Joanne Phillips

A Writers Journey



Elaine Jeremiah: My path to publishing The Inheritance

Today I’m thrilled to have Elaine Jeremiah on the blog. Elaine is launching her debut novel this week, and today she’s here to tell us all about her path to publication. Take it away, Elaine!

Elaine (449x800)

“When I started writing ‘The Inheritance’, I always knew that I wanted to publish it.  I didn’t just want it to be something that would only be seen by my family and a few friends.  But I didn’t even know about self-publishing digitally until my husband enlightened me.  And I had no idea just how many novels are published that way.

As I began to write ‘The Inheritance’ I felt out on a limb.  I wasn’t in contact with any other authors, so I couldn’t ask anyone for help, advice or support for the whole process of self-publishing.  I didn’t even know if my novel was any good, if it was worthy of publication.

Then I read the novel ‘The Legacy’ by Katherine Webb.  At the end of it she mentioned a website that had helped her on her path to publication.  The website is called and the idea is you share the opening chapters of your novel with other writers who are doing the same with their work, and you all read and critique each other’s work.  There is a top 100 list and those authors at the top get the chance to have their work looked at by an agent.

I found this helpful, although nerve wracking.  I had never had my work critiqued in that way, and I have to say some of the comments were very critical.  It felt a little like baring my soul to the world, but was useful at the same time.  It definitely helped me on my path to publishing ‘The Inheritance’.  I was able to see what was working in my writing and what wasn’t.

But at this stage I still wasn’t in daily contact with other writers as I am now.  This was hampering my efforts to connect with writers and have some support, particularly as I was looking to self-publish and needed advice.  My husband encouraged me to set up a blog, which I did.  However, although I scoured the internet for other writers’ blogs to link to, I found virtually nothing.  Then my sister suggested I try Twitter.

I was amazed at just how many published and unpublished writers use Twitter.  I began to follow various writers and quickly gained followers of my own.  I got to ‘know’ other writers, some of whom I’ve even met now.  My novel just took off.  Through Twitter a couple of writers, one of whom I’ve met and is now a good friend, were kind enough to agree to beta read ‘The Inheritance’.


Having two other writers’ eyes on my work and getting their advice was a tremendous help.  I chopped and changed a great deal of it, even swapping the first two chapters around as one of them suggested, which made an enormous difference and the opening chapter is much stronger now.  I’m also at an advantage in that my husband is computer savvy and is happy to convert my novel into the relevant format for Kindle.  He’s done the cover for me too which I love.

Being in daily contact with other writers has transformed my writing and the way I work.  It’s given me the incentive to carry on, even when I feel like giving up.  I’ve found the online community of writers incredibly supportive.  I know I couldn’t have got to this point without them.

What gives you the greatest incentive to keep writing?”

That’s a brilliant question, Elaine! For me, it’s like a compulsion to tell the stories that come into my head. I love the sound of The Inheritance – readers can find out more by clicking on the links below, and please leave a comment for Elaine who will be around all day to answer any questions.

The Inheritance on Amazon
On Goodreads

Get in touch with Elaine
On her blog
On Twitter

The Family Trap is FREE!

If you haven’t already got your weekend reading sorted, here’s a great offer: for 3 days only The Family Trap is free. It’s got loads of 5 star reviews, it’s got sparring families, a will they/won’t they wedding, babies and an octogenarian romance – what more could you want? Download your copy (links below) and please, please, please help me to spread the word so The Family Trap reaches as many new readers as possible this weekend.

News just in: The Family Trap has been chosen as a featured book on Indie Book Bargains, which is totally fab! Check that out here.

Read on for the blurb, or click on the links to download now 🙂


“There are moments in life that define you – moments from which entire futures are carved out, where you can practically see the universe split into two.”

Becoming a grandmother at thirty-eight may not be ideal, but Stella Hill can cope – just about – because in two weeks’ time she’s getting married to the love of her life. She’s waited over twenty years to finally get her man; Paul Smart is her destiny, her soul mate. But when Stella finds out she’s pregnant – a pregnancy that’s unplanned and unexpected, not to mention inconvenient – she takes it in her stride. Marriage, baby, new adventures on the horizon. It’s not a problem. At least, not for her.

Just how do you break the news of a baby on the eve of your wedding? And what can you do if your plans turn out to be wildly different from the plans of the one you love? As Stella’s dream wedding turns into a nightmare, she learns that sometimes the people we love don’t react the way we thought they would. And maybe sometimes love means letting go.

