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."

Food Blogger, Wife and Real Life “Nana” in William L. Stuart’s Gemstone Chronicles!

                                                             The Gemstone Chronicles William Stuart. Quite frankly, the whole thing didn’t make sense.  “It doesn’t make sense that a fairy tale can be real,” Nana says to their Elvan guide Elf Finecano.  How can elves be real, magic be bestowed on her, her husband and her two grandchildren? How can they be moved through the shimmery veil between parallel worlds? Findecano  explained “Magic leaves a trail for those who know how to follow it,”… I believe our fate is to complete this journey together…So I ask for the four of you to join me in my quest.” While quests for young people abound in fantasy novels, usually without the protection or knowledge of their parents, rarely are grandparents included.  Nana and Beebop, a pet name for “grandpa”, are both brave and cautious and with their grandchildren, Aiden and Maggie,  learn to use the magical tools given to them. Including grandparents in the quest is an unusual and interesting technique, which the author makes work. There are many dangers along the…

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A Book for Christmas and Pasta for a Healthy New Year!

Mothers who disappear. Fathers who die. Mothers who are in jail. Parents with hidden identities. And children who search and yearn for their parents and try to find, if not them, substitutes. The quandaries do not end there. Husbands with other families. Organized crime threatening safety.  Diverse racial and religious identities within families. Florence Osmund is fascinated with identity and family. In The Coach House and Daughters, paired novels, and Nineteen Hundred Days, she disturbs the smooth surface of the life of her characters. She takes away their safety and then allows them to develop the strength to create safety for themselves. She told me, “Characters Marie and Ben are confronted with safety issues, both physical and emotional, beyond what most people face in their daily lives. The level of safety they feel is directly related to the risks they take.” Families ground and direct us, whether we remain or rebel. The complexity of the characters’ emotions reveals choices that were difficult and with relationships that remain complicated. Marie Marchetti, the main character in The Coach House and Daughters, discovers that important people in her life are not as she thought they were, whether her mother, her unknown father or her husband. Ben, 12 years…

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Record Your Own Audiobook for Audible

Should you do an audiobook? This was probably the most often asked question at the Book Baby Independent Author Conference 2018 held in Philadelphia the first weekend in November and the answer is "YES"! Audio books (although not actually new) are the "new" big thing.  Just as, not that many years ago, when ebooks hit the publishing world and exploded, the market for audiobooks is now exploding and it seems it is time to jump in. Two time B.R.A.G.Medallion author, Travis Bow has shared the "how to" of doing an audiobook! "It doesn't take a studio or an audio engineering degree to record your own audiobook and sell it on Audible. With a $130 microphone, some free software, and a little persistence, you can make top-notch audio, and Audible's Audiobook Creation Exchange interface makes it super straightforward to get your book on sale on the largest Audiobook platform in the world. Having gone through this process three times with my books Thane and King's Table and my short story The Three, I've had to glean information from dozens of partial (often conflicting) tutorials, and I've discovered a lot by trial and error. This is my attempt to put it all together in a step-by-step guide that anyone…

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Bookstores are still out there!

  In a world full of Amazons, Kobo, Scribd, (now Wal-Mart joining the bunch), and many more online book selling platforms, it may not be too surprising for you to hear about another major retail chain of bookstores closing. It doesn't mean that my heart doesn't weep each time it happens, though. A bookstore has always been a place I could disappear into for hours at a time - grab a cup of java; enjoy the soft leather of a cozy armchair while I perused the merchandise, deciding on which book I was going to take home. This was how I found most of my reads in a time when we didn't have Goodreads or Bookbub. Today, it reminds me eerily of the Blockbuster days right before they went out of business ... mainly because they refused to change and adapt to the times. But don't fret, there are many more options out there that allow you to check out both traditionally published authors and self-published authors, alike.   I am a self-published young adult author, which means I have to hit the ground running and never stop ... my feet get tired, my figurative boots are muddy and war-torn and worn down to bloody stumps. If you're traditionally published, these days you have to…

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An Author’s thoughts on the Independent Author Conference 2018

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I registered for BookBaby’s Independent Author Conference. I had attended author conferences before, but not this one, and not one sponsored by a company I had analyzed and ultimately decided not to utilize when I first started publishing back in 2012. Would it be a valuable investment? A networking event with ancillary educational sessions? Or a weekend of advertisements disguised as a conference? The latter, of course, would not have been a wise use of my limited business funds, and this was what scared me the most about this venture. As a small business owner (a.k.a. Indie Author), I hate wasting money. Almost as much as I hate getting a “hard sell.” Fortunately, I didn’t have to answer “yes” to the last question and the attending vendors offered value. Ultimately, the Indie Author Conference turned out to be a mix of events and skill levels, and worth my time. While many of those attending (or at least those I met) were at the beginning stages of their publishing careers, I made a handful of connections with authors who were not new, like me, but who also didn’t quite have a handle on…

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The More the Merrier! Crowdfunding your Publication.

