indieBRAG Blog

“Sock Puppeting”!

                                       Do you have any idea what "Sockpuppeting" is? Well, here it is: When a person creates email addresses in order to hide their identity and uses these email addresses to discuss themselves or their work on online discussion groups, comment on blogs or give very high ratings to their own work. Why does it matter? In the case of book reviews on many of the biggest online book seller sites and discussion boards, it matters a lot!  Many unscrupulous writers have created numerous email addresses which permit them to post glowing reviews on their works that are "fake" and, up until recently, we fell for them!  And even worse, they are using these addresses to malign the competition- and there is little you can do about it. In recent days several bestselling authors have been accused of this nefarious behavior and have been "outed" by authors who they have attempted to damage. It has not be a secret to those in the industry that many of the glowing reviews given to some books are posted by proud family and friends – some who also are sockpuppeting with numerous email addresses- making it hard to really evaluate a book through reviews. And then there is B.R.A.G.Medallion!  We do not post reviews. We ask our reading teams to unanimously decide if a book is one they would recommend to their best friend. The readers remain anonymous to the authors and they have no contact and no vested interest in the book they are reading. When posting on sites such as amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and Goodreads, we give the book a 5 stars and announce the book is the recipient of our medallion. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money. No tricks and no gimmicks. Our reading teams are located in 10 countries and read only self-published books. We are hard at work finding books readers will enjoy and shining a light on ones that are well written, thoroughly edited and properly formatted. We offer great books in almost every genre and there is something for everyone. Chose your next book at www.bragmedallion.com and feel confident that it will be a good read!

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An Involuntary King – Nan Hawthorne

Author Interview: Nan Hawthorn I would like to introduce Author Nan Hawthorne, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion. Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Nan thank you for the pleasure of this interview. You write about a period of time in our history that I'm fascinated with and would like to know more about. Please tell us about your book, An Involuntary King: A Tale of Anglo Saxon England. An Involuntary King: A Tale of Anglo Saxon England had an unusual beginning. The year was 1964 and the place the Southeast Alaska Methodist Youth Camp far "out the road" from the capital, Juneau. I was twelve. I met a girl named Laura Burr who was a year younger. We started playing "Indian princess" with her as the princess and me as an Indian brave, the story quickly changing to something more to our liking, the queen and king of a mythic kingdom. We got into it, held a wedding and wedding supper, then had to figure out how we would continue "The Story" as we came to call it once she had gone home to her town and I to mine. It started out as letters between the royal couple,…

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Maids of Misfortune – Mary Louisa Locke

Author Interview: Mary Louisa Locke I would like to introduce Author Mary Louisa Locke, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion. Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Mary, please tell us about your book, Maids of Misfortune. Maids of Misfortune is the first in a series of historical mysteries and short stories I have written set in Victorian San Francisco. Maids of Misfortune introduces Annie Fuller, a San Francisco widow who owns a boarding house and supplements her income as Madam Sibyl, a clairvoyant, giving business and domestic advice. As the book opens in the summer of 1879, a creditor threatens to take away her home, and one of Madam Sibyl's clients, Mr. Voss, dies suddenly. Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson, the Voss family lawyer and romantic interest, try to find out the truth about Voss's death in order to save his family and Annie from financial ruin. In order to do so, Annie goes undercover as a domestic servant in the murdered man's house. This is a light, romantic, cozy mystery that takes the protagonists from formal parlors to a Charity Ball and a buggy ride through Golden Gate Park to the sea shore, but it also deals with some…

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The Bitti Chai – Jane Gray

Author Interview: Jane Gray I would like to introduce Author Jane Gray, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion. Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Jane, please tell us about your book, "The Bitti Chai." The Bitti Chai is basically a story about an endless love between two teenagers from very different cultures. It explores family emotions and ties, loyalty and love. It deals with bereavement and the grieving process and how the family pulls together to support and cherish their loved ones. I hope it portrays an accurate and positive image of Romany culture rather than the negative stereotypical image often portrayed by the press and some television programmes. There is an occult element which runs through the story and this is something I have always been fascinated by. Was there any research you did for your story? If so, please explain. The research for my book was limited with regard to the Romany aspect as I was brought up by my Romany grandfather and our culture and family values are central to the background of the book. Being heavily involved with horses myself this aspect of the story was second nature to me. However I have had to carry…

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A Field of Poppies – Sharon Sala

Author Interview: Sharon Sala I would like to introduce Author Sharon Sala, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion, for her book, "A Field of Poppies".Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com When and where do you like to read? I read when I get a chance and anywhere there's a book and a place to sit down. I care for my 92 year old mother full time in my home. She has dementia and no short-term memory left so it's quite a challenge. And I'm still writing full time, so me time is rare. What was the last truly great book you have read? I'll tell you the book that has stayed with me the longest, although it's not the last book I've read. It was called THE LAST CHILD, by John Hart and when I had finished it, I went back and bought and read everything he's written to date. It was THAT compelling. Do you prefer a book that makes you laugh or makes you cry? One that teaches you something or one that distracts you? I don't like self-help anything and I don't want to read someone else's opinion of how life should be lived, sooo having said…

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Patches of Grey – Roy Pickering

Author Interview: Roy Pickering I would like to introduce Author Roy Pickering, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion, for his book, "Patches of Grey".Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Roy, thank you for the pleasure of this interview. First I would like to ask you questions about your interests in reading. What are you currently reading and what do you plan on reading next? Thank you, Stephanie. I've just started Tinkers by Paul Harding. One of my reading goals is to notch as many Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winners as possible, so Tinkers will move that along. My progress is being charted at my blog A Line A Day: http://lineaday.blogspot.com/2009/03/pulitzer-prize.html Lately I've been plowing through my To Read List via trips to the library, but I happen to own an autographed copy of Tinkers that was won in a contest. Next up I plan to check out Pym by Mat Johnson, unless another title grabs my attention and jumps ahead of it in the never-ending line. Do you prefer a book that makes you laugh or makes you cry? Or one that teaches you something or that distracts you? Out of every 10 books I read I'd say 8 - 9 of them will be in the "teaches…

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Promo or No Promo?

