indieBRAG Blog

Susan Weintrob
Susan Weintrob, our Foodie Lit writer, is a food blogger and reviewer on her website, Susan grew up around food and its prep. Her father owned a deli and catering business, which taught her the key components of the industry. "Writing food blogs is an amazing opportunity. Cooking and talking about food is simply fun and takes me back to memories of my Dad."

IndieBRAG Cover Crush: In Julia’s Garden by Laura S. Wharton

  Synopsis Lily McGuire has her plants and her work as a landscape architect in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. What she doesn’t have (a man to date or an adventure to have) is just fine with her, thank you very much. Yet her whole world turns as chaotic as the grand old mansion’s garden she’s restoring when a stranger presents her with the gardening journal of a 1940s socialite-gone-missing. Snarky and somewhat misanthropic Lily must search its pages for clues to the young beauty’s disappearance and a potentially deadly mystery despite the warning that she should tread carefully: the journal was the cause of Lily’s best friend’s death, assures the stranger. Appearances aside, the old man doesn’t seem trustworthy. But then again, Lily doesn’t trust anyone, so why should he be any different? In Julia’s Garden is a contemporary mystery set in Winston-Salem with roots firmly planted in a historic southern garden in Columbia, South Carolina. In the first of a series, Lily McGuire pieces together clues she finds in the missing socialite’s journal to discover what happened to Julia and to find closure on the death of her best friend who ran the small landscape architectural firm where Lily works.…

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Advertising Budget

Books sales might prove to be slow. We know it is largely up to us to promote our work. True, if you have taken the route of publishing via a small Indie publisher, some promotion will be done for you. However, that will not be enough to propel your creation out there for everybody to see. Therefore, you are starting to search for other options. The problem might be, there are not enough funds available for a large advertisement campaign. Believe me when I say, there really is no need to spent a vast amount of money on one single promotion. I have done this about four times now, without the desired effect. Maybe, we should follow the good old English saying, ´Every mickle makes a mackle´´, or something very similar. Let´s say we could spare 50 Dollars a month and for a while, we are able to stick to it. Now we have set our budget and have to master the art of spending it wisely. Finding a way what works best for the book we plan to promote. Book promotions sites are excellent options, but we have to remember that the same book, using the same site, can only…

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How I Got My Indie Novel into the Library System

by Annie Daylon I had no idea that indie authors could apply to have books purchased by libraries. When the illustrator of my picture book dropped that gem of information my way, I delved into research. At my local library, I spoke with the community librarian who gave me the contact information for the acquisitions librarian. In my application email to acquisitions, I included: a brief bio; cover images of available titles (linked to Amazon); mini-synopses; website link; and contact info. When a couple of weeks passed with no response, I emailed again. Still no reply. Months later, I did a follow up. I phoned the acquisitions librarian who readily explained that she receives scads of email and that she had simply missed my request. She asked me to re-send my application email. I complied. Within a week, a purchase order showed up: two copies of one title—Of Sea and Seed. I was elated! Within a few weeks, my book was in the library system of the British Columbia Fraser Valley Regional Library. Does making an effort to be known by your local library enhance your chances of receiving a favorable response to your application? Possibly. In my case, after…

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That Grey Area of Copyright

By Helen Hollick I read an article the other day about a self-published ‘author’ (hmm, debatable term) who had produced dozens of new books in one year. Someone got suspicious and looked into the details. It turned out this ‘author’ had copied, almost word for word, other books just changing the characters’ names, sex, and altering the location. So Jane Brown became John Black, and London became New York. That in itself was fine, but when an original sentence of: ‘Jane looked out of her bedroom window at the grey, drizzly sky of a London afternoon and sighed,’ became: ‘John looked out of his bedroom window at the dull, drizzling sky of a New York afternoon and sighed,’ things are not so fine. (I made the example up by the way!) What is even more disturbing, it seems this particular person knew exactly what he/she was doing because they had been caught, and cautioned, before. Apart from this is damaging to the original author and nothing more than copyright theft, what did this person get out of it – beside raking in a few ill-gotten pennies? We are not talking big time best-seller here. But then of course, the best-sellers…

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An Author’s Angle on Date Night by Annie Whitehead

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree-To Be A Queen I’m going on a date with a handsome man called Alhelm, a real-life 10th century warrior and nobleman, who held lands in the northern area of the kingdom of Mercia. How do I know he’s handsome? Aethelflaed, from To Be A Queen, seems rather taken with him: “His blond hair, recently cut by the look of it, was sticking out at odd angles, where curls had been shorn, but not short enough to subdue them. His blue eyes were so pale that the pupils shone uncommonly black. A sprinkling of freckles spilled over both cheekbones and spread over his nose. He smiled at her … she felt an urge to smile back but also look away, at once a grown woman yet still a foolish child.” This is when she first meets him, and she is smitten. So I imagine someone who looks a little like this:    Although the reality is probably more like this:  But, I muse while I’m straightening my hair, how can we know what they looked like? The Mercians were the ‘Angle’ part of Anglo-Saxon; Pope Gregory, upon seeing some slaves in the market said they were “Not Angles,…

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Where do you like to take a day for yourself and read?

