that, while not directly related to your books, enhance your reputation.

There is one more reason for blogging: it lets people get to know you.

That sounds scary, but it isn’t. If you remain true to your voice (writing style) and blog with valuable information, people will get to know and trust you. That can only be good for you!

You may argue that you don’t want to market books, just write. Unfortunately that is not true any more. If you write books, you are a marketer. The question is are you a good one or a bad one?

Give blogging a try. Choose a topic that you are knowledgeable about and blog about it. And then be patient. You won’t be a blogging success immediately (although it does happen), but if you stick with it there will be long term benefits.

There are numerous blogging platforms. Investigate. Try one and if disappointed you can move on. Finding the right one for may take time.

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