Ron’s Tip of the Day Flow of Story

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. This is an experiment in microblogging. Let me know how I’m doing. Today I am looking at Flow of Story.

The Problem

I don’t know about other authors, but when I started writing one of the most difficult problems I had was mastering the flow of the story.

What is Flow of the Story?

That is keeping the story moving chapter by chapter. Or keeping the reader’s interest throughout.

Solution

I didn’t have a resource like Tip of the Day. I struggled. Here at Tip of the Day I give you tips based on knowledge and experience. Tips that keep the story going. And it’s free!

Tip of the Day : Make a habit of reading these short tips.

You just might find the help you need. And if you save them, copy them, or memorize them, you will have a nice resource that you can access at any time. Then develop them for yourself.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Our Free booklet tells you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews for R. Frederick Riddle and Tess Riddle books. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review our books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip: Your Workplace

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week I am looking at Your Website.

If you have already been writing for a while you know how important your workspace needs to be for optimal results. 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-define 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 in close proximity to me.

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.

You’ll note that Snoopy (see picture) is sitting on the doghouse. This is not recommended as you it may cause poor posture which as noted about can affect how alert you are.

Location of Resources

As mentioned before I use my cabinets and bookshelves as the “walls” of my office. This keeps everything close by, easy to reach. Teresa has her resources spread out, but that seems to work for her.

The important thing is that it be helpful to your overall work.

The Resources

What do I mean by resources? Well, this covers:

  • books on writing
  • books on the Bible (if writing Biblical books)
  • books on marketing
  • financial records
  • publishing information
  • Research material
  • and more

Your resources will differ from ours, but you will have a need for them and you will need to keep them somewhere safe and easily accessible.

You need to also consider such factors as lighting, storage (paper, ink, incoming/outgoing, and more).

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five),  or Battle at Proxima Centauri. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Authors Resource Part 2

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Author’s Resources.
This is part 2 of the series. Next Thursday and possibly others will cover this topic in greater degree.
Last Week I Asked Why Use Resources?
There was a time when an author only had his own imagination, his experience, and, if so blessed, a dictionary as resources. But the world has changed since those olden days. Back then few resources were available, but today there is a whole world of information available at the touch of a key. A computer key, that is.
Generally speaking, there are writing resources, publishing resources, and marketing resources. We will take a look at each, thus requiring several days of study. So let’s get busy.
Basic Resources that you need:
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. In fact, a dictionary with a thesaurus would be a major plus.
Why? Because you want to avoid, if possible, the repetitious use of a word.  Somewhere during your editing you will discover a word keeps reappearing. A thesaurus would help you find another word, maybe a better word, to convey the same meaning. This helps keep your story fresh.
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.
When I use a pictorial Bible dictionary it not only tells me about a certain item, say a tool, but provides an image as well. This is an aid in visualizing the tool and its uses.
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).
I often use the Internet to look up word usage and proper grammar. It helps reduce the confusion and makes the whole writing experience easier.
Newsletter
There are newsletter available on the Internet that deal with writing. Chances are there’s one that fits your needs. Check it out.
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. I commented above on the value of a dictionary with a thesaurus. If you can’t get both the dictionary and thesaurus in a single book, then invest the money in a thesaurus.
Actually, while I favor a two in one approach a standalone thesaurus may be bigger, with more words and uses.
Computer
These days a computer is virtually a must! That’s true even if you only use it as a word processor. Here are some uses of the computer:

  • Research
    • Basic research may include looking up words, facts regarding people and events, and places. Deeper research can take you as deep as you want.
  • Social Media
    • A Social presence can be gained through a variety of Social Media outlets.
    • Some popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads
    • New ones seem to be appearing on an increasing basis. Check them out.
  • Purchasing
    • Self-Help books. You can find books on almost any subject. They can be immensely helpful for a writer.
    • Subject books. By that I mean books written about subjects you are interested in. Perhaps your story is taking place in Australia. You can find books about Australia.
    • Tools. New tools are constantly being invented. Some may not be worth your time let alone your dime, but you might just discover a gold mine.

