indieBRAG Blog

A Success Story!

A Self-Published Sleeper: Author of 'The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep' Speaks The originally self-published Swedish children’s book The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep may seem to be an overnight sensation, but its success, claims author Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, is actually the result of a slow build over roughly five years. According to Ehrlin, the sudden spike in international sales for the book—which Random House Children's Books bought for seven figures in August and released on Friday—is thanks to a perfect storm: word-of mouth praise driven by e-book giveaways, coupled with Amazon U.K. providing entrée to consumer media once the self-published book had taken off. During a phone interview with PW from the New York City office of his new publisher, Ehrlin, 37, who received a B.A. in psychology from Jonkoping University in Sweden, has no formal training in pedagogy or any direct experience working with children. But he has worked with adults, as a communications expert and management coach, and said the idea for writing Rabbit about five years ago and self-publishing it in 2011 in Sweden was driven by his experience working with this group. Rabbit marks Ehrlin's third foray into publishing. In 2006 he self-published…

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Big Changes Coming!

It has been over three years since indieBRAG, LLC launched its quality standards certification service for self-published books, a first for the industry. Since then, we have received an average of 100 book nominations a month and awarded over 500 B.R.A.G Medallions. We are proud of our library of high-quality indie books and we are grateful to the over 200 readers who have played a vital role in accomplishing this important and necessary task. As those of you on our global reader team know, we offer general guidelines to help in the evaluation of each book; however, the final determination to award a B.R.A.G. Medallion is whether or not a reader would recommend the book to their best friend. Until now, we have not provided feedback to authors beyond a final “Yes” or “No” decision. This is due to the limitations of our current book submission and review process. However, that is about to change! In response to many requests from authors and readers alike, we are significantly upgrading our operating system. While we are not yet ready to share the details, once the new system is implemented authors will be provided with constructive feedback in addition to the final…

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Book Giveaways – Do They Make Any Sense? By Florence Osmund

You want me to do what? Offer my book for free? Just give it away? I would never do that. I put too much work into writing it and spent a small fortune on editing, cover design, and formatting. And what would people think—that I put such little value on my book that I’m willing to give it away? Nope. Not me. That was some of my earlier thinking. I’ve since changed my attitude. Let me explain how giving away books makes good business sense. KDP Select My experience with book giveaways is with Amazon’s KDP Select program for Kindle e-books. When you enroll your book in KDP Select, you have access to certain promotional tools including free book promotions where you are allowed to price your book for "free" for up to five days during each 90-day enrollment period. The book then also qualifies for Kindle Unlimited (an e-book subscription service) and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. The main caveat is that as long as your e-book is enrolled in the program, it is exclusive to the Kindle Store—you agree not to sell it from any other venue. I personally don’t have a problem with that, but some people…

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Attention Mainstream & Indie Authors

Some Lessons to Learn About Self-Publishing There is no question that the poor quality of the vast majority of self-published books has tainted the well and made all self-published books the target of criticism. We all wish that weren’t the case; however, the good news is that many in mainstream publishing have begun to notice that there are a small but growing number of self-published books that deserve attention. They are in every way as good as traditionally published books and many are better. Evidence of this was provided in the awards ceremony at the recent 2015 Historical Novel Society Conference, where three awards were presented: I think this proves two things: First, the best of indie books are competitive to mainstream published books. And second, indieBRAG is finding and supporting great self-published books. In conclusion, it is YOUR job as a self-published author to do the work to make your book the best that it can be. If you do, it is OUR job to do everything we can to shine a light on you and your book.  

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Reviewing Historical Fiction – what every Indie Writer Should Know

Helen Hollick - author, editor of Historical Novel indie books and author of 3 B.R.A.G.Medallion Honorees- shares her wisdom with us! It is all very well writing an historical novel – doing all that research, checking and re-checking to ensure no factual errors or anachronistic bloopers creep in, (like the narrative in a Medieval novel proudly announcing; “she froze, like a rabbit caught in the headlights,”) but what happens after you have finished the editing, sorted the formatting and finally got your book into print? You want it to sell, of course. The best way to do this is by word of mouth. Create a buzz, get people talking about your novel. Easier said than done though! A good way to get started is obtaining an Indie B.R.A.G medallion and gaining some genuine honest, reliable, reviews. Which is where I come in. I am an author – traditionally published with my Historical Fiction in the US, but my nautical fantasy adventure series, the Sea Witch Voyages are Indie Published (and all have B.R.A.G. medallions). But for this article, my other role is the primary one: I am also the Historical Novel Society’s Managing Editor for Indie Reviews. We welcome indie…

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Mystical Mystery Bundle

Three BRAG Medallion Honorees have created a Mystical Mystery Bundle April 21 – 26, 2015   The first Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Obeying her mother’s warning, Mae Martin-Ridley has spent years hiding her gift of “the sight.” When concern for a missing hunter compels her to use it again, her peaceful life in a small Southern town begins to fall apart. New friends push her to explore her unusual talents, but as she does, she discovers the shadow side of her visions – access to secrets she could regret uncovering. Gift or curse? When an extraordinary ability intrudes on an ordinary life, nothing can be the same again. The Mae Martin Series No murder, just mystery. Every life hides a secret, and love is the deepest mystery of all. The First Lie – Virginia King Selkie Moon Mystery Series, Book One Selkie Moon is a woman on the run. In a mad dash for freedom she's escaped her life in Sydney to start over again in Hawaii. But her refuge begins to unravel and she's running from something else entirely. A voice in a dream says that someone is trying to kill her. Not that she's psychic, no way. But…

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WHAT WE ARE AND WHAT WE ARE NOT!

Recently, there have been a few comments made on various web forums that refer to indieBRAG as a paid review service. We are not and we would like to correct any misunderstanding of what we are and what we do. As the late four-term senator, ambassador, and sociologist, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." So here are two key facts about indieBRAG: FACT: We are a quality standards certification service for the self-published book industry. All books brought to our attention are subjected to a rigorous selection process. Books that are selected to receive our B.R.A.G. Medallion are actively promoted, while the names of the authors and titles of books that are not chosen are kept strictly confidential. The reason that we record a “5 Star review” at amazon.com, or on similar websites, is because that is the only way we can announce the award on those sites. FACT: We do charge a non-refundable $20.00 processing fee that covers ebook acquisition and administrative costs, and the expense of maintaining our website. While we would never be so presumptuous to compare ourselves to the prestigious Pulitzer Prize Award, the…

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indieBRAG Battles BBBR!

What is BBBR you ask? I will explain but first let me share some facts that will come as no surprise to most of you: Bowker, an industry research group, reported that 458 thousand books were self-published in the United States in 2013, an increase of 17% versus the prior year, and 437% versus 2008. In contrast, the number of traditionally published books has remained basically flat at 305 thousand for the past five years. A quarter of the top 100 bestselling Kindle books on Amazon.com in 2012 were self-published via KDP, according to a spokesperson for Amazon. And this trend is expected to continue. I could go on but clearly there is an inexorable shift occurring in the publishing industry away from traditionally published books toward their indie counterparts. That's the good news for all of us who care about quality indie books and their dedicated authors. So what's the bad news? Well, the operative word in the preceding sentence was 'quality". Unfortunately, as we have seen first-hand at indieBRAG, up to 90% of all indie books are poorly written and edited. Or, as one traditional publisher said somewhat inelegantly, "the overwhelming majority are terrible—unutterable rubbish." Which brings me…

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