Once again this year the SPBE was so informative and helpful to all the self-publishers who attended! I will be blogging about some of the things we learned and some of the people we met. This was our first year as exhibitors and it was well worth our time and money- we met some very important people and we were able to share our vision with so many. We met authors, publishers, editors and others who contribute to making your books a success. W also spoke with other companies in the indie book field such as audio book producers, all of which were very interested in indieBRAG. Many suggested we do joint ventures with them and we will consider this if they are helpful to our authors and readers. We spent a wonderful day with Katherine Ashe the author of the Montfort Series – one of our earliest Honorees. She did a terrific job of helping us spread the word and she gathered a great deal of information that will be helpful to us all. We really appreciate her support and her insights that will move us along in the future We also were able to spend a…
Respectfully, I have a word of cautionary advice for all you self-published authors who want to have your book read by a wide audience. It doesn't matter how good your tale is, it may not get read if you don't put the same degree of effort into designing the cover that you did into crafting the story. Bland and boring covers lacking in visual appeal, or those that give no indication of what I am about to read, turn me off before I even pick it up off the bookstore shelf, or read the description on-line. I guess I feel that if the cover isn't well-conceived perhaps the story won't be either. As a result, I may have passed up some good books that just didn't get my attention. A great example of a book with a compelling cover is one of the BRAG Medallion recipients listed on this website. It is Richard Dennings's The Last Seal. The book's cover portrays London burning, which is a central plot line and without having reading a word it captured my attention. – Gloria H. *The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of members of our reader group. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.
Get with the times- I certainly appreciate the love affair with a good book - I have shelves full of them. BUT, like it or not, "the times, they are a-changin" (actually have changed). To not have your book available as an e-books is just crazy. We have reached a point where more people are buying e-books than print books and the gap will only get wider. Let's face it, fewer and fewer people are willing to spend $15- $30+ on just any book. This is not to say that you shouldn't publish a traditional book. When I love a book, I want it on my book shelves – somehow a library with only a Kindle or Nook on the shelf just doesn't do it for me! The initial cost of a n ebook reader is quickly recouped when reading books that cost $0- $10! Also, both amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com offer the opportunity to "sample" a book at no cost – no more being disappointed by a book that cost you in both time and money. ebooks authors, ebooks. According to AAP Publishers February 2011 Sales Report For February 2011, e-Books ranked as the #1 format among all categories of Trade publishing (Adult Hardcover, Adult Paperback, Adult Mass Market, Children's/Young Adult Hardcover, Children's/Young Adult Paperback). These statistics come from the trade publishers so we can assume that if you add self publishing to these figures they will be much higher! GJC *The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of members of our reader group. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.
Word so true to every writer- "What I know for sure is that if you want to have success, you can't make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant - and the success will naturally follow... If you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come. And, I truly believe, that the reason I've been able to be so financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money. Would you do your job and not be paid for it? I would do this job, and take on a second job just to make ends meet if nobody paid me. That's how you know you are doing the right thing."
Last year's head judge, Dame Stella Rimington, was pilloried for saying she prized books that "people would read and enjoy". Her fellow judge, the former Labour MP Chris Mullin, added that he liked a novel to "zip along". The chairman of the 2012 judging panel, Sir Peter Stothard, has loftier ideals. "I felt very, very strongly that I wanted to avoid that thing where people say, 'Wow, I loved it, it's terrific'," he said of the judging process. "I'm afraid quite a lot of what counts for criticism these days is of that sort: how many stars did it get? Did I have a good time? Would my children like it? It is opinion masquerading as literary criticism," said Sir Peter, who is editor of the Times Literary Supplement. To read full article: Our Thoughts: Let me first state the obvious - we are not in competition with the Booker Prize! We also do not wish to suggest that what they do is invalid. The Booker Prize means that the winners will become best sellers and yet are often not very "readable". Although we only work with self-published books, we have developed a system just the opposite of what this esteemed group of critics aspire to. Self- published books are often looked down upon as unworthy of traditional publication which we have proven, I believe, to not always be the case. We have readers located around the globe who read books for us and give us one determination –is this a book you would recommend to your best friend? When all the readers have provide their decision, we honor the book with our B.R.A.G.Medallion only if it has received a unanimous "Yes". In this way we are finding books that "readers" feel are worth your time and money. After all, most of us read to be amused, thrilled, titillated and, yes, educated. We hope to encourage readers who want to find a great book to visit our website and support books that are good but probably will not reach the glorified heights that one with the title of Booker Prize Winner will inevitably reach. www.bragmedallion.com