     

Next week we’ll look at websites.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four), or Death Ship to the Stars (Book One), and Pauline A New Home (Book Two), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

The World That Was: Using Science

Last issue we looked at the supercontinent Rodinia. In this blog I will discuss science and how I used it.

First of all when discussing science you must decide which of the three viewpoints of science to which you adhere.

  1. True Science
  2. Evolutionary Science
  3. Creation Science

 Many of you might say that you adhere to true science. Unfortunately, that is impossible. True science, you see, is not really a viewpoint (yes, I tricked you). True science is the raw scientific data that exists in our knowledge base. It must be interpreted and interpretation rests upon viewpoint or theory.

Evolutionary science is a theory that believes that man evolved over millions and billions of years and interprets true scientific facts accordingly. At one point it held the day but today more and more scientists are questioning its validity.

Creation science is a theory that interprets true scientific facts according to its belief. It believes that a Higher Being, Who we Christians and Jews call God, created the world and man. There was a day that Creation science held the day, but then Evolutionary science came along and people thought it was better and more intelligent. But now the pendulum is swinging back to Creation as an increasing number of scientists are returning to a Creationist viewpoint.

I am a Christian who accepts the Creationist theory as the correct theory. Which brings us to today’s topic. Most writers don’t have to worry about such things, but when writing Biblically based stories it is a must.

Why?

Because the Bible record of events is at odds with evolution. It is true that people often twist the Bible to mean anything they want, which is why it is important to always read “in context.” When you read it that way it removes a lot of silliness.

So how did I use science? Being a Creationist I chose sources that I had complete confidence in having their facts straight. Two of these are Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and Answers in Genesis (AiG). There are others, of course, but those are in my opinion the best.

When writing the story of Creation itself I found these resources to be highly accurate and informative. I was able to draw out the knowledge I needed to undergird my book Perished: The World That Was. Not only for Creation, but also regarding the earth itself (see Rodinia) and the Flood (see Historical Perspective).

Science is a useful tool. Once you know which theory you embrace you can start researching your novel. Now, I will say this: If you embrace evolution you will have a very difficult time writing a Bible based novel or non-fiction book. Evolution simply doesn’t work well with the Bible. And, unfortunately for you, there is no middle ground such as Theistic evolution (a belief that is largely discounted by Evolutionists and Creationists).

So settle that in your mind. That is your starting point.

Actually when writing about Biblical events and people you will find you are using both the historical and the scientific resources at your disposal. I did. My primary was, and is, the Holy Bible. I rely on the King James Version because its history traces all the way back to the beginning (another subject) while other versions have broken histories and are suspect in their accuracy.

The best way that I have found to understand the science of Creation and other Biblical events is to:

1.     Let the Bible first interpret itself.

2.     Then use science to help understand.

Always use the Bible first. If you use science first and then try to fit the Bible within its realm, you will have problems. God gives us wisdom (science) to help understand not contradict His Word.

If you follow that simple rule you will do fine. You have no reason for hesitating at using science. It is a tool that can enrich your writing when done properly.

Will you be criticized? Perhaps. But such criticism will more often come from either non-Christians or Christians who don’t really believe that the Bible is inspired. (How can you know you are saved if you don’t believe the Bible is the Inspired Word of God? How do you know that Jesus really said you must be born again?)

Now be forewarned. When researching science there is a lot of information available. And it can get boring. So you will have to dig deep and persevere. You will learn more than you will ever need to put in your story, but you may need it to understand how best to use the information.

Remember this truism: Scientific and Historical data need to be accurate in your story, but they should not be the primary thing.

If you write science fiction novels the science will play a much bigger role. But in writing Bible based novels, the Biblical story is paramount.

