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!

The SPBE October 27, 2012 NYC- Finding your Tribe!

Decide who your audience is and go after them. Don't waste your time being too general. Knowing and targeting those who will have an interest in the type of book you write will increase the all-important word of mouth. Search the Internet for everything related to your genre – specific reading and writing groups, Internet boards and clubs. Once you have made contact, do not be afraid to talk about your book. Spend the time interacting with your fans wherever they are. People don't go on Facebook, Twitter and info boards to just read your ads; they want to get to know you. If you don't interact with them, they will quickly lose interest in you. Respond to their comments and share your thoughts and experiences that pertain to you as a writer and to your book. Make friends! You sell one book at a time and when readers interact with you they are more apt to tell a friend or share your book. These readers will become your tribe and will share in your success – let them. Reviews are a part of this process. Assuming you have done all the work and have written a good book, read…

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The Acknowledgement Page May Be The Last One I Read

In the vein of the comment by Gloria H. I would like to add that there is another trap that all too many self-published authors fall into: it is the verbose, sometimes grandiose, and self-serving acknowledgement page, or even worse, pages. (I am using a male author to make my point but it applies equally to both sexes.) These invariably start off with something like, "I want to dedicate this book to my wife, Margie, who has put up with me for what seems like an eternity; my seven kids who are too numerous to name here but they know who they are; and the rest of my family, especially my aunt Rose and her Thursday night bridge group; also, my golf partner, Hole-In-One Harry, and the rest of our foursome at the club; and finally, my office wife, Darlene, who always made sure there was hot coffee waiting for me on those mind-muck mornings when I stumbled in to work after pulling an all-nighter. To all of you, I want to say thank-you for your support, your steadfast faith in me, and your encouragement..." Blah. Blah. Blah. Arguably, even worse was one indie thriller author who used the acknowledgement page to thank John Grisham and James Patterson, for the inspiration they provided that enabled him to write his book. Please! We know that you don't know these men, and you know that we know you don't know them; therefore, to credit them for inspiring you is not only the height of presumptuousness but just plain stupid. All of which says that whenever I read an acknowledgement that is greater than five or ten words, I shudder at what I will find on page one. So my advice to you who are about to self-publish a book is that unless you have written a mystery that cleverly incorporates chaos theory and you want to thank your professor at M.I.T. for his advice and guidance, just say a few words of thanks to your spouse, or your parents, and get on with your story! – Bob C. *The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of members of our reader group. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.

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Your Cover Never Gets A Second Chance To Make A First Impression

Respectfully, I have a word of cautionary advice for all you self-published authors who want to have your book read by a wide audience. It doesn't matter how good your tale is, it may not get read if you don't put the same degree of effort into designing the cover that you did into crafting the story. Bland and boring covers lacking in visual appeal, or those that give no indication of what I am about to read, turn me off before I even pick it up off the bookstore shelf, or read the description on-line. I guess I feel that if the cover isn't well-conceived perhaps the story won't be either. As a result, I may have passed up some good books that just didn't get my attention. A great example of a book with a compelling cover is one of the BRAG Medallion recipients listed on this website. It is Richard Dennings's The Last Seal. The book's cover portrays London burning, which is a central plot line and without having reading a word it captured my attention. – Gloria H. *The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of members of our reader group. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.

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I certainly appreciate the love affair with a good book

  Get with the times- I certainly appreciate the love affair with a good book - I have shelves full of them. BUT, like it or not, "the times, they are a-changin" (actually have changed). To not have your book available as an e-books is just crazy. We have reached a point where more people are buying e-books than print books and the gap will only get wider. Let's face it, fewer and fewer people are willing to spend $15- $30+ on just any book. This is not to say that you shouldn't publish a traditional book. When I love a book, I want it on my book shelves – somehow a library with only a Kindle or Nook on the shelf just doesn't do it for me! The initial cost of a n ebook reader is quickly recouped when reading books that cost $0- $10! Also, both amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com offer the opportunity to "sample" a book at no cost – no more being disappointed by a book that cost you in both time and money. ebooks authors, ebooks. According to AAP Publishers February 2011 Sales Report For February 2011, e-Books ranked as the #1 format among all categories of Trade publishing (Adult Hardcover, Adult Paperback, Adult Mass Market, Children's/Young Adult Hardcover, Children's/Young Adult Paperback). These statistics come from the trade publishers so we can assume that if you add self publishing to these figures they will be much higher! GJC *The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of members of our reader group. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.