The Family Trap is the stand-alone sequel to Kindle bestseller Can’t Live Without.

The Family Trap cover

Author of the Week: Donna Joy Usher

Today I’m very excited to have Donna Joy Usher joining us on her blog tour. Donna is talking about her debut novel, The Seven Steps to Closure, and answering my questions about marketing and promoting. At the end of the interview you can also read an excerpt from the book. Right, let’s get going …

SSTC button

Hi Donna, and welcome to my blog! I hope you’re enjoying your blog tour, and thanks for visiting us today. Now, The Seven Steps To Closure was released in May this year – how has your journey been so far?

I guess considering it’s my debut novel it’s not going too badly. I had to learn so much just to get it to the publication stage and now I have to learn to market – even though all I really want to do is write. It’s all pretty exciting though and there’s nothing nicer than seeing your novel in its final form.

I totally agree! Is this the first full-length novel you’ve written, or are there more lurking in a drawer somewhere?

This is the first full length novel I wrote, but when I finished the first draft I started on a YA fantasy trilogy that had been rumbling around in my head for a while. I’m about to finish the second book in The War Faery Series, which is really exciting.

Did you try to go the traditional route with this book – agent etc – before choosing to self-publish? (And if yes, what happened along the way?)

Originally I did start trying the traditional publishing route, but then I did a course called pitching to publishers and found out how hard it can be to get a publisher’s attention. If it had of been based purely on the strength of the novel I would have persisted, but it was really disheartening to find out I could be getting rejected, without even a thank you for your submission, for no other reason than the fact that they had filled their budget quota for my genre already. Once I found that out I decided to self-publish and I haven’t regretted that decision.

the seven steps to closure

We’re very glad you did, too! What was the inspiration behind The Seven Steps To Closure? I really like this premise – it sounds exactly like the kind of article you might read in a woman’s magazine!

The book came before the idea for the seven steps did. I had the story but not the name, and then one day I was walking on the beach trying to come up with a good name and The Seven Steps to Closure popped into my head. From there the idea for the magazine article appeared and then the whole structure of the book just fell into place. I really love it when that happens.

Lots of the blogs you’re visiting will be reviewing TSSTC and I’m looking forward to reading these, but I was wondering how much you feel reviews by book bloggers have contributed to the success of the book so far?

I must admit I haven’t really had many reviews done as I’ve only just gotten into the marketing side of things. However I feel that reviews on established blog sites with loyal followers has to be a great way to get the word out about my book. I’m hoping it will be a big contributing factor in my pre-Christmas book sales, and a good word of mouth source.

I think word of mouth is a really important factor, even if it can be a slow burner. Which marketing activity have you discovered so far that you feel had the most significant impact on your sales? Social media, blogging, or something else?

Up to now I’ve really just been using twitter and my blog site to try and generate sales, which has been mildly successful. My problem is that the things I find I want to write about on my blog are not the things that would lead chicklit readers to my site. Motorbikes, paddle boarding and anger management just don’t seem to be cutting it. I guess I have to start being smarter with what I write about.

The Seven Steps to Closure was also a finalist in the Shirley You Jest Book Awards, (It really is funny!), which was great for sales. I’m looking forward to seeing how well the blog tour impacts my figures. I have high hopes for it as The Seven Steps to Closure is a great read and I know if I can generate more exposure for it, it will sell itself.

I agree, Donna. And I hope you’ll come back and tell us how the tour went 🙂 Finally, I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to know when you expect to release your next book!

Well as I mentioned previously I’m currently writing a YA chicklit/fantasy trilogy but I won’t be releasing that till all the books are written. I want to edit them all together.

I do however have another chicklit novel, Cocoa and Chanel, which I am gagging to get started on. I should commence writing that at the beginning of the year and am hoping to release it by September – October 2013.

That sounds really exciting! A busy year for you coming up. Thanks for being with us today, Donna – please stick around to answer any questions or comments from readers.

The Seven Steps to Closure Excerpt

I spent the rest of the day with a hangover and a big grin on my face while I did the housework. I had arranged to go to Lil and Martin’s for dinner and arrived at about 6pm, feeling much better after a long, uninterrupted afternoon nap.

‘You look different,’ Lil said.

I sat at the breakfast bar sipping white wine and watching her and Martin toss salad, cut vegies and make garlic bread.

