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."


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, 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 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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Author Interview with S.S. Segran S.S. Segran Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Aegis Rising S.S. Segran spent a good chunk of her childhood exploring the enchanted forest of a million tales in the mystical land of books. In her early teens, she began crafting intriguing new worlds and conjuring up characters who came alive with the flick of her wand... err... pen. With the publication of Aegis Rising in her senior year of high school, she was surprised by the abundance of time that magically appeared right after graduation. She plans to use this newfound resource to expand the arc of the Aegis Series. Her future plans include studying Cognitive Science at university and helping youths in developing countries realize their potential through her non-profit organization, Aegis LeagueWhen not devouring a book or writing one, S.S. Segran can be found standing behind the cauldron of life, stirring a potion made up of chores, parkour, gaming, drawing, horseback riding and—having recently jumped off a perfectly fine airplane at fifteen thousand feet – perhaps skydiving. Read the entire Interview at Layered Pages Visit the author at her Website Learn more about the Aegis League  - Youth Empowering Youth  

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Author Interview with Travis Bow Travis Bow Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Thane Travis Daniel Bow is the author of Thane and its sequel, King's Table. He grew up in Reno, NV (where he raised pigs for FFA), earned degrees from Oklahoma Christian University (where he broke his collarbone in a misguided Parkour attempt) and Stanford (where he and his bike were hit by a car), and now does research and development work for Nikon. He has eight published short stories, four pending patents, one wonderful son, one beautiful wife, and one loving God. Read the entire interview with Travis Bow at Layered Pages Visit Travis at his website

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Author Interview with Shannon L. Brown Shannon L. Brown Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree The Feather Chase Shannon L. Brown read and read as a kid, particularly every mystery she could find. She didn't plan to be a writer though. Although she earned a degree in journalism & communications then a second degree in education, she didn't end up working in either field. Shannon wrote her first book, a clean romance, shortly after earning those degrees in the 1980s. Submitted to a publisher, when it was rejected she changed directions. Fast forward to a day some years later when she was driving and an image of a briefcase filled with feathers popped into her mind. She knew it was the idea for a children's mystery and "The Feather Chase" was born. Shannon wrote the book while working in unrelated fields. She also began writing magazine articles on the side and gradually moved to doing that full-time. Now an award-winning writer, she has sold more than 600 articles for local, national and regional publications and, until resigning to finish the book, was the contributing editor for a jewelry publication. (This goes to show you, you never know where life may take…

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A Word of Thanks to indieBRAG readers

We are all authors of our own life's story, dutifully crafting each chapter, sometimes in harmony with a disciplined plot line, but more often than not simply reacting to the accidents of fate that appear without warning at the end of one chapter or the beginning of the next. And although few but our family and friends will share in the unfolding tale as we live each sentence and paragraph that does not diminish the importance of having been here; of living and loving, of laughing and crying, and yes, eventually, dying. Millions of us get up each day to write the next chapter in the book of our lives without fanfare or promise, but there are some, perhaps braver than the rest, perhaps more egotistical, or more likely simply afraid of being forgotten, who are not content to let the mark of their having passed this way to be etched solely in the minds and memories of those who loved them. Instead they seek to leave a more permanent imprint, however tiny and insignificant it may be, upon the collective narrative of mankind. Most don't write the story of their own lives, because these would be dry or tortured…

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READERS SURVEY: PART ONE Over the past two weeks I have shared with you highlights from indieBRAG's Second Annual Survey among Authors of a B.R.A.G Medallion book. I would now like to present the key findings from the Reader Survey, and compare the results to 2013 where relevant. I will provide these results in three parts, beginning today with the Reader Survey: Part One.   READER SURVEY: PART ONE Overview As was the case with the Author Survey, participation in this year's survey among our readers declined versus last year. Specifically, it dropped to 15%, which compares to 25% in 2013. While we were disappointed by this lower participation rate, the sample was still large enough to provide some useful, albeit directional, findings. The results I will present in Part One and Two reflect the readers' general views and preferences unrelated to their roles as indieBRAG reviewers. In Part Three, I will highlight several key findings that pertain directly to our readers' experiences in reading indieBRAGsubmissions. Preferred Format for Books Like last year, a little over half of our readers prefer reading an eBook. Only ten percent prefer trade paperbacks while forty percent read either. Very few readers favor mass…

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Author Interview with Holly Bush Holly Bush Author of B.R.A.G.Medallion Honorees Romancing Olive Reconstructing Jackson Red, White & Screwed Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject. Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800's. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer's group. She is always a member of Romance Writers of America. Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, and was the vice-president of her local library board for years. She loves to spend time near…

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Author Interview with Charlene Newcomb Charlene Newcomb Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Men of the Cross Charlene was born and raised in South Carolina, but left home at 18 to "join the Navy and see the world." That "world" ended up being duty stations in Florida, California, Texas, and Maryland. Her job as a communications technician led to a post-Navy career in academic libraries, where she worked since the early 1980s. Somewhere in there, Charlene had 3 children – now all grown and independent – completed a B.A. in U.S. History and a Masters in Library and Information Science, and moved to Kansas. She started writing in 1993 and published a series of short stories in the Star Wars universe. Due to life's curve balls, she didn't publish her first novel, Keeping the Family Peace, until 2012. Her love of history has taken her happily to the 12th century. Men of the Cross, published in April 2014, is book I of her Battle Scars series. Book II, For King and Country, will be published later this year. Visti Charlene at her Website Read Charlene Newcomb's entire interview at Layered Pages  

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Author Interview with Kristen Taber Kristen Taber Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honorees THE CHILD RETURNS (ÆRENDEN #1)THE GILDONAE ALLIANCE (ÆRENDEN #2) Born in Bangor, Maine, author Kristen Taber spent her childhood at the feet of an Irish storytelling grandfather, learning to blend fact with fiction and imagination with reality. She lived within the realm of the tales that captivated her, breathing life into characters and crafting stories even before she could read.Those stories have since turned into over a hundred poems, several short tales, and five manuscripts in both the Young Adult and Adult genres. Currently, Ms. Taber is completing the five-part Ærenden series from her home office in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Visit Kristen Tabers Website Read the entire interview with Kristen Taber at Layered Pages         

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