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Interrupting a Great Story

When I think about why I love to read, I think about getting so lost in the story that I can't hear the teakettle whistling or even feel the need to reach for a cookie. Perhaps the story has the kind of dialogue that lets me see the characters in full animation sparking words and phrases back and forth like a tennis match. Sometimes the author is such a wordsmith that the village comes to life with stores, sidewalks, children, and a mountain behind and I just know that I've been there. If the writer is exquisite, the words flow like poetry, oozing out like oil paints to wrap my soul in time and place. When the story captures me, it flows and I am carried away to other places, other times, and it is brilliant. I don't like to have a great story interrupted, especially by the author themselves. Unfortunately, the best writers can be ruined by bad formatting or poor editing. Recently I read an e-book that was written by a true wordsmith, a writer that pushed the story along with the best dialogue and turned a phrase with pure poetry, a story-tellers dream. The grammar was perfect, but the dialogue was set up with odd punctuation marks that forced me to remember when a character was talking and who it was. The other problem was the writer's love affair with historic authenticity, to the point that there were footnotes at the bottom of each page. If I had been reading a paper book, I could have stayed with the flow of the story, but the e-book formatted on my Kindle in such a way that the footnotes usually ended up in the middle of the page and often in the middle of a sentence, so my eyes would have to jump over the footnote to continue with the thought. Good story floats imagination and poor grammar or distracting format can build a dam in the middle of the strongest river. - Bethany

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Words for every writer!

  Word so true to every writer- "What I know for sure is that if you want to have success, you can't make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant - and the success will naturally follow... If you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come. And, I truly believe, that the reason I've been able to be so financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money. Would you do your job and not be paid for it? I would do this job, and take on a second job just to make ends meet if nobody paid me. That's how you know you are doing the right thing."

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Booker Prize shortlist turns its back on ‘readability’

Last year's head judge, Dame Stella Rimington, was pilloried for saying she prized books that "people would read and enjoy". Her fellow judge, the former Labour MP Chris Mullin, added that he liked a novel to "zip along". The chairman of the 2012 judging panel, Sir Peter Stothard, has loftier ideals. "I felt very, very strongly that I wanted to avoid that thing where people say, 'Wow, I loved it, it's terrific'," he said of the judging process. "I'm afraid quite a lot of what counts for criticism these days is of that sort: how many stars did it get? Did I have a good time? Would my children like it? It is opinion masquerading as literary criticism," said Sir Peter, who is editor of the Times Literary Supplement.  To read full article: Our Thoughts: Let me first state the obvious - we are not in competition with the Booker Prize! We also do not wish to suggest that what they do is invalid. The Booker Prize means that the winners will become best sellers and yet are often not very "readable". Although we only work with self-published books, we have developed a system just the opposite of what this esteemed group of critics aspire to. Self- published books are often looked down upon as unworthy of traditional publication which we have proven, I believe, to not always be the case. We have readers located around the globe who read books for us and give us one determination –is this a book you would recommend to your best friend? When all the readers have provide their decision, we honor the book with our B.R.A.G.Medallion only if it has received a unanimous "Yes". In this way we are finding books that "readers" feel are worth your time and money. After all, most of us read to be amused, thrilled, titillated and, yes, educated. We hope to encourage readers who want to find a great book to visit our website and support books that are good but probably will not reach the glorified heights that one with the title of Booker Prize Winner will inevitably reach. www.bragmedallion.com

