Words of Wisdom

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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WHO is an indieBRAG reader? You might reply…duh, they are people who read for indieBRAG!

WHO is an indieBRAG reader?  You might reply…duh, they are people who read for indieBRAG. RIGHT! But to be more precise, they are readers who love books--the same people who are buying your books, authors, so make sure you know them. Many indieBRAG readers are authors themselves who say reading the “good” and the “bad” has immensely helped them with their own writing.  Many also have a level of education and experience in the literary field that might impress you, while many do not--but all love reading and are happy to be taking part in the search for good books that deserve attention.  They know what they like and what they expect from a book and, lest you think otherwise, they are not undemanding judges.  It is their job to be discerning and thoughtful, a role I am proud to say they take very seriously.   After all, who better to tell other readers if a book deserves their time and money? We often hear from authors whose books were not chosen to receive a B.R.A.G Medallion (roughly 75% of the books we consider fall into this category). They feel they did everything right: punctuation, grammar, formatting and even professional content…

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Writing Crime and Mystery Novels!

The indieBRAG Crime and Mystery Series   I am pleased to introduce RAR Clouston author of The Covenant Within Bob, welcome and thank you for sharing with us- Stephanie:   When writing crime fiction, there are usually several characters involved. What is your advice in presenting each character so they stand out? Bob: At the risk of sounding like my social psych professor in what seems like an eternity ago during my undergraduate days as a psychology major, we are all the product of both nature and nurture. And this is never truer than with the villains who populate thrillers and mystery stories.  We are shaped by the multitude of forces, both genetic and social, that make us who we are. What drives someone to a life of crime, or even worse, to become a heartless killer? An obvious answer is that they were the offspring of truly evil parents who gave them tainted genes, or raised them in a cruel and heartless home, or both. But there are also exceptions to this as evidenced by the cases of cold blooded killers who came from a “normal’ home. My point is this: we are all different and as such a writer…

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How to Create an Audiobook by Liv Hadden

So you want to make an audiobook, but you aren’t sure where to start. Or, at least that’s how I felt last year when I decided I wanted my novel, In the Mind of Revenge, to reach auditory novel consumers. After doing a lot of Googling, I stumbled my way through it and successfully got my audiobook on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. To save you some heartache, here’s how I did it. Quick – bookmark this before you forget so you can refer to it whenever you need to! Step 1 Decide if you’re going to narrate, or if you’d like to hire a voice actor. If you choose the latter, the easiest way to find the perfect voice is to create a post for auditions on ACX.  ACX is the audiobook version of KDP or Createspace. In other words, Amazon’s DIY publishing platform for audiobooks. If you’re narrating your own book, you’ll still need to create an ACX account, you just won’t post a call for auditions. If your book is already being sold on Amazon, you can simply search for it on the homepage and set up your audition request. Otherwise, click Sign Up Now in the top…

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A Victorian San Francisco Christmas

By M. Louisa Locke-Award Winning Author   Because the most recent book in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, Pilfered Promises, is set during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 1880, I spent a good deal of time researching how residents of that city were celebrating the holidays that year, including looking for articles in the San Francisco Chronicle. What I found was that many of the traditions that we are familiar with today started in the Nineteenth century…including the importance of advertising special holiday sales! “The Arcade: We are offering this week SPECIAL and EXTRAORDINARY INDUCEMENTS to buyers of HOLIDAY PRESENTS, especially in our SILK DEPARTMENT” ––San Francisco Chronicle, December 19, 1880 However, these traditions were actually relatively new. Before the mid-1880s, most native-born Americans, particularly Protestants from the Northeast, saw Thanksgiving and not Christmas as the key national holiday. In fact, throughout the 1800s, a number of Protestant denominations were very resistant to the celebration of the birth of Christ in any fashion beyond religious observances. Not surprisingly, it was the Southern state of Louisiana, where there was a significant Catholic population, that first declared December 25th a holiday (in 1837), and Christmas wasn’t declared a national legal…

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A Writer’s Life: Interview with Helen Hollick

I’d like to welcome back award winning author Helen Hollick today. She is here to talk with us about a big part of her writing. I first started this series-A Writer’s Life- over at Layered Pages and decided to bring it to indieBRAG for our authors. This is Helen’s third participation in this series. -Stephanie M. Hopkins  Helen Hollick lives with her husband, daughter and son-in-law in North Devon, England, in an eighteenth century farmhouse, surrounded by thirteen acres of fields and woodland. A variety of pets include her  daughter’s side-saddle riding horse and a show jumper, two Exmoor ponies which once ran wild on Exmoor, two cats who ignore each other, two wonderful dogs from the Dog’s Trust rescue Centre, some chickens, ducks, and a very grumpy goose called Bernadette (although Boudicca is a more appropriate name!). All of Helen’s books in The Sea Witch Voyages series are B.R.A.G.Medallion Honorees.  She also has a number of respected books of historical fiction which are traditionally published. Including the bestseller The Forever Queen the story of Emma of Normandy  and The Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, set in the fifth century, has also been widely acclaimed as a different telling of the Arthurian Myth – no…

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How did you discover indieBRAG?

