The Self-publishing World

The SPBE October 27, 2012 NYC ~ No one will care about you book as much as you do

  Did you know that Shakespeare kept complete control over his writing and never relinquished any of his rights to a printer or publisher? The same holds true for many other famous authors. Obviously this is not a new idea; it's just much easier to do today thanks to the rapidly expanding world of self-publishing. As a result, traditional publishers are scrambling to change in an attempt to swim with the tide of SP not against it. Those that don't are about to disappear forever because self-publishing is now becoming a tsunami! Evidence of this is provided by the fact that the top six publishers are now searching self-published books for their next big hit. This puts indieBRAG in a pivotal position within the emerging SP industry because through our process, the sea of self-published books is being methodically filtered and purified. Self-publishing gives you, the author the ability to keep control of your creative work product and capture more of the profits. So why then are some successful SP authors seeking deals with traditional publishers? Well for one thing, self-publishing is hard work. In addition to the first and most obvious task of actually writing a great book, there…

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The SPBE October 27, 2012 NYC- Finding your Tribe!

    Decide who your audience is and go after them. Don't waste your time being too general. Knowing and targeting those who will have an interest in the type of book you write will increase the all-important word of mouth. Search the Internet for everything related to your genre – specific reading and writing groups, Internet boards and clubs. Once you have made contact, do not be afraid to talk about your book. Spend the time interacting with your fans wherever they are. People don't go on Facebook, Twitter and info boards to just read your ads; they want to get to know you. If you don't interact with them, they will quickly lose interest in you. Respond to their comments and share your thoughts and experiences that pertain to you as a writer and to your book. Make friends! You sell one book at a time and when readers interact with you they are more apt to tell a friend or share your book. These readers will become your tribe and will share in your success – let them. Reviews are a part of this process. Assuming you have done all the work and have written a good…

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The SPBE October 27, 2012 NYC

    Once again this year the SPBE was so informative and helpful to all the self-publishers who attended! I will be blogging about some of the things we learned and some of the people we met. This was our first year as exhibitors and it was well worth our time and money- we met some very important people and we were able to share our vision with so many. We met authors, publishers, editors and others who contribute to making your books a success. W also spoke with other companies in the indie book field such as audio book producers, all of which were very interested in indieBRAG. Many suggested we do joint ventures with them and we will consider this if they are helpful to our authors and readers. We spent a wonderful day with Katherine Ashe the author of the Montfort Series – one of our earliest Honorees. She did a terrific job of helping us spread the word and she gathered a great deal of information that will be helpful to us all. We really appreciate her support and her insights that will move us along in the future We also were able to spend a…

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Writing As Your Legacy

  There are seven billion human beings on earth as I write these words; a mind-boggling number that is difficult to grasp. One way to look at it is that if Bill Gates, the richest man in America, were to distribute his enormous fortune equally to every person in the world, we would each only get $9.42. Hardly worth the effort, so relax Mr. Gates we won't push for income redistribution. Out of that teeming mass of seven billion people very few of us will ever be rich or powerful or famous. Most of us will be born, live, and die without ever having made any impact upon the world whatsoever. An exception, perhaps, are those of us who have been blessed with children, thereby helping to perpetuate the human race―a critical if not noteworthy accomplishment. Lest you become overwhelmed by the futility of our shared existence, take heart. There is something you can do to help ensure that your footprints are etched into the bedrock of history, rather than blown away on the sands of time: namely, write a book. Yes, you. Conventional wisdom says that 80% of us feel we have a book inside us. But unless you take the time to commit it to paper, or even better, to an electronic file, your name will soon be forgotten after you're gone. The same holds true even for those of you who have children. If don't believe me, ask yourself this question: what are the names of your great grandparents? My case rests. So stop making excuses; stop procrastinating. Find the time to write that book bouncing around inside your brain. There has never been a better time to do this. The relatively new and rapidly expanding world of self-publishing has given you the opportunity. Seize it! Once you have written it, have it professionally edited, and then release it to the world. Even if it is not a best-seller, it will live on long after you have shuffled off this mortal coil―and someday, somewhere, someone will read it and know that you were here. Robert                                                                                                                                          indieBRAG