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Writing As Your Legacy

  There are seven billion human beings on earth as I write these words; a mind-boggling number that is difficult to grasp. One way to look at it is that if Bill Gates, the richest man in America, were to distribute his enormous fortune equally to every person in the world, we would each only get $9.42. Hardly worth the effort, so relax Mr. Gates we won't push for income redistribution. Out of that teeming mass of seven billion people very few of us will ever be rich or powerful or famous. Most of us will be born, live, and die without ever having made any impact upon the world whatsoever. An exception, perhaps, are those of us who have been blessed with children, thereby helping to perpetuate the human race―a critical if not noteworthy accomplishment. Lest you become overwhelmed by the futility of our shared existence, take heart. There is something you can do to help ensure that your footprints are etched into the bedrock of history, rather than blown away on the sands of time: namely, write a book. Yes, you. Conventional wisdom says that 80% of us feel we have a book inside us. But unless you take the time to commit it to paper, or even better, to an electronic file, your name will soon be forgotten after you're gone. The same holds true even for those of you who have children. If don't believe me, ask yourself this question: what are the names of your great grandparents? My case rests. So stop making excuses; stop procrastinating. Find the time to write that book bouncing around inside your brain. There has never been a better time to do this. The relatively new and rapidly expanding world of self-publishing has given you the opportunity. Seize it! Once you have written it, have it professionally edited, and then release it to the world. Even if it is not a best-seller, it will live on long after you have shuffled off this mortal coil―and someday, somewhere, someone will read it and know that you were here. Robert                                                                                                                                          indieBRAG

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“Sock Puppeting”!

                                       Do you have any idea what "Sockpuppeting" is? Well, here it is: When a person creates email addresses in order to hide their identity and uses these email addresses to discuss themselves or their work on online discussion groups, comment on blogs or give very high ratings to their own work. Why does it matter? In the case of book reviews on many of the biggest online book seller sites and discussion boards, it matters a lot!  Many unscrupulous writers have created numerous email addresses which permit them to post glowing reviews on their works that are "fake" and, up until recently, we fell for them!  And even worse, they are using these addresses to malign the competition- and there is little you can do about it. In recent days several bestselling authors have been accused of this nefarious behavior and have been "outed" by authors who they have attempted to damage. It has not be a secret to those in the industry that many of the glowing reviews given to some books are posted by proud family and friends – some who also are sockpuppeting with numerous email addresses- making it hard to really evaluate a book through reviews. And then there is B.R.A.G.Medallion!  We do not post reviews. We ask our reading teams to unanimously decide if a book is one they would recommend to their best friend. The readers remain anonymous to the authors and they have no contact and no vested interest in the book they are reading. When posting on sites such as amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and Goodreads, we give the book a 5 stars and announce the book is the recipient of our medallion. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money. No tricks and no gimmicks. Our reading teams are located in 10 countries and read only self-published books. We are hard at work finding books readers will enjoy and shining a light on ones that are well written, thoroughly edited and properly formatted. We offer great books in almost every genre and there is something for everyone. Chose your next book at www.bragmedallion.com and feel confident that it will be a good read!

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Dolphins Might Be Math Geniuses

In an article posted on NBCNews.com, Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News reports on a fascinating new study concerning dolphins published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A. The study suggests that dolphins use nonlinear mathematics to process echolocation bursts when hunting prey. The study was conducted by Tim Leighton, a professor of ultrasonics and underwater acoustics at the University of Southampton, where he is also an associate dean, along with colleagues Paul White and Gim Hwa Chua. The scientists determined that dolphins emit echolocation bursts of varying amplitudes and that to effectively interpret these, along with the echoes from one another, requires complex mental processing involving nonlinear mathematics. While some questions still remain, if replicated the dolphins' sonar model has significant implications for humans, particularly as it relates to the detection of covert bugging devices hidden in walls, or mines at sea. Fiction: This article is another telling example of life imitating art as the dolphins' complex cognitive abilities suggested by the work of Professor Leighton and his colleagues, mirror those described in The Tempest's Roar by R.A.R. Clouston.

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