What if you are writing a novel not based on the Bible? You still want your science and historical data to be accurate. All sorts of people will read your novel. Some of these may have a deep understanding of science, or of a particular historical era. You make a mistake and they will see it.

So how did I use science in regards to the Ark? First it required a lot of research. For Perished I used the latest scientific knowledge then available. Currently I am writing a Special Edition book about the Ark. There is much more information available. Back when writing Perished there were theories abounding about the Flood and the Ark, but now there has been more scientific discoveries both about the worldwide Flood and the possible construction of the Ark.

I have investigated these new facts and have used them where appropriate. As stated above, I learn more than I ever use. But that gives us another principle: New discoveries are always being made, so you need to keep in touch with the facts even after you have published your book.

Why?

Because you may some day write another book that would need the same facts or you may rewrite the book you just published. Your readers will be current so you should be also.

If you liked this blog visit our Facebook page, like it and post a comment.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. Authors Academy offers training in writing, publishing, and marketing.

Hosting Your Website

There are different ways of studying this subject. Some are much more technical than this blog will be. So for a detailed plan of action on hosting, then I suggest you Google ‘hosting your website.’

But I want to discuss the concept of hosting. Recently I blogged about marketing your website. In a sense this is an expansion on that subject.

There are two ways you can go. First, you can have a server such as Godaddy host your domain. The primary advantage of this is that you will have professionals design and maintain your website.

Chances are that the site will look good, attract visitors, and maybe even sell your books.

BUT YOU WON’T OWN IT!

What’s the big deal?

Let’s image for a moment that Godaddy goes belly up. Not likely, but let’s just pretend. Do you know what happens to your website?

It disappears.

You see, you don’t own it. Godaddy does. The domain may still exist (if you own that), but all content is gone, Kaput!

Second, I suggest the following:

  • Buy a domain
  • Make sure it is your name or company name (discussed in previous blog)
  • Do your own hosting

You might object that you don’t have the knowledge to do your own hosting. Well, that is a problem that is easily resolved. There are many companies out there, such as Godaddy, that provide easy to use interfaces that allow you to create dynamic websites.

Godaddy, for instance, has Website Builder. They also offer other hosting programs for relatively inexpensive costs.

I use the Website Builder. It is easy to use, has some powerful tools available, and is low cost.

In my blog about marketing the website I mentioned having good content above the fold. This term refers to when you first bring up the website on your computer or remote device. The fold is the bottom of the screen. You want some good, eye catching content above that fold.

Take a look at our website at www.tr-indbkstore.com. On your computer you immediately see our logo, site title, menu, marquee (showing clickable pictures of our books), our site motto, and the beginning of additional content. On a small cell phone you will see less, but all of this is information you want the visitor to see in the first few seconds.

Why? Because when we visit a site our attention span is very short. If we don’t see something to attract us and scream “Check this out!” then we will likely move on.

All of this was accomplished through Godaddy’s Website Builder. There are other hosting plans by Godaddy and other vendors that are just as strong or maybe stronger.

Here is a brief list of domain providers (alphabetical order) taken from Authors Academy:
·         1 and 1 (1and1.com)
1and1.com is a domain registrar that is both trusted and a reliable provider of hosting. Its services pretty much cover all types that are related to domain and Web hosting. Ideal for ITs (Information Technicians) as it has a dedicated server, website builder, SEO services, powerful web hosting, and email solutions.

You can get a domain for only $0.99 (first year) plus up to 5 sub-domains. In addition, it offers ecommerce.

·          Bluehost (Bluehost.com)
Bluehost.com is one of the best at the web hosting services. It is very useful to manage and host your website. Its one click installation of options allows you to easily install Drupal, Joomla, Prestashop, Zencart, and WordPress.

·         Dreamhost (Dreamhost.com)
Provides Web Presence Solutions to professionals, individuals and small businesses. Helps customers grow and develop their online presence by providing business class email service, ecommerce solutions, website builder products, digital certificates and web hosting.

