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."

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 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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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Blogs from the Self-Publishing Book Expo Our trip to the Self-Publishing Book Expo, held in New York City on November 9th, was a huge success! Our presentation, titled "THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY" of self-published books was well attended and well received. We were the only panel (out of seventeen) that was filmed by C-SPAN's Book TV and we will let you know when the segment will be aired, likely later this month. indieBRAG team members Robert Clouston and Stephanie Hopkins joined me in the presentation and over the coming days we will blog about what we covered. This will include the results from the surveys we conducted among our readers and B.R.A.G. Medallion authors, the findings of which formed the basis of our presentation. We think you will find it all very interesting. We will also discuss some of the things we learned from other presenters at the expo, which further support our survey findings. So here we go- To begin our presentation, I shared some rather stark statistics that out of the over 1,500 books we have considered since indieBRAG began in April of last year, 50% were rejected during the initial screening process. Strictly for…

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The Importance of Imagination

  With Halloween just past and Christmas soon upon us, I am intrigued by the world of fantasy that children delve into at this time of year. Childhood specialists know the importance of a child developing a healthy imagination. Imagination enables a child to be better at problem solving and more capable of handling stress and emotion. It is also critical for future personal and academic success. It is the dreamers in history who have given us some of our greatest technological advances. And having the free time to daydream, create fantasies, read, or just sit and think is vital to building the future leaders of society. But sadly this is becoming rare as children are barraged by a host of other activities that place heavy demands on their time including homework, music lessons, sports, school clubs, TV, video games, computers and the Internet. These are all important in small doses but should never take the place of free time to play and dream.Great thinkers have always known about the importance of imagination: "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."- Edgar Allan Poe"You see things and you say Why?…

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Have you ever added song lyrics to your story?

  Have you ever added song lyrics to your story? Popular songs can set a mood or even a time. Beatles music puts you into the Hippy days of the 60's. But, can you include these lyrics in your book? Here is some important information from Jason Boog, writer and GalleyCat editor- Have you ever quoted song lyrics in your book? Music can set the mood, evoke a certain setting or channel a particular emotion.However, writers need to be aware of copyright issues surrounding music in books. We caught up with Copyright Clearance Center's author and creator relations director Christopher Kenneally, discovering the key questions authors should ask before including a song. Kenneally explained:Consider not quoting the song. Lyrics, like all creative expression, are copyrighted. Copyright gives the author or creator the exclusive right to republication of the work. Any writer who wishes to quote lyrics, or for that matter, passages from another's book, must obtain permission first. It's probably worth asking how necessary or vital such quotation is to any particular creative work.Kenneally added:If it's used to set a mood or establish a period, it's easy enough to refer to song titles, which, under U.S. law, are not copyrighted.…

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Reputed Wife- Jo Ann butler

Author interview -Jo Ann butler Jo Ann Butler is a genealogist and one-time colonial archeologist, Ms. Butler has tapped her work in New England for her first historical fiction novel, "Rebel Puritan." She can be reached at Stephanie: Thank you Jo Ann for visiting with me again and congrats for winning the B.R.A.G Medallion for the second time. It was a pleasure to interview you about Rebel Puritan and I'm delighted be chatting with you about The Reputed Wife. Please tell your audience about your book? Jo Ann: Thank you, Stephanie, and it's an honor to talk with you as a second-time B.R.A.G. Medallion winner! Readers of Rebel Puritan are familiar with Herodias Long and George Gardner. In The Reputed Wife, Herod raises a burgeoning family in 17th century Newport, Rhode Island, even as she and George try to conceal their unconventional relationship. Rhode Island suffers its own growing pains when more powerful Puritan colonies try to usurp its lands. Lastly, Quaker missionaries arrive in New England, bent on converting Puritans. Mary Dyer is one of their converts, and so is Herod, who takes her protest against Puritan abuse to the whipping post. Jo Ann book cover Stephanie: What…

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Saturday, November 9th We're just weeks away from the 2013 Self-Publishing Book Expo and the excitement is contagious! This year we are proud to report that C-Span's Book TV will be attending and filming the event! Some of the amazing incentives offered this year include: • A terrific line-up of 18 workshops, lectures and panels, led by some of the biggest and brightest names in publishing, including: a Keynote speech on how a leading traditional publisher views the rise of self-publishing, panels on crowd-funding and social media, workshops on creating ebooks, uploading and creating image-rich books, how to make money from audiobooks, the importance of good book design, and much, much more. indieBRAG will be presenting - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of self-publishing Stop by ouR table in the exhibition hall and enter to win a Kindle or Nook! • FREE professional author photos for every attendee. • FREE 15-minute publicity consultations for all ticket holders. • A chance to win an Amazon Kindle Fire HD, an iPad mini and a Nook HD. • A chance to win a publishing package valued at $1,999. The Exhibition room will showcase the many goods and services available to all,…

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Raised by committee- Carollyne Haynes

Author interview - Carollyne Haynes   Born in Devon, England, Carollyne has been playing with words in one form or another all her life. From editorial assistant on London's famous Fleet Street, to her first full length novel entitled "Raised by Committee", Carollyne continues to make music with her words. As a Board member with Nanaimo's Haven Society, which provides shelter and support for women and children fleeing abuse, Carollyne is acutely aware of the challenges facing care givers. The work is demanding and often thankless as they come face to face with the hurt and anger of the young girls and women they are trying to help. Stephanie: Hello Carollyne! Congrats on winning the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Please tell me about your book, Raised by Committee. Carollyne: Raised by Committee is a story of hope and survival and the unconditional caring of strangers. It is my story as an abandoned and abused young girl and my rather turbulent teen years as I struggled to make sense of my past. At age 12 Gail [the fictional name I gave myself] is made a 'ward of the courts, as being in need of moral protection' and placed under the care of the…

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Bats and Bones – Karen Nortman

Author interview - Karen Musser Nortman Karen Musser Nortman is the author of Bats and Bones, the first book in the Frannie Shoemaker Campground cozy mystery series. Karen was a secondary social studies teacher in the West Liberty, Iowa, Community Schools for 22 years and a test developer and senior test associate with the ACT WorkKeys testing program for 18 years. In retirement, she has combined an early love, fiction writing, with the Nortmans' avocation, RV camping. The Nortman's camp regularly through the spring, summer, and fall in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri with friends and enjoy exploring the local attractions as well as hiking, cooking, and biking. The Frannie Shoemaker series tweaks their real life adventures with a touch of murder thrown in. Karen's website is Stephanie: Karen, congrats on winning the B.R.A.G Medallion. Please tell me about your story, Bats and Bones. Karen: Frannie Shoemaker and her husband Larry, both retirees, camp in Midwest state parks and campgrounds with a group of friends. But one hot Fourth of July weekend, their planned activities are interrupted by their discovery of the body of the campground hostess while on a hike. Authorities close the campground and a severe storm…

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