B.R.A.G.Medallion

Coffee with Doug Carlyle

  One of the things I enjoy the most is getting to know the authors who have joined us at indieBRAG.Doug Carlyle, the author of In Search of the Fuller Brush Man, drove from Texas to Wisconsin to visit his daughter and was able to join me for coffee. It was a wonderful time getting to know Doug, his daughter and very cute- and VERY well behaved – grandson. Although I could not possibly read all the books that our reading teams read, I did have the chance to read Doug's book and I really enjoyed it.Doug is a member of both the Writers' League of Texas and the Houston Writers Guild. I would encourage all self-published writers to take advantage of such organizations. They provide a forum for support and help. And many are genre specific which may help you to refine your skill in telling the story you want. They are also a great source of information for marketing your book. Some of the larger groups provide workshops on writing and promoting along with information on book events and venues for selling your book. I urge you to go online and search out your area for writers groups…

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Audio book for no investment!

    Did you know that you can have a professionally developed audio book for no investment? Yes, it's true. One thing I sigh about continually is how many people try to sell to us authors. Classes, webinars, conferences, marketing, and on and on. Don't get me wrong; I participate in these activities as much as I can. Many are helpful and work to promote our books, but costly none the same. I have recently found a way to drive more revenue out of the book I already wrote by getting it produced as an audio book! It's true! Sandy Weaver Carman of Voicework on Demand, Inc. is in the business of helping authors grow their "revenue river".Here is how you get started. Amazon has a company called ACX. http://www.acx.com/ ACX walks you through registering and uploading your book for auditions. That was actually very fun and extremely rewarding to hear people read your book in character. Then you chose the narrator that you feel captured the essence of your story and you are on your way. You review each chapter and if there is anything you want reread, you let the narrator know and they will redo any mistakes.…

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The SPBE October 27, 2012 NYC ~Get more sales!

    Now we are going to get down to what you can and should be doing to get more sales! It is possible to do all of the following yourself; however, there are some things you probably should get skilled help with. Foreign Rights: This is where you license the right to translate and sell your book in a foreign market. Although you can do this on your own, it is exceedingly difficult. Without a foreign rights agent who knows that particular country there is no way of protecting your rights or guaranteeing that you will get paid. Amazon is considering offering this service to its authors at some point in the future but for now you had best seek an agent. And for those of you who can afford it, attending the Frankfurt International Book Fair in October, 2013 would be well worth your while. Literally hundreds of thousands of people from the global publishing industry attend this event and most are looking to buy (or sell) foreign rights. Global Distribution: Short of licensing the foreign rights of your book, this is something you can probably handle on your own. At most online booksellers (e.g., amazon, B&N, pubit,…

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The SPBE October 27, 2012 NYC ~ No one will care about you book as much as you do

  Did you know that Shakespeare kept complete control over his writing and never relinquished any of his rights to a printer or publisher? The same holds true for many other famous authors. Obviously this is not a new idea; it's just much easier to do today thanks to the rapidly expanding world of self-publishing. As a result, traditional publishers are scrambling to change in an attempt to swim with the tide of SP not against it. Those that don't are about to disappear forever because self-publishing is now becoming a tsunami! Evidence of this is provided by the fact that the top six publishers are now searching self-published books for their next big hit. This puts indieBRAG in a pivotal position within the emerging SP industry because through our process, the sea of self-published books is being methodically filtered and purified. Self-publishing gives you, the author the ability to keep control of your creative work product and capture more of the profits. So why then are some successful SP authors seeking deals with traditional publishers? Well for one thing, self-publishing is hard work. In addition to the first and most obvious task of actually writing a great book, there…

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The SPBE October 27, 2012 NYC- Finding your Tribe!

    Decide who your audience is and go after them. Don't waste your time being too general. Knowing and targeting those who will have an interest in the type of book you write will increase the all-important word of mouth. Search the Internet for everything related to your genre – specific reading and writing groups, Internet boards and clubs. Once you have made contact, do not be afraid to talk about your book. Spend the time interacting with your fans wherever they are. People don't go on Facebook, Twitter and info boards to just read your ads; they want to get to know you. If you don't interact with them, they will quickly lose interest in you. Respond to their comments and share your thoughts and experiences that pertain to you as a writer and to your book. Make friends! You sell one book at a time and when readers interact with you they are more apt to tell a friend or share your book. These readers will become your tribe and will share in your success – let them. Reviews are a part of this process. Assuming you have done all the work and have written a good…

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The SPBE October 27, 2012 NYC

    Once again this year the SPBE was so informative and helpful to all the self-publishers who attended! I will be blogging about some of the things we learned and some of the people we met. This was our first year as exhibitors and it was well worth our time and money- we met some very important people and we were able to share our vision with so many. We met authors, publishers, editors and others who contribute to making your books a success. W also spoke with other companies in the indie book field such as audio book producers, all of which were very interested in indieBRAG. Many suggested we do joint ventures with them and we will consider this if they are helpful to our authors and readers. We spent a wonderful day with Katherine Ashe the author of the Montfort Series – one of our earliest Honorees. She did a terrific job of helping us spread the word and she gathered a great deal of information that will be helpful to us all. We really appreciate her support and her insights that will move us along in the future We also were able to spend a…

