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How I Got My Indie Novel into the Library System

by Annie Daylon I had no idea that indie authors could apply to have books purchased by libraries. When the illustrator of my picture book dropped that gem of information my way, I delved into research. At my local library, I spoke with the community librarian who gave me the contact information for the acquisitions librarian. In my application email to acquisitions, I included: a brief bio; cover images of available titles (linked to Amazon); mini-synopses; website link; and contact info. When a couple of weeks passed with no response, I emailed again. Still no reply. Months later, I did a follow up. I phoned the acquisitions librarian who readily explained that she receives scads of email and that she had simply missed my request. She asked me to re-send my application email. I complied. Within a week, a purchase order showed up: two copies of one title—Of Sea and Seed. I was elated! Within a few weeks, my book was in the library system of the British Columbia Fraser Valley Regional Library. Does making an effort to be known by your local library enhance your chances of receiving a favorable response to your application? Possibly. In my case, after…

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That Grey Area of Copyright

By Helen Hollick I read an article the other day about a self-published ‘author’ (hmm, debatable term) who had produced dozens of new books in one year. Someone got suspicious and looked into the details. It turned out this ‘author’ had copied, almost word for word, other books just changing the characters’ names, sex, and altering the location. So Jane Brown became John Black, and London became New York. That in itself was fine, but when an original sentence of: ‘Jane looked out of her bedroom window at the grey, drizzly sky of a London afternoon and sighed,’ became: ‘John looked out of his bedroom window at the dull, drizzling sky of a New York afternoon and sighed,’ things are not so fine. (I made the example up by the way!) What is even more disturbing, it seems this particular person knew exactly what he/she was doing because they had been caught, and cautioned, before. Apart from this is damaging to the original author and nothing more than copyright theft, what did this person get out of it – beside raking in a few ill-gotten pennies? We are not talking big time best-seller here. But then of course, the best-sellers…

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An Author’s Angle on Date Night by Annie Whitehead

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree-To Be A Queen I’m going on a date with a handsome man called Alhelm, a real-life 10th century warrior and nobleman, who held lands in the northern area of the kingdom of Mercia. How do I know he’s handsome? Aethelflaed, from To Be A Queen, seems rather taken with him: “His blond hair, recently cut by the look of it, was sticking out at odd angles, where curls had been shorn, but not short enough to subdue them. His blue eyes were so pale that the pupils shone uncommonly black. A sprinkling of freckles spilled over both cheekbones and spread over his nose. He smiled at her … she felt an urge to smile back but also look away, at once a grown woman yet still a foolish child.” This is when she first meets him, and she is smitten. So I imagine someone who looks a little like this:    Although the reality is probably more like this:  But, I muse while I’m straightening my hair, how can we know what they looked like? The Mercians were the ‘Angle’ part of Anglo-Saxon; Pope Gregory, upon seeing some slaves in the market said they were “Not Angles,…

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Where do you like to take a day for yourself and read?

Tranquil places far from the demands of my keyboard are necessary escapes to keeping my imagination free to travel - anywhere. Less than an hour from our home on the Olympic Peninsula, I've found such an idyllic locale along the shore of Lake Crescent. Last week, my husband and I bundled up on a rainy morning to make the trip along the narrow 101 to the National Park Lodge for a much-needed getaway. After a tasty breakfast, we planted ourselves on two cushioned, wicker chairs in the lodge sunroom overlooking the lake. It wasn't hard to let imagination transport me into a cozy mystery novel in someone's Victorian lake house. With its worn wood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows, I had to work to pull my focus back to the Brandon Sanderson fantasy novel I'd brought with me. On this particular morning low clouds hovered above the water obscuring most of the mountains that border the twelve-mile-long lake. For awhile the view was less of a distraction so the world of the final empire drew me in. Soon the clouds lifted, revealing Storm King and Pyramid Peak. Tourists ambled out onto the wooden dock for selfies. The view and the aroma…

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So, what kind of books do you write? by Carrie Beckort

Genre. It’s like the gender classification for books, except there are more than two options: Literary Romance Historical Science Fiction Children’s Self-help On and on and on . . . Just as it is with gender, a book’s genre classification gives people a set of expectations for how the book should ‘act’. Romance novels should have a happily ever after ending. A Fantasy novel should transport the reader to a world they’ve never before seen. A Mystery novel should have unexpected twists and turns from start to finish. But what if I don’t want to be boxed into one category? What if I don’t want to follow the rules? “Um, that’s great. But tell me, what kind of books do you write?” When someone asks me this question, I know they’re expecting me to respond with a genre classification. In the beginning of my writing career, I would cringe and stutter and overall just make myself look like a blubbering idiot. My books don’t fit neatly into a specific genre, and I didn’t want to pigeonhole them into one. Instead of blurting out a genre, I decided to tell my perspective readers what my books are about. The primary focus…