·         Godaddy (Godaddy.com)
This is probably one of the best web hosting providers and domain registrar in the world. We use it for our author websites as well as the T&R Independent Bookstore.

Godaddy provides many services in addition to buying a domain ($2.95/year) and hosting ($1.99/month). These are Godaddy website builder, business email accounts, SSL certificates, SEO and other services.

·         Hostgator (Hostgator.com)
It has a popular web hosting service. They provide various types of hosting such as shared hosting, Reseller hosting, and VPS. In addition it provides dedicated server and domain registration.

These are just a few of the options available. Once you choose a hosting plan, dive in. Take their tour (if they offer you one). Learn about their tools and how to use them.

My suggestion is that you program yourself to write your website. That is just a fancy way of saying schedule the work. When people see a huge obstacle or job, it is like seeing an elephant. I always ask people, “Do you know how to eat an elephant?”

They usually give me a blank look until I answer, “By eating one bite at a time.”

And that is good advice when designing your website. Take your time, accomplish one task at a time. Before you know it the job will be done.

If you liked this blog visit our Facebook page, like it and post a comment.

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 R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. Authors Academy provides training in writing, publishing, and marketing.

The World That Was: Rodinia

Last issue we looked at the Resources I used. Today we are going to take a scientific look at how I came up with Pangaea, plus new discoveries.

First of all I am a fervent believer that an author has the responsibility to make his novels as realistic as possible. I am not referring to language or graphics, but rather to the underlining facts the novel is based on.

When I wrote Perished: The World That Was I used the latest information that I could find. That was 2010. Since then there has been increased details coming forth.

In fact, up until 2014 it was believed that a supercontinent called Pangaea was the world wherein the events of Perished would have taken place. Now we know that there was another previous supercontinent.

According to scientists the original supercontinent was Rodinia (Russian for “Mother Earth.”). While much is known about Pangaea they are still debating on the structure of Rodinia.

We do know that the Appalachians (located in Eastern U.S), Caledonians (located in the UK and Scandinavia), were not in existence at that time. Nor were many other modern mountain ranges.

When the Flood occurred Rodinia broke up and pieces of it formed Pangaea, which was underwater. They suggest that Pangaea lasted only a few weeks until our modern continents were formed.

This blog is not meant to be a scientific resource, but you can see how the dynamics of telling the story has changed. In fact, I am currently doing a rewrite of my very first book Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles as a Special Edition with a new title. This book will reflect the latest scientific knowledge on the subject of the Flood and, for that matter, the Ark.

Which brings me to the point I want to make: When writing a novel based in history always use resources that cover geography, climate, flora, fauna, manners, customs, and whatever else you can find.

For example, by including the latest facts in the novel the story will resonate with the readers, especially any who might know a thing or two about that historical period.

Some day I may rewrite Perished. If I do I will certainly include new information, thus enriching the reading experience.

For a list of resources I refer you to my recent blog on resources. You should find that a good starting place.

If you want to comment on this or any blog posts, please feel free to post your comments at RFrederickRiddlesWorld on Facebook.

 

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

The World That Was: Resources

Last issue we looked at the Historical Perspective. Today we are going to take a look at the Resources or Tools that I used.

 In the issue on Historical Perspective I was actually using several tools. There were a host of resources (tools) I used. Biblical Research is more than a tool – it is a system of tools I use. Each one of us have a system. So I am not promoting a particular system. Rather I am trying to get you to be as prepared as possible. Use your system as full as possible.

 Let’s look at some of the tools you have available. Some of these are aimed directly at Biblical information, but others are more recent.

