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."

Is Reciprocal Reviewing OK?

In our July Newsletter we encouraged our B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree authors to support, read and review each other's books. We were by no means encouraging our authors to collude to do something improper. One of our Honoree authors Jane Steen brought to our attention that she felt we were sending the wrong message, which was clearly not our intent.  However, we thought you might like to read her blog - Keep Going You Fool!She has given us permission to share it with you. I hope you will take the time to read it: Reciprocal reviewing is not OK, authors. Here's why. The above is an invitation from a self-published author on Goodreads. Nice of him, huh? I've received many such invitations from this guy, whom I'm not going to finger specifically because he's not the only author who uses back-scratching to make his book more visible, not by a long chalk. If you're thinking that maybe he's just being nice to other people, here's one of his latest asks: He sends these invitations to over 7,000 people, and I still get them even though I've unfriended AND blocked him. Is this kind of thing wrong? I say yes. OK, he's not…

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How to Be a Better Writer #3: Get an Editor

Yup, it's true that your writing will improve if you proofread it, but guess what: You can take it leaps further. When I was interviewing renowned indie author Helen Hollick for last month's Post she had nothing but praise for her editor, and with good reason. A fresh set of eyes makes a world of difference. "A good editor is a must for indie writers—not only to ensure the final proof has as few typo errors as possible, and for the obvious grammar, punctuation and spelling bloopers, but also to assist with the writing process as an overall experience," Helen says.Editors vary greatly when it comes to their services, editing styles, pricing structures and so on. I got in touch with editor Dulcie Shoener, so we could offer a big-picture look at what you can expect from the experience. Why consider professional editing?Simply enough, hiring a pro has major benefits. First, editing is his or her job. He or she knows how to hone your language, plot flow, character development and all the other components that will keep readers engaged from the very first page. "Every sentence should be a good sentence," says Dulcie, who's been editing newspapers, magazines and books for…

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One Photo is Worth a Thousand Dollars

  Everyone else does it--downloads an image from the internet, pastes it on their website or blog, and moves on, ignoring or forgetting they are using someone's property without permission. You tell yourself no will know and no will care.But perhaps a little voice in your head is warning you that someday you'll get a nasty lawyer letter demanding a thousand-dollar payment for one casually-posted photo.The little voice is right.Thanks to improving technology, your chances of getting that lawyer letter are going up. Reverse image search engines have made images as easy to search as words. Photographers, artists, and stock image companies use TinEye to scan the internet for infringing users.But it's fair use, you argue. You are using the image for non-commercial, educational, critical, or commentary uses only. Maybe yes, but do you want to fight that fight with Getty Images or Reuters News or Rupert Murdoch?If your website or blog has images plucked off the internet without permission, then take an hour to clean it up before you get the lawyer letter. The process is easier than you think.Delete the Images. This is the simplest way. Remove unauthorized images with a few clicks.However, if you want to continue…

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Author Interview with Jodie Toohey     Stephanie: Hello, Jodie! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on the B.R.A.G. Medallion. How did you discover indieBRAG? Jodie: I was searching for some outlets for promoting my book that were self-published friendly and found through a Google search. Once I was there, I decided to submit my book for consideration. Stephanie: Please tell me a little about your story. Missing Emily. Jodie: The story is really the answer to the question, "What if?" What if my friend from Croatia and I could have had some sort of contact with each other when we were teens. Stephanie: It looks like Ami is going through a difficult time. Is there a particular issue she is dealing with that you found a challenge to write? Jodie: Ami is going through a difficult time. Her father suddenly decided to move in with his surgical nurse, her baby cousin dies, and her boyfriend returns home and doesn't write to her as he promised. I had been through all of these experiences, though not exactly as happened in the story, so it wasn't terribly difficult. It was just a matter of writing it down.…

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Continuing Jane Austen’s world

  Continuing the love! Jane Austen remains one of the most popular authors ever! The romance of her novels and the strength of her woman characters endear her to woman around the world. 60 films have been made or have been inspired by her works including the very popular "Clueless".Jane's life has been analyzed by so many. How much of her writing was influenced by her life? Well, isn't that usually the case? Jane Austen wrote about class and love – both things she knew well. Her one and only love was taken from her because her family had little to offer. She was also strong enough to forgo a marriage that would have brought her a very comfortable life but not love. The strength and closeness of her family comes to light in much of her writing. Even during an illness that eventually took her life, Jane continued to write leaving one unfinished work. Her loving family was able to get both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion published after her death. Her beloved brother, Henry, was able to his sister buried at the Winchester Cathedral.Jane Austen's' writing features love of family and Karen Aminadra has created 2 wonderful books continuing…

