indieBRAG Blog

All you need to know about Beta Readers!

Charla White Beta Readers A Beta reader, also known as a pre-reader, is an essential component that all authors should consider utilizing.  Beta readers are defined as non-professional.  They are readers who enjoy reading and who want to help writers be successful.  (In truth, we want to read the book first and watch the creative process in action and feel like we helped.)  Beta readers will look over written materials for plot errors, grammar and spelling errors, issues with character development and suggestions to improve the book.  Included in their services, they can also be fact checkers; however, if you need to designate one as a fact checker communicate that to the person.  They are a wonderful resource that is gaining in popularity due to the ease of finding and communicating with folks who are truly interested in seeing a writer succeed. But why should anyone use beta readers?  Beta readers don’t have to be nice to you, they do not have a close or personal relationship with you like family members, spouse or even good friends.  They will give you honest feedback that you must evaluate and either take their suggestions seriously or not. Let’s be honest here, as…

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Best selling author Meredith Wild shares her advice with indieBRAG

Meredith Wild is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. Living on Florida’s Gulf Coast with her husband and three children, she refers to herself as a techie, whiskey-appreciator, and hopeless romantic. She has been featured on CBS This Morning, The Today Show, the New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Publishers Weekly, and The Examiner. I invited Meredith to share with us some of her thoughts and advice for aspiring “Best Selling” authors! Advice for Aspiring Authors One of the most frequently asked questions I get is what advice I have for aspiring writers. Every author’s writing and publishing journey is unique, so I can’t speak to what you specifically should do, only what’s worked and hasn’t for me. This is by no means comprehensive (I could write volumes), and I do not claim to be an expert on anything. That said, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the course of this crazy publishing journey. This is mega long and all over the place, but I may try to organize it better in separate posts ultimately. Remember, there are no straight lines to success, so take what works and leave the rest. Above all, always trust your intuition! (If you have more specific questions, leave…

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Blogging for your Readers!

Maria Grace Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.   She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is starting her sixth year blogging on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats. We are so fortunate to have the very gifted writer Maria Grace (4 X B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree author!) join us today to share some thoughts and information about her very successful blog.   Marie, I love your website!  I am a fan of your books and always look forward to posts and info you share on your site. There are so many different types of websites from authors- some…

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Whose Voice Gets To Represent Race In Our Literature?

Thanks to indieBRAG author Lorraine Devon Wilke for allowing us to share her blog post from Rock, Paper, Music                                                                                                            indieBRAG Storytellers are the chroniclers of our life and times. They memorialize history, dissect our complex and evolving world; they entertain and provoke and captivate. They are as diverse and eclectic as the characters they create and the stories they tell. It is their job to reflect who we are, what we experience, and what we can imagine. That’s a big canvas. It’s huge. And there’s no end to the variety of colors and hues that can be drawn upon it. Just as there is no end to the variety of artists weaving the tales drawn there. Yet some believe there are rules to who gets to use which colors, who gets to draw outside the lines to tell stories that involve characters from different cultures. Some believe issues…

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“Branding” with best selling author Steena Holmes

  Steen Holmes is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has sold over 2 million copies of her books. She is a sought after speaker on the subject of indie publishing and branding.  We are very pleased to have Steena Holmes, B.R.A.G .Medallion Honoree author of Finding Emma, join us here to share her thoughts and expertise. First of all, let me congratulate you, Steena, on all your success--selling books is not easy! For all self-published authors out there, I am taking a big step beyond giving advice on writing.  By the time a book gets to us at indieBRAG, learning how to write and asking advice about publishing a book is in the past.  We assume that when an author submits their book to us they are confident it is well written, edited, formatted and has an appealing cover.  If not, it probably will not make it to our library. So Steena, let’s talk about what you are an expert on--marketing and selling books. How important is finding your audience and how do you do that? For me, knowing my audience, finding those readers – that’s more important than anything else after the book. If…

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Ingredients In Story-Telling That Impact A Reader’s Imagination