  1.  Answers in Genesis (online Biblical resource)

  2. American History (Google this)

  3. Books on the Manners and Customs of the Bible (Library or Google)

  4. Books on the Manners and Customs of differing countries (Library or Google)

  5. Civil War books (Library or Google)

  6. Google search (almost any subject can be found here)

  7. History books (especially older ones predating the evolutionist influence)

  8. Institute for Creation Research (online Biblical resource)

  9. Revolutionary War (Library or Google)

  10. The Holy Bible (It is loaded with history)

  11. World History books (Library or Google)

 And the list goes on. These are the kind of tools I might use since I write on ancient history (especially Biblical history) and American History. The point is that there is a great deal of information at your fingertips for whatever subject you are interested in writing about.

 The computer and Internet has revolutionized how and what we can research. Use it!

Was this interesting? Helpful?

 Feel free to comment.

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Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

 

Vacation: Opportunity to Research Book

The idea for this blog came as my wife and I have been planning a vacation. Usually when we think of vacation it is fun and relaxation, but when we think of researching a book it is hard work.

 While on the face of it the two are not compatible, they can actually work together. One of the things most vacationers like to do is take pictures, both still and video. And one of the tools used for research is pictures. And there you have the connection.

Almost any genre can be researched when on a vacation. Here in the south there are many vacation spots where we could research geography, history or simply the local flavor of a town. Come to think about it, that’s not just the south, it is anywhere.

 For example, one of our favorite vacations was St. Augustine, Florida. This city is loaded with history and geography. The city claims to be the oldest city in America, has a 17th century fort, founded by Ponce De Leon, and so much more history. Plus lots of geography.

 When visiting a place like that you want to take a lot of pictures. Not to be filed away in a closet, but as potential story lines or at least background material. And you do this while having a good time!

 I don’t know if one of us will some day write a story that takes place in St. Augustine, but we could.

 Another source is brochures. These are usually packed with information that can tickle your imagination. Plus, there is the experience itself of walking the streets, visiting the various historical buildings, and seeing the city.

 All of these take place on a vacation and are potential research material for future stories.

 But, you say, I’m not planning t write on the place we’re going to vacation at. Doesn’t matter. You might change your mind, in which case if you took the pictures and picked up the brochures you have a gold mine of information.

 Or you might use the material for some other real or imaginary place!

 The simplicity is amazing! You actually do research while enjoying yourself. Instead of hours on the computer you see, feel, and smell the facts that may be just the nugget that fires up your imagination!

 So use your vacation as a research tool.


For more information on writing visit T&R Academy.

The Indie Movement

I’ve written on this subject before, but today I want to expand on the subject.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INDIE MOVEMENT

The Independent Press is sometimes referred to a small press. This is understandable as the Indie Press sprang from the small press. So first, let’s get a handle on small press.

Basically a small press has been categorized as a publisher with annual sales below $50 million dollars in the U.S. In addition they are categorized as publishers publishing an average of fewer than 10 books per year. However that is only an average, some do more.

According to Wikipedia these are “defined as publishers that are not part of large conglomerates or multinational corporations.”

WHAT IS AN INDIE?

What I am referring to, however, is authors becoming independent publishers of their own books! This was the purpose and inspiration for founding T&R Independent Books. We don’t handle any other authors, just ourselves. For this reason I suggest their is a clear line of separation between small presses and indie publishers.

Orna Ross (director of The Alliance of Independent Authors) says, “Being an independent author is an approach to writing and publishing, a matter of self-definition. If you see yourself as the creative director of your books, from concept to completion and beyond, then you’re indie.”

You could take that statement and expand on it. You could say, Being an independent publisher depends on how you see yourself. If you see yourself as a person wanting more control over the creative process (writing) plus the publishing, and marketing processes then you are an indie.

Being indie involves much more than just writing, but the potential rewards are also out there. Think of it this way: If you control most, if not all, aspects of writing, publishing, and marketing, you will also reap most of the profits.

Orna continues:

“At ALLi, “independent” is an inclusive description and always relative (everyone needs help to write and publish well). Some of our members are fiercely indie-spirited, as DIY as it’s possible to be. Others are happy to collaborate with a publisher where that seems advantageous, some working with paid publishing services, others with trade publishers.

