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."

Living with a Writer

Laurie Boris I was so excited when Stephanie agreed to my request to write a guest blog for indieBRAG. When I looked at her list of suggested topics, one caught my eye immediately: interview my significant other about my writing career. It seemed like a great idea at the time, so I walked down the hall—Paul was in his home office, where he works as a commercial illustrator and website designer. (He designs all my book covers.) I broached the question. He gave me that “there is no good answer here” look. Like I’d just asked what he really thought about my new haircut. But he’s also a great sport, so he agreed. Here’s what resulted. Well, you married a writer. How’s it going so far? How many times have you wanted to run away screaming? We’ve been together for almost thirty years, so I’ll characterize it as “a work in progress.” Screaming? Seventeen. Does Laurie let you read what she wrote? Yes. She lets me beta-read her novels. With great power comes great responsibility. While reading, I have pictures of guillotines above my head. Then I realize I’m not in nineteenth century Paris, so I keep reading. How has…

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Someone Must Die

If you’ve watched more than one episode of Star Trek, you know when Captain Kirk, Spock, and Doctor McCoy step into the transporter with a red-shirted crew member, the “red-shirt” is marked for the chopping block. If laser beams spurt about planet-side, or some poisonous alien flower is blooming, red-shirt is doomed. Why? The answer to that question is an important key to making your fiction work and making your reader keep turning pages. First of all, in a good story, something has to happen, right? If not, you don’t have a plot; you have a still life. The stuff “happening” must affect the character(s), either externally or internally. Character and plot are intertwined. Character drives plot, or at least co-pilots. Plot helps build and show character. How? By letting readers “see” how the characters think and feel. Plot tests them. Plot sometimes tortures them! (Tip: If you don’t know much about your character, toss them into the fire and see what they do.) Alert: Important idea coming up: In a good plot, cost must be involved. If there is no price to pay, if nothing matters, if there are no consequences to your character’s decisions (whether that consequence is…

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Building an Author Platform

Contributed by Florence Osmund As an aspiring author anxious to get published, you may be tempted to plunge into the profession by first writing a book. That seems logical, but there’s this thing called author platform to consider that can affect your standing as an author, and the best time to start building one is before you start writing. An author platform is a continual plan of action that conveys your expertise and credibility to others and is essential in building a successful writing career. Platform is your visibility so that others know who you are and how to find you and your books.   Think of building a career as an author like building a house. The first thing you need to do is start laying a foundation—a platform for you to sell your book. Just like a house, your writing career needs a solid foundation in order to last long-term. Without it, your career could become shaky or tumble altogether. Some people have built-in platforms—celebrities, politicians, sports figures, wives of celebrities, wives of politicians (I think you get the picture). If you are one of these people, you can stop reading now. But if you’re just an ordinary…

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Coping With Negative Reviews

It’s natural to react when you’re criticized. When you first see a one- or two-star review, you may feel a sinking or burning sensation in your center. You may be hurt and discouraged and blame yourself Oh no—this reviewer thought my book was (dull, unbelievable, too descriptive, depressing, etc.) It must be that bad.” Or you might be hurt and angry and blame the reviewer. How could that person hate my book? It’s had nothing but good reviews until now. They have to be either an idiot or a troll.” The safest response is to step back and make a space for reflection. Get in touch with your core self, the wise part of you that realizes you’re still valuable and whole. I know of an author who panicked over a two-star and recruited friends to write reviews. She got caught. The unreflective reaction backfired. I’ve read blog posts by authors who have argued with reviewers and giving in to this gut reaction also backfired. One even went so far as to stalk a troll who was attacking her. Needless to say, this only increased the author’s suffering. I’ve been an actor and a choreographer, and am currently a professor…

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Promote your published book by blog marketing

1. Host articles in your blog site and keep it active The blog is your content home base. Readers may access your blog post from myriad channels—social media, comment thread, backlinks, search—but they should all end up in a blog site. Don’t host your articles in external sites—for example, Tumblr, LinkedIn, or Facebook—because you don’t own these platforms, and you can lose your materials once these sites fold up or close your account. Instead, register your own domain and have it hosted on a paid server. There are three critical advantages for this: What about free blog platforms? They’re good at increasing your audience reach, but, again, you don’t own the site so you risk losing everything one day. Instead, use these third-party sites as complementary platforms—for instance, posting a synopsis or shorthand version of the full-text article in your blog. Same thing with your social media pages: post teasers, tweets, and backlinks in these channels to drive traffic to your blog. 2. Talk about topics, not your book Learn from content marketing experts: HubSpot and Content Marketing Institute are two top experts in inbound marketing (getting traffic from content instead of ads). When you check their websites, they talk…

