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In Praise of indieBRAG – Alison Morton

Self-publishing is expanding exponentially; it has long ceased to be a minority interest. But along with the glorious freedom of writing any genre, mixed genres or no genre and the ability to control every aspect of a book’s production comes responsibility to the readers. Some authors write books purely for their own pleasure and that’s great fun and personally very satisfying, but today self- or independent publishing is a serious option for commercial writers. However, not everybody is conscientious in producing a well-rounded, page turning book with impeccable production values. How is a reader able to distinguish the dross from the diamonds in today’s avalanche of self-published work? This is where the B.R.A.G. Medallion® comes in. When INCEPTIO, the first in my series of Roma Nova thrillers, was awarded a Medallion, I was delighted; my writing had passed one of the highest bars around. Rapidly becoming recognised in the world of self-publishing as an impeccable seal of excellence, its selection process is rigorous, rejecting 90% of applicants. If a book carries a B.R.A.G. Medallion® sticker, it will be a quality assured read, whatever its genre. I was proud to explain what the sticker meant and people were impressed. More importantly,…

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Murder and Plum Cake? Sounds good to me!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Just for fun, I took a stab at writing in the style of author Elin Barnes to introduce the Plum Coffee Cake! Susan Saffron and Darcy walked into a small Palo Alto restaurant on University Avenue and took a booth in the back, away from the window. “So what do you want?” Darcy asked, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. The hair immediately came out. “I need some serious caffeine!” Saffron said. Darcy motioned the waitress over and read her name-tag. “Two coffees. What’s good in a coffee cake, Lisa?” Lisa smiled at the two. “The bakery just sent over a plum coffee cake to die for! Want me to bring over 2 pieces?” Darcy nodded. “But maybe not to die for.” Elin Barnes’ Justification for Murder Saffron Meadows is being stalked. Someone is trying to kill her. Repeatedly. Speaking to a police detective, she confides, “I feel as if I’m in a bad movie. These things don’t happen to regular people.” ‘You’d be surprised,” he said. At the ame time, Saffron is in a long relationship with Ranjan Balasubramanian whose family is arranging his marriage…

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What’s in a Media Kit?

A Media Kit can be a useful way to gather all the info about you, as an author, and your book.  We asked Marisa to share her terrific MK with us- I’m a self-published debut author and a proud owner of an indieBRAG Medallion Award. My book, GOODBYE To Italia, is a family story, and was published in 2016 but only a year later have I created a Media Kit (MK). An MK is defined as containing information about your business, product or an event. I did have a one-pager that in loose terms met this criteria. But in such a competitive world and a global market, it really is necessary to have a more professional approach. Thanks to my publishing and marketing mentor, Ocean Reeve, he provided me with a couple of examples of what an MK should look like. He also gave me a kind but strong talking to. Duly subdued, I reviewed the relevant documents and sat down one weekend to create my own. Not for me was a 15-page MK although if that’s what you want to do that’s your choice. Instead, I wanted to relay the messages as effectively and succinctly as possible. Not wanting…

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Let’s begin a Jolabokaflod!

The small country (329,000 people) of Iceland boasts it has more writers, books published and books read than anywhere else in the world. Can you imagine that? To those of us who are “Book People”, this is astonishing! A tradition we can all be envious of is Jolabokaflod – the “Christmas Book Flood”. Christmas Eve is a time of giving books and stores are sold out long before the special night.  Each person receives at least one print books (not ebooks) along with chocolate to enjoy for the rest of the evening when it is tradition to spend the night reading. It wasn’t long ago that all TV stations in Iceland stopped broadcasting from 6pm-10pm because everyone was reading! The book season kicks off in September when each family receives Bokatidindi, a catalog of new publications from the Iceland Publishers Association distributed free to every Icelandic home.  By early December book stores are sold out. Because of this amazing tradition, Reyckavik has been named by the United Nations as a “city of Literature” and it host the international children’s literature festival and the international Literary Festival. Icelanders have a grand history of storytelling.  The Icelandic Sagas written around the 13th century…

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Award winning author, Laurie Boris, shares thoughts on Storytelling

Laurie Boris Thank you for inviting me to participate in Ingredients in Storytelling! What are the steps in creating a setting for your story? For me, setting comes from the characters and their conflict. When I get enough clues, I can see the setting in my head. Boston was ideal for A Sudden Gust of Gravity. Artsy and traditional, a melting pot of cultures, a mixture of old and new, young and not-so-young, struggling students and well-to-do folks who live in swanky condos on the waterfront. And I’d spent a lot of time there. Whenever possible, I prefer to let the details of the setting build organically. I let the characters just be there—let Christina practice her juggling in a park next to the Charles River, let Devon chaperone his five-year-old nephew through Faneuil Hall—and I describe the setting as I need to. There is a fine line between creating a visible backstory and a hidden backstory of your characters. What are the steps in balancing it out? What should you not do? It’s a really delicate balancing act. I think what you choose to leave out is as important, sometimes even more so, than what you leave in. If…

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All you need to know about Beta Readers!