Clare Flynn   Award winning author and 3 time B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, Clare Flynn is sharing here thoughts on creating a great story. Thank you for sharing with us Clare- What are the steps in creating a setting for your story? My start point with a book is usually setting. My imagination is captured by a particular location. There will be something specific that is the source of its appeal to me as a writer and then I think how I can bring that to life on the page. I then imagine a character within this setting and let my imagination go from there. Sometimes I will have visited a location – perhaps on holiday – or in the past on a business trip, and having been inspired by it, I may return to spend more time there. On the return visit I’m gathering detail and texture to bring the setting to life on the page. This may include sounds – what can I hear that makes this place different? smells – everywhere has its special smell – what is this one? touch – how can I pull in sensory imagery that evokes what it is really like to be there?.…

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Old Fashioned Biscuits and a Great Book!

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within. ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together.     Dirt: The Story of Two Orphans by S. L. Dwyer The opening is stark. Thirteen-year-old Sammy Larkin comes across his parents, hanging from the rafters in their barn.  Left to take care of his seven-year old sister Birdie is hardly his only problem. The Larkin family lives in Texas County, Oklahoma during the height of the Depression’s Dust Bowl and in one of the worst hit areas. Sammy’s parents left a total of $.66 for the children, thinking that they would go to authorities and be safely placed in foster homes. Author Sharon Dwyer wrote to me, “I had to imagine what could be the worst that could happen during that time for kids. Times were difficult enough without having this type of…

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Ingredients In Story-Telling That Impact A Reader’s Imagination

Anna Castle on Marketing Definition of marketing by Merriam Webster: The act or process of selling or purchasing in a marke; The process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service. An aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer. For most authors who love writing, marketing is the most difficult and least enjoyable part of being a self-published author!  We have invited author multi award winning B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree author, Anna Castle here to share some of her thoughts on the process- When partnering up with other authors for cross promotions, what is the outcome of this and is this something you recommend doing on an ongoing basis? I haven’t done this, apart from a series of Christmas blog posts. That was fun, but I don’t think it had any effect on my sales. Still, it’s well to remember that publicity means getting your name out there, while marketing consists of specific efforts to boost sales. Or that’s how I’ve learned these lessons. What are some ways that were successful in marketing your book? The best results I’ve had in terms of sales & downloads have come from using newsletter ad services to promote a discount. I’m not big enough…

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What’s a Beta Reader and how do you find them?

Beta Readers A Beta reader, also known as a pre-reader, is an essential component that all authors should consider utilizing.  Beta readers are defined as non-professional.  They are readers who enjoy reading and who want to help writers be successful.  (In truth, we want to read the book first and watch the creative process in action and feel like we helped.)  Beta readers will look over written materials for plot errors, grammar and spelling errors, issues with character development and suggestions to improve the book.  Included in their services, they can also be fact checkers; however, if you need to designate one as a fact checker communicate that to the person.  They are a wonderful resource that is gaining in popularity due to the ease of finding and communicating with folks who are truly interested in seeing a writer succeed. But why should anyone use beta readers?  Beta readers don’t have to be nice to you, they do not have a close or personal relationship with you like family members, spouse or even good friends.  They will give you honest feedback that you must evaluate and either take their suggestions seriously or not. Let’s be honest here, as a writer…

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Ingredients In Story-Telling That Impact A Reader’s Imagination

Writing a story is an art in itself. Creating the right setting, the perfect characters, plot, believable dialogue and conflict. With those blended ingredients are what makes a story impact the reader’s imagination, mind and heart. The most important aspect of story-telling is to draw the reader in your character’s world. How are the stories written to do this and how does one make it work? Today, multi award winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree David Penny shares with us his expertise with us. What are the steps in creating a setting for your story? How long have we got? I write Historical Mysteries which are also set in Southern Spain during the time of the expulsion of the Moors, so for me creating a setting is a mixture of detailed research and outright imagination. When I started my research, I discovered that little is known about my chosen period, and much of what is published can be over 150 years old. The world of Moorish Spain would have been very different to modern Spain, so I needed to world build as much as recreate a world now lost. I also walk the ground. I spend long periods of time in Spain,…

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