Words of Wisdom

How do you make your book a best seller?

    A question for the ages and one we have asked many successful authors. The answer we consistently heard was write a good book and the readers will come. But with so much competition for their attention, how do you get your book noticed in the first place? Having a B.R.A.G.Medallion is a great first step. It lets readers know your work is worth their time. Here are just a few other great ways that can help build momentum and get readers interested: • Find your audience in creative ways by aligning with local businesses. Is your book about travel? Take it to your local travel agent and ask them to display it. Did you write a romance novel? Ask a lingerie store to exhibit your book in their window. Did you write about beauty or baking? You know where to go. Use your imagination and the possibilities are endless! If John Grisham sold books out of the back of his car at fairs, you can certainly find a creative way to build your audience also. • Book clubs are a fantastic way to spread the word and get noticed. Ask if you can come to a club and…

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I’m so BORED!

  Bored- feeling impatient or dissatisfied, because you are not interested in something or because you have nothing to do. If you want to say you are extremely bored, you can say you are bored stiff/rigid/silly or bored to tears/to death Oh, I'm so bored! What parent hasn't heard her child say "I'm so bored!"? I have a solution – hand your child a book. When I was a child, my mother answered that statement by telling us that being bored only meant your mind had nowhere to go. So, send your brain on an adventure. Once we learned about all the wonderful places we could go, we were never without a book. We all know how busy parents are today - the interesting thing is that giving your child a book doesn't really take so much time! Wouldn't it be wonderful if the only time your child gives you that "Look" is when you tell him or her to shut their book? Kids aren't the only victims of boredom. How many people do you hear lamenting how they couldn't find anything to watch on TV last night? How many of us watch things we don't even have an interest…

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Beta Readers- What are they!

A beta reader is a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestions to improve the story, its characters, or its setting. Beta reading is typically done before the story is released for public consumption. Beta readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context. Elements highlighted by beta readers encompass things such as plot holes, problems with continuity, characterisation or believability; in fiction and non-fiction, the beta might also assist the author with fact-checking. Wikipedia ALL writers need outside critique of their work. It is a fact that a writer can seldom edit and proofread his own work. A writer often falls in love with his or her words and plots and is unable to let them go. Beta readers differ from Critique groups in that they usually read on their own and evaluate a book according to their individual experience. Unlike using an editor, those who choose to use Beta readers, usually find them due to their interest in a specific genre and they usually use more than one. One of…

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Is Reciprocal Reviewing OK?

In our July Newsletter we encouraged our B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree authors to support, read and review each other's books. We were by no means encouraging our authors to collude to do something improper. One of our Honoree authors Jane Steen brought to our attention that she felt we were sending the wrong message, which was clearly not our intent.  However, we thought you might like to read her blog - Keep Going You Fool!She has given us permission to share it with you. I hope you will take the time to read it: Reciprocal reviewing is not OK, authors. Here's why. The above is an invitation from a self-published author on Goodreads. Nice of him, huh? I've received many such invitations from this guy, whom I'm not going to finger specifically because he's not the only author who uses back-scratching to make his book more visible, not by a long chalk. If you're thinking that maybe he's just being nice to other people, here's one of his latest asks: He sends these invitations to over 7,000 people, and I still get them even though I've unfriended AND blocked him. Is this kind of thing wrong? I say yes. OK, he's not…

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Supporting Each Other!

These are great ideas to consider- 1. Buy a self-published book 2. Leave an honest review. (In fact, leave a review on more than one site!) 3. Thank the author publicly on social media. 4. Recommend the book to someone else. 5. Follow them on social media. 6. Engage with them on social media. 7. Ignore critics of the self-publishing industry. 8. Write your own good book. 9. Serve as a beta reader or reviewer for a book. 10. Write a blog post about the book. 11. Enter an author's contest or giveaway. 12. Become a book blogger or reviewer. 13. Interview an author. 14. Refer any potentially good reviewers to an author. 15. Don't obtain an illegal copy of the book. 16. Mention a book in a group or forum. 17. Buy a second copy of the print version for a friend or for your local library. 18. Download a copy from Amazon's Lending Library. 19. Invite an author to speak at a local event. 20. Purchase a copy of the book for a school or organization. 21. Nominate a book for a contest. 22. Suggest a book to an editor of a magazine or newspaper. 23. Offer your…

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Martin Crosbie’s views on Interviews!

  "What's your favorite color?""Do you have a pet that inspired you to write your book?""Is there a food that you need to eat in order to create?"These are all actual, real questions that interviewers have asked me. I have a real concern that the interviews posted on sites and social networks are in danger of becoming so mundane and ordinary that the only people reading them will be immediate friends and family of the author. Try reading some interviews and decide for yourself. Compare the answers and you'll see similarities. Think about sporting events for a moment. You know the interview that the player gives after the game and talks about everyone giving one hundred and ten percent, or, when she or he mentions that although she or he scored the winning goal it was all about the team winning. Those are noble thoughts but they're sterile. I'm bored of them. I want to know what the player, or author is really thinking. Unfortunately, that has become quite difficult.There are no shortages of places where authors can procure interviews and promote their work. We're very fortunate. From this very site - B.R.A.G. to fine sites like Indies Unlimited and…

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Gratitude- A Simple idea we all know about

grat•i•tude Noun the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff. Synonymsthanks, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness. A simple idea we all know about I was contacted by a reviewer recently who mentioned how seldom he gets any gratitude for the time he takes reviewing a book or interviewing an author. Quite honestly, I was taken aback with this lack of simple politeness. I believe that whether a review is good or not, you as an author should thank the reader for taking the time and, in some cases, spending the money to consider your book. Although this will not necessarily change their minds about your writing, it might make them consider giving you another chance with your next book! When dealing with the "uglies" out there, one response is all you need to make. No need to get into a discussion with someone who does not like your work. Remember, they are entitled to their opinion even if it does not please you. Thanking a reviewer who gave your book a positive review will most likely encourage them to mention you more often, and word of mouth is what makes a book…

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A Glut of e-Books – Quality over Quantity?

    I saw a couple of James Bond movies last night. They're showing classic films at our local theatre. So, I got to see Thunderball and On Her Majesty's Secret Service on the big screen. It was very cool. So today, in my usual pedantic manner, I Googled and Wikipediaed all things James Bond looking for little known facts about the movies. And, in my research I checked out Ian Fleming, the author of the Bond books. Did you know that he wrote Casino Royale, the first book in the Bond series, in only two months? He even did the art work within that time frame. Keep that in mind as you read this article. I wrote a blog recently about word count targets. You can find it Here.   Some of the authors commenting at the end of the article talked about producing as much as a book a month. It's being done. I have a friend who publishes a new book every four to six weeks. She's selling about twenty thousand e-books monthly. It seems like there are a lot of books hitting Amazon's product pages right now. Authors have found a genre where they excel and they're…

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Working with a Book Cover Designer

  Some wonderful advice from our friend Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphic on working with a graphic designer to get the best cover possible- Every now and again I am approached by a potential new client who knows exactly what they want and basically how the book cover design process works. But more often than not, authors have written their manuscripts and want an attractive cover designed so they can get their new books listed on Amazon and other online book selling outlets, yet have no idea where to start. And most, especially first time authors, do not have any idea whatsoever as to how the book cover design process works or even where to begin. This is not a bad thing – authors write and designers design! Hopefully I can shed some light on the process by offering a few top tips when contacting book cover designers for the first time. 1. Have an estimated expectation for when you plan to publish your book as the book cover designer will need to know when the project will be expected to be completed. And please consider that most designers are carrying multiple projects/clients at all times in order to earn…

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