indieBRAG Blog

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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Did you know that many of our indieBRAG readers are authors? Why should that matter?

  I read an interesting article the other day about the importance of authors reading books – even if they don’t like to read.  Does that strike anyone else as very strange-- Not the importance of reading, but an author not liking to read?  How can an author write a compelling story and expect readers to enjoy their work if they don’t enjoy reading?  Mind boggling. Reading for indieBRAG gives a reader an opportunity to analyze both the good and not so good attempts at writing a worthy book.  I have often been told by authors that after reading a book for indieBRAG they have gone back to change things in their current works.  It is not uncommon to find things they don’t particularly like only to realize they have committed the same error in their writing.  So, you see, it isn’t important to only read the great classics, but to also learn from those who are trying to appeal to your audience as an author. Stephen King has also said in his book on writing: “The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing… Constant reading will pull you into…

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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, Award Winning Author Sophie Perinot, shares with us her expertise. What are the steps in creating a setting for your story? Creating a realistic 3-dimensional world for our characters and readers to inhabit together is one of a writer’s most important tasks. Historical novelists have both an advantage and a disadvantage when creating settings, because that many of the locations in our work are real. The advantage to genuine settings is we can visit them in person or—if that is not physically or financially possible—visit them virtually via the internet. We can also research the bejeebers out of them. As someone who majored in history, I am very serious about my research. I’ve also been to many of the locations featured in my work, especially those in my most recent novel, Médicis Daughter,…

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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, writer Stuart S. Laing, author of the, The Robert Young of Newbiggin Mystery Series shares with us his expertise. First of all, please allow me to thank you for giving me the opportunity to join you today. It is always a pleasure to spend some time discussing writing with someone who works tirelessly to promote writing and authors. -Stuart What are the steps in creating a setting for your story? As a real estate agent might put it: location. Location. Location. As I write a series of murder mysteries set in Edinburgh, Scotland during the 1740s I enjoy trying to take the reader back to what, for some, are familiar streets but create a picture of how they were almost 300 years ago. Fortunately, I have several maps from the period which are…

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