Readers Thoughts!

Book Bloggers Support to Authors

Previously published on Layeredpages Book Blogging isn’t always easy and takes a lot of time and effort. I am a firm believer it takes both the author and the blogger to work together for support of each other’s medium on social media. Bloggers and Authors lead such busy lives and it’s not always easy to be in contact with each other. We are always pulled in so many different directions. In many ways, I like to think that bloggers and authors have like minds in creativity and structure. We are in constant need of nurturing that creativity. But before I get carried away on that thought, let’s get back to bloggers supporting authors. Check list for supporting authors: This is the most important so I’m adding this first. DO NOT troll an author. Do NOT. I’ve seen bloggers use their platform to bash and harasses authors-for whatever reason-and I have zero respect for that. If you have a disagreement, do not further engage. And that means, do not smear the authors name on a public platform. Now, I don’t need to go into the reasons why you should not harass authors. You should be smart enough to figure out why.…

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Supporting Book Bloggers with Stephanie Hopkins

Previously posted on Layered Pages Book Bloggers are a unique breed of readers. Our passion for reading and sharing that passion runs deep within us. We have to express ourselves in this form of medium. We live a thousand lives through reading. We adore the written word. We not only do it for ourselves, but for other readers like us. Book Blogging isn’t always easy and we need help from the authors we shine a light on. We want our favorite authors to succeed and reaching out to as many readers as possible. By doing this, it takes both the authors and bloggers to support each other. Often times I hear authors talk about on social media how they aren’t reaching the audience they want. So here is what I have to say about that. Authors, you want to increase your audience on social media? There are several ways in doing that. Today, I’m going to talk about supporting the book blogger. You see, we are a major part of your social media success. Check list for supporting book bloggers: Be patient: Book Bloggers have day jobs and families to take care of to. When you appear as a guest…

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indieBRAG Battles BBBR!

What is BBBR you ask? I will explain but first let me share some facts that will come as no surprise to most of you: Bowker, an industry research group, reported that 458 thousand books were self-published in the United States in 2013, an increase of 17% versus the prior year, and 437% versus 2008. In contrast, the number of traditionally published books has remained basically flat at 305 thousand for the past five years. A quarter of the top 100 bestselling Kindle books on Amazon.com in 2012 were self-published via KDP, according to a spokesperson for Amazon. And this trend is expected to continue. I could go on but clearly there is an inexorable shift occurring in the publishing industry away from traditionally published books toward their indie counterparts. That's the good news for all of us who care about quality indie books and their dedicated authors. So what's the bad news? Well, the operative word in the preceding sentence was 'quality". Unfortunately, as we have seen first-hand at indieBRAG, up to 90% of all indie books are poorly written and edited. Or, as one traditional publisher said somewhat inelegantly, "the overwhelming majority are terrible—unutterable rubbish." Which brings me…

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Celebrating Your Children With Reading

With the ever increasing pull of technology we find great efficiencies and learn faster but are we struggling to teach our children the fine art of reading? And are they getting enough of that joyful silence where they steal themselves away and get lost in a great reading adventure. For the members and followers of IndieBRAG, reading is everything we are about, but even for us the struggle exists. Our children and grandchildren play with smart phones and tablets and get use to the immediate gratification that comes with rote learning. And it's quite amazing to see them tackle technology; preparing themselves for a world that we can only begin to imagine. But learning to read is hard work and takes the time and patience that is hard-won in our fast paced lives. Here are a few tips from our team and friends. Make consistent time to read. The easiest way for us all to turn off is to find a chunk of time and turn it into a ritual. Light a fire, make some snacks and encourage the children in your life to slow down and grab a book. Be a good example. Our children aren't the only ones…

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Oh My, Too Many Books!

  I just spent the day cleaning out my bookshelves- too many books for too little space. It seems I've kept every book I ever enjoyed – not sure why. I probably should have been giving them to my local library, or selling them in a garage sale, but I didn't. In my defense, I kept them all because I thought I might want to read them again one day. But since I kept buying more books that I couldn't wait to read, this didn't ever, or rarely ever, happened. So my shelves are overflowing with my treasures –beautifully bound classics, historical fiction (lots of these), fun reads, tear jerkers, bodice rippers (I admit it), even a few non-fiction books (memoirs, biographies and travelogues, oh my)...all books that I just could not give up. However, life moves on and things change; now I only buy and read books on my Kindle. They are much less expensive and I can take as many books as I like with me everywhere. I don't have to get sore arms holding a heavy book up in front of me in those dreadful airplane seats (never on take-off or landing, of course, except when the…

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The Acknowledgement Page May Be The Last One I Read

