Authors' Chat

Childhood Memories and Rainy Days

By J F Ridgley-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree  Funny how certain days linger in your memory forever.  Stephanie suggested a topic for the indiebrag blog…“Try to recreate a day of reading from your childhood or teen years and write about it,” she asked. And a cherished memory sprang to life the instant I read her prompt. Freeimages.com Niles N Kristensen It began on a cloudy, rainy days, all gray, drippy, and cold. My family and I lived on a busy, city street where, on this day, cars, trucks and buses hurried by, spraying large puddles of water onto the sidewalks.  Our house was a simple one, barely more than a two bedroom ranch with a front porch, which is where this memory  began. On that porch swing. As a young girl no more than ten, I loved that swing on any day. It swung my dolls to sleep, thrilled me and my friends when we banged it against the house as we laughed together on a hot summer day. But this was spring and raining, not storming. Just a steady downpour flowed from the thick gray clouds, watering  spring flowers, turning winter yards to a lush green, and kept everyone inside. Everyone except…

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Covers in Color by Holly Bush

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree! When I began self-publishing my historical romances back in 2011, I did not have a clear vision of the sales ocean I was dipping my toe in, and even with some significant marketing background, I did not have the experience or understand the particulars about product placement in the book biz. I scanned the Amazon and Barnes & Noble book site pages for hours and hours, recording and cataloging what covers drew my eye. I had virtually no budget, as I’d not sold any books at that point, for models or photos or the software to design a cover and in 2011 there were few, if any, sources for pre-made book covers. Romancing Olive’s original black and white cover was put together by my daughter using borrowed software and a $10 photo. The second black and white cover for Train Station Bride and the third, Reconstructing Jackson, were also done in much the same way. At the time I was not convinced I could compete with the gorgeous color covers coming out of New York, so I decided to go the opposite direction and be the black, tan, and gray, amongst the violet, chartreuse, rose, and periwinkle.…

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So, you want to write a novel?

By Helen Hollick B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Don’t we all? Well, I assume most visitors glancing through this article are keen to write, hence reading this in the first place. (Although, of course, I might be jumping to conclusions – some of you are also readers.) There’s a saying ‘write what you know about’. It is, sort of, useful guide but if you want to write historical fiction – well I don’t know many people who were actually there in Roman, Medieval, Tudor or the American Civil War eras. Not in person, so it isn’t easy to know how people lived, loved, fought and died in these centuries. Which is where research comes in. From academic books, from history magazines, from quality documentaries on T, and from the Internet. (Good old Wikipedia and Google Search!)  All are useful sources for information, but beware. Not all internet sources are accurate. I once queried some ‘facts’ used in a historical novel, tactfully implying that they were not correct. The author emailed me back, most indignant, claiming she had looked at several sources on the ‘Net. It was a fairly obscure subject so I took a look. Indeed, there were several articles, but on…

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The indieBRAGs on My Shelf by Carrie Beckort

It’s probably not surprising to learn that I was a reader long before I was a writer. I’ll admit that I have days when I struggle with the urge to read and the need to write. I only have so many hours in the day after all. And, unfortunately, I’m not a very fast reader. I used to read primarily one author, but over the years I’ve worked hard at trying new reads. Now that I write, I try to extend my reading reach even more. I wrote up a post over on the group blog I’m a part of, Across the Board, about how I now love embracing an open reading lifestyle. I never used to establish reading goals. I had my book club reads, but beyond that I’d just read what sounded interesting. However, this year I decided to establish a loose reading goal—focus on books already on my shelf and self-published books. The number of books on my physical to-be-read book shelf is expanding rapidly. I’m running out of room, so I need to start knocking some of those off my list. My Kindle has also grown to a number that’s outside of my comfort zone. I…

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How did you discover indiebrag?

I have had the honor of interviewing B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees for a few years now and will continue that honor. One of the questions I ask the authors is how they discovered indiebrag. I am always fascinated with their answers and I thought, why not blog about it? It would be fun. Beginning today, I will frequently share quotes from authors on how they discovered indiebrag. How did you discover indiebrag? Egore Pitir -While venturing down the Internet rabbit hole labeled “self-published reviews,” trying to divine reputable from reprehensible, I finally came across the bookbaby blog, and their article entitled “5 Places Indie Authors Can Get Their Books Reviewed.” All five seemed to have legitimacy, but indieBRAG possessed the most unique concept, and seemed to put the reader’s needs first. I liked that a lot. Full interview here             Alan Bray - I believe I learned about IndieBRAG through an internet search regarding self-publishing resources. I sent in an application and was delighted to be accepted. They have been very helpful with promoting my book. -Full Interview here               Laurie Boris -I’m grateful to be aboard today and so…

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Reviews – Who needs them?

