The Self-publishing World

What’s a Beta Reader and how do you find them?

Beta Readers A Beta reader, also known as a pre-reader, is an essential component that all authors should consider utilizing.  Beta readers are defined as non-professional.  They are readers who enjoy reading and who want to help writers be successful.  (In truth, we want to read the book first and watch the creative process in action and feel like we helped.)  Beta readers will look over written materials for plot errors, grammar and spelling errors, issues with character development and suggestions to improve the book.  Included in their services, they can also be fact checkers; however, if you need to designate one as a fact checker communicate that to the person.  They are a wonderful resource that is gaining in popularity due to the ease of finding and communicating with folks who are truly interested in seeing a writer succeed. But why should anyone use beta readers?  Beta readers don’t have to be nice to you, they do not have a close or personal relationship with you like family members, spouse or even good friends.  They will give you honest feedback that you must evaluate and either take their suggestions seriously or not. Let’s be honest here, as a writer…

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Did you know that many of our indieBRAG readers are authors? Why should that matter?

  I read an interesting article the other day about the importance of authors reading books – even if they don’t like to read.  Does that strike anyone else as very strange-- Not the importance of reading, but an author not liking to read?  How can an author write a compelling story and expect readers to enjoy their work if they don’t enjoy reading?  Mind boggling. Reading for indieBRAG gives a reader an opportunity to analyze both the good and not so good attempts at writing a worthy book.  I have often been told by authors that after reading a book for indieBRAG they have gone back to change things in their current works.  It is not uncommon to find things they don’t particularly like only to realize they have committed the same error in their writing.  So, you see, it isn’t important to only read the great classics, but to also learn from those who are trying to appeal to your audience as an author. Stephen King has also said in his book on writing: “The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing… Constant reading will pull you into…

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Sweet Potato Pie in Julia’s Garden!

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within. ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together! Laura Wharton’s Julia’s Garden Landscape designer Lily McGuire not only has to take over a big landscaping job after her boss unexpectedly dies, but then has to follow the clues about a long ago disappearance, a buried brooch and an unusual collection of toxic plans! Author Laura Wharton told me, “As I plotted the storyline, I wanted the garden to mirror the characters, who are not at all what they seem, as Lily McGuire finds out.” A strange man shows up in Lily’s office and gives her a 1940’s garden journal, which he says killed her boss and best friend.  This connects Lily to Julie’s disappearance, her buried brooch and her unusual collection of toxic plants—a mystery perfect for a landscape architect to…

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Sarah’s Tomato Pie

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within. ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together! Susan  the indieBRAG Food Sarah’s Journey by David Beasley Review and Recipe by Susan Weintrob Her father and later her half-brother were her masters.  But family ties did not free her nor guarantee fair treatment. Sarah’s situation worsens, becoming so horrific that she fears for her life from her step-brother-master’s brutality. Sarah Kinney Lewis, born into slavery in 1790, finally escapes to Canada in 1822 with three of her children. "I heard a school librarian in Simcoe mention that a student wrote an essay about a slave who had a son by the town’s richest merchant and that their son became one of the richest men in NYC.” Thus began David Beasley’s research on the life of Sarah Kinney Lewis, born into slavery…

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indieBRAG 2017 Cover Contest Prizes!

                             The Grand Prize will include the following items, with an approximate retail value of over $1000.                           Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prizes.   Cover will be featured on the indieBRAG Homepage      Cover will be featured on the indieBRAG Facebook Page Cover will be featured on indieBRAG Twitter          Audio Book Radio One Hour interview, book excerpt reading       WordsAPlenty  - Editing of new book or re-editing (Value over $400)  Beta Reading (Value $75)    Silverwood Books Publishing  -  Publishing Package including the following:  12.5% discount on the Silver Service Package (Value $300) 12.5% discount Publishing Service Only Package - for authors with their own ISBN and that prefer to manage their own distribution and sales (Value $240)   Providence Book Promotions  -   1 free book blast (Value $125) on either: Partners in Crime Tours (for mystery & suspense genres) or Providence Book Promotions (for all genres)   Chill With A Book  -     Free Submission for one book (Value $20)     Layered Pages  -  Interview, review with…

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The Fifty Shades of Grey Effect