What is the best way to get attention for your book? Renee Pawlish did an interesting piece on her blog - To Become A Writer on what is the best way to promote your book or not to promote at all. According a recent Taleist survey, there seems to be very little benefit to paying for reviews or ads and that most successful authors would agree that word-of-mouth is the number one driving force to success. But how do you generate such word-of-mouth? Certainly your family and friends are great advocates but not enough to drive up sales! Reviews do matter, but one of the issues that we have avoided here at B.R.A.G. is whose reviews. Sites where an author, all of his friends and family fill the reviews with glowing accounts of the best book ever, gives a reader false hope this is going to be a book they will like. I don't believe a reader chooses a book because it is self-published or not, but reading a bad self-published book might give them the impression that most are not worth reading and shy away from a book because it is self-published. Where do you get worthwhile reviews? Well, first of all, here at B.R.A.G. We have a global reading base who are not in any way related to the authors and have nothing to gain but the satisfaction of finding the next really good book. Goodreads and Facebook are also a great way to find reviewers and bloggers to offer your book to. Here is something to consider when you are out trying to get the attention you hope will send your book to the bestseller lists- Make sure this books is well conceived, well written, thoroughly edited (both story and copy) and properly formatted. Let us not forget that word-of-mouth can go both ways. One bad review probably won't destroy your chances for success but several certainly will. Another widely accepted view is that to be a bestselling author, you have to write books! Once fans have discovered your amazing book they will be looking for more and if you don't provide them with more great stories, they will most likely stop talking and that is exactly what you don't want. So my humble opinion is write, write, write and use the advertising money you save on editing and a really great cover. Let the knowledgeable readers on Goodreads, facebook and other social media know your are out there and spend what little time you have left in a day getting reviews. Yes, I think word-of-mouth is the answer – just make sure it is authentic enough to carry your book to the top and, most important, make sure your book is ready for such scrutiny! Oh, and of course, a B.R.A.G.Medallion will tell all readers this is a book worth your time and money!

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Second Thoughts – Bill Harper

Author Interview: Bill Harper I would like to introduce author Bill Harper, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Bill please tell us about your book, Second Thoughts. Thanks to you, STEPHANIE..and your IndiBrag website and to Geri Clouston of B.R.A.G. Medallion for giving me this opportunity to do just that.


 The full title of the book - Second Thoughts: Presidential Regrets with their Supreme Court Nominations gives a pretty good idea of what's between the covers. And, just like all the rest of us, Presidents of the United States do make mistakes and sometimes, just like all the rest of us, they too come to regret some of their actions. 

The difference is, when you and I make a mistake, its effects are fairly marginal. But when the President makes a mistake, it can be monumental. For instance, what do you do when you're Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the President of the United States, and you appoint and fight for and get a specific Supreme Court nomination? Then, you wake up a few months later to screaming newspaper headlines that your vaunted nominee – to the highest court in the land – has been discovered…

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A Fatal Verdict – Tim Vicary

Author Interview: Tim Vicary I would like to introduce Tim Vicary, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Please tell us about your book, A Fatal Verdict. A Fatal Verdict is the second in a series of three legal thrillers featuring a British barrister (trial lawyer) Sarah Newby. She’s a tough lady who left school when she became pregnant at fifteen and had a hard fight to get to where she is today. In all three of these books Sarah is confronted with trials in which she cannot be certain whether the clients she represents are guilty or innocent. The reader doesn’t know either, until the last minute. This means that although Sarah fights each case as hard as she can, there are difficult moral and emotional choices to be made, by her and the police and everyone else involved.

 In the first book, A Game of Proof, Sarah’s own son, Simon, is accused of a series of dreadful rapes and murders. This is bad enough for any mother, but Sarah is not just Simon’s mother, she is also a lawyer, an officer of the court. So when she uncovers evidence which seems to prove…

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A Cold Snow in Castaway County – John Hickman

Author Interview: John Hickman I would like to introduce John Hickman, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com John, please tell us about your book, A Cold Snow in Castaway County. A former police officer and investigator from the Boston PD, Dell Hinton leaves the city after a controversial shooting. He moves to a small community in Maine where an old school friend lives. After building his home along the shore of a lake, Dell is convinced to run for the job of Sheriff in Castaway County. After winning the election, he meets with the prior Sheriff and learns of a cold case that has been haunting that man for ten years. The story line then centers on how Dell must learn the new duties of being a Sheriff and work to solve the cold case. Considering your experience in law enforcement, I’m sure it helped you a great deal in writing your story. Did you have to do any additional research for your book other than what you already know? Well, I was able to incorporate some stories from my career, as well as some of my training throughout the years. But I did…

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