Joanne Phillips


finding books

Awesome Indies

Last week I found out about this brilliant website – Awesome Indies. Run by author Tahlia Newland, the aim of this site is “to promote professional standard Indie published books, as evaluated by industry professionals.” Their submission criteria are rigorous – reassuringly so, because this way you know that only the best independently published books will get listed.

I submitted Can’t Live Without, and was delighted when Tahlia contacted me to say it had been included. If you have a book to promote – a professionally produced indie book, that is – then you should seriously consider submitting your title to Awesome Indies. I’ve been battling the post-free-promo plummeting of sales figures for weeks now, but this weekend Can’t Live Without popped back into the top 100 bestsellers for Women’s Fiction, and this week I’ve managed to turn my sales around for the first time since the free Kindle promotion in July. I don’t think it was purely down to the listing on Awesome Indies – I’ve also had great results from the Facebook group I told you about last Sunday (Real Romance) – but I think this listing gave my book the extra shove it needed.

The great thing about sites like this is the ‘we’re all in it together’ approach. Tahlia encourages listed authors to cross-promote, and also encourages participation with guest posts and reviews. I’ve already found a few really interesting-looking books on there that I’ll be downloading this week, so clearly it’s a great resource for readers too.

Most of all, I love the title: Awesome Indies. That just about sums it up for me. Because we are awesome, aren’t we? 🙂 x


Authors of the Week – Real Romance

This week I’ve got a whole stack of authors to tell you about, and you can find them on the Facebook page Real Romance. Bringing together discerning readers and “female authors of romantic or contemporary fiction and the heavier end of chick lit”, this is a relatively new group with a growing number of interested readers and interesting authors. Formed by Jan Ruth and Pam Howes, this is a place where you can read about new and exciting books and then ask the authors direct questions; it’s also somewhere to recommend books to other readers – and to authors, who also like to read a book or two 🙂

Here is some info from the About page of Real Romance, specifically for readers:

“This group is a bookshop for readers of women’s fiction. We hope our authors will inform and inspire, and you will enjoy chatting with them as much as reading their work. The books available range from the lighter side of romance to the darker side of life, and everything in-between! Hopefully there is something for everyone. We have tried to cater for personal differences of opinion within the genre guidelines; always a tricky one this but many independent authors are not easy to pigeon hole and their style can be a mix. We have tried to be as varied as possible without compromising quality. Pam and I are currently working on a document which will list all our authors with links to their books to make them really easy to locate and purchase.

In return we would love some feedback! If you have enjoyed something please do tell the group; just a couple of lines on this page is fine, or if you feel up to it a review on one of the recognised sites like Amazon or Goodreads would be wonderful. Oh, and do recommend us to your friends… “

If you’re looking for a great book to read, or just fancy hanging out with like-minded readers, pop along and join up now.

How To Choose Your Next Book

I found this fantastic resource the other day and I’m now addicted! What Book Should I Read Next is like a best friend who looks at one of your favourite books and makes helpful suggestions. You simply put in the ISBN number from the back of the book you’ve just finished to get recommendations. It’s great!

Why is it different from Amazon’s recommended books? Maybe it’s the format – one book at a time, with lots of information all in one place. Or maybe it’s just nice to have someone other than Amazon telling you what to do for a change! Anyway, I like it, so I thought I’d let you know about it. See how you get on.

Happy reading…

Finding books on Kindle

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

It’s definitely a challenge – finding good books to read in the Kindle store. Approach 1 is to go for tried-and-tested authors: this is great providing they have published Kindle editions, and providing their Kindle editions are any good! Imagine my horror when I downloaded one of my favourite novels by Anne Tyler (Patchwork Planet) only to find stacks of errors. Penn Station had become ‘Perm Station’ – great for hairdressers – and littered was now ‘Uttered’, amongst other mistakes. The great thing about Kindle, of course, is that you can get a refund for up to seven days after purchase, so this downloaded was quickly returned.

Approach 2 is to try Amazon’s recommended, or look at what similar books other readers have downloaded. This can be successful – I recently found Miranda Dickinson – Fairy Tale of New York – this way, and was thrilled with it. Now I’m a firm fan, and the great thing is – she has two other books for me to try. Oh, the joy of finding a new author…

Approach 3 is to browse other book websites, such as, and then find the Kindle edition if you can. Good Reads is a fab resource, if a little time-consuming, but worth a look.

The one approach that doesn’t seem to work so well is to browse Amazon’s own listings. The categories are confused and mixed up, and unless you know exactly what you are looking for, it’s a pretty soul-destroying task. Still, so is finding a good book in any setting, so why should Kindle be different? At least a great book is worth the effort.

Have any other advice for finding books on Kindle? Let me know.

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