Experience with Crowdfunding                                                          by Dean Hamilton                                                              Author of The Jesuit Letter Crowdfunding is basically funding a project by raising money from a large number of people, each of whom contribute a relatively small amount.  Think of it as the same process Leonardo da Vinci practiced, but instead of one big patron named Medici, you had several hundred. The end result – a Mona Lisa! Hopefully anyway… There are any number of crowdfunding platforms online available to choose from, each offering various pluses and minuses. Check out various projects, past and present, read up on the costs/benefits and pick the one most suitable for your specific audience and project needs. The two I am most familiar with are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. There are literally a ton of articles available online on crowdfunding, so I’m going to focus my comments on my own experience: Crowdfunding…

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A Foodie Lit Thanksgiving

Herodias Long, born with an unusual name, had a long and unusual life. It was author Jo Ann Butler’s luck that while doing a genealogical search, she found this extraordinary woman in her ancestry. (Go to for historical information pertaining to the novel.) Personal rights are a central of the trio of novels about Herod’s life and catalysts for many of Herod’s decisions.  With her father and brother dying of the plague when she is 12 and the family finances at a low point, a need for one less mouth to feed causes Herod to be sent to work for her aunt in London.  While she worked hard at her parents’ farm, Herod considers herself a slave at her aunt’s. The days of working class individuals, such as Herod and her families, were filled with an enormous amount of work from before dawn to late at night. Herod’s wish for freedom partially comes from this lack of any leisure.  I was struck at how young children began to work. By as young as 3, children had small tasks and by 8 or 9, often were doing chores limited to older teenagers or adults today. Work from before dawn to after dark, little to…

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A Novel Conversations with King Ludwig of Bavaria!

Dark Spirit by Susan Appleyard Q: Hello, I’m Helen the host of Novel Conversations, please do make yourself comfortable. Would you like a drink? Tea, coffee, wine – something stronger? You’ll find a box of chocolates and a bowl of fruit on the table next to you, please do help yourself. I believe you are a character in Susan Appleyard’s novel Dark Spirit. Would you like to introduce yourself? Are you a lead character or a supporting role?    A: Mmm. Thank you. How did you know I adore chocolate? I am Ludwig, King of Bavaria, of the Wittelsbach family, and I am of course the lead character in Ms. Appleyard’s book. Read the Entire interview @ Novel Conversations!

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indieBRAG @ IAC

  The information and ideas I would like to share with you come from many of the 800 authors that have received the B.R.A.G.Medallion.  They are eager to share the “off the grid” ideas they have used! The thing that will make any book a bestseller is word of mouth.  Donating or giving your books away selectively is a way of generating word of mouth chatter.   1.  Contact high traffic stores, cafes, shops to leave behind books.   Authors have had success in leaving their books in any place that have “open” bookshelves like Starbucks Make new fans by leaving your book! One author left his books on the reading shelf at his fitness club and was pleased to see in go in and out frequently – hopefully winning new fans. If you only have an ebook- leave bookmarks or literature about your book and how to purchase it.   2.  Join with other authors to do promotions or events Three of our mystery authors got together and did a promotion calling themselves "The Mystical Mystery Sisters". Here is what they did: booked places on book blogs to host their guest posts and promote their giveaway ran a giveaway on Rafflecopter…

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Independent Authors Conference (IAC18)

What we learned: The Beginning (after you write a great book!) Philadelphia 2018   The cover, the title and the blurb are equally as important as a great story if you hope to make sales. Let’s think about your Amazon book page- The cover- needs to be eye-catching AND tell your story. The title- needs to say something about your story The blurb- needs to sell your book! How to do that?  The best advice one of the speakers had was to spend hours looking and reading blurbs from other books in your genre that are selling well.  Of course, you don’t want to “copy”, but best sellers get attention for a reason.  If you have an agent, they are going to tell you to find comps and this means finding books that are similar to your book and see what they are doing. The blurb should be a bit dramatic. Many authors use over the top words because they get attention.  “Deadly”, “Terrifying”, “Race against time”.- are attention grabbers. Many mention the name of the main character and another successful trick is to end with a question:  “Can Meghan run and hide from the devil himself?” Sub-genre mentions also…

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