My Early Christmas Present: the B.R.A.G. Medallion For After The Sucker Punch

All gussied up with a B.R.A.G. Medallion!
All gussied up with a B.R.A.G. Medallion!

One of the most challenging aspects of being an indie author is the sheer volume of tasks related to marketing your own book. What traditionally published authors look to their publishers to offer, or at least implement, in terms of promotion and marketing, indie authors do all by their lonesome, unless they are fortunate enough to be able to work with a publicist (which I’ll be doing on my next book!). And given the staggering number of books flooding the self-publishing marketplace (reportedly 500,000 in just the US in 2013), finding ways to get your book pulled out of the rumbling pack is a tug-of-war like no other!

So when you get a boost from a group, an organization, that is not only well-regarded in the publishing industry, deeply involved in promoting self-published authors, and very selective about the books it chooses to award their prestigious B.R.A.G. Medallion, you feel a little bit like Christmas came early. Which is how I felt when I got the news this week that my debut novel, After The Sucker Punch, has been selected for a Medallion.

IndieBRAG was founded by Founder and President, Geraldine Clouston, with a mission statement to “to recognize quality on the part of authors who self-publish both print and digital books.” From author Alison Morton’s interview with Ms. Clouston at Roma Nova:

One fearsome, but in a way reassuring, statistic is that IndieBRAG rejects 90% of books that it considers. Not quite two years old, it already has an excellent reputation as a serious “Guardian at the Gate”. At the recent Self-Published Book Expo in New York, IndieBRAG presented an authoritative report on self-publishing and was the only panel out of 17 filmed by C-SPAN’s Book TV

What is the background to you starting IndieBRAG?
Several years ago my husband and I attended the Self-Publishing Book Expo in New York City for the first time. We were, of course, not surprised to find many self-published authors at the Expo who were looking for help. However, we were surprised to discover that after these authors had published their books very few of them knew what to do next. We quickly realized that with the explosion of self-publishing, it is very hard for an indie author to get any attention for their book. And more to the point, given that much of what is self-published is not worth a reader’s time or money, it is a major challenge for a good self-published book to rise above the rest.

Tell us about your process for evaluating self-published work.
After a book is nominated through our website it is subjected to a rigorous selection process. This entails an initial screening to ensure that the author’s work meets certain minimum standards of quality and content. If it passes this preliminary assessment it is then read by members drawn from our reader group. We have over 150 readers in 11 countries who regularly read self-published books for us. They judge the merits of the book based on a comprehensive list of criteria, the most important of which is whether or not they would recommend it to their best friend. If a book meets our high standards, we award it our B.R.A.G. Medallion and present it on our website.

There are two important things to note about our process- First, we are not agents, literary experts, or publishers. We are simply ordinary people who are passionate about reading books; the same people who buy books. And second, we do not permit any contact between our readers and authors, or other readers. This gives the reader an opportunity to make a decision without any undue influence from anyone.

[To read the read of the interview, click here.]

I’m not only deeply honored to have my book in such good company, I’m delighted to be part of a “family” so passionately focused on independent authors putting out excellent work and raising the bar on what can be expected from artists working outside the traditional publishing paradigm. It’s encouraging to me as an individual author and it’s empowering to the entire indie movement. Suffice it to say, I’m thrilled!

I encourage you to go to the IndieBRAG site not only to check out my page, but to view and explore the work of the many other  authors who’ve been selected for this distinguished honor. I know many of you are avid readers always looking for the best in books  to add to your libraries; IndieBRAG is a great place to find titles that have been carefully vetted and selected with the highest standards in mind.

Thank you, IndieBRAG, for honoring my book. A very Merry Christmas to you too!

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