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Promoting Wisdom from Stephanie!

indieBRAG: If you are a BRAG Medallion honoree, congrats! Now it's time to get to work. Share with the world that you have been honored! Not only will promoting that you are a BRAG Medallion Honoree get your book out there, but supporting indieBRAG in everything they do will help as well. Share indieBRAG's website to other sites. Talk about them on facebook, twitter and share to any writer's group that you might belong to. You want indieBRAG to work for you and they do as well, but they need your help. indieBRAG Virtual Book Tours: We are excited about this new venture and want to encourage our authors to participate. Several times a year we will select authors and will be contacting you regarding this book tour. I encourage you to take full advantage of this. What a great way to promote your work and indieBRAG. www.bragmedallion.com Layered Pages: I have had the honor of working with indieBRAG on several projects. The first project is interviews, promoting indieBRAG and finding them readers to read your wonderful stories! If you are interested in an interview please contact me at, layeredpages@yahoo.com. Also, indieBRAG and I are starting a new project that I think you all will be excited about. indieBRAG Virtual Book Tours! If your interested in this project and would like to participate, you may contact indieBRAG or Layered Pages for more information. This is another great way to promote your book! If you would like to see how the interviews are conducted, please visit www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Goodreads: BRAG Authors, it is so important to utilize Goodreads. 1. Make sure your profile is compete. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself on there. Add a link to your website, blog, and the BRAG Medallion site on there as well. 2. Everytime you post on your website, create an event for it on Goodreads. It's so easy to do and very effective. 3. Encourage people to write reviews of you work and to post it on Goodreads. 4. Be active on Goodreads as a reader. Members like to see authors who are big readers like them and they are more likely to add your book "to read" if you are active. 5. Hold giveaways on Goodreads about three months before you publish your book. Then hold another one on the publish date and repeat every three months. 6. Hold discussions on your profile. It's a great tool! Facebook: Facebook is another great tool for promoting/networking and to meet other authors and readers. Every time you add a new post to your website, link it to Facebook. Also, you can create groups and pages on there about your work. Share other authors work as well, get involved. Sharing written reviews about your book on this site is wonderful! And most importantly its okay to do a little shameless bragging about your work! Twitter: Tweet about your work and others. Re-tweet other authors work as well and reviews, and blogs you like. This is another great tool. Stephanie,

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indieBRAG Reaches Important Milestone!

   We are proud to announce that in the first six months since indieBRAG, LLC launched our website 400 self-published books have been considered as candidates for the B.R.A.G.MedallionTM. Of this total, 50 books, or over 12%, have been awarded our medallion indicating that they were judged by our readers to be books they would recommend to their best friend. We are delighted that this acceptance rate is over double what might have been expected based on industry experts who estimate that only 5% of self-published books are well written and properly edited. We believe the reason is that the vast majority of these books were nominated by their authors and there is a degree of self-selection occurring, whereby only those authors who are truly proud of their accomplishment choose to have them judged by our impartial reader group. Accordingly, we are careful to advise those authors whose books were not chosen that this should not be interpreted as disparagement of their work or of them as authors. It is simply a function of the rigor that we apply to our process. Furthermore, we do not make public the titles of books which have been reviewed but were not selected to receive our medallion, or the names of their authors. As I write this nominations are pouring in and we expect to quickly reach the 500 mark and beyond! And the reason for our amazing acceptance among the rapidly expanding world of self-publishing is that we provide enlightenment of the readers, by the readers, and for the readers of self-published books!

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Promo or No Promo?