    I love a good historical romance!  I think reading Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters fueled that love at an early age.  As most of us know, there is a big difference between romance and erotica but, that line is being blurred.  Yes, it is still possible to find a great romance that doesn’t share the intimate sexual acts of the characters however it is getting harder.  This isn’t always a bad thing.  The wild success of Fifty Shades of Grey proves that there is a huge audience for graphic sex.  I am finding that many, if not most, of the historical romances now have graphic sexual content.  As long as it is a good story and well written, a reader can just flip through the sex if they are offended by it and not lose the story or the ability to share in the intimacy of well written characters. But here is the problem I have seen all too often- The sex seems to be added JUST to titillate and not to add to the story.  It often breaks the mood, stalls the story and this lowers my impression of the ability of the author to convey…

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Traditionally published authors are not your enemy!

Self- Publishing vs. Traditionally Published - let the war begin! Self-published authors are not competing with other self-published authors but ALL authors. Once a book is available for sale, it must be up to the standard that readers expect from all good books. You rarely get a second chance for a good first impression!  Once you put out a book that lacks professionalism, readers will be less likely to try your next book.  This can be a very difficult hurdle to get over. Traditionally published authors are not your enemy.  Most traditionally published authors don’t have any advantages that you can’t achieve. Traditionally Published books are: Edited by the publisher Cover art is done by the publisher Some help with promotion is provided- most is expected from the author unless they have high sales. Lower royalty payments Self- Published books are: Editing is provided by the author Cover provided by the author Promotion done by the author Higher royalty payments. If a SP author pays for professional help, they will probably come out about equal in money made. Doing the work requires time and money but the author maintains complete control- something that is often very important. The self-publishing community…

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One Reader’s Voice Out Loud with Peter

Our readers are the foundation of what makes indieBRAG unique.  They not only select the books to become the next B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree but give feedback to our authors. This feedback is important not only to the authors but to the reader as well. Readers carry a lot of weight in what we regard as quality in self-publishing. Not only that but how readers see author’s platforms and performance on social media. Today Peter shares with us a little about his reading habits, reviewing books, how he finds books, book covers, and much more. Thank you, Peter for sharing with us today. First please tell us about your reading interest.  indieBRAG:    Thank you for joining us for this reader's event. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in your survey. indieBRAG: How do you choose a book to read? On looking through the list of BRAG Medallion applications, I try to identify something that I hope will be interesting and well-written. I then check it out on Amazon, and if it still looks interesting I request it. If it doesn’t look interesting, I repeat the process until something better appears. I have sometimes been right through the list this…

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One Reader’s Voice Out Loud with Lisl

Our readers are the foundation of what makes indieBRAG unique.  They not only select the books to become the next B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree but give feedback to our authors. This feedback is important not only to the authors but to the reader as well. Readers carry a lot of weight in what we regard as quality in self-publishing. Not only that but how readers see author’s platforms and performance on social media. Today we are talking with Lisl.  Lisl, how do you find books and what do you think of social media and books? I often find books in a series of links, that is to say reading one work might lead me to another. But I also browse bookshops and libraries, or see books mentioned online or by people in real life. Do you go to an author's website or social media when looking for a book or do you usually pick a book based on a search on sites such as Amazon? I almost never take up any recommendations put forth by Amazon, though it has happened that I’ve seen a book there that ends up on my TBR. However, this is in the minority of instances. Also,…

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One Reader’s Voice Out Loud with Jack

Thank you for joining us in giving Readers a voice!  You have been one of our earliest and most dependable readers and I think you thoughts are helpful to us at indieBRAG and authors- IndieBRAG: How do you choose a book to read? When I choose a book to read I usually have a topic or period of time in mind. I especially like medieval and ancient times. So I will search an online book seller with something like, “1314 Scotland Books”. This usually brings up a list of books of the right approximate time and place. I skim down through the list speed reading titles and glancing at covers. When a cover catches my eye or a title sounds interesting, then I slow down and read the book description. If it still sounds interesting then I look at the price. If it is more than I feel like spending, then I continue the process until I find a book at the right price point. If I'm shopping in a physical bookstore, my process is much the same. Although before I buy a paper book, I leaf through the book looking at pictures and reading snatches here and there to…

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