authors

CAN GREAT WRITING BE TAUGHT?

The simple answer is no. Does that mean writing courses are a waste of time? Or that getting an MA or a PhD in creative writing is a fool’s errand? Of course not. Classes can teach good writers to become better, but classes will not turn a good writer into a Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway. Great writing requires a certain native ability, which is rare. However, that does not mean aspiring indie authors should give up. While truly great writers are few, there is ample room in the world for really good writing, the pursuit of which should be the goal of every self-published author. How then does a new writer judge the value of a writing course?  Well, to begin with they need to understand what their objective is. If it is to become fluent with the basics of style, syntax and word usage and, thereby, feel more comfortable integrating these into a clear and cohesive story, then do it. Or, if it is to enjoy the sense of camaraderie of classmates and gain the constructive criticism of a good teacher, then proceed. But if it is to short circuit the hard…

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Did you know that many of our indieBRAG readers are authors? Why should that matter?

  I read an interesting article the other day about the importance of authors reading books – even if they don’t like to read.  Does that strike anyone else as very strange-- Not the importance of reading, but an author not liking to read?  How can an author write a compelling story and expect readers to enjoy their work if they don’t enjoy reading?  Mind boggling. Reading for indieBRAG gives a reader an opportunity to analyze both the good and not so good attempts at writing a worthy book.  I have often been told by authors that after reading a book for indieBRAG they have gone back to change things in their current works.  It is not uncommon to find things they don’t particularly like only to realize they have committed the same error in their writing.  So, you see, it isn’t important to only read the great classics, but to also learn from those who are trying to appeal to your audience as an author. Stephen King has also said in his book on writing: “The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing… Constant reading will pull you into…

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The Fifty Shades of Grey Effect

    I love a good historical romance!  I think reading Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters fueled that love at an early age.  As most of us know, there is a big difference between romance and erotica but, that line is being blurred.  Yes, it is still possible to find a great romance that doesn’t share the intimate sexual acts of the characters however it is getting harder.  This isn’t always a bad thing.  The wild success of Fifty Shades of Grey proves that there is a huge audience for graphic sex.  I am finding that many, if not most, of the historical romances now have graphic sexual content.  As long as it is a good story and well written, a reader can just flip through the sex if they are offended by it and not lose the story or the ability to share in the intimacy of well written characters. But here is the problem I have seen all too often- The sex seems to be added JUST to titillate and not to add to the story.  It often breaks the mood, stalls the story and this lowers my impression of the ability of the author to convey…

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Traditionally published authors are not your enemy!

Self- Publishing vs. Traditionally Published - let the war begin! Self-published authors are not competing with other self-published authors but ALL authors. Once a book is available for sale, it must be up to the standard that readers expect from all good books. You rarely get a second chance for a good first impression!  Once you put out a book that lacks professionalism, readers will be less likely to try your next book.  This can be a very difficult hurdle to get over. Traditionally published authors are not your enemy.  Most traditionally published authors don’t have any advantages that you can’t achieve. Traditionally Published books are: Edited by the publisher Cover art is done by the publisher Some help with promotion is provided- most is expected from the author unless they have high sales. Lower royalty payments Self- Published books are: Editing is provided by the author Cover provided by the author Promotion done by the author Higher royalty payments. If a SP author pays for professional help, they will probably come out about equal in money made. Doing the work requires time and money but the author maintains complete control- something that is often very important. The self-publishing community…

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Big Changes Coming!

