indieBRAG

Time to Stop Groveling to Traditional Publishers!

  Previously authors spent so much of their time trying to get a publisher and most were lucky to get rejections since, in many cases, there wasn't even a response (letter right to the trash!) Now authors who decide to self-publish will need to spend much of their time finding their audience. The truth is they were going to have to do most of this on their own even with a publisher. I have had authors tell me they were told by agents to include their marketing plans to send to the publishers. The biggest challenge an author has today is not getting a publisher but finding a way to rise to the top of the avalanche of books being published. I am talking about all books since readers really don't care who publishes a book – a good book is a good book. At indieBRAG our readers around the world only read self-published books, but you would be greatly mistaken if you think a reader would rather read a mediocre book by a traditional publisher over a good self-published one. The fact that more self-published authors are finding ways to rise to the top says that traditional publishers are…

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Working with a Book Cover Designer

  Some wonderful advice from our friend Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphic on working with a graphic designer to get the best cover possible- Every now and again I am approached by a potential new client who knows exactly what they want and basically how the book cover design process works. But more often than not, authors have written their manuscripts and want an attractive cover designed so they can get their new books listed on Amazon and other online book selling outlets, yet have no idea where to start. And most, especially first time authors, do not have any idea whatsoever as to how the book cover design process works or even where to begin. This is not a bad thing – authors write and designers design! Hopefully I can shed some light on the process by offering a few top tips when contacting book cover designers for the first time. 1. Have an estimated expectation for when you plan to publish your book as the book cover designer will need to know when the project will be expected to be completed. And please consider that most designers are carrying multiple projects/clients at all times in order to earn…

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Ebook reader or not!

  EBook reader or not! Ok, it is no news that kids think technology is cool! If carrying an eBook reader makes you look cool, reading on one is even better. I like to read both my Kindle and a regular book- both are fun but I always have my Kindle when I am in the car or when I am traveling. Most of the eBooks are not as expensive and I can take lots with me- I have the whole series of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, my favorite books! I go to visit my MomMom's in Wisconsin in the summer and I can take all my books with me- and it fits in my backpack along with all my other "must haves"- hair brush, headband, snacks, teddy bear. A girl has to have her things. Even when I am waiting for my brother- which seems all the time- I read my Kindle. Do you know that Barnes and Noble have "The NOOK Kids Store" on line and you can find books by age and they tell you which are the most popular? Amazon lists children's eBooks but I don't think it is quite as easy. I only wish…

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Don’t Quit Your Day Job…Yet!

    According to an article by Alison Flood in theguardian (see link below) writing is a very hard way to make a living. She points out that while we often hear about the eight-figure deals that a few fortunate authors (very few) are able to secure, the vast majority of authors, both traditionally and self-published barely scrape by on their earnings. However, her article concludes with a quote by successful indie author Hugh Howey that holds out hope for the future of self-publishing. "...The simple fact is this: getting paid for your writing is not easy. But self-publishing is making it easier. How much easier? We don't have sufficient data to know. But a conservative estimate would be that five to 10 times as many people are paying bills with their craft today as there was just a few years ago. And that should be celebrated." So hang in there and keep writing! Bob The Guardian

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Reading and Your Brain!

It is well documented that reading is essential for our children to be successful in school and in their future careers. In fact, how well and how often a child reads for pleasure has more effect on their future success in school than any other factor – including their social and economic backgrounds. We spend countless hours and a great deal of money preparing our physical being with make-up, hair, clothes, bathing and doing exercise from a young age. And yet, we find it difficult to put aside a few moments a day to read. The benefits of reading non-fiction are obvious in learning skills and educating ourselves in fields such as history, science, language and on and on. But psychologists now believe that reading fiction can also have enormous benefits to both young and old in helping them understand the human character. Reading fiction increases our ability to build social ties and our empathy toward others. It can actually develop our social brains and make us more adept at camaraderie, collaboration and even love! There is an emotional response that occurs to most readers when they have read a book that successfully describes their exact predicament. A perfect example…

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Do you give books for Christmas?