We all do, of course. Or at least, we believe we do. It is the Amazon reviews we are really craving. After all, that is where we sell most of our books. We have also learned if you achieve fifty reviews on Amazon, the company begins to take you seriously, and you could be featured in their newsletter and/or other promotions. I do not know how true the statement is, but one of my books has achieved this target, and it is selling well. How can we get there? Maybe, like myself, you purchase products other than books on Amazon. Perhaps, you ordered a set of towels, for example, or a coffee maker? When your items arrive, you open the carton and begin using the contents, but did the thought of leaving a review ever cross your mind? Backing up a step, remember when you were searching for the product? Did the number of reviews influence your purchase? Did you read the review and, if so, did the negative reviews cause you to continue shopping? We could begin leaving reviews ourselves on all products purchased on the Amazon site. The number of reviews, especially, if they are helpful to others,…

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Talking to people is all you need to do by Malcolm Noble

Peggy Pinch-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree The cynic will say that a platform may be defined to suit whatever author service the blogger is trying to sell us.  You're right.  I don't start out as a fan.  I'm repeatedly told that legacy publishers are looking for established author platforms. That's as may be - but I am not looking for a legacy publisher.  So, surely the concept is of no more than a passing interest to confident self-sustaining authors? However, Polly Courtney's strap line tells us that self-publishers do everything that traditional publishers do - but they do it better.  So let's, at least, look at it. I have settled on the elements set out by Jane Friedman in her 2012 blog. A target audience. Authority. Visibility. Proven reach. I warm to this because it reflects my own experience.  Please forgive me but I do need to offer a brief account of my own self-publishing career if the rest of this blog is going to make any sense.  My third book earned me a complimentary ticket to the London Book fair.  When I saw the almost obscene amounts that the grown-ups were spending on promoting their lead title for the season, I realised that playing on…

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The Genie Effect by Virginia King

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree How Authors Write Stories that Are Bigger than They Are Some authors plan their stories in advance. Then the writing process puts flesh on the bones of this outline. A few surprises may turn up along the way, but the story follows the plan. In this post I look at a different process called ‘pantsing’ – writing by the seat of the pants. This is when an author has little or no idea what they’re about to write – until they write it. These kinds of writers – like me – are keyhole peepers who wonder what might be lurking on the other side of the door. Their novels are a mystery to them and they discover the story by writing it. This uncorking of an unknown genie is a wild ride, scary and big. It’s also serious fun. Writing without a plan Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being) has a great explanation: The characters in my novels are my own unrealised possibilities. Each one has crossed a border which I myself have circumvented … Beyond that border begins the secret the novel asks about. Wow. His characters are taking him places he hasn’t been, through…

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Reading: The Gift that Keeps on Giving!

  The year was 1955.  I was ten years old, and it was the most important year of my life.  My family and I were in the first full year of living in the small suburban town of Oradell, New Jersey.  The house we lived in was a rental, built somewhere in the late 19th century. It was so old that there were still remnants of the coal furnace formerly used to heat it, before the new oil-fired one was installed.  We were privileged to have not only a porch, but a yard, as well—actually, three: front, side, and back.  In the side yard were several trees, and among them was a pear tree, which would play an important part in my young life. By age ten, I was already a habitual reader, having been introduced to literature by my mother when I was two. Back then, we lived in a federal housing project in Brooklyn.  Mom would read to me as I sat on her lap in front of the picture window in the living room.  I loved seeing the word pictures she painted as she read to me. Before long, I was reading for myself.  My love affair with words has continued to the present. Imagine my…

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10 Things I’ve Learned About Writing

By Seeley James B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree   When I started writing Sabel Security Thrillers four years ago, I thought I knew what I was doing. I hired editors, proof readers, cover artists, etc, and worked on my first book, The Geneva Decision, until it was ready for prime time. I put it out there and waited for the acclaim. Crickets. So, I examined my career and deconstructed successful indie careers looking for the best path to fit my skills and personality. My goal was, and still is, to write the most compelling political thrillers on book shelves today. My first book, post-launch assessment was: long way to go. I envied writers like Russell Blake, Melissa Foster, Joanna Penn, Mark Dawson and so many others who wrote lots of focused books (a small number of characters, few locations, and a single-goal plot). My books sprawl across continents with a cast as big--but not as prone to death and dismemberment--as Game of Thrones. My books are complex and take longer to write because I often get lost halfway through my first draft. In the early days, I spent more time patching plot holes and combining surplus characters than writing the first draft.…

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