Joanne Phillips

A Writers Journey


free ebooks

Keeping Sam is FREE this weekend only!

To mark the launch of the paperback edition of Keeping Sam I’m giving away the Kindle ebook for free all weekend – if you haven’t read my latest novel yet now is your chance to grab this for nothing! Click here to get your copy.

The paperback will be out next week and I’m currently planning a ‘proper’ launch, bouncing some ideas around the capture the summer read market in my local area. Check out the paperback cover fab designer Chris Howard came up with:


So chuffed with this cover, especially the little hat left hanging on the fence! Please share the free promotion and do download your free book while you can.

Murder at the Maples is now FREE on Kindle

You’d better not be getting fed up with Flora Lively news because I’ve got one more great bit of news today – to celebrate the release of the audiobook, the Kindle edition of  Murder at the Maples is now FREE! From today until Monday you can download the first in the series for absolutely nothing, giving you plenty of time to read it before Book 2 – A Date With Death – comes out in November.

Click on the cover to get your copy now …


Need more convincing to give it a try? Okay, here’s the blurb from Amazon:

Contemporary mystery with a touch of romance …

“A gripping tale filled with humanity and humor. Don’t miss this one!” Found Between The Covers

When twenty-nine-year-old Flora Lively loses both of her parents and inherits the family business, Shakers Removals, she tries hard to make a success of her father’s dream – even at the expense of her own dreams. Burdened with Marshall, her father’s handpicked American manager, Flora finds solace in her friendship with Joy, an elderly client she helped move into the Maples, the local retirement community. When strange and dangerous things begin to happen at the Maples, Flora finds herself conducting a private murder investigation.

Will Flora discover who’s behind the series of ‘incidents’ at the Maples? Will her newly inherited business be able to fight off their biggest rival? And just who is that mysterious stranger Flora keeps bumping into?

Described as ‘Bridget Jones meets Midsomer Murders’, Murder at the Maples is a new ‘genre-busting’ romance-mystery from the author of Amazon bestseller Can’t Live Without.

“An excellent start to a new cozy mystery series and a brand new amateur sleuth for readers to fall in love with.” Socrates Book Reviews

“There is much more to the story than a mystery to solve. The mystery is underpinned by important and thoughtful considerations of the nature of love, loss, grief and old age – this serious undercurrent adds depth to the book, likely to make the reader think about it for long after they’ve solved the mystery and read the final page.” Debbie Young

“The characters are lovely, and the mystery is top notch. Murder at the Maples is a wonderful start to a cozy series.” Brooke Blogs

“A quirky and well developed main character, strange and interesting secondary characters, and the question of whether there was, or wasn’t, a murder kept me turning the pages. If you’re a fan of Elizabeth Peters, Agatha Christie or Charles Todd, I think this is a book you’ll want to check out.” Queen Of All She Reads

“With her usual comfortable writing style, Joanne Phillips brings to the page a murder mystery full of intrigue but without the gore of the usual murder mystery. Her storytelling is a mix of Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle and M.C. Beaton.” Found Beneath The Covers


With reviews like that you just know that getting it for free is a bargain 😉 I have no Bookbub assistance on this one, just my book and you, so please share and download and share some more. Thank you, and enjoy x

All Hail Bookbub – The Bub’s Effect On My Free Promotion

Last weekend I ran a free promotion on my novel, The Family Trap, hoping to entice new readers into signing up to my mailing list ready for my the release next weekend of Cupid’s Way. To give the free promo a bit of a boost, I tried once again to get into Bookbub. This was the third time I’d applied, and the second with this particular title. I was prepared for rejection – I know, from my Alliance of Independent Authors forum, that the Bub is difficult to get into and that many great titles get turned away all the time.

When I got the email to say that The Family Trap had been accepted I was really chuffed, and I duly went along to PayPal and coughed up the £117 to be listed in the Women’s Fiction category for a free promotion on Sunday 15th June. On the Bookbub website it states that this category is expected to achieve a range of 10,400 to 29,500 downloads, with an average of 20,200. (Spoiler alert: TFT smashed this range.) I thought that was pretty cool, and as TFT has some great reviews in the US, as well as in the UK, I was hoping for a good uptake generally.

A week before the free promotion I did all my usual hard work listing the title on all the main sites that push and promote freebies. I paid another £15 or so for some of the listing sites, and put in the hours filling in forms etc. I blogged about it on the first day, popped it on Facebook and Twitter, then went away for the weekend with my family.

