Happy Monday! Whew, that was an exiting weekend, following the launch of Cupid’s Way. I’m pretty bushed so I’m going to be taking a few days off – (Yay! cheers my husband) – so I thought I’d leave you with a chance to win a personally signed copy Cupid’s Way in paperback.
All you have to do is enter the Goodreads Giveaway to be in with a chance. This offer is open to everyone, in any country, and the winners are picked randomly by Goodreads so I have absolutely nothing to do with it 🙂 There are three copies to be won, and the giveaway ends on 9th July. Click here to go to Goodreads and enter.
Thanks to everyone who downloaded Cupid’s Way over the weekend, and to everyone who shared the news, blogged about it, mentioned it on Facebook or Twitter, or just told a friend. At the weekend I’ll bring you photos of my book signing on Saturday, along with news of how the launch of Cupid’s Way went and how well it matched my expectations 🙂
Today on the blog I’ve got – you guessed it – lots of news! Some exciting, some interesting, and some not-so-great. But first of all an apology: I haven’t posted anything for over a week due to a really bad chest and throat infection and generally being forced to rest (hubby can be very forceful at times). But I’m back now, ready for the big day on Thursday, and here are some of the things I have to tell you about before it all kicks off for Flora Lively …
My great friend and author Martina Munzittu is launching her new website today, and you can take a look here. Martina has a new and exclusive free ebook called Incompatible Twins – all you have to do is sign up to her newsletter. And here’s a good reason to sign up to it – you’ll get news of her upcoming series, The Broken Heart Refuge, and as someone who is lucky enough to have already read an early draft of the first in the series I can tell you it’s worth a look.
Back to matters closer to home – my new summerhouse/writing room finally arrived last Thursday. Remember Thursday? Sunny, warm, ideal weather for sitting around in a … summerhouse! And then on Friday, autumn arrived. Ah well, I plan to insulate the garden room and make it snug and cosy for year-round writing. Here are the before and after photos:
I am really chuffed to bits with it and I have BIG plans … The biggest of which is my intention to wire it up myself (!) and then insulate and clad the inside myself (double!!). Painting and fitting it out with fab furniture won’t be too hard, but that will have to wait a while too. Photos of the inside coming when it’s all done.
Now to Flora Lively and the launch of Murder at the Maples. I’ve got some fun competitions planned for Thursday’s launch, which I’ll be running simultaneously here and on Facebook – here is the FB event page if you’d like to join in over there. If my throat recovers in time I’ll be reading out the first chapter on video, but if not there’ll still be lots of excerpts and previews, plus the chance to win a Flora Lively mug and notebooks, and lots of other giveaways.
If you’d like to WIN a signed paperback copy of Murder at the Maples, there’s plenty of time to enter my Goodreads Giveaway. I’m offering 2 copies, and the winners will be picked at random by Goodreads – click here to enter.
Well, I promised some not-so-great news. On Sunday I had tickets to go and see the Morrissey25Live film in Shrewsbury. This was recorded during his recent tour, at an intimate gig at Hollywood High School. We saw him in Manchester during this tour, so I knew it would be an amazing film to watch. I couldn’t go because I was too ill. Here is a clip (just made myself cry watching this – I wish, wish, wish I’d gone anyway, no matter how rough I felt).
So, there’s a note to end on. Please, please, please let me get what I want this time. And what is that? Good health, and peace of mind. Millions of readers for my new cozy mystery series – and fantastic reviews. And maybe, just maybe, next year a publishing contract. Because as much as I love being indie, it’s starting to take it out of me, doing all this work myself.
See you on Thursday – and I promise to be a hell of a lot more cheerful then!
There have been some alarming reports lately that Amazon reviews of indie authors’ book are being deleted, quite randomly it appears. I first read about it a few weeks ago, and it has since happened to me – a reader contacted me to say they had placed a review of A Life Unpredicted three times, only to see it either removed instantly or not appear at all.
What is going on here? It seems that this is Amazon’s response to the recent ‘sockpuppet’ scandal, where authors were accused of creating false accounts to place 5 star reviews of their own titles, and 1 star reviews for their rivals’ books. Interestingly, so far the only reported removals have been of 4 and 5 star reviews on indie titles only – not reviews of traditionally published books, or suspect 1 star reviews. Amazon’s response when readers have complained has also been quite alarming – reviewers are told that if they complain again more reviews, or even the book itself, may be removed.
Well, Amazon can do what they like, of course – there’s nothing we can do about it here. And some of these 4 and 5 star reviews may indeed have been by friends and family of the authors in question. (Many were not, however, and the removal seems completely arbitrary.) But fair or not, this is damaging rankings for indie authors, and this in turn damages visibility and sales. So, here is my advice for anyone who wants to review a book by their favourite author and reduce the risk of that review being removed:
First of all, it’s important to build up a range of reviews on your Amazon reviewer profile. If you only review books by one author, Amazon will assume you are that author’s sister/brother/mother etc and delete them. Remember, you don’t have to have bought a book via Amazon to review it, so use this loophole to review lots of previously read titles and build up your credibility.
Don’t refer to the author by their first name. If you are reviewing one of my books, say for example: ‘Phillips writes with glittering insight’. 😉 Don’t call me Joanne!
Don’t give every review you write 5 stars. There is this ridiculous situation on Amazon now where books with too many 5 star reviews are being treated with suspicion (!), so sometimes it’s fine, even if you want to support an author, to give 4 stars. And if you find fault with a book for whatever reason, say why and give it 3 stars! Reviews that are honest and varied will stand less chance of being deleted.
Lastly, spread your reviews. It doesn’t take long to post the same review on Amazon UK, Amazon US & Goodreads. If one is deleted, the others will stand, and your efforts have not been in vain.
Don’t complain! At the moment, Amazon seem to be highly sensitive to criticism of this policy, and even if you think you are sticking up for the author in question, you might be doing more harm than good.
As an independent author, I rely on reviews. Good reviews push my books up the Amazon algorithm, increasing visibility, and encouraging new readers to take a chance on me. On Goodreads they also help put my writing in front of new readers, and folks there have the option to add a well-reviewed book to their own ‘To Read’ list. All in all, reviews are a fabulous free resource for an author like me. And I love each and every reader who leaves me one.
So why am I so rubbish at reviewing other people’s books? I read at least three books a week, and yet my review profile on Amazon is woeful, and on Goodreads I tend to rate, not review. What is wrong with me? I’m seriously letting the side down, so I’ve decided to remedy this at once.
I’ve instigated a new read/review system – and it’s given me the perfect excuse to get a brand new notebook! Whenever I finish a book I’m going to make notes on what I liked/didn’t like. Then once a week I’ll go through the book and put my reviews on Amazon UK, Amazon.com (because it’s important for authors that you do both), and Goodreads. Of course, I have a backlog of great books to review, so I’ll start with them. But from now on, I’m going to be the kind of reader/reviewer that I want others to be. Practice what you preach.
Mind you, I also have this to say: Please don’t ask me personally for a review. If you’ve read and reviewed one of my books I’m really, hugely grateful, and I’ll probably read yours too. And now I’ve got my new system, if I liked your book you’ll get a review. My preference is to not leave reviews under 3 or 4 stars – if I don’t like a book I just won’t bother reviewing it – so I prefer not be asked to review a book just in case I offend anyone. Right, off to buy that notebook …