indie publishing

A Writer’s Life: Interview with Helen Hollick

I’d like to welcome back award winning author Helen Hollick today. She is here to talk with us about a big part of her writing. I first started this series-A Writer’s Life- over at Layered Pages and decided to bring it to indieBRAG for our authors. This is Helen’s third participation in this series. -Stephanie M. Hopkins  Helen Hollick lives with her husband, daughter and son-in-law in North Devon, England, in an eighteenth century farmhouse, surrounded by thirteen acres of fields and woodland. A variety of pets include her  daughter’s side-saddle riding horse and a show jumper, two Exmoor ponies which once ran wild on Exmoor, two cats who ignore each other, two wonderful dogs from the Dog’s Trust rescue Centre, some chickens, ducks, and a very grumpy goose called Bernadette (although Boudicca is a more appropriate name!). All of Helen’s books in The Sea Witch Voyages series are B.R.A.G.Medallion Honorees.  She also has a number of respected books of historical fiction which are traditionally published. Including the bestseller The Forever Queen the story of Emma of Normandy  and The Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, set in the fifth century, has also been widely acclaimed as a different telling of the Arthurian Myth – no…

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Minimise your Weaknesses, Maximise your Strength

By Elisabeth Marrion  Finished your book? Ready to publish? Or published already?  Now what? You searched the internet for ways to promote your book without having to spend a lot of money. Maybe you are already subscribing to a writer’s magazine, which is full of really useful information for new and published writers. You check other authors websites, because you are about to create one yourself or have one up and running. You are joining, or are about to join, Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in, Google+ and even are starting a blog. You might consider becoming a member of a writer’s society. You name it, you do it. You devour all the information you can find on how to get your name out there. You might even have a publisher who provides you with an information sheet, what you should do. You contact your local papers, your local shops, libraries. They all have been waiting, just for you, Right? And you appeal to your family and friends for their support.  By now you have joined Goodreads, of course, because you were being told to do so. Although, maybe like me, you are totally mystified, but you offer giveaways, hoping the recipient will…

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Liars, Leeches, and Other Losers

 To all you eager, new―and as yet unknown―authors who have finally finished your manuscript, welcome to the world of publishing, where dreams come true, and fame and fortune are only a book tour away. Or perhaps not! Let me see…how do I break this to you gently? Not one single literary agent will have anything to do with you. At most, your query letter will trigger a form rejection response as cold and pitiless as an IRS audit notice. And you can forget about sending your manuscript to any of the Big Six publishing houses. To them, you are lower than rust on the third rail in the subway, and equally untouchable. However, I doubt that these brutal facts will deter you from pursuing your dream, nor should they. So as you embark on this journey, let me just share with you a few words of caution about the liars, leeches and losers who populate the world of publishing. Let’s start with the first group of liars―your friends and family―albeit well-meaning ones. In your heart, you know that you have not written the next great American novel but you still think your book is pretty good. Damn good in fact!…

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A response to Sue Grafton’s angry words.

I guess you saw the comments by bestselling author Sue Grafton about self-published authors. If not, you should! During an interview with a local newspaper she said- "that's as good as admitting you're too lazy to do the hard work". The self-published books she has read are "often amateurish", she said, comparing self publishing "to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if s/he's ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall". According to Grafton, Becoming an author is about hard work: "taking the rejection, learning the lessons, and mastering the craft over a period of time". Having had her first three novels rejected, she said she sees "way too many writers who complete one novel and start looking for the fame and fortune they're sure they're entitled to". She added "To me, it seems disrespectful ... that a 'wannabe' assumes it's all so easy s/he can put out a 'published novel' without bothering to read, study, or do the research," said Grafton. "Learning to construct a narrative and create character, learning to balance pace, description, exposition, and dialogue takes a long time. This is not a quick do-it-yourself home project. Self-publishing is a…

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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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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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Writing As Your Legacy

  There are seven billion human beings on earth as I write these words; a mind-boggling number that is difficult to grasp. One way to look at it is that if Bill Gates, the richest man in America, were to distribute his enormous fortune equally to every person in the world, we would each only get $9.42. Hardly worth the effort, so relax Mr. Gates we won't push for income redistribution. Out of that teeming mass of seven billion people very few of us will ever be rich or powerful or famous. Most of us will be born, live, and die without ever having made any impact upon the world whatsoever. An exception, perhaps, are those of us who have been blessed with children, thereby helping to perpetuate the human race―a critical if not noteworthy accomplishment. Lest you become overwhelmed by the futility of our shared existence, take heart. There is something you can do to help ensure that your footprints are etched into the bedrock of history, rather than blown away on the sands of time: namely, write a book. Yes, you. Conventional wisdom says that 80% of us feel we have a book inside us. But unless you take the time to commit it to paper, or even better, to an electronic file, your name will soon be forgotten after you're gone. The same holds true even for those of you who have children. If don't believe me, ask yourself this question: what are the names of your great grandparents? My case rests. So stop making excuses; stop procrastinating. Find the time to write that book bouncing around inside your brain. There has never been a better time to do this. The relatively new and rapidly expanding world of self-publishing has given you the opportunity. Seize it! Once you have written it, have it professionally edited, and then release it to the world. Even if it is not a best-seller, it will live on long after you have shuffled off this mortal coil―and someday, somewhere, someone will read it and know that you were here. Robert                                                                                                                                          indieBRAG

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