What is the best way to get attention for your book? Renee Pawlish did an interesting piece on her blog - To Become A Writer on what is the best way to promote your book or not to promote at all. According a recent Taleist survey, there seems to be very little benefit to paying for reviews or ads and that most successful authors would agree that word-of-mouth is the number one driving force to success. But how do you generate such word-of-mouth? Certainly your family and friends are great advocates but not enough to drive up sales! Reviews do matter, but one of the issues that we have avoided here at B.R.A.G. is whose reviews. Sites where an author, all of his friends and family fill the reviews with glowing accounts of the best book ever, gives a reader false hope this is going to be a book they will like. I don't believe a reader chooses a book because it is self-published or not, but reading a bad self-published book might give them the impression that most are not worth reading and shy away from a book because it is self-published. Where do you get worthwhile reviews? Well, first of all, here at B.R.A.G. We have a global reading base who are not in any way related to the authors and have nothing to gain but the satisfaction of finding the next really good book. Goodreads and Facebook are also a great way to find reviewers and bloggers to offer your book to. Here is something to consider when you are out trying to get the attention you hope will send your book to the bestseller lists- Make sure this books is well conceived, well written, thoroughly edited (both story and copy) and properly formatted. Let us not forget that word-of-mouth can go both ways. One bad review probably won't destroy your chances for success but several certainly will. Another widely accepted view is that to be a bestselling author, you have to write books! Once fans have discovered your amazing book they will be looking for more and if you don't provide them with more great stories, they will most likely stop talking and that is exactly what you don't want. So my humble opinion is write, write, write and use the advertising money you save on editing and a really great cover. Let the knowledgeable readers on Goodreads, facebook and other social media know your are out there and spend what little time you have left in a day getting reviews. Yes, I think word-of-mouth is the answer – just make sure it is authentic enough to carry your book to the top and, most important, make sure your book is ready for such scrutiny! Oh, and of course, a B.R.A.G.Medallion will tell all readers this is a book worth your time and money!

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Ebook or Print? Join the conversation!

 Amazon UK's report that ebook sales have outstripped the sales of all print formats combined. According to unaudited figures released by [Amazon UK] on Monday, since the start of 2012, for every 100 hardback and paperback book sold on its site, customers downloaded 114 ebooks.                                                                                                                                        Posted by Victoria Strauss for Write Beware                                                                         Read full article @ http://accrispin.blogspot.com/ Self-publishing is exploding and the number of successful self-published authors is also growing. It is now an accepted and viable alternative to traditional publishing so the debate over whether self-publishing is a wise choice is diminishing. Now the discussion seems to be turning to how best to publish: in print or as an eBook. There are many advantages to eBook publishing; it is cheaper, faster, and, I suppose, the lower purchase price often contributes to higher sales volume. However, it is difficult for many indie authors to give up seeing their precious work sitting on the shelf or desk. The feel, look, and even the smell of a new book all create a feeling that a digital file on an eBook reader never will. Moreover, it is hard to impress your friends with your novel stored in an eBook reader like you can with a book placed casually on the coffee table. "Oh that? It's my latest book". Our B.R.A.G.MedallionTM Honorees have done it all ways: print only, eBook only, and both print and eBook. But which is best? We would love to have your thoughts on this. As readers, which do you prefer? As writers, how did you decide to publish as you did? Join the conversation -

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Montfort The Founder of Parliament – Of Journey and Research

