indieBRAG

Reviews – Who needs them?

We all do, of course. Or at least, we believe we do. It is the Amazon reviews we are really craving. After all, that is where we sell most of our books. We have also learned if you achieve fifty reviews on Amazon, the company begins to take you seriously, and you could be featured in their newsletter and/or other promotions. I do not know how true the statement is, but one of my books has achieved this target, and it is selling well. How can we get there? Maybe, like myself, you purchase products other than books on Amazon. Perhaps, you ordered a set of towels, for example, or a coffee maker? When your items arrive, you open the carton and begin using the contents, but did the thought of leaving a review ever cross your mind? Backing up a step, remember when you were searching for the product? Did the number of reviews influence your purchase? Did you read the review and, if so, did the negative reviews cause you to continue shopping? We could begin leaving reviews ourselves on all products purchased on the Amazon site. The number of reviews, especially, if they are helpful to others,…

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I WISH I’D… BY HELEN HOLLICK

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree I guess all authors wish they had written ‘that’ novel – the one that has made Oscar status Blockbuster movie legend. The novel that hits number one in the bestseller charts and stays there … and stays there… and stays there… Or do we? Yes, of course we all want to do well, the basic facts of paying off the mortgage or being able to afford to get the car fixed is a prime motive – but the reality is, out of the thousands upon thousands of books published worldwide every year very few of them reach the heady height of Literary Stardom. Do I wish I’d written Gone With The Wind, or Fifty Shades of Grey or Harry Potter? To be honest? No, not really. What I do wish is that I had possessed the knowledge and experience I have now twenty-plus years ago. My first novel, part one of the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy was The Kingmaking.  Writing it, I probably made all the mistakes an author is not meant to make: tell not show, too many adjectives and adverbs, point-of-view (head-hopping) changes… but were these issues that often get slammed in Amazon’s Comments sections nowadays…

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Is it worth the effort to actually get your book on these shelves?

  Doesn’t it seem like a dream come true to get your book into a book store such as Barnes and Noble?  Ah, to see your book flying off the shelves in a “real” book store….. a store with thousands of books; hundreds in your genre; many traditionally published by the big guys; all languishing, sad and unnoticed. How do you feel about this?  Is it worth the effort to actually get you book on these shelves?  I wonder.  It is a fact that the big publishers are making a great deal of money- reportedly more than ever and even less to the authors than previously.  The world hasn’t turned exclusively to the online retailers yet.  There are still those readers who want to hold a book –even if the price between a print books and ebook can be extreme.  The usual cry is “what is better selling 2 books at $30 each or 20 at $3.  I would say the 20 books because the more readers you have the better chance you have of establishing the much desired word-of-mouth needed to make your book a best seller (not necessarily a big money maker).  I believe the success of a…

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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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The Laura Ingalls Wilder Cookbook

Little House on the Prairie Series plus a discussion on children's books with recipes with educator Jennifer Avery By Susan Weintrob       “This was the first true story I read as a child. Laura was an ordinary girl and I identified with her. She met a mean girl at school, had a crush on a boy and ate meals with her family. She was a girl like me. I read every single book in the series.” Educator Jennifer Avery went on to tell me that this was the first view of life outside her 1970’s Brooklyn childhood. Jen and I worked together at Hannah Sennesh Community Day School in Brooklyn. We developed and she implemented a literary afterschool program for 1st and 2nd graders.  She selected books with recipes to read together and then cook, making the characters more real for the children. “Food in books brings another level of engagement and a new way of thinking. Children connect with food and how it relates to their own family. ‘My mom and I make my lunch for school each day.’ This is very unifying for children readers and helps them relate to the story and characters.” In the Little House series, children are introduced to the frontier of the 1880’s. While Laura…

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First Year as a Newborn and Newbie Published Author by M. Louisa Locke

Below is a reprint of a post I did January 1, 2011, just about a year after I self-published my first novel, Maids of Misfortune. I think it captures some of the wonder of that first year. It is now slightly over a year later, a have a second grandson who just turned one, who is already running, climbing, and giving his two year-old brother a run for his money, and I have become more successful than I could have ever imagined. I have a second book out, Uneasy Spirits, the sequel to Maids of Misfortune, and over 37,000 people have bought copies of my two books, and another 50,000 people have downloaded them in a series of free promotions I did on Kindle. But I will never forget the joy of that first year of firsts. I hope you enjoy reading about them as well. --M. Louisa Locke Last year I rang in the New Year with my daughter, who had just had her first baby. I was exhausted (she had had a difficult delivery) and elated at being a grandmother. This New Year’s day, as I look back at the wonderful year of watching that sweet grandson grow…

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St. Patrick’s Day Is Nearly Upon Us- Let’s Eat!

