Joanne Phillips

A Writers Journey


beta readers

Beta Readers Wanted for New Novel Keeping Sam

I’ve been a busy bee lately (more on that tomorrow) and I’m almost ready to send my new novel, Keeping Sam, out into the world of readers. Before I do, I need to give it a bit of a ‘road test’, so I’m looking for beta readers. Would you be interested? There’s no set format or rules for beta reading – just read the book (which I’ll send to you in Kindle ebook, epub or pdf format) and tell me what you think. You can be as detailed or as brief as you like. I’ll be looking to send the book out in about two weeks’ time, and would love comments and feedback by mid-July if possible. If you’re interested and available, pop a comment in the box below, or message me using the contact form – my email address is on the contact page too. I don’t have a proper blurb written yet, but here is a bit more about the book:

Title: Keeping Sam

Genre: Women’s fiction

What’s it about?

When Kate wakes up from a year-long coma, the first person she asks for is her son, Sam. Recovering from a head injury and getting back on her feet takes all of Kate’s energy, but toddler Sam has left a hole in her heart – a hole that isn’t healed by the knowledge that Sam is being cared for by Kate’s mother. Estranged from her parents since she was eighteen, Kate discovers they took Sam home to Cornwall with them months ago, convinced Kate would never wake up. By the time Kate is well enough to travel to reclaim him, she is frantic with worry. Why hasn’t her mother brought Sam to see her? Why haven’t they replied to any of her letters? And why will no one talk to her about the circumstances around her injuries?

Here is the image I have in mind for the cover:

Cover idea

So, what do you think? Are you interested in beta reading? And even if you’re not, what do you think of the premise and cover image? Really excited about this new book, and looking forward to making my lovely readers and blog friends part of the development process 🙂

Beta Readers Rock!

I’ve finally finished my re-write/final edit of Murder at the Maples, and I just want to say a humongous, massive, super-duper thank you to my wonderful beta readers. This one is for you

Pauline Wiles
Rachel Owen
Marina Sofia
Emma Dellow
Kathryn Michaels
Kate Frost
Sherrey Meyer
Emma Harrison

You are all amazing. Of course you’ll get a mention in the book – and a copy of the book if you can bear to read it again (!) – but I wanted to dedicate this blog post to you, and say thanks again for your time and your wonderful supportive and helpful comments.

Flora Lively is grateful, as she now has a much better story to live in and a much better, more feisty character. Heston is grateful because he’s now a far more interesting person, and Marshall is perhaps the most grateful as he’s become more likable and not quite as annoying 😉 Sadie’s a bit cross, as she’s been cut completely, but I’m saving her for another book. And the Captain is rather pleased too, showing up earlier as he does, but I’m not saying any more about him in case of spoilers.

So thanks once again, and watch out for the big cover reveal on Friday. Right, time to get Murder at the Maples off to the proofreader. Exciting times 🙂

How To Use Beta Readers To Improve Your Book

Today I’m guesting on the brilliant Self-Publishing Advice blog from the Alliance of Independent Authors (Alli). My post is all about Beta Readers – how to find them, what to expect, and what to do with their feedback. The Self-Publishing Advice blog is not just for members – anyone can benefit from the many experts and experienced authors who post and share here, so please pop over and leave a comment for me or ask a question.

Alli BOTM March 2013

Title Reveal: The First in the Flora Lively Mysteries

A few weeks ago I was asking for advice on the title of the first in my new series of cosy mysteries, and loads of you got involved. It’s been a tough one, because I needed something that would fit the genre but also work with my own ideas about the story. And I had to love it – titles have to resonate with the book’s author because you are the one who will be saying it over and over, and you need to get behind it and believe in the concept totally.

In the end, after going round and round the houses and talking to almost everyone I know about it, and printing out all the possible titles in cool fonts and then shuffling then about for days, I settled on the one I’d started with! Isn’t that always the way? So here it is:

Murder at the Maples

A Flora Lively Mystery: Book 1

Thanks to everyone who commented on my original post – C.B. Wentworth and Kathryn Michaels, this was your favourite too 🙂 Murder at the Maples will be launched at the end of July/beginning of August, and I’ll be sending the final draft out to beta readers in a couple of weeks. I’m still looking for a couple more beta readers (don’t worry if you’ve already contacted me, I’ll be in touch soon), so if you’re interested here’s some more information:

  • You’ll need to be able to read it within a week if possible
  • I can send either the whole book or just the first few chapters
  • You can receive the manuscript in epub, Kindle or pdf format

All you need to do is read it and send me your comments, which can be as detailed or brief as you like. I may ask a couple of questions upfront, things to look out for etc, but generally I’m just interested in your reactions/thoughts about the story and characters. Send me an email at joannegphillips (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know if you’re interested 🙂

Okay! Back to editing for me.

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