Fantasy books for young adult and middle grade readers
Keith Robinson is the author of the Island of Fog fantasy series, suitable for all ages. Containing magic and creatures from myth and legend, the series is dark and creepy, full of adventure and mystery, and recommended by the Magic of Xanth bestselling author Piers Anthony.
Island of Fog is a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree
Posted on May 23, 2013
Island of Fog (Book 1) has won a place on the B.R.A.G. (Book Readers Appreciation Group) website after going through a review process and meeting certain minimum standards of quality, subject matter, genre, content and editing.
There are a number of websites offering awards and badges to make authors feel good, but very few are as noteworthy as indieBRAG (and their B.R.A.G. Medallion™) who have earned the backing of the Alliance of Independent Authors (itself a well-respected community). So why does this organization exist? As indieBRAG explains on their website:
- According to publishing industry surveys, 8 out of 10 adults feel they have a book in them. But traditional or mainstream publishers reject all but a tiny percentage of manuscripts. Historically, this has presented a classic catch-22, in that you had to be a published author in order to get a publisher.
- The advent of self-publishing companies and print-on-demand technology has changed this. Now anyone can publish a book and the number of books being self-published is exploding, reaching into the millions annually. However, there is virtually no control over what is published or by whom, and industry experts believe that upwards of 95% of indie books are poorly written and edited.
- Compounding this problem, these books are rarely reviewed in The New York Times Book Review or by other leading sources. Additionally, the reviews and ratings at online booksellers are often provided by the author's friends and family, and are therefore unreliable.
- There are professional book review services and bona fide writing competitions within the self-publishing industry that certainly help address this problem. However, none provide an independent, broad-based and reader-centric source to advise the public which indie books merit the investment of their time and money.
- This is precisely the reason that indieBRAG, LLC, and the B.R.A.G. Medallion™ exist. Our company fills a critical void within the publishing industry by providing enlightenment of the readers, by the readers, and for the readers of self-published books.
I submitted the first book in my Island of Fog series back in December 2012 and was told that it "must meet certain minimum standards of quality, subject matter, genre, content and editing. If it passes this preliminary assessment, it is then read and evaluated by members drawn from our reader group. The readers judge the merits of the book based on our proprietary list of criteria, the single 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 along with other medallion recipients, it is presented on our website."
Being able to recommend a book to a friend (best or otherwise) is about the highest praise there is, because what else is there, really? An author is nothing without readers, and readers pick up or download books for one of two reasons: either they liked the cover and blurb, or they heard about it from an enthusiastic friend. Word of mouth on blogs and forums, recommendations to friends, family, and acquaintances... it's how authors get around. And nobody recommends books they don't like.
The review process was stated as up to four months, and it was actually more like five, but that's okay. I was very happy to be told a couple of days ago that I'd won a place on their website. It's a badge I'll be sure to wave around and brag about – as in this blog post!
True to their word, indieBRAG have already posted a 5-star review on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble, saying, "We are proud to announce that Island of Fog by Keith Robinson is a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree. This tells you that this book is well worth your time and money!" The book will shortly be featured on their home page and Facebook page, too.
And how much did I pay for all this? Nothing. When you have to pay for an award, it's usually not worth bragging about. The B.R.A.G. Medallion™ is free but not freely dished out, an award to be proud of – as I am!