indieBRAG Blog

CAN GREAT WRITING BE TAUGHT?

The simple answer is no. Does that mean writing courses are a waste of time? Or that getting an MA or a PhD in creative writing is a fool’s errand? Of course not. Classes can teach good writers to become better, but classes will not turn a good writer into a Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway. Great writing requires a certain native ability, which is rare. However, that does not mean aspiring indie authors should give up. While truly great writers are few, there is ample room in the world for really good writing, the pursuit of which should be the goal of every self-published author. How then does a new writer judge the value of a writing course?  Well, to begin with they need to understand what their objective is. If it is to become fluent with the basics of style, syntax and word usage and, thereby, feel more comfortable integrating these into a clear and cohesive story, then do it. Or, if it is to enjoy the sense of camaraderie of classmates and gain the constructive criticism of a good teacher, then proceed. But if it is to short circuit the hard…

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In Praise of indieBRAG – S. R. Zales

  Hello indieBRAG, In 2013 I was awarded a Gold Medallion by Indie B.R.A.G. for my Juvenile Book "Jenny and the Hummingbird Faeries". First off I cannot thank your group enough for the honor.  I did receive some Medallions and used them on the books I sold. I wanted to let you know that they were a great asset in selling by book. The book has continued to sell in the hundreds and I believe you were instrumental in making that happen. I have a number of venues coming up in the next several weeks and months where I will be selling even more books. The problem is that I have used all, yes all, the Gold Medallions and am desperately asking to purchase from you 200 more. Is that possible? It would be a marvelous if you could send them as soon as you can. Thank you  in advance. Keep up the tremendous work you all have been doing. S.R. Zales Jenny and the Hummingbird Faeries Find this award winning book HERE Author S. R. Zales https://www.srzales.com/

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A great recipe from Susan & author Catana Tully!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Split at the Root Tully, Catana. Split at the Root Catana Tully, in her memoir, Split At the Root, takes her readers on an intense journey into identity, motherhood and what labels mean. At times despondent, at time joyful, the author pulls herself apart until she finds her core. Who we are is intrinsically connected to our family, our community, our race, gender and religion—among many the many categories we create to define identity.  Catana Tully wonders aloud why we need to check off the boxes about who and what we are. She checks other.  She told me, “The thing is, when you have a nationality that identifies you culturally, it is a shock to have to define what you are according to other people’s perception. It feels demeaning and disrespectful. One day we’ll all be ‘Other’ but that’s a long, long time away from now.” Yet Catana is driven to find the essential questions about her mother, family and culture. Where does she feel comfortable and at home?  It has taken many years and now, in her 70’s, she feels comfortable asking these questions. Catana’s story…

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Advice from Steena Holmes “Branding with Intent”

Writers: Don’t Give In To The Pressure By Steena Holmes on Apr 05, 2018 02:23 pm If you are a writer, raise your hand if you feel the pressure to rush your process and just get those books out. (my hand is raised and I know yours are too!) There are so many factors to this rush: bills are piling up so many of your writing friends are releasing books in quick succession you keep hearing this is the only way to get noticed (ie. 90 day window) any other number of reasons to feel like you’re missing out Can I say something that might be against the norm? Stop. Slow down. Don’t panic. I know, I know, easy enough to say, but hard to accomplish, right? I’ve been there, in your shoes when I saw my income going down and my bills piling up. When I would hear of others talk about their numbers and stepped back so no one would notice me and ask how I was doing. When I would visit different FB writing groups and the advice was to write/publish/repeat as fast as you can in order to increase your visibility. Every time I would hear…

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In Praise of indieBRAG – Christopher Holt

Gate Keepers  For more than a century the only “gate keepers” for writers have been literary agents and publishers. This arrangement worked reasonably well until new technologies  made it possible for hundreds of thousands of new authors to present their work direct to the public without recourse to gate keepers at all.  At present the market suffers from an over-abundance of fiction, much it of it, let’s be honest, pretty mediocre. Publishers are wary of taking on new writers. Most play safe, concentrating on a pool of proven commercial authors. This is understandable. The industry sails in stormy seas. A few years ago Geri Clouston had the foresight and boldness to introduce Indie- B.R.A.G.  as a third gate-keeper, one willing to seriously evaluate every book that was offered .The B.R.A.G. Medallion is now a vital and much needed addition to the world of books and writers. Indie BRAG is as generous as it is unique. As far as I can see, there is no other organisation in the world like it.  Geri and her team are tough. When they turned down my first book, I knew I had to raise my game. When, eventually, my latest novel was awarded a…

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In Praise of indieBRAG -Joe Perrone

“President Geri Clouston and all the wonderful people at B.R.A.G.Medallion are performing a vital service by recognizing and promoting previously unheralded independent authors.  I am proud to be a two-time B.R.A.G.Medallion honoree, and I urge everyone associated with independent publishing to celebrate and support this magnificent organization.” Joe Perrone Author of the Matt Davis Mystery Series Find these Award Winning Books HERE Author Joe Perrone Jr.  