Author Katherine Ashe's four book series depicting Simon de Montfort was completed in print in September of 2011 when Montfort The Angel with the Sword was made available for purchase. This concluded 34 years of research, writing, and travelling to the locales where Simon once lived. The series was written under the "aegis of fiction" owing to gaps and rampant bias in the historical record, but the conclusions Ashe reached follow a logical and well-reasoned strand, making her research take on the flavor of an investigation. Thirty-four years of investigative efforts are extraordinary, and result in some extraordinary and unconventional points of view in her novels. For many years it was considered a hanging offense in England to utter Simon de Montfort's name; thus what accounts there were of him were chiefly negative, which explains why modern authors often condemn him. What drew Ashe's curiosity to Montfort was the fact that he was acknowledged as pivotal in founding modern democratic government, but little about his life was general public knowledge and most of what was written cast him in a traitorous light. Concerning a man at the crux of something so revolutionary and as early as the 13th century, there had to be a reason for why he was so marginalized and maligned. This mystery piqued Ashe's interest. Her investigations began in 1977 as she read through every volume on Montfort available in New York City's public libraries. But these books, with historian after historian contradicting each other, spurred her to dig further, leading her to seek out the actual, original source material at the British Library and the Public Record Office in London and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. In 1978 at the Bibliotheque Nationale the request slip given to the clerk brought forth the Montfort Archive, a boxed volume of original early charters, trial notes of Simon's trial for treason in 1262 and a brief autobiography written by Simon himself in connection with the trial. At the London Public Record Office, the 13th century scrolls used by royal clerks for the purpose of tracking royal expenditures was offered, along with a pair of velvet-covered bricks so the reader, unrolling the scroll from one side and letting it roll up again on the other could brace the opened part, keeping the document from coiling itself shut. In the neat and orderly Latin of the Chancery script Ashe found items that provided new insights. A Pipe Roll entry in November 1238 concerned a payment to a physician who guaranteed that if the Queen and King drank an herbal tisane and prayed at the tomb of Saint Edward the queen's barrenness would be cured. Ashe knew that seven months later the Queen was reported (by Matthew Paris) to have given birth to a remarkably strapping infant, clearly not puny and premature. Christened Edward for the saint who worked this miraculous birth, that child would reign as Edward I, King of England. What was happening concerning this sequence of events? Where was the Queen nine months before the birth? The Royal Charters showed the King and Queen were at Kenilworth, the home of Simon de Montfort -- the same friend who, at the Queen's Churching -- six weeks after the birth and on the occasion of the Queen's first confession since her pregnancy -- would be accused by a distraught King Henry of being a seducer. The breach of friendship with King Henry was so sharp that Simon fled for his life and was in exile for four years. Following that incident, Henry would vacillate between cajoling Simon into serving him militarily and attempting to send him to death for treason. Henry needed a male heir far too much to be able to repudiate Edward, but once he had another son, his behavior toward Edward became treacherous as well, as evidenced by his sending the boy into perilous situations; Henry bestowed the rebellious province of Gascony upon him when he was only fifteen -- the same province where the King's brother Richard, as overlord, had narrowly escaped being murdered. Beginning with the payment to the physician, Ashe pursued a line of investigation that has lead to her highly controversial speculation that Simon de Montfort was the natural father of Edward I. Framing her work as an historical novel, she explores the question, and how and why it could have come about. But the issue of Edward's paternity comprises but a small fraction of the whole of the Montfort series. There are other speculations as well: for example, was Montfort the link between the Emperor Frederic II's use of a cannon at his siege of Milan -- the first known use of the weapon in Europe -- and the description of a cannon in the works of Roger Bacon? Additionally there is a crucial issue, mentioned twice by the thirteenth century chronicler Matthew Paris but ignored by every modern historian. After creating the Provisions of Oxford, which are in effect the constitution that defines the two houses of Parliament, the barons who had done this work abandoned the project. Going off in pursuit of the King's fleeing brothers, they lay siege to the brothers at Winchester, and there they were poisoned, many of them dying, others never recovering their health. The issue here is that Montfort did not go with the barons but stayed behind at Oxford, evidently thinking it was strategically more important to put the Provisions into effect. The logical thread indicates he did not seize power as he is accused, but stepped into the power vacuum resulting from the illness of virtually all of the other active barons. He was not a tyrant seizing power, but a military commander who had a clearer idea of priorities than his fellow lords had. This gives a very different view of Montfort than the power-hungry despot his detractors portray. Again, Ashe's tenacious research has led to an unconventional conclusion as she followed the trails of logic. Eventually Ashe's research was carried on at the Astor Tilden Lenox Library in New York where 19th century reprints of a broad range of 13th century documents widened her understanding of the period, and the prejudices of Montfort's contemporaries both for and against him. In addition to the J.A. Giles translation of Matthew Paris's Chronica Majora, on extended loan to her through the kindness of the librarian at The New York Society Library, she was able to obtain two Stewart era reprints of the work in the original Latin. The Monumenta Franciscana opened for her a view of Simon's friendships, chiefly with his mentor Bishop Robert Grosseteste and Grosseteste's followers, Bishop Walter Cantaloup, Geoffrey de Boscellis and Adam Marsh, all of whom were of the Franciscan order. Not only did she read his friends' letters pertaining to public marital harmony, but, from covering letters that accompanied loaned books, she also discovered Simon's reading list -- as much as was available. Chiefly these were religious tracts such as Saint Gregory's Commentaries on the Book of Job -- which no doubt Simon must have found very heartening during his years of travail as Viceroy in Gascony. Concerning his faith, from the writings of his friends and even his enemies it was clear to Ashe that Simon was a deeply religious, yet a flawed man who found that harsh penance could scarcely atone for his sins. Ashe gives readers an