  There is a misconception that a book is not a great gift for Christmas.– how wrong that is!No, perhaps they don't light up or shoot darts, and most don't play music (although some do!). But here are some reasons that a book is the perfect gift- 1. A book is a very personal gift. What better way is there to show that you really care about someone than to spend the time to find a gift that you think they will like. There is a book for every interest and every age. By putting a little extra thought into your gift the recipient will be moved by your thoughtfulness. 2. Books last a life time. Every time someone picks up a book, opens it and reads your Christmas message, they will think of you. 3. Books are inexpensive and easy to buy- especially online. 4. There are no batteries to buy, no sizes to know, and no color to worry about! 5. A book can entertain, teach, and share your interests and experiences. 6. There is a book for every age, race, religion and educational level. 7. And don't forget that books are a great gift to donate to…

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Blog # 3 – The Best Format And Price For An eBook

      Continuing our discussion of our presentation at SPBE this slide shows the formats that our readers prefer.     As you can see, 56% of the readers we surveyed prefer the eBook format. This is not surprising. According to amazon.com during the past two years eBooks have outsold print books. The convenience of eBook readers and the lower cost of eBooks are the main drivers of this trend. Slide 7 also shows that if an author also wants a print book, a trade paperback is the most desirable format. We believe that an indie author should offer both but if he or she only publishes their book in one format, it should be as an eBook.This next slide shows the best price points for an eBook.   The above chart shows that 32% of the readers we surveyed will pay up to $4.99 for an eBook while 39% are willing to pay up to $9.99. The slide also indicates that 92% of readers will pay more than 99 cents. This is very important because there is anecdotal evidence from other sources that pricing a book at $.99 does not generate sufficient sales to warrant the loss of…

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SPBE Blog #2- Editing a Self-Published Book

    As I said in my previous blog, copy editing errors are the reason that most self-published books are rejected during the indieBRAG screening process. An indie author must not edit his or her own book. Although professional copy editing can be expensive, it is the single best use of an author's money. There are also other less expensive ways of doing this such as by using beta readers or joining writers' groups. Here are two slides from our presentation that address this issue: As you can see in Slide 19, our readers ranked copy editing as fourth in importance of the characteristics in their liking a book. BUT as Slide 20 shows, it is the number one reason why readers dislike a book. In other words, good editing alone will not make a book but bad editing will certainly kill it! In conclusion, we cannot emphasize enough that an author rarely gets a second chance at a good first impression!

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Blogs from the Self-Publishing Book Expo Our trip to the Self-Publishing Book Expo, held in New York City on November 9th, was a huge success! Our presentation, titled "THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY" of self-published books was well attended and well received. We were the only panel (out of seventeen) that was filmed by C-SPAN's Book TV and we will let you know when the segment will be aired, likely later this month. indieBRAG team members Robert Clouston and Stephanie Hopkins joined me in the presentation and over the coming days we will blog about what we covered. This will include the results from the surveys we conducted among our readers and B.R.A.G. Medallion authors, the findings of which formed the basis of our presentation. We think you will find it all very interesting. We will also discuss some of the things we learned from other presenters at the expo, which further support our survey findings. So here we go- To begin our presentation, I shared some rather stark statistics that out of the over 1,500 books we have considered since indieBRAG began in April of last year, 50% were rejected during the initial screening process. Strictly for…

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Join us at SPBE in November!

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH Come join the fun as we celebrate five successful years as the only exclusive home forself-published books and authors.The Self-Publishing Book Expo is celebrating our 5th Anniversary! This year, in addition to an all-star line-up of some of the most knowledgeable speakers in the business, the Expo will feature some inter-active sessions, and some extended sessions allowing for attendees to have more access to the information they need to successfully publish. We are also introducing a special coffee hour for attendees to mix, mingle, compare notes, and askone-on-one questions of some of our speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and partners. At 12 noon, be sure to join us to discuss- THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY: What Makes a Good Self-Published Book?indieBRAG represents a group of 150 readers who have reviewed 1,000+ self-published titles. They are not editors, publishers, or literary experts; they are simply ordinary people who love to read. Members of the indieBRAG staff will uncover what they have learned in the process of choosing their B.R.A.G. Medallion winners. What does a book need in order to make it worthy of the reading public's time and money? What are the important things to weed out of…

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