Joanne Phillips

A Writers Journey


The Family Trap

New look website and cover makeovers for all my books!

Today’s the day when I can reveal the new look for all my women’s fiction books, and also a new look for the website and blog. I’ve been working hard to bring a cohesive design to the covers of my novels, as well as making sure I’m pitching this design to speak to my target readers.

Publishing is an organic process, and since I first uploaded Can’t Live Without in May 2012 there have been many changes, both in the world of ebooks and also in my own writing and self-publishing journey. Each new book has taken me on a different path, and opened up exciting different options and opportunities. Inevitably you end up with a bit of a mish-mash of styles and designs. (I love the word mish-mash!) For a while now I’ve been desperate to bring it all together with a very particular look, and the release of Keeping Sam was the ideal opportunity to rebrand, relaunch and refresh.

Changing Can’t Live Without was hard, of course. That cover will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first and has been described as iconic by more than one person. But legs on covers are very dated now – it deserved a new look; it deserves to be introduced to a new readership. Stella Hill’s experience of losing everything she owns in a house fire is not, after all, light-hearted chick-lit, and this book does tackle some serious topics. The new cover suggests a sense of longing, and demonstrates what I’m moving towards in all my covers from now on – a sense of the emotions in the book, and a clear message to the target reader, not a literal representation of what the book contains.

Can't Live Without final cover

The old cover for The Family Trap was one of my favourites, and the new design is also a favourite – I just love the girl with the jaunty pose and the red umbrella! You’ll notice in the banner at the top of the website a new cover for the third in the Stella Hill Series, Growing Pains – this is the last book in the Can’t Live Without trilogy and will be coming to you by early summer next year. Very excited about that one!

The Family Trap final cover

The final redesigned cover is Cupid’s Way, and this is the third cover this book has been graced with! I love this new look, and I feel it really highlights the romance in the story, as way as the playfulness. Now I have the new covers I’ll be gradually updating them on Amazon and elsewhere, and possibly updating the paperback files, although I’m not sure about that yet. The gorgeous Flora Lively covers are perfect as they are and need no makeovers, thank goodness!

Cupid's Way final cover

As for the website, a quick update to the Baskerville theme and a rejig of some widgets sorted me out beautifully. WordPress is a wonderful tool, and so very easy to use. Do let me know what you think of the rebrand, and what you think of redoing covers in general. Bye for now x

Special Reads for Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! You know, I only really started to appreciate Mother’s Day when I became a mum myself (sorry, Mum!). These days, not only do I look forward to a lie in and breakfast in bed, and lovely cards and surprises from my six-year-old daughter, I also appreciate my own mum a lot more. A mother-daughter relationships is a very special thing, which is probably why I write about it so much!

Take Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap – my Stella Hill series (the third of which is currently in the planning phase). Stella has a complex relationship with her mother, and with her teenage daughter, Lipsy. After my mum read Can’t Live Without I had to reassure her that the character of Maggie wasn’t based on her at all! And it wasn’t, but to some extent every character and relationship is based on parts of myself and my own life. As a writer you mine your fears and your emotions, tapping into universal themes and bringing them to life on the page. As both of these books have been praised for their depiction of three generations of women, I thought a promotion for Mother’s Day would be a nice idea – so today you can buy not just one but both books for only 99p/99c each 🙂

So Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers and daughters out there – right now I’m off to enjoy my day of being pampered and adored. Long may that last!


If you haven’t read either book before, read Can’t Live Without first, and then …

The Family Trap cover

Read The Family Trap For Only 99p – And More Fun Facts About This Book!

As part of my rolling promotional programme, this week The Family Trap can be yours for only 99p! This romantic comedy is the stand-alone sequel to the Amazon bestseller, Can’t Live Without, and has tons of fantastic reviews on Amazon and Goodreads – download your copy by clicking here. And then read on for some fun facts about The Family Trap …

TFT cover

  • Out of all my books, The Family Trap has my favourite cover. After Can’t Live Without – the cover ‘with the legs’, as it was often described – I needed to get a cover that continued the theme, but moved on from the typical Chick Lit look. I loved this image as soon as I saw it, and designer Chris Howard worked his magic turning the cover into something really special.
  • The first draft of The Family Trap saw Stella hiding her pregnancy from Paul – but right under his nose! There was one brilliant scene where they go for dinner, with Stella wearing a great big orange Demis Ruossos dress, and Paul proposes. He doesn’t mind that Stella is putting on bit of weight (think deluded Niles and Daphne in Frasier), but Stella is mortified and knows she can’t keep it from him any longer. In the end, I realised that storyline wasn’t going to work out, but there were a few funny moments along the way.
  • The Family Trap was downloaded an astonishing 68,000 times during its free promotion earlier this year. Recently downloads for all my books topped 200,000, thanks in no small part to the success of this lovely title.
  • I’m thinking of bringing Stella back in a third book in the series! (Yes, you heard it here first.) Stella and Lipsy, both with young children, plus Paul and Robert all living in the same house. I think Stella is due another major crisis, bless her heart, but I’m sure she’ll come out of it okay. She usually does 🙂


The Family Trap Wins Romantic Comedy Award

Happy Monday everyone! I’m back after my break (or my so-called break) and ready to blog all week long!

The first bit of brilliant news I have for you this week is that The Family Trap WON the Romantic Comedy category in the SpaSpa Awards 🙂 I was amazed to be longlisted, elated to be shortlisted, and absolutely gobsmacked to be chosen as the winner!

2013 Self-Published and Small Press Awards



Even more amazing is that TFT was also voted the third best book of 2013 overall in the Awards. Here are Rosen Trevithick’s comments: “Sequels, by nature, tend to do less well than series openers. Therefore it takes an exceptional second book to win a category and make the top three books overall.” I know that the SpaSpa Awards are fairly small-scale (at the moment), but Rosen says, “The short-listing and voting processes were long and involved, so nobody has won an award by accident.”

top 3 SpaSpa

Well, a competition is a competition and I won a prize so I’m on cloud nine! And to come third to two such incredible authors as David Wailing and Rachel Abbott is just fantastic.

Of course, this has been a great couple of months for The Family Trap, coming as it does after the BookBub promotion which saw my sequel to Can’t Live Without hitting all sorts of bestseller charts – at the time of writing, TFT is still riding high in the charts, at #5 in parenting and family humor in the US and at #6 in the UK.  Here is a lovely snip from a couple of weeks ago, seeing both books in the top 3 …

TFT & CLW top 3and here’s one showing all three of my romantic comedies competing for position 🙂

3 in top 10 humour

Lovely 🙂 Right, so I’m off to get started on my next book now! Actually, I already started – and almost finished – it some time ago, but there is still a lot of work to do, so you’ll have to wait a while for news of that one. And Flora Lively fans don’t despair – there is some exciting news coming about the series in a couple of weeks.

Tomorrow I’ll be bringing you photos from my book signing last weekend, along with a report about the launch, including facts & figures and the usual forensic examination of what went on.

Bye for now x


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