She stopped chopping and looked at me critically. ‘You look great. What have you done? No don’t tell me. Your hair is the same.’ She stared at me while she tried to work it out. ‘It’s weird you seem different but I can’t put my finger on it. Martin, can you tell what’s different about Tara?’

‘She always looks good to me.’ He flashed me a cheeky grin and I blew him a kiss.

I waited until Lil was sipping her alcohol free wine and then I said, ‘I had sex.’

She snorted the wine, launching into a coughing attack. Martin patted her on the back and handed her a glass of water. ‘Tara,’ he said accusingly, ‘you did that on purpose.’

‘Just aiming for the maximum impact,’ I said with a grin on my face.

Lily finally recovered enough to start asking questions. ‘Who with? Where? When? Ohhh, tell me everything.’ She left the kitchen and perched awkwardly on the stool next to me.

‘I don’t know his name,’ I said.

Lil gasped. I held up a hand to stall her response and said, ‘Let me clarify that statement. I can’t remember his name. He did tell me but the music was really loud at the club and I was having trouble hearing him – and to be totally honest I was a little bit drunk.’

‘Was he yummy?’ she asked.

‘Totally yummy.’

‘How old?’

‘I’m guessing mid-thirties. We didn’t exactly swap life stories.’

‘No, just body fluids,’ said Martin laughing.

‘Oh Tara, tell me you were safe,’ Lil said in concern.

‘Of course I was safe.’

‘Was it fantabulous or really, really horrible?’ she asked.

‘I wouldn’t be telling you if it was horrible. I’d be at home with my head in the oven.’

‘Are you seeing him again?’ she said, her eyes lighting up at the prospect.

‘The point of last night was to help me move closer to closure with Jake, not to shift my emotional baggage from one man to another,’ I said, quoting Elaine. I would have been very happy to see him again, but probably would have stuffed the whole thing up by talking too much, so it was probably better left just as it was – a delicious memory.

And a delicious memory was exactly what it was for me later that night while I drifted closer and closer to sleep.

Author Bio:

donna joy usherBorn in Brisbane, I started my working life as a dentist. After 15 years of drilling and filling I discovered there was more to life, and put pen to paper. Now I drill by day and write by night.

When not doing either of those things I like spending time with my husband and two little dogs, fishing and camping, motorbike riding, traveling, drinking wine on my deck and eating chocolate. Last year I ran my first half marathon and took up paddle boarding.

I have lived in a myriad of places: Melbourne, Perth, England, Rockhampton, Roxby Downs, Sydney, Cairns and am now situated on the New South Wales Central Coast.

Connect with Donna!

Buy the Book!

Author of the Week: Samantha March

Today on the blog we have a guest post by the super-talented author Samantha March, who is talking about her self-publishing journey. Take it away Samantha …

My journey to being published was an interesting one. From the day that I decided I was really going to give this author thing a shot to the day I got published, a lot of changes were made. When I first starting taking my writing seriously, my plan was to write a stand-out book, query some agents, snag the best, and then find a successful publisher to make me a successful author. When I finished the first draft of my debut, Destined to Fail, the recession was hitting the US hard and a lot of things were starting to change in the publishing industry. When I was finally done with all the edits and rewrites for Destined, even more had changed. Self-publishing and eBooks were on their way to becoming the new norm, and traditional publishing was nearing the side of impossible. I didn’t know what to do. Continue my original plan of querying and hoping to find a publisher? Or take matters into my own hands and keep up with the changing times?

I decided I needed to at least give querying agents a shot. I will say that my heart was not into it, and I had pretty much decided I was going to publish on my own. But I wrote a query letter, researched agents, and sent three letters out. Three rejection letters later, I knew that I didn’t want to keep trying. My mind was made up even before I drafted that query letter.

With that decision, I also knew I wanted to take it a step further. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I created my own publishing company, Marching Ink, and my debut novel Destined to Fail was published in October 2010. In August 2012, Marching Ink released Breaking the Rules, the debut novel from Canadian author Cat Lavoie. And now in December 2012, my second women’s fiction novel The Green Ticket will be released by Marching Ink. I never thought my publishing journey would include building my own business, but I am extremely happy, grateful, and thrilled for the path I embarked on.

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and her debut novel Destined to Fail. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

Links to buy The Green Ticket:

Amazon: Print or eBook
Barnes and Noble: eBook
Kobo: eBook
Marching Ink: Print

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