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How to Be a Better Writer #2: Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

  Greetings, authors! I'm back with another dose of writing wisdom. This time, it's about what happens after the creative work is done: proofreading. When I told Geri Clouston, indieBRAG's founder and president, about the topic for this month's blog, she hooked me up with Helen Hollick, a British author who's received a lot of praise for her brilliant manuscripts. Helen's big on proofreading and editing. It might be one reason three of her books are B.R.A.G. Medallion honorees. "Keep this in mind," she tells me. "Anyone can write a book. Not everyone can write a readable book." It might be a bit hard to admit, but she's absolutely right. The two of us agree, a thorough proofread (and, if you can swing it, a professional edit) is an excellent way to bump your work into the latter category. "It is essential to ensure that your final proof, before going to print, is as error free as possible (although I am convinced that the gremlins creep in as soon as the printing press starts running...)," Helen says. "It doesn't matter how good your plot and characterisation are, if the final printed version is littered with silly errors, the reading experience…

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We are all familiar with the expression, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." It is generally interpreted to mean that different people have different ideas about what is beautiful. And as a dog lover, I must admit there are some AKC breeds only an owner can love. (To avoid upsetting anyone I hereby plead the 5th with regard to which breeds – and, of course, my purebred Alaskan Malamute really IS beautiful!). Having said that, I suspect that many of the general public who visit our website and view our list of B.R.A.G. Medallion honorees may wonder how these books can be fairly judged when, by its very nature, such judgment is qualitative rather than quantitative. Well, let me say right up front that we make no pretense that editors at the top traditional publishing houses, or professors at the leading schools of journalism, such as Northwestern's (I picked that one because my eldest daughter has her Master's from Medill), would give our honorees their stamp of approval. But I respectfully submit that those same editors and professors are NOT the people who buy fiction books or read them. Our readers ARE those people. Not professional editors. Not…

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Supporting Each Other!

These are great ideas to consider- 1. Buy a self-published book 2. Leave an honest review. (In fact, leave a review on more than one site!) 3. Thank the author publicly on social media. 4. Recommend the book to someone else. 5. Follow them on social media. 6. Engage with them on social media. 7. Ignore critics of the self-publishing industry. 8. Write your own good book. 9. Serve as a beta reader or reviewer for a book. 10. Write a blog post about the book. 11. Enter an author's contest or giveaway. 12. Become a book blogger or reviewer. 13. Interview an author. 14. Refer any potentially good reviewers to an author. 15. Don't obtain an illegal copy of the book. 16. Mention a book in a group or forum. 17. Buy a second copy of the print version for a friend or for your local library. 18. Download a copy from Amazon's Lending Library. 19. Invite an author to speak at a local event. 20. Purchase a copy of the book for a school or organization. 21. Nominate a book for a contest. 22. Suggest a book to an editor of a magazine or newspaper. 23. Offer your…

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Author Interview with Melanie Karsak The Harvesting "The world, it seemed, had gone silent. It was something we knew but did not talk about. We were alone." While Layla Petrovich returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she never could have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla's cool head, fast blade and itchy trigger finger to survive the undead apocalypse that's upon them. But even that may not be enough. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost. This exciting new dark fantasy/horror hybrid blends the best of the zombie genre with all the elements a fantasy reader loves! It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead! Stephanie: Hello, Melanie! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on the B.R.A.G. Medallion. You have written a story in a genre that is seems to be all the rage right now. What sets your book apart from others? Melanie: Thank you so…

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Author Interview with  Ginger Scott Ginger Scott is a writer and journalist from Peoria, Arizona. Her debut novel, "Waiting on the Sidelines," is a coming-of-age love story that explores the real heartbreak we all feel as we become adults throughout our high school years. The story follows two characters, Nolan (a Tomboy with a boy's name) and Reed (the quarterback she wishes would notice her) as they struggle with peer-pressure, underage drinking, bullying and finding a balance between what your heart wants and what society says you should want — even if you aren't ready. The sequel, "Going Long," follows these characters through their college years. You can buy both now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords and more. Her newest novel, "Blindness,"is a new-adult romance that follows two broken souls who are barely living and dealing with tragedies of their own, until they meet and their hearts come alive. "Blindness" is also available on all platforms. Scott has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. When she's not writing, the odds are high that…

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