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An Author’s thoughts on the Independent Author Conference 2018

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I registered for BookBaby’s Independent Author Conference. I had attended author conferences before, but not this one, and not one sponsored by a company I had analyzed and ultimately decided not to utilize when I first started publishing back in 2012. Would it be a valuable investment? A networking event with ancillary educational sessions? Or a weekend of advertisements disguised as a conference? The latter, of course, would not have been a wise use of my limited business funds, and this was what scared me the most about this venture. As a small business owner (a.k.a. Indie Author), I hate wasting money. Almost as much as I hate getting a “hard sell.” Fortunately, I didn’t have to answer “yes” to the last question and the attending vendors offered value. Ultimately, the Indie Author Conference turned out to be a mix of events and skill levels, and worth my time. While many of those attending (or at least those I met) were at the beginning stages of their publishing careers, I made a handful of connections with authors who were not new, like me, but who also didn’t quite have a handle on…

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The More the Merrier! Crowdfunding your Publication.

Experience with Crowdfunding                                                          by Dean Hamilton                                                              Author of The Jesuit Letter Crowdfunding is basically funding a project by raising money from a large number of people, each of whom contribute a relatively small amount.  Think of it as the same process Leonardo da Vinci practiced, but instead of one big patron named Medici, you had several hundred. The end result – a Mona Lisa! Hopefully anyway… There are any number of crowdfunding platforms online available to choose from, each offering various pluses and minuses. Check out various projects, past and present, read up on the costs/benefits and pick the one most suitable for your specific audience and project needs. The two I am most familiar with are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. There are literally a ton of articles available online on crowdfunding, so I’m going to focus my comments on my own experience: Crowdfunding…

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A Novel Conversations with King Ludwig of Bavaria!

Dark Spirit by Susan Appleyard Q: Hello, I’m Helen the host of Novel Conversations, please do make yourself comfortable. Would you like a drink? Tea, coffee, wine – something stronger? You’ll find a box of chocolates and a bowl of fruit on the table next to you, please do help yourself. I believe you are a character in Susan Appleyard’s novel Dark Spirit. Would you like to introduce yourself? Are you a lead character or a supporting role?    A: Mmm. Thank you. How did you know I adore chocolate? I am Ludwig, King of Bavaria, of the Wittelsbach family, and I am of course the lead character in Ms. Appleyard’s book. Read the Entire interview @ Novel Conversations!

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indieBRAG @ IAC

  The information and ideas I would like to share with you come from many of the 800 authors that have received the B.R.A.G.Medallion.  They are eager to share the “off the grid” ideas they have used! The thing that will make any book a bestseller is word of mouth.  Donating or giving your books away selectively is a way of generating word of mouth chatter.   1.  Contact high traffic stores, cafes, shops to leave behind books.   Authors have had success in leaving their books in any place that have “open” bookshelves like Starbucks Make new fans by leaving your book! One author left his books on the reading shelf at his fitness club and was pleased to see in go in and out frequently – hopefully winning new fans. If you only have an ebook- leave bookmarks or literature about your book and how to purchase it.   2.  Join with other authors to do promotions or events Three of our mystery authors got together and did a promotion calling themselves "The Mystical Mystery Sisters". Here is what they did: booked places on book blogs to host their guest posts and promote their giveaway ran a giveaway on Rafflecopter…

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Independent Authors Conference (IAC18)

What we learned: The Beginning (after you write a great book!) Philadelphia 2018   The cover, the title and the blurb are equally as important as a great story if you hope to make sales. Let’s think about your Amazon book page- The cover- needs to be eye-catching AND tell your story. The title- needs to say something about your story The blurb- needs to sell your book! How to do that?  The best advice one of the speakers had was to spend hours looking and reading blurbs from other books in your genre that are selling well.  Of course, you don’t want to “copy”, but best sellers get attention for a reason.  If you have an agent, they are going to tell you to find comps and this means finding books that are similar to your book and see what they are doing. The blurb should be a bit dramatic. Many authors use over the top words because they get attention.  “Deadly”, “Terrifying”, “Race against time”.- are attention grabbers. Many mention the name of the main character and another successful trick is to end with a question:  “Can Meghan run and hide from the devil himself?” Sub-genre mentions also…

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A Ghost Story & Pumpkin Soup for Halloween!

  Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Susan indieBRAG Foodie Lit Blogger By Patti Davis    The Blue Hour by Patti Davis The Blue Hour is dusk, that time between day and night that slips in silently, a few moments each day. It was Joshua Baron’s favorite time of day, a peaceful time when the world’s edges begin to blur. For an alone boy like Joshua, it was a time he was content, at one with nature and free from people, who could be bothersome. The Blue Hour is one of those wonderful books that is part fairy tale, part allegory, part time-slip and… part mean adolescent bullying. It is for young adults and adults alike, in the way that The Little Prince, Alice in Wonderland or The Giver are.  It has a clear message yet the characters, the magic and the quest are expertly woven together from the first to the last word, so the book is not moralistic. It is haunting, a perfect Halloween read. The Barons move to small town Clearoak to escape LA and its lack of civility, charm and freedom to be safe. The run down house is rehabilitated; Josh’s room is painted blue…

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Imperial Passions and Olives, Nuts & Bread!

  Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes   Susan indieBRAG Foodie Lit Blogger By Eileen Stephenson   Byzantium in 1039 is not a time and place known well to many in the modern western world. The author sweeps away many misconceptions in her historical novel, Imperial Passions.  One  fascinating view is of the role of women. While medieval women had few rights in most parts of the world, Eileen shared with me that “Byzantine women held positions of more consequence than elsewhere, and they had opportunities that women in the rest of Europe did not have until centuries later.”  Two women ruled Byzantium in the 12th century, “Empress Zoe and Empress Theodora, who the people of Constantinople were fond of, despite their flaws. I think it just got people used to the idea that women could be in positions of authority.”  Importantly, as Eileen noted, literacy became common in 11th and 12th century Byzantium, reaching down into the middle classes and included women, which helped them accomplish more. Eileen gives us tantalizing views of female doctors and empresses, minority groups, generals and deposed kings, all in this cosmopolitan city. It is the many glimpses of women…

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Fact to Fiction: Khamsin, the Devil Wind of the Nile

Khamsin, the Devil Wind of the Nile - A Novel of Ancient Egypt   Every movie lately seems to have “The Making of ...” clips. Well, here is a little insight into “The Making of Book 1 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab” series. With my historical saga, reaching back to 3080 BC, the question was how much research a writer should do on his or her chosen era. My answer: A lot. Next, how much “real history” should be incorporated into a novel. I’d say, 10%. Remember, it’s fiction. Readers want to be entertained rather than get a lengthy history lesson. When I started my research into Ancient Egypt (and I mean, really ancient), the biggest confusion was over city names. It would have been easy to use Memphis, for instance. But that name – like most of the commonly used ancient names – came from the Greek historian Herodotus who described many of the wonders he found in Egypt during his visit around 490 BC. My story takes place in 3080 BC, during the 2nd Dynasty (Old Kingdom). Therefore, I resorted to use the ancient Egyptian names (wherever I could find them). Memphis became Ineb-Hedj, the City…

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The Importance of Reading to Kids

In The Book Help Visualize the Importance of Reading to Kids Reading is an activity loved by people of all ages, but the benefits of reading to children, particularly before the age of 5, are endless. Reading helps children to develop their confidence, strengthen family relationships, as well as improving their social and academic skills. Through different stories and characters, children are able to learn about the world, cultures and people. This improves their understanding of real-life situations, as well as their ability to communicate with different types of people. Children are generally little balls of energy, and reading every day also helps to channel their concentration skills. The social and educational benefits are never-ending, however, reading to your child can, surprisingly, benefit their future financially. A study done by Lynn Fielding in her book, The 90% Reading Goal, suggests that reading to your child before they reach the age of 5 can have a significant impact on their lifetime earnings expectancy. The research is based off the notion that 77% of children who are able to read at a 2nd-8th grade level when they begin third grade will graduate high school. Contrastingly, only 27% of children who read at…

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Australia, Apple Pie & The Only Blue Door

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes The Only Blue Door by Joan Fallon Joan Fallon’s historical novel, The Only Blue Door, was so intense and riveting that I found it hard to put down, except when anger course through me. The British Children’s Resettlement Program during WWII sent thousands of children away from the bombings in London for their own safety. Many were well cared for and happy. Yet a surprisingly large number of children, without parents’ permission or even knowledge, were told their parents were dead, and sent away to orphanages in Australia that were little more than deplorable workhouses that kept children in unhealthy, unsafe conditions and forced sexual, physical and emotional abuse on many in their legal custody. I wanted to cry out, “But you're supposed to be the good guys!” But they weren’t, they weren’t. The novel concerns itself with the fictional East End London Smith family with 3 children, Maggie, Billy and Grace, who were sent away to Australian Catholic orphanages after a devastating German bombing.  They were mislabeled orphans and instead of the care promised them, they were placed in cruel and abusive institutions. Much of the novel, without giving…

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