In the vein of the comment by Gloria H. I would like to add that there is another trap that all too many self-published authors fall into: it is the verbose, sometimes grandiose, and self-serving acknowledgement page, or even worse, pages. (I am using a male author to make my point but it applies equally to both sexes.) These invariably start off with something like, "I want to dedicate this book to my wife, Margie, who has put up with me for what seems like an eternity; my seven kids who are too numerous to name here but they know who they are; and the rest of my family, especially my aunt Rose and her Thursday night bridge group; also, my golf partner, Hole-In-One Harry, and the rest of our foursome at the club; and finally, my office wife, Darlene, who always made sure there was hot coffee waiting for me on those mind-muck mornings when I stumbled in to work after pulling an all-nighter. To all of you, I want to say thank-you for your support, your steadfast faith in me, and your encouragement..." Blah. Blah. Blah. Arguably, even worse was one indie thriller author who used the acknowledgement page to thank John Grisham and James Patterson, for the inspiration they provided that enabled him to write his book. Please! We know that you don't know these men, and you know that we know you don't know them; therefore, to credit them for inspiring you is not only the height of presumptuousness but just plain stupid. All of which says that whenever I read an acknowledgement that is greater than five or ten words, I shudder at what I will find on page one. So my advice to you who are about to self-publish a book is that unless you have written a mystery that cleverly incorporates chaos theory and you want to thank your professor at M.I.T. for his advice and guidance, just say a few words of thanks to your spouse, or your parents, and get on with your story! – Bob C. *The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of members of our reader group. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.

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Your Cover Never Gets A Second Chance To Make A First Impression

Respectfully, I have a word of cautionary advice for all you self-published authors who want to have your book read by a wide audience. It doesn't matter how good your tale is, it may not get read if you don't put the same degree of effort into designing the cover that you did into crafting the story. Bland and boring covers lacking in visual appeal, or those that give no indication of what I am about to read, turn me off before I even pick it up off the bookstore shelf, or read the description on-line. I guess I feel that if the cover isn't well-conceived perhaps the story won't be either. As a result, I may have passed up some good books that just didn't get my attention. A great example of a book with a compelling cover is one of the BRAG Medallion recipients listed on this website. It is Richard Dennings's The Last Seal. The book's cover portrays London burning, which is a central plot line and without having reading a word it captured my attention. – Gloria H. *The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of members of our reader group. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.

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I certainly appreciate the love affair with a good book

  Get with the times- I certainly appreciate the love affair with a good book - I have shelves full of them. BUT, like it or not, "the times, they are a-changin" (actually have changed). To not have your book available as an e-books is just crazy. We have reached a point where more people are buying e-books than print books and the gap will only get wider. Let's face it, fewer and fewer people are willing to spend $15- $30+ on just any book. This is not to say that you shouldn't publish a traditional book. When I love a book, I want it on my book shelves – somehow a library with only a Kindle or Nook on the shelf just doesn't do it for me! The initial cost of a n ebook reader is quickly recouped when reading books that cost $0- $10! Also, both amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com offer the opportunity to "sample" a book at no cost – no more being disappointed by a book that cost you in both time and money. ebooks authors, ebooks. According to AAP Publishers February 2011 Sales Report For February 2011, e-Books ranked as the #1 format among all categories of Trade publishing (Adult Hardcover, Adult Paperback, Adult Mass Market, Children's/Young Adult Hardcover, Children's/Young Adult Paperback). These statistics come from the trade publishers so we can assume that if you add self publishing to these figures they will be much higher! GJC *The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of members of our reader group. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.

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Interrupting a Great Story

When I think about why I love to read, I think about getting so lost in the story that I can't hear the teakettle whistling or even feel the need to reach for a cookie. Perhaps the story has the kind of dialogue that lets me see the characters in full animation sparking words and phrases back and forth like a tennis match. Sometimes the author is such a wordsmith that the village comes to life with stores, sidewalks, children, and a mountain behind and I just know that I've been there. If the writer is exquisite, the words flow like poetry, oozing out like oil paints to wrap my soul in time and place. When the story captures me, it flows and I am carried away to other places, other times, and it is brilliant. I don't like to have a great story interrupted, especially by the author themselves. Unfortunately, the best writers can be ruined by bad formatting or poor editing. Recently I read an e-book that was written by a true wordsmith, a writer that pushed the story along with the best dialogue and turned a phrase with pure poetry, a story-tellers dream. The grammar was perfect, but the dialogue was set up with odd punctuation marks that forced me to remember when a character was talking and who it was. The other problem was the writer's love affair with historic authenticity, to the point that there were footnotes at the bottom of each page. If I had been reading a paper book, I could have stayed with the flow of the story, but the e-book formatted on my Kindle in such a way that the footnotes usually ended up in the middle of the page and often in the middle of a sentence, so my eyes would have to jump over the footnote to continue with the thought. Good story floats imagination and poor grammar or distracting format can build a dam in the middle of the strongest river. - Bethany

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Proper use of the Adjective

The reason why I became a book reviewer was not only because my love for reading but because of my concerns for this age of immediate publication and the quality of the books that are being written and published. I fear that this will lower the reading standards of our future generations. I feel as a reader and a parent that we must filter out these poorly written books and find the gems! They're out there but we must stumble over many to find them. One of the concerns I have is I'm seeing more and more stories that contain adjectives in front of almost every single noun. I find that it hurts the integrity of the story and distracts the reader. If the adjective helps the quality of the word, then fine. In my opinion a strong writer knows when to use the "perfect" adjective. Another issue I have with adjectives is the use of what I call, "cliche" adjectives. I find them useless and again it lowers the quality of the noun and story. I hope that writers take what I say with a grain of salt, really consider my input as a reader and put it to good use. Steph Stephanie Moore Hopkins Author of Layered Pages Co-Founder of Ladies & Literature Book Reviewer for Historical Novel Society (on-line) Interviewer Business email address

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