I have the pleasure of introducing, Geri Dunlap Clouston, the president if indieBRAG.
Geri,what prompted you to get involved in the self-publishing industry?
A number of years ago my husband and I decided to self-publish his books and we soon found the process to be both rewarding and frustrating. As the self-publishing industry has rapidly expanded, so too has the problem of separating quality indie books from the many that are not worth a reader’s time and money. Our frustration became the catalyst for indieBRAG, LLC!
Where do you see this industry going?
Well, there is no question that self-publishing is here to stay and it will only get bigger as the process becomes easier and less expensive. If self-publishing companies begin to pick and choose what they feel is worthy of publication, they will become exactly what traditional publishers have always been; therefore, I believe the flood of books, both good and bad, will continue without any means of control.
Please tell your audience about your company, indieBRAG
indieBRAG, LLC arose out of the belief that there are some real gems in the coal heap of self-published books. We set for ourselves the ambitious task of finding these gems and telling the reading public that they deserve attention. But we quickly discovered that industry projections that only 5% of self-published books are well written and properly edited were quite true. We then began inviting book clubs and individual readers to join us in this search and we now have a large group of readers located around the globe! To-date we have evaluated over 400 books and we have honored 58 of these. Once a book is honored our goal is to tell the world!
Do you feel that indieBRAG is working to set the standard for quality books?
Our process of evaluating self-published books is unique. We do not do reviews and we do not charge authors anything. Our global reading team answers one key question – “Is this a book that you would recommend to your best friend?”
Once the decision from all the readers of a particular book are in, it must receive a unanimous “yes” for it to receive a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM. I think you will agree that getting any group to unanimously agree on anything is a pretty significant accomplishment.
To protect the integrity of our process, our readers remain anonymous. They may not say they read for us and they may not have any contact with the author. In this way, they can make a judgment without pressure from us, the author, or other reviewers, bloggers, or readers.
What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
Obviously the pro is that you can get your book published! To go the traditional route has become virtually impossible. The changes occurring in the traditional publishing industry have made it unlikely that they will take a chance on a new author unless they are confident the book will make a profit. Self-publishing, on the other hand, gives everyone the opportunity of seeing their book in print. It is said that 80% of us feel we have a book in us and now we all can realize that dream.
There are quite a few cons to self-publishing that an aspiring author needs to take into consideration. They must be prepared to do all the work and pay for everything, including the cover, editing, printing and promoting their book. Importantly, once the book is available, the author needs to bring it to the reading public’s attention. This can be very time consuming and often frustrating.
What do you think contributes to making a self-published author successful?
Obviously first they must write a good book! Just because someone thinks they can write and publish the book they have inside them doesn’t mean they should! Successful authors work at knowing their craft. They study the work of others, and they listen to the advice of anyone who can help. They learn what is good writing and what is not. Only then, can they truly put out a book that is worth someone’s time and money.
Conventional wisdom states that word of mouth is the single most important element in selling a book. Once an author has written the best book they can, they need to get the word out. This requires an understanding of social media. Then, as the book becomes known, it will succeed or fail on its own merits. Readers who enjoyed it will tell other readers and so on. We consider the B.R.A.G.MedallionTM a proxy for word of mouth – providing enlightenment of the readers, by the readers, and for the readers of self-published books.
What Advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Read, Read, Read! Learn what is good and bad from other books – especially self-published books. In this way a budding author can avoid some of the pitfalls other authors fall into by seeing them for themselves.
Edit, Edit, Edit! Our experience has found that it is nearly impossible to proof read you own work so I would strongly advise authors that this is a good place to put their money.
The cover matters! Authors must make sure that it tells their story and catches the eye. A great cover is often the first thing that gets a reader to look at a book.
And self-published authors must remember they rarely get a second chance to make a first impression. Before they put their book out to the reading public and the scrutiny of critics, they need to make sure it is the best it can possibly be, and then believe in it!
I have four married children and four beautiful grandchildren. I am the wife of a self-published author and, of course, an avid reader! I retired as an RN a number of years ago and during my husband’s business career we spent a great deal of our lives as “corporate gypsies”- moving and traveling around this country and the world.
I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far with indieBRAG and I am thrilled to be able to help shine a light on deserving self-published books. But perhaps the biggest joy I have gotten from this exciting new venture is the ever-growing group of wonderful friends I have made among our readers and authors. Together we are working hard to bring the very best in self-publishing to the reading public.
Book Giveaway Information:
Please leave a comment in the comment area along with your email address to qualify your chance to win one of these great Kindle books shown below! Each book listed is the winner of the BRAG Medallion. Giveaways end October 24th!
Vinegarone is not a BRAG book. The author kindly is giving this book as a giveaway. You will be able to purchase this book, October 6th 2012.