There are seven billion human beings on earth as I write these words; a mind-boggling number that is difficult to grasp. One way to look at it is that if Bill Gates, the richest man in America, were to distribute his enormous fortune equally to every person in the world, we would each only get $9.42. Hardly worth the effort, so relax Mr. Gates we won't push for income redistribution. Out of that teeming mass of seven billion people very few of us will ever be rich or powerful or famous. Most of us will be born, live, and die without ever having made any impact upon the world whatsoever. An exception, perhaps, are those of us who have been blessed with children, thereby helping to perpetuate the human race―a critical if not noteworthy accomplishment. Lest you become overwhelmed by the futility of our shared existence, take heart. There is something you can do to help ensure that your footprints are etched into the bedrock of history, rather than blown away on the sands of time: namely, write a book. Yes, you. Conventional wisdom says that 80% of us feel we have a book inside us. But unless you take the time to commit it to paper, or even better, to an electronic file, your name will soon be forgotten after you're gone. The same holds true even for those of you who have children. If don't believe me, ask yourself this question: what are the names of your great grandparents? My case rests. So stop making excuses; stop procrastinating. Find the time to write that book bouncing around inside your brain. There has never been a better time to do this. The relatively new and rapidly expanding world of self-publishing has given you the opportunity. Seize it! Once you have written it, have it professionally edited, and then release it to the world. Even if it is not a best-seller, it will live on long after you have shuffled off this mortal coil―and someday, somewhere, someone will read it and know that you were here. Robert indieBRAG
Vampires and vampire-like creatures have been found in the folklore of every civilization, every culture and every religion since the beginning of recorded time. New Orleans is no exception. The city was settled in the early 1700's and it was during this time in Europe that massive vampire hunts were occurring. The vampire tradition began in the early 1200's in Eastern Europe and spread into Western civilization over hundreds of years. Vampire hunters, usually church representatives, were digging up the dearly departed, driving wooden stakes through the corpses, then beheading and burning the body. The causes of vampirism varied and one could be predisposed at birth for vampirism. Having been born at certain times of the year (New moon, Holy days), born with a red caul, with teeth, or with an extra nipple were sure signs of a vampire. If the child was born with excess hair, white hair, red hair, a red birthmark or with two hearts, the theory persisted. The 7th son of a 7th son was believed to be doomed to vampirism. If the child was weaned too early, suckled after weaning or died prior to Baptism, vampirism was suspected upon death. If the pregnant woman received a curse or was stared at or attacked by a vampire, the child would be cursed to vampirism. This type of predisposition was considered a genetic defect, like a mutation and vampirism was inevitable. Vampirism happened after birth as well. Being fed upon seven or more times by a vampire without dying would guarantee one to become a vampire. Numerous things could happen before or after one's death that could lead to vampirism; committing suicide, practicing sorcery or witchcraft, eating sheep killed by a wolf, leading an immoral life (prostitutes, murderers, alcoholics, rapists), dying without last rites, having a cat jump over the corpse/coffin, having a shadow fall on the corpse, no burial or improper burial rites, death by violence, or death by drowning. There are ways to prevent vampirism should any of the above occur and a number of different things might be done in order to take steps to prevent that body from ever returning from the grave. Weighting the eyes down with coins, tying the mouth closed or stuffing the mouth with garlic were common practices as was placing coins or dirt on the eyes. Our ancestors would cover mirrors in the house and stop the clocks in the home of the deceased. In Louisiana, many families still practice a custom called "sitting up with the dead". When a family member died, a relative or close family friend would stay with the body until it is placed into one of our above ground tombs or is buried. The body was never left unattended. There are many reasons given for this practice today; most commonly respect for the dead but, this tradition actually dates back to vampire folklore in Eastern Europe. While sitting up with the deceased, the friend or family member was watching for signs of paranormal activity i.e. if a cat was ever seen to jump over, walk across, or stand on top of the coffin; if a dog was seen to bark or growl at the coffin; or if a horse shied from it, these were signs of impending vampirism. At that point, steps would be taken to prevent the corpse from returning from the dead. Ways to stop a vampire included burying the corpse face down and burying it at a crossroads. Often family members would place a sickle around the neck, tie body parts together or mutilate the body, usually by decapitation and placing the head at the bottom of feet. The most common remedy for impending vampirism was to drive a stake into the corpse, decapitate it then burn the body to ashes. This method was the only way to truly destroy the undead. By the 1700's, these practices were going on all throughout Western Europe, particularly in France and Germany where many were migrating to New Orleans. Believers insisted that vampires could have been smuggled over in ships with the settlers. The early French settlers brought over brides from Europe who transferred their belongings in large wooden casket-like boxes. According to folklore, even though vampires prefer the night, they are not destroyed by daylight. It was common for the vampire to walk about during the day but they generally hunted and fed at night. They would not have needed to be smuggled in coffins in the hulls of ships. This idea is that of fictional writers such as Bram Stoker. More than likely, vampires would have entered the ships like anyone else and blended in well with society. If being a murderer, rapist, or other criminal element would predispose one to vampirism, it is easy to see how they would have become so prevalent in New Orleans. The city started as a penal colony. All of the original settlers would have been predisposed to it! Once they blended in with the mortals, they could easily feed on the population without raising much suspicion. With people dying in great masses from diseases such as yellow fever, who's going to notice another corpse here or there? Nonetheless, our folklore has remained true to the casket girl theory. These women were housed and educated in the Ursuline Convent, located on Chartres and Ursulines Streets in the French Quarter. They were eventually married off to the settlers in the city. It is believed by many that the original caskets of these brides are stored in the attic of the convent and that the vampires still reside in them. The convent is no longer a working convent but now is a repository for the archives of the archdiocese. Legend states that late at night one of the attic shutters will open and the vampires escape. They attack unsuspecting victims, return and close the shutters before dawn. But is it more than a legend? By Kalila K. Smith New Orleans Paranormal & Occult Research Society, Read the full article at: http://www.neworleansghosts.com/vampires.htm Fiction: Amaranth by Rachael Wade