reviewers

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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Promo or No Promo?

What is the best way to get attention for your book? Renee Pawlish did an interesting piece on her blog - To Become A Writer on what is the best way to promote your book or not to promote at all. According a recent Taleist survey, there seems to be very little benefit to paying for reviews or ads and that most successful authors would agree that word-of-mouth is the number one driving force to success. But how do you generate such word-of-mouth? Certainly your family and friends are great advocates but not enough to drive up sales! Reviews do matter, but one of the issues that we have avoided here at B.R.A.G. is whose reviews. Sites where an author, all of his friends and family fill the reviews with glowing accounts of the best book ever, gives a reader false hope this is going to be a book they will like. I don't believe a reader chooses a book because it is self-published or not, but reading a bad self-published book might give them the impression that most are not worth reading and shy away from a book because it is self-published. Where do you get worthwhile reviews? Well, first of all, here at B.R.A.G. We have a global reading base who are not in any way related to the authors and have nothing to gain but the satisfaction of finding the next really good book. Goodreads and Facebook are also a great way to find reviewers and bloggers to offer your book to. Here is something to consider when you are out trying to get the attention you hope will send your book to the bestseller lists- Make sure this books is well conceived, well written, thoroughly edited (both story and copy) and properly formatted. Let us not forget that word-of-mouth can go both ways. One bad review probably won't destroy your chances for success but several certainly will. Another widely accepted view is that to be a bestselling author, you have to write books! Once fans have discovered your amazing book they will be looking for more and if you don't provide them with more great stories, they will most likely stop talking and that is exactly what you don't want. So my humble opinion is write, write, write and use the advertising money you save on editing and a really great cover. Let the knowledgeable readers on Goodreads, facebook and other social media know your are out there and spend what little time you have left in a day getting reviews. Yes, I think word-of-mouth is the answer – just make sure it is authentic enough to carry your book to the top and, most important, make sure your book is ready for such scrutiny! Oh, and of course, a B.R.A.G.Medallion will tell all readers this is a book worth your time and money!

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