    Try a new twist on the fabulous Irish Cabbage Soup, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Susan’s grandmother made the best sweet and sour stuffed cabbage. So when her mom wanted sweet and sour cabbage soup, Susan deconstructed her Nana’s recipe and a warm and comforting cabbage soup was born! Nana’s Deconstructed Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup Serves 8-10 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, diced 1 pound chopped beef 2 stalks celery, diced 15 ounces diced tomatoes fresh or canned 1/2 cup carrots, diced 1 medium green or savoy cabbage, cored and shredded 8 cups stock 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced 2 small tart apples, diced ½ cup golden raisins 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon dill weed Salt and pepper to taste Heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion until translucent, stirring as needed. Add beef and sauté until browned, stirring frequently. Add celery, tomatoes, carrots and cabbage. Sauté 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer covered until cabbage and vegetables are soft. Add mushrooms, apples and raisins. Simmer for 15 minutes or until apples are soft. Add brown sugar, lemon juice and dill weed.…

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My Initial Foray into the World of Self-publishing by Joe Perrone Jr.

                   Joe PerroneJr.         The first of my books to be published was Escaping Innocence (A Story of Awakening), which was begun as a memoir, way back in 1987, while I was working three jobs.  It did not take me long to realize that because mine was not a household name, it was unlikely that anyone would be interested in reading my memoirs.  So I did the only thing I could do, which was to morph my true story into a novel.  Using a ballpoint pen, I completed the initial manuscript over the course of the next three and a half years, filling six, spiral-bound notebooks in the process.  I truly believed that I was writing the definitive coming-of-age novel.  I wasn’t. Over the next twenty years, however, I edited, re-wrote, re-edited, and re-wrote Escaping Innocence at least three times, before I finally self-published it on October 5, 2008 through Lulu.com, a print-on-demand publisher (P.O.D.) that had been recommended to me by a relative.  By the time I published the book, I was so sick of examining and re-examining my early life that I was just happy to have…

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When Do We Become “They”? by Plum McCauley

      We’ve all seen the articles recounting examples of the staggering ignorance of our student population—college students who aren’t sure who won the Civil War, what the Holocaust was, or even when World War Two took place. I remember years ago reading about a teacher who bemoaned the fact that his students didn’t know which came first, the Renaissance or the Reformation. I wasn’t sympathetic. My only reaction was to think that if any of my college freshman composition students even knew what those historical events were I’d fall into a dead faint... There’s probably not one of us in education who doesn’t wail like a Greek Chorus over The Current State of Education in America.  We wring our hands, frustrated by our seeming inability to DO anything.  This issue reared its head again for me recently when I was looking over the new IndieBRAG website.  I had excitedly awaited the changes in genre divisions, hoping that we’d at last have a proper middle grade section into which I could insert my own mystery/adventure novel for the 9-12 year-old set.  As any of you know who have a BRAG medallion for a children’s book, the wide range of…

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There is a story around every corner

  By Elisabeth Marrion My head is spinning, I spot a story on every corner I turn. What shall I do? The first three instalments of my Unbroken Bonds series were an easy choice once I had started the first book. I knew their stories needed to be told. To be honest, I did not plan on writing a trilogy in four parts. You heard right. Four. Well, other writers have done it, so why not?  BUT the big question is will book four have the same impact as the first three since the narrative is set in a different time? It was not my idea. To be honest, it was my husband, David’s, who, sadly, is no longer with me. Upon finishing book three, Cuckoo Clock-New York, David casually asked, “what is happening to Thomas?” What is happening to Thomas, indeed? I started book four at that point, and we discussed the chapters I was writing. Unfortunately, the project was put on hold as David’s health deteriorated, and I have not picked it up again. Instead, I kept busy translating Liverpool Connection into German. Previously, I had written several short stories. One almost became a novella, and I am…

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