Make Time For … A Date With Death

Crack open the Champagne, get your ereaders at the ready, because today is launch day for the long-awaited second book in the Flora Lively series! A Date With Death is now live and available, so before I start waffling on about how excited I am, here is the link to the book:

A Date With Death cover

 

Don’t you just love that cover? It positively screams Buy Me ;) Here is a little bit more about the story …

Flora Lively is thrilled to land a job on a glamorous film set with her old friend Celeste. Marshall is less than happy, but then he always likes to have something to grumble about … When a member of the Spanish film crew is brutally murdered and the priceless Infanta Tiara stolen, DI Jack Harding’s finger of suspicion falls on everyone at Hanley Manor – even Flora. Someone on the estate is a murderer, but who?

When an arrest is made, Flora is forced to investigate the murder herself after learning that the chief suspect is someone far too close to home. Plunged deep into a puzzling mystery, with no idea who she can and cannot trust, Flora must keep one eye over her shoulder at all times. Because the murderer is about to strike again …

Here is that link again. The ebook is only £1.99, and if you haven’t read the first in the series yet (what have you been waiting for?) here is the link to Murder at the Maples too.

I am massively excited about this launch, not least of all because I finished A Date With Death ages ago and have been waiting to get all the MA stuff out of the way before releasing it! It was a huge amount of fun to write, I LOVE Flora’s character – she just comes more and more alive for me the more time I spend with her. And I have big plans for the next book, ‘The Sign of Seven’. Poor Flora won’t know what’s hit her.

You just know I’m going to be checking my stats every couple of minutes today, and all weekend, to see if anyone’s bought a copy! Launch time is exciting, but also totally nerve-wracking!

Those of you who’ve been following the blog for a while might be surprised at how low-key this launch seems. What, no fanfare and merchandise and weeks-long build-up? No Facebook Event, with competitions and prizes? Well, no. Not this time. This time it’s just me and my book, and all those lovely readers who have been emailing me for months now asking when A Date With Death will be released. And here it is :)

I blogged about big launches here last year, after the fabulously fun launch of Cupid’s Way. Part of the joy of being indie is being able to experiment with different approaches, different strategies, and this time around I’m going to go back to the model I used way back in 2012 when I launched Can’t Live Without. Ebook, then paperback later on. Build up a buzz slowly, reader by reader, blog by blog. That said, do feel free to share, share, share the news! In fact, I’m counting on you to do just that ;) So, here’s to Flora and her latest adventure. Is it too early for Champers?

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Win a Copy of Can’t Live Without in Audio

It’s nearly three years since I published Can’t Live Without – three years! – and this year will see me planning the long-awaited three-quel to Stella’s story. Okay, so three-quel isn’t actually a word, but The Family Trap was the sequel so … you get where I’m coming from. To refresh my memory of Stella Hill’s crazy world of romantic pain I’m going to listen to the audio book and re-read the novel.  I wanted to celebrate everything that Can’t Live Without has done for me in the past three years (15,000 copies sold and stacks of fantastic reviews) by offering 10 lucky readers a copy of the new audio book, narrated by the brilliant Stevie Zimmerman.

CLW audiobook

Here is a clip to whet your appetite:

How do I win? I hear you ask. Well, it’s easy – just leave a comment below or email me at joannephillipsmail@gmail.com and I’ll send you instructions of how to download your very own copy. I love, love, love audio books, and as a big fan I can honestly say that Stevie Zimmerman’s narration is top notch. Okay, I’m biased about the book itself, but Stevie really brings it to life. Whether you’ve read the book already or not, you’ll love this prize I promise :) The competition closes at midnight on Friday, and if more than 10 people leave comments or email I’ll pick the winners randomly from all the entries. Best of luck, guys!

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Hello April! (Better Late Than Never)

Hello blog! Hello lovely people! Wow, what a busy month March was – you may remember from my post about that crazy list of things to do that I was snowed under for most of the month and for early April too. But now I’m back, ready to bug you all again with more self-publishing and book related stuff, and also news of my new releases and projects to come later in the year. You’ll be glad to know I met all my deadlines – MA finished, indexes done, Katie Morag jumper knitted, and all those other little niggling tasks out of the way. Tomorrow I’ve got a special audio competition planned, but for today I want to share a fantastic video I just watched by the amazing Joanna Penn.

I’ve been following and learning from Joanna for three years now, and I’ve downloaded her podcasts, watched her videos, and bought her non-fiction books. I’m sure her novels are equally brilliant, but unfortunately the topics aren’t really my bag – if she ever writes a romance or straight mystery I’ll be right there downloading :) She is, however, a top expert on marketing, and in this video, Joanna takes you through everything you could possibly need to do to market your book. Expect to see some of this stuff coming from me in the next few months, but for now I’ll leave with the link to the video on Joanna’s site. Have a pen and paper at the ready!

