Writers, Readers & Self Publishing

Our community of self-published authors is generous with the knowledge they have gained on their writing journey. Here at Writers, Readers & Self Publishing, we will share with you their advice, their experiences and their ideas for writing and promoting award-winning books.  We will also share incites from our readers and others in the field of self-publishing such as editors, designers and successful best-selling authors who graciously share their thoughts and experiences. Our readers and writers have also contributed some fun and interesting stories that we hope you will enjoy!

Developing a character voice by Colin Weldon

Award Winning Book -A great B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree I’ll be honest. When writing my first novel I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. None. If you had of asked me about character voice development three years ago I would have looked at you like a deer in headlights. The funny thing about writing anything is the sudden appearance of characters that in of themselves are supposed to be fully-fledged human beings that just pop into existence because you need them to tell a story. I am thirty six years old and I am very much still trying to figure myself out so how the hell was I supposed to figure out the nuances of a sixty something year old scientist living on Mars, let alone the inner workings of my twenty something female lead protagonist, but there you are, looking at a blank page about to pop a person into existence in the hopes that that person will seem not only real but have their own hopes and fears and strengths and weaknesses. Hemingway said that “The first draft of anything is shit” and boy was he right so don’t be discouraged if your first read through makes…

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Handling Negative Reviews by Sean DeLauder

Award Winning Author-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Negative reviews happen. Stories and styles are subjective, and sometimes a person with no business reading your book does so anyway—with catastrophic and infuriating results. Maybe the wrong reader was intrigued by the cover or the premise. Maybe the right reader had different expectations for the story? Or maybe, and this will on rare occasions be the case, the reader was inclined toward hostility and decided to victimize your work. Unless you have a superhuman sense of self worth, a negative review, either articulate or gibberish, is going to leave a crater in your heart. Publication does, after all, expose it to bombardment. Sometimes negative reviews can prove useful, identifying genuine flaws in a story: awkward or unnecessary plotting, excessive exposition, lazy characterization. Assuming your book is a living document, you can always correct errors you agree with in future editions. Even Tolkien revised his work after it was published—he rewrote large sections of The Hobbit (1937) and republished 14 years later (1951) to bring it in line with The Lord of the Rings. Other, less savory reviewers take pleasure in ridiculing a book to provide temporary relief for some cloying psychological aberration. These reviews…

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Halloween – My Favorite Holiday!

       Gwen Dandridge                                                                                                                            The Stone Lions The Dragons' Chosen Halloween used to be my favorite holiday. When you have kids, the holidays take on a life of themselves, morphing into some other worldly sucker-up of time and energy. Halloween  was the best, I could let loose all my creative instincts and cheaply. A couple of us in our neighborhood designed and built costumes, each of us trying to outdo the other. I was single then and living on the east coast: working part time, going to school part time and broke. The end of October there was often chilly. Some of my first designs involve creating structures in which to place a child rather than dressing my children up in store bought outfits.                            …

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The Bitti Chai and The Lost Souls

As we all know themes and getting to know characters so we might connect to them is so important in storytelling. Today Jane Brown is sharing a little about her characters from her stories, The Bitti Chai and The Lost Souls. Share about the themes in your story. The main theme running through The Bitti Chai and the follow up The Lost Souls is the all consuming enduring love between Reigneth and Johnny.   The Bitti Chai tells of Reigneth's formative years, her struggle to come to terms with her gift for foreseeing the future; the ancient prophecy surrounding Reigneth's birth and her families need to protect her from the outside world.  We discover more about her relationship with her family and the huge changes which take place in their life following Reigneth's father's death.  Finally Reigneth meeting and falling in love with Jonathan Wilmott. The Lost Souls continues the young lover's story and the physical changes they both undergo following their marriage.  We see their relationship unfold and grow and Johnny's involvement with Reigneth's cousins Aaron and James deepen and solidify.   The Man with Two Minds to be released in 2017 will take the story further and delve deeper into…