So what marks out an indie from other authors? The Alliance allows that you are an independent author if:

  • You have self-published at least one book.
  • You recognize that ‘indie’ does not necessarily mean ‘self-publishing only’ and acknowledge that even the most indie-spirited self-publisher works in collaboration with other publishing professionals (editors, designers, distributors) to produce a good book and reach readers. You are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriate for you, so long as the author’s status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
  • You expect your status in the partnership to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
  • You recognize that you are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which is moving from seeing the author as resource (in the new parlance ‘content provider’) to respecting the author as creative director.
  • You are proud of your indie status, which you carry into all your ventures, negotiations and collaborations for your own benefit and to the benefit of all writers.”

Well put. If you are an author this is something that you should take a serious look at. But I go one step further. To me you are a business person and need to take a close look at establishing yourself as a legal entity.

WHAT DOES IT COST?

There are quite a few resources out there for authors to use. For example you could join ALLi, but they have an annual fee. There are others that offer you training at various prices, some reaching over $100. Then there are some who will give you some basics for free.

Some of you may be aware that I now offer a free package on the basics of writing. To learn more about the business of writing click Yes, Show Me More and discover our 3 in 1 free package.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that you are more than just a writer. You are a business person!

Should Writers Use Video?

I’ve recently been doing a lot of work on creating a mini-course for writers. It involved a bit of work and a lot of thinking, but I finally got it finished. I recently completed the video that tells about three different offers, actually a three-in-one offer, of which the mini-course is the ultimate gift. It is now on YouTube.

The inspiration for this course came once again from my own experience and from what I have learned over the years. The hardest part, believe it or not, was putting my face out there on video for all to see. I am not a person who in the beginning liked to stand in front of people, let alone a camera, and talk.

But the Lord has enabled me. Over the years He has used me as a Sunday School teacher, which really broke the ice. But He has also taught me how to use video to express ideas. And one of the truths He taught me is that it is not all about me, but about the idea I am promoting or talking about.

In the title I asked a question, “Should writers use video? Now I am not going to say that using videos in marketing your book will make you a great success, since I have only recently started using it. However, others do say so.

Among other things you can create videos for book trailers, YouTube ads, Facebook ads, and much more.

Actually I am increasingly using videos. Both in marketing and in the Authors Academy. I have found that it is an effective way of communicating.

If you have doubts just check my video out. As you will see I don’t have a fancy studio, I actually filmed it in my home office. Nor did I use fancy equipment. And that is the real beauty of it, you can create an interesting video without spending hundreds and thousands of dollars. As I said, watch the video. You will probably end up saying, “If he can do it, then so can I.”

It’s worth investigating!

SO HOW DO YOU DO VIDEO?

As mentioned above I use my home office. And I recommend you do the same. Even if you don’t really have an office, you can film it in your living room or wherever you feel most comfortable. That is important.

Standing up is also important. I have both stood and sat. Both can be effective, but I have rediscovered a truth that someone told me years ago, “you think better on your feet.” It is true. I’m no doctor so I can’t explain why, but standing seems to help your focus.

WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?

How about your computer’s camera? Or do you own a tablet, etc? These may not be the best cameras in the world, but they certainly seem capable to me. I have both a laptop and a cell phone. Haven’t used the cell phone much, but I have been real pleased with the laptop camera.

If you watched the video above, then you can see the quality. I am sure that if you spend hundreds of dollars you can do better, but I suggest you try your camera on either the laptop, tablet, or cell phone first.

WHAT ABOUT YOU TUBE?

The video above is on YouTube. It is a free service unless you start promoting the video on AdWords or elsewhere. Again, I encourage you to check it out.

This is not an in-depth look at videos, but it just might get the wheels spinning in your head. Explore ideas and do some research. I think you will be at least intrigued.