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/book-marketing/

See you tomorrow x

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Why And How I Chose To Self-Publish by Author Julie Stock

I’ll just go ahead and admit it – I have a bit of a soft spot for Julie Stock. When she came running up to me at the RNA conference last year, genuinely excited to meet me, she guaranteed herself a place in my list of favourite people! Since then Julie has completed her novel, edited it to a high shine, and self-published a book that looks so professional it rivals any traditionally published title. I asked Julie to come on the blog today not just to promote her new book but also to tell us about her journey in self-publishing. Her guest blog is so interesting I’m thinking of starting a series of similar posts – I don’t know about you but I am really nosey and love hearing all about other people’s journey to publication. So, over to you, Julie …

dfw-js-fhtn-cover-thumb

“I started writing my debut contemporary romance, From Here to Nashville, in April 2013. Somewhere along the way, I decided, madly or otherwise, that I would self-publish that novel. I finally published it as an ebook on 16th February, 2015 and I have just published the paperback version this month.

Why I Chose to Self-Publish

It has been quite a long road to get to this point and the steepest learning curve I have ever encountered but I’m there at last. Part of my motivation for self-publishing was that I’m not getting any younger and I didn’t want to wait for agents and publishing companies to make their decisions, especially if they were going to be rejections anyway, which was likely. I also liked the idea that I would be in complete control of my book’s destiny.

Getting Feedback on Your Book

So I set out to write the best book I could and to go from there. Part of the problem for new writers is how do you know whether it is the best book you could write? I sought lots of chapter critiques in the early days and I was also lucky enough to find a great beta reader through my participation in NaNoWriMo. I also joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme (RNA NWS), which allowed me to submit my book to be read by a professional author and to receive feedback on it. This feedback was very helpful.

Learning How to Self-Publish

I had been toying with the idea of joining the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) when I attended the RNA’s annual conference last July. Luckily, Debbie Young from ALLi was giving a talk and that persuaded me to join. Their help with the nuts and bolts of self-publishing, along with the supportive nature shown by all members has been invaluable.

Making Your Book Professional

The next step was to make sure it was professionally edited and proofread, and that I organised a professional cover for it too. I managed to get a special offer from an editor who was a member of the RNA for the professional edit. However, I was not prepared for what came back. There were a number of things she didn’t like about it and there was one big thing that if I changed it, was going to mean a complete rewrite of the whole book. At this point, I was ready to give up!

The big thing she didn’t like was my narrative structure. The book is told in 1st person by my main female character, Rachel in the first part of the book. Then it switches to 1st person from the main male character, Jackson when the story moves to Nashville. In the final part, it alternates between the two. The editor suggested I change it all to 3rd person. I agonised over this for a really long time and sought other people’s views, including my beta readers. In the end, the feedback was that my unusual narrative structure was actually my unique selling point or USP and that I should stick with it. This was the first of many difficult decisions, leading me to decision fatigue further down the line!

The proofreading was painless, except that I had to delay it because the editing took so long. The cover design had a few hairy moments too, mainly because it is difficult to convey to someone by email exactly what your vision is, especially when you’ve never had to design anything yourself.

Formatting Your Book

The final hurdles to overcome have been to do with formatting the book, firstly as an ebook for Kindle and then as a paperback. I write using a software programme called Scrivener, which pretty much did the ebook formatting for me, although not without a few tears along the way! I then used Jo’s excellent guide to formatting the paperback version using Word and found that quite straightforward. I decided to go for the ebook first and the paperback afterwards but I would hope to do them both at the same time next time.

Sales and Marketing

And so to sales. Well, it got off to a good start and I’ve had great reviews but making the book visible to all the potential readers out there is very hard. This is where having the might of a publisher behind you really comes into its own, I think. I’m keeping at it though and trying lots of new things, which I hope will build my readership bit by bit over time. Of course, I have a strong author platform behind me, Twitter, Facebook and my blog but I believe in building relationships, not blasting people with messages to buy my book and that takes time.

I set up my own blog tour and took out an ad. I have provided some copies free of charge to blog reviewers I have come to know. I have taken part in an online Romance Festival and I’ve just set up a Goodreads giveaway. I am always on the look out for opportunities to promote without getting in people’s faces too much! Other writers are incredibly supportive too and that helps such a lot.

What Next?

I am still on the RNA’s NWS and trying to finish my first draft of my second book to submit to them before the end of August. That seems like loads of time but believe me, it isn’t. As I also work part-time, I’m now becoming more and more conscious of the need to manage my time better and to think I thought I was organised before I started all this! I’m hoping that things will be easier second time round but for that, only time will tell.”

Bio and Buying Links:

DSCN8886Julie Stock is an author of contemporary romance novels, novellas and short stories. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and is a Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors.

She blogs about her path to publication on her website, ‘My Writing Life’ www.juliestock.wordpress.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter, on Goodreads and via her Facebook Author Page.

When she is not writing, she works part-time as a teacher. She is married with two teenage daughters and lives with her family in Bedfordshire.

Buy From Here To Nashville 

Amazon – http://bit.ly/FromHeretoNashville

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