Often times in B.R.A.G. Interviews we ask our authors how they discovered us. This past July, Stephanie at Layered Pages asked award winning author Ginger Bensman how she discovered us. Here is what she had to say: “A couple years ago, I discovered a wonderful book, After the Sucker Punch by Lorraine Devon Wilke. Wilke’s book was a recipient of the Indiebrag award, and after I read her book, I began to notice and appreciate that little gold medallion as an indicator of quality. Two years later, when I published my own book, I knew I wanted to submit it to the Indiebrag process. The possibility of winning a medallion was an exciting but secondary motivation, mostly, I wanted a straight up evaluation of my novel. Indiebrag is a gift to readers and independent authors, helping readers find high caliber indie books, and supporting writers to produce their best work.” -Ginger Bensman To read the full interview with Ginger, click here. About Author Ginger is a lifelong student of the human condition with a deep interest in philosophy and ecology. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Development/Child and Family Studies from the University of Maine in Orono and has spent more than 25 years working in family…

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The Dirty Secret to Writing your Novel

By Christopher Angel -Award Winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree You’ve just completed the manuscript to your novel.  You’ve had friends and family proof-read it, maybe even a professional editor takes a pass.  You’re ready to share your bouncing new baby with the world. And you know there’s a few final things you have to take care of.  The book cover is the obvious one.  I spent a lot of time agonizing over the right image and font to represent my novel, The Mona Lisa Speaks (about the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre).  I was fortunate, because I had a friend who is an expert at designing art book jacket covers who helped me out (check out her amazing work at here) So, you have your cover art, so now you’re ready to publish right? Well, hold on.  Here’s the secret.  I’m going to give it away right now. Writing the book is only part one of a two-part job.  And unfortunately, the skills of being a great writer only partly translate to the second job.  Because these days, in our cluttered media space, being an author means you also have to become a marketing expert. The good news…

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How to Wrap Your Mind around Selling Books Without Warping It

A Marketing Paradigm By Jo Sparkes -B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Being an indie author means freedom to explore, try new things. It means being uncoupled from editor notes and publisher calendars. It also means book sales are your responsibility. So I developed – in the school of hard knocks – my own grasp of marketing. It’s remarkably naïve, possibly dim-witted. But it does keep me focused on the forest after tripping over tree roots. First, I learned to drop any emotions that the word ‘marketing’ stirs. Fears of rejection, failure, and that evil nemesis self-doubt. Honestly, they’re useless here. So if any of these worries sneak up on you, just think of all the truly awful stuff shamelessly hawked at us every day. You know what I mean. Rondo knives, vaginal douches. Superman versus Batman. Now, with emotions gone, let’s define this marketing thing as a three step process. Our goal: tons of people rush to buy our book, avidly read it and then race to tell everyone how wonderful it was. The word of mouth is so powerful that nothing else matters. Sweet, huh? Achieving this nirvana depends on three things. Let’s continue working backwards – which ought to warn…

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Writing what you love to write – and read… by Anna Belfrage

Sometimes, people ask me why I write historical fiction. “Why such a difficult genre?” they ask, which in itself makes me a tad irritated, as historical fiction, IMO, is not a genre – it’s an umbrella under which all other genres coexist. In essence, the “historical” in historical fiction merely indicates that the story is set in a non-contemporary time. It says nothing about the content as such, albeit that many people seem to think historical fiction is defined by blood and gore and thousands upon thousands dying in one battle or other. Yes, that stuff happens in historical novels. It also happens in contemporary novels – it happens in real life around us on a daily basis. There are historical novels that are essentially love stories, there are others that are coming-of-age stories, yet another author delivers a well-crafted thriller set in distant times, and quite a few produce so called cosy mysteries a la Miss Marple. As long as all these very different books are set in the past, they end up labelled as historical fiction – and considered comparable. Obviously, they are not. I write books set in the past because I am something of a history…

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