Amazing Results

On Saturday night I logged in to see what was happening. I was gobsmacked to see almost 7,000 downloads in the US already (this was before the Bookbub promo had started), and surprised that it was only 1,500 in the UK. This is ever the way – it’s a fact that most of the free listings go out to readers in the US and have yet to break into the UK market. I logged out and wondered what would happen the following day when the Bookbub email went out to subscribers. Little did I know that I’d spend the rest of the weekend with my jaw on the floor.

bookbub effect free


This graph shows the free promotion downloads over the five day period (Friday 13th to Tuesday 17th June). The numbers are staggering. On the first day it hit 5,000 downloads, which was fantastic in itself. But look at what happened when the Bookbub email went out to subscribers – on June 15th The Family Trap was downloaded 38,223 times! In one day! Hey, I know there are bestselling authors out there who get this many paid downloads every day, and that these were books going out for free, but for little old me – sitting in a log cabin in the Derbyshire Dales, watching the figures on a borrowed iPad – it was astonishing.

no 1 US Amazon

The Family Trap got to #2 in the Amazon US free bestseller chart overall, and was #1 in the romantic comedy category. None of my books have ever got this high on the US Amazon site, not even back in 2012 when free was still new and exciting. In the UK, where downloads were lower, it crept up over the 5 days and peaked on the last day at number 7 overall. Which was still pretty amazing! Here are the figures for anyone who’s interested:

UK 6829
US 57135 
Germany 110
France 3
Spain 7
Canada 342
Italy 13
Japan 7
Brazil 7
India 95
Australia 141
Total: 64689

So, that’s 64,689 downloads overall. I have to write that in words: sixty-four thousand, six hundred and eighty-nine people downloaded my book in five days. Some of them might even read it 😉

So, What Was The Point?

Which brings me to the point of doing this, because I know there are authors out there right now wanting to throw things at the computer at the thought of giving all these books away for free.

First of all, let’s remind ourselves that not all the people who download free books would have paid actual money for it, even if they had it shoved in front of their noses. Even paying 99p for a book by a new and unknown author is a risk – there’s this question all the time of whether your 99p could be better spent elsewhere. And remember, when it comes to books it’s not just about money, it’s about time. As Hugh Howey said at LBF, we are asking potential readers to give up something very precious when we ask them to read our books – we are asking them to give us their time. Time is so valuable, perhaps the most valuable resource many readers have.

You have to view the free promotion as a way of reaching readers you would never have reached otherwise, a way of getting onto their Kindles and into their consciousness, and perhaps onto their list of favourite authors if you are very, very lucky. The Family Trap is over a year old now, it sells reasonably well without any advertising, but let’s face it – over the 5 day promotion I missed out on maybe £20 of actual paid-for sales. And I got into the hands of thousands of new readers. Even with the extra cost of the Bookbub listing, getting me into the hands of tens of thousands of new readers, I’ll take that as a cost-effective marketing exercise all day long!

bookbub effect paid

But of course, there are other benefits to a successful free promotion, and one of them is the boost it gives to other titles, in this case my debut novel – and the book that comes before The Family TrapCan’t Live Without. The graph above shows the number of paid units downloaded over the same period. Yes, that’s actual sales where money exchanged hands 🙂 It’s interesting how it follows the same pattern as the free promotion, almost exactly. And even though Can’t Live Without retails at only 99p, the 970 (to date) extra sales this gained me is still a welcome boost to royalties, easily covering the cost of the Bookbub listing.

CLW no 11 rom com


Can’t Live Without has shot up the bestseller charts again, hitting #11 in the Romantic Comedy chart in the UK yesterday, and #1 in Parenting and Family Humour. Not bad for a book that’s been out for over 2 years and has already had almost 100,000 downloads itself!

And of course, the post-free boost, while not what it used to be, still has an effect on the free title when it comes back to paid-for. The Family Trap is currently at #429 in the UK Amazon chart overall, and is climbing high in its categories. I’ve had an additional 90 sales so far (these are at the regular price of £1.99), on top of what I would usually expect, and it’s only the second day after the promotion finished. I’ve also had loads of new reviews, both in the UK and the US, and so far about 20 new sign-ups to my mailing list.

What About Cupid’s Way?

The idea of the free promotion was to use what I consider to be my best book to gain new readers in the run up to the launch of Cupid’s Way. There is a link in the back of TFT, taking interested readers to a landing page on my website, which will be populated with buy links once the book is live. There is, of course, a link to sign up to the mailing list, and links to all my other books. I’m not kidding myself that each and every one of the 64,689 people who downloaded TFT will read it, or even that all those who do will love it – but some will. 1% alone is still over 600 people; 0.1% is 64 people that I would never have reached otherwise. I’ve already had an email from a lovely reader in Philadelphia who said she really enjoyed The Family Trap, and building your readership one reader at a time is, after all, what it’s all about 🙂


Cupid’s Way will be released next Friday 27th June – sign up to the Facebook Event now to make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun!

Another FREE Book!

Two weeks to go until the launch of Cupid’s Way, and to get any new readers in the mood I’m giving away The Family Trap for FREE this weekend.

The Family Trap cover

I think this is my best-received novel to date – it has fantastic reviews, both here in the UK and in the US, and last weekend it was longlisted for the SpaSpa Awards …

Indie Book Bargains

which was amazing. The Family Trap is, of course, a sequel to my debut novel, Can’t Live Without, but it works perfectly well as a stand-alone. One of my favourite elements of this book is the octogenarian romance in the care home where Stella works – it brings tears to my eyes every time I read it!

“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.


As always, please download and share – this will be my last Freebie for a while, as most of my titles are coming out of KDP Select now. The blog will be a bit quieter next week while I dig in and prepare for THE LAUNCH! (I’m very excited about that, as you can probably tell.) 😉

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