It has been over three years since indieBRAG, LLC launched its quality standards certification service for self-published books, a first for the industry. Since then, we have received an average of 100 book nominations a month and awarded over 500 B.R.A.G Medallions. We are proud of our library of high-quality indie books and we are grateful to the over 200 readers who have played a vital role in accomplishing this important and necessary task. As those of you on our global reader team know, we offer general guidelines to help in the evaluation of each book; however, the final determination to award a B.R.A.G. Medallion is whether or not a reader would recommend the book to their best friend. Until now, we have not provided feedback to authors beyond a final “Yes” or “No” decision. This is due to the limitations of our current book submission and review process. However, that is about to change! In response to many requests from authors and readers alike, we are significantly upgrading our operating system. While we are not yet ready to share the details, once the new system is implemented authors will be provided with constructive feedback in addition to the final…

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A Word of Thanks to indieBRAG readers

We are all authors of our own life's story, dutifully crafting each chapter, sometimes in harmony with a disciplined plot line, but more often than not simply reacting to the accidents of fate that appear without warning at the end of one chapter or the beginning of the next. And although few but our family and friends will share in the unfolding tale as we live each sentence and paragraph that does not diminish the importance of having been here; of living and loving, of laughing and crying, and yes, eventually, dying. Millions of us get up each day to write the next chapter in the book of our lives without fanfare or promise, but there are some, perhaps braver than the rest, perhaps more egotistical, or more likely simply afraid of being forgotten, who are not content to let the mark of their having passed this way to be etched solely in the minds and memories of those who loved them. Instead they seek to leave a more permanent imprint, however tiny and insignificant it may be, upon the collective narrative of mankind. Most don't write the story of their own lives, because these would be dry or tortured…

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Can An Author Have It Both Ways?

Along with the ease of self-publishing came the ability to publish cheaply, and this may be one of the biggest problems with self-publishing today. Some of the disadvantages of getting a traditional publishing house contract are a loss of control and much lower royalties. The publisher chooses a cover they think will sell and they edit a book, including copy, line, and development editing. Even so, I have to say that not all traditionally published books are edited to perfection, or to the author's satisfaction, despite the fact that the publisher uses professional editors. Most self-published authors love the higher royalty percentage but often don't want, or can't afford, to hire the appropriate professional talent to make their book a quality product. I think it is accepted that in most cases an indie author simply can not properly edit their own work. Being so close to it, an author often sees what they think is there and not what is actually written on the page. Catching spelling mistakes is hard work (let's hope I didn't miss any in this blog), and in many cases, they fall in love with their own words. This makes it very hard to remove words,…

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Blog Series on the “three Rs of Writing”

    Now let's deal with Recognition. You might think that recognition and wealth go hand in hand but that's not always the case. I'm sure you've heard about movies that critics loved but nobody went to see. The same applies to books. You can write a really good – possibly even great – book but it will not bring you fame and fortune unless you identify your audience and go after them. How? Find bloggers, reviewers and events that focus on your genre. Use social media to get your name and your book out there. And build a website. A good one. Some authors don't do this, which is a big mistake! You may think that if no one knows you how will they find your website? But it is a self-fulfilling prophesy – without a website how will your audience ever get to know you? Today readers want to reach out and touch you (figuratively and in some cases perhaps even literally). They want to connect with you on a personal level. You must be prepared to bare your soul to them. Websites that simply list your books won't get many return visits. In my last blog in…

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A conversation with Bestselling Author Colleen Hoover

COLLEEN HOOVER Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. She released her debut novel, SLAMMED, in January 2012 and the follow-up novel, POINT OF RETREAT, in February, 2012. Both books have been optioned for film as of October, 2012. Her bestselling Romance novel Hopeless has been on the New York Times E-Book Best Sellers list for 20 weeks! indieBRAG: Thank you, Colleen, for spending this time with us. Colleen Hoover: Thank you so much for having me. iB: You have written three very successful books in the Romance genre. I wonder if an author sets out to write in a specific genre or do they just write the book that is in them? In your case, did you choose the genre first and then create the book, or was the story already in your mind and it just happened to fit that genre? CH: When I began writing SLAMMED, I didn't even think about where it might fit if I tried to sell it. I wrote the book thinking I was going to be the only one to read it besides a few family members. Once the book was complete and I decided to upload it…

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