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Civil War Mystery nourished with a Civil War favorite – Fried Apples!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Time Expo Time Exposure by Lynne Kennedy In Time Exposure, Lynne Kennedy makes Civil War photography the lens of her novel. “Photography hugely impacted the way society viewed the war….I combine my love of history and science with my penchant for mysteries!” Lynne does a superb job—an intriguing mystery, wonderful characters and exciting history.  All make this a fabulous read. Lynne Kennedy's Time Exposure.     Buttery Fried Nutmeg Apples During the Civil War, favorite sweet side or dessert was Fried Apples. In the field, it was typically made in a cast iron pan over a fire and worked well with tart apples. A variety of sweeteners could be used from honey or brown sugar, more available than white at the time. The Gibbs Museum in Charleston, South Carolina mounted an exhibit of Civil War photographs, which I went to see a few years ago. The black and white photographs were clear and surprisingly modern. There was the heroic; there were also the photographs that were brutal, unnerving and full of war’s agony. There was the view of Robert E. Lee’s home, with Union soldiers on the porch, his property…

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In Praise of indieBRAG – Alison Morton

Self-publishing is expanding exponentially; it has long ceased to be a minority interest. But along with the glorious freedom of writing any genre, mixed genres or no genre and the ability to control every aspect of a book’s production comes responsibility to the readers. Some authors write books purely for their own pleasure and that’s great fun and personally very satisfying, but today self- or independent publishing is a serious option for commercial writers. However, not everybody is conscientious in producing a well-rounded, page turning book with impeccable production values. How is a reader able to distinguish the dross from the diamonds in today’s avalanche of self-published work? This is where the B.R.A.G. Medallion® comes in. When INCEPTIO, the first in my series of Roma Nova thrillers, was awarded a Medallion, I was delighted; my writing had passed one of the highest bars around. Rapidly becoming recognised in the world of self-publishing as an impeccable seal of excellence, its selection process is rigorous, rejecting 90% of applicants. If a book carries a B.R.A.G. Medallion® sticker, it will be a quality assured read, whatever its genre. I was proud to explain what the sticker meant and people were impressed. More importantly,…

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In Praise of indieBRAG- Pauline Barclay

Writing and publishing a book is just the beginning of a journey for an indie author. Once your book is out there, marketing and promoting your baby begins. These days there is a plethora of platforms where you can reach out to a wider audience. Book signing offers the opportunity to connect with readers.  Reviews play an important role in providing readers with an overview of what others think of you your book. These are all tools that can be used in your marketing plan, but one thing that does makes people sit up and want to learn more about your book is an award. There are zillions of books published and only a few of these will ever receive recognition or an award.  Receiving an award is an indicator your work has reached a high level. To be honoured with a BRAG award is a first class accolade on any scale of published books. My third published book, Sometimes It Happens… in 2012 received a BRAG award. I was speechless when I learnt of the award because BRAG does not give out awards to any author. In fact more than 90% of books that pass through their hallowed halls…

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In Praise of indieBRAG – Denise Barnes

  Thank you so much for your thrilling email that I have achieved the second B.R.A.G award in The Voyagers trilogy, Kitty's Story. You really made my day. Just  to mention that when Kitty's Story was in manuscript form, I offered it to HarperCollins. They loved it, but because I'd self-published Annie's Story (which achieved the B.R.A.G award) and Juliet's Story (which apparently only missed the award by a whisker), HarperCollins decided I should continue to self-publish Kitty's Story. You can imagine my disappointment. But in the next breath they asked if I would write a series for them set in WW2, and the first one, An Orphan in the Snow, under the name Molly Green, came out on 30th November. They've chosen it as one of their leading titles for their Autumn/Winter brochure. I'm still pinching myself! I just thought you might like to hear of a success story from a previously self-published author. Denise Find these award winning books HERE Author Fenella Forster (Denise Barnes) https://www.bragmedallion.com/award-winning-books/#!/author/fenella-forster/  

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