informed look into his spiritual condition which helps explain why his mentor Grosseteste played such a major role in his life. Reading the same books, religious tracts, and biblical commentaries Simon read, afforded Ashe a deeper than usual view into Montfort's spiritual and psychological makeup. In her books Grosseteste's admonitions and encouraging words to Simon, some quoted, some literary invention (which she always grounded on the spirit of Grosseteste's own writings) contain practical, biblical wisdom and underscore why Simon read such spiritual works as the Commentaries with special interest. The Book of Job concerns a timeless message of spiritual resolve during harsh trials – a man alone amid his enemies is symbolized by the lily among the tares (choking weeds.) This is a vivid metaphor that mirrors Montfort's need for endurance during his time in rebel Gascony. And it makes clear why he changed his shield's blazon from his accustomed fork-tailed red lion rampant to a lily. In her second volume, The Viceroy, Ashe uses this research detail in this exchange between Simon and his son Henry: "When we reach La Reole I must have a new shield made," Simon mused. "I'll have it painted with a lily. In white on an azure ground." "Not our red lion?" Henry asked, dismayed. Simon shook his head. "I want the lily that Saint Gregory writes of—that grew among the tares, like Job who lived among the wicked folk of Uz but kept his faith." Scouring the same books Simon read not only enabled bright detail, but it helped explain Simon's transformation from a man given solely to harsh penance into a figure who begins to apply the years of practical wisdom from his mentor Grosseteste. This is not a lapse or an unwonted character swing; it is Ashe's intimate knowledge of de Montfort and his maturation. She has captured the subtle changes in Simon's personal beliefs and passions, based on the books he read and the clues he left behind. Her knowledge and appreciation of de Montfort's reading matter gives readers an unbiased and intimate look into the religious transformations that were slowly growing across Europe during this period, and how individuals such as Simon were drawing upon those changes. There was the entire world in which Montfort lived that needed to be understood. Ashe threaded her way not only through the period's religious views, agriculture, economics, armor and architecture (palatial, military and vernacular.) In her words, "My research has been done almost entirely the old fashioned way -- going to the original sources as much as possible, and reading, and reading, and reading." However, her practical research brought her as far as taking sword lessons and renewing her riding skills. One of the most persistent questions she found, in writing about a time before modern transportation and communications, was how long did it take, normally or at top speed, to get from one place to another? The beginning of her first book describes a joust between a young Simon and a seasoned challenger. By interviewing jousters, she was able to capture Simon's well-schooled, but yet, untried skills and merge those with his documented nearsightedness. However, as with her riding instructors, she found that each jouster had his own style and few agreed with one another. Conversely, replica distributors and manufacturers have now recreated the armor and the high saddles of the period; however, the heavy breeds of horses, though deft and swift, have not yet been recreated. There is only so far that research can go before speculation must fill in the gaps. Ashe visited Simon's manors, not only Leicester and Kenilworth, but Chawton, Hinkley, Asheby de la Zouche, and his wife's castle at Odiham. Other sites, including the battlefield of Evesham, and places relevant to Simon in Paris, Normandy, Poitou and Gascony helped her craft the vivid scenes in the series. In addition, Ashe walked where Simon, his peers and enemies walked, even retracing King Henry's tour of Paris with King Louis. She visited La Reole, Simon's stronghold in Gascony with its grand tower room, the towns where he held court as Viceroy, each of the cities he conquered in England, and the spring that formed at Evesham where he died. The use of primary sources coupled with practical application enabled Ashe to have a keen understanding of the cultural and physical world in which Montfort lived. She took no detail for granted. To further illustrate how Ashe's practical approach buttressed her research: she drew upon her time spent in theater as a playwright, director, and actor. In a stage play everything written must be do-able and there must be continuity. If an actor is instructed to pick something up, he must be told when and where to put it down. Every detail must be very clear in the playwright's, or the director's, mind. Every scene requires to be played out in a logical and well-informed fashion. Historical fiction authors can gain much from Ashe's method of investigation, and readers will appreciate the tenor of her novels. Not a little space is left at the end of each novel where she details the flow of her logic, providing the phrase in question, the source, cultural milieu, and oftentimes the direct reference in her source. Many historical fiction authors devote a page or two devoted to source information or perhaps a paragraph that states that the novel is a fictional work. Ashe clarifies from the outset in her novels that Montfort is written "under the aegis of fiction" because of the gaps in the historical record. She does take liberties that would not be allowed a historian, which is why she novelized this account of Simon de Montfort and calls it "informed speculation." However, the evidence and passages where she used conjecture, which she provides in the notes section illuminates her logic and reasoning when she fills in the historical gaps. Some might call her evidences circumstantial, or say that her cause and effect approach lacks validity. But no historian of so distant a time in the past works with complete evidence. All must speculate, and many repeat others' earlier speculations, making them appear, by repetition, to be "facts." Ashe makes her cases on each point with conviction. Montfort is not a dry work of research, but a fast-paced story of adventure where Ashe's 34 years of investigative research have resulted in sweeping, life-like scenes. She shares with readers the delight she experienced during her journey in a way that connects with her audience. She has critics, but her answers parallel the reasoned approach she takes in her novels; she answers with a dexterity, grace, and polish that few authors could replicate. Many would ask why she would spend 34 years researching such an ambiguous individual and novelizing his life. But her reasons are quite simple: "My intent is not to write a definitive biography, but to rouse public interest in a man whose life truly changed the world — who has affected all of our lives up to the present, and will into the future as long as governments seek their authenticity through people's elected representatives." vist Katherine Ashe at her author's page on amazon.com to experience Simon de Montfort's 13th century world and visit her blog to learn more about Simon de Montfort. Scott Higginbotham