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A Chat with…Nuriel & Zilya

By Award Winning Author Diana L. Wicker B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Bella: What is the name of the book where we’ll find you? Can you tell us a little about it? Zilya: We appear together in the newest adventure from the Age of Awakenings set, Legacy of Mist and Shadow. It’s the story of my discovery of my family’s background and where my magics came from. Nuriel: *snorts as he turns to look at her* It is not. It is the story of the rediscovery of my World Beyond. Zilya: hmm…perhaps we should just tell you what the author says about the story and let you decide for yourself. “Old relics and have stories of their own. Sometimes they contain adventures waiting to be sparked and journeys bursting to begin. The Box of Melodies was left with Clan Caris by Lady Oyisha, daughter of the mists, for care and keeping. A series of visions revealing the last desperate moments of a forgotten clan – the loss of their gateway to Feyron and the escape of a lone traveler holding the box – spurs a handful of adventuresome youth on a trek through the Lesser Forest where they inadvertently cause a ripple…

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Getting to know Cayden

Award winning author Crystal Marcos- B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree On this balmy night, I was intrigued by Linnayah’s questions. I watched her lips intently with every word she spoke. Wondering how or why this enchanting Human girl would want to know more about me. Sunrise or sunset? Sunset, I spent many warm nights in the sand watching the sun disappear on the horizon. Breakfast or Dinner? At this point, I will take either. If I have to choose, I pick breakfast as it is hard to go most of the day without eating. If I start with some sort of breakfast, I am in pretty good shape for the rest of the day. Underground or above? Honestly, up until recent events, I would have certainly said above ground. In light of the new situation, I think I will take my chances beneath it. Hunting or Fishing? Fishing, I believe I am a better fisherman than a hunter.  I have a greater chance of bringing something to the table. Dancing or Singing? Well, I do not know that I have ever sang a note in my life and I most certainly did not learn how to dance until little Tara taught me.…

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Fair game or a theme too far?

By G.J. Reilly-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree As a writer, this week is perhaps one of the most important in my calendar, so, when indieBRAG and Layered Pages announced that they were looking for posts, I jumped at the chance. It’s funny how teen readers get just one week. I love the fact that teens get a week at all, but as a novelist who writes with young adults in mind, part of my job is to encourage teens to read as often as they can. It was teaching that led me to write for that age group. Many of my characters have been influenced by the people I’ve taught over the years. Indeed, some of the themes I’ve tried to explore in the Book of Jerrick series have come from snippets of conversations that I’ve overheard in the corridors, or in the classroom. Before we go on, I’d like to emphasise something that all writers should know – ‘Young Adult’ is NOT a genre, it’s an age bracket which, although popular with older readers, is written with teens in mind. Young adult readers enjoy exactly the same ‘genres’ of books as everyone else (and many of the same themes too). That’s…

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The Magic is in the Balance

On Sale for $0.99! By Award Winning Author Elle Jacklee-B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree  Writing for the middle grade/YA audience is like my own fountain of youth! Getting into my characters’ heads means thinking like they would, which is truly a gift. As we get older, some of the whimsy that we enjoy as kids and teens can become a little (or a lot!) tarnished if we let it, if we forget to look for the wonder that’s all around us. That’s one of the themes in The Tree of Mindala, the first in my Wunderwood series: that there truly is magic in the world if you open yourself to see it. And even though most of the story takes place in a different world, the themes I chose to weave into it are ones that mirror truths about our own world. Nature in our world has a way of maintaining a delicate balance. For example, droughts are followed by rains, and some species hibernate when conditions are undesirable. Balance in Wunderwood is also naturally maintained. That means, among other things, that whatever is needed–like food and shelter–is always provided. But it also means that justice has a way of being done,…

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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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Criteria of a Specific Genre or Subgenre

Does your book fit a general genre or does it fall in a subgenre? Could it be that other elements in a story go beyond the criteria of a specific genre or subgenre? For example, “Thrillers.” We know that thrillers are a broad genre of literature. Which is defined by key elements in the story to drive the plot and characters actions, what they must overcome, crime and suspense. When we add other elements such as courtroom drama and legalities…do we give it a new name? Tim Vicary shares with us today a conversation he had with a friend and fellow reader about this very topic. Please join us in this conversation and share which category does your book fall under. ************ I met my friend Angela outside the supermarket one day, and I made a mistake. I told her I like legal thrillers. ‘Legal thrillers?' she asked. 'What’s that? Some sort of drug?' 'No, of course not,' I said.  'Though they can be quite addictive, I suppose. A legal thriller is a book - a sort of crime novel.' 'So why not call it a crime novel then, and have done with it? At least then, I'd know what you were…

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