Charla White Beta Readers A Beta reader, also known as a pre-reader, is an essential component that all authors should consider utilizing.  Beta readers are defined as non-professional.  They are readers who enjoy reading and who want to help writers be successful.  (In truth, we want to read the book first and watch the creative process in action and feel like we helped.)  Beta readers will look over written materials for plot errors, grammar and spelling errors, issues with character development and suggestions to improve the book.  Included in their services, they can also be fact checkers; however, if you need to designate one as a fact checker communicate that to the person.  They are a wonderful resource that is gaining in popularity due to the ease of finding and communicating with folks who are truly interested in seeing a writer succeed. But why should anyone use beta readers?  Beta readers don’t have to be nice to you, they do not have a close or personal relationship with you like family members, spouse or even good friends.  They will give you honest feedback that you must evaluate and either take their suggestions seriously or not. Let’s be honest here, as…

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Best selling author Meredith Wild shares her advice with indieBRAG

Meredith Wild is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. Living on Florida’s Gulf Coast with her husband and three children, she refers to herself as a techie, whiskey-appreciator, and hopeless romantic. She has been featured on CBS This Morning, The Today Show, the New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Publishers Weekly, and The Examiner. I invited Meredith to share with us some of her thoughts and advice for aspiring “Best Selling” authors! Advice for Aspiring Authors One of the most frequently asked questions I get is what advice I have for aspiring writers. Every author’s writing and publishing journey is unique, so I can’t speak to what you specifically should do, only what’s worked and hasn’t for me. This is by no means comprehensive (I could write volumes), and I do not claim to be an expert on anything. That said, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the course of this crazy publishing journey. This is mega long and all over the place, but I may try to organize it better in separate posts ultimately. Remember, there are no straight lines to success, so take what works and leave the rest. Above all, always trust your intuition! (If you have more specific questions, leave…

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Blogging for your Readers!

Maria Grace Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.   She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is starting her sixth year blogging on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats. We are so fortunate to have the very gifted writer Maria Grace (4 X B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree author!) join us today to share some thoughts and information about her very successful blog.   Marie, I love your website!  I am a fan of your books and always look forward to posts and info you share on your site. There are so many different types of websites from authors- some…

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Whose Voice Gets To Represent Race In Our Literature?

Thanks to indieBRAG author Lorraine Devon Wilke for allowing us to share her blog post from Rock, Paper, Music                                                                                                            indieBRAG Storytellers are the chroniclers of our life and times. They memorialize history, dissect our complex and evolving world; they entertain and provoke and captivate. They are as diverse and eclectic as the characters they create and the stories they tell. It is their job to reflect who we are, what we experience, and what we can imagine. That’s a big canvas. It’s huge. And there’s no end to the variety of colors and hues that can be drawn upon it. Just as there is no end to the variety of artists weaving the tales drawn there. Yet some believe there are rules to who gets to use which colors, who gets to draw outside the lines to tell stories that involve characters from different cultures. Some believe issues…

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“Branding” with best selling author Steena Holmes

  Steen Holmes is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has sold over 2 million copies of her books. She is a sought after speaker on the subject of indie publishing and branding.  We are very pleased to have Steena Holmes, B.R.A.G .Medallion Honoree author of Finding Emma, join us here to share her thoughts and expertise. First of all, let me congratulate you, Steena, on all your success--selling books is not easy! For all self-published authors out there, I am taking a big step beyond giving advice on writing.  By the time a book gets to us at indieBRAG, learning how to write and asking advice about publishing a book is in the past.  We assume that when an author submits their book to us they are confident it is well written, edited, formatted and has an appealing cover.  If not, it probably will not make it to our library. So Steena, let’s talk about what you are an expert on--marketing and selling books. How important is finding your audience and how do you do that? For me, knowing my audience, finding those readers – that’s more important than anything else after the book. If…

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