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The benefits of the B.R.A.G. Medallion and being a part of the indieBRAG Family

The benefits of the B.R.A.G. Medallion and being a part of the indieBRAG Family 2016 As anyone who has had their book honored with the B.R.A.G. Medallion knows, it is a very challenging but worthwhile experience! Obviously, we hope having the B.R.A.G. Medallion on your book will bring it to the attention of a broader group of potential readers. But there is a great deal more that you can and should do to beyond just having the Medallion on your book. Here are some suggestions that will help us help you benefit from achieving this industry-wide, recognized standard of quality. We encourage you to take advantage of what we offer and to be generous in sharing your experiences and knowledge with other indieBRAG authors Be sure to tell everyone about your B.R.A.G. Medallion – The more recognizable the Medallion becomes as an indication that a book is worth a reader’s time and money, the more it benefits everyone. “One for all, all for one”! Encourage others to come to to find books that might interest them. We do not sell or distribute books, and we get very little financially when purchasers click through to or the like to buy…

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A Story Inspiration is Suddenly Upon You!

Victoria Thurman Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree- The Dating Dilemmas of Delilah Dunnifield I had another Delilah moment on this past Sunday. Both of these are going in my new book. I got a huge bouquet of flowers. From a dog! I dog sit on occasion and I was staying at my friend Trish's house with her two dogs last Saturday/ Sunday. I sit for little Zeva in the townhouse attached to Trish's also. I had just left Trish's house about an hour and a half before Crystal called me and told me they had a fire at their house. I rushed back to get Trish's dogs out in-case smoke had gone through to their side- it hadn't thankfully. There were 3 fire engines blocking the street and I had to park at the top of the steep hill and run down. I hurdled over fire hoses and slid into "home base" (the doormat) and grabbed the key and opened the door running to the laundry room to free the dogs. After we got the okay there their side was safe- I put the dogs back in and then Crystal and her husband got the okay to go inside and…

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How 6 Writers Found Bliss in the Destruction of a City

Nothing that begins with champagne can ever be dreary. That is how A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii began—with Stephanie Dray, Kate Quinn and me toasting the release of one of Kate’s marvelous novels. We three have a longstanding tradition of hanging out on release days, primarily to keep whichever of us has a book launching from relentlessly checking Amazon rankings or curling up in a fetal position (if you’ve never released a book, believe me it is as terrifying as it is gratifying). All sorts of things get discussed at these luncheons—including the types of plot points that seem perfectly normal to historical novelists, but send waiters scurrying away concerned. On that particular day, however, our history obsessed brains turned not to poison or regicide but to doing something creative together. Specifically to continuities—collections of short stories that each stand-alone but also interlink to form a larger novel—which were increasingly popular in historical romance, but hadn’t made the leap to straight historical fiction yet. Maybe it was all the bubbles, but we were determined to change that. Writing is generally a solo effort, and it can be lonely. So when you have a chance to work with…

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The Texas Book Festival: An indie author’s report

Anna Castle Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Murder By Misrule (The Francis Bacon Mystery Series), shares here experinces at the Texas Book Festival Two Texas chapters of Sisters in Crime teamed up this October to host a booth at the Texas Book Festival on the State Capitol Grounds in Austin. Eight authors participated -- Traci Andrighetti, Alexandra Burt, Martha Carr, Anna Castle, N.M. (Noreen) Cedeño, Janet Christian, Helen Currie Foster, and Melissa Lenhardt -- a mix of indies and traditionally published. We took turns staffing the booth in two-hour shifts, but displayed our collective works throughout the weekend. The weather was gorgeous, the turnout was terrific, and we all had a great time. The book festival was first launched by Laura Bush in 1995. It has become one of the major literary events in the country, showcasing some 250 authors and attracting 40,000 book lovers. Most of them come for the fun of strolling around the capitol grounds enjoying street food, cooking demonstrations, live music, jugglers, the children’s story tent, and presentations by a wide range of authors. The streets are lined with big tents sheltering booths offering books for sale, alongside nearly every book-related organization in the state. We wanted Sisters in…

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