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Print or Digital?

There is a debate among self-published authors right now as to whether it is worth producing a print book when eBooks are outselling print. Cost considerations are often cited as the reason to only offer an eBook. An SP author obviously needs to sell quite a few books to recoup the outlay of expenses associated with a print book. BUT, there is a problem for the author that he or she may not realize, specifically in rural America. Very few if any people living in rural areas have access to high-speed internet. Yes there are satellite internet providers but for those of you who have never dealt with them, this service is not cheap and it is not dependable. The equipment charges and monthly fees put it out of reach for many rural dwellers. Moreover, snow, rain and clouds can interrupt service (and frequently do!). Some social thought leaders believe that rural America is falling behind in the information revolution for just this reason. The New York Times stated that this, in effect, is a blow against equal opportunity. Whether true or not, it certainly affects eBooks and digital publishing. This invariably makes frequent shopping on sites like amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com a rare experience for those in rural communities. How does this affect us as self-publishers? Well, there is no question that eBooks are outselling print books―the statistics don't lie. But there is still an audience out there for print books. There are those who can't take advantage of the digital explosion and those that don't care to; readers who like the feel and smell of a book and want to line their shelves with their beloved books. The brutal fact is that authors who only publish in an eBook format are simply not taking advantage of this group of consumers, even if it is an ever shrinking group! Here are my thoughts on this – First, if you can only do one, print or eBook, always have an eBook version of your book. Authors who choose to only publish a print book are out-of-step with the times.

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