indieBRAG Blog

The Mona Lisa Speaks – Christopher Angel

Author Interview - Christopher Angel   Christopher, congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion for your book, Mona Lisa Speaks and thank you for chatting with me today. What a fantastic title for a story! Sounds so intriguing. Please tell me about your book. Christopher: Thank you for hosting this chat! The Mona Lisa Speaks is a fictional art heist story, about a Canadian computer programmer hired by the Louvre to update its computer systems. However, he's forced by a mastermind of the French criminal underground, to replace the Mona Lisa with a perfect copy to save the woman he loves. I also write a part for the Mona Lisa herself, who "speaks" to us in the grand tradition of magic realism. Writing her was a lot of fun! Stephanie: Okay, I have to ask. What was the inspiration for your story and how did you come up with/decide for Robertson Ross, to be an outdoorsy Canadian computer expert? What a great combination! Christopher: First, I was inspired to write this story by my own visit to the Louvre. I left wondering why the Mona Lisa was the most famous painting there – there are many great works in the Louvre…

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WOBBLY BARSTOOL – JANE LOWY

Author interview - Jane Lowy Jane Lowy is an enthusiast of 19th century British literature, who has loved writing since childhood. She also enjoys singing/songwriting/electric bass guitar playing and is certified as a cytogenetic technologist. Jane lives in Houston with her husband, David, and their son, Orion. Stephanie: Hello Jane! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion. I must admit when I saw the title of your book I thought it was a humor book of sorts. I was pleasantly surprised to read the book description and to discover your book is Literary Fiction. Please tell your audience about Wobbly Barstool. Jane: Thank you for having me, Stephanie! I feel very honored to have received the BRAG Medallion for Wobbly Barstool and am delighted to have this opportunity to discuss my novel. While the book is certainly infused with a fair amount of humor, that is only one of its many ingredients. Pathos, adventure, complex exploration of familial, romantic, and platonic relationships, and a bit of mystery are also included in the mix! I tried to create a fun, intellectually stimulating and genuinely moving story that follows the title character as he grows…

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JUNCTION, UTAH – REBECCA LAWTON

Author interview - Rebecca Lawton   Stephanie: Rebecca Lawton is an author and naturalist whose essays, poems, and stories have been published in Orion, Sierra, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Shenandoah, Standing Wave, THEMA, the acorn, More, and other journals. She has received the Ellen Meloy Fund Award for Desert Writers, three Pushcart Prize nominations (in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry), and residencies at The Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and Hedgebrook Retreat for Women Writers in Langley, Washington. Becca was among the first women whitewater guides on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon and on other rivers in the West. Her essay collection on the guiding life, Reading Water: Lessons from the River (Capital Books), was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and ForeWord Nature Book of the Year finalist. Her novel, Junction, Utah, set in the beautiful and resource-rich Green River valley, was released in early 2013 by van Haitsma Literary as an original e-book and later in 2013 as a softcover book (Wavegirl). With Geoff Fricker, Rebecca is co-author of the forthcoming Sacrament: Homage to a River (Heyday, 2014), and her first collection of short stories, Steelies and Other Endangered Species, is due out from Little Curlew Press in…

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Cnyons and Ice- Kayleen Johnson

Author interview- Kaylene Johnson Kaylene Johnson is a professional writer and long-time Alaskan who lives in Eagle River, Alaska. She has written five books about Alaska and the people who live there including her memoir A Tender Distance: Adventures Raising My Sons in Alaska. Her award winning articles have appeared in Alaska magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Spirit magazine, Parish Teacher. Winner of the B.R.A.G. Medallion for her book, Canyons and Ice. She holds a BA from Vermont College and an MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Stephanie: Hello Kaylene. Congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion and thank you for chatting with me today. I see that your book is non-fiction and I do enjoy reading in this genre. Please tell me about your book, Canyons and Ice. Kaylene: Canyons and Ice is the biography of Dick Griffith, a legendary wilderness traveler who has traversed more than 6,000 miles across the continent alone and unassisted. He is also a pioneer of river rafting on the Colorado and Green Rivers long before rafting the Grand Canyon became a recreational pursuit. Until the book was published, most of his travels were unknown except to people who know him personally.…

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Goodbye Paris Nash- Barbara O’Connor

Author interview - Barbara O'Connor Barbara O'Connor lived on a small ranch on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas, where she attend public schools. She graduated from Robert E. Lee High School, attended the University of Texas at San Antonio and McNeese State University in Lake Charles Louisiana. Her first short story was published in The War Cry, and she wrote a features column for The Leon Valley Leader. She also published country and western songs with her partner Jimmy Harris and wrote and performed stand-up comedy in San Antonio, Austin, and Lake Charles, Louisiana. Her first novel, Goodbye, Paris Nash, received a B.R.A.G. medallion after a friend submitted the book for consideration. She is currently working on her novel, The Resurrection of Elizabeth Moss. Barbara lives in New Braunfels, Texas, with her husband and two furred family members. Stephanie: Hello Barbara. Congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion. It is a pleasure to talk to you today. Please tell me about your book, "Goodbye, Paris Nash." Barbara: Hello Stephanie, It is my pleasure to share my experience writing "Goodbye, Paris Nash" with you. Many times in life, I've been surprised by the impact a chance meeting has had on me.…

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Hi everyone-Getting Ready For The Holidays?