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I certainly appreciate the love affair with a good book

  Get with the times- I certainly appreciate the love affair with a good book - I have shelves full of them. BUT, like it or not, "the times, they are a-changin" (actually have changed). To not have your book available as an e-books is just crazy. We have reached a point where more people are buying e-books than print books and the gap will only get wider. Let's face it, fewer and fewer people are willing to spend $15- $30+ on just any book. This is not to say that you shouldn't publish a traditional book. When I love a book, I want it on my book shelves – somehow a library with only a Kindle or Nook on the shelf just doesn't do it for me! The initial cost of a n ebook reader is quickly recouped when reading books that cost $0- $10! Also, both amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com offer the opportunity to "sample" a book at no cost – no more being disappointed by a book that cost you in both time and money. ebooks authors, ebooks. According to AAP Publishers February 2011 Sales Report For February 2011, e-Books ranked as the #1 format among all categories of Trade publishing (Adult Hardcover, Adult Paperback, Adult Mass Market, Children's/Young Adult Hardcover, Children's/Young Adult Paperback). These statistics come from the trade publishers so we can assume that if you add self publishing to these figures they will be much higher! GJC *The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of members of our reader group. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.

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Interrupting a Great Story

When I think about why I love to read, I think about getting so lost in the story that I can't hear the teakettle whistling or even feel the need to reach for a cookie. Perhaps the story has the kind of dialogue that lets me see the characters in full animation sparking words and phrases back and forth like a tennis match. Sometimes the author is such a wordsmith that the village comes to life with stores, sidewalks, children, and a mountain behind and I just know that I've been there. If the writer is exquisite, the words flow like poetry, oozing out like oil paints to wrap my soul in time and place. When the story captures me, it flows and I am carried away to other places, other times, and it is brilliant. I don't like to have a great story interrupted, especially by the author themselves. Unfortunately, the best writers can be ruined by bad formatting or poor editing. Recently I read an e-book that was written by a true wordsmith, a writer that pushed the story along with the best dialogue and turned a phrase with pure poetry, a story-tellers dream. The grammar was perfect, but the dialogue was set up with odd punctuation marks that forced me to remember when a character was talking and who it was. The other problem was the writer's love affair with historic authenticity, to the point that there were footnotes at the bottom of each page. If I had been reading a paper book, I could have stayed with the flow of the story, but the e-book formatted on my Kindle in such a way that the footnotes usually ended up in the middle of the page and often in the middle of a sentence, so my eyes would have to jump over the footnote to continue with the thought. Good story floats imagination and poor grammar or distracting format can build a dam in the middle of the strongest river. - Bethany

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Proper use of the Adjective

The reason why I became a book reviewer was not only because my love for reading but because of my concerns for this age of immediate publication and the quality of the books that are being written and published. I fear that this will lower the reading standards of our future generations. I feel as a reader and a parent that we must filter out these poorly written books and find the gems! They're out there but we must stumble over many to find them. One of the concerns I have is I'm seeing more and more stories that contain adjectives in front of almost every single noun. I find that it hurts the integrity of the story and distracts the reader. If the adjective helps the quality of the word, then fine. In my opinion a strong writer knows when to use the "perfect" adjective. Another issue I have with adjectives is the use of what I call, "cliche" adjectives. I find them useless and again it lowers the quality of the noun and story. I hope that writers take what I say with a grain of salt, really consider my input as a reader and put it to good use. Steph Stephanie Moore Hopkins Author of Layered Pages Co-Founder of Ladies & Literature Book Reviewer for Historical Novel Society (on-line) Interviewer Business email address

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Booker Prize shortlist turns its back on ‘readability’

Last year's head judge, Dame Stella Rimington, was pilloried for saying she prized books that "people would read and enjoy". Her fellow judge, the former Labour MP Chris Mullin, added that he liked a novel to "zip along". The chairman of the 2012 judging panel, Sir Peter Stothard, has loftier ideals. "I felt very, very strongly that I wanted to avoid that thing where people say, 'Wow, I loved it, it's terrific'," he said of the judging process. "I'm afraid quite a lot of what counts for criticism these days is of that sort: how many stars did it get? Did I have a good time? Would my children like it? It is opinion masquerading as literary criticism," said Sir Peter, who is editor of the Times Literary Supplement.  To read full article: Our Thoughts: Let me first state the obvious - we are not in competition with the Booker Prize! We also do not wish to suggest that what they do is invalid. The Booker Prize means that the winners will become best sellers and yet are often not very "readable". Although we only work with self-published books, we have developed a system just the opposite of what this esteemed group of critics aspire to. Self- published books are often looked down upon as unworthy of traditional publication which we have proven, I believe, to not always be the case. We have readers located around the globe who read books for us and give us one determination –is this a book you would recommend to your best friend? When all the readers have provide their decision, we honor the book with our B.R.A.G.Medallion only if it has received a unanimous "Yes". In this way we are finding books that "readers" feel are worth your time and money. After all, most of us read to be amused, thrilled, titillated and, yes, educated. We hope to encourage readers who want to find a great book to visit our website and support books that are good but probably will not reach the glorified heights that one with the title of Booker Prize Winner will inevitably reach. www.bragmedallion.com

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