Tranquil places far from the demands of my keyboard are necessary escapes to keeping my imagination free to travel - anywhere. Less than an hour from our home on the Olympic Peninsula, I've found such an idyllic locale along the shore of Lake Crescent. Last week, my husband and I bundled up on a rainy morning to make the trip along the narrow 101 to the National Park Lodge for a much-needed getaway. After a tasty breakfast, we planted ourselves on two cushioned, wicker chairs in the lodge sunroom overlooking the lake. It wasn't hard to let imagination transport me into a cozy mystery novel in someone's Victorian lake house. With its worn wood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows, I had to work to pull my focus back to the Brandon Sanderson fantasy novel I'd brought with me. On this particular morning low clouds hovered above the water obscuring most of the mountains that border the twelve-mile-long lake. For awhile the view was less of a distraction so the world of the final empire drew me in. Soon the clouds lifted, revealing Storm King and Pyramid Peak. Tourists ambled out onto the wooden dock for selfies. The view and the aroma…

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So, what kind of books do you write? by Carrie Beckort

Genre. It’s like the gender classification for books, except there are more than two options: Literary Romance Historical Science Fiction Children’s Self-help On and on and on . . . Just as it is with gender, a book’s genre classification gives people a set of expectations for how the book should ‘act’. Romance novels should have a happily ever after ending. A Fantasy novel should transport the reader to a world they’ve never before seen. A Mystery novel should have unexpected twists and turns from start to finish. But what if I don’t want to be boxed into one category? What if I don’t want to follow the rules? “Um, that’s great. But tell me, what kind of books do you write?” When someone asks me this question, I know they’re expecting me to respond with a genre classification. In the beginning of my writing career, I would cringe and stutter and overall just make myself look like a blubbering idiot. My books don’t fit neatly into a specific genre, and I didn’t want to pigeonhole them into one. Instead of blurting out a genre, I decided to tell my perspective readers what my books are about. The primary focus…

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indiebrag Cover Crush: A Boy Called Duct Tape by Christopher Cloud

By Book Blogger Margaret Cook - Just One More Chapter A Boy Called Duct Tape The cover for this book jumped out at me right away for various reasons. I recall seeing a pair of shoes identical to that in my front hallway once.  So looking at this cover just brought back so many memories and there are so many possibilities where this book can go.  As I write this up I have not read the synopsis for the story I am really curious to see where it goes. My initial thoughts and what I picture in my mind is an adventurous young boy who doesn't let the fact that he cannot get new runners stand in his way of doing what he wants. His family may be down in their luck and they cannot afford it or he is a boy who just likes to improvise and do his own thing. He is confident in who he is and doesn't care about the laughs and jeers these shoes invoke from fellow classmates.  I am also picturing a polite and respectful lad who is devoted to family and his friends (though he might not have many). Aside from the possible health…

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Growing Up Jewish in Egypt- Their were no recipes, just cooking!

Growing up Jewish in Alexandria: The Story of a Sephardic Family's Exodus from Egypt By Lucienne Carasso Susan Weintrob indieBRAG Food Blogger Everydayhappyfoods A dear friend of mine grew up in Cairo.  Her story was quite similar to Lucienne's so it was natural to call her to ask about recipes from Egyptian Jewish Families.  "Recipes?" she responded. "There were no recipes, just cooking!" She went on to say "a lot of our food was vegetables stuffed with round meat and rice, fried, then you make a tomato sauce with lemon, a bit of sugar, and whatever spices you like.  In Egypt, we did not have steaks like here; our cows were skinney.  Our cholent (traditional Sabbath slow cooking stew) was meat, garbanzo beans and eggs wrapped separately, Mucluschia soup and of course, a lot of eggplant as a relish, fried or cooked. A favorite dish from Egypt and, in fact beloved in most of the Middle East, is eggplant relish, commonly known here as Baba Ganoush.  Simple, with variations from different traditions, eggplant relish is eaten warm or cold, as a side dish or a snack. The eggplant is roasted or baked.  Seasonings are often distinct to regions and cultures.  Serve…

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IT TAKES A TEAM by Barbara Kyle

I've gratefully learned this lesson in having ten novels published: it takes a team. My Thornleigh Saga is a seven-book historical series that features a middle class English family's rise through three turbulent Tudor reigns. The latest is The Traitor's Daughter. For this series my publisher wanted a book a year, and for me that's a challenge. I couldn't achieve it alone. I'm happy to say I've been blessed with a support team, three people that are definitely an "A" team. I sing their praises here. First is my agent, Albert Zuckerman. Al is something of a legend in the publishing world. He founded Writers House, one of the largest literary agencies in the world. He's been midwife to dozens of bestselling books, many of them blockbusters such as Dr. Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, Michael Lewis's Moneyball (made into the film with Brad Pitt), and Ken Follett's mega-bestsellers like Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. I'm honored that Al names me as one of his leading clients. Years ago, when I was a rookie in this business, peddling my first novel but knowing nobody, I sent queries out to a slew of agents, as all…

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