Hi everyone- Getting ready for the holidays? Don't forget to add books. Kids like me love books!   Here are my answers to some questions I have been asked lately- What do kids your age like to you read?Well, right now The Lemonade Crime, Harry Potter & Diary of a Wimpy Kid are very popular.But it seems that most of my friends are interested in books about kids like themselves in real life Do most of your friends read books?Yes. We are required to always have a book in school. In school, do you get to pick books you like to read or do they tell you which books to read?In my grade, we are not told what books to read but must bring a book to school every day. We read the books we like and that makes it more fun! Do many kids you know have eBook readers?No, not really. Some kids do have them but not many. Our school doesn't care if you bring a book or an eBook reader. Do you think having an eBook reader such as a Kindle or Nook encourages children to read more?Most certainly! All of us love electronics and for those…

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Morgallion – Arthur Russell

Author Interview - Arthur Russell     Arthur Russell is a native of County Meath, Ireland. He is a professional in Agro-Industry and has worked in Ireland, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He is currently on assignment in Mongolia. When he is not on assignment abroad, he lives with his wife Mary, in Navan, Co Meath. He has 4 adult children and 3 grand-children. His interests include history, especially local history, reading (good books!), photography and music. 'Morgallion', his first book, is a historic novel based on actual events during the Bruce Invasion of Ireland in 1315. His father's farm on which he was born and grew up, bordered Moynagh Lough, where the remains of a crannog settlement was discovered during the 1980's. This was subsequently subject of a comprehensive archaeological exploration under the direction of John Bradley from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. More on website – www.morgallion.com Stephanie: Hello Arthur! Thank you for chatting with me today and congratulations on winning the B.R.A.G Medallion. You write about one of my favorite and one of the most intriguing times in our world history. Please tell me about your story, "Morgallion." Arthur: Firstly – thank you Stephanie for this…

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SPBE Blog #4- Grab The Audience!

  Over 70% of our readers told us they either downloaded a free sample of an eBook or perused the print book in a bookstore before making their decision to buy it. As this next slide shows an indie author had better grab a prospective buyer quickly.   Slide 17 indicates that only 23% of potential buyers will read several chapters when they consider a book, whereas 35% will only read a few pages. And 27% make their decision based strictly on a paragraph or two, or the synopsis on the back cover. Clearly an opening hook is vital. It doesn't matter if an indie author has written a great book, he or she won't sell many copies they don't get a reader interested from the very first paragraph or the first few pages at most! Buying a book is a commitment of money and time and to be successful an indie author had better make sure that they have made their book worth that commitment. Beyond having a powerful opening hook, an indie author also needs to have an eye-catching cover. Slide 15 shows that while genre and author are the most important factors in a person's decision to…

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Blog # 3 – The Best Format And Price For An eBook

      Continuing our discussion of our presentation at SPBE this slide shows the formats that our readers prefer.     As you can see, 56% of the readers we surveyed prefer the eBook format. This is not surprising. According to amazon.com during the past two years eBooks have outsold print books. The convenience of eBook readers and the lower cost of eBooks are the main drivers of this trend. Slide 7 also shows that if an author also wants a print book, a trade paperback is the most desirable format. We believe that an indie author should offer both but if he or she only publishes their book in one format, it should be as an eBook.This next slide shows the best price points for an eBook.   The above chart shows that 32% of the readers we surveyed will pay up to $4.99 for an eBook while 39% are willing to pay up to $9.99. The slide also indicates that 92% of readers will pay more than 99 cents. This is very important because there is anecdotal evidence from other sources that pricing a book at $.99 does not generate sufficient sales to warrant the loss of…

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SPBE Blog #2- Editing a Self-Published Book

    As I said in my previous blog, copy editing errors are the reason that most self-published books are rejected during the indieBRAG screening process. An indie author must not edit his or her own book. Although professional copy editing can be expensive, it is the single best use of an author's money. There are also other less expensive ways of doing this such as by using beta readers or joining writers' groups. Here are two slides from our presentation that address this issue: As you can see in Slide 19, our readers ranked copy editing as fourth in importance of the characteristics in their liking a book. BUT as Slide 20 shows, it is the number one reason why readers dislike a book. In other words, good editing alone will not make a book but bad editing will certainly kill it! In conclusion, we cannot emphasize enough that an author rarely gets a second chance at a good first impression!

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