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IT TAKES A TEAM by Barbara Kyle

I've gratefully learned this lesson in having ten novels published: it takes a team. My Thornleigh Saga is a seven-book historical series that features a middle class English family's rise through three turbulent Tudor reigns. The latest is The Traitor's Daughter. For this series my publisher wanted a book a year, and for me that's a challenge. I couldn't achieve it alone. I'm happy to say I've been blessed with a support team, three people that are definitely an "A" team. I sing their praises here. First is my agent, Albert Zuckerman. Al is something of a legend in the publishing world. He founded Writers House, one of the largest literary agencies in the world. He's been midwife to dozens of bestselling books, many of them blockbusters such as Dr. Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, Michael Lewis's Moneyball (made into the film with Brad Pitt), and Ken Follett's mega-bestsellers like Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. I'm honored that Al names me as one of his leading clients. Years ago, when I was a rookie in this business, peddling my first novel but knowing nobody, I sent queries out to a slew of agents, as all…

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Self-Publishing: An Author’s Experience

Today B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree G.J. Reilly is talking with us about his self-publishing experience. G.J., when did you decide you were going to self-publish? When I sent out my first manuscript and it took close on a year to receive a reply. Okay, that’s not really fair. A major publishing house had an open submission window for a very exciting new project. ‘Inquisitor’ was barely finished, unpolished and pushed through editing using the bare bones of MS Word. By the time I’d received my first inevitable rejection, ‘Inquisitor’ had changed and evolved and I was so close to it that I really couldn’t tell if I was deluding myself, or whether it was actually worth reading. I’d had a few beta readers, but nobody who’d ever really written for themselves and, although trusted their opinions and they were very honest, I felt like I needed completely impartial feedback. However, just about every article on the internet was telling me that getting feedback is like winning the lottery on Friday the 13th. So, instead of wasting professional time, I decided to read as much as I could about self-publishing in the hope that readers might leave reviews. It took a long…

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Interview Team Member Lisl Zlitni

indiebrag has put together a great group of book bloggers to interview our B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees. This week we would like our authors to get to know our team a bit better. Today indiebrag Team Member Lisl Zlitni of before the second sleep is chatting with us about her website. Lisl, why do you blog? I’d like to say it’s a way for me to journal without actually having to use pen and paper—I’m often so lazy about writing in an actual book, despite loving the idea of it. The flaw with that answer, however, is that I don’t blog much that people might perceive as journal-y. When I first considered the idea of a blog, I knew I wanted whatever I blogged to help me think more deliberately, to articulate ideas rather than experience them instinctively and without further growth. And I wanted to write. I’d always loved reading and writing, and research and writing analytical papers in university to this day remains one of my happiest set of memories. I wanted to do something that picked back up on that. A few years ago I started to write book reviews and found the challenges of doing this led me…

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IndieBRAG Cover Crush: To Catch A Falling Star by Anna Belfrage

Synopsis To Catch a Falling Star’ is the eighth book in Anna Belfrage’s series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.  Some gifts are double-edged swords… For Matthew Graham, being given the gift of his former Scottish manor is a dream come true. For his wife, Alex, this gift will force her to undertake a perilous sea journey, leaving most of their extensive family in the Colony of Maryland. Alex is torn apart by this, but staying behind while her husband travels to Scotland is no option. Scotland in 1688 is a divided country, torn between the papist Stuart king and the foreign but Protestant William of Orange. In the Lowlands, popular opinion is with Dutch William, and Matthew’s reluctance to openly support him does not endear him to his former friends and neighbours. While Matthew struggles to come to terms with the fact that Scotland of 1688 bears little resemblance to his lovingly conserved memories, Alex is forced to confront unresolved issues from her past, including her overly curious brother-in-law, Luke Graham. And then there’s the further complication of the dashing, flamboyant Viscount Dundee, a man who knocks Alex completely off her feet. All…

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Marketing Your Book(s) by Alison Morton

Why marketing? Publishing a book yourself is fun as well as hard work. But if you are going to sell your book, you need to adopt some commercial principles and practicalities. We often hear “sales and marketing” bracketed together, but they are two distinctly different things, although intimately connected. Marketing as a way of building awareness of yourself, your work and your brand, thus creating a demand in the customer’s mind so that they will seek you out – basically, the battle for the mind. Sales, on the other hand, is focused on persuading the customer to buy by meeting a need at the right time. But readers can be turned off by overly aggressive sales tactics. Now I love talking to readers face to face and sharing the fun and fascination of my Roma Nova books with them. But there’s a lot of work leading up to the point when you sell that reader your book, and that’s all about marketing. So let’s get down to marketing The pre-requisite is a good product. A well-edited story, with professional layout and design, a great back cover blurb and stunning cover are all taken as